Friday, November 27, 2009

Few of My Favorite Things

My friend Joanna once again pulled through for us. The kids were not in the photo-taking mood last weekend, but Joanna was able to capture a few good shots.
Thursday, November 26, 2009

Let the Holidays Begin

Oma and Opa spent Thanksgiving Eve with us. The day consisted of us playing with the kids and catching up with each other. Taylor always loves it when we have company stay the night. Last night, my mom and I unpacked Taylor's pink Christmas tree and put it together. Last year after Christmas, I purchased some "princess" lights that were on clearance. After we got Taylor's tree up and decorated, I put her lights in her room and surprised her with them. She loved them, so does Landon. Guess I should buy some boy-ish lights like trucks or something so he can have a constant party in his room too. Poor boy loves to play with a pink kitchen set and pink strollers. Thanks to my friend Mindy who passed down some real boy toys for our little man. Now he has trucks and cars that are anything but pink.

Today we took our time lounging around, making crafts, and baking our goodies for our Thanksgiving dinner. We headed over to my in-laws and celebrated Thanksgiving there with my parents as well. It is such a nice treat to have all of the grandparents in the same place so that we don't have to split up the day and drive kids across town.

On our way home tonight, I was asking the kids what they were thankful for. Taylor said she was thankful for Christmas, and Landon said he was thankful for water. Ha ha! The kids make us laugh. Hank and I both told the kids that we are thankful to be their Mommy and Daddy. What a treat it is to be the parents to Taylor, Landon and Ryland!

The day was wonderful and relaxing, and it filled my yearly craving of a full traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Hard to believe this day has come and gone. Now it's time to prepare for Christmas. The kids are excited for Daddy to pull out all of the Christmas lights and decorations tomorrow.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Grandparents' Tea

Today was the annual Grandparents' Tea at Taylor's Montessori school. It wasn't a regular day of classwork. Instead, the school put on an open house for grandparents or special persons and had some treats for everyone. Taylor invited her Opa Lou, Oma Ingrid, Grandpa Don and Grandma Carol. They were able to watch Taylor "work" with some educational toys and meet the teachers.

From the photos above, I can see that Taylor brought "Laila" the stuffed bear with her to school today. "Laila" belongs to Grandma Carol, but Taylor has developed an affinity for the bear. Taylor named the bear after her baby cousin. It's quite cute.

So while Taylor spent the morning with her grandparens, who all love her dearly, I took the boys to Gymboree. Now we are all home hanging out and kicking off the Thanksgiving holiday.
Thursday, November 19, 2009

Krispy Kreme, Friends & the Flu

Wednesdays are the day when Taylor spends the afternoon with Grandma Carol, and I have the boys to myself. This Wednesday after we dropped Taylor off at school, I took the boys to Krispy Kreme. We enjoyed the yummy donuts and milk, and Landon watched the donuts being made. He was quite content the whole time we were there.

Wednesday was also the day that Taylor came down with the flu. Because I have a newborn and a son who has had respiratory issues, we felt it was best to keep Taylor at grandma and grandpas house to recover. While I felt horrible leaving my sick little girl last night, I knew she would have great care and the two boys would be protected. Thankfully this bug she caught was only a 24-hour thing and Taylor is starting to feel good again.

Today Landon played with his girlfriend Kalyn. It was funny how both of them ended up playing in just a t-shirt and diaper. We caught them sitting together on the kiddie bench so I had to take a picture. We will want to show them how cute they are in the years to come!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"I Miss Her Too"

Today as we were driving home, Taylor and I had this sweet, sweet conversation. (I have to record this on our blog for years to come!)

Taylor: Mom, is Jesus in heaven?
Me: Yep, that's where he lives.

Taylor: Is Lynette in heaven?
(Side note: Lynette is Hank's younger sister who tragically, unexpectantly died five years ago. We talk about Lynette often and even gave Taylor her middle name in honor of her Aunt Lynette. Even though Taylor never had the chance to meet her sweet auntie, we want her to know about her.)

Me: (trying to choke back tears) Yep, she's in heaven with Jesus.
Taylor: That's good!

Me: Yeah honey, it's good for her. But, we are still sad because we miss her.
Taylor: I miss her too!

Oh gosh, the flood gates are running again as I think of this sweet conversation we had today. For one, I am amazed that she understands that Jesus is in heaven. And two, she already knows it's a good thing to be in heaven with Jesus.

Sweet, huh?
Monday, November 16, 2009

Holiday Values

I am taking a free, online class that will walk me through how to make a unique holiday album for our family. The first assignment is to pinpoint the holiday values that I would like to focus on as a family and then strategically create goals based off of those values. The list of values was unending; however, I choose to pick out five that I feel we could implement this year. So here they are in no particular order:

1) family
2) tradition
3) decoration
4) rest
5) worshipful

Now here are the goals that I created based off of the values I highlighted:

1) During the holiday season, we will focus on our family time together. Shopping and purchasing gifts will not consume my time. Instead, simply being together will be our focus.

2) Our family will set 2-3 new traditions into place this holiday season.

3) Even though budgets are tight and our children are really young, we will still decorate our house, inside and out, to make this season of the year special.

4) During our days off together, we will make the most of every day and emphasize rest and relaxation as a family. We won't be attending every party if it will be more work for us in the end. The minutes together as a family are what are most important.

5) This holiday season is the perfect reminder that we need to sit back and focus on the reason for the season. It's not to acquire more gifts or to be more social, really it's all about a birthday party for someone special. We will attend church Christmas Eve as a family and recognize what Christmas is all about.

(So this was the assignment for Day 1. Even if you aren't taking this class, you could still think about the values and goals that you would like to implement this year for your family.)
Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day at the Park

This morning we took some bread to a local park and let the kids feed the ducks. We've taken the kids several times before and they really enjoy it. It can be a little stressful at when Landon runs after the birds but gets too close to the edge of the pond...or when Taylor pushes the stroller and doesn't realize she is on a declining hill...all is good though. No one was injured, and we all had fun!

After a quick nap, we then headed to a different park for Taylor's annual school picnic. The park was fun, the weather was perfect, and the food was yummy. We are all totally wiped out from our day. I love how it gets dark earlier these days and we can get the kids into bed early.
Friday, November 13, 2009

The Uphill Battle

The uphill battle with Taylor and naptime may have been won...or at least a truce has been set. As a mother of three, I have learned to handle just about anything. However, naptime drives me insane. I was just thinking last week, at what age will she not fight us to go to sleep...age 3 or 4? The difficulties of getting a kid to sleep sucks every ounce of energy out of me.

In addition to being sucked of energy and my patience being tested to the max, I was getting angry at Taylor and spanking her more often than not. I didn't like that and knew something had to change. So this week I asked God to help me deal with my high-energy, independent and strong-willed child.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Taylor did not take a nap. She laid in her room, played and talked to herself for about two hours each day. I was thinking, "Great, is she already outgrowing her nap...she's not even three yet!" I seriously thought I might go insane if that were the case.

Well, this week I had a bright idea. Something I didn't consider in the past because I thought Taylor was too young and couldn't manage herself. Once again, I was wrong. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I told Taylor that she didn't have to nap, but she did have to take a two-hour quiet time. I knew that she would most likely fall asleep, but giving her that option took out the battle of wills. My only rules were that she needed to be quiet (the kid likes to talk to herself and loudly might I add) and she needed to stay in her bed. I put a few books in bed with her and told her she could read until she got tired, but once she was tired she needed to put herself to sleep and NOT call out for mommy to do it.

The first day, she did jump out of bed once, but when I went to check on her, she was snuggling with her favorite blanket and laying in her bed. I was just amazed that this technique worked for one day. One day without a fight at naptime was HUGE. Now I can report that she has had three days in a row with putting herself to sleep when she is ready. Can I get a woot woot!

I think part of our "issue" with Taylor has been a battle of the wills and also she would get all worked up before naptime and it makes it even harder for her to fall asleep riled up...not to mention that she would throw a huge fit and wake up her brothers from their nap and that would make for one very unhappy mother.

Landon on the other hand goes to bed fairly easy. This week though, he did try to jump out of his crib. Hitting the hard floor taught him a valuable lesson: Don't do that ever again. Since then, he hasn't tried to be superman again. Thank God! I don't want to start up the naptime battle with him.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Kids' "Work"

At Montessori school, there are no toys...just educational pieces of work that the toddlers play with for at least one hour a day uninterrupted. So when Taylor is home, she often asks for work. When we had our parent/teacher conference last week, I asked Taylor's teacher what activities she really enjoyed so we could do them at home. Beading was at the top of the list. Who would have thought? I definitely didn't think my little two-year-old daughter was of age yet to do bead work. I guess I thought of it as an older girls hobby. Now she can bead with the best of them!

Taylor also enjoys spooning (transferring objects from one container to another with a spoon), so I thought Landon would like it too. He ends up eating half of the contents that he is spooning, so he likely ends up with cereal in his containers. Although Landon likes spooning too, he is only into it for about 3 minutes before heading outside to play in the dirt again. Such a boy!

And Ryland's work these days consists of playing in his baby gym. He just stares and smiles at the toys hanging above, but not swatting at them quite yet. It's hard to believe he'll soon be three months old!
Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Invisible Woman

I came across this video a couple years ago after I had Taylor and remember being greatly encouraged by it. However, a couple of years and a couple of kids later, I somehow forgot the important message of this video until today. This video was sent to me today from my mother-in-law. She must have known the timing was perfect for this gentle reminder. Thank you Carol! I hope all of you are blessed by the message as well. "The Invisible Woman" brings a powerful message of hope to every taken-for-granted woman in today's world. (Don't forget to pause My Playlist on the right side of the blog.)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Your Hands

This is my new favorite song. It kind of speaks to where I am right now. Listen to the video, I bet you will love it too!