In the 5 minutes it took me to write that last blog post, this is what Evan accomplished. Negligent mother? Terrible two-year-old? I chose to think: hilarious!

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Eric and I were having a moment this morning listening to Evan playing make believe with his farm animal stickers. He had a multi-layered dialog going between the animals and the farmer and the tractor (of course). While we were huddled on the couch admiring his creativity, independence and recent language developments, it dawned on us that these were the kind of moments we never missed in Emily’s life, and have never forgotten. That is because we documented every moment of her life: through written memories, pictures, or overly produced family movies. We adore our little Evan and all of his accomplishments just the same. We’re just a bit more – how do I say – tired? So after we had sat there enjoying him and his new developments for several minutes, we decided to get off our hinders and document him. Naturally, we missed the chance to document what we were intending to capture but this gave a great glimpse into his life right now and another new stage…”WHY?” He is cracking us up these days with his adorable personality, sense of humor, impersonations, and efforts to understand everything in this world around him.

Ever since Evan’s Cowboy inspired birthday party Emily has been wanting a CowGIRL party for her 4th birthday. She talked about it for 2 months until she found out that her best friend Bailey was having a Lollipop themed birthday party…and then she wanted one of those too. This led to a couple weeks of confusion. She then confirmed, we were going to stick with the original plan and go with a cowgirl party. She helped with the decorations, the menu, helped me collect stick ponies and cowgirl hats from friends and neighbors, we made our very own pin the tail on the pony, we bought paintable horses for a craft, we picked out a book from the library to read about choosing the perfect pony, we ordered cow print balloons, we even had her cowgirl outfit picked out a week in advance…All was going according to plan. Here’s how she was supposed to look for her party. Adorable right?

Once all of her friends arrived, perfectly prepped for a cowgirl party in their denim, and plaid, and rhinestoned horses, maybe Emily felt like she blended in too well. I think she felt like she wanted to be making more of an “I’m the birthday girl” kind of statement. So she rallied her little pals up into her bedroom, and shortly thereafter descending the staircase dressed as Birthday Princess Emily, complete with sparkling high heeled shoes. I just had to laugh! I said, “Em, it is your special day! You can be whatever you want.”

It was a fantastic party. Her friends were dreamy birthday guests, Em was thrilled to be with each of them, we ate so many treats (I’m sure I did the parents no favors there), Emily made out with a terrific loot of new 4-year-old-awesome kind of presents. My sister did all the prep work for me during the party: setting out food, prepping the craft, cleaning up, displaying desserts, and then did ALL of the dishes. My kitchen was spotless when she left. My mom grabbed my camera and captured every adorable moment. And Betty helped with Evan, as he learned the devastating lesson that it was NOT his special day. Poor guy!

To top it all off, the weather forecast had predicted rain for the day of her birthday. I had informed Emily of this a few days ahead and said we would need to rethink some of our activities to be indoors. What did my little God fearing daughter do? She prayed to God that night that it would be sunny for her birthday party. This broke my heart at the chance that a little girl might experience the disappointment of her prayers not being answered. Oh me of little faith. She continued to pray every night leading up to her birthday. The day of the party, I checked the weather forecast and it was predicted to rain the exact hours of her party, from 12-2pm. Guess what happened instead? It HAILED like crazy at 11am, was completely done raining before noon,  and by 1:30 it was beautiful outside. The girls spent the last half hour playing in the backyard on the swing set which is what Emily wanted to do with her friends most of all. What a special gift for my little lady on her birthday. “With faith like a child”.

Here’s a recap of Em’s 4th Cowgirl/Princess Party, enjoy!

NOTE: Bare with me. I just have to record it all so that I don’t forget.

Emily is 3 1/2 and full of energy, attitude and ideas about the (real and unseen) world around her.

Probably the day after she turned 3 1/2 I saw a change in my little lady. A little more confident, a little less dependent on mom, and a new thing where she puts her hands on her hips, leans forward and scolds me. Neat-o.

But besides the occasional attitude from her, she’s still our little Em Bear. She tells me often how she wants to stay a little girly forever. Me too sweetie, me too. She loves to play pretend, loves to read books snuggled on our laps, loves to have her arm tickled while we sing her a bedtime song, she loves going on adventures (aka late night walks through our neighborhood), she loves wrestling with her brother, acting out scenes from her favorite movies or stories, loves to see her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, and Mags. We’ve even been skyping with Great Grandparents Shirley and Albert, and her “More” Aunt Mary – Emily blows Shirley kisses and Shirley catches them on the other side of the continent. Pretty awesome. Em also loves to dance, have tea parties, bake, garden, help with the chores, be chased, oh, and she loves to win (that one’s new). She is such a delight, all almost all of the time.

Ask her what she’s going to be for Halloween. She’ll answer with a big explosion of delight “A Tent”! Now what 3-year-old wants to be a tent for Halloween? Before she had landed on the tent, my friend Sara offered us our pick of any princess costume. I suggested she go with Belle since that’s the only princess she really knows. She thought about it for a minute and said “I think I’ll be the beast”. I’m not sure if she just likes to go against the grain, if she’s a tomboy, or if she just knows what she likes. But whatever it is…I like it. She is so different from me at her age. Confident. Decisive. Outgoing. Imaginative. It fascinates me. Sara’s daughter, and Emily’s best friend, Bailey, said to her mom the other day, “I can’t wait to play with Emily again so that she can tell me what to do”. I mean that is the truth. Bailey is the actress and Emily wants to be the director. They’re a perfect match.

We have always praised Emily for being a strong communicator. And she is. However, I am so used to Emily’s vocabulary. People look at me so confused, and I’m like “What? You can’t understand her?” But lately, I’ve been paying attention to her little accent and lisp and realizing how adorable (and yes, potentially confusing) her words are. For example, she can’t say any “sp” sounds:

Sparkly = Farkly

Spoon = Foon

Spinach = Finitch

Special = Fecial

Spot = Fot. Which of course sounds like fart. She says this often because it’s her favorite line from Beauty and the Beast “Don’t move from that fot”.

And then she can’t say her “s” sounds either. They are “th” sounds instead:

Yes = Yeth

So = Tho

You get it.

One of my favorites that she still hasn’t grown out of is saying her words with key letters reversed, such as AMINALS or BASTEKBALL. She says it every time and I have never corrected it because I love it so much.

She also enjoys, what she calls. “speaking Spanish”. We regularly remind her this is NOT Spanish and yet something all her own which we like to call “Emily Speak”. She is daily speaking and singing in her very own language. She’ll say things like “Oonoo nanoo! Mom that means I need help”. Or “Ocho gatche! Mom that means Evan’s trying to steal my puppy dog”. Or “Lulu malune. Mom that means I’m all done with my Cherrios and I’d like some water.” It’s hard to keep up with, because let’s all be honest, it’s never the same word twice.

Other precious things about Emily’s discoveries are her new ideas about God. She loves to pray, she actually reminds us often as we sit down to a meal. She thanks God for our clean water, for our good food, for our wonderful home. She likes to talk about how Jesus lives in her heart, and he loves her. Get this! She recently asked me. “Mom when I eat, does the food fall on Jesus’ head?” This took me a moment to figure out…Jesus lives in your heart, food goes into your mouth and travels down to your stomach, it must pass the heart at some point. 🙂

This post wouldn’t be an accurate picture of Emily’s world if I didn’t talk about the big bad wolf. She’s been wrapped up with him for some time now (come to think of it, I don’t know why she hasn’t thought to be him for Halloween). She requests stories about the big bad wolf, read from books or made up, she’s pleased with either. My stories usually begin with “Once Upon a Time on Briarwood Lane…” The most popular of my stories starts at our house with me, Emily and Evan baking cookies, when the big bad wolf comes and threatens to blow down our house. We tell him to “go ahead and try!” and of course he fails. But THEN he comes down our chimney and gobbles us up. But Emily’s lady bug friend flies up to Daddy in our bedroom, tells him what happened, and Daddy comes downstairs and punches the big bad wolf in the stomach, and the big bad wolf spits each of us out. Then the big bad wolf tells us that he just wanted a cookie because they smelled so good. And Emily teaches the big bad wolf a lesson about being nice and asking politely, and how you can’t be mean to get what you want. In the end the big bad wolf apologizes to everyone and Emily invites him to join us for cookies and tea. And we all have a splendid time! Em gets more and more delighted the more scary and gruesome the story gets.

Her favorite’s these days are her brown and purple blankies, her doggie and her dottie. But this could change at any time. She sleeps with an entourage of stuffed animals and occasionally a new one gets added from the toy box. A new stuffed animal will show up wrapped in her dottie and that is deemed the new “Fecial” that will go with her everywhere, yet be required to be in bed with her at nap or bed time. A recent favorite is a ballerina puppet that she has named Angelina Ballerina (yes, after the mouse). Angelina read her her bedtime book yesterday, and Emily was saying “Good job reading Angelina. You’re doing a great job”. She got down pictures from her wall to show to Angelina. She showed her pictures of her Grandpa Zoom, and told her how she loves him, and he’s holding up a picture that she gave him, and how he fell and broke his hip and needs to be in a wheelchair now. I love seeing her in those moments. Just her and Angelina. It’s like I’m not even in the room, and I just get to see her interact. She is loving, and thoughtful, caring and concerned. When one of us gets a scratch she takes us immediately to the bathroom to get cleaned up, neosporin-ed and bandaged. She completes it with a kiss and a sympathetic look. She takes care of her doggie like he’s a baby, rocking him and wrapping him up, laying him down when he needs naps. And she can be like a mama bear with her Evie Pie. She will be a wonderful mother some day.

This little lady fascinates me the more time I spend with her. And at the end of the day when I’m praying over her while she sleeps, I just beg the Lord that I’ll get to watch her grow. That I won’t miss a thing. Being her mom is the greatest gift.


How could I deny Evan a tromp through the gutter, just because he doesn’t have a pair of rain boots? Guess we’ll be hitting up Target’s shoe department tomorrow.

We were at our friends’, the Taylors, house the other night. The Taylors have a 5-year-old boy who understands all things awesome like Batman, and trucks, and dinosaurs. Evan was playing amongst all these new found toys with a look of shock and awe, like “where have these been all my life?” He picked out a tiger, and a moveable Batman, which he sat on the tigers back, and soared through the house as Evan made sound effects of galloping and flying. He was so happy! And that was how Evan discovered boy toys. The next day I went to Target and roamed the aisles with no clue of what to buy, so I left empty handed. Well, wait a minute, not empty handed obviously. Who would go to Target and not leave with a car load of stuff. But none-the-less, no boy toys for Evan. Without even mentioning my failed attempt at toy shopping, Eric sailed through the door at 5:30 with a Target bag in tow, and two new boy toys for Evan. We were clearly on the same thought process. Eric had carefully navigated 3 aisles of boy toys, considering every detail. Truth be told, he was in toy heaven.

So Eric wrapped them and presented them to Evan. Both boys were very excited. Evan unwrapped two boxes, one with a Ninja and another with a Samurai, both complete with weapons, armor, and war horses. Eric helped Evan open the boxes, get them all decked out…and then…Evan was is little boy heaven. He galloped them all over the house making “pshtu pshtu pshtu” sounds, and “neigh” sounds, and the occasional “whoosh” (of a horse taking flight) and “bbbrrrck” (of the horses colliding). It was amazing!

He screamed through his entire bath that night because he had to put his toys down. Mind you, we had them set-up on the sink so that he could see them the whole time, but he wanted them in his kung fu grip. He slept with them that night. Each horse with rider fully intact within his little white knuckled grasp. That continued for 48 hours. No sharing! Even the suggestion would send him into a tailspin. No weapons falling out of place! He would immediately yell “BROKE” and need me to fix anything that got out of line. But also, No touching! So that would make every problem twice as tricky as he needed me to fix it, but was furious that I was touching his new boy toy.

It was hilarious! I can say that now because, fortunately, his passion has simmered. He still loves them with all of his heart. And yes, they still go with us everywhere we go. He holds them in a little velcro barn. He plays with them all the time – in bed, in his room, in his car seat. Probably the best $14 we’ve spent on the little guy. Poor kid has been playing with Emily’s leftovers his whole life. And that includes tea sets, strollers, stuffed animals, purses, baby dolls. I mean, this kid has been a TROOPER.

Preparing for our visitors and cleaning the house, my eager little helper strikes again. Click on the photo to watch the video.

 


I spend a good part of my day saying “NO” to Evan. He wakes up snuggly and adorable, calling “mama mama mama”, but somewhere between drinking his bottle of milk and sitting down to breakfast he becomes a total rascal. He grunts “bana bana bana”, so i sit him down in his high chair serve him his perfectly ripened banana, he takes two bites, then chucks the rest on the floor. He has learned to open doors so I feel like I literally can’t take my eyes off him. I tried to have a brief conversation with Eric before he left for work this morning – like 1 1/2 minutes – and in charges Evan with an entire roll of toilet paper fluttering behind him, and his bathroom toilet’s running because he tried to flush his bathtub stopper. 1 1/2 minutes! I don’t know if it’s simply the difference for me of dealing with a boy vs. a girl, or first born vs second born, or if in fact he is one wild child.


For his birthday, Mary and Corey gave Evan his very own copy of Where the Wild Things Are. We read it together nearly every day upon his request, and I think it’s rubbing off. We’ve warned Emily all along that one day he’ll be able to hold his own in their wrestling matches…and that day has come. Mind you, it’s in the form of biting, pinching and hair pulling, but he’s definitely learned how to defend himself. He has a new face that we call his “feisty face” – lips pursed, nose scrunched – and that’s how we know that Evan’s about to regulate. Emily told the librarian at story time this week, don’t take that from him he has his feisty face. Classic!

 I still hear from people all the time “he’s so sweet” “so even tempered” “so easy going” and sure he totally is some of the time. My friend Courtney cut his hair the other day, and I was just imagining a screaming fit of meltdown. What did he do? Smile, baby talk, be adorable, sit still…it’s like he’s trying to make me look like a liar. He must reserve this behavior just for me and Emily and Eric. It seems as though the things that I expect him to cry over he could care less about, and the things I would never imagine him caring about are the things that drive him nuts. In his new stage of discovery and independence he has been getting all kinds of bumps, scrapes and bruises (4 just tonight). Those rarely phase him. But having something taken from him, being misunderstood (for example, he wanted water not grapes), having his diaper changed, seeing a balloon that’s out of reach – these things make him furious. And when he gets furious, he arches his back and throws his arms up in the air, with his hands formed like claws and wails. He’ll hold that position the whole tantrum, it’s hard not to laugh. I call this stance “the wolverine”. Seriously. Wild.

Bailey got Emily a butterfly garden for her birthday (last year! We finally cashed it in). Our little larvae arrived, they ate and ate and ate, until they were big old squishy caterpillars. Then they spun their cocoons to undergo the miracle of metamorphosis. And now we have 5 little butterflies flying around a little mesh cage in our home. An amazing thing to see for a 3-year-old and 30-year-old alike. Emily is daily feeding them sugar water and holding and petting each one.

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