Sunday, February 28, 2010

A New Olympic Event

I don't know about your house, but at our home getting my toddler ready for church on Sunday mornings is an athletic feat of Olympic proportions. It requires precise timing, endurance, preparation, and skill. I have even been known to work up a sweat, wrestling clothes or shoes on a two year old and then needed to change clothes myself.

I have always been a punctual person. But I am being stretched to the limit with Ry-guy. Chad has to be at the church by 6:30am, so I am on my own, (like most of you), to get the 3 kiddos ready. Being the control freak I am, I try and plan for all contingencies. I give baths, pack our church bag, and lay out Sunday clothes the night before. I get up a full hour before the kids and get myself completely ready. I have breakfast on the table for them before I go and wake them up. That leaves me a complete hour to get the three fed and dressed. In theory, it is plenty of time to do those two simple things. Andrew eats what is there and dresses himself with 30 minutes to spare. He just needs help with his hair and tying his shoes. Molly is only 10 months old, and allows me to get her dressed with no fussing. It is my dear, sweet INDEPENDENT 2 year old who makes the 1 hour time limit a challenge.

Ryan is really going through his "do it myself" phase, which I usually appreciate and want to encourage. You see, I want him to turn into a 5 year old who gets himself ready for church. But I struggle with patience for his independence when I have a time schedule. I HATE to be late. Letting a two year old do things himself and at the same time not allowing that 2 year old to get his way by tantruming takes TIME. Time I don't have on Sunday mornings. Take this morning for instance. I had cereal and fruit out on the table. Ryan did not want any cereal. So he had a meltdown. When he calmed down he decided he only wanted bananas and strawberries. I offered him the fruit that I had pre-sliced. But no, he wanted to get a plate out himself, get his own banana and his own "vewy big stwawbewwy" and cut them in very tiny pieces with a silver knife... not a blue one. Then he insisted on pouring milk on top, by himself, and then eating it with "not a spoon" which he had to get by himself.

After all of this we only had 20 minutes to get dressed (yes, for those of you doing the math, it did take 40 minutes to cut up fruit and eat it and throw 4 or 5 tantrums). The other 2 munchkins were ready, so surely this was plenty of time to throw on some pants, sweater, and shoes...right? No. Ry-guy "needed" to wear underwear and not a pull up. This was a non-negotiable point. He is not quite ready, and I didn't want to clean a pew in the middle of sacrament meeting. Next he "needed" to button his shirt himself. Which he can do, but it takes a LONG time. Then his brand new shoes that I bought a size too big were "too tight." He was finally dressed and I had miraculously not lost my cool. I looked at the clock and was excited to see that it was exactly 8am. I got us all out to the van, and on the road and to church on time. I was pretty excited and feeling pretty proud.

We sat down on our usual bench in the chapel. I looked over lovingly at my kids and I realized that Ryan had strawberries and dried banana all over his face. I had also not brushed either boys' hair. They both had huge cowlicks sticking up in the back.

Like Olympic sports, there is a lot of luck involved when you are trying to get anywhere with kids. An athlete's ski might break, the ice might be rough, the snow too powdery, it might rain. Andrew could have had a nosebleed, Molly a blow out, Ryan could have peed all over the playroom floor and his Sunday clothes while we were getting dressed, or I could have locked the keys in the van. (All reasons we have been late before on other Sundays). Even with all of my preparations, one little event could change the entire outcome and we would be rushing out the door, late for church.

So I think that if you are able to get your 2 year old to church on time, fed, dressed, milk mustache free, and with his hair brushed, you deserve an Olympic gold medal. I believe it is truly an almost impossible feat. One I am sure I have NEVER accomplished.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

He works hard for the money

The men of the house worked on clearing up the branches that had fallen in our yard during the ice storm, carrying branches from the backyard to the road.

Ryan filled the wagon all by himself and insisted on pulling it himself.

Andrew kept pushing himself to pick up bigger and bigger branches.

I was really proud of their efforts. It was a big project they worked for close to 2 hours with their daddy.

On one of their trips up the driveway, I overheard Andrew's conversation with his dad from our kitchen window. "Um Dad. I am going to get a lot of moneys for this job. I am gonna get paid like a thousand." Ryan didn't want to be left out. "I will get 40 moneys."

We had not discussed the subject of payment, but apparently they had decided that this deserved a salary. Andrew started to receive a small allowance on his fifth birthday and also the opportunity to do "money chores". Some chores he does without payment, because he is part of our family. Then there are extra jobs he can choose to do and get paid extra for, like 10 pennies for scrubbing the baseboards. So one thousand was quite the jump for my little entrepreneur. At story time at the library this week, the librarian asked the kids how you get money. Andrew responded, "You have to work REALLY HARD to earn money. It is not easy." I guess he figured he had worked really hard all morning with daddy, so he deserved money....a lot of money. His reward was quite a bit shy of his first bid, but he was still happy to drop it in his bank with the rest of his coins and plot what he will buy with his hard earned money. Either a transformer, a star wars lego ship, or a super hero game.

The Train Park

I have a love/hate relationship with my kids' favorite park. I love it because it is fenced in, is sunny, has a pond where we feed turtles, a great picnic shelter, bathrooms that are opened year round, and a nice little walking trail. It is an easy place to talk to other moms, and still see all of your kids at once. But, alas, these are not the reasons why my kids love the park. No, they love it because it has a train. An actual train that comes by most afternoons. I would not take issue with said train, if it was punctual and appeared daily at a scheduled time, like trains are generally expected to run . I would love it if would actually appear after blowing its whistle and then chug on by at the speed of, well, a train. We could run back over and play on the playground. But no, this park is blessed to be located near a train cargo loading area. So most afternoons that we are at the park, we do get to hear that train whistle. My boys become very excited. They beg to run over to the fence from which they can see the train. We have to run quickly, because on some visits, the train speeds by before their little legs can reach the fence, and we have very sad kids. Some days, we run over very quickly and then wait for 30 - 45 minutes next to the fence while we can hear the train sitting still while it is being loaded, just out of sight, and then it never comes by the park. Then again, I have sad little kids. But what keeps my boys' faith alive, is that occasionally, that train comes forward and parks itself right in front of the park fence. And then that little engine just sits, and sits, and sits. Anyone with train obsessed munchkins knows that you cannot possibly leave before the caboose goes by, and sometimes this is 20 minutes or more. (delightful for my boys,me...not so much). There is also a really nice engineer, who is very aware of his little spectators. He blows the whistle and the horn repeatedly for his enthusiastic audience. Then there are no tears, only happy boys waving and shouting hello to the engineer, begging him to blow the whistle again. He happily obliges. (again, delightful for my boys, me...not so much). Luckily for them, Friday was one of those happy, tear free days. When I tucked them in that night Ryan said, "Tank you for taking me to the twain park. I love you, Mommy." So I guess we will have to go back again, to the park that I love (and hate).

10 Months Old

Molly is 10 months old! She is pulling up on furniture, scooting around, signing "more", and loves swinging in swings. She still loves to clap and still loves to sing. She also ate grits and eggs (yolk) for the first time to celebrate the 10 month milestone.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Funny Valentine -42 Weeks Old

Molly celebrated her first Valentines' Day this week. She had a fun time playing with the decorations. I made her this little pillowcase dress. It is the first dress I have ever made for her. It definitely looks handmade by a novice, but I had so much fun making it, and hope to make more for her for this summer. They are so easy.

Molly went for her 9 month check up this week. She weighed 16 pounds and 5 ounces, which is the 5th percentile for weight. She was 26 and 3/4 inches tall, which is 25th percentile. She had to get a lot of shots and then she threw up 3 hours later. It turned out it was a stomach bug, not a reaction to the shots. We are sure of this because 24 hours later, all of the rest of the family began to throw up. Yay! It was a rough 3 days for my little girl, but she is feeling much better now.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines' Day Is a Major Holiday @ Our House

I know Valentines' Day isn't a MAJOR holiday at most homes. I know it was manufactured by card companies. I know that it is really meant for couples, not families. But I LOVE Valentines' Day. I love the colors, the candy, the lovey dovey cards and notes. I love playing games with the kids, baking, decorating, dancing. I know it isn't "normal" to celebrate it in such a big way. Our very diligent home teacher thought we were crazy when we told him he couldn't come by today because it was Valentines' Day. He was seeing all 3 of his other families today. They had no problem having him come. But here I sat, whining that they didn't cancel bishopric this morning so I could make Chad heart shaped waffles for breakfast. I wasn't about to let the home teachers come and cut into any of our family activities we had planned for the afternoon. (poor guy). For the past 5 years (since Andrew came along), we have made Valentines' Day a family day. We decorate, bake, have a dance, and eat heart themed food all day long. We go out on our date sometime during the weekend, but not on the 14th!

Since it was on a Sunday, we had to juggle church meetings in the midst of all of our fun traditions. I decided we could still fit everything in, if we just spread the festivities over the whole weekend. Friday we made decorations with Nana and Papa who came to visit.

Ryan enjoyed his Fun Dip from Nana.

Saturday we baked.

Chad took me out to dinner Saturday night and to see the play "Forever Plaid." It was awesome and is in town another week if you have a chance to go see it.

Sunday morning, I made heart shaped waffles for the boys with pink milk and strawberries, before we left the house at 8am for church. I was not a good enough wife to make them for Chad before he left at 6am. (I am sorry, Dear).

Don't the boys look handsome in their Sunday clothes?

And this is the dress I made for Molly for Valentines' Day.

After church the kiddos opened their Valentines' gifts (yes we give gifts) before lunch. We had cupcakes for dessert after lunch that the boys had made yesterday during our baking session. We all took naps so we would be able to stay up late. After naps, we did our traditional "fancy dinner" with tablecloth, toasts with sparkling cider, flank steak , and salad. At 5:30, we had to run back out the door to go to the church for another meeting.

We let the boys stay up extra late (until 9pm) when we came back home and we enjoyed our traditional chocolate fondue with fruit and a Conversation heart stacking contest. (Sorry I don't have any pictures of those. I was too busy playing and eating). I was the winner with 15 hearts. The boys were so exhausted they fell right asleep after we brushed all of the sugar bugs off their teeth. I know we are crazy, but I HEART Valentines' Day and will continue to celebrate it every year until my kids rebel and won't let me serve them pink milk anymore and are embarrassed to have their friends see the paper hearts all over our front door.

Monday, February 8, 2010

O-Baby! 41 Weeks

Molly ate Cheeri-o Cereal for the first time this week. She loved them! (Of course, what baby doesn't)? Chad was sick on Sunday and so I had all 3 kiddos with me at church by myself. Those magical O's kept her happy the entire Sacrament Meeting. The novelty of feeding Molly entertained her big brothers as well. They kept stuffing her mouth full with O after O. No one had to leave and I got to hear every speaker, song, and prayer. Would it be sacrilegious to thank Heavenly Father for the creator of Cheeri-Os?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Negotiating with Terrorists

It is becoming clearer to me everyday why the US has a no negotiating with terrorists policy. Once you start, you can't stop. There was never any question that a child of Chad's would be anything other than a shrewd negotiator. (Have you ever won an argument with Chad)? I had braced myself for the teenage years, grateful that Chad would be by my side to help. I am a terrible arguer. I just didn't expect it to begin so soon. Andrew already attempts to negotiate all aspects of his life, bed time, meal time, getting dressed time. I try very hard not to fall into his traps, and usually I do a very good job of holding the line. But the fact that he hits a brick wall every time, doesn't keep him from trying to climb over the wall. And sometimes he just makes way too much sense. Take Tuesday for instance. The kids had been allowed to watch A LOT of tv during the snowed in week! I could begin to see a toll it was taking on them. They were grouchy. I told the kids on Tuesday that they could choose one 30 minute show (which is our normal rule) to watch that day, and only one.

Andrew-But MOOOM....I NEED to watch Chuggington AND Dinosaur Train. I can't only watch one of them. That is not fair! (foot stomp)

Mom-That is the rule. Watching too much tv makes your brain sick, and you won't be smart anymore. I want you to be smart. It is my job to keep you healthy, including your brain.

Andrew-(knowing from experience I wasn't going to budge tried a different strategy...a polite and kind voice this time) Okay Mom, how about his. How about I watch one part of Dinosaur Train and one part of Chuggington? That would make one whole show and I could see both that way and still be smart.

I was impressed with his problem solving and thought it sounded like a Win-Win solution to the problem. Steven Covey would have been proud. However it has now opened the flood gates to his little smart brain, wanting to wheel and deal all sorts of compromises. Here is one that happened while I was typing this post this morning.

Andrew-Today I am watching 3 shows.
Mom-No, you may watch 1.
Andrew-Okay 2. That is my decision.
Mom-Nope, one or nothing.
Andrew-Why? You let me watch more the other day when it snowed and it is snowing today.
Mom-No, you can only watch one.
Andrew- Can I watch at 10 and 11:30? I promise to only watch one episode each. Is that okay with you mom? While I wait I will make a fruit tray for you. (Opening the fridge, pulling out blueberries).

Notice the attempted artful use of bribery and redirection? This boy has skills!

Ryan is also testing out his genetically inherited negotiation skills. They aren't quite as refined...yet.

Ryan-Mommy, I want to watch a movie.
Mommy-No, it is dinner time.
Ryan-But, because...because....I WEALLY WANT TO WATCH ONE!

Apparently in his eyes "Because I weally want to." is the best reason he can think of. He uses it several times a day, like if he adds that to a request, it will become clear to all that he is very serious. "Because I weally want to eat the candy." "But because I weally don't want to take a nap."

I think perhaps I have three options.

1-I could take the US policy as my own in our home, and just allow for no negotiations, even if they make sense.

2-I could just accept the fact that the future of our national security depends upon these valuable assets and as a good citizen, help them develop these talents.


3- I could put my kids in front of mindless tv (no pbs or national geographic) 24 hours a day so that their brains rot out and they won't grow up smarter than me. :)