My aunt Martha's youngest daughter is only a few months older than Rose Pink, so happily for us, she has generously sent our way boxes and boxes of girls' clothes. We are very grateful.
Recently my cousin Brittany (b. 1985) moved to Davenport, and when she was visiting us one evening she looked at Rose Pink and said, I think I recognize that skirt. I think that used to be mine.
Could it be? Could my daughter be wearing a 3rd generation hand-me-down? That's practically an heirloom!
And now we have proof. Here is Rose Pink wearing a dress that came in the last box we received from Aunt Martha. She calls it her "play dress" or her "pioneer dress".
I looked at it and said, I think that dress looks familiar! I dug around in my box of random family pictures and found this:
She colored on the back of a letter from Grandpa that he wrote on the back of some of his class notes, and cheerfully noted to us that Grandpa had sent her a coloring page.
This Christmas we phantomed a family in our ward. One of the gift bags was a small little thing that said "Merry Christmas" in a pattern of text all over it. Rose Pink completely loved the bag and carried it around for a couple days. When it came time to give it away, she wanted to draw a picture of it to remember it by, and produced this sketch. You'll see the bag towards the top
The past several nights Mr. Brown has been telling a continuing story to Rose Pink & Nut Brown as part of bedtime. It's a story in the style of D&D, which features swordplay, bows & arrows, ogres, underground caverns and giant spider ants. Mr. Brown finished the first night by saying: "The adventurers paused outside the entrance to the cavern, and listened to the noises coming from within....(growling noises)...and we'll see what happens tomorrow when they go inside!" Nut Brown immediately said, "Too 'cary for me. Too 'cary." Mr. Brown has worked to modify his story-telling style in order to keep things okay for Nut Brown. (No more cliffhangers!)
Mr. Brown asked what our characters' names are. Rose Pink's is named Rosella. Mine is named Mia, and Nut Brown's is named Doors. Nut Brown doesn't always remember that's what his name is, and will run over to the door sometimes when the storyteller is addressing him.
It's an interactive story. At one point, we had to cross a chasm, and when Mr. Brown asked how we were going to do it, Rose Pink said, "We're going to strap on gliders and fly across. With rocket fuel to make sure we get there." So we did. On the way back we had to cross the chasm again, and this time a giant fire snake came out of it and was trying to catch us on our rocket-fuelled gliders. Mr. Brown meant for us to dodge and get away (and Rose Pink and I were dodging all over the bedroom - this is also an active participation event) but Nut Brown attacked the snake with his sword. Bye-bye fire snake!
Nut Brown's general approach is to attack things with his sword. Anything. Everything. When we were sitting in a tavern and a tall person in a dark cloak walked up and sat down at our table, Nut Brown attacked.
The tall person in the dark cloak died, but we found mud on his boots that suggested we should look in the sewers for our next adventure. Before we climbed down into the sewers, Rose Pink suggested that we all put on sewer suits to keep our clothes clean. Good idea.
We're tracking someone through the sewers. We come upon a big patch of mud, and Mr. Brown says, "You see footprints in the mud. How big are they? People-sized? Or BIGGER?" Rose Pink says, "Actually, they're tiny! Like mouse-sized!" Mr. Brown takes it and runs with it- "Mouse-sized? Like a killer mouse that eats people? Oh, look, there it goes!" and Nut Brown attacks with his sword.
The king is giving us gifts to reward us for saving his daughter. (Rose Pink had an extra sewer suit available for the princess when we found her in the sewers.) He gives Rose Pink a bow, which he says shoots flaming arrows so that she can signal for help when she needs it. She puts it on her head. Interesting. And then Mr. Brown realizes that the king has given her a hairbow.
The kids anticipate the story telling all day, and scramble into pajamas to get ready for it. It is so much fun to see their brains working and their imaginations going full tilt. Mr. Brown loves it, too. I hope this tradition lasts a long, long time.
Nut Brown LOVES to do puzzles. He was given 4 25-piece puzzles for Christmas and has become a total expert on doing them by himself. He has completed each puzzle roughly 17,523 times since Christmas morning. Whenever he finishes one, he jumps up and down and exclaims, "I made it!"
The first two weeks in January were below - way below- freezing. I'm talking single digits Fahrenheit. Seriously. It was SO COLD. So there was a lot of play inside rather than out. Rose Pink and Nut Brown had this game that involved every cushion in the house (we saved the ones from our old purple couch) and a few other random pillowy objects, and the small trampoline. It's called "Batman and Batwoman" and they will play together for an hour at a time, by themselves, jumping around and wrestling cushions and each other.
Happy 5th birthday, Rose Pink! Mr. Brown has been walking around saying, I can't believe it's been five whole years. We are so, so amazed by our daughter, how clever and quick she is, how beautiful. A special thank you to grandparents who sent gifts and others who remembered her to make it a very special day for her. Mr. Brown reports that she spent the entire day saying, This is the best birthday ever!
Her friend Macayla's birthday was in December, and at the party this little girl opened a mountain of presents. Rose Pink was clearly impressed with the tremendous pile, so I was a little anxious about the much more modest celebration that we had planned. We bought her a scripture carrier and ironed on some pretty patches, gave her a triple combination, bought a box of three flashy barbie dresses, and rounded up a few dollar gifts: some stickers, a coloring book, some pink M&Ms. She was very happy with our gifts to her, and Mr. Brown says that the day after she was still thanking him for all her nice presents and really enjoying all of them. What a relief. And I'm so glad that we gave her things she likes.
It's been ten and eleven hour days for the past two weeks for me at work, but my team members insisted that I leave at four on her birthday and not come back. I have a really great team. And I was grateful not to have to miss celebrating with her.
Nut Brown remembers his last birthday, and was pretty excited about this one. He helped us hang up the birthday banner (the same one we bought for Rose Pink's first birthday) and reminded Rose Pink several times the night before that her birthday was tomorrow. He sang "Happy Birthday" at the top of his lungs- so darling! And he was very resigned when he realized that he didn't actually get to open any presents. Also he consumed large quantities of pink cake.
Rose Pink asked for kissel (rhubarb strawberry soup) for her birthday as well as the cake. Nut Brown was very excited to have some, shouting, "Kissel pease! Kissel for me! Kissel pease!" He took a big spoonful, and said immediately, "I hate kissel." Yes, vocabulary is growing.
I came home one evening and suggested that we go out to dinner. Rose Pink got very excited and decided to dress up, and that we should all dress up as well. We all got dressed up and then it turned out that Mr. Brown had another appointment so we dropped him off there and went to Rose Pink's favorite restaurant, Lunardi's.
And Lunardi's did not fail us. Rose Pink said that she wanted to order an appetizer, so we discussed which sort, and talked about how to do it. When the waitress came by, Rose Pink said carefully, "I'd like to order an appetizer." One of the reasons that we love Lunardi's is because the waitresses listen to our daughter, and this waitress was no exception. She glanced at me for confirmation, and said, "Which one, sweetheart?" Rose Pink ordered fried ravioli, and we all enjoyed it when it came.
We had a lovely time together practicing our high class manners and learning to use a cloth napkin, rehearsing how to eat spaghetti in a restaurant (with moderate success) and how to drink from a straw without tipping the cup. The food was good and the company was excellent. It was a great evening out. Thank you to Rose Pink for insisting that we go!
Rose Pink threw up all day on Saturday, so we have Gatorade on hand at the moment. We're out of Nut Brown's milk this morning so we gave him Gatorade to drink for breakfast. After breakfast, this conversation:
Nut Brown: Daddy, more alligator?
Mr. Brown: Alligator?
Nut Brown: In my cup?
Mr. Brown: More alligator drink? In your cup?
Nut Brown: More alligator goink! In my cup, please!
We had afternoon church for the first time this year today, and the kids came home overstimulated and CRAZY. They ran around shrieking and laughing hysterically, and dinner was the sort of meal where you just lay low and try to avoid catching anyone's eye. Rose Pink would say to Nut Brown, "Say something funny!" and he would reply, "Broccoli cooking!" and they would scream with laughter. Then he just kept saying things because everything was funny.
Rose Pink at one point told me her new knock-knock joke (Knock, knock. Who's there? Tank. Tank who? You're welcome.) Nut Brown wanted to follow that up and said, Knock, knock. Who's there? He thinks and says, Door! which made all of us double over. You're funny, I said, and he just laughed harder.
I drew the line at any sort of gymnastics and told them they had to stay in their chairs to eat. Nut Brown said he was done eating and went in the living room, so I started to give the rest of his eggs to Rose Pink. He saw me and shouted, "No! My eggs! I eat them!" and came running back. I put his plate with eggs back at his place and as he was climbing back into his chair, he said to Rose Pink, "No eggs for YOU, miss!"
They went to bed early tonight.
Rose Pink LOVES snow.
Truly, she has snow love. I've been looking for jobs in places where it doesn't snow, and Mr. Brown said recently that he thinks her heart would break a little bit if we moved south away from the white stuff.
She will go out by herself to play in it. And she loves sledding with us, except on the Wal-Mart hill, which she considers too steep. Nut Brown doesn't actually like the Wal-Mart hill either. I guess it's just Mr. Brown & I who enjoy it.
Nut Brown got his mother's cold-all-the-time gene. He likes better to be outside this winter than he did last winter, but is always ready to go back inside.
Whenever we make the effort to get the kids suited up and outside, even when it's just coats and gloves for a run to the car, once they get outside they poing around in what seems to be Brownian motion, and it's like herding cats to get them into the car and buckled. Stircrazy already, and three and a half more months to go.
Rose Pink really loves her snowsuit this year.
It finally snowed in the middle of December, and there was a mad rush out the door.
Nut Brown has continued this habit all winter. When he goes out in the snow, he gets down on his hands and knees and eats it like a puppy.
Rose Pink's snowsuit is a bit distinctive (she LOVES it). Last week she saw her buddy Layton out with his dad in the back, and jumped into her gear to go out and play. We can see their backyard from our back door, and Rose Pink knows her limits, so we didn't really watch her too closely. We noticed that she was out of sight, and when she didn't reappear or answer when Mr. Brown called her, he went out to see if he could find her. He tromped around and saw a group of people sledding on the Wal-Mart hill. One of them was wearing a very pink snowsuit. So he came home and told me that she'd gone sledding with Layton's family.
She came home about fifteen minutes later and told us that she'd been sledding with people she didn't know. What?!? we said, more than a little startled. We thought you were out with Layton and his parents!
Oh, no, she said blithely. Layton went inside. I saw them sledding so I went over to watch them.
Her single-minded parents said, But we thought you were with Layton and his family!
No, she said. And it wasn't his next-door neighbor either. It was some people I didn't know at all.
Gulp, said her parents. Well, we're glad you had fun. Do you play with people you don't know very often?
No, she said. This is the first time.