Monday, September 29, 2014

So very behind on this blog!

Well, surprise, surprise, life keeps cruising along at full speed and I am still woefully behind on this blog!  Maybe someday when I have lots of time on my hands I will post about all of the many things we did over the summer that I never actually posted about!  But for now, I will just give a little real time update.

Life has been busy as usual!   Michael has been working hard at work and doing about a bajillion projects around the house.  I am really, really grateful that he knows how to do so many things.  It saves us so much money!  He has changed the oil on the cars, replaced the dishwasher, built a wooden planter garden, not to mention all the work he is putting in on the kitchen, plus a million service projects he is involved in with being the Elders Quorum president at church.  WHEW!  Michael definitely earns his keep around here.

I have been pretty excited about the structure that the school year brings to our lives.  I find it easier to get the regular things checked off my list each day, which is a nice feeling!  Also, I can get so much done with only 1 or 2 kids home during the day!  That part is pretty awesome.  I wish I could say that I have been taking advantage of this absolutely beautiful weather by going running regularly, but alas, I have not!  But it is on my to do list!  It's funny, as I try to think about what to write about myself.  I actually have no idea what I have been doing.  But I have been doing things, and it has been busy and exhausting!  I have been asked to serve as the Young Women's president in our ward (leader of the program for girls ages 12 to 18), so that has certainly been keeping me busy for the last couple of weeks.  It is really so much fun.  The girls I am working with are awesome, and I am really excited to get to know them better.

Ryan is loving school.  He is really doing so well in Spanish, I am really proud of him.  He continues to be our very reliable, very responsible, very bossy, very loving oldest child.  I am finding it more and more fun to do things with just him, and I wish we had more time for that!  I depend on him for so much, and I am grateful that he rises to the challenge!  He has been having some friends over to play pretty much each week, and he has really loved that!  Living out of our school district and kind of far away from other members of our church, he doesn't know many kids who live close to us, so it's pretty exciting to have friends over!  Today I finally let him watch "World's Greatest Drag Race #4" on Youtube.  I think it was the happiest day of his life (almost).  A well spent 6 minutes, for sure!

Calvin is doing great, too.  He is learning a ton in Spanish this year, and it is so fun to see his improving!  He is getting to be a better reader and doing great at math, too.  Way to go, buddy!  Sadly, a lot of Calvin's best friends from his class last year are not in his class this year, and it has been more of a challenge for him to feel like he fits in.  But I think a lot of that is Calvin and the way he perceives and decides to remember only certain things :)  I went to lunch with him at school today just to see how things were really going for him, since he has had some sad days lately, but he seems to have lots of fun, talkative little friends and be doing great.  Excpet for one little girl, who he told me had said that Calvin was her worst enemy.  So since we were sitting at the same lunch table, I asked her if that was true.  She nodded yes.  I asked why.  She said that it was because he always chased her around at recess and so she was so busy running away from him that she never got any time to play.  So I asked Calvin if he would stop chasing her.  He agreed.  Then I asked her if that meant that they would no longer be worst enemies.  She agreed.  So, well, hopefully problem solved!  I guess the school drama is mostly our little Eyore, shining through.  School really does wipe him out, though, and I think the Eyore is especially close to the surface when he is tired :)  Calvin has had a couple of playdates over the last few weeks, too, and he has loved those and already has the next 5 planned out.  He still often comes home with stories about girls who want to kiss him, or "lovebirds" as he calls them.  Calvin is still my big sweetie, possibly my best cuddler, and an all around great little guy.

Sophie is loving preschool!  She only goes for a couple of hours twice a week, but each time she goes, she has a new little treasure to give to her teacher, Miss Jenny.  Also, she was convinced that she was going to marry a little boy in her class.  "His name is Jackson and he wears a brown coat.  And that is all I know about him."  Each time we would be waiting to go in the classroom and he would come breezing through the double doors with his mother, she would nonchalantly say "There's the man I'm going to marry."  Unfortunately today she informed me that she was no longer going to marry him.  I asked why.  She said that it was because he said that he could beat her in a game of...something (she was a little vague on the details)...and I guess that was that.  Now he has been replaced by Roko, who apparently is "Just like Jackson, only not him."  So, yeah!  She is my chatty, imaginative little girl.  It is fun to be able to pay more attention to her games and the things she likes to make up, now that the boys are in school all day.  Today her favorite thing was taking a white bedsheet and having me tie it around her shoulders so she could have a very long cape.  She did, however, have a falling down fit when I told her that we would not be wearing it in the car.  I am mean.  But Sophie is getting better at cleaning her room and is often really great at playing with Hannah when I ask her to.  She despises being alone.  I am also mean because today I made her use the bathroom in the basement since Calvin was in the upstairs one.  She was whining about it for so long that Calvin was actually already finished, but I made her use the downstairs one anyways, just to prove my point, which I think was "I am your mother so you should listen to me because I usually have good ideas."  We got together with a little friend from her tumbling class from the summer, and she was so thrilled to be playing with her and has been talking about her ever since.  Also, she is, of course, still the president of the Jane fan club.

Hannah is finally 18 months old this week!  She is a very funny girl.  Lately however, she has gotten like 6 teeth at the same time, so she oscillated between totally awesome and pretty naughty, which I am hoping is just the chronic dental pain talking!  Poor little thing.  But when she is not being totally naughty, she is an awesome dancer, loves to help, it really great at sitting and looking at Sophie's special tiny things or the legos (things that are usually off limits) for a really long time when the big kids aren't home.  She gets so excited when I let her play with them, I just can't resist!   She loves to be outside and is always brings us our shoes and her shoes.  She knows which shoes belong to which person now, and even bring us the right ones.  She is talking a ton and I love having that window into her little brain.  She is not eating much at all these days (I assume this is connected with the teeth coming in), but I can still rely on saltines, cereal, grapes, noodles, and sometimes lunch meat.  She still loves Michael the best.  I hope that never changes, because it's pretty adorable.

So that's us lately!  Life is exhausting, but good.

Here is a Family of 6 selfie we took after playing family soccer at the park on Friday night, and it was so much fun :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ryan losing another tooth!

I meant to put this in with my last post, but I couldn't find it until this morning!  If Ryan keeps losing teeth at this rate, he'll be eating yogurt and applesauce for lunch for a very long time!  This was over a month ago, but I thought it was really funny!

Monday, September 1, 2014

8 1/2 year old Ryan

Ryan, oh Ryan, what would I do without this kid?  8 1/2 is a seriously great age.  Ryan is just so helpful.  I depend on him for so much.  I'm a little nervous about him going back to school because I really do rely on him a lot, especially with Hannah.  He is such a huge help!

Being the oldest, and being a naturally obedient and eager to please child, I have come to expect quite a lot from this guy, and let me tell you, he really delivers!  He gets ready and does his chores right away, without being asked, he is always ready to help get a meal going or watch Hannah for a little while so I can get something done, he reads his scriptures and says his prayers without reminders, he is bright, funny, and oh so sweet to me.  Now, Ryan isn't perfect, of course, and because he is so great most of the time, I probably get after him too much when he occasionally makes a mistake.  But he takes it in stride.  He accepts his punishment and apologizes and tries so hard to make up for it.  He feels so bad when he has done something wrong that he usually cries, and the next time we are about to do something fun, he usually says that he feels like he doesn't deserve to do it.  I assure him that he does, and that everyone makes mistakes, and that is okay, as long as we try to be better and learn from them.  He is just such a sweetie.  He is so humble in the way he accepts correction and tries to do better.  It just melts my momma heart.

Here is a little experience from my journal from a couple of weeks ago about my sweet Ryan boy:

"Ryan, as usual, was happy to do his chores right away, willing to help me with whatever I asked him to do, and very sweet.  That's been him lately--he's my Pig Will, and I am so grateful!  But Calvin and Sophie, once again, said they would clean their room, but didn't.  For like 2 hours.  And finally after asking a million times and still finding them in their pajamas with a messy room, I teared up and told them that I didn't want to yell at them, but that I didn't know what else to do, and that they were making me so sad.  Then I went downstairs, made a little pile of blankets to lay on, and just cried.  I cried because I needed help figuring this out and asked Heavenly Father for His help.  I cried because I really don't know what will work with those two, and I cried because of all the work I knew it would take to get them to listen or at least to get my house clean.

I said a silent prayer asking Heavenly Father to help me feel better.  I said that sometimes all I needed to feel better was just a nice hug.  And just after that, as I lay there with tears rolling down my cheeks, sweet little Ryan came down the stairs and asked if he could give me a hug.  So he lay down with me and snuggled me while I cried.  I explained to him why I was sad, and my frustrations with trying to figure out how to get the other kids to listen without yelling and being mean.  He hugged me and told me what a good mommy I was and how much he loved me.  He just hugged me while I cried.  Then we brainstormed together about what to do, and we decided on getting the other kids downstairs for "snuggle hug time", where we all snuggled and got out our grievances and then started the day over again.

The rest of the day went better, and I was very proud that I didn't resort to yelling and getting angry.  So, there's one drop in the bucket.  I was grateful today that Heavenly Father answered my prayer for comfort with my sweet little Ryan.  He helped me feel loved and cared for and supported at a time when I felt weak and frustrated.  What a very special boy he is. "

He really is the best 8 1/2 year old I could dream up.  I need him and I am so grateful to have him!  I will miss him at school this year, but I am really excited for him--I am sure he will have a great year!  His new teacher is SeƱor Delhouy, and he seems totally great.  Ryan is so very excited!  Ryan has a few nice little friends at school, but I think they are mostly surface friends, and this year we decided that we want to plan to have friends over to play a lot more often, so we can help Ryan feel like he has more real friends.  I think that would make a big difference to him.  He has said a couple of times this summer that he wants to move to a place where he can have friends that live on his street.  It makes me sad to have him feel like he doesn't really have friends!  So, looks like we'll be having more play dates around here!  We just had dinner last night at the home of his best friend from school and we had such a lovely time!  They are such a sweet and fun family, and Ryan was so happy to see his friend again after a long summer apart!  We'll definitely have to spend more time together this year.

Ryan loves all things cars.  Last week we went up to Green Bay to visit Aunt Reeny and we passed a Maserati/Jaguar/Porsche dealership and we stopped to let Ryan look around.  He was in heaven!  He has also really started to love a good book.  We can find him reading and laughing in his room whenever he gets some down time, and I love it!

Ryan still loves anything minty, still has the best super sniffer nose in the business, is pretty particular about how he cares for his own things (this is amusing now that he and Calvin are sharing a room again.  He is always saying things like, "Okay Calvin, first thing in the morning we are going to organize our room!"), loves to cook, especially eggs since he can do those all by himself, and LOVES to push the shopping cart.  He rarely gets to do this, because I usually have anywhere from 1 to 3 children sitting in or hanging onto the cart and they ALWAYS get into fights when Ryan is in charge of pushing.  When he does push the shopping cart, if I so much as lay a finger on it for any reason, I will ALWAYS get a gentle response that he doesn't need my help and he would rather be the only one pushing the cart, thank you very much.  Funny little guy.  Ryan also loves speaking in weird, made up accents,attempting to make up jokes, and trying to master tongue twisters.

I love my little Ryan guy so, so much.  He is almost like another little adult around here for me, and I appreciate him so very much.  He is such a  bright and fun boy, and I love him to pieces!

Some pictures from our photo shoot at AnnaMarie's house:

Love his little gap toothed grin:

I love catching them playing in the backyard.  This time they were experimenting with spinning the wheels and putting stuff on them while spinning:

Showing Hannah a thing or two:

This guy saved up $75 of his own money over about 6 months to take gokart racing lessons.  Here he is on the morning of the lessons, trying to look very cool:

And then showing me how he really felt!

This one breaks my heart.  I don't even remember what he did when he wrote this note, but I was sad when I read it and had to have yet another talk about how just because we make a mistake doesn't mean we don't deserve good things, too... He is such a tender hearted guy!

Making cookies!  He loves wearing his octopus apron from Aunt Abbey:

And here the boys are this evening before bed, laying out their outfits for their first day of school tomorrow!

We recently bought Ryan his first deodorant.  He didn't want to forget to put it on tomorrow, so here he is, tucking it into his sleeve :)  Oh, and that PJ shirt is like 5 sizes too small.