Monday, January 30, 2012

abstract, episode two

summer's first self-portrait:

(brought to you by last week's family home evening).

but wait, there's more!

sometimes the chocolate and candy and ice cream just isn't enough.

so bring on the cookies!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

n is for nutrition

emily and little baby's latest grocery run:

Friday, January 27, 2012

never were there such devoted sisters

the following is a clip of a tender moment between summer and afton that is not uncommon at the wheeler household.

our two girls have incredibly different, uh, "emotionalities" (or emotional personalities, if you will). summer is hot-blooded and quick to react. she violently flings herself onto the floor and rolls around screaming her head off pretty regularly. afton, on the other hand, can be quite unruffle-able. (that's not to say she doesn't throw her fair share of two-year-old tantrums. and she can, in fact, be unbelievably irrational, thus earning her the nickname of "afton jong il" around these parts. just try to take those dollies away from her; i dare you).

but in most heated interactions between the girls, it's summer gnashing her teeth and yelling as if her arm's been cut off and afton going quietly about her business like she's floating on a breeze.

and afton's apparent lack of an emotional reaction has proven to be frustrating for poor summer. all our summer girl seems to want -- especially when she's in the depths of despair -- is an acknowledgement of her pain and suffering from her baby sister.

remarkably, afton has picked up on this need of summer's, and now, when they're fighting (again, the "fighting" usually looks like summer tantruming in tears while afton continues to play happily by herself), afton will eventually turn to summer and say, "hug?" at which point, summer stops crying, crawls into her sister's lap and lies down so afton baby can love her better.

ps - the piano music in the clip is actually not a video edit.  it just so happened that when i took the video of the girls, that's what was playing in the background. sort of adds to the ambiance, though, don't you think?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

glass half full

some thoughts on love and marriage from one very perceptive four-year-old:

"summer, do you know what it means to be married?"
(absentmindedly) "uh-huh... it means you share cups."

as long as we've been married (and except when sick), bryan and i have only set one cup for the two of us at any meal and shared a drinking glass. tastes better that way, i guess.

"summer, do you know what it means to be in love?"
(enthusiastically) "YES! wall-e is in love."

i love it! not cinderella or sleeping beauty or belle is in love -- but wall-e.  perhaps the greatest little love story of our time (and a robot even afton adores).

Sunday, January 22, 2012


many moons ago, when i was in the throes of early pregnancy woes, i somehow got it into my head that i needed leopard print pumps. not "would have liked" or "wanted" or even "needed" in the general sense of the word, but i needed them. in fact, some days, all that got me through the pitch black darkness of life was picturing myself -- standing upright -- in a pair of gorgeous leopardesses.

now bryan, he talks a big talk and walks a big walk, but at the end of the day, he has three huge weaknesses: their names are momma, summer, and afton. we are spoiled rotten. he has been known to roll his eyes a bit (leopard pumps? really?), but he almost always gives in to our pretty, pretty pleases, utterly defenseless against our womanly wiles.

so it wasn't too long before the pumps arrived in the mail to squeals of glee and delight and repeated promises that yes, they were useful shoes, and yes, i would wear them all the time. and i mean, all the time. (well, to be clear, as "all the time" as a girl can wear four inch printed chunky heels.)

and in an effort to chronicle and make good on my promise (because, let's face it, my track record on stuffs i've promised to wear all the time is not exactly perfect), i've decided to sneak these babies onto the blog whenever i can, complete with a tally of total wears.

the above pic from today marks wear number two. hooray!


given her personality and that bryan and i are pretty matter-of-fact and as truthful as we can be in our answers to her many varied questions, summer has developed a fairly realistic view of the world that can occasionally differ from a typical preschooler's more "glossy" version (as in, yes, summer does know rather accurately how a baby is born (*cough* not made) and yes, she'll be happy to describe the process to you).

so we went to the doctor for her four year well check about a month ago, and the pediatrician engaged summer in a storytelling question-and-answer session that, in light of his response (wide eyes and uncontrollable laughter), went a bit differently that he was expecting.

dr: what's that a picture of (pointing to a mural on the wall)?
summer: a leopard.
dr: what do you think the leopard is doing?
summer: he's growling and running in the woods.
dr: why is he running?
summer: because he ate people.
dr: why did he eat people?
summer: because he was hungry.
dr: then what?
summer: then the people went home and got their guns and shot him.

yup, bet you've never seen that on dora.

in the leafy treetops

looks like afton has been doing some redecorating in her spare time (i.e., the middle of the night):

Friday, January 20, 2012

snowed in, day seven

power outage, day one

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

slip and slide

how daddy gets his exercise.

once there was a snowman

hmm...not sure "tall, tall, tall" are the adjectives that come to mind...

snowed in, day five

Monday, January 16, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012


afton's first self-portrait:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

and afton, too

today is afton's half-birthday!

and for those of you might not know her very well, i thought i'd log a few bullet points about our soon-to-be middle child.

first off, afton is sensitive.

about everything. noises. smells. tastes. touch. her hair. her fingernails. her diaper. if she's hot. if she's cold. if she's sticky. if she's messy. no hats. no coats. and NO NO NO touching her ears. ever.

afton loves her dolls.

specifically, her strawberry shortcake dolls and barbies. as in pry them from her cold dead fingers, carries them with her wherever she goes, barricades them from other kids in the nursery, sleeps with them every night, fatal attraction type loves them.

afton is terrified of bugs.

all bugs. and black spots on carpets that look like bugs. and black spots on carpets that don't really look like bugs at all.

afton hates machines.

she wants nothing to do with anything that moves "by itself."  and she has special disdain for robots (aka machines masquerading as people).

afton is asocial.

i guess robots get a double hit because afton doesn't care too much for people, either. she's not shy, she just doesn't care. most of the time, i'm not even sure she notices other people are around.  i guess she could be classified as very slow to warm up.  and when she does warm up, the most folks will get out of her is eye contact. grandmas have long given up on many hugs and kisses from afton.  a handshake will do.

afton is smart.

obviously. but she's actually smarter than she should be. she is capable of much that most kids her age generally aren't capable of. besides all the typical "smart" stuff that she excels in (i.e., afton is a puzzle prodigy), perhaps her greatest gift is in sound mimicry. afton could say her name practically straight out of the womb, and her pronunciation of words is impeccable. she can recreate almost any sound she hears, and one of the coolest sounds she makes is an impression of a whale. which she does from way back in her throat, complete with all the complex inflection, and it's pretty spot on. i sense music in her future.

afton is quirky. she's otherworldly. she's an enigma wrapped in a riddle and tied in a bow. she runs and screams and dances and plays like all the other little toddlers, but there's something in her eyes that makes you think she knows much more than she's letting on.

perhaps, she is still keeping her secret.

beauty in the beholder

it's great to know that in all the worrying we do about our children (how much they eat, how much they sleep, going potty, getting exercise, playing nice, how they're growing, how they're feeling, how they're talking, how they're learning, and so on and so forth and many more things), at least in summer girl's case, self-esteem does not appear to be on our top list of concerns.

like most parents, bryan and i tell our girls often how beautiful they are.

this has apparently gone straight to summer's head.

a few examples:

some sundays ago, after dolling up for church, summer prances into my bathroom where i am getting ready and asks, "mom, why am i so fashionable?"

one evening as she's lying on my lap, and i'm running my fingers through her hair, she turns to look up and me and says, "i'm really pretty, aren't i?"

after family prayer last night, she gets a serious look on her face and remarks to the group, "i have to be beautiful for my friends tomorrow."

in the car on the way to ice skating several weeks ago, summer declares that while we're out "everyone will tell me how cute i am in my hello kitty hat."

and it turns out that summer's self-assurance is not limited to just her physical beauty. she'll also be pleased to tell anyone who will listen how smart she is, how well she colors and builds play houses, how wonderful she sings and dances, or really how great a job she is doing at just about everything in her little life.

of course, bryan and i have no idea where she gets that kind of confidence.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

matchy matchy

this is a close up of last sunday's outfit for my mom.

who would swear up and down that she taught me more sense than to wear blue checks with purple paisley.  but i would swear up and down that it just works. (even if it does make your eyes cross a little.)

and who wanted to see first hand with what trickery i am managing to still squeeze (and i do mean squeeeeze) into my pre-pregnancy pencil skirts.

just imagine trying to close a suitcase that's been very over-packed. zipping me up (and peeling me out) has become quite the family affair.

fare thee well pencil skirts! i fear our last embrace is nigh at hand.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


you know your world is run by girls when:

your back pockets (which used to hold cool things like knives and 
matches and big chew bubblegum) now double for doll houses.


okay, so before our world came crashing down, we did have a bit more fun bringing in the new year.

silly string, horns, and poppers!

and this pretty much sums up how afton felt about all that:

we topped off the revelry with our customary root beer floats -- make that banana split root beer floats.

and this pretty much sums up how summer felt about all that:

Tuesday, January 03, 2012


all right, 2012, you showed us who's boss.

bryan and i have now spent the majority of the new year sick with the stomach flu. together.

which is the worst. 

first of all, i hope everyone can appreciate how much i *hate* the stomach flu (and how much my wee baby hates it, too).  secondly, with both parents suffering equally, our little family is left quite without a responsible driver at the wheel.

however (and i'm not sure if this is a silver lining or what), it turns out our girls are pretty well accustomed to illness and the resulting incompetent care giving.

a box of chex and some bowls on the floor, milk where they can reach it in the fridge, toys and games strewn about the house, a lot of disney movies, and summer and afton are just about as happy as can be.

as soon as summer can change diapers, the kids will barely even notice when we're down for the count (which i hope is never ever ever again).

Sunday, January 01, 2012


yes, our new year's celebration was a rager.