Sunday, May 30, 2010

Seven for Sunday

Here are some pictures of the last few days:

Hadley's been taking an afternoon nap less and less these days.  I give her a rest time, and she's good for about 45 minutes, but then she wants to come out of her room. So on Thursday she and I made cookies.  Hadley loves to cook, so this was a fun activity.  She picked out the cookie cutter, and chose blue for the color of frosting. 

Later in the day, the girls spotted a green bug on the window that kept them entertained for a bit.

During the week the girls like to have a little snack and watch some TV.

From  the looks on their faces, you'd think they were watching a horror movie.  And no, Hadley's not wearing pants.  She's not really into pants currently.

On Sunday, Harper and I stayed home from church because she wasn't feeling well.  That's OK because she had a chance to support the Northwestern girls Lacrosse team that she has been thoroughly interested in all season.

 Note that all the same shapes are being placed together in groups.  I promise I did not encourage this at all.  Harper came up with this (sensible) idea all by herself.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Yes, It Probably Will Be An Issue When She's 16

Last night after Hadley's bath she came out without any PJs on and went over to where her jackets are hanging to put one on.  I asked her why she is putting a jacket on.

"Because I'm a bat."

If you say so.

As I was taking this picture, Jesse was saying, "Do you think this is one of those pictures that'll be an issue when she's 16?"
Personally, I think the bigger issue is that Jesse's cleaning up while I'm running around taking pictures of my naked kid, totally encouraging the behavior. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Graduation

I believe I met Mallory when she was 8 years old.  We bonded over a joke about cake, although, I can't remember what the joke was.  It has been fun to watch her grow up and live vicariously through her great dancing performances that I wish I'd seen more of.  Last weekend, she graduated from Calvin, and has entered into "the real world."  I think she's going to take it by storm.  Her first task?  She'll be babysitting the H's next week.  I think if she can do that, she can do anything.

Our trip to Michigan was great.  The weather was warm, so we got to do a lot of things outside. 

The girls were able to feed the ducks at a park nearby Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Harper was mostly interested in jumping in the creek, however.

You won't let me go in, Grandpa?  Is that what you're trying to tell me?  OK, I'll try someone else.....

Don't try and stop me, Auntie Shani!

Later, we went to the graduation while the girls took naps.

There she is!  A commencer!

What a good lookin' group of kids.

After the ceremony, we went to my favorite spot in Grand Rapids, Reeds Lake.  We ate at Rose's, but because there was a wait, we enjoyed some time outside.  Oh, the lovely memories I have of being in this area with my friends.  I spent an unreasonable amount of time at Crisan's Coffeehouse (that is no longer), and I can't count how many times I biked around the lake during my time at Calvin.  It was good to be back for a little while (although I did miss my college friends).

Water! Must. Get. In. Water!

OK, I'll just drink it if none of these people are going to let me swim in it. 
The next day, Jesse's parents had a graduation party for Mallory.  Their backyard is beautiful and was the perfect place to hang out on a warm Sunday afternoon.

Look at my big girl sitting with the big kids eating cake.  I like to call the kids "Little Dave and Linnaes" and "Little Arne and Julies" because they all look exactly like their parents.

It was a great weekend, and we were sorry to go home.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wise Words from Steve Martin

I know the grandparents and the aunts and uncles, etc. like checking out the pictures on NFN, but the truth is I love writing the stories that go along with the pictures.  I've wanted to work on a blog since 2004 when I heard about them at the Faith and Writing Festival.  The problem was, I wasn't sure what to write about that would be "blog worthy."  I've always liked to record the events of my days, in the hopes of finding some kind of meaning from my analysis.  Here are a few of my journals to prove it:

These are just the ones from the last several years.  The others are in a bin in a storage unit and date back to first grade.
 Those are for me, not really for an audience.  But I like writing for an audience and that's why I wanted to start a blog.  Except that Steven Martin's voice from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles rang in my ears as a warning.  He tells John Candy in a moment of fury: "When you tell a story, have a point.  It makes it so much more interesting for the listener!" 
So I waited.  And then in 2006 and 2008 I found my points: Hadley and Harper.  They could be my "excuse" for starting a blog and telling stories.  Hooray!
Although, the next problem I have run into is that I wait to write some posts that have "themes."  Killing Caterpillars?  Check.  Trips to the zoo?  We got it. Going to Calvin's graduation and soon after a wedding?  Coming soon.  Sometimes, I want to write a post about the day, but I don't know what the theme (or point) is.
So today I decided to take the camera with us with the idea of recording what we do and that will be my story (uh...point).  Here goes:

It's just not a good day if Harper doesn't get a chance to stand on this stool.  Harper looooooves to stand on this stool.  I can honestly walk away and come back after 5 minutes and she will still be standing there talking to the chick in the mirror.

We went to the park this morning, but I didn't take pictures because it's difficult to do that and make sure everyone still has their limbs.  But afterwords we went to Whole Foods to get some stuff for our trip and we had a snack.

Hadley is in the middle of telling me she is only going to eat the blueberries in that container of fruit on the table. So I ate the rest of it (Harper had a banana....we all had our "good for you stuff" with our treats).  There were raspberries in the mix and I told Hadley that I used to have a raspberry bush in the backyard when I was a little girl.  I told her how much I loved eating raspberries, in the hope she'd try one. 
Hadley said, "Where was I?" 
I told her that she wasn't around yet.  I said, "You weren't born."
Hadley thought about this for awhile and then said, "I think I was with my other grandparents."
I told her she was probably right.
And here's what happened when I.....well, I guess I don't know what I was doing.  I supposed I zoned out for a second, and the girls did this:
Hadley made a "straw train" against the side of the wall.

And Harper dumped out her juice box and started playing and splashing in it. 

Rock on.

When we got back home, and changed Harper's sticky, apple juiced clothes, the girls colored for a bit.

Are you looking at this picture and wondering why I bothered to get Harper's haircut?  Because I am. Or is that you think her skirt is too short?

Hadley's working on a picture of the park we were at earlier today.  The thing on the left is a slide.  She also drew a swing set.  I thought it was pretty impressive.  Sorry I didn't take a picture of it.  I'm also sorry I didn't take a picture of the entire alphabet that she wrote out for the first time last night.  That was also impressive.  But what was most impressive is that Hadley said the alphabet backwards from the letter J.  Neither one of us could believe it.  We were driving home from dinner and Jesse almost swerved off the road.  I mean, is that normal?  I realize I'm in awe of my child and run the risk of being one of those parents that tries to prove her child in really, really smart, but I am right now trying to think of what comes before J, and I can't do it.  She went from J to A in about 3 seconds.  It was unbelievable.

Harper likes to read books in the rocker in the girls' bedroom.

After their naps the girls thought it would be fun to play on my workout stuff. 
 I like Harper's little hip bop she's got going on.

Later, we went to Target so I could put together these bags for our roadtrip:

It's a bag filled with their favorites.  Each child has a pair of sunglasses, a hand puppet, a mini etch-a-sketch, books, and 615 Dora the Explorer stickers with paper that lets them "restick" the sticker.  Jesse thinks this will keep them busy for at least an hour.  An hour?!?!?!  I was going for like half the trip. (And what would a blog post be without a picture of my Starbucks coffee?)

The girls also rode around on their different modes of transportation inside the condo (the people downstairs adore us).

This apparently tired them out, so they climbed into our bed and got under the covers.
The End.  I'm not sure if there was a point to this post, but I'm glad to have been able to record it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Afternoon Outing

I thought that Harper needed a haircut so the girls and I spent the afternoon in the Kentlands having a little snack at Starbucks, then walking down the street to the place I take the girls to get their haircut.  (Hadley informed me that we will not be walking down the street but the sidewalk.  "If we walk down the street then I can't walk by myself.")

Harper skipped over drinking from a sippy cup and has moved right to juiceboxes.  Which is fine, except that we spent part of her college tuition trying to find a sippy cup she would drink out of. 

That Minnie Mouse pez toy in the picture was apparently the toy of choice for both girls all day yesterday.  I thought for sure we were going to lose it when we were out, but one of them had it with them the entire time.  I knew when Harper had it because she would scream, "Meeee Mouse!  Meee Mouse!" The child is so loud you can't even believe it.


The snackbox had several Tic-Tac-Toe gameboards inside it so Hadley and I played a few rounds.

Here are the girls participating in one of Harper's favorite activites: sitting on a bench.  There were four in this little square area and we had to sit on all of them.

I wanted to get pictures of Harper getting a haircut, but it turned out to be quite a traumatic experience for her.  She was not happy about somebody messing with her at all.  Honestly, I don't know why I bothered except that I was afraid she was going to hurt herself due to the hair that's always in her face.  So here's what she looked liked at home a few hours after she'd gotten it cut.

Harper thinks she's hot stuff now that she can reach the sink.  She's standing on a little stool which she has grown quite fond of.  Yesterday she was carrying the stool all over the place, banging it down on the ground, and then standing on it. 

At any rate, it was a nice little outing.  It's been so rainy and dreary here lately that we haven't been able to go to the park so it was nice to go out for a bit.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Every time I had to prepare for Parent/Teacher conferences, I would sit down to write out things some students would do that made me insanely angry, and without fail, after thinking about them for a few minutes, I would convince myself that whatever it was that they were doing, really wasn't that bad.  Part of my dilemma was that I would look over some of their assignments and remember the work they'd put into completing it.  I remember a group of seventh graders that I had that were particularly challenging, but when we got to a unit on poetry the stuff they wrote about was really lovely and honest. 
Another problem I had was that despite what any kid would do, there would be something that would happen that would make me see a good thing in him or her.  I had one kid in a class once that was truly a bully.  If you looked "bully" up in any education book it wouldn't surprise me if his picture was next to it.  He was fierce. And the kids loved him.  He once took a water spray bottle that I had to clean the chalkboards with and sprayed it in my face.  Even now writing about it I get angry.  I wanted to body slam him I was so mad.  He was sent to the office (obviously) and later, when I went down there ready to scream at him he was sitting in the administrator's office sobbing.   And all I could remember at that point is the time this student brought in his pet lizard to show the class when we were reading the book Holes.  The way this student had protected this lizard from the crowd of kids around it was something I'd never seen - or thought he was capable of.  He kept running his hand down the lizard's tail and he was talking to him so quietly to try and calm the lizard down. 
When I was a teacher, I would go through these extreme emotions - rage and love - a lot with middle schoolers, and I find myself thinking about these kids a lot these days because now that Hadley is in the thick of being three, rage and love seem to frequent my days with her. 
And it's not that I don't want to write about the things Hadley does that make me angry, but it's more that for every insane thing she does that makes me clench my fists, she'll do something so sweet that melts my heart.  It's confusing. 
Hadlely's aware of it too.  Lately, when she wakes up in the morning she'll say, "Mama, I'm not gonna fight at all today."  It reminds me of when I was a little girl and would wake up and tell myself, "Today I'm not going to sin at all."
At the same time, I know I can't just focus on the good things that Hadley does because as her mother, I know that I am responsible for teaching her appropriate behavior. 
So what I'm trying to do with this post is document a little slice of Hadley at age three.   If she reads this someday I hope she'll understand that I'm not complaining about her.  I hope she understands that as angry as I get with her, I see her whole person, and I don't let those crazy bad things she does define who she is. When she becomes a limp noodle when I try to dress her in the morning and it ends up taking two hours-and lots of screaming-I walk it off.  Or when she tells me she's not leaving a place and I literally have to drag her  (we look like we're re-enacting the scene from What's Up Doc? where Madeline Kahn is dragged out of the dinner party), once I stop shaking with anger, I forget about it.
Because she does things like this:
After their Romp and Roll classes, the girls get stamps on their hands.  Yesterday, Harper was running all over the place and she missed getting one.  As we were getting ready to go, Hadley noticed that Harper didn't have her stamp.  She went to tell the teacher that Harper didn't have a stamp.  The way she said it, to me, was amazing.  The room was crowded and noisy, and there was a lot going on.  But Hadley walked right up to the teacher and said, "Excuse me, Miss Jocelyn, my sister Harper didn't get a stamp."  And then she extended her arm with her palm up to show the teacher where Harper was so she could give her a stamp.
Or the other day Jesse had his toolbox out and Hadley wanted to help him.  She got her toolbox out and worked by him for a bit.  Then she said, "Daddy, that's a really cool toolbox."  And then she gave him a hug. 
She can be so sweet and so naughty, and Jesse and I are often left in her wake trying  to figure out how to get back up on smooth water. 
I'm sure my vow to not sin when I was younger was heartfelt, just like Hadley's promise to not fight is.  And I appreciate that she is trying.  But I hope that she knows, like I knew, that no matter what she does there is not a thing she can do that will make her parents love her any less.  Ever.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day at the Park

When the weather started getting warm, I was a little nervous about how I was going to manage watching the girls at the park when we go, but it has turned out to not be so bad.  Hadley can do just about everything so I don't need to climb after her like I did last year.  And while Harper likes to do a little bit of everything at the park, her favorite things are to climb up and down stairs, sit on benches, and pick flowers. 

Still, it's nice when Jesse comes because then we can bring the tricycle and we can take pictures.  Yesterday we went to Hadley park, one that the girls and I go to a lot during the week.  We've been going to this park since Hadley was about 5 or 6 months old, but it is just this spring that Hadley has begun thinking it's her park.  I can't blame her, but we do have the same conversation every time we pull into the parking lot.  No, this isn't your park, you just have the same name as it.  Yes, other kids will be there and no, it is not your equipment so you'll have to let them slide down slides, etc.  It's a tough lesson to learn.

Anyway, on to the pictures.

I realize that there are more pictures of Harper then there are of Hadley.  That is because it is very hard to photograph Hadley at the park.  She spends most of her time running from one piece of equipment to the next.  There isn't time to waste!  Going to the park is like work for her.  She has to make sure she gets to everything.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Looks Can Be Deceiving

I've wanted to put up a few pictures for awhile now but I don't know what to say about them because in the moment they were taken the girls look like they're having fun but that doesn't mean that moment lasted.  I don't want you to get the wrong impression and think that my children get along - or worse - that I'm trying to portray what a lovely, peaceful household we run.  Because most of the time it resembles the set from WWF Smackdown!  Not that I'd know anything about what that looks like.

So here are some pictures of Hadley and Harper from the past few days.  At least they were playing together nicely long enough for me to take the pictures. 

Harper has figured out how to keep herself on the little stools at this table so more and more the girls are coloring together at it.  Harper also like to stand on the stools which scares me but she is my wild child and has proved over and over that she needs to climb on anything every chance she gets.  Anyway, Tuesday morning the girls ate their breakfast together at the table.  Note that Harper has one sock on.

Later on that morning the girls played with clay together. 

Harper looks so ticked off that I would actually have the nerve to make her play with this stuff.

Hadley of course, is in deep concentration.  She was working on making "a guy."
Here's her finished product.  After I took this picture, she smashed him so those of you who were a little saddened by my caterpillar story can all rest assured that she wasn't too traumatized by the event.  (I guess it was harder on me then it was on her.)
On a different day, the girls got some books and read for a bit.  Harper just loves to sit on that couch.  We're having a problem, however, preventing her from standing on it and jumping.  Apparently the word "no" is the hardest word in the English language for our kids to hear or understand.

Hadlely's begun making up stories as she looks at the books.  It reminds me of what I used to do when I was a kid, only Hadley sings her stories.  Singing and making up stories was too much for my limited brain capacity.

The truth is, the girls enjoy each other's company.  Sure, I spend a rather large chunk of my day breaking up or preventing fights and that is more exhausting than I'd like to write about here, but Hadley and Harper do care about each other.  Harper usually wakes up before Hadley from her nap, and until Hadley comes into the living room Harper is asking for her. 
The funniest thing that Harper does is follow Hadley to the bathroom.  She'll walk over there and say, "Hi!" and then just stand there.  Hadley will ask her a question and Harper will say, "Sure!" or "No."  Then she'll wallk down the hallway, turn around, and go back to Hadley and start it all over again.  And they both love to chase each other and scream, "Peekaboo!"
A lot of their fighting comes from just figuring out how to live with one another.  They each have an idea of how to play with a toy, and when they want to both play with it things get messy. I'm sure all of this is normal and part of living together as a family.  And I can write about it rationally now when they're both sleeping and the house is wonderfully quiet.  An hour from now I'll sound a lot more like Rodney King.