Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Night at the Library...

We have been having some trouble getting Josh to get his 400 minutes read each month for school. That is their reading requirement in order to get their free pizza for Book-It, and it’s the minimum that the teacher wants them to read at home. He starts the month off really well, reading at least 20 minutes per day, but then he fades off and we’re left with 4 days to get 200 minutes in. He always gets it in (mainly because I say “no iPod until you have 400 minutes” but it gets done nonetheless), but I hate the fight.

John is sympathetic to him because he too “hates to read.” I questioned him about this yesterday because, unless someone has trouble reading (i.e. disability or just difficulty), then how can you hate to read? I propose that you hate what you’re reading, not the act of reading itself. He agreed that if he’s given a sports magazine or a computer article, he reads it with interest. And we’ve always been very open to what Josh reads…he can basically read whatever he wants, just as long as he’s reading and practicing (and remember, he is a fantastic reader, so he’s not having any difficulties).

So last night we headed to the library (he was super excited) and he and John went off to pick out some books, and I took Colton and Ryan to look at books (Kylie was at Rachel’s). We have a cute little branch of our county library right here in our little town, and it has a good-sized children’s area for how small it is. The little boys and I looked at some books (while Colton scarfed down Cheerios) and John and Josh got some books.

Last night Josh read for 60 minutes (only 40 more to go tonight…yippee!). And I really had a lot of fun at the library with them (Josh loves checking books out with his own library card). I told the kids that we should make this a weekly thing :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Weekend with a Birthday Party and a Gymnastics Meet...

This past weekend was really great!

Friday night was a low-key night with homemade pizzas and hanging out with my dad. Kylie had Rachel over and the boys were playing really well together, so John and my dad and I got to just hang out and talk for a while, which was really nice!

Saturday, my parents came over and watched the kids so that John and I could do some major grocery shopping. We were there for two hours and it was pure misery! I was trying to pay attention to the store’s sales (I despise Meijer…again) and to which coupons I had, etc. It was ridiculous. After that we went over to the bank to get the cash out to give the kids their allowance…it was the end of the first week of their new “commission-based” system. Basically, we are trying to teach them that if you work, you get paid, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid…plain and simple. So I made up a chore chart that hangs in the pantry and they check it off each day, and at the end of the week, if they’ve done all their work, they get paid. Then from that, we have a pre-established system of how much goes to church, how much goes to savings, and how much is fun money. For the savings, they have to want something for at least a week before they are allowed to pull money out of there.

After we were done with our errands, we went home and got lunch and relaxed for a while before we headed out again. My mom and I were taking Kylie to her gymnastics meet, and John was taking Ryan to his first friend-birthday party. My dad was staying home with Josh and Colton.

So Ryan went to his first friend-birthday party and John said he had a blast! It was weird because this friend (Jacob) was turning five, and Ry-Ry is only three! I know people (us included) often forget that he is so young! Luckily John knew the kids’ dad, so he stayed with him during the party and talked to him.

Kylie’s meet was awesome! It was at a high school gym not far from us, and it was considered a home meet. It was Monopoly themed, so instead of ribbons after each event, they got monopoly money based on their score, which they could later spend at the little store they had set up. Kylie had an awesome meet! She made all of her skills and didn’t fall off the beam. She got two nines and ended up with $3,700 Monopoly money. They did awards after the meet, which they usually don’t do, and she got third on bars and first on vault, beam, floor and all around! And this was out of ALL level 4s…not broken out by age! I don’t think I have ever been so proud of her in gymnastics as I was on Saturday…and she was beaming the whole night! We went to a local Irish pub for dinner and just had an outstanding night overall!

When we got home, all the kids (except for CoJo) went over to sleep at my parents, and I was able to read which was nice :)

Sunday we went to church and John and I ended up teaching the little kids because we had a bunch of teachers and helpers out sick. We had so much fun! We always love teaching those kids and I love teaching Ry-Ry :)

After church we went home and did some miscellaneous chores and I worked on finishing up my sister’s scrapbook. I made homemade macaroni and cheese and chicken salad sandwiches for dinner which were so yummy! My mom and dad hung out with us during the afternoon/evening and then left after dinner. Then we got the kids ready for bed and wound down the weekend.

It was such a fun weekend…So proud of my kids and I had so much fun with all of them!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Night With Nothing To Do...

It’s funny how just a few years ago I always felt the need to go somewhere…to do something…at all times. Even if it was just to run to the grocery store…something…anything…just not sitting around the house doing nothing!

Now I cherish the nights when we have nowhere to be…don’t have to drive a kid anywhere and don’t have to worry about time. Last night was one of those nights. I came home and made dinner…the house was quiet because Colton was down for a nap. I can’t decide if I like this or not…sometimes the peace and quiet is nice (but that’s usually after it’s been loud for a long time), but often when I come home to a quiet house it’s kind of creepy, I have to admit. Kylie was designing her coach’s wedding dress in the kitchen, Ryan was playing in the playroom, and Josh was telling me all about the bowling game he had set up for all of us to play later that night.

John got home just as dinner was ready, and just as we sat down to eat, Colton woke up. So I brought him down and we all ate dinner. After dinner, I took the kids downstairs and we played some hockey and other miscellaneous stuff while we waited for John to finish cleaning the kitchen and join us. When he and Colton came downstairs, we started the bowling. While we played, Colton crawled around and played with all kinds of stuff. Somehow (I really can’t remember how), John and Colton started singing Karaoke, and I joined in between my turns at bowling. We were really having a fun time.

John did have to leave for a football game, so around 8:15 the kids headed up to get ready for bed. I fed Colton and put him down, and then Kylie and Josh read in their beds and Ryan watched the CBJ game until 9:00. Then it was bedtime for the kids and sock-folding time for me :) After I folded all the socks that have accumulated in the “un-matched” drawer, I actually got to read for ½ hour, which was a nice way to end the day!

I love nights like that! Unfortunately, we usually only get a couple of them per week, but when we do, I really try to enjoy them!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kiddo Update - Joshie

Joshua, Josh, Joshie – the kid that keeps on surprising me, I swear! Every time I think I have him figured out or I know how he’s going to react, the complete opposite happens and I’m baffled.

Let’s start with school. After having Kylie and watching how much she loved to learn when she was little, and knowing that Josh never did any of the things she did (and he hated being read to), I was prepared to have to really help him in school. I was so surprised last year when he was one of the top readers in his class and his teacher had nothing but great things to say about him. And now first grade…his teacher told me at his conferences that when she and the student teacher looked at his paper during a pre-test, they both looked at each other and commented that they had a special student on their hands. I get the idea that this year is so easy for him…he barely has to put any effort in. Every sheet I get back is either perfect or he missed something silly. The only area I have to push him in is reading, and that’s only because he just doesn’t really like to sit and read a book. He’s still super good at it and will read whenever he needs to (i.e. anything sports related), but he’s just not into chapter books. His handwriting is amazing and he’s even learned some cursive from Kylie!

As far as sports go, he’s his father’s dream! He plays Streak For The Cash with John and all the other big boys (Pappaw, Uncle Josh, Jarrett, etc.) and honestly knows what he’s betting on and his chances. He wants to watch sports every night (especially if John’s watching them) and knows so much about teams and statistics and everything else. And it doesn’t matter which sport…it was football during the fall, now it’s basketball and hockey…if there’s a winner and a loser, he’s in :)

He loves to play basketball in the basement with his scoreboard app on his iPod. Speaking of which, he’s completely addicted! He got an iPod touch for Christmas and he does so much on it…Streak For The Cash, all kinds of games, scoreboards, music, Tango…he even watches TV. He’s pretty tech-savy for only being 6 ½! He had a friend over one time and they couldn’t figure out an answer to something so Josh told him to “Google it” and the kid asked him what Google was! I bet Josh’s knowledge of Word and Excel surpasses many adults :)

He also loves to set up games on the Wii in the playroom and just watch them...not play, just watch the games to see who wins. He set up an entire NFL championship bracket one time...he matched up all the helmets and had games going all the time. The losing helmet would fall down the slide and he'd re-match as teams were eliminated.

Josh is my sensitive child. Even the slightest thing brings tears to his eyes, which, I have to admit, is so annoying! Take last night for example…I handed him a Lego man and told him to put it away. I find it on the stairs (strategically placed back in the corner) a few minutes later and I sternly told him to put it away and then commented I shouldn’t have even mentioned it to him…I should have just thrown it away. He should have expected this…he’s a great kid and the fact that he did this surprised me…but not as much as me finding him going to bed with tears in his eyes instead of watching the basketball game. Again, his reactions always catch me off guard!

He gets so annoyed with Ryan…poor Ryan just wants to do everything Josh is doing (as soon as Josh heads to the basement to play basketball, Ryan all of a sudden decides that’s what he wants to do too), but Josh has a hard time handling the 3 year age gap. He doesn’t have much patience for Ryan and the learning curve. When he does have the patience, he’s a great big brother and the two of them have fun together. With Colton, on the other hand, Josh’s face lights up when he sees him! It’s probably because he subconsciously sees another brother to hang out with in the future, but right now, he doesn’t want to play with his cars or use his basketball hoop :)

He is still a little boy, which I love! I was a mystery reader in December and the minute I walked into his classroom, he got up from the floor and ran up and gave me a huge hug! He still loves his mamma :) But not enough to guarantee me a free ticket to the Super Bowl should he ever play in it (the discussion at dinner last night). Kind of bothers me…I hate football, and yet I’m at every single one of his games cheering the loudest…that should guarantee me a ticket to the game and spot next to him in the parade car, right? (that was the discussion during the Parade of Roses – would he bring me with him and he said “no!”).

Josh is a tiny, little stick-figure of a kid. But he’s fast! He’s got some huge brown eyes with long eyelashes and makes some of the funniest faces I’ve ever seen! Again, they all catch me off guard and I usually erupt in laughter because they are so funny and unexpected. He is still an extremely messy eater…both on the table and floor as well as his mouth :) And he would still, here in January, wear shorts to school if I let him!

I love learning all about boys as he grows up. I don’t have any brothers, so John and Josh are my first experiences with boys…and I definitely still have a lot to learn! But Josh is a good subject…he’s a sweet and caring boy and I love him so much! And hopefully I learn a lot since there are two other boys coming up behind him :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Date Night!

Last night John and I got to do a rare thing…we got to go out without the kiddos!

John had arranged for the leadership team at church to go to a CBJ game again this year, only this time, they each got to invite someone. So we asked Miss G if she could stay over and watch the kids and we set a date!

Of course, our luck, it started snowing pretty hard right before rush hour, and all I wanted to do was curl up at home and hibernate! But we loaded up and headed down to the arena without so much as a whine from the kids! But it was hard for me to leave them after having only seen them for an hour and a half :(

John and I made it through the snow-covered roads and got the arena with perfect timing. Some of the group was already there and the game was just about to start. The best part of the night? I got Dippin’ Dots!!! The worst part of the night? We were on the “Kissing Cam” up on the big jumbotron (yes, when they show you you’re supposed to kiss – yuck!). The Jackets lost (what’s new), but we really did have a good time.

We got home and Miss G said all the kids were great and everything got done (homework, etc.). She headed home, John turned on a basketball game, and I immediately crashed into bed after kissing the kids goodnight :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sometimes I Hate Being the Parent...

I swear, punishing and disciplining your kids is often harder on you than it is on them. I can see how it would be so easy to just not do it…

John and I have pretty traditional expectations when it comes to our kids. We expect them to be respectful, especially to adults, we don’t allow them to interrupt, especially adults, and overall we just expect them to be good kids. About the only thing non-traditional that we do with our kids is we don’t expect them to call all adults “mr.” or “mrs.” Unless that is the person’s preference. Most of the time It’s “miss [insert first name here],” etc.

We’ve been having a pretty difficult time with Kylie lately…there are times that she has been a total brat and that just does not fly in our house. She has spent many weeks grounded from going to Rachel’s house or talking to her on the phone. She has gone without her iPod and had to write letters of apology. But none of these seem to really work, and as any good parent knows, behavioral changes only happen if the punishment really works.

Yesterday Kylie was unhappy that she was picked up from her birthday party early, so she called me at work crying and complaining that we should have checked with her first, etc. Excuse me? Last I checked you were 8 years old and a child…

When I got home, Miss G said that Kylie had been extremely disrespectful to her as well later that day. I was fuming. I was so done with coming home to this, or getting calls at work. I was so sick of her sense of entitlement…she is a child and her life revolves around ours…not the other way around.

So before John took the boys to the CBJ game, we chatted about what we thought we should do. We came up with the following list:

1.) Every night she has to be in bed (her own bed) by 8:30. She has to make sure this happens no matter what – even if the boys are staying up later;
2.) No going to any friend’s house or using the phone to talk to any friends;
3.) No iPod, TV or computer (except for homework);
4.) She had to write out apologies to both myself and Miss G; and
5.) Every night she has to write out some Bible passages that I selected for her that talk about respecting your parents, respecting each other, and God’s call for parents to raise their children right.

There is no set end time for any of these punishments. John and I will watch her and slowly start giving her the privileges back. I really hope this works because I told her if it happens again, I’m pulling her out of the gifted program at school. That would be the ultimate punishment for her, but at the same time, it would obviously hinder her education, so I hope it doesn’t come to that.

It was so hard last night watching her cry and tell me that I don’t love her. If only she knew…it would be so much easier to “yell” at her and move on…

Thankfully by the end of the night (after she had completed her writing exercises for the night), she and I did some Zumba together and then I sat with her for a little bit when she went to bed. I think we’re OK, but I know that at any moment she can revert and be mad at me for “doing this to her.” And I do know it’s for her own good and it’s my job…but that doesn’t make it any less hard.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Busy Night...

Last night was kind of a crazy night…

The kids were off school yesterday for the holiday, and then they’re off again today for a teacher-workday. So Kylie’s best friend had a birthday party sleepover last night, which Kylie went to super early (as in around noon yesterday), which meant that I had to take the present that I had got for her during lunch yesterday over sometime last night. We also needed to get the boys’ hair cut (including John’s), and run over to Wal-Mart for some miscellaneous items.

So John parked in between the haircutting place and Wal-Mart, and he took the boys over while Colton and I went into Wal-Mart. Colton had so much fun riding around in the cart! I guess I haven’t taken him to the store much (if ever) because at first he was really scared…he kept holding on super tight and whining if I stepped away from him. But then after a while he really started having fun and turning around and pulling things out of the cart and throwing them on the floor! For a while he was holding my parmesan cheese and I kept saying “do you have my cheese?” and he would repeat “teese.”

When we were checking out (I don’t know how long I had been in there, but I definitely took my time) I called John to see how much longer they would be, and he told me they were just starting! So I took Colton in to the Subway that’s in our Wal-Mart and ordered dinner for the family because John had a flag football game that night, so he needed to eat quickly! I also got a bag of chips and a cookie. Colton and I sat down by the door and ate our little snack. Aren’t I great mom? My one-year-old had chips and cookies for dinner :) But we had so much fun together sharing the food and talking and pointing :) John finally called around 7:25 and we loaded up in the car, went to drop off the present, and then headed home.

Once at home, everyone ate while I put Colton down to bed. Then I put away all the groceries and John and Josh left for football (Josh was so excited to go watch because the games are at 9:30, but since he didn’t have school today, he could go and stay up late). Then I gave Ryan a bath (he asked me “can I take a bath in the one next to your shower?” I was fine with that so we headed up. He played in the tub (even had the jets on for a while) while I started working on my nails which was nice! Normally I don’t get to do much when he’s playing in the bath, but since he was in my bathroom, all my stuff was there!

After his bath, Ryan went to bed and I finished painting my nails and crashed! I fell asleep around 10:50, John said that they got home around 11:10 and I didn’t even hear them! I must have been fast asleep to not hear them come in only 20 minutes after falling asleep!

Monday, January 16, 2012

What we have been up to...

Last week our family battled the stomach flu. What amazed me was how differently it affected the different members of the family.

It started with Josh, and he was up all night throwing up. Then Kylie got it a few days later and she too was up all night. The next day, John and I had stomach aches and felt horrible, but we never got sick. A couple days later Ryan threw up around bedtime, but then slept through the night and was eating and fine the next day.

The whole time we were just waiting for Colton to get it…he would be by far the hardest one of our kids to get through this…no warning when he throws up, can’t understand why he can’t eat, etc. So days and days go by and we finally accept that since he hadn’t shown any signs of it by Friday (days after everyone else had gone through it) we start breathing a little easier. I think God was really looking out for us…we made it through a very long and stressful week!

I went scrapbooking with my friends this past weekend. I left right from work on Friday and spent the whole weekend scrapbooking (I finished my sister’s album…yippee!!!!), eating great food (La Paloma is amazing!), getting a straight night’s sleep, and hanging out with good friends. I couldn’t have asked for a more relaxing weekend!

I finished scrapping the one page I was working on and decided to head out around 3:45. I got home a little before 4:30 and John was right there ready to help me bring my stuff in. Ryan and Colton were sleeping and Josh and Kylie were doing their own thing. As soon as we brought all my stuff in I heard Colton crying. I ran up the stairs super excited to see him! But when I went in, he didn’t even smile at me :( He just kept crying. So I picked him up, walked around a little, rocked him, walked around a little more and then…

He promptly threw up all over me :( Welcome home Mommy!

I’m just glad I was home…I would have felt horrible if John would have had to deal with all of that by himself! He ended up throwing up one more time and then we finally got him to sleep for the night around 9:00. He woke up at 4:00 AM and I fed him and he went back to sleep and kept that down, which I’m so thankful for. Hopefully he will have a good day today and we can finally say that our family is done with this stupid stomach flu!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Winter Has Arrived - On January 12th?

Winter has finally arrived here in Central Ohio! I swear though, this has been the most crazy “winter” I can remember! It was a high of 50 degrees just a couple of days ago, today it’s a high of 20 degrees, and we’ll be back in the 40s next week. What kind of weather is that in January?

We had our first real snowfall last night and as a result, it took forever to get into work.

It’s funny…we only got a little over 1 inch of snow, but there is a layer of ice underneath, but anyway, since it’s the first of the season, the weather/news people are going crazy! School delays and closings, constant weather updates, etc. Give us a month when we get 5 inches and then we’ll talk.

But it’s pretty outside, and if it’s going to be cold, there might as well be snow on the ground :) and the kids are super excited about the snow...they love it!

Colton's One-Year Stats...

Colton’s one year stats:

Weight: 21 lbs. 4 oz (27%)
Height: 31 inches (85%)
Head: 46 cm (39%)

He really didn’t grow very much at all from his last appointment, which the doctor commented on, but we both figure it’s because he’s so mobile now that he’s burning everything he’s taking in, because let me tell you, he’s definitely eating :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Colton's First Birthday Party...

We celebrated Colton’s first birthday on Saturday. I decided to take a very low-key approach and yet stay away from the typical “pizza and cake” party that we always seem to have. So thanks to Pinterest, I found a cooking blog that has some wonderful recipes on it, one of which looked super easy and had great reviews, so I decided to try that one for the party – Caprese Pasta.

So Saturday I took Kylie and her friend over to basketball (my dad stayed with them) and Ryan and I headed out to get balloons for the party and to pick up a couple of outfits for Colton since I realized that I only have summer 12 month outfits because of the time of year that both Josh and Ryan were in 12 month clothes.

After that we picked up Colton’s cake from our “cake lady” (she does such an amazing job on all of our cakes!) and then headed home for naps. I started getting the food and decorations for the party. I made that pasta dish, a big salad and some homemade garlic bread. I also had some chips and dips out for appetizers.

The party started at 5:00 and we started with dinner (pasta was AMAZING!) and then quickly moved on to presents and then cake. It’s sad that it’s taken us four kids to realize that Colton could not care less about the whole ordeal, so that’s why we moved through things quickly…people wanted to get home and there was an OU basketball game on that some people wanted to watch.

When it came to the cake, Colton put his hands in right away, but then it took him a while to really dig in and get messy. But by the end of it, he had it all torn apart and was a complete mess. A bath was definitely necessary!

All-in-all it was a great first birthday party. It was great to see everyone and hang out!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday Colton!

My little CoJo,
Happy Birthday my little man! I can’t believe it has been one year since you became a part of our family…this year has gone by way too fast!

While we always said that we wanted four kids, you were actually quite a surprise. And I love that because with my type A personality, I didn’t think I’d ever get a surprise baby! The timing of everything from the pregnancy to your birth was the farthest from ideal, but looking back it’s easy to see how it all worked out perfectly and obviously God had everything planned out!

One year ago today I was in a hospital bed chilling watching The Early Show. A big snow storm was coming into Columbus and we kept looking out the window waiting for the snow to start! Things progressed so quickly I was so worried that my doctor would not get there in time, but thankfully she did! You could have been born at 12 something, but we wanted to try for 1:11 to keep with the 1/11/11 theme :) But unfortunately you were a big boy, and your shoulders got stuck and it was a little scary for a few moments. Thankfully you finally arrived…at 1:12 :( Stupid nurse ;) You were so bruised! I’ve never seen a baby so bruised…that was so hard for you! I was glad that you were a boy because I really loved the name “Colton” and was so glad that we would get to use it. Kylie was not so happy that you were a boy – but thankfully, now a year later, she has adjusted and realized the benefits to being the only girl.

The past year has brought a lot of new experiences with you…a hospital stay for RSV at five weeks, delayed circumcision at around 3 months, reflux, sleeping through the night until about 3 ½ months old, so many teeth at once (top four came in at the same time!), “crawling” (really army crawling) at 7 months, and complete defiance when it comes to climbing up the stairs :)

You are such a laid-back baby and always content. Once we got you on the medicine for reflux you were such a happy baby! And we were able to take you off that medicine when you were 8 months old, so now you are completely fine! You smile at us, you make funny faces and you like to laugh…although not as much as the other kids did – it’s hard to get a belly laugh out of you.

You are really crawling now (you will sometimes drop and army crawl if you want to get somewhere quickly), you pull yourself up on everything, you are a good climber, and you will cruise along the furniture if you want to get somewhere. You still aren’t really showing any signs of wanting to walk by yourself at all.

You clap, wave “hi” and “good-by,” you make kissing sounds and have just started blowing kisses (but you put your whole hand in your mouth and pull it out), and you put your hand up in the hair and point your finger round and round when I ask you what a fan does. With the clapping, there was one time I was nursing you and watching a talk show and when they started clapping, you had to stop eating and clap too…such a pain in the butt!

As for words you are really doing well! You say “hi,” “nigh-night,” “mommy,” “momma,” “daddy,” “dadda,” “Kyie,” “sissy,” and “baby.” You are such a babbler, and you always try to copy what we’re saying, so I know that it’s only a matter of time before you will be talking up a storm! Good thing we’re not used to a quiet house :)

As for eating and sleeping, you are great in one department and we’re working on the other :) You eat everything! You have never not liked something I’ve given you, whether it’s been baby food or table food. At this point you are eating mostly table food…last night it was chicken and broccoli. Pretty much whatever we eat, I cut up super tiny for you and you go to town! Of course you’re a mess, but you’re learning :) I nurse you 2 – 3 times per day. Daddy is working hard to get you to sleep through the night. So I feed you before you go to bed, and then you get up and we just put your paci back in and turn the music on – you’ve been doing OK at this :) Then I nurse you again around 6:00 AM when you wake up, and then you go back to sleep until 7:30 or 8:00.

You are such a sweet little baby – I love you so much! I can’t imagine what our life would be like without you and I’m so glad that God’s plans override ours! Clearly he knew how much we needed you and how happy you would make us. Thank you for being such an adorable little boy!

Happy First Birthday!

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Friday, January 06, 2012

Kiddo Update - Kylie...

So what has Kylie been up to?

Ahhh…my little princess :) Not really a princess per se anymore…more of a little diva/super smart girl/crazy person/great big sister. She is at such an interesting age right now…it’s like she wants to be older, but sometimes slips into being a little kid – such an awkward age.

At home she’s a wonderful big sister and help to Ryan and Colton. I can ask her to watch Colton for me while I do other things (i.e. laundry!). She desperately wants Ryan to constantly give her hugs and hold her hand, but unfortunately, Ryan is just not that way with anyone but me, so she is always so disappointed and sad :( As far as being a good big sister to Josh, that would depend on the day…sometimes they play so great together, but other times she just picks and picks at him.

She loves to read! She got some new books for Christmas and had two of them read before she went back to school. She wakes up in the morning and reads in her room…she reminds me of myself when I was younger! She sometimes plays with her American Girl dolls and Monster High dolls – again, she’s at such an in-between age and she’s constantly worrying about what kids at school will say if they know she plays with certain things. I’ve told her over and over again that 1.) it doesn’t matter what the kids think and 2.) she can play with these things at home and no one ever has to know if she doesn’t want them to know.

At school she’s excelling more than I could have ever imagined! She is with the same kids and teacher as she was last year which is awesome because I really think she has formed a great bond with all of them. She did outstanding on all of her standardized tests so she is in the gifted program. She goes to the gifted class every day for math and let me tell you, when I help her with her homework I often have to read over and remind myself how to do the stuff! She’s learning geometry for goodness sakes! I learned that in 8th grade, and here she is in 3rd grade learning about acute angles, isosceles triangles, and parallelograms! Seriously! She always does so well on any project she has to do and she loves to write. She is so hard on herself all the time, which is normally a good thing, but it is also such a stressor for her. I was exactly like her when I was little, so I know exactly where she’s coming from.

In sports she continues to do gymnastics and she also is in basketball with Josh for a couple of months. I would love to see her participate in a school sport along with gymnastics…she has mentioned wanting to try volleyball next year (they start in 4th grade). As far as gymnastics goes, she’s in level 4 and has had two meets so far this year. She has done wonderfully at both of them…she’s working so hard at being “perfect” during her routines. She is so pretty and fun to watch! We upped her to two classes a week, so she goes Wednesday nights from 6:30 – 8:30 and Thursdays from 4:30 – 6:30. The Wednesday class has been hard on us because she never gets her homework done before she goes, so she has to come home and finish it and usually doesn’t get into bed until 9:30 or 10:00. But that class has one of the best teachers and it’s a small class, so she gets a lot of coach-time. She has talked about joining the competitive team, but so far it has only been talk (which I’m thankful for because the location she goes to doesn’t have competitive team, she would have to go to their bigger gym that’s about 20+ minutes away and there’s always a ton of traffic).

So that’s a quick recap of what my little sweetie is up to. I can’t believe that she’s 8 ½ already…she’s growing up to be such a sweet and special big girl!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Christmas 2011...

Ahhh, another Christmas come and gone, another year come and gone…way too quickly…

I had the great fortune of having a lot of time off left to use at the end of the year. I love doing this for a number of reasons…I’m usually pretty burnt out by then and really need a break, there is always so much to do around this time of year, the kids are off school, and I am so busy at work in January and February so it’s nice to really rest and relax before jumping into the craziness. So the week before Christmas I was off for a couple of hours for the kids’ Christmas parties, and then off the following day, and then off from the Friday before Christmas right through January 2nd. Another nice thing was that my dad came up that Tuesday before Christmas and was up here the whole time as well. It was a glorious vacation!

The Friday before Christmas we just hung out around the house and finished getting ready for Christmas. I took Ryan to get some last minute things, including his present for Kylie, and then we spent the day wrapping presents and just playing. On Christmas Eve the kids and I baked the rest of the cookies, John and I finished wrapping presents, and I baked the cake that I was bringing for Christmas dinner. We went to church where the kids sang (John and I had been working with all the kids for the past three weeks on two completely new songs…it was stressful but fun :) ) and they did such a great job! The service was great and it was good to see everyone on Christmas Eve.

After church we went over to Max and Erma’s for dinner. I was trying so hard to make the night as stress-free as possible, so having dinner without having to cook or clean-up sounded perfect! I tried to get us reservations at Bucca or La Scala, but they were booked. So I called Max and Erma’s a few days before to let them know that a party of 8 would be there Christmas Eve for dinner. I was really surprised when we pulled into the parking lot and it was pretty much empty! It’s weird that some restaurants were completely booked, but others were empty…not what I was expecting, that’s for sure! We ordered our dinner and poor Kylie’s stomach started hurting again…really bad. She laid down on the floor while we tried to eat our dinner as fast as we could. A server (not even ours) was really nice and brought her some ginger ale and crackers, which helped a little.

After dinner we came home and Kylie started feeling better, so we went over to my parents’ house so that the kids could open their presents from them. They had so much fun and got some really neat gifts! They got a really nice block set to play with there, the boys got Bobcat hats, Kylie got a microscope and piano book, Josh got a Brain Games book, a reading book, and an electric drum set, Ryan got a little drum set and an activity book. Colton got some Gerber Graduates food :)

After that we headed over to our house so the kids could open the presents from each other. The boys got their Bears outfits and huge inflatable goal posts. Kylie got her art set and her Monster High journal. And of course all the kids got their pajamas :)

After the kids went to bed, John and I exchanged our gifts as we normally do on Christmas Eve. I got him a Bears flag and a new cordless drill. He got me a Bose wireless speaker (that I connect with my phone when listening to Pandora or iHeart radio), my slingbox app and a memory card that has wifi in it so I should be able to upload pictures as I’m taking them.

The next morning Kylie and Josh came in around 5:30 AM and I told them they had to wait until it was light outside. At 7:00 they came back in (even though it was not light outside) and I told them that they had to wait until Ryan woke up. John and I got up and got some food ready, etc. and Ryan woke up around 7:30. My parents came over and the kids started opening their presents! Joshie got his iPod touch, little football helmets, sweatpants (the kid lives in them), a suitcase, a sleeping bag, and a new backpack. Ryan got little football helmets and tons of footballs, along with color changing cars. Kylie got a karaoke machine, shoes, a suitcase, a sleeping bag, a fashion design pad and a make-up case. All three of the kids got new sleds. Colton got a toy piano and a bath toy.

After the kids were done with presents, we took our time getting ready and headed over to my sister’s house for my family’s Christmas. We had a really nice brunch and opened some great presents. My sisters got me the necklace I had desperately wanted from Tiffany’s :) I think I’ve worn it almost every day since I got it :)

After presents we headed home and the kids stayed in the car while John and I switched out the presents. Opened ones inside, wrapped presents for his family in the car. Then we headed over to his sister’s house (after I made myself a huge glass of iced coffee…I was dragging!). We had a great Mexican-themed dinner and the kids had a great time playing with their cousins. We opened presents in phases while we waited for John’s brother and his wife to get there. Once they did, we had our big gift exchange. I really enjoyed this year because the kids pretty much drew each other’s names…Kylie drew Colton, Josh drew Ryan, and I drew Josh. I liked being able to get the kids extra gifts :) I got the bowl set I had wanted, along with a whisk and poultry shears (can you tell the theme of my Christmas list this year? :) ). Colton took a little nap while we were there, so he honestly was really good…I thought the day was going to be such a pain with him because of lack of sleep, etc., but it actually turned out to be totally fine! We finally left around 9:30. When we got home we all crashed! We didn’t even bring the gifts inside…just the kiddos :)

The next morning we got up and just started cleaning up the house. We put toys together, threw out boxes, and put toys away. It stunk because we literally spent the whole day doing this, but in the end, it made for a much nicer week not having to worry about all of it.

The rest of the week was wonderful! The only thing that stunk was that I had a stomach ache Tuesday and Wednesday, so I wasn’t able to fully enjoy my days off with the kids. And the whole family was supposed to go to the CJB game Tuesday night, but I just didn’t feel well. So instead, John, Josh and Ryan went with our neighbors. Kylie went out to dinner with my mom, and since Colton went down pretty early, I was actually able to rest for a while.

We stayed in pretty much the whole week, with the exception of eye doctor appointments and dentist appointments for the kids, which took three days to get through :) But there was lots of playing, resting and just not being busy!

John took some guys from church and went down to Athens for an OU basketball game on Friday. Unfortunately, one of the guys was sick and all the time in the car with him got to John and he woke up Saturday morning really sick. We were supposed to go over to the neighbor’s house for New Year’s Eve, but she was under the weather, so they cancelled. I decided that I was going to take whomever wanted to go with me to dinner at my favorite Chinese restaurant. It ended up being everyone (plus Kylie’s BFF Rachel) because John was feeling better. We really had a great dinner (outside of Colton screaming when he wanted something…not crying, just screaming to get attention – which I’m sure all those couples that were trying to have a romantic night out enjoyed). But when we got back home John crashed…he was out! So the kids and I played games, watched TV and made milkshakes. Ryan went up to bed fairly early and Kylie’s friend ended up falling asleep. Colton ended up waking up to eat right before the ball dropped, so I got to toast and kiss three of my kids at midnight :) After that I made beds on the couch for Kylie and Josh, fed Colton and put him back to sleep, and then crashed myself!

New Year’s day and Monday were more days to rest. John was still a mess Sunday morning so I took Ryan and Kylie to church. Our children’s pastor preached which was such a nice treat! We came home and I made John some homemade chicken noodle soup. Between the soup and the meatloaf we were having for dinner, I felt like I was cooking all day! John started feeling better and I even got a little bit of a nap. My dad came over for some meatloaf (of course…one of his favorites) and it was a great ending to New Year’s day. Monday we spent the day taking down some of the Christmas decorations and then had dinner at Mellow Mushroom with our neighbors (it was good to get out of the house, but it was FREEZING!).

Coming back to work was hard…I really had such a great time with the kids and Colton is at such a great age now that being home with all of them is not near as hard as it used to be. I couldn’t help but think about how much easier next year is going to be…I might actually get to take a few more naps :)