Thursday, February 27, 2014

What are they thinking?

Prize to the best caption for each picture.  (Except there really are no prizes.)  This was Charlie's 1st birthday.  He thought the whole thing was weird.  Maybe he's thinking, why don't I get a cake like everyone else?  Or, what do you expect me to do with that strawberry on fire?  It was a totally uneventful night.  We got him a carseat and strawberries.   We'll make it up to you in the future Charles...  Charlie is walking everywhere, starting to talk (his first word was 'ball') and he loves music and starts dancing immediately, which for him is just bouncing up and down!

Sam's truck and little driver attached.  Pinewood Derby ya'll.

Carmel popcorn 2x, Cheesy JalapeƱo popcorn, coconut oil popcorn, everything candy popcorn, spicy oil popcorn, and regular popcorn.   Stayed out with my friends until 3am and it was worth it!  


We have a music alarm that we wake up to.  The last few days Pat has me waking up to this song by Lionel Richie.  It really makes me miss him.  Pat that is.  Lionel too I guess.

Monday, February 24, 2014

There's some things...

...that Pat is so much better at than me.  Last night I watched him work magic with Charles.

He laid him down fully awake and taught him to go to sleep on his own.  And it didn't involve any crying.  Pat got Charles to the point that he is learning how to put himself to sleep, and last night he never even woke up and came into our bed! 

Sorry, but for me, this major news, getting a good nights sleep!!! 

In other breaking news, Leia came out and just told me what it sounds like when she goes potty.  She said, "My potty says, Choy, Choy, Choy, Choy...", and then she laughed and laughed at how silly her potty is.  "It always says that!", she laughed again, doubled over.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Charlie's Death Defying Feats and other news

It's that time of life when my kitchen floor is never clean because someone is equally a food eater and a food thrower/smearer.  But who am I kidding, my floor is never clean.  Everyday we sweep up the amount of an entire meal.

Charlie has scared the living daylights out of me lately.  He has started walking and therefore being able to reach things he hasn't before.  He has smashed his fingers in drawers he can now open, pulls things down on himself, and touched the hot stove while chasing after a balloon which led him carefully around the barricade.  He has swallowed something I was silly enough to give him to play with, and keeps us constantly chasing after him so he doesn't eat anything else!  My poor baby.  Luckily nothing serious has happened and he is happy as can be.  One of his favorite things to do is throw all his food off of his tray and watch me react.  I sing the matchmaker song from Fiddler on the Roof, but change it to mess-maker

He has been sleeping with us lately because he got so sick after Christmas he needed antibiotics to clear out his sinuses to be able to breathe, so we had to keep a close eye on him while he got better for 3 weeks.  Then he got another flu right on the heels of the first.  (So glad I got him the flu shot.)  So, once it all cleared up I tried teaching him where his bed is again for nap time (it's just two feet from our bed), but he was not having it.

So one day, I just decided to let him scream until he fell asleep.  I hate that, but when the parents can't get a good night sleep, and babies don't take their naps for weeks, (unless you lay down with them) it affects everything negatively.

But he won. After 45 minutes of hearing it, I couldn't do it anymore.  He had never even laid down! 

So the next day I did it again, and he won again.  Charlie 2- Mom 0.

The third day, I was not going to lose.  But suddenly I heard him crying right at the bedroom door.  I slowly opened the door and there he was- unbelievably out of his crib and across the room.  He must have launched himself head first out of his crib.  That's the best I can figure.  You see this crib below, right?  How did he do it?!  I still don't know!  Now I lay him down on the couch and even though you would think that is less safe, he stays asleep because he feels like he's with us, and so, at peace.   Charlie 3- Mom- 0.  You win Bear.

These two are so cute together.  Charlie is always taking her stuff and ruining her games by smashing through them, and she just exclaims brightly, "Oh my goodness!"

We had a couple warm days this last week so we went and had a picnic at a park in Albuquerque.  It was so nice to be in the sunshine and sitting on grass!  Charlie felt like he'd traveled to another planet.  He took off walking all over the park.  He loved it.  Daisy loved it too!

Sam has been having a difficult year at school.  His teacher left after the first quarter and they combined the two 4th grade classes into one.  He loved his teacher and she loved him so this has been very difficult.  But he's been doing okay, has friends, (mostly his best friend Tyler), and is getting all A's.  We are just about to finish the 3rd quarter with only one left.

Sam, Evan, and Leia in front.
Unfortunately though, he is just a number now to a very overwhelmed teacher.  We have been trying to teach him that he can do hard things, etc.  But every single morning it is a huge struggle to get him to go to school.   It is so draining that some days I'm exhausted for the entire day after getting him off to school.  In the beginning I'd make his lunch for him when he was having a bad day, but then every day was a bad day.  So I told him I was done and if he didn't get ready on time he just wouldn't get to have lunch, or just wouldn't get to eat breakfast, etc.  So some days he went to school  like that, but more often, his older brother Dallas would feel sorry for him and go pack up his bag.  It is a very kind thing to do, but I had to tell Dallas to stop and let Sam feel the consequences of not getting ready.

Then I started to hear him.  He had no reason for not wanting to be at school- at least not that he could put into words.  He said he doesn't like leaving me.  I started wondering...  maybe he has anxiety?

I had emailed his teacher to tell her he'd been having a hard time and to look out for him on a particularly bad day and she never emailed back.  I thought it strange that she never emailed back since I had asked if she was observing anything that might be causing him to cry every morning, and have anxiety. 

Three times she told me it was his turn to recite a poem in front of the school and three times I went to hear him and he got all prepared, but it turns out she was wrong.  Finally the fourth time she rescheduled it, he did it.  She's just busy I thought.  It's hard having two classes!

But I started going to observe his classroom and for most of the day, his teacher has them separated into two different classrooms (class A and class B) and goes back and forth teaching one at a time.  An aid sits in Sam's room while his teacher is gone with the other class.  Every time I came in to observe they were without a teacher just doing busy work (Shrek crossword puzzle), or nothing at all because they'd been given a half an hour just to copy down their homework from the board and Sam can do that in less than 5 minutes.  The kids walk back and forth between the two classrooms constantly because they have stuff here and there and it seemed chaotic.  Kids need their own desk and their own space!  This was not what we signed up for.  I have now made him endure 3 quarters and it seemed silly to take him out of school when there are only 3 1/2 months left, but it also seemed pointless to make him continue doing this.

So I pulled him out of school.  It has been the best decision.  He is sad about not getting to play with Tyler, but he sees him at scouts and church so that's 2x a week still.  He is so happy and our house is so much more peaceful now.  No yelling and crying to start each day!  He gets up for scriptures before school still with all of us, but now he's excited, helps everyone, does any school work I give him without complaining and we are having a great time.  In case you're wondering how the other boys are taking it, they are fine.  Their classrooms are actually fun and busy and so they are enjoying life, and they understand since Sam's teacher left that he's in a unique situation.

Here's how it went one day when I was at the school to observe Sam:

Sam's classroom- doing a test or something- nothing to see- so I went to Evan's class

Evan's classroom- His teacher is dressed up as nurse Clara Barton, the 'angel of the battlefield', come to the future in a time machine.  She is teaching them about being medical personnel in a civil war field hospital.  She is amazing and never breaks character.  Evan was a soldier who broke his leg and they carried him to be amputated.  He ended up on crutches. Then they made signs asking for more help at the hospital for the wounded soldiers.  They went and placed the posters all over the "town" (school halls).  Then they came back and had a North vs. South facts quiz.  They had a flag in each hand, one for the North and one for the South and Clara would say a fact like, "This side had many natural horsemen and experience using rifles in their upbringing" and the kids would hold up the correct flag whether is was North or South.  If you held up the wrong flag you were out. Evan almost won!

Back to Sam's classroom- They're just sitting there.  I mouth to Sam, 'What are you doing?' and he shrugs his shoulders.  So I go to see Dallas's class.

D's classroom- perfect timing!  Right when I get there his group is going up to recite their 13 stanza poem Casey at the Bat.  They are dressed up as baseball players and Dallas is Casey- acting out the poem as they all recite.  He helps a girl with learning difficulties to remember her lines with encouraging looks and smiles.  They get 100%.  Awesome!

Back to Sam's classroom- they are still without a teacher, copying their homework from the board.  Then they spend forever packing up to go home.

As you can see- a huge difference.  I have no bad feelings for his teacher.  She is handling it better than most would be able to.  But she simply has too much.  My other boys are always doing really neat things, they always have a new poem to memorize (Dallas is now memorizing the Gettysburg address!), report to write or project to do.  Sam never has anything.  His teacher is just getting along with no frills.  It's no ones fault, just the situation, and hey, I can do better than that at home.  I waited for the third quarter parent teacher conference hoping to sense some regard for Sam, but I felt like his teacher didn't know him or have time to know him.  The principal was quite sorry and kind and understanding. *smile*

And I figure Sam has learned to do hard things.  He had never gone to school before and he did wonderfully!  He has overcome many challenges.  In addition to losing his favorite teacher, and getting used to a huge class and craziness, he was the first to be taken from his 4th grade class and put in with the advanced 5th graders (he looks so small compared to them!) and he told me, "The day I started math with the 5th graders I was so scared I was shaking", and yet he gets A's.  Dallas is in 5th grade (though he goes to the advanced 6th grade math), and the kids thought Sam looks so much like Dallas that they called him the quiet Dallas.  There are some things Sam needs to work on (like being more friendly and outgoing to everyone), but he has a lot of school years left to get through and I'm sure he'll learn what he needs to, hopefully under better circumstances.  
There's a funny story about this.

He was well liked in his class- lots of kids were really sad he was leaving, and that made me sad!  Especially his friend Tyler and Owen.  We went after school let out to collect his stuff, but still some kids saw him and were sad and hugged him!   They even sent home a bag of all his Valentines candy.

But now he's home and life is good.  In fact, in addition to the basics, he's been helping me to fill in this genealogy chart, and we are going to research each person and see what we can find out about them and make a book!  I really appreciate his diligence and enjoy doing school with him.

New Subject: Since I spent all night on Valentines at a youth dance, Pat was sad when the next morning I had to get up early to help run the Young Women's Basketball for the Stake.  So he and Leia and Charles came with me!!!!  It made me so happy!  And he helped me run the score board, which I needed since it is an electrical device.

Daisy is Four!

Daisy has a birthday right after mine.  She is four now!  She woke up to pink balloons (what else) and oatmeal, and lots of people saying Happy Birthday!  I didn't think she'd make it to her birthday.  She would see gifts get delivered to our door and then get told she couldn't open them for days and it was pure torture!

This is one of my favorite cakes I've ever made because I love these colors! Red Strawberries, pink and orange frosting, with yellow and white whip cream daises all over!  She picked chocolate for the inside.

After breakfast we got her dressed up for her birthday.

Watch Charles in the background.  He's about to do something pretty cool...

He is a walker now!!!!! He'll be 1 year old soon as his birthday is right after Leia's.

They both got new carseats because both carseats broke.  Well Leia's was still okay, but it was all jacked up since we originally bought it for Dallas.  That was a loooong time ago.
Then we went to see Frozen.  All I can say is Wow.  I haven't seen a Disney movie I've loved this much since- well, I don't know when!  Maybe Beauty and the Beast?  But I loved this more.  The music was amazing, I loved the setting, the clothing (before Elsa changed), the hair, the colors, everything!!!  We hardly ever go to the theatre to see movies but this was worth it!

The car ride home after Frozen.

Back at home Leia wanted to eat pizza, so we made pizza.  Then while we cleaned up, we put on dancing music and danced!

Then FINALLY we got to open up the presents!

Charlie hated this hat.

Cute gifts!

Blowing out the candles.

Playing with the gifts!  It was a great birthday!! 
We really love this dear girl of ours.  There is something really neat about her.  Her speech is steadily getting better, though her method his quite hysterical.  She can make a 'th' sound now, but almost her entire tongue is out of her mouth to do it.  She has apraxia, so she has a hard time making her body do what she wants. She is so bright and energetic and cute!  She is in love with the Wiggles right now (as all who have gone before her), and it's perfect timing since they now have a girl Wiggle.  She loves the dancing.  She always wants to help me in the kitchen, play babies, or princesses, read books, or play ponies.  She is such a joy and we love her so much!

A Jumbled up Birthday

Because my fan demands, here are some posts updating what we've been doing lately.  I have really not felt like blogging, so this is all very behind and all jumbled up!

Since coming home from our Christmas vacation we've had one sickness after another.  It's got me down, man.  January and February are always like this for us, but I was still disappointed because we had been doing so well this year!

Between that and a very busy life we've just been in survival mode.  My calling has been very busy lately with the Stake Standards Night, Stake YW Basketball, Multi-Stake Youth Dance that our Stake was in charge of, and lots of trainings, ward conferences, and New Beginnings to attend.  I'm very behind on my main work which is keeping the records updated!  On Pat's side, there's been campouts and weekly duties for scouts.  The only other thing we do lately is the daily getting kids to and from school and homework and family stuff.

Luckily we have our anniversary and 3 birthdays in January and February to give us some joy!

I had a birthday!  29 again!  And the best part about it was that Evan made my cake!  He even picked out the mix and frosting.  He did a terrific job!  It was a great birthday and I got a lot of really nice gifts! 

On second thoughts, maybe the best part about my birthday was my handsome husband taking me out to Claim Jumper.  This was our favorite restaurant back when we were dating and apparently rich and famous.  It was good, but not as good as the old days.  They've changed a lot!  But one just opened up here and we couldn't resist.

Or maybe my favorite part was "reading" books with Charles. 

...or making silly faces with my girl.

Dallas grew me some broccoli.  Just kidding.  He has been growing this seed since last summer and it finally made little broccoli's and we ate them!  In the winter!  In January!!  He was so proud.

Actually, he bought me this necklace- which I know is really hard to see.  Sam made me a very nice card that he colored too!

Whoa!  This is a Christmas picture of a gift from Grandma S.
A sick Dallas.
I got a hair cut for my birthday.  It's my yearly hair cut.  My hair needed it for all the dead ends, but I did bangs which was probably a mistake.  Here's the before...

... and the after. It's not so bad though.  And hair grows! 
Ready for church. 

Hey!  You guys forgot me. -Charlie
Rice and Beans!