Saturday, January 30, 2010

And We're Having A . . . . .

John and I enjoyed finding out that as far as things look now, we are going to have a healthy baby. GIRL!!!
I'll be honest, it was a little bit of a shock. Another boy would be so convenient in terms of passing down clothes, toys, and sharing a bedroom. And we all thought it would be fun for Andersen to have a buddy. The others have come in pairs, why not Andersen and this next one too?
And even looking at the ultrasound, John and I both thought we saw "boy". But what we were really seeing was the umbilical cord.
So, pink it is. And we're thrilled!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ready for Bed

Tonight I checked on each of the kids before retiring, and I found this little buster awake in his crib, hugging his basketballs.
Andersen doesn't need a special blanket or stuffed animal to sleep with. As long as he has a few balls to wrap his arms around, he's happy to go to sleep. And in the morning, we frequently hear him yelling game calls to himself as he shoots his baskets, like "awesome, I made a basket. . . sweet!. . . , almost. . . two points. . . ".
Sweet dreams ball boy!

Taylor's Big Success!

Tonight, Taylor was awarded first place in Chandler's Creative Expressions Writing Contest and was recognized by the Mayor at Chandler's City Council Meeting. More than 1,100 students entered the contest in four different categories; video creativity, writing, art, and performing arts. First, second, and third place awards were given to elementary, jr. high, and high school students. Taylor was thrilled to be first place in his category.

I think tonight was the first (and hopefully not the last) time I've heard Taylor ask, "Mom, do you think I should shower?" Wow--where did that come from? He also spent about 15 minutes combing his hair, using 3 different products, and he wore pants without complaining (that's a first). Needless to say, he was pretty excited about receiving the award.

Here's Taylor with the Mayor on his left and his 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Powers.

Here's a picture of Taylor's entry.

It's neat to watch his confidence jump through this experience. We're proud of him!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My new 4-year-old Girl

EmmaClaire turned four this past week. Is it just my imagination, or has she really matured and grown up these past few days since her birthday? She has seemed so happy and content, helpful and kind since her birthday, which sometimes is unlike her. So far, I am loving my new four year old girl.

For her birthday, her dad fixed up her bike with new tires, a bell, basket, streamers, and best of all-no training wheels. Before John left for work that morning, he took EmmaClaire outside and helped her learn how to ride a two wheeler. I thought it would end in tears and frustration and was completely caught off guard. A few seconds after John started her for the first time (and was running right with her, holding onto her shoulder to help balance her), EmmaClaire started yelling, "Dad, let go, let go". John wasn't so sure she could make it on her own and continued running with her, holding her shoulder until EmmaClaire started getting angry that he was still holding on, "I said, LET GO!!!". So, he let go.

And she was off down the street. Riding bikes has been her favorite thing to do since then, and other than getting started, she hasn't hesitated one bit. Very unlike her. I like my new four year old girl.

As she opened her presents, I was reminded of years back when Taylor turned 5 years old. Being the oldest and in need of new clothes, his presents consisted of mostly that--clothes. We cracked up as he opened each gift. The first, a pack of socks, was opened with zero expression. The second, some shirts, was opened with a little frustration, and the third gift didn't even get all the way opened. As soon as he realized it was a pair of pants, it was quickly tossed to the side and looked for the next gift. Lesson learned-boys have ZERO interest in clothes.

Now back to EmmaClaire. She got some play dough, a pair of tights, two shirts, an outfit, and some sun glasses (and her new and improved bike). She opened each gift, held the clothes up to her, asked how she looked, and made lots of comments like "wow, I love it. It's so cute. Abby, do you like it? Do you want to borrow it? Oh, it's too small for you. . . it's just my size. . . .I love it. . . " and on and on. Then throughout the day, she wore each article of clothing except for one pair of tights. Since then, she hasn't worn anything else. She is PURE girl!!!

Maybe her content, happy and helpful nature has come from being showered with attention from everyone around her these past few days. Being the "middle" child, I've noticed that sometimes her needs and wants are put on the back burner. The school kids need lots of help with their homework and activities. Andersen, being the baby, needs extra TLC and caring for. And EmmaClaire is sometimes left to fend for herself.

Realizing this, I have tried extra hard this past year to put her needs first and to make sure I spend time playing and visiting with her about things she's interested in. But it doesn't always pan out that way.

All the more reason to keep trying though. And maybe through my motherly efforts, I'll continue to bring out the happy, new and improved four year old girl that I have thoroughly enjoyed these past few days.

Happy Birthday EmmaClaire.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Getting Away

We spent this past weekend up at the cabin with some of John's siblings. As much as I don't like to be cold and hate the snow, it was soooooo nice to get away from the norm and focus on just being together. With not-so-great cell phone service, no church or work commitments, and limited Internet time, we focused on more important things-like spending time together, having uplifting discussions, serving, resting from the business of life, and playing. We enjoyed lots of snow forts, snow fights, sledding, skiing, eating, visiting, exercising, reading, playing with Lincoln logs, doing puzzles, ping-pong, more visiting, making jewelry, playing Risk, Trash, and Phase 10, napping, more visiting, and just being together.

Last night after unpacking and getting ready for bed, John asked the kids what their favorite thing at the cabin was. Each mentioned something that had to do with being with cousins. Andersen said, "I yike Daby Daby" (a cute cousin his same age). Emma Claire said she loved "hugging with Allen". Abby enjoyed playing Trash with Kinsey and Phase 10 with Aunt Christina. Mason loved having snow ball fights with Joseph and Kevin. And Taylor said he loved it all and couldn't think of just one thing. (We purposely limited the kids to "just one favorite thing" in order to go to bed before midnight. . . they, especially Taylor, can sure go on and on with tons of detail if there's not some kind of limit.)

So, our goal was accomplished; to strengthen relationships and create fond memories. I look forward to the next time we can get away! And many thanks to Mom and Dad for providing such the perfect place!

Now back to reality.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Mason!

Mason turned 9 this past week. As we video-taped him opening his presents (he received a Red Rider B-B gun, an outdoor basketball standard and basketball, and a stop watch), we came across this video from when he was three years old. (Make sure your volume is turned up.)

From the start, Mason has been a joy, so full of life and enthusiasm. He isn't a complainer and is always willing to help, especially in the kitchen or outside with Dad. Of all our children, he compliments the most and tends to look outward towards others.

He likes being around people and doesn't enjoy being alone. Yesterday, I found him in the front yard with his new stop watch, timing all the neighborhood children running from point A to point B (he had made start and finish lines with sidewalk chalk). At one point, there were 11 children racing against the clock, their ages ranging from 2 to 12. Mason shouted out lots of encouragement during each race, then complimented the children as they finished.

He chose waffles with strawberries and ice cream for breakfast, Sweet Tomatoes restaurant for dinner, and a visit to PetsMart for an outing (only window shopping, of course). It was a fun day for our new 9 year old boy.