Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Our Afternoon Ritual

Harrison and Charlotte have been getting along pretty well lately and starting to play together. But, there's one thing he does NOT want her playing with him: Trains. Each morning a little before we eat lunch, Harrison starts asking if it's time for Charlotte's nap. He anticipates her going to sleep because it's when we play trains. :) We do the same thing every. single. day.

While I put Charlotte down, Harrison decides what kind of train track he wants that day (wooden or grey) and what pieces he wants to be a part of it. Once Charlotte is down the fun begins! We work together to build the track and Harrison tells me all about the "story" he's going to do when it's finished. Building a traintrack seems like an easy thing, but it's so not easy. He's old enough now that not any ol' figure 8 track will do! We have bridges and tunnels and split pieces. Every day I think that I should have taken an engineering class or two -- would have come in handy. :)

I love to see his mind at work when he's playing. He can entertain himself for hours with his trains, although I usually get to sit in and watch his stories at some point. He uses the Thomas language and says things like "bust my buffers" and "Thomas was cross with Percy." He also narrates the stories which I think is too adorable!

And, no track is complete without a Train Yard.

I try and sneak in some learning while we do this with counting the trains and organizing them by color or size or type (steamie, diesel, etc.).

I've found that I really look forward to this time each day too. I love working on a project together and Harrison is much happier building trains than crafting, so that's what we do! My life is so much richer because of this little boy!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Madeleine & Charlotte

Today I took Madeleine & Charlotte for their checkups -- Madeleine's 7 year & Charlotte's 18 month, so I thought I'd post an update on them. I've been putting off Charlotte's 18 month update until we'd done our dr. visit, so here goes!

First, my sweet boy checking out the Nemo fish at the Dr. office. It keeps him quite occupied!


*She's slowed down in her growing a lot lately I think. She was still in the 50% for height & 75% for weight which is where she's been since she was a toddler. The dr. said this is just perfect.

*Her foot has only grown 1/2 of a size in an entire year! She can actually still wear some of the shoes we bought last year. Crazy!

*She's reading and writing up a storm these days! She's almost finished off the Magic TreeHouse series and Junie B. Jones. Now she's starting on The Boxcar Children. I'm so excited for her to discover these books since they were some of my favorites as a child!

*I think we've finally, after several years, discovered the secret to getting Madeleine to go to sleep easily. We start our bedtime early in the evening. She usually get in the bed, ready to sleep, around 7:15. Then, she can read for 30-40 minutes before she has to turn her light out and go to sleep. This works great! I think she just has a hard time turning her mind off from the events of the day & reading calms her down. When it's time to sleep, most nights she just rolls over and is out!


Well, even though I haven't been posting them, I have taken her monthly pictures to mark her growth.

*Charlotte was 25 lbs (50%) and 31 inches (25%). Her weight is dropping off and she'd only gained a little from her last checkup. Her height has always been at the 25% and Dr. D said she's just going to be short and probably would end up being little. She's in great health & we actually haven't been to the doctor since her last well visit!

*She's busy busy busy these days! Her appetite is slowing down mostly because she's too busy to eat! I'll put her in her highchair and she'll eat for the first couple of minutes before wanting down. Then as soon as I go over to her to get her down, she'll stuff as much food in her mouth as she can and fill her hands with food. She wants to eat and play. She just can't be bothered to stop and eat! :)

*She's still not a milk drinker, so she eats a lot of yogurt and cheeses. She like fruit especially bananas, grapes, mandarin oranges, and apples. She's getting picky. But, she'll eat a lot of veggies: carrots, peas, corn, broccoli and potatos. She loves ham and turkey too. At dinner she's usually pretty happy to eat whatever we're eating as long as it's not hot or even warm. She prefers almost all of her food to be cold, but she doesn't like ice cream. Ha!

*At mealtimes, if I do give her something different from Madeleine & Harrison, she'll pitch a fit! She'll daintily pick up each piece of food off of her tray, one at a time, and drop it on the floor. This can be good or bad depending on what they're eating (yogurt = bad). She's had her share of poptarts because of it, although when I mentioned that to Dr. D she told me her daughter had a poptart for b'fast that morning so I'm not feeling too bad! It's also worked to get her to try a lot of new foods too!

*She's still the most amazing sleeper, which I know I so do not deserve! She naps from 2-3 hours each day and sleeps from 8-6:30ish each night. When it's time for bed we read some books and rock for a minute and then I lay her down, tuck her in and leave. She just goes on to sleep by herself. :) She still takes her paci at naptime/bedtime, but rarely asks for it during the day. She also has to sleep with one or two of her blankies. She takes the blanket and rubbs it up under her nose/top of her paci to get herself to sleep. It's so funny to watch!

*She loves books. Her current favorites are: Corderoy's Busy Street & Corderoy's Birthday Party, the Baby Words Book, God Made Me, and Baby Jesus Book. We read all of these several times each day.

*She is a bit obsessed with her shoe collection. She wears shoes almost all the time, even at home. She'll bring me her shoes and want me to put them on as soon as she's dressed. She even has a favorite pair -- her Keds Sandals. She's also big into wearing her bows! After we get dressed I'll tell her all pretty and then she points to the closet and says "bow!". After we put it in her hair, we have to look in the mirror and say "pretty." I love this morning ritual.

*Although she still babbles a lot, she's adding words daily, it seems. The other night I told Matt it was almost bedtime. Charlotte looked up and said, "bedtime" and went and got her paci/blanket. She'll often ask to go "night night." She can say: bubba, sissy, madeleine ("mada"), snack ("nack"), juice ("ju") and more than I can list.

*She knows a lot of animal sounds! She knows: cow, horse, pig, duck, kitten, puppy, lion, monkey, frog, bird, sheep. She knows most of her body parts and is kinda obsessed with her bellybutton.

*She loves to sing. Her favorites are "God Made the Big Round Sun, Jesus Loves the Little Ones, and Be Careful Little Hands/Feet/Mouth, etc.

*In the mornings when Matt & Madeleine leave she loves to wave to them and yell "bye-bye." Then we'll blow kisses. She makes a really LOUD mwaaaah sound when she blows kisses. During the day when I ask her "where's dada?" she'll tell me "work." So cute! I keep wanting Matt to hear it, but, of course, she's too smart to say it when he's home. :)

*She had a full round of shots today. When I picked her up from her nap, I said how are you feeling? She said "booboo." Her poor little legs are so red from the shots!

*She's is quite stubborn! She loves to crawl up on the furniture and I've caught her jumping on the couch several times. Her favorite thing to do is stand on the ottoman and jump. This scares me to death! I'll tell her to get down in my sternest voice, and she'll look at me and say "no." So, we've taken to spanking her every time she stands up. I hate this, but I'm hoping she'll learn soon. If I tell her she's going to get a spanking, she'll either pat her hand or her leg which is where we spank her. It's so hard not to laugh sometimes! She's also determined to try things for herself, especially those things she's seen her brother or sister do. She loves to swing and slide. I think she's an adrenaline junkie! :) She's pretty much fearless and not afraid of dark, fast movement, heights, falling. The only thing that's scary to her is thunder. She'll come running for me yelling "boom boom!" Thankfully, she'll sleep through storms still!

*Miss Charlotte keeps me on my toes. She drags dirty laundry all over the house. She likes to go into mine/matt's closets and get our shoes and try and put them on. Then she drops them wherever she happens to be. Sometimes I feel like my life is a continuous scavenger hunt!

*She LOVES babies. She usually has a baby with her. She feeds her baby and puts it in her stroller and goes all over the house. One day I found her with her baby covered by her blanket and she told me "shhhh." I think her play is more advanced than the other 2 at this age, but I also think she sees them playing and copies a lot of that.

*Every day is different and fun! This is the BEST age where she's learning something new almost daily and it's so fun to watch her personality come to life. :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011


When Charlotte was a baby, Harrison was pretty indifferent to her. He'd love on her when prompted, but he basically went along about his business without giving her much thought. Well, recently that has changed a lot.

With Madeleine in school much of the day, Harrison & Charlotte have had lots of one on one playtime. Charlotte often annoys him by turning off the TV or taking one of his cars and running from him....this usually leaves Harrison screaming in her wake. But, lately, they have started playing together more and more. Harrison will chase her around the house and they'll both laugh and laugh. Charlotte will squeal with delight when he catches her! Harrison has this "baby talk" voice that he uses with her that always makes me smile. He'll sit down and say "Charlotte, come to bubba" and she almost always does.

One morning this week, Charlotte was up before Harrison (a true rarity since he's been getting up at -- gasp! -- 6-6:30am). She kept going into his room to try and wake him up. Since she's just about the same height as his bed, her face was close to his and she's yell "BUBBA!! BUBBA!!" to try and wake him. I'd try and get her out and close the door, but she was a sister on a mission and finally she woke him up.

As I was unloading the groceries today, I noticed that both of them were quiet and not underfoot. Hmmm. I found them cuddled in a chair and Harrison was "reading" to her. Since Harrison can't actually read, he was making up the words and she was listening to him so intently. I quickly snuck my camera and snapped some pictures! It melted my heart to see them like this!

They caught me with the camera!

Of all the things we're teaching out children -- or trying to teach them -- love for each other is right up at the top. I want them to have a bond that will last long after they've moved out of our home and have families of their own because no one will ever love you like your siblings. It's such a special kind of love.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bento Friday

Madeleine's teacher has some really fun rewards that the kids can earn this year. My favorite is that they get to have lunch in their room with her on Fridays if they haven't moved their stick off of green all week. So far, we're 2 for 2 with Friday lunches with Mrs. Lawson. When I told Madeleine this morning how proud I was of her for not moving her stick all week, she quickly informed me in her best know-it-all voice that "It's only the 2nd week of school. AND I didn't move my stick all year last year or in kindergarten (true!)." Well, I'm still proud of her and I love that she's getting a weekly reward for her good behavior.

What to pack for her lunch is something I actually think about a lot. It's hard to come up with healthy lunches and have variety. (Poor Matt on the other hand has a PB&J 90% of the time!) So, this year I ordered a bento box to try and make her lunch different sometimes. She loves when I use it! Here's her lunch for today -- not pictured are the 2 caprisuns & squeeze yogurt. (and if you haven't tried the fiberone brownies they are sooo yummy!)
Of course, her lunch is never complete without a note. :)

Happy Friday!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sippy Snatcher

Charlotte loves anything that belongs to her brother and sister. She loves running from them. Put those together and you have her new favorite game. She grabs whatever they're playing with as soon as they put it down and takes off running, laughing with each step, squealing with delight! Harrison & Madeleine aren't quite as enthralled with her game, it's more of a pest to them. But, Charlotte continues to do it.

Earlier this week, I caught her just after she'd snatched their sippy cups. She was alternating drinking out of each one and loving every second.

One bad thing: She's FAST. It's hard to catch her and she puts up quite a fight to keep whatever is in her grasp. It sure makes for some fun days at our house!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Madness

Well, today was the first day that we were back on our "busy" schedule and I wanted to properly document it.

We had a great week last week with Daddy being home every night. I tried to really really enjoy it because I knew this week was coming. So tonight was the first night that I was back to being on my own on a regular basis. During the semester Matt is gone anywhere from 3-5 evenings during the week either in class, teaching a HU class or studying/working late.

Our day got off to a rough start. Harrison woke up around 4am having wet his bed. It's a rarity that this happens, but when it does it's not a little trickle--it's a tidalwave. Unfortunately by the time I'd taken him back to his bed and found this out, we'd woken up Madeleine. So, Harrison & I bedded down in Madeleine's bed and Madeleine took my spot in our bed. Another night, another round of musical beds. :) The whole ordeal had gotten Harrison good and awake. It was after 5am by the time he got back to sleep and I knew he was going to be one cranky boy tonight.

My first evening alone in awhile wasn't not my best. I think I'm just rusty and spoiled from the summer. We'll find our groove, but lest anyone out there think I have it all together, let me share a bit of our evening.

It was a little after 4pm when we got home from getting Madeleine. We'd planned to go to the pool, but it was drizzling so we ended up staying home. Boo. The kids were more than a little disappointed that we had to cancel the pool, although it's not like we haven't been to the pool much -- we've been every day except 1 for the past 2 weeks! This disappointment along with the crazy night added up to some cranky kiddos. They fussed and played off and on for the first hour at home. Then we started dinner. I'd planned for us to make pizza -- something fun for the evening. Wellllll, first Harrison grabbed the olive oil and slung it all over the kitchen. Not easy to clean up, that olive oil! Then Charlotte got ahold of Madeleine's chocolate milk and dumped it all over herself and the floor (that I'd just finished mopping up olive oil off of!). We were going downhill fast.

We quickly got the pizza in the oven, set the table, and got ready for dinner. Pizza is a favorite and they were hungry, so this had to be good. It wasn't. The kids didn't like our homemade pizza and I kind of have to agree with them. It was gross. So much for buying the "healthy" crust at the store. Next time, it's fat and grease all the way!

I had to try and end our evening on a good note. So, they had a good ol' bubble bath in our tub and then we all played legos until bedtime. They had milk and graham crackers before bed so no one went to bed hungry after the bad bad pizza. We ended our night with snuggles in bed.

And, just think. I get to do it all over again tomorrow. Good thing I love my job!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hanging on to Summer

Even though school has started we've been spending every afternoon at the pool. I'd thought we might go a few afternoons, but it's the kids first & only request each afternoon, which is fine with me! We've had the best summer at our pool and I'm sadly ticking off the days until the pool is closed.

We've been so spoiled living so close to our pool. It's so easy to come home in the afternoons and change and be at the pool in a matter of minutes! I think that Madeleine needs to burn off that extra energy from sitting so much of the day and they all play so hard when we're there! We started off the summer without anyone knowing how to swim and now Madeleine is swimming on her own and Harrison is almost there too! I'm so proud of them both!

Jumping in. This is one of their favorite things to do. I think Harrison has done approximately 3,000 jumps this summer. And, just this week he's started jumping in the "deep" end and then swimming to the side.

Charlotte is going to be our dare-devil, I think. She'll wade out into the water until it's up to her nose and even then she's still pushing my hands away. She's also started jumping in with help and will do this over and over and over. She's seen brother & sissy do it and so, of course, she has to do it too. I'm hoping she'll be more confident and comfortable in the water and be an early swimmer.

And, she's so cute in her swimsuit! I loooove those chubby legs!

Madeleine has become quite the little fish this summer. She still lacks confidence, but she's getting there and she's getting braver all the time. She's gotten really good at swimming underwater. It still sends me into a mild panic to look out over the pool and not see her. I have to remind myself that she's underwater and wait a minute for her to surface. :) But, I'm so proud of her.

I wanted to add this one last picture from last night. I haven't been putting Charlotte in a swim diaper lately because she won't teetee in the pool. She always waits till we get home and put a diaper back on her. Friday night she waited till we got out of the pool but couldn't make it home. :) Oopsie!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sweet Second Grader

Monday, August 15th....

Seems like I was just writing about the last day of school, and yet here we are again, back at school. Madeleine was very excited to be going back to school this year. She was excited to see her friends and get this school year started. Me? Not so much. I've really enjoyed summer and having all my babies home. However, the last couple of weeks I could tell Madeleine was ready to go back and start learning & having a schedule again.

The first morning of school went great. Harrison actually got up at 6am on his own and Charlotte was right behind him. I had to wake up Madeleine, but she popped right up and got dressed quickly. We left extra early that day because parking can be a bit of a nightmare on the first day & I had some things to deliver for the PTO breakfast before school started.

Here we are in the parking lot on that morning.
She'd lost a top tooth the night before so she was proudly showing off her gap-tooth smile! :)

Sitting at her desk. I'm planning to fully document each first day for as long as she'll let me. :)

Madeleine & her teacher Mrs. Lawson.

After helping to host the PTO kindergarten breakfast, and running several errands, Harrison, Charlotte & I headed home. When I asked Harrison on the way home if he missed Madeleine, his immediate response was "nope!" But, when we got home I could tell almost immediately that he was going to miss her a lot! They have played together constantly this summer and I'm just not quite the fun playmate as she is!

To pass the time, Harrison and I made our traditional first-day-of-school chocolate chip cookies for her. The whole time I kept thinking that this was the last year I'd do this with him and that this day is the start of my last year at home with him. I shed a few tears that day, not over Madeleine being gone, but over it being the start of the last year I'll have Harrison at home. Next year is going to be tough.

And, before I know it, this little girl will be heading off to school too.

Madeleine had a great first day and was quick to tell us that she LOVED 2nd grade! Yay! This year she's riding the bus to Matt's school so I had to wait even longer to hear about her day, but it was so worth the wait! She's had a great week and I'm so happy that she's loving school this year. :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back to School Night

Last Thursday was the Back to School Picnic at Madeleine's school. It's the night we finally get to find out which teacher we'll have for the school year and then get to enjoy dinner and catching up with school friends.

We were so excited to find out that Madeleine will have Mrs. Lawson as her homeroom teacher this year! Matt has worked with her on the FPS Math Taskforce and we were hoping we'd have her for Madeleine's teacher this year! Yippee! When we got to the room, Madeleine found her desk and a little goodie bag Mrs. Lawson had made for each child. :) While Matt & I filled out some info (our expectations of the teacher and for our child), Madeleine dug through her goodie bag and read the letter Mrs. Lawson had written to each child. I still love watching Madeleine read! She could read the entire page-length typed letter all by herself!

The picnic that followed was great -- for the second year in a row we used Backyard Burgers and it was yum-my! After 3 days of rain and weeks of record-breaking temps we actually had a beautiful evening. Perfect for the kids to play outside.

It's amazing what a difference just 2 years can make! Two years ago, we went to the back to school picnic and knew NO ONE. Literally. Not one single person. We ate by ourselves and met a lot of people; we wound our way around the school looking for Madeleine's classroom and hoped that we'd made the right decision on a school. And, this night -- just 2 years later -- was completely opposite. I spent the evening helping to serve the meal, Madeleine was hugged over and over by kids that she knew, we helped other new parents find their child's classroom, we hugged and talked with our favorite teachers, we caught up on summer events with friends and we felt so at home. What a difference 2 years makes, huh?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Big 1-0

Last week, Matt and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary. It's still amazing to me that it's been 10 years since that special day. In many ways it seems like just yesterday we were in collage & dating. But, mostly, it feels like we've always been together and I can't remember what it felt like not to have Matt in my life.

Since we don't have any family in our part of the state, we'd decided to just wait and celebrate our anniversary a couple of weeks late during our August Marriage Builder Date Night.

And then, sometime things just fall into place so perfectly. The Friday before Matt was to start his new job, my Dad called and offered to keep the kids and give us some of his points to stay 2 nights at the Crowne Plaza in LR. Matt and I had just spent the morning cleaning the house & I'd actually managed to finish all the laundry. We didn't have anything planned for the weekend. It was still early enough on Friday to let us pack, get down there and still have time to enjoy the evening. So we did.

Within 2 hours of the offer, we were packed and headed to Little Rock! Can you tell we were excited??? We had a great car trip without any stops which is a rare occurance even though it's just a 3 hour trip. We arrived a little before dinner and unpacked the kids. We stayed and had some yummy BBQ with my mom & dad and got the kids settled before heading out. We've been dying to see the last Harry Potter movie and had pretty much given up hope of getting to see it in the theater, so we were psyched to get to spend Friday night at the movies. While we were waiting for the movie to start Matt & I were trying to remember the last movie we'd seen together -- we decided it was the previous Harry Potter which has been awhile. After Harry Potter we headed to the hotel. My parents had checked us in earlier that day and after making a quick room switch because the potty wouldn't flush (bad bad bad!) we settled in for the night. I think we slept an amazing 11 hours uninterrupted!!! We slept past breakfast so we got up the next morning and headed to one of our favorite spots for a quiet lunch.

Then we headed back to Mimi & Grandads to see the kids. Charlotte was ready for her nap and I was happy to rock her to sleep -- I'd missed my baby! Then we packed up Madeleine & Harrison and took them to the hotel to swim. This hotel has an indoor/outdoor pool with a "tunnel" you swim under to get from one side to the other. The crazy part is that I had a birthday party at this same hotel when I was little! We pretty much had the pool to ourselves and the kids swam for almost 2 hours.

** On a side note -- in all the crazy packing we'd forgotten our swimsuits (not the kids) so Matt got some new swimtrunks and I sat this one out and watched.

Matt under the "tunnel"

We packed the kids back up and headed back to Mimi & Grandads to drop them off so Matt & I could go out to a nice dinner. Just after we got back, the sprinklers came on and they had such a fun time playing in them -- fully clothed, of course!

Matt and I decided to try Copelands for dinner. We had the best meal and ate so much. :) We had a great waitress that recommended some yummy foods! About 1/2 way through the meal, Matt told me he knew our waitress and she played basketball for UALR and blah, blah, blah. (I'm not that big into sports so most of it went over my head). But then he told me that she was from Cabot and her family actually lived 2 houses down from us when we lived there. Crazy small world. So, the next time she came over he started talking to her and told her where we'd lived and that he had taught there and asked about what she was doing now. She was so excited that someone had recognized her! She autographed our bill and took really good care of us. :)

Apparently that was also National Cheesecake Day so the cheesecakes were buy one get one free so of course we had to get 2! We got a white chocolate raspberry and a hot fudge sundae cheesecake. Both were amazing! I'm now trying to talk Matt into going back there for our August Date Nite because I'm still dreaming about that cheesecake!

It was so fun to get dressed up and have a nice night out! After dinner we headed back to Mimi & Grandads to pick up the kids and bring them to the hotel for the night with us. As much as our kids love staying in hotels, it seemed unfair to stay 2 nights without them. We got back to the hotel and Matt & the kids went swimming again before a late bedtime. They were so tired! And it was an early morning with church the next day.

One of the most wonderful parts about the weekend was it just happened to be a weekend where my dad was preaching! Such a treat! I would love for Harrison to follow in his footsteps one day -- which is post entirely on it's own because he truly has the makings of a preacher. :)

After church, my mom cooked a yummy lunch and we had a long visit with Sugar & Uncle Stewart.

I think Grandad may have found himself a new friend. :) Charlotte sat in his lap and finished off all his mashed potatos!

It was such a wonderful, unexpected weekend! I'm so thankful to my parents for not only giving us the nights in the hotel, but for watching our little brood so we could have some time to ourselves. I'm such a worrier, so babysitters are rare at our house (i.e. never) and it's always such a treat to have a meal, or in this case meals, where Matt & I can eat and enjoy talking and taking our time. Alone time is precious when you have 3 kids! We needed this weekend probably more than we realized and again I'm so so thankful that my parents gave it to us!