Sunday, February 28, 2010

Our big boy

Daniel and I went to his speech evaluation this past week. It went well. I was amazed to discover how very smart and talented my boy really is. :) Even though he barely speaks, he answered her many questions, built tall towers, blew bubbles, said the word "bubbles!" (which shocked this mama!), matched colors, and completed puzzles. He was checked by a dr., and aside from having some concerns over needing more oral stimulation, is perfectly healthy. All in all, he is super smart and although delayed in his speech, "he'll catch on soon enough," was the general consensus. The changes we need to make here? Let him grow up. Take away the pacifier and bottle (my only child to have these past the age of 18 mo), and make him say the words of the things he wants (rather than just giving them to him after he points.)

So when we left the office, I very gently told my boy that he is, in fact, a big boy now. And then I broke the news to him that we left his pacifier behind with the lady in the office. He cried, and it broke my heart. When we got to the car, I asked him which video he'd like to watch? He pointed and grunted and although I knew which one he wanted, I made him say the word before I would start it. and he did, his version of the word, but he did try to say it.

We decided to take away the pacifier and wean him off the bottle (which he gets at naps and bedtime.) Apparently, he's taken me seriously as I've whispered in his ear so many times over the past few days, what a big boy he really is now. And so, he has stopped taking naps. We are on day 3 of no naps, but bedtime? That is going fabulously. After two initial nights of crying, he seems to have forgotten all about his pacifier. Now weaning from the bottle, we'll see how that goes. But I have hope that it will be fine. That he will believe me when I tell him he is too big for it, and he will continue to grow faster than I am ready for. And I'm going to have to let him. And celebrate every milestone.

And the words? They're coming, slowly. He signs most words, and is struggling to say others. But I have no doubt the words will be along shortly. He's such a big boy now.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Family Visit

Garr's Grandpa Dan, Aunt Shirl, and cousin Cindy stopped by last Sunday morning on their way home from visiting his mom in VA. It has been years since we have seen Grandpa and Aunt Shirl. It was SO nice to catch up with them, even for a few minutes. We are hoping to make it up north for a visit this summer!! It is long overdue!

Our family with Grandpa -
Daniel wasn't so thrilled about getting his picture taken! lol

Aunt Shirl - Rocky was in love with her :)
Cindy!! ~ who promised to come back in the Spring and do family photos for me!
YAY! She is an awesome photographer ~ can't wait!
Garr Daniel and Grandpa Dan -
from the looks Grandpa is making some kind of smart remark :)
Garr and Grandpa

Sunday, February 14, 2010

You can't have one without the other...


Our boy is definitely two. Lots of independence, snuggling, and tantrums. :) Here are a few photos of our boy in January/February.

Our kids have always enjoyed books, and Daniel is no different. He gets very excited over books with trains or trucks in them especially.

Daniel is all about wearing his sister's winter hats around the house. Try to put one of his own on and it's a no-go. But if he's seen his sister wearing it, he loves to sport it --- but only inside. Why in the world would he wear a winter hat (or gloves!) outdoors?

All snuggled up watching Thomas, Barney, or Bob the Builder most likely.

A few of his favorite things... trains, trains, and trucks. Here his sister's have lined them up on the windowsill for him. I do believe he has the best seat in the house.

Emelyn lets her bunny, Honey, run around in her bedroom. I walked past the door one day and looked down to see DANIEL sitting INSIDE the bunny's cage! It was really too funny. I ran to get the camera but he got out before I made it back. (yes, he's our 4th child if you haven't noticed yet! lol) Later that evening, we were watching a movie with the girls. I noticed that Daniel wasn't in the room with us AND he was being awfully quiet. I decided to enjoy the moment and deal with the inevitable mess later. :) See below! The girls found him like this and starting hollering "We have a dalmation in the house!" too funny ... and yes it was washable marker. So Daniel was both a bunny and a dog that day. :)
(Can you tell he didn't want me to take his photo?...)

Meet Bob (or Ba-ub) as Daniel says it

When I was pregnant with Daniel, I took the girls to Build a Bear, and we made a bear for Daniel. They each made a wish on a little heart and tucked it inside the bear for their brother. This bear has been in Daniel's crib since he was born. It used to play a lullaby, but it had to be washed a time or two and so the lullaby no longer plays. But he loves it already. (and so does Rocky, as you can see by looking at it's chewed ear!) Anyways, it has been heartwarming to see Daniel loving this bear. He carries it around and pushes it in his sister's stroller (or in his Tonka dump truck!) The other day, I came into his room to see Daniel standing outside (but looking inside) his crib, yelling, "Ba-ub! Ba-ub!" Apparently he wanted to Bob to come out and play.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Toy Nostalgia

My kids are growing up, slowly but surely! Actually some seem to be growing up faster than others (Eme)! And lately, I've found myself having some toy nostalgia. :) Toys that my older girls played with when they were little - wishing we still had them. At the time (as they outgrew the toys) I'm sure that either A) pieces were lost or B) I was sick and tired of the toy :) so we gave most of them away or sold them in sales. We weren't expecting Daniel - we were "done" and so I got rid of the "baby toys." Now, though, there are a few toys I'm wishing we kept.

We were at this awesome toy store a few weeks back and I came upon this little gem. I loved these eggs - there are shapes on the bottom that you match with the carton, faces to match, and colors. Lots of learning. I can remember the girls enjoying them so much. I don't know what happened to our egg carton (probably both A and B.) Anyways, we were there to buy a bd gift for a friend, but I couldn't resist picking these up for Daniel. So now we have a set. And believe me, I'll be hanging onto these for the next child grandchildren. (and btw, I didn't pay as much for them as Amazon is selling them for!)For Christmas when Eme was a toddler, and Abby was almost a toddler :), Emelyn received this tea set from Garr's Grandmother and Aunt. We loved it. I have photos of Eme having tea parties with it. Abby loved chewing on the spoons. I can't remember why we no longer have it - I think we lost some pieces. I may have gotten really tired of the song "I'm a little teapot." :) But now that my girls are basically "too old" for a tea set? I'm really missing this toy. I'm thinking about snatching one up - just because. You know Olivia might not be too old yet - her birthday will be coming up this summer. What do you think - is 7 too old for a tea set?
And this one, is from MY childhood. It is one of the books that I owned. I loved books so much and this was one of my favorites. I have looked and looked for this book since then. I found it on Amazon. They want $30 bucks for it!!! Can you believe it? SO should have held on to this one!

So am I the only one out there with toy nostalgia? Anyone else have fond memories of certain toys?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Christmas 2009 Photos

I never did share any Christmas 2009 photos because our computer was "under the weather." So considering that it looks like it should be Christmas outside right now, I thought I'd share them. That and I don't feel like watching UFC with Garr right now and I'm waiting for Daniel to stop yelling from his crib and go to sleep. So this gives me something to do in the meantime. Cause I'm too tired to start anymore cleaning tonight. Oh but that reminds me - I need to switch the laundry. So I guess I'll go do that while these photos load. (Fair Warning: there are a LOT of photos!) :)

We woke up one morning to our ceiling leaking. Garr had already left for work. Thankfully his boss let him come home. Here he is (in uniform - note the stripe and the gun belt - lol) scraping ice off our roof. I'm sure people driving by may have looked twice!
Of course the water was falling right beside our tree! Our tree skirt was soaked!

The only photo I was able to get of all 4 kids together.
Abby, Livy, and nephew Cole!
Daniel rockin' his conductor's cap and VA Beach Choo-Choo shirt!
Mom Linda, Buddy, and the fam celebrating Christmas
Daniel - not posing for pictures with his sisters like he was supposed to!
Livy after Aunt Amy dolled her all up!
Liv rockin' her pink Emu boots from Grandpa Jef!
My girls - not too thrilled at getting their photos taken
See? This is what happens when Mommy starts making threats for smiles!
Abby, age 8
Emelyn, age 10 (gasp!)
Livy, age 6 (tears all dried up)
Daniel being a goof
This is what Daniel was doing while I was trying to get photos of the kids - flipping from the chair over the back of the couch. Yes, he did end up on the floor once, but he didn't care. BOYS!
Daniel in his adorable Christmas jammies staring at his new train table. He just walked around it and stared for the longest time. I'm sure it was quite confusing to him to wake up to a room full of toys and gifts! He shook it off though and dug in! lol
Daniel checking out his train backpack and gifts from Grandpa Jef
Reading a Thomas book with Grandad (note what's on TV in the background.)
This kid can't get enough trains!

Emelyn's Poem for Daddy

Someone Call the Cops!
Someone call the cops!
He has run a bunch of stops!
Someone call 911
The robber is about to run!
What's that you say?
You're not working today!

This totally cracked us up. Garr is an awesome officer, and he has been an officer for about 4 years now. So his days off? He wants them to be his days off! Apparently the munchkin picked up on that lol!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Chore Bucket

In order to keep things fresh and exciting around here, we sometimes implement the chore bucket. This is something my mom actually started when we lived at her house. I write down a list of chores that need to be done, each on their own little strip of paper. The papers get folded in half and then into the bucket (or bowl or hat or whatever you have handy!) they go. The kids then pull out a piece of paper and go do the chore listed. Since I have 3 girls participating, I sometimes write the same thing 3x's and they know to throw that one back in if they've already done it. :)

Some of the chores we do:
  • Find 10 things in the living room (bedroom, dining rm, wherever) to pick up and put away!
  • Sweep the living room floor (or kitchen, dining rm, mudroom)
  • Clean the bathroom
  • Fold laundry
  • Put away laundry
  • Take your sheets off your bed, put them in the laundry room, and remake your bed
  • Dust the entertainment center
  • Empty the dishwasher
  • Straighten the bookshelf
  • Feed/water animal
  • Vacuum rugs
Today I added some fun chores also. Things like:
  • Give Daddy (or Mommy) a hug
  • Say something nice to your sister
  • Give Daddy a 2 minute back scratch
  • Do 10 Jumping Jacks
I also add in school chores. They might say:
  • Read for 10 minutes
  • Do one page of Math
  • Say your Awana verse (scripture verse) to someone
  • Play the geography game with your sister
  • Do a page of English
Sometimes we incorporate a little FlyLady love also. One a slip of paper I write "Hot Spot!" Whoever pulls that paper has to YELL "HOT SPOT!" Everyone drops what they are doing and runs to the kitchen (where we keep our bucket.) On the paper it will say what the hot spot is - ie. dining room table, bookshelf, kitchen counter, etc... any spot in the house where "stuff" seems to pile up! Then we set a timer for 5 minutes (or 10) and everyone races against the timer to get the area cleared off.
Under chores, we have the paper that reads "Find 10 things to put away." This one is great! Remember I have 3 girls, so that's 30 items in whatever room that get put away! There are some other variations on this one we've done over the years - specifically when cleaning bedrooms. These variations are great for helping kids learn counting, colors, and shapes. It can also break a big, overwhelming job into small, fun parts and shows the kids that it can be fun to clean...well, maybe that last one is exagerating! :) I usually am in the room helping clean up but will give the following directions (one to each child) as we clean:
  • Find 10 pink toys to put away
  • Find 8 purple toys with legs on them to put away (ie Barbie's, dolls, polly pockets)
  • Find 13 toys with rectangles on them to put away (blocks, books, etc)
  • Find 6 books to put away
  • Find 4 things that you could wear to put away, etc, etc. (clothing, dress up clothes, shoes)
  • Find 15 toys with wheels (toys cars, truck, doll strollers, riding toys, etc)
  • Find something that could keep you warm to put away (blanket, clothing, shoes, etc)

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Poem by Emelyn

For Christmas, Emelyn wrote and framed poems for some of her family. This child has a gift! Not only is she excellent at writing poetry, but she can pinpoint a person's personality and portray it in words SO well (with humor!)! We had a lot of laughs reading through her poems on Christmas morning. Today, I'll share the one she wrote for me. Maybe later I'll share some of the other poems also.

It's Thursday! Oh me oh my!
I have to bake a pie,
Gotta do school with the girls,
Oh no, the dog's chasing squirrels!
We're late for co-op,
Can't let the kids grow up,
Wait! What's that you say?
It's only Monday.
This is so me. Always have too many things that I am trying to do at once. Always running behind. Always wishing my kids would stay young. Always aggravated with the dog! and then I find out...I don't even have the day of the week right! She totally pinned me. Hilarious. What a girl!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

More about the Blizzard

Olivia has been staying at Justin's this weekend. I'm sure it's been nice for the two of them to have each other to play with. However, we're ready for her to come home (and I'm sure K&K are too lol.) Normally our neighbor plows our driveway out for us (I say normally, but we've only needed it plowed twice this winter...and even that is a LOT for DE) Today he is busy plowing his contracts and so Garr headed out to shovel us out. We don't actually own a snow shovel. So he was out there with a garden shovel and Abby and I joined him with rakes. Then Abby had the bright idea of using a dustpan. I'll tell you that sitting in 2 feet of snow "shoveling" with a dustpan brought back memories. Memories of when we lived in El Paso TX and I would stare in shock at women cutting their grass with scissors! Scissors! I'd never seen anything like it before. I wonder if that's what our neighbors (who were all out shoveling with snow shovels) were thinking of us this morning. lol!

After a while, we got in touch with our plowing neighbor. He has an extra shovel that he said we were welcome to use (he was still out plowing accounts at this time.) Garr asked me (probably because I am being SO helpful with my dustpan at this point!) to go over and get the shovel off the neighbor's porch. Now we are at the front of our driveway and the road from our house to our neighbor's is plowed. But I decide to walk in 2 feet of snow, around the back of the house, out around the fence that runs between our houses, and back up to his porch. Can I just say that was the dumbest thing I have done in a long time!?! Apparently since it has been almost 7 years since I have lived up north, I have forgotten what it feels like to walk through snow. Not only that, but walking through snow that is 2 feet deep when you are only 5 feet tall is, shall we say, NOT EASY! I seriously had to stop and catch my breath a couple of times. I wondered if Garr or the neighbors would hear me if I had to call for help. I weighed in my head whether I wanted to finish the walk to the porch or completely embarass myself by calling for help! I finished the walk. And then I took the plowed road to get home. :)

Well, now we are finally inside, toasty warm and dry! We just finished eating some chicken taco soup and playing a game of Rummicub. I'm trying to decide if I want to start a new quilt (here's a link to the one I'm toying with -- Crazy Nine Patch Lattice Quilt,) do a puzzle with Emelyn, or start reading a new book (while lounging on the couch while Garr watches TV.) It all sounds fabulous! A little later we'll be settling in to watch the Superbowl - GO SAINTS! (that's for you Bud-man! :) ) And hopefully one of the local stores will get some shovels in before the next storm is supposed to hit on Tuesday. Ahhh!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Blizzard of 2010

That's what they're calling it. It's definitely more snow than we have seen in a very long time. And we are not going anywhere! (even if we wanted to, even with our 4x4 super duty truck) :) I thought I'd share a few photos from our day... a glimpse into what's happening here ... along with a lot of relaxing, laundry, cartoons, and the like...

I've had a hankering all day to watch "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas" lol
a view from our living room
our new wood-insert - it rocks!

view of our front porch and beyond
view from our dining room
in the kitchen...Chicken Taco Soup in the crock-pot, Banana bread and muffins in the oven, chocolate chip cookies already put away...
our wood stove in the homeschool room
Abby working on her bag - Eme is making one too, but I didn't get a photo of hers.
Potato bags!
A sewing machine cozy (cover) - too big for this machine, but hopefully will fit my new one!

Stay warm everyone!