Monday, July 19, 2010

Fun with Grandma and Grandpa

The rest of our weekend was spent having fun with Grandma and Grandpa. Meredith was incredibly excited to see them and knew that they had missed her very much! She was also quite excited to see her cousin - almost so much you would think he lived in Missouri, not in the same basic area as us! Grandma had lots of fun toys ready for us, including the well-loved kitty that has been around since my Aunt was little.
Jillian developed her own game of giving Grandpa Ruffles and then taking him back. It was lots of fun!
Grandma also surprised Meredith with an early birthday present - a Precious Moments doll! Meredith got to go see the Precious Moments chapel with Grandma last visit, so this was a perfect gift!

Silly Landon searched the house for the Mystery Pumpkin from the moment he arrived. Not sure where he got this idea, but luckily Grandma knew where she could find a mystery pumpkin, and the kids played with this the whole weekend. Landon thought wearing it like a hat was the most fun.

Then I got a turn, too! I am pretty sure this was his idea, but he doesn't look too happy about sharing the Mystery Pumpkin with me.

But the highlight of visiting this time was heading out to the pond for some fishing!
We do what with the worms?? No surprise here - Papa was the resident hook-baiter.
Papa giving Meredith some pointers.
Success - Meredith's first fish!! She was super excited that she got to catch a green one! So excited, in fact, she decided to touch it...
The fish "flipped" in protest. Meredith reacted much like I would react to a fish "flipping" in my hands. She insisted we put him back to get one that didn't "flip." The next one she caught, however, "splashed" which was also not up her ally, so that one went back too. She eventually got used to them, though!
So happy with her next catch - hopefully this one won't flip or splash!
She asked to catch a yellow and orange fish, and on command, got this one - not too bad!
Look at my little pro!
Landon and Meredith were both very successful in their fishing - they probably each caught about 6 fish! And they were practically jumping onto the lines, so it was the perfect set-up for a couple little ones with short attention spans!

Before heading out on Sunday, we got to see Grandma and Grandpa one more time for my favorite breakfast - Grandma's waffles and vanilla syrup! Yum!
There was plenty of time for Jillian to play her games with Grandpa, too!
And of course cuddles!
And some hugs
And some good-byes to Grandma, Grandpa and the kitty.

Uncle Perry's Station

This weekend, the girls and I loaded back in the car, this time with my mom and dad to visit both my Grandparents and Uncle Perry's newly redone TV station in Joplin, Missouri. The station was damaged in a storm a year ago and my dad has spent most of his time these past few months there working like crazy to give them an amazing new station. This weekend was their big grand opening, so we thought it was a great opportunity to support my Dad, Uncle Perry, and get to see my grandparents all in one trip!

We got into town just in time to change clothes and get to the station. The weather was a bit iffy, but held up for the tent reception. The girls were fantastic during lots of speeches - of course it helped that they could see Uncle Perry (who is a favorite) and they had so many people around them that loved them - and lots of others who saw how darn cute they were!
Proudly sitting with her Papa, who fixed the station. Meredith decided that he must have had a lot of tape to fix it. Luckily for Unlce Perry, Papa had something better in mind.
Jillian decided to go for walks during the speeches, so Big Sister came to the rescue to follow her
This sweet smile helped her to win some fans in the audience.

Next we got to go on a station tour to see Papa's handiwork!
Jillian and Aunt Sandy took a moment to pose in front of the makeup mirrors.
Jillian tested out the anchor's chair. Meredith did too, but would only face backwards since she was being silly. Luckily, we took another tour when Uncle Neil and Landon got there and convinced her to try out her anchoring skills too!
Meredith was really excited to try out the green screen - there was lots of dancing and twirling. So maybe she and Jillian will be a news team - Jillian behind the desk, Meredith doing the weather!
I got to have a little fun too!
My little weather cuties!
Jillian thought it was lots of fun to dance on the green screen too!
After the tour, we headed back outside for something to eat - and to see Uncle Perry. This little girl lights up every time she sees him!
I wish I could post the progression of getting this picture, both girls were being silly or uncooperative, so Uncle Perry and Aunt Sandy were doing some crazy things to get all these smiles to happen - I think it was well worth it for this super-cute pic!

Neil and Landon came to Missouri, too, but their flight got in late, so they couldn't make the event on Friday. Luckily, there was a fun family day at the station that we joined on Saturday so they could see it all too - plus, there were bounce houses and balloon animals (and we are now the proud owners of green balloon snakes for each kid - they were quite the hit at Grandma's house!)
On this tour, Meredith told me that she wanted to go back and get a picture in the anchor chair since she was being silly the night before, luckily we could grant that wish for her!
Then there was more green-screen fun! They actually used Meredith as their "model" to show the room how it all worked. The guy, though didn't seem to have a grasp on the fact that Meredith is 3 - he kept telling her to point to her left (which she is pretty good at doing - she gets it about 50% of the time! :)) or telling her to point to where it said "Sunrise", etc. Luckily, Meredith caught on and went with it and did a great job!
This is just a picture to show how funny she looked on the screen - as usual, she is in green, so she actually looks like she is wearing a weather map striped shirt since the green in her shirt disappears!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jillian's 15 month Stats

Today was Jillian's 15 month appointment, so we got to catch up on her stats and let the doctor check to see how she is doing. The stat part is always a little nervy for me for a couple of reasons...

First, Jillian has always been smaller than Meredith - this isn't really a good or bad thing for either of them, but I am always concerned about if that continues how that will play into how they will feel about that as teenagers....will Meredith, who is on track to be as tall as me, be wishing she was more "average" height like Jillian is trending to be now? Or will Jillian wish she was 6 feet tall like the rest of her tall family? I know that none of these stats will predict for sure what either of my girls will look like at 10, 15, 20 or really even next year, but it still always makes me start to flash-forward. Second, Jillian always drops percentages at each appointment - this has never been a concern for the doctor because they aren't major drops, but again, looking back to Meredith, she was always 98% on everything, so changing percentages always just seems weird to me - but again, I am sure this happens alot. Last, there is always the moment when they measure her head and then look at where that measurement hits on "the chart." The doctor used to be concerned about it, but kind of laid those worries to rest at her 12 month appointment (after measuring my head and telling me mine was off the adult chart - whew...we both just have big heads), but I do always still wonder, since they put the idea into my (big) head that it could be a problem. So today, it went about like it always does. Jillian's % are down, they are still lower than Meredith's and she still has a large (but beautiful) head. The most amusing part of the appointment for me is always when the nurse (who seems to be different every time) freaks out when she sees how far off the chart her measurements are. Today, there was an obscenely loud noise that I can't even describe when she saw the point on the chart. But she and the doctor told me that the important thing is that she is staying consistent on her "own" curve!

With all that, I was so excited to hear from them that her language is on track with a typical 15 month old (maybe even a little better) - I have wondered off and on about it because her words have been developing more slowly than Meredith's did at this age (I swear, I don't always compare them in this way!!) And they were also very encouraging that they felt like part of the reason she might be less verbal (in addition to having an older sister to talk for her and a mom who is busy talking to an almost 4 year old and a 1 year old) is that she is doing pretty well with small motor coordination. It was also fun to show off her new love of pretending to be a lion and tiger in their jungle-themed room. It was actually hard to talk over all of the "tiger" and "roars" that were going on from a very excited Jillian!

So here are these meausurments I stressed so much about!

Height: 30.75in (60%)
Weight: 22.6 lbs (45%)
Head: 56.5 (>97%)

Silly Bean

My super sweet Jilly Bean has a new love for putting on clothes. Lots of them. I have even found her in what she was originally dressed in but with an addition of a dress on top (just her head through) all done by herself.

Then as I was trying to unpack from our trip, she walked around and brought me piece after piece of clothing to add on until she got it just right...

This ensemble includes: her outfit from earlier in the day, her PJ shirt, a different pair of her PJ pants, a pair of her sister's size 5T PJ pants, her sister's dress, and her sister's bloomers. Of course sunglasses complete the outfit - and she insisted on different shoes (although because the pants are so long, you can't see those!) Sure love this silly girl!

My God is So Big

Ok, that title doesn't fit as well as the others, but I thought I had to keep up with theme, and really you could say that God is big about just about everything - and seeing all the beauty in Colorado is certainly something you can praise God for!

Our last day in Colorado, we headed to a pond on their land with a boat and some fishing rods. The dads took the kids paddling around the pond while all the kids took turns casting the fishing rod. It was a near tragedy when Meredith lost her butterfly bobber off her Barbie rod, but luckily she was loving everything else!

Very intent on fishing! She and Jude loved this part of the trip - and Jude was a serious pro!
Jillian thought fishing might be fun too!
Meredith and her boots head off on a hike- there were so many beautiful flowers and butterflies to be seen!
Look at that happy baby!
Meredith says the boat was her favorite part of the trip
Looks like Jillian was having fun with Daddy on her boat ride too!

You might think that after the ride Jackie and I had on the river the day before, the guys would have passed on that adventure, but instead we kind of used it to make them feel like they had to give it a shot! They were a little more scared than we were (just because we were a bit naive!) The guys all fell in a few times, luckily none of those falls including slamming their faces like Jackie did! Sadly, though, Neal's trip was a bit unlucky...look closely at the pictures, these will be the last pictures we will ever see of his hat, Mike's tube and his wedding ring. Ooops. He was able to recover the hat once, only to lose it again. He chased the tube down but was sadly unsuccessful - the tube chase distracted him just long enough for him to not notice that his wedding ring was gone until he was in the truck warming up. He was bummed, I cried a bit, but then we moved on and enjoyed the rest of the evening!
Bye, bye Auburn hat. Enjoy the rest of your ride down the river tube. You will be missed wedding ring.
The three guys heading out on their adventure
Sweet Maverick was a highlight of the trip for the kids, especially Jillian. He was such a good sport, we rewarded him with a squeaky bath toy that he had been drooling over!
Jillian showing love to Ruffles
As we were starting to pack up for our trip home the next morning, the kids started up a Kids Band on Rock Band.
True rockstars!

The next morning we headed home bright and early and had a really uneventful trip home - we stopped lots for food and potty breaks and even a trip to the playground - everyone was glad to be out of the car when we got home, but missing all the fun and beauty of Colorado! What an amazing trip!

...the Stars are his Handywork too!

The next day was a big adventure for Jackie and me. We took a kind of challenge to tube down the river with Mike. We were the most terrified of the really cold water, but we decided to go for it! We quickly got over the water temperture, just in time for Jackie to fall out of her tube and smash her face into a boulder. Yikes. The water was moving too quickly for me to do anything about it but flag Mike over to her, but I then sent myself crashing into a tree so that I could wait to make sure they were ok. Mike got a scared (yet still funny) Jackie back up on her tube and back down the river. Mike kept convinced us that was the toughest part of the river, but both of us were a bit shaken and it was hard to believe him as I kept getting thrown toward more trees! We were very diligent in listening to his directions of staying left to avoid a large waterfall and then were really happy to see the bridge that meant Kay was waiting for us with towels and a ride home! We really did have a good time, the peace and the surroundings were amazing. We were the only ones out on the river, which just made it a really amazing experience. I am really glad we went, and I think Jackie would say the same (if you know her, you should really get her to tell you the story, it will have you laughing!)
Feeling the first chill of the water!
The three of us heading out - what a beautiful/scary ride!

After warming up and drying off, we had a great dinner and then cooked some smores!
Jillian enjoying the porch swing while we started the fire.
The big girls loved dancing on the deck
Jillian dug into the smores ingredients early!
Messy marshmallow girl
The Hooks kids being silly with their Daddy in the hammock
Our wonderful hosts enjoying a moment of peace surrounded by lots of fun kiddos!
Jackie's souvenir from the river - a black eye and bruised nose. And after watching it for another day or so, this actually looks really minor. Poor Jackie!

That night before bed, we kept the kids up a little late to see all of the beautiful stars. The sky is so clear there - you could see the definition of the Milky Way and more stars that I have ever seen. So beautiful!!