The past few weeks have been packed full of beautiful weather and we've been taking advantage of such weather to go on lots of walks around the neighborhood. Many of our walks are largely for fresh air and excercise purposes. But recently I've also been taking the girls on much more leisurely walks where the purpose is to explore. We make them part of our homeschool day. We've gone on a walk where we focused on local nature (squirrels and leaves count...it's all we've got in the city!), math (reading house numbers) and directions and maps. It's a lot of fun to slow down and explore our neighborhood. 

Taking a break...

Acorns for her collection.

Showing off their maps.

Renewed that zoo membership!

When our zoo membership expired in May we didn't renew it right away. I knew I wouldn't go much, if at all, while I was hugely pregnant in the summer or with a newborn. But, just a couple weeks ago, we got the itch to hit up the zoo. So off we went, with some friends, to renew our membership at the zoo. 

Posing out side te gift shop (which we've never been inside...gonna keep it that way for a while!)

Riding the tram with our friends.

Checking out the new penguin exhibit. These two were really good friends to one another this trip (they always love each other, it's just that sometimes they scream at each other!)

We decided to explore the local-animals side of the zoo this time. It was recently redone and it's lovely.

Having some lunch by the spinning climb-in terrapin shells (which are at least as old as I am, but they do have a fresh coat of paint on them now)

Petting the goats

Someone is as tall as a donkey (she asked for this picture)

Taking the tram back after a lovely visit.

I should keep tally of how many times we visit the zoo this year and see how much value this $120 membership has. Today, visit #1, officially checked in just me and the kids.

The many faces of Triton

Recently, i've been trying to be good about only keeping the best photos from any given photo-shoot. Because obviously with digital pictures, you take a million of every moment; but do you really need to save all of them? Your only trying to remember one moment, you don't need a whole flip book of pictures.

Except sometimes you do. Like when every smile is just a tiny bit different than the last and you want to remember them all.  Even the one with big sisters hand blurring the top of the picture.

And just for fun, while we are on the subject of cuteness...sleeping, thinking Triton:

Triton Jaune: 2 months

Hard as it is to believe, Triton Jaune turned 2 months old this week. I don't think he really counts as a newborn anymore! An infant, yes. But much of that squish able, red-faced newborn-ness is gone.  I look back to his first few days of life and they seem so long ago and yet, wasn't he just born?
Papillon said to me at breakfast the other say: "It's a lot of fun having a little brother!"

Ingrid routinely tells me "I very love him, momma!"

At 2 months Triton...

...weighs 11lbs 12oz! The doctor was unimpressed with his weight gain and truly, 2lbs in 2 months is not that impressive. However, at this age, papillon was 10lbs 3oz and Hibou was 10lbs4oz. So Big Dude is pioneering new territory for us in the world of Baby-growing.

...is 23 inches tall. In theory. I don't think the nurse did a careful job measuring him (his knee was majorly bent when she marked his height!) And I think he's taller than that. 

...wears 3 and 3-6 month clothes (these little sizes are so fickle.)

...goes to bed between 8 and 9. Gets up briefly for a snack between 1 and 3. Then gets up again between 5 and 7. And 9 times out of 10 will go back down after that for another hour or so.

...has just started wearing cloth diapers. We are easing into them and may end up being half-hearted cloth diaper-ers this time around (you do have to change them more frequently than disposables...) But I do love how they make him adorably pear-shaped.

...is a fan of his sisters (as they are of him) There is often something magical about papillon or Hibou's efforts to soothe him. And he smiles at them all the time.

...coos and "babbles" lots these days. And he smiles while doing it, Happy Man!

...is adorable during tummy time. (Which happens once in a blue moon and doesn't last very long, but I'm not worried. He'll figure out that head control thing just fine)
...nurses all the time. The doctor asks if he's nursing every 2-3 hours and I say yes, cause it's at least that. Do we ever make it 3 hours between feeds...probably not except at night. But he's already an efficient eater (sometimes even 4 or 5 minutes per side and he's good); so it's very manageable and I know feedings will space themselves out nicely in time. 

...is plagued by gas. You should hear this kid toot!! Long and steady or lots of tiny toots in rapid succession. Either way it sounds terribly uncomfortable and makes him heartbreakingly screamy. Praise The Lord for gas drops!

...when he's not gassy he is the smiliest, most laid back, social baby you'd ever like to meet.  

Ballet - off to a rough start

Two weeks ago, Papillon resumed taking a ballet class. We missed the first week due to vacation, but for week two, we were rarin' to go!

Hibou dressed up in a leotard and tights as well. She planned on dancing in the hallway with "mommy teacher" (which is also her name for me when we sit down to do school at home. Papillon prefers to just call me mommy)

Excited and ready for class!

Trying to figure out how to put on a tutu.

Even Tritio was all smiles for the occasion. 
This smiley photo was taken before the nerves struck and all manner of chaos descended upon us. A good moment...

...then all something broke loose. When the teacher appeared and prepared to tell everyone to line up for class, Papillon freaked out. She told me she changed her mind and didn't want to go to ballet. I tried to be encouraging - telling her she'd like it once she got in, and reminding her how much she liked her last ballet class last year. I even told her we were going to go celebrate with slushees after class. "I dont think I want a slushee" she said thoughtfully. 

I knew she'd be disappointed ultimately if she didn't go in. So I took her hand to walk her in anyway. She promptly started screaming and jumped on me, physically clinging to me like a monkey. The teacher said I could come in with her for a moment so I walked her in (as in, I walked in while she clung to me, screaming). Hibou, slightly trepidatious about the screaming but mostly curious about the class, followed us in. 

Then it got worse. As I am trying to pry papillon from me, the teacher goes to close the door to the class room and suddenly more screaming begins.  I look behind me and see Hibou with a horrified look on her face and the teacher with an even more horrified look as she turns to me and says "I am so so sorry!"
It took me a minute to realize that Hibou had had her hand on the hinge side of the door when the teacher closed it. Her fingers were majorly smashed - a blue/purple line running straight across all four.

Me and my screaming girls retreated to the hallway (where triton was peacefully sleeping in his car seat). 

Now comes the part where I definitely do NOT win Parent of the Year.  I wanted to assess whether or no lt Hibou's fingers were broken (actually I sort of assumed they were...I really just wanted to see if they were still even attached). She wouldn't wiggle them for me and, truth be told, I was afraid to touch them for fear they may just plop over or something equally traumatizing. 

I convinced my self that they weren't broken and turned my attention to the next biggest crisis - to quiet some of this screaming. I hugged both girls and held them in my lap as I tried to speak some soothing/distracting words.

Before long Papillon said she was willing to go in if I would walk her in. And I told Hibou she could come in for a minute if she could stop crying. Almost immediately she stopped (Which I took to mean that she felt mostly better). I loaded sleeping  triton in the sling (not wanting to leave him in the hallway) and together we slipped into the studio.

It only took 3 or 4 minutes before papillon wanted to join the class and sit by her teacher. So she did and I and the little ones walked out.

As soon as the door closed behind us, Hibou started wailing again. It seems she had held it together while in the class because I had told her she had to if she wanted to come in. She most certainly did not feel better.

Did I go look for ice for her hand? No. Did I ask if any of the other parents there was a doctor so they could check her hand? No. Did I offer her some Smarties or a lollipop from my purse and hope that would make it better? Yes.

It worked. But in retrospect, that doesn't make me feel much better about my choices. A reasonable parent would have at least sought out ice!  But God was watching out for Hibou even when I was not thinking straight. And despite the puffiness of her fingers, the smarties made her feel better and there was ultimately no significant damage.

Also, papillon loves her class now. Past the first 5 minutes of terror, she loved it. I knew she would. 

After class, papillon chose ice cream from chick fil a as her celebratory treat. 

Never was an ice cream cone more hard-earned. Hibous fingers were slightly swollen for a couple days but ultimately returned to normal and now she tells the finger-smashing story to any who will listen; and despite the guilt that wells up in me when I think about it, it's a pretty adorable story when she tells it. 

After all that excitement, we came home and all took naps - even Titus and myself. 

Kansas trip

We just returned from a little 5 day trip to Kansas (or as Hibou calls it "cam-dis" where we visited mon amour's grandad and a few other relatives. 

While we were there, I actually managed to use a real camera, not just my phone, to take pictures. But those pictures haven't come off the camera yet, so here are a few photos, a random smattering of those things I documented with my phone.

It was Trtion's first plane ride, and he did a great job. Smiled and played while waiting for the plane. Then nursed and fell asleep on the plane. And stayed asleep the whole 2.5 hours of the trip!

These two were also excellent travelers! Flying ok our pjs since we had to get up at 4am to get to the airport.

We rented a minivan and the girls rode in the back with one of the middle row seats folded down. There was sooooo much space! It was glorious!

In Kansas!

Doing some coloring, of course.

Helping great grandad pay some bills. And keeping him smiling by asking a million questions about the process.

Prettiest spot in all of Kansas! Also pretty much the only significant hill in the whole state.

Before we flew back, we stayed a night at a hotel in Kansas City. Triton thought the bed was comfy.

Remarkably the girls didn't ask to turn on the tv at all! (Usually it's te first thing they ask at a hotel) We did turn it on eventually and watched Chopped! Much to my surprise, they loved it! Papillon asked to watch it again the next day! It may officially be the first non-animated thing they've enjoyed!

Waiting for our flight home! Thanks to some bad weather in Chicago, our two part flight turned into a direct flight home. Huzzah!

First post-triton business trip

A couple weeks ago, Mon Amour left for his first post-triton business trip. I knew it would be hard but I had lots of help lined up and I wasn't overly worried.

Unfortunately, the day he left, a stomach virus came to call. Hibou was the first to get it. She had diarrhea all day long. That first evening, in a very 'special' moment, Ingrid was still having diarrhea, I was pluging the overflowing toilet and Triton was screaming because he wanted to be fed. Mon amour had been gone for an hour and a half an we were already drowning. Then papillon pipes up and says with a sigh "I really missed dad a lot today" as though he had been gone for a looooong time.  In the midst of that chaotic moment, I just started laughing and said "me too!"

That moment passed but the sickness continued. Hibou was sick for 4 days and I was sick for 6! Like horribly sick. We retreated to my parents house and lived there for the week, watching a ridiculous amount of tv with me laying on the sofa, prioritizing nothing but feeding Triton.  It was miserable!!

But we survived. Largely because of the help of my wonderful family. If they weren't nearby...I am not sure what the week would have looked like!

Despite all the miserableness,there were some highlights!

Like brunch with a wonderful friend!

The girls experimenting with photography. This is Hibou's picture of Papillon...makes me smile!

Some tummy time coaching!

Sweet morning snuggles.

Sharing secrets (and a muffin) at the farmers market.

Discovering the joys of the ceiling fan.

Snuggling with Nana.

Early morning book reading

And a birthday party for our favorite 1 year old dog!

And playing games on the iPad.

It certainly not the amazing safari fun time that mon amour was having, but we made it through.