Monday, October 22, 2012

Things That Make Me Happy Lately . . .

Here are a few of the things that make me happy lately:
  • Caleb learning to say "duck."  He still hasn't had a language explosion or anything yet.  (And he's still definitely delayed in the speech department.)  But, it's as if he's finally realized it, and I can tell he's trying harder, and gets very proud of himself when he acquires a new word.  It's pretty adorable.
  • Going on a field trip with Benjamin on Thursday.  We went to the fire station with his whole preschool, and it was fun to help out with his class.  And man, preschool kids are so affectionate . . . even with perfect strangers.  I could tell that Ben-Ben was happy I was there - he kept peeking over at me and giving me little smiles.  But he mostly kept his distance and stayed by his friends.  Oh, and he LOVED riding the school bus, probably his favorite part.  (I made him sit by me on the way home. :)  It made me so happy to see Ben in his classroom.  He didn't even know I was there yet for about 5 min. because he was so wrapped up in snack time and chatting with his friends.  Yay!  And Caleb had a super fun morning with his Gramma and Grampa.   
  • The kiddos had lots of grandparent time this week, and I just so appreciate it.  I am grateful we live here in Marquette.  It's not just being grateful when it's the "babysitting" variety of grandparent time.  I like it when family members pop in, or when I occasionally babysit for nieces/nephews and my kids get so excited to see them, or Grampa Chuck coming over with a container of ice cream, or my dad stopping over to look for a snack and take a nap on my couch.  It all makes me happy.  And although we have plenty of extended family time, Ethan and I were recently talking about it and we feel like our own family unit too.  We're not feeling "bombarded" with family.  :)  There's a good balance for where we are in our life, with the kiddos being so young.  I'm assuming they aren't going to want to spend so much time with their grandparents and family when they're older and teenagers, so I'm glad they're getting it in now. 
  • The fall weather is making me happy.  So happy.  It's a beautiful autumn this year in the U.P., which isn't always the case.  We're still enjoying weather in the 50's even up to 60's, some rainy some sunny.  And of course we've had some super chilly days here and there too, which I also love.  Hm, why do I often comment on the weather?  It seems like such a lame topic, but occasionally comes up in my journal entries.  I guess it's because the weather and season directly affects the types of activities my little family does.  And that's what I spend the majority of my time doing - raising up my sweet familia.  And this time of year, with the beautiful fall weather, includes my most favorite family activities, especially outdoor ones.  Ok, enough. 
  • I had a little "get away" weekend with a long time friend last weekend.  That made me very happy.  Girl time, kid free time . . . what's not to like?  I hadn't seen this friend, Elizabeth, since 2009 I think.  We had a lot to catch up on in person!  We met about half way between the two of us which was Frankenmuth, MI.  We shopped, ate some yummy food, laughed, walked around the town, and lounged a lot at the hotel (had to get our money's worth - Frankenmuth hotels are so expensive!).  Oh, and we did face masks just like the good ol' days getting ready for a Stake dance.  Ahhh, so fun.  So rejuvenating. 
  • We rented Kung Fu Panda 2 a few days ago.  We decided that Caleb reminds us of Po as a baby.  Maybe it's his wise demeanor, or his chubby belly/cheeks, or the way he walks, but can't you see him as a baby panda?!  Seriously, you should rent the movie just to check out the similarities.  Too bad he's already going to be a pirate for Halloween.  hehe.
  • Anna cried while watching a movie because the ending was so happy and touching.  She cried out of happiness, people!  It makes me happy that Anna Belle's is such a sensitive sweetie.   Oh, one more funny thing about Anna - she is starting to get her first crushes on boys.  It's pretty cute (Ethan doesn't think so, hehe).  She gets a little embarrassed when I ask her about it, but she still tells her momma everything.  I hope that lasts!  
  • Ethan carved pumpkins with the kids yesterday because I wasn't feeling up to it, and it needed to be done. (We got them over a week before, and kept putting it off when something else came up.)  I actually went grocery shopping and ran a few errands while Eth did pumpkin carving, baths and bedtime. That makes me happy. Ethan always makes me happy.  Oh, AND he folded some kid laundry and put it away that same day . . . which is awesome because he usually says he doesn't know where the kid's laundry goes. :)
  • Anna and Ben filled up their last sticker charts that we used to reward and recognize good behavior, however randomly.  (See pictures below.)  It was good incentive.  We'd been doing charts for a few years now, on and off, but mostly on.  Sometimes stickers, sometimes drawing a star on the square.  Well, now we're doing a slightly simpler version, just because.  I call it the family "Kindness Jar."  We put puff balls in when someone does or says something kind, or is being especially helpful or is well behaved.  I like the family unity of it all, instead of individual charts, and that there will be a family reward at the end, again, instead of individual rewards.  (The kids usually choose a fun activity they want to do, instead of treats, which I love.  But we did go out for ice cream once.)  I love that it's random, and that getting one puff ball really encourages them to try to "earn" others (if they ask for one, they automatically don't get one though).  This is a really common idea in an elementary classroom.  Fill a jar with beads or something, and have a class pizza party or other reward when it's full.  Sometimes teachers take out items for bad behavior, but we decided not to do that.  Neither of the kids have teachers who are doing this in their classrooms, but they sure love the idea at home.  Well, Ben is a little less motivated since it's not such an individual reward - a sticker on his chart - but it's still working ok.  Anyway, yay for new ideas!    

Cousin time!  (Lily in the first two, Charlotte in the middle and Hudson in the last two.)
Ben's Preschool Field Trip to the Fire Hall!
Anna and Ben's last sticker chart . . . and on to our family "Kindness Jar."

Girls weekend with my friend Elizabeth!  So much fun; for sure a new tradition!  (It was a beautiful drive downstate on Friday morning, as you can see from the last picture.  Unfortunately it was raining and blowing the whole way home on Sunday - talk about white knuckles and maybe even some screaming while driving over the Mackinaw Bridge!  A stormy Lake Superior is beautiful too . . . just not great driving weather. :)

Caleb is obsessed with these Mr. Potato Head glasses, and he always wants me to wear them too.  They aren't very comfortable either, as you may assume.  :)  The glasses make him look so wise, though.  Ha. 

My dad came over on his birthday to open his presents, and have some roast, and eat a cupcake, and be sung to by three of his grandkids.  (And he was on his way to a Boy Scouting thing after . . . hence the uniform.)  He is using the "Bear Claw" backscratcher to comb his moustache.  Classic. 

I know I already had some pics of cousins on here, but I had to include these too.  This is Lily, my sister Beth and Stuart's foster daughter who they are in the process of adopting.  I babysat her a week or so ago, and I loved how her colorful outfit and hair and bright blue eyes popped against my white bedding and rug.  Oh, and Lils loved my fluffy rug . . . she's a crawler now, and she didn't want to crawl off of it.  hehe.  Cutie!
Autumn fire in the backyard.  Thanks, babe.
And finally a beautiful walk around Presque Isle with the kiddos.  We were even pleasantly surprised to run in to some old friends at the start of the hike.  The kids loved exploring and being little scientists.  I enjoyed the beauty, family and friendship around me. 

So, there are some of the things that have made me happy lately, including some pictures that make me happy to look at.  Maybe next entry will be things that don't make me happy lately?  hehe.  Probably not. 


ailikate said...

Liam says he can always tell when I talk to someone from MQT on the phone because the first thing I do is talk about the weather!

Blake & Annie Nielson said...

When I read your posts I'm just beaming cuz youre so sweet and funny. And you also make me want to live back in the U.P. which I really don't think I want to but you make it sound so idyllic. So glad youre happy and y'all are doing so well. Oh and I LOVE your kindness jar. Stealing that one for sure

Ange said...

Aili - I guess it's a UP thing then. I just thought it was an old person thing. . . and that I was getting old. :)

Annie - Thanks, you're so sweet. I really should do a "Things that Don't Make Me Happy" post next, so you can see that I'm not always sweet and happy. The journaling tends to capture the high lights of life, with only occasionally writing about the struggles. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Ethan and I are in on the jar too - we can give each other a puff ball to reward good behavior, or the kids can point something out to us too. It's fun.