Saturday, November 20, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

Today we had the extreme privilege of sending a gift to two impoverished girls, somewhere in the 2-4 age range through the incredible ministry of Operation Christmas Child

I get chills just thinking about those two girls, who they might be, if they'll like our gifts for them, if they'll understand the TRUE gift that we're sharing with them, etc.

Our day started bright and early with a trip to Target (one of Cutie Face's favorites--in her words: "dey have dolls dere. i like dolls. i like dere dolls a LOT").

using her new "holding on" skills
We shopped in the dollar section and in the toy section. Cutie Face had lots of input and seemed to understand that these gifts were just that--not to be kept but to be given away.

We swung by our house, picked up Cutie Cakes (who had been taking a cat nap with J) and walked over to church with our bags of goodies and our two shoe boxes.

The kids had a little chat about what the game plan would be--they were so excited they could hardly sit still!

Cutie Cakes tried her hardest, though, and set an example for her older sister!

After the 2-minute instruction (which i'm sure felt like eternity when the words "cookies", "frosting", and "hot chocolate" were mentioned), the kids ran to the cookie decorating station.

this was Cutie Face's first year ever to decorate cookies 
(as 15-months is, in my book, too young to decorate!)

she was very proud of her sprinkles

after everyone earned their sugar rush, they settled in (ha!) for a brief movie about the whys and hows of Operation Christmas Child. It was really neat and very moving to see the impact these shoeboxes of goodies have on each and every child. 

Finally it was shoe-packing time! Even Cutie Cakes got in on the action

Cutie Face was very pleased with her packing skills

Even Cutie Cakes was amazed (whoa!)

it was a packing,



and extremely joyful


I pray these boxes are blessings and beacons of light 
in an often bleak world for their recipients!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Music with Miss Julie

I think I love Cutie Face's school more every day. While I have yet to witness what goes on in her class (and outside in the playground, and in their music class, and their tumbling class, and their art class...), I know that she comes home a little more confident in what she can accomplish and a little bit more knowledgeable (in both social as well as cerebral skills).

Yesterday, (a Friday), is a day that Cutie Face does not attend school but we were invited to attend their monthly school assembly. While there, I was able to witness just *how* excited she became when she saw her teachers and how animated she became when her friends started waving at her to come dance with them. It was so sweet to see these little friendships blooming and see how much she's grown to love her teachers.

Anyway, the point of this post is not her school but MUSIC! 

Music with Miss Julie Austin, to be exact. Albeit very goofy (and what children's singer isn't--they need to be to keep up with toddler energy levels!), she was very fun and very good at what she does

When we entered the assembly, Cutie Face's teachers and MWF class had yet to arrive but we settled in the back with one of her T/Th classmates.

these two are actually the two youngest in the class so it was nice for them to be able to be with each other during the music hour! I don't think they minded, either...

Miss Julie really involved her audience and I truly didn't mind her songs--they were kind of catchy and definitely toddler/parent dance worthy!

even Cutie Cakes sat with rapt attention
at least, until she spied a teacher's belt buckle and ring--
then she was off and inching to investigate 

When Cutie Face saw Ms. Terry and Ms. Shalece enter the fellowship hall, she wanted to run over and hug them.

some of Cutie Face's buds & one of her teachers--Ms. Terry

It took a little convincing but she finally made it over there and stayed until the end of the concert. Unfortunately, i kept my seat and had a horrible angle but i can't help but post these pics for the sake of memory!

I'm surprising myself when I say that I might actually actively seek out Julie's next performance! Thanks to the school and Miss Julie for an excellent Friday adventure!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

you wanna cat coookey?

{as told by Cutie Face}

You wanna cat cooookey, Cute-CakesCakes?

ooohTAY. Come det dit!

{thinks: i'll keep eating dese. she's slow}

you need help, CuteCakesCakes? Here, i help ya

Dere. {shoves cat cookie in Cutie Cakes' mouth}

NO!!!! DESE MINE (note: we've moved past "myese")

*ding*  *smile*
(can't you just see the glint in her eye and the little mischief in her face?)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

9-month cutie cakes

today (4 days late) we had Cutie Cakes' 9-month appointment. At 19lbs (and 12 oz) and 28.7 inches, she's quite a bit smaller than Cutie Face was 18-months ago. But she's living up to her name and that's kind of cool.

waiting in the dr's office

She is no longer the toothless wonder (having broke her first tooth on the 25th of October).

She started babbling with consonants about three weeks ago, as well. The cute thing about her is that she practices and practices her skills. Cutie Cakes had been pushing her tongue against her lips for a month or so, trying to push out those consonants while making hilarious attempts. Now everything is dada, baba, and gaga.

never met a puzzle she didn't love

Today she waved for the first time (!) and played along with "How big is Cutie Cakes?" "Soooooooo BIG"--raising her hands whenever we'd say that. Sooooooo big AND so cute!

didn't love to eat, that is. Gotta love germy doctor toys. Gross

Still not technically crawling, she half crawls, half army creeps herself wherever she wants to go in record time. Cutie Cakes loves to pull herself up on everything and squeal with delight and pride when she accomplishes her goal.

kind of Norman Rockwell-esque if only you could see Big C!
She's such a happy baby who smiles and laughs at everything...unless someone she knows starts crying, and then she'll cry along with them. We hope that means she'll be a sweet empathetic lady as she ages. We are so blessed to have her in our family!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Homecoming 2010!

It isn't too shocking that we went to homecoming this year--we've each attended all but one of our homecomings after our respective graduations. 

This year, however, was a little different--J was an honored alumnus, feted among other alumni (and one alumna)! 

The looong weekend started with a car trip. J and I have decided that car trips with two babes are best done when you can incorporate an afternoon nap AND bedtime. So we left at almost 2 and the kids slept for 2+ hours. not bad!

We arrived uber early the next morning (1:30 AM on Friday) but the girls didn't seem to mind the late night and awoke bright and chipper at 6. Lovely.

Since J drove the whole way, the least I could do was occupy them outside of the small confines of our rooms. So we headed to breakfast at the college cafeteria (where we would eat roughly 75% of our meals that weekend). 

not a pic from breakfast but wanted to show all the alums the new saga
Friday was the coldest day of the weekend but, for mid-November in Michigan, we couldn't complain!

The girls loved feeling the invigorating air...

Cutie Cakes hung out in the Pop-a-Tot

check out the hat. fancy, no? (actually it's quite ridiculous)

and Cutie Face ran around the quad for old times sake
(or for my old times sake)

sadly, the lack of sleep meant increased crankiness

and Cutie Face was not immune from time out

it helped to take a "rest" at our bookstore
since, it turns out, there are a lot of books that aren't just for collegiates

Speaking of co-eds, we hired a fantastic babysitter with the help of J's mom, and headed to the awards banquet early Friday evening.

J was blessed to have a lot of friends attend!

i'd say his mom was most proud of him!

not to mention his mentor, who stuck with J through his (self-declared) major

i was pretty pleased to be at his side, too

the next morning there was a tree planting in honor of the alumni
so the Cuties and I showed up to represent J (who was...sleeping).

Turns out, ironically, he didn't get a tree! so we felt a little...silly 

to redeem our (humiliated) camera-toting selves,
i snapped a few pictures of the campus eagles 
(which you'd think would be our mascot but, no, that's too easy)

Cutie Cakes liked them, too

finally it was time for some real homecoming festivities
like the KKG brunch!

Cutie Cakes met Grandma Sally for the first time...
while Cutie Face took a few minutes to reacquaint herself with Sal

NB when the day was done, Cutie Face was giving out hugs to Sally and lots of smiles

maybe because she got to eat lots of food that never shows up at our house...
like Kappa cheesecake and french toast sticks

and she also got to play the piano

yes, believe it or not, there was more to the day than eating

how about some football!?!

Cutie Cakes was pretty camera shy--
she was too busy exploring the president's box

the rest of the weekend, we spent bumming around
the girls loved waking up at 4:50 AM on Sunday (daylight savings time)
which was...rotten for us parents

believe it or not, Cutie Face managed to turn on the TV to Busy Town (a new obsession)

side note: never thought i'd dry diapers in the campus hotel
(double side note: the hotel is typically off-limits to students 
so i almost felt illegal staying there!)

a true highlight for Cutie Face was hanging out with Grandma's dogs

Cutie Cakes liked them a lot, too!

poor, sweet, tolerating doggies

Before we left on Monday, we had a few hours to play in Grandma's office

envision the future as a legacy student

and give Churchill a hug goodbye
phew what a trip!