Thursday, December 5, 2013

Things Emmett blurts out randomly

~Driving into Seattle I hear an exuberant cry from the back seat. "The Space Noodle!" I love that kid!
~While visiting David's parents in Idaho, we decided to eat at a restaurant. Rather than switch all the car seats into grandma's car, we drove separate vehicles. As we pull into the restaurant parking lot, Emmett notices his grandparents walking toward the restaurant door. "Hurry! We have to capture up Boppa!" Emmett yells out.
~Christmas music was playing in the background while I helped the kids work on a Christmas craft. "Let it snow" began to play and suddenly Emmett says, "No place to go? That is so sad." I love this kid so much! He is always listening...unless I ask him to do something he doesn't want to do. Then he becomes deaf to the world.
~David's parents came to stay over a holiday weekend. Early one morning while they were here, the kids, Grandma Mary, and myself were up and playing for awhile when Emmett noticed that Boppa was still in bed. "Boppa is the hero sleeper!" Emmett exclaimed cheerfully. Grandma said she believed Boppa was actually watching a movie in bed, so Emmett said, "Then Daddy is the hero sleeper."

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Why NOT to spend $100+ on your kid’s Christmas present – Things to consider

As Christmas is fast upon us, I have been surprised to see many people discussing which very costly gifts are best to purchase for their children. As someone who has never spent that much money on a gift for any of my children, I am beginning to think perhaps I am a scrooge. But when I dig down into my reasoning for being what others might perceive as a cheapskate, I feel it is my duty to try and proselytize others to my form of thinking – rather than jump on the “keeping up with the latest and greatest” bandwagon. The following are some of my core reasons (in no particular order) for not spending oodles on my kids and are things I hope will at least cause others pause when considering whether a costly gift is in their kid’s future.

1)    Financial stability/avoiding debt. I never have and never will purchase gifts with money I do not have. I will not ring up a gift for my child on a credit card that essentially puts our family into financial bondage for the next several months until it is paid off. Don’t get me wrong – I am not anti-credit card. I just advocate for never charging anything onto your card that you can’t pay off before it accrues interest – costing you much more than you originally thought you were going to pay for it. If I don’t have the money to pay for it, it doesn’t belong under my Christmas tree. Placing things under my tree that I can’t afford is a form of coveting, and I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that coveting is not good.

2)    Emergency preparedness. In recent years we have seen many natural and man-made disasters tear through the lives of everyday people like ourselves. For those who share my belief in the teachings of the LDS church leaders, we have been told that “The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah.” (Ezra Taft Benson). Until I feel my emergency food and supply storage is up to snuff, I cannot in good conscience spend large sums of money on items that cannot meet my family’s needs in times of trial. Is your supply sufficient to provide for your family for twelve months of the unexpected? A layoff? A debilitating accident that leaves you unable to support your family financially? A natural disaster? Maybe I sound apocalyptic, but there were many who rode out hurricane Sandy who said the main thing they needed access to in the immediate aftermath was edible food. The disaster was so terrible that it took weeks, and in some cases months, for some areas to have the roads cleared out and be made accessible. Perhaps you missed the news clips of individuals and families rummaging through dumpsters looking for food because the stores had either been destroyed or the shelves had been wiped clean and no delivery trucks were able to get through. I saw those clips and I will not soon forget them. I would hate to look at my starving kids in a scenario like that and say, “I’m sorry, but I felt it was more important that you thought I was a cool mom for getting you _____ so I didn’t have money left to plan for the unexpected.” I love my kids enough to say no to the pricey gifts and yes to planning and preparing for their protection, comfort, and ultimately their survival.

3)    Emergency cash supply. In addition to having food and other supplies, most decent financial advisors say it is in your best interest to have 3-6 months’ worth of cash stored away - enough to cover all your fixed expenses in the event that something unexpected happened and you suddenly had no income. In today’s economy, a sudden layoff is not uncommon. You cannot foresee traffic accidents or other physical incidents that could result in sudden disability or predict serious health-related surprises. Before shelling out for the hottest cell phone, tablet, uber-pricey doll, etc., please ask yourself if such a purchase supersedes your family’s financial security. After all, luck does favor the prepared. If your emergency cash supply is not at the minimum 3 month recommendation, what on earth makes you feel that you are financially stable enough to be spending tons of money on gifts?

4)    Charitable giving. I will begin the discussion of this topic with a quote from CS Lewis in Mere Christianity: ”I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare…If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us,… they are too small.  There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures excludes them.” We are not charitable if we are simply tossing our scraps to those in need. Charitable giving means truly giving. How can someone who calls themselves a Christian feel that they are doing their part to follow the Savior if they are heaping the things of the world upon their children while neglecting to care for the needy, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc.? Let’s say you buy some expensive toy or electronics or whatever the hot item is at the moment and average $271 per kid on Christmas morning (*apparently that is the average amount that was being spent per child in 2012 in the US, according to this. All I can say is that some people are spending insane amounts to balance out the fact that I probably spend less than $30 per kid for my family of 5, and my husband will be lucky if I spend that much on him – I’ll talk more about how I do this and still have an amazing Christmas later in this post). Ok, where was I? Oh yes, $271 per child – enough to feed a family of four for nearly two weeks on the “Thrifty” meal plan according to this. I would hope that at some point during the season of giving, everyone would pause and think of those who are truly in need. Can you in good conscience spend this kind of money on your kids while dropping only your spare coins into the charity bucket in front of the store? Let’s say you have 2 kids and are blowing just $100 on each one, do you feel like you still have room in your budget after spending that much for meaningful giving to someone who actually needs it? According to the American Research Group, the average adult shopper in each home surveyed is planning to spend $801 this Christmas. How much of that is going toward something more than spoiling already well-provided-for youth? You want to get into the spirit of Christmas? Give. And give in a way that makes a difference – by giving to someone who actually needs. Now don’t go patting yourself on the back for being charitable just because you pay your tithing. Tithing is really paying off a debt to God for granting us all the blessings that we have. If God didn’t see our tithing as a payback for what we received by his hand, why would he say that holding back our tithes is robbing him (see Malachi 3:8-10)? So, excluding tithing, how charitable have you been –really? I cannot in good conscience purchase my kids more stuff they don’t actually need until I have done my duty to share of my abundance with people who have real needs. Not sure where to find someone in need? Ask the principal at your child’s school if there is a family you can “adopt” for the holidays. Talk to your ecclesiastical leader – guaranteed they know someone in need and can probably make suggestions as to what would best meet their needs. Perhaps a coworker was recently laid off and could use a surprise package for their family. Really listen as you interact with people and be observant. Often needs are expressed in subtle ways during every day conversations or are visible if you are really paying attention. For example: I had the opportunity to spend last year’s Thanksgiving with family members who live in another state. One morning I needed something out of my parents’ room and tried to slip in quietly since my dad works nights and sleeps during the day. I noticed that his window coverings did very little to block out the light and invited my siblings to go in on a gift of black-out curtains for my dad. It was an opportunity to give something that helps his quality of life, but I never would have thought of it if I hadn’t been observant on that occasion. That same Thanksgiving weekend I also was able to visit my brother at his home and saw him go to his garage where he worked as a mechanic. He was wearing thread-bare sweats over his clothes and appeared to be freezing in the 28 degree weather, but said he did not want to get his good winter coat covered in grease. I took mental note of the need to make his work more comfortable during the long cold winter months and got online to find lined coveralls rated for cold weather. When I discovered they would be over $150 for a good pair, I again invited my other siblings to go in on the gift with me – which they were all happy to do. Another opportunity to give a gift that mattered, and to share that gift giving experience with my siblings, because of being observant. Now these two examples are of family gifting, but the idea of observing holds true for charitable opportunities as well. And, as a last little thought on this topic: It may sound strange, but we have generally spent more on giving to people outside our family than on gifts for our own kids. We have almost always done our charitable giving anonymously (whenever possible), which adds to the excitement and brings a sense of Christmas magic to whomever we have helped.

5)    The meaning of Christmas. Somewhere along the way, the actual meaning of this day has been minimized (and to some, completely lost). Please, someone, explain to me why the birth of the Savior means kids somehow need or deserve expensive gifts. If we buy into that, we are not truly honoring what this day is supposed to mean. Christ was born to be our exemplar and Savior. He taught us how to live – with love towards God and towards our neighbor (meaning all mankind). He asked us to follow him. He spent his time visiting the sick, lonely, poor, blind, maimed, feeding the multitudes (both physically and spiritually), etc. He says that if we love him, we are to feed his sheep and walk in his way. Want to teach your kids the true meaning of Christmas and really feel the spirit of the holiday? Take them to visit an elderly home-bound person. Your ecclesiastical leader could probably name at least a dozen lonely hearts that would welcome some Christmas cheer. Take your kids to a food bank and volunteer. Find a church that is serving meals to the homeless and take your kids to volunteer to help serve or wait tables. Go to the cancer ward or pediatric ward of your local hospital and visit, sing songs, tell stories, and show love to people who won’t be sitting around the Christmas tree in their own house this year. It will do a lot of good for our kids to see that there are people out there with much more pressing struggles than they have ever had to deal with. If you and your kids are animal lovers, go to an animal shelter and volunteer to walk dogs and help in whatever ways are needed. Maybe you’ll even find a pet to adopt as an early Christmas present for your kids (and for the pet that is saved from an unpleasant, but likely fate). If your kids are too young to be allowed to serve in some of those more official volunteer opportunities, select a name off your school’s giving tree and involve your kids in making an amazing Christmas package for the individual or family you selected. Pick a family you suspect is going through hard times and have your kids be “spies” as they are playing with the kids from that family to listen for and take note of specific needs you can meet. Then take your kids shopping for that family and have them help you ding-dong-ditch a package for them. Perhaps you learn they have outstanding medical bills that are a stress. Rather than buying your teen another Apple product, tell them the situation and ask them if they think their upgraded smart phone is more important than helping someone in need. Your kids will surprise you with their capacity for empathy, if you give them opportunities to develop it. Maybe what is needed is a service, rather than items. If you have the skills, help mend a fence or broken vehicle – and take your kid along to help. Offer to babysit for free for a stressed or overworked parent and have your kid help. Make a meal together with your kid and deliver it to someone who has been ill or recently had a baby or other significant event in their life. If you know someone who doesn’t drive or is having car trouble, offer your services as chauffer for a day to help them get some errands and holiday shopping done…and bring your kid along to help or have them babysit while you provide the transportation. As mentioned in the last section – people in need are not hard to find if you take a look around and ask.  One of my own best memories of Christmas is from my early teen years. My mom took my siblings and I downtown to a warehouse where a local news station was organizing toys for their annual foster kid toy drive. Mounds of wrapped packages were organized by gender and age (such as girl gifts – ages 5-7, boy gifts – ages 14-16, etc). We were given an “order form” listing the gender and ages of foster kids in a particular home and we got to run to the respective mound and compile gifts into a box for that home. Things were very tight financially for my own family at the time, but this was a way to get into the spirit of Christmas that didn’t cost our family anything but our time. We volunteered to help with that program a couple years in a row, and I still remember it and the amazing way I felt knowing I had helped make Christmas a little more cheerful for kids in foster care. There really are so very many ways to serve and bless others, if we are willing to take the time to discover them.

6)    Kids need our time and attention WAY more than they need the fancy toys we toss at them. Seriously, there is no better gift you can give your kid than the gift of yourself. If you want to really give your child something meaningful, give a gift that guarantees together-time. What kind of gifts do I mean? Tickets for just you and your child to something they are interested in. Perhaps a children’s museum, musical theater, ballet, concert, etc. Give them a package with all the materials and tools needed to complete a project together AND days and hours marked off on your calendar for when you will work together to get it done. Sign up for a class you can do together where you both are learning something new (photography, cake making, dance, art, electrical engineering,…whatever) and let them unwrap the syllabus or receipt from the purchase or a funny picture clue as to what the gift is. Plan a day trip for just the two of you and let your kid unwrap the itinerary. Maybe you’ll go on a hike, bike ride, scavenger hunt through the city (some city’s visitor center websites offer scavenger hunts), swimming, site seeing, ice skating, bowling, or to an old-school arcade. It will mean a lot that you have taken the time to plan and make arrangements for such an excursion. In the end what really matters is that kids get the message that they are important to us. No matter what the commercials have you believing, this is NEVER measured by the size of the price tag on the gifts we give our kids. (Veruka Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a perfect example of that!) Our nonverbal communication provides 80% of the message others receive (thank you, Speech 205, for that tidbit), so the only way our kids are truly going to believe the message that they matter is if we SHOW them with our time. Think outside the box. Yes, it takes more effort and time and requires actually paying attention to what ways our children would enjoy spending their time, but that effort and time send the message that your kid is worth more than a lump of money and a quick trip to the mall. I really try not to buy something for my kids just for the sake of buying something – even if they really want it. I have tried to develop a habit of asking myself if the gift in question gives something of myself and will facilitate further interaction and quality time between the two of us. If not, then it is definitely not worth hundreds of dollars.

To those who are thinking my kids are going to be empty-handed and miserable on Christmas day, I will share what gifts are in the works for them. There are basically only three gifts total for my three kids. First, my husband and I found a few Disney movies on sale at Costco for about $14 each. Since our kids only watch 1 movie every other week or so, this is a pretty special gift. (*Maybe I’ll get around to writing another post all about limited screen time and try to convert people to my thinking on that topic as well – some other time) Second, my kids are pretty obsessed with the movie How to Train Your Dragon. My husband and I made their Halloween costumes and they dressed up as Astrid, Hiccup, and Toothless the dragon (I promise this is relevant). When making the Toothless costume, we found a pattern online to make a large plush Toothless doll and converted parts of the plush into the costume for our littlest guy. We kept the original pattern and instructions and bought enough material to make both the costume and the actual plush. We spent about $30 for the fabric and stuffing we will use on the plush, which is way cuter than the official Toothless plush you could buy in the stores at one time, though I’m not sure they are even available anymore. The finished project will be about 3 feet long from nose to tail, and we are pretty sure there will be some stoked kids on Christmas morning. Lastly, a couple years ago I made “table forts” for my nephews similar to this. My kids have been asking me to make them one as well, but I have been dragging my feet because our table is oval-shaped, making the project a bit more complicated than the simple rectangle-shaped table forts I made previously. This year I bought a king size flat sheet at a thrift store for $5 and will make them their fort. After sewing it all together, I will cut the windows with pinking shears and ask my artistic sister to decorate the thing with my colorful sharpie markers. The kids will probably spend the rest of Christmas day in their fort once they have opened all their gifts (our few, as well as those from extended family) and we will play in there with them, giving them our full time and attention. In total, we will be spending about $90 on our three kids, once we factor in a couple small stocking stuffers. (*Thought - perhaps one of the reasons that they will be thrilled with their gifts and not feel deprived stems back to our very limited screen time – including almost no access to television commercials, so they don’t get all hyped up about whatever item is being marketed to kids at the moment. I’ll have to muse on this thought further when I get around to that other post.) I am looking forward to hearing the ultra-happy giggles on Christmas morning as my kids enjoy gifts that my husband and I put time, thought, and effort into, more so than simply swiping our credit card. In addition to these gifts, we will be spending the Christmas season involving our children in service and charitable giving – teaching them the true meaning of this season. I encourage and invite everyone who happens upon these words to do the same.

Merry Christmas and God bless.

*This is my personal blog that I have almost exclusively used as a family journal of sorts, and therefore encourage readers to respect my space and avoid posting rude comments. You are welcome to disagree with me, but please link to your own space in the comments if you wish to rant or be harsh in response to my post. I will remove impolite or crude comments simply because I want this blog to be a safe place where my kids can come to read about our family’s experiences.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Conversation with a 4 year old

Today's conversation with Emmett began with him attempting to quote Woody from Toy Story. "There's a snake in my boot!" Emmett loudly proclaimed, followed by, "Somebody turn on the water pole." I tried not to laugh out loud, but it was funny. Liliana explained to Emmett that what Woody really said was, "Somebody's poisoned the waterhole." Emmett's response was, "How is the water poisoned?" I responded with, "Somebody put vegetables in the water." It is an ongoing joke at our house that Emmett must be convinced that vegetables are poisonous, because no matter how many different ways I prepare and serve them, Emmett won't even sample them. To this Emmet replied, "No. Water is for drinking and vegetables are for eating." At which point I asked, "If that is the case, then why won't you eat any vegetables?" After a short moment to think, Emmett responded with, "Because vegetables don't like boys." So there you have it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Walking Talker

This past week Edison decided to graduate from the occasional step-taker to a full-blown walker. It was about time, considering he turned 15 months old a few days later. He is improving in balance and confidence every day. At 12 months, Edison began signing the words all done and food. He now signs and says the following words: food, all done, cracker, please, bye, night-night (which he also uses to mean nap, and more. Some words he says without signing are: all better, want that, love you, poopie, up, doggie, mommy, daddy, no, hi, and ball. I still think of him as my baby, but he is definitely becoming a toddler now. It is bittersweet. He brings so much joy to our family. He loves to be silly and laughs out load often. Lately he has taken to bringing me his helmet to put on him and will just wear it around for fun. So if you happen to stop by and he's wandering the house with protective head gear, it is more because he thinks it is fun than because we think he is accident prone.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Tara Wangleston

I can't recall exactly how we got on the subject, but Liliana and I were talking about how I had a friend in middle school named Tara. "What was her last name?" Liliana asked. "Hmmm...You know, I can't seem to remember," I answered. "Tara...uh...Wangleston?" Liliana offered. After stifling back a laugh I told her, "No, it wasn't that, but I think you're really close. Good guess." This kid comes up with the most random stuff!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Liliana's Schooling

Back in February we got the disappointing news that Liliana's name was not drawn for the lottery school we were hoping to have her attend. We knew chances were slim, as there were more than 300 kindergarteners in the drawing pool, and less than 40 open slots. So a few days later when kindergarten registration began at our neighborhood school,I headed over to fill out the paperwork. Our consolation was that the school was only 2 streets away and that several kids from our church congregation would also be in her class. Well, it turns out that our school board redrew the boundaries for the schools in our area this summer, and although we are in the walking zone for our neighborhood school, we are on the wrong side of the street and Liliana was to be bussed to another school some miles from our house. I went to tour the other school, which was nice, but was nearly 15 minutes from my house by car.I discovered that Liliana was the farthest out and would be first pickup and last drop, meaning an over 30 minute bus ride, which I felt unacceptable for a five year old in half-day kindergarten. Transporting Liliana back and forth myself didn't seem like a great option, as I would have to load the boys up twice a day to do that, and we'd spend nearly an hour cumulatively driving back and forth. Also, I had sat in on the kindergarten class and was surprised to see they were still discussing letter sounds, colors, and shapes, and at this time it was mid-March. I asked both the teacher and the principal what supplementation they had to offer for kids who already know how to read, and they told me they let reading-ready kids use a reading program on the computer. That sealed the deal for me to find another option. I felt it was not worth the transportation debacle just to have Liliana placed in front of a computer screen. Luckily our school district has an "umbrella school" with a program that allows parents to check out curriculum and materials for home learning, as well as offers classes in all subject areas that kids can attend, if desired. Parents can do as much home schooling or as much in-school learning as wanted. Liliana is two weeks into the program I created for her and we are loving it. I selected two classes for Liliana to take on campus (sewing and 1st/2nd grade writing) and am teaching all other subjects at home - supplementing her p.e. with a ballet /tap class. When I went to check out the curriculum, we realized that the kindergarten math curriculum was too easy, so Lilian jumped straight into a first grade math program. We only have to trek the 20 minutes in to the school once a week, and the boys love the preschool room and indoor and outdoor play grounds that they get to enjoy while Liliana is in class. We'll continue to press forward and see if this is the right course for us, but so far, it is looking very promising.

Edison's 1 Year stats

Better late than never, right? Edison celebrated his first birthday on August 10th and had his checkup shortly thereafter. The results...drumroll please...He weighed in at 23 pounds, 15 ounces - making him the lightest of my three at this age. He was 31 and 1/4 inches tall, and his head was a whopping 19 inches in circumference - to fit all that brain matter, of course. He had six teeth and wasn't walking yet (and even now at 13 months, both of these statements hold true). In the days following his birthday he began to sign the words "more," "food," and "all done." Occasionally he says something that resembles daddy and mommy, but I am not 100% certain that he is using them to name his father or I yet. He blows kisses when prompted and shakes his head often because it makes people laugh when they think he is telling them no. Edison finds his big brother, Emmett, to be the most hysterical and entertaining thing in existence. They have a special bond that many people have noticed. I am so thankful for the love and joy our little guy brings to our family.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Liliana's Profound Question

"Why is there no tomorrow?" Liliana asked David and I tonight. "What do you mean?" I asked, thinking that maybe she knew something about the end of the world that we should be preparing for (*just kidding). She then began to sing the 'Days of the Week' song. "Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, the you start again.... See. No tomorrow!" I love this little girl! Seeing how her little brain works is fascinating for me. We had a little discussion about tomorrow not being the name of a specific day, but referring to the day after the one we are in at the moment. I asked her what day it was and she responded, "Sunday." I asked her what day tomorrow will be and she replied, "Monday." Then I told her to pretend that it was Monday now and asked her what day it would be and she responded, "Tuesday." I know she already can answer these questions, because we do it as part of our preschool calendar activity all the time, but I wanted her to talk it out as part of this discussion to help her understand the abstract concept of tomorrow not being a specific day of the week. She, like most people, gets those "ah ha" moments much more frequently when I let her talk it out herself than when I try to explain things to her outright. Giving her nuggets of information and then helping to guide her thinking through questions enables her to feel like she can figure things out on her own and helps her develop problem solving skills and the ability to think about things and come to conclusions/resolutions without just waiting for someone to tell her what or how things are. I am not always good about facilitating this type of discovery thinking, but I am working on it because it is important.

No Rubbing His Belly!

A few nights ago I was helping Emmett change into his pajamas. Once I had his shirt off him, I said, "I like your belly. I want to rub it." I started to reach my hand up to rub his adorable toddler tummy. Emmett swiftly shielded his belly with his arms and twisted away from me. "No! That's just for decoration!" he exclaimed. I love this kid!

Emmett Versus The Crab

Some weeks ago we went on a preschool field trip to Carkeek Park. For those who have not been there, it is a park that overlooks the Puget Sound. The parking lot and play area are up on a bit of a hillside, and then you can take a footbridge over some train tracks and down onto the beach. My kids loved being there. Emmett saw the train tracks right away and made a beeline for the footbridge. He stood excitedly over the tracks and I hurried to catch up to him. We waited for only a few minutes before we saw a train heading our way. Emmett was so excited that the train was going to pass right underneath us. It ended up being much noisier and windier than we expected, and that made him a bit nervous when we had the chance to see another train pass under us later on that day. He actually started to run off the bridge to the side, but when I called him back and one of the other moms in our group offered to sit on the ground with Emmett and her little one, he happily (and skittishly) returned to the center of the bridge. I couldn't get down quite so nimbly because I had Edison strapped to me in a baby carrier. Otherwise, I would have offered to sit or kneel with him myself. After seeing the train pass, our group worked our way down to the beach. It was a very low tide, so we were lucky enough to catch a peak at some crabs and a sea star, among other things in a rocky tide-pool area. Our little group worked its way towards the water's edge and Emmett decided to start wading - shoes, pants, and all. I called him back and we removed his shoes and rolled up his pants and he went back to wading. I noticed he was working his way back to the rocky tide-pool, but didn't seem to want to get to close without his shoes on. I kept scanning the beach to help keep an eye on all the kids - while keeping Emmett in my peripheral vision. All of a sudden I heard Emmett screaming and crying hysterically. I looked over to see he had taken several steps into the rocky area, near where we had seen the crabs, and appeared to be panicking about something, picking one foot up and down, and yet unable to move away from whatever was hurting him. Now remember, I had Edison strapped to me and was surrounded by rocky beach myself. I started to hurry towards him, but two other moms in our group without the extra weight and balance challenge of a loaded baby carrier beat me to him. One of them scooped him up and brought him toward me as I hurried their way, too. She said, "I think the crab got him. He was standing right next to it and that seems to be what he was scared about." Once we calmed Emmett down a bit, he let us examine his foot. He had a bloody gash on the inside of the arch of his foot and seemed to have a couple punctures near the gash. We used fresh water from a water bottle to rinse it off and put his wet socks and shoes back on him. He was still uncomfortable, but until we could get him back up across the footbridge and to the car - where my first aid kit was - I couldn't do much else for him. Our group climbed the stairs up to the train bridge and then my little train nut decided to wait for another train to pass - even though his foot hurt. We finally made it to the car, where we could more thoroughly clean and bandage his foot and where I had a change of socks for him. On the ride home, I asked Emmett to tell me about what had happened. He said, "The crab pinch me four times. Pinch, pinch, pinch, pinch. Really hard!" I asked him why he went back by the crab and why the crab wanted to pinch him. Emmett said, "I walk on the crab and I kick the crab." At this point I was trying not to laugh. I knew Emmett was still in pain, but the thought of him trying to pick a fight with a purple shore crab was pretty funny. In as un-laughing a voice as I could muster, I asked, "Why did you kick the crab and step on him?" Emmett told me that he didn't like the crab and that it looked scary. "Do you think the crab liked being kicked and stepped on?" I asked - still trying not to chuckle. Emmett admitted that the crab probably did not enjoy that kind of attention. He promised not to harass crabs ever again. It appears Emmett has a bit of an obsession with crabs as a result of this experience. When we went camping a few weekends later, we went down to the beach and found little tiny crabs under some rocks. Emmett couldn't help but look under every rock and in every tiny tide pool he could see in search of crabs. He wouldn't touch them though, so maybe he has learned his lesson.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Why a 5 Year Old Needs a Cell Phone

Recently, Liliana asked me, "When will I get a cell phone?" Wanting to know what caused her to feel like she needed a phone, I responded with a question. "Why do you want a cell phone?" I asked. Her response made me laugh. It was definitely not the 'so I can call my friends' answer I was expecting. Rather, she very seriously said, "Well, I need to play my own games." Ha ha! Phones are not just for communicating anymore, and kids figure that out young. Liliana and I chatted about what the main purpose of a phone is - smartphone, or otherwise. She agreed that she has plenty of other ways to play games and accepted that she won't be getting a phone any time soon.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Liliana's new skill

Easter weekend David removed the training wheels from Liliana's bike, at her request. They spent less than 30 minutes learning to ride, with Liliana successfully starting on her own and going a few feet now and then before panicking and veering off course. Last Thursday (April 11th) was the second time Liliana attempted to ride her bike. I was working on dinner, so I asked her to just push herself with her feet and practice coasting to work on her balance. Once I finished with dinner, I came out and said I could help her. She put her feet on the pedals...and rode off on her own! She even turned and kept going in circles around the driveway. Watch for the video - coming soon.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hello, friend

During church today, Edison's fans were waving at him from the pew behind us. After smiling at them for awhile, he decided to award their attentions with a return wave. At first I was not completely convinced it was intentional, but after he repeated the wave action twice more within a few minutes, I think we can safely say Edison has figured out how to wave hello! Next time you see him, give your salutations with a wave of the hand and see if he will graciously return your greeting in kind.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Emmett's Incredible Disappearing Act

I awoke to screams and sobs coming from the kids' room around 2:30 this morning and flew out of bed to the rescue. When I got into the room, Liliana was wailing, "I looked everywhere and I can't find Emmett in our room!" I knew exactly what had happened as soon as she said it. I had come in to check on the kids before I had gone to bed and saw that Liliana had gone to sleep on the bottom of Emmett's bed and Emmett was laying very close to the edge of his bed. I had rolled him gently back to the middle of his bed and placed an extra blanket in a soft pile next to his bed just in case he rolled back. (*He has fallen out of bed before. That first time did it, he had fallen back asleep trying to climb back I to bed and by the time I arrived on the scene, he was sleeping with his feet on the floor and his top half on the bed.) This time I started to chuckle as I looked around the dark room and saw how Liliana could become quite panicked in the dark. Both beds were bare -Liliana's, having been stripped when she hauled her bedding over to the foot of Emmett's bed, and Emmett's bed, having lost both sets of bedding when he rolled off into the awaiting blanket and when Liliana jumped up searching for him. I showed Liliana where Emmett was and explained what had happened and helped her get calm and settled back into bed. I then carefully picked Emmett up and put him back to bed. He managed to sleep through the entire event and had no idea what we were talking about when Liliana and I were discussing the episode this morning! I wish I slept that soundly. 😉

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Things they do that I love

~Emmett's response when daddy gives him a playful spank on the bum - "Don't hit some people!" ~When Liliana thinks something is very funny, she starts laughing uncontrollably and keeps going until she is red in the face and has tears rolling down her cheeks. ~Edison loves his big brother and sister and laughs at just about everything they do. ~Edison will be playing with toys on the floor and rolling around, but if he makes eye contact and realizes someone is watching him, a huge smile dreads across his face that brightens his entire countenance. ~Sometimes Emmett and I will banter in a fun way. For example, he might make a comment like, "That is too silly." I respond with, "YOU'RE too silly." and he will say, "No. YOU'RE too silly." and we go back and forth over and over until he is laughing too much to keep it up. ~Some mornings I wake up to find the kids playing nicely together in their playroom and Liliana tells me, "You were sleeping and I knew you were too tired so we didn't want to wake you up." ~When David surprises me after a tiring day with a bathtub full of warm bubbly water, dimmed lights, music, and candles, and then sits nearby and reads to me or talks to me while I get to just soak and relax. ~When Emmett sees the number 3 or hears it mentioned, he excitedly cries out, "Three - like three my old!"

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Edison at 6 months

Edison recently had his 6 month checkup and here are his stats Height: 29 inches - 98th percentile Weight: 21 lbs 13 oz - 95th percentile Edison is quite mobile now, though you really cannot say he is officially crawling. He rolls all over and has discovered that when things are in front of you, rolling doesn't really get you within reach. His solution? Roll partway onto a shoulder, pinning one arm beneath him and shove forward with his feet while reaching for the desired item with his free arm. In the past few days, however, he has begun to realize that his arms can actually be helpful in reaching his destination. He is beginning to pin them down less often and sometimes enlists their assistance in dragging himself forward. Look out, house! Here comes trouble!

Identifying trees

While taking a walk last summer, Liliana asked me why some trees had leaves and some had "little green sticky-kinda things" (or something to that affect). This led us to a discussion about deciduous and evergreen plants. I told her that to help me remember which were deciduous, I had recognized the word contained another word -decide- that helped me remember that the trees decide to let go of their leaves or grow them back, depending on the season. She successfully identified which type of tree or bush each was as we continued on our walk. Some time later, while visiting with Grandma Mary, the topic arose again. When asked what type of tree did not lose its foliage, Liliana said, "Evergreen." When asked what type of tree drops its leaves in the Fall, she hmmmm'd for a moment and then said emphatically, "Chooseable!" Apparently my tip for remembering that deciduous trees decide when to lose their leaves had stuck, but was recalled under a more familiar term!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Emmett and I were sitting at the table eating sandwiches on homemade bread. "I like to eat the crusties," he says enthusiastically. "Mmm. I love the crust too," I respond. "That's the best part of the bread." "You like the boogies, too?" He asks. "Wait. What are we talking about?" I ask, beginning to get grossed out. Turns outs that Emmet was not talking about bread crust, but about eye crusties - Ewwww! And no, I don't like the boogies either. Yuck!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Emmett is wasting away

Last night I set dinner out on the table before everyone was called together to eat. Emmett rushed up to his plate and started poking at it. I told him he needed to wait until I finished the last couple things I was doing and gathered everyone together to pray. Emmett sat (im)patiently and after a couple minutes said, "I can't eat, my belly is getting small, small, smaller." I chuckled and told him I know it is hard to wait. "My belly get smaller and smaller to flat." Ha ha- has this kid seen himself? That wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing! Oh, my chubby little munchkin, you are so much fun.