Sunday, February 19, 2017

Valentines+a Date+20 weeks

We have playgroup for our ward/stake every Tuesday at 10am. Some weeks no one shows up. Most weeks about 4-6 people show up. But for a Valentine's exchange? I think every single member of the facebook group came! It was fun to see everyone, but kind of crazy too--it's not like you can sit and chat with that many moms running after that many kids! But it was sooo fun--Will and Molly were so excited about giving out Valentine's because we had to get Ruth some for her class at school, so they were happy that they were not excluded. We have one little boy with allergies so most people tried to steer away from food Valentine's--which meant they were AWESOME. (I did suckers--I mean, its a dairy allergy, so I figured I was safe with suckers.) The kids got little playdoughs, bubbles, matchbox cars (Will's was blue--he was over the moon!), and even adorable little clementine oranges and stickers and things. Talk about spoiled!

 So a couple of weeks ago Molly got her pictures taken because Will was getting his 4 yr old pictures taken and I usually do more often than every year until they get a little older, so it was exactly 2 1/2 years for Molly. I had her hair in these adorable half pigtail buns. Adorable, that is, until she pulled them out. WITH ALL OF HER HAIR!!!! I'm not joking. It was almost sickening to hold that amount of hair not attached to a head. I don't even know how she did it--she was in her car seat and she didn't even cry. So after that her hair in front was SIGNIFICANTLY shorter and so much more thin. It was really sad. I looked at her awful mullet for a couple of weeks, and then I couldn't handle it and chopped off the back all the way to the base of her hairline. And added a few layers (thank you youtube) and it looks a million times better. Why do kids do weird things like this?
All from the back of her head, I didn't cut her sides at all.

In all reality, I don't know why I didn't do it sooner. She has such whispy hair that every single morning I had to tackle the rats nest in the back with detangling spray, and now she just wakes up like the above picture--perfectly laying under. It's so nice.
 Seven years. Sterling and I have been married for SEVEN years! It's kind of hard to believe it's been that long, but it's nice too. Being married is really, really nice. And it's also really, really nice to have come such a long ways and be so much more comfortable and settled with each other. I liked being newlyweds--but I really like right now. On top of that, of course, was Valentine's Day and my birthday. We have a tradition (we've done it six out of seven years now) to go to a play/show in February to celebrate the three events. It was a Hale Center Theater tradition, but that got interrupted when we moved to Florida, haha. Last year was the Florida Symphony Pop Concert--which was awesome. This year Sterling surprised me with....The Piano Guys!!! I love their music, but even if you didn't you would enjoy their concert. They were SUCH GREAT entertainers!!!! Some of their music made me cry, but then their little skits/jingles inbetween songs would have me laughing out loud. They put on one great show. We went out to dinner beforehand and it was supposed to have American food (I was all geared up for steak and potatoes) but...everything was served with rice and beans. Sigh. But you did get to park there for free if you paid for dinner, which saved us lots of $$ on parking for the concert, so it was worth it right there. They also had really delicious guac and lemonade. Sterling and I played the newlywed game on the way there (rush hour traffic so it took an hour and forty five minutes) and it was hilarious. You'd think after seven years we'd have the basic answers covered. Like dream vacation. Nope. I think we managed to get each others favorite movies and colors. HAHA--we had a ton of fun with it though and the discussions that the questions brought up. Such good times.

 It's been 85 degrees lately, perfect for a morning at the splash pad at the zoo! It was actually an incredibly beautiful zoo day, lots of animals were out that are normally lying in the shade--like the pygmy hippo and the porcupine and the spider monkeys and the antelope. We were ALL for skipping the crowds (on Friday mornings it seems to be field trip day) so we hit up the little splash pad that we don't normally go to. There are three splash pads there now with the new Everglades exhibit, which is really nice. No one else was there until right as we were leaving. It was one of those pristine and magical mornings--quiet, beautiful, calm, and just really really nice. I don't know what I'm going to do when we move and I don't have Tricia anymore. Luckily, she's moving as well, so at least I don't feel bad about moving, just bad that it's not to the same place as her!!!

We got something from Amazon the other day and Ruth and Molly played all afternoon with that box. Molly was supposed to be sick and they were taking her to the hospital. So they dragged her around in the box to get her there. It was hilarious.
 I was SOOOOOOO happy that two men stopped and helped me change this flat to our spare. Because it was hot. And I really needed help. And Sterling was really busy and it would have been stressful for him to make time. What a blessing.
I have to post this because of Ruth's massive gap where she is missing two teeth. It's soooo cute!
 And this last one is at 20 weeks. I wrote on facebook that my nausea level was much improved. It definitely is. But then I threw up all my birthday cake tonight, so that was sad. I still throw up about every three days, but that is a vast improvement, and I usually feel good throughout the day and feel like I have energy to run around and play with my kids---so it's definitely a much happier place around here! 
Half way! This baby kicks enough that even daddy can feel and moves so much I've had to reschedule two ultrasounds cause they can't get the measurements. :) I feel much bigger than that pic haha but I have been *much* less nauseated, so it's a good trade-off. We have a list of six names and continually change them around-boys names are soooo hard! We are getting more and more excited for this baby brother!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sick Life/Parenting

We've been sick around these parents. Hello, my name is Lindsay and I have been sick for approximately 15 weeks now. But on top of it we all had really bad colds, sore throats, tons of runny nose junk, etc. Since I was keeping Ruth home from school I decided to make sure it wasn't strep (our friends whose house we had been at had all gotten confirmation of strep) and they never actually tested any of my kids, but put Ruth on antibiotics for an ear infection and Will on antibiotics to help his lungs breathe. Also, nebulizer with albuterol, because always with that boy. 
Here is what they did all day for three days straight while the beautiful 80 degree sunshine was outside. Little People. I swear, my kids revive those toys over and over and over again. Lately it is because they mix them up with the doll house toys AND the trains AND the *insert any other kind of little type of person toy* and make one huge town of toys.
Molly fell asleep while reading beside me on the couch one day and it was super cute. Don't worry, it's just mac 'n cheese on her shirt.
The nebulizer has actually been quite easy this time around. I thought about asking for those kid inhalers but then forgot before we left. This kid just sits down, pours in his own albuterol (after I twist it open), puts it on his head, turns it on, and proudly does it 'all by himself' and then asks five billion times if the water is all out yet so he can be finished, haha.

This room has been full of bins, first Christmas bins, then warmer weather clothes bins (because, ya know, it did get down to 65 a couple of days and I had to scrounge out sweaters for everyone), and then we got a free stroller and infant carseat, and etc., etc. My point is this room, beyond being our food storage room and Sterling's study room, is also the holding ground for all items that should be put away but aren't. I spent a GOOD chunk of time one afternoon sorting and cleaning. And look how empty it is now!

I told Molly to go get dressed and she yelled 'NO!" and ran away. I walked passed a few minutes later to open the pantry door to throw something in the garbage and she was hiding in there. It was HILARIOUS.

A mother duck and all her adorable ducklings. We watched them for quite some time on our Sunday morning walk this week. We went in our pajamas because last week when we walked after getting in our Sunday clothes it was too hot and we were all sweating. A walk in pajamas is a good Sunday tradition I think.

Will colored this man today and I LOVE IT SOOO MUCH!

On to some parenting things. My kids have not been the easiest lately. I keep reminding myself that it is probably in large portion to the fact that I have been sick forever and not in my own best state for handling them. But that aside, they really have some things we have been wanting to work on. And because I cannot shut a yelling/kicking 4 yr old in his room every time he hears the word 'no', and because I cannot send a dramatic, emotional melting-down 5 yr old to her bed every time she cannot handle circumstances being out of her control, I have been TRYING very hard to do some research. My number one go-to lately has been Why? Because I loved their joy school curriculum and also--they do podcasts. And because I have been feeling slightly better, to help me and my children's relationship, we have started up our gym pass again and I can take my kids to the play area that they love while I get at least an hour to myself. And my podcast. Which makes me feel productive (because I'm not being very productive as far as working out because this pregnancy has been HARD on my body) and also give me a few good tips now and again. 

A friend of mine recently posted on instagram that their daughter was REALLY struggling with melting down/tantrums/out of control issues. My comment? I tried to make sure she felt completely supported. This particular mama had been to a therapist, talked to their pediatrician, talked to the 1st grade teacher, and was trying her very best. Now, as parents, I hope we all realize that unless you've parented a child like that, you cannot understand what it is like (and I mean this across the board with ANYTHING in parenting...each kid is so different). And since this is her oldest, and seems quite similar to my oldest, I wanted to provide sisterhood. I also told her "this is the HARDEST because it makes you feel like you have to be the perfect, patient parent because you are the adult in the situation, but you can't be, because we are not perfect. Insert mom guilt. But just keep trying! It takes a lot of strength and effort, but every day we just keep at it!" So for all you parents who have easy, submissive children--you can stop reading now. 

Listening to podcasts has at least given me a 'sisterhood' in my frustrations in parenting, but I feel like I still don't have a very good handle on actual tips. BUT it does help me stop and think more often, because discussions are more in the forefront of my mind, and it does help me turn situations around more quickly. So win/win. Here are two recent tips I HAVE gleaned and instigated and so far are going SMASHINGLY well:
The Gunny Sack. I guess this is from a Richard and Linda Eyre book. Which I should probably read. I feel like I am telling my kids things 500 times and they STILL seem surprised when I finally loose my cool. This bag EATS toys. So-my kids are at a really great age for this, yours may not be. But you sit them down and tell them the story of Gunny Sack. He is ALWAYS hungry. He especially loves toys. When mom has asked the kids to clean up, and all the toys are still out, Gunny Sack loves to come out and STARTS EATING TOYS! (now what I loved about this podcast is the lady saying that "If you think my kids immediately thought it was a fun game and started cleaning up their toys, you're wrong. The first few times Gunny Sack appeared there was a lot of weeping and wailing. And even though he makes fewer appearances now, it can still cause a lot of turmoil.") The toys that get eaten are eaten until Saturday, when Gunny Sack is too full and spits them all back out to be put away. If you are interested there is even a song. I could find it on youtube, but only random little kids singing it in their home. Still, you get the gist.  This has helped our family in the fact that it helped me ease my tension, because I have something to do besides wanting to send all my children to their room forever because I am so tired of nobody listening to me. It also gives the kids very clear cut signals of what is going to happen, and what the consequences are--in a good 4 yr old understandable way.

This is the second one we have recently instigated. I have done jars before. Bean jars mostly. If you are good you get a bean, if you are bad, a bean gets taken out, when you get to the top you get a prize, etc. Essentially the same as a sticker chart, which we have also done. What I liked about this one is it is for the whole family---good for us right now as we have one child constantly succeeding at charts and one always falling behind and he is still a little young to keep up so its a hard balance---and it only rewards good behavior, it doesn't punish bad. Because we do a lot of punishing around here lately. Point in case, today he-who-will-not-be-named was having a really hard time right before lunch. I asked him to apologize for hitting his sister and he yelled 'no!' and then threw his arms up and down, quite vehemently, several times. I said (and I have to give myself kudos for being very patient this morning, I am not always this calm and collected when they throw tantrums like that) "If you cannot stop hitting your arms, you will have to go in time out." He hit his arms again, so I took him calmly to the corner, grabbed his little blue stool, and sat him down and told him he could come out when he was ready to apologize. He wailed and cried for a bit. Then he quietly came and stood by me. I told him if he was ready to come out he had to apologize. He did. A few minutes later I asked him to clean something up off the floor so we could be ready for lunch. Repeat. Again, back to the corner telling him when he was ready to help, he could come out. About two minutes after that I said he couldn't have a cookie until after he ate his mac 'n cheese. Repeat. Again, in the corner. DOES ANYONE ELSE FEEL LIKE THEIR LIFE REPEATS EVERY TWO MINUTES OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN?!!?!?!?!  BUUUUUT....
We introduced this 'Love Jar'. In fact, he put all the stickers on it himself this afternoon while Ruthie worked on her Valentine's box for school. The purpose of the Love Jar is that whenever you are asked to do something by a parent, you respond with "I'd love to!" and each time you do, you get to put a fluffy ball in the jar. You do not LOSE fluffy balls for not saying it, it is just to encourage a more pleasant conversation when directions are given. In fact, it brought me up short a couple times when I was getting frustrated and I said something like "R, will you just get all this -motioning to the mountain of stuffed animals and blankets' OUT of my kitchen until after dinner?!?!?" And she said "I'd love to!" I instantly felt bad that I hadn't even said please and my tone of voice was definitely not pleasant. The excitement of putting a ball in then encouraged other family members to want to put them in, too. (to the point that when she remembered to say it at bedtime when I asked them to put their pajamas on, and he did not, there was a major meltdown...what can I say, we're not perfect over here.) But I like having something in our home that just encourages that good behavior. Because then I don't have to sit there and say "If you don't do this or this, you will lose another bean!" or "If you don't leave the playground right now like I asked, you will lose another bean!" I don't have to be on top of it all day long like that. If they remember, they get to put one in, and they are excited, but I don't have to do much parenting at all.
Oh, and once the jar is full, because everyone contributed, everyone gets the prize. I told my kids it would be the frozen yogurt--where you get to put whatever toppings on. They are very excited about it.

There are my parenting sagas. I know that little things like that work for a while, then they don't, and you have to constantly rework systems. But we were really needing some pick-me-ups on parenting over here lately, and those have been helpful, so I thought I would share. Also, I thought I would share my favorite children's book, because Will loves it lately, which I love, because it is MY favorite, and I thought it my civic duty to let the world know that this book is out there. 

The end.

PS I know you are probably all as desperately sad as me that these are all lame phone photos. Please bear with me. I would also love to be looking at beautiful camera photos. Someday. (I really, really, really hate people who steal.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

South Beach Day

What do you do when daddy has a test on Monday (which means he's been nonexistent for days and will continue to be throughout the weekend) and your best friend in Miami that you normally would hang out with is at Disneyworld? You head to the beach. 

And it was a glorious 80 degrees and such a LOVELY day.

That little watering can that Will is holding is new, because the other little one we have is fought over so much. This new one is GENIUS though because the end twists off, which makes for super easy cleaning out when it gets clogged with sand. I would definitely recommend.

An apple a day keep the doctor away...

Then, because it was Saturday and we aren't usually on South Beach on a Saturday, we checked out the little food stand and I bought the kids popsicles for .80 and then we played in the splash pad for a long time until I realized we'd have to pay for more parking if we stayed a minute longer. 

We ended the night with renting Pete's Dragon off amazon, which was cute but I was hugely disappointed because it wasn't a musical. REALLY? It has some of the most beautiful music of all time! Why wouldn't you have the music in? (I guess I was expecting it to be like the new Jungle Book, which I LOVED how they put the music in.) Anyway, the kids still loved it, and it passed the last few hours of a long day of a test weekend. And now that test is over and we are on to the next! 

But man, that beach. South Beach--I think I will always love you. And sunshine--I am so glad I get you for at least another two years. And Sterling and I are starting to seriously rethink our future dream locations just because I think I NEED that sunshine every. single. day. January/February in Miami is just sooooooooo amazing. (ya know, when you can still get out and play outside without dying and melting haha.)

Will turns FOUR

This boy has been sooo excited about turning four. This age is so much fun because they get so excited about such little things. Like the Spiderman balloons I picked up for him. We've never done helium balloons before but he is so in love with Spiderman and they have been SUCH a huge hit. 
Continuing our tradition of a special sugary cereal for a birthday breakfast. He was very pleased.

Look at this handsome boy! How did he ever get this big?!?

Will helped me bake the cake and we did our best in the decorating department. He was thrilled, so it was perfect!

We did sparklers as well and he was very impressed.

Opening presents is fun for everyone!

Thomas the trains from Grandma Cindy. He has been playing with them NON-STOP. He packs them around in his ninja turtle backpack and pulls them out to play wherever he is.

A batatat plane--it comes with a battery powered drill so you can take the entire plane apart and put it back together. I was a little nervous it would be too hard to figure out, but he has it down and LOVES taking it apart and putting it back together. It's been a huge hit.

He also got a big treasury book of all the Frog and Toad books. He was, I think, a little disappointed about it at first, but it's ALL we've read at bedtime lately and they LOVE it. (The icecream story won them over, when it melts all over toad as he tries to bring the cones back to frog and then all the forest animals think a horrible brown creature is coming, but really it is just frog with all the melted icecream. You should all read it.) So now when people ask him what he got for his birthday he is sure to include 'a Frog and Toad book' each time, haha. 

He also had pictures taken and a doctor's appointment (to his joy, no shots until he's five) and has been growing like crazy. He's really particular--he makes his bed a certain way every morning, he is the one who remembers to have us share our 'happy's and sad's' at the dinner table each night, he's at the perfect age to get REALLY excited about things like family movie night and going to the park-which makes everything so fun. He still dresses monochromatic whenever his wardrobe allows. He LOVES blue, especially when things have light blue AND dark blue. He is starting to color really well in the lines and will proudly show me his coloring pages to prove that he can go to school next year just like "Rupe". He still says several letters incorrectly and I LOVE it. When they were doing his eye exam at the dr's office he would say 'yurcle' for circle and 'dar' for star and I just love it. We may have to do speech in a couple years (or hopefully not) but for now I just LOOOOVE it. He's very good at saying prayers and often gets so carried away giving a blessing that we have to remind him to bless the food before he ends it. He loves Spiderman, Ninja Turtles, and riding his bike. He's pretty much the greatest and is SOOO excited to be four it's hard not to be excited with him, even though I can't believe my little boy is getting sooo big!