Saturday, January 28, 2012

King of the Playground

This time of year, we have to take advantage of sunny days when we get them! Today Seleia and Elora wanted to go practice shooting some hoops, so we headed on over to the playground by our old house. Amarra basically grew up there because we used to walk there so often, but this was Dashiell's first trip. And he had He went back and forth...going down the little slide by himself and the big slides with the girls, chasing the basketballs and running his heart out, swinging, climbing, running through the soccer fields while giggling maniacally. We all had a blast, but watching Dash dominate the playground with a smile from ear to ear was awesome. I know some kiddos who will sleep very well tonight!

My Little Artist

Not only do all three of these girls have extremely different personalities, they approach all of their tasks...even completely different ways. Elora loves to work on details, making everything elaborate and beautiful. Seleia likes to get the point across, working quickly and with few details. She saves the detailed work for special occasions. Amarra, however, was born with an eye for design.  Where her sisters would draw stick figures and flowers at a young age. She would do color blocking. Her pages would be full, bursting with colors, and completely abstract. Here eye for balance and use of negative space are amazing. I'm very excited to see what this kid can do as she gets older. In the meantime, I love working on projects with her. She has a couple of watercolors framed up in the house, and right now we're painting a funky architectural piece we found for a couple of dollars at the thrift store. It was cool but dark and dreary, so I started working on it to lighten it up and give it a fun shabby chic-esque patina. But I didn't get very far before Amarra took over!  She spent an hour this morning getting the first coat exactly how she wanted it, and tomorrow she's going to add the details.  (We haven't decided whether to keep it all in cheerful shades of yellow or to add in other colors. In this house what we set out to create often works itself into something even better somewhere along the way.  I love that.) I love watching her concentration and seeing the love that she puts into her work.  I can't wait to see how this turns out and get it hanging on the wall!

Big Boy!

Little Man no longer needs help to get into chairs, climb onto benches....all that big boy stuff.  He is SO proud of himself. That look of pride was for climbing up into that chair.  Now if I can figure out how to keep him from standing once he's up on the chairs...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bread and Jam for Frances

I have to say that I love First Favorites. Even if we did not home school I would likely be going through these guides while the kids were on break! They teach reading comprehension the sneaky way...through fun! (Vol. 1 even includes my very favorite children's book, A Chair For My Mother, among other goodies like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.) The girls have loved reading the books together, then answering the questions and doing the activities. (Seleia sometimes wishes she could still do First Favorites instead of actual book reports....can't blame her!)  They listen closely to the stories to be able to answer all of the questions correctly, and are quite proud when they do. We've made a chair shaped bank, mouse shaped cookies, and learned all sorts of new things about some of their favorite stories (and some new stories, too!) So now it's Amarra's turn to be Frances for a few days. I'll probably make her some bread and jam.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Little Moments

Sometimes it's the little things that really warm my heart. Those moments you happen to see as you walk past a room, those conversations you hear off to the side while only half paying attention. I sometimes get caught up in the rigamarole of the day; the running around, the to-do list, the things that so easily steal my attention. Then, in the middle of doing 5 things at once, I walk by the living room and see a sleepy Dashiell, sitting on his sister's lap, snuggling up, and holding her hands as they watch a few minutes of Kipper until dinner is ready. Just a simple, sweet act of love that otherwise might go unnoticed. But it stopped me in my tracks, and as I heaved a little sigh I just had to take a picture. Because the simplest, smallest of moments...they really are the ones worth remembering. They're the ones that matter.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Their First Games

Friday night was a very big night. Seleia and Elora had their very first basketball games.  Said Seleia, "I want to keep playing basketball forever!!". Even Elora made a basket! More than one parents commented, "Wow, that kid can dribble!" which is something she practices every day and was excited to see pay off. (I bought the girls their own basketballs a couple of weeks ago.  Elora has slept with hers more than once.) Seleia was a very enthusiastic, vocal player ("I'm OPEN!")who gave the game her all. (And as I've admitted before, the iphone ain't that great with action shots.  Next week I'll try to remember to take an actual camera!) I. AM. SO. PROUD.  Elora took a basketball to the nose, and as this game was all 7 year old girls, the ref took a time out and gave her a it...but she got right back in there and played hard. Seleia made a few baskets and had a few close ones but never quit beaming. They're already counting down the days till next Friday's game. Truthfully, so am I!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Big Little Man

I have to admit, I'm a little bit sad. Dashiell is such an amazing gift, and I have thoroughly loved being the center of this guy's world. Now, don't get me wrong, he's still pretty much my biggest fan. We're good buddies and "Mom" is by far the #1 word that comes out of his mouth. But...he's so big! Who would have thought that little preemie who had a slim shot of making it to birth would soon be this big ol' tank, barreling through life at full speed, with great enthusiasm, and that contagious grin on his face.
It hit me full force a few days ago that I was done. After the six full weeks it took for Dashiell to nurse successfully, I wasn't going to take nursing for granted for one second...and I didn't. But as I lay there nursing the baby a few mornings ago, I realized that this was pretty much it for me. As if on cue, Joel rolled over and said, "Dash, you really need to be done with nursing now. I want your mom back." And that was that.
With the girls I nursed anywhere from 11 to 18 months, but they always let me know when they were ready to be done, and there was never an issue. (Not from them, anyway. I always get a bit postpartum-ey at weaning time. Normal, but sucky.) This little man, though, might have gone on and on and on and on and on and get the point. So, I let him finish nursing that morning, and he hasn't nursed again. Oh, he has asked. Pouted a couple of times, even. But some kisses, snuggles, hugs, and reassurance that he's still my little man and everything is a-okay again. No two of my children have ever weaned the same way, and I was unsure about this cold turkey business. It seems to be doing the trick, though! Every child is different, indeed.
Watching Dashiell gobble up his frittata  and use his fork so well it hits me: I don't have a baby anymore. I've got a toddler on my hands. (Yes, the fork is pink. I can't find any kids forks these days that will actually pick up food so he uses the pink and green hand-me-downs from his sisters.) A running, climbing, talking, playing, stubborn little toddler.
But as I write this post he throws his arms around me, lays his head on my lap and sweetly says, "Mom.  Mom.  Mom." as he smiles at me.
Whatever this new chapter holds, we're going to be just fine.

Buggy Buggy Birthday Cake

For Amarra's Buggy Birthday party she put in a special request for some very "buggy" cake. (I tried to talk her into cake from the bakery, but when the answer is, "But Mom, your cake tastes so much better!", what can you possibly say?) We made chocolate cake for the "dirt" and some green whipped cream/cream cheese frosting with green "sparkles" for the grass. Amarra giggled and giggled as she and I placed the bugs ( two packs of plastic bus from the dollar store) all over the cakes. She then ever so graciously took the time to tell me what each and every bug was. (Mmmm, cockroach frosting.) Some people laughed their heads off when they saw the cakes, a few said, "Ewwww!", but everyone gobbled it up, bugs or no bugs! Amarra was simply in heaven. And really, that's all that counts.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snowmen and Snowballs and Sledding, Oh My!

What a day! The snow fell steadily throughout the night, so before I went to bed  I pulled the blinds up in the girls' room so they could see a winter wonderland first thing in the morning. Their excitement upon waking was out of control. A blanket of white, as far as the eye could see! They got right to their schoolwork so they could go play outside, but I had to take pity and let them have an hour long "recess" mid-morning. They were in heaven!! They built snowmen (we were out of carrots, so they got celery noses!), sledding hills, made angles and, as always, snacked on snow. Dashiell kept sneaking his mitten off so that he could gobble up some handfuls, too. After some more schoolwork and a nice warm lunch, back out they went! The neighbor kids had a snow day from school, so some friends joined them out front as they built a few more snowmen and another sledding run. Finally, frozen and soaked from head to toe (but beaming from ear to ear!) they headed back in to "bundle up on the inside" with popcorn and hot chocolate. In the world of kid-dom it simply does not get much better than this!