Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Yesterday evening, Todd and I miraculously found a (really good) babysitter on very short notice and got to go on a date with friends.  We went to a movie at a theater that serves dinner and drinks during the movie, so we got carded at the door.  I have never been carded before.  How weird is that?  Am I the only person in America who has made it to the age of 26 without ever having to show ID to prove my age?
Anyway, the movie that we were planning to see was sold out by the time we got there (on a Tuesday night), so we ended up seeing Wolverine in 3D.  I've never been to a 3D movie before, either! It was a night of firsts for me.   Of course we saved our 3D glasses for the kids to play with.  I, for one, did not anticipate the level of their enthusiasm for 3D glasses.  
Jared asked what the purpose of the glasses was.  I explained that they are supposed to make it look like the movie you are watching is popping out into the room.  Apparently this effect still occurs when you are not in a 3D movie theater.  Jared noticed things popping out and looking very lifelike all over the place today.  "Mom! It looks like things in the mirror are going to pop out into the room!"  "Mommy! Things are popping out all around in the yard!"

Here are a few of the places where 3D glasses were worn today.

At home, of course:
 Putting on shoes to go out on the town:
 On the toilet, naturally:
 In the car:
 Sitting in library story time.
 In the library lobby:
 Calling the elevator:
 In the elevator, while eating graham crackers:
And at home again.  
The glasses were worn all day.  Apparently life needs a little help looking realistic and lifelike.  You can't beat these kids for fashion, either.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

B's First Haircut

On July 2, 2013, Benjamin had his first haircut.  He didn't need his hair cut all over.  It grows pretty evenly, but there were a few hairs on the top of his head that were extremely long.  Here is a before picture.
 After (I think).  It's kind of hard to see the difference, but it looks a lot neater now, I promise.
Boy hair is so much simpler than girl hair.  

Grandma and Grandpa endure a final, exhausting week of nonstop grandchildren.

Sunday, July 7 was Todd's last day of vacation before he had to go back to work.  We enjoyed a nice quiet day at home and church, with a short walk/ride over to feed the neighborhood horses a carrot in the evening.  
 We spent a lot of time relaxing around the house and I enjoyed taking advantage of Grandma and Grandpa being here to let them take care of the kids a lot.  We do love our outings, though.  On Monday we took Grandma to Kelsey Creek Farm.  We saw the animals, played on the playgrounds, and ended with a picnic.
 Eloise took off her jacket for the picnic, and then sat on the shady side of the table.  She kept telling me, "Mommy! I'm FREEZING!" But she really didn't want her jacket back on.
 Eloise takes a long time to eat.  Jared had time to explore and comment on just about everything there was to see from our picnic table before she finally decided that she was done.  We were well into nap time by then, so, of course, there were tears over leaving the park.
 On Tuesday we went to Juanita Beach Park.  We didn't know that there was a children's concert at the park on Tuesday morning, so the parking lot was crowded.  We avoided the concert and went straight to the beach.
 It was a gorgeous day for swimming.
 Benjamin got his first taste of sand.  I don't think he was intending to shove fistfuls of it into his mouth.  He was just feeling it.  When he later chewed on his fists and ended up eating a lot of sand, I think he was surprised.
 Grandma was a good sport for building sand castles while Eloise spent a long time eating her snack and supervising the builders.  We stayed until everyone was way too tired, again.  I think I need to stop giving in when the children keep asking for more time at the park.
 Jared creates very long and complicated pretends while he plays with his toys.  Lately, this has resulted in matchbox cars being "parked" all over the house in very awkward places.  I have been meaning to make him a parking lot for some time, and I finally got around to it while Grandma and Grandpa were here.  Jared and Eloise were tasked with decorating their parking garage, so it got about six marker lines on it before these spartan decorators decided it was fit for play.  Not inside play, of course, since the weather is nice, and Washington has that law that you have to be outside if the sun ever shines.  We are having a family love affair with the grass.
 Other fun for the week included lots of Grandpa time.  Silly boys.
 I think their smiles match.
 Todd ordered us a porch swing to enjoy with our new grass.  The new swing got the Jared and Eloise stamp of approval.  Benjamin is also a fan of the swing.  One night, when he thought he was hungry at 2 a.m., and I refused to feed him (if you feed him once. . .), we spent half an hour swinging in the middle of the night.  Swinging outside in the cool night air had a calming effect on angry baby.  I wasn't immediately convinced that we needed the porch swing, but that experience converted me.
 There is some Grandpa voodoo magic that draws grandchildren to him.  Even when they haven't seen him for months and months, they warm up to him instantly.  Some of it may have to do with the M&Ms he sneaks them, and the iPad videos and games, but I think they just like his good natured teasing, and his endless patience with their questions and requests.
Can I just say again how much we love having Grandma and Grandpa here?  If only we could somehow make Seattle and Tucson closer.

The 2013 Blueberry Disaster

Grandpa Michael was in the Seattle area working for a few days, so one afternoon he came up so that we could go blueberry picking.  You may remember all of the fun we had last year at blueberry time.  This year, foolishly, I decided to go to the same blueberry farm.  It was getting late in the day by the time we got out the door, and this is the closest farm that I knew.
 We got a pretty good start.  The bushes were a little picked over, but the kids were having fun.  Eloise had to be watched closely because she was eating berries of any color off of the bushes.
 Yes, they are wearing capes again.  Capes are big around here, lately.  The blueberry fields were dryer and warmer than last year.  My dad is a great berry picker, so I had high hopes for getting a few pounds of berries, even with me constantly stopping to pull green berries out of Eloise's mouth, and Jared raiding our buckets for ripe berries to eat.
 Eloise gave me a minor scare when she looked like she was about to fall off of the little bridge into the farm ditch, but she recovered, so we didn't have an exact repeat of last year.  Just when we were moving away from the farm ditch, and I was breathing a little easier, Grandpa Michael discovered a wasps nest.
The way he discovered it was like this: he started picking berries off of a bush, and two wasps came out to sting him.  his full bucket went flying as he jumped away.  We recovered a lot of the berries, along with a lot of grass, but the wasps were persistent in their threats, so we eventually had to abandon a significant portion of our day's work on the ground.  The kids were pretty worn out by then, too, so we decided to call it a day with three pounds of berries.  
It was fun to see my dad, and to get some free labor out of him.  I am enjoying fresh blueberries right now in a blueberry streusel muffin.    

Sending off the Grandparents

Grandma and Grandpa Knight came to visit from July 1, when we left Idaho, to July 15.  They left early in the morning on the 16th.  Jared and Eloise loved having them here.  After they were gone, Eloise didn't completely register their absence.  She told me several times over the next few days that she was ready to go downstairs to the guest bedroom and play "candy crunch" with Grandpa on his "ice pad" (iPad).
We also loved having babysitters staying in our house all of the time.  Todd and I got to go see a movie one night, and on the last Friday they were here, Todd and I took off for our first night together without children in four years.  We stayed in a hotel, and we got to sleep in!  Then we went to the temple together before we went home.
That afternoon we celebrated our beautiful new grass with a mini barbecue.  We invited Valerie, Annette's cousin, who happened to have her mom, Aunt Jean, here visiting (for the wedding of Val's youngest daughter, Brenna, on July 27).  Val's son, Zach, also came.  We roasted hot dogs and chatted while the kids stuffed their faces with chips and watermelon and painted themselves in potato salad.
 Eloise ate with her superhero cape on.  You never know when you are going to have to rescue someone.  It's best to be prepared.
 Jared is just as snuggly and affectionate now as he was as a squishy newborn baby.  Having grandma around with an ever available lap made him one happy boy.
 Cousins!  Val and Benjamin are first cousins twice removed.  Can you see a family resemblance?
It was a great way to end my vacation.  It was definitely a vacation for me with so many extra willing hands around to help with the kids and the house work.  The kids are going to miss all of the spontaneous "rice Christmas treats" that Grandpa makes, sneaking sips of coke, videos on the iPad, and Grandma's purse as a nearly bottomless source of gum.  They also miss Grandma and Grandpa.  All of Jared's pretend travels since they left have been to Arizona.  We are looking forward to seeing you again at Christmas, GPs! Thanks for everything!

Last week

Last week, as we were getting back into our routine after Grandma and Grandpa left, we spent some time at the park.  Eloise inherited this hat from Jared.  She loves it because it was Jared's, but it is a little bit too big.  She spends most of her time outside peering out from under it as it tilts into her eyes.  
 It seems like it gets harder and harder to get a picture of Jared.  He always wants to go flying through everyone else's pictures, but he never wants to be still, or close to me long enough for me to get a picture of him.
 B loves to be able to swing along with his siblings.
 We got invited to a birthday party.  Eloise was really excited about birthday cake.  She then proceeded to spend 45 minutes licking frosting off the cake while avoiding eating a single crumb of actual cake.
 Eloise really likes to do things herself.  She tells me "Mommy can back," a lot.  I think she is telling me I can stand back. She says, "Mommy can back.  I'm gonna rinse my toothbrush." "Mommy can back.  I'm gonna put on my pants."  "Mommy can back.  I'm gonna do up my carseat." This is a picture of "Mommy can back.  I'm gonna feed Ben."
 We had a family outing to the beach park.  The park is called O.O. Denny Park.  We recently learned from some locals that the appropriate way to say this is not "Oh Oh Denny," but "Double-O Denny." The weather was fantastic at the beach.
 Very tired Benjamin didn't think much of the park after a few minutes, but he fell asleep eventually.
 Jared and Eloise spent a lot of time out in the water with Daddy.
On our way back to the car, we stopped at the playground for a few minutes.  When it was time to go, Jared and Eloise both started to have a tantrum.  We were not a pretty sight in the parking lot.  I think it was a case of too much fun leading to two too tired children.  Jared settled down, but Eloise was wound up and crying for nearly an hour after we got home.  Ah, toddlerhood.  Being two years old must be difficult.  Eloise can't ever decide whether she wants to be a baby or a big girl.  We will take her either way.  I wonder if we will ever miss the park meltdowns.

This guy again

For those of you who want to see him, I thought I would devote a moment to our family's fastest growing, fastest changing member, Benjamin.  He started sitting up on his own while his grandparents were here visiting.  Now he prefers to sit, and tries very hard to get himself into a sitting position when he is lying down.  He hasn't succeeded, yet, but I'm sure he will soon.  
 Benjamin turned eight months old last week.  Does he look older?  He answers to his name, but only B, not Benjamin.
 I looked in his mouth on Monday and predicted that he would have a tooth by Friday, but he is still toothless.
 He is getting harder to photograph, since he is really strong, and tries to grab everything that comes within his reach.  His latest development is an attempt to wave.  The result is a very powerful baby arm crashing wildly into anything within its range.
I don't think he looks like his siblings much at all anymore.  He is certainly developing his own preferences and personality. This has been a Benjamin moment. Stay tuned for a report on that pesky little tooth that is wreaking havoc on our sleep.

Good bye Pattipat

I am very behind on posts, since we spent a week and a half on vacation, and two weeks with grandparents visiting, and it has been summer ever since.  I think I will work backwards to catch up on posts.  I'm a little less overwhelmed that way.  If you want to read about our trip in the meantime, you can see Colette's posts here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Colette took a lot of pictures.

Our project this week has been giving up Eloise's pacifier.  I gave her (and us) one week to prepare for the big separation, and then, on Monday, when she woke up, we put Pattipat in the dishwasher and told it goodbye.  I actually told her that she had grown out of the pacifier, and that it was too little for her (this method worked for giving up diapers, eventually, so why not a pacifier?). Here she is waking up with her paci for the last time.
This girl has got some crazy hair.
 We watched a couple of Elmo videos about saying goodbye to a binkie.  Eloise has never called her pacifier a binkie, though, so she told me, "Binkie is what you call it when you tell it bye-bye."
Midway through the morning, all was still going well.  How do you feel about saying goodbye to your pacifier?
So good!
Welllllll. . .  This was probably the last smile I saw from her for two days.  Eloise spent two hours crying for her lost love, Pattipat, instead of napping on Monday.  Not only was she tired from not napping, but her tantrum made her extra exhausted.  We had planned to use our family home evening time to take the family to see a potential new puppy, but, instead, Todd and Jared went to see the puppy, and Eloise went to bed an hour early.
She went to bed an hour early, but she didn't get to sleep until two hours later.  Then she slept for an hour, and was awake again for another two hours.  She slept again eventually, but was up at first light (4:30 a.m. here in the north) asking for breakfast.  Todd went to bed with her until he had to get up to get ready for work at 7:30.  Eloise bounced up with him.
Tuesday was a little bit better.  We went to a children's concert in the park in the morning and saw Caspar Babypants.  It was a really good concert for kids.  There were probably 800 people in the park, but Jared and Eloise were enthralled by the music.
 Benjamin was enthralled by his first graham cracker.  He made a substantial mess.
I took the kids over to the beach when Eloise got tired of the concert (she made it for almost an hour- that is a pretty huge block of time for a tired two year old), but neither of them wanted to play anymore.  I think we were all tired from all of the crying the night before.  
When we got home, Eloise napped, but she started an hour and a half later than usual, and slept for half of her usual nap length.

Every sleep period has gotten a little bit better.  When Eloise went down for her nap after church today, she told me, "I don't have a pacifier anymore."  That was all! No crying! Hallelujah.

Here is the puppy.  We are bringing her home on August 20, when she is old enough to leave her mother.  She will tentatively be named Shadow.  She is a black lab/redbone coonhound mix, and she is all black.
We are looking forward to our new puppy love.