We were thrilled that our mid-West friends Jay and Phebe were able to swing by our house today on their way to visit family on the East Coast. Becky and Susie were especially happy that they came with their three-year-old daughter and eight-month old son, giving the girls both a big playmate to adore and a little baby to kiss.
Becky: â€œI adore you, Kyana.â€
Liam: â€œI got lots of kisses today from lots of little girls.â€
We spent a wonderful afternoon on the water, and everyone had a great time, includingâ€¦
â€¦The little girls – Becky followed Kyana around like a shadowâ€¦
â€¦The little boy – Jim loved bonding with his â€œlittle buddyâ€â€¦
â€¦And the big boy – Jay got the urge to jump off a nearly 60-foot high bridge, so he didâ€¦
And don’t worry – I’m not afraid that the girls will be copying Jay’s ways any time soon. While Jay was scaling the rock face to get up to the bridge, I could hear Susie softly saying, â€œNo no. No no.â€ I’m so glad they’re chickens!
One of these days the girls will be old enough to write their own blog posts. But until then, as their surrogate typist, I have to make my best guess as to what is going on in their little brains. The last few days, though, my job as mind-reader hasn’t been very hard. I can see it in their eyes: â€œWhere, oh where, has my Alli gone?â€
Their cousin Alli left to go home to Arizona a few days ago, and life just hasn’t been the same. No more late-night full-body tackles, no more early-morning wake-up calls. No one who lets them play with grown-up sunglasses or who can sit through long stretches of cartoon programming with them. No one who gives in to their repeated requests to be carried up the stairs, no one who can convince them that their veggies are really â€œbunniesâ€ that need to hop into their mouths.
Hurry back, Alli. We all miss you!
One of my favorite parts of observing the girls’ development is watching their increasing interaction with each other. Up until recently, I would have said that they don’t really play with each other. They would play alongside each other (I think the term is â€œparallel playâ€), but not with each other. However, now I am starting to notice one brushing her sister’s hair (despite her protests) or handing her a book to read (once she’s already done with it) or making sure her cup is in the right place (any guesses as to which child insists on having everything in the possession of its rightful owner?).
This evening as they were enthusiastically enjoying their new water table from Grammie, I caught on video a humorous interaction between the girls. Becky had discovered that if she pleaded enough, she could convince Susie to come over and help her stand up from a kneeling position. And of course, it quickly became a game and Becky kneeled down again and again and again, and Susie dutifully helped her up again and again and again. It’s a good thing Susie was there to offer her assistance, because my patience would have run out after the first or second time. I suppose there’s some sort of meaningful lesson in there somewhereâ€¦your sister will always be there to help you get onto your feetâ€¦never weary of doing good to those in needâ€¦make sure to wear dark pants in case of grass stains when kneelingâ€¦in any case, I’m glad they were there for each other. And I’m glad I was there with the camera!
To my two-year-old Susanna,
I love how your little body holds such a big personality. You are a social butterfly, a charmer, with your impish grin and twinkling eyes. You are a child of few words, but many songs; I love to hear your sing-songy babbling as you climb the stairs or lay in bed. Your soft yellow blanket (you call it your â€œBâ€) is your constant companion when you’re in your crib or the car, and you can sit quietly and contentedly for hours, holding your â€œBâ€ and sucking your thumb. You love to draw (and I’m usually your subject of choice). You have a strong desire to pick out your own clothes and you love to change your outfit multiple times per day. You adore wearing hats, especially when they’re pulled down over your eyes. You are never happier than when you’re messy – covered in dirt or sand or especially cake. You test my nerves with your clinginess at times when you’re tired, but I love how much you love being near me. I can never get over how light your petite frame is, and how wonderful it feels to have your little body tucked under my chin for a snuggle.
Happy Birthday to my little peanut. I’m so blessed to have you in my life.
To my two-year-old Rebecca,
I love your appetite for life – for books (the larger the better), for outdoor exploration, for puppy dogs, for waffles and bananas and Fig Newtons, for big kids, for boating and hiking, for holding my hand, for making your sister laugh, for listening to music.Â You are my little narrator, telling me everything you’re thinking and everything I’m doing.Â You test my patience with your strong will, but I admire your strength and determination and independence.Â Every day, I am more and more impressed with your intelligence (you absorb new words like a sponge), your sensitivity (you become very distressed when your sister is upset, soberly informing me â€œSue cry.Â Sue cryâ€), and your cleanliness (you love nothing more than making sure that everything is in its place, including the rocks in the yard).
Happy Birthday to my little punkin.Â I’m so blessed to have you in my life.
In a comment on yesterday’s post about the party, my dad mentioned that he feared â€œthat now Becky and Susie are going to expect this kind of grand celebration every year.â€ I had followed up that I think the girls are going to expect this treatment all day, every day. Case in point:
Yesterday, we were driving home from church, and as we often do, we quizzed the girls on the landmarks along the way.
Jim: â€œWe’re turning onto Route XYZ. What comes next?â€
Becky: â€œThe bridge! Bridge come! Bridge come!â€
Jim: â€œThat’s right, Becky. And Susie, what comes after the bridge?â€
My Elmo-dified kitchen.
The girls thought the balloons were very exciting.
They loved watching the big kids in the pool – especially when the boys did cannonballs.
It was great to have the pool so people could cool off from the ninety-degree (at least) temperatures.
The pool also offered a convenient gathering place for us non-swimmers to enjoy the view of other people goofing off in the water.
A little background to the above picture where Susie is pointing to her right hand: I had been holding Susie near the pool when I was stung by a wasp. I yelped and bit my lip, and quickly handed off Susie to my mother-in-law. A few minutes later, we noticed a welt on Susie’s hand where evidently she had also been stung, but she never made a sound. She’s a whole lot braver than her mom!
Becky was very excited that her friends let her eat as many cheese puffs as she wanted. I think her expression in this picture reflects her fear that I was going to put an end to the puffs consumption (I didn’t – it was her birthday, after all!)
Becky was so enamored with the party scene that she even let multiple people hold her, which was cause for a celebration (and photo documentation) in my book!
Alli was so glad she could reconnect with Connecticut friends that she only sees once a year.
We were very thankful that so many of our dear friends drove a distance to enjoy the day with us.
Becky is displaying great self-control by refraining from diving into the cupcakes until I got my camera in place and gave the go-ahead. Maura was nearby as my back-up in case her inner strength wavered. Susie kept carrying her party hat around upside down and saying â€œcake cup, cake cup.â€
Susie with a mouthful of Elmo’s nose.
This picture of Landon typifies the joy of summer: swimming, grilling, and sweets. Life is good!
Speaking of sweets, here we are enjoying plenty of them (and now I finally know how Becky ended up with frosting on her back).
It didn’t take much detective work to figure out how she ended up with a chocolate mustache.
Here are two of the world’s best party planners. Thanks, Maria and Alli, for all your prep work!
Susie thought her new hat went perfectly with her half-naked birthday suit, as did plenty of kisses for her new Madeline.
Becky was entranced by a singing birthday card.
Susie insisted on feeding a donut to Alli and cookie monster at the same time.
And lastly, here is Becky’s expression of sheer birthday bliss. And most likely an overabundance of sugar. All’s well that ends well.
We celebrated the girls’ second birthday today, Elmo-style.
And even if the cupcakes we made didn’t look exactly like the furry, red, obnoxiously cheerful Sesame Street characterâ€¦
â€¦the girls still thought they tasted good!
More pictures to come!
Cheers! Here’s to a perfect summer evening!
Which of course involves copious amounts of ice cream.
Susie says, â€œBottoms up!â€
Yet another reason the girls love having Gabe around this summer:
He’s patient and strong enough – and most importantly, willing enough -to swing them up in the air
and over again!