Tuesday, September 30, 2008

School Time

Mainly my entries are "Hey, this is what we're up to everybody!" (Usually with a billion pictures to accompany the event...no matter how hard I try to scale back:) Well, this entry is a tad more reflective, so read on at your own discretion......

Anna and I have been pretty consistent in using Ben's down time (2 hour afternoon nap) effectively. We usually use this for lunch time and school time, which is mostly like a craft time, but Anna loves to call it school. I try to incorporate educational things, but hey, I'm not going to push it. She just turned 3. For the record, I do think Anna is such a smartie (as if I hadn't mentioned that before) and could be "taught" many things, but I also know that now is the time for natural discovery, make-believe play, and good BOOKS! (I can see how books are really broadening her vocabulary. Right now one of her favorite words is "bonjour." Also, I noticed today that she's trying to figure out how to use "sensitive" and "boring" in sentences...she's come close. I think she almost knows what they mean.)

So, during school we have painted - see above - and talked about mixing colors to make different colors. We made paper plate masks (her idea) and Anna got some scissor practice in - see below. We often play with play-doh and make different objects, and compare which snake is longer, shorter, etc. We talked about seasons, and plants growing, and made "pine-cone people" as Anna called them from a nature walk we took. We've done lots of different things, but I'll stop there. I love it. Anna loves it. It's priceless creating and discovering things together.

It's amazing watching my kids grow and learn and develop each day. Ethan has always been such a hands on, AMAZING dad, and we shared the parenting responsibilities pretty equally until now. (A lot of that was because I was still in school too.) So, now it's mainly me and I am finding such fulfillment and peace in that. I've been thinking about motherhood a lot lately and all the joy I am experiencing through it. (Wait, I've always found joy through motherhood since Anna was born...well, realistically, since she was about 3-4 weeks old. I'm just experiencing something different having just moved, not knowing many people, and it being just me and my two little sweet potatoes all day. It's wonderful.)

I'm just so grateful that I am able to stay at home with my sweeties and take care of them, learn from them, and try to teach them, not just educational things, but spiritual too. I'm grateful I get to experience all their little milestones with them. I'm grateful that I can tell Anna and Benjamin "I love you" anytime I want during the day (and it's pretty often). I am grateful to be a mom, and to have two of the sweetest kids in the world. I know this is what I am meant to be doing right now. Maybe I'll use my degree and be a teacher down the road, or maybe I'll teach piano lessons again someday. But right now, I love being able to devote myself full time to Anna and Ben-Ben.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Plan A Vacation To Clio TODAY!

Hello, hello! Just a quick blog to officially invite anyone and everyone to the sweet little town of Clio, Michigan. Let me just tell you a little about the area: It's a measly 10 minutes away from Birch Run which has a HUMONGOUS outlet mall. Also 10 minutes away is the town of Frankenmuth, which is a Bavarian looking town. (Frankenmuth has the world's largest Christmas store that is entertaining to walk through even if you're not buying anything, and 2 hotels that have indoor water parks.) It's a very fun, touristy kind of place. The actual city of Flint (15 minutes away) offers most things you'd find in a big-ish city: 2 good malls, many restaurants, a handful of museums, and more. Also, only 45 minutes away is Detroit, which I hear has some pretty fun stuff as well. PLUS Detroit has a major airport (for our family and friends living farther away). And for those of you who are LDS, that means there is a temple a mere 50 minutes away from here.
Of course, the main reason I'd assume you'd want to visit is because of Anna and Benjamin, and let me just say, I am positive they will not disappoint. Sometimes I just can't take their cuteness...they are both at very fun stages.
So far, we've had my parents and Chuck here when we first moved in. Then Melissa, Ashely and KC came down for Labor Day weekend, which was also Melissa's birthday. (Pictured above is KC and Anna swimming in the pool at our apartment.) Last weekend Melissa came down again (YAY!!!) for a fun-filled weekend which included a trip to the Children's Museum that Anna was sooooo excited for. We have a few other visits lined up over the coming month, but I just wanted to make sure everyone knew they were invited. :-) Just to reiterate, we really are adjusting well to life down here. It's been fun. Moving has many exciting, refreshing aspects to it, but it would be nice to see all the friends and family we left behind...and those we didn't live close to in the first place. Anna really gets so excited when someone comes to visit. She is quite the hostess and always offers up her bunk bed, although mainly she just tries to convince you to sleep in it with her. Silly girl. Well, I'm sure you're all just dying to come visit now, so feel free to give us a call or e-mail. :-) Have a beautiful day!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Hairstyles, New Toys

So Ben isn't the one with the new hairstyle. He's still working on overcoming his baldness...which I personally think really works for him. I mean, he pulls it off. hehe And he doesn't actually have any new toys either. BUT, he recently realized he can get his feet in his mouth (unless he's just had a meal) and really loves playing with his toes. Ben makes a pretty mean growling sound, and just gets so determined to get his feet into his mouth...it's scary sometimes. So animal like.

The exersaucer isn't new, but it's new to Benjamin. (It was Anna's - thanks again Granny.) He's been playing in it for awhile now and loves to be all grown up, standing tall. Anna tends to overcrowd it with toys to "make Ben happy" which usually just overwhelms him. He does love bouncing in it and trying to convince his hands to go where he wants them to...toward the toys. (The little hat Ben is wearing is Ethan's favorite.) Finally, just to mention all the pictures, Benjamin is still a very, VERY smiley baby. It's so easy to get him to smile, I just love it. So handsome, just like his daddy. I love my smiley little man!!!

Anna does have a new hairstyle...see above. She is growing out her bangs. So for the time being, we just clip them to the side. It's a whole lot of forehead to get used to...when you're used to bangs. I think it makes her look older. Perfect for achieving the mature, 3 year old look we were going for. I'll be honest, this was mostly, well completely, inspired by the fact that my mom was the one to cut her bangs. I'm just too nervous to do it. (Anna had fun making silly faces while I took pictures.)

In the first picture Anna is holding two little cut-out guys that were an unintentional part of craft time/school time. We were cutting out different shapes and were making objects out of them...houses, cars, etc. Then these guys happened. Anna named them Uncle Andrew and Uncle Alex. They had great fun together until "Uncle Alex" fell off the couch and had to get his arm bandaged (with tape). They had to take a rest after that. Anna's creativity and imagination INSPIRES me, AMUSES me, and AMAZES me. I love her!!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Visiting Good Friends

The weekend before classes started we took a little trip down to Indianapolis (a measly 5 hours away now) to see my friend Elizabeth and her family. We had lots of fun, and the kids traveled so well. There were fun places to visit, new friendships made among our kids- Anna still asks when she can see her "new friends" again, and yummy food (thanks Liz and Adam). Elizabeth and I have been friends FOREVER. Well, at least since Sunbeams. *Sunbeams is a church class for kids 3-4 years.* We haven't even lived in the same town since 2nd grade, yet our friendship has stayed strong. After the kids went to bed the first night, Liz and I spent the next few hours reminiscing - sorry Ethan and Adam. Hehe...I'm sure you guys loved hearing about all our random stories...or not. It was so good to see her, and to finally meet her almost 2 year old twins. Her kids, Hanna and Noah, are aged (is that a word?) right between Anna and Benjamin, and they all played together beautifully. Well, Ben just laid there mostly, but I'm pretty sure he was wishing he could move around more. Above is Anna and Hannah playing in their kiddie pool. We had the typical Indiana weather while we were there: HOT and HUMID.

We went to the Indianapolis Zoo. Anna has known what a zoo is for a year and we were so glad to finally have the chance to take her to one. We saw everything including the dolphin show. Anna was in heaven! Luckily there was a sprinkler park so Anna could cool off and keep going. I think the monkeys impressed her the most. There was a little baby monkey that a few monkeys were fighting over, and Anna was just so interested and concerned. Ethan and I were probably most impressed with the walruses. Wow! The experience fulfilled all of Anna's expectations...and ours. (Anna's background info came from an Elmo's World show.)

The Indianapolis Children's Museum holds a special place in my heart. Seriously! I remember going there many times on field trips and with my family when I was younger. It was amazing. I was curious to see if it still held it's magic into adulthood. Most definitely! These pictures just don't give it justice. (It is one of the largest children's museum in the world.) Anna got to experience so many cool, hands-on exhibits. Above she is riding the carousel, and is so proud that she was brave enough to choose a horse that went up and down. Anna and I crept into an authentic feeling tomb, and we saw mummies and other Egyptian artifacts. She learned about rivers and water flow. She was mesmerized by the many intricate doll houses. The real life train was fun to walk through, but once the engine started making noise and blowing smoke, Anna was not so into it. She tried picking up one of the dino bones, but realized it was much too heavy for her. (She loves dinosaur stuff.) And the final picture is of a life sized bathroom that teaches proper hygiene. Of course that made me think, "How many kids have had their germy, grimy hands on all this stuff?" We saw so much more and we were only there for 2 hours. I want to go back sometime without kids :-), or at least with older kids. I LOVE THAT MUSEUM!
However, the best part of the trip was getting to spend time with good friends. It was great staying with Liz and Adam for a few days. I loved seeing our kids play together. The twins are adorable! It was so nice catching up. Thanks for a great weekend guys.