Monday, March 29, 2010

Well, Well, Well...

So, our laptop was down and out for a bit, and on top of that Ethan has been monopolizing it for educational purposes most of this semester. Consequently, I haven't updated the blog for over two weeks. I do remember that I said this was going to be a kid free post, but apparently that's just not doable for me. Sad, I know. :)

Ethan took these pictures of the kids after church on Sunday. The shirt and tie combo Ben-Ben is wearing is supposed to be for this coming fall/winter. Since Ethan doesn't know much about that kind of thing, he saw it in the closet and couldn't resist. I got it on clearance last week, and it's Benjamin's first tie. Doesn't he look like a little professor?! This makes me really want to find a spring/summer colored tie for him. We'll see. Oh, and the dress Anna is wearing is kind of her Easter dress. I say kind of, because she won't be wearing it on Easter since it's general conference. We went with simple, not frilly. Anna picked it out herself, and I'm so glad she goes for the same types of things I would pick for her. I also love how she doesn't automatically go for the pink clothes.

Speaking of the weekend. We got to see some old friends of ours, Dan and Jazmine, and meet their beautiful baby girl. It had been years, and it was so great to catch up and hang out. I remembered to bring the camera down with us (they were staying in Ann Arbor), but unfortunately forgot to bring it out of the car both days. So sad. It was especially cool seeing Dan as a daddy since we all go way back (Eth and Dan have been friends since 3rd grade, and I've known him since high school). So happy for their little family! A very fun weekend.

First picture: Anna's current favorite has unicorns on it, need I say more. And Anna got all decked out for St. Patrick's Day for pre-school. I love how she's really striking a pose in the middle picture. Ben didn't have too much of a green selection to choose from, but it worked.

Okay, so Anna begged me to make green food for dinner. Two of the items on "the menu" were already green, so all I had to do was add food coloring to the garlic-pesto salmon and couscous. It doesn't look too appealing, but it tasted just as good as normal. Anna thought it was hilarious. Glad she's so easily amused.

Okay, now for the non-kiddo related things:

  • One of my new year's goals was to go to bed earlier, and have a regular sleep schedule. My ideal would be 10 or 11pm until the kids wake up around 7 or 8am. So, since I've made it an official goal, I'm doing even worse than before. Ugh! What is wrong with me? One thing I've accomplished related to this is that I rarely (like almost never) have caffeine anymore. I think it affects me more than normal people. On days that I've had some good ol' diet coke, even if it's early in the day, it'll take me forever to fall asleep. Anyway, the main point is, I am failing miserably at this goal. I'm not quite sure why I stay up so late - 12 or 1am is the norm - but I think I just want to enjoy as much kid free time as possible. Any suggestions?

  • I've been reading some really great books lately. Two that I would highly recommend to anyone are Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I am excited to start reading The People's Tycoon, a biography of Henry Ford. I love books. I love to read. I love a good story, or being educated on a subject, and I also love experiencing the variety in writing styles and use of words. Ethan says that I'm an obsessive reader. That means, if I really like the book, it is very hard for me to do anything else. That's probably why I take long breaks in between books....and then quickly zip through another one. But, I've been trying to be better about that, and it's working. Unless the book is especially suspenseful, then I just have to know what's going to happen. :) So, any good books anyone would like to suggest?

  • I have just recently decided that I would love to get a Master's degree. I don't know for what - maybe education related, or maybe not. I love going to school, and since I graduated 2 1/2 years ago, I haven't taken any classes. Crazy, but I think I miss it. (I would have never believed this day would come when I graduated!) To clarify, this is on my "very far in the future to do list". After the kiddies are in school, I plan on working, mainly to chip away at all the student loans we'll have racked up by the time Ethan is done with his DPT program. (Really, it shouldn't be too bad. :) So, sometime after that, when we feel like we have a handle on the finances, I'd love to go back for a masters. Not too exciting, but a desire for more education has begun, and I can only see it growing.
  • Speaking of things that may never happen...hehe. I would love to be a professional organizer. If I felt as good organizing other people's things as much as I do my own, then it would be a very fulfilling and rewarding job. AND, I am self aware enough to realize that it's a little creepy how much I love organizing, seeing organized areas and items, and fantasizing about organizing other people's things. But I can't help it. It's in me. And I'm not saying that I am perfectly organized, or that my apartment is 100% there, but I do love it. Maybe I'll get a master's in something business related and then start my own organizing business. We'll see, but this would also fall in the category of my "very far in the future to do list".
  • I have been really enjoying my current calling at church. Our church is a lay ministry, so most members serve in some way, referred to as a "calling". In addition to playing the piano for the primary kids, I have also been the Activity Night leader for the past year. Activity Night is for girls ages 8-11, and meets on Wednesday evenings for an hour. We accomplish goals, have fun activities, and participate in faith based lessons and games. It's fun, and it feels good to contribute and serve in my local congregation. There have been some challenges, specific to our group, but they have helped me to grow. I love the girls and admire their efforts to make good choices and stay close to a loving Heavenly Father, even when the world would have them believe it's not important. They strengthen me. After each meeting, even if it has been challenging, I come away feeling like I have accomplished something good. And I am grateful for the opportunity to serve.

So, these are some of the "kid free" things that I've been thinking about lately. If you made it through, congratulations. And have a beautiful week!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hahahahahaha!!! HA!

We've been out exploring this past week. Ah, beautiful weather in the 40's and 50's, and even the 60's. Woo hoo! All the snow has melted, and it makes me happy. I was right, spring is here! Of course, every time we play outside or visit the park, the little guys come home covered in mud. It's a trade off, but we just CAN NOT stay inside during this beautiful weather, especially after the long winter.

So, I love the pictures above. I think they perfectly capture the excitement and fun the kiddies had exploring the outdoors. We were pretty good at getting outside to play often this winter, but it's just different once it gets warmer. As you can see, Anna brought along her special collection basket, previously mentioned, and she found some *treasures* to bring home. They both loved playing with the fluffy cat-tails. During the adventure, as Anna liked to call it, Benjamin cut his finger on some of the tall grass, and it was bleeding quite a bit. He was having so much fun, he didn't even care. I just cannot express enough how much I love the fact that going out on a little "nature exploration" can be just as exciting for kids as, say, going to some "man made" kid centered place. Anyway, I just love these beautiful, simple experiences with my family. Moving on...

Two pictures are from the "rock climbing park" whose name has currently been changed to "muddy park." (Anna loves having a unique name for each park we go to...of her choosing.) And the last picture cracks me up. Ethan was playing with the kids, and Anna was getting frustrated with Ben-Ben. She said, "I'm sick of my little brother! I wish I could have a different little brother!" So, daddy made Anna a new little brother. A little creepy when I saw it sitting in Benjamin's crib later that day. (And Ben and Anna have since gotten back on sweet brother-sister terms. :)

Okay, so the title of the post was chosen this week because my kids make me laugh and smile...All. The. Time. And I know it's just 'cause I'm their mommy, but I'm going to share anyway. :) Anna is just so clever and imaginative, and just cracks me up. Ben-Ben isn't usually trying to be funny, but it's such a funny age...everything he does seems pretty humorous. So, I wrote down a few of my favorites from the week and thought I'd share:

  • I was telling Anna that my friend and her family (a fellow missionary from LA) were coming to visit, and Anna asked if she had any kids. When I told her Elisa had a little boy Benjamin's age, Anna asked if she had any girls. When I said no, Anna said, "How sad is that?!" Then she thought for a second and said, "Well, mom, I have a great idea. When you have another baby, if it's a girl, you can give it to your friend." Um, no. Hehe.
  • Anna is big into secret missions, and solving mysteries lately. Especially things that are missing, as in, "The case of the missing _______." You can fill in the blank with anything, really - a sock, a toy, a daddy, etc. This past week, Anna came up to me and said, "I'd like to 'proplose' a plan." She was just so serious about it, it cracked me up. (And I love hearing her try out new propose. :) Her plan was a top secret mission, of course.
  • When Benjamin asks us something, like if he can watch a movie, eat something in particular, or if we'll help him get out a certain toy, when we repeat what he's asked us to make sure we understand, Ben-Ben will say, "Yeah!" Then, if I pause to think about the answer, he'll prompt me by saying, "Okay!" He says it in a slightly higher pitched voice as if he's telling me - This is how you should answer... just say "okay" mommy. It's pretty funny.
  • Benjamin has decided that most paper items are trash. Piano music, Ethan's notes from school, mail, coloring book pages, etc. If it's paper, and it's laying around within Ben-Ben's reach, it will most likely end up crumpled up in the trash. He keeps us on our toes. Luckily, he likes to announce when he has found "trash" so we have the chance to save our important papers. And we've begun to regularly check the trash can. Ah, the joy of having an almost two year old! :)
  • When Ben is having a lot of fun running around, being chased, or laughing about something, often times he'll come over to me and say, "Fun, fun!" I'll say, "Are you having fun, Ben-Ben?" And he'll quickly reply "yep!" before running off again. It makes me laugh and feel loved that when Benjamin is having the most fun, he wants to run over and let his mommy know he's happy. So sweet, so funny! On a similar note, when someone is upset, or if he just got an 'owie', Benjamin will make a fake pouting noise and say, "Ah, sah too." (Translation - I'm sad too.) He likes to throw on "too" to a lot of things he says. Sometimes it makes sense, and sometimes not. hehe.

I'll stop myself now. I just want to remember all the sweet, funny things my kids say. And I'll never remember if I don't write it down somewhere. Ethan and I already love looking at past journal entries, and our family quote book to remember fun sayings and experiences from our babes. I think we'll like it even more when our kids are teenagers and we want to remember this precious, adorable time. I guess I've just become one of those moms. I feel like all I blog about is my kids. :) When children are young, they just *need* so much that it feels like everything is centered around thoughts, my actions, my time, my dreams. But I think I should branch out least in my writing. Hmmm, maybe my next entry I'll try to keep kid free. We'll see how that goes. Until next time - have a lovely week!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

SPRING!!! (maybe?)

First of all, the pictures have nothing to do with the title of this entry. But, it's been a few weeks since I posted anything, and so I thought I should throw in some pictures to appease the grandparents out there.

Ethan's sister, Meghan, and her little girl, Rorie, came to visit for part of spring break this past week. It was so great to see Meg and Rorie. It was a very fun visit, and the cousins loved playing with each other. This first picture, above, is the first night they were here. Uncle Ethan is trying to comfort Rorie when she woke up in the middle of the night. So sweet.

Sadly, the only other pictures I took the whole time they were here, was at the play area in the mall. (No pictures from Frankenmuth, no pictures from the play group we went to, no pictures of our FHE....I was slacking. :) And the only picture I got of Rorie and Ben-Ben, who are just one month apart, is the third one above. They would just not hold still for one second.
I love these two pictures above - Anna striking a silly/excited pose, and Rorie looks like she's holding on for dear life (but really I think her feet are touching the floor. :)
Benjamin is so proud of himself for climbing to the top of one of the toys.

These two pictures above are when I'm telling Anna it's time to go. Anna - "But, mom, we just started a club." When I insisted, she turned and said, "Oh, alright. Bye-bye, friends. See you next time." Anna loooooves making friends. Her typical line is, "Excuse me, do you want to play with me please?" So polite, so sweet. :)

We stopped by the rides on the way out so the kids could pretend they were driving away. (No one had any quarters. :) So...


I think. I know I live in Michigan, so there is no guarantee, but it sure feels like spring. Everything is melting away (for the second time this year). And we had some warm, sunny days this week. It has been heaven to go outside for walks again. The kids love it. Ethan loves it. I love it. Hmmm, anything else interesting? Maybe I'll just do a little update on my sweets....since, you know, it has been two whole weeks. hehe.

Benjamin: He still LOVES to point out any letters that he sees - on signs, on someones shirt, on food containers, anything. AND he has also been expanding the letters he chooses to say. He still doesn't say, "Look, ABC's!" when he sees letters, but he'll say, "Oook, BAT, or BHBH, or BAO, or KOKET, etc." It's pretty random. Oooooh, and listen to this, Benjamin has been stringing 3 and 4 word thoughts/sentences together lately. Like, "BABH, Daddy shirt, No." (Translation - There are no ABC's on Daddy's shirt.) Hehe. We are very excited for him! Side note - We have video of Anna at this same age, and there is just no comparison. She had a way larger vocabulary, clear pronunciation, and was just extremely verbal. It's fun to compare, and see the differences and similarities of our babies. And we are very happy for Ben-Ben's progress lately.

I feel like I frequently mention how exhausting Benjamin is, and it's true. He is in to everything, and is on the go non-stop. However, there are some pretty sweet things about his personality that I don't think I mention enough. Ben-Ben has become very snuggly and huggy lately. He'll just come up for random snuggles and hugs throughout the day, and it's so sweet. He always wants to give each person a hug and kiss before bed, even Anna (who only lets Ben kiss her cheek). He gave Auntie May-May tons of kisses when she was here too, so sweet. Benjamin still loves quiet reading time for a bit, and I have occasionally found him "reading" to himself - looking through books and saying the names of the things in the book. He does that with us, but to do it on his own, unprompted, is pretty great for a mommy to overhear. Ben-Ben also follows directions very well - like when we ask him to bring us something, if we ask him to sing with us, he knows to get his shoes and jacket when it's time to go 'bye-bye' (and he usually brings us ours too), and he is always ready to help "peek uh, puh way" (pick up, put away).
The nursery at church has been going great for him too. Well, I don't think he's gone yet without crying, but they say it always stops after a minute, and then he's fine. When we remind him, he tells the teachers, "Tay-koo," (thank you) when he leaves, and gives them a hug. The nursery leaders say that Ben is great with the other kids, easy going, etc. Yay! Okay, one last favorite of mine. When we ask Benjamin questions, he always puts some thought into it, instead of just mindlessly saying yes or no. And when the answer is in the affirmative, instead of yes, he'll say, "Yyyyep." Okay, I'll cut myself's just such an ADORABLE age (and an adorable little boy).
Anna: Well, Benjamin's update took long enough, so I'll try to keep it short with Anna. Here's a quick, funny story about Miss Anna. She has been super giggly lately, and very aware of it. At church today before we went in, I told her that it wasn't reverent to be giggling in church, and that it would distract others. She was quiet for a minute. I looked back and she had her hand covering a huge smile on her face. Then, a little giggle escaped and Anna said, "But mom, it's too hard. The giggles just want to break through my mouth." Then she continued to giggle, her goofy little laugh. Haha! But she did manage to keep herself under control during church. So funny!
This past week we went to Good Will. We were mainly looking for a few new kids books for Anna and Benjamin (and we found some great classics!). Well, Anna saw the basket section and just really, really wanted one. I'm not much for clutter, or purchasing needless things, even if they are 50 cents. But I decided to give Anna a chance to convince me. When I asked what she would use if for, Anna said it would be her collection basket. She explained that she could take it on walks and collect things in it. Now, maybe we could have found something at home to serve that purpose...but maybe not. It was a perfect size, shape, sturdy, etc. for what Anna had in mind, so we paid the 50 cents and we made Anna's day. I LOVE the simple things in life. AND the weather was gorgeous that day (for March) so Anna put it to use immediately. Pine cones, branches, pretty rocks, leaves, anything that she thought looked interesting. Then she decided to make a nest for a bird with what she had collected. It was so thoughtful, that I couldn't bear to tell her that a bird would never choose to live in her nest. :)
Okay, final story about Anna. She has always been very creative and imaginative in her play. I guess I just assumed she knew she was pretending. Well, this week, we saw a little magic show at our play group. That night, Anna put on her cape, got a magic wand and said she wanted to do a magic show for me. Well, I thought she knew they were tricks, and just pretend. Nope. Anna was sincerely disappointed when she couldn't make things disappear. She kept trying and trying, thinking she wasn't doing it right. So sad! When we were talking about magic and tricks and pretending, Anna said to me in all seriousness, "I guess this means I won't be able to fly someday, huh?" Aw, poor Anna, learning life's hard realities. I love my litte sweet cheeks!