Saturday, October 30, 2010

The U.P.

Subtitled:  Best Vacation Yet
Why Didn't We Do This Earlier?

After blessing Maddie last month, we got down to the real business of the visit, which was to head up north and see Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  My grandpa has been talking about doing this since he first visited us in our apartment in Toledo, and I honestly wish we would have done it sooner.  It was gorgeous.  I think (with all the arrogance of a first-time visitor) that September has to be the best time to go, for these reasons:  1) it's off season, so all the accommodations were much cheaper, 2) the leaves were turning, and the color was gorgeous, and 3) it was just warm enough and just cool enough.  Perfect.

I don't have the patience to create a narrative from these pictures, so I am simply going to caption them.  
Waiting for the ferry to Mackinac Island.  Windy.  Maddie was treated as luggage, just like any other respectable one-month old.

I wish this picture really showed how funny this hoodie is.  It's one John picked up in Bolivia, and it's darling with the hood down.  With the too-short hood up, her shoulders are permanently raised, and she looks like a dwarf.  Or an Incan midget.

Mackinac Island has no cars.  It's awesome, and the biking was SO much fun.  It's not perfectly clear from this picture, but my parents are on a tandem bike with a trailer rolling behind them.  Awesome, eh?  All the bikes on the island have those cute front baskets functioning kind of like the trunk on a car.  

Little Grandpa loved to tease me about my "Red Baron" scarf.

On one side of the island, there was a big rocky beach with hundreds of stacked rock cairns.  Mimi decided we needed to stop and stack our own cairns.  It's still the part of the vacation she talks about most.

I love Little Grandpa.  It was so fun to have him along.
After Mackinac Island, we drove up through the U.P. to get to Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, and ride the Agawa Canyon train.  My dad and my grandpa both love trains, so it was a perfect fit into our vacation.  Canada may have even been more beautiful than Michigan, and that's saying something.  

Bella wanted to walk under her own power up all 323 stairs to the top of Lookout Point in Agawa Canyon.  That would have taken forever, but she protested her "sack of potatoes" fate anyway.

Don't I have beautiful daughters?
On our way back down, we visited Petoskey, Michigan, famous for Petoskey Stones (which we didn't find) and beautiful beaches (which we found and admired).  We did some hiking in Petoskey State Park.  At least some of us did.
Mimi was carried to the top of "Old Baldy" inside Big Grandpa's sweatshirt.  She loved it.

Ahh.  I loved it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

And she looks like this now.

Those tiny baby pictures in the last post almost made me wish I had that tiny baby back.  But this baby is much happier.  And now that she's two months old, the next time she comes down with a fever, we won't end up in the emergency room getting her urine cathed and blood drawn and chest x-rayed (and talking the ER doc out of a lumbar puncture).  I never before realized how lucky I was to keep my babies healthy for at least the first 60 days.  (She's good now.  It's just hard to keep all those school germs away from the babies.)
 She even smiles.  Well, every so often.  (And her real smile is much more charming and eye-involving and grin-like than this enigmatic smirk.  But sometimes you can only catch the enigmatic smirk on camera and just have to imagine the delightful grin.)
 How does she compare to my other babies?  Well, this Angry Pea is Bella, who rarely cried.  And Maddie cries any time she remembers that she and I have an agreement that she is never EVER to be put down.
 And this is what my Bella really looked like at two months.  Happy all the time.  (Except when dressed as a pea.)  (But do these two girls have the same eyes?  Madeline's are blue, and Bella's are brown, but they have the same shape, yes?)
 And this is the cutest picture I have of Naomi at two months.  (Washcloths for modesty.)

 Most of the pictures look like this one below.  I think her attractiveness was actually somewhere between those two pictures.  Not as cute as the one above, not as frog-like as the one below.  (You know, I really don't ever see it when people tell me that they can "sure tell which kids belong to you."  But looking at these pictures. . . hmmmm. . . there's definitely something they have in common.)
 This is Olivia.  My sweet little bald baby.  Oh, give me a moment to cry about how big she's gotten.

 Moment over.  I actually think she's a lot of fun as a seven-year old, so I won't mourn too long.  (But that round, round head?  And that sweet smile?  I really wish I could kiss that baby one more time.)

What do you think?  Who does baby Maddie look like?  (And I know it's not me.  *Sigh.*  I'm resigned to the fact that the Wells genes are absolutely dominant in the facial features category.  Good thing I married someone who is handsome as a man but also looks darling as a little girl.  :)  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We Blessed Her.

When you live 2000 miles from family, you learn to take advantage of the times they come to visit.  When my dad, my mom, my grandpa (my girls call him "Little Grandpa" since it's confusing to have two Grandpa Andersons), and my brother came to visit (purpose: one week in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan), we had to sign Madeline up for her blessing day.  
And then take 4 generation pictures afterward.  

Because of that crazy thing in the coral dress, these pictures were particular difficult.  We love her anyway.
It was so fun to see the Soelbergs, who came up from Bloomington, just to be with us too, but they had to leave in a crazy rush before we really got to enjoy them.  Sorry, guys!

And this is my girl.  A month ago.  I already miss that tiny baby.
She doesn't really fit in that dolly carseat anymore, but when she did. . . it was the most perfect portable baby seat ever.  

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Not Further Evidence

 The following are not further evidence of my poor mothering.  They are simply evidence of my idiocy.  Since an eyeshadow container had crumbled in my makeup box, I decided to empty the box of its contents, rinse the shimmery powder of each item, and stack them to dry on the side of my bathroom sink.  The makeup box itself needed something more intense, so I took it down to the kitchen sink so I could use a Brillo pad.  I got distracted on the telephone for a few minutes with a darling friend, and I neglected to remember the cardinal rule of toddler-watching.
Silence is ominous.
However, to show that my stupidity is balanced by my genius, let me present these pieces of evidence:

1) I only buy 93-cent lipstick.  So my financial loss was minimal.
2) I have trained Bella to raise her hands in the air and hold them there when she has made a mess and I am cleaning it up.  Therefore, although an entire tube of lipstick was used as a drawing utensil on her face and the toilet and the sink and everything on top of the toilet or sink, there were no lipstick-y handprints anywhere.  And her dress (a Hanna Andersson that I picked up on clearance and I LOVE) remained pristine.  
3) I took pictures first, laughed second, and cleaned up last.  Genius.