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all grown up

When I first started dating Rhiannon, her youngest sister was six. Today is that little girl's 21st birthday. Sarah and the Kids

Kind of makes a guy feel old, especially when you consider that Sarah's oldest niece is eight and two years older than Sarah was when I first met her. At least now we can send her on a beer run. I knew we were keeping her around for something useful eventually.

Happy birthday, Sarah.

Tree Stripping

When we set up the tree, Maddi was taking a nap. Since it was the first time we were putting up decorations in the new house and didn't know exactly where everything should go, we felt it might be a little easier without the eager helping hands of the little one. Once the tree was up, we had a no touching policy. The ornaments are plastic, so breakage wasn't a huge concern. Rather, we just don't want the kids to get in the habit of rummaging through the indoor foliage. As we've done on more than occasion, we took our tree down on New Year's Day this year. Maddi was not asleep, and she was not going to miss out on the opportunity to finally play with all the ornaments that she's been looking at for the past month.

Where does this go

We made her help sort by color. Pink and purple and red and orange are pretty close together, so there were a few issues there. (I won't go into the fact that more of the issues were probably mine than Maddi's. I'll blame that on the fact that Rhiannon was telling Maddi which pile to place ornaments in and she wasn't offering any hints to me.)

Ornamental

trick or treat, twice the fun

Halloween 2013 This was our first year of having two kids holding out buckets for candy. While Brooklynn has been excited for trick-or-treating for months since she decided that she would be a princess, Maddi had no idea what was coming. We tried her costume on a couple weeks ago and she didn't like having the hood on her head. We figured that we would let her wear it a few times before hand to get used to it.

And then it was the morning of Halloween and we hadn't put it on her one time. The girls' school had a Halloween party, and I guess seeing the other kids in costume made it ok for Maddi to like hers, because we had no issues.

Brooklynn was also quite happy with her costume of a princess dress. The same dress she wore over the summer for her 4th birthday, except Halloween isn't in June. Brooklynn doesn't like to wear things like pants or sleeves with a dress because then she might be a real princess, and the idea of marring her perfect costume with everyday accouterments like a coat or sweater did not sit well with her. Unfortunately for her, the end of October in North Dakota isn't typically bare-arms weathter; hence, we ended up with the remnants of tears that you might notice in some photos.

Halloween 2013

Once we got going, both girls had a wonderful time. Brooklynn took care of the ringing of doorbells, typically remembering the trick-or-treat's and thank you's. The first couple houses we stopped at let the girls pick out candy from the bowls themselves, which confused Maddi for the rest of the evening. Instead of holding out her bucket, she would grab candy from everyone's hand and put it in the pail herself. Yes, she wants your candy, but no, you can't put your hand near her bucket. Thank you.

Halloween 2013

While Brooklynn didn't want to pose for pictures by herself, Maddi had no such issue. Unless of course, the posing may have prevented her from being up to a front door on time to get more candy.

anything you can do

Bubbles We have a monkey see, monkey see situation in our house. Anything that Maddi sees Brooklynn do, she would like to do as well.

Brooklynn goes downstairs, Maddi goes downstairs.

Brooklynn watches a little TV before bed, Maddi watches a little TV before bed.

Brooklynn hides in her closet, Maddi hides right along side her.

It's cute, it's fun, and someday, Brooklynn is going to have a melt down because she just wants to be left alone.

Pumpkin designing

Someday, but not today.

they match

Maddi has spent her entire life preparing her cheeks to go with this shirt. I Heart Candy

I'd say it was a resounding success. In case you're interested in what her methodology is, see below:

Frosting

Speaks for itself, doesn't it?

four years

We have a little know it all in our house. And if she doesn't know, she asks. And asks. And asks.

And even when she does know, she still asks, just to make sure Mom and Dad keep on top of things.

I guess when you are four and think you're a princess, that kind of behavior comes standard.

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Having parents that coordinate your birthday cake and party favors to match your outfit probably doesn't help in the 'sense of entitlement' department.

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Happy birthday, Brooklynn.

oh no!

We have been reading the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty out of Brooklynn's princess story book for a week now and she has been requesting to see the movie. Tonight, it's raining and we can't go outside, so I figured it was a good as night as any to watch it. Oh no!

Even though she knew it was coming, Malificent's first appearance was still enough to warrant an extended eye-covering period.

snow days

Rhiannon has yet to have a snow day teaching this year, and considering she has a week to go before state testing, she doesn't want one right now. However, that doesn't mean we haven't been waiting for a nice day with some snow on a weekend. This year in Denver, the snow has been pretty sparse, so getting a sunny day to get the kids out was too good to pass up.

This is Fun

On top of that, the snow was great for packing.

Snowman Building

Outside of the one mishap where the first attempt at a tall snowman fell over, it went pretty well.

Snowman Building

And just like so many other things right now, we are calling the snowman George.

Snowman Building

Growing up fast

So things have been a little quite around here due to some big life changes and what seems like going from 5 am or earlier every day to about 8:30pm without a break. Rest assured that everyone is doing fine. I'm working on the backlog and hopefully, if nothing else, I'll keep up with pictures a little better this year. I don't think things are going to slow down at all, because look who's standing...

Freestander

Help us all.

holiday concert

Back by popular demand, Brooklynn's holiday concert for this year[1. As always, head over to Vimeo for the full HD version.].

2012 Holiday Concert from Chris&Rhiannon on Vimeo.

When the girls stop dance and all look down for a little bit in the first song, that was because two of them realized they had the same shoes. Brooklynn would also like to point out that she fell down because she was just doing a little silly dancing and not because she's still a little clumsy.

maddi - month 9

Editor's note: Yes, I haven't posted one of these in a while. Don't worry, the unposted ones are all in relatively complete draft state. It's the pictures that I'm really lacking. So, I posted one without pictures. And yes, we are taking pictures. It's the post-processing that's the tough part to keep up with. Dear Maddi,

You are now nine months old, and it's a little overwhelming to thing that you've now spent as much time with us as it took for you to be ready to join us.

This month, you took your second car trip up to North Dakota, and I'm happy to report to you that it went much better than the first, for several reasons. You are a much better eater than the first time. At that point, you were terrible at burping, so the fact we did not find ourselves on the side of road to burp you was a big help.

Secondly, Mom climbed into the back seat to feed you and sit by you for a good portion of the trip. You like to see people, and having someone right there beside seemed to make being stuck in a car for 10 hours a little more bearable. The only drawback was the fact that you didn't like being put in the car for the drive to and from daycare without Mom back there with you.

You are tearing through pureed food about as fast as we can shovel it in your mouth, at least as long as it consists of meat and veggies. You have shown a distinct displeasure with fruit: applesauce, peaches, and pears. You make a grumpy face and stop eating. I'd say it's sweet that you don't like, but you seem to be ok with a little ice cream now and then, so I'm not sure what your hesitation is.

You may be eating a lot of food, but you are also moving around to burn off that energy. You crawl around with little regard for what might be in your way. A pile of clothes and stuffed animals - who needs to go around? Just crawl right through it.

You like to explore everything, especially the volume knob on the TV receiver and the dirt in the big pot by the steps. If we are sitting in the living room and you suddenly make a bee-line up front, chances are we will have to intercept you before you can get dirty. About halfway there, you will even stop to check if we are coming, and I imagine it's been frustrating to get so close before we grab you. Don't worry, you've managed to get dirty more times than we would like.

You are also pulling yourself up to standing now, so we expect that you will be starting to furniture walk sooner or later. I know that crawling is a great way to get around, but if you want to keep up with your sister, you're going to have to get up on your feet sooner or later. Let's just avoid going down the steps until you get a little more coordinated.

You fell off our bed for the first time (under my watch, as your mom would like me to point out) and landed on your forehead. Between your aunt who works as a neonatal intensive care nurse, a family friend who is a pediatric emergency doctor and the family physician, we called about everyone we could think of that night and no one seemed too worried. A little light bruise that went away was the worst of it, but we were pretty scared for a little bit.

You have also started to prefer Mom over Dad if given the option, so if you managed to associate me with falling, I'll take it. Making those connections at your age would be great. Either way, I still love you very much, just like your mom and sister do too.

Posing

And if you develop an unexplained fear of heights as you grow older, sorry.

Love, Dad

stop, thief!

It seems like this should be something out of a cop TV show, where the police chief gives a statement that the suspect was successfully apprehended, complete with incriminatory evidence, after a lengthy investigation. Then cut to the tv interview of the mother saying how she tried to raise her baby right but didn’t know what else she could have done and the token neighbor saying how shocked everyone is. Maddi is a sock stealer. Not only does she rapidly and repeatedly attempt to take off any socks we put on her feet, but now she is mobile and crawling, and early reports from daycare seem to indicate that she will attempt to take socks of the other kids. As they put it, she's on the prowl. All the time.

If her behavior toward me is in anyway typical, she really is very interested in feet and socks. Who would ever suspect such a thing out of someone with cheeks like that?

So Pleased

patched up

On Friday evening, as I carried Brooklynn in to the house after getting home from daycare, she told me her tummy hurt. I asked her what about it hurt and she threw up on me. Twice[1. I can verify that she ate all her corn for lunch that day.].

We were a little bummed out because we had planned on going to a pumpkin patch and activity center on Saturday morning with her friend Mason. We had already rescheduled one weekend due to inclement weather a couple weeks ago so this was our last shot before Halloween.

Corn Box

Rhiannon found out that Mason had been sick the weekend before and threw up for three days, so we weren't exactly confident that it would be something she would get over quickly[2. It also explained why Rhiannon was feeling sick for a few nights last week.]. We agreed to push back until Sunday and see how things went.

On Eyeore

Brooklynn didn't throw up at all Friday night or Saturday. Yes, she only ate graham crackers and took a 5 hour nap Saturday afternoon, but we won't complain. Sunday morning, after 36 hours healthy, the pumpkin patch was a go. Between the big slide, wagon rides, pony rides, pyramids, and pumpkin picking, we had about as much activity as we dared put Brooklynn through.

Driver's Seat

She threw up her only food of the day (mini-Oreos) later that afternoon, but she's been fine since then. Kids and their ability to bounce back.

pretty lights

I'd like to say happy birthday to my wonderful wife, Rhiannon. Because I'm a gentleman, I won't say how old she is[1. I imagine everyone who reads this already knows how old she is anyway.].

Sparkler Sundaie

And, because I'm a gentlemen, I also won't tell you that Rhiannon strongly considered blowing out that sparkler, nicely placed in the ice cream sundae at her birthday dinner. The fact that the ice cream is sitting on top of a half pound of cookie was what made the choice of dessert an easy one.

friendly hangout

We were outside last weekend checking out our neighbors new camper when Brooklynn and Dylan decided to take off. They headed to our house to play, and when I informed them it wasn't ok for little girls to go inside completely unsupervised for too long, they decided that the rock by our lawn was the next best place to hang out. Get Friendly

I imagine it will seem like the blink of an eye until I wish that they would like to stay at our house to play rather than taking off across the neighborhood.

l o v e

Someone had her hair all done like a princess last weekend to be a flower girl and absolutely loved every minute of it. Curls

And then someone's dad drove her and her sister the long way around town between the wedding and the reception, because no naps had been taken up to that point. Someone's dad is a pretty smart guy.

Congratulations to the happy couple and thanks for including our little girl in the festivities.

L O V E

roll over

Turn your back for one second and your kids will get all grown up on you.

Roll Over from Chris&Rhiannon on Vimeo.

It seems like a couple of weeks ago that she was a newborn who couldn't hold her head up and now we have this tiny person in our house who you can't even trust to stay in one spot for too long.

Brooklynn does get concerned when Maddi ends up on the wood floor. Luckily during this video, she was busy with me as I tried to get her to finish her supper.

shades of blue

Rhiannon is into her second week with students in the new school year and I've been putting in some longer days with a busy project at work, so it feels like we see our girls for a short time in the morning and a slightly longer period in the evening, just enough to eat, briefly play, and get ready for bed. Luckily, part of the bedtime routine is taking a bath, which is one of Maddi's favorite things right now.

Post Bath

I just like how her eyes match her towel when she's done.

early reader

Brooklynn can't read yet, but it doesn't stop her from trying to look like she's a little bit of a bookworm. Book-wormish

As far as we know, no, there is nothing wrong with her eyes yet. The glasses are a trial pair for her dad who also looks like a huge nerd when he wears them. Those will not be the pair that sticks around the house.