Friday, April 29, 2016

Serene's April favorites

serene's april favorites
serene's april favorites
serene's april favorites
serene's april favorites
serene's april favorites
In an effort to remember Serene at age two, I am capturing her favorites each month. In April 2016, Serene has been:

PLAYING: with her baby doll
READING: vintage children's books
ASKING: for "the orange one" [of everything]
EATING: fruit
WEARING: her doll sling
LOVING: organizing her books in rows
WORKING ON: staying in bed the entire night
SAYING: "No, Booboo! Don't make a mess! No, Booboo! Don't pull my hair!"
SINGING: "Wheels on the Bus" and other nursery rhymes

Her favorites from earlier months: MarchFebruaryJanuaryDecemberNovemberOctober.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Renovations and updates

serene painting at 2 years 6 months
serene painting at 2 years 6 months
serene at 2 years 6 months
serene painting at 2 years 6 months
serene at 2 years 6 months
serene painting at 2 years 6 months
serene at 2 years 6 months
serene painting at 2 years 6 months
valor at 11 months and serene at 2 years 6 months
serene painting at 2 years 6 months
serene at 2 years 6 months
serene painting at 2 years 6 months
serene at 2 years 6 months
I'd been itching to redecorate our living and dining rooms since the start of the new year. Alex encouraged me to do so in a creative way without dipping into our monthly budget, so I purged our nooks and crannies, selling a slew of old furniture and vintage decor from our wedding on Craigslist in order to acquire new pieces for our little home. Nearly five months later, and we have two newly renovated spaces that feel more airy, gender neutral, and kid-friendly. So thankful we have a place we can more enthusiastically call home. Alex loves the renovations, and the kids do too. I still feel like the rooms are not fully finished, but I suppose that is usually the case since homes continually evolve over time. I wanted to incorporate the kids into the making of our new space, so I commissioned Serene to paint on a big white canvas that we hung above one of our couches. She left a bunch of white space though, so I'm thinking once Valor can grip a paintbrush, he can add onto the canvas. Room tours to come in future posts, perhaps.

Really though, I can't believe it is already almost May. Life has been a whirlwind. Alex left for a one-and-a-half week missions trip to the Philippines a couple of weeks ago, which was the longest we've been apart since we've been married. Caring for two kiddos two years old and under without him was no easy task. So blessed by our families, church family, and friends who came alongside to encourage us while Alex was ministering in the Philippines. Thankful for the opportunities God provides for Alex to make Him known at our local church and elsewhere.

Wedding season is here, full force, and I'm blessed to help with our family's finances by coordinating weddings. I love seeing all the details come together and ensuring events run smoothly. Between event planning for our apartment community, loved ones' milestones, and weddings, it is an ongoing rhythm we've grown accustomed to and are embracing. So grateful I get to do what I love with the ability to be home with the kids. The next major milestone for our little family is Valor's birthday. Our littler love turns one next week! Praising God for the abundant grace I cannot fully articulate in a blog post. His kindness knows no end.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Serene Joy at two and a half years

serene at 2 years 6 months
serene at 2 years 6 months
serene at 2 years 6 months
serene at 2 years 6 months
serene at 2 years 6 months
serene at 2 years 6 months
serene at 2 years 6 months
serene at 2 years 6 months
serene at 2 years 6 months
serene at 2 years 6 months
serene at 2 years 6 months
serene at 2 years 6 months
Sweet, silly, and sassy! Two-and-a-half-year-old Serene chatters nonstop, rather articulately for her age. Many comment on her range of vocabulary and how intelligible she is. She strings together new sentences at light speed. Observing her learn, absorb, inquire, and interact with the world around her astounds me every day.

She adores the color orange, and requests "the orange one" for everything. She has a penchant for organizing her books by type (e.g. all the Little Golden books, all the Angelina Ballerina books, all the God Made books), her pretend cupcakes and cookies in neat rows, her dolls in a row, and her little animals in a cluster. She often carries multiples of items, labeling the bigger ones as the "daddy" or "mama" one, and the littler ones as the "baby" ones. She totes her beloved purple blanket everywhere around the house, using it to have picnics on the floor, fly on a magic carpet while singing Disney songs, or wrap her baby doll in like a good mama. She invites everyone who visits to play with her in her house bed. She prefers wearing only dresses or skirts, so that she can twirl in them like a ballerina or princess. Her favorite Disney princess since turning two is Ariel.

She sings all day long, having memorized the lyrics to the Disney Pandora station, "Kingdom Connection" (our church's kids' Easter musical), "Madeline," "Jesus Loves Me," and "Wheels on the Bus." She always requests to sing along to Pentatonix's "Angels We Have Heard on High" and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" before her bedtime bible story. She takes a 2-3 hour afternoon nap, and sleeps around 8pm-7am. She has been going through a bit of a sleep regression these past few weeks, waking up at 1-3 times a night to run out of her room, wailing and clutching her purple blanket.

She is adamant about doing as much by herself as possible: putting on her shoes, getting in and out of the bath, getting into her car seat, climbing up and down her toddler dining chair, using her utensils and big girl cup with finesse. She has gotten pickier about food, and would eat carbs, fruit, and sweets (especially cookies and cupcakes) all day if we allow her. As much as she beams with pride when accomplishing big girl tasks, she refuses to use her little potty, demanding that she wants her diaper changed instead.

She loves her little brother so, but could do without him pulling her hair or knocking over her nicely organized toys and books. She adores her little friends, and does not look back when being dropped off to be babysat. She waves and proclaims "Hewwo!" to every passerby, kitten, or puppy, introducing herself as "I Serene Joy Joy!" No one can comfort her like her mama can, but she knows she can get away with more with her daddy. She loves when people come over, often asking for them in the days to come. She is observant and compassionate, asking, "Aw you okay?" or "You need medicine?" when our faces or actions speak otherwise. She jumps up and down, exclaiming, "Yay! Yay! Yay!" when we present her with an agreeable proposition. This post is a lackluster attempt to bottle up her personality and energy. Nevertheless, she is our irresistibly sweet and silly Serene Joy Joy.