Monday, February 21, 2011

Rolling Along

Little Miss Lottie is four months old! Here are a few tidbits I'd like to remember.

Her puppy like tongue spends most of its day out of her pretty little mouth.
{Do me a favor. Please click to enlarge photo.
Does her hair look red?}

For now, she's content to be a spectator. If she is in a position to watch the action unfold, she's happy. Her baby sized sit-ups tell me how eager she is to sit unaided. For now, the bumbo and my lap will suffice.

Lottie weighs 12lbs, 11 ounces. I would share with you her height, but alas, her cute Dad took her to the appointment while I was at the dentist. And we all know how men are with details...
She hasn't had a bottle because her Mother has a permanent aversion to the pump and is too cheap to buy formula. Neglecting to introduce Henry to a bottle early is something I totally kicked myself in the rear for when he was six months old and acted on an urge to bite me. I was ready to end nursing THAT DAY but he refused a bottle and I found myself temporarily trapped in a nursing nightmare. This is me not learning my lesson.

Last week, it was discovered that Lottie can roll from back to tummy to back. While celebrating her accomplishment, I silently kissed goodbye the freedom to leave her on the couch and/or bed.

She'll sleep a 7-8 hour stretch, wake up to eat and then fall back asleep until I wake her up for carpool duty. When falling asleep, she prefers a little independence. She'll struggle in my arms until I lay her in her crib, swing or car seat.

Our best time together is after Eliza and Henry have gone to bed. I hold her plenty throughout the day, but I love the uninterrupted interaction. However, watching Andrew with her takes the cake. Because we're so far from Lottie's Grandparent's, the early bond the pair of them developed is special to me.

In my opinion, Lottie is happiest when her fingers are in her mouth, sitting on her Mama's lap and watching her older siblings at play (or war). Just this morning, Eliza inspired a huge squeal of delight that I'd not yet heard Lottie produce.

How great is Henry's "glamor shot" expression?
It's amazing how perfectly she fits. I love you Lottie!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

100 Days Smarter

Today Eliza's class will celebrate their 100th day of school!

And while my inner narcissist is bursting to tell you how impressive it is that I, despite being craftily impaired, managed to successfully secure 100 smarties to her party vest, I'll refrain. As my wise friend reminded me yesterday, this project is about Eliza; which is why I did my best to let her "help" with the second half of the application process. That involved a thread + needle (both are tools I use... um, never) and a boat load of double sided tape.

When either one of our Mom's come for a visit, I kindly provide them with small sewing projects. When they ask where the sewing kit is, my reply is usually:

"I'm not sure. Andrew used it last. I'll ask him."

So, yay for Ali.

There I go again; shifting away from Eliza. At least I've acknowledged my wicked pride and can now confidently say that I know what the word narcissist means. The first, and only, time someone called me a narcissist to my face, I was in college. My dedication to my missionary was unfortunately mistaken as arrogance when it came to dating. So, with that being said, my roommate's not so kind boyfriend, called me narcissistic. Storming out of the living room, I weakly tried to defend myself.

"I AM NOT!" I then proceeded to slam my bedroom door. Through angry tears, I located a dictionary to look up the definition of the word. My hurt expanded as I took in the meaning. Returning to fray, I dramatically exclaimed,

"Well you know what, Will? IT TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE!" And its true. He was completely in love with himself. For the record, I'm super glad it didn't work out between those two.

Drama, these days, is just packaged differently. Take for example yesterday's excursion to Walgreens. Being in need of 100 smarties, I ventured out with Henry and Lottie for the morning errand. Their pleasant behavior allowed us to linger longer. While meandering through the junk food aisle (it's a mystery how we ended up there), Henry locates a container of peanuts. Henry LOVES peanuts. However, the poor child can't properly say the word.

"Look Mom! Look!" he exclaims for the world to hear. "PEANUTS-ES!" I'm afraid, dear reader, it sounded like another word. You can guess. Embarrassed, I try to divert his attention.

"PEANUTS-ES... Look at all the Peanuts-es!" and so forth. Sigh. That moment of panic/hilarity sure added some color to our morning.
The moral of the vest is that I can't give up on my desire to craft. I was excited by the small accomplishment. The challenge of Motherhood is that it's not about me, but recognizing the importance of taking time for me. My kids come first. And I think, for the most part, they do. Unless Survivor is on. Which is why my kids were kissed goodnight 45 minutes before the premiere of the new season last night. Did anyone else see it? How awesome was tribal council? How horrifying were special agent (?) Shephard's peach under-roos?

Lucky for you, today's rant is over. Lucky for me, I get to go bond with my kitchen sink.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Fest 2011

Valentine's Day came early. Last week, I bought myself a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. After thanking my husband, I arranged them in a vase and have been enjoying them ever since.

The premature festivity continued when a certain mailbox surprisingly resurfaced. "Cupid" had intended to pass it onto Goodwill but fortunately, a pair of four year old hands rescued us all from that terrible mistake. Because I'm forgetful, it wasn't until I received a reminder from Eliza that I remembered the fun we had with that mailbox last year. Per her expectation, I repeated last year's tradition of placing a small treasure for the kids to find each day.

Sunday afternoon, Eliza and I went to work on creating homemade Valentines for her preschool classmates. Returning from school today, Eliza informed me that "the pizza" was the best part of her class party. That happy memory was soon replaced when Talon surprised her with a single long stem rose and a teddy bear. Sweetly, I heard him ask,

"Will you be my Valentine?"

Where's the Kleenex box? Honestly. It was adorable. Talon permitted Eliza to kiss him on the cheek as a token of her thanks - as long as Michelle and I were out of the room. That didn't stop me from spying.

The happy couple.

As for Henry, who has time for romance when your life is full of bromance? I agree. That sentence needs work. While Eliza was at school, Henry's morning was spent on a {play} date with Colby and Nate. And so you know, nothing encourages "male bonding" like the flick, "How to Tame Your Dragon."

My little man fell victim to having his haircut by yours truly this weekend.I'll be honest. It looks worse in person. Thankfully, his "good looks" compensates for the errors.
I smile when thinking of my littlest Valentine. A year ago today, I found out we were expecting this dolly. How grateful I am for the memory of that morning and for her safe arrival to our family. Here she is with her first Valentine, Mr. Clayton Blaser.

And finally, Andrew and I were able to steal away from 2/3 of our children Friday night. After going out to dinner, we made like a pair of high school students and found ourselves an empty {church} parking lot and relived those fun PG rated-memories. Never mind that Lottie was in the backseat. It was romantic. And fun.

Meeting up with friends a short while later, we took part in an epic, "Battle of the Sexes" competition. This ward activity was most definitely the best we've been too (despite our loss to the men). Highlights from the nights activity are destined for youtube. I'm sure of it.

Andrew dominated the abs of steal competition and I managed to keep my hula-hoop afloat the longest. Having an awesome muffin top, I have to say that I had the advantage. And because we're cooler than I give us credit for, we kept the party going when we convinced our babysitter and her parents to stay at our house until midnight. Having put our children to bed, we introduced them to Settlers of Catan. They are hooked. Sunday night, they returned the favor by having us over for a re-match.

Ah. The insane pile of clothes that's accumulated outside my laundry room door is evidence that we played too much and worked too little this weekend. Off I go.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

coloring line upon coloring line

I wish there was a precise way to keep track of how often I blog about each child. The, "I think it's been awhile" method is far from scientific. If there is such a thing as karma, one of my kids will volunteer to thumb through each entry in an effort to tabulate the fairness of the attention I've distributed via the blog. And while I suspect that my Eliza centered posts are in the lead, today's post goes to her. Rather than spotlighting her social, physical or academic growth, allow me a moment to record the spiritual.

Eliza has faith in God. Her little brain knows that she has a Father in heaven. It's humbling because as we talk through her questions, I've discovered that to be a good example I can't just know what the right things to say are. I have to believe them as strongly as she does and/or wants too. As Eliza and I chat, I'll mentally interrupt myself.

"Do you really believe what you're telling her?" Privately I wonder. A surge of confidence and peace fills me as I reply (to myself),

"Yes!" I fire back,

"How do you know this? More importantly, how can she know this?" I try my best to answer that particular question with Eliza.

Eliza's desire to have Henry share a room with her arose when she began to fear the night. The idea of wandering the halls alone to my bedroom each morning or to the bathroom at night causes her anxiety. After weeks of giving them time to adjust to sharing, we realized that with Henry still napping, they weren't ready to sleep at the same time. He'd keep her up and she'd wake him up. They now are back in their own rooms.

And while she happily sent him packing, her fears of being alone escalated. Eliza will not leave her bed once we're through saying "Goodnight." She doesn't attempt to stall us or throw a nasty tantrum. Instead, she gathers up her comfort items, sippy cup of water, her framed picture of Jesus and if we let her - a flashlight - and hides under her comforter until sleep rescues her from her fear.

We say "special" prayers to ask the Lord to provide her with peace and happiness. On more than one occasion she's asked for a Father's blessing. Not knowing the terminology, she'll place her hands on her head and say,

"Remember that time Daddy gave me a special blessing like this," She pauses to place her hands on her head, "... before I started my new preschool? Can we do that again?" And while I imagine that this challenge is common for small children, it's hard to see the struggle. But as she continues to progress, I'm grateful for the chance its given her to exercise her faith.

I wish I could attribute her spiritual standing to us, her parents. And while we do pray with our children daily, attend Church weekly and try our best to have family night, a lot of her acceptance of knowing that there is a God in Heaven who loves her comes from her Christian based preschool. I have been impressed and grateful for the way they integrate spiritual truths into her daily experience. Just yesterday, she came home with a simple prayer journal, among other artsy treasures...Using bound envelopes, Eliza was asked to draw a picture of what or who she'd like to pray for. Her list included: butterflies, flowers, Lottie, her friends Mary Mac and Ann Elise and God (He's in blue).

"I wanted God to have a happy day." She explained.

Awhile back I mentioned on facebook that one night she asked if we could, "please skype with Jesus." I asked her what she'd like to say to Him. Her reply,

"I would ask Him to come be with me at night so that I won't be scared."

She will turn five this May. That's a big one. There are moments when I feel like we're providing a healthy, happy childhood which makes me feel proud. Other times, I start to panic. I fear that I haven't made the most of this time. Are we teaching her as best we can? Am I putting forth the same effort that I did when I only had two children?

To see her develop a relationship with her Savior is encouraging. My children will face all sorts of "scary" as they grow which is why I hope that this pattern of turning to prayer keeps and that the pressure I feel to help us nurture our testimonies doesn't let off.
My current definition for the word, "impossible:"
Family picture taking time

Last weekend, Uncle Mike came for a visit! Eliza kindly offered her bed knowing that it meant she'd be allowed to sleep on an air mattress in Henry's room. Their sleepover ended a half an hour after bedtime as Henry wouldn't stop harassing his dear roommate. Andrew suggested she fall asleep in our bed after being promised she'd return to Henry's room once he was sleeping. She readily agreed as long as her framed picture of Jesus went with her.Wanting to remember the attachment she currently has to this picture, I asked her to let me document it this morning. She only let me snap a few as she was eager to return to her coloring book.

When Eliza left, the strangest thing happened. Acting on its own accord, the camera lens found Lottie. Once that happened, it couldn't stop snapping pictures. Holy bananas is she cute.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

proud new member

Needing a break away from the house, I found myself on an impromptu shopping trip. The glamorous destination for my late night getaway was (drum roll, please) Walmart. Typically, when I shop, I'm quite precise (*read anal*) in my grocery shopping preparations. My list is categorized into the sections of the store. That same list is kept in a sheet protector alongside my printed and clipped coupons. Sometimes, I even wear lipstick.

The tone of this evening's trip was entirely different. My hastily written shopping list was left behind on the counter. Thankfully, my barely charged cell phone was remembered. Andrew kindly obliged my request(s) to relay the information as I meandered through the store. But OH! The freedom to let my cart lead the way. I spent 5 minutes doing absolutely nothing in the scented candle aisle simply because I could! There were no children to contend with. The break, although I deemed it as "work" to garner my husband's appreciation, was refreshing.

Returning home to peaceably sleeping children was an added bonus. It was a little after 9:00 p.m. as Andrew and I begin to put away the cookies... I mean groceries. Feeling slightly embarrassed, I quietly mumble:

"I didn't realize until I was at Walmart that I was still wearing my sweats." The sound of Andrew's instantaneous laughter affirms that he's heard my admission. In a congratulatory tone he replies,

"That's awesome. You're in the, "I wear sweats to Walmart club!" He pauses a moment. "Don't worry, you're in good company." Despite my best efforts, I begin to giggle as hard as he is. Motioning to my bare feet he adds,

"At least you weren't wearing crocs" I gasp.

"But I was wearing my crocs, didn't you see?" The volume of his laughter increases. I try to fight of the intensity of the situation I'm reluctantly enjoying because...Oh. Too late.

"Ugh, I think I just pee'd my pants a little!" By the way. If anyone, especially a woman who has given birth, ever states, "I think I pee'd my pants" - that translates into, "I most definitely did..."

While standing, I awkwardly cross my legs in an attempt to regain control. My momentary success crumbles as he finishes off the conversation:

"That's okay, it goes with the outfit."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Alakazam!

My children are magic.

Their ability to transform a clean and tidy home into a situation of happy chaos amazes me! Seriously, they are a pair of humble professionals. Both Henry and Eliza are unaware of their high level of skill in this department. Based on my experience, you'd think that it would no longer surprise me how fast a calm and beautiful environment can shift into something you wouldn't want the neighbors to see.

Yikes.

Lately my life has centered around cleaning/organizing. Laundry, specifically the part where you put the clothes away, is the ultra demon that just won't die. Possessing a piece of magic myself, I've tricked Eliza into thinking that sorting the socks is a very fun game.

The saying, "A woman's work is never done" is true. And you know, it's a good thing because parts of the job are indescribably good.
Pretty much anything that involves this Little Miss falls into that category. However, the rate at which she grows is alarming. I'm no fool. It won't be long until she rebels against team Mom in order to join in the cause of happy mess making. Three against one - how will I survive? As for my dear spouse... well, if we're being completely honest, I'm not sure whose side he is on! ;)

Eliza, the head hunter, is ready to recruit.

They're plotting. I can see it!

The destruction is easily forgivable when they're playing well with each other and/or friends. Last week, we were delighted to host a play date. Combining their magic brains, the lot of them planned two weddings.
Here we have Eliza with her groom(s). Henry served as best man. Sadly, Lottie slept through the proceedings.
And with that adorable smirk, I'll conclude this afternoon's post. Please excuse me. I'm off to go daydream about taking a nap... because that's about as good as it gets.