Lately, it's the simple things: spreading peanut butter on Juniper's sandwich while she builds a "nest" of miscellaneous toys, books, pumpkins, blankets and dolls in the living room chair and Hazel crawls around eating crumbs off the kitchen floor...that's when I get the feeling that what I am doing, right now, feels so right. Like I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be, doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing, right now. It's a good feeling.
Tomorrow (Halloween) is supposed to be in the 60's. Oh, we'll try our best to send some of this warm, dry mellowness to the east. From what we hear, much of our family is under a heavy mulch of snow.
:: The birthday. We saw family, then gathered friends to celebrate Juniper's 3rd birthday. We are relatively new arrivals to a very small town. I stay home with the kids, my man's job is mostly solitary. It's not easy meeting new folks. Which makes me all the more grateful to this new tribe of ours that gathered to celebrate my girl's three years on this planet.
The trampoline was a huge hit (I grimaced and averted my eyes most of the time) as was a "maze" my man had mowed in the back field. Last year I didn't get a single photo of J bug's party--too busy playing the hostess. This year I got smart and handed my camera to an extra dad.
Last year, J bug nearly dissolved into a puddle of delight when we had a little party and everyone sang Happy Birthday to her. And for the next four months I think we sang Happy Birthday at least 37 times a day. When Hazel was born and we were trying to get her to latch-on, we sang Happy Birthday because we figured she'd heard it so much in utero, it would make her feel home (it worked). This year, Juniper had told me she didn't want people singing Happy Birthday. We did a birthday morning test-run and sure enough, she ran crying, "Nooooooo! Not sing Happy Birthday!" and disappeared into her room.
So when the moment came, I did a real quick, "One,two,three HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" which still melted her into tears, but at the prospect of pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting, she quickly recovered.
Later that night she opened gifts, danced, and played doctor.
:: A couple days later, we hit up the pumpkin patch, complete with straw bale maze, scarecrows and train ride. And see that awesome sweater? Thanks, I made it. Juniper's birthday sweater--that's what she calls it.
:: Two weeks into it and I have this to say: "Three" is a magical, multi-layered cake alternating between fun, frustration, willpower and a heap of thick, creamy, make-believe frosting.
Juniper's first day of preschool(!). She adamantly refused to wear the ladybug backpack she'd chosen herself. And, after weeks of saying, "When I turn three, I will start my preschool!", when the day finally came, she crossed her arms at the breakfast table and said, "NO. I don't wanna go to preschool. I just wanna STAY HOME." Somehow, I convinced her to step out of the car and into the preschool building, but I ended up staying with her all morning. She refused to take off her jacket. As soon as she got comfortable, there was a fire drill. And as soon as she got comfortable again, they did ring-around-the-rosie, which is normally her favorite game, but with 18 kids it sent her into a fit of tears. Two months ago, she would have run straight into that ring. This is the new Juniper. Three years old, a little more self-conscious and self-aware of life's "scarier" situations combined with a staunch willfulness. Staunch willfulness.
:: Wondering about Hazel? Girl's been crawling for a few weeks now. We've taken a lot of video, having forgotten how friggin' cute the stiff, stilted, jerky, slow, wind-up-toy-like first crawls are. Damn, it's cute.
She still just has those two bottom teeth. My man carved a pumpkin in her two-tooth honor--I'll try to get a photo for you, but that pumpkin's been living outside and is already a bit worse for the wear. Oh, we have more from the trenches coming soon. In the meantime, it's Halloween!!
^Not to worry. We bought Juniper some glass crayons for her birthday.^