Videos 

A couple videos from this last week!  We had our first snow of the season last weekend. Once Leo could get over having to get winter clothes on, he had so much fun playing in the snow, stomping around, shoveling snow, and following animal tracks. Suvi eventually liked the snow.  At first she was unhappy with her snowsuit. And she needed a bit more time to wake up from her nap:But later she did enjoy a bit of sledding:Here’s a video of Suvi walking around in the snow:

And another video of Suvi rocking out to Queen:

Happy Birthday Suvi

Yesterday Suvi turned one year old.  Her first year seemed to pass so quickly, much faster than Leo’s, and now we don’t have a baby anymore.  We have a full-on toddler!  It is hard to believe that just over a year ago Suvi hadn’t yet passed to this side of my belly, and it was just the three of us.  In just a year Suvi has gone from a newborn to the running, laughing, “singing,” dancing, capable little person that she is today.  Oh my, life can move so quickly.

I looked through pictures yesterday, and when I saw one of Leo and Suvi together from last January, I cried.  They have BOTH changed so much!

One year ago today:leosuvionedayoldone week old:oneweektwo weeks old:twoweeksone month old:1monthtwo months old:2monththree months old:3monthfour months old:4monthfive months old:5month5monthbsix months old:6monthseven months old:7monthb7montheight months old:8monthnine months old:9month9moten months old:10moeleven months old:161211-dsc_6996161211-dsc_6660161211-dsc_6730one year old!!!:suvijan2017asuvijan2017b

We are so in love with our sweet little girl, she fits right into our family and we are so happy she’s here.  I am sleep deprived, and have so very little free time.  But that’s okay.  I love my kiddos.

Suvi so far has been fairly mellow, much more laid-back than her big brother was as a baby.  She is busy all the time, moving around the house, doing her little experiments, climbing on everything.  Suvi is often self-entertaining, and while she is still very physical like Leo, she seems to be slightly more cautious.  Or maybe just has different limits?  It is interesting, when Leo was little, if it was at all physically possible for him to touch something he found a way to do it.  But Suvi, while still exploring most places, hasn’t seemed to have to get to every last thing.  Our pantry is small step down from our kitchen, and Suvi has just started to climb down there and get to all the food on the shelves.  This amazes me.  Leo would have thrown himself down there as soon as he could crawl.  I have tried leaving the cat food on the floor, telling Suvi not to touch it, and letting her rearrange all the food she can reach.  So far she leaves it alone!  Is this my child?  If something is “off-limits” to Leo he has an uncontrollable need to get to it/do it.  There is hope maybe one of my children will respect limits…

Oh, this girl.  We have loved watching her become who she is now.  She loves to snuggle, and climbs up next to Papa when he sits on the bench by the wood stove.  She loves to roll around with Leo in a pile of pillows on the floor, climb up onto the couch and bounce like crazy, and is always ready to dance.  The second she hears music, or if someone even starts to sing, Suvi starts to move to the music, bopping around.  She is mellow, yet can be feisty, and will let anyone know if she’s unhappy.  Suvi will get right in Leo’s face and yell to let him know she’s upset.  I don’t think she’ll be pushed around too much.

Happy Birthday Sweet Pea!!!!!!!!!

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Walking, Art

Our satellite internet is actually working well today, so here is another blog post:)

Suvi is starting to try to walk!  She’s been able to stand for a little while, and a couple weeks ago took her first step. She has been fairly cautious with her new skills, only trying to take a step every few days, and then slowly squatting down to crawl instead.  But she’s been trying more often lately. Two days ago she took two steps, and yesterday she was practicing her walking a lot, taking a few steps every couple hours.  She even took about six steps at one point, which I actually caught on video!

Also, yesterday Leo discovered one of our books on M. C. Escher, and his mind was blown. He spent hours looking through the book and creating his own Escher-inspired art!

A Trip to the Mountains

Last week Leo’s school was on fall break.  Leo has been asking to visit the Smoky Mountains for a while, so we decided to take a trip to the mountains.  The weather was beautiful, the leaves were at their peak of color transformation, and we had a great time.dscf2349This stream was just a three minute walk from our cabin, and after arriving the first day we spent a couple hours here.  Leo is completely in his element playing in a rocky creek.  He could spend all day hopping from stone to stone!

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squish face:dscf2403

our cabin:dscf2465

Our first full day in the mountains we went to the Smokies.  The first trail we went to started off at a picturesque stream, and we only made it that far.  We spent hours in the stream, while Leo was once again deep in the world of the mossy, stony, leafy water.  He was so happy!dscf2537dscf2561dscf2564

Suvi was content as well, happy to play with the leaves and stones, and watch Leo jump around as he completed levels one, two, and three of his made-up game.dscf2616

practicing standing on the stones:dscf2707

my silly boy:dscf2768The next trail we went to was a short half mile loop through a high elevation spruce and pine forest.  Everything was covered in moss and fungus, it was magical.  We spent hours here as well, with Leo stopping every ten feet to create intricate fairy worlds out of moss and sticks and stones, whatever was around.  Suvi was mesmerized by the moss as well!  She sat for a while on a log, rubbing and pulling at the moss.

Moss covered everything:

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too many cute faces to choose just one pic!:dscf2839dscf2840dscf2841dscf2871

The next day we checked out some places along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and ended up in another high elevation, moss covered fairy world.dscf3017dscf2906

this fungus was on everything:dscf2938

We even fit in a trip to an apple orchard, and picked a bushel of apples.  Today we’re planning to make a big batch of applesauce!dscf3025dscf3047dscf3035dscf3060dscf3080dscf3082dscf3084

Happy Birthday Leo!

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Leo is five!!!  It’s hard to believe my little baby Leo is the five year old boy we know today, it seems to have happened so quickly.  I am enjoying his increased maturity.  We still have our issues we’re working on (not bumping into Suvi every 20 minutes, being able to sit and eat without falling over, just eating in general, etc), but overall things are good.  And I’m so proud of my sweet pea.  It almost seems like he’s gone through a mini puberty, in his transition from preschooler to an elementary school aged kid.  He has gotten a little taller and thinner, his face looks more mature, and he suddenly even has more hair on his legs!  His haircut, of course, makes him look older as well.  He went from this:DSCF1001

to this:28254692413_b780ebdde6_o

Leo HATES getting haircuts, the feeling of any little hair pieces falling on his skin makes him go into a complete panic.  His previous haircut had gone so badly I promised him I would never make him get a haircut, it would always be his choice, and he was happy with the idea of growing out his hair for the rest of his life!  But before our big trip up to Syracuse, Leo wanted to buzz his hair like Papa had just done, in order to play a trick on Grandma and Grandpa.  Only Leo’s love of tricking people could top his hatred of sitting still and getting a haircut!

In early August I took Leo and Suvi on a flight to Syracuse, to visit Grandma and Grandpa for a week.  Greg couldn’t go because of work, and I was terrified of flying alone with the kids.  But we survived!  Leo was great on the plane, and required very little attention, other than the time mid-flight that he panicked about the feeling in his ears and started writhing and thrashing around for a minute.  I spent most of the time bouncing Suvi up and down, attempting to keep her from climbing all over the seat in front of us, and the giant man next to us, who she seemed to just love.  I was happy to get off that plane and get to Grandma and Grandpa’s where my reward was a week with very little responsibility.  28254671693_04d89a5015_o160808-IMG_0784

Suvi was just about seven months old then, and had been belly flopping around for a while.  But during our week in Syracuse she started real knee crawling, and also pulling up to standing and cruising.  I felt like I returned home a week later with a totally different baby, her skills had changed so quickly!

Leo had such a great week, and I think Suvi did too, although it took her a couple days to lose her fear of Grandma.

playing Guess Who:

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at the park:160809-DSC_3534160809-dsc_3622

asleep in the bucket swing!:160809-DSC_3637

a bath in the sink:160812-DSC_4083160812-DSC_4115

a carousel ride!:160813-IMG_1022

heading home:28384726833_663575f283_o

For Leo’s birthday he really, really wanted a Lego Minecraft set, after being introduced to Minecraft and Lego Minecraft at cousins Ian and Lukas’ house.  He asked every day, every hour, for the entire week before his birthday, breaking down when I said no each day to driving to the store and buying him a set, running out the front door and sitting in the mulch, crying tears of despair.  He was pretty excited to finally get this set on his birthday:29384029501_994b190395_o

The night before Leo’s birthday, Greg and I stayed up past midnight, assembling the trampoline Mimi sent him, as well as baking and decorating his cake.  I made meringue mushrooms to top his cake, and Leo thought it was hilarious to see his cake covered in a crop of mushrooms:DSCF1715

We didn’t make many plans, and had a great low key birthday spent mostly at home.  Leo just wanted to play with Legos anyway, and spent most of the day building with his much anticipated new set.  Grandpa was in town and was able to come out and celebrate with us, too!29430643646_5b96fdccf3_oDSCF1767

The weekend after Leo’s birthday we visited Mimi in VA, where we also got to see Aunt Brandi, Uncle Damon, Uncle Johnny, Aunt Azi, and even Great Grandpa!  And Leo got to eat more cake and got another Lego Minecraft set from Uncle Johnny.  Which worked out well for us, as Leo would build for hours with Legos each morning, while we were up 3 or 4 hours earlier than everyone else!:dscf1784Suvi with Great Grandpa:30201423105_542dcf9e83_oat a rest stop on the way home, Leo gently pushing Suvi’s limits:29572203374_08023b78ca_o

Building with Legos has been one of Leo’s favorite activities these days.  We have a baby gate between our baby-friendly living room and our screened porch, which has turned into Leo’s Lego Lair.  Some days he will sit for hours and build with Legos by himself, which has been the first time he’s done anything alone for hours.  It doesn’t happen too frequently, but when it does its amazing.

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Suvi is almost nine months old!  She changes so fast.  She has four teeth now, she cruises around, constantly exploring, getting in to everything.  A week or so ago, while on her potty, she just stood up, arms in the air.  She can stand for a few seconds at a time now, but can’t stand up yet from a sitting position.

Cruising:29524833834_e21a394ff4_odscf2100

teeth:dscf2013

playing outside:dscf2162

Suvi no longer is a great sleeper, now that she’s not a newborn, but a busy, active baby.  But I just compare her sleep issues to Leo’s at this age, when I barely slept at all, to make myself feel better when I’m feeling frustrated.  Overall, Suvi is quite easy going, and usually self entertaining, which I appreciate.  She loves to dance, bopping up and down the second any music comes on, or even if we read a book with rhythmic rhyming.  Suvi is more interested in books now than she was a couple months ago, and loves book time with Mama and Papa.  She also will sit for quite a bit of time taking all the books off the book sling one by one, flipping through the pages on her own.  Her current favorite book is Llama Llama Zippity Zoom!

Despite not the being the champion sleeper that I would wish, Suvi does seem to be a champion eater.  She loves food!  She will often sit in her high chair for so long, eating and eating as I keep bringing out more food.  Last night she ate three little cups of oatmeal, and several servings of venison stew, all while making the humming “mmmmmmm” noise she makes when she is very focused on something.dscf2041dscf2049So far Suvi seems laid back, but definitely makes her feelings known when she wants to.  If a toy gets taken, or she has to endure unwanted diaper or clothing changes, etc, she’ll get in your face and let out some loud angry shouts.  She’s also got some strong preferences for either Mama or Papa, and will let us know who she wants to be held by!  Suvi LOVES Papa, and crawls right up to him when he gets home from work, crying to be picked up immediately.  She fusses and cries when he has to get off his boots and wash his hands first, and once Greg is finally holding her she won’t let me hold her or him put her down for at least 5 or 10 minutes, desperately clinging to his shirt if I get near her!  After the extreme Mama attachment that Leo had, it feels so foreign to be shunned by my baby (unless she’s tired, then she cries for me, the milk-maker).  I think its so sweet, and feel relieved as well!dscf1933One of my favorite things lately has been Suvi’s expressions.  She can scowl like no other baby!  Everywhere I go people start gushing over how cute Suvi is, and then she turns to them, makes eye contact, and gives them the most evil looking, piercing scowl!  Its amazing.  I think Suvi has a sense of humor, and does it for the reaction she gets.  She’ll scowl at me sometimes until she can’t hold it anymore, and break into a laughing smile.

I haven’t yet captured some of the most intense scowls, but here are a few:29572148384_1fe29669a0_o29572133603_86608921de_o29572147703_d96c53a763_oabout to smile:29676866522_8f258d7fe8_o

Oh, my sweet peas.  Here are some pictures from a couple months ago of Leo and Suvi in our pond, our favorite place to be when surviving our no air conditioning summer life:DSCF1418DSCF1401DSCF1457DSCF1102

and the original scowler in the family (unless thats really me…):DSCF1122

teeth! almost crawling!

Suvi turned 5 months old on the 11th, and a few days later her first tooth came poking through on the bottom.  It was such a surprise!  She had been waking up more at night, and having a hard time falling asleep the week before, but that was all.  When Leo cut his first tooth at 7 months, it felt epic, with all the crying and drama.  I’m glad this tooth came in more easily!  The tooth next to it is bulging and visible, about to break through any day!

IMG_6066Suvi can sit for brief periods, but then topples over.  She is trying so hard to move and crawl that I think she is less interested in sitting, and tries to lunge forward to get to things.  Now each day she works toward crawling, getting up on her hands and knees, rocking back and forth, and attempting to push off.  She usually just moves backward across the room.IMG_6348DSCF9472DSCF9484DSCF9530DSCF9546

The last month has felt a bit chaotic.  We hosted another week long building workshop here which kept us very busy, and Leo spent most of the month sick, with Suvi having a couple brief illnesses as well.  Starting in the end of May Leo had a slight cold, and was sniffly and very tired for a week or so.  Then one night he spiked a fever of 105 degrees, accompanied by hallucinations that lasted for hours.  He saw “stuff from another world” coming down the stairs, “turning into other stuff,” and then turning into a black soup that was raining down.  He saw curtains moving, gnomes making holes in the wall, fish shooting out of his thermos, and lots more, which was scary for him (and me!)  For the first time in his life I tried to lower his fever, giving him tylenol and a luke warm bath.  I sat up with him all night until his fever finally dropped and he fell asleep.  Poor Leo!

He had a low fever for four days after that, and just when I was starting to worry it went away and his energy and appetite came back.  But then after a day of wellness he spiked another 105 degree fever with more hallucinations.  This time the whole world was “turning into egg yolks.”  Leo was scared and shaking, and asking for a bath to “make his dream go away.”  When I carried him to the bath he cried and asked “Is the water going to be yellow?!”  The next morning I took him to the doctor and it turned out he had pneumonia.IMG_5934

Leo was on the mend for less than a week when he caught a virus and had another fever for a couple days.  During all this Suvi had a fever for a day, was then fine for a week, and then was sniffly and mildly feverish for a day, and then fine again other than a runny nose.  Greg had a sore throat and lost his voice for a few days (during the workshop!), and I miraculously managed to stay well and care for everyone.  And cook for a dozen people.  Phew!

I have appreciated our return to “normal.”

Photos!  Way too many, but these kids are too cute:

IMG_6100Suvi sleeping, looking just like baby Leo:IMG_6101

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4 1/2 month old Suvi, playing and then getting frustrated by her toy:DSCF8876DSCF8878DSCF8934DSCF8944DSCF8949silly Leo hanging with the cat:IMG_5591popovers!:DSCF8841Leo swimming in our pond with his floaties:DSCF9449sweet peas!:IMG_5978A couple videos from a month ago, of Leo making Suvi laugh.  So cute!:

And Leo taking about trees the other day, after a long conversation with many questions about the origins of plants, and the life span of different plants and animals:

4 months old

Suvi is 4 months old!  Now we are out of the “4th trimester” and have a big ol’ baby.  DSCF8541DSCF8542

Suvi is huge!  She’s big and strong and full of desire to move and explore and do all her baby work.  So far Suvi seems fairly laid back, and is usually happy to be set down for long periods.  She loves tummy time, and hardly lays on her back anymore.  If I lay her down on her back she just rolls right over, and pushes herself up high.  Suvi regularly lays on her belly inspecting her toys for 30 minutes or more, sometimes 45 min or an hour.  She is very intentional now about reaching for things, and is able to grab toys and bring them to her mouth, chewing passionately and leaving herself in large puddles of drool.  Suvi also wiggles and kicks and squirms, pivoting and sliding all over until she is in a different spot and turned 180 degrees.  Despite being relatively laid back, she’s also very physical.  She’s been rolling from her belly to her back since she was 10 weeks old, and rolling from her back to her belly since maybe 13 or 14 weeks.  At first it would happen slowly, and I think it was mostly when she was trying so hard to get to her thumb, and she would eventually flip and end up on her belly.  But for a couple weeks its been all the time, she’s over laying on her back like a baby, and wants to run like the big kids!IMG_4723serious face, trying to grab everything:IMG_5296

Leo has been in quite an art-making phase lately.  He’s made lots and lots of drawings, and will sit calmly for little stretches of time working with his pastels or pens.  I love watching him work so carefully on his art.IMG_4772

a monster holding pastels:IMG_4742

a family portrait.  I love this one, Suvi is sideways since she’s always laying down, and I have breasts, one on top of the other!:

IMG_4794This one has a tree with leaves, a house with a chimney and smoke, as well as an underground world with a nest of eggs and its own underground sun.  The kid to the right of the house has a rat tail dreadlock!:IMG_4739

this one Leo worked on carefully the entire 25 minute drive to school: IMG_5289and this one he drew quickly while I was getting Suvi in the carrier and gathering his lunch and things for morning drop-off.  Leo drew it and said, “Yes!  It actually turned out how I wanted it!  The monster looks angry!  Usually I try to draw them angry, but they just end up looking confused.”:IMG_5290IMG_5285My little sweet pea, finally satisfied with his own work.  Unlike the other day when he tried over and over to draw a heart, and just couldn’t make one look like the idea in his mind.  So many tears!

We just finished another 8 day natural building workshop here, which went well, despite a lot of rain.  Suvi was popular among the participants, and during mealtimes we always had offers to hold her, and she would be passed around quite a bit, sometimes falling asleep in people’s arms.  It was so cute, looking over to another table to see Suvi just sitting there appearing to be part of the conversation.  She especially loved Waylon:

DSCF8376DSCF8443Leo had great behavior during the workshop, which was a relief.  In the past he has reacted to the change in routine and all the stimulation, and we’ve had some tough times (like pushing the 5 year old attending last year right off the top of some scaffolding, ahem…).  But this year there was a 19 month old here, and Leo was so patient with him, mostly.  There were moments when I had to separate them for a bit, but Leo had sand thrown in his face, toys grabbed from his hand, and much more, without reacting or getting upset.  Whew!

DSCF8432DSCF8424Suvi helping Papa teach:DSCF8199some more photos!  Here’s my little thumb sucker, about a month ago:DSCF7956Leo’s May Day festival at school.  I forgot all the kids were supposed to wear white.  Oops:IMG_5194IMG_5221Leo hiding from the phlebotomist at the dr.’s office.  He hid in the cabinetry for a while, and it eventually took three people to keep him still during a blood draw.  I felt so incredibly awful.  I held it together for a while, and managed to check out and almost get out of the door before crying myself:IMG_4894harvesting a few kale leaves from our meager beginnings of a garden:DSCF8496DSCF8497here I left Suvi, Leo, and Greg for an hour while I cleaned up the workshop kitchen, and she ended up naked and covered in mud:DSCF8508sleeping in the dress I made for her:DSCF8502talking to Leo’s doll:IMG_4921me and the kiddos!:IMG_5185