I think we look pretty good after a day of camping, don't you?
It's hard not to look good when you're in our family.
Basically, we're hot.
Or pre-hot, as the case may be.
You'll get there soon enough, girls.
In other news, I found an article (read: blog post) that articulates so concisely the benefits of attachment parenting. (Sometimes I like to call blog posts "articles" to legitimize my reading them. Is that misleading?) She addresses some principles that I've been thinking about posting for a while, but haven't, for a number of reasons. Mostly because I have a lot of thoughts and not a lot of time, but I also didn't know if anyone would care :) Anyhow, just thought I would share.
Oh yes we did. We went camping. With two littles.
Are you so impressed with our daring?
The girls were great. Happy, with very few exceptions.
One of those exceptions being a very unfortunate encounter with the side of a pond. All this little girl wanted to do was throw some rocks in the water. And after she was swallowed by the mud, all she wanted was some love and attention. But what did her dad do? He got out the camera. I guess I'm not much better, I did step aside briefly so he could get a good shot.
We were the only people in our camping area. No one wanted the "non-electrical" sites. And the bathroom was a distant trek. But it was nice and secluded. And cheap. And that is the Christensen way.
Tuesday morning my Mom called to tell us it was time to drive out to Huntsville to say goodbye to Grandad. He was diagnosed with cancer last Christmas, and true to his nature, has been fighting the good fight ever since then. But he took a turn for the worse early last week, and, well, it was his time.
The day blurred together, taking shape only in segmented moments: the brilliant blue of a cloudless day, tear-spent eyes, warm, long, sincere embraces, the slow path of tears down my own face, the shock and pain at the sick man who only months ago was so vibrant. It was unifying beyond all description, to grieve and mourn and love and laugh as a family, to remember, to accept, to release to the Lord. We held his hand, and showed off babies, recounted stories and news, and in quiet moments, leaned close and whispered our love to him.
I wish I had had the courage to tell him what I was thinking. That Jesus lives. That his Atonement is real; infinite and eternal, perfect and beautiful. That God has a plan, and it doesn't end in this life, or the next. That we would see each other again. I didn't want him to know that I knew that he was dying. I wanted to pretend that our gathering together was just another day like so many others. But it wasn't. And he knew it. And I knew it.
Charlotte did, too. She cooed at Grandad and held his hand, staring past his broken body, mesmerized, into his sentient eyes. And I wondered what she saw. The only time I heard him speak was when the baby was in the room. He lit up. Their spirits connected beyond the rest of us there that day. Perhaps communicating those same thoughts that were at the forefront of my own mind. This is not the end, just the next step on the path back Home.
When Ella was a baby, I was sure that the reason she was a late crawler/walker was because she was so chubby and so tall. She had too much body, therefore it took her longer to figure out how to use it effectively.
I stand corrected.
So chubby. So tall. So mobile.
How did she get so dang cute?
Don't you think? This was taken at an outdoor Jazz concert a couple of weeks ago. I always think I'm going to like Jazz. Because I'm hip and with-it. I never do. We left early and hit a string quartet playing in a church a few blocks over (it was a big community arts event that night). Much more my style. We had to leave after the first movement, though, because, well, we have two children, and it was basically a miracle that they lasted that long without a too painful interuption.
Charlotte has started "cruising" along the couch after she pulls herself up into a standing position. It is ridiculous how motivated she is to get around. Chill-ax, Char. You have the rest of your life to discover every possible thing in the world, just be a little baby for a little while longer. Okay, this is almost embarrassing to tell, because I sound like one of those moms that assigns characteristics to their child that are just way beyond their developmental capabilities. But, I swear, this is real. Yesterday, she let go of the couch, and tried to take a step. Total face plant. Not even close to success. And I know it could have just been her falling down on accident, but I watched the whole thing, and it looked so deliberate. I am just blown away by that girl's determination. She must get it from her dad.
Speaking of getting things from her dad. Ella asked to watch Blues Clues this morning. (Like she does every day.) And I told her, "No." (Like I do most days.) And then she asked, "Watch football?!" Paul tries to get Ella excited about football all weekend long. I guess his evil plan is working.
So, there we were, watching General Conference, and Char crawls over to the couch, and proceeds to pull herself up into a standing position!! What the heck?! The first time she tried, she completely lost her balance and toppled over as soon as she made it to her feet. But her second attempt resulted in a successful stint at standing while holding on to the couch. She also tried to pull herself up using the toilet this evening while I was reading Ella a story before bed. Nipped that one in the bud. She has really blossomed in the last few weeks, crawling over to wherever the action is and putting herself in the middle of it. So stinkin' fun. She loves playing with Ella, and is completely enamored with everything Ella does. You can just see it in her eyes "Oooh! Look at Ella jump! That is magnificent!" And Ella is an amazing older sister, most of the time.
Both of my girls are just so fun and darling. I love being a mother. Ella and I went to the park with several friends for dinner this evening, while our husbands went out to eat and went to the Priesthood session of conference. On the way, Ella asked, "Where did Dadd'n go?"
"He went to a meeting to learn about Jesus and Heavenly Father."
"And the moon?" was her reply.
"Ummm, maybe. We can ask Dad when he gets home if he learned about the moon."
We've never had one of those 'funny kid conversations'. I felt like I had arrived as a parent. Shout it from the rooftops, "I have a child who says random, and slightly amusing things!" Oh yeah. It's good to be me.