Thursday, September 29, 2011

Standing Tall

I came into the living room one day and found Charlotte like this....
After telling her to "get down" she compromised and sat IN the car....

And she was pretty proud of herself for it.

This girl love to climb! It seems like I spend most of my days lifing her down from the couch, chairs, the kitchen table (oh, yes) and anywhere else she can climb. She is so active and goes and goes when she's awake. Maybe that's why she's such an amazing sleeper.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Three Peas In a Pod

These day it seems that wherever Madeleine & Harrison happen to be, you can be sure to find Charlotte not far behind them. Sometimes she's bugging the mess out of them, but sometimes, those blissful sometimes, they are all having fun together. One of the few places that they always seem to play well together is outside. We spend a lot of time outside these days. ;)

With all the rain we've had the sandbox has turned to a mud-box. They were happy to play in the water & mud for hours one afternoon. Charlotte was right there in the middle of it all. I love to listen in on what they are saying. They have some amazing imaginations.




Charlotte much prefers the water to the sand. I'm thinking a water table may be in our future. Can't get those hands too messy!


They were all just working away that afternoon. Madeleine was back and forth making the swingset into a "house" complete with "food" and water. They have really enjoyed playing in the treehouse this year. Some days Madeleine & Harrison will disappear up there for most of the afternoon, wrapped up in their own little world. It makes me smile to know that they are sharing those special moments and making memories together.

And, Daddy came home to join us and enjoy some time outside. Charlotte thought he needed to swing too.

This guys will play in the sandbox all day if I'll let him. He just never seems to tire of playing in the sand and dirt. Such a boy, I guess.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Diner Daze

One of my biggest goals the past few months has been to work on the kids eating habits. It was actually very easy to eliminate most of the snacking by keeping them busy with other things. I also knew that if I got rid of the snacking they would eat better at mealtimes. Madeleine was easy. On school days she gets home late enough in the afternoon that we don't have time for a snack before dinner. And, she's so hungry that she'll pretty much eat whatever I put in front of her. :)

Harrison was a different story. There were nights that he ate almost nothing on his plate. I can't stand the thought of him going to be hungry (and getting up in the middle of the night wanting to eat) so he always had a big glass of milk with some fruit or yogurt before bed if needed. I know, I'm a softie! We kept encouraging him to try food on his plate and after awhile he did & realized that he likes a lot of new foods! His current favorites are grilled chicken, salad, and broccoli. I think he'd eat grilled chicken every night if I'd make it.

This has also made me wonder: All of the kids ate whatever we gave them as babies/toddlers. I mean, Charlotte will eat anything as long as we are eating it.....except green beans. :) Last night she picked every single one out of her vegetable soup before eating the rest! So, when did that change? Why did that change? Did they develop preferences or did I stop giving them food from our plates? Probably both, I think. So it was time for me to "man up" and undo some of these bad/picky habits.

And, while I wanted the kids to eat what Matt and I are eating, I also wanted to make them open to at least trying new foods. I think our experiment has been quite a success!


Dinnertime -- Grilled Chicken, Broccoli and Rolls.

Same for Madeleine, with carrots added.
Amost finished! I should have taken a pic of his plate at the end -- all clean!


Friday, September 23, 2011

Ten Things to Treasure About Fall

Fall has finally arrived! After a long, hot summer we've been longing for some cool weather. Thankfully, the cool weather arrived a bit before the "official" start of fall this year. After the hottest August on record, I think we may have one of the coolest Septembers. I'm always ready for fall and the changes that season brings. Here's my top 10 list of fall favorites:

*Fires in the fireplace and the smell of fires burning in the cool air.
*Sweater weather.
*Warm soups on cold nights.
*The colors of fall: reds, oranges, greens and yellows.
*Pumpkins all around.
*The changing leaves....looking out our back windows and seeing the mountain full of color.
*Thanksgiving -- my second favorite holiday.
*The cool air, a refreshing break after the hot summer.
*Pumpkin bread and roasting pumpkin seeds.
*My kiddos in their warm snuggly jammies.

Happy Fall!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Day In Our Life: September Edition

I've been wanting to do a post about a day in our life and I think I might make it a monthly thing. One day it will be fun to look back and get a snapshot of our days. I realize no one will probably read this, except maybe the grandparents, but I want to remember what our life is like on a "normal" day.

Monday, September 19th

5am...My alarm went off and I immediately hit the snooze. :) I always "build in" a snooze and that give me time to give myself a pep talk to get up and exercise. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Today, it worked. I got up, changed and hit the ground running. I love this time of day. I'm a total morning person and I love having some solitude before the day begins....I spend my treadmill time thinking about everything from what I'll wear that day, to what we'll have for dinner, to praying for each of my children and their day to letting my mind wake up and watching TV. This is my time. I need this.

6:15 -- 6:45am...Hope off the treadmill and start the coffee. I start a load of laundry and "refluff" the clothes in the dryer....for the 3rd time. I turn on Madeleine's light and snuggle with her to try and get her moving. I open Charlotte's door to let the noises start to wake her up. I make lunches and pack bags.

6:45am -- 7:15am...Harrison wakes up too. I make Madeleine & Matt breakfast. Charlotte gets up and scrounges for food until they leave and she can eat. :)

7:18am...Charlotte, Harrison and I give Madeleine & Matt their usual big send off. I think they get the best send off in the neighborhood. :) Charlotte yells "byebye" in her loudest baby voice and blows kisses. Harrison yells "see you later crocodile" to Matt. It's fun. I love this part of the day!

7:20-8:00am...I get Harrison and Charlotte some breakfast and refill my coffee while cleaning up the kitchen. We sit and eat and talk about our day. Then, I take a quick shower and get ready.

8:00-9:30am...I fold the laundry and start another load of the neverending laundry. I do a quick blog update and check email. I finish up the minutes from our recent PTO meeting start working on our directory forms. Harrison and I play cars and Charlotte plays her favorite grab n' go game with the cars. I really enjoy mornings when we don't have to be anywhere too early.

9:30-10:30...I get Harrison and Charlotte dressed and we head out to mail some letters and run by the bank. Some days, I just need to get out, even for a little bit. :) Harrison gets a sucker at the banks, so it's been a good morning in his eyes.

10:30...Home again. We play a little bit and I fold the next load and start yet another load of laundry (I said it was neverending).

11:00 -- 11:30am...I make lunches. Charlotte is napping much earlier these days, probably because I wake her up at the crack of dawn, so we eat lunch early. Harrison is always counting the minutes until her nap because that's when we build his traintrack. We eat lunch and talk about what kind of traintrack we'll build that day: grey traintrack with Sodor Company (which he pretends is the Dieselworks), Cranky the Crane, Tidmouth Sheds and Misty Island. I talk him out of the bridge because that thing is a nightmare to build around! After lunch, I read to Charlotte and put her down for her nap. She's such an awesome sleeper and goes right to sleep. It's not uncommon for me to check on her and find her in the same position that I layed her down in.

11:30-2:00pm...Harrison and I build our traintrack as well as the must-have trainyard. He plays with it while fold laundry again. :) Then I do my habitual Monday Morning Pickup. Basically, I just pick up the house then I run the vaccum and sweep. It make the house seem clean again and I like starting the week that way. When I'm done, Harrison and I snuggle on the couch and watch Caillou. Then we play trains and work on counting. He's doing great on his counting....I line up mini M&Ms and he can have as many as he can count. :) We also work on his "th" sound which is coming along great thanks to help from our good friend Allison!

2:00 --3:45pm...I hear Miss Charlotte babbling in her room and get her up. We cuddle and read some more. Then we all head outside to play for awhile. It's a nice day and Charlotte is pretty happy in her swing while Harrison alternates between me pushing him on the swing and playing in his muddy sand box. After awhile, we walk around the pond and look at the turtles. Then we head in for a quick drink and snack.

3:45-4:00pm...We head back out to the front yard to wait for Matt and Madeleine to get home. Charlotte and I play with bubbles while Harrison digs in the flowerbeds with his Thomas the Train. We're about to redo the flowerbeds for fall/winter, so he can dig to his heart's content. We see Matt's car and Charlotte helps him "drive" in.

4:00-4:35pm...Give my big girl a hug!!! I miss her like crazy while she's at school! Then I fix Matt a snack while the kids all play in the playroom. Madeleine likes to come home and veg out for the first 30 minutes or so. If I try and get her to do her homework then, she's quick to tell me "mommy, I've been working hard all day. My mind needs to rest!" Can't blame her. :) She usually watches Arthur on TiVo. Matt and I have a chance to catch up about our days.

4:35...Matt heads back out to Harding to teach a class that night. Let the fun begin!

4:35-6:00pm...The kids and I head back outside to play. We do another lap around the pond and see some BIG turtles as well as several baby ones. Charlotte and I come in so I can start dinner. She's very unhappy about this and lets me know it. It's funny how she can go from sweet and shy one minutes to sassy and fit-throwing the next! She stands at the door and cries "weeee" which is her word for swing (because she says "weee" while she's on it -- smart girl!). It's pitiful. Eventually, she gets in her highchair and plays with the measuring spoons and bowls. There were also Yogurt Melts involved in keeping her happy....they're like baby candy for her. :)

6:00pm...The kids come inside and get a bath. I let them take a bath in my tub, which I'm still regretting 2 days later since I can't seem to get all that sand out! But, nights Matt is gone I try and do that since it's easier to keep Charlotte out of the water. I get them both bathed and wash their hair. Madeleine goes first because she can get out and get dressed while I bath Harrison.

6:30pm...I feed Charlotte in the kitchen with me and let Madeleine and Harrison eat at their table in the playroom, which is an extra special treat. Even when Matt's gone I try and have us sit down at the table. They were so hungry and gobbled up their turkeydogs, corn, and applesauce! I managed to get Charlotte bathed while they were eating and the kitchen cleaned up as well.

7:10pm...The beginning of bedtime. They have some milk and I put Charlotte in her bed with some books while I tend to Madeleine & Harrison. I read a chapter to Madeleine from her newest Boxcar Children Book & we make some predictions and talk about the setting which is what they're working on at school now.

7:20pm...Then I brush Harrison's teeth and read 2 Arthur books to him.

7:30pm...He looks at a book while I go in and brush Charlotte's teeth and read a couple of books to her. I rock her and snuggle with her and put her to bed.

7:40pm...I tuck in Harrison, help him with his prayers and sing him a lullabye. This is our nightly ritual and he cannot begin to go to sleep without his lullaby and me rubbing his face. I hope he'll do this for a long time! I love that he needs that each night and I cherish those moments. I give him a kiss after this and he happily rolls over to go to sleep.

7:45pm...Madeleine brushes her teeth and I lay down and snuggle with her for a few moments. I tuck her in.

7:50pm... *sigh* They are all in bed! I finish up cleaning the kitchen and check on the kiddos -- Charlotte & Harrison are asleep already, as usual. Madeleine just takes longer to unwind.

8:00pm...I sit down and answer some more emails. I go over the stuff in Madeleine's Monday Folder and do a little prep work on lunches for Tuesday. I set out Harrison's backpack for preschool and line up lunchboxes on the counter.

8:30pm...So tired! I watch some TV and wait for Matt to call and let me know he's on his way home. I talk to my sister for awhile and check on Madeleine again....she's asleep!

9:45pm....Matt gets home. He fixes himself a bowl of cereal (kitchen's closed for the night!) and we talk about how his class went.

10pm...I head to bed and Matt relaxes and watches some TV. He deserves it after his long day. And, me? I'm asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Favorite Things

A few things I'm loving these days....

*Sing Over Me: Worship Songs & Lullabies. While this is, technically, a children's CD, it's my current favorite. I find myself listening to it daily and as an added bonus the kids love it too. It's calm and sweet and great for tired children in the car. :)



















*McDonalds Caramel Frappe. Just as good at Starbucks, but waaaay cheaper and much closer to our house, which might not be a good thing! I'm not a chocolate person, but I love caramel and this is my new fav.







*Yankee Candle -- Autumn Leaves. Makes my house smell yummy. I love having candles burning all the time to make our home smell good -- and cover up all the yucky smells that come with kids. :)

*Taste of The South Magazine. Since Southern Living went and changed their layout a few years ago, I've been searching for a new favorite magazine. My awesome MIL gave me a subscription to this magazine for Christmas last year and I look forward to getting it every month! It's full of great recipes and fun places in the South to go visit!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Harrison's First Day of Preschool

Last Tuesday Harrison started preschool -- in fact, it was his last first day of preschool. *sniff*

He'd been looking forward to this day knowing that he'd be at preschool with his best buds this year! I really debated over whether or not to send him to school this year at all. Having Madeleine is school full time has made this momma realize just how quickly the time passes and all too soon he'll be in school full time, too. I have enjoyed the past year immensly with him being home full time...we had no schedule and a limitless amount of playtime. But, I also think it's important for him to start to adjust to getting up and going somewhere and learn those basic school essentials: standing in a line, waiting his turn, etc. Although I don't think the getting up part will ever be hard for this little morning person (there are many morning that Harrison & I are up a good hour before anyone else!).I also debated a lot about where to put him this year. I looked at several preschools that are close to us as well as the preschool at our church which is a much farther drive. Ultimately the thought that he should be with his friends, in a place he loves, with teacher that I know and I know love him won out. It's definitely a farther drive, but the smile on his face when I picked him up the first day banished any doubts I might have had about the drive being worthwhile.



To say he had a great day would be an understatement! He had a wonderful, fantastic, marvelous day! The first question out of his mouth when we got in the car to go home was, "Do I get to go to preschool tomorrow, please, please, please?" Since we'd decided to only go one day a week for now, it was hard to tell him that he had to wait 6 whole days before going back. He's been asking me every day since how many more sleeps until preschool. :) I told Matt that I think we might have to start sending him 2 days each week because he wants to go so badly! I hope he feels the same about kindergarten next year!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The B-I-B-L-E

I took this video recently of Charlotte singing her version of The B-I-B-L-E. I watch it at least once a day and it melts my heart every time. Lately she's taken to carrying her Bible around the house with her most of the day and often singing this song at the top of her little lungs. She only sings the "B-I" part over and over, but I still love it! She loves for me to open her Bible, take her finger and "read" to her "God loves Charlotte." We do this multiple times each day and it never gets old, for either of us.

"Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

video

Friday, September 9, 2011

Our Week

With the beginning of school and all of us getting back into the swing of things, we're once again busy busy at our house. I sometimes find myself thinking -- where did our summer go??? I'm behind on posting, but wanted to remember our week. Here's what we've been up to this week:

Monday: Labor day. We spent the day having fun with Mimi and Grandad, eating yummy food, and playing outside. It was the first day we've had where the weather was actually nice. We finally bought Charlotte a swing for outside and she spent a good part of the day with us pushing her.

Tuesday: Harrison's first day of preschool (post to come soon!). Madeleine stayed home that day and we went to the doctor where we found out she had both an ear infection and swimmers ear. Yuck! Since she'd had a few rough nights of sleep from earaches I let her have a day at home to rest -- only we really didn't rest. We went to the mall and worked more on getting their fall clothes bought (there's an end in sight) and did the grocery shopping for the week. I was so thankful to have Madeleine there to entertain Charlotte while I did some speed shopping! Matt had Parent Nite at school that night, so we picked up Harrison and the 4 of us played outside for the rest of the evening.

Wednesday: We had an impromptu playdate with our friends that morning. What would I do without my girls to talk to?? Especially when Matt's gone so much at night -- I need conversation some days. :) After covering The Other W Family's drive with sidewalk paint, we headed home to try and tackle the laundry. Matt had class that night and we stayed in to try and get Madeleine some rest since she was still a bit under the weather.

Thursday: Finally a day at home! I put out all my fall decor and cleaned the kids half of the house. Matt came home and we grilled out. It was one of those days where I didn't leave the house all day & while those days are rare, it was kinda nice. We played outside and built block towers for Charlotte to knock down. Harrison dug the biggest hole in our flowerbed while waiting for Matt & Madeleine to get home. Fun times!

Friday: A busy day. I had an 8am PTO meeting to talk about some upcoming stuff. Charlotte got her first skinned up knee as we left. Then we rushed from there to meet our friends Mandy & Mason for our monthly nursing home visit. This is our 2nd visit to see the same ladies and I'm already looking forward to next month! They were the highlight of my day and I love that my friends have a heart of servanthood to want to do this. We left there and after a quick stop at Walmart it was home for lunch and naps. I finished cleaning the rest of the house, build the daily traintrack, and started dinner. We played outside again while waiting for Matt and Madeleine to come home. After dinner and playtime, we made our weekly trip to Braums. :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Saturday In the Park

Our first Saturday of the new school year found us headed to one of our favorite parks to spend the morning. We were all excited about spending the morning outside enjoying some nice weather and were even more excited when we got there and ran into some good friends!

Our first stop was feeding the ducks. The kids love this part and, I'll admit, I think Matt and I might enjoy it just as much as they do!






Once we'd filled the duck's bellies, we headed over to the swings. Charlotte loves to swing, although it might not look like it from this picture. :)
The park has recently put in a new big sandbox, which kept Harrison and his good friend Bennett happy for well over an hour! I loved listening to them talk while they were playing.

And, this sweet girl was pretty happy in the sand too! I think we brought home half of the sandbox in their clothes and shoes!


While the boys played in the sand, Madeleine & I snuck off for a bit and walked over to the library to get some books. This girl is flying through books these days! And it makes me so happy to see her falling in love with reading.


After the library, we took Charlotte and got in some time on the playground. Madeleine was quick to show off her monkey bar skills.

I took Charlotte up and down the tunnel slide many, many times and I had the sore arms and back the next day to prove it!

It was a wonderful day! And, a wonderful way to end out first week of school!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Matchy-Matchy

I had to share this picture of my girls in their outfits from Sunday. I love when they match! Not sure how much longer Madeleine's going to like this, but for now she's happy!