Monday, January 19, 2009

My Lovely Birthday

Today was my 31st birthday, and it was lovely. We celebrated yesterday, since Daddy was home all day. (Also, Child #1 would have burst if she had to keep the secret of what they had bought me even one more day.) So here was my loot...

And the Shoppers and Gift-Wrappers Extraordinaire.

(Rilla was more into the un-wrapping phase.)

(Is it any wonder I look at her?

This girl is beautiful.)

Here, Elliott and I pose with our hand-held vacuums. His is part of the vacuum he got for his birthday in August. Mine is the present Cheyenne and Elliott bought me! 'Twill be quite handy for spilled dry cereal, and spilled crumbs, and spilled... I'll use it a lot!

Then, I had to try out the new Wusthof (with cool little umlauts I am too lazy to try to find out how to type) knife Evan bought me. (We sacrificed a grapefruit that had been chillin' in the fridge a little too long.)

Look at how thin it slices!

Look at Clover get maniacally excited! Look at Evan rethink the knife idea!

I had lots of help blowing out the candles-- didn't have to work very hard at all! In fact, this is the second time we blew them out! As Chief Cake-Bringer-Inner and Chief Photographer, Evan didn't have a chance to snap a picture the first time before Elliott got on the job and blew the candles out.

Today was a wonderful day, too. Since Cheyenne didn't have school, we were in no hurry to get out of our jammies! (Good thing no one was here to take a picture of Mommy in her jammies!) I had packed up all their new style Little People the night before, and brought out the old style. Cheyenne had asked for that a while back, and I thought a "new" toy would help keep them occupied and happy today. Not that they didn't play with the new little people incessantly, but it's fun to rotate the toys occasionally. Cheyenne got lucky-- Elliott slept in this morning, so she didn't have to share during the first hour!

Once Elliott came downstairs, though, he was right in there, too! Forget snuggling Mommy, or eating breakfast, or getting our diaper changed, or getting dressed... He wanted to play Little People!

Rilla even got in on it. (Hello, green-uniformed grocer!)

Not that she needed a Little People. It's enough excitement just being in the dishwasher.

"I think I will eat the Kitchen-Aid mixer bowl."

Happy girl!

Since the dreaded Farewell to the Swing, naps have been rather short. We're slowly improving, though. When Evan took the kids on a top-secret shopping mission Saturday, she slept three hours in the quiet house. Here she is today, getting ready for a nap. First we insert the pacifier, then we tuck the Raggedy Ann doll in her arms. Then we cover her with her purple afghan from Auntie, then the soft Suzy's Zoo blanket we got when Cheyenne was born, then the quilt that coordinates with our crib. Hopefully warm enough! I found out something funny on Sunday-- she fusses if I don't close the door to her room. I think she realizes it's nap time if I close the door-- but if I just walk out and leave the door open, it's a sign that Mommy has abandoned her. Today, we had four naps-- all much shorter than her previous naps, but they did add up to a pretty decent amount of sleep. She's doing slightly better at night, now, aided by Evan's heroic work. If I go in at night to soothe her back to sleep, there's no calming her down. If Evan goes in, though, he can usually put the pacifier back in and tuck her in again, and she'll often settle down. Still quite a few waking episodes, though.

I moved the kids' rooms all around at the end of December, and I am just loving Marilla's room. It is so empty, which is just wonderful in our overcrowded little house. Since we don't go in her room when she's napping, it can't really be a multi-purpose room. There's just the crib (with the quilt Aunt Tori made hanging above), a bookcase (of course) and a diaper changing table. It's lovely to walk in and see an expanse of floor, and open wall!

It would look even prettier if there wasn't a Rubbermaid there, but she outgrows clothes so fast it's handy to have something to pop the outgrown clothes in!

I've moved all the kids' books into other bookcases, so this bookcase is just a random assortment of books. For the first time since we moved to Alaska, all my books are unpacked!

An awful lot of them are in our bedroom. This is the view from our bed. Isn't this the most beautiful thing? Evan made me this bookcase over the course of two birthdays (it breaks down into two components). I love laying in bed and looking at the plethora of books.

It's such a satisfying feeling!

This is one of my favorite bookcases. It sits in our living room, and holds our most special books (including lots of P. G. Wodehouse.) It also holds lots of games-- now if we can just get lots of people to come visit us to play the games!

With lots of shuffling around, I was able to get the kids' books into two short bookcases. Much safer than the great tall one in Rilla's room, where they were always standing precariously on something to reach the higher shelves. (Yes, that tissue box has Disney princesses on it. It was on sale one day, so I bought it for my daughter. I'm too cheap (and too anti-Disney or anti-commercialism or something like that) to buy her another one, so I just rip open a new box and slide them in the end of this box! Cheyenne would have Disney princess wallpaper if we gave into her true desires!)

I added a shelf to this hanging bookcase to get more room for the kids' books. This is mostly preteen (and younger) girl books-- some of the very best-- Betty Cavanna, Cherry Ames, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Little House on the Prairie, L. M. Montgomery, Noel Streatfield, Happy Hollisters, Bobbsey Twins, Maud Hart Lovelace... books I don't mind re-reading myself! During one of the very busiest weeks of my life, in grad school, I went to the Schenectady library and checked out every single Laura Ingalls Wilder book and read them all! (Perhaps it would have been smarter to finish my papers, or do my internship, or plan more for my upcoming wedding, but it sure did help me stay sane!)

The other kids' bookcase.

A la Jill Vaughan, I have been feeling guily lately. When I think back to how much I had read to Cheyenne by the time she was Rilla's age, I am upset that Rilla is missing all those advantages. And it is apparent in her development-- Cheyenne was better at reading books, and talking, at this stage.

Rilla does get read to, sometimes-- just not by herself! (We're reading a Poppleton book by Cynthia Rylant here-- one of my favorite authors!)

(This boy was worn out by his day at the mall!)

Then, when I've just about written Marilla off as a poor dull little baby, I look in her sparkling eyes and see the intelligence, and am reassured. I can also take comfort in the tactful sentence, uttered by my husband, "Lindsey was the third baby, and she's the smartest one in your family!" Which is quite true, but why does my husband point it out? :-)

Rilla is also doing quite nicely physically. Elliott's physical therapist says the way she navigates stairs is not how babies usually do it until they're at least 15 months! She's also pretty tough...

See this vision of manliness? It doesn't cow Marilla in the least...

Here she is pushing The Vision of Manliness, and Elliott is saying, "Ow, Mommy, Roo push me!" I do think we'll have to keep an eye on her, just as much as we keep an eye on Elliott to make sure he doesn't hurt Roo!

I love this picture of my little kitchen helper the other day.

And now, as the dessert, here is three pictures of my beautiful son from today.

It's no wonder I enjoyed my birthday, with a day spent with these little mutts!

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