Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Tree

I've always wanted to do a huge "Thanksgiving Tree" like this, but I just never get around to it. Until this year! I found a big roll of brown paper at the craft store and away I went! After Thanksgiving I plan to take down the leaves and put all our Christmas cards on the tree for display. The pictures from the cards will make it kind of like a family tree!

Here's Naomi adding a family of squirrels to our tree:
And here's the kids helping to add the leaves after we had written things we're thankful for on each leaf. (The hardest part of this project was cutting out all the leaves. Man do I wish I had a Cricut!)
Here's a close up on some of Naomi's squirrels.
We are very, very thankful this year.

Happy Thanksgiving, Ya'll!
For more about our actual Thanksgiving Day activities, check out my SIL Chelsea's blog. We spent a lovely four days with them at their house near Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanks for Isaiah

I think of Isaiah as my baby still. I want to cuddle him and squeeze him and rock him. I want to protect him from everything. I want him to lay around making sweet noises and playing with his toes. And sometimes he obliges me since he's such a sweetheart, but really he is so grown up (the whole not talking thing throws other people off, too).

He is starting to role-play with his toys. It's especially fun since all he can really have them say is, "Mama? Dada. Uh uh uh. No! Mama." over and over in new combinations. It actually really throws me off. I'm constantly answering, "What?" to his "Mama" in his play. But it also makes my heart skip a beat in sadness to be reminded that he should be speaking so much more than he is. And in joy to be reminded how far he's come in the past few months.

Isaiah loves dogs. I mean he really, really, really loves dogs. Stuffed ones, TV ones, or real ones. He's not afraid of them in person. He'll walk right up and pet them and let them lick him with no qualms at all. He loves to play at his friends house who has a dog.

And, yes, we still call him Poochy. I think we'll call him that until he can ask us to stop ... Too bad for him that his speech is delayed so that time might be a ways off.
Isaiah has a sweet, loving soul. He has compassion. He melts hearts wherever he goes. When his toddler-hood gets the best of him and he does something naughty like hit or throw, he's always quick to apologize and give hugs and kisses. He lets me squeeze him in a long hug. He only giggles and then squirms a little when I kiss him repeatedly - he never tries to escape. He still lets me cuddle him for a good 10 minutes after naptime most days. If I need a hug at some random point in the day, all I have to do is squat down and open my arms and Isaiah will come zooming into my arms for a big bear hug.

My baby still actually naps at naptime. He's 2 1/2 so I know that can't last much longer, but for now I'm soaking up every minute of that peace. And he still hasn't tried to climb out of his crib.

Isaiah's speech therapy is going really well. He comes out of each appointment more vocal than he went in. He has added "wo mo" to his vocabulary (that's "one more" for all you non-Poochy-speakers). Now we're working diligently on "up". He can say "uh" easily, and he can say "pa" easily, but we can't get him to combine the two sounds to say "up". But he tries so hard! It's so amazing to see how much more world is opened up to him each time he learns a new word or phrase.

Isaiah's laugh is unbelievable. It's explosive. It's free and loud. And sometimes unstoppable. I love it so much.

Isaiah is the perfect middle ground between Naomi and Asher. He wants to be obedient like Naomi, but he has a sneaky little naughty streak like Asher. Basically, he's a typical two year old.

And we wouldn't want him any other way. We love him just the way he is.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanks for Naomi

Naomi is all girl. Girly, girl, girl. We recently got to know Fancy Nancy (the children's book series) and we think Naomi and Fancy Nancy are kindred spirits. She loves to be dressed up and fancy and pretty (but not "cute", she hates being called "cute"). She sits like a lady. She eats like a lady. She draws ladies. She dances. She sings. She IS a princess. And a very fancy one, at that.
She is affectionate in a non-physical way. She'll tell you you're beautiful and stand near you or beg to sit near you, but she won't really hug you. She likes to lay in bed with me, but she doesn't want my arm around her like the boys do. She does not like to be tickled. When she talks non-stop to me is when I know we're really best friends.
Naomi is a great big sister. She is happy to help when asked. She loves to start games and activities for her brothers. She is the leader of the gang that runs around our house all day. Sometimes when she's at school, Asher says, "Where's Naomi? I miss her." And Naomi misses Asher and Isaiah, too.
Naomi has a notebook in her hand for much of each day. She draws while she watches TV. She draws during naptime. She draws after dinner. Did I mention she really loves to draw? She draws for other people all the time. I get a "card" at least once a day from her. When she sees some new thing - an animal or shape or ...thing - she starts drawing it over and over until she has mastered it. She often sings while she draws. Sometimes it's an actual song and sometimes it's just more like humming but with la-la-laaaaa's. She reminds me of a Disney Princess when she does that. I can just picture the birds and squirrels gathering around her and joining in on the song. ... Which would make perfect sense since Naomi loves little animals.

Naomi loves school. I've mentioned before that I think that is because her teacher is fabulous. But also, the girl just soaks up new information. And she thrives in a social environment. Whatever situation she's in, she's soon traveling in a pack of friends. She may not know their names, but they're her friends. She often invites kids over for playdates and then doesn't understand why I say they can't (uh, because I haven't talked to the other kids parents and don't even have their phone number?).

Naomi always wants to be good. I almost never have to punish her because one withering you-know-that-was-wrong look and she's mortified and apologetic. The most upset I've ever seen her is when she's upset that she made a wrong choice - not upset that she's being punished, but upset that she made a wrong choice. The girl just doesn't make wrong choices very often so she has no coping skills for when she does.

Naomi brings me so much joy. I'm so glad I've got my girly girl to balance out the boy-ness of Asher and Isaiah. She's just a great person. She is such an important part of our family. We just wouldn't be whole without her.

Thanks for Asher

I've been thinking about doing a generic "What I'm Thankful For" post. But I've decided to go a slightly different route. I'm thankful for my kids. A lot. Every day. Most minutes of every day. So I think I will focus my thankfulness on them by telling you all about them. I'll start with Asher. (Why start with Asher, my middle child? Because I just snuggled with him so I am feeling particularly thankful for him.)

Asher is crazy. Wild. Rambunctious. And not that obedient. Or rational.

But he is also so sweet and loving. He often proclaims things "beautiful" or "adorable". He is a lover of dinosaurs and worms. When he plays with his cars, pretending they are alive and talking to each other, they often ask each other "Do you want to crash?", "Yes!", and they politely and violently crash into each other. Repeatedly.

Asher loves soft things. He is particularly attached to a blue baby blanket with polka dots on it. He calls it "blankety". He curls it into a ball and cuddles in his "nest". He loves to pretend to sleep. And he loves to have me tell him a story before he pretend sleeps. He always chooses the names for the characters in these stories. He picks two random syllables and makes that the name. Poo-ku, Ka-nee, Wa-tee, etc. (I really love it when he does that because when Naomi was in that phase is when she re-named Isaiah to Poochy.)

During "naptime" Asher doesn't sleep. He plays wildly in his room. Every time I take him up to his room for naptime I have to open his blinds - so he can watch the cars and trucks zoom past, bring him a sippy cup of milk, and set up a train track to his exact specifications. He zooms cars, talks to his stuffed animals, hides under Isaiah's crib, yells just for fun, throws things, tries to trick Naomi into talking to him through the wall (which he knows will get them into trouble), occasionally falls asleep, and reads his "magazines" (catalogs usually containing toys).

Asher loves breakfast. His favorite breakfast is "Fruity O's", a generic Fruit Loop. He eats them on and off again until about 9:30 or 10:00 when it's snack time. Asher likes lunch alright, too. He eats his sandwiches kind of like a watermelon - leaving a thin trail of crust on his plate and a huge smear of jelly on his face. Asher usually skips dinner. He comes to the table when told, looks things over, then usually proclaims he's not hungry and walks away. I refuse to fight him on it.

Asher has reached the "talking non-stop" phase of childhood. His constant babble in the car gets me into trouble sometimes because I readily agree to things when I'm not really listening and then he tries to hold me to it later in the day.

Asher loves to play with Naomi. They play secret spies or hide n seek or race cars together. Sometimes they let Isaiah join in too. But Asher does not play with Isaiah when it's just the two of them. They just play near each other or torture each other. Asher and Isaiah even manage to have arguments, despite the fact that Isaiah doesn't speak! I sometimes wake up to the two of them yelling at each other. "Yes!" yells Asher. "No!" yells Isaiah. And back and forth and back and forth. When I go in there I find that Asher has made up some reason why they originally started fighting which usually involves Isaiah having insulted Asher in some not-possible-since-he-doesn't-speak kind of way.

Asher is a Mama's boy. It has to be Mom who helps him with his PJ's and puts him to bed. It has to be Mom who washes his hands or zips his coat. But when Mom is gone, then Dad will do.

Asher is a little hard to parent. He tries my patience more than anybody else. But I love him so much. He's so sweet and soft, even when he's sour and prickly. He just wants to be loved, just like everybody else in the world. I can always love the grumps right out of him. He loves to be violently tackled and hugged. He loves it even more when I sneak up behind him then tackle him, hug him and kiss him. He's such a great kid.

(I feel a little bit like I just wrote some kind of ad trying to sell my Asher. That is NOT the case. You can't have him! He's not for sale! He's mine!)

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Thanksgiving Story

A Thanksgiving Story
Written and Illustrated by Miss Naomi


She's buying something and taking it home:
She's almost home and the Thanksgiving decorations are in the basket:
The doggy is sliding and they're playing in a backyard and the Mommy and Daddy are decorating the house:
(I think we need a close up on the Mom and Dad and dog)
and they're getting married:
THE END

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Tea Party

Three girls dressed as Princesses, a ton of fun snacks, crown-shaped PB&J sandwiches, Princess music in the background, goody bags full of Princess accessories, and of course, tea!

The girls decorated Naomi's birthday banner to start off.
Then the tea party commenced.
Topics of conversation ranged from race dynamics to which Disney Princess is the best. (Sleeping Beauty won the popular vote)
And, of course, there were presents.

And playing.
And much happiness in all the land.
Just wait until tonight when we do another family-party and give her even more presents. I am really enjoying showering my Princess with love.

My baby is 6

My baby. My first, tiniest, sweetest, girliest, most cuddled, most anticipated and feared, baby. Is six. 6 years old.

Now she's a prancing, fancy, sweet, girly, smiling, not at all cuddly, not at all feared, big girl. Not even remotely a baby anymore. In two years she'll get baptized. In ten years she'll date and drive and all that - but let's not go there yet.

When I woke her up this morning I said "Happy Birthday!" And the first words out of her mouth were, "I'm six!" I agreed with her and then she added, "Right now!"

Before she left for school less than an hour later, she had already used the "Since it's my birthday..." angle to get what she wanted at least a dozen times.

She's nobody's fool.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sup?

Asher keeps petting me today. I'm wearing a fleecy sweater and apparently he likes the feel of it. On his face. And hands. And arms. And ears. ...

Isaiah now uses his version of the following words regularly: you, why, more, please, bye bye, morning, help me. Most of his words couldn't be understood by some random person - but they are the beginnings of the right sounds and that is miraculous to me!

Naomi recently got her first report card back. It was a pretty even split between E's and M's. E for Exceeds standards and M for Meets standards. We are all very happy about it. I had a chance to go into her class for about half an hour recently during school and see how things work. It was wonderful. Her teacher is fabulous! Now I understand why Naomi is so happy when she comes home every day - I was happy too after I left her class!

Asher has taken a hiatus from potty training. He just holds it all day until I put a diaper on him for naptime and bedtime. I think the solution is to stop putting a diaper on him at naptime. But to do that I have to stop locking him into his room during that time. And before I do that I have to do some serious Asher-proofing upstairs. And have a lot of patience. ... Maybe I'll start next week.

I think I'm more excited about Naomi's birthday party next week than she is. We have grand plans for a Princess/Fancy Nancy/tea party. Only two friends were invited - but that just means I could really go all out for the three of them. They'll each be totally decked out in their own boas, necklaces, bracelets, tiaras, rings, etc.

We're all excited about our plans to spend Thanksgiving with Richard's brother Roger and family in PA. (I think Richard is most excited because it means that I won't stress quite as much about the house being perfect, the dinner being perfect, the decorations being perfect, etc, etc, etc.)

(Does anyone out there ever read "etc, etc, etc." without thinking of The King and I? Yes? ... Must just be me then.)

My will to blog is shrinking. I think it's just that I'm super busy right now. Hopefully it'll come back when life calms down a little. And when I get a computer that isn't liable to self-implode at any second and doesn't take three years to do each little thing.

Sometimes I really want to yell at blogger, "Naptime IS a word! It's a major part of my day. It's a real thing! If naptime doesn't exist then I might die!" (Blogger thinks I should put "nap time" but I firmly hold that it is one word. In my world, it is one word. Just like "wa la" is a real word in my world)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Peaceful Moment

I sat on the couch. The beautiful, seldom used, super comfy, yellow couch in my living room. My feet were up. I was covered in a soft fleece blanket, and under that I wore my "comfy clothes". My favorite candle burned nearby. The high second-story windows of the living room were above me letting in the gray, but bright, light of day. I read by only that light. Rain tinked on the windows. Everything else was silent. I read Jane Eyre.

For an hour.

Of total peace.

Thank you so much, Richard. That was just what I needed after my busy day yesterday.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I'm...

I'm planning, baking, etc for our ward's "Young Women's in Excellence" tomorrow. I have two dozen sugar cookies to bake and frost to perfection in the shape of crowns, programs to type up and print out, a group speech type thing that I wrote for our Young Women to fix and print out 12 copies of, 12 8x10 photos of the girls to pick up at Costco, put into frames, and then adorn the frames with ribbons and such. ...All before 9am tomorrow when I go to the church to start setting up for the big event.

I'm organizing, creating, and buying supplies for the earring-making class I am teaching at church on Saturday. 38 people signed up to take the class. Then I'll go straight from that to picking up Naomi to take her to a friend's ice skating birthday party. Oh, and did I mention Richard won't be here this weekend so we hired a "nanny" last weekend. She'll be here from 8am until 1pm Saturday.
*Note to self - buy "friend" a present

I'm planning Naomi's birthday party for next Tuesday. Only two friends were invited and luckily they both can come. The girls will have a tea party lunch, play dress up, giggle, etc. Naomi just requested that her brothers not be present during this time so that they don't "get into everything and mess it up". Anyone up for babysitting?
*Note to self - buy Naomi a present

Then, of course, comes the New Moon release. We can't forget that. Big plans for going to that with girlfriends the night of. (Go, Jacob!)

I'm making a digital photo book of the past year because the deal I've been waiting for is finally here and I only have 10 days before it expires.

And then it's Thanksgiving!!!! Holy cow! And then it's Christmas!!! How does this happen?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What It's All About

The candy. It's all about the candy. Twice a day at snack time. Who will pick what? And how long will it take to choose?

Isaiah takes the prize for "Longest Decision Maker". He actually took half an hour the other day to choose which one piece of candy he wanted.

Here's a little video of the selection process so that you can truly get a feel for it.

video

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 09 Costume pics

Halloween 2009 - Mom the Cowgirl, Dad the "snazzy dresser" (also known as a p*mp), Naomi the Sleeping Beauty, Asher the dragon and Isaiah from Go, Diego, Go.


We didn't get one great picture of Richard's costume, so here's one of the top and then one of the bottom. He got lots of compliments!
Naomi was the most beautiful Sleeping Beauty ever!

She declared that Halloween was "the best day EVER!"
Asher was a very cute, yet viscous, dragon.And Isaiah was even more handsome than the real Diego. (But I may be biased.)


All these pictures are from the church Trunk Or Treat on Friday night. We all got dressed up again on Saturday night for Trick Or Treating in the neighborhood. It was a little rainy on Saturday, but for the most part it was clear. We have loads of candy leftover because there were fewer Trick Or Treaters out than usual - probably because of the rain.
It was a fun day for all - even the grown-ups.