Thursday, September 25, 2008

In Eva's World

Yesterday morning Eva slept until 9:15! When she quietly appeared in the kitchen, the first words out of her mouth were precisely:

"I have a feeling it's going to be tricky obeying today."

Huh? My first words were, "Lets go talk on the couch."

Later in the car, she shared with me:

"Jesus isn't someone."

Me, "What is he?"

"He's a Savior."
"But I call him a Sav-noir. Or a Sav-emporium. And he laughs."

I bet Jesus thinks Eva's jokes are funny....

Happy Birthday Hope!

Today is Hope's birthday...she is not feeling well (an average cold, settling nicely into her chest). At 5 am this morning, when Eric got up to get her a remedy, he sweetly looked at her and said, "And happy birthday, Hope". I guess she gets homeopathic remedies for her birthday present ;).
One year sure flies by, and I find myself thinking about this day last year. It was a great, fast-paced labor and delivery. Followed by a reasonable recovery, I cannot complain. I guess what I can't stop thinking about is Hope's name.

Last year this time, Eric and I were maneuvering through some rocky waters. We were struggling a lot, but over and over we felt the Holy Spirit telling us, individually and together, "There is hope." We believed it, too. Thank you Lord!

Around 36 weeks, we still didn't have a name for our little girl, then one night as I sat on the steps thinking deep thoughts, the Holy Spirit again spoke to me. This baby must be named Hope. I didn't tell Eric right away, knowing that he didn't like the name much. As we sat in the hospital a few weeks later, I was convinced that this precious bundle would be named Hope. Still, Eric was playing around with Leah or Claire...which one would it be?

Day two in the hospital, our dear pastor's wife called. She knew what we had been going through, and I guess she just wanted to check in. Except, she blurted out, "I don't know if I'm supposed to tell you this, but all morning I keep hearing in my head, "her name should be Hope". Well, that was the final straw, and Hope Elizabeth Patenaude was officially named.

The beautiful thing is, I do not go a single day without God using Hope's name to remind me of Him. There is Hope is God. Sometimes it is the gentle question, "What are you putting your hope in?" "Are you putting your hope in things besides Me?" God gave us our daughter's name as a monument of his faithfulness to us. And each and every day, He reminds me that we have hope.
We are thankful for you, Hope. Happy 1st Birthday!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Mother's Day Outing

In true Knudtsen-Spears family style, my mom and I had our belated Mother's Day gathering today (only 5 months behind schedule). We weren't able to get together for the actual day back in May, so we planned a few months ago to spend today doing something fun. We settled on visiting Como Zoo and Conservatory, hoping to please three generations of women!

We are having Indian Summer currently, so the day was perfect. Temps in the low 80's, slight breeze, lots of warm fall sun. In order for me to drive myself and the girls to the zoo, we had to bring Eric to work then take the car. This meant that I was ready to walk out the door at 7:15 this morning...not a common occurrence. For the girls, this meant that Hope went into the car in her pajamas, and Eva arrived in the car wearing only her underwear and crocs on her feet. She knew the "get in the car in PJs" plan, but happened to get up early enough to at least get her pajamas off and underwear on. So, I quickly changed Eva into her clothes and buckled in before we reached the first stoplight.

We headed off in the morning rush hour to drop Eric off at work, planning to run a few errands, hopefully give Hope a car nap, and meet my mom at Como around 10:30. The morning went nothing like planned, but still turned out great. We ended up staying at General Mills and eating breakfast with most of his team (HUGE omelets and oatmeal in the cafe). After breakfast we hung around the cubicles a bit while Hope made everyone laugh and Eva made a strong attempt at being anti-social. In the end one of Eric's coworkers had a stuffed, yellow cheerios bear which persuaded Eva to utter a few niceties.

After breakfast, our attempt at running errands failed as Costco was not open yet. Instead we browsed Lakeshore Learning and all three of us lusted after beautiful, well-crafted, smart toys.

When we had pried ourselves out of the store (without a purchase, thank-you-very-much!), we headed towards Como. Thankfully, Hope did nap. Thankfully, mom was about a half hour late allowing Eva and I to eat our lunches (at 10:15 am) and Hope to keep napping.

The rest of the day went as planned...except that we stayed longer than we expected- a sure sign that we were enjoying ourselves! Como conservatory is very cool, old, and interesting for adults. Eva had a grouchy attitude about this part and kept asking if we could go see the animals. The zoo is small, but full of the critical exotic animals that zoos are supposed to have, so it is perfect for us. I will leave you with pictures, but I can't sign off without sharing the highlight of the trip for me- the orangutan mama with her baby!

Eva was enjoying the monkeys a lot. She was standing on the other side of thick glass from the orangutan exhibit, absent-mindedly watching some other monkey family. the orangutans were being covert, so we all were excited when one jumped up on the ledge and started walking close to us. Eva turned around at the very moment, almost face to face with a monkey that is bigger than her and STRANGE looking. With a cry of fear, she literally threw herself into my arms. It took me a moment to convince her that we wanted to look at this beast, the key words I used were "monkey baby". I have to admit, seeing a monkey mama and her baby is eerie. They reminded me so much of Hope and myself, the way the baby hung on tight while the mama busily wandered around. The baby had a hilarious mohawk, and the mama clearly had better things to do than stand around while people watched her baby nurse. How eerily human. Anyway, they were fun to watch, and I really enjoyed being "needed" by Eva for a few moments ;).

Classic bag lunch on the bench. Not so classic (depending on how well you know my mother...) is her sock situation, the half pound of cheddar she is eating like a snickers bar, and in the other hand the large tomato she is eating like an apple. You're one of a kind, mom!

Eva was most excited to see the giraffes and to get her treat from Grandma- that enormous, artificially flavored lollipop. Both turned out to be AWESOME!
Mom was interviewed about her political opinions by some TV station...

After wandering through the exhibits, Eva and Hope played on this turtle statue for quite awhile while mom and I chatted. Eva assured me this statue would not break...thank goodness!

Prettiest picture of the day (but I'm not biased ;).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Beauty School Dropout

As any mother knows, silence is golden. Except when it is too long of a silence and you're not sure where the kids are. So, last Thursday I was reading to the girls (ours, plus Ella) in the living room. Eva responsibly left to use the bathroom, all on her own. Way to go, Eva! BUT, after quite a while, I realized that she had not returned.

I call out, "Eva, what are you doing?"
She responds calmly and without hesitation, "Cutting my hair."
Me: "Eva, stop cutting your hair right now." (trying to hide the desperation in my voice.)
Eva, still very calm: "OK".

Well, if Eva is doing something naughty or that she knew she shouldn't do, she would typically respond in a little more defiant manner. So, I decided that this was a common childhood mistake...not worthy of any punishment.

With a baby in each arm, I walked into the bathroom to find this:

The hair stylist (very astute gal) later pointed out that Eva must be right handed, because the cutting went around her head, left to right, in precise, wide bands.

Poor Eva was itching terribly, so it was difficult to get a good picture. My response? I actually almost started crying. See, Eva's hair is not luxurious to start with. It grows slowly, isn't very thick, and she was practically bald until at least 18 months old! She had cradle cap until she was two, and I spent many hours scouring her scalp for evidence of crusties so that her hair would actually grow. Lately, she has had long enough hair (and patience) for a few fun, girlie styles. We've been experimenting with braids, ponytails, barrettes...but alas, we're back to the inverted bob. Eva didn't seem to mind, but she realized what she had done when she saw me welling up with tears. Silly me!

You can imagine the scene that followed. Eva had to bathe to get the itchy hair off, but of course she was shaken by the whole experience so she informed me that she wanted to be alone for the shower. When Daddy came home, she ran and hid, evidence that she had taken this mishap to heart more than I originally thought.

We managed to sandwich a trip to "Kid's Hair" in between dinner and small group that night. The stylist was very helpful, advising me against the "boy haircut" I had warned Eva about. She said that the really short spots would be hard to hide, so instead we opted for a cute inverted bob, with "swoop" bangs. Eva was extremely cooperative and well behaved during the procedure, so the adventure ended with a sticker and a sucker. What could be better? Here are some shots at the salon-

She does not appreciate having her picture taken, so the next few photos show the final product, but they're a little wacky-

Short hair fits her, wouldn't you say?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Whoa...I'm blogging!

Well, I am officially starting my own blog...after all this time of talking about it! If you're reading (highly unlikely), you'll have to check back for anything interesting, as this is just a trial run. Peace-