Friday, February 25, 2011

DIY- and i'm no crafter...

Eva has a bulletin board type thing with ribbon that criss-crosses it that my sister made.

She loves tucking special little things under the ribbons and admires them on a daily basis. I wanted one for Sam, too, but I knew I wasn't going to pull off what Jill did for Eva. I thought it would be nice to use some of the leftover wall-paper we had from his "picture frame" wainscoting room project. You can see it in the bottom right of this photo.

I found these magnetic boards at Ikea, $13.00, and figured it would be super easy to cover it in wall-paper and use magnets to attach some special momentos.
I bought two, because I had another idea for Eva's jewelry. That's next.
Here is Sam's board (Mike is going to hang them this weekend):

Eva has acquired quite the collection of jewelry in her short little life. Her love of all things shiny and sparkly and girly has gotten her quite a few gifts that fall into the "bling" category. It was all just a tangled mess in a drawer until I saw these boards and had this idea to organize it all. Now it can be worn, and enjoyed!  
I simply "wrapped" the board in wrapping paper- literally like you wrap a gift. And found these magnets at that work really well. This would be great for a little crafting station, too. I hung a pair of large scissors on one of the magnets and it held just fine. It also needs to be hung this weekend. 

Eva's loving hers. Sam is not all that impressed. Oh well.
TOTAL COST: Sam, $17 (board, magnets); Eva, $23.50 (board, magnets, wrapping paper)

Friday, February 18, 2011

You can't turn back time

Sometimes, I just want to stop the clock. I just NEED a few more minutes, even seconds, to let it all soak in. It's going too fast. I'm missing it. It scares me to death. My kids are growing up and, in many ways, I love watching it happen. I relish seeing them learn news skills and grasp new ideas; it's breathtaking. But, I just wish that it would all slow down. I want a slow motion button every once in awhile- one that works in real life when Eva is praying for babies she's never met at night or when she leans in and whispers in my ear, "I love Sammer Bammer. He's my best brother and I really love him."
Today I have 19 things on my to-do list, but I am going to just stop and reflect on Eva's 3rd year. I'm going to write about her and it's going to make me so happy (even if I do have a 19 item to-do list to get to when I am done). I need this. I don't want to take her for granted.
Three years since we went to the hospital on a very rainy February night and a few hours later she was here. The baby I had longed for and prayed for and, quite frankly, went through a lot of pain for! The moment is seared into my memory; it's easy to bring it back and feel it fresh again. Ah! She is such a joy. She is a stubborn and independent little spitfire, and she can make me want to pull my hair out, but she is my daughter. I love her so completely. She captures a little more of my heart each and every day. I'm biased, obviously, but I honestly don't know any child whose heart is more tender and loving.
Here is a look at her 3rd year. I know- it's like a million pictures. But, I just had the hardest time choosing because in some way, each of them exemplify a little piece of her growing personality. Each facial expression is accompanied by some priceless comment that I can still remember.
Last night, we lost our Grammie. Eva's Great-Grammie. So, today we celebrate both of their lives and I especially love that I see my Grammie in her: her stubbornness, determination, fierce independence, tell-it-like-it-is nature, generosity, quick wit. The list goes on and on. I wish Eva could have known her. She would have loved her.
Excerpts from the journal I keep for her are italicized.

We celebrated Eva's 2nd birthday with a Winnie the Pooh theme. She was totally enamored with Tigger and giggled uncontrollably- to the point of losing her breath- at his crazy antics on the show. She wanted a "BIG ONE CAKE" (said in a deep voice with saucer-sized eyes) for her birthday, and she got it! Sam was 5 weeks old and Eva was adjusting incredibly well. She genuinely loved her brother from the moment she met him and never looked back. Not an ounce of jealousy or anger; she just leapt right in and was the big sister I knew she could be.

 Eva adjusted to life with Sam like a champ. We have lots of pictures that resemble this...

 Here, Eva sports one of her famous ensembles. PJ's, Tigger hat and gloves (bought for her by her daddy because he can't say "no" to her batting eyes and sweet "pleEEEEEEse??"), snow boots, puffy coat, and her baby in it's backpack carrier. 

 I love all these bath pictures. They are some of my favorites of her. She and Sam both LOVE bath time. Sometimes it goes on for an hour and we "re-warm" the water 4 or 5 times. 

Eva continued to adjust like a pro to our new addition. We took every opportunity to go outside after not being able to handle one more second of being cooped up. I would take the monitor outside during Sam's naps and we got in all we could before he woke up. Sometimes she wouldn't want to go in yet, but she never got angry because she knew "brother needs us". She really upped the anty on her climbing antics, too. Jumping, nay, SOARING off of everything in sight. People still think I am crazy for the things I "let her do", but honestly, it's so much a part of her, I decided early on at the advice of my mom that it wasn't worth trying to fence that energy in. She rarely gets hurt; her balance is amazing. We are blessed.
I love watching you with Sam. You're heart towards him truly astounds me at 2 years old. You think of him first. You pray for him under your breath and share your most precious and favorite things with him. I look at you two and think, "MY KIDS!!". I still can't believe I've been blessed like this! You are both so incredible. Honestly, there is no way I could be prouder. You two have made daddy and I happier than we ever dreamed we could be. 

 Eva loves to be outside and is a MAJOR swing lover. She would swing for hours if I pushed her that long...
 In the pictures of both kids when Sam was really little, he's almost always crying and she's always looking confused.

Eva's ability to memorize songs is really amazing. She gets this from her dad, I think. She sings constantly, and knows the words to SO many songs. She loves to dance and we had a lot of dance parties this month. And, the girl has quite an imagination and can't get enough "pretend". "Let's pretend there are woozles in there!" "Let's have a pretend tea-party". "I'm going to pretend I have a baby." Having a little girl is SO MUCH FUN I CAN'T STAND IT!

You can hardly tell she's mine, right?

 Sitting with Papa on the hammock on Easter. It was very warm this year!
 Talking to Sam. She tells him secrets. Her favorite secret is, "I love you so much, Sammer Bammer". 
 More of these to come. I don't know why they crack me up, but I can't help but laugh.

A big month- Eva was potty trained in about a day and a half. She was so easy; so amazing. We are praying for a repeat with Sam in a year or so...
We also welcomed a niece and a nephew. Eva loves all the activity and loving on all the babies in our lives. She's going to be one AMAZING mommy some day. Sometimes I think she's a better mommy to her pretend babies than I am to my real ones.
Loves this month: popsicles and Curious George
Although you are definitely beginning to assert your independence (read , "don't like to be told no")- I am really loving this time with you. You talk constantly- literally ALL THE TIME. You are a Wells for sure! We laugh and play together and have so much fun. You are loving being outside and are so patient when we have to wait on Sam. 
Daddy and I still go into your and Sam's room every single night to pray over you and just soak you in. We always look at each other and one of us says something like, "Can you believe how beautiful she is?" or "Can you believe that she is OUR daughter?"

 The kids and I on Mother's Day. Eva's hair was in a crazy stage and I had a very hard time figuring out what to do with it!
 She kept saying, "he's falling! he's falling!"
 Unlce Bryan declared this day in May "Messy Day" and Eva got a little crazy with the shaving cream.
On most sunny, bright days, Eva asks for her sunglasses (one of 4 pairs). I think she looks hysterical in them.
Eva loved nothing more all summer long than swimming at Grammie's house with her cousins, and POPSICLES!

We were just loving summer this month! The weather was amazing and we had lots of days at Grammie's pool. Our CSA also started on Memorial Day, so we got to go to the farm every Monday and pick up our share of fruits and veggies (and pick some off the vine, too). This started a long summer of trying new recipes (especially ones that end up as delicious popsicles) with all the goodies from the farm. Eva loved kale chips!
My dad had surgery this month and the outcome was "cancer free"! Evangeline saw him soon after surgery and showed such concern and compassion. She knew he was hurting and she prayed for him on the car ride home. I hope I always remember that.

 I don't know if Eva is a Mommy's-girl or a Daddy's-girl because she loves on us both an awful lot. Of course, it's always thrilling when Daddy comes home from work because he's been gone all day. Maybe she'd miss me more if I ever went away :)

 Eva sleeps in a sea of silkiness. She loves the feeling of satin and strokes her "silkies" until she falls asleep every single night. Her favorite blanket is a white one that is silky on one side (see picture below). I don't know what we will do if she ever loses it. Honestly, it will devastate both of us. 
I mean, is this the MOST IRRESISTIBLE FACE YOU'VE EVER SEEN OR WHAT?? How can I be irritated at 5:30 when I am greeted with this sweetness? I love this picture of her.
Eva with one of her 5 or 6 babies. She loves this one and it goes to bed with her. She's excited about something here, and if I remember correctly, I am pretty sure it had something to do with chocolate.

JULY: This month we went on our 3rd annual OBX vacation with the Wells' family. We always capture some great pictures and this year was no exception. Eva loves water (pool or beach or lake- so far she doesn't discriminate but I am fairly certain she will be a pool girl). She loves helping me clean. And, I do mean LOVES- sometimes she cries when I tell her we are all done.
You are 2.5 years old- I cannot believe it! It's amazing how fast time goes. You are going through a "that's mine!" stage- you say it about everything. I'm not sure how to handle it, but I am thinking maybe I should ignore it? I'll let you know how you are doing with this next time I check in.
You are developing the most unreal personality. The other day I asked you what you wanted to do and you said, "Maybe go to Target?". I asked if there was something in particular you wanted there and you said, "Maybe get a purple dress?" We went and sure enough we found one on clearance for $2.75 and it was pretty darn cute! You wore it to church on Sunday and were acting like quite a show-off! You are loving Sunday School and ask all week if we can go again yet. 

Eva is a bit of a dare-devil and she loves being thrown- the higher the better. People always gasp when they see how high Mike gets her sometimes. I can guarantee that she's gone WAY higher than what I got in this picture.

Another picture of Eva that I simply adore. 
Girl loves her ice-cream. Any sweet treats she's actually pretty fond of- if she doesn't like it and it has sugar in it, you must have screwed it up bad.
Smiling at the Strasburg Railroad. Watching her take in new things is always so fun for me. She delights in learning and seeing new things. 

We spent several days at Longwood gardens this month and took full advantage of the "pick your own" blackberries at our CSA. Eva got stung picking one day by a hornet (I got stung twice)- her first "sting" experience and no reaction so that was a silver lining! Eva's love of playgrounds got pretty intense this month and there was a lot of whining when we passed one and couldn't stop. But, no worries- she still got plenty of playground time in. She also got to go to the aquarium for the 1st time and we found a secret creek stomping spot! Full month of outdoor fun!

She loves to play in the rain on warm summer days. Why not get the hose out and add more water?
 She loves chasing the water on this fountain at Longwood Gardens. This is one of her favorite places and this picture was taken during her "I love purple and I love tank tops" phase. I was seriously worried about the fall coming- she fought it hard, but long sleeves finally won. 

She loves when Sam laughs at her. When she does something and he laughs, she does it over and over again until he stops. It can go on for a very long time and Sam is gasping for breath. On this day, she was hiding in the closet and running out to him and he couldn't get enough of it. I love that she finds so much joy in making him laugh.

 Tiny heiny. So stinkin' cute!
Watching Tigger and Pooh with her buddies, Buster and Pooh.

She loved flip-flops but didn't really have the hang of them this summer. Whenever we went to someone's house and she spotted a pair (these were Judah's), she put them on and wore them until we left.

 Always the helper, feeding Samuel. She did a really good job (she only made him gag 3 or 4 times).

Um, check out those freakin' moves!!! Evangeline is a dancer. She doesn't need music- here, she found herself inspired by the penguins at the Aquarium. 

Eva started preschool this month. She loves it and is doing SO well. It was quite an adjustment for me, but I was so happy to see her go off so independently with a huge smile on her face. She continues a love of jewelry and all things "girl"- painting her nails, pretend makeup, playing dress up, trying on my heels. I often sit her on my bed with a drawer from my jewelry box while I am putting Sam down for his nap. She just ohhs and ahhhs at all the sparkly, shiny things and loves to try them on. An hour later though, you'll find her picking up worms, digingg in the dirt, splashing in the mud, and searching for bugs. This child is such a delight!
When I dropped you off for your first day of preschool you were thrilled. You walked right in, waved good-bye, and started talking with your teacher. No tears, no fear. You AMAZE ME! You had a great day! Your teacher sent the parents some pictures of your day and you were in 3 of them- and in all 3 of them you had only one pig-tail in. Only you. Why do you always rip out your bows, clips, and hair ties? It makes me crazy! 
 Watching a movie with daddy.

First day of school with her "almost as big as I am" backpack.

A simple joy- the playground. She LOVES them and we went A LOT this year.

She loves "paint nails". "Daddy, can I do paint nails on your toes?" 

Eva's third halloween- we went "Tigger-training" as opposed to "trick or treating" like the rest of the world. She was a fairy. She started LOVING Tinkerbell since Mike bought her the movie, so it was an obvious choice. She also had a little crush on Terrence (Tinkerbell's friend), which I was not fond of! She wasn't thrilled about the jackets and coats and sweaters that come with the colder weather, but it didn't keep us from enjoying being outside for at least a little while each day. We squeezed all we could out of the warm days of fall! Her sweetness was in full force, too. One day she came over and gave me a kiss and said, "Mommy, you are the most precious, precious girl in the whole world."
Another simple joy- the neighbor's sandbox. It may have been 50 degrees, but she's having loads of fun!

"Mommy, this is what Moses looked like when he was sad". We went to see a Moses play and Eva was completely enamored with the whole thing. I was amazed at her ability to follow and understand what was going on at 2.5 years old. And, she retained it. She still tells me about how "Moses' mommy and sister were sad about what Pharoah said so they put him in a basket and put him in the river! And then the princess takes care of him". I know I am biased, but she is really smart!

You can see the full story on this here. It really was a priceless moment.
An adorable cow at her school's Harvest Party.

My little fairy.

Eva (and Sam) had her first overnight away from mommy and daddy. We went away for the weekend and she stayed with Aunt Jill, Uncle Neil, and Judah. She slept on Judah's trundle and had a great time. This was quite a milestone as sleeping does not come easily to either of our kids. Since potty-training, Eva's sleep was pretty erratic because she would wake to go to the bathroom and then have a hard time getting back to sleep. Sometimes I would hear her jumping on her bed for HOURS in the middle of the night.
This month Eva started to really enjoy watching me in the kitchen and wanted to be my big-helper. She helped (genuinely) me make a casserole and pecan pie for Thanksgiving at my moms!
You are sweeter with Sam everyday, I think. You truly love him and work hard to protect him, making sure he doesn't grab small objects ("No, no Sammy! You could choke!") or go up the stairs. You entertain him and just LOVE when he giggles at you. And boy, does he giggle at you! You are like his personal comedian, I swear!

Eva loves working out with daddy and practicing yoga moves. She sees his P90X shirt and says, "Daddy, that's P-Piney-X. You gonna work out?"
Eva bowing to pray at her class' Harvest Party presentation.

Sipping Tea on Thanksgiving. She is a tea party expert! (We have one in the bath almost every night).

What fun to celebrate Christmas with a child! We did a daily activity on our Advent Calendar and she loved opening them up each day. She really took in the meaning of the season and, of course, loved all the lights and sparkle that Christmas brings. This month is when I got the news that my Grammie was very ill and was dying. I made the decision to fly to Oklahoma with my siblings and was away from Eva for the longest period ever. It was so difficult for so many reasons. She had a hard time and it was clear when I came home that she wasn't happy I up and left her without saying good-bye. We recovered and had a wonderful Christmas.

Oh the SNOW. We got very stir-crazy from being inside and it was bitter cold most of those days. I have nothing more to say...

The Paci fairy came this month and brought Eva a snow white dress.

We celebrated Eva and Sam's birthday's together this year. Here is another story to further illustrate her love for her brother: We got each of them a cake (Sam had a whale cake, Eva had a Tinkerbell cake), and brought each of their cakes to the table where they were seated next to each other. Everyone started singing and when it got to the part where you say the name it was a little muffled, but most people said, "Happy Birthday, dear Sam and Eva" or something close. After Eva blew out her candle, she looked at me with this very confused look and then burst into tears. She was able to tell me through her sobs that "we didn't sing to Samuel!" I couldn't convince her that we sang to both of them (she didn't hear his name I guess), so we sang again. She was then a happy girl!
The pics below are of her on her birthday at school, which was yesterday.
 This is what I have been getting lately when I say, "smile!"
 Sam and I got to come in for the first part of her day!
 Starting circle time. Eva was really happy we got to be there.
 She doesn't get into the singing part AT ALL :)

 Dressing "weather bear".

 After school we went to Longwood Gardens and both the kids got SOAKED in the children's garden. She had so much fun!

So that's Eva's 3rd year. And a marathon of a post. Holy cow!


We're the Wells family. We currently consist of Michael (husband and daddy), Lauren (wife and mama), Evangeline (daughter and princess), and Samuel (son and prince). We live a pretty simple life loving the many blessings that God grants us each and every day.
Mike is a genius carpenter/contractor and works throughout neighboring counties. Lauren stays at home with Eva and Sam most of the time, but works a few days a week as a therapist.
More than anything else, we love being together as a family- trips to the gardens, swimming at Grammie and Papa's house, and bike rides & walks are probably our most frequent activities. We're surrounded by our family (siblings and parents); they all live within 30 minutes of us!
That's us in a nut shell.
We're thankful you dropped by our site!