Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Family Road Trip

At the beginning of this month, we drove up to Idaho Falls to attend my aunt Tamara's wedding reception. We left Centennial early Thursday morning on May 21st, drove up through Wyoming, and made it to Idaho Falls in time for dinner. We got to spend that night with my family catching up and showing off Evie's new-found walking and talking skills. She'd actually been pretty great during the 9-hour car ride, only whining a couple of times because she was bored and wanted to make sure we hadn't forgotten about her.
Friday, June 1st, was my aunt's bridal shower, so us girls (Mom, my sister Hailey, and I) headed down to Shelley, where my aunt Cheryl was hosting the shower. Mom had a blast because her youngest sister had just gotten married, and her next youngest sister Jennifer had just moved back to Idaho, so she had all 3 of her sisters and her mom around her, plus both of her daughters and her granddaughter. I had a fun time catching up with my aunts and cousins. That evening, we came home and had a "piggy party" in which we all painted our toenails while watching a movie. Todd was at the ward father/son camp-out with my brother Scott taking advantage of the free food.
Saturday was the day of the actual reception. The reception wasn't until that evening, though, so I spent some of the day at a couple of craft/scrapbook stores looking for some more of the special paper I have for Evie's baby book that I haven't been able to find anywhere else. I was able to find some of what I was looking for, but not all (Mom found the missing paper at the bigger store in Rexburg when she was up there a week or so ago). Once home, we got the munchkin dressed and ready for the reception and then got ready ourselves; I finished my makeup on the way down to Firth. The church looked really nice, and the reception turned out well, I think. It was nice seeing people that I hadn't seen since my own wedding reception, and reintroducing my handsome husband and my adorable baby(s). It's amazing how much my life has changed in the last 3 years, and I got several comments to that effect.
Sunday, we had church and then we hurried home to change while my mom and siblings went to the airport to pick up Dad. Then we all drove back down to Firth for a family barbecue. It was really fun. We ate manti chicken, a family tradition, along with various salads and sides. I was especially excited because I'd been craving manti chicken for about a month before that. We all sat outside while we ate, talked, played, and laughed. Then we took family pictures at twilight, and headed home after dark. It was great spending time with the family, and I was especially glad that we were able to see Dad and let him play with Evie. We'd originally planned on heading down to Utah early Sunday morning, and we would've missed seeing him altogether, so I'm glad we changed our plans.
Early Monday morning, we drove down to Salt Lake City to spend a few hours with Matt and Linds, along with their girls, before making the long car trip back to Colorado (I mentioned getting together with them in this post). We met at the Gateway, a mall in downtown SLC, in time for brunch. Then we wandered around a couple of different stores, including the Build-a-Bear Workshop where Evie "made" bears for both of the Hope girls. We tried to watch the water show, but too many people were standing in the water for us to see much of the choreography. Finally, we wandered back towards the Clark Planetarium, where the girls had the most fun of the day, I think. I know I mentioned that Evie loves balls, and this was heaven for her; every other phrase out of her mouth was an excited "Ooh! Bah!" while she pointed all around her. According to Matt, Lily is obsessed with balls too, and the two of them had a blast. We showed them a projection of the lunar phases, and they got to touch clouds. There was a giant pendulum that followed the curve of the earth and would periodically knock over a chime. We got to see it happen a couple of times, but I think the adults were more interested in that than the little girls were.
(This is the only part of the weekend that I remembered to take pictures of. Oops.)
Evie loved playing with the lightning ball, and then Matt sat Lily up on top for her turn. 
Right next to the lightning ball, there was a funnel for change, which I used to love as a kid. We tried to show the kids how centripetal force works, but Evie seemed to be the only one interested in watching the coins. Oh well, maybe when they're older.
That's Todd holding Evie, Matt holding Lily, Linds holding Emma, and me holding the camera.
After the funnel, we found the lunar landscape! Since Evie loves the moon so much, we thought it'd be great to let her "walk" on the moon! My camera settings were all wonky, so I didn't get very good shots of the girls, especially Lily, but here's what I ended up with:
They had a Mars landscape too, but who cares about Mars when you're a 14-month old walking on the moon?
The planetarium has an elaborate interactive machine set up that moves balls around so they affect one another. Evie enjoyed helping Daddy push the buttons to trap the balls before setting them all loose again.
The last balls of the day were the replicas of the planets. I think Evie would have been more excited if it wasn't her naptime and she hadn't been worn out by her excitement of all the other balls.
By the time we were done determining our weight on other planets, the girls were all worn out, and it was time for us to go so we could make it home before midnight.
Todd got his chance to hold Emma, and then we gave hugs all around. The girls were too tired to be very social, but Evie did give Emma a kiss when prompted, so I'm hopeful that she'll be affectionate towards her little sister too.
We drove from Utah through Wyoming to Colorado, with a tense patch just before Cheyenne where we weren't sure we had enough gas to make it. We pulled into Cheyenne running on fumes and gassed back up for the final leg of the trip. We made it home just after midnight, and piled gratefully into bed. Overall, long car trips aside, this visit was really fun and, though short, enjoyable. We loved getting to renew relationships with our family and friends!

"Bobby's" Buddy

I don't know if it's because she somehow senses that one-on-one time with Mommy is soon to be limited or not, but Evie seems more interested in spending time with me lately. She has one of my old drivers licenses with a hole punched in it that she carries around, and for about a week, every time anyone asked her who it was a picture of, she would say "Bobby!" We thought it was funny and a little weird that she couldn't use her "mmm" sound to say "Mommy," especially when she could say "Ma-ma!" As soon as we changed the ending "-ma" to a "-mee," though, her "mmm's" suddenly changed to "bbb's," and I would become "Bobby."
On Saturday, the 16th of this month, we had a family get-together, and we were showing how Evie was calling me Bobby. Randomly, I tried one more time to get her to say "Mommy"...and she did it! I tried it again, and she did it again! I am now officially "Mommy" and I love it! My baby knows who I am, and now she carries around my picture chanting my name over and over again. Sometimes I hear her babbling to her toys in the next room and then I'll suddenly hear her say "Mommy!" as clear as day; then she comes trotting in to show me something or just to give me a kiss. When she's sad about going to bed, I'll sometimes hear a heartbroken "Mom-meee!" drifting from her room. This weekend, when I was sick with the stomach flu and lived in bed all day, she was mostly in the care of her Daddy. She was pretty content hanging out with him, but she would periodically say "Mommy!", and then come into my room to check on me. She would come up to my side of the bed and ask to be allowed up next to me on the bed. She would give me sweet little kisses and say my name. Then she would pull my shirt up so she could see my belly and say hi to the "Baby!" She would quietly hang out with me until she got bored and needed to go play with Todd some more.
Evie has never been much of a snuggler, but lately, she seems to enjoy hugs and snuggles a lot more. In fact, she'll even ask for them by climbing onto my lap and putting her arms around my neck. Sometimes these hugs are accompanied by kisses, and sometimes not, but they're always special. She follows me everywhere I go, even if it's just into the next room so I can put something away. I especially love it when I'm in the living room on my computer or something, and she comes in holding a book, a toy, or her fuzzy blanket. She comes up to me and tries to climb up next to me on the couch, just to be with me. She's very good at sharing her toys with me, and often hands them to me one at a time. She likes sitting on my lap, wrapped in her fuzzy blanky, while I read or sing to her. Then she likes to either take the book and read to me, or start singing along in her little girl voice. All of our time together is very special to me, especially lately because I know that it won't be too much longer before I'll have to split my attention between two little girls. I think that Evie's starting to sense something to that effect, and she's taking as much advantage of our special time as she can. I know I am.

Baby Prep

Well, it hasn't gone according to my original plan because of the outbreak of the tummy bug in the Jacobs household this past week, but I'm working on baby prep today. Evie and I are both bathed and dressed, and I've even done her hair! She's down for her nap right now (which means I'll have to redo her hair, but that's okay), so I can't vacuum the living room until she wakes back up. But in the meantime, I'm catching up on all of the laundry that I didn't have the energy to do this weekend. I changed the sheets on our bed and made it look nice. I'm also going to sweep the stairs and our bedrooms; I want the baby to come home to a place that's as clean as I can make it. We also plan to have the cradle built before she comes, but we're missing one of the washers from when we took the cradle apart after Evie grew out of it. Todd is planning to go to the hardware store to pick up another one, but I don't know when. My last big cleaning task is to vacuum out the car and make it as clean as possible before having 2 car seats live in the back seat.
When I had Evie, I was induced due to high blood pressure, so I didn't get to shower or eat before going in to the hospital. This time around, I'm trying to be more prepared so that the experience will be as pleasant as possible. My blood pressure has been great so far this time around, but I'm still a little paranoid that one of these days, it'll suddenly spike and my doctor will send me over to the hospital to be admitted. Just in case, I make sure to shave my legs in the shower, put on makeup, and eat a decent breakfast every Friday before my doctor's appointment. Last time, my suitcase was packed, but was sitting next to the door, so Todd had to bring it to me after I was already admitted. This time, my suitcase is packed and is stowed in the trunk of the car so I'll have it whether I get admitted right after an appointment, or whether I go into labor spontaneously. Every night, I make sure the phone is plugged in to charge so we'll be able to call everyone with the news as soon as it happens without worrying about a dead/dying battery. Speaking of batteries, yesterday I found a great deal on Toys "R" Us brand batteries online. The price for a 20-pack of AA's was cut from $9.99 to $6.99, PLUS they were buy 1 get 1 free! I was able to get free shipping, and only paid $.20 in tax, so I got 40 batteries for $7.19! Like Todd said, even if they turn out to be really cruddy quality, the price is still worth it! Since they'll take a couple of days to get here, I also bought a really small pack of AA's at Walmart for the camera in case Elizabeth arrives before they do, but if they get here first, we can always return the more expensive ones. Little things like that (camera, cell phone, Kindle, I-pod, and their power cords and batteries) are all packed into my purse along with a hairbrush, my makeup, and my wallet. Every night, I make sure that my purse is packed and ready to go where I can easily grab it. I'm trying to make sure that, at the first sign of real labor, I can jump up, take a quick shower, get dressed, and go. I even have a towel lying ready to grab in case my water breaks and I need something to protect the seat of the car.
Since I'll have Evie with me at every appointment, there's a plan in place for getting her home if my doctor does end up sending me over to get admitted. Fortunately, his office is in the same building as the labor/delivery unit of Sky Ridge Medical Center (the hospital where we're delivering), just in a different wing, so I won't have to go far toting my older daughter. And Todd's work is maybe 5 minutes away from the hospital, so if that happens, Margot will just drop him off during/after they get off work, switch Evie's car seat over to her car, and bring her home so we won't have to worry about traumatizing her! If we go into labor in the middle of the night, I think the plan is just to leave her sleeping in her bed, and letting my in-laws know what's going on so they can listen for her. Then, we can call them once Ella is born and figure out whether they should bring Evie in to meet her little sister or if Todd will go home and get her; it's still flexible. If, for some reason, I randomly go into labor while I'm at work or something, I'm still prepared. My suitcase is still in the trunk, and I take my purse everywhere. In that case, I would call Todd and tell him I'm in labor so he can either come get me or I might drive myself (it's only about 10 minutes from my work to the hospital), and then I would call whoever was currently watching Evie to ask them to keep her a while longer. The only people who babysit Evie are family members, they all know that little Ella could be born at any time, and they're all excited and willing to help out, so I'm pretty sure that we'll be okay regardless of the labor/delivery scenario. I just want to be as prepared as possible so everything will flow more smoothly than last time. Really, all I have to do now is make sure all my housework is done, and, now that I have a new nail file, that I get a chance to do my fingernails before she comes because several of them have broken, and I don't want to accidentally scratch her soft newborn skin. I would like to get my hair trimmed again so I look at least somewhat decent in the after-birth photos, but I doubt that'll happen, so I'll just do the best I can with what I have. Anyway, wish me luck in getting everything prepped and ready for the arrival of our sweet little girl!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Birthday Plans

This is going to sound silly, but I have a very specific birthday in mind for Ella for very specific reasons. I want her to be born June 28th. I told Todd, half jokingly, that all of our babies have to be born on a multiple of 7 because my birthday is December 28th, his is May 14th, and Evie's is March 21st. Since my due date is July 10th, the only multiples of 7 that she can be born on are June 28th and July 7th. July is out for a couple of reasons. If Ella is born in June, we can have four babies; if she's born in July, we can only have 3. I don't want to have too many birthdays close together because of how wiped out I got planning Evie's party, so if Ella is born in June, their birthdays will be 3 months apart, and we can plan all of our kids to have their birthdays be 3 months apart--4 in a year, spaced equally. If Ella is born in July, though, our kids' birthdays will all have to be 4 months apart, which means we can only have 3 babies so their birthdays will be spaced equally throughout the year. Evie's birthday is 3/21, which I think is a super cute birthday. Wouldn't 6/28 be a cute birthday too? You know, 6+2=8. Cute! Even cuter is the fact that 6/28 is my half birthday. Which brings us to the last reason I really don't want her to come in July, which is the silliest of all, but also the most real. I'm ashamed to admit that I can't remember what month July is when I have to write out dates numerically. I have no trouble remembering that June is the sixth month of the year and August is the eighth. But for some reason, July is a complete blank. I seriously have to count on my fingers to write down my anniversary: "Let's see, January (1), February (2), March (3), April (4), May (5), June (6), July (7). Ah! My anniversary is 7/25!" It's super sad, but true, and I want to be able to remember and write down my daughter's birthday without having to count it up every time. When I mentioned this to someone, I don't remember who, they told me to just have her on July 7th. It still fits my multiple of 7 rule, and her birthday would be 7/7--hopefully making it easier for me to remember. Unfortunately, that still restricts us to only having 3 babies. Plus, I just don't want to wait that long!
Obviously, most of this is tongue-in-cheek. We'll be happy to have her whenever she decides to come, and her birthday will always be special to us because it's the day that she joins our family. Mostly, I'm just impatient and want her here sooner rather than later. But I'll be happy with whatever birthday she chooses. Except for the 4th of July...

A Spot of "Claire"-ity

Ever since we found out we were having another little girl, I've had her name up on the pregnancy timeline at the top of my blog page. But I've never had the opportunity to explain it, and my mom finally asked for an explanation. Evie's nickname is my little "Rae of Sunshine," a play on her middle name, Rae, and her sunny disposition. Ella's nickname is my little "Spot of Claire-ity," a play on her middle name, Claire, and the different perspective I've had this time around. With my first pregnancy, I was more high-strung and worried about every little unexpected thing that happened. This time, I'm much calmer. I've been through it before, and know better what to expect. When I think about my little girl, everything else falls away, and I feel a sense of peace. I haven't been as outwardly excited during this pregnancy as I was last time, and I've sometimes been concerned about that, thinking that maybe I won't love Ella as much as I do Evie. But I've come to realize that I do feel a deep joy that nothing else can touch. I am so happy to be bringing this little one into the world, and I cannot wait to hold her in my arms, look into her perfect little face, and fall as deeply in love as I am with her big sister.
It helps that I can already tell that some of that peace and clarity come from Ella herself. She's been a much calmer baby than her sister was and is. She was more accommodating during her ultrasound than Evie was, and I think she's going to be a more easygoing baby once she's born. This is not to say that Evie is a difficult baby-she's not at all-but her personality is more like mine than Todd's. She's high-strung and bouncy like me, but I have a clear sense that Elizabeth is going to be more like her Daddy: calm and peaceful. I'm sure she'll have some of me in her somewhere, but she seems Todd-like so far. Although, Todd and I have very similar senses of humor, which Evie definitely possesses in large degree. And I think that little Ella will possess it too, and will fit perfectly into our family.
Reading back over this post, it seems really rambly, but it all comes down to one thing. Elizabeth is my little "Spot of Claire-ity" because when I think about her, everything makes sense. I feel peace and know that everything will be all right. I can see a clear little picture of the future, one in which I have my happy little family around me, full of love and joy.

A Special Lullaby

Okay, I need help fast! Our baby can be born anytime now, and I still haven't picked out her special "Mommy song." Evie's is "You Are My Sunshine," a song that only I sing to her, and I sing to only her. I talked about the significance for us in this post, and now I need something equally significant and fitting for little Elizabeth. I don't want a hugely long song, just something lullaby length--comparable to her sister's song. The only thing even close that I've been able to come up with so far is the "I Love You" song, made famous by Barney. It's about the right length and tells her I love her and that she's special to me, but it also feels a little...generic. "You Are My Sunshine" fits with Evie because she is sunshine personified. "I Love You" is sweet, but you can sing it to any baby; it doesn't have any special tie to my precious daughter. I guess if all else fails, I can use it, but if anyone out in the cosmos has any perfect ideas, please share them before little Ella decides to make her grand debut! Thanks!
(Oh, that's right: we finally decided on a nickname for the little munchkin. Lightning finally struck on the perfect name, and I felt a little silly that I hadn't thought of it before, because I've always loved the name Ella. It just clicks and feels right. Hooray!)

Father's Day

For Father's Day this year, I custom designed a t-shirt for Todd on cafepress.com. However, I knew it wasn't going to get here in time for him to open it on Father's Day, so I also bought him a couple of movies out of the $5 bin at Walmart so that he would have something to open on his special day. We gave him "Get Smart" and "The Pursuit of Happyness." For dinner, I made him chicken enchiladas.
His shirt finally came on Wednesday, and he promptly changed into it. Of course, only a couple of hours afterwards, Evie finally succumbed to the tummy bug that's been floating around our extended family for the last couple of weeks, and threw up all over him and his brand-new shirt. She was not a happy camper; she was scared and hurting, so Todd took her upstairs and drew them both a bath while I cleaned up the mess on the floor and started some laundry.
After church today, Todd came home and changed into his shirt. He says he really likes it, and I guess I'm now allowed to post a picture of it without ruining the surprise for him:

Happy belated Father's Day, Todd! Your girls sure do love you!

Chubby Cheeks

I'm a horrible friend. The last I posted anything about it, this was the current state of affairs. However, since that time, one particularly big, beautiful, and important thing has happened: Lindsay had her baby! Linds knew what day she was going to be induced, so we were eagerly awaiting news of the happy occurrence. Finally, just as I was getting off work, Matt called me. I asked him to give me 10 minutes to get home, and then I called them back. Little Miss Emma Leigh had entered the world at 3:46 pm on April 5th! She weighed 7 lbs 7 oz, and was 20 inches long. I was so excited to hear the news, and then I saw the pictures!
Aren't those chubby cheeks just the cutest you've ever seen? She's such a little dolly! And I got to see and hold that little dolly on Monday, June 4th, when we were traveling back from our trip to Idaho Falls (that post is still pending)! She was so little! Evie is small for her age, but I forgot just how little and light she started out. Carrying Emma felt like carrying a stuffed doll or teddy bear--no real weight to her at all. Todd said the same thing when I finally handed her over to him, "She's so light! I wouldn't mind carrying a baby all over the place if she felt like this!" (This is mostly because, since I'm only a couple of weeks away from being due, he's the one who gets to carry Evie everywhere. But he really doesn't complain very much at all, and besides, that's what husbands are for, right?) He said he was afraid to shift her around in his arms for fear of accidentally launching her into the air! Holding Emma made me so baby hungry; I can't wait until I get to fill my arms with my own precious (light!) little bundle of baby girl. Congrats, Matt and Linds! We're so happy for you, and we appreciate you letting us steal snuggles and sniffs of your new little girl, as well as kisses of those adorably chubby cheeks!

Baby Bargains

Pretty much ever since I started working at Babies "R" Us, I've had my eye on some specific clothes by Carters. All of the pieces mix and match to make all kinds of outfits, and I really wanted to get them for Evie. The only trouble was the cost; I couldn't afford to pay the full price for them, so I was waiting for them to go on clearance. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I went to work and found the outfits I wanted on super sale! They were marked down from the original price, and then the clearance price was 50% off of the marked down price. Plus, I had my employee discount and a coupon for $5 off of any $25 purchase. I was able to get all of the following, plus another set (a pink dress with white polka dots, and a white cardigan) that I couldn't find the picture for anywhere, for under $45!
Girly 3-Piece Cardigan SetAnimal Print 2-Piece Dress SetShort Sleeve 5-Pack BodysuitsEssential 2-Pack Pants     
Short Sleeve 5-Pack Bodysuits
The pink/brown/white outfits are from the "Just Tickled Pink" line by Carters, and we got them in size 9, which Evie still fits into even though she's 15 months old. The bright pink/yellow/green/orange onesies are also from Carters, and we got them in size 12, which hangs down to her knees!
Another thing I've had my eye on for a while is a side-by-side double stroller. I don't want a tandem stroller because the girls are going to be close enough in age that I really don't want to hear complaints about so-and-so sitting in front and blocking the view of the other one. Unfortunately, I just can't afford shelling out the $250-$300 for a double stroller that we don't technically need. Then I had what I hope is a good idea. I told Todd that we could just get two cheap matching umbrella strollers for about $20 each, get the 3-pack of stroller links for $10, and make our own double stroller for less than 1/5 the price of a "real" one. Then I saw these really cute strollers in our store; they have jungle animals all over them, and would be appropriate for all of our zoo trips. Plus, they were only $15 each! Fortunately for me, there were a couple of days where the price was even cheaper online (only $14 instead of $15), so I used my employee discount, a couple of coupons, and was able to get both strollers for about $20!
We're still planning on getting the stroller links at another time, but it's a good thing we got the strollers when we did because the price is back up now. I just wanted to share the good feeling that comes from being able to pick out new things specifically for my girls without feeling like I'm breaking the bank, and I feel fortunate that I was able to snag these little bargains!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

37 Week Status

To the current tenant of my uterus: this notice is to remind you that your lease is up in three weeks without option to renew. The battered internal organs neighboring you have issued a petition for your immediate eviction and, should you choose to overstay the terms of your occupancy, I will be forced to act on their behalf. You do, however, now have the opportunity to depart the premises of your own volition at any time with no hard feelings. In fact, the event will be met with much celebration. Your bags are all packed, and we eagerly await your response. Sincerely, Mommy

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Few of Her Favorite Things

Now that Evie is almost 15 months, her preferences and personality are getting more set in stone. This is going to be a page in her baby book, but I wanted to make sure that these facts were, in fact, factual before printing them up. However, these have been some of her favorite things since before her birthday, so I figure it's safe for me to publish them now.
  • Favorite Animal: Lion
  • Favorite Colors: Orange & Yellow
  • Favorite Toy: Giraffe
  • Favorite Food: Clementine Oranges
  • Favorite Movie: "The Lion King"
  • Favorite Book: Love You Forever
  • Favorite Song: "You Are My Sunshine"
She also still loves it when I sing "I've Been Working on the Railroad." When she was born, I started singing a simple little song I'd made up for her. It's only 2 notes repeated over and over and the words just go, "E-vie. Ba-by. Evie, Evie, baby girl." It isn't much, but she loves it when I sing it to her. It calms her down, and she's started trying to sing along. Her version sounds a lot like, "Bee-bee, bee-bee, bee-bee-bee-bee-bee-beeeeee." Oh, but I love to hear that little voice chirping all day. Evie definitely loves to sing and to dance. She dances along to everything. Even the washing machine! Once the water stops filling up and the motor starts churning the clothes, she stops whatever she's doing and cocks her head to one side. Then she gets a huge grin on her face and starts rocking side to side in time to the rhythmic churning. About a week ago, I picked her up and sat her on top of the washer so she could feel the rhythm as well as hear it. She thought that was so cool!
She also really enjoys turning lights on and off. She found the light switches, and once she figured out how they work, she loves being the one to turn them on and off for us. Sometimes, when her Daddy is holding her, she'll point to the light switch and ask him to take her over so she can turn it off. Then she'll point to the light switch 5 feet away and ask him to take her over to that one so she can turn the light back on. They'll walk back and forth for a couple of minutes, playing with the lights. It's hard to concentrate on anything else when you're in that room, but it's fun to see the glee on her face.
Evie has discovered that she likes being a "big girl." I cannot count the number of times I've caught her trying to put on her Daddy's shoes, my flip flops, or my fuzzy slippers. She concentrates so hard on getting her little feet into these big shoes, and then she tries to stand up and walk in them. More often than not, she falls down again, but she still looks so proud of herself when she sees me watching her. She's also discovered my sunglasses. I don't wear contacts anymore, so I can't really wear my sunglasses either, and they've been packed away for a while. When I unpacked that box, she found my biggest, roundest pair, and tried so hard to perch them on her little nose. I don't know if she's trying to wear glasses like Mommy and Daddy, or if she was just curious, but she loves them! She'll shove them onto her face and try to keep them there. When they fall off, she'll bring them over to me so I can put them on her properly. They're huge on her little head and don't stay on her ears very well, but she likes them. She knows she's a cutie!
She likes being "oh, so pretty!" She loves to brush her own hair, and she'll sometimes even come over and try brushing mine. When I put her hair in ponytails and bows, she tries to sit still and wait until I'm done, and then she softly touches her hair and smiles. Then she goes over to her Daddy for some admiration. Todd is her go-to man for praise. When she puts her Rock-a-Stack donuts on her arms like bracelets, she likes going and showing her Daddy so he can tell her how pretty she is. Earlier this spring, she loved going and picking the bright yellow dandelions in our front yard. She'd twirl them around and show us the pretty flowers she'd found. I tucked a couple behind her ear one day, and she was thrilled! She had to show her Daddy her new ornaments. Todd is very good about giving her the praise she asks for, but he's also wary of putting too much emphasis on her looks. She gets really absorbed in watching what I'm doing when I put on my makeup or paint my nails, but he's asked that I not paint her nails for a couple more years. He wants her to know that there's more to her than being cute. Hair bows are fine for right now, but nail polish is more permanent and more responsibility, and he feels that she needs to be a little older before wearing it. Even more permanent than that is pierced ears, and we both agree that we're not going to pierce our daughters' ears until they're old enough to take care of them themselves. We're still hammering out whether they can have pierced ears when they're 10 or 12, but we still have a few more years before we have to come to a final decision.
Evie is, however, as interested in her personal hygiene as a one-year-old girl can be. She likes to brush her teeth while I brush mine, although her methods seem to have more to do with chewing on her toothbrush and sucking off the toothpaste than with actually getting her teeth clean. She is getting better, though, and often tries to imitate my movements. She also loves taking baths, although she's not a fan of getting her face wet. Really, her baths just give her an excuse to play with her duckies. She still gets so excited every time she sees them; she points and squeals "Duggies!" She also gets excited about "Doggies," and the two sound virtually identical. I usually have to see what she's pointing at so I can distinguish between the two.
She loves playing with her balls too. Every time she sees one, her eyes get big, she points at it, and exclaims "Baa!" There have been many times when I suddenly hear "Baa!" and look up in time to see a golf ball rolling past followed soon after by my daughter. Then, coming from the other direction, I hear "Baa!" and look up to see a baseball rolling by followed quickly by Evie. Finally, I hear the most excited "Baa!" yet, and look up to see her big bouncy ball roll past with Evie hot on its tail. When she catches it, she brings it over to me and says "Baa? Baa!" and then she throws it across the room and chases after it. Along the way, she runs into the golf ball or baseball, and the game starts all over again. I've joked multiple times that she reminds me of Luxo Jr. from the Pixar short:
Probably her favorite balls of all are the celestial bodies. Evie loves playing outside in the sunshine. She's perfectly content to just sit out on the grass, reflecting the sun back to us and rivaling it for warmth and light. In fact, she loves it! And if she sees a picture of the moon in any of her books, she excitedly points it out to us. Every time. And every time we go outside at night time, she looks for the moon and gets so happy when she finds it. It doesn't matter if it's full or crescent; she'll spend whole car rides ooh-ing and ah-hing at the moon.
Once we're home, though, she snuggles to sleep under her fuzzy blanky, cuddling her stuffed giraffe. Her favorite game of all is peek-a-boo with her fuzzy blanky. She'll pull it over her head and wait for us to say "Oh no! Where's Evie? I've lost her! Oh, Evie! Where are you? Come back, baby girl!" Then she'll pull the blanky off of her grinning face, so pleased that she fooled us, and then start it all over again. This game can go on for as long as we're willing to play with her. Sometimes, we hide under blankets of our own and wait for her to "find" us. Other times, I change the rules by saying, "Oh no! I've lost Evie. I'm so sad! All I can find is this fuzzy bundle! I guess the only thing I can do to cheer myself up is to tickle it until Evie comes back!" Then I grab her and tickle her ribs and thighs through the blanky while she just giggles and giggles. Then she finally pulls the blanket off her face and I say, "Oh, Evie! I'm so sorry; I didn't know that I was tickling you. I thought you were gone; I'm so glad you're back!" Then she pulls the blanket back over her face, and we start over again. Really, this game can be played with any blanket, not just hers. She feels no compunctions about stealing other people's fuzzy blankies, and sometimes she'll grab all of them that she can find and burrow herself into the huge pile. She gets such joy out of being covered in soft blankets that, even when she pulls our blanket off of our laps when we're watching TV in the living room, it's hard to be irritated that we're cold. The only blanket that she's not thrilled about "sharing" is hers; it's definitely an Evie-only blanky. And she doesn't like going to bed without it. As long as she has her fuzzy blanky to snuggle and her stuffed giraffe to cuddle, she'll usually go to sleep with a minimum of struggle, ready to wake up in the morning for another day full of her favorite things!