Cuter Than Cute

I've been composing an informative blog chronicling our history of involvement with various, talented photographers.  It, unfortunately, begins right after out wedding.  (Insert a sad, trying-to-be-resigned-to-it sigh.)  In it, I shamelessly praise the people who beautifully captured my little ones in all of their glory.  I include some of my favorite images from along the way, and I get to take a walk down memory lane while you, the reader, get to see a virtual parade of photographers who you should be calling to book a session.  But, alas, while I've written it a number of times in my head, I've yet to get it all straightened out in words on the screen.

So before I pull all of that together, I have to link you to our latest precious, pearl-filled photo session with the now Little Rock based photographer Jenny Stricklin.  So, without further ado, here's a little peek our Evelyn Rose at (almost) eleven months old.


"Could I BE wearing any more clothes?"

If I ask Spencer to go get a shirt, or some shorts, or some underwear, he will run into his room and then run back down the hall to me giggling.  Once he gets to me, he will shove his fleece pajama pants in my face and burst into laughter.  The first time he did it was hysterical.  It's always fun to watch your kids have a sense of humor all their own (no matter how odd it might be).  Now, it's just sort of annoying.  But he gets a kick out of it every time.  However, today, he took it to a whole new level.

A couple of shirts and two layers of fleece pants over shorts.  Just the beginning.
Somehow me telling him we had to get dressed before we could go turned into him deciding to put on his favorite pair of fleece pajama bottoms and then to layer other jammies on top.   I wasn't totally opposed to the idea at first, because he does not try to dress himself very often, and when he does he quickly decides he can't do it.  So, I thought putting on a few superfluous articles of clothing for fun would be a great way to sneak in some practice, especially since it was his idea, thus making him very motivated to do it.  I had no idea the lengths to which he would take this little activity.

Apparently this is innate in males.  It was a total flash back to Friends.  Or maybe it's just innate in males with Joey's personality.  I don't want that to be true.

Gotta get that foot completely free.
Crackin' up at himself in the mirror.
He thought this was hysterical, and he was laughing so hard the first five to six layers, that he could hardly ask me to help him.

He liked to take a jump on the bed in between layers, as a sort of warm up for the next challenge.  Plus, when he jumps on his bed, he can see himself in the mirror above his dresser.

Tellin' me all about what we're doing next.  Note, the striped pants have been added.
Then, it became more of a challenge than anything else.  He was determined to wear every piece of pajamas in his drawer.  Thank goodness some of his pajamas were in the dirty clothes.

He also asked if Hillary and Natalie could come over to have a pajama party.  I wish I got a picture of the finished product; but at that point, it had ceased to be much fun.  He asked me to help him take it all off just minutes after achieving his goal.  It was quite an effort.

All in a day's work.  After this layer, we broke for lunch and a show.
I'm thinkin' horizontal stripes top and bottom might not be the answer if this was his actual size.
At final count, I think he had on eight shirts (two of them fleece) and ten or eleven pairs of pants (three of them fleece), and the first layer on top of his underwear was a pair of shorts.

Evelyn didn't know what to think.  But she certainly wanted to be a part of it, and she had a perceptive suspicion that she wasn't.  But even her screaming face is photo-worthy.

Precious, exhausting, "lazy" Saturdays.


"No Way" We All Say!

Sweat Pea Beauty, you're eleven months old.  Your little personality is just exactly like it's always been, but you have so many new ways of expressing it these days.  You are sweet, sweet, sweet, very busy, very deliberate, and very specific in your wants and desires.  For example, you will bring a book to me and insist that it play a song.  The problem is that not every book we have plays music.  This makes you quite angry.  I also think you've been teething this month.

You have so many cute things to say, and a lot of them are real words.   You say, "Mama" and "Dada" but not very often.  You love to say, "hi" and 'bye bye" while waving and you do both of them at completely appropriate times often before anyone has said it to you, told you that's what happening, or prompted you to say it.  You also wave and say "bye bye" when you know we're about to take you to your room to go to sleep.  You will say "do(g) do(g)" for dog if we ask you to.  You constantly say "dis, Dis(h)" which I think sometimes means "this" or "do this!"  You say "ah ah!" for "uh oh!" whenever you drop something, whether on purpose or by accident.  And you say "ba ba" for "bottle."  There are times that you walk up to me and tell me something, and it really sounds as if you're saying a little sentence in your head.  Often if I specifically tell you to say a certain word, you try to and get pretty close to age appropriate ones.

You are walking like a pro.  You even get excited and jump up and try to run.  You can walk around carrying multiple objects.  You can easily stop, lean over, pick something up, and keep going.  You can step over the baby gate threshold--the works.  You didn't start the month off like this at all.  It's crazy how differently you got around after about a week of "practice."  You also climb really well, including into the living room chairs.  They are now facing the wall because I could not figure out another way to keep you from climbing into them and falling out when I wasn't in the room.

You try to wrestle with Spencer, and you love to walk or run and then throw yourself onto a cushy pillow or blanket.  You go crazy when we let you play on a bed.  You think it's really funny to put your hands and head on the floor while you're still standing on your feet.  You look like you're about to do a forward roll.  You want us to look at you between your legs and laugh with you.  You love to bounce (something else you try to say), and you love to dance.  You sway from side to side, moving your hips and your hands and arms.  It's so cute!  You are into every cabinet and drawer, and you get them open and emptied in record speed.  You have shut your little fingers in them quite a few times this month.  You stalk the bathroom for any chance to play in the toilet.

You've been a mama's girl lately, and this has been quite a change.  While you've always loved me, and "preferred" me when given a choice, you've been much more vocal lately when I'm not as close as you'd like and you've been much more affectionate when we are together.  You give the sweetest, tightest, most on purpose hugs I've ever had from a baby (I don't think these are brand new to this month, but I don't think I've written about them yet).

You love purses, shoes, necklaces, and bracelets.  You will also find clothes and insist I put them on you.  You've tried to put your shoes on, and you've tried to put Spencer's shoes on him.  The other day, there were a few dresses in a target sack, and you kept handing it to Gigi and fussing at her.  I told her that you wanted her to help you put the dress on.  Gigi wasn't convinced that's what you wanted, and she tried to help you play with it all a couple of different ways, meanwhile, you continued to fuss at her.  She finally put the dress on you over your other clothes, and you immediately settled down and admired it.  Whoa.  Just whoa.

While your screaming to protest things you don't like is not a new thing this month, your temper tantrums are.  You've now developed a full-body reaction to disappointing situations.  If I'm trying to pick you up to take you away from something you want, you've learned to quickly sit down and then throw your arms up in the air so that I can't easily pick you up.  You then spin yourself around on your bottom and flail your arms around.  If you're really mad you'll scream and cry while you do this, if you're not as mad you'll just wrinkle up your nose and snort and fuss.  The first time you did this little maneuver I couldn't help but laugh.

Now, you'll get jealous if I'm holding Spencer.  You have fussed and screamed until I put you where ever we are or until I make room for you on my lap.  You climb onto both of us if you can get to where we are.  You get incredibly angry if we are eating something that you are not also eating.  You scream, cry, and pitch a fit until you are given some of whatever anyone else is eating.  When your grandparents come over, you unsolicitedly wave "hi" to them and fuss until they pick you up and give you the attention you're due.

You will take 6 or 8 ounces of formula at a time at least a couple of times a day now.  Which is long overdue and very convenient.  You'll even hold your own bottle while I change your diaper; but after a minute or two you decide you aren't very hungry and that it'd be a lot more fun to shake and pour it out everywhere.  You slept through the night once this month, but as it turns out, I think you were getting sick.  You ran a fever a day and a half after that, and, whatever the case, you've not done it since then.  I'm not very surprise, but I am disappointed.  I do think you've been mildly to moderately uncomfortable due to teething this month.  You got another bottom tooth this month, bringing your total to four; and I noticed a a few days after you turned eleven months that your upper right lateral incisor has broken through (before either of your top front teeth).

You've let me add new songs to your evening lullaby serenade.  You are still as squirmy as ever.  You really want to be held and cuddled while you alternately sip on your bottle and suck on and throw your paci on the floor all while laying on your stomach.  The idea that a few of these actions and positions are mutually exclusive of the other ones is not one that you're open to considering at this point. Eventually our daily wrestling, rocking, feeding, cuddling, jabbering, laughing, crying, lunging exercises come to an end, and I lay you in your bed.  You usually cry for a few minutes and then if you don't get your leg stuck in between the slats of your crib or have a dirty diaper, you go on to sleep.  If you're exhausted you will take your bottle while being relatively still, with your arm and hand covering your face, and you'll fall asleep that way.  Bedtime probably goes like that twice a month or so.

You wake up once a night and take 8 or 6 ounces of formula from your daddy.  If you're sick, you wake up all night long, and if you're getting sick or only slightly sick on the way to being sicker, you sleep all night (this has now happened twice that I'm sure about in your eleven months).  You've had ample amounts of Tylenol, Benadryl, and Ibuprofen (all well within weight appropriate dosing guidelines).  It seems to help when you're definitely sick and possibly when we think you might be bothered by teething, but it's really hard to know for sure.  You still have a stubborn patch of eczema on your cheek near your mouth.  Mupirocin and the humidifier seem to help it.  Everything else seems to do nothing or make it worse.  Sunscreen and avocado definitely make it worse.

You're just as precious as you can be, Evelyn.  I hope someday you know how much your mommy loves you.


From Where Spencer Stands

"How are we gonna go to sleep with a cryin' baby?"

"Mommy, what you doin' with Daddy's sink?  What you doin' with his dishwaher?"

"You never have time for me anymore."

"[Daddy] argued with me, Mommy!  He only do things with me (not with Evelyn)."

Jonathan had to run Spencer into the new McDonald's on Chenal Parkway since he declared he needed to go potty.  It's modern looking on the outside and is finished out nicer than "traditional" McDonalds, including hanging light fixtures that you might consider using in your house.  Jonathan said when they walked in, Spencer said, "Oh, it's so beautiful!"

A few weeks ago, we were about to go to Gigi's house, and I was trying to head off some of the usual "un-wanted" behaviors he revels in when we're there, including running into all of the rooms we ask him to stay out of, not listening to me, and refusing to eat any food besides popsicles and ice cream.  After my firm but loving explanation of my expectations for the evening, Spencer smiled at me without missing a beat and said, "Those are the rules!"

One of the weekly themes at Little Gym this summer was about spies.  Each child had a passport that was marked when they completed different skills / activities during the class, but, first, they got to pick a special secret agent name.  His class that day was comprised of Secret Agent Tinkerbell, Secret Agent Cinderella, and Secret Agent Banana Pants (aka: Spencer Kelley).  He still talks about it and cracks himself up.
A week or two before, he insisted on wearing his (CLEAN) underwear just like this into The Little Gym.  They're always so kind and accepting, by the way.
In Dora inspired concern for preservation of private property, Spencer will run up to Evelyn when she is about to touch something of his, and say, "Evie, no 'piping (swiping)!"

Spencer had been asking to have a "bunkin' party" at his Gigi's house for a few weeks, and the timing just wasn't working out.  Plus, my sister and brother-in-law were staying at my parents' house for the time in between selling their house in Arkansas and moving to Tennessee.  So, one evening when Spencer asked to have a "bunkin' party," Gigi pointed to the extra boxes and stuff piled in "Spencer's room," and told him that when Hillary and Tony move, then they will take all their stuff with them, and then there would be room to pull out the trundle bed for Spencer to sleep on.  So, weeks later, I sat down with Spencer and told him, "I'm going with Aunt Hillary to help her move to her new house in Nashville..."  Before I had time to tell him how long I'd be gone or when I'd be back or what arrangements I'd made for his care, he hopped up and said, "And I have a bunkin' party at Gigi's house!"

While I was on the "moving trip," Jonathan had one of his friends and his two boys over to play.  When it was time to clean up, apparently questions were being asked, and Jonathan told them that they made a mess and it was time to clean it up.  Spencer's friend Benjamin, four years old, quickly claimed, "I made that mess!" to which Spencer countered, "No, I made that mess!"  What in the world?

While Spencer was playing with Angel, my parents' dog, she apparently went off by herself and was acting disinterested in playing with him anymore.  After lamenting to my mom and dad that Angel didn't want to play with him anymore, he passionately ran to her side, and comfortingly told her, "It's ok, Angel.  Don't you know that your Gigi and Papa love you very much?!"  We're not really sure what that had to do with her not wanting to play with him; but he must have thought it was very reassuring because he went on to tell her this three or four times.

Spencer has infamously quit spending the night at my parents' house,* even after begging to have a "bunkin' party" over there.  Upon his last refusal to go to bed, Gigi said, "I thought you wanted to have a bunkin' party at my house," to which he quickly replied, "I want to have a bunkin' party with my mommy, and my daddy, and my little sister Evie.  That will make me feel so much better!"

*Spencer went on to have a successful "bunkin' party" at his Nana and G-Dad's house about two weeks later.  Apparently, they have the touch.


First Day of Three Year Old Preschool

You had a great first day of preschool.  You already knew your teacher and the building from "Summer Fun Days" (which were from 9 -2), today you went from 8:30 to 11:30.  You did great.  You were excited to wear the shirt that "Miss Jenny Bunch made for [you]."  You were excited to get your picture made.  You're never excited to fix your hair, so I didn't even try.  You're welcome.

You were excited and not excited to go.  We all vacillate sometimes.  But we talked through it, and while I did drag you into your classroom, you did not cry when I left.  

You quickly and easily found your name on the row of backpack hooks, and I hung your back pack there.  You still refuse to carry your own backpack.  You also informed me a few days ago that you don't want to grow up.

We talked about going to preschool all morning, at one point, you walked into the room and said, "It's fall.  I go to preschool now, so it's fall."  I'd told you that you'd go to preschool in the fall.  I sort of agreed with you while trying to explain that it's really still the end of summer, but that preschool starts right before fall.  As I blabbed on you said, "It's fall, and I go campin'!"  I was also the genius who told you it's too hot to go camping in the summer, and that we'd have to try to do that in the fall.  Lovely.  You have a great memory, by the way.

You were not overly eager to chat about your school day, but you were happy when I picked you up.  Miss Holly told me that you had a great day, and that you have a "good class."  (I'm assuming they don't comment if the class has shaped up to be something other than 'good.')  You confirmed that you had fun, that you want to go back on Thursday, that the boys and girls in your class were nice, and that you went to chapel.  I could only ask tiny little questions every now and then.  If I was overtly interested or intensely wondering, you told me you didn't want to talk about it.  I had to teach you that phrase after Summer Fun Days when I would ask you questions and you would fuss or otherwise respond inappropriately.  I told you that you didn't have to talk about something if you didn't want to, but that you had to politely say, "I don't want to talk about it."  Today you managed, "I don't want to hear that, Mom."  I got the drift.

I know one thing for sure, you had to be the cutest three year old in the class.  We're all so proud of you, Spencer.  I know you're going to have so much fun this year at preschool.


Cuddling, Walking, And Looking Cute

August 5, 2012

You took multiple steps in a row a few different times the night I got home from helping Hillary and Tony move to Nashville.  Your daddy says you were not doing that while I was gone (I don't know if he's just telling me that to make me feel better or not).  I missed you so, and I love seeing you growing and learning and loving your little life.  You're such a sweet heart.  You just cuddled and hugged me for almost an hour.  You played some and then you'd come back over to be held some more.  I started to carry Spencer, and you screamed until I carried both of you.

August 7, 2012

This morning, you were taking a couple steps here and there like usual.  After we took Spencer to speech, you took the most steps I've ever seen you take on Gigi's soft, cushy carpet.  It cracks us up, because you always walk more when you know it won't hurt to fall (your brother, not so much!).  And, this evening, you have been walking all over the house!  It's like something clicked.  It seems like in another week we won't even remember a time when you weren't walking everywhere.

I took some sweet brother + sister pictures this morning.  My plan was for you two to sit or stand by the wall, but as soon as I would get you both over there and scoot back as fast as I could with the camera, you were both off (often in different directions).  Oh, well, you two had fun for a few minutes (the session did end in a screaming fit from your brother, but who's counting?)

"Don't help me, please!"

You're waving--that's hard to catch on camera

another wave

Closing your eyes like your brother used to do, although I think your'e doing it here because you're smiling.
"I'm outta here" 

This is the face you make when you say "Dis, dis"
Sweet little baby head