Monday, January 26, 2009

The Table House...

Here is the little house my mom made for Anna. (I mentioned it in my last post.) Anna loves it...even though she looks like she's in prison as opposed to having fun in that second picture. :) Isn't my mom creative?! We have a pretty small table right now, but it can fit larger ones too.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Attempts At Creativity With Anna...

Anna came up with this all on her own. Her bedspread is blue and she decided to pretend it was water. She got out some bath toys and stuffed animals that belong in water. Then Anna wanted some non-aquatic stuffed animals too, so she just put them in floaties. She is wearing an inner tube and we played with the beach ball. This occupied her for most of an afternoon. Of course, we are still excited for our apartment pool to open this summer, but this is good for now.

Anna and Ethan made this couch fort today. I guess we've only done table forts before...oh, I'll have to get a picture of this table cover my mom made for Anna a year or so ago. It looks like a little house. Anyway, Anna liked this couch fort because it's "snugly" and she could also watch a movie from inside of it.

This one I came up with myself, although I'm sure it's been done before. Anna got some Care Bear stickers from her Great Grandma LaJoice for Christmas. They are the squishy, puffy kind of stickers. So, I decided to make a simple Care-a-Lot for the stickers to play around on. Anna loved it. Oh, and these stickers go off and on without ripping the paper...they aren't too sticky, so we're still playing with it.

The two pictures above are Anna playing with Miss Periwinkle. We made her from a wooden spoon, and as you can see in the second picture Miss Periwinkle helps Anna cook. This idea I got from the "Family Fun" magazine. (Thanks again for the subscription Melissa!!)

Yes, we have even been more creative with Anna's hair. (Auntie Ashley and Auntie KC, you'd be proud :) OK, it's not going to be a regular occurrence or anything, but the occasional special 'do' is fun for her. I bought her some curlers last week and this is our first attempt. Anna started taking them out before her hair was completely dry, but you can still see the curl. The third picture was all Ethan's doing, and in the front there were lots of little clips everywhere. Eth was helping Anna look like a princess.
So, any good suggestions for fun kid stuff I could do with my sweeties? I'll be honest, the winter months are starting to drag on now, and I am soooooo ready for nice spring weather when we can go to the park, for walks, have picnics, etc.

Happy, Squishy Benjamin...

Just a few recent pictures of Benjamin. A very happy little guy. As you can imagine, Ben is interested in anything that Anna is playing with. She is getting a lot of practice in sharing, and does pretty well with it most the time. Since Ben-Ben crawls everywhere, pulls himself up on everything, and is just moving non-stop, it is a lot harder for Anna to keep her most "special" things out of his reach. Again, mostly she is patient, or remembers the little trick I taught her - trading. But occasionally I'll hear her say, in a slightly teenage-ish voice if you ask my opinion, "Ughhhh, Ben just leave me alone." I find it amusing, yet distressing. Is that a glimpse into what the future will hold (except replacing "Ben" with "Mom")? I hope not! :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Auto Town U.S.A....

Ethan's parents came down for a fun little visit this weekend. Chuck, Melissa, Ethan and Anna went to the Detroit Auto Show for most of the day on Saturday. We were all going to attend, but Benjamin did not sleep too well Friday night, so I stayed home with him. (It turned out to be a special treat because Ben's two naps were quite a bit longer than normal, so I had plenty of time to read, make some phone calls, relax and have a nap of my own, not to mention savoring some precious one-on-one time with Ben-Ben...YAY!) Anyway, back to the awesomeness of the cars.

Needless to say, Chuck had a great time as he is extremely in to cars. Ethan and Melissa were looking forward to it too. I was, however, a little worried how Anna's attention span would hold up after hours of looking at cars. She had a blast! (What was I thinking...she was with her daddy and he can make anything fun.) There were colorful cars, music, lots of people, lots of walking, and Anna and Ethan made up games while trying out the different cars. They would pretend to be driving, dodging all the people walking around, and other silly things. Hehe. I love the picture above of Anna giving directions to people from "her" Cadillac. I can just picture her saying, "Keep it moving people."

Anna became a bit tired out, so she took a quick rest on this nice little Mercedes above. :)

So the first picture above is a Bentley Azure. Ethan told me he is considering a career change from Physical Therapist to Professional Athlete...hehe....just so he can afford this car. :) It was his favorite. The picture of the gold Volvo is amusing because Anna was up there doing a little dance and shimmying around for quite awhile. I just wonder if the fellow auto show goers saw many characters like Anna that day. All the other people in the pictures seemed to be taking these cars so they were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or something.

Here Anna is learning about how cars are made...interesting.
And finally, there was a lounge area in the Honda section where Ethan and Anna stopped for a break. So of course they decided to have a little photo shoot. I love these pictures.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year, New Beginnings, New GOALS...

Happy belated New Year!!! We had a very low key new year with just the four of us, but it was just what we needed after our long trip up north. We got home a few days before New Year's Eve and planned a little party, with lots of input from Anna. Let the good times roll! :-)

Above: We blew up balloons and played your typical, "keep the balloon off the ground for as long as possible" game. Ben was not too excited about the game...or anything else for that matter...but the rest of us loved it. (Benjamin has been under the weather since we've been home.)

Below: We had lots of leftover snacks from Christmas that made our little party pretty tasty. We tried "Jiffy Pop," the stove top popcorn stuff, for the first time. Very entertaining. Ours had a hole in it, and pieces of popcorn were flying out during the process. In the second picture you can see that one caught on fire. Fun times...Anna loved it! After getting situated with snacks, we watched a little movie together...minus Ben-Ben, who was already asleep. I think Anna made it up until 9pm, which is very, very late for her.

The last few pictures are of New Years Day. Ethan made us a delicious brunch to start the year off right. We played with play-doh a lot that day, making pretend food. (Not a tradition, just what Anna wanted to do. :) And Ben was in a better mood. Yay!

We tried to explain to Anna what goals are. She seemed a little confused, understandably. (We were also trying to explain the concept of how long a year is too.) So, after all the explaining, we asked Anna what her goals for the year would be, or what she wanted to do/try this year. Here is her response (in case you can't read it above): 1.) I want to try to be a ballerina. 2.) I want to try to be a cooker. 3.) I want to try to be a seller. When I asked her what she would sell (not sure if she even knew what that meant) she said, "I will sell toys to other kids and they will give me their money....It will make them so happy, mom." So, do we have a little entrepreneur on our hands?

As for me, I'm pretty sure you can read the goals above. Hey, maybe if the blogging world knows what I'm working on, I'll feel more motivated. The only goals I remember making last year, were ones that actually stuck. (I believe I made a few others, but obviously didn't see them through.) 1.) Family Home Evening -or Family Night- once a week and 2.) cooking dinner for the family to sit down to, which was probably so successful because I was finally done with school. The first one is kind of funny because we pretty much have family night every night...but we wanted to start an official, once a week Family Home Evening with the whole prayer, song, announcements, lesson, activity, treat (or something along those lines). Now it's something that Anna really looks forward to and gets excited about. She especially loves the announcement part, and wants everyone to share one. So we're hoping that if it's routine now, then when she's 12, 13, 14, and on it'll still be something that just happens and, hopefully, she still looks forward to.

I think this years goal that will be hardest is the "no soda" one. For anyone that knows us (Ethan is doing it too), it is a very big deal. I wasn't much of a soda drinker most of my life, but I have certainly made up for it since marrying Ethan...such a bad influence. :-) So, that 2 liter of diet coke on the table for our New Years brunch will be our last...mostly. We're thinking that it's just something we won't personally buy, which doesn't totally cut us off - like when we're visiting home. Hey, this is still a very significant step for us! Wish us luck.

So, good-bye 2008! You were a very good year to us: our sweet, squishy Benjamin was born, Ethan was acceptanced into graduate school, we sold our house quickly and for profit which was a HUGE blessing considering these crappy economic times, we've made some great new friends (moving kind of forces that on you :), we became a two car family with owning our first mini van...and I am a HUGE fan even though I NEVER wanted to own one (it has a DVD player, need I say more), Anna was potty trained, we had good health, and we made plenty of good memories. Now on to new adventures in 2009!!!