Friday, July 13, 2012

How did we get here?

We are in full swing of summer and full swing of child rearing!  We love having two kiddos and we love the age spread.  God is kind in that He didn't give us a second child before we could actually handle it :-).  In truth, Charlie's sweetness to Olivia and her adoration of him is a constance source of joy and amusement to us.  He has fully incorporated her into his life and always double checks with us that she be included in family activities.  "Charlie, we're going to the grocery store."  "Can Olivia come with us?"  But while Charlie has gained more independence over the last six months, it has become even more apparent to us that he is still a young, young child.  Extra hugs and kisses and cuddles for Charlie are suddenly in high demand.  So are more creative discipline procedures.  Alongside potty trainedness come accident prevention schemes.  Breaking of the thumb-sucking habit is succeeded by drawn-out bedtime battles.  Keith and I often look at each other in bewilderment as some new (or old) challenge arises and we say "What should we do now?"  Fortunately, we find ourselves in good company.  So many people we know have gone before us and can offer so much wisdom and perspective.  God works through His people!  And we are grateful even as we are tired.
The last six months have ushered in tremendous changes in our children.  Charlie's imaginative play has grown leaps and bounds!  He connects life's dots in ways we never would have guessed.  A couple favorite recent quotes:
Charlie overheard me saying that Olivia was "clean as a whistle."  And of course he wanted to know "why clean as a whistle?"  I explained as best I could.  Suddenly, he said, "Mama, you're dirty!"  And he rushed to get his whistle so he could clean me!
One of my favorite things to do as a mom is come up with ways to let Charlie know that I love him.  It helps me keep "checked in."  In the mornings, I will "demand" that Charlie give me a good morning hug.  He usually cheerfully complies.  He recently gave Olivia a good morning hug.  Later in the day, he gave spontaneously gave her another hug.  He explained to me that it wasn't a good morning hug, but "because I love her."  Be still my heart!

And let's not forget the girl.  Are you ready for this?  She's crawling.  Not army crawling or scootchin', but full-on hands and knees (sometimes feet!) makin' her way around.  But it doesn't stop there.  Pulling up on furniture so that she can attempt to climb over it.  I have no doubt she would successfully climb up onto and over the coffee table if only she were a little taller.  And can you say busy?  I like to think of her as a fresh breeze in the house:  soft, sweet, refreshing, but always moving.  She eats lunch and dinner with us (the baby version) while simultaneously trying to escape the high chair.  She gives my arms a good work out during church such that I end up escaping to the nursing room just to be able to set her down.  She's got a tooth or two on the way.  She can't seem to stay out of Charlie's toys, mostly because they are near Charlie.  But she doesn't complain much (or sleep much!), she smiles at everyone and is often heard laughing as she sits in the middle of a bunch of toys and systematically checks each one out.  Why she finds them funny I'm not sure.  Perhaps she's laughing more at the power she has over her environment.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Funny Kid

Charlie continues to delight us with his vast vocabulary and vivid imagination.  Just this morning we were playing "cars and trucks and stuff like that."  We had the following conversation:

C:  Let's go to the cliff where Feta fell off.
Me:  Feta fell off a cliff?
C:  Yeah, it was a water cliff.
Me:  A water cliff?
C:  Yeah, he fell into the water.
Me:  Is he alright?
C: (after some thought)  No.  A shock (shark) ate him.
Me:  Oh no.  So... he's dead?
C:  A shock ate him and went down the drain.  He went down the drain with the shock.  Let's go.  Let's go the cliff where Feta fell off.
Me:  Where is the cliff where Feta fell off?
C:  Downtown.

Sometimes I can hardly believe he's my son.  He isn't the least bit shy, often approaching kids in the park and saying, "Hey Kid!  You wanna play with me?"  I would NEVER have done that as a child.  Even as it is, I avoid talking to other parents at the park unless they initiate or our kids get into a jam together.  I'm just too shy and prefer to keep to myself.  But not my son.  Yesterday, I had to drop my sewing machine off for repairs.  As we walked into the shop, Charlie loudly told the lady "Mama's sewing machine got jammed up."  I put it on the counter.  "That's Mama's sewing machine right there."
The lady looked at it and said "That's not jammed up.  It's frozen."
Charlie said "Yeah, its cold out there."
Through out our time there he managed to impress her with many other pithy sayings, and just before we left he informed her that "We got marbles for my potty training."  Good note to end on.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Little Bigger

Olivia had her two month check up this week.  She's gained a little weight, grown a little longer and is already surviving her first cold!  We're settling in a bit and Charlie gets more used to her every day.  Here's a little video of what she's up to when she isn't eating or sleeping.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Around Here

Baby blankets adorn furniture, the swing, the carseat, the pack-n-play. Burp cloths can be found in all major areas of the house. Grocery sacks are filled in a day and a half with itty bitty diapers. Desitin is under my fingernails. We've got a baby in the house!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Baby Dreams

Sifting through some pictures on our computer, I came across this favorite:

I am reminded of all the baby sweetness that comes with a newborn and, more than ever, can't wait to meet our little girl!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Newsletter

Happy Christmas and a Jolly New Year from Spokane, Washington!  Indeed, as many of you know, we are now Washington residents.  This move has been the biggest part of our year and will, of course, influence most of our memories as we reflect on God's goodness to us in 2011. 

We found out about our move well in advance.  Last fall, in his last year of grad school, Keith applied, interviewed and accepted a job working for a national accounting firm with a branch in Spokane.  This seemed ideal, if we had to move, because it was still so close to our beloved Moscow, ID.  Miraculously, we found future renters for our house as early as January.  At the end of May, three days after our fourth anniversary, we packed up and moved 90 miles north. 

But moving wasn't the only big news in our lives this year.  A few weeks before we moved, we found out we were expecting our second child!  And so we settled into Spokane (me feeling the queasy benefits of early pregnancy) over the summer.  We have joined a lovely sort of "sister" church to our church in Moscow, Christ Church of Spokane.  The fellowship of the saints here is sweet and we are enjoying the smaller church body, even if it is spread out a lot farther than we are used to!  Distance doesn't seem to stop this congregation from being absolute party animals.  We have been to more fellowship meals and picnics and hoppin' church functions in the last seven months than we would normally attend in Moscow in a year.  We did not think this was possible!  Aside from church parties, we went camping, to theme parks, visited family nearish and far, explored lots of playgrounds, shopped, and otherwise mastered the general layout of the city of Spokane. 
Among other fun events, Keith got to go hiking in the Wallowas over Labor Day weekend, a yearly hoped-for highlight.  He currently spends lots of time tickling Charlie, watching shows with me, rides the bus to and from work, and does a good job of being "our man," as Charlie would say. 
And on top of all this, Keith has been diligently studying for the CPA exam, a four part test qualifying him to be a public accountant.  He's already passed the first two sections!  He must pass two more within the next year, and we hope to be done, Lord willing, with all the studying by June of 2012.
Charlie-boy remains the delight of our days with his wit, insanely clear verbal skills and enthusiastic love of life.  He absolutely loves to play mini-golf, jump off the bed into a pile of pillows, really take his time eating meals, and ask me endless questions.  Among his current favorite questions is, "What are we gonna do?" following my answer with, "And after that?"
For instance:
C:  What are we gonna do?
Me:  Go to bed?
C:  And after bed?
Me: Have breakfast.
C:  And after have bressick?
Me:  Play.
C:  And after play?
Me:  Go to the library.
C:  And after go to the library?
.... And so on.  The list can extend as far as three days in advance before I try to deter him.  (And woe is me if I don't know what is coming up next.)  It is not uncommon to repeat the daily list about five times on the ride home from the grocery store.  Sometimes, usually about the fourth time through, I'll answer with, "Go crazy!"  This answer typically isn't good enough for Charlie.
While Keith has been studying, I've gotten to know some wonderful ladies at prayer group, met and hired some good babysitters, tried to keep up with my crafting, juggle pregnancy with potty training, and generally tried to adjust to life in a new city.

I'm currently three weeks from my due date and anxiously waiting to hold our little daughter in my arms instead of my belly!  We thank God for a healthy pregnancy so far.  And while I'm a little anxious that we'll be spending our first tax season caring for a newborn, it seems we have no choice but to trust God's timing, since we certainly wouldn't have planned it that way! 

We are well-fed, warm, in good health, and learning daily what gratitude and cheerfullness really look like.  God's goodness truly crowns the year! 

Much love from Keith, Nellie, Charlie and (soon-to-be) Olivia Marie

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

More Summer Adventures... in October

The great thing about having in-laws in Florida is that I don't have to pack up my shorts until after our Fall/Winter visit!  This year we decided to plan our visit to include Halloween.  We originally were planning to go between Thanksgiving and Christmas and do a sort of combined holiday thing, but Baby Girl prevented that.  And of course, we don't mind her interference at all.  All this to say, I'm finally getting around to posting about our vacation.  (I don't know how people with children manage to post so frequently, sometimes daily, without going to extreme measures.  For instance, I am, at this time, sitting next to Charlie on the couch while he watches one of his favorite movies, and I type on the laptop.  I'm using 8-month-pregnancy-fatigue as my excuse for doing this at 9:53 am.  There.  I said it.) 

As I said, we decided to go to Florida over Halloween weekend, not because we particularly value that "Holiday" but because I thought it would be pretty cute to see Charlie trick-or-treating for the first time in his life around his grandparents' neighborhood.  And it was cute.  But more on that later.

Okay, so this first picture isn't in Florida, its Charlie with our punkin'.  Looking through all our recent picture downloads, I was shocked at how grown up he looks!  And I wanted to share...  Anyway, this was early October.

 Our biggest concern surrounding this trip was the plane ride.  Actually, plane rides.  The trip to FL included two stopovers, which equals three plane rides to get there.  Our previous experience with Charlie-boy and planes included tension.  I mean, how would you feel if you were a little person with lots of wiggles and nowhere to go?  But praise the Lord, Charlie did great!  He loved the air and light buttons, the armrests, the seat belts, the juice from the flight attendants.  He surprised us with a nap during the second flight.  He even cheered loudly at the end of two landings "Yay! We landed!" and  "There's the control tower."  And brought chuckles from the people around us.  And can I just say we LOVE our portable DVD player?  If you are attending a baby shower and have some extra cash, bring one as a gift.  I'm just saying.

Moving on.

Once in Florida, we soaked up the humidity, hugs and kisses from Granny and Grandad and settled in for some relaxation and fun.  Lakeland has some fun parks, a must for us.
 And aside from city parks, Florida of course has theme parks.  This year it was Legoland!  There was a lot of hype in FL building up to the opening of Legoland because the park was meant to be specifically for toddlers to twelve-yearolds.  For the Dimelers, it did not disappoint.  And thank you Granny and Grandad for the early Christmas present!
 If you read my last post, you'll see that Charlie was more than ready to tackle rides.  And he really did!  Every ride that allowed for his height/age he got on with enthusiasm.  The funny thing is, he always forgot to smile!  But he must have had fun, because he wanted to do all of them.  The capstone of this park for Charlie was the rollercoaster.  Indeed, there was one coaster that allowed my two-yearold to ride (with an adult).  It wasn't without some nervous flutters that I watched him walk with Grandad to the line.  Charlie has watched a video about rollercoasters, so he knew all about what you are supposed to do.  He lifted up his hands, I think before the ride even started, and with quite the serious expression on his face, enjoyed his ride!  Attaboy!

Sometime in the mid-afternoon it started to rain, but we were not deterred.  Keith, and later I, joined Charlie on the last two rides of the day.  And they were wet.  The look on Keith's face might convey something like "Wow.  That's a lot of water."  He was quite tough about it, actually.  I'm the one who cringed as I sat down.  All for the kids.

While waiting in line for the fire truck ride, Charlie surprised us with another nap.  He fell asleep right there in the middle of Legoland in the rain. 

 We also had the chance to visit Keith's brother and sister-in-law and their daughter, Carli.  Just check out those curls!  We told Charlie to give her a hug for the picture.  She wasn't sure what he was doing.
 Here's a picture of another early Christmas present: the Tornado Tee.  Or, as we've come to call it, The Golf Machine. 
The other big adventure we had was riding on a seaplane.  This was more of a feat for me than anyone else, as I don't like heights.  But I was only a little nervous and tried not to act startled everytime we hit a little "air" up there.  The pilot didn't say anything.

 And here are a few shots of our trick-or-treating adventures.  Charlie got a little braver at saying "Trick or Treat" as the evening continued and collected quite a nice little bundle.  He was dressed up as a train conductor.  And Keith was... Gandalf?

It may seem that we didn't have a moment to rest, but truly we all got plenty of naps and relaxation time.  We were quite ready for the big leaf clean-up that awaited us at home!