Sunday, December 30, 2012

travel weary

Michigan for Christmas: it's an every other year thing for us. Rich and I grew up in western Michigan. Both of our large families are there (or travel there for the holidays.)

Robin (Rich's sister / my sis-in-law) and I dress our kids in matching outfits every chance we get. They will hate us someday for this.

Bryan and Misty (my brother and his wife) put us up while we're there (as do Rich's parents). We destroy their houses and they all love us up with patience and hospitality.

My kids get to experience snow.

This year, Charlie experienced a rite of passage. He rode the Penny Horsey at Meijers. This horse has been there since I was a kid.

We take up a lot of land mass in the terminal.

Rich is the best kid-wrangler in airports and baby rocker on airplanes.

The California sunset that welcomed us home tonight was a gentle reminder of why we live here. And why it's worth the long trip every single time to see our families in Michigan.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

she could bake

My Mom could bake.

Seriously. She didn't make elaborate or fancy things. She made repeats every year. Peanut brittle, fudge and those Oh My God pumpkin rolls.

Bryan and Misty brought her little green and orange recipe box to me this past March. When I really put my mind to it, I can bake, too. And when I bake, I think of her. And this little green and orange box - the one she pulled out several times a year to unfold a typed up recipe - well, it is a tangible memory of a lovely lady.


Linda's recipe box

A lovely lady who made killer peanut brittle.

Linda's Peanut Brittle

Fudge that wasn't too dry but not too gooey.

Linda's Peanut Butter Fudge

And pumpkin rolls that made Christmas . . . Christmas.

Linda's Pumpkin Rolls

Enjoy her recipes. Try them out yourself this year. And if you are a sister or daughter (Misty) or granddaughter or niece or cousin of Linda, please print these and save for your own little recipe box. She would have liked that.

P.S. 2 of these 3 recipes were actually from my Grandma Cunningham, my Mom's mother-in-law. The thing I love about that is 99% of my (non-baking) recipes are from my mother-in-law or sister-in-law. We both married into nice families.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Alice Linda, 1 year old

Dear Baby Alice,

My sweet girl. You took your first trip around the sun.

Alice Linda, 1 month

One year ago, on 11/24/11, you shot into this world fast and furious. My labor to deliver you was painful. My work to hold you and love you and raise you is joy.

Alice Linda, 2 months

You are the last baby for us. You have made us a complete set. (I stole that from Toy Story 2, for the record.)

Alice Linda, 3 months

I wanted a son and a daughter so badly. From the moment I knew I wanted kids (and I'm not exactly sure when that moment was), I knew I wanted one of each. Brother and sister. Thank you, sister, for coming into our world.

Alice Linda, 4 months

You remind me of my Mom, Linda. Not physically. No, no. You are all Rich Phee in the looks department. But sometimes the little expressions you make. Or the way you sit. You just . . . do.

Alice Linda, 5 months

You are teaching Charlie to share. And my heart to share. For that, I thank you.

Alice Linda, 6 months

You rocked most developmental milestones. Sat up and rolled early. Walked at 10 months. I expected all of that from you. I have great expectations for you, Alice. For both you and your brother. They are as follows:

1. Be kind.
2. Be happy.

Alice Linda, 7 months

You are still drinking from bottles. During the day and night. I will probably let you do it until you're 2. Or maybe 12. We'll see.

Alice Linda, 8 months

Have I mentioned yet that you are a trouble maker? Yeah, you are. Electrical outlets are your favorite. Pinching your fingers in drawers. Pulling things over. Making messes. Tisk, tisk girlie.

Alice Linda, 9 months

You share your Dad's sense of humor. Pretty much anything and everything is funny. And nothing really bothers you. (Unlike Charlie and I. When we're serious, don't mess with us.)

Alice Linda, 10 months

Just the other night, you let me rock you in this chair like a tiny infant again. I sang "You are my sunshine" to you as you kicked your little feet against my side. You did the same thing 1 year ago in the hospital. Just you and me, baby girl. You, me and that song.

Alice Linda, 11 months old

Happy birthday, sunshine. Keep on growing.

I love you.


dinosaur jumpers and tutus

This past Saturday we celebrated both Alice's 1st birthday and Charlie's upcoming 4th birthday.

In a simple front yard soiree with a dinosaur jumper, the (best!) taco man, balloons and a diverse group of friends and family, we watched kids run and jump. Share toys. Fall down. Run some more.

I put this one down in the books as a success. My babies were celebrated, the adults seemed to have fun and there were no jumper injuries. (Thankfully - because my father-in-law went in for a round!)

Thank you to everyone to came, thank you for the many gifts to donate to Precious Heart shelter and special thanks to my in-laws for all of their hard work putting this shin dig together.

The Phees

kids' birthday collage

1. Big Wheel birthday gift from Ama & Papa, 2. Elaine, getting ready for the kids' party, 3. Alice, first birthday party, 4. Alice, first birthday party, 5. Charlie, 4th birthday party, 6. kids' birthday party, November 24, 2012, 7. kids party_112412_1273, 8. jump, 9. so serious, 10. let them eat cake!, 11. kids' birthday party, November 24, 2012, 12. kids' birthday party, November 24, 2012, 13. cake coma, 14. kids' birthday party, November 24, 2012, 15. kids' birthday party, November 24, 2012, 16. kids' birthday party, November 24, 2012