Before you jump on the hate-the-media bandwagon, read this


As a child, even as a child professing great interest in becoming a journalist, I was thoroughly instructed on the “liberal bias” of the media. Maybe I was encouraged to pursue that career so that I could counter-balance this terrible, truth-bending machine of liberal hounds.

Maybe that’s not actually a bad reason to become a journalist at all.

But here’s the thing – after going through journalism school, at two different colleges, and working as a member of this supposed bastion of liberalism at two different papers, and with a husband currently writing news for another news organization – after all that, I still just can’t believe in the great liberal conspiracy of “the media.”

Sidenote– that phrase – “the media” irks me. As if it were some evil overlord, some satanic force that we had no choice but to live underneath. Media takes a million different forms, and many, many, many of them are NOT news sources. Youtube is THE MEDIA. Facebook is THE MEDIA. All the conservative/liberal/Democratic/Republican blogs/pseudo news sites that you read – those are also THE MEDIA.

But they are not sources of news – they are not driven by reporters/editors who are seeking news stories from the angle of truth. They are driven by people trying to only find news/rumors that support their own particular stripe of beliefs or political affiliations.

Am I saying all news organizations are filled with totally unbiased, truth-seeking, objective reporters? Of course not.

After all, there’s always Fox News.  Ooooh, yes. I went there.

There’s also the NY Times. Yes, I agree, they ARE, in fact, left-leaning.

However, would they report on the failure/scandal of a Democratic senator/president? Absolutely.

And there’s always that other newspaper in New York… You know, the most famous paper in the nation besides the NY Times, come on, I know you got this – oh, that’s right,

The Wall Street Journal. The MOST unabashedly conservative newspaper in the nation.

So if you wanna focus on the NY Times (a newspaper thousands of miles away from most of us in this nation, and printing mostly international news) then I suppose you can cry “Liberal!”

And if you wanna complain about The Wall Street Journal and Fox News, sure, you could scream “Right-wing bias!”

But while you’re focused on a few faraway news organizations, there are literally thousands of hard-working, truth-seeking reporters working their butts off all over the nation at your local newspapers and TV stations, trying to report the news to you as accurately as they can.

Sometimes I get frustrated with the Houston Chronicle for having what seems to be a liberal bias in their opinion section, but before I run off screaming about how the whole paper is completely, hopelessly biased, I try to read a lot of opinion columns.

And here’s what I find:

Nationally-syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker opining about Santorum and Romney and quoting the Bible and pretty much straight-up endorsing Santorum. That’s right – Santorum, probably one of the most conservative candidates EVER to run for president.

And another one by Parker, in which she lands squarely on the side of conservatives and Catholics in supporting religious freedom.

Here’s one by David Brooks, in which he quotes C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton and talks about the Bible and Christianity in trying to explain the mass murder of civilians in Afghanistan.

Another by Brooks, criticizing Obama’s policies.

And, getting even more local, for those of you in the Bay Area, here’s an opinion column written by Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and printed in the Bay Area Citizen, criticizing Obama’s healthcare law.

And here’s a really great example of journalists working to be objective in their coverage – an opinion column by Nicholas Kristof of the NY Times defending/supporting the Kony 2012 video and its creator, who has been viciously attacked by many liberals.

Now, I realize these are opinion columns, not news articles, but obviously it would take more time and space than I have here to compare articles from all the news organizations in the nation, so instead let me just address a main complaint from those who believe in the liberal media conspiracy.

Something that gets picked up and repeated a lot rather unthinkingly is that “they” (i.e. THE MEDIA) don’t cover certain “conservative” events. One angry comment I saw recently was about the media “probably not” covering a Ron Paul campaign event, in which some (maybe a few hundred at the most) veterans symbolically turned their back on the White House, and, therefore, their Commander in Chief, Obama.

I don’t know if it was covered by a news organization (the commenter didn’t know either – assumptions), but I do know a lot of reasons it might not have been.

1.) Cover a Ron Paul event, and, for the sake of balanced coverage, you have to cover similar campaign events for all the other campaigns (at the time there were still about 10 Republican candidates in the race).

2.) Limited resources. Reporters can only be so many places. And there are a lot of campaign events/protests.

3.) Definition of news. Hard to tell from the picture I saw, but, as I said, looked like maybe a few hundred people showed up, and that’s a generous estimate. If, say, a couple thousand had showed up it might have been newsworthy. Journalism 101 – Part of the definition of news is “unusual.” But some people protesting on the lawn in front of the White House is far from something unusual. There are seriously not enough reporters in the world to cover every single protest that occurs in Washington, D.C. every day.

And, finally – I saw this in the Houston Chronicle the other day. That’s right – a couple hundred protestors speaking out against Obama’s birth control mandate. And it got covered by your local newspaper – photos and everything. (This particular story is in a Chronicle-related blog, but I saw it in the print edition first.)

Just like it wouldn’t be fair for me to have a bad experience with a lawyer and then go out and accuse all lawyers of being ruthless sharks, it’s not fair to accuse ALL media everywhere of having a liberal OR conservative bias.

Just like it wouldn’t be fair to accuse all Marines of being coarse, rude and offensive just because I saw a photo of some Marines peeing on dead bodies, it’s not right to take an example of a rude journalist and accuse all reporters of caring for nothing but their own agenda.

I could go on with examples, but I hope that if you’re a lawyer or Marine (or Journalist!) or know someone who is, that you will be offended enough by the above examples to understand my point.

For some reason, this hate-the-media bandwagon has really caught fire and spread on both sides of the political aisle – maybe the one thing that unites the two parties these days?

And if both sides, liberal and conservative, are upset about what the media’s covering, that should be a big hint that the media is doing their job right.

Because we all know BOTH types of people are guilty of terrible things – and it’s the media’s job to cover it all.

So, instead of jumping on the hate-the-media bandwagon, here’s what I propose:

1.) Don’t shoot the messenger. Especially when you’ve never met him so you can’t possibly know his personal bias/motives.

2,) Check out his message – thoroughly. Chances are he has better resources than you and probably used them all before he printed that story. But check it out anyways.

3.) If you still think after checking his message that you don’t like the way he’s delivering the message, stop arm-chair reporting and get in there and do a better job.

4.) And, lastly (or maybe firstly?) – remember THE MEDIA is just made up of a bunch of individuals with their own individual biases, upbringings, and agendas. (No, it really isn’t some EVIL CONSPIRACY, determined to RUIN YOUR LIFE and spread the EVIL GOSPEL.) So if you want to see more of your own bias in the media, infiltrate it!
If more conservative Christian parents were encouraging their children to go out into the journalism world and tell the truth (which my parents did), instead of continuously lambasting the journalism world, then maybe we’d have more conservative Christian perspectives IN the media.

Maybe it’s time we took a little personal responsibility? Just a thought.

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My dream life


Today started with me realizing that I would again be missing the workout class that I had attempted to start attending four weeks ago. Sick kids, who are still sick after more than four weeks of sickness, means I can’t take them to the (already paid for) childcare.

So I’ve now missed another complete week of working out, which totaled with the other times I missed because of me or the kids or both being sick, means I’ve missed more than 2 whole weeks of the class – that’s right, more than half since it started.

No problem. I’ll just work out to a Pilates video at home. Younger kid is still aslee- – (waking up crying sounds from the other room). 
Well, both kids are awake, but no problem, I’ll do it anyway. “Curious George” for the older one, some cheerios for the younger.

During my workout a leftover bowl of cheerios WITH milk is dumped on my workout mat. Curious George kept stopping and the 3-year-old was very traumatized by this. VERY TRAUMATIZED.

Workout stopped at least 5 times to fix problems.

Then sweet younger baby girl decides Mommy’s lap is a perfect place to sit. WHILE MOMMY IS WORKING OUT.  I’m not gonna lie, working out with a 16-month-old chillin’ on your lap is challenging, I mean, besides the fact that the workout itself is CHALLENGING.

Workout finished and shower desperately needed.

“Knock on the door if you need something, ok, Susannah?”

“OK, Mommy!”

Two minutes into the shower, there is banging on the bathroom door.

“Mommy, I gotta go potty!! I gotta go potty!!”

Dripping wet, shivering in a towel, I wait for 3-year-old to potty.

Butt is wiped and kids sent out so Mommy can finish her shower, which sends the younger one into a torrent of tears. It makes me sad, but, you know, I really should finish my shower.

Finally shower is finished and I open the door to find Little One camped out, waiting anxiously for me, sucking on her pacifier for comfort. She runs to me and clings as if I’ve rescued her from a pit of alligators.

But where is the older one? In the kitchen, on a very precarious-looking stool, “washing dishes” with very cold water. Her shirt is soaked. The clean shirt I just put on her before I got into the shower.

“Subee, are you washing dishes for me?”

“Yeah, I’m washing dishes, Mommy!” She beams the brightest, happiest, “aren’t I such a big helper?” smile ever.

“Ooohh, thank you, baby. Your shirt is all wet.”

“Yeah, it’s all wet. You can get me a dry one. But Mommy, I’m not done YET. You hafta go away for a LITTLE bit till I can finish, ok, Mommy?”

 

And you know what I was thinking?

Well, it’s ok, it’s so nice
Just another day in Paradise
And there’s no place that I’d rather be

Two hearts, one dream
Wouldn’t trade it for anything
And I ask the Lord, every night, for just another day in Paradise.
(Phil Vassar)

 

So here’s the gifts that I counted from that summary of my morning:
1.) Two beautiful girls who love being with their Mommy.
2.) Food! Cheerios, anyways, which is pretty much a staple for the girls.
3.) Netflix for watching Pilates videos – and Curious George.
4.) ComputerS to watch them on! Not just one, but two.
5.) Hot water for a shower!
6.) A SHOWER. Two years ago I couldn’t take a shower in my home.
7.) Pacifier to comfort my sad baby.
8.) 3-year-old who longs to please her Mommy.
9.) Dry, clean clothes for 3-year-old who soaks herself while “washing dishes.”

And I’m sure there are many more I haven’t counted.

This is my life, ya’ll. I get to do this every day.

And, yes, I DO ask God, every night, for another day of blessing.

Here’s what my Paradise looks like:

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Happy faces.

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Drawing on the paper got boring…

 

 

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January popsicles, out in the warm sunshine.

 

 

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Good times on the trampoline.

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Susannah making “soup” with some mud and sand – in a hollow tree stump.

 

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George wanted a turn at stirring.

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George got tired of stirring and decided to watch. The tiger joined him.

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Ready to play outside after a recent monsoon/downpour/get-Houston-out-of-this-drought rain.

 

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At the doctor about all of our recent sickness(es) that WON’T GO AWAY.

 

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I play favorites with my children


Every time I hug my girls or put them to bed or give them kisses I want to say

“You’re my favorite! You’re my favorite baby girl in the whole world! You’re the most wonderful, the most special, the most beautiful girl in the world to me.”

Because, honestly, that’s how I feel about my two girls – two incredibly different little souls, and both of them are my favorites.

But I don’t end up saying it because it doesn’t seem right, because I CAN’T have a favorite child, right?!

Recently I read something on Katie Davis’ blog (www.kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com) that really explains well what I feel about my kids, and why it’s the natural way a parent loves their children.

The last few weeks have been so full of God’s blessings and extravagant surprises. Every day another gift, beautiful and unexpected. I feel spoiled rotten by the God of the universe, His love just too good and too perfect for little, broken me.

I shared this with a close friend recently, giggling with surprise and awe like a little girl who just received a marvelous present from her Daddy. His response was perfect. “He loves you, Katie. You’re one of His favorites.” He laughed and I laughed but it stuck.

One of His favorites. That is what I have felt like this last two weeks. Lavished with love. But isn’t that what He wants every one of His children to feel, all the time? Each and every one of us created perfectly in His image. Each one cherished. Each one “one of His favorites”. How would life change if we thought of each other as such? 

I carried it with me today. As I bought beads from women in a slum I thought of them as His favorite people. As I counseled a mother struggling with alcoholism I wept that one of God’s favorite people was struggling like this. I rejoiced with a grandmother who for the first time proclaimed Jesus after watching Him heal her granddaughter miraculously last week. And I smiled at the Joy that I knew God found in her – one of His favorites.

Here’s my favorite daughter. 🙂

And here’s my other favorite daughter. 🙂

Turns out they’re God’s favorites, too.

Not the Christmas/end-of-year/New Year post


You didn’t think I’d post about something in the same month it happened, did you?

The Christmas post will have to wait. I took photos with my real camera, which means I haven’t downloaded/edited/uploaded them yet.

So much has happened in the TWO MONTHS since I last posted.

Maybe these cell phone photos will give a small taste of the last two months – minus Christmas.

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Why not start off the post with a magna-doodle person? This is actually an old picture, too, but magna-doodle people have been super important in our house in the last few months. Subee spends loooong periods of time just working on perfecting her person drawing skills.

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Here she is showing me how the guy she drew is holding his hand. Smile

 

 

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Close-up.

 

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Her most recent creation –  from just a few days ago. These guys even have hair! At least the mom does – it’s a mommy, daddy and baby, Susannah tells me. She ran out of room for the dad, so he is sadly armless. Also kinda expressionless…

 

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Love seeing my girls playing together.

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Peek-a-boo – Lydia’s favorite game. Smile

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Remote controls – Lydia’s favorite toy.

 

Randomness! Wedding dress shopping with Hannah  back in October – me and Elaine had a little too much fun with the discount rack.

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Going waaaay back (again) – we went to the pumpkin patch… sometime in October….?

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Lydia loving the toy car/ride at the grocery store. Don’t even have to put money in it! She thinks it’s pretty great just the way it is. Plus, Susannah FREAKS out if it turns on, so….

 

Went shoe-shopping at DSW with Subee at the end of October.

She was much more interested in the hats.

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FENCE!

This was the fence progress at the beginning of November – just a bunch of holes waiting for posts. Also, apparently, a great place to play.

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Subee had dropped a ball into the hole and then climbed down into it to get her ball back.
Amazing how a 2-feet deep hole is almost as tall as her.

 

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At the end of November (Thanksgiving weekend) this is what the fence looked like.

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Thanks to wonderful help from brother-in-law Jerome, our awesome brother Jeremiah almost finished the entire fence that weekend.

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In December Jeremiah added the drive-through gate. Now all that’s left is the walk-through gate, which will be right next to this gate, and a couple of pickets.

 

My cute, fun bug.

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Pointing at the moon. “BOOOO!” as she calls it.

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She always notices the moon and always points. Smile

 

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Beautiful Subee.

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Middle of November, Lydee got pretty sick, but was really only down for less than 48 hours. Subee for only maybe 2 hours!

Here they both are playing happily in the bath at the end of a day in which they both threw up and ran a temperature. I LOVE how kids bounce back from sickness!

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Subee started Cubbies (AWANA) this year and since David is always working on Sunday afternoon when Susannah goes, me and Lydia get to have some really nice mommy-daughter time. Smile We’ve ended up going to the grocery store a lot, since going with just one kid seems so much easier these days.

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Here she’s playing in the car before we went to pick up Subee.

I love getting to spend one-on-one time with my sweet bug.

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Fun outside

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Subee preparing to run. The awesomest pre-run stance EVER.

 

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Thanksgiving weekend we celebrated cousin Isaac’s 4th b-day at Aunt Stephanie’s house because all the family was in town. It rained while we were there and the girls, of course, must never miss out on an opportunity to play in the rain.

Even the rain that’s bringing a 20-degree-temperature-drop cold front. I dressed the girls in sun dresses, quite appropriate for the typical late November Houston day, which looked like it would top out around 80 degrees.  But if you get a sudden cold front AND you get soaking wet you get freezing cold. Right?

If you’re an adult, maybe. If you’re 3 and 1 years old, you just think it’s AWESOME.  And then your wiser mom bundles you up on the way home to prevent hypothermia.

 

 

Christmas Tree Shopping!

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I asked Susannah to pose with our tree right before we purchased it.

You would NOT believe how difficult it is for a 3-year-old to understand “Stand in front of the tree so I can take a picture.”

See, she was totally cooperative, but stand in front of the tree, meant “look at the tree,” to her.  “Look at Mommy!” meant “walk away from the tree” to her. Disappointed smile

 

 

Susannah decorating the tree

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You may notice in the background how beautifully Subee decorated the tree. She asked to hang the “ordaments” and the next thing I knew they were all hung on the tree– within 3 square inches of each other. Smile

 

 

Fun times in Lydia’s crib

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Somehow the girls both decided that, while bed is no fun at bedtime when you HAVE to go there, it’s tons of fun the rest of the time when you WANT to be there.

So, yep, they hang out in Lydia’s crib.

Susannah loves to play the “sleeping” game. Confused smile

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And they both like to just generally wrestle and cause a ruckus.  I think Lydia’s laughing here…. I think.  Laughing and crying usually flow together seamlessly in these cases.

 

Lydia’s cowlick

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Lydia was sporting this cowlick all day recently and it was too cute not to capture it.  Her finger is pretty cute, too. Smile

 

Hat

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Bought a winter cute for Subee (really cute!) and it came with this cute hat.
Susannah liked the hat, too, and picked out this entire outfit herself to go with the hat. Smile

 

Then Lydia had to try on the hat.

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She did not, however, stand still enough for me to get a non-blurry shot.

 

 

Susannah’s makeup

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Subee put a LOT of eye shadow on one day recently and it looked AWESOME. I had trouble getting a good picture of it, but trust me, it’s there.

 

 

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Just some Lydee cuteness.

 

 

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We made Christmas sugar cookies at the beginning of December. Subee was pretty excited to eat one. Smile

 

 

Winter/Fall/December in Houston

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Susannah recently found out she could “climb” this short bush/tree and was ecstatic. I was pretty impressed with my cautious little girl getting so brave, too. Fun to see her grow up.

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Fall comes late in Houston (it’s winter everywhere else) but it happens fast when it gets here. This photo was taken Dec. 9 and not two weeks later all these leaves were completely brilliant with color. I have photos. I’ll post our winter color/trees photos later.

 

 

Birthday weekend in Galveston

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David and I got away together for two nights and a day to celebrate his birthday, thanks to our wonderful brother and sister, Noah and Laura, watching the girls for us.

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It was very chilly in Galveston, so we obviously didn’t do any swimming, but we enjoyed staying at the San Luis Hotel and checking out the gorgeous views of the glass-like ocean. I’ve rarely seen the water so still. It was crazy.

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Another view of Lake Galveston.

 

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Love this man. Smile

 

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Took a chilly walk on the beach.

 

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Shadowy figures.

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And to end this post, a super cute photo of Lydee playing peek-a-boo with newspaper. Smile

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Catching up on cell phone pictures (aka – our visual history)


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This picture is several months old now. Maybe 3? Wow.

I will now attempt to post all the cute photos from my cell phone the last three months.

Subee’s birthday donut

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David thought it would be fun to get Subee a special donut for the morning of her birthday.
Her birthday is so much fun now that she’s really old enough to get excited and understand the importance of it. So we went off to HEB to find the brightest, sparkliest donut we could find. She was VERY excited about it. Smile

 

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A couple days after her birthday we used some of the leftover party favor tattooes. She picked the biggest one we had – which ended up being pretty much an entire sleeve for her little arm. Smile with tongue out

 

A future in Hollywood?

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I know, I know – it looks bad – like her first shiner, right? No worries, it’s just makeup.
However, I sorta freaked out when I found her like this because I was pretty sure she had just bashed her face or something. But she smiled shyly and David explained she had been “putting on makeup.”  Seems like if she’s that convincing accidentally, she definitely could have a future as a movie makeup artist…. Crying face  (I know this face doesn’t really make sense – I let Susannah choose this one…)

 

Lydia – thrilled and excited about a toy that makes noise and flashes lights.

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Shhhh! It’s her Christmas present!

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Every time we see this tricycle at Target, Subee begs to ride it. She’s pretty much mastered it by learning during our Target trips. Definitely on her Christmas list. Smile

 

Subee – the natural nurturer and comforter

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When Lydia falls asleep in her carseat, Susannah gently reaches over and holds her hand. One of the sweetest things. She loves to be taken care of, but Subee also loves to take care of others. Every time Lydia is crying, Susannah wants to get her a toy or something to help her feel better. I could not have asked for a better big sister for my baby.

 

Playing with chalk

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About that nurturing spirit…

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What gets Susannah excited? A bed to put her dolls in. Yup. Winking smile

 

The Weepies in concert

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David and I were so excited to get to see our favorite band The Weepies in concert at the House of Blues in September.

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We brought Elaine along, too, ‘cause she’s also a fan, and it’s the least we could do to thank her for all her wonderful and selfless ways she helps us by watching our girls whenever we need her.

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It was a really fabulous night.

 

Susannah starts dressing herself

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Susannah has been choosing her own clothes lately…. sometimes the outfits are fine. Sometimes she puts socks and sandals together…. Surprised smile

 

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My cute, cute, cute Lydee Bug – and LOTS of paint. Surprised smile

 

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One of their most fun moments as sisters. Sad smileOpen-mouthed smile

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Subee and Daddy napping

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Lydia thought it was great fun to play in Subee’s carseat when we took out of the car.

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Lydia walking!

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She started right before her first birthday – and she took off! She’s never looked back or paused ever since. I’m pretty sure she walks about twice the speed of Susannah.

 

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My three loves

 

Possum in the engine – alive, of course.

David was trying to leave, but couldn’t get his car down the driveway before it died. When he opened the hood this is what he saw staring back at him. Yes, he was quite alive and well and had built a very cozy nest inside the engine. After much prodding and poking and spraying with water we were able to get him to leave.

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Good times at the laundromat

Me and Lydia chillin’ at the laundromat.

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She’s staring at another lady here – just about the only time she’ll sit still.

 

Dogs and outside and stuff

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Lydia loves animals. She squeals with delight every time she sees any kind of animal and she’s totally unafraid.

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Squealing – Annabelle the dog was not as excited about Lydia, especially when she started shrieking.

 

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Beach House!

All the Jackson side of the family (yes, incredibly, ALL of us, including spouses and children) went out to a beach house in Bolivar for the weekend at the beginning of October.

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First night there.

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Susannah was so thrilled to be at the beach. Water makes her very happy.

 

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She was dancing and singing. Smile

 

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One of my favorites of Subee.

 

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Running into the waves with cousin Caleb.

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Lydia was also ecstatic about the beach.

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It was an amazing sunset.

 

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Our last morning there. We had an amazing view of the beach from our room – lots of windows facing the beach, where the sun was rising over the water.

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Of course, all the windows meant the girls woke up with first light, but getting to sit on the bed and cuddle with them while watching the sunrise was totally worth losing some sleep

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In the middle of a chaotic weekend and our generally chaotic lives, this was a sweet moment of peace that I still hold on to in my memory. Helps me to get through some of the chaos.

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Excited to start the day.

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Sweet and thoughtful. Notice how Lydia is blurry in every single photo? Yeah – that’s how she rolls. Literally and constantly.

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Fascinated by the view.

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First Real Cold Front!

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Last week we got our first really cold cold front. As Lydia can tell you, it blew in with lots of wind. Smile

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Lydia is very active and energetic, but we’ve discovered the secret to helping her chill – wagon or stroller rides. We go on a walk as a family, plop her down in her stroller or wagon and she will chill out quietly and be very content – as long as we keep moving.

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We turned around while on our walk and saw Lydia hiding her face under this sweater. Smile

Her favorite game is hide-and-seek. She covers her face and when we say “Where’s Lydia?” She literally screams in excitement and happiness and sometimes she pulls the blanket/sweater off her face. Sometimes we just see a pink blanket or curtain or whatever she’s covered in moving around and waving excitedly – sort of like the cutest ghost ever. Smile

She is so much fun.

Ok – and now the below “text” will not make sense – Susannah has been begging me, while I was writing this post, to let her type. So, now she will begin her own message. Smile

 

 

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.0[-.111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111iniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiioikiuiu

 

uummmmmmmmmmmmmm,m,m,z<.li3u

n vb nmnm   nbbbv v b nbmnvmn  

 

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0=l;p 000000000;ll.0-0000000000000000000000

My baby bug is 1!


Today I am happy to be here, rather than one year ago.

I’m so happy to have a beautiful, energetic, healthy, toddling, loving one-year-old baby girl.

Lydia was, of course, precious as a newborn and I’ve loved watching her grow at what seems like such a rapid pace throughout this year. I am glad she’s still a baby, and I’m not ready for her to not be a baby yet.

But, honestly, I am glad to put some distance between us and the event of Lydia’s birth.

Lydia’s birth was… difficult…That’s the short version. For the long version, check out her birth story on our old blog.

Sad to say, but her birth day (and the many days preceding her birth and a few right after) were some of the most miserable days in my life.

But the wonderful part was, of course, this perfect little gift.

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And here we are – one year later.

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I love this photo of her perfect little face.

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I also love the wider shot  – in color and black and white. Smile

David and I sat down and looked back on Lydia’s first year and decided that it was, somewhat coincidentally, one of our hardest years as a family so far.

There were many, many other factors that made the year hard, but Lydia’s difficult relationship with sleep (which continues to be an issue… Instead of taking her nap right now, she’s keeping herself and Susannah awake. Yay!) really added to the challenges we were already experiencing.

See, if you don’t get sleep, you will pretty much BE grumpy. And emotional. And feel like the world is about to end ALL THE TIME. That’s just how it is without sleep.

So, yes, Lydia has given us some really character-building challenges this past year.

BUT mostly she has brought us joy, excitement, energy, love of life, smiles, laughs, SQUEALS of delight, a willing playmate for Susannah… the list could go on endlessly.

Lydia is amazing to watch. I find myself fascinated with her every move sometimes.

She has a plan and purpose for everything she does inside her head and she’s eager, determined, and inexhaustible about getting done whatever she wants to do.

She keeps us busy with her energy, since we spend lots of time chasing after her and keeping her from harm, but she also gives us a break, in many ways, because she wants to do things herself. She is incredibly determined and confident and pretty difficult to dissuade from any venture she sets her mind to.

She started walking just a few weeks ago, and already she’ll take LONG walks down the sidewalk. She’ll take off, completely unconcerned with whether we’re following or not. She loves the freedom walking has given her.

It’s really hard to describe all the amazing things about this little girl, but maybe these pictures give you a better idea.

So the story here is that Susannah was playing with paint – washable paint, VERY washable, thankfully – and Lydia REALLY wanted to get in on the action. I couldn’t imagine that going well INSIDE the house, so I put them outside and pretty much just let them do whatever they wanted to with the paint…

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And boy, did they like that idea! I kept hearing squeals of laughter and happiness and every time I checked on them they were each just a little closer to being completely covered in paint.

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Then, of course, not to be greedy they needed to share with the porch and the screen door…

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I know, I’m so heartless to be taking pictures of my baby when she’s crying…

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But she’s got a pretty cute sad face. She was pretty sure I needed to pick her up instead of taking pictures.

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Hahaha! LOVE this one – look at that classic little pouty lip.

 

 

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Susannah thought it was the coolest thing I had ever let them do. Smile

 

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Showing me her blue hand.

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And her blue foot.

 

 

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Started to clean them up – nothing less than a hose on full blast was going to conquer that mess.

 

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Lydia loved the chance to play with the water on her own.

 

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This one cracks me up – Susannah looking dramatic and thoughtful, Lydia crying because she wants to stand up, but keeps falling down.

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I’m not sure if they enjoyed the paint or the water more.

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Love this cute hand thing that Lydia does. Smile

 

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Awww…. Sad bug.

 

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CUTE bug!

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Beautiful bug!

 

 

So Susannah got her first pair of Converse – pink, of course.

David was very excited and said pictures were absolutely necessary.

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Susannah is pretty happy about them, too. Smile

A picture post. {or “Try #18”}


And here are the pictures of my gorgeous little girls that I’ve been trying to post for a week now.

Turns out there’s a BETTER WAY TO BLOG than by using WordPress’ really, really… {pause to breathe out frustration and choose words wisely…} BAD system.

Thanks to Rage Against the Minivan, I’ve discovered Windows Live Writer, which allows me to write and add photos (in a SMART way) right on my computer, without using a browser.

Sold? And you don’t even have to buy anything! It’s a free download here!

 

But first you must adore my children. Because they are clearly adorable!

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Love my baby girls hair. The loose little curls on the back of her head (!!) – could she be cuter? I think not.

 

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Hehe. I don’t remember why she was blinking… super cute, though.

 

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My big girl. My constant imitator.

Today, she walks out onto the porch, surveys the mess of toys laying strewn about and, with a big sigh and dramatic hand gestures, says:
”Mommy, why are you always leaving all dese things laying around?”

 

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All of these laughing pictures are thanks to Susannah’s antics. Nobody can make Lydia laugh like Susannah. And vice versa. Makes my heart happy to see my girls becoming such close sisters. The beginning of a life-long friendship.

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One of Susannah’s favorite activities is playing with dirt – seriously. She’ll do it for as long as you let her.

 

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My sweet, thoughtful girl. This picture really captures her personality.

 

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Concentration.

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A passing car fascinated her.

 

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Also today, my Subee came up to me and gave me a big hug.

Surprised, because she’s not the type to initiate affection, I said “Awww, thanks, Subee! That was sweet.”
She replied: “I’m a mom. I’m being a mom.”
I interpret this to mean that she believes it’s a mom’s job to give out hugs indiscriminately.

And I’m ok with that job description. Smile

 

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And now – I have to go be mom.

In the course of trying to write this one blog, here are just a few of the events that have occurred:

– Girls waking up from nap

– Susannah somehow procuring a knife and giving me a dissertation on how dangerous it is and how she’ll let me have it one day when I “get big.” Fortunately, it was just a table knife.

– Lydia getting stuck in the plastic kid’s rocking chair in such an incredible way that it took even me a while to get her out. (?!!)

– Susannah somehow procuring SCISSORS! What is up with sharp stuff?!

– Both girls taking turns trying to toss, stand on and otherwise destroy important things, like PRINTS FOR CLIENTS. Nothing that important.

Yeah. Time for me engage. While I still have somewhat of a house and business left.

Lydia adventures and the post that wasn’t



See that adorable, beautiful face with the curious, bright eyes?

That is the face of mischief.

In one single day last week this little bundle of energy managed to:

1.) Lose my keys (house and car- we were stuck at home) so completely that we spent an ENTIRE day searching for them and found them at the very bottom of the kitchen trashcan, which I had searched several times already.

2.) Climb into the bathtub (empty of water, fortunately, because it was not actually bathtime) without any assistance. Seriously, how did she do it?! The side of the tub is almost as tall as her!

3.) Make herself pass out from screaming and not breathing because she was so angry, which goes down on my list of most terrifying parenting moments. Yeah, she’s not one yet and she’s already given me several of those moments. Got a feeling we better hold on tight – it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!

Also, (BIG news!) Lydia started officially walking last week. She’s very proud of herself. One day I hope to post video on here, but until then, trust me. 🙂

Still a few weeks shy of her first birthday, and she’s taking off already. (refer back to “bumpy ride” comment from earlier.)

I also found out last week she is cutting a third tooth. She’s not in a hurry about that process. The last two teeth came in almost 5 months ago.

Took these pictures when David was replacing our kitchen faucet (!!! very exciting) and Lydia was ecstatic at the opportunity to climb in the cabinet without us stopping her. 🙂

Such curiosity.

Lydia’s cabinet adventures reminded David and I of these pictures of David as a baby:

I know, I know… They resemble each other a bit…
They are both pretty amazingly cute.

So we thought we’d let Lydia try a rainbow popsicle.

I’m not gonna say it was a BRIGHT idea. But, hey, she’ll have fun, right?

OR maybe she’ll just be completely confused by the cold, bright colors.

This was the final demise of the popsicle. She didn’t eat a bite, but she got plenty sticky and so did her tray.

And now I will spare you the very long angry rant I’ve prepared in my head about the frustrations of WordPress and how much I’ve wanted to switch blogs (again!) because of their horrible way of handling photos…. (!!!)

Yes, that actually is me skipping the rant… You don’t want to hear what I WANT to say.

And on a positive note I’ll leave you with this sweet, sweet shot of my Lydee Bug (one of the only shots I was able to actually include in this post from a big group of pictures I was trying to post… grrrr)

But that face makes me happy anyways!

Don’t care about no stupid WordPress when I got my sweet bug to make me smile.



A blog post about (other) blogs? And MORE cell phone pictures


I don’t get a whole lot of time for fun stuff when I get on the Internets (yes, it is plural- just ask MARY ALYS CHERRY….Dana, I hope you’re reading this, because if not I just wasted an inside joke).

But I do like to laugh – A LOT. Laughing is such a great stress reliever. I mean, say, perhaps I WERE TO NEED a stress reliever… if I were to ever experience stress. totally hypothetical…

SO one of my favorite places to find humor are other blogs by other moms who make me realize writing about and laughing about the ridiculous craziness of our jobs can actually make us feel much more normal and sane and stress relieve-ed… NOT that it’s a stressful job, lest you get the wrong idea…

Really, I don’t regularly read any blogs except my sisters’, and this one – which usually manages at least once a week to make me: a.) say out loud (when I am alone, reading ) “YES! Exactly! That’s what I’m talking about!” or b.) laugh and feel better about life.

I had to share some of my favorite quotes from some of her writing this week:

“I scanned the park for another parent, and here’s another concerning bit.  Despite the fact that there were about 25 kids in the skate park, I could not see another single adult nearby.  It was a lawless place.  A veritable Lord of the Flies, and I was an intruder in their skating anarchy.  (I might be exaggerating this part just a little, but it was definitely a Liz Lemon YOUTHS! kind of moment).”

“Anarchy, man.  It’s all fun and games until you’re 36 and realize that it actually isn’t really a sustainable model at all.  So, we’re moving on from the skate park.”  

And this particular post spoke to me, not because I have or probably will ever have a nanny or housekeeper or helper of any kind, but because I totally understand the frustration of trying to work from home and be the best stay/work-at-home mom possible.

This excerpt from that post sums up motherhood fairly well (and I hope this nanny girl is not considering motherhood anytime soon cuz she sounds kinda NOT ready):

“The most recent nanny who left mentioned her concerns about the fact that after she worked so hard to clean and organize, everything would be back to it’s messy state within a few days.  And that she felt frustrated that she had to spend so much time disciplining the kids that it took away from time just relaxing and having fun with them.  And much as I would like to argue, um, yeah, welcome to my world, THOSE ARE THE THINGS WE HIRED YOU TO DO . . . there’s also a part of me that hears it and totally relates.  YES.  Those things suck.  I wouldn’t want to work at a place where those things were my job, either.  I often feel trapped by these responsibilities as well.”

And hopefully that doesn’t sound too negative – especially to you pre-kid types. I don’t mean to give you the impression being a mom is ALL work and no play.

Because it truly is also the MOST wonderful, fulfilling, rewarding job I’ve EVER had.
When I think that I get to spend EVERY day with my little precious ones, I’m overcome with gratefulness.

And, honestly, I’m a total pansy about leaving my kids – I seriously miss them after being gone a few hours. I know – I’m ridiculous, David has (gently) told me so many times. 🙂

The truth is, I’ve never loved any other human beings the way I love these two little souls.

I mean, really, check them out – are they not the most amazing people?!

(BUNCHES of cell phone photos to follow)

 

Riding the ferry – first time for the girls.

Yes, this was our brilliant idea of fun for our not-quite 1 and not-quite 3-year-old children. Especially fun was the waiting in line to board the ferry. In the car. In the sun. AT NOON. For no less than AN HOUR.

I’m sure you can imagine there was more than a little “protesting” from the back seat about all the “fun” we were having. Shame I didn’t take a picture of that part of our trip – so memorable. Really.

The good news is when we got on the ferry and out of carseats and up on the deck where the breeze was blowing everybody was SUPER happy.

Haha…. riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

This was Lydia’s reaction (if she were talking, which, by the way, I always imagine would sound like an over-enthusiastic, overly happy surfer dude): “WHOA! SWEET place! LOVE it! Can we live here?! Look at all these THINGS!”
(Just look at her! Sweet, chubby cheeks! And chubby arms, and chubby EVERYthing. LOVE her.)

And THIS ^^^ was Susannah’s reaction. Only there were many more tears and much more screaming and general panicking than this picture really conveys. After several minutes of screaming/panicking, Susannah came to the astonishing realization that the menacing ferry boat would NOT kill her. David was making her take her hands off her ears right here.

Starting to enjoy herself and even laughing at her own ridiculous reaction a little bit. 🙂


Susannah was our cautious watchdog – making sure that ferry didn’t make any sudden moves.


Aaaaand back to Lydia: “WOOhoo! Can this thing go any faster?! LOOK at all those THINGS!”

 

She was in fact so enamored with the ferry ride that we couldn’t get her to look the camera for this picture. BORING! She would have SO missed something important happening if she wasted 5 seconds on the camera.

 

Susannah finally relaxed enough to sit all by herself and really enjoy the ride. Sweet girl.
(In contrast, Lydia refused to be held at all during this adventure. Any attempt I made to stabilize or control her in any way that resembled anything like NOT standing up on the bench looking out was considered HIGHLY unacceptable by Lydia.)

 

The ferry ride back was thoroughly enjoyed by both girls. Gettin’ crazy here.

 

So, as most people know, it’s getting up to about 180 degrees EVERY day now in Houston. I know, I know – I’m exaggerating.

The truth is our outdoor thermometer registered yesterday’s high temperature as ONLY 122.  Nope – I’m not exaggerating that number.

So, yeah. We’ve been, how shall I say, NOT GOING OUTSIDE FOR FEAR OF DEATH.

One of the places we frequent most is the Barnes and Noble/Starbucks. We get coffee, the kids get to completely wreck the kids section of the bookstore. . Win, win.

Totally kidding – we clean up their mess. Kinda. Most of the time.

Extra bonus – we don’t all die of heatstroke.

Lydia LOVES climbing. She’s recently discovered she can conquer just about anything with her determination and strength. Here she is proudly evaluating her most recent ascent onto the Chair of Green at Barnes and Noble.

 

SO cute. Love this expression. She is so proud of herself here. 🙂

More climbing and dare-devil-ing.

I really can’t remember the last thing she did NOT try to climb.

Look at that face! 🙂 She makes me so happy.

 

 

This face makes me happy, too! 🙂 Fresh from her bath. She said “Soyntly!” (David has taught her that classic Three Stooges phrase).

 

 

 

More baby bug pictures.

Enjoy the one above – it’s one of the few non-blurry cell-phone pictures I have of her. The next few reflect very accurately how much she moves.

 

 

Ok, so speaking of movement… I tried to get ONE non-blurry cell phone picture of Lydia and myself…You may see below how easy that is NOT.

 

 

 

Well, she looks cute even in motion. 🙂

 

 

Susannah wearing her new headband – and the BEST hairstyle. Why, yes, she did put this on herself. However did you guess?

 

Lydia found some awesome treasures – in my mom’s recycling bin. Hey, at least it wasn’t the garbage. Garbage cans are old news – been there, done that.

 

Susannah found some of Uncle Timmy’s “guys” to play with. My girls are so blessed to have such a young uncle. I mean, how many other uncles can claim to have toys that both they AND their three-year-old niece enjoy.

 

The bag-hat pictures:

This style idea was completely Susannah’s, but when I started talking pictures, it was difficult to get her to pose… so posing together was part of the compromise we reached.

FAVORITE.

Also, these are out of order. I had to pose with the bag FIRST, before she would consider it.
When she saw this picture on my phone, she said, in shock, “I don’t have a shirt on! I needa get a shirt on!” which explains why the previous pictures show her in a much more modest state, but does NOT explain how she didn’t know about the missing shirt without seeing a picture…

 

My pretty bug in one of my favorite outfits ever. A reseale shop find.

 

Susannah – in a box, with a kitty, AND a huge flower on her head. Obviously. Duh.

 

Susannah found this at my mom’s house. “I’m wearing a Christmas hat!”
Nope, she doesn’t know about Santa. I’m totally ok with that.

 

My girls have a knack for finding (and loving) treasure that other people have mysteriously cast off as worthless. Empty milk jugs, empty Gatorade bottles, Santa hats that are perfectly good for wearing in August…. AND this awesome red action figure – abandoned in a playground. Susannah looked earnestly for it’s owner: “Whose is that for?!” incredulous that anyone could lose such a thing and not immediately retrace their steps to find it.

Lydia thought it was pretty neat, too.

I LOVE these girls! 🙂

 

 

 

Three years of Susannah


Susannah Michelle

Subee wearing her birthday gift princess dress from Auntie Elaine.

Has it really been three years?

Last Saturday we celebrated the third birthday of the sweetest 3-year-old I know. And I’m not just saying that because she’s my 3-year-old.

Princess dress again.

Susannah has always had a sweet, quiet, observant nature. Her big eyes take in everything you say and do – really, everything.

Once we were leaving somewhere and from the back seat she burst out with:
“OH, trap*! We forget my shoes!”
*crap

Yes, that was an “Oh, crap” moment as parents – quite literally. Not that it helps, but we had actually not forgotten her shoes…

And then last week there was the time when she said:
“TewPID* buses! Dey SO loud!”
*stupid

For the record, the buses passing by our house are quite loud, a fact we apparently have spoken about often and passionately in front of our children.

Notice her full sleeve tattoo - a leftover birthday party favor. Really compliments her princess costume.

Part of her observant nature is being very sensitive, because she picks up on every emotion, too. She is especially sensitive to discipline because she can’t stand us to be the slightest bit upset with her.

Example: this morning (like every morning the last two weeks) she crawled into bed with me when she woke up. This sounds so affectionate and idyllic. IT. IS. NOT. Before you think I’m being a grumpy mom (fair warning: I AM being a grumpy mom about this!), let me explain to you that after interrupting my dreamy, comfortable, precious sleep, and hoisting herself up onto the bed, further crowding mine and David’s space, she does not just lay down angelically and continue to sleep. Oh no. She fidgets, and pushes, and squirms and digs her feet into my leg and lays her face 1/2 an inch from mine on my pillow saying “Can you wake up now, Mommy?”

It sounds cute now…
Anyways, she did that this morning and when I finally stopped fighting to get a few extra minutes of sleep, and got up in a grumpy huff, she followed me innocently into the kitchen where she surmised I was a little upset.
“Can you be happy now, Mommy? I want you to be happy now, Mommy. Why don’t you just be happy now, Mommy.”

This is also a little annoying when repeated 18 times, but endearing and precious because I realize she is still just a very small child trying to understand the world, and wanting so badly to have her mommy happy with her.

It also made me feel like a total jerk (which I was!) and so I gave her a hug and explained that I was just tired. This completely satisfies her and she forgives and forgets and moves on so easily.  Oh, the beauty of children and their power to forgive.

Susannah is an imitator for sure – as the quotes above indicate – but also an imitator of actions.

She constantly puts her dolls down for “nappies,” changes their diapers, takes them to the store, etc. She also tries this with us, sometimes, instructing us that it’s time for us to go to sleep and we have to lay down and “don’t move!”  Eeek. Makes us sound kinda harsh!

Love this shot of her hair. Yes, she looks a bit scandalous... but SO three years old.

Susannah is an encourager, part of which is just imitation right now, but she truly delights in telling us:
“Good job, Mommy!” or “You look sooo pretty!” or “Look! Lydia’s standing up! You’re doing it, Lydia!”

One of her birthday presents from us in the background - a tent house. It is a huge hit with both her and Lydia.

I’ve discovered that Susannah imitates the things that are most important (or traumatic) to her. She loves encouraging words, so much so that she’ll often coach us on what she wants us to say.

She puts on a pretty dress and immediately begs to “show Daddy.”
She runs up and waits eagerly for his admiration – he never disappoints.

Sometimes she wants more affirmation, so she tells us:
“Daddy, can you say ‘Awwww, you look so pretty!’?”
When we do say it she always looks satisfied and happy.

A true, genuine Susannah smile.

Susannah is a giver.

Although, in many ways, Susannah has a princess complex (she’d much rather we do things for her), she loves to please us so much that she’ll do almost anything and give us almost anything we ask for.

When Lydia came along, we never really had the sharing issue that I hear about with lots of siblings. Sometimes she wants the same toy as Lydia, but she does not get caught up in which toys belong to whom, and, in fact, she loves to find toys for Lydia that make her happy.

The best shot I got of her inside her tent – and the balloon string was in the way. But I could absolutely not get her to do this again, soo….

The princess dress -without thumb in mouth - and with Lydia waving "hi" in the foreground, because David told Subee to say "hi" to the camera, and Lydia, being much more a performer, immediately began waving.

Susannah loves to take care of people. Every time she hears Lydia crying or thinks that I am sad or even is playing that her baby doll is crying, she will always suggest getting a toy to “help her feel better.”  Or, in the case of herself crying or getting hurt, she’ll always suggest, through tears:
“I need some neminems (M&M’s) to help me feel better.”

Princess dress with thumb in mouth.

When she hears other kids/babies crying, she listens with concern for a minute and then asks me why they are so sad.
Usually, I say I’m not sure or that they are just tired or something, but she’ll always thoughtfully offer up:
“I think he needs he’s mommy.”

I love that she still believes mommy is the answer to life’s problems. 🙂

Birthday dress-wearing girl on her birthday. Thanks to Doug Breaux for the photos!

Another shot of the dress. Not her best expression. I wasn't able to be in there and I'm not sure she knew most of the people who were there... so doubtful look ensued.

Cake time! After a good swim, change of clothes and present opening.

Classic Susannah pose. "This cake looks yummy. Why is everybody watching me?"

Susannah requested a pink cake that tasted like strawberries. We made strawberry cake with strawberry icing and it was a great success.

My awesome sister Alyssa also made pink cupcakes, because I was afraid we would run out of cake.

I am sorta sad to report that Susannah, for her third year in a row, continued the tradition of not blowing out her own candles. I really thought this year would be the year. That is, however, my Subee – TONS of attention, plus TONS of pressure and voices yelling at her all at once to DO something will always equal confusion, withdrawal and ultimate refusal to comply with Susananh.

She was totally overwhelmed. I don’t blame her. But I am hoping next year we will break the tradition. Maybe for her 4th birthday she’ll finally blow out her own candles for the first time.

Thanks to Doug Breaux for the birthday pictures! I’m hoping to have more soon from Joseph to post. It was nice to have two people with cameras since I didn’t have time to take any photos.