Friday, April 22, 2011

Our Great Big 3 Year Old!

Well, today my sweet, stormy little Calvin turned 3 years old!  3 years ago today I was snuggling this little gem.



Calvin has always been on my team.  He came right on his due date, successfully getting me out of my last final of my first year of MBA school.  And he's the only one of my kids that looks anything like me.  He's my little buddy.  Here are some things you should all know about this guy at 3 years old:

-Calvin gives the best hugs.  My favorite hugs from Calvin are usually right after he gets out of his nursery class at church.  I'm not sure why, maybe he just really loves it in there, but every time he gets out, he runs down the hall at church as fast as he can, grinning ear to ear, throws his arms around my neck and gives me the biggest, most excited hug you can imagine.  It is the sweetest thing ever.

-Calvin wants to be just like his big brother.  He picks the same food as Ryan, wants the same color of cup as Ryan at meal times, wants to wear the same clothes as Ryan, you name it. Yesterday I let the boys pick out a donut from the store.  Ryan picked first, and when it was Calvin's turn, even though I know he is a sucker for chocolate and sprinkles, he picked the plain one with white icing just so he could be like Ryan.  They are best buddies.  They LOVE to play together, and I love watching them come up with crazy ideas together.

-Calvin's favorite foods are PBJs, suckers, and yogurt with fresh strawberries with just a little bit of cereal or granola on top.  He also loves green beans, but usually only the beans inside of the shell.  You know, those tiny little things about the size of a grain of rice?  Yeah those.  He picks them all out and leaves the shell.  He also loves milk.  A lot. 

-Calvin has one heck of a pouty face.  I really need to get it on camera.  He's a very sensitive little guy, so we get the pouty face a lot.  It's sort of a trademark and comes along with a sad little moan/whimper that I can't really describe.  It's almost always irrational, but sometimes it's a genuine sad face.  Usually when he's tired.

-Calvin is a very vivid dreamer.  And it's pretty much always something scary or sad or unjust.  A while ago he woke up in the middle of the night sobbing uncontrollably.  I went in to see what was wrong, and he eventually was able to tell me that Katie wasn't sharing with him and no one was letting him have a turn.  So I said "Well, you tell Katie that Mommy said it is Calvin's turn and that if people won't share with you, they will have a time out!"  Then he stopped crying immediately and was out like a light.  Other recent dreams that come to mind are "A tiger ripped my jacket" and "there are Germans under my bed and they are going to bite me!"

-Calvin likes to fib.  Whether it's making up stories or just plain lying straight to your face even when he has no chance of actually being believed.  Case in point: the other day he was talking to his grandma on the phone and she asked him what he was doing that day, and he said "Oh, nothing.  Well, my dad fell off the roof today."  He's slowly figuring out that it's not always a good idea to lie, though, so I'm sure he'll snap out of it.

-Calvin is our little emotional sweetheart.  From the time he was just a couple of weeks old, my dad pointed out that he was usually either very happy or acting like the world was ending.  He's still that way today.  When Calvin is happy, he is REALLY happy.  He is at his best just after nap time, right away in the morning, or when he is getting quality mommy/daddy time (like when Ryan is at school and Sophie is asleep).  Then he is HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY sweetest little boy in the world.  But when he's not super happy, he's a "glass half empty"/"everybody's out to get me" sort of guy and has his trademark grumpy face on.  It's funny to watch.

-Calvin is really sweet. He loves to share and he loves to help.  He loves to do his chores.  He loves to give people hugs and kisses when they're feeling sad.  He can be a very good snuggler when he puts his mind to it.

-Calvin has a great imagination and is very good at pretending.  He is usually pretending to be something, whether it's the bunny from Hoodwinked, Diego or Alicia, Lightening McQueen, a dog, a crane, you name it. 

We sure love you, Calvin.


Calvin had a wonderful birthday today.  He had a great little party with his friends, and then we had a great little party with our family, including AnnaMarie and Tyler and the girls, and Grandpa, Christy and Vick.  He woke up at 5:20 AM and snuggled me for about 40 minutes.  Then he discovered his birthday surprises and was thrilled to death all day.  He wasn't even grouchy at all, despite not napping and having a very full day.  He was oh so happy.  It was a really great 3 year old birthday. 

I got some pictures from our family party, but AnnaMarie was the official photographer of the friend party, so I'll talk more about that when I get those pictures from her.  But here are some of the ones I got:

Some surprises waiting for him this morning.  He loves his new car rug!


He had a GREAT time drawing on the mirrors with dry erase markers:


Opening some presents:



Ryan and Michael made him his very own toolbox.  And filled it with real tools just for him.



I made the best. cake. ever.  


Calvin loves bugs.  



checking to make sure they aren't real...


 Blowing out the candles:



He LOVED the bugs.  He ate almost all of them.


Here he is saying "OH NO!!!! IT'S GOING TO STING ME!" At which point he poked himself with its face.  The Michael informed him that bees sting with their backside.


So he tried it out.  


 Eating candy with Ryan and Katie.  3 amigos!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

YES, YES, YES, OH YES!


As a mother of a sweet little girl who has suffered from baby baldness for her entire life thus far, this is a VERY big day for me! It's been a long road, but somehow we made it through! 

Ryan was playing outside when I put in the piggy tails, and when he came in he looked at Sophie and gasped, then crooned, "Oh, Sophie!  You have very teeny teeny tiny hairbows!  How did you get those in???" 



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Throwback

Some of you may remember this little gem of a post.  Seriously, probably my best work I've ever done in the blogosphere.  Well, I just wanted to see what you all think--does Calvin still pass for a Winston doppelganger, or are his glory days behind him?






 Notice anything fantastic about this last one?  That's right, Liz and Erik totally made Calvin a Winston t-shirt.  Which, besides being completely awesome, is also very functional, because he can wear it when he campaigns for the Winston Fan Club president in 2012.  Perfect!

P.S. These pictures make me miss his droopy little jowls. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Clarity (Warning--it's a long one!)

Don't you just live for those moments of clarity in your life?  When all of a sudden you catch a glimpse of how things are supposed to be?  And the world just feels right?  Yesterday was such a great day.  It was like that rare moment lasted all day. 

Lately I've been feeling sort of overwhelmed in my responsibilities.  Lately as in the past few months.  Confession: for whatever reason (laziness maybe?  a feeling of entitlement to "me time" perhaps?) I am really not so great at running a tight ship around here.  Nothing terrible--I'm responsible enough to manage the basics.  Lets just say an average lunch time begins with me clearing off the breakfast dishes from the table around noon.  I usually don't sweep the floor until after the kids go to bed (and Sophie is a very messy eater, mind you), so we all step on our fair share of banana pieces and pbj pieces throughout the day, although I do pick the pieces up once I step on them, I'll have you know.  I usually save the laundry until it really really needs to be done (this is determined in one of two ways: 1) the walkway in my room between the laundry basket and the bed is just really getting impassible 2) my favorite pair of jeans or favorite article of Sophie's clothing has been eluding me for too long) and then feel like the job is done when there is no longer dirty laundry in the basket, meaning it is clean but stays in the basket or in the dryer and--yes--occasionally in the washer until I realize that I've really fallen down on the job and motivate myself to fold it and put it away, by which time there is usually another decent sized dirty laundry mountain waiting for me. 

This sort of thing really bothers me.  I feel like I am a pretty responsible, reasonable person, and yet when I finally get my first few moments of time to myself during the day (once Sophie is down for her morning nap and the boys are playing together somewhere) the LAST thing I want to do is put the dishes in the sink and sweep the floor.  I would so much rather check my email for an hour and then scramble to get dressed for the day when I hear Sophie beginning to stir. 

Here's where that moment of clarity comes in.  Lately I've been thinking a lot about how to get on top of things in my life.  How to get over that constant battle between the "whiny/selfish mommy who just wants things the way she wants them for crying out loud!" and the mature, capable, loving mom I know is in there deep down.  Our church recently had its general conference (a semi-annual meeting broadcast worldwide from the Prophet and other church leadership--by the way, did you know there is a living prophet on the earth today?  Find out more here and here.) and we watched and listened to most of it (kids make it hard to listen 100%...ok, even 50% is hard) and I've been listening to some of the talks again online since then (find them here). 

As I've been thinking about what I learned and how it applies to me, it's been amazing to see how simple the solutions are to some of these problems really are.  It's about love.  It's about selflessness.  It's about genuinely, honestly forgetting about yourself and doing what you know is good and right.  It's about facing your responsibilities with courage, no matter how average or boring those responsibilities might sometimes seem.  It really and truly just about trying to be more like our Savior, Jesus Christ, in each aspect of our lives. 

So, I have been trying harder, and do you know what?  It's been working.  It's funny when the answer to a question is something you've really known all along, isn't it?  So instead of waking up grumpy because I didn't get to sleep as long as I wanted to, I've been trying to be nice.  I've been trying to be excited about the day and share that feeling of excitement with the kids.  They are naturals at being excited for the day.  They generally wake up happy and smiling ear to ear.  Instead of trying to keep them busy doing something else and making them stay outside or downstairs while I finally get some housework done, we do it together.  Guess what?  They LOVE it!  I made a chore chart with a list for each boy.  Ryan is pretty autonomous, but Calvin pretty much needs me to do everything with him.  But I don't mind, because it's actually fun to do it together.  And Sophie toddles around after us as we go from room to room.  By the time we get the chores done, Sophie is ready for a nap and the boys are ready to go play.  And it's magical, because the house is already tidied up, we're all happy, I spent quality time with the kids that they and I actually enjoyed, and instead of feeling grumpy and entitled to a large chunk of "sitting on the computer wasting time just because I can" time, I actually feel like doing something productive or fun, like getting some deeper cleaning done, or getting to a project I'd been meaning to get to, or doing something special with the kids. 

This is what Monday was like.  It was such a great day.  I feel like I'm just now figuring out something wonderful that I should have known all along.  That it doesn't have to be me vs. the kids.  I love them so much, and of course I always have, but they deserve so much more than I have been giving them, in terms of a happy atmosphere and quality time with me (and probably a good number of other things that I have yet to figure out).  I actually already knew that part.  But what I didn't know was that it was so easy and rewarding to give them what they deserve.  It made me genuinely 100% happy. 

So there it is. My moment of clarity.  I know not every day will be like yesterday.  Take today for example.  1.5 of my kids were about the grumpiest I've seen them for a while for most of the day.  But I could handle it, because I was different inside while I dealt with it (does that even make any sense?).  We had some frustrating moments, but a lot of really great happy ones, too.  Like most days.  But since my little shift in perspective, I've been able to remember the happy ones and let the frustrating ones go.  So this is my goal.  To try to make every day a Monday (metaphorically speaking). 

Now, if you made it this far, you certainly deserve some good pictures.  And my kids certainly don't disappoint in that department!

Sophie was the lucky recipient of some absolutely adorable outfits for her birthday from Grandma and Grandpa Walton.  I loved this sweet little shirt:



Big blue eyes:



Sophie figured out the lens cap:


 
And she grew exactly 1 curl.  Can you see it?  Maybe with a magnifying glass?


Calvin giving me one of his "half enlightened, half skeptical" looks when we told him we were going to make syrup from our tree:


 Ryan was a fully invested believer, though, and was very excited with the results:


Does it look like Sophie LOVES playing with her brothers?  Because she does:


Calvin doing a little bird watching in his spare time:



 Ryan just being Ryan:





The boys helping me make tortillas:



Calvin loves his new froggy rain boots:


Ryan trying his luck as a mailman at the children's museum on Saturday:


Happy with their cousin Katie (and a friendly tortoise) at the zoo today:



 All the Moore cousins running free at the zoo:


Me and my girl:



How cute is this outfit (disregard the water dribbles and the graham cracker smeared all over)?  A hand-me-down from cousin Lily. 


And a self-portrait of Ryan at bedtime today:


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sophie Sausages

Pick a title for this blog post:
  • Baby Brats
  • Little Links
  • Sophie Sausages
  • Brats for Tots

Sophie and I had a great time at our first BBQ of the season.


She was a big fan of the brats.We are training her so she can go to a Packer game with her Great-Aunt Janny some day.


We once texted our friends to see if they were coming over for a cookout. "Coming over for the brats?" the text said. The husband hadn't heard about the cookout and quickly called and said confusedly "I didn't know we were baby sitting today."

He did admit that us calling our kids brats didn't make much sense since we don't call them that. (We like our kids!).