Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Tree, Part 2 & Christmas, Part 1

Our finished Tree of Thanks (and pardon Audrey's unmatching orange socks, but the girl just wants to walk to the beat of her own drum ...)

Well, the Tree of Thanks was a big hit. The kids loved putting their leaves on, and I have to say, Chad and I enjoyed it too. We have so many things to be thankful for and God has blessed us in so many ways. I love that we have a holiday that reminds us of this!

We had a great day yesterday at my parents' house along with my brother and my uncle. We all went around and said what we were especially thankful for, as well as telling each person what we appreciate about him/her. We have that whole Swiss/German background thing, so sharing feelings doesn't happen a lot in our family, so it was particularly special. Unfortunately, I was too caught up in all the fun to think about taking pictures. So the only one I have is of the kids in their pj's before we headed home.

Here are my two crazy nut cases (I say that with love!):

So ... now that Thanksgiving is over, Audrey is, of course, in full blown Christmas mode. The other day she decided to deck the halls with some Christmas pictures that she drew.

Here is Santa ...

A manger scene ...

A Christmas tree ...

And last but not least, our musical snow globe, which Audrey has been begging to put up since ... October maybe?? It went up today!

Happy Holidays everyone ... I'm hoping I can just savor the Christmas season and not get caught up in all the rush!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

5 going on 10

This morning Audrey did a couple funny things that I thought I'd post, mostly so that I can remember them, and perhaps so someone out there can get a laugh.

We were sitting at the breakfast table. This morning Audrey woke me up and sang out "Breakfast is ready!" I was unsure what that quite meant, so out to the kitchen I quickly went. (I was hoping she hadn't attempted scrambled eggs or something!) Sure enough, Audrey had set the table, put dishes and food at each person's place that she knew they would want to eat, got out the vitamin bottles, laid out napkins, got out sippy cups ... she even filled Diesel's food and water bowl! It was really quite thoughtful and lovely of her! Anyhow, as we all sat to eat, I mentioned that since Carter is having a little issue with diaper rash (and loose stools, sorry -tmi, I know) that perhaps I shouldn't give him Raisin Bran. I said "I think it would be..." and Audrey ended my statement for me - "TOO much fiber, Mom." I looked at Chad and said - "What is she, 10 years old? How does she know about fiber??"

Then later, Audrey got out Chad's guitar and was "playing" it. Next thing I know, she has a big hat box opened next to her. I said "What is that for?" and she matter-of-factly replied "So people can throw money in it while I play guitar." Hil-arious! I threw a few coins in and she mentioned that really I should throw DOLLARS in. I said, "Don't push your luck. The tooth fairy already came this week and brought you a dollar..." Again, what is she, 10 years old already??

Funny kid.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Going, going, GONE!

Yup, it's official ... Audrey's first tooth is gone. Last night she was eating some popcorn and she came running up to me holding her tooth (and bleeding profusely from the mouth) and said "MOM, my tooth fell out!" After that initial excitement wore off, she was a little sad about her tooth being gone. I think since she's one of the first of her friends to lose a tooth, she feels a little self-conscious. But then we put it under the pillow, the tooth fairy came with $1, and it was all good.

Of course we have to make crazy faces.

By the way, this has happened BEFORE the Christmas pictures get taken, which I am actually excited about - what better way to commemorate this significant event in the life of a 5 year old? :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Things that make you go hmmm....

Today when I was putting on Carter's coat, I noticed a pocket inside for an MP3 player.

For a 2 year old???

By the way - Audrey's coat has one as well ... with special slots for earbuds.

Can't we just let them be little???


Kids Activities

I have this second career. It involves chauffeuring my daughter to birthday parties. It has become, like, an every other weekend activity lately. It also involves a financial investment, so the presents have been getting cheaper and cheaper. (Sorry if you have invited Audrey to a party and received a smaller present but we are trying to live on a budget ....)

Anyhow, at this last party, I got talking to the other moms, and the conversation turned toward kids' activities. One mom was talking about gymnastics and pee wee sports, another was talking about ballet, swimming lessons, and virtual golf lessons (virtual golf? "what is that?" I wanted to ask ...) They then turned to me - what is Audrey in?

Fortunately I do have that once-a-week art class that all four of her grandparents gave her for her birthday .... but other than that? She's in preschool. For me that's enough. I'm wondering - how many things should a 5 year old be "in" anyhow?

It amazes me how busy kids are these days, even preschoolers! I certainly don't begrudge anyone for involving their kids in some lessons or classes, I think it's great to expose kids to different opportunities if you can, but I just wonder - what ever became of playing? The mother who was talking about virtual golf has her kids in school 4 mornings a week, said that every Friday they go to a museum or zoo or something, and on weekends go out for other activities... my question was - how do they have time for all this? When do they get to just color and imagine and run around like banshees, just for the fun of it?

I certainly want my kids to have the opportunity to try new things and learn new skills. I actually wish I could involve them in a few more activities, like swimming lessons and the like. But I also want them to learn how to entertain themselves, and imagine great things, and have time to play with other kids in an unstructured kind of way. Maybe this seems selfish - but I also really don't want to spend my days running around from one thing to the next like a chicken with my head cut off. Honestly, I feel like a worse parent when I am on the run too much. I don't think things through, I react too quickly, and I snap too easily. So I kind of feel like it's better for all of us to limit the number of formal activities with which we get involved.

Maybe that makes me a lame mom, but I feel that it makes me a mom who is more available - with the freedom to take walks with the kids or bake cookies together or read books or play Chutes & Ladders. Not that I do these things every day! But I can.

Besides, at least I do spend every other Saturday driving to birthday parties ..... :)

What about you? Are you a "more the merrier" mom in respect to kids' activities or are you more of minimalist when it comes to getting them involved in outside activities? I'd love to hear other opinions on this subject ...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Loose Tooth

Big update in the life of Audrey ... I think she is about to lose her first tooth! She can literally wiggle it with her tongue.

She keeps going back and forth on how she feels about this new development. Some days she wails "I don't want my tooth to fall out yet!!" but then the next day she says kind of proudly "I think my tooth is going to fall out today, Mommy!"

It is a wonder that Audrey has her top front teeth at all, really. When she was three she ran into our kitchen island and knocked one of them loose. I took her to the dentist, who declared - "well, it may tighten up again, but I predict it falls out within the next 6 months." I was mortified! Who wants their little girl to spend 2-3 years toothless?? (especially when said tooth is right up front and center!) But it ultimately did tighten up and I breathed a big sigh of relief. (Not that a missing tooth really matters in the scheme of things, I just didn't want her to feel embarrassed.)

Well, now that losing a tooth would be age appropriate, I am trying to hype it up for her. However, my dilemma is this: I have the kids scheduled to get pictures done on November 21. And she might look like a hillbilly. . . but at least she will be a cute little hillbilly in a pretty dress! :) Can the tooth hold out for one more week??? Stay tuned for new developments ....

PS - Her other top front tooth is also loose (although not nearly as loose as the other one) ... perhaps she will be singing "All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth" ;)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

New Family Traditions

So ... I was lovingly scolded by a friend into writing something new on my blog. :) Especially since my facebook status revealed that I was feeling "semi-organized" this week... It was, however, a busy week. On top of the usual weekly activities, our nights were busy as well. On Monday night Chad had an elder meeting at church, Tuesday night we had our small group, and on Wednesday night I hosted a "jewelry party" for my friend Diana, who is a Premier Designs consultant. It was a lot of fun, and for once I didn't get all stressed about the preparations, and whether my floor was clean enough, or the food was plentiful enough. Mostly, it was pretty easy! The best part is that I earned $350 in free jewelry. I can't believe that. I think I will get myself a watch (since mine is broken) and maybe I can do a little Christmas shopping too. Or then again, maybe I will just turn into Mr. T and wear massive amounts of cool jewelry ....

Anyhow, I thought I'd share about a new tradition for our family. Throughout the month of November, I wanted the kids (and Chad and I too, for that matter) to think more about their blessings and all they have to be thankful for. So I constructed a "Tree of Thanks" for our living room. Audrey helped me cut out colorful leaves from construction paper, and each day we all write down on a leaf something we are thankful for, and place it on the tree. By Thanksgiving day, our tree should be full of all the blessings God has graciously given us. Audrey especially is having great fun with this. She is also "helping" Carter think of things he is thankful for. (His first one was "Audrey", hmmm ...) But it has been kind of fun thinking about what Carter might say he is thankful for, if he could really talk ... ceiling fans, the letters "X", "A" & "O", the cat, stars .... all some of his favorite things!

Our Tree of Thanks. In its early stages obviously ... I'll have to post a picture of how it looks at Thanksgiving

We have also started having "movie night". Movie night has never been possible for us until recently, mainly because Audrey didn't really care to sit and watch a whole movie. But lately she enjoys picking out a special show for us all to watch together. Of course, this involves popcorn and water and lots of pillows and blankets. The funny thing to me is that while Audrey only recently would sit through a whole movie, Carter seems quite happy and content to watch a movie at age 21 months. (As Chad said the other day, he appears to be our couch potato child ...) He got up a few times to play, but he kept coming back to sit with me and eat some more popcorn. Last night we watched the Curious George movie, and the week before we watched Mary Poppins. Mary Poppins appears to be a favorite because Audrey has been walking around singing "Let's Go Fly A Kite" and "A Spoonful of Sugar" incessantly ... Carter tries to chime in but he mostly sings a word or two here and there! :) I personally LOVE movie night because the kids are happy to eat popcorn and watch ... and the grown-ups are happy too, whether they're really watching the movie or sneaking a little nap in while they have the chance .... (see photo below!)

Audrey kept saying "Wake up Daddy! You're missing it!"

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A good use for an old pumpkin ...

The other morning I caught this little squirrel on our front step. He (she?) was perched on top of the pumpkin, taking big bites out of it, and then chewing the big piece from his scrawny little paws. It was kind of cute to watch, now that Halloween is over (and the pumpkin is rotting anyway).... but I wasn't so thrilled to find him taking big bites out of our pumpkin 2 weeks ago before it was carved!!

[Sorry for the blurriness. I took this picture through our screen door.]

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween Fun

We had a really fun Halloween. I think having it fall on a Friday made it even better since no one had school the next day. A number of us neighbors decided kind of last minute to have a potluck dinner/parade before trick or treating. I offered up our driveway since it's kind of in the middle. Everyone brought something to share and it turned out to be great fun for adults and kids alike! (And we sneakily got all the kids to actually eat dinner ... although I kept finding Carter carrying around cupcakes and cookies ... little sneak!) I think this might just have to become another tradition!
The whole gang

My little dinosaur ... still waking up from his nap, and not too sure how he feels about wearing a costume!

My little unicorn with her "very scary", self-designed pumpkin :)

Still not sure he likes this costume thing ... (but he sure looks cute in it!)

Audrey and Emma

Couldn't resist the cute hineys shot

A knight and Batman (aka Nathan and Thomas)

Getting ready to parade to the music "Celebrate Good Times" (Audrey's choice!)

Again, so thankful for all the great memories, the great neighbors, and the chance to enjoy it all as a family!