Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Two Years Old

Elaina is 2 now!  I've been sifting through photos and videos from the last few months, picking out the best ones, and smiling at every one of them.  She is smart, creative, affectionate, helpful, ambitious, stubborn, sneaky, and hilarious. She is my snuggly little firecracker, and I am so thankful God saw fit to bless us with her life.

I know kids are constantly growing up and maturing, but it seems like Elaina has really hit a new stride in the last couple of months.  Her vocabulary is full and well rounded, and she has no trouble letting us know exactly what she needs-or thinks, or wants, or enjoys, or imagines, or thinks maybe should happen someday.  Last week I put Elaina to bed, and about 60 seconds later, she came running out of her room, pretending to gasp for air, as if she'd just run a mile. "The bad guys are coming!" she exclaimed dramatically. Then, just to clarify, "...just for pretend."  She is constantly joining her sister in whatever make-believe scenario they've come up with for the moment.  There are lots of mommy and daughter scenarios (I'll answer to her calls for "mommy!" just to have her explain, "no, pretend mommy"), sometimes husband and wife, and even master and pet.  Elaina makes a very good doggy, sitting, and staying, and obediently eating her treat.  It's hilarious. 

Her actual human nature, on the other hand, is very much human, and very much that of a two-year-old.  She has been testing the waters on what she can get away with, and how stubborn and independent she can be.  Sometimes I am amazed at things she finds to be stubborn about.  We know stubbornness is something to be shepherded, and not crushed, and so we are trying to figure out how best to do that... and what sorts of things are appropriate for a two-year-old to be stubborn about.

She can be very kind and gentle and affectionate when she wants to.  I was in bed reading a couple of weeks ago, when the girls came to give me hugs and kisses before going to bed. Elaina kissed my tummy, and then leaned over it and said, "I want to snuggle Baby Sister." She snuggled up close, resting the side of her head on my belly. Then she looked up at me, somewhat confused, and slowly  said "I hear something." I told her it was the baby singing, then laughed and told her it was really just my tummy making funny sounds.

Bryan usually puts the girls to bed in the evenings, and one night, he did so after they had a nice little snack.  After being all tucked in, Elaina sat up and said, "Oh wait!  I was hungry!  I was not going to bed."  She pulled her blankets off and stood up in her bed. "No, honey, is IS time for bed; you just ate," Bryan explained. "Oh.  Right." Elaina said, as she laid back down and pulled her blankets up. "Of COURSE."

A couple of days before her birthday, we removed one of the sides from her crib, and turned it into a toddler bed.  She loves it. She transitioned well, staying in bed most of the time, and hasn't rolled out of bed at all.

Way back in January, we were eating dinner together, and Elaina was, as usual, wearing a long sleeved shirt.  "Roll up my sleeves. Will you roll up my sleeves?" Elaina said, in her whiniest voice.  "You need to stop fussing, and take a bite, and then you may ask politely for help," I said. Elaina, chewed and swallowed a bite of dinner, and then looked at me.  "Did you want to ask me something?" I asked.  She paused, and then in her sweetest voice asked "can we watch a movie, maybe?"

She loves wearing dish towels like capes.  She loves it when we wrap her up in a blanket, and hold her "like a baby," meaning in our arms the way we would hold a newborn.  And the strange kid has developed a special attachment to the pair of toy plastic kitchen knives we have.  Sometimes she even takes them to bed.

As you can tell, both the girls like to sing.  In fact, they like music of all sorts.  I don't actually play music in the house that often, but they always make up for the silence with their own singing. 

Sometimes Elaina's bossiness surfaces and she makes it clear that she wants me to sing with them.  "Sing it LOUD, Mama!"

(Notice their location for their pretend tea party.  For some reason, 3/4 of the way up the stairs is their favorite stop to have a little picnic.)

There is always dancing.  Even when we're at someone else's house.

She and Aaron have a lot of fun together.  Even at Costco.

She's just a silly little Ham Bone, we call her sometimes.  It couldn't possibly be hereditary.

Chloë is a very tidy eater, not wanting food to get on her hands or face.  Elaina, on the other hand, thought bean dip would be perfect for hair conditioner and a facial.   

Elaina, like her big sister, is somewhat accident prone.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  Aren't all kids?  But she is a runner, and often times her feet move faster that the rest of her body, and she just splats forward.  There is usually a great cry of dismay, more for being offended that her feet failed her, than that of actual pain. Sometimes she makes sure to lay there for a few seconds, being offended at the floor, or her feet, or whatever it was that caused her to fall.  And then she hops up and is on her merry way.  What a character.

But sometimes I am amazed at how much harm she manages to escape.  A few weeks ago, I was watching two extra kids. The 1-year-old, two 2-year-olds and 3-year-old were all downstairs, watching a movie while I was cleaning my kitchen after a busy weekend. There was a crashing sound, but y'know, kids are pretty creative with hauling buckets of toys around, and sending them flying off the couch or wherever. I listened for a moment, and everything was quiet, so I wasn't too concerned.

The one-year-old, just being potty trained, came upstairs, and I took the opportunity to sit her on the toilet for a couple of minutes. Chloë came upstairs, and I asked her what the crashing sound was. "Oh, there's some broken glass," she said calmly. Everything was so calm, I wasn't sure if she knew what she was saying. "Like, glass that got broken?" I asked. "Yeah..." she replied casually.

As I neared the bottom of the basement stairs, I saw our huge 3x4 ft picture leaning against the wall. Next to it, Elaina was sitting, surrounded by a hundred shards of glass, happily loading the smaller pieces into a little plastic bowl. She had 20 or so pieces neatly in the bowl, the longer shards hanging over the edge. "Elaina, NO! What are you doing?!" I moved quickly and smoothly, being careful not to grab anything too suddenly. I turned her hands over, expecting them to be covered in blood. Nothing. Chloë practically ran through the pile of glass. The one-year-old was coming down the stairs. The other two-year-old was a couple of feet away, interested in the new pile of stuff that was apparently for playing with. "Kids, no, stop!" I almost yelled. I picked up Elaina, brushing glass shards off her clothes. I got everyone upstairs and closed the door. 

I considered calling Bryan, but everything was fine. No one was hurt. I just had a big mess to clean up. I put a show on my laptop, and instructed everyone to watch it while I went back downstairs. The glass was crazy. Some of the shards were a half inch wide and a foot long. How was there no blood?? How was everyone alive??? I carefully picked up all the pieces. There were thousands of microshards everywhere. The stuffed cat covered in shards went to the trash. I vacuumed the same small area for at least 10 minutes. I guess that picture wasn't framed with plexiglass after all.

After everything was clean, I checked all the kids again. Triple checked Elaina's hands. Everyone was fine. I almost couldn't believe it. I felt like I should have won some sort of Worst Mother and Babysitter Award. And yet, God is so merciful.  And I can't believe I don't have any gray hairs yet.

Elaina also loves technology.  Meaning, my iPhone and the iPad, of course.  She easily maneuvers between games and movies, and sometimes like to use the camera to take some sweet selfies.

And of course, as all little sisters do, she wants to do whatever Chloë is doing.  It's pretty sweet, as long as you aren't the older sister being constantly pestered.  She loves counting, and singing the ABCs, and drawing, and trying to do puzzles.  Although she is easily frustrated at her lack of instant perfection, and will moan "I can't DO IT," if something is taking her longer than a second to accomplish.  But at the same time, she is stubborn, and longs to do things without out help. "I can DO IT," she will say, almost arguing with our offer to help her with something.

She loves playing Hide and Seek with anyone who will play with her. 

And she loves being tickled. We also play "timber" and "buh BOOM bah" on our bed, which both girls thoroughly enjoy.

It seems like she's learning new things every day.  We started working on memorizing Bible verses a couple of months ago, and she took right to it.

The sweet girl had a Well Child doctor's appointment yesterday.  Chloë just had one last week, so I thought Elaina would do pretty well, having watched how brave and cheerful Chloë was. I encouraged her to be brave, and told her if she could be strong and courageous, we would go get ice cream when we were all done. The nurse weighed her, and measured her, and then I let her sit on the exam table all by herself, because I thought she was enjoying the independence of being such a big girl.  She sat patiently and stoically while we waited for the doctor to come in, and we even practiced sticking our tongues out and saying "ah."  After the doctor came in, he very kindly said hi and made a little conversation to both the girls.  Then he and I began discussing Elaina's health.  I glanced up after a minute, and she had the saddest little look on her face.  "Oh honey, are you kind of scared sitting there all by yourself?" She nodded, and the sad look got sadder, and she started choking back tears.  It was so sad. I jumped up and held her, but then of course it was time for her brief exam; the otoscope for her ears, eyes and mouth, and the stethoscope for her lungs and heart.  And I think by then she was just in such a sad state of mind, that she had a hard time transitioning out of it.  I held her, and the doctor asked if we should do the otoscope or the stethoscope first.  She chose the stethoscope, and bravely choked back tears while he listened to her heart and lungs.  Poor kiddo.  I know it's a very strange and vulnerable thing to have strangers invade your personal space, but it was obvious that she was just trying so hard to be tough.  So after that was over, the nurse came in to give her shots, and of course then she lost it.  And then Chloë did, too.  She hates seeing her sister cry.  So I had two sobbing children on my hands.  We eventually pulled it together, and went straight to Baskin Robins, but the tears kept resurfacing.  What a rough experience. 

She is such a joy and delight.  We sure do love our little Lainey Pants.

Oh, and just for fun, here's what Chloë was up to at this age.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Baby Will

Bryan's sister Jessie had her baby on early on Thursday morning.  Baby Will was born on his grandfather Kenneth's birthday.  (Which, I might add, was the day I guessed he'd make his grand entrance.)

At almost 9 1/2 pounds with lots of dark hair, William Kenneth Trotter is a pretty handsome little fella.  We got to meet him later that afternoon, and I'm glad I remembered to drag my camera along.

Chloë and Elaina were sooo excited to meet their new cousin.  We slathered their hands with sanitizer, and they promptly covered Baby Will in hugs and kisses and affectionate pats.  Chloë actually started sobbing when it was time to go home, because didn't want to leave.  Even after we got home, she would still burst into tears and exclaim that she missed Baby Will.

We have since had the pleasure of spending time with this sweet family a couple more times.  Kaleb and Jessie are absolutely wonderful new parents; aglow with excitement, wonder, and sleep deprivation. 

We love you so much already, Will!  Thanks for making me an Aunt!  We are so excited to see what God had planned for your future!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


The girls like to get all bundled up and head outside to play in the snow. 
Chloë is especially fond of eating the snow.  And the dirty icicles.

When they stay on the deck, I get to watch them from the kitchen. 

This was a couple of months ago.  Elaina is usually the adventurous one, but she just sat in the same spot and observed everything for about a half hour.

They're so cute all bundled up.

Last week the temperatures dropped down into the single digits, and we finally remembered to try frozen bubbles.  It was fun watching them quickly harden into ice bubbles.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Baby #3 is a...


Another girl!  We're going to have THREE GIRLS.

That is insane.
We had our big ultrasound yesterday, and everything looks wonderful. 
Four heart chambers, a beautiful little brain, ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes.  She even let us see her swallowing skills. (Mmmm, amniotic fluid!)
She gave us a solid wave hello.  ("They never do that," the ultrasonographer mentioned.)
Would you just look at that tiny little perfect leg?  Thigh, knee, calf, arch of her foot, toes...

She's perfect, as far as we can tell.

So far, Elaina wants to name her "Zshu-zshu-zshu Baby," and Chloë think we should call her "Uhluckah."  They both took to the news of a new little sister really well.  Chloë's whole face lit up when I told her the baby in my tummy was a girl, and Elaina blankly said "oh," and turned around and ran off.  Since we told them the news yesterday, my tummy has received lots of affectionate rubs, pats, and kisses.  "Goodnight, Baby Sister," they said, as they hugged my tummy last night. 

We are pretty excited.  And by pretty excited, I mean totally thrilled.  We're happy that she's safe and sound in my tummy, growing bigger every day, but we sure are looking forward to meeting her in 4 1/2 or 5 months. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Thai Green Curry Chicken

My dear friend Allie gave me this recipe a couple of years ago.  In the form of a Facebook message.  So every time I want to make this, I have to search the archives of my old Facebook messages, which really isn't the best method.  I have grand ideas for a sturdy binder and transparent sleeves for recipes like this... to put together someday.  In the meantime, my "For the Tummy" board on Pinterest is where I keep my online recipes. 

And so I decided this recipe needed to be Pinable.  For my own sake.  So here it is.

serves 4 to 6

3 large chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lbs)
2 cans coconut milk
2 tablespoons green curry paste (or much less, if spicy)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup chicken broth
chopped fresh basil and cilantro
at least 4 cups cooked rice.
salt, to taste

I didn't have any limes, so I used a tablespoon of lime juice, which was perfect.  The green curry paste I have is from a little local Asian market, and it's pretty spicy.  So I actually only used maybe 1/2 a teaspoon so the sauce would be mild enough for my young kiddos. Then after the cooking was all done, I mixed a couple of teaspoons of curry paste with some of the sauce, and added it to what my husband and I ate.  Spicy, and oh so tasty!

Get some rice going.  Jasmine rice is great, but regular plain white rice is what I had on hand.

Pour (or scoop, really) coconut milk into large pan.
(Notice the different textures?  The thick stuff in the back is the Trader Joe's Coconut Cream, which I love.  The creamier stuff is good old basic coconut milk, which is also great.  Some people prefer to use a "light" coconut milk, which is fine too, just less creamy.)

Let it melt, allow to boil, and simmer for a good 15 minutes so it reduces from about 4 cups to about 3cups.  Now is a great time to cut your chicken into bite sized pieces.

Add the curry paste, fish sauce, lime zest, and chicken broth.  Simmer for another 10 minutes or so.

Add chicken to sauce. 

Return to boil, and let boil for 3 or 4 minutes to ensure chicken pieces are fully cooked.

Remove from heat, and scoop over rice.  Garnish with fresh cilantro and basil, if desired, and serve warm.

Salt to taste, and enjoy!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Catching Up

I've been sorting through pictures, and decided to put a few into blog posts.  But the OCD side of me felt the need to keep things in chronological order, so I post dated everything.

But here's what you missed:

I turned 30 in October.  My tomatoes did great last year.  We had Thanksgiving with my family.  We got a Christmas tree.  Bryan and I got all fancied up for the EMSI Christmas Dinner.  I made Bacon Chocolate.  We got to meet up with our old friends the Rusts and Strubles.

I'm still sorting through the pictures and videos, but I actually had to do some real house work today.  Funny how the dust bunnies build up when you're too sick to sweep the bedroom for months.  Also, the laundry never quits.  And I'm reorganizing my clothes; boxing up some regular clothes to make room for maternity stuff! 

More post dated blog posts to come.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Old Friends

A few days after Christmas, we got to meet up with our dear friends the Rusts and the Strubles.  The Rusts live in Seattle, and the Strubles are in Maryland, so it had been two years since the six of us got together.  Er, the 13 of us.
Four Blakeys, six Rusts, and three Strubles.

L to R: Adam, Kay, Noah and Marae Rust, Elaina and Chloë Blakey, and Audrey Struble.

A lot has changed in few years.  Alex, Luke and Bryan were roommates in 2004.  I met Katie, and then we met The Guys, and then Lynnessa joined The Gang, as we referred to ourselves.
By 2006, we were all married and in each other's weddings.  And now we're living happily ever after.