Monday, June 23, 2008

One year ago today...

...we left California. Don just figured it out. We left Bakersfield on June 21 to spend two days at Disney/California Adventure. And on the 23rd we left California, passing into Arizona. Wow. I can hardly believe it's been a year.

I count July 1 as our first day in St. Louis - it was the day we actually got our keys and had our apartment walk-through - plus it's easy to remember. I think we'll bake a cake or something and have a family celebration on July 1. It's crazy to look back on how far we've come, how much we've settled in, how much the girls (especially Elizabeth) have grown and changed. Here's a glimpse:

July 4, 2007 (Bethie was 3 months old)**** April 20, 2008 (Bethie @ 1 year old)

Don doesn't think Elizabeth has changed much...what do you think? She has a little more hair I suppose... :-)

Couple updates: Hannah went to VBS last week and met a new friend, Mya, who will be in her preschool class next year. They were just bestest buddies for the week, so it's great to know she'll have a friend as soon as school starts. Elizabeth is crusing all around the furniture now and really growing in her thinking and problem-solving skills (no, really). She still has no interest in walking/standing/pushing her scooter by herself though. Maybe she'll walk by the end of the summer. Don is in the 4th week (of 9) of summer classes. His first 4-week class ends this week and he'll start a new one on July 7. (His 9-week class continues the whole time. Confused?) I've been carting the girls all over - VBS last week, Tower Grove Park today, the Clayton community pool tomorrow, the library every Thursday, and more to come. I'm still working on the Today's Light Bible readings, trying to read through the whole Bible in two years (before we go on vicarage). When I started we were in the Gospels and have worked our way around to the Old Testament again. I'm in 1 Samuel now.

That's about it for us. I'm reading John Lescroart's Betrayal and it's due back at the library on Thursday with no renewals, so I better get crackin'! Love to all - thank you so much to all of you who keep us up to date on your lives and bless us with your prayer requests. Many of you are on our family prayer board. Keep in touch - we miss you!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Warning: Commercial plug

Hannah and Elizabeth recently became members of TotSpot. Rather than try to describe it myself (I described it to Don as Facebook for kids), here is what the homepage says:

What is TotSpot?
TotSpot is a place for parents to publish a page about their kids and share with family and friends. It's part online babybook, parent journal, and social network. Childhood is an ongoing story and TotSpot is the first site that makes it super easy for parents to securely share their kid's story with friends and family.

We were invited to join by my friend Kerri and her daughter Anya. So we joined along with maybe 600 other people who were invited. TotSpot just today made the site open to anyone who wants to join, even without an invitation. So if you have kids and want to try it out, be sure to search for our girls (HannahGrace and BethieJoy) and request that we be friends. Even if you don't have kids, you can sign up as a "grown-up" friend and see what we're up to. (Don't worry, I have to approve all requests, so I'll know all of their "friends." No strangers allowed.)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

All's well that ends well

Quick update to let everyone know that everything's fine here. We didn't end up having to return to the basement last night, so we had a nice quiet evening. I did pack the diaper bag with snacks, water, a flashlight, candles and a lighter, just in case. Our neighbors said that last summer they were down in the basement for quite a while and the power ended up being off for 4-5 days (we've heard horror stories about that experience!). But we all realized that none of us had anything for light in the event the power went out again. So I was temporarily prepared, though nothing happened. But we need to think about permanent solutions so we always have light, water, and snacks. Oh the joys of living in the midwest!

In other kid news, Bethie is finally crawling (at 14 months)! She started two days ago and is so immensely proud of herself. We can hear her coming from the other room, breathing hard and giggling. She arrives sweaty and clammy, but with a big grin on her face. She's pretty slow, and as Don says, is so awkward she looks like Frankenstein, but she's doing it.

Don's leading worship at church tonight, so I'm on my own for the evening with the girls. Hannah's about to have a tantrum, so I better go. God bless!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Not in Oz yet

We are currently down in our basement waiting out a tornado watch (gotta love technology!). The tornado sirens have gone off twice and we've been down here for about an hour and a half. The kids are doing great - especially now that we have snacks. The sirens went off just as I got them both down for naps, so I think naps are now out of the question. Hannah doesn't really understand, which is fine with me - I don't want her to be unduly scared.

Praise God for good neighbors! We've been playing games, kicking a ball around, eating snacks, visiting, drinking our neighbor's homemade beer (!), and talking about all the creature comforts we want to bring down for next time. The worst has probably passed, but we'll stay for a little longer. Then someone (Don) will probably run out for pizza or sandwiches before the next cell comes in later this evening. I'm sure we'll be fine, but if you're reading this sometime Friday afternoon or evening, say a prayer for us and all those in our area. God bless - we'll post again tonight or tomorrow when all danger has passed. Love to all
--The wind-blown Rays

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Birthday Bashes

Since our last update, we've celebrated two more birthdays in our house. Hannah turned 4 on May 19. We celebrated with Daddy on May 16, since he was headed out to New York the next morning for a week-long "field trip." That evening, we gave Hannah her main present (paid for by mom & dad, Papa & Nana, Grammies, and Noni) - a Fisher Price digital camera. Then Don left for NY and Noni (my mom) arrived for the week. She was here to celebrate Hannah's actual birthday (we went to MoBot that day) and we had a great time. Once Don got home from New York, it was time to have Hannah's birthday party. We decided on Wednesday, May 28 (which was my 31st birthday) because our venue of choice, CiCi's Pizza, lets kids eat free on Wednesdays. Here are a couple shots of both birthday girls at Hannah's birthday party.

Two days later Hannah got to go to her friend Allie's birthday party. Allie had a very girlie "makeup" party. The girls got to fix their hair, put on finger- and toe nail polish as well as "real" makeup. Hannah had a blast. Here's a picture of her "handiwork" and another of her dressed up in one of Allie's outfits. Too cute!

In other news, we've been talking for a couple days about cutting Hannah's hair. I finally decided to take the plunge and go for it. It's a little shorter than I had planned, but we can still put it up and we can always take her somewhere and have someone else clean it up. For now, it works. It's cute and it'll be cooler this summer. Here she is:

Finally, a few new Hannah-isms for you to enjoy:
On one of our first warm days, Hannah was so excited it was warm enough for her to wear “pants with short sleeves” (shorts).

Hannah told me that she and her doll Brooklyn were both having babies. The babies would be twins and their names would be Geyser and Ladybugger.

I was telling Hannah that I had a cold and wasn’t feeling well. She responded seriously, “Being sick is no fun.” Then she brightened, “But CandyLand is fun!”

It took us an especially long time one day to get to school. I began to say that we’d try a different route the next Tuesday. I said, “I think on…” and she cut in, “Northbound 70?” Obviously she’s been listening to the traffic reports!

We learned recently that Hannah is trying to wean Brooklyn (her doll). Hannah’s “boobies” produce soy milk that is a “vanilla-y-ish flavor” with chocolate chips in it (!).

Look for another update soon on Bethie!