Thursday, July 30, 2015

Miss Maleficent (part two!)

Lola got a pair of wings to add to her already-very-awesome Maleficent costume.

(Oh, and a crow finger-puppet too, because every Maleficent needs a little crow friend.)

Today, as Millie continues to battle an ear infection and high fevers, Lola and I had some time to go outside and get some updated photos.

She is just a doll, a little ham. I love her personality and I love to hear the stories she creates in her head. She's so imaginative.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Two weeks ago, my Lola turned 7.

Yep, that's my Lola. Energetic. Dramatic. Smiley. Happy. A little off-balance. But determined. Fun. A teensy bit crazy.

This has been an amazing summer for countless reasons, but many of the highlights thus far have involved Lola learning new skills, such as underwater swimming and alphabetizing.

Something shifted in her this spring, when she stepped onto that two-wheeled bike and got it. She was oh-so-close last year, having dropped the training wheels for most of the straight-aways but she never quite mastered the whole concept of balance. But when she stepped on that bike earlier this year and figured it all out, so very quickly, you could see it click. She got it.

She laughed and laughed that day, and many times afterward. "Mommy you were so right!" she said (why didn't I record that?!). "As soon as I figured it out, it was so easy!"

When she asked for rollerblades for her birthday, I was a bit hesitant. Not because I was afraid she would get hurt -- that's kind of a given in Lola's world -- but because I didn't want her to get hurt and walk away from them before giving them, or herself, a chance. She's had so many successes lately and I can see and hear how very proud she is of herself right now.

But I'm all for outside fun and exercise... And it seems cruel to give someone rollerblades for Christmas...

So she got them, less than two weeks ago.

She started with us holding her up by the armpits. Then, we held her hands. Then her hand. Then a finger. Day by day, inch by inch, she improved.

But it was more than that. For the first time I really saw her pushing herself to do better.

Tonight, she fell for the first times. The first two drops weren't bad, just right on her rear end. She quickly popped back up.

The third time, though, she landed backward on her elbow, scraping it up pretty good. She yelped and then quickly swallowed a would-be cry, clenching her teeth.

"OK, Mommy," she nodded. "Yeah, I think, I should wear those elbow pads now."

(I've insisted on the helmet, the knee pads and the hand guards, but I let her "win" one with the elbow pads.)

She was banged up, not too badly but bad enough for 10 minutes before bedtime. I told her we could either go one more circle around the driveway or head on inside. No pressure either way.

She grabbed the elbow pads.

One last time.

She's such a great kid. We are so proud of who she is and who she is becoming.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Up until this whole stay-at-home-mom thing, the longest stretch of time I'd been off of work -- as a so-called "adult" -- was in 2011, with my 12-week maternity leave with Millie.

Yesterday would have been my first day back to work, if I was on a similar leave.

This has been an amazing summer. I am having the time of my life.

From daily walking excursions to Cities trips to camping adventures, we've been having a lot of fun. Every day.

Our makeshift waterslide. Ha.

Millie the Mermaid.

Sister friends.

Felt boards. Great for speech work, great for play.

Mommy and Millie holding hands,
just like the felt people.

Fun for older kids too!

She loves the water.

Millie the Mermaid (again).

Itasca adventures -- they are the best!

Beachtime fun!

Right in our backyard...

Lola's frogs ... the girl loves her frogs.

Best part of this photo is right after it was taken,
we opened the jar to let the frog go (Lola only gets to
keep them for a little while) and it jumped right onto Millie's
chest. She freaked out and tried to brush it off, only to get it half-stuck
in her collar -- and then she (understandingly) freaked out more. She is
not as frog-crazy as her older sister. But she sure does make us laugh.

On the road again...

Lola's latest obsession: rollerblading. She is still learning,
having gotten a pair last week for her birthday. But she loves them.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Miss Maleficent

Ever since Lola first saw Maleficent she has been rather desperate to find a similar costume for herself. She loved Angelina Jolie's look, I think, in the movie, and she really, really liked that she could fly.

"I liked that she was mean," Lola said, a wee bit shyly, recently, when I asked her why she liked the character so much. "At first. But then she was nice. She was mean and nice."

Anyhow, we were never able to find a kid-sized costume similar to that from the film. (We did find some, er, interesting ones for teens and adults though. Not quite what we were looking for though.)

"Can't you just write Walmart a letter and tell them to make one?" she asked me, more that once.

Coming to the rescue was Ray's mom, who very, very kindly agreed to take on the job for Lola's upcoming birthday. Never even hinting at anything to Lola, we were scoped out patterns and picked out fabrics that would create the ideal look.

When we were in the Cities a couple of weeks ago, Jean surprised Lola with her costume.

It is amazing, absolutely perfect. 

My favorite part of the costume is that, really, if you take off the cape (and the horns of course) it is a beautiful dress, too, that she could actually wear, like for Christmas for a choir concert or something.

It is quite unbelievable, really.

And Lola loves it.

Our little Maleficent.