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IMG_3256 we have two VERY BIG little lives on our hands. what a fun and ridiculous phase this is (i know - eye roll - i say that about every phase). we are in the final round of preschool decisions for elinor. we are moving out of the baby phase and into toddlerhood with ridley.

i feel like the last week has been one of rapid growth. elinor had a crazy growth spurt. ridley has new teeth coming in and has experienced a developmental burst. quite literally, there are brand new things, every single day. it is amazing to watch. things change so quickly. their brains take in so much and process at such a speedy rate. they exhibit new talents and skills and points of knowledge all the time. i can't get over it.

and then there's the adorable relationship that continues to build between these two. they are such buds. i love watching them interact and figure things out. the rules of play. the personalities. the differences. the similarities. elinor is watchful and helpful and playful. and ridley gives the biggest hugs and makes LOUD sounds to declare his intentions and preferences and make his wishes known. they are good for each other. and the tender kisses and strong hugs keep coming.

no hitting or hair pulling or pinching as of yet...

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ridley is talking up a storm: ball, papa, mama, doggie, cat, woah, book, wah-iz-it, uh-oh, et cetera. he responds when we talk with some words and some copycat sounds and lots of expressions. he points. he turns pages in books. he makes grrrrr and vroom sounds with his toys. he identifies things. he has such a charming smile and the looooongest lashes. he nods yes when we ask if he's finished eating or ready for bed. when i correct him, he shakes his head no while looking at the floor. he picks up papers and magazines and books and mock-reads in the cutest tones. he is dextrous and strong. he is also super dramatic and persnickety. he loves to play games and give high-fives. he stands on his own and when not prompted, will try for unassisted steps. he is strong-willed, that's for sure. but also so kind and sensitive. he loves bopping to music. he is mesmerized by papa's violin playing. he thrives with routine and is SUCH a homebody. and gosh, i love that about my kids. i love that they feel most comfortable and happy and secure at home. i love that they let out a happy sigh anytime we walk through the door. they like their own space, their familiar surroundings - the sights and smells and sounds - their things, their bed, their haven. and that is as it should be, i think.

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our darling elinor. three-and-a-half. what a strange and fantastic age of limbo and dichotomy. she is baby and grown up, in one body. she has wispy baby curls framing her more slender face that is rapidly losing its baby-like features. she wants to be autonomous and she wants to snuggle up on my lap with her prized blanket. she loves independent play but also wants to help everyone with everything. she tells her brother how to obey even though she hasn't exactly mastered that for herself. she is often a walking contradiction. but gosh, is it something to watch her navigate life.

she does most things for herself now. and she always tries to help her brother with his needs too. she prayers THE CUTEST prayers. she talks to God about her heart and her hopes and plans...and always asks for "a clean heart and self-on-trol". lately, she has been excitedly talking to God about her school and all the things she is going to learn and do.

she remembers facts and names and places. she cares for her babies like they are truly her own. she has a vivid and active imagination that i pray she holds onto for life. she knows how to make a mess - and fast. but she also takes such pride when she cleans up and sorts all her things correctly. she is my little helper. laundry, dusting, sweeping, cooking...if there is a domestic task to be done, she is there (with her trusty stepstool in tow). and she is incredibly capable. she pays attention to context and purpose and procedure. she is SO aware and absorbs every darn thing. and remembers the tiniest details from years ago.

she sings jesus loves me in perfect tune and has killer interpretive dance moves. she is joy personified. cheerful and bubbly and silly. with the best comedic timing and such wit. she's a blast. and she challenges me and teaches me DAILY.

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