Tuesday, October 30, 2012

This Girly

This girly can stir soooooo many emotions in me.  Some days I just want to squeeze her "until her guts come up" (that's a good thing ;-), and other days I just want to run down the road screaming at the top of my lungs.  Some days I want to pinch her because she's being SO cute, and other days I want to pinch her just to release some frustration from one of her many fits or when she tries my patience (which I'm convinced she really likes to do).  But, for all those undercover secret Child Protection Service agents out there, don't worry....I don't do any of the above....I just want to.  Usually instead I just cry or smile depending on the situation.

Today was a good day.  I feel like I should report to blog-land on those too.  It's only been a week since our crazy morning but I feel like we've come a MILLION miles since then.  That's the funny thing about kids.  One minute you are amazed and the next minute you are in tears and locking yourself in the bedroom to silence the chaos.  

After watching a few episodes of Super Nanny on Hulu this past weekend, I decided to try some different approaches to parenting.  Not necessarily everything she was doing on TV but more than anything it just got me thinking about being more consistent and eliminating idle threats just because I was too tired to do anything else.

Fast forward to last night.  A pre-school night.  Addison and I picked out her school clothes just like normal and I told her I had a new task for her that ONLY big girls can do.  Her job was to wake up in the morning, and put her OWN school clothes on BEFORE she came to wake me up.  Novel idea eh?  I do not enjoy being woken at 6:30 just to watch her put her clothes on while she gripes at me and throws fits.  I'll be honest, when I was practicing the routine with her on her new big girl task, I only half believed she could do it.  It's one thing to say she can when she's wide awake, but I was convinced she would change her tune when she woke up and was still groggy.  MUCH to my surprise, I was laying in bed at 6:30 and guess who walked in?  A fully clothed and HAPPY Addison!  I jumped out of bed in shock.  I asked Daddy (who was already getting ready) how exactly the events unfolded and who got her dressed.  He assured me that he saw her bedroom light on and she was dressing herself without waking anyone up.  She just asked for his help on her costume (she got to wear her halloween costume to school today).  I was astonished.  She did it!  She listened and she did it!  Wahoo!  I was happy, she was happy, and we had PLENTY of time this morning to get everything else done and get to school on time.  I think I praised her about 142 times this morning alone.  I'm still sitting here quite amazed that it worked.  Don't get me wrong....we did have to experience one time out this morning but it was smooth and still such a huge improvement.  See!  Being a Mom doesn't have to be hard all the time!!  I'm so excited for what our future holds.  Especially for a soon-to-be "daily routine chart" that includes pictures of her doing tasks. Stay tuned for that one.  Yay.  

Even in the midst of our awesome morning, she chose to serve me and Jonas, and she did everything cheerfully.  She is such a good girl.  I just love that she is a "Good Mawitan" even over a week after we talked about it.  I love that she is a rule follower too.

On top of making me happy, she can also make me laugh.  Here's a few reasons why.

"Good Mawitan" Update...So in my previous post I mentioned that she and Daddy did a secret service of unloading the dishwasher.  Well after reading the post, Daddy corrected me of the events.  HE was the one who unloaded the dishwasher.  She was the one who decided to take part of the credit and run and put her little signature toy in by his as well.  She never lifted a finger on that service.  But, she has done many on her own since then so I let it slide. ;-)

We've recently entered the land of make-believe and pretend friends.  Addison tells me most days that she has a little sister.  In the beginning I thought she was confused.  I told her um, nope Jonas is a boy and therefore a little brother.  She kept telling me otherwise.  Apparently she does have a pretend little sister.  Her name is "Aleekah" apparently.  Oh and it's also the name she gives all her baby dolls that she asks me to babysit for her during the day.  I love the land of pretend.  I'm always a willing participant because I love to see her imagination first-hand.

She truly loves her brother (her real one ;-).  One of my favorite things is to hear them laughing and giggling with each other in the bedroom while they play together.  She alone can get him to laugh his deepest belly laughs.  Dad and I have never been this successful even.  He adores her and she adores him too.  I'm convinced everyone needs a sibling for this reason alone.  I hope they can always be best friends.  I realize they will have their squabbles now and then just like siblings do but I hope they always know how much the other one loves and looks up to them.  Yesterday, I snuck in to take a peek while they were playing and found Addison reading to Jonas.  It's not the first time it's happened but it ALWAYS makes my heart smile.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Good Mawitan

This is what awaited me as I came back from dropping Addison off at preschool and after surviving a rather long and crazy morning (see previous post).  It made me smile.  Let me explain why...

I taught FHE this week on being a "Good Samaritan".  It was a short and sweet and hurried lesson since we were nearing bedtime but it sank in just as much as I'd hoped.  The reason for my topic was to help us learn to treat others with more kindness and respect and love.  It seems to be a struggle for us lately.  

The lesson itself was simple.  We watched a 3 minute video about the Good Samaritan and then did an activity where we would hold a heart up high or hide it based on different scenarios and whether our actions would make Heavenly Father happy or sad.  We also went on an imaginary walk and chose to help and serve our pretend friends that we passed by.  And we ended with as personal challenge to do "Secret Service" for others, which I'll explain later.  It's times like these that I'm grateful for those three long years I served teaching the 3 & 4 year olds in our church.  It taught me a lot about how to teach my own kids at this age.

The best part about FHE are the opportunities it creates afterward to see how much Addison actually understood and implemented.  And she never ceases to amaze me with what she retains.

Just as she was getting ready for bed that same night she told me (while putting on her pajamas) "Mommy, a good mawitan helps someone put on dare jammies."  I immediately took my cue and ran to help her put on her jammies while we both smiled at each other.

Yesterday, she started whining when I asked her to come set the table (her daily contribution).  I stopped and asked her how a good samaritan would act instead.  She shouted "Yes Mommy!" and immediately started setting the table.

In the random times she has tried throwing a fit or made a bad choice since, we've talked about being a good samaritan and she has changed her behavior immediately.  I love it.  She also tells me, after she makes a good choice that she "Hangs her heart up high!" or "Hides her heart!" (actions included) after a bad choice.  How can one child be so cute?  

As I mentioned earlier, at the end of FHE we had a challenge to serve each other throughout the week and keep it a secret.  As part of the secret, we were each given a toy to use as our signature  as a sign that we had been there.  This morning, in the midst of the craziness and my tears, Addison and Daddy (with Daddy's convincing I'm sure) had chosen to empty the dishwasher as their secret service.  Addison had a bit of difficulty keeping it a secret and even told me earlier "Daddy put his car in da laundry....ohhhh its a secret."  Which led me to find the above picture upon my return.  

I'm so grateful for Family Home Evening and the opportunity it creates to invite the Spirit into our home to help us be better and kinder and to learn more about Jesus and being like him.  I'm also grateful for a smart and sweet three year old that retains so much of what we teach in these weekly moments.  That fact, along with many others, gives me the determination to make sure we have it every week.  While they may seem simple and quick and brief, I know these moments are what build into the moments they think of as they grow older and are faced with difficult decisions later in life.  It's an easy sacrifice to make knowing that I'm helping strengthen my child's foundation.

Now, off to find my own secret service and leave my signature behind.  Wish me luck!

This Is Hard

Before I was married with kids, I was told on a handful of occasions that being a Mom was hard.  I never doubted it, even though I didn't have any first-hand experience at the time.  Looking back on it all now I can say:  Wowsers.....I.had.NO.idea!!

Motherhood IS hard.  VERY hard.  This morning was ugly.  I should have known it would be when I was praying for patience last night.  And more specifically praying that we would "all get along" and "be happy with each other".  Little did I know that a short 6 hours later I'd be woken up by the one that seems to try my patience the most these days.  However, I did my best to start out with a positive attitude even though I was tired.  I explained to her that it wasn't quite morning time and we'd have to go back to bed for a few more minutes.  (Our rule is anything before 6:30 am is still night time).  I graciously gave her my bed and went and laid down in hers.  Then at 6:30 it went ugly.  It starts out progressively so with minor situations here and there and then it seems to build more and more until we are both having meltdowns.  It was a school morning (those are usually the bad ones) and it was a battle to help her get ready for school before she could have her beloved morning milk and cartoon.  It's all a blur now as I look back on it (2 hours later) and I know full well I could have had better reactions although I did try hard to be consistent and patient.  According to Love & Logic, (a parenting process John and I both love) sympathy is a critical component in moments like these.  However, it always seems to be the FIRST trait that flees me.  It's SO hard to have sympathy when the same battles are had every hour of the day....every day.  Needless to say, this morning ended up with me in tears and ready to throw in the towel.  There are a LOT of things I could be better at or let go of or try to understand better but this morning I just wanted it to be what it was.  HARD.  How will I ever survive a teenager when the three year old version is about to take me to my grave some days?

Being a Mom is hard work.  How come the ones we sacrifice SO much for every single minute of the day, are the ones that can treat us the worst?  It makes me have so much more sympathy for my mother and mother-in-law.  I can't imagine the grief or the tears they shed when raising their own kids.  My Mom always says that one day I'll reap my rewards like she is reaping hers now.  We are all grown and are so much more grateful for her than we've ever been in our life.  I'm just not sure I can wait another 20 years before I am appreciated.

Luckily I have an awesome husband that does his best to fill in where the children can't, or don't yet, when it comes to being grateful and appreciative of my sacrifices.  He so kindly let me have "my moment" this morning and showed his appreciation instead of trying to offer advice or suggestions or frustration of how it could be fixed.  In that moment, I most assuredly did NOT want to be fixed.  I'm so thankful he can sense that and let me come full circle in my own process of grieving, calming down, and correcting my own behaviors.  

Now that I sit here and type (while drinking my medicinal Dr. Pepper), I can approach things with a more rational mind.  Granted, it also helps that the main culprit is finally enjoying her time at pre-school.....as am I.  I've thought about it all and will continue to try some different approaches.  I keep reminding myself that she is our first child.  She's never been a three year old before, we've never parented a three year old before.  We are all learning along the way.  I hope and pray that I can remember what works so we don't have to cycle through this trial & error process with the next child.

Just to let it be known, I do have the good days and moments as well.  Through it all, we have VERY good kids.  They want to do what is right and they try to be good.  I'm grateful for their sweet little personalities even though they can sometimes be hard and difficult.    I do find joy in the journey more now than I have in the past.  I do have the moments where I sit in awe that I'm their mother!  How lucky am I?  I am grateful that I get to spend my days raising them at home and also grateful that we can take it day by day as we all try to be better than we were the day before.  I'm also grateful for their forgiving hearts and their ability to quickly and easily forget about the times where I fall short.  Basically, I just feel I need to post about the reality of the situation so my blog readers don't think I'm skipping through a field of daisies on a daily basis.  Being a Mom can be hard.  It can be a lot of other things too including the best job ever.  Now I understand why Heavenly Father feels like my role of motherhood is so important to achieving salvation and learning to be more like Him.  If motherhood is ever mastered in this lifetime, I'm convinced the mother should most assuredly be exalted immediately.  Perfection would have been obtained.  Until then, I'll keep trying and taking it day to day.

And as a sidenote: Thanks to my hubby I've come full circle and now ended the moment in tears as well.  Tears of a different kind as he sends words of encouragement and a song that he heard on the radio on his way to work.  Kenny Chesney's: Thank God For Kids.  And thank you God for understanding and patient husbands too.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Master Of The House

This boy...

Rules the roost.  These are my reasons of proof:

Reason #1:  
He sits at the head of the table....as in literally.  Mostly out of convenience's sake and that clunky booster seat chair but apparently the power has gone straight to his head.  When he feels like he needs to silence us he'll pound his chubby little hands on the table.  Seriously, he takes his chubby hands and smacks them down at the same time right on the table....just to let his power be known.  And if that doesn't catch our attention he lets out an awful squeal that silences every conversation and we all look at him in response.  We all quickly respond to his demands just to continue enjoying the silence.  We are very obedient servants.

Reason #2:
He is sorely missed and doted on by all of us.  Just today as he and I went to pick up Addison after school I witnessed the following...  We stand in the parent pick-up line while her teacher calls her name to come and she is all smiles and big eyes as she bounds around the corner and comes running full force at me.  I hold out my arms thinking she's so glad to see me and she barrels into us and squeezes Jonas' legs (as I hold him) and shouts "I misted you buddy!".....nope not me.  She even responds again and says "Hey Mommy!  I misted Donas today!" and I acted all happy and proud as the parents behind me all chuckled and said "aweeeee..." but once we were out the doors I said "Did you miss Mommy too?  Or just Jonas?" luckily she obliged with "I misted you too Mommy."  But, I'm sure you get my point.  She loves her brother.  And I love that she does.  Even if that means sometimes I fall into 2nd place.

Reason #3:
He gives the best open-mouth kisses EVER.  And all of the rest of us are clamoring over each other to get one.  We will do anything for one of those kisses.  Usually all you have to do is hold him close and say "Kisses??" and then he leans into you and smacks one on you.  It mostly involves a bit of slobber transfer but again it's totally worth it.  For some reason Daddy gets the most kisses at the end of the day.  Um hello?  I'm the one home doing ALL the work with you little guy!?

Reason #4:
Similar to his yummy kisses he also gives the BEST cuddles.  I love that he's a rambunctious boy but he still takes some time (mostly just a few seconds) to stop and lay his head on you and then proceeds onward.  I usually call them his "Mamaluvs" since I could just eat them up but again he is an equal opportunity distributor.  Just the other day, when Daddy came home from work, Jonas gave him several kisses in a row and a couple of luvs/head rubs when Daddy picked him up.  I'm guessing he sees us giving Daddy a hug and a kiss and has quickly learned that this is what we do.  It's adorable that he's all boy and still affectionate.

Reason #5:
We wait and dote on him hand and foot.  Apparently there's no need to learn to walk with this kind of service.  Even when we set up our "walk-training course" he just smiles and laughs and thinks it's hysterical that we are all watching him and cheering him on.  He's amazed at the amount of feedback he gets just standing there holding on to a finger that he doesn't even feel the need to actually take a step.  He'll just sit down and smile and laugh at us while we wait with baited breath.

Reason #6:
When Mommy has banished him to the high chair (usually right after he makes a mess) his older sister quickly comes to his aid while I clean up said mess.  Yesterday, as I was cleaning, I overheard Addison talking to him in her baby voice "Whats da mattah buddy?  Are you sad?  It'll be otay.  You be otay buddy.  Are you hungry little brudder?" and then I turn around to see she's found something somewhat edible from somewhere and placed it on his tray.  If he's not hungry then she happily puts on a little song/dance to entertain him while I make dinner.  Usually it consists of hiding somewhere in the house and then jumping out and running to him.  To which he laughs hysterically.  I'm glad she can entertain him so well so I can take some time off.

Somewhat related in this 'all about Jonas' post....

He has learned to say some words (which I forgot to include in his 1 year post).  Mostly he can say "Ahhh Ohhh" when something happens...he falls, drops something, etc.  He also says "Mamamamama" which I'm starting to realize may actually be referencing me now.  :D  And the same with "Dadadadada".  Just the other day I learned he added a new words to his vocabulary.  He crawled over to a toy ball and said "Baaaa" as he picked it up and played with it.  It's close enough that I'm counting all of it!  He's such a smart boy eh?

Anyway, we are happy to have him rule the house (most days).  Who wouldn't want to have such a cute and squishy and squeezy and funny boy as their leader?

Family Home Evening

As mentioned in my previous post, we've been stepping up our efforts and energy to have a consistent family home evening together on Monday nights.  One of our main sources of motivation is watching just how excited Addison gets when it's FHE time.  Lets hope she blocks out the memory of her "younger years" wherein we were slackers before and rarely had it....and even more rarely on a consistent basis.  

I'm amazed at how much she listens to and retains at her age.  She truly is like a sponge when she absorbs all this knowledge and information.  Most times I hardly think it's sinking in as she wiggles and focuses on other non-lesson related materials but somewhere along the way she DOES understand and she DOES remember.  So that is what keeps us going.  And Jonas?  Um, he is still playing with toys at our feet, or squawking about something, or trying to grab the iPad, etc.  But someday I'll be surprised at how much knowledge he can relay back to me as well.  

Here is a recap of some of our favorite lessons given that actually seemed to go well and were retained....by Addison at least!

FHE Lesson #1:  Paul The Prayer Boy    Taught by: Daddy
Daddy went above and beyond in preparing for this simple lesson on prayer.  He printed off a picture of Paul who showed us what we do with our bodies before we pray.  Kneel, close eyes, bow head, fold arms, etc.  It was a great lesson and to this day she will still randomly ask where "Paul the Man Boy" is before we kneel down for her bedtime prayers.  He still sits on her night-stand during the day.  She even requested he get to ride in her carseat to swim lessons and hang out with her during the day.  Paul is a great friend and reminder for all of us to this day.

She's changed his name to "Paul Da Man Boy" but he's still very much a part of our family.

FHE Lesson #2:  President Monson  Taught by: Mommy
In an effort to throw together a lesson last minute, I just grabbed the FRIEND magazine and a picture of the First Presidency.  I read Addison a story about President Monson when he was a boy.  We talked a little about each of the three members of the First Presidency and remembered their names.  Throughout the week, when I quizzed her on the story, she could give me specific details about it and answer my specific questions.  She even remembered President Monson's name and referred to him often when we sang "Follow The Prophet" in the car as we drove.  Except she calls him "President Momsom"  and she's still learning about how we are supposed to "Follow Him" and that HE knows the way....not him following us because we know the way....but hey close enough right?

FHE Lesson #3:  Conference  Taught by: Mommy
Again, it was a scrambled lesson but luckily it came together nicely at the end.  We are learning that simple and short is the most effective for both of the kiddos.  In preparation for conference that upcoming weekend I decided to read from Mosiah and teach her about how the people pitched their tents and listened to King Benjamin teach them the things Heavenly Father wanted them to learn.  She was able to remember all of the names of the first presidency and was very excited to countdown the days until conference when she could color her conference packet and pitch our own tent in the living room.  

It's a fun tradition I think we will start doing every time it's conference but lessons learned.....Wow, our tent was HUGE and we had to rearrange the whole living room to set it up.  A weekend of walking around that thing got a bit old...for me at least.  I'd like to think it helped the kids hold still a little longer or be quiet but truth be told....there were definitely some chaotic times still.  But, it is a long time for anyone to hold still or sit or listen...especially a three year old and a one year old.  Hopefully she'll remember things like this and hopefully next year we'll pitch the one man tent and shove the kids in that instead.  :D

All in all, we've had some great family home evening moments.  The main thing that keeps me trying and trying again when it doesn't seem to be working is realizing that the world is a big place and there are a lot of bad influences out there.  Really, there is a small window of time where we can help teach them good things while they are growing and forming their foundation before they will be old enough to face the world and make their own decisions.  I'm learning I can't afford to even let one Monday night family home evening slip through the cracks when I imagine what obstacles they could face when they are grown.  I'm grateful for the guidance our prophets have given us about the importance of family home evening and hope and pray that it will help our kiddos grow up having the ability to choose the good over the bad when they get older.  

Upside Down

I realize, I've used this picture of Addison and her amazing tricks before but figured it was the best way to describe this post.  One that is a little less funny and a little more serious but very much a part of our lives and something I think is important for us to document for our journaling purposes.  Lessons that we need to learn and re-learn, and learn again....oh and remember too.  

Recently, due to some unforeseen or predicted events, our little happy family life was turned upside down.  All within the matter of an hour or two.  It was a mixture of everything.  Crazy, chaotic, scary, unsettling, etc and because of it we've also ran the gamut of emotions...  sad, mad, scared, tears, happiness and strength.  It may seem odd that I include those last two but they are very important and focus more on the reason for this post.  Which is why I'm not going to focus on the actual "trial" we experienced but more of what we learned from it....and are continuing to learn from it.  

Surprisingly this is the first "trial" that John and I have experienced in our almost 5 years of marriage.  At least the only real significant one.  And although it has been nerve wracking and scary as we've made our way through the chaos and changes, it has been one of the best things that has happened to us....and our little family.  I highly recommend any/all married couples experience a trial together.  Just to learn what happens to the both of you when everything else seems to be falling down around you.  I even feel silly calling this a "trial" since others seem to be experiencing things that are SO much worse than us but it is ours and there is a reason we've been given this one for this moment in time. 

Throughout this process I've been amazed at how lucky I am to be married to such a perfect guy for me.  I've always liked him, and loved him, and thought a lot of him and never had any reason to complain but as we've gone through these last few weeks, I'm AMAZED at how much more he has grown and become.  And he really didn't have that far to go before folks!  I hope he can say the same for me as I've tried to hunker down on my focus and my priorities and hone in on the things that actually matter while leaving the rest of it behind.  He and I have become much more diligent about focusing on our family, the gospel, our relationship with each other, and our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  Part of me is embarrassed to say that it had to take this to make it happen but either way I am grateful.  As a couple we are praying more together, helping each other with the little things, focusing on our family priorities and future, and are more united than we've ever been.  

As a family, we've gotten TONS better about teaching our kids what is really important as well.  Reading scriptures, having FHE regularly, saying morning/evening family prayers more....you know all the things that we didn't think we had time for before.  We've also both learned to be more patient and loving and have spent more time marveling at the miracle that our kids are and trying to show our gratitude for them more as well. I feel like I should insert a disclaimer that I STILL have my harried days and impatient moments and that we aren't yet enveloped in butterflies and sugar kisses in our home but it's MUCH better than it was (and it wasn't that bad either).  Wow, lots of disclaimers....but I'm hoping you get where I'm going with this ;-).  

I've also learned how grateful I am for truly great friendships.  Those that are closest to us have been aware of the details of our trial and have been amazing at offering support whether it's been in service or blessings, or just a phone call or text to let us know they are thinking of us.  I'm always amazed at how much others truly care.  It motivates me to be a better friend as well.  

It's funny to say that in the midst of and even after this "trial" I'm sitting here in amazement and wonder asking the question "How Did I Get So Lucky?" but I am.  I'm blessed in knowing that my focus has changed, my friendships are stronger, my marriage is stronger, and I feel strengthened in it all.  I don't know what awaits us in our future or if/when this particular trial will be over or if we'll have reasons we didn't have before but I do know that if/when push comes to shove or things start to crumble again....my testimony will be stronger and my family will come together, and our priorities will come to the surface.  Basically, in all of my ramblings in this post I can sum it up into the following words:

I am blessed.  I am grateful.

Princess Premiere Party

Several months ago, a friend of mine mentioned there would be a party for princesses at the Pinnacle theater where they would watch Cinderella and get to dress up have have popcorn and pop (like my use of P's? ;-)....yup I have a preschooler!).  Anyway, she and another friend had daughters about the same age as Addison so we thought it'd be fun to sign-up and take them on a special date together.  

I was rather excited about all of it (as I live vicariously through my daughter of course) and tried my absolute hardest to keep it from Addison.  I was amazed I could last with my secret up until three days before the big event!!  Why didn't I mention it to her for so long you ask?  Refer to the parenthesis above wherein I stated "I have a preschooler"  oh and she's a girl.....and she LOVES to talk...especially when it's asking questions to me non-stop.....and she is still grasping the concept of days/times/hours etc.  I wanted to keep my sanity for as long as humanly possible folks.

Of course, once she found out about it she was thrilled.  She promised she would be a big girl so she could do fun things w/Mommy.  She did great at it up until the very last minute when it was time to leave. Luckily, with a bit of side-tracking ability and a trip to time-out, we were soon on our way!  We took a few minutes to recharge our batteries (cool down) while we drove....which I'm learning BOTH of us need in these moments ....and we were happy campers again by the time we got to the theater and our friends.  

All of the princess friends were adorable.  They were also very excited to meet the "real princesses" once we entered the building.  Of course we were a bit disappointed to learn that the "real princesses" consisted of high schoolers wearing their prom gowns and not the actual Disney version ones we all pictured.  Did I mention we live vicariously through our daughters? ;-)  However, luckily the girls didn't even notice or catch-on that these were the "real princesses" and instead ran right up to the cardboard cut-outs of the real princesses.  They were quite pleased with those so we went with it and had some photo-ops with them.  

Overall, everyone had a blast!  It took a little while to figure out who was sitting by who initially but the rest was seamless.  The girls did VERY good during the movie and they thoroughly enjoyed their LARGE pop and LARGE popcorn all to themselves.  One of my favorite parts was just watching the girls watch the big screen.  It's so fun to see the princess magic in their eyes.  I was amazed that they all sat and watched it so attentively!  

On our way out of the movie they got even more princess loot!  A goody bag full of toys, a princess crown, a cinderella cupcake (thank you BLUE icing) and a princess cup and stickers!!  Almost more than we could even hold!  Even the Mommy's were lucky enough to score some thanks to those non-cheap tickets and us making sure we got every penny's worth of our ticket as well.  :D

Thanks to all the fun that was shared and the Mommies that invited us.  Addison and I both enjoyed it and I'm lucky that she has good friends that she gets along with so well.  She couldn't stop talking about  them or the movie for days afterward.  Especially the part after the movie where they danced on the floor in front of the big screen.  That's how you know you had an impact on her!

It was interesting how observant she was during the movie.  As a result, we've even used it as a learning lesson.  One part she referred to several times was when Cinderella's wicked stepsisters tore her pretty dress (the one her mice friends made for her) that she was going to wear to the ball.  But Cinderella didn't get mad at them.  She just picked it up and was sad and was still nice to them.  I keep trying to refer to the fact that "real princesses" don't get mad or bossy or throw fits when they don't get their way.  I'm hoping it sinks in quickly!

Waiting for the movie with our princess friends.  Elsie, Camila, and Addison.
Posing by their version of the "real princesses" - thank heavens for cardboard cut-outs!

Friday, October 5, 2012

From The Mouths Of Babes

I've decided to do a recurring post documenting the cute/funny things the kiddos say. Yep, I said Kiddos! Jonas is a talker now...and it's more than just some "goo-goo, gaa-gaa". So without further adieu:

For the past several days, Addison has been no more than 5 inches away from me. Even when I lose patience with her or am grumpy, she STILL wants to be right.next.to.me. The other day, as she was sitting on my lap this interchange happened between us:

M: Okay, get up, I'm getting clausto!
A: (within seconds) "Ohhhh, can I help you get some clausto?"
Sometimes my little shadow can be quite funny.

After lunch today, he was cruising around the kitchen holding on to anything/everything in his path and jabbering away. Just as a chair slipped under his grasp you could see him flex every muscle in his body to keep from falling down. I caught on and went by him and said "Uh-oh" and without missing a beat he replied "Ahhh Ohhhh" To the common person this may not be that funny. But to this Momma, I LOVE that he is learning new words. Especially considering the fact that his sister rarely lets him get a word in edge-wise. And I always heard 2nd children are slower to talk. However, I'm glad he's keeping up with us and feeling challenged to chime in to our conversations! It also proves to me he knows what he's saying as opposed to just jabbering at any/everything in his path. He's growing up!

The other day, as I was sitting at the computer, Addison decided to do some tricks/contortions. Once she was posed I heard her say... "Momma!! Look at what my body is doing!!" in her very cute excited voice. I turned around and she was posed just perfectly. I love the way she puts words together so cute and interesting.

Yesterday, as I was busy doing something, Jonas was crawling around the kitchen. He is OBSESSED with the kitchen. Mostly the trash and the cleaning chemicals cupboard (the one cupboard that has a broken child proof lock-how does he know?) Anyway, within a few minutes I heard a bang and ran to see what happened. The poor guy slid somehow and bonked his head pretty good on the tile. He was sobbing pretty hard but luckily no blood or cuts. Just an ugly little bruise poor guy. As I was consoling him, I was also changing his diaper and talking to him. He was still whining/sniffling but within a few minutes he started just randomly laughing. Just sort of a random little giggle that kept going and going. I'm guessing he gets this from his Daddy. I think he's been known to laugh when he is hurting. Such an interesting reaction eh? I'll take it!

Today: While pushing Addison on the swings at the park, she proceeds to tell me:
A:Mommy, you are uh-mazing.
A: Mommy, you are boo-tiful.
A: Mommy, you are soooo smaht!
M: I couldn't agree with you more!

Gotta start them young right? She's almost always this nice to me.....as long as I'm pushing her in the swings at the park. ;o)

A few weeks ago, while laying around on a lazy Sunday afternoon:
Jonas decided to steal the iPad from his sister, swatted at the screen and then the song "My Name is Jonas" started playing. Coincidence? I think not!

Secretly, I LOVE getting scolded by my child. It shows me that she actually listens to what I'm teaching her. Conversation today after I referred to a driver being a "freak" since he was driving crazy in the parking lot.

A: Mommy! We don't say fweak!
M: You are right Addison! Mommy made a BAD choice!
A: Fweak is not a nice word Mommy. We should say "silly boy" instead.
M: Thank you for reminding me Addison. I will try to not say it again.
A: Yes, Mommy try not to say it next time okay? Dat is a bad word.

Now, I just need to heed my own teachings. So proud of my little rule follower!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Girls Getaway

A few weekends ago, I ventured out on our 2nd "Bell's Girl Getaway" with my sisters and Mom.  I must state first, we do actually invite our sister-in-laws to join us, even beg them to join us, but this year they both had other things going on so we didn't get to enjoy their company.  :(

Even without the two fun sister-in-laws we were still able to mange and have a great time together.  Our getaways are never very exotic.  So far it's consisted of a trip to Branson, and shopping, and eating over a weekend.  But doing all of that without children is the actual "exotic" part.  After each one we keep promising to have them once a year but of course someone always gets pregnant or has a newborn and ruins our plans.  ;-)  However, whenever the stars do align and we go on one - it's always a blast.

This time, we weren't able to stay in the free Branson condo's so we made do with a hotel coupon thanks to my sister Michelle.  The hotel in itself was pretty entertaining.  I'd venture to guess that ANY hotel in Branson has not seen a renovation since 1997.  I kept trying to convince the rest of them of this fact but they kept acting like I was the foolish one.  Even upon arriving at the hotel and checking in they were trying to convince me....see the lobby?  So nice and inviting and rustic etc etc.  I just kept nodding my head and telling them, "Wait until we get to the room"  "The lobby is just to bait us".  And sure enough, who was right when we arrived at our sleeping quarters?  Me of course.  Straight out of 1997.  Rock hard beds and the A/C unit still under the window with the knobs.  And I promise, I'm not a luxury hotel connoisseur.  But my days of sleeping on a floor in a motel 6 luckily went out the window when I turned 18.  However, despite the "rustic" accommodations, the hotel was still friendly and the rock hard beds turned out to give me some of the best sleep that I'd had in a long time, and the food was actually pretty impressive.  Plus, it was nice feeling like we were their only hotel guests that weekend....which I honestly think we were.  Or at least one of five.

The Shopping:  We all arrived and started shopping immediately and thanks to my younger sister there were plenty of bargains to be had.  The bargain of the weekend was, hands-down, the shoe sale at Bass.  Clearance sandals at $6 bucks folks!  Of course that required a donation to the breast cancer fund but I didn't mind one bit.  I came out with four pair I believe.  I was also a particular fan of the $1 jewelry store.  None of us were raised on actual fancy jewelry.  We rarely ever wear it and when we do it's usually the cheap $5 buck stuff.  We were lucky that weekend to stock up our jewelry reserves for less than $10 total.  

The Entertainment:  Thanks to Mooma, we were able to enjoy front row seats (albeit on an extreme stage-left location) of the Branson show SIX.  I was the only reluctant one to pay money for a Branson show that I was sure would just disappoint.  However, I was happy to be proven wrong.  It was a very entertaining show and it was fun just kicking back and joking around with my sisters and Mom while watching it.  Worth every penny of our reduced-ticket admission/coupon.  ;o)  See where I get my cheap ways?  Totally inherited.

The Food:  Uh.Maze.Ing.  Anytime you can eat without having to feed a little child's mouth or cut something into bite-size portions...it's amazing.  I've always been a fan of eating hot-scald-your-mouth food.  Seriously, one of the biggest concerns I had when deciding to have children was if/when I'd be able to enjoy eating food...let alone hot food.  So, our meals consisted of a lovely authentic Mexican Restaurant....with some of the best salsa to be had.  The fajitas weren't anything to shake a fist at either. We dined on the hotel food for almost free (thanks to Michelle and our groupon) and it wasn't too shabby either.  We even enjoyed the occasional stop by Krispy Kreme "when the light was on" for our free donut (thanks to Cassie and her intelligence).  The last lunch of choice before we all departed for home was up to me.  And after spending all weekend poking fun at the restaurant with the big chicken on it, I determined we needed to experience it.  Just for the sake of comic relief alone.  Yes, this included a picture to wrap up our weekend:

That was some gooood Ranch and Salsa ladies!!

As always, its so nice to get away for a weekend and spend it with my sisters and Mom.  It seems like everything is uber hilarious when you have a weekend with no worries, no responsibilities, and family/sisters that get your sense of humor....or lack of one.  It's also a great way to take a much needed Mommy break every two years.  I always come back more in love with the kiddos and more relaxed and more appreciated.  And thanks to Daddy for watching the kiddos and knowing how important it is for me to take trips like these.  It never hurts to give him a dose of my daily reality either. ;-)

Our One Year Old

Alas, it's time to talk about THIS cute boy and all his 1 year old accomplishments.  Have you ever seen a cuter boy than this one?  I dare say nope!

Those juicy lips are soooo mmmm!  And the eyes?  He has quite a fan-base just off those eyes alone.  Mommy being one of them of course.

Our friend Joy took some amazing pictures the weekend after his big birthday.  We were hoping to actually take them the morning of his birthday but the rainy weather deterred us.  Which was good since Mommy got more time to focus on the festivities.  Have I mentioned I d.r.e.a.d. photo shoots?  Nothing against our lovely photographer by any means.  Mostly that I have to wrestle kids for smiles and it always seems they are bound and determined to grant very few...if not any of them.  Seriously, 99.9% of the time this boy is ALL smiles.  Not just average size ones....HUGE smiles!  And all you have to do is glance his way for a flirty smile.  Super easy folks.  However, the day of his photo shoot he was tired, fell asleep on our 5 min drive (notice the slight bed-head?), and seemed rather out of it during the whole shoot.  However, he still looks pretty cute just sitting there with a blank stare so we are lucky in that way at least.

Farmer Jonas.  Who doesn't love a boy in overalls?  

The probability of both kids smiling at the same time is rare.  But again, they are cute even without a smile....or a partial smile.  So glad they could humor us!

Notice the sweat beading on his forehead?  Yep, he's a Hufford and a Bell which combines into one big sweaty mess the minute the sun breaks through and sends a ray down.  It doesn't help that Mommy dressed him in thermal and overalls though eh?

Adorable.  This is where he finally got with the program.  He LOVED this chair.  He loves to bounce in any/everything and this chair made quite the little horsey ride.

This is his preferred method of eating.  Least amount of energy exerted and still produces the same results: food ends up in the mouth.  I'd like to think he inherited this trait from me since his sister has also learned to pick things up off the floor w/her foot instead of bending over.  She's learned this from years of observing me clean the house.  Boy, I have talented kids don't I?

I love his contemplative stare.  He's hardly a messy eater as  I've learned from his birthday smash cake as well.    I'm guessing this may change w/time.

This little nugget (yes, my preferred nick name of choice as of late) is SUCH a good boy.  Honestly the only time he can drive me bonkers is when he refuses to hold still.  Especially when I give him a bath.  It feels like I'm wrestling a greased up piglet.  But he can always chase away my frustrations with a smile.  Lucky him.  His smile encompasses his WHOLE face and I love it.  His eyes, his chubby cheeks, his juicy lips, his head tilt, and those little teefers poking through.

Did I just say teefers?  Yes!!  It took him 11 months but he's growing them twice as fast now.  As of my last calculation he has a total of five.  Two big ones (very far spaced) on the top and three little ones on the bottom.  Before the teeth, it was hard to imagine how his smile would look when they came in.  After teeth, I can confirm it is extremely adorable.  Even though his top two have quite a distance between them....that's even cute!  I remember vividly his sister having the same situation.  We were worried with her but I've learned that this helps tremendously to avoid over-crowding of teeth and eventually the distance is lessened as they grow up.  Thanks to his teefers he now eats about 90% of what we are eating and we all love that.  He only reverts to baby food for the convenience factor when we are either traveling or dining out.  He loves food with flavor.  I have yet to see this boy get full.  Anytime a spoonful of anything is placed in front of his mouth, he accepts it.  I finally just learned to cut him off at some point and trust his little belly has had enough.  He can usually eat just as much, if not more, than his big sister.  

Which leads me to my next fact.  In case you couldn't tell by looking...he's a BIG boy.  As in, he weighs a ton and wears my arm out just carrying him around.  Which usually results in me telling Addison to "hurry hurry, your brother is heavy" on multiple occasions just to get her through the store quicker or into the van quicker.  He's a chunky monkey.  But he has the skinniest little ankles and feet surprisingly.  He's still in a size 3 shoe which typically those are reserved for any babies younger than 1 year.  I'm guessing his girth is hidden somewhere in that long torso.  Plus, he's a Hufford....dense as an oak tree.  

Since this little guy just mastered crawling at 11 months, he's still completely content to keep this as his preferred mode of travel.  His speed has increased as has his abilities to pull and stand up and cruise around furniture.  He has very little interest in walking but has learned to stand for a few seconds here and there.  He does enjoy pushing his little walker and walking behind it.  This is a trick he perfected thanks to Daddy's efforts while Mommy was away for a weekend.  He smiles the whole time he is doing it and I'm pretty sure it's because we all get so excited and animated when he does it.  I'm guessing walking is right around the corner for this little guy.  And this Mommy is looking very forward to giving her poor arms a rest for once.

Personality-wise he is SUCH an easy going guy.  Mostly just crawls around and entertains himself with anything non-toy in the house.  He adores his sister and loves to chase her.  His giggles mostly sound like he's hyperventilating...in a cute way.  At times he can get frustrated.  Mostly this happens when he can't get a piece of food to his mouth.  He'll flex his arms and grunt and stiffen his neck.  Yes, we think it's funny too.  He has learned to give a high pitched squeal when his sister won't share a toy.  This one I don't find as humorous....it hurts our ears.  So mostly, we give him his way so we can silence the squealing.  It's a quick fix for now.

Welp, this is all I can think of to talk about for our little guy.  He is always a joy to have in our family and we can't imagine life without him.  I'm learning more and more everyday that children were meant to have siblings.  Just watching them interact and build their friendship is such a fun thing to see.  Addison and Jonas really love/adore/enjoy each other.  95% of the time they are happy together.  The few times they argue is when Addison won't share her toy but even then she'll say "No buddy, don't touch that!"  

And here are his stats as of 9/11/12:

Weight:  23 lbs  (50%)
Length: 30 1/2 inches  (75%)
**They don't measure his head anymore now that he's older but I'm sure part of it has something to do with the fact their measuring tapes can't encompass something so bulbous and large.  I'm guessing it'd be in the 99.99999% category.