Friday, August 31, 2007

Midsummer Night's Bathtime

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Overheard in Our Minivan

A: Mommy, I don't like Philistines.

Me: Really...

A: Do you like Philistines, Mommy?

Me: I don't know. I've never met any.

A: Well, I did, and I don't like them.

Me: Why not?

A: Because they're mean and they don't like little girls...But they let me live.

Hawk Island

In the middle of downtown Lansing is a lovely, super family-friendly park: Hawk Island. It has a swimming beach on a man-made lake, paved jogging/walking paths, a huge wooden playground, canoe and paddleboat rentals, and the "Splash Pad," pictured below. It was 90 degrees today, so when we arrived, the place was hopping. Annabella had a fabulous time cooling off and finding little playmates (fabulous time, that is, until I told her it was time to go...we're still working on saying, "Mommy--I don't want to leave, but I will obey" instead of wailing), and Penelope defended her title as Easiest Baby to Take Out in Public (EBTTOIP). Despite the uncomfortable heat.

EBTTIOP's clothes were removed one by one until I ran out of removeable items and decided to leave. And, upon our return home, thunder started to roll. This was only slightly reminiscent of the tornado we reacted to last Friday... When Renee was on her way here from NY, and she was literally 10 minutes down the road, sirens went off all through town. A tornado touched down a few times about 3 miles from our house. Annabella, Penelope and I went to the basement to hide out and listen to the weather alert radio. Jake was at Target. I tried the best I could not to alarm the girls, but about the time that I heard the weather-alert guy say to hide under a workbench in your basement, and started making a palette for the girls, Annabella got scared and told me that she really just wanted to go be with Jesus.

She referred to the tornado, by the way, as "The Twister," as "Dorthory" does in the Wizard of Oz, historically, her favorite film. Since Friday, she's spoken of the twister often, and twisters have been making their way into the majority of her drawings.

Is it just me, or does Penelope make faces that look just like her Papa? I've never seen a child who could furrow her brow like my husband. If she were not my child and I saw her in public, I would wonder if she were related to Jake.

Just a few extras:

"Mommy, bow down to the queens."~ A. Joy

Penelope's new BUMBO chair.

A rather unconventional napping spot.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Wanna see something gorgeous?

Twenty-eight weeks down, twleve to go... Little Man Royal is set to make his debut on November 17. And who wouldn't want to go ahead and be born into the arms of such a beautiful mama?

We were very blessed from a visit from Renee and her belly over the weekend, and though it was brief, it was excellent and theraputic to sit around with a wonderful friend and talk about the past, present and future. Annabella was very excited, and definitely tried to monopolize Renee's time playing "store" among other things. Jake very wisely concluded that Saturday was an excellent day for he and Annabella to have a nice long date that included fishing, visiting a Christian music festival at one of the downtown parks, and an entire Lugnuts (minor league baseball team) game, complete with fireworks. So, some much-needed girlfriend time was available, and I was so grateful that my friend was able to meet my youngest, who showed off her beautiful, quiet personality. I can't wait to meet her little guy!

..."Because of your father's God who blesses you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of the breast and womb. Your father's blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills."

Genesis 49:25-26

Thursday, August 23, 2007

This Morning in the Co-Sleeper -or- Mommy, I'm Bigger Than You Think

This is where I laid Penelope this morning while I went the bathroom to brush my teeth.

When I came in to check on her a few minutes later, this is what I found.

...Obviously, I got the camera to document the whole thing. And finally, when I returned from putting on my makeup:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Last Week in Pictures and Captions

Last Wednesday, we attended a Member's Only Picnic at the local zoo. My mom was kind enough to buy our family an annual membership, and it is the only "club" we're members of in our new home, as well as our first bonafide invitation of any kind since moving. So, of course we went. Here are the Joy girls right before leaving.

Annabella had the pleasure of her first pony ride. Here she is astride Peanut, a little Palomino gelding. In the interest of discretion, I will only elaborate on the funny-kid-story involved if you request me to by e-mail. (It's worth it.)

Bella the chimp, and Bella the Tiger.

Penelope and Mama looking at some animal or other.... Oryx, I think.

On Saturday we attended the annual Danish Festival in Greenville, Michigan. Queen Annabella made a crown and got a balloon-sceptre.

The products of our various gardens that Belle so happily harvested.

The beans are straight from the garden--haven't even been washed.

And finally, Annabella proudly holding our little growing machine, Penelope, who, as of yesterday, had gained 2 lb. in the last month to weigh in at 12 lb. and 6 oz.-- 95th percentile in height (23 and 3/4 ''), weight, and head circumference. That little brain is growing! She continues to be a precious, cooperative baby as she tries to roll over by herself and communicate. She loves to play and hear fun songs.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

a little bit of time and some sunshine

Annabella planted a bed of flower seeds when we moved here in June. Until we returned from our recent travels, they hadn't really bloomed. But when we came back, the bed was really blooming. Here's her first real bouquet

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

O, Canada

My family and I just returned from our first vacation as a foursome. We were blessed by the presence of my precious mother who enjoyed our camping experience and gobbled up granddaughter time along the way. We camped together in a big roomy tent, and by all accounts both little girls fared very well, as did their parents who were able to get ample sleep.

Our intention was to go to Cheboygan, Michigan, explore Mackinac (prounouced Mackinaw) Island, then head to Tahquamenon Falls, Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, and wrap up with a visit to Traverse City. Our plans changed, however, when in Cheboygan we were informed that wildfires had closed the parks near Tahquamenon, and our reservations would be refunded. Instead, a look at the map and my explorer husband (who, incidentally, has William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame nesteled comfortably in the upper branches of his family tree) decided instead to journey into Canada and around the Ontario side of Lake Huron.

We did enjoy a beautiful stay in Cheboygan and a day trip by ferry to Mackinac Island. I told Jake that the place reminded me of an idealized version of New England. Automobiles are forbidden on the island. The only way to get around is by bicycle, carriage-taxi, or horseback. Everything is beautiful and pristine there, and the flowers were stunning. We enjoyed a woodland picnic out on a hiking trail that consisted of delicious smoked whitefish from the lake, goat cheese and a bottle of wine. We also ran into the Governor's husband and son who were enchanted by our children.

My only previous experience in Canada was in Toronto, which I visited over ten years ago while living in Upstate New York, so my idea of Ontario was shaped by this visit and by the acquaintance of my sister-friend Laurie who is a native. Both of these contributions made me assume that the place was wonderful, but I had no idea the beauty that we would encounter. It was quite rural--the parts we saw at least. There was much driving between anything that could be called a city, and we learned the hard way to get your gasoline while it was still daylight as most of the pumps were closed at night. We stayed at a beautiful family campground on the edge of Manitoulin Island, the largest freshwater island in the world. I will say that neither the website nor our photographs do justice to the beauty of this place. We heard the howls of coyotes all through the night and the calls of loons out on the lake. There were planned activities for families, and we attended a traditional Canadian corn roast while staying there.

We had to travel off the island by ferry, so we took a one-hour and forty-five-minute voyage to Tobermory, Ontario to head toward Detroit and out of the country. Annabella loved riding the ferry, and loved hearing that our van was riding in the ship's belly.

We dropped my mother off at the airport in Detroit around 2 am on Monday to catch her return flight to SC, and we got home and in bed at 4:00. It was a beautiful trip, and following are some of our photos from the week. Enjoy!

Annabella in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Huron. The bottom of the Lake near Cheboygan had a super soft sandy bottom, and was suprisingly shallow. You could go out 300 yards and still the water was only up to your thigh.

Jake reserved a tee-pee our first night at the campground. Needless to say, Annabella was quite excited. Here's Penelope sleeping in her little basket near the camp fire. Our weather was very comfortable the whole week.

Bella was exhausted at the end of each day, but she was not too tired to eat s'mores and hear "scary stories" by the campfire.

We went fishing while still in Michigan. Even though we were out for several hours and saw a few fish that we figured to be about 12 lbs. swimming around in the seaweed, this little catch was all anyone caught. The proud little angler nagged it on her Dora the Explorer fishing pole.

For $5.00 you can purchase admission to the Butterfly House on Mackinac Island--an indoor dwelling for over five-hundred butterflies of all sizes and native habitats.

My sweet little Beauteous Mae, who, incidentally, decided to roll over for the first time while lying on the picnic table of our campsite in Canada.

Mackinac Island was beautiful--here are some shots from around the island, including gardens that inspired me to begin my own cottage garden in my newly-purchased back yard.

Nana and Penelope at sunset.

As we hiked around the car-less island, both of our little girls fell asleep. We let them nap together out in the woods during our picnic.

Chipmunk Cheeks around the campfire.

Views from around Manitou Island and our campground... and finally... our sweet ladies.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Joy and Pleasure

Now, joy is born of parents poor,

And pleasure of our richer kind;

Though pleasure's free, she cannot sing

As sweet a song as joy confined.

Pleasure's a Moth, that sleeps by day

And dances by false glare at night;

But Joy's a Butterfly, that loves

To spread its wings in Nature's light.

Joy's like a Bee that gently sucks

Away on blossoms its sweet hour;

But pleasure's like a greedy Wasp,

That plums and cherries would devour.

Joy's like a Lark that lives alone,

Whose ties are very strong, though few;

But Pleasure like a Cuckoo roams,

Makes much acquaintance, no friends true.

Joy from her heart doth sing at home,

With little care if others hear;

But pleasure then is cold and dumb,

And sings and laughs with strangers near.

William Henry Davies