wright brothers lately

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i love these little boy so. crazy. much. i honestly feel like i am going to burst sometimes with how richly i adore them and how deeply i care for them. i feel enormously blessed to be moses and gabriel's mom.

both of the wright brothers are growing up and changing every day. here's a snapshot of them each, at 2.6 years and 9.6 months old, so i can remember as time flies past.

(the pictures at the beginning and end of this post, of the boys together, are from just after christmas, in their semi-matching christmas jumpers. the pictures of them on their own are from our trip to the canary islands - we just got back a few days ago!)

- m o s e s -  

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he's really a remarkably good, clear communicator and it's so fun to have conversations with him. some of the things he says really often right now are, "not right now, in a little minute," "ready, steady, go," "i love it!" and "mommy, can i please have..." he is constantly learning and using new words, like "actually," "usually," and "especially." he often repeats our names (mommy or daddy) more than once in a sentence when he's talking to us, and sometimes his brain goes faster than his words can and you can just tell there's so much he wants to get out!

he continues to love stories and asks me to tell him a story at least a half a dozen times a day. sometimes i have to tell him that "my brain is really tired of stories and needs a break"! for the past six months or so he has been asking consistently for jack and the beanstalk. i seriously probably have told him that story more than a hundred times. he had a phase of loving "chicken stories" that his dad would make up, and lately if we are telling a story on the fly he likes to interject his own ideas for what happens next. he especially likes to make up names for characters in stories and they are always something totally off-the-wall like "hagaiaii."

mo is very inquisitive and full of questions. lots of "why?" these days.

he loves to sing and very often is making up songs around the house or in the buggy. his songs are mostly jibberish interspersed with actual words. these songs are such a fun little window into his mind!

about a year and a half of requesting that he say please and thank you has finally paid off and mo has turned into quite the polite young man, saying the magic words without any prompting and very often.

a couple of weeks ago, daddy gave moses a sticker chart (actually just an unused paper plate, ha!) and let him pick out some stickers at the store. mo was told that if he was very obedient for an entire day he could get a sticker on his chart, and when he earned five stickers he could go get ice cream with daddy! i so wish i had a video of when moses earned his first sticker and when he earned his fifth. you can't imagine the excitement and joy that was just bursting out of his little dancing, bouncing body. this week moses got a new chart and is going for five days of being very gentle.

he started climbing out of his crib about a month ago, and last saturday we went to ikea to pick out a big boy bed! we haven't put it together yet, but mo is pretty pumped about it. he has gotten really good at waiting for "mr. sun to wake up" on his special clock (this means he can get out of bed and come wake us up).

his favourite food continues to be mangoes - he's passionate about them. he's been a bit picky when it comes to eating lately, but it helps when we use imagination to bring some animals to mealtimes. (moses usually shows us how a hedgehog or warthog eats the food we are having!) once he takes a first bite he usually loves whatever it is we are eating - but that first try can be so difficult! every single morning he has at least two bowl-fulls of multigrain cheerios and milk. and every single morning he says, "i love cheerios and milk!"

mo is so excited when daddy comes home at the end of the day. he waits in the big bay window in front of our flat. sometimes he will go there totally unprompted as soon as he feels like it's probably about time for daddy to be home and says things like, "daddy, where are you? come!" when he sees his dad, he gives a big wave, waves his chest to sign "i love you," and runs to the front door to give hugs and kisses!

he can now say a prayer pretty much entirely by himself. 99% of those prayers include "thank you for farm animals and thank you for the grinch." but pretty much each day he thinks of something different and thoughtful to include in his prayer. often when mom or dad is praying aloud, moses pipes up to contribute something to the prayer. last night while i was saying a blessing on the food, moses said, "and please bless the refugees." we hadn't talked much about refugees since christmas (when we decided as a family to donate some money to a refugee camp), but mo had remembered and wanted to pray for the children whose pictures i showed him.

we have started going to the library every tuesday. moses got his very own library card and is quite the proud owner of that thing. his appetite for books seems quite insatiable, and he usually gets really into one of the four books that we check out from the library at the end of each visit. his favourite books in the world are richard scarry books (gifted to him by his grandparents).

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mo has started saying "i love you" spontaneously, and the person he says that to the most is definitely gabriel. he adores his little brother. he gets so excited when he hears that gabriel has woken up in the mornings and rushes in to him, saying "gabey baby, gabey baby!" in a sweet baby talk voice. he is a fantastic helper when it comes to gabriel's needs and he gives his little bro dozens of hugs and kisses everyday. he loves to make gabe laugh, and seeing them giggle together is mommy's favourite thing ever!

moses loves painting, bath time, and dancing (his moves just get better and better - he's now perfected a spin-on-one-leg), and his deep passion for the colour blue continues. he's getting a bit better at independent play, but he usually really, really wants mom or dad to play with him. he's into games lately, like hide and seek and duck duck goose. he always gives away where he is hiding immediately after "ready or not, here i come" is said, haha. we also have a few little games with dice that he loooves.

it is still very often that moses is found crossing his ankles. we first noticed him doing this in the womb via ultrasound and it's been a distinct mannerism of his ever since!

i have been impressed by his awareness of others' emotions. he has said to me, "mama, you look upset," and "mama, you're not running out of patience?"

moses is loving joy school and has developed some really sweet friendships with his classmates. he gets soooo excited to see his friends, especially when joy school is at his flat. he is a really excellent listener during lesson time, and he's struggling with being gentle during free play time. he sings the joy school rules song multiple times a day (i think it just gets constantly stuck in his head!).

he recently earned 10 pounds by doing 10 jobs around the house (cleaning the toilets, helping sort laundry, taking out the trash, etc). he saved one pound to "give to jesus" (for tithing) and spent the other 9 on an awesome pack of animal toys that we ordered from amazon.

mo loves to laugh and often laughs very heartily at himself - things he says or does that he finds totally hilarious. he has an amazing memory and absorbs things he is taught remarkably well. he is learning how to control his body and his voice (homeboy can be wild and loud!) and likes to test boundaries and see what happens when he disobeys. he's affectionate and gives excellent hugs and kisses, and he is probably the most excitable person i've ever met.

we love our moses soooo much!

- g a b r i e l - 

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he's officially, as of yesterday pretty much!, a crawler! for weeks he has been getting around pretty much any way he can figure out besides actually crawling - scooting and dragging himself both on his belly and his bum. something must have just clicked and now he's scrambling around on his hands and knees! he has also started pulling himself up to kneeling and standing, especially in his crib.

four big teeth popped through the top of his gums all at essentially the same time at the beginning of februrary. while baby boy produces lots of drool, he doesn't seem bothered by teething pretty much at all.

gabey is such a giggly baby. he has the best laughs that range from chuckles to squeals to hearty belly laughs. once you get him started he has total giggle attacks that go on for a quite a while. he particularly loves being tickled and being spun around or tossed up a little.

he loves eating (as evidenced by the pictures above!). and he often eats so much that you wonder where the heck he puts it all! he has jumped up percentiles in weight from his low at 0.3% to now about 6% - hooray! his favourite food bar none is breastmilk. we are going on a trip without the kids the day after his first birthday so we are working towards weaning but gabriel really loves nursing. when i hold him in a way that it's obvious that he's about to get milk, he starts kicking his legs and smacking his lips like crazy, just soooo excited. of solid foods, he likes bread (with peanut butter), crackers, strawberries and avocado the best.

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his two tricks are that he often gives kisses when asked and the sometimes repeats back "mama" and "baba" when prompted. we are working on some other tricks like waving, clapping, signing, etc.

if we give gabriel an exciting toy or something new to eat, he often will look up at us with his huge blue eyes and expression that looks a bit like, "wow! this is awesome! can you believe this?" and then a big huuuuge smile with his two darling dimples.

gabe adores his brother. whenever he sees moses he truly lights up. he can watch mo dance or run or play for long periods of time, mesmerized. he has started hugging and kissing moses back, which is so sweet!

he kicks his legs whenever he is excited, and he is verrry excited when daddy comes home from work.

gabey is a good sleeper for the most part - now sleeping from 8pm to at least 7am straight through most nights. he seemed to have a growth spurt a few weeks ago and was sleeping close to 13 hours a night (as well as gobbling up sooo much food!).

he is wiggly as all get-out, and often getting his diaper changed and clothes on is a big feat that probably counts as a workout for the day. he hates having his face wiped clean but he loves making a mess while eating.

he can be very loud, but that loudness is not often crying. 90% of the time it is happy squealing. he's really discovered his vocal cords in the past few weeks.

gabriel loooves swinging in a swing at the playground and he looooves bath time with his brother.

we love our gabriel soooo much!

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ian and i are just obsessed with these two wonderful boys. every single night we lay in bed and talk about how awesome they are. so often we share a moment when we just look at each other incredulously as our hearts melt at something moses or gabriel has done. we have so much to learn from these special souls. sooooo glad they are our sons. 

i have a question for you, blog readers. what do you think about posts like this one?
as my children are growing, i am becoming more and more sensitive to their privacy. it's not like i have some huge internet following, but a good amount of strangers read this blog. i want to keep my blog public, because many have suggested they enjoy reading it and find it uplifting, and because i feel that i am very enriched by interactions i have with and insights i gain from connections made here. but this blog's primary purpose is family record-keeping - it's a place for me to organize pictures and keep tidbits like these that i really want to remember. so i want it to include details like this about my children. 
do you think this is violating their privacy? would you mind information like this about you as a small child posted on the internet? should i keep posts like this in a separate place so they aren't available for all to read? or are these types of posts good ones to share? 
what do you think? i'd really value the sharing of any perspectives/thoughts on this!

bye january!

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as opposed to many other times of year, i'm just never sad to see january go...  i'm looking forward to some fun things in february, and then to spring (!!). but despite the general dreariness, we've had a good beginning to 2019 in london. here's some tidbits of life lately...

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ian is currently on a five day, six city business trip in europe. we miss him like crazy when he is away (and we are so happy that's not very often).

moses and i continue to love, love, love joy school. this month's unit for our group has been the joy of the earth and that's been good to focus on during a time of year when there's not naturally a lot of joy for the earth in the air ;) moses has developed some great friendships with his joy school classmates and is learning so much.
the other day after the joy school kids left our house (it was my turn to be the teacher), moses sat at our front window and hollered, "asher, claire, come back! i want to say i love you to you guys!" <3

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^^ a little peek at gabey's new teeth coming in on top, and this is the face moses gives if you ask him to give "the biggest smile ever." haha. ^^

i hosted book club last night. i was in a book club that kind of fizzled out the second half of last year, so i decided to take initiative to resurrect it. because i haven't read many books in the past few years and miss reading ... a group of friends reading along with me is so motivating to make the time for books! this month i got to choose the book and we read  a place for us, which was recommended to me by my sister. i was really moved by this book and finished it two days ago with tears rolling down my cheeks. our discussion last night about it was so, so great ... and i was pretty proud of the simple but pretty and delicious food spread i prepared :)

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gabriel is getting more mobile by the minute and four teeth just popped through his top gums! he's eating, sleeping, and growing a lot lately. he's even moved up to the second percentile in weight - hooray! still our tiny baby but hopefully he'll keep up the percentile climbing.

ian recently took on a new volunteer position at church -- he is now a counselor to the bishop of the congregation of young single adults that meets here in london. this is an opportunity to grow and serve that we are taking on as a family ... and it's both exciting and overwhelming.

marathon training is going well, although my hip and knee have given me some trouble lately - some kind of it band issue. (how am i old enough to say something like that, haha?!) i've been listening to podcasts while i run (i've been so gripped by this one and this one keeps me up on news out of my home country). it's a treat to be able to run when it's not dark on saturdays -- every weekday i run around 6am when it's pitch black outside!

a couple of weekends ago, ian and i had a little "staycation." we left the boys with some friends for 24 hours and went to a really lovely hotel that we could use points to book. we plowed through a list of things we had been needing to talk about, went on a long run together along the thames, lazed about in hotel robes, had some fun meals out, watched a movie in bed, slept in, and just enjoyed being together. we missed the boys, but it was great to miss them ;)

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^^ our hotel is that lit-up-blue building, which used to be london's city hall! we could see into the london eye pods from our room's window. we maaay have hooked up my phone (with the app for our video monitor) to the big screen so we could spy on moses sleeping while we kicked up our feet in our plush robes. haha. ^^

moses and gabriel adore each other, and seeing them laugh together is one of the very greatest joys i've ever experienced.

we had a great family day at the zoo last saturday. moses has been listening to this toddler song that says, "we're going to the zoo; we can stay all day," and he has been asking us so sweetly for a few weeks, "can we please go to the zoo, and stay all day?" so we made it happen :) we're always so impressed by how active the animals at the london zoo seem. all four of us had a blast.

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i love my life. even and especially in midst of the january blues.

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ten thoughts on a wednesday |48|

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i'm taking january off of social media (which, for me, includes mostly instagram and a couple of facebook forums/groups). i've had a few "social media breaks" in the past, but this is the longest i've ever gone without scrolling through online "feeds" since they became a thing (which is kind of crazy, when you think about it!). i'm just trying to take a step back and consider the purpose of social media in my life. it is definitely something that i want to be a part of my life but i want to be thoughtful about what amount and type of space it fills in my every day. it's wild to think about how much this online world has expanded in the past few years. i absolutely love keeping up with friends and family and gaining information and inspiration from different sources through social media. but it feels good to be on a bit of a break.

last saturday, gabriel had his first haircut! since the moment this little guy was born, we have adored his wild and awesome hair. but it was time to tidy it up a little :)
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little gabe was a champ throughout this new experience, and got to have his big brother right next to him also getting a haircut at the same time. he now looks so much older to me!
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it is sooo dreary in london these days. i always say that london is spectacular ten months of the year (not just great, but truly spectacular) ... but we pay for that a bit with january and february. it's not frigid cold (which i appreciate), but it is just sooo gloomy with really short daylight hours and gray skies. i feel so lucky to have a beach vacation to look forward to: we are going to the canary islands at the beginning of february! we are using hotel points to stay for free at an awesome resort on tenerife, and even though it won't be swim-in-the-ocean warm, there will be heated pools and balmy sunshine. and no sightseeing schedule - just relaxing and playing and being together. i'm so excited.

speaking of traveling and sightseeing ...
some say that it's silly to travel with small children because they won't remember any of the experiences they have. i think that's a bit like saying it's silly to read with small children because they won't remember any of the stories. it's not about remembering, it's about developing! while our family trips can definitely be exhausting in some ways, i really feel that they are worth all the effort they require. traveling builds us and bonds us and broadens us.

a couple of weekends ago ian cashed in on a christmas gift i gave him - tickets to ride the longest slide in the world! how random is that?! ha.
at olympic park in east london, where many of the events were held during the 2012 olympics, there's this crazy structure called the arcelormittal orbit. it is britain's largest piece of public art, a sculpture and observation tower. and, as of 2016, it has been home to the world's longest slide. ian somehow learned about this and got so excited about it (this kind of random, record-breaking thing is right up his alley). he had been wanting to go for ages. so i scheduled a babysitter, bought tickets for early january, and wrapped them up for christmas morning.
i have to say, riding that slide was seriously really, really fun. and we had a great time exploring the observation tower and bits of the park.
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i've felt my faith growing lately as i've sincerely questioned it. this past saturday we went to the temple and while inside i tried to dig deep in asking myself if the rich peace i felt there was self-created or culturally-conditioned. and as i earnestly consider that, i just can't deny that it's real - so much bigger than me and my circumstances. this is just one small example of experiences i have had trying to strip my faith down to its core, examining how it may be contrived or influenced.

my oldest niece, elle, had long layovers in london on her way to and from a trip with a couple friends to spain and portugal. it was sooo great to spend a little bit of time with her (and her pals) in our home town, especially because i haven't had much of a change to really get to know her as an adult (she's twenty). she's seriously so awesome - i am so impressed with her. we've always been buddies and i've loved her since the day she was born (i got to be one of the first people she ever met when she was a few hours old and i was twelve years old), but it's really fun to connect even more as grown-ups.

my marathon training has officially begun in earnest! i am following a twenty week training plan, which started this past monday. i am soooo grateful for my healthy body. that said, i definitely can feel that i am getting older ... i'm feeling all achey and creaky after runs, ha! i'm trying to be careful to really take care of my joints to avoid injury in training. and i'm getting pumped up for the stockholm marathon on 1 june 2019!

i am loving our new sunday schedule. we've switched meeting times with the other congregation that meets in our building and now start church at 9am instead of 11am. i love just waking up and getting going, and our walk to church through the empty streets of kensington. the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints used to hold three hours of meetings on sundays, but that was just reduced to two hours to allow for more time building faith in the home. so now we finish church at the same time we used to start church ... which means our sundays just feel so luxuriously long! we have loved doing a "sunday lesson" together at home and talking about ways we can reach out to our congregation and our larger community as a family.

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^^ pictures from a babysitting playdate with one of mo's favourite friends, and a big babysitting swap we did at the temple last saturday. ian is a total toddler magnet. ^^

i'm guessing that several of my ten thoughts posts have ended with this one ... but i just have to say (again and again..): i love being moses and gabriel's mom. i feel so grateful that i can be their primary caregiver and that i've chosen to spend all day everyday with them. gosh it is hard and can be totally crazy but man i love it. watching these two grow and playing with them and teaching them and learning from them and giggling with them and cuddling them when giggles have turned to tears - it's just the best. the love i feel for these two little boys is outrageous.

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happy wednesday! life is beautiful.