Thursday, September 20, 2012

Just a reminder

The new Briggs blog is officially up and if you haven't yet requested an invite to read it, do it soon!  This blog will be going private in the next few days.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Future blog plans

I think I've figured out how to make our blog private while avoiding the issue with signing in.  I will create one username and password to send to anyone interested in keeping up on the blog and to make it less annoying for people to remember one extra username and password, any time I update the blog, I will notify everyone by email and include the username and password.

THEREFORE, please let me know by either leaving your email in a comment or by emailing me ( if you would like to keep up with our blog.  I'm not going to assume that whoever has followed our blog in the past will continue to follow it, so if you want an invitation, you need to let me know.

Also, this blog will stay public for a couple weeks....please let me know by September 22...the first day of Autumn.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bringing back the privacy conversation

I really want my blog to be private, but every time I make it so, I have issues with people not being able to sign in.  Does anyone else have this problem?  Is there a solution?  Maybe I just have to accept the problems that come with a private blog?

If anyone has ideas/information/suggestion, I'd appreciate it.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Just what the doctor ordered.

A couple weeks ago, Dave and I made a last-minute executive decision for our family and booked a cottage in Lancaster, PA for the weekend.  It was just one of those times when an emergency get-away is truly needed, and it was one of the best experiences we've ever had as a family.

The cottage we booked was a pretty good deal, and one of few places that was actually available, so we weren't expecting it to be anything special.  We were happily surprised at how comfortable, charming, and cozy it was!  It sat by itself in the middle of a well-kept state park and though it was built in the 1800's, it was very well preserved and it was quaint enough to take us away from our current, hurried, every day life but had the modern conveniences to still keep us comfortable.
Being shown the cottage for the first time.

Leah and Dallin were so excited to be out of the car and free to explore.  These are the stairs leading from the kitchen/living area to the bedroom.

...and here's the bedroom.  Dallin slept in that little closet to the right.  We purchased a little peapod (so much more convenient than a pack and play!) and it worked out perfectly.

The door separating the downstairs from the upstairs.

We liked the old-style key.

The wooden stairs were fun, but a little scary with two little ones.  We kept Leah and Dallin off them for the most part.
As soon as we set up the pack and play downstairs, both kids were begging to get in.  They sat in there and looked at books/played together for at least 30 minutes.
The kitchen/eating area (as seen from the living room).  The television is inside those cabinets on the right side of the island.
View of the living area from the kitchen (you can see the doorway leading to the stairs on the far right).

Still playing!  (Yeah, half the time we're at home, Leah and Dallin are just running around in shirts.  It makes for much quicker diaper changes!)

Another view of the cottage.  Or, as we like to call it, "Home Sweet Home."
After resting for awhile in the house, we decided to explore the park.  Leah LOVES her pockets, and often rests her little hands in them when she can.

Another view of the cottage, this time with me and Leah there, too!

...aaaaand another view.  Is this overkill???  We were in love with this place, so we wanted to preserve as many images of it as we could.
This beautiful covered bridge ran over a small stream, all of which were a couple hundred feet from the cottage.  

For a little perspective, the bridge and stream are in the foreground, and our cottage is the little building on the right, straight back (you can also see another building just before the entrance to the bridge...we weren't quite sure if it was a park administrative building or what, but we never saw anyone go there).

It was only appropriate we hitch our buggy here!

During the short few days we stayed there, we saw many, many families come to get their pictures professionally taken on the park's beautiful grounds, including quite a few Amish families.

After exploring the park, we hopped in the car and drove to Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse, PA.  Our first order of business - get Leah on a pony!

She had a serious look on her face most of the time, but we're pretty sure she liked it (because she usually doesn't hold anything back if she isn't in favor of something).

She kinda started to slip off to the side.  We had to point it out to the guide. 
Well she looks pretty happy to me!

Dallin was somewhat intrigued by the animals until one of the hens loudly ruffled her feathers.  It scared him to death and it pretty much ended our time in the little petting zoo. 

Strolling through Kitchen Kettle Village...always a favorite place.

We went into a Christmas shop to find a family Christmas ornament to commemorate our trip there, but having Leah in there was about the closest you could come to having a bull in a china shop (without literally having the bull in the china shop).  I got her out of there as fast as I could, so grateful that we never actually broke anything (she is quick and intent on picking up or handling EVERYTHING).
So I took her to this little sign and snapped this shot while Dave and Dallin paid for our ornament (we settled for a cute little Amish buggy).

Our last stop of the day was to this family style restaurant.  Both kids were free, and it was an all you can eat kind of situation where they have a set selection of things they bring out and your whole family shares the food and can ask for more of whatever you want.  It was the perfect situation for our hungry little family. Surprisingly, one of my favorite things there was the ham loaf (I don't like meat loaf, nor do I like ham, so the sound of ham loaf was not appetizing, but at that moment, it hit the spot).

That tasty meal put an end to a very full, but very wonderful first day of vacation.  On the way home we bought a few small groceries and then spent the evening eating popcorn and watching Disney Channel (a family favorite!).  Our kids never (really, never) sleep well when we're on vacation (read here and here for further information), so we were expecting a couple rough nights.  But, miracle of miracles, both kids slept awesome.  Leah chose to sleep in the pack and play downstairs (another surprise - I was sure she'd want to sleep with us in our room) and she handled it all really well (considering she hasn't been sleeping that great at home the last couple months either, she handled it perfectly, with just a couple of middle of the night wake-ups.  After a quick tuck-in and reassuring words, she went back to sleep both times).  And Dallin never woke up once until the next morning at 8 am.  We couldn't believe it...a full night's sleep?!?!  It was quickly turning into a dream vacation for us!!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

A couple iPad pics of Dallin

I didn't want to forget these pictures of our boy. It's so typical Dallin...always trying to get up, up, up!

Dallin update. FINALLY!

Now that Dallin is almost 14 months old, I feel sad that I never did a real-time 12 month old update.  At this point it's too hard to go back in time and remember what he was or wasn't doing a month and a half ago, so I'm just going to describe the current Dallin as is.

And WHAT a kid he is!  Dallin just gets more and more fun.

I say it every time and I'll say it again because it is one of the most endearing, charming parts about him: Dallin is a cuddle bug.  He loves to nuzzle his little face in mine, he gives the sweetest kisses, and when he wants to be held, he will hold me back so securely with his short little chubby arms.  And I feel so special to be held by those trusting, tender, and loving arms.

Cuddling with his Grammy 

When he turned 12 months, it's like a switch flipped and he suddenly became VERY demanding.  He wanted what he wanted when he wanted it and if he didn't get it, we were going to hear about it.  For some reason, it's more entertaining than annoying.  I think we were just so surprised to see such intensity and personality from sweet, calm little Dallin.

And his personality has continued to come out more and more over the last couple months.  He LOVES cars, push toys, and ride on toys.  All three toys keep him entertained for long periods of time.  He also loves anything his sister is playing with, which often becomes a source of contention between the two (Leah is also fascinated with whatever Dallin is playing with...we have lessons on sharing and taking turns ALL DAY every day).

He and Leah experience a lot of the normal skirmishes throughout the day as their wants/needs conflict and collide, but they also play really well together and have a lot of fun together.  He loves her energy (unless it is affecting him negatively!) and can get really excited and giggly when she starts running around and having fun.  He loves to be where she is, doing what she's doing, and she mothers him so much (one small example: when he cries, she pats his back and says, "It's okay, baby, it's okay").  Leah calls him "Die" and he is just as important to her as she is to him.  They get so excited to see each other every morning and after they get up from their afternoon nap.

Another fascination of Dallin's is sitting inside small spaces.  Whether it's a box, or a crate, or a laundry basket (most often this is what it is), if he can't climb in himself, he will fuss and whine until someone else puts him in.  And once he's placed inside, he couldn't have a more pleased look on his face. And of course, because Dallin has a fascination with this, Leah also suddenly loves it as well, and the two often fight over the same box/tub/basket.

Dallin likes to "talk" a lot and says "mom", "dad", "up", "ah dah" (all done), "mah" (more), and he also says his own version of thank you, but I can't even remember what it sounds like right now.  When you ask him what a doggy says, he replies with a high pitched, short "ah! ah!".  He also responds with two long, high pitched "ooh ooh's" when you ask him what a choo choo train says.

SO BIG (I know, I have tons of pictures of him doing this!)

Fold your arms!
He's an awesome night sleeper and has been for the past couple months.  We put him down at about 8:00 and we can pretty much count on not hearing from him again until 8:00 or so in the morning.  He's not a great napper and never has been, though I can usually get at least an hour out of him every day (I find things go better for all of us, though, if I can get him to extend his nap to at least an hour and a half).
Ready for church

And what a happy little kiddo!
 Other than about a one week period when he was 9 months old, Dallin has shown very little stranger danger/separation anxiety.  He definitely knows who strangers are and you can see him withdraw a lot and close up while he studies them and assesses the situation, but he will generally allow most anyone to hold him or talk to him.

The extent to which he works through his feelings and assesses things internally has become more and more apparent.  In situations where Leah will immediately show emotion (usually fear), you can see that Dallin holds it in first and deals with it there before letting it out.  The most stark example of this just happened the other day when I was vacuuming the upstairs. It is really difficult for me to find opportunities to vacuum, as Leah is terrified of the vacuum and gets really shaken up any time it is run, and most often it is just not worth the scene it causes to run it when she is around.  But as she is getting more independent, I am finding myself able to leave her and Dallin down in the basement while I run upstairs to vacuum.  This particular time, Dallin crawled up the two flights of stairs to come see what I was doing upstairs, and he seemed a little concerned about me vacuuming, but I gave him a little pat and reassured him everything was fine as I finished up the top floor and moved the vacuum down to the stairs. As I was vacuuming I thought I heard a little whimper, so I turned it off and looked up to see Dallin looking down at me through the railings from upstairs with a very, very concerned look on his face.  I assured him it was okay and quickly hurried on to the living room, hoping to get one last room done before my time to vacuum ran out.  I got the room done, then turned off the vacuum and noted that I didn't hear anything from Dallin anymore.  I ran up the stairs to see what he was up to, and found him sitting in the middle of the hall, clasping his hands together with the same concerned look on his face.  As soon as he saw me, he let the tears out and came to me as I went to pick him up.  Poor kid! He was so concerned about that vacuum, but didn't let it all out until I was there to sit with him and hold him.

He likes to climb up on/around/through everything and loves to explore.  He tries to scale things he shouldn't and is CONSTANTLY begging to get up on my bed (which is unusually high).  I rarely let him, though because once he's up there, he needs constant supervision, and I'm too scared he'll fall off.
 His favorite app on the ipad is called "I Hear Ewe", where you select different animals or vehicles and it tells you the sound it makes. He also loves books - something he inherited from his sister's example, because we haven't read with him nearly as much as we've read with her, so we're glad that he's taken her lead and likes to sit down for long periods of time to look through his books.
LOVING the ride Dad is giving him in the laundry basket
He continues to love peek-a-boo...a favorite game of his is to get behind anything (a couch, a table, etc.), squat all the way down, and then bounce up while yelling "AH!".  He'll do it over and over again and he must be developing some pretty amazing thigh muscles in the process...I know my legs would be burning after all those squats!

He can be such a ham and once he gets on a roll, there's no stopping him, as evidenced by his behavior when we had the sister missionaries to dinner the other night.  Even we were surprised at the show he was putting on.

He is slowly walking more and more, though it's a miracle he is doing it at all with Leah around.  The moment she sees that he is starting to take a few steps, she runs up to him and grabs both hands and tries to "help" him along, which usually means he ends up on the floor (sometimes they both end up in a heap!).  But he finds moments here and there to try it out without her around, and he gets more and more steady every day.  The most number of consecutive steps we've counted was 18, though we don't really count so much anymore.

At his one year appointment, Dallin was 30 inches and weighed 25 pounds (I think...that's what I remember from off the top of my head...I'll have to go back and double check).  He is such a loveable, squeezeable part of our lives and we are all so happy to have him in our family!

Catch up!

Back in the beginning of August, my niece and her husband and cute baby flew out to New England for a family vacation and JUST SO HAPPENED to have a layover in Baltimore. I only got to spend about thirty minutes with them, but the awful traffic all the way there and back was worth meeting my great-niece (is that what you call your niece's daughter?), Audrey and seeing wonderful Rachel and Ben!