The remainder of this entry is going to be a quick (or not) update on the rest of us. Enjoy!
BENJAMIN P. -
Playing at the library after story time. The library is one of our most FAVORITE places to go. Benjamin looooves the train set, and the play kitchen, and the puzzles, and the block area, and reading books in my lap, and...well, you get the idea. I just love the atmosphere and the beautiful building.
Love the first picture of Ben-Ben wrestling Mickey to the ground. hehe. The next two I threw on here for a specific reason: We haven't been to story time since sometime last spring. Then, I was lucky if Benjamin sat through half of it. At Peter White's story time this past Monday, Benjamin sat through the whole thing. Yay Ben-Ben! It was only about 20-25 minutes, with lots of fun stories, movement activities, and dancing involved. But, I thought it was especially impressive because right across the room from the 'story time stage' are all of the toys/puzzles/books/etc. that Ben loooooves to play with. About three different times Benjamin said, "I wanna go play now, mama." Each time I convinced him to stay a little longer. (Kids are allowed to play during story time...it's not strict or anything. I just really wanted Benjamin to try sitting through it.) There was a nice turn out, but I waited until most everyone else was gone to take the pictures...I didn't want to creep anyone out. So, our first Monday of story time was a big success. I don't think this is a gaurantee for story times to come, but good job on that day. Oh, and I had told Benjamin how proud I was of him, and praised his positive behavior (he also did great sharing/taking turns with all the other kids there). Later when we got home, as I was telling my mom about it, Ben-Ben said, "I'm so proud of you, mama." Haha.
Since Anna has started morning kindergarten, for the first time ever, Benjamin and I get some consistent alone time every day. It has been so great for both of us. He's turning into such a little sweetie pie, and it shows even more when he finally gets to be the center of attention. We've been going to parks, the library, a few hikes, had a great play date with his friend from church, and more. I recently joined a group called MOMS Club, and now we'll have even more options for activities to keep us busy. I L-O-V-E this time alone with him, and I'm already feeling sad that it will end in a few short months. I guess that's how it has to be when you're the middle child. (I can relate, as a middle child myself. :) Oh, the third picture is of Benjamin trying to convince me that he is ready to go to school too. Um, not yet, little man.
One more thing about Benjamin - he is a talking machine. Although he is a little harder to understand than Anna ever was, I think he may have caught up to the high verbal standard she set. hehe. He mainly speaks in sentences now, and has the 'I, Me, You, Yours, Her, His, etc.' mostly down. (That's something that took Anna a little longer...she referred to herself as 'Anna' for a long time:) Ben-Ben will repeat anything he hears, whether you ask him to or not. I also think he must have great memorizing skills, like when he taught himself to recognize and say all of his ABC's before he was two. Some phrases he must have overheard, memorized, and then later decided to use (correctly) on his own include, "That's so wonderful." "It's gone forever." "Actually, let's play with this one." "Hey everybody, Buddy escaped." And many other words and phrases I can't think of right now. He surprises us with new vocabulary and phrases he has picked up almost every day...from who knows where. It's very fun having actual conversations with him. He responds to questions, and if you have trouble deciphering what he's saying, he'll help you out until you get it. :) Another thing about his memorizing...within just a month of being in his new nursery at church here in Marquette, he has learned the words to almost every song (again, he's a little hard to understand, though). At his old nursery they didn't even have a singing time, and he only went in knowing a few of the songs. The nursery leader has used him to encourage other kids to sing too, as in, "I can only her Benjamin singing." Way to go, Ben-Ben. Singing is one of his favorite things to do (probably following the example of his big sister), but he can get a little shy about it when people are watching. So sweet. I love to see his personality develop the more he can communicate. He is so smart, funny, silly, sweet, and interesting!
ANNA ELLENE -
Anna's little life has just been filled with fun, new experiences lately. The picture above shows a horse and carriage ride Anna accompanied my grandparets LaJoice, Aunt Jean, and my mom on. She LOVED it. It was a present from my mom to my grandparents for their 63rd wedding anniversary. Way to go Grandma and Grandpa! :) Thanks for letting Anna share in your celebrating.
Anna started ballet classes this past Monday. She is just in heaven! She started counting down 'how many sleeps' until her first class from about two weeks away, and had trouble sleeping the night before. So cute. I, of course, had to document her first practice. The first two pics show her 'warming up' before her class began (although I'm sure they do that in class, Anna insisted that she needed to do it before too). All the girls were just too adorable in their little outfits. Precious! Thanks Gramma Susan...perfect birthday present for the little ballerina!!! :)
Anna's biggest 'first' happened last Tuesday, with her very first day of Kindergarten. She has been so ready and excited for this day for soooooo long. Anna was especially excited that she gets to take the bus, and had quite the send off on her first day. (I have offered to give her rides...over and over...but she always politely declines. :) I got a little teary eyed a few times, but mostly tried to stay so excited for her. What a big step. Five years just flies by, then you're sending them off. Oh my.
I met Anna at school the first day and went into class with her. She made herself right at home, and started working on her first "assignment." (She needed to draw a picture of herself and write her name underneath.) Oh, so grown up. Anna just loves it, and is pleasantly surprised when she asks, "How many more sleeps until my next day at school?" And I reply, "One." It's only three hours, but I'm so excited to see her when she gets home. We had one bus mishap, when Anna was dropped at the wrong stop, but it was quickly resolved and Anna was unfazed. She's made new friends, loves her teacher, and is just thriving. One challenging thing about starting school - Anna is not a morning person. (That would be Benjamin's thing.) She gets up around 7:30, but would prefer to lounge for an hour or so, like she's done her whole life. Instead, she has to be ready within 45 minutes. Anna is a bit cranky or picky, and hard to get moving in the morning. I hope it wears off, but we'll see. I think I just need to make a chart of her morning routine for her, and give her a little more independence...and let her pick our her outfit the night before, because it's always such a production. (Anna always wants to wear a dress...crazy. And she only has a limited number of "play dresses" to choose from. :)
Anna has had many changes lately...starting school, moving, new living arrangement, daddy gone, etc. She has been a little more emotional than normal lately, and I think how hard all of this must be on her, no matter how "exciting" most of it is. I also feel bad that I don't always stay as patient as I should, considering all the change she's going through. I'm just used to my sweet, helpful, polite, easy going girl (which she still is most of the time). But, we're working on it. I love her to pieces and I'm filled with joy seeing her experience all of these new and exciting things in her life. Love my beautiful brown eyed girl!
CALEB (and Angela :) -
I don't have any pictures, although I'm probably due for a 'pregnancy photo.' My belly is certainly out there...there's just no confusing it now. :) Caleb is moving around all the time now, which is fun in a way, and reassuring. Mostly, I think it's a weird sensation. It reminds me that there is a living thing growing inside me, and that just doesn't seem normal somehow. I know, not the typical, "Pregnancy is such a beautiful thing," sentiment of most mothers. I'm just over two months away, and I hope it flies by. I'm starting to wonder what he will look like. We already have the two extremes, I'm curious if we'll have more of a mix with him. I wonder what kind of personality he will have, and hope for another easy baby and good sleeper. I always feel guilty when I hope for this, and think that we are due for a crier/non-sleeper. (Please, no!)
Lately, I've been feeling...pregnant, drained, tired, sore, and queasy. (It's like morning sickness is back these last few weeks, yuck!) And although my mom has a pretty busy schedule, she is around pretty often, and the kids are just drawn to her. My mom has always been so wonderful with young kids...always thinking of fun crafts and activities, preparing yummy snacks, reading to them, baking with them, getting silly and creative, etc. I am so appreciative, while at the same time reminding her that she needs to learn how to say "no," because this isn't just a normal, short visit. We're here for the long haul. :) I also have to make a conscious effort to stay involved because it's so tempting to think, "Mom is so fun and creative, and I'm so tired and pregnant. Have fun kids...wake me up in a few hours." hehe. But I try to refrain from that, and often tell the kiddies, "No you can't ask Gramma to do that with you, she's busy. Let's play _____ together." They're always a little disappointed because Gramma is so FUN, and I'm so NOT right now. But, I'm trying. Taking care of two little kids while being preggers is hard...but I'm not the first to do it, so I'm sure I'll survive. I hope. My last doctor's appointment went well, and the ultrasound looked great. I'm 28 weeks now, and my next appointment is in a week. All of baby Caleb's things have been washed, and I just need to organize them by size/item, then I'm all set. I think that's about it for the babers and I. Oh, I'm very excited about this MOMs Club thing. Not only do they have kid centered activities, but they have mom centered activities too... book clubs, recipe exchanges, girls night out, etc. I think it's just what I need to help me miss Ethan a little less (probably not going to happen...he's my best friend!), and keep my mind off the uncomfortableness of pregnancy. Here's to hoping!