Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dan's gone for work again. Ammi is a non-sleeping, high-needs/spirited one year old. Things are not going well.

But Joash made an instructional video, and last month we went to a farm in the evening. I'm going to hurry and dump that information here before the babies start languishing at my feet like some goblins from the Labyrinth if I'm remembering any of that correctly.

LEGO INSTRUCTION VIDEO from serenity johnson on Vimeo.

Friday, October 17, 2014

For our first Midwestern Fall with Children, we were casually determined to do fun Fall activities. We jumped in leaves, yes, and we also went apple picking. We drove out to Overhiser Orchards in Michigan, picked a bushel full, then ate at Big Boy for lunch because it was almost 1 o'clock, and Dan can be very convincing to a hungry person. All I wanted was some immediate food.

It was a nice experience. Joash sort of cared, but it does get a bit repetitive. I thought it would be prettier, like more stunningly autumnal and wildernessy, but it's just rows of trees. I know everyone else knows this, but I had different expectations. No, but we had fun. Fun and apple cider doughnut samples. And now we have a ton of apples to eat. I've already slawed some, and I intend to cake some, challah some, and pie some. Overhiser had a pumpkin patch, too, so we picked some pumpkins to carve and to pie.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

I guess nothing of note happened in September. I didn't even take any pictures the whole month. But October has already started with an explosion of photographable activity.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I'm almost all out of babies these days, as my babies have now turned 3 and 1. Once Ammi decides to start walking (instead of hyperventilating out of excitement, arms flapping, preparing for flight, and then falling on her face), it'll be time to make some more. Haha. Really, though, Dan and I were talking today about how much fun the kids were specifically today, and how that humans-are-animals survival instinct makes you consider having more. Also, this week Joash has decided it'd be good to have another baby. He was telling me today that we need another baby, and he'd like 5 if we'd oblige him. I told him that we have a baby! He should play with her! I guess he's just used to getting a sister for his birthday.

The pace of life just continues to be constant paradox. I never have time, but nothing much happens, except the total cultivation of life! And I actually feel really good about that. Joash is starting to be sarcastic, and he's just such a funny, chatty guy. I can almost see him learning words sometimes. He'll start a sentence and then say, "I can't say the word!" And once I tell him what word he was looking for, he uses it from then on. Kids are amazing.

Ammi is smart in a really devious way. She is so much sneakier than Joash. Just today she was trying to flush the toilet, and I told her not to so she pulled her hand away. Then she looked at me, smiled, and went for it again. If I gently push her hand away, she comes back for another swat and thinks it's a hilarious game. She is mad as ever, but she's starting to play by herself more. Maybe since their birthday we finally have toys she's interested in? I don't know.

Okay, so Chuck E. Cheese's pictures, and that'll be the end of this post.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mirror, Mirror on the Floor from serenity johnson on Vimeo.

Ammi's Dance Grooves from serenity johnson on Vimeo.

Bad Cop/Good Cop from serenity johnson on Vimeo.
Joash really likes to quote and reenact his favorite movies right now. He pretends to be Bad Cop from the Lego movie, then he "opens his glasses" and becomes Good Cop.
I have nothing super meaningful to report. Life has been good. The babies have their birthday this Thursday, so I've wrapped a small stack of presents, and I've planned out in Legos their Lego cake. I have the Duplo model in the kitchen waiting to be created. Magically the children have been more or less sleeping in the same room, and just this week Ammi decided that 8 o'clock is a pretty fine bed time. Tomorrow I will have videos, but today I have pictures.

Monday, July 7, 2014

If I kept a sleep training journal for my dear, grumpy girl, I think it would read something like the first Jurassic Park book: a brief period of monster taming, followed by an even briefer period of presumed success lulling the tamer into a sense of false confidence, which is thereafter succinctly abolished by a terror greater than ever before. The other day I was contemplating what wonders I might accomplish (wonders like cookies and grown up TV) when I don't find it necessary to nap every day, and then Ammi, horticulturalist extraordinaire, decided to nip that fantasy right in the bud. Two nights this week, she and we have welcomed every hour of the night with open eyes, and her days are spent languishing in relative misery. We are assuming the problem is her first year molars. This knowledge has made it no less painful for any of us, though it does so soften the heart to see your baby inconsolable.

The teething situation, coupled with recent visitors (Jean and Bonnie) and visits (Chicago and Cincinnati), means I'm one event behind on pictures. I have patriotic pictures from two days ago, and I have Shedd Aquarium pictures from several weeks ago.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Well, I bit the bullet (does this mean I caught a bullet in my teeth? Who is trying to kill me, and why are my teeth so strong? Why am I so casually confident about such an extraordinary talent? I bet the Rifleman really could bite the bullet, though. One of those 12 or 13 first shots of the show. [I'm typing this for you, Mom. I love you so], and I started sleep-training my little monster baby. For reasons of general parenting style, I was trying to wait until she was 12 months, but she really doesn't sleep very well in our bed anymore; oh, and I am steadily going insane. I tossed her in her crib Saturday night and let the hate cries ensue. She is a very good hate crier.

Everybody was in Florida last week, but we were not all together, except for when we were. Dan was working in Orlando, so I caught a flight to my parents' house, but my mom offered to drive up with me on Wednesday so Dan and I could have a date on our ninth anniversary. We do not have many dates, so it was pretty special. We went and ate fancy food in our nuptial town, Mount Dora.

Dan's mom comes tomorrow to spend the week, and Joash is already excited about a visit from his "PapaGrandma." Ammi is, too, she just doesn't know it yet. I think we are bound to do plenty of South Bend activities. Dan had the idea last Saturday to go see the Notre Dame campus. We didn't get very far because we almost immediately reached a playground, and the babies played while we drank our Biggby coffees and even met and chatted quite naturally (as opposed to awkwardly) with several parents. It was a simple and lovely day. And then began the night that finally necessitated the sleep-training, but, still.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Video Backlog

I have videos from as long ago as Ammi's first week, and now I will put them here. We'll start with the oldest and work our way forward.

Ice with Accents from serenity johnson on Vimeo.

Ammi's First Days from serenity johnson on Vimeo.

Picture? Aye, Baby! from serenity johnson on Vimeo.

Ice Cream Cone from serenity johnson on Vimeo.

Background Noise from serenity johnson on Vimeo.

Reading to His Sister from serenity johnson on Vimeo.

Helpful Brother from serenity johnson on Vimeo.

Coaxing from serenity johnson on Vimeo.

Joah's Opus from serenity johnson on Vimeo.
Joash wanted to make a video of Ammi, so he did. And then I put all the clips together.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Dan was in Thailand recently, and my dad came up to make sure I didn't go crazy with the pressures of these precious babies. It was a really nice time, just me and my dad, watching Joash climb on him nonstop, and seeing Ammi warm right up to him. It was all very ordinary in the best, most hopeful way, and I won't forget that feeling. I drank too much soda, stayed up well into the 9 o'clock hour, and just indulged in marathon hours of Columbo, no big deal.

We did a couple sight seeing things, like visiting the Studebaker Museum, which Joash insisted on calling the "Tuna Makers," driving to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and eating at one of the local and ubiquitous pancake houses, at which my dad swiftly became a morning regular. He also changed all my burnt out light bulbs and helped me plant a little garden. He's all right, my dad.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A quick comparison and a milestone video.
Left: April 2012, Joash
Right: April 2014, Amielle

She Crawls! (Sort Of) from serenity johnson on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Just Want to Not Hide

Just Want to Not Hide from serenity johnson on Vimeo.
Nap time is a time of peak creativity, apparently. Joash wrote this song back in February.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Another month has passed, which means I've scrutinized and compared my children and come up with another set of comparables. I actually kept forgetting to take a picture, even though I had a picture in mind, so I ended up having Dan take one on his phone. Pretty lame, but I've already got my April picture done, so I don't feel too bad.

Left: March 2012, Joash
Right: March 2014, Amielle

Ammi spent an afternoon gazing longingly out the window.

 Sometimes babies might as well be puppies.

I have a policy that if, during a diaper change, a child flips to his or her backside, said child is punished via photographic evidence. I did it to Joash, and I've done it now to her. But baby butts are such that they require documentation, are they not?

Here are these sweet crazies in the bath.

For now, Joash is still so tender toward his sister. He has a special voice for her, higher pitched and whispery. If she's crying, he'll say, "Don't worry, Ammi, Mama's gonna feed you."

He even occasionally requests her presence while he's watching one of his shows after nap time. Every now and then, though, he acts like a proper sibling and screams over the injustice of her touching him while he's eating a sandwich or he laments her obsession with his LEGO train (and the destruction thereof). I do wonder if they'll be friends when they're grown up, and I wonder if it will hurt my heart if they are not, but that's just because I like to collect things to worry about.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Busy baby days. The little one always wanting to be held, the big one always wanted to be noticed, and I find I am less and less at an actual computer screen these days, which is not to say that I am piously restricting screen time. I have plenty of that on my phone. All those blogs won't read themselves!

The weather is finally clearing up. We have gone days without a snowstorm, week(s) without major accumulation, and the roofs previously upholstered with snow have released their stitches for shingles. Because of this, I have started grocery shopping by myself. What an amazing idea! Getting a break from constant care-taking is something I felt guilty about when Joash was a baby, but I feel so glad about it now. Today I even went to the hardware store just to be alone.

Well, Ammi has obviously awakened from her brief evening nap and is crying in my ear behind me.

The Snowman Project from serenity johnson on Vimeo.
But, Mom and Dad, you haven't seen this sweet video of Joash playing in the snow.

My Finger Hurts from serenity johnson on Vimeo.
Or this one of your grandbabies playing together.

And, here, the latest comparison of my children.
Left: February 2012, Joash
Right: February 2014, Amielle

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I went with the babies to Florida for a brief Grandparently visit while Dan did his usual tour of Asia. I will admit to pangs of nostalgia when he emailed me a picture of our old apartment and as the pictures of him doing Korea things stacked up on Facebook, but it is easy to feel happy when you're caught up remembering, and I know that living there with babies and so much aloneness just wasn't good for anyone, least of all the babies.

I am glad to be back in our home with my iced Bustelo chilling in the fridge, no more drive by Dunkin for me for now. We made a pretty good Ikea run while we were in Cincinnati, and now we can trim the windows and dry dishes on a rack instead of a tea towel on the counter. Being home also means fun things like making noodles with Joash, pasta roller clamped to a dining room chair. He took ownership of the task and held the dough while he was cranking the handle and then hurried to hang it up to dry. Maybe this will be that elusive guarantor that he'll finally try noodles for dinner, probably not.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Baby Comparables

Left: January 2012, Joash
Right: January 2014, Amielle

An outtake. Oddly, I couldn't get the toy to stick to her forehead even though it stuck to Joah's head often and for a long time. It must be because Joash was always at least a little bit sweaty.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

New House

Something about settling in feels literally like that, like slowly seeping our lives and stuff into all the cracks and corners of this house. The odd bits and awkward spaces have already become commonplace, and I'm trying to figure out a way to curate pretty little collections of clutter. Whenever I feel bad at that, I think of what grounds me. It used to be the baby wrapping lady with the long skirts and dream catchers. For now it's the Waltons and that green gingham tablecloth and all the bread and pie. I am obsessive and easily overwhelmed, especially by the esoteric rigors of modernity, but bread and pie I can do. Be a mother. Love my family. Stop worrying about being good at things I might not be good at.

Well, my grumpy girl woke up in the midst of this, so I'm typing with one hand now (the left, no less!), and that has its way of culling necessity. So as I rock her, prone on my stretched legs, with one foot over the other (a trick my cousin just taught me), I'll finish up with recent pictures.