Sunday, September 26, 2010

The end of a Decade...

Seriously, how is it that I'm at the end of a decade. Tomorrow I suddenly wake up with a new number in front of a zero. wow. Oh well - it's just another number! And to be honest... life is so full and we are having so much fun that the big 4-0 is just a bilp on the radar.

But I think that this whole month has been full of birthday surprises - last weekend we headed to the lake for a weekend with friends - so fun. This weekend Tom managed to surpise me several times, and it's not even my birthday yet. :^)

But to help me end the decade with good memories - Nicole has learned to drink from a straw! Yeah. We've been working on this for awhile, and she's done it before. But as with all things new, some days she sucks and some days she just chews - whatever suits her mood. But today the tide turned and she's started using a straw cup. Woohoo! You just can't imagine (ok, I know many of you can), the freedom of knowing that wherever you are, you can hand your child a cup of water and they are set. yipee! That's a great birthday present from Nicole!

Last weekend the birthday celebration began with a trip to the Lake with Natalie. A few other friends joined us and that made it all the more fun.

Megan and Olivia on the little tubes.

Even Nicole got to enjoy the water a bit!

She loved having her buddy, John Marshall there for some little person company.

And of course, I spent a lot of time on the tube with Megan and Olivia.

John Marshall took these boat rides as opportunities to catch some ZZZZ'a.

Oh yeah - and I tubed more (did I mention that I had to go to the chiropractor twice last week).

Nicole enjoyed her rides on the boat as well.

At least my sweet girl loved the boat... as long as mommy was close by!

Let's just say that fun was had by all - the little kids and the big kids!!!

Nicole once again was glad that baby Emma joined her on the boat. Baby girl power - all the way!
Tom had his tubing time with the big girls too.... he taught them lots of water stunts!

And a trip to the lake is just not complete without a trip to the marina for ice cream!

After some ice cream, even John Marshall got in on the boating action....

And that let my friend Patrece get her bid in for mommy of the year with her daughter Olivia.
Nicole thought the excitement was just too much!

John Marshall agreed!

When all was said and done it was a great pre-birthday weekend getaway!

What fun memories to end out this decade!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Kings Christmas List by Eldon Johnson, Illustrated by Bonnie Leick

I recently received a copy of The Kings Christmas List by Eldon Johnson to review from Thomas Nelson Publishers. The story begins with a little girl, Emma, and her dog, Shu-Shu. They receive an invitation to the King's birthday party. They face a dilemma of what kind of present do you take to the King? After selecting the most prized presents, they set off to attend the party. Along the way, Emma encounters families with needs and her gifts end up being given away as she makes her way to the castle. One she arrives, she realizes that she is coming to the Kings birthday party empty handed. However, the King assures her that she has come with the best present ever - a willingness to give and serve others (based on Matthew 25:40). The story ends with the reminder that by stopping to love others and share the things that are dear to us, we show others what God's love looks like.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to sharing this with my children as Christmas draws near. I think the beautiful illustrations and the way the author used Emma's childlike gifts, will help children understand that giving occurs on so many levels. Without a doubt this will spur my daughter to give from her heart so that others will see Jesus this Christmas. I am so excited to see what elements of giving this will bring into our family this Christmas season. I would recommend this book to any parent wanting to keep Christ the focus of Christmas. This book definitely provides a jumping off point for a family to discuss the real meaning of Christmas and how we can show God's love to the least among us.

Disclosure of Material: I received this book free from the publisher through book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

Monday, September 20, 2010

THE Vest

Yesterday was THE day...
THE day when Megan got THE vest!
THE vest that we've been anticipating all week....


First they sang and went over their verses (see Megan on the front row - all into the action). Then the time came - the prized Cubbie vest!
And how could I forget the Cubbie bag!?! With our Cubbie book in it!!!!
Megan was so excited that she asked if we could read it for her bedtime story.
Oh my sweet little bear cub! (actually she's my sweet little luvy lamb)

And what is a successful night of Cubbies without the "I got my vest" victory dance?
Awana is a new thing for me, but I have to admit - it's fun.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Life Check-in

So...... how are we doing over here? It's hard to believe it's September.... I'm rapidly approaching my birthday - hitting the big 4 decade mark. That's kinda wierd to think about but life is so full and wonderful, it's nothing but another fun birthday in my mind. I get to start celebrating starting this weekend... more posts on that to come!

But life continues to move forward and the girls are getting so big. I've had a few folks near and far ask how things were going on a couple of "kid" issues - so for my own record keeping here are some updates...

School: Megan loves school. I think she wishes she could go everyday - but I'm not ready for that! Nicole loves going to pick megan up at school in the afternoons. When that van door opens for her to get in, Nicole is all smiles and chatters. Her teacher loves it.

Sleeping: Megan is still napping - but she's started to skip a few. It makes for a grumpy evening usually, but she can do it on occassion. Nicole... oh Nicole...... my not "easy" 2nd child. Let's just say that I get to spend quality time with each child every day.... since Nicole is trying to drop her second nap and just take one... which is not when Megan naps. So - mommy gets NO naptime downtime currently. That's been a little exhausting. I think that Nicole still needs that 2nd nap, but she ends up staying up later in the morning before her first nap and then if she had a 2nd nap it would be at 5:30.... so we just keep her very very occupied till after dinner and put her down early. Both girls are sleeping until about 7:30am now.
Potty talk.... well, we are starting to work on night time dryness. To be honest I'm not really rushing this one. Mostly because Megan is hysterical if she wakes up with wet pj's (or has a random naptime accident). I was a late bed wetter (secret is out) so I'm not pushing her. We are keeping a chart for dry days and she'll go a week being dry in the morning, and then the next week she'll be wet everyday. There's no rhyme or reason. So - we'll keep tracking it and slowly Megan will hopefully move to being all dry all the time. Poop.... I think this will always be an issue.
Food... Nicole is on solids and loves it!
So.... that's just alittle of life here. All is well and we are having a great time learning and growing together!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Beep Beep - new tooth on board!

Watch out - look who's on the road!
Megan has enjoyed letting Nicole be the new driver of her convertible. Big sister is making sure she knows the rules of the road...

And Nicole is just loving the wind blowing through her wild and crazy hair!

And that cute little smile has a new tooth. Nicole's 8th tooth has popped through. But her gums are swollen and I can see a few more that look to be working their way up. Wow!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Maybe One Day

While we were in Minnesota, we ventured across the street from Grandma and Papa's house to watch a rousing game of golf.... OK - so it was one hole of fun. We waited till we saw Tom and Papa approaching the 11th hole and walked on over so that Megan could see her Daddy's skills close up. Uncle Dan was giving her the play by play on thier shots.
Then she got to be Papa's lucky charm - she got to hold his club while he went in for his putt.
Oh yeah - she's got GOLFER written all over her!

Maybe one day Daddy will get to be her caddy!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Some Firsts

Tonight is Megan's first night as an Awana Cubby! I just had to put this picture of her with the picture she drew of Uncle Dan. She wanted to make a portrait of him teaching - to help him through his first week of school.

And... Nicole got her first black eye.
Yeah - you know that fall she took and bruised her cheek (last post)... well she woke up the next morning with a shiner. Great.
But it's not slowing her down. She's still trying to figure out how to get her feet under her and cruise around. I now understand why they sell those rubber table edge covers. Nicole would love nothing more than to stand there and chew on the table.... ok, that's a new one for our household.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

School of Hard Knocks!

Our little pumpkin is in the crawling school of hard knocks! The past 3 days she has had major face plants --- all on the same cheek. Now it's covered in a huge bruise. Poor Thing!!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Behavior Update and the Grocery Store

The past few weeks have been a little stressful in our household. Our big girl has had some moments of being a little too big for her britches! It's dropped me to my knees more than just a few times. One moment she wants to be fiercely independent and the next she wants to hang on my leg (literally) because she's scared to be left alone in a room. Her attitude has needed some adjustments and we've had to do some remedial lessons on obeying and honoring your parents. To say it's been the "trying threes" is really an understatement.

But let's be honest - she's a sweet and delightful little girl... One who is still learning about boundaries, rules, the "chain of command", and how to deal with disappointment. After all, do any of us really like hearing "No!"? So after 2 weeks of really being extremely consistent and very very very firm, we are starting to see some of our sweet and caring little girl returning. The all out screaming fits have gone from 10-15 a day to 1 every other day. The yelling NO at us has decreased significantly! Her bad attitude has mostly been replaced with a happy and joyful heart.

We've always tried to be consistant and firm with Megan. She's a strong willed little girl who will take your inch and turn it into 2 miles (like most 3 year olds). But this latest battle of wills threw me for a loop. Many many tears were shed over how to deal with this disobedience and how to get to the heart issue of what was going on. About 4 days into it we realized the discipline we had been using (time outs and spanking) were just NOT working this go around. So we implemented the "Rosemond tantrum technique" - which for Megan was basically exile to her room. The worst day started with 5 spankings before 10am... then we got home from breakfast :^) and she was sent to her room. She couldn't get herself in control so she ended up in there through lunch and into the afternoon. That was the turning point. She knew we were serious and started working a little on controling her anger. Now... upon really disecting the situation, I realized that her behavior really went haywire the very day that Nicole started crawling. Perhaps it was a coincidence, perhaps not. At any rate, once we had the majority of the "bad" behavior under control - we started on some positive reinforcements of her good behavior. Now all this said - the premise behind all this is that Jesus helps us to choose how to react. Today we had a HUGE moment when Megan walked over to me and said, "mommy can I have some time with you, I'm feeling really disappointed." I about cried. It was so wonderful to hear her voice a need for a little extra mommy time verses stomping, screaming and exile to her room.

One of the other things that has really helped is keeping her focused and busy. So our special adventure today was to go grocery shopping..... Megan was the shopper!She was all prepared with her little grocery list!And as we found the items on her list, she marked them off. What a diligent little shopper she was!!! So serious and making sure we had everything we needed.
And when the list was complete - she did a happy dance!
Ok, so the dance was really because she knew that we were making cookies after naptime.
Not that preschool has started back, we've been able to work on our schedule. On non-school days, we have special "mommy school" during Nicole's first nap. This has been great this week and it gives her special one on one learning time. She begs for it throughout the day - mostly because we have games and learning toys that ONLY come out during mommy school. On school days, we have mommmy school time before she leaves (we are up at 7am most days) for school or right after she gets home. It's nice to be able to have that time with her every day during Nicole's nap. She has a new chore chart and some positive behavior charts - we are still working on making them more "doable" with our normal day.
But I'm thrilled to say that we've had a few good days. Megan finally earned a video today (we've been tv free for 2 weeks). It's nice to see hard work pay off with a happy child.

Happy Belated Birthday Granddad

We love you Granddad!
Happy Belated Birthday!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mall Of America

Our trip ended with a special treat for Megan - a girls day out.... a trip to the Mall of America in Minneapolis. She spent the beginning of our time there in shock - an amusement park in a mall.... whoa!
But then she saw an old buddy....It was Pablo - one of the Backyardigans! And suddenly the reality set in - hey- an indoor play place. Awesome! We got a pass and had some fun!
Auntie Dawn was a trooper and even rode the big rigs with Megan. She was a crazy driver - but everyone got off safely.
Nicole was too little to ride anything - but she took in the sites. There was a lot to look at - so add in some munchies and she was good!
Megan and I hit the big swings. I was worried that once it started, Megan would be scared and want off.... Silly me! She's a little daredevil and loved every minute of it!

I tried to get a picture of the center of the mall... this totally does not do it justice. It is enormous. I'm not sure how many stories it is - but imagine a roller coaster (several actually) inside the middle of a mall. And then add in that blue thing that goes upside down (there are several of those types), a huge ferris wheel, a bunch of kids rides - the swings we were on is on the other side, you can't even see them in this picture. It's amazing. The mall also has an aquarium in it. Once Nicole is old enough to ride some rides - we are going back and getting full passes and we'll do it all!
Here is comes....
See the roller coaster coming down from the top left...
Megan so did not want to leave. I was prepared for a huge battle... but thankfully we saw Blue and that distracted Megan enough that we were able to get out without a huge scene.

But, that's not all the mall had to offer!!!!!
Megan has reached the age of Build A Bear. They have a huge store there - so Megan picked out a special friend to love on!
She had a blast stuffing her bear and filling him with love!
And Nicole could not be left out of all this fun. BAB now has "hypoallergenic" bears that are "baby friendly." Basically that means, the eyes and nose are embroidered on - no nose to bite off as a choking hazard.

She loved on that bear - he was pretty wet by the time we got to the stuffing station.

Megan made sure to love on her new friend (BeBe) as well as her old one (snowball) on the way home.

Of course, Megan also picked out a few outfits for both the bears... here they are - "sister bears" as Megan calls them.

Thanks Auntie Dawn for our fun girls day out! We all loved it!

Now Megan has had her introduction to the fun of an amusement park... she's all ready for a trip to Disney!!!!!!