These Little Munchkins

 photo runningfromDaddy2_zpszv9xh2us.jpg

Remember these little munchkins? It’s been a while since I’ve shared any of their adorable antics. One of the favorite activities in our house is, believe it or not, wrestling with Daddy. Often in the evenings Dan will “tackle” Abby and throw her into a fit of giggles. Then Lydia will come running in yelling, “I think I’m tough! I think I’m tough!” So Dan will “tackle” her as well asking, “You think you’re tough?” It’s a great time all around. And if the girls turn on Mommy (as they sometimes do), Daddy takes them both on at once.

 photo stump2_zpsbovaqufb.jpg

Lydia has been practically begging me to teach her to read for months. She’ll point to letters and ask, “What makes this one?” (meaning, what sound does this make?) So we’ve finally started learning letters and making some fun crafts to go with them. Crafters, as Lydia used to call them, are one of Lydia’s favorite activities. She also loves riding her tricycle, playing in the sprinkler, and blowing bubbles.

 photo AbbychasingDaddy_zpscrnboxex.jpg

Abby is at a really fun age, learning new words almost every day. Some words are only decipherable by me, but other words are quite clear, “No”, “Ball”, and “Daddy”. Some of our favorites are “Diapah!” (diaper), and “Ah Boo!” (I love you).

 photo Abbyhastheball_zpsxcmqn4pt.jpg

Lydia says some pretty cute things herself. She is terrified of fireworks and thunder, so, as you might imagine, the Fourth of July was a rough night at our house. For the next several nights there were all sorts of loud sounds coming from the neighborhood. One night, Lydia asked me if there would be anymore fireworks and I told her there wouldn’t be. There weren’t any, so the next morning she came downstairs pretty happy.

“Mom, you said there wouldn’t be any fireworks and there weren’t any fireworks.”

I smiled at her and she exclaimed, “And God said, ‘Let there be quiet!’ and there was quiet!”

 photo Abby2_zpsyyuyn3dw.jpg

As for Abby’s favorite activities lately, she loves to eat. We can plop her down anywhere with a plate of food and she will sit there and eat until the food is gone, no matter what else is going on around her. The down side is, she’ll eat anything: grass, rocks, trash, plum pits…you name it, she’ll eat it.

 photo Lydiafootball_zpslywuorix.jpg

These girls usually get along pretty well, although they have their rough moments. Abby is tougher than Lydia, so there have been times when I couldn’t come right away and I’ve had to tell Lydia, “Just run away from Abby and she won’t hurt you!” They love playing outside in the sand where our pool used to be and they love pretending to be mommies. I just have to make sure we have two baby dolls so they’re not fighting over the baby! Neither of these girls like going to bed at night but it is sweet to snuggle up with Lydia and ask them both about their days. Abby lays in her crib and watches as she sucks her thumb and Lydia holds my hair. They really are little munchkins and they really are very sweet.

 photo Ball_zpsrbyafpgn.jpg

“Mommy, Will You Snuggle Me?”

 photo snuggles2_zpsnmof4ylj.jpg

For several weeks now, Lydia has wanted me to snuggle with her at night. After we tuck her in and say goodnight she cries out earnestly, “Mommy, will you snuggle me?”. It’s often late and there is always much to do. I need to go downstairs, wash dishes, clean the dining room, pack Dan’s lunch, wash diapers, feed Paul, sometimes go for a run, and on a good night, spend a little time with Dan. Oh, and we try to get to bed early ourselves. The members of this family need their sleep.

But I usually try to rest with Lydia for just a little while. It’s never long enough for her, but at least it’s a little time with Mommy before the last “goodnight”. Saying, “goodnight” is always a challenge for Lydia.

A couple of weeks ago I had a hard day. It was the sort of day that leaves me worn out before lunch time, and ready to cry by nap time. By the time Dan came home from work we were all a mess, Mommy, the worst, was tired and emotional. I had already given myself a time-out earlier in the day to take a few minutes alone in my room to pray and think and try to be calm and practical instead of irritable and emotional.

Something happened, I don’t remember what, but I timed myself out again, after sending Lydia to her room to wait for me. She must have done something wrong and it sure seemed like a big deal at the time, but it must not have been anything too serious or surely I would remember what it was today.

Well I was a mess. I was frustrated with Lydia, frustrated with myself, and crying like a three-year-old having a temper tantrum. It is not good when you act younger than your children and you’re trying to parent! So I took my time-out and prayed, “God help! I’m a mess! What should I do?”. And the answer came:

“Ask for forgiveness”.

So I did. I went into Lydia’s room and told her I was sorry for getting frustrated and emotional, asking her to forgive me. We talked for a while. I cried. She told me she loved me. I asked for a hug.

I needed a hug.

She gave me a hug and then waited while I held on. After a short while she asked, “Mommy, why are you still hugging me?”

That caught me by surprise. I needed a snuggle and Lydia always wants snuggling, so I told her, “Mommy needs to snuggle right now. Will you snuggle me?”

“Ok, but only for a little while”.

“What?” My little girl didn’t want to snuggle? “Why only for a little while?”

“We have to go eat dinner soon”.

In that moment, I saw what I’d been doing to my daughter. As emotional and worn out as I was, I really felt like I needed to be held and loved by my daughter. How many nights had she expressed the same urgent need to be loved and snuggled by me, and I had said, “Ok, but only for a little while”? How many times had she graciously agreed to “just a little” snuggling so I could hurry off and do my chores.

That day, Lydia snuggled me, probably for longer than “just a little while”. And that night, I snuggled her back. Now I make it a bigger priority to snuggle with her at night for more than “just a little while”. I try not to rush off too soon. And if Lydia falls asleep before I get to snuggle her, I sneak into her room and give her a short snuggle. Not because she asks for it, and not because she’ll even know I came. Just because I love her.

There Was a Small Girl Who Swallowed A Nail

Last week Dan’s factory was closed for “shut down” so we took a whirlwind of a trip up North to visit some of our family. We headed up late Sunday night and spent Monday with Dan’s parents. Well, that was the plan anyway. The girls enjoyed their morning with Grandma, playing, eating, and enjoying this great big chair I used to spend a lot of time in as a college student.

 photo chair_zpsyg9svgzg.jpg

After Grandma left for work, we had a lull in our day before Grandpa would get home from work. I decided to take advantage of the quiet house by having everyone take naps. Lydia asked me to lie down with her for a while but when I did she was climbing all over me instead of going to sleep.

Now, when we spend the night at Grandma and Grandpa Taylor’s, we all stay in Dan’s old bedroom. On one wall are several framed pictures and awards hanging up above what is now Lydia’s little bed. We were afraid one of these pictures might fall on Lydia during her nap time so we made sure to take the frame off of the wall before naps.

So, as I grew weary of Lydia’s nap time shenanigans, I told her I was going to go over to my bed (only about four feet away from her). As I looked up, I saw Lydia playing with the nail in the wall that the picture had been hanging on. I gave her a look that said, “Stop that!” and she did, but not before the nail fell off the wall onto the floor behind her bed (so I thought).

I moved to my bed just as Dan came into the room. We were chatting about something when Lydia made a strange gulping noise and looked up at me with a funny expression. Instantly I had a suspicion which Lydia soon confirmed: she had swallowed the nail. Dan called the pediatrician while I talked to Lydia some more, making sure she really swallowed the nail and telling her what was going to happen now.

Lydia loves Curious George, so I reminded her of the story where George swallows a puzzle piece and has to go to the hospital to get an x-ray. Smart Girl reminded me with fear in her voice that at the end of the book George has to get a shot. 🙂

I assured Lydia she wouldn’t need any shots and Dan rushed her to the ER while I stayed behind to feed Paul and wait for Abby to finish her nap.

The ER visit took up the rest of the afternoon. Lydia did a pretty good job (Dan tells me) although she was pretty scared. We used the opportunity to teach her the lesson that you shouldn’t ever put small objects in your mouth!

By dinnertime Lydia was sent home with instructions to get another xray in 5-7 days to make sure the nail passed without any problems.

 photo hopsital_zpsr0fwvzw9.jpg

 photo Xray_zpslfojrysc.jpeg

We wrapped up our crazy day with a stop at Bob Evans for dinner before heading back to Dan’s parents’ house for the night.

Tuesday began the whirlwind part of our trip where we visited family like crazy, but I’ll save that for another post.

Oh, and for the record, Lydia had her second x-ray on Monday and it was all clear. The nail didn’t cause any problems and is gone for good. Thanks to everyone who was praying and asking about her. She is doing just fine.

The Munchkin Turns Four

 photo IMG_9102_zpse1hvmtmq.jpg

On May 30th, our Lydia turned four. As with all Taylor birthdays, the day (and following and proceeding days) was a celebration. Earlier in the week, Nana and Papa stopped by for a visit and gifted Lydia with some new outfits. In fact, she’s wearing exclusively new Nana and Papa outfits in all of the pictures in this post. Actually, she wears the Nana/Papa outfits almost exclusively now. Especially the purple dress (not pictured here) which she asks to wear every single day.

First thing in the morning Dan gave Lydia her birthday flower: a petunia which is now happily planted in the window box in the front of our living room windows. She faithfully waters it and pulls off the dead blooms (with some help). It’s pretty cute.

 photo IMG_9084_zpsul2rkg65.jpg

Next Lydia got to open some presents. Dan and I gave her a backpack stuffed with a notebook, pens, and toddler scissors, along with an activity package called Ready, Set, Paste. It has eight little glue projects and Lydia loves putting them together for “school” each day.

 photo backpack_zpsrhxhkezk.jpg
 photo IMG_9085_zpssnzphdec.jpg

Late in the morning our family made a trek over to Plymouth to visit the famous E & H Lemonade Stand. It was our first time and we took our time considering our options. The lemonades were delicious. While we sipped, we enjoyed some activities put on by the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum.

 photo IMG_9091_zpsnrsdippe.jpg
 photo IMG_9094_zpsbuscfcpm.jpg

Next we traveled in to Ann Arbor for an open house. Lydia got soaked running around with some of her friends in the rain. By dinnertime everyone was tired out, but not too tired for some more presents, this time from Dan’s parents.

Paul even joined in the celebratory mood by almost smiling.

 photo IMG_9103_zps1wwfch2h.jpg

Lydia got a swimsuit, towel, chair, and a sprinkler and has asked to play in it every day without fail. I thought it would be fun to see her reaction when she finally learned what the “spraying thing” was, but the reaction wasn’t as epic as I’d hoped. But I’ve included a couple clips for your enjoyment. We’ve all had fun with the sprinkler already.

 photo IMG_9125_zpst5p6inyj.jpg

Lydia also got two new pairs of sunglasses which were promptly snatched up by Abigail. Abby was also sporting a post dinner mohawk and no shirt because we had spaghetti for dinner and she is impressively messy whenever we eat spaghetti (which is also why we save spaghetti for bath night).

 photo IMG_9110_zpsay0kkf1e.jpg
 photo IMG_9107_zpsktvswkum.jpg
 photo IMG_9109_zps40af1kkp.jpg

Great Gramma Dexter gave her a new, very special mirror, which used to be Grampa Dexter‘s. He used to use it when he was stuck in his big chair to see behind him into the kitchen and find out what Gramma was doing.

 photo IMG_9097_zpsdx8crjmo.jpg

And now she’s four. She’s just as cute, funny, snuggly, sweet, and helpful as ever. She’s also developing her very own sense of fashion. She loves to sing and pretend and act like a “big girl” in front of others, and she really dislikes being alone. She also keeps Dan and I on our toes because we told her not to say “hate” and she corrects us every time we say it (which is why I used dislike in that previous sentence!) She recently caught our pastor taking a bite of soup without praying first and she bluntly blurted out, “You didn’t pray for that!”.

She’s quite a character and we love her so much. Happy birthday sweet Lydia Hope!

 photo IMG_9111_zpsocibw5iy.jpg

Lydyisms

 photo Lydyism_zps84e48b9c.jpg

Our Munchkin is, as we often say in our household, quite the character. She’s always coming up with funny things to do or say, usually unintentional, that keep us laughing. Her best moments we have dubbed, “Lydyisms”, and for the sake of never forgetting these cute memories, I wanted to share a few.

One afternoon we were driving home from church in some bad winter weather. Lydia wanted Dan to tell her a “Billy story”, stories that he makes up on the spot about a little boy named Billy…
Lydia (knowing Dan didn’t really want to tell a story right then): Daddy, can you tell me a really short Billy story?
Dan: Once upon a time it was snowing really hard and Billy went outside to play in the snow. The end.
Lydia: No! You didn’t read all the words!

After yet another battle trying to get Lydia to “go potty” cheerfully…
Lydia: I don’t like having to go potty every day!

While trying to get Lydia to do something she desperately didn’t want to do (like going potty cheerfully and by herself)…
Justine (quietly over Lydia’s crying): It’s the end of the world…
Lydia: I DON’T WANT IT TO BE THE END OF THE WORLD! (and breaks down crying harder)

Often while Lydia lies in bed waiting to fall asleep at night…
Lydia: MOM! Can I rest-with-my-eyes-open-and-suck-my-thumb-and-hold-my-hair-for-a-little-while-but-not-too-long? Is that ok?

While laying with me in bed one morning as I read my Bible Lydia noticed a fly and hid under the covers. A few minutes later I was getting ready for the day and Dan walked into the room and looked around…
Dan: Where’s Lydia?
Lydia (from under the covers): THERE’S A BEE!

Love, Laughter, and Bloopers

 photo happy_zps3fc6c15b.jpg

Last week I took the girls outside for a brief photo shoot before posting Abby’s latest update. Lydia wanted to be in on the fun, so I took pictures while the girls played together. It was sweet. Afterward I realized that I had taken some pretty funny pictures, and some cute ones too.

Mind if I share?

Few things make my heart happier than watching these two talk to each other, play together, and just love on each other.

 photo hithere_zps98a86cdf.jpg

Sometimes I’m not sure they’re BOTH enjoying themselves.

 photo tumbling_zpsc3a6c77e.jpg

And sometimes I KNOW they’re not both enjoying themselves.

 photo unhappyhug_zps0b033336.jpg

Sometimes they just need some alone time.

 photo parallelplay_zps3ffa6e3b.jpg

Sometimes bad things happen when I’m not around.

 photo bitter_zpse6ebf6a0.jpg

But these two forgive quickly. Then they’re back to sharing secrets.

 photo secrets_zps896f9235.jpg

 photo laying_zps99407f08.jpg

Maybe I was just in a wedding mood, but this one reminds me of bridal party shots where all the girls are talking and laughing. Don’t grow up too fast girls!

 photo weddingsomeday_zpsfc8b14d2.jpg

Maybe we can duplicate this one at the a wedding too. 🙂

 photo whatISshedoing_zps2f713d3c.jpg

Abby has a tendency to bite fingers, eat faces, and poke people in the eye.

 photo eatyourface_zpsd0150b7d.jpg

 photo pokeyoureye_zps0069b999.jpg

And sometimes she just won’t smile.

 photo smileAbs_zpsab43a8d8.jpg

I love my girls. And all our squishy selfies too.

 photo faces2_zps75c67601.jpg

 photo squishyfaces_zps4c5bcb00.jpg

Munchkin Update: 3 Years, 2 Months

Lydia is in to collecting things. She collects rocks, leaves, and flowers from outside. Sometime she keeps them in her pocket and sometimes she pretends one of the rocks is her cell phone. She also tends to collect purses. And tutus. Right now the tutu count is up to four.

A few days ago Lydia pulled the blanket off of her bed and rigged a “swim suit” out of a couple of tutus. One of her favorite games now is to put on that “swimsuit” and go “swimming” in her bedroom. If anyone is friendly enough to join her she really likes to get in and out of the “water” and dry off with a blanket each time before jumping back in.

 photo swimming_zps1baea728.jpg

She is all go, all the time. And if you ask her, she will tell you that she is never tired. For the past few months now she has been in a “why” phase. Her response to almost everything is “why”. Often she genuinely wants to know, sometimes she does it to be silly, and sometimes it’s just out of habit. This morning I was folding laundry and Lydia asked me if I would go “swimming” with her. I told her I could after I finished folding laundry and washing dishes.

“Why?”

“So we have clean clothes to wear and clean dishes to eat off of.”

Her answer was insightful: “So they will get dirty again?”

 photo running_zps31e2b3a6.jpg

Lately Lydia has memorized the books of the New Testament and a large portion of scripture put to song for our Church’s Vacation Bible School. Dan and I also realized that we were emphasizing a lot of numbers and shapes with her, so I decided to start teaching her the alphabet.

 photo smelling_zps21bb9f28.jpg

Every morning I pull out some magnet letters and we play with them. Big A and Little A are on our fridge right now along with Big B and Little B. They tell Lydia what sounds they make and sing the ABC song. It’s sort of like a little puppet show every day and she loves it.

 photo whimsy_zpsbcdbaf1f.jpg

Lydia is always my big helper. If I let her help me make dinner or wash dishes, she’s thrilled. She’s happy go get a clean diaper for Abby or throw away anything we say can go in the trash. She’s also as sweet as can be and frequently asks us to hold her or sing with her. Sometimes she spontaneously comes up and says, “I love you Mom”. We love her spunk and her energy and her silliness, but more than that we love the sweet hearted helper that she is and her precious sensitive heart.

 photo flower_zps619f1488.jpg

Munchkin Update: 3 Years, 1 Month

 photo closeup_zps3dcf0a77.jpg

This month Lydia has been as cute, fun, and helpful as ever. A couple of nights ago she helped me peel cucumbers and spin salad. The only problem is teaching her not to get into my spices! On multiple occasions I have glanced over at her toy kitchen to catch her pouring garlic or mustard powder all over the floor and kitchen, getting a little bit into a toy pot or pan.

We’ve come to a bit of a stand-still when it comes to memorizing Bible verses. I tried to tackle all of Psalm 23 and, while I’m sure Lydia knows it all, her attention span isn’t long enough to sing it all at once. (Same with the books of the New Testament. She gets about halfway through and then sees something more interesting and forgets where she was).

 photo flipflops_zps37e15374.jpg

Every morning, the first thing I hear is Lydia calling for Daddy. Daddy is always at work when Lydia gets up, but that doesn’t stop her from calling for him every single day. Once she’s up, and getting dressed, she asks me if she can wear shorts, or as she has frequently called them, “the short pants”. Nana got her some flip flops during our trip North and she almost never takes them off. She’s learning her “left and right” right now and usually puts them on the wrong feet once before having to switch them.

 photo takingoffshoes_zps5bbf4a83.jpg

I started running again this week and Lydia loves to “share” the double stroller with Abby. It’s pretty adorable to look down while I’m jogging and see Lydia holding Abby’s hand. Once I finish my run, I let Lydia get out to jog a lap with me around our cul-de-sac. Between the running and learning to ride a tricycle this month, Lydia is becoming quite the active little toddler.

 photo running_zpse76b91e4.jpg

She’s getting to the age where she often says cute and funny “Lydi-isms”. Last night we were sitting at dinner talking about boys and girls. Lydia pointed out that she and Mommy are girls, but Daddy is a boy. She told us that Abby is a “little girl”. Then I asked her, “Lydia, do you know what a grown up boy is called.” She confidently answered, “A pig.” We decided to stick with “boy” and “girl” for now.

Later, on the way home from Bible study Lydia started negotiating with Dan. She likes to watch a little baseball before she goes to bed at night. She also likes to snack on dates and crackers. So the conversation went something like this:

Lydia: When I get home, I want a date and two crackers and maybe some baseball.
Dan: Hm…how about one date and some baseball?
Lydia: One date, one cracker, and maybe some baseball. How ’bout that?
Dan: One date, baseball, and some water.
Lydia: One date, one cracker, water, and maybe some baseball. How ’bout that?

In the end, she got everything but the cracker.

 photo content_zpsf6c9a647.jpg

She sure is a sweet little helper, but very independent too. She is very particular and I never cease to be thankful that I get to be the one with her all day, learning how she thinks and works. At the same time, I get a lot of joy out of watching her play with others too. A few weeks ago marked a big milestone when we started letting Lydia go with the “big kids” during our Bible study. If it wasn’t a highlight of the week before, it sure is now. She comes home full of stories about Mr. Daniel, Daniella, and her little friend, Addy. And still, I’m happy that I get to be the one to snuggle up with her in the morning, talk about the day ahead, and read to her from her story Bible.

 photo withmommy_zpsdf0cbe9d.jpg

Almost Three

Tomorrow morning, at 7:52, Lydia will turn three. We’ll probably spend most of the morning playing outside. I will probably make her take a nap even though it’s her birthday. Then we’ll pull together a birthday dinner that will definitely include tortilla chips. We’ll tell her birth story and celebrate that God has given us three whole years with our little Munchkin. Our Little Bunny. Our Big Girl. Our Gooselet. Our Lydia.

 photo 01_zps13db0ffb.jpg
 photo 02_zpse1782ef7.jpg
 photo 03_zps3fa14f35.jpg
 photo 04_zps0b71356d.jpg
 photo 05_zps4799e6a1.jpg
 photo 06_zps19b70fd2.jpg
 photo 07_zpsf170611e.jpg
 photo 08_zpsd0cba32e.jpg
 photo 09_zpse4336cba.jpg
 photo 10_zps9959e3c0.jpg
 photo 11_zps5d4ea871.jpg
 photo 12_zps85bcb072.jpg