Saturday, January 19, 2013

Weekend Love Songs

When we lived in St. Louis, it was so easy to jump in the car and go to a museum or a zoo or some  event that was geared towards young families.  Here, I find that it's not so easy.  Ripon is a good family town, but it's still small.  And when something's small it doesn't have quite as many opportunities.  That's just the way things go.  

It's hardest to find things to do during the winter, because we can't just go to the park down the street or play for a long time in the backyard (plus I hate-- nay, I detest being cold).  So when we reached this weekend and I was feeling a particularly large amount of Cabin Fever I was determined to find something to do other than sit around.  So yesterday we went to the Zoo in Madison.  It's about an hour and a half away, but it worked out well because I was able to visit a church member in rehab as well.  

The zoo was practically empty because nobody goes to the zoo in the winter, but there are plenty of places to go indoors at the zoo, so that's what we did!  And it was a blast. 

There were little jumpy quails in there.  
She loves alligators.  They say, "HHHAAAA-UMP" with a chomping gesture.

Curious little guy. 
This guy didn't mind being outdoors.  
Neither did Evelyn mind being outdoors if it meant seeing a bear walk around!
Then this morning, we did stay inside but we got a great pots and pans band going with Julian.  They loved making lots of noise!  Good kids! 

Alright guys, winter is LONG!  Get out and do something.  Or stay in and do something.  Just get goin' on the memory making, because even if winter is long, life is short!  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Keeping Mama Humble

Days have been good lately, as Evelyn has teamed up with another toddler-fellow, Julian.  Julian is three days older than her, and quite a bit more adventurous and jolly.  I'm not saying Evelyn isn't a happy baby, but she is and always has had a very serious soul.  She can be silly with the best of them, but she didn't crack a smile until she was probably three months old, and we still have to make a pretty good effort to get a good chuckle out of her.  She can most often be found analyzing-- a book, a puzzle, a stuffed animal, a piece of furniture-- poking and examining.  Julian is a go-getter-- sitting on the coffee table within seconds of entering a house, attempting to drink out of two sippy cups at the same time while playing the toy piano.  

I loved Julian's mom's description comparing the two to Downton Abbey characters-- Evelyn is the Dowager Countess and Julian is the American cousin.  I'm sorry I don't have any pictures of them yet to put on the blog.  I will at some point.  Julian has thick, long hair with big round rosy cheeks, and always, except at nap time, a big smile!  

Here is Evelyn just before going to Julian's for the first time.  All ready with her purse and her horse, wearing her Hilary Clinton power suit.  

She loves Mommy's scarf fashion.  She fits in really well with the Ripon College crowd.  

Lately, we haven't been great about getting out and doing things together as a family, besides going shopping at Target and Pick N Save, so tomorrow we're excited to be making our first journey down to Madison, WI.  A church member is in rehab down there and I've wanted to go to the zoo for a long time, so we are going to spend tomorrow in Madison killing two birds with one stone (is there a less violent expression I can use?)  I can't wait for her to see the animals in real life.  We used to go to the St. Louis Zoo all the time because it was close and free, but we moved before she really reached an age of understanding and being excited to see the animals.  Now, she knows about 20 animal sounds (she's seriously obsessed with learning them.  She even knows lizard, rhinoceros, and penguins.  Three sounds I was quite unsure of before she told me.)

I have to be honest, here.  It's good to catch you all up on my blog and let you know what's going on in our lives over here, but the true reason that I wrote this blog entry was to share these photos of Evelyn wearing Hello Kitty slippers and a diaper.  

She keeps me humble, you know.  When I think my job and all the errands I have to run are SOO important and the world would collapse without me, this little girl comes running into the room all excited because she's wearing cats on her feet.  And then I remember... Oh yeah, that's what life is for-- loving and living and laughing.  

Good girl.  

Friday, January 4, 2013

Being Fair.

That time has come again for me to apologize for not writing more often...except...I CAN'T!  

Why?  Because it would go against my New Year's Resolution.  I have just one: To be fair to myself.  Many of you know that I'm very hard on myself-- especially when it comes to my job and parenting.  So, no more, "That wasn't a very good sermon," and no more, "I don't spend enough time with Evelyn," and no more, "I haven't been a very good wife lately," and the list goes on...

This year it will be all about, "I do what I can and trust that God will use me."  

Sound good?  Will you hold me to it?

We had a beautiful Christmas, both here and in Ohio.  The Christmas Eve service at church was well-attended and, for a first run, well-executed!  You can listen to my Christmas Eve sermon here.  I believe God is truly doing something with me here in Ripon.  People are coming to church.  People want to be a part of the community.  People are contacting me for help and support and encouragement.  I only hope it will continue; that the novelty won't wear off; that I won't wear out! 

Christmas at home was wonderful too.  We are blessed by such amazing families.  Maic's siblings are all maturing into such wonderful people and they each lead such interesting lives.  Evelyn was really confused at first because she kept thinking everyone was her daddy!  But no one quite compares! 

At my parents' house, the biggest joy was seeing Evelyn and her cousin Zoey together.  Zoey is 
the best little girl and role model for Evelyn.  She is smarter than you would ever believe a two-and-a-half year old could be, and she is so well-behaved.  Sometimes she will just look at someone with the most sincere face and say, "(insert name here) you're the best!"  One time she went around the whole table, "Gramma, you're the best!...Uncle Maic, you're the best!...Daddy, you're the best!"  But the thing is, you get this sense that she really believes it!  She's such a lover. 

I do often wish we lived closer, because I miss seeing everyone on a regular basis, but it also makes trips like these so sweet and special.  Looking back, I remember I only saw my Grandma and Grandpa Smyres twice a year growing up, but they still meant the world to me, and those trips to see them made my heart explode with excitement.  I think that's how it will be for little E, too. 

Welp, I'm back to work now, and so glad I have a job to return to with anticipation and excitement.  

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