Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Two is definitely not 1

 This girl turned the big 2 last week.

She didn't quite remember what to do with the candles, 

But, she instinctively knew what 2-year-olds do. Literally on her birthday, her vocabulary increased 10 fold, she was able to pedal her little tricycle 3 enormous blocks, and her tantrums took on a whole new level. 

In addition to her skills acquired on her birthday, she has mastered the art of squirt guns, 

Straightened out her run, (though still maintains the flailing arms)

 And continues to hone her jockey skills at every park.


 She also attended her first tea party with her bosom buddy Miss T, who also happens to be having a big 2 birthday. Their composure is quite stunning--I realize they are 2, but seriously!? Grandma Elna would have been proud.

 Oh how we love this personality-filled cutie. Bring on the terrific 2s!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Language Acquisition

We are acquiring language in multiple facets of our home right now. Jackson in the print department, Allie in the linguists department, and all of us in the etiquette department.

Jackson is mastering sounds of letters. Just today, I asked him what whale started with and we made a huge leap when he remembered "wah wah" starts with a "w" not a "y!!" This was especially exciting because so many of my first grade students struggled with that when I was a teacher... the "w" sound definitely doesn't make sense, it just has to be remembered (right up there with "y" itself, and "h" and "x" and.... oh the English language.)

Jackson made this awesome sign for Mark (after he was out of town for Brennan's funeral). The best part is his slow reading of it. I'm not sure how much is real, and how much is just slowed speech mimicking, but either are great skills to have when trying to get this print to word thing down. He'll look up and point saying "Wwww-eeee-ll-c--ah-mmmm ...."

 (He was SO proud of how many lines he put on his E. I think I will miss the many-lined-E stage--
so cute!)
 Allie is surprising us daily with new words she has figured out how to pronounce (in her own special way). She uses a great combination of hand gestures and sounds that are somewhat relevant to the word, to get her points across. The spectacle is effective 80% of the time--half of the time amusing, and the other half annoying as she screams and increases her volume. The 20% of the time that we don't understand is quite frustrating for all parties, especially since she won't buy the "Oh really?" response anymore. [Sigh]

Her articulation is rough for us to decipher, let alone other humans. She's starting a little joy school class in September--so we'll see if anyone else can interpret. If Jackson was available, we'd send him as a translator since he confidently tells us exactly what she is trying to say quite often--sometimes he's correct, and sometimes not, but the confidence is assuring to both of them.
To aid her clarity and language we've been trying to wean her from the binky.

The weekend was a little rough, so I caved in a ton, hence why I yelled to Mark to cut the tips of the little things right before bedtime last night. Mark was not thrilled to be given this task last minuet. Allie took it in decent stride (almost following exactly what Jackson did when his were cut) but Jackson was very upset about the whole thing. He had tears in his eyes as I went to put everyone back in bed last night. "But mom, how can we fix her binky? What about the new baby? How will he have a binky?" Oh it was hilarious and sweet.  Allie was perplexed by it most of the day, checking on them and making sure they were still "boke"--but I feel like she seemed like a more carefree person. Perhaps that bink was tying her down. Hopefully it allows her language to fly free.

Allie does have most of her body parts and animal sounds down, which serve as great distractions whenever we need one. I took this video last week, and she definitely doesn't get most of these questions as she mimics the last word of every question, but she is getting better every day, and mimicking is stepping us toward better articulation... a good place to be!

Oh my goodness. I love how she eats toast!

 With all the acquiring of language, we are still working hard to acquire nice language. Don't these kids just look amazing in this picture? I was grateful for my awesome helpers this weekend, but I must say we are working hard on not being rude (to each other and strangers).

I'm thinking I should have Jackson make some banners that say "Please" and "Thank you" and we can put them around the house to practice reading them (slowly). If Jackson did it, it would likely rub off on Allie which may eventually create more opportunities to remember saying them--for all of us.  Hmmm... this language stuff could be a good thing.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Memorable Whirlwind Part 2: Beautiful Waves

I have a distinct memory from a few years ago, of looking in the mirror and seeing my sister. I was looking at myself, but I understood why everyone thought we looked alike, and I felt like I understood her differently.

                    (seriously can't pinpoint a feature... but goodness, there's a likeness between us gals!)

We went to Portland and had an amazing time eating, playing and enjoying sunshine (!) with only slightly tired kids, but the highlight for me was singing a song in church--accapella--with both of my sisters. The sensation of having 3 very different voices converge in waves of unity was overwhelmingly powerful--especially because I had a hard time pulling my own voice out as I joined these sisterly waves. Also, and more poignantly because it was the first time we had ever sung together.

I received two packets of emotion today. We were emotionally shocked to learn of a close family member who died of cancer last night. She battled hard for a year and a half, and her body succumbed. Just after learning of her death, I opened an email from my Dad that had his pictures from our trip to Portland. The sense of gratitude for family completely enveloped my tears as I reflected on Brennan's death. I am mentally and prayerfully sending waves of family unity and spirit to her husband and two young boys. I picture ocean waves of love enveloping them in this dark hour and the future hours that will come soon.

We experienced many waves on our trip to the Northwest and I'm most certainly grateful for the wave of family love, but it's also fun to reflect on the others we experienced.

The ocean waves were beautiful but best enjoyed from the sandy shore, especially with Grandpa and his big shovel

Allie had her many "halloh" waves---sometimes spontaneous, sometimes inspired, but always cute

Jackson had his many mood waves--he's still a 0 to Armageddon type of kid, you never know if he'll be squealing for joy, screaming from an instant wave of anger, or if he'll be completely apathetic

(Luckily Grandparents love him through all the waves, though new mamma Lindsey may be a bit scared for her future)

(Notice all the wardrobe waves that occurred with the 50-90 degree weather that blessed us while there)

  Lily bug accepted waves of kisses and slept in waves

She didn't enjoy the hair waves that Allie did,

and could only dream of the many food waves she'll enjoy with her cousins in the future

                     (Salt and Straw ice cream)                            (Oregon strawberry jam)

But we all enjoyed the waves of beauty that crept up with stunning acuteness

Thank you Dad, for taking and sending the photographic art through digital waves (or whatever the internet travel via)--what a whirlwind of beautiful waves.