Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fall fun!

Who doesn't love fall? We have been taking in these gorgeous days in fistfuls with abundant walks, hours spent at the park, and wheeling our stroller through every stretch of this town. Here is some of what we love:

Marin plays "tea set" (tea party) and invites all her friends. She sets a place for each of them, and always matches the plate to the bowl to the spoon exactly. Her guests are always served soup and we almost always sing happy birthday.

Recently, GG gave Marin an antique tea set that Marin calls her "fragile fancy tea set". Marin adores it! You can see that she asks to play with it pretty much first thing in the morning.

At the park Marin climbs and hangs and jumps, squealing with the delight. She loves to steal my glasses and I chase her until I catch her and we crash into the grass with a tickle fight. I usually try to time trips to the park so that they coincide with Emilie's nap, and she sleeps peacefully in her bassinet stroller.

The best part of fall might be leg warmers. Or is it curling up with your sister on the couch?

Sometimes we just sit around and crack each other up!

We take two walks every day at the very least, and stop to find many treasures along the way.

Marin loves to stop and see the fishies and sometimes makes a wish in this pond. (Not sure you're supposed to do that, but one time she saw some pennies in there and asked me why there was money in there, and from then on, we've been throwing wishes on in.)

The three of us have a grand time stopping to pick up leaves, acorns (once we gathered enough to have an acorn party!), flowers and sticks- which Marin uses to conduct a pretend symphony.

Today is Norah's 7th birthday. (That's right; she was born out of wedlock- how very modern of her) We love our Norries and we love a birthday!

Sometimes we have lunch dates with Grandma. These are especially fun, and a great time to snuggle.

A few weeks ago we went to the Sandwich Fair with my parents and grandparents. (Sandwich is the town, its not a fair with only sandwiches.) It's an enormous fair and has as many exhibits as I have memories of going there as a child to see if my grandma won a ribbon for her flowers, or pies. It was especially special that at 91 and 93, my grandparents could go- they have been going for 90 years! But because of its size, we borrowed two wheelchairs and my parents pushed them. We had to take a picture of our two wheelchairs, and double stroller. Quite the site- but so fun to have four generations together at the fair!

A few weeks after the fair, we headed to Champaign for our first football game of the season! It was a night game against ASU (and a victory), so Emilie stayed with Great Aunt Vee and Great Uncle Bob, and the rest of us sat under the lights at that game while Marin cheered, "Go Illini!" and sang the fight song like her blood ran orange and blue. By the time we made it back to Emilie, Marin was fast asleep, gripping her stuffed football and her ticket.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ballerina Class, School and the "Liebray"

For us, Fall means the return of our weekly schedule, and activities abound.

Marin started school this week, and was so excited on the walk to school the first day! Three of her neighbor friends are in her class on Mondays, and Marin just talks about Parker, Finn and Chase constantly. Fridays she is reunited with Lea, her friend she made at school last year. She loves her teachers, and all of the songs and activities they do. Marin also loves taking her lunch to school, and insists on carrying her lunch box herself, and plops it right down in the correct bin when she gets in the classroom. Marin's favorite part of taking her lunch is the "school milk" that I pack for her to drink. I am still writing and drawing on her napkin every day, and probably will continue to do so until she is 18.

On Wednesday mornings Marin has ballet, or as she calls it, "ballerina class". I don't think in two and a half years I have ever seen Marin so excited for anything in her whole life. Ever since we signed up for the class she has been asking me if it was time to go to ballerina class. I have been telling her how many more sleeps until it is the day. On Wednesday morning when the day was here, I thought she'd bust right out of her leotard, she was so excited. She quickly made two friends while we were waiting for class to start, and after being the first in line to tell her teacher, "I'm Marin!!" she turned to her new friends and said, "C'mon girls!" Worried that she would hear the music and shimmer and run to her own beat, I had a special talk with Marin about listening to her teacher, Miss Katie, and sure enough, as I watched her from the one way glass she followed every move she made, looking up at her like she was the coolest girl she had ever seen. Marin can't wait to go again next week!

Our week rounds out with our Thursday storytime sessions at the Library. Classes begin next week, and Marin is already excited to go to the "Liebray" and listen to stories. Hopefully Emilie is as excited, because she's going along for this class too.

For me, one of the best things about being a parent is watching my girls learn. Our plates are definitely full of learning and exploring this fall!

Emilie- Four Months Old!

4 month stats:
13.6 lbs.
24 1/4" long

Emilie turned four months old yesterday! Someone slow time down. Things definitely go more quickly with the second baby.

* Emilie is the happiest little baby. She will often times go a whole day without hardly making a peep, except a little cry when she is hungry or sleepy. She is so laid back, and a very good baby. (mom happy dance!)

* Emilie still isn't sleeping through the night. She has a few times, but not at all consistently like Marin was at this age. Oh well though; she's still little. We have established a bedtime routine and are putting her to bed sleepy, and she puts herself to sleep without any fuss at all most nights.

* Emilie loves books. We are reading to her alone more and more. Usually after Marin goes down for her daily nap, I try to read four or five books to her, and she just smiles and loves the colors.

* She loves when we sing songs to her. Marin almost immediately starts in singing to Emilie when she starts to cry. It's very sweet.

* Marin and Emilie already have a special bond. Marin tells her good morning every day when Emilie wakes up. The other day she leaned in really close to Emilie and said, "Good morning, sweetheart! I love you, baby Emmie!" Emilie just beams up at Marin and smiles.

* Emilie is rolling over a lot and has started to use this as her mode of transportation. She's rolling off her activity mat. She doesn't mind being on her stomach as much now, as she can hold her head up higher, but she still doesn't want you to leave her there like that for too long.

* She's trying to crawl! I'm sure it will be a long way away, but she squirms her little legs back and forth like she knows that's how she'll really get herself moving!

* Emilie is pretty strong. She holds her head up so well, that the doctor commented on it at her four month check up. She definitely wants to sit up.

* She is grasping and grabbing a lot. She reaches for toys and loves to hang onto soft objects. She also reaches out to grab onto our fingers to comfort herself; especially as she is going to sleep.

I am having the best time ever watching Emilie grow and discover. She and Marin are the sunshine of our lives. Their bond is the most wonderful little treat for me to watch and I am careful to help foster it. Marin remains mommy's little helper, and will often remind me in a whisper, "Mommy, shhh. Baby Emmie is sleeping." Marin proudly introduces "Baby Em-il-ie to strangers who inquire about her baby sister. She loves being a big sister, and is as proud of Emilie as we are!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A beginning and an end

Last week we said goodbye to Jason's Grandpa Hinrichs. We gathered down state on the farm with Jason's family and filled four days together telling stories of this great man. Everyone who knew him loved him, especially his grandchildren. An obituary read that he had spent his life as a farmer, and that he loved visiting with friends. But the stories people told over those days, and the pictures that we poured over- are what really tell the story of a life.

Ernest loved to laugh, and to make you laugh.
He always had a smile on his face. Including the very last time we visited him in the hospital.
Ernest always asked about you first.
He was generous.
He loved his family more than anything.
He had many friends.
He loved his church and his community.
He was extremely kind.
He loved his birthday.
He loved ice cream.
Ernest was a good man.

We will miss him terribly.

That same week, Jason's cousin and his wife welcomed their baby boy, Calvin Hinrichs Clem. Arriving eight weeks early, he was eager to greet the world, but he's doing very well. He's breathing on his own, and has even drank from a bottle already. He was 2 lbs 14 oz when he was born, but he's 3lbs 8 oz today. Practically a linebacker. Little Calvin is so special. He's so very tiny and so sweet. And he's like a little ray of happiness and sunshine for Jason's family. We love him so much. I can't wait to watch him grow. Marin tells everyone that baby Calvin is just a little tiny baby, but that someday he's going to run and play with her. I can't wait for that day. Marin also tells everyone that she has a new brother. We have to keep reminding her that Calvin's her cousin. I think she's just about got it. She always remembers baby Calvin in her prayers.

Watching the beginning and the end of life in the same week is a reminder of the circle of life. To make the best of every day. To live life to the fullest. To surround yourself with those that make you happy. To do well. To be your best. Life comes and goes. Tell people that you love them. Squeeze each other tightly. Laugh. Live it up. That's the way Ernest lived. A life well lived.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What a difference a year makes!

A year ago today we found out I was pregnant with Emilie. What a difference a year makes!