30 March 2014

Hilarity from the mouthes of babes

I love that my kiddos talk - love, love, love it! Kids say the funniest things and I feel like I'm laughing (sometimes hiding it) about something someone said every day. And they are so cute!!

I use my Facebook page as a kind of "journal" for things the kids say, so I thought I would copy a few conversations and funny and cute things the kids have said recently here. Enjoy!

This morning I was in the bathroom going potty, and Butterfly was already in there because I had just done her hair, and then Little Man and Flower come running in: "There's a cano out there! We have to hide!" Little Man says. "Volcano scary." Flower chimes in. Then they kept opening the door a crack, screaming, and then closing it. Apparently the volcano still loomed out there waiting for them. A little while later, Little Man went upstairs and Flower got really upset running around, "Come on [Little Man], the volcano!" So Little Man comes running downstairs and says "Yeah! Let's get out of here!" and they run off to the bathroom together and shut the door.
Okay, this is not kid related at all, but it was pretty funny and the cat is part of our family:

Galileo (with an accent): "I throw your safety in your face! I defy you and sneak outside to meet my death! What death? Hahahaha!" pause "Oh that death! That giant dog jumping around our fence - please let me in! I'm not ready for death! See how fast I jumped on the fence to escape my death! Look at my tail - I still defy death - but please let me in quickly!"

Butterfly's bus driver informed me today that Butterfly asks if she can drive the bus - every day.

Conversation with Little Man one night be bed:
Me: I love you so much [Little Man].
Little Man: I love you more Mama.
Me: I love you most.
Little Man: I love you more most.
Me: I love you all the way to the moon and back.
Little Man: I love you all the way to the Earth.
Hugs all around - so sweet!!!

Butterfly has been running around singing a mish-mash version of all the "Frozen" songs - she's getting quite good at singing and dancing. All she needs is a top hat and a cane and she's got that scene from "Summer" down!
So last night Mike and I were hanging out on the couch and I had my feet propped up on the coffee table. Meanwhile, Flower was playing with a truck while hanging upside down off my legs - like a bat.
Last night Flower put on my shoes after her bath and said "I'm a pirate! Roaarrhhh!" and then preceded to run around in her diaper and my shoes.
There's nothing quite like hurriedly trying to do the dishes because company is on the way and your 2 y.o. is insisting on helping (and you don't want her to), so you give her a half empty yogurt carton to throw away. On the way, she drops the yogurt and yogurt flies out of the carton to land on the fridge, cupboard, floor and baby gate. Then when she tries to pick up the carton, ends up dumping the rest on the floor. ::sigh:: She was really quick to grab a towel and help clean it up though! Yes, that really happened.
So at lunch today, Little Man left his skateboard toy at the booth we [my friend visiting from out of town and I and our kids] were sitting before we decided to move to a different table for more room. When we finished eating, he realized he had lost it, ran back to the booth where someone was now sitting, said "Hi!" and something about his skateboard, then climbed into the booth to look for it. He found it . . . Life with Little Man!
This morning Little Man told his teacher at preschool that I had two babies in my tummy. Last week Butterfly patted my tummy and said there were two babies in there. Either they're doing some serious collaboration to freak me out or it's just a weird coincidence, right?
We had turkey and broccoli casserole for dinner and I made biscuits (by made, I mean opened a Pilsbury can). The kids couldn't have biscuits though until they had eaten at least half their casserole. When I ate my biscuit (after I finished my casserole) Flower got a really hopeful look on her face and asked for a spigot. I told her no, she had to eat her dinner. Face fell in disappointment. Butterfly got her biscuit after eating all her casserole and Flower's face rose in eager anticipation. The biscuit went to Butterfly. Flower just stared at Butterfly with a non-amused expression. Mike got a biscuit out to eat and Flower was practically panting in happy biscuit-eagerness. But the biscuit didn't come to her. Bottom lip pout with teary eyes. Little Man finished his casserole and Mike got a biscuit out. Flower's face went immediately to biscuit-anticipating-joy, only to have her little hopes crushed as the biscuit went to Little Man. We told her each time she had to eat some casserole first, but she just kept pushing her plate away. Finally she maneuvered from her seat to come around the table, where the biscuits had been, but while she was doing that, I had moved the biscuits to the kitchen. Confusion sets in. Where'd they go?? *** Later she sat on my lap and ate a good part of her casserole and she finally got her spigot, with honey!    
So we're listening to the Frozen soundtrack at dinner, and while waiting for me to serve Butterfly, Mike suggestions she sing along. So she starts singing "Want to Build a Snowman". The song that is playing is "Love is an Open Door".
"I'm picking up all the magets off the floor Mama!" - Flower, referring to the magnets that she previously threw all over the floor.
This morning I had just gotten in the shower and Little Man and Flower were contentedly playing on the bathroom mat (Butterfly was still asleep). I turn around and there is Little Man, in the shower with me: "Hi Mama! I'm taking a shower with you!" - so much for a relaxing shower alone . . 

Party time!

As I have written recently, Little Man and Butterfly both celebrated birthdays recently!

Since Mike was supposed to deploy, and he was going to miss all of the kids birthdays (and mine), we decided to have an early birthday party two weekends before he was supposed to leave. The birthday party was for all three kids, even though Flower's birthday isn't until late summer.

I decided to do a mixed theme party, and let the kids pick the theme. Butterfly and Flower wanted a Frozen theme, but at the time, Frozen themed party supplies could not be found in the city, or online. So they decided on My Little Pony. Little Man chose trains, which meant Thomas the Train Engine.

It wasn't a huge affair, we just had a few close friends, and Mike's parents came down from South Dakota (they actually came to say goodbye to Mike, but we planned to have the party while they were in town).

I didn't go "all out" for their party, but pretty darn close. There's a reason we don't do birthday parties every year! I rented one of the townhouse pavilions in base housing (that was free - although the person before me didn't clean it, so I ended up having to clean it twice), got the kids some giant balloons (which still have not deflated, three weeks later), did party favors (a first and probably last), decorations, we had a game, I did a lot of finger foods and I made chocolate cupcakes for Little Man and a butterfly cake for Butterfly (I get a lot of use out of that butterfly tin!).  My sweet friend Liz, who owns her own bouncy castle, also brought that out and set it up for us - the kids really loved that! My friend Angel was also totally awesome and helped me with last minute food prep and set up at the beginning of the party. Mary came to help us celebrate too. Much thanks also goes to Angel for taking a lot of pictures for me!

I made all the food the day before, including spending at least two hours on the butterfly cake - I did fondant icing for the very first time. Prep time also consisted on spending an hour or more on youtube the night before learning how to make fondant icing and how to put it on a cake.I do love youtube though! I thought it looked a bit amateurish, but since it was my first time and I didn't have time to do redo it, I just let it go. It was a really busy time the day before, well the week before, running around getting supplies, buying things and so on.

Do you not use gel frosting with fondant . .. at least not unless you know what you're doing.

The kids had a great time! They loved running around with the balloons, jumping in the bouncy castle, eating lots of food, playing "pin the funnel on the engine" and just playing with friends. I think the adults had fun too hanging out with each other; I know I did! :)

It took several tries to light the candles because Flower kept blowing them out as soon as I lit them . . . toddlers!

Who'd Have Thought?

Not me. Definitely not Mike.

Are we surprised? Definitely. Disappointed? Well, I would by lying if there wasn't a little bit of disappointment there. Relieved. Absolutely.

It seems that the military has thrown us for a loop. Again.

That whole deployment thing that I wrote about a few times back in January? Well, it's been canceled. Yay!!!

(I wanted to write this post in case you were wondering why he was present for the kids birthdays I wrote about in recent posts, since he was supposed to be gone for those.)

Not too sure of reasons why, but I'm sure budget cuts in the government and military have something to do with it.

Which means we went through all that separation and Mike went through all that training for nothing. Well, I guess no training is nothing - it's all worthwhile. But still, you get the point. The sleepless nights as Little Man was up multiple times crying for Daddy. The explaining that we can't go see Daddy where he is training. The behavior issues. You get the idea.

It certainly threw our family (at least Mike and I) for a loop. As Mike said, "It feels like I was taken out of my life, someone shook it all up, and then they threw me back in and told me to clean up the mess."

I agree. We're picking up the pieces though and cleaning up the mess and we're so glad that we aren't sleeping alone each night and everyone is gathered around the table for meals. Family is such a blessing and I definitely was not looking forward to having half my heart on the other side of the world for over half the year.

I think Butterfly said it best back when she said the prayer at dinner shortly after Mike returned from his last training at the end of February: "Thank you God that Daddy is not in Ohio or Texas and never will be again."  Amen.

The End of an Age

As the title suggests, the end of an age has come out in our little house . .. Flower is now in a big girl bed and out of her crib. We've had a little one in a crib at some point for almost five consecutive years, and now that time has come to a close.

It's actually a little weird to me. Not bad weird, just different weird. We had good times and exhausting times and even some bad times in this season of life, but now it is coming to a close. And I'm okay with that. This transition is yet another sign of the end of the baby stage in our house. As the months go on, it seems like each month brings something new that also attests to the end of the baby stage in our house. I think potty training Flower will completely signal that this end has arrived . . . we're almost there, but not yet. I think I'm the one that's holding her back at this point, but that's mostly because we're still pretty busy going to appointments every week. 

Flower actually got her super cute owl bedding for her second birthday last summer from GrandDad that she picked out, but at the time, we didn't have a bed for her, or a mattress for that matter. Her bed is actually Butterfly's old bed that I bought from Sierra. We decided that since it is so low to the ground (and can be adjusted), it would be perfect for Flower. She hasn't fallen out of bed once, although we do have a huge stuffed bear to cushion any falls beside the bed. Butterfly actually got to pick out her own brand new bed and we put that together for her about a month ago. Last weekend we finally bought a new mattress and got everything put together for Flower. 

She was super excited!
See that hammock in the background, yeah that gone was after the first night - she and Little Man pulled it down playing.
She is in Little Man's room (so they're sharing now). Little Man was equally excited that she is in his room now! They are best friends and get along so well. I was actually surprised at how easy the transition from crib in our room to bed in Little Man's room was. The first night she went right to bed with Butterfly and Little Man and she didn't even nurse before she went to sleep. The next morning Little Man woke her up at quarter to six, which is extremely rare, and they were up playing and running around, super excited to be sharing a room. She was one tired little toddler that day, to be sure!

Some nights she has a hard time going to sleep (it's hilarious when Little Man sharply reprimands her from his bed, telling her to go to sleep in a groggy, sleepy voice), and other nights she goes right to sleep. I guess her own bed and a new room just takes some getting used to. We haven't had any crying though. None. Which I am very happy about. Some nights she waits until Mike and I come up for bed, then comes to bed with us for about 5 or 10 minutes, falls asleep, and then I carry to bed. This doesn't happy every night though, so I'm okay with the occasional trip to our room.

My little baby is growing up and she is turning into such a compassionate, sweet, energetic little preschooler. :)

29 March 2014

Happy Birthday Butterfly!

My sweet, precious little Butterfly turned five years old this week! (Yes, there's an overlap between Little Man's birthday and Butterfly's where they are the same age for a week.) Where has the last five years gone? I'm not really sure . . . but Butterfly has certainly grown into a wonderful, caring, passionate, sensitive little girl who loves to act out long play scenes with her dolls or My Little Ponies, loves to sing, loves to dance and so much more.

Butterfly has also come such an incredibly long way since starting therapy in August - she uses words most of the time to express what she wants, even if she is upset about something; she engages her siblings and friends in play, even occasionally asking them to join her in play; she is bright and energetic and full of life. Truly, the light of life just fills her and lights up her face.

To celebrate Butterfly's birthday, we did a few things. There was of course the birthday party, which I do hope to get around to writing about. Since Butterfly goes to school, I asked her teacher, Ms. Michelle, if I could bring a special snack to share with the class, and she said that was fine. I was planning on making cookies, but when I went to make them, I didn't have all the ingredients and it was too late to go to the store. So I got store bought cookies. Butterfly was thrilled that there cookies at all. As a surprise, Mike also showed up with me when I brought the cookies to school, with Butterfly did not expect - that was a really great surprise.

We arrived right at snack time, so all the students were already seated at their little table in their cute little chairs. Butterfly handed out all the plates and then she served each of the kids. She did such a great job asking each child which color cookie they wanted, yellow or purple, and handing them their treat - Mike and I were just so proud of her. We also got to meet the students that Butterfly talks about at home, which was pretty special.

After dinner that night, Butterfly blew out the candle on her butterfly chocolate cake that she had requested. I decided not to ice it since the kids would be having enough extra sugar. They didn't even notice the lack of sugary coating.

Following cake eating, we opened presents. Butterfly got the My Little Pony that she didn't get for Christmas, Fluttershy, and she got, dum dum dum - Elsa from Frozen, which she had been asking for repeatedly, every day, since she saw the movie. It was almost as hard for Mike and I to wait to give it to her as it for Butterfly to wait to receive her. (In related news, the price of Elsa on Amazon and other online stores doubled from January when I put the doll on my "wishlist" and late February when I purchased it - I did not see that coming! And she was sold it in over five stores that I checked around the city, including two Targets and WalMart.)

It was a really great birthday and Mike and I are so proud of Butterfly. She is a loving, sweet little girl and we feel so blessed to have her for a daughter.

Rich in Years: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Long Life by Johann Christoph Arnold Review

“Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God:
                See all, nor be afraid!””
                                                -Robert Browning

Growing old doesn’t have to be a prospect to be dreaded: indeed the end of one’s life can be a chance to discover, or rediscover, community, family, friendship and service to God in a whole new light. Johann Christoph Arnold’s book Rich in Years: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Long Life is a wonderful, insightful and touching book that helps those in the later stages of life, and those caring for them, find renewed purpose in their lives, as even as that life comes to a close.

Filled with touching stories, enduring testimonies and beautiful examples of poetry, Rich in Years shares the joy, peace and love that can be found near the close of life’s journey.  Focusing on service to God through listening to others share their story, caring for physical or emotional needs, and staying involved in the younger generations can create a beautiful purpose at the end stage of one’s life.  Arnold writes about the steps to finding peace as well, such as confessing any mistakes or sins that can unburden a person and turn those regrets into bygones. Furthermore, finding restoration in relationships can help greatly – for all parties involved.

I really enjoyed Rich in Years, and though I am [Lord-willing] far from the end of my life, I found the advice to be comforting and helpful, even at the stage of life I am, a mother of very young children.  I loved the stories shared in the book and felt my life enriched by reading them, as I am sure that many would. I recommend Rich in Years for everyone, but especially those who may find themselves closer to the end of life, either by age or by illness. The greatest fulfillment of our lives doesn’t necessarily have to come from the middle stage of our life – it can come at the end, as this book illustrates.

Disclosure of Material Connection: The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

26 March 2014

Happy Birthday Little Man!

It's so hard to believe, but four years ago [last week] a sweet, smart, affectionate little guy came into our lives - and our wonderful Little Man was born!
Little Man and Grandma with birthday balloons on their heads - so fun!
To celebrate Little Man's birthday, we had a birthday party a few weekends ago (more on that hopefully later), and he got a present from us and from Grandma and Grandpa. Little Man was very excited about his airplane and truck, and his giant monster truck from Grandma and Grandpa.

On Little Man's actual birthday, we Little Man's favorite for dinner: steak (we've been eating a lot of steak lately - Albertson's had a "buy one, get two free" deal a few weeks ago and I filled the freezer - it was worth it though for $136 in free meat) with baked potatoes and veggies. After dinner Little Man had an apple danish for dessert. I had planned on making cookies, but I had to take the van unexpectedly to the shop that morning, and the walking to and from to drop it off/pick it up took over 90 minutes out of my day - so there went cookie making. He liked the apple danish though, and I thought it was original.

After dinner and danish time, Little Man got to open his presents. He got another present from us and a present from GandDad - legos all around! I bought him a Lego Junior set, which I thought was great - half way between "real" Legos and dulpo type Legos and he get a "real" big-boy Lego set. I didn't realize it was the real deal until after he opened it, so we just keep it up when he's not playing with it so little pieces don't get lost or put in Flower's mouth. (She usually doesn't put stuff in her mouth, however, when she's teething, she will. So for now, we try to keep small things at bay.)

Since his birthday fell on the day we go to PWOC, Little Man also got cookies (store bought) at PCOC to share with all his friends.

I think he had a pretty special day! He loves to tell people that he is four now and is pretty proud of that fact. I love that Little Man is my son and that I get to teach him and raise him as he grows - what a great opportunity!