Sunday, August 30, 2009

T-2 days

On Tuesday morning, Cody and I will be leaving for Washington DC for a week. The kids will be staying with my folks. My best friend, Maria, will be getting married and I have the great privilege of being one of her bridesmaids. Just in case you were wondering why we're a little MIA. We may or may not post next week, though we will have email.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Extra-curious phase

Anna just entered that dangerously curious phase. She likes to pull things out of drawers, splash in the toilet water, sneak into deserted rooms, push buttons, and look at flashing lights. Combine that her propensity to run away when she wants to be funny, and you've got a real little imp on your hands.
Great. just great.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lunch at home

Anna was being so cute at lunch today. We had chili and johnny cake, and she would pick up the little pieces of food and blow on them to cool it down. Of course, I'd already been blowing on them (probably how she decided to blow too), and I would never give her something that was too hot.

Then Lee tried to get her to say "Bap," which launched us into a fit of belly laughter as Lee tried to get mommy to say all kinds of funny words.
Next, Lee put on an oven mit and tickled Anna with it. Odd.

It ended with Lee removing all of his clothing and eating several handfuls of prunes, and giving Anna the ladle from the chili to lick, while I was in the bathroom.

Can you see why the name of this blog is "For Kicks and Giggles?"

Monday, August 24, 2009

A brave, brave boy

When we took Lee to see the dentist six months ago, shortly after his molars came in, the dentist noticed a malformation on two of Lee's teeth. It was a kind of weird pokey spot on the side of his molars, and the dentist said it was merely misformed, and would probably need work later down the line. Sure enough, a few weeks ago, the dentist noticed that one had broken and the other wasn't looking good either. So today, I took Lee in to get his teeth fixed. I was petrified for him, honestly. I prayed all weekend that Lee wouldn't be scared, and that he wouldn't be in too much pain. I could hardly talk to Lee about what was coming up because I don't want him to fear the dentist, and yet I knew this wouldn't be a painless procedure.

The worst part was waiting for half an hour in the waiting room. They had nice toys and magazines, so Lee had a blast, but I was getting more and more nervous. Finally, they took us back and offered me to have Lee on Nitrous Oxide. I happily accepted. They put on some cartoons on the TV above his head, and gave him earphones to listen. Lee was fascinated and sat quietly. He opened his mouth for the dentist and didn't even flinch while they numbed his face up. He told me his hair felt weird. The dentist came back and showed Lee the tools they would use to put on the crowns his molars needed. Then Lee laid there quietly and still, opening his mouth when asked, never crying even in the slightest. I was so proud, and so relieved! Our dentist is fantastic, and sang silly songs to Lee the whole time. Between the nitrous, the cartoons, and the songs, I think Lee was feeling awesome.

I'm now praying in thanksgiving for a brave boy, and a great dentist who I have full confidence in now. That is, when I'm not wiping up the copious amounts of drool pouring from Lee's numb mouth...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Preschool ideas continued

Thank you all for your quick responses on my preschool-type idea. I've taken the liberty of setting up a blog called Focus and Discovery, which I've sent an email invite to those I had email addresses for. I really want lots of people to be a part of this, and we can all work at home and online, together, to teach our kids about themselves and the world around them.

If you want to be an author and I didn't send you an invitation, it is because I don't have your email address (it is nothing personal, I promise!). I'd love to invite you, so please just leave me a comment either here or on the Focus and Discovery blog and I will invite you as quickly as I can. Let's get this forum rolling!

I also like the idea of a mini joy school thing, for those who live near me (you know who you are). Let's collaborate more.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Preschool ideas

Lee has been begging me to let him go to school ever since we went on a walk during recess time. Since he's three and all, I thought it would be a really good time to start doing a focused learning and discovery "lesson", and maybe get him enrolled in an early preschool type thing.

My goal now is to have what I'm going to call "Focus and Discovery" time, three times a week. I'm going to sit with my kids, especially Lee, for 15-30 minutes, and have a story, a picture, a song, and a short lesson. It will be really informal, but I think it will help Lee in the first steps toward literacy, and having a scheduled time to do it will help me remember. Far too often I forget to do our 20 minutes daily reading because of other distractions.

Which brings me to why I'm posting this on my blog. I want your help. Do you have any ideas for lessons? Does anyone want to join me? I'm even thinking about setting up a second blog that we can all post lesson ideas, reviews of children's stories, pictures of our kid's projects, and thoughts and feelings on teaching young children. If you are interested in brainstorming with me, or want to be a part of my new blog, put a comment here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mixed feelings

This post is about breastfeeding, just a fair warning.

Annalisa is less than a month away from her 1st birthday, and still nurses. I would hardly be thinking about this at all, except for the point that in less than 2 weeks, Cody and I will be going to Washington DC alone for a week. I'm hoping Anna will be able to find other modes of soothing during that week, or it will be miserable for my poor parents.

So, I've been working the past few weeks on the start of weaning. It has been really hard. Anna is (quite literally) very attached to me, and refuses any other form of liquids, except for a little juice from sippy cups. I was getting really worried. Today I had a bottle of water for Anna, and after dinner, she wanted a drink. She took the bottle! I was so excited! So when, an hour later she wanted to nurse, I fixed the bottle with formula. She chugged it down like she's been doing it her whole life. I was immediately happy, and then I was saddened.

I'm ready for her to wean, but it is still is an emotional heartache to end. As she was drinking that bottle, my first reaction was thrill and happiness, and calm about my upcoming trip, knowing (finally) that she would be okay while I was gone. But then I realized she was getting her comfort from this bottle, and not from me. See, as frustrating as some moments are, I love breastfeeding Annalisa. There is such a beautiful connection between my baby and I, forged by the hundreds of times she's needed food and comfort and I have been her primary source of nurture. To think that is beginning to end makes me sad. It is definitely a bittersweet crossroads in my life. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end...

p.s. from Applesauce Day

I brought my camera to my mom's house yesterday while doing the applesauce, but it stayed safely stashed in the car the whole time. For great pictures, visit my mom's blog.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Applesauce day

Thank you so much, again, mom, for helping me put up all that applesauce!

We started this morning at about 11:00 am, sorting, cleaning, cutting, cooking, cranking, sweetening, jarring, and processing the apples. Applesauce is a lot of work, but we had a good time chatting and working. The kids were relatively well behaved, though Annalisa got really grumpy around 5. After the jars were all full, and most of them processed, Sara made us manicotti for dinner. Then the sweetest treat of the day was a bowl of Aggie Vanilla ice cream with fresh cinnamon applesauce on good. I left at 8, and mom only had 1 more batch of 7 quarts left to process.

Over all we got 49 quarts of applesauce done. That's incredible! We're both pretty bushed.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ice cream!

Lee finally caught the Ice Cream truck tonight, and he was so excited! Also, Lee's potty training is going awesome. After all those months of struggling, fighting, bribing, coaxing, sanitizing, and repeating, he just sort of got it. He's not perfect yet, of course, but he's only had one or two accidents in the last week or more. That's including night time. Big cheers for Lee!

Just a quick update.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What we found in the Garage

Don't worry, it's not disgusting or anything...

We live in this old house. Our landlady grew up here, in fact, and she is a great-grandmother now. There's multiple storage sheds, a locked room, and big shelves and lockers in the garage. As we were walking in the house today, Cody randomly took a peek in one of the old lockers in the garage, and found this highly intriguing Life Magazine dated March 3, 1961. We have been perusing the ads and articles, and a little blown away at how things are different now.

Like the ad for a bra that costs $3.00, or the numerous cigarette ads (I've never seen a cigarette add without a surgeon general's warning on it) that claimed to taste great and even give you better breath... there's this one ad in there for a new station-wagon-style vehicle that is boasting it's large cargo room. An ad like this today would show a family with two or three kids and a huge trunk full of beach gear. This ad in the 1961 magazine featured the parents, grandparents, and 5 children all in this car. Two of the kids were pictured climbing over seats and turning completely around. No seatbelts, of course. Another ad excitedly proclaimed their batteries were guaranteed not to leak. (Leaking today would be a cause for recall and possibly lawsuits!)

They had an article about the daily dealings of Sir Winston Churchill, and an article about machines in the workplace, especially this state-of-the art computer, run by only five men. Amazing! All the women are beautifully dressed in colorful dresses, and the kids are pristine, even as they play with their kitten while mother folds the laundry. The men look handsomer and stronger, the women look more delicate and subservient, and the TV's are reflection-free and sold in beautiful wood cabinets.

The cover-featured article was one on the space race. I've tried to take a picture here, but it might be too small to decipher. They're predicting a full-time rotating manned space station to be built by the Russians by 1972. I've read about the cold war, seen the pictures, heard about the space race, but it's kind of crazy to look back at what people really thought.

So I hope you enjoyed our little trip down some-of-our memory lanes. If you're a little young to remember these things like I am, maybe you'll be intrigued like me to think about how much things have changed.

Cute Anna moments, funny Lee quotes

Lee's most recent hilarious quotes:
"Heavenly Father, Thank you for this day, thank you for this day, thank you for this day, thank you for this day, thank you for the olive-chokes, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."
Crawling around, playing 'baby lions': "I have sharp fingers!" (his claws)
"Daddy, are you the man in charge?"
"This apple is way sour and way good. Like Olive-chokes."
"I'm going to the garden and picking tomatoes, okay? Sure Lee?"
"Okay guys, I'll be right back!"

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunday Dinner

When my oldest sister, Kathryn, came to Utah to go to school (in the fall of 1999), my grandparents established a Sunday dinner routine. At that time, there were only a few people coming to dinner, and Kathy would often bring a roommate or friend. As each of us kids have come here for school, we've been able to learn the great joys of coming to Grandma's house for dinner. Slowly, it expanded to include any cousins, aunts, uncles, or babies who were here. Now, Sunday dinner is something we greatly anticipate every week and is a fantastic time to reconnect with everyone and spend time with family, whom we are so fortunate to live near to.

Only very recently have we totally divvied up the meal between those who attend. For years Grandma lovingly prepared the whole meal, unless one of us had volunteered to bring a salad or something. Definitely time for us to carry our own weight a little bit. We also sometimes go to my parent's house instead of it always being at Grandma's house. But like I said, the best part of all is just being with family. I sometimes find that I don't visit the family who lives close by me nearly as much as I should, so that weekly excuse to go see my family members is wonderful.

Demonstrating how Axton is half of Grandma's height. Also, Axton always gives me the biggest cheesy grins when he sees my camera. So I always take advantage of it.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lessons from Apples

I took Lee and Annalisa into the backyard today to enjoy the unusually cool weather, and we noticed one of the apple trees is so loaded with apples that all the branches are touching the ground. We thought we'd ease its burden a little bit. The apples are still a bit young, but they are getting sweet and pink on the outside. We picked a couple of gallons of them, and Lee had a great time.

Some things I thought about as we picked a few apples today: Cody insisted on picking the ones from the ground, even though they were shriveled, bruised, or buggy. I couldn't figure it out. There were thousands of good apples on the 7 trees we have in the back yard--we don't need the bad ones! He got mad at me as I was throwing the bad ones out, saying I could just cut out the bad parts. Now, the apples aren't huge ones, and cutting out the bad parts wouldn't leave much left. I'd prefer to skip the work and just keep the good ones. I'm relating this to good and bad media that's available. With so many options out there, I just don't need to waste my time with bad stuff. I think Cody eventually saw my logic. If not, he decided it wasn't worth the argument and dropped it.

The next thing I thought about was storage. Along with saving bad apples runs the risk of contaminating the good apples. If there's one in that bucket that is bruised badly enough to start molding, then the ones around it will get moldy too. But, if they're good apples, and I store them properly in a cool place, they will keep for months. Apples are special that way. I want to make sure I keep my apples--and my children--away from bad influences that could potentially contaminate them. In today's society that sometimes seems difficult, or even cruel, but if I want myself and my family to stay strong, clean, and "good," then the less exposure we have to bad situations, media, or places, the better.

Finally, they're just apples. Maybe I should store these little thoughts away for the time being and learn to just enjoy a morning outside playing with my kids.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Why I Blog

I've been planning this post in my head for a while, so here goes.

In the past, more than one person has asked me how I find the time to blog when there's so many other worthwhile activities in the world. It makes me feel a little guilty, sometimes a lot guilty, and it made me re-evaluate why I blog. Here is my complete answer.

1) I blog to keep in touch with people. A blog is an excellent way to put pictures, video clips, and words about the growth of my children and the daily dealings of our family. I can put something up, and if people are interested, they can check it out, and I don't have to send emails or snail mails to forty different parties who may just chuck it.

2) I blog my journal and personal family history. Journaling is highly important to me, but as a mom, I find it difficult to poke writing things down into my daily life. My blog is a place where I can write down my thoughts along with pictures to prove it.

3) I blog for preservation of family photos. So many fire victims say the worst thing they lost--the thing they missed most of all--was their precious family photos. When I load pictures or movies onto my blog, it is protected by the internet. I take lots more movies and pictures than I load, but at least I know I have something.

4) I blog for fun. I really enjoy composing clever little posts or watching my kids for silly things they do to take pictures of.

5) I blog for laughs. Like right now, I can hear a screaming kid walking by my house and a woman's voice yelling, "no mas! No mas!" How would I remember these funny moments if I didn't blog about them?

6) I blog for comments. So keep 'em coming!

Now, you may have noticed the title of this blog is "For Kicks and Giggles." I try to keep everything lighthearted, though heaven knows we have our fair share of depression, heartache, and trial. I just choose to not blog about it, for your sakes. Most of the time. Of course, this is my blog, and therefore I can post what I want.

Thanks for visiting, and drop a line why YOU blog. Goodnight!


We simply adore our babies around here!

Annalisa is now 6 days shy of being 11 months old. She walks everywhere, and improves by leaps and bounds each day. In less than 2 weeks she has gone from her first few steps to being a real-time walker. She also says 2 words: "Uh-Oh!" and "Anna." She says "Uh-Oh!" when she drops something on the ground, and she says "Anna" when she wants something, especially when she wants mommy to hold her.

Perhaps some of you might remember this post, if you've been watching this blog for a really long time, but it still makes me smile. As I raise my second child, I remember that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Even though our baby girl is growing up, (also our big boy,) we try to live in the moment and savor each second with our beautiful children.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day without Dad

My Aunt Sue suggested that while I mope at home by myself with the kids, I might as well put up a movie. Sue, this post is for you!

About once or twice a week, Cody leaves town for a day of appointments, most of which are in Salt Lake or the surrounding area. The kids and I play at home. While it's all of our least favorite day of the week, we find ways to stay entertained.

Anna took a nice long nap today, and another short one this afternoon. Then, she likes to walk around and play with toys. Her walking skills are phenomenal!

Lee sings, dances, plays with toys, and is a big helper. He is getting so good at going potty in the toilet.

I try to convince myself that I don't want to order a pizza, and play computer or watch TV. We also like to read books, draw pictures, and play music. Today we also went to the grocery store and watered the lawn some more. Hooray for the irrigation water being turned back on! And that is what we do when we have a day without dad.

Oh yes, and Lee zonked out on the couch after dinner.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

At least it wasn't Anna's hair this time...

Lee did it again! Grr! He took Carmex lip balm this time, at my parent's house, and smeared it in his own hair and all over their full length mirror. I'm starting to think about taking some of that nasty sour-apple spray that they use as a deterrent for dogs and putting it on all of my lip balm. Or maybe keeping them in a pad-locked box on the top shelf. What is it with this kid and makeup?