Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Tree Day!


My mom invented Tree Day. It's the day after Thanksgiving. You put up the tree and all Christmas decorations. In her version of tree day all those who help "celebrate" the day also receive periodic presents, or what I like to refer to as bribes. Charlotte and Greg were over the moon just to be able to help put the decorations up so there were no "presents" needed. In the above photo there was no possible way I was going to get Charlotte to actually look happy and serious so I just took the photo when Greg looked good.


The favorite decoration that was put up was either rosie the reindeer if you ask Charlotte or the snap-on van Christmas lights that were hung on their mirror. This year we found out that we really need a whole lot more trucks and cars associated with the holiday. He loves the Polar Express because there are lots of trains and a picture of a truck in it. Charlotte and Greg both love the scratch n sniff book as well.
Greg's Christmas sweater vest that my mom bought last year still fits him. When I had him try it on to see if it would still fit he wanted to immediately take it off until I pointed out to him that there was a truck and a Christmas tree on the front. Then he made us let him wear it for the rest of the day.
Charlotte has decided that her role in life is to be our Christmas dj. She set up all the cd's on the secretary and periodically changes them on an as needed basis. She also adds Christmas cheer by dancing to the songs she puts on. I can already tell this Christmas is going to be so much more fun than we've had yet.

Friday, November 26, 2010

More To Remember

Yesterday as I was getting out of the shower I overheard Daddy explain to Charlotte, "I don't think you're going to get to see a cadaver, even when you're old enough for kindergarten."

Also this week Greg has decided that he's too big for a high chair, but not at breakfast. He sits in it at breakfast, but then on two text books on a regular chair for all other meals.

Also, he says, "sa-la" for Charlotte. And "da-doh" for Daniel. And "done."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Little Known Fact

Daniel LOVES Christmas music.

So does Charlotte.

My favorite is riding in the car listening to my husband and then half a second later my daughter sing about the most wonderful time of the year.

They make it really easy to believe that song.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Letter of Thanksgiving

Did I remember to tell you how much I love you? And not only that, how much I deeply appreciate all the love you have given me?

If I didn't, I do.

Did I remember to thank you for all your sleepless nights-listening to me cry, cough, or puke too many times to count?

If I didn't, thank you.

Did I remember to let you know how much it means to me that you were there to answer the funny, tough, and constant questions of my youth?

If I didn't, it counts.

Did I remember to tell you that I see your sacrifices for me? Even those that you make today?

If I didn't, I do.

Did I remember to tell you thank you for fighting the uphill fight in laundry, dishes, and cleaning that could have dragged us all down?

If I didn't, thank you.

Did I remember to show you how proud I am that you are my mom?

If I didn't, I am.


Mom, you are so precious to me. I love you as my mentor, my friend and my mom. I hope that I can be for my children what you already are for me. Thank you.

All my love,
Me

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cool Kid Stuff

My son is talking now. A sampling of his words:
  • Ni-ni for night night
  • lion
  • Dan
  • bow for bowl
  • hel for help which happens about a billion times a day

It's pretty awesome. He also answers our questions appropriately. Are you hungry? Do you want food? Are you cold? The only one he doesn't answer reliably is are you poopy? Then he just runs away from you. Every time.

Charlotte is also doing some pretty awesome stuff. She "reads" books to her little brother. She also is figuring out the rules of life. The other day she saw someone run a red light and she says, "They can't do that! That's illegal!" To which I had to laugh because I had no idea that she knew the word illegal much less the meaning. Having an almost four year old is so much fun.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's A Good Thing They've Got Two Of Us

Today was a pretty selfish day.

I was feeling pretty guilty while making dinner tonight because I was realizing how little time I actually spent connecting with my kids today. It wouldn't have been so bad if there were a good reason. Like if Charlotte had been at joy school and Greg and I had run tons of errands.

But no. Today was not that day.

It started out promising with a trip to the zoo, but then unravelled somewhere around lunchtime. Today was a no name do nothing day. Sometimes those are good days. But not today.

Charlotte was sassy at dinner. I think because she didn't get enough love and attention today.

After dinner I left Dan downstairs with Charlotte to do dishes while I took Greg to put clean sheets on the beds and put folded laundry away. I listened to Dan talking to Charlotte. She had found her reading lesson book that I had shelved and stopped doing a while back. She asked him to help her with it when he was done.

When Charlotte's bed was made I started in on ours and listened to him help her with the sounds of the letters that built words. The sounds she had learned before and then forgotten in my lack of follow through. Greg had drifted down to see what the action was and he was helping her and letting him climb on him.

Everyday its great they have a daddy, but especially today. Today he gave the kids exactly what they needed. Then I read them stories until it was time to read scriptures, put on jammies, brush teeth and tuck them into bed. This was the calmest bedtime we've had in this house for a long time. It was all because of Dad.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Default Mode

The weekend before last we had a family movie night. We moved the coffee table and blew up the air matress and rented Toy Story 3 from redbox. Charlotte was enraptured. This was really her first introduction to the land of Toy Story and she loved it. I'm thinking it was perhaps ill timed to show her a movie about the evils of throwing away old toys right before the anual get rid of excess toys before Christmas comes. Can't do anything about that now.

Remember the part where Buzz is re-programed to his factory default settings? My son has factory default settings. They are as follows: Wake up time should be sometime between 5:30 and 6:30 but absolutely no latter than that! Nap time should last no longer than an hour and a half. There will be mandatory cuddle time after naptime for at least an hour. If these are not met, there will be hell to pay.

We worked and we worked and we worked to get him to sleep in a little later in the mornings. I have no problem with waking up between 6:45 and 7. But when my alarm starts at 5:30 I'm not even happy until 7:30. Also, if he's waking up from his nap still tired he clearly needs to go back to sleep.

Last summer we finally had him sleeping until 7 and taking a good 2 hour nap. It was awesome. Then we went on a two month vacation. I decided to do anything and everything I could to survive and not wake all our guests up in whatever place we were in. Do you know what that did? That reprogrammed him to his factory settings. Now it doesn't matter what I do he sleeps when he will sleep and I can't possibly tell him any different.

We've been home for almost a month now and he's still on default mode.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

When Gratitude Backfires

On Saturday afternoon I made cream of carrot soup with sandwiches for lunch. I love the soup, but it's not really one of Charlotte's favorites. We ended up getting her to eat it by putting many goldfish crackers in the soup. While eating the crackers she ate the soup.

At dinner we had Chili. It was Charlotte's turn to pray. Before she started we reminded her include the things she's thankful for. (To go along with our month long celebration.) This is how part of the prayer went:

"Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that there is no carrots in the soup for dinner."

Well, at least she's grateful for something right?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Not A Baby Anymore

I woke up about 10 minutes before the kids a few days ago. I lay there in bed and enjoyed the stillness. The soft yellow light of the rising sun was coming in filtered by the blind. I heard the garbage truck going down our alley, the two wonderful dogs that belong to our neighbors, and even a few birds ready for the day. Then through all that I heard the shuffle-shuffle of bare feet on the carpet in the kids' room. Soon there was a little body snuggled next to mine.

We got to cuddle.

I felt her warmth as she molded herself to fit as snugly as possible. The tickle of her curly hair that had escaped the braid as she slept was across my cheeks. The droopy eyelids of the still waking little girl were there too. We listened to the start of the day. Then we blinked and winked at each other. Our own little game to play while we were waiting for the boys to wake up. That moment was wonderful.

It lasted about five minutes.

Then I heard the "Mama!" coming from his crib. I got up and went to my baby. I brought him back to bed with us. All four of us squeezed into the queen sized bed. We snuggled and wiggled until Daddy woke up and Charlotte had to pee and Greg wanted to find a book to read. They all left me alone in the bed. Then my two kids came back into the room. They don't start the day without Mama if they can help it.

For a moment my two little babies stood in the doorway and it hit me. They're not babies anymore. There are no traces of baby even left in Charlotte. And only a few hints of them in Greg. I have no baby right now. I have a preschooler and a toddler.

I love them more today than I have ever before.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Thankful Game

You guys this was probably the most successful game ever. I got the idea from the Disney Family Fun magazine and I thought it would never work, but it totally did. Here's how to play
  1. Get a large-ish dish towel for everyone playing.
  2. Chose a person to be "it"
  3. All others must roam the house to find a pretend present for the "it" person
  4. Pretend wrap the present with the dish towel
  5. Give it to the "it" person
  6. That person unwraps pretend present and must say: "Thank you." and also something that they love about that present.
  7. Repeat with another "it" person.

This was successful because:

  • Charlotte loves pretend
  • Charlotte loves to get and give presents
  • Mommy and Daddy have fun giving things that are totally wrong for each other just to see the "thankful" reaction.

Everyone should play this game. It was great.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Being Thankful

I didn't do anything for Thanksgiving last night. In fact I forgot even about the Thanksgiving bowl. Dan stayed late at school to attend a special meeting all about interviewing techniques for residency positions. So instead of the fish dinner I had planned for the evening we had Charlotte's choice. Waffles.

After the waffles I took the kids upstairs for a bath. I let them bathe for over half an hour before I got them out. After everyone was cleaned and teeth brushed and jammies on the three of us went into what used to be my bedroom, but is currently a completely empty room. We're fixing that room next so we had to clear it out.

What is so magical about an empty room? I'm not sure why it has such appeal, but my kids and I have loved it. They have run and run and run in that room and Dan and I have sat and watched and laughed and clapped. Last night I laid on the floor of the empty room and the kids laid on top of me and around me and next to me. We did nothing but cuddle, touch and tumble for a good 20 minutes.

That was perfection. I feel so much love for my kids. They are what I'm grateful for. I sat and listened to their thoughts and ideas and just loved them.
My dearest little Gregory. You are so sweet and smart. I love how even tempered you are. Even though you are certainly a rambuncous little boy you seldom get really truly angry. I love how you climb and tumble and crawl all over me. I also love the funny faces you make just to be funny. You are a joy to my life and I love sharing my time with you.

My darling Charlotte I love you. I love that you always want to cuddle me because you are so much fun to cuddle. I know someday you wont want to do that with me anymore, but I hope that day doesn't come for a long time. You are so grown up and it shows. Last night you made me laugh because you wanted to. It was the first time you have specifically done something to make me laugh that perfectly tickled my funny bone. Last night was fun.


Last night was what motherhood is all about.

In other news here are the photos of the Thanksgiving celebrations.

Voting:

And the video wrap up after voting:

video
And here are the turkey pictures we colored as a family. Would you call this a flock of turkeys?

Also Dan currently has 8 interview invitations now.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A Swing and A Miss

Yesterday's Thanksgiving activity was actually not all that Thanksgiving-y. I sat the kids down and talked about how thankful I am to be living on our country and about the opportunities we get to have because we live where we do. Then I talked about one way of showing our thanks is to vote for our leaders. And then we went down to vote.

Yep day two was voting.

I thought that they had gotten the idea pretty well so I ventured to take a video of Charlotte after the thing was over. Turns out that she's way more grateful for the evergreen tree that was behind her in the video than she is about our country and voting. Oh well. At least I voted, the kids got to receive stickers and look at the little birds that were the pets at our polling place (a nursing home). Perhaps today will be all about making Thanksgiving decorations? This is a bit trickier than I thought it would be.



In other news. In case you wanted to know Dan now has five interview invites, which is very promising.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

BINGO

Things never go quite like what I plan as a mother. I had planned that we would all sit down and I tell my kids about gratitude and then they say, "Oh mother! Now we understand how truly blessed we are and we wont take anything we have or anything you do for us for granted."

HA!

But, all things considered our kick off night went fairly well. Dan said it was a good idea and supported the month long celebration whole heartedly, which is always a great help. I took no photos during the lesson and games, but here are a few snapshots of the bingo cards.
As you can tell, I draw stick figures.

Also here's a shot of our Thanksgiving bowl. The four or five little glass tokens in there will soon be joined by others throughout the month.

So happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Gratitude

Somewhere along the line my daughter has picked up a pretty bad case of wanting everything she sees. I'm thinking it is a combination of age, inability to see through advertising and spending two months with family where she gets to have more things than she normally does. Either way I was laying awake in bed last night mulling this problem over. I hear several times a day about how she wants this or that. Today we were at the grocery store and she was whining for candy. She was wanting candy the day after Halloween! and just two days after we went trunk or treating. She's up to her eyeballs in candy at home but she wants more at the store.

So here's my new plan: I've decided that we need to celebrate Thanksgiving the whole month. People do things to celebrate Christmas for the whole month so we're going to do that for Thanksgiving. The only problem now is finding activities that cultivate gratitude and are fun for everyone.

We're kicking things off tonight at family night with Thanksgiving bingo. Charlotte loves bingo so I'm going to find or make bingo cards with pictures of things our family is grateful for. Things like family, trucks (you know for Greg), the gospel, our kids stuffed dogs, being healthy and other things. I haven't thought of all of them yet as you can see.

Also, I've decided to try to bring thankfulness to dinner. Each night we are going to take turns to say things we are grateful for during that day. With each thing we are grateful for we are going to take a glass bead I bought at the dollar store and fill up a glass bowl that my friend Natalie gave me. I figure at this rate the bowl should be full by the time Thanksgiving comes. Hopefully it turns out. I'll let you know.

Now comes your turn. Are there any activities that your family does or ideas that you want your family to do to celebrate Thanksgiving and gratitude? All help and ideas are welcome. And for all the help you give me I want to thank you, in advance.