Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Confidence

As I mentioned when we visited the Indian Caverns, part of the goal of Girl Scouts is to improve confidence in girls, to help them to try things they would not have otherwise tried and then experience success. This week we took our first grade girls to the rock wall at the rec center. We asked them ahead of time if they would like to try it. A few girls were hesitant, but when we took a "secret ballot," they voted unanimously  "yes."

I was so proud of all the girls!! They all climbed. They all improved. By the end, none of them were scared. They were all proud of their accomplishment and having a good time. They cheered for each other, encouraged one another. And several of the girls asked their parents as they left, "Can we come back tomorrow, pleeeeeaassseeee????"

Actually, the girl who climbed the highest of all of them? She was one of the hesitant ones, and her mom said that right up to the minute before they arrived, she wasn't sure that she was going to try. So it's a good feeling to be a part of something like that.

I was proud of Katy, too, but for a different reason. She had been to the wall before, and although she has many fears and anxieties, climbing isn't one of them. However, she's so very competitive. And I was completely shocked that she wasn't a bucket of tears that she didn't climb the highest. She never once mentioned trying to do better than another girl, and she cheered for her friends and tried to improve on her own height each time. Progress!!


Katy is in the black pants. Don't they look so tiny up on that wall?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Super fun, super exhausting...

In what is becoming an annual tradition, my Dad and Sue were here today watching the kids so that Brian and I could go Christmas shopping. I look forward to this day, because it's a nice change of pace, I love shopping (especially on a weekday), and it's like a really long date for Brian and I.

We had fun, found a lot of good deals, and are finished with our kids and some other family members. I kept needing to take breaks off of my feet, including once when I sat down next to an elderly gentleman at the mall and waited for Brian while he went into a store for quite some time. He and I sat there, in silence, resting our feet and watching the people go by, impressed by their energy. I don't know if he was chuckling about it to himself, but I was.

The other part that was fun this year was that my Dad and Sue were here on a school day, so they had to do pickups for both Katy and David. I gave very detailed instructions (it's not hard, but if you've never been to the school before, don't know the procedure, etc), and for the most part things went smoothly. But I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when my dad went to the wrong preschool classroom, and to see David's face light up with excitement to ride in Grandpa's truck, and to see all the kids in front of Katy's school petting their dog Scout. Luke was along for the ride, and when I got home he gave me a big hug and said, "Mommy shopping." So I wonder how many times he asked where I had gone.

It was a good day. How does it feel like full fledged Christmas and it's not even December?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lights!!

My kids have no idea how spoiled they are to have such a fun Daddy. I would never go to this much effort! Lights in their bedroom!?!?





Luke's annual ornament selection. He insisted on playing with it and broke Buzz's arm off within an hour. It was one of 3 items that needed superglue after we decorated.

Katy's selection. She gives us an update on the countdown every once in awhile.

Should I be worried now or wait 12 years? David picked a Harley. Picturing my son on a motorcycle makes me short of breath.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend in Photos

Turkey on the Green Egg grill

Luke was beside himself to practice "driving" Grammy's Corvette

Three ladies work on hand-dipping the dumplings

David is giddy to adjust the controls

Everyone dig in! This meal is a true labor of love by Grammy and Papa John. They pour hours into every detail.

After-dinner snuggles

Grammy pulled out Daddy's Legos from childhood. See how David is making sound effects?

We stopped at Dad and Sue's on the way home to visit and cheer for the Buckeyes.  


David and Great Grandma search for hidden objects in the tube.

Katy always talks Grandma Sue into a game of some sort.

Different grandparents, kids still playing board games with them.

My Granny and Grandpa pulled out this Fischer Price castle that brought back all kinds of childhood memories for me. I can't believe they still have this at their house!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Disappointment

I swear, this is the last time that I will mention KMart or bunk beds (completely ridiculous that it's coming up 3 posts in a row). But I'm really, really, reeeeaaalllly disappointed. They cancelled our order, saying they couldn't fulfill it because they ran out of stock. So then why did the ad say - RIGHT above the picture of the beds - that you could order online and have it shipped to the store?

We tried to go to the store, call customer service, chat online with a representative, but to no avail. They won't honor the order (well, really, the price).

It's silly how disappointed I am, I do realize that. But you know how you feel really excited about something, and then especially so because you feel that you got a really good deal? Boo, KMart. (And Sears, since they are in this thing together).

Today we're on our way home, with 2 stops to visit my Dad and Sue and all of my grandparents. We're timing the trip so that we're able to watch the Ohio State vs. Michigan game on my Dad's big TV. 

So it's time to get over it and look forward to another day of food and family.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sleeping arrangements

KMart last night was...an experience. We pulled up 5 minutes after they opened and Brian said, "No, I will NOT." Because there was a line around the building. But I assured him that was because they just opened, and the line was nearly gone by the time we parked and walked up to the door.

Most of the doorbusters were gone, of course, and even the small things that we found weren't worth standing in line for 30 minutes. But we looked at the bunk bed set and liked it. We could have bought it right then, but we couldn't have fit it in the van to take home (with all the kids and luggage), so we ordered it online for the same price, with free shipping to our local KMart at home. So we can go pick it up with our empty van when we get back.

Friends and family have been asking what we will do for sleeping arrangements once the baby arrives. We are fortunate to have 4 bedrooms, and right now we have:

- Master #1 - Brian and I

- Bedroom #2 - Katy and David

- Bedroom #3 - Nursery/Luke

- Bedroom #4 - Melanie/Guest

For the first couple of months, the baby will sleep with us in the master and everything else will stay the same. But once we get to about March or April, there are several possibilities. First, it depends on whether Melanie is still living with us. She knows that she is welcome to stay, and we all want her to move when the time is right financially and the right situation presents itself. So we're not sure exactly when that will be.

So IF Melanie is still living with us, my first inclination is to move Luke into Bedroom #2 with Katy and David. That's where the bunk beds come in, along with Luke's bed. (Crib or toddler bed? We'd have to borrow a 2nd crib, but a couple of people have offered). I just know it's going to be a challenge to move him into a bed, especially if we're moving him in with the other kids at the same time.

But the baby needs her own place to sleep. I know that for sure.

But here's the thing...even IF Melanie moves out by then...I'm still not sure what to do. The most logical plan would be to move Katy into #4 with the queen size bed and put the boys together in #2. Then we would still use bunk beds plus one twin in #2, and when guests come, Katy would sleep in #2 to make room for guests. But the problem with that plan is that Katy really cannot sleep alone right now. Sharing a room with David has been a huge help with her nighttime anxiety. She doesn't want to sleep alone, and it would cause disturbance for the family at night.

So then what would I do....move Luke into room #4 in the queen size bed? That seems like a big move for a first bed? And it's just illogical...to put the 2 year old in the biggest bed in the room by himself? But that still might be the best plan. 

So we'll wait and see. When the decision was up in the air last time, I really didn't know what to do, but when it was game time, the best choice seemed obvious to me, and it was right for our family at the time. Hopefully the same clarity will come this time around.

But with all of the possible plans...eventually the bunk beds come in handy.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful

We are visiting Brian's family for the holiday, and of course we have so much for which to be thankful. The kids love being here (even though they miss their cousins this trip, it's still tons of fun).

The weather is beautiful (nearly 70). Brian's folks have a train that passes literally through their back yard. Brian took the boys over the little ledge to walk along the track and just as they were leaving they heard a train in the distance. So they got to stand back about 10 feet and watch the train go by. There really aren't many things that make preschool aged boys happier than that.

Brian and I are considering going to KMart tonight for some doorbusters. (They have bunk beds on special! We're making room for another kiddo.) There may not be the wide variety of shopping choices in small town Kentucky that there are at home, but we are going to see all that KMart has to offer.

But more than ever, in recent times, I am just grateful for this life that we have. For my husband, my 3, almost 4 healthy children, and a roof over our head in a community that we love. Those things make me one of the most fortunate people in the world. And I really am overwhelmed at how blessed I am. Incredibly, incredibly blessed.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Impressive

Lately Katy has been asking me quite frequently about playing with friends. The kids on our street are all older, and they do play together some, but she's really desperate to play with kids her own age. So I've been trying to set up a play date for her one day after school each week.

Yesterday she went to a friend's house who is in her class and in our GS troop. It was somewhat of an adventure because I didn't realize until the night before that this girl rode the bus home, which Katy's never done before. The mom offered to pick them up if I wasn't comfortable, but said that I could send a note and Katy could ride the bus. I thought she'd be excited to ride it just once, so I wrote a note.

Not only did the mom send me a picture message of her getting off the bus, but when Katy came home:

- she had finished her homework.

- she had eaten tilapia, steamed rice and carrots for dinner. (Tilapia!?)

- the mom had sent me pictures messages of the crafts they completed (including a "what I'm thankful for" craft) and a video of the girls singing a silly song.

Not to mention that this mom did all of this after walking in the door from a day at the office!

Can I hire this woman?

Monday, November 19, 2012

When to tackle the ol' potty

I haven't started potty training with Luke yet. He is 2 years, 5 months. I've asked him a few times if he'd like to sit on the potty, and he always yells, "NO!!"  But I think that if I made a big deal about it, took diapers off, got out the little potty, offered rewards, there's a possibility that he might do it.

Part of me wants to put it off longer, because it's really hard for me to crouch down and wipe up accidents off the floor at the moment (just being honest here). However, it's very expensive to have two kids in diapers (done that twice), and it will be harder to shuffle him onto the potty quickly if I'm nursing a newborn.

So...if I share it publicly, maybe I'll follow through. When we get back from Thanksgiving travels I'm going to give it a go. Maybe he'll surprise me and train easily. If it goes poorly, I'm not going to have the energy to push it very hard in my last month of pregnancy.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Weekend Update

So I guess maybe I'm not up for DAILY blogging this month, but several times a week is better than before, right?

We didn't have much in the way of plans this weekend, so we spent lots of time getting things done around the house: cleaning, final lawn mowing, hanging Christmas lights (I have never EVER gotten lights up before Thanksgiving before - but the weather was nice and it will be great to have that done when we get back in town), running errands, etc.

Yesterday I was on the computer and Katy asked me where her timer was to do her 15 minutes of daily reading (you know, to earn a pizza from Pizza Hut). I wasn't sure so she said, "Nevermind, I'll just use the timer on the microwave." I have to admit I was only half paying attention *blush*, so I just assumed she knew how to set the timer without turning ON the microwave. Ten minutes later, there's a funny smell in the house and the microwave is very hot and very dark. Ooops. I was feeling reeealllly guilty about it (could have been so dangerous, now going to cost us $$ to get a new one).  But after a few hours, it had cooled down and seems to be working again? I gave it a good vinegar wash and we'll see what happens. Not my proudest parenting moment.

I've been thinking a lot of baby names. The challenge is that I would like to find something that we a) love, b) agree on, and c) goes well with our other kids' names. I didn't realize when naming my older children that I was also setting myself on a path of naming style. There are names that even if I love them, don't flow with the others. Like Katy, David, Luke, and Savannah. Doesn't really work. So we're working on it...


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Creating Family Policy

I knew this day would come, but I didn't expect it so soon. Katy has been invited to her first slumber party. We know the family (but not well) from Girl Scouts, and they are nice, I don't have hesitations about the family specifically. But she's six. There are SO many things to consider. She's had a lot of anxiety at night lately, doesn't like to go to bed without me (even Daddy isn't good enough), ends up sleeping in her brother's bed quite often, etc. Not to mention occasional night terrors, especially when she's overtired (like she would be if she stayed up late at a party).

And I love all those little Daisy girls, but let me tell you - a group of 6 years old girls with hours and hours of unstructured leisure time? Can create quite a bit of drama. I know these girls well and I just...would rather she didn't spend the night.

Katy herself is hesitant, because she knows how she is at night. But she wants to go, wants to try, because she SOOO desperately wants to be a big girl. And nothing hurts her heart more than feeling like she's not big enough to do something that others are doing. She told me, "But mom, if I don't spend the night and the other girls do, I'll be a baby and they'll be big girls." Ugh. I'm feeling annoyed that I have to be the bad mom and pick her up early. Especially if she's saying to the hosts that she wants to stay, it makes me look like the overprotective parent who won't let go.

I think I would feel differently if it were a sleepover with one or two friends that I knew the family well. But a slumber party full of 10 girls? And I've never set foot in their house before? We're not ready for that.

So as of right now Brian and I are considering...do we make a family policy of no slumber parties until she's older? The invitations will keep coming, and rather than go through this drama every time, it might be easier to just set that expectation now. But I'm not sure that we're ready to say what age will be ok? So is it an indefinite policy?

Any thoughts out there? I'm really curious...asking for advice two days in a row!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Boys...will be boys?

In the last 6-9 months, I've noticed that David has become a lot more physical. Most of the time it's a happy physical. He likes to play hard, wrestle around, pretend fight, etc. The only time it's ever been negative is if he gets frustrated with Luke, he will sometimes lash out. But he hasn't done it to other kids, just his brother (who frustrates him to no end). And we have talked about it and talked about it.

Then David said something about preschool that caused me to ask the teacher how he's doing. Basically he said that a boy said to him, "My mom says I don't have to play with you. I don't have to do what other kids tell me to do." Which to me is what I would say to my kid if another kid were being a bad influence of some sort.

So the teachers said that it hasn't been a BIG problem, but that he has been somewhat physical at school. They said it's always in a playful manner, he's not being mean, but sitting in circle, for example, he'll play-bump into other kids, roll around, etc. She said that it had gotten better in recent weeks and they thought I had been talking to him about it. (But how could I have been if I didn't know it was happening?)

It's hard to hear anything other than, "Your child is the PERFECT student!"  I have to admit that I had to come home and compose myself, reminding myself that she did NOT say, "Obviously you have done something to cause this, and if you were a better parent, he would be a perfect student." *ahem*

So the questions on my mind are...what should I do? Is this a problem, for 4 year old boys to be very physical? Or is it only a problem to the extent that it disrupts school? Is this going to continue to be a problem in kindergarten and beyond? And again...what should I DO?

One suggestion that has come up from a few different people is martial arts. It really does make sense to me that to have some sort of controlled/appropriate outlet for his physical nature would help. And I know he would just love it. But I've been shocked at the pricetag. It's even more expensive than studio dance, which I thought was jaw-dropping. I just really don't see how we could swing it.

Since this came to my attention, I've noticed even more than usual what a sweetheart he is. He's really such a good kid. It's just that he wants to show you his love by pinning you to the floor.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

His name is what?!?

This was hanging in the hall at Katy's school during Parent Teacher conferences. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and laughed out loud at the last line.


"My monster has lins (lines) down his hands. It is a boy. He has three eyes. He has scin btwen his fingrs. (webbing) His haed is orange. His body is green. His mouth is mad! His har is poty (pointy). His name is Ruth."
 
I clarified later. "His name is Ruth?"
 
"What? No, his name is Rough."
 
"Ohhhh....."



Monday, November 12, 2012

OAMC

I missed yesterday, but I decided I wasn't going to stress about writing everyday. Also, I was really busy doing Once a Month Cooking - this time with an island! It was so much better...

2 Crock Pots going, one stock pot and a skillet.


Brian and I had a nice date on Friday night, and we've finally starting talking about baby names.

Happy Veteran's Day to all of those who have served and still serve. Both of my grandfathers served in WWII (Grandpa has some really intense stories), my Dad served in Vietnam and is now in the Ohio Military Guard. I don't appreciate enough what they have done for this country.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Future Idol

As it turns out, I didn't have to do much for Brian's birthday, because my sister had organized all 3 sets of grandparents to go together and get him a gift card for a new TV. He has reeeaallly been wanting a flat screen TV for some time, but I have been fuddy duddy about it, because our TV works just fine and I can't see spending all that money on such a thing.

So he's thrilled. And we're both very surprised, and thankful.

Another highlight...one of the things that I love about Luke is that he LOVES to sing, and does so constantly. He sings along to all the CDs that we listen to in the car, even if his "lyrics" are quite jarbled. But you can recognize the tunes for sure, and it seems to be a love of his.

So this is what he was singing all the way through Target after I picked up a cake mix off the shelf:

(for some reason the video didn't show up in my google reader but if you click over to the blog you can see it...)


video

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Under-celebrated

Today is my husband's birthday and I feel so badly for him because it's a crazy/regular day with hopefully a little birthday acknowledgement at the end. First this morning I had an OB appointment so he had to do the morning kid routine, including the carefully choreographed 15 minutes around the 'burb that is dropping off Katy and David on time. So then he was late to work and I know he had a lot to do there, including giving blood like he does every time they call him. He will then rush home after work (where I will meet him after Katy's last gymnastics class) so we can go to David's open house at preschool. This event is a big deal for David: he's been talking about it for a week and preparing for it at school for a long time - he keeps telling us all the things that he will show us and the "ack-tib-itees" they have planned.

Then we'll be home by 7 and I hope to do some kind of celebration (and dinner? when will we eat dinner?) before the kids go to bed.

So this crazy day is the perfect illustration of all that Brian does for us (and others) and doesn't get a whole lot of thanks. He's an excellent husband and a fantastic father (the kids absolutely adore their dad) and he deserves a bit of appreciation.

(We are going out tomorrow night while Mel watches the kids, so hopefully the appreciation will just be delayed a bit.)

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Oh, 2 year olds

Just a typical morning with a 2 year old: when it was time to leave to take the big kids to school, he threw a fit because he was enjoying playing with Lego Duplos. So I carried him out against his fullest strength to the car and buckled him in. We got the kids dropped off as he shouted CD choices throughout the ride ("Wiggles! Between the Lions! Finn McMissile!!").

He and I headed to Target to look at some things. I noticed that he is doing SO much better on shopping errands. I had gotten to the point that I stopped trying because he would kick and scream and fight to get down out of the cart the whole time (those buckles? cannot hold him). And heaven forbid if you tried to let him down - you're in for a wild goose chase through Target. It was awful.

But...he has finally learned - IF you want to walk, you stand right next to the cart and don't run away from Mommy. And if you do...back in the cart. So we strolled around Target for quite some time...Luke walking closely to the cart and being down right pleasant. Then I asked if he'd like to ride in the cart and have a snack, and he he sat in the cart peacefully for another stretch of time, all the way to the car.

Just as I was pondering how much better he's been doing, we arrived home from picking up David from preschool. Luke decided he wanted to stay in the car and play with the CD player, so once again I carried him inside kicking and screaming. David pinched his finger and we had about 10 minutes of dual-screaming contest. Luke didn't want to sit down to eat lunch, but I buckled him in anyway. Then he cried that I had cut his grilled cheese. I guess he wanted it whole.

Then he took a good nap and he and David built a train track and played peacefully together. These moments bring us through the others.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Reprimand

Yesterday, Melanie was looking through the mail and stopped short: "What the heck is THIS?!?" I took the postcard that she was reading and started laughing hysterically.

I'm certainly not making light of our right and responsibility to vote.  I just can't believe that they sent her this scolding in the mail the day before the election, apparently as some sort of incentive to change her ways? (By the way, she had every intention of voting today before receiving this note.)
Yes, I put masking tape on it. I need to learn to use Photoshop.


Monday, November 05, 2012

*Sigh*

That *sigh* is my relief, as Luke is currently taking a nap for only the second time in the past week. The first couple of times that he didn't sleep I thought it was a fluke, but it kept happening, day after day, and my dread was growing. I love that kid like nothing else, but he is so demanding and so high energy right now, to think of him giving up his nap (especially as I am 30 weeks pg) makes me want to...lay down.

So maybe today is just a product of the time change, and tomorrow we'll be back to skipping nap. Who knows. But I'll take it. Sleep, Lukey Loo, sleep.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Wordless Weekend: Slightly Blurry Belly Shot, 29 weeks

See 29 week belly shots for the first 3 kids here

Friday, November 02, 2012

Chatty Kat(h)y

Katy was so chatty this morning. I find that once in awhile she will just talk and talk and talk about school, and I am trying so hard to say the right things so she will keep talking. While I was getting ready this morning, she was in my room in her pajamas telling me about how strong she is getting because of her gymnastics class. (She is taking a little 5 session class at the rec center.) She got on the scale to see if she grew any and was still just 39 pounds. (David is 42 pounds on the same scale these days). She asked if there was a way to measure whether she was getting stronger like you step on a scale to see if you are growing. I said the best way to tell was if she was able to do things that she coudln't do before, like cartwheels and flips on the bar. She nodded and then looked in the mirror and flexed: "Yeah, but I think I can tell just by looking at my muscles."

During breakfast she was telling me all about the week's activities at school. She said they had been learning about the election and each of them voted in a mock election for the presidental race. She said she voted for Obama (we have not talked to her about the candidates or political parties, so that was her own choice). Then she said that her friend M "was going to vote for Mitt Romney, but then she found out that he believes in Wonder Woman, so she voted for Obama." I'm assuming she heard something about women's issues - not sure how that translated to believing in Wonder Woman?

The report today is that Obama won the first grade election. My friend Kate was telling me that the mock election by Weekly Reader (in which kids from all across the country vote for president) has been in agreement with the actual result every presidential election since 1946, with one exception. I wonder who the kids picked this time?

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Halloween!

Yesterday was such a big day - I swear my kids love Halloween almost as much as Christmas. The anticipation!! Physically I am not running on full steam these days, and yesterday totally wiped me. I felt like I had been hit by a truck when I collapsed on the couch at 8:30. But the day was a lot of fun.

Luke got the most attention for his costume. Everywhere we went, people ooohed and aaahed and the tiny Captain America. I only ended up with this costume because I was looking for Iron Man for David on craigslist and the lady had a whole bunch of costumes for $5 each. I got Iron Man in David's size and Captain America in Luke's.

So like I said, David wanted to be Iron Man, for months, until my mom showed up with this cutie Spiderman costume for him. So he decided to wear Spiderman to his school parade and Iron Man to trick or treat. Fair.

Katy really wanted to join the super hero club, and she researched several female super heros. Wonder Woman is still the coolest (but her costume isn't as easy to find because she isn't popular like in the Underoos days.) Here's Katy in her school parade.

At her school party, the timing of which caused no nap for Luke, which isn't the ideal scenario for trick or treating, but oh, well. I was completely relieved when another mom volunteered to be Party Mom (after a period of silence I thought I was going to have to do it or else there wouldn't be a party). But then Party Mom wasn't able to attend the party? So I ended up leading the first graders in a craft that I had not seen before or even had a sample of. Hopefully I fumbled through ok.

Friends Frank and Maggie (of Kate and Dave) joined us for trick or treating. David switched to Iron Man or else we would've had Spiderman twins. And Maggie was an adorable Little Red Riding Hood.

The hat, which made the costume, was never in quite the right place. Strangers were constantly trying to fix it so he could see, but it was pretty hopeless.

When I checked the forecast in the afternoon, it said 40 degrees and there was only a 10% chance of rain. But it rained, pretty steadily, for the 35 minutes that we lasted.   But everyone had a good time, so it was worth it. Maybe next year will be 70 and sunny?