Thursday, May 30, 2013

It Feels Like the End

Today was Megan's last day of preschool!!!  Even though the public school kids still have another week, we are calling this the official "Beginning of the Last Summer".  In 12 weeks, Megan will go to kindergarten and it will be the end of the "all children at home" era and the beginning of the "children in school" era.  It's kind've scary.  I'm wondering if I've taught her enough in the last five years and prepared her well for what lies ahead.  I'm not the only one, a good friend of mine said she also felt this way when her oldest went to school.  It's just that she'll now have more time away from home than HOME!  I ask myself -- what was I thinking the past 5 years?  But I have 3 children at home so I certainly haven't been neglectful.  I wonder if it's this way for everyone?  Of course I have more time, it just feels like a hefty milestone.  A mommy milestone.  Which the parenting books DO NOT talk about!

Anyway, enough whatever that is.   I completely neglected Chopper's 36th birthday last Saturday!!  It was pretty low-key though.  Presents (which the girls "helped" open -- he's such a good dad letting them help!!), barbeque (of course) and singing.  Lots of singing.

The girls have been playing in the pool lately -- hence the swim suits.  

Even Megan likes ribs.  Chopper is an EXCELLENT barbequer.  I don't think that's the word for it though. 

We were supposed to have 2 of Chopper's co-workers come for dinner but only one was able to make it.  But Almetra said it was totally worth it and we completely enjoyed having her!   

I  just had to post that Megan and Abby are both small enough to fit inside the toy bins.   

Oh and William is eating more.  Chopper and my dad gave him a blessing when my dad was here and that is literally the point at which he started to put things in his mouth.  The funny thing though is that it's all salty junk food -- chips, french fries.  Other things he's starting to taste but they mostly get thrown overboard.  Chips and french fries get EATEN. Hey, I'm just grateful he's eating!!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Preschool Graduate!

Today was Megan's end of preschool program!!  They didn't style it like a graduation -- the kids sang some songs and then they each received a certificate for the year but there were no hats or "ceremony" -- just short and sweet.

Megan was really excited because we all came -- Chopper took a few hours off of work and of course we brought the kids.  But in true Megan fashion, this is how the program went:

Exactly what we expected.  Her teachers had told me that she was doing really well in practice so I think she got crowd anxiety with all the parents there.

But we are really really proud of her.  I've saved some of her papers and things from the year but she's accomplished quite a bit:
1.  She has learned how to write her name and recognizes all the letters and most of their sounds.  
2.  She has picked up so much knowledge, even though I mostly hear it in snatches when she thinks I'm not listening.
3.  She has made friends and has been friendly to them when we've seen them in locations other than school.
4.  She was excited to go to school EVERY DAY and got herself completely ready in the morning to go.
5.  She explored many different ways to do art and this year when you asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up she changed her answer from "a mommy" to "an artist."  I know that many kids at this age change their ideas frequently and gravitate towards their interests of the moment but you can tell that Megan has put a lot of thought into this and made a decision.  And I think that she could do it if she wants to!!

She is very excited about kindergarten next year and we're going to do a little "summer school" to keep her practicing what she's learned.  I made some giant potholders for her teachers and Megan colored pictures on fabric for the back.  I forgot to take a picture of them!!  We gave them the presents today -- probably not the best timing in retrospect.  I wanted to tell her teachers how much I appreciate everything they've done for Megan but even thinking about it now I start to tear up!  I know that Megan can be difficult.  She can also be wonderful and I know that they did get to see that.  I am just really grateful for people who can love my child and teach and guide them because I simply cannot do it all and Megan is evidence of that!  I don't know that she'll remember them when she's older, but I will because they gave her a fantastic first school experience and I know that will make the difference as she moves ahead.

So thanks to Ms. Linda

and Ms. Joanna (Megan wouldn't pose for a picture with them)
for all they've done this year!!

Anyway -- dry my eyes and blow my nose.

We went to the Arboretum yesterday and finally got out of the sick house!  It was good for the girls but this morning my head feels like a pillow.  So I guess it's back to the house we go!

This picture cracks me up -- oh and our friend is nearly a year YOUNGER than Abby.  Micro Abby.

I had this horrible nightmare last night involving bugs and then downloaded this off the camera today.  Ironic that it was pretty enough to take a picture of . . .  

Attempted family picture -- William was tired and NOT in the mood to be put down.  I ended up holding him and pushing Megan in the stroller and walked at a snail's pace waiting for Abby because she was walking and eating at the same time.

Funny story -- our friend's daughter (only child as of yet) dropped an animal cracker on the ground and then picked it up and ate it, despite the protests from her mom.  Abby dropped her pretzel fish on the ground three times and each time I helped her pick them up and put them back in her bag to eat later.  Maybe it's the result of having 3 now.  Maybe it's knowing that Abby has put worse in her mouth.  But it struck me as funny -- and reminded me that I was the same way with Megan.  Funny how things change.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sick Days

Megan's fever broke today.  I suppose that's not news except that it started last Sunday!!!  6 days of fever!!!  So we've been home all week.  I ventured out once to the doctor, once to the store (desperation people) and once to the church to set up tables but I have been going stir crazy.  Even having preschool 2 days a week and playgroup 1 day has made our lives full enough that when they're missing, it seems like so much time to fill.  And honestly, with illness, we watch a lot of tv.

But I had to take video of William knocking over block towers.  Apparently it is the funniest thing EVER!  And I love his life when we really gets going.  Sorry for the shakiness and views mainly of the top of his head.  We were in the small space behind the couch and I couldn't really manuver away and still build towers for him.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Here's Some More!

There's been a request for more video of William, but again, this doesn't do him justice.  He's gotten the hang of the crawling really quickly and is now "chasing" the girls around.  Not very fast of course but for example today he kept crawling after Megan trying to get the book she was reading.  She finally sat on the couch and he was pulling up onto his knees to get to her.  He's shutting doors, playing with doorstops, and when Abby spilled her M&Ms on the floor, he took off and I had to grab him.  Not that he would have eaten them but he would have made a big mess and of course Abby would have been upset!

Another thing that he absolutely LOVES is to play with fabric over his head.  It started with playing peek-a-boo but has gone above and beyond what it ever went with the girls.  If he finds discarded clothes or burp cloths on the floor, they go on his head.  Blankets -- even better.
He really got a kick out of this plastic backed tablecloth today -- I think in part because of the crinkling.  Of course I realized halfway through the video that he really is putting plastic over his head, but he was completely supervised and afterwards I put it away and gave him a blanket.  Apparently that was not nearly as fun!  I know there's background noise (Megan's been sick so we've been watching movies), but I love how excited he is and how much laughing he does.  I really think that is his favorite thing in the world right now!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Why I Celebrate Mother's Day

Chopper already took me to dinner and bought me a chair for my reading nook (yay!) so even though Mother's Day is officially tomorrow, I guess I might as well post all the stuff about the kids that's an update on life -- after all, they're the reason I celebrate Mother's Day!!

William's feeding evaluation was on Friday.  He was seen by an occupational therapist, speech and feeding therapist, and dietitian.  In a nutshell, he's fantastic on everything but eating (and I have told myself that for FREE many times).  They are recommending feeding therapy once a week to overcome his oral aversions.  That means he doesn't like things on, around, or in his mouth.  Their suggestions for home include touching his face and lips with different textures of toys and utensils and giving him baby foods and other things of varied textures to simply play in and explore.

So yesterday he demolished cantaloupe and watermelon with his fat little fingers and today he scattered cheerios everywhere and ate a granola bar wrapper.  Which was interesting.

The bottom line though is not to force it at all -- force feeding will only make the aversions stronger.  They also said not to stop nursing him to get him "hungry enough" to eat real food.  This apparently does not work at all.  In other words, continue to nurse him every 2-3 hours a day and 2-3 times a night (because that's what he wants) until he decides to start eating.

I also have approximately 6 videos of William being SOOOOO close to crawling.  And then yesterday, he went for it!!  So you get one video of his actually crawling.  Right now it's just to get to toys -- he hasn't quite connected it to getting exactly what he wants throughout the house . . . yet.  But he's doing it!  And at 2 days shy of 10 months old, he's set the record in our house.

The girls have had a fun week:
Playing in the rain

Megan wanted to pose like this.  I'm not sure where she picked the idea up.

And then Abby wanted to pose like this, specifically with the grill.  Chopper loves this picture.

Friday night we went to a ward campout but didn't camp out.  We stayed and had dinner and the girls ran around with their friends, got filthy dirty, ate s'mores (Megan licked her fingers and said "this dirt tastes like chocolate" and then ran her tongue over her entire hand.  Disgusting.  Also why we don't really get sick in this house I think), and then made them come home to sleep in the backyard.  It was their first time sleeping outside and we weren't sure how they would do.  Plus I didn't really want to camp out with William and it was good thing since he threw up about 10 p.m. 

Anyway, Chopper stayed out with them.  He said Megan went to sleep fast but Abby kept talking about how scared she was and asking what every single noise was.  But eventually she dropped off and they did fine through the night.  I see more camping in our future!!

Abby with her puppy purse which she has apparently named "Michael."

Another pose from Megan.

At the top of this picture is a squirrel hanging upside down eating from a bird feeder.  At the bottom of this picture is an Abby trying to climb the tree to get the squirrel.

 Sweet William.

Giant spiderweb ball at the playground.  Megan went up just that far.  Abby almost fell out 4 times trying to go higher.

Believe it or not, Megan took this picture!

And this one.

 Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 6, 2013

I Get It

Last night I realized as I was saying my bedtime prayers that I am praying for children for completely different things.  And that each of those things was a prayer not just to change something about my children but to change or help something about me.  For Megan, it's helping her overcome her fears and anxiety.  For Abby it's teaching her what is appropriate and what's not.  And for William it's to eat!  Of course there are other things but those are the challenges that seem to predominate at this moment.  And after I finished it hit me what a juggling act it is to be a mom.  It's not just about physical juggling -- cleaning up the messes and breaking up the fights and giving love and attention and taking kids places and homework and etc. etc.  It's about juggling multiple personalities (my own sometimes!) and emotional reactions and strengths and weaknesses -- all for the kids.  And while they may just be working on one challenge at the moment, each child having just one challenge at a time means that I have three all at once!  And that's just for them!!

Interestingly, after having that epiphany I did NOT feel overwhelmed.  I felt kind've, exciting is the wrong word, but looking forward to the way these things will help me grow?  It's really hard to put into words.  Maybe that feeling of "I can do this -- let's go!" but without the excitement.  That probably doesn't make any sense.

I also think that it's one of the reasons that the Lord asks us not to limit our families.  What growth and opportunities do we miss out on if we choose a small family?  And I say that knowing that people might be mad at me for saying that.  And I'm not trying to judge others' decisions, I guess I'm trying to see the benefits of my own!

On Monday mornings we go walking with some friends.  The girls always start out great but about halfway through the walk we're lagging a little bit behind . . . and a little more . . . and a little more.  It turns into me walking alone with the kids and missing all the mom conversation -- every week.  I hope that the ladies I walk with don't dread it though -- not being able to go at the pace they maybe want to.  I really hope not -- because I still enjoy it.  And today we came upon an entire field of Indian Paintbrush flowers and I let the girls run around and play and I tried to take pictures of the kids.  But it was a beautiful morning and it was nice to take a moment and enjoy the beauty around us.

Because quite frankly, in Texas that beauty can be rather sparse!