Monday, September 29, 2014

Two and a Half

I cannot believe how much my girls have changed in the last 6 months so instead of waiting until they are 3 you get a half yearly update!

Since March they have progressed to speaking many more words and more clearly, particularly since about the first of August. They will now speak in complete sentences when they can although at this point Hope is more easily understood and has more of the sentences down. But they both can accurately communicate what they want and their concept of various ideas amazes me every day.

They remember people and things and places and will tell you about what they did this afternoon if you ask a good enough prompt. They love to go to church and play with "Mr. Evan".  They will finally tell you their names when asked - if they are in the mood for it - and their brother's names too.

This week we finally upgraded to booster seats at the table with everyone else and it's so fun to have them all at the table now rather than in their high chairs kind of off to the side and behind me.  This means they get plates now instead of only occasionally and hopefully it also means less food on the floor!

At least they are generally very polite girls, so cute to hear them say thank you when I give them their food or water cups.

Sisters will be sisters and they do fight over things, but for the most part they each have a few things that are "theirs" and they share the other toys fairly well.  They are still banned from the brother's room for the most part, but occasionally get in and are starting to want to play with the little Legos without putting them in their mouths.  I wish we had more Duplos for them to play with, but at this point I don't think I'm going to invest in those. (The ones we have came home with us on a plane from friends in Arizona!)

Hope in particular will point out "mine" color anytime she sees pink in a book or someone's shirt.  But it doesn't bother them too much to both wear pink or purple.  However if there is one pink shirt and one purple shirt and you get them backwards, woe and bad tidings to you!  Funny how their little brains work!

The trains are a very big point of interest.  We often will "catch" a train while going into town and as we pass the train yard they have to say "bye bye trains" as we go up the hill and can't see them anymore.  Sometimes they are "too loud" when we have the windows open in the evening and they whistle at our crossing just down the street.

We watch more cartoons in the morning now and the girls love Daniel Tiger.  It's an animated spin-off from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood and it's actually quite adorable.  There are cute little lessons in each story complete with a song and I will hear the girls singing the songs days later.  Things like "you take a turn, then I get one too".  I hope it helps!

They also like Strawberry Shortcake, Clifford, and just discovered Curious George.  They love Blues Clues too, but unfortunately we don't really have access to it other than at Grandma's house.  They almost know how to work the whole Wii by themselves... a scary thought!

Speaking of singing songs, they very much love music and Hope will stop everything and dance if she hears any music anywhere.  They will sing along with me at bedtime as I'm singing to them and ask for particular songs.  The Elephant Song (not a bedtime song) is adorable if you ever get to witness it.  As is I'm a Little Tea Pot.

We went to a birthday party tonight and the girls thought we were going to a tea party.  They would not be convinced otherwise.  That's where the photos came from in this post.  I hope it lived up to their expectations.  They did at least get ice cream!

These girls are still kind of little, they've grown 2 1/2 inches since March, but only put on 3 pounds!  Around 35 inches and 30 pounds each.  Guess I shouldn't complain too much since they still both want to be held at the same time.  Moving into 3T clothing in all except pants, which still fall off half the time.

Shoes are a very big deal and have to be kept in the cedar chest or there would be a shoe hunt every day we needed to go out somewhere. (They have dress up shoes for wearing in the house.) Unfortunately they also like to take their shoes off the instant they get in their car seats so I spend way too much time putting shoes and socks back on every time we stop to go somewhere.

And that I believe is your head to toe update!

Friday, September 26, 2014


I'm guest posting over at my friend Sarah's today so after you're done here I'd love it if you popped over to read my writing there, it's completely different!   And now on to Five Minute Friday!

Because I said so...

Because I have four children...

Because it's important...

Because you'll... (fill in the blank with a child appropriate response)

Because I'm going crazy!

Because I love you.

Because I am the mother of twin toddlers.  (That pretty much explains everything in my life right now)

Amazing how one "little" word can be used in so many different ways.

This one walked all the way around the playground at least twice while we were there.

What I really thought of though when I heard the words was a hymn from the Gaither's (I didn't know that until I looked it up).  The words are below, but the chorus is Because He Lives, I Can Face Tomorrow.  Oh, how that is true!  And oh how much more hope I have for Tomorrow being better because of Him!

This one has ALL the attitudes and was mad at me for not letting her play with someone else's wagon.

If you don't know the tune you can look it up on youtube, just know that I've never heard it sung that slow so I always think of it as having a bit more pep!  This is a song about hope!
(Verse 1)
God sent his son
They called him Jesus
He came to love
Heal and forgive
He lived and died
To buy my pardon
An empty grave
Is there to prove
My Savior lives

Because he lives
I can face tomorrow
Because he lives
All fear is gone
Because I know
He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because he lives

(Verse 2)
How sweet to hold
A newborn baby
And feel the pride
And joy he gives
But greater still
The calm assurance
This child can face
Uncertain days
Just Because he lives


(Verse 3)
And then one day
I'll cross the river
I'll fight life's final
war with pain
And then as death
Gives way to victory
I'll see the lights
Of glory and
I'll know he lives

Five minute Friday has changed! It's now hosted over at Kate's place. But as always please join in or leave a comment!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Book: A Grand Design

When Alyssa Denham, a single career woman, wins a fun getaway for two on Mackinac Island where her grandmother lives, she gives her carefree best friend a call. Together, they tour the old shops and hidden treasures of the quaint island while helping Alyssa’s grandmother piece together an heirloom quilt. Their quest gains them entrance into the homes of many longtime residents of the island, parts of the city that are otherwise off limits to tourists. As the quilt’s story takes shape, Alyssa gains amazing insight into her grandmother’s life . . . and attracts the attention of the handsome Scott Whitman, an island resident in charge of hotel transportation. Will memories of her past keep Alyssa from letting go? Or will the quest to piece together the heirloom quilt restore Alyssa’s fractured heart—and bring healing to her entire family?


You want a fun vacation read?  This one just fits the bill.  It only took me 2 1/2 hours total and I read it in one sitting.  I love that the main character is actually NOT one that the boys fall for, but a more normal girl.

I think I'd love to visit this island where no cars are allowed.  There was only one little bit to the story that I didn't feel was wrapped up at the end, but other than that it was a very enjoyable book.


If you would like to read the first chapter of A Grand Design, go HERE.

Words from Amber Stockton:

Hi, I'm Amber, but my friends call me Tiff, short for Tiffany, my first name. I am in my mid-30's, married to the love of my life since July 2007, have a daughter and a son, and live in Colorado. Here, I am content to do what I love—write, speak, and offer virtual assistance.

Thanks to the gentle nudging of a fellow author -- Tracie Peterson -- in 2002, I joined the American Christian Fiction Writers and wouldn't be published today without them. For those of you who are also fiction writers looking for a wonderful support group, check them out! My very first book, Promises, Promises, sold in December 2006 and released in February 2008. I've been going steady ever since.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Salmon Festival

My mom usually just takes the boys to the Salmon Festival, but this year due to scheduling conflicts we met here there.

After watching the Reptile Man's show the boys wanted to pet/hold the animals.  Noah has a boa constrictor above and below the alligator is petting Cory's head.

There really wasn't that much that the girls could do, they mostly rode in the stroller, but I thought they might like the costumes.

For the .3 seconds they would keep each one on I managed to get a picture of Joy in this flower costume.  Next year baby girls!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Road Trip: Montana Wedding Part 2

And then there was a wedding!

Father of the groom, Uncle Butch, performed the ceremony.

Flower girl with all the sass (to match the bridesmaid!) Cousin Brooklynn

Brother of the bride and sister of the groom stood on the "correct" sides, and then switched to support their sibling!

The setting was gorgeous!  At one point the bride and groom went over and stood on this bridge just for a minute.  When they came back his dad had put on a tall white hat with a gold cross and started going "Mawwaige, mawwaige is wot bwings us together today" and everyone cracked up!  Unfortunately the hat wouldn't stay on in the breeze and I didn't catch a picture of it.  That and the sound decided to cut out right then, but we all knew what he was doing anyway!

Kiss the girl!

There was coloring on the paper tablecloths, cousins are happy!

There was an ice cream bar for dessert, and Joy will one day hate me for this photo, but it's too cute not to post.  Don't mess with a toddler's ice cream!

With Grandma and Aunt Priscilla!

Cousin Cassia was DONE.  Uncle Brian had a turn holding her and trying to get her to calm down.

Dancing with Aunt Priscilla!

These girls LOVE to dance.  They had so much fun.  When they weren't making a running dash for the open door on the other side of the hall!

Cousin Brooklynn showing off her dance moves!

Unfortunately because of said dashing and the time we didn't get to stay for much after dinner, just the parents of the couple dances.

Aunt Sheila and Joktan.  Happy wedding!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Riding in Cars with Bears

The girls have decided that they love these bears, and they must bring them in the car with us whenever we go anywhere.



Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Book: All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes

 Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie's bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.

But when Lucas Brannen, Kat's best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.

As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself---her---is suddenly in danger of slipping away.

The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat's senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.


This book was not what I expected.  For a large part I just kept wanting them to have a conversation about their relationship already.  But really, that's what is driving the story.   What happens when you are lost in your head and don't really know what the other person is thinking?  Lots of hijinks along the way!

The premise of a reality TV show was a fun one.  I can't even imagine how nerve wracking it would be to go on one of those cooking shows blind and then be told what you have to cook and with a time limit!

And finally, what do you do when your life feels like it's not in your own control anymore?  Hmmm, that applies in real life too!

I enjoyed this book for very different reasons that I normally enjoy chic lit.  It was a good one.


Read other blogger's reviews or purchase your own copy.

Betsy St. Amant lives in Louisiana with her young daughter and has a heart for sharing the amazing news of God's grace through her novels. A freelance journalist, Betsy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she's not reading, writing, or singing along to a Disney soundtrack with her daughter, Betsy enjoys inspirational speaking and teaching on the craft of writing.

Betsy St. Amant All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes

I received this book from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Road Trip: Montana Wedding Part 1

So, now that it's two months later and our summer of all the crazy is over I have a few minutes to actually get to the pictures I took... back in June!

We left off leaving Yellowstone a day early due to crazy hail and rain. We went back to spend the night with my friend in Bozeman and the next day headed over to Billings for Brian's cousin's wedding.

We stayed at a KOA, which was world's apart from the campground in Yellowstone... we even got a Kabin the first night as we heard it was going to rain again... it did!

The boys climbed this tree and then Noah realized just how far off the ground he was.

Daddy to the rescue!

I have zero pictures from the rehearsal dinner that night, but it was fun.  Time to see most of the family and have yummy food.  Also, the boys having (pool) noodle fights with cousin Keenan.

The next morning we went swimming with Auntie Allison and Cousin Cassia, who got in from Africa at midnight!

Then we went to Cracker Barrel for lunch... sorry, we were not impressed.

These cousins are stair stepped exactly 1 1/2 years apart.  Miss Brooklynn.

Brooklynn's mom Cassandra, and Cassandra's mom, Aunt Cindi!

After a mad dash to change into wedding clothes in Aunt Priscilla's hotel room we made it to the site for family pictures.  Noah fell asleep on the way so he was kind of cranky.

Then to entertain little girls for over an hour until the wedding starts... look Mommy, I'm picking the flowers that are part of the landscaping!  Whoops!

Tea for two!

The monkeys were from Aunt Eloise.  All the kids got one and they were a hit!  Sadly Noah's got switched for William's in August so it's taking a trip to Africa for adventures and hopefully we can trade back in December!

By the time the wedding actually happened we had to put the girls in our baby packs and pace at the edge of the seating area.  But otherwise they did really well.

The groom, Joktan, and cousin Cassandra

Cousin Cassia was distraught after many many hours on a plane and little sleep.  But shredding the grooms boutonniere was fun!

Gorgeous flowers as centerpieces

Joktan proposed to Caitlin after a long hike to the top of Granite Peak.  He actually hiked it once the day before to leave his guitar up there so he could surprise her!

Sadly, the ring got left at base camp on a rock wall and I'm not sure if they ever got it back even though he hiked up again the next day to try and find it.

Next post: actual wedding pictures!  This is why I will never be a wedding photographer, I don't have time to edit that many photos!