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Wednesday, November 23

paradise '11

enjoying our hawaiian vaca in kaanapali with the hodgman side for thanksgiving break.
what's not to enjoy??
let's stay a week!

Saturday, November 19

our mute munchkin

*this is insano long & involved & a bunch of mummy drama that i'm certain no one wants to read but i needed to document & hopefully get a little advice*

oh how we adore this little one.

she is mellow & mild & sweet & coy & smiley & quiet as can be.
she'll also throw in some wide-eyed yelling, flirting, & hilarious dance bops to spice it up.
her facial expressions could seriously entertain the masses. PRICELESS.
cossette is quite hard to describe.
everyone, including chief & the doctor, thinks i'm too worried. she is a second child. ellery was behind for a bit before she was where she is now. where everyone who talks with her thinks she's 4 or 5. but it's not about comparing. i know everyone develops at their own pace but cossette is 15 months old & does not talk. some days she doesn't even babble, though those are getting fewer. just silently smiles & gets into things & goes along her merry way.
her comprehension is high. better than almost all her age. she'll follow 3 & 4 step instructions. she sits down & read books with me constantly. i have not worried about her intelligence for a single second. i talk all day long (not hard to believe, i know), i repeat words over & over to her, i show visuals about what word that describes, i don't think i baby her, i go over each sound & rewards the slightest letter sounds with recognition & praise. chief is phenomenal at reminding me that she is getting more ideas & tactics & exercises from me because of my education in early childhood development. but i'm really best prepared for preschool through 6th grade, NOT mute babies!
she has no-zip-nilch-nada-niet interest in speaking to us! it's driving me crazy!! she says mama, dada, hi & that's only when she feels like it.
my MIL had similar concerns with her own (if not more intense) & it has made things infinitely better to hear it from her to not stress out about it. she has brilliant kids. she even suggested teaching coke some sign language for my own sanity. i usually have just the slightest little silent eye roll to parents that go that route because by the time your kid learns all those signs he should be talking anyway. & kids can get their point across in so many other ways. she waves, she nods, she shakes her head. i get it. she brings me a book & climbs in my lap. i get it. she goes to the pantry & knocks on the door. i get it. she gets her shoes & goes to the front door. i get it. brings me her empty cup of water. i get it. screaming in her high chair in between bites. i get it but seriously? clamp it kid!!
so i've only really taught her 'more' but it has been amazing. calmer for her and calmer for us. she's also learning the different between a head nod & shake which is infinitely more helpful. less hectic all around.
austin is totally convinced she just doesn't have the need to use actual words. & he himself lands on the quiet side but that's only outside of our house. she doesn't seem frustrated to communicate. which makes me think i need to make it harder for her by pretending i don't understand what she means by her obvious body language. but then she just hollers & gets so upset & looks at you like 'why are you torturing me so?' & the frustration doesn't seem to push or motivate or get anything into motion. it just breaks her little heart so then i feel so terrible & cruel & sad that i stop & give her what i know she needs.
maybe i'm not being patient enough but is that really the solution in her best interest? i'm 100% to let my kids cry it out because i fully believe it's what they need to be their best. i'll battle it out at every meal if that means they eat like champs because i fully believe it's what they need. but i have no belief behind sitting there shrugging my shoulders til she spits out her first word in the distress & agony of feeling misunderstood & ignored. she is such a tender thing & if this whole thing is just kathryn concerns & not valid or factual concerns then i'm out.
i'm a wreck about it though. are we doing everything we can for her? but what more can i do??!! should i just leave the poor girl alone? sit patiently? make it harder for her? get a second opinion? :(

Thursday, November 17

obx 2

was asked to include the rest, so here is another sampling from our trip to north carolina.
this is at the top of the stairs looking back at the gigantic house...
 the kids played at the bottom of the stairs a LOT.
 oh goodness to gracious, i love leg warmers.
 the beans relished standing against the wind & yelling into it like their parents taught them.
 but it was chillay!
& so windy ellery held on to the fencing and looked like she was in a twister, struggling with each step
& holding on for dear life. hilarious.
cocobean preferred a little more protection but just sat on the adirondacks out here grinning at the gusts of wind & the waves.
 but it was a blast!
every detail of the house was so charming & beach themed & comfy & almost vintage. carolyn did an infallible job.
cossette was so cute how she used this step stool as a little desk. she wanted to hang out in there whenever we were indoors.
we enjoyed eating on the deck
 & walked along the beach for a bit with daddy boy
 & hunting for some seashells
& play goofy games.
 the sisters told stories on the porch swing,
 & we spent time watching the sparkly waves
& looking for pear cacti & succulents.
 even though the view was really fantastic from the living room
 we still wanted to spend time outside.
to swing on the hammock,
 or just sit together,
 or to teach valuable life skills...
 yea! like a boss! haha
 terrific little get away.

Monday, November 14

the US botanical garden conservatory

the unites states botanical gardens are conveniently right on the mall but we hadn't made our way in until last weekend.
 it was a shmorgishborg for someone still learning on her fun camera.
 & i went a little snap happy.

which is not always well received,
but they get over it.

my lens fogged up & we all shed a few layers on an otherwise crisp day while inside the greenhouse.
they had replicas of all the major sites around dc made out of only natural materials like dirt, leaves, sticks, rocks, etc. they were stupid cool. do you see the teeny abe?

the conservatory is divided into habitats like the wet lands, primeval plants (plants that have survived for 150 million years), the jungle, southern exposure, the desert, rare and endangered species, hawaiin gardens, & my personal favorite: the medicinal plants.

 outside there was a kid sized model home that showed different ideas & benefits to sustainable living.

this is my favorite photograph i took during the day:
i'd been messing a bit with the aperture but this is sooc (straight out of the camera). i was so excited i emailed it to my daddy. haha.

but it came at a price. now if you thought 2 kids (one strapped in stroller even!) could be wrangled by 3 adults, you'd be wrong. while i was in my own little photog haze ellery wandered off & for quite literally 2.5 seconds we didn't know where she was. mid picture i go "who has ellery?" & bryce & austin look at me like oh crap, you don't?
in a split second i called for her & went darting as a lady yelled from the other end of the massive jungle exhibit, "did anyone lose a little girl?". when i got to her she had little tears in her eyes & just kept saying "i couldn't find you mommy. i was looking and looking. i couldn't find you." & then i barfed. okay not really but i don't recommend misplacing your child. i was immediately shaky & nauseous & it was terrible. i might have held her the rest of the time we were there. don't judge me. :)
after recovering we went to the orchid garden. there's a whole sealed room for all the species of orchids. they were incredible.

just outside is the native american museum & i thought it was kind of fun comparing it with it's mini mushroom model we'd just seen. :)

wish we had time to go again but i'm thinking it was a one time shot. if you ever visit dc, don't skip the botanical conservatory.

Saturday, November 12

& baby makes 3

over the weekend sam & becki went to new york city, so we had 3 under 3.
which went fine. really from thursday on, things weren't going as well as usual. yikes.

bristol was wonderful! cossette was wonderful! ellery? yeah, not so much. elles-a-belle has a nasty cough & runny nose & was a big snot the majority of the weekend. whiney, tired, cuddly, more accidents than she's had in a year... is that a sick thing?! she was really playful & sweet with the little girls just not so much with the parentals. much more high maintenance than usual. & high maintenance kids are exhausting yo.

but we were excited to keep bristol here to hang out with us!
 -after church-
 -in the car- i about broke my hand getting that 3rd car seat in the 2nd row of ike. intense.
-on the metro- bahaha we all liked this pic cause it looks like austin smacked elles in the head but really she hit her head & he was going to help her. she was probably throwing a fit of sorts.
-in the tub-

there's always a lot of dancing at our house but this weekend it was nonstop. all 3 kids loved jamming with the chief & all had very distinctive little dance moves. haha
all week ellery kept trying to hold bristol's hand, which bristol was not into. haha ellery is a little bit of a mother hen sometimes.
bristol & cossette were fast friends. they swapped jabbery stories & coke tried to keep up. i was hoping she would teach cossette to kiss with her mouth closed & maybe increase her vocabulary 100 fold. well we still have our little wordless wonder but she now kisses in the non-french variety. :)
bristol is an easygoing, smiley, funny little thing, a TOTAL chatter box, & swivels those hips like a pro.
& happens to eat carrots like a beaver.

love you bris!