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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Practicing

We spent the morning cleaning out our garage and sorting through boxes. Andrew loved some of the Halloween costumes I found. This was his favorite.



One of my favorite things to do when I was a teacher was practice "trick or treating" with my students. Several of them had language disorders and social skills challenges that made this simple activity a little challenging. It was always a lot of fun though. Andrew and I started practicing early this year. Here are a few of the clips. I think he's picking it up quickly since he is definitely motivated by candy.

video video

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Really Good Day

Kevin loves to laugh at me for how much I enjoy predictability and routines... but I really love them. The past several weeks have been void of both of them. Today was a perfect mellow routine day. We did our somewhat usual schedule and both Andrew and I had such a fun day!

Here's what we did:

8:00am- Wake up (Love it that Andrew has been doing this late wake-up lately... I'm sure it won't last much longer)

8:15am- Running by myself (Andrew watched Elmo, Kevin slept... everyone was happy :))

9:00am- Play!

10:00am- Clean up the house and do laundry. My favorite thing about Mondays is that I somehow have tons of energy to get things organized. Andrew cooperated by helping with cleaning a bit and playing independently.

11:00am- Walk to the park and play!

12:30am- Naptime for Andrew/worktime for me! I got tons done and was actually focused. Work today was hard. I was re-writing a science section about graphing. The topic is much easier to model than write about.

2:15pm- Finally get ready for the day/more playtime

3:00pm- Trip to the Great Mall

I never let Andrew play on any of the rides... but today I was nice. I sanitized him heavily afterwards. He loved it.



He thought Stuart Little was SO COOL and kept trying to sit on his lap.


He talked to Tigger as if he was alive and loved making faces at him.


He also loved being a NASCAR driver.


Letting him play a bit (and getting him a cookie or two) guaranteed me about an hour of shopping without too much protesting. He was pretty annoyed that I wouldn't rent him the special mall stroller car to ride around in.

5:00pm- Trip to another park by our house (this is how we make it through the evening until Kev gets home). I literally pushed Andrew on the swing for 20 minutes. He loved it.

6:00pm- Dinner/Playtime

7:15pm- We had a little fashion show. Andrew tried on his new shoes that we bought today. I also got a good deal on a pair of jeans and shirt, so he modeled them as well. I was surprised to discover that the pants fit. I was worried they'd be too long.

He was really excited about his shoes. They are too big. He loved stomping around the house wearing them. Here is a picture of him looking down at his feet with his proud "look at my cool shoes" face. We figured it was about time he owned some non-Croc shoes.


Stomping around


Showing off his shoes for dad when he got home


One of the problems with shoes that are a little big... sometimes you fall.
He thought it was fun and did it often.


After all the stomping, he needed a drink break. New shoes can be exhausting.


7:40pm- Dad arrived home! Yay!
7:45pm- Brief Family Home Evening (which may have included too many rowdy primary songs which made it difficult for the little man to go to bed...)

8:10pm- Bedtime
8:15pm- Drink and back to bed for the little man
8:20pm- FHE treat time for Mom and Dad/Blogging time/TV time/Relaxing!

In addition to having the perfect schedule today... the weather was gorgeous. When we were at the park tonight it was crisp and cool. I would've loved a hot chocolate. Tomorrow is supposed to be even cooler. I love autumn.

We just made our October List of fun stuff to do.

I think it is going to be an incredible month.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Weekend Highlights

We have such a clever boy! Who knew brownie boxes could be so useful? (We caught him just as he was opening the scissor drawer... and then went to reach for his pacifier instead)


The weekend was HOT. We spent a lot of time wandering around the mall in the A/C, hanging out at church, and playing in Andrew's whale pool.

I also read this great book. It is a fictional story with a beautiful message.


We are ready for cooler temperatures.

I am excited for next week. My calendar is very empty for once... and I am looking forward to trying to keep it that way.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Andrew at 18 months... a little belated

Today I felt like a bad mom. We finally went to the doctor for Andrew's 18 month appointment- only about a month late. While we were there, we learned that he was supposed to go for a 15 month appointment... which we had missed. Whoops!

Andrew weighed in at 27 lbs. I swear he has weighed 27 lbs for 5 months now. He is now 33 1/4 inches (almost 3 ft)... although none of their measurements were really exact since he wouldn't stay still. Something about lying on that table freaked him out... or maybe it was the nurse?

He got two shots and cried hard. I felt so bad. Then they told us we got to go downstairs for a blood test. Kevin headed off to work, so I was left alone to restrain Andrew when they drew blood.

We waited and waited for our turn. He was already grumpy from the other shots... and then started to eat the crayons in the waiting room. Super, now he's eating wax and will probably get sick because he touched toys and crayons in the waiting room.


Then he got his blood test. Me and two other nurses had to restrain him. He is a strong little guy. He screamed and cried louder than I have ever heard him scream before... and they drew 2 vials of blood. Poor boy!! He got a cool Nemo sticker, two lollipops, and got to ride in the elevator, so his frown turned upside down pretty quickly.


He was grumpy and clingy a good chunk of the rest of the day and took 2 hours to take his afternoon nap. It was one of those days when I really just wanted to watch Elmo all afternoon with him. In fact, he watched at least 2 movies and I read a book while sitting next to him for part of the time. That is how bad of a mom I am.

I did take him to two parks, played toys, danced, and played ball with him for an hour or so... but by the end of the afternoon I had run out of stuff to do. I am just not a creative mom! What else is there to do? Probably tons, but I couldn't think of ANYTHING today.

I was so happy when it was 6:30 and time for dinner and then was even happier when Kevin rolled in around 7:45 so I could hang out with another adult. Andrew is going through a really exhausting separation anxiety stage right now where he cries and cries if he can't see me and says, "mama, mama, mama" over and over again- even if I am in another room. When I have to go to the bathroom he has a major meltdown. It makes me sad sometimes and other times it really makes me laugh. I try to hide the giggles. I feel like a bad mom when I have to go places though. I am glad that I know it is only a stage and he'll get out of it soon.

Motherhood is always amazing to me because I feel like I get dumber every day and more aware of all the things I am not doing... or am not doing well. Hopefully I'll feel like a better mom tomorrow! If not, we'll be heading back to the library to get more movies!

Mean Girls


I love it that my high school, well known for it's great academic programs, is now all over the news because of some hazing. It is like they are re-enacting "Mean Girls" and episodes of "Gossip Girl."

The Fall 09 hazing actually made the NY Times and was on the Today Show this morning. It is too bad teenagers have to be so mean to one another. If they understood anything about their divine worth, they wouldn't waste time on stuff like this and would find ways to be nicer to one another. Some teenage girls already have such low self-esteem, this is such a sad thing to add to that.

I was clueless in high school and wasn't even aware of this sort of stuff going on.

This is yet another reason I don't miss high school at all!! Such a painful time. College was so much better.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Teaching the little people

We had another fun day at preschool yesterday. I got to teach.

We did more dress up.


Played with Model Magic... my new favorite thing. It isn't messy like playdough, doesn't stick to fabric and carpet, and Andrew doesn't try to eat it. Yay! It also bounces really high when you make it into a ball.


More dress up


Read a few stories about fall and fall objects- leaves, acorns, apples, etc. Colored cute leveled reading books from one of my favorite printable book websites, ReadingAtoZ.


More fun with costumes...


We sang lots and lots of songs... they liked holding their monkeys and buses and dancing around when we sang "Wheels on the Bus" and "5 Little Monkeys."


Can you tell Andrew liked dressing up?


We read even more stories and played our little musical tambourines.


The two hours flew by quickly... I was exhausted when we were done! Keeping this age group engaged for 2 hrs means you need a new activity every 5-10 minutes.


It was fun to try out a few ideas... some bombed, some went well. My favorite thing was the "magic blanket" and eating snacks during story time. I told all the kids to come to the "magic blanket" for story time and they all came (with some coaxing from my "assistant"). I was shocked. We ate snacks and read a story or two. They actually paid attention for a little bit and stayed together as a group... and then one or two started running around again.

Singing time went well too. Some of the kids were even doing the actions for Wheels on the Bus.

I love watching the kids interact and copy each other. This little class is becoming a highlight of my week (other than the fact that I am allergic to the cat at the house where we hold it... so I sneeze all day while I am there and all day after I leave).

So sad we'll be moving soon. :( Andrew is going to miss his little friends. I am really excited for my "morning off" next Tuesday! I will miss that too!

The Form Department

This conversation today is just a small example of how we have felt our home buying process has gone this time around...

Kevin: Hi, I'd like to make a wire transfer. We're closing on a house.

Bank Lady: Alright, there's a form you have to fill out. Do you want it faxed or emailed to you?

Kevin: Email

Bank Lady: Alright, you should have it in 1-2 business hours.

Kevin: Uhhh...you're going to email it to me right?

Bank Lady: Yes

Kevin: Can you email it to me right now?

Bank Lady: Nope, we have a separate department for that. They'll have it to you in 1-2 business hours.

Our response... seriously? Do you have the form right there? Can you see if from where you are sitting? Is it on your desktop?

The good news is that although we probably won't close on time on the house... we should be homeowners again within the next week... and the walk through of the house went great today. The owners just finished all the repairs we asked them to do and the gutters were all cleaned today.



I love my new kitchen and high ceilings, and Andrew is very excited about his new room and the stairs. He just went up and down them all morning.


We are crossing our fingers that things move a little quicker tomorrow and Friday... but we'll see.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

No Monster

While I was at Time Out for Women on Friday and Saturday, Andrew and Kevin had a lot of guy time.

First off was a visit from the "no-monster"... our new name for Andrew. Anything you ask him... the answer is "no." Do you want a cookie? No. Do you want ice cream? No. You name it, he says no. He doesn't always mean "no" so it is extra funny trying to determine when he really means "no" and when he doesn't.

video

On Friday night they had a buddy to hang out with all evening- Alex. Andrew couldn't get over the fact that there was a dog in our house and just would stop and point and say "dog" all night long. The guys had a lot of fun together. (Disclaimer: It is HOT here. Andrew doesn't wear much unless we leave the house... so there are lots of diaper pictures. We can afford clothes for the little man still. :)).



Sophie the Giraffe was a favorite... she is now being sanitized a bit.


Andrew also worked on perfecting his escape techniques. We love how he got one arm out and then stuck it through the other side... thus making himself semi-strapped again.


Kevin also attempted to cut Andrew's hair solo on Saturday. It took awhile since Andrew would only sit still in 1-2 minute increments. Kevin didn't do an awful job, but we had to do some more trimming the next day to even things out. Now the little man isn't nearly as HOT in all this crazy heat we've been having!

Time Out

On Friday and Saturday I joined about 1700 women from all over Northern California to attend Time Out for Women.

I wish I could take a "time out" like that every weekend. It was amazing.

The first Friday night speaker was Wendy Watson Nelson. I first heard her speak about 11 years ago at a BYU Leadership Conference. She was incredible then and even better this weekend.

She shared several excerpts from the talk she recently gave at the World Congress of Families in Amsterdam earlier this year. I would highly recommend reading it.

She reminded us for Elder Eyring's quote:
"As the forces around us increase in intensity, whatever spiritual strength was once sufficient, won't be enough."

I spent the evening analyzing my own life and asking myself, "What am I willing to commit to never do again (or never miss an opportunity to do)- NOT EVEN ONCE!"

There was a whole long list of things... and I sat in that room committed to try. I wish I was still there. It is much harder in the real world :)

After Sister Nelson, we heard from Sheri Dew.

I have admired Sister Dew for a long time. I feel empowered to be a better person every time I listen to her speak. This weekend she asked us a few questions that really made me think (these are from my notes, so they might not be exact).

Are we being influenced or are we doing the influencing?
Are we doing what we were sent here to do?

She reminded us that "we can't underestimate the power of influence" and "what you choose to focus on determines what you see."

-When we focus on the world, we increasingly don't see the adversary. When we focus on the Savior, we increasingly see him and we can see more clearly what the adversary is doing to hurt us... and we can avoid him better.

She reminded us that our Father in Heaven is counting on us to do the things we were sent here to do.

Both ladies said a lot of other things... but the main message I got from the weekend was GET TO WORK and choose to THRIVE, because eternity depends on what we do today.

I wish every woman/young woman that I know could've been next to me all weekend learning from the remarkable men and women who spoke at the conference.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

First Day

Today was Andrew's first day of co-op preschool. There are three other moms/kids that are participating... ages 18 months to 2 something. I got to be the assistant today (next week I am the teacher). The purpose is mostly social, with a simple curriculum theme... which is perfect for their age. This month we're learning about Fall/Autumn. It is making me miss New Jersey at this time of year.


Some of the resources I'll be using/modifying are from these fun little websites.

Fall wreathes, placemats, books, etc.

A few alphabet themed Fall resources

Fall flashcards, counting activities


Corn cob paintings, apple playdough, musical apple tambourines

We had such a great time today!

We colored a little bit (until Andrew bit off the tops of the crayons)


The little man drove around in this car A LOT! He got good at taking turns though... since everyone wanted to try it out. I would just say, "you have 5 seconds" and as I started counting down, he'd get out before I got to zero. He wouldn't necessarily be happy about it, but he still listened. I was proud.


This was another good toy to ride in.


His little buddy tried to push him a bit


We drove cars on a little track


We sang and danced.
Everyone loved the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "Wheels on the Bus" or course!


Andrew loved pushing the stroller around with his "ball baby."


We played with bubbles- the awesome type that stay formed forever and are harder to pop.


When the train ball toy came out it was amazing how mesmerized all of the boys were. They all dropped what they were doing and came running.


Driving cars some more


We talked about Fall, colored Fall pictures, and threw leaves- their favorite part.


Dress up was also pretty funny


My little cowboy


The little guys also did a great job practicing how to share and we read some fun books.


On our drive home Andrew was SO EXHAUSTED that I had to keep tickling him to keep him awake... otherwise he'd fall asleep in the car briefly and then not take his nap. His eyes kept closing and the tickling worked less and less... so I started yelling "cookie, cookie" and he snapped awake and would fall asleep again and I'd say "cookie, cookie" again, and he'd start giggling. He giggled with his eyes close the rest of the drive home and then went right to sleep.

School is exhausting and too much fun!