Friday, July 18, 2014

A Girl Called Yay-Ya

Penny has a best friend. I don't know why this is somewhat strange to me. Maybe it's because I don't remember being two years old, and when I think about having had friendships back then (the 70s!!) that I no longer remember, it strikes me as kind of odd. Anyway, Penny's BFF is named Estella, and boy, does Penny love her. She talks about her constantly, and when she's with Estella she has a love in her eyes reserved only (or so I thought). The funniest thing is that Penny can't even say Estella's name. So she calls her "Yay-Ya", and Yay-Ya has no problem with that at all. Penny and Yay-Ya go to daycare together. Here they are showing off their Fourth of July craft.

We took it to the next level by setting up Penny's first playdate with Estella this past weekend in our back yard. Since then, Penny has requested "Yay-Ya at my house" every single day.

There are so many great things about their friendship, but one is certainly that they influence each other, mostly in positive ways. Estella is a much more adventurous eater than Penny, and if Estella is eating something, Penny will eat it, too (hello, strawberries!). It's amazing how early peer pressure starts, isn't it?

There's room for two on the slide, as long as the right person is squeezing in...

Then there's that kind of "secret language" that best friends have. Estella decided to talk some nonsense into a tupperware lid and Penny...well, look at her face. Penny was in love with her for it. 

Penny and Estella share really nicely, and they're really polite with each other, too. They really admire each other. They've known each other for so long, and I really hope their friendship continues. Estella is getting twin sisters in the coming months, and I think Penny is hoping that means more time for "Yay-Ya at my house". We'll take her!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Crafty, Lately

There's no doubt my crafting has slowed down a bit. With 2 kids, a new house (to redecorate), a job and a never-ending commute, things are so very busy. I do manage to eek out a few rows here and there, however. Here are some links to things I've been doing outside of this blog, if you're interested.
  • I crocheted the bread warmer, above. It was my first ever finished crochet project! Read all about it here, and Ravelry link here.
  • About every 2 weeks, I host a podcast. Lately I've done one about Men and Crafting, and Crafting in Summer. If you need an audio companion, maybe I'm it!
  • I'm learning to weave! It's going...ok. More on that, soon.

Monday, July 7, 2014


The Fourth of July offered me the opportunity to dress my children up in garish outfits. You might remember this tradition from last year, when the in-laws were in town. I kept it up merely because I thrifted their dresses, on separate occasions, months ago. And what day doesn't go well when it's started with red, white and blue homemade waffles for the entire family? 

This year was our first Independence Day in our newly purchased house. We found a flag in the basement, left to us by the previous owners, so up it went...

My Jones, Resident Alien (if that isn't true...), clutched his half American offspring proudly.

The neighbors told us that each year the children hold their own parade, decorating their bikes and riding and walking down the street with their parents. But we couldn't find the parade! Online research came up with nothing, so we headed to the parks, as usual.

Then we retired to the back yard for a picnic lunch. I set up the camera's self-timer, and Penny loved pressing the button and running back to sit on our laps. I don't think she understood what was really happening, but she could feel the suspense. Later in the day, we went to a bbq with some of my oldest friends and their children. 

It was also great to get some photos of the four of us. Yesterday was Mr. Jones and my third wedding anniversary. We were married in 2011, had a baby in 2012, had another in 2013, and bought a house in 2014. Life is sweet. What could be next?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Lulu at 6 Months

Well, everyone has been saying it, and I finally believe it to be true. Lulu looks JUST LIKE Penny at 6 months. It's pretty amazing. I don't think I believed it because Lulu is such a different personality that I don't see them as similar at all.

This baby is so smiley and giggly that when she does anything but grin, it shocks us.

She looks at everything, taking it all in. She fights sleep so she can watch everyone. When someone speaks to her, she flashes her open-mouthed grin and it melts them. "Well, Hello Smiley!". I must hear that ten times a day.

At six months, Lulu is sitting up! From her new vantage point, the world seems to make a bit more sense. She can see long distances to check out her sister and parents or a bird or tree, waving in the wind. She's so happy on a blanket in the middle of the action.

Lulu is also moving so much that I think crawling is in our not too distant future! She's a mover, just like her sister was at this age. I think she would get up and run after Penny if she could. We'll take a couple more months of sitting, though, Lulu. It's so sweet to have you by our side. We love you so much.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Start of a Beautiful Relationship (Please?)

We make no secret of the fact that we had these babies 20 months apart with many hopes. One was that we would see them through diapers and crazy sleep patterns (the latter being our phase, too) at similar times. I'm also not getting any younger (ahem). More importantly, however, was that we hoped by having them close in age that they might be close friends. I guess you can only try your best to foster a close relationship between siblings, and see what happens. 

Lately though, Lulu has really been fascinated by her sister, and Penny certainly loves Lulu. When Lulu is sleeping in another room, Penny will have a sudden attack. "Where's WuWu?" she'll shout, with her hands in a questioning position. When Lulu and I pick Penny up from daycare and the other kids come to see the baby, Penny always stands next to her car seat shouting, "MY WUWU!". The other day at the park, I was able to capture what seems like times of real conversation between the two of them. It's amazing to a relationship between my two girls begin.

Nothing builds relationships like snacking together:

Then we went to the swings. After everything Penny does at the park, she shouts, "WuWu's turn!". Usually, I tell her that Lulu is too little for ladders and slides and balance beams. This time was different. Lulu was able to join her on the swings for the very first time! She loved it so much, and Penny loved watching her.

Then we sat down on the grass again and I told Penny that Lulu wanted to sit down in front of her. Sometimes Lulu touching Penny isn't really welcome, but this time Penny thought it was hilarious! She even gave her sister a kiss.

I'm sure they have a future, like any siblings, of fighting over shared toys and parental attention. It just really encourages us that at such young ages they acknowledge each other, feel good about one another, dare I say love each other? We will continue to hope it's the start of a long and close friendship.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Daddy Day

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads who have made such a difference. I am lucky enough to have known a few.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Lettuce Begin

We are loving our new house and, especially this time of year, we are loving our new backyard. I don't think I realized how much children love the outdoors until I had a bit of the outdoors to let my children have access to, anytime they want. When they get fussy I just open the back door and they are instantly transformed by the fresh air and one million objects to look at, touch, and displace at their will.

One thing I wanted to try with our new space was gardening. I've never grown anything at all, and I thought it would be a fun way to learn, with my girls, about how to grow things, especially food. Penny is a pretty picky eater (though we're getting better every week) and I wanted to plant some vegetables and herbs we might eat. It might give the girls a better understanding of where their food comes from. So for Mother's Day, I asked for a raised bed. Last weekend, Mr. Jones assembled it and this week the girls and I did some planting. Here's the evidence of our first garden! Even if it all ends up in not much, I'm still really excited to do it.

First, Penny moved around some freshly cut grass, and learned some hammering and building skills with Daddy:

She always stops to smell the roses (and in Portland, the City of Roses, that's a lot of stopping!)

Then, mid-week, we planted. I went to this amazing nursery with Lulu one day and told them I'd never grown anything, that I have a toddler and a baby, and that I would like some "instant gratification" gardening. What could I plant that might yield results? They were great with advice, and I came home with starts (not seeds) of basil, broccoli, chives, coriander, and lettuce.  Penny helped me plant all of it. We also threw in some wildflower "bombs" to see what happens.

We got her some sweet gardening tools at a local shop, but she liked her new watering can best, by far. Apparently she's seen a book or video of Elmo with one, so she knew exactly what to do (thanks, Elmo!). Lulu watched her fill it up at the spigot over a dozen times, and march over to the raised bed for watering. It really never got old.

I'm looking forward to the days when both of the girls can participate, but until then every job team needs a Supervisor, and we have a pretty cute one.

Once finished, Penny and I  gave a big "Hooray!", we all hugged, and Penny requested we get out the backyard slide. Job done!

We've been watering the raised bed every night, as it hasn't rained much here in Portland lately. I'm sure Penny has no idea that what we've planted can be eaten, but I can't wait to show her, once it's grown a bit more. I hope gardening is an activity the girls and I can continue for many years to come.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lulu at 5 Months

Recently, Lucille Jones turned 5 months old. With that, came a huge amount of awareness. She looks at everything, reaches out to touch it all, and takes it all in.

It's been such a busy time around here, with babysitters and visitors and buying our first home. Lulu has been dreamy through it all. It only takes a smile her way, to get a smile back. 

The weather is finally getting warmer and Lulu is loving the fresh air. She's on blankets outside, surrounded by her toys, almost constantly. She is so content.

Her favorite thing of all is her sister, Penny. She never, ever, takes her eyes off of her, and in month 5 she started giggling at so much of what Penny does. Lulu loves words like "hop" and "pop". When Penny says them, and jumps or moves suddenly, Lulu's giggles are contagious.

She's still a pretty small baby, and we're still trying to sleep more than a couple of hours at time. But how can you stay frustrated when you see this little face ready to greet the day each morning? We love you, Lulu. You're almost half a year old, already!

P.P.S. Lulu wears her Western Woodland Vest all the time!