Friday, July 26, 2013


I mean can you think of a better term for this charming young model?

I definitely got a few studly shots this week. Most of my subjects were wearing something on the bottom, like this guy who decided to install our new car battery. Woot woot! Thanks for saving the dough and getting greasy, honey

Or this cutie, who thinks she has studs for feet. Seriously worried she's going to take up walking before 12 months. Not quite ready for that yet...

Despite all the studiness, I'm sure we have no future models on hand. Mark thankfully went into a much more family friendly line of work, Allie has no interest in accessorizing (a definite must in modeling) and Jackson still refuses to have a picture taken by a stranger. We managed to get an almost group shot of 2 of my former teaching buddies and kids this week (yes we were all preggo at the same time for both kids). Everyone is in the picture, except Jackson who is 4 feet away with his cute face hiding in his hands.

So to put his studly nature to good use, I am proposing dancing as a career again.

I think she could be his assistant for sure:

Dad will balance this all out with continued practice in the art of manliness...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A-L-L-I-E & Dadan!

It's been a while since we had a peak into our normal happenings.

Allie (11 mo next week!) has been busy getting around the house. She frequents the bathroom, and finds the toilet a perfect sized pool to splash in. She also went down stairs all by herself. Definitely one of those awesome parenting moments--thump thump and then the scream. Good job Mom. Her latest is to carry around clothing in her mouth. You never know when they'll come in handy--could break an impending fall. It super cute, until she finds Jackson's dirty underwear.

She is definitely still in the oral stage, with loads of sand going into the mouth at the beach a couple weekends ago. She never quite figured out it wasn't too tasty, so we ended up holding her most of the visit. 

 Although her taste buds are not refined enough to reject sand, they are very picky and demand a specific diet. She still lives on avocados, potatoes and watermelon. But, she feeds herself! It looks like this afterward, but I love I do not have to be sitting by her side.

She LOVES swinging. Swinging, and anything Jackson is doing. In fact, we can confirm that her only recognizable word is Jackson's name: she loves Da dan!

Jackson really enjoys spelling Allie's name--he's not totally convinced he needs to work on his own, but he's got A-L-L-I-E down. Lately he has been practicing random letters--totally spontaneously. H for "Henry" is a big favorite. This was great when Mark's birthday came along, and I needed a scribe for my attempt at jumping on the pendent banner train. Jackson totally personalized it for me and only needed help on R and Y. Go Jackson!

Jackson has been spending Allie's nap times building intricate train tracks. Generally in his underwear, and generally talking or singing the whole time. I love it. Perhaps not the underwear part, but the self talk is a blast to watch.

Next we need him to self talk his way through cleanup--the train tracks and the underwear that Allie manages to find...

Loving our unscheduled, summer days!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cousin Love

Immediately following our sibling love extravaganza, we flew home to welcome Mark's Mom and youngest sisters to our home for a few days.

Mark's Dad was out here for a conference, so the girls came out to:

1) look at fish at the Baltimore National Aquarium

2) walk for miles through as many museums as possible

and 3) watch airplanes take off at Gravelly Point Park

After plugging our ears from the roaring jet planes at Gravelly Point, we all headed up north to visit Mark's sister and family who moved to Buffalo, NY this past year.

[Time out plug for how nice it is to have one immediate family member on the same time zone! No math to make a phone call woot woot! ]

We arrived after a drive through industrial PA and NY, with a totally sick Mama and a recovering Allie. However, Jackson was healthy. And we are SO glad.

Cole and Jackson were born a month apart and have never been entirely healthy while they've been together--usually one of them shows up to family events bearing sickness and a grumpy state of being and of course gives it to the other. We have had glimpses of what could potentially be a great friendship, but never really knew. Since both had horrible respiratory issues the week prior to our trip to Buffalo, their immune systems were bucked up and healthy, and they finally had a chance to bond. And boy did they ever.

Cousins played a major role in the childhood of both Mark and I. To see these two connect was thrilling.

Their carefully constructed three year old sentences complete with high pitched voices were hilarious. Everywhere we went, one of them would say, "Let's hold hands"--and they would.

The funny part was how much they could influence each other--in a really balanced way. Mark caught this video that shows it really well:


Of course, they did have additional "playmates" who helped nourish their friendship. Those lucky boys!

Jackson and Cole would have been perfectly happy digging in the sandbox the whole time, but we were not about to pass up all Buffalo has to offer. Palmyra and Toronto both saw the pair strut through with lots of adoring adults behind.

 (picture missing a sleeping baby Samuel who is in the stroller)

When we ventured to Niagara Falls, Cole stayed home to take a nap, and all day Jackson kept asking where he was. We had to make up for the lack of Cole by bringing the bike. Jackson skuuted from the American side all the way over to the edge of the Canadian side turning heads the whole time. But all he wanted to know was where Cole was.

By far the best result of the cousin relationship, was Jackson being tutored (by Cole) on how to treat your sibling. Thank you Cole for showing how gentle a big sibling should be--we have a much happier girl as a result!

Oh the secrets these two will share in the future. 

Hopefully it will continue to aid the next set of kissin' cousins with plenty of cousin love. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Sibling Love

I have a new brother. Fun! I call it insta-sibling.

My lovely sister Lindsey got married, and there was lots of newly-wed love (fyi--we confirmed that they love each other more than ice cream) and plenty of sibling love:)

The Newly Weds:

 And then the siblings:

(Aren't we all matchy matchy cute)

With 10 kids in Brant's family, Lindsey got massive insta-sibling.

Never to replace the sistah love we shall maintain!

Amongst the sibling love, we could not leave out my parents siblings who all managed to make it to the wedding (that would be 13 brothers and sisters plus most spouses and many kids). They took on the brunt of the manual free labor required in mormon-wedding land. The flowers, the food, the music, the cake, even the electric power was all labored over via siblings. 

And then there were our cute little siblings. They were so loving to their mama, but not so lovely during all the festivities. Jackson got sick a few days before our trip. I tried desperately to keep him from sharing it with Allie, but it was definitely lovingly shared. We spent much of our time in Utah, trying to contain the sickness so the 20 other tiny tots wouldn't get sick. This picture shows how they were most of the trip. Very cuddly! Hopefully we didn't share it with Mark's Grandma!

The kiddos made the photographers work hard-- (thank you Elena for taking pictures for me!)

Post-fever and in between coughing, I managed to capture a couple cute ones of Allie,

But Jackson saved all his smiles for later. Did they sit for the nieces and nephews picture? I'm not sure photo-shop could even help them. Jackson's body suddenly contorted into the craziest positions when we'd start walking over to take a group shot, and his face was so mad bystanders should have been angry at us. Allie being less mobile is likely in the shot, but flailing her hands and screaming. So sweet.

Despite the sickness, we had a lovely time, and are really looking forward to getting to know our new sibling Brant during future family fun. Hopefully sans sickness.

Lindsey decided not to continue the sister-hood of the traveling dress. Though it would have been fun to see the ol' gown again, I loved her dress. Check out the back. What a stunning sibling I have :)