Saturday, February 28, 2015

Saturdays

I love Saturdays {almost as much as Sundays}.

I love that I can sleep in, exercise, and take my time getting ready for the day.

I love that Josh doesn't have to work and the kids can forget about homework.

I love that we can decide how to spend our time together.  Errands?  Cleaning?  Games?


The kids are great at finding things to do.  I sometimes question their choices, but at least they enjoy playing with each other.

This afternoon we did some shopping at Kohl's.  And by "shopping" I mean leisurely strolling and not looking for anything in particular.  The girls thoroughly enjoyed browsing the toy department, snapping pictures of all the toys they liked {so I wouldn't forget}.  They literally took 50 pictures.  I don't understand half of them {do they want one Barbie or all of them?} but it's fun to see the world through their eyes.


Yeah, Saturdays are pretty awesome.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snowy Days

Having grown up in Michigan, Josh and I aren't strangers to cold and snowy weather.  We're fortunate that snowstorms don't hit our area very often. 

 But when they do, they're a real treat {to the non-drivers of the household}.





Kylie is definitely my winter baby.  She LOVES the snow and her joy is infectious.



This is where Jack and I prefer to spend snowy days: the warmest room in the house.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Habits

 We're in the middle of trying to conquer a bad habit at our house.  Can you guess what it is?

How about now?
Those blankets aren't covering up nearly as much as they think they are...

 This has been a very lengthy process but I think we're finally beginning to make some headway.  At first we would keep a running tally everytime the girls sucked their fingers.  When it came time to dish out allowance, we would subtract a penny for each tally mark.  But that wasn't working-- the girls couldn't have cared less if they were shorted a few pennies (or twenty).

So we implemented a new system.  If the girls can go one day without sucking their fingers, they get an extra book at bedtime.  Four days = an extra TV show.  A week = a special treat.  Because it is a really tough habit to break, we're going a little easy on them.  They're allowed two strikes each day.  If they get a third strike, they have to start all over.

Believe it or not, Summer is conquering this habit like a boss!  Today is her fifth day of not sucking her fingers.  I can't even remember the last time she got a strike.

Kylie is doing really well too, but unfortunately she had to start over because she got three strikes yesterday.  Those lazy Sundays are tough because it's usually during down time {like watching a movie or TV show} that the girls revert back to their finger-sucking ways.  We've had great discussions about the importance of keeping busy.

I, too, am working on conquering a bad habit.  And I'm sorry to say that progress is very slow going.

I'm a yeller.  

I don't think I've always been this way.  But my little kiddos-- as sweet as they are-- can irritate me quicker than you can say, "Whoops."
This happened at 8:00 this morning.  It was a long day.

This goal goes hand-in-hand with my goal to become a more nurturing mother.  When I envision my future self, I'm patient, kind, and soft spoken with my children.  Some days I feel like I am none of those things.  To be fair, raising young children requires a lot of energy and all it takes is one sick kid or one sleepless night to deplete that energy. 

But I'm trying and taking it one day at a time.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Record Keeping

I came to an unfortunate realization today:

I'm not the best record keeper.

It all started this afternoon when I decided to make a list of all of the kids' yearly height measurements.  A friend of mine made me this great 6-foot wooden "ruler" to put on my wall {that I barely hung up last week} and I've been meaning to write their measurements on it ever since.  However, as I pored through files, folders, scrapbooks, and even the blog, I realized that I'm missing information that I thought I had carefully put away... somewhere.

So for all intents and purposes, it's time for a major update.  Going forward, I need to update this blog more regularly whether I have cute pictures to go with each post or not.

Let's start with Kylie.  At her 7-year wellness check she measured 45" tall and weighed ______. {I've already forgotten her weight and I lost the paper.  For the love, people}.  BUT, I can tell you that she is tiny.  She's in the 5th percentile for height and the 10th for weight.  She's only grown half an inch since her fifth birthday and I seriously doubt her weight has changed either.

She enjoys school-- for the most part-- but is beginning to tire of the frequent math and spelling tests.  If her birthday party theme wasn't a dead giveaway, Kylie loves all things fancy.  She will study the chart of cursive letters in her school notebook and practice writing them at home.

Reading and art are still her two favorite pastimes.  She has recently taken an interest in chapter books, such as Fancy Nancy and Junie B. Jones.

Other fun facts about Kylie: she prefers to walk home from the bus stop by herself; her favorite color is purple; her favorite TV show is Ruff Ruffman; she packs almost the same lunch to school everyday {a peanut butter sandwich- no jelly, pringles, and yogurt or fruit}.

Summer is still my wild and crazy buddy when she's at home.  Although she enjoys being in close proximity to me at all times, I think her #1 love language is words of affirmation.  She absolutely BEAMS when someone pays her a compliment or recognizes something that she's done well.  Now that I've realized this about her, I try to do all I can to feed her self-esteem.  I worry about her a little bit because she's already beginning to focus heavily on appearances.

I really enjoy having her at home and I'm thrilled that I get one more year with her before she heads off to Kindergarten.  She's grown leaps and bounds since preschool started in September.  Her teacher does a great job of making things fun and allowing the kids to learn through play.  Each day after school, Summer gives me a very detailed account of everything that she did.


One thing I have to discuss with Summer repeatedly is the importance of living in the present.  She has a tendency to set her sights on future events - which in itself isn't terrible - but she'll get frustrated when things don't happen right NOW.  For instance, the other day a commercial came on TV for Chuck E. Cheese's.  She said, "Hey!  Speaking of Chuck E. Cheese's, I'm going there for my birthday!"  By her next breath she was practically in tears because she realized that her birthday is not until August.  Part of me is looking forward to seeing just how amazing this girl will be in the future.  But another part of me wants her to stay little forever!

Other fun facts about Summer: she achieved nighttime potty training around Christmastime; she enjoys helping in the kitchen, whether it be baking or doing dishes; she's known for her honesty :)

Jackson.  Oh.... Jackson.  He just doesn't stay in one place for very long.  However, he's easy to find because all you have to do is follow the mess.

He climbs.  He writes on walls.  He empties out any and all drawers within reach. And lately he's finding himself in Time Out in his high chair because he's a little stinker.


His favorite "toys" are my pots and pans, and he prefers to play with them over at the entertainment center.  He'll run back and forth from the kitchen to the living room until he has every single one.  I don't like it because I'm afraid he'll ruin my nice pots.  Josh doesn't like it because he's afraid Jackson will crack the TV.  Jackson couldn't care less.
As time goes on, he's becoming even more attached to his blankie and pacifier.  I suppose I should take them away at some point but... he just looks so cute :)

Other fun facts about Jackson: he's an unpredictable napper but he sleeps a full 12 hours each night; he dances whenever he hears music, even in church; he has 12 teeth; his favorite song is "Row, row, row your boat" {especially the "merrily" part}.

Having a house full of littles sure is exhausting.  But we have lots of fun and I know that someday I'll miss this brand of chaos.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Valentine's Celebrations

Our Valentine celebrations commenced in Summer's classroom.  Her teacher had the fun idea of combining her half birthday with the class Valentine party.  Summer thought it was the best thing ever to bring in pink cupcakes to share AND get a bunch of Valentines to take home.
 


I like creating fun {but inexpensive} Valentines for the kids to share with their classmates.  Summer's class only has 9 kids in it so it was relatively easy to give away small baggies of animal crackers.  Kylie has been fascinated with these paper fortune tellers lately, so she cut them out and signed her name while I folded.
 

 Here's a closer look:

On Friday night, Josh and I attended a Valentine's dinner & dance at our church.  It happened to be the camp fundraiser for the Young Women in our ward so it was for a good cause :)  We had a great time socializing with our friends that we don't get to spend time with on a regular basis.  And dancing is always fun!

Prior to the dance, Josh surprised us girls with flowers.  I love that he chooses to include the kids.
The next morning-- Valentine's Day-- I had a little surprise of my own.  When Josh came home from a quick errand, he found this:

Each sticky note had something written on it that I love about Josh.  This one is my favorite because it's all-encompassing {and it comes from Grey's Anatomy, which we like to watch together}.

On the evening of Valentine's Day, we had planned to go to a Butler basketball game with some dear friends from Michigan; however, the weather conditions were far from ideal!  After an hour of white knuckled driving in a snowstorm {and not much distance to show for it}, our friends had to turn around and head back home.  We were all bummed that we wouldn't get to spend the weekend together but safety is way more important than any basketball game.

Fortunately for us, the snow storm passed right over us so we chose to attend the game.  We left our littlest Valentine with a very capable babysitter and took the girls with us to the game.

I love Hinkle Fieldhouse because it's very family-friendly.  Before taking our seats we took the girls onto the main level to check out the view.  As luck would have it, the bulldog was sitting right there and the girls had a chance to pet him.  Summer sat next to the dog and got ready to smile for the camera when the dog leaned over and gave her a big smooch on the cheek!

Kylie and Summer are a little sensitive to noise so I brought along these soundproof earmuffs.  They didn't end up wearing them for very long, but I couldn't help but laugh whenever Summer tried to carry on a conversation with me.  She seemed to shout questions at me at the worst times-- like during the National Anthem or a Butler free throw.



We had such a great time!  We'll definitely be going back in the future.

This Valentine's Day felt... complete.  I felt that our time was balanced well between couple time and family time.  I hope our children will come to understand that this holiday is about so much more than romance and elaborate gifts.  It's about being together and serving those you love.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

20/20

Recently Summer has been complaining of blurry vision.  She began sitting closer to the TV and holding books closer to her face.  One night at dinner I became especially alarmed when she said, "Mommy, I can see two of you!"

So off to the eye doctor we went.  She made an impression on the office staff immediately as she loudly announced, "I can't see anything!  BUT... I can still smell and taste and walk."

After a brief eye exam it was determined that she's a little farsighted but her vision would most likely correct itself.  Summer was devastated!  For some reason she had her heart set on wearing glasses.  The receptionist quietly informed me that Summer could actually pick out a pair of glasses from the display case and take them home because our insurance plan covered the cost of frames.  So we walked out of the office with glasses after all.  Summer couldn't have been happier!

After the appointment, Summer and I spent some quality one-on-one time together.  The whole time she kept saying, "I just can't believe that I have glasses!  My friends will be so impressed with me."
Although she doesn't technically need glasses, I'm choosing to use this as an opportunity to teach her responsibility.  We've already talked about when she should NOT wear the glasses and where to put them so they'll be kept safe. 

She was so excited to wear her new glasses to church today.  Needless to say, I think I know what she'll be bringing to school tomorrow for show & tell.