My Sister the Goddess, otherwise known as Candice, turned 23 yesterday. (Perhaps a little known fact, but she and Joey were also celebrating their 2nd anniversary, as they were married on Candice's birthday. Poor man.) Here's my parents' clever attempt to hide the fact that they didn't actually have a number "3" for the cake:
See the extra candle at the end? Get it?
While we were all partying hard, my mom asked if I would get some shots of Candice's ever-burgeoning belly. My Grammy and Aunt Connie, who also happen to be Candice's Grammy and Aunt Connie, have been hounding (or politely asking, whatever) her for pictures of The Tum, and Mom figured the blog would be an appropriate venue for sharing such photos. I was happy to oblige.
Candice is, according to her husband, who just came over a few minutes ago, at about 25 weeks.
She is just so gorgeous. I love her in purple.
Heck, I love her in a burlap sack!
And that baby? Oh, that baby. That baby, even in utero, makes my heart melt and my knees wobble. I am quite possibly the most excited person on this planet for this baby's arrival, with the noted exception of her own parents. I know I've revealed the baby's gender (it's a girl, in case you didn't catch it the first time), but I don't think I've shared sweet baby girl's name. Ready for this? It's so lovely, I swear.
Cecilia. Cecilia Danae.
Oh, my, it makes my breath catch in my throat just to utter her precious name.
"Cecilia" has been chosen simply because Joey and Candice love it and its ole-timesy charm. (Note: They have been throwing this name around for months and months, well before ever getting pregnant, and I instantly loved it the moment I heard it. I have been calling Cecilia by her chosen name since she was conceived, and I fought tooth and nail for that name when they were briefly distracted by the offerings of "Olivia." I am so glad reason won out.) "Danae," while a lovely name in and of itself, holds some super special meaning for me especially: it's my middle name. Can you believe it?! I am so honored.
That baby is fixin' to be the spoildest baby in this hemisphere, y'all. I promise. You should see the Baby Cecilia gifts Candice got for "her" 23rd birthday. I think I completely failed to recognize that perhaps Candice would like a gift for herself.
And in case you were wondering, Candice has been back at work and off of bed rest for a few weeks now. The physical problems that had her and her doctors concerned have completely cleared up (Praise the Lord!) and a super amazing, super advanced sonogram up in Chicago revealed a healing of the problem area. Now with that good news and a few weeks back at work under her belt, Candice has 2 weeks for Christmas break to rest and grow that baby.
So. Anyway. I hope I've appeased the grandmother and the aunt.
Grammy also sent a lovely card in the mail the other day commenting on some things from the blog (she approves of the table! Hurrah!) and asking some good questions. I realize I haven't been the greatest about kid updates here, and so I think I'll make this blog post a requests post, as you have all been so good this year and certainly deserve such a gift.
You are most definitely welcome.
First off, a few pictures of the kids.
Here's B, serious and determined as ever:
He is, as I said, typically the most serious child of our brood, although he, like any kid, loves to laugh, run, play, and shriek. He is very deliberate in his play: blocks are stacked in intricate patterns, play food is cooked into elaborate dishes, and Lord help the sibling that attempts to interrupt his creations. We are working with patience and sharing with B, as he gets so caught up in his games that sometimes he loses sight of the joy of playing with others. He has definitely mastered potty training, and he loves to learn all about planets, numbers, letters, and all things dinosaurs. He also loves Christmas music and just yesterday declared his undying love for Bing Crosby. He is a joy.
J, his older-than-about-twenty-seconds brother, is similar in many ways, which I suppose is bound to happen with twin brothers. A notable difference is J's very laid-back, roll-with-the-punches personality. While his brother will have a very hard time with interruptions to his routine or play, J sits back and rarely lets things get to him. He is extraordinarily good at sharing, and he's always watching out for his brother and sister, quick to make sure that they have equal amounts of toys, snacks, and drinks. J is working at learning how to ask nicely for things instead of simply demanding them. He shares an affinity for planets, numbers, letters, and animals with his brother, and he is working his hardest at learning the sounds of each letter of the alphabet. He is a gem.
(As I type this, the boys are standing next to each other at the couch, looking at an astronomy book their father brought home from work, saying things like, "No, it's Uranus" and "No, it's Neptune" and even naming all of the planets' moons that they know. Hyperion, Ganymede, Calisto, Io; you know, the usual.)
Baby C is 15 months old now (almost 16), and, as I shared recently, walks like a pro. She is at that baby-toddler stage where she is liable to throw a quick tantrum if she can't immediately get her desire or thought across to you. I think she wants more words, please. She loves, adores, reveres, and worships her brothers, and they do a great job at including her whenever possible. She loves to "cook" play food, name objects around the house, and plant herself in the nearest adult's lap to read for hours on end. She is a treasure.
Grammy also had some specific questions. Here, I'll answer them in the easiest way possible:
Q: Have you fixed the door in some way so that she [Baby C] can't lock it?
A: No, not yet. Our bathroom has consumed our lives, so a few minor projects, like this, have screeched to a halt. I've been very careful to never leave her downstairs without another adult in the house. I would never want to repeat that trauma again. And the key suggestion is good, but unfortunately, this is not a traditional lock-with-a-key handle. Whoever installed it was kind of dumb, I won't lie. (Par for the course for our house.)
Q: Are you ready for Christmas?
A: Yes and no? Presents are bought, but not all are wrapped. My house is a mess because of the cellulose insulation my dear, sweet, hard-working husband is trooping around, and I don't have the heart to vacuum it up, as he just troops through and deposits it all over again. (This very scenario happened about 3 times before I wised up and reluctantly put the vacuum away.) I'll probably end up doing a lot tomorrow (Christmas Eve) afternoon, before my family comes over for Christmas Eve frivolity.
Q: What do the kids think of the Christmas tree and presents?
A: They are all, naturally, enraptured. They are too young to really get all the hype--not having a television REALLY helps--nor do they really understand the countdown to Christmas Day and why we should be excited about it. Sure, they talk about Baby Jesus' birthday ("Cake! Presents! Balloons!"), but shoot, they're 2. To them, everything is just really pretty and special and fun. They all know to stay away from the presents under the tree, although I do catch B lovingly caressing some pretty packages from his Grammy-Great from time to time. But they are all good kids and haven't tried to open any. And the you-can-touch-with-one-finger rule I use in stores works wonders with the Christmas tree; I have yet to find any ornaments, even the low ones, off of the tree. They are really good kids, in so many ways.
Q: Do the boys sing "Away in a Manger"? That was the first Christmas song my little girls [my mother and her sister, my Aunt Connie] sang.
A: They aren't so thrilled with that one, although they love "Rudolph," and "I Saw Three Ships." Rudolph I understand; the other is a great song, but not one I naturally see kids gravitating toward. Despite that, they love it. Plus they lovelovelove the Peanuts Christmas album, and they daily request to watch "Charlie Brown Christmas." I have to limit this one, as B gets very caught up in the drama that is Charlie Brown vs. The World and I catch him nearly in tears at every viewing. Poor little sensitive soul!
Grammy and/or Aunt Connie or Grandma or Ta or other interested parties, leave a comment if you have any other questions. I hope I've sated your appetite for kid information for now.
Finally, I leave you with this touching photograph of Candice and her Joey:
I don't know how he does that with his stomach, but it truly rivals his wife's pregnant belly.