Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 144

Today I am grateful we had a really nice Easter.  The kids had fun hunting for Easter eggs and opening their baskets, we got to spend time with my grandparents, and my mom and sister made some awesome food.  We played games, watched basketball, and talked up a storm.  It was a really great day, and as I get older I definitely appreciate spending time with family more than I ever have before.

I hope you and yours had a wonderful Easter (or Sunday, if you don't celebrate in any way)!

Have a wonderful night!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 143

Today I am grateful for a little moment I had with Baylor tonight.  We had just gone out to Spoonlickers for dessert with my parents and sister, and it was time for us to go home and get the kids to bed.  Baylor, having just heard the news, was quite upset over it.  He cried and protested and reasoned with us all he could, but I ended up having to scoop him up with tears in his eyes.  As we made our way to the car, I trotted a bit in hopes of getting his mind off the transition and something even better happened.   He laughed!  I mean, hard as he could, giggling like crazy laughed.  I loved seeing him so wildly happy and carefree for a moment, and it reminded me of how hard he'd laugh when he was a baby.

Did he still have trouble when he was getting into the car?  Of course.  But he was much easier to calm down, and we ended up having a nice little night.  And really, that's all you can ask for.

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 142 (a day late)

Today I am grateful a better organized desk.  I got a chance to work on it a little this afternoon, and it feels good to have it pared down and cleaned off.  Here's hoping I can keep it that way!

Have a wonderful day!

This n' That: February 2013

There are, of course, pictures that just don't quite fit into this post or that, so I decided to put a few together that just couldn't be missed (or were demonstrative of stories I wanted to tell).  Here we go!

Almost two months ago I decided the kids needed to start having some more tasks they would be responsible for around the house.  I firmed up the idea that they are responsible for picking up a their own toys and putting away their coats, hats, boots, etc.  Then I informed them that they would be responsible for setting the table at dinner time from now on.  Baylor decided he wanted to set Mommy and Daddy's places, and Mollie took the kids' places.  I drew out how the table should be set, gave them the utensils, plates, etc., and set them to work.  Baylor, always the individual, bucked tradition and set the table "fancy".   

Each day it's a little different, but it's never anything like the diagram I drew out.

The kids are really into watching Pixar shorts.  One day we discovered a particularly awesome one, and they really wanted to show Bryson.

Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation on Disney Video

It's so tough to get three people around a laptop, though.

Our school-day mornings were getting pretty harried there for a while.  The kids were taking an eternity to eat breakfast, and I was getting really upset trying to hurry them through our mornings.  I knew the key would be to find something Baylor would be jazzed about eating, and after a few different tries, I finally found it ... whole wheat waffles with mini chocolate chips in each little divot.  Is it super healthy?  Not exactly, though the waffle isn't too bad.  But it gets him eating.  Pair that with a stick of string cheese, and he's good to go for his morning at school.  Plus, by not letting him have the chocolate waffle thing any other day besides school days, it's a total treat.  Heck, I can even get him out of bed by reminding him about his special waffle treat.  I mean, come on ... just look how happy he is after he has one!

Mollie got into her Minnie Mouse costume one day, and I just had to get a picture of it.  So cute!  (And there's Baylor in the background trying to take all the shoes I ordered out of the big mailing box so he could play with it.)

My mom is always on the look-out for fun things to keep at Oma's house to play with, and in late February she found what is now my favorite.  They are called B. Pop-Arty Beads, and they are too much fun!  Most of the time we just make jewelry out of them, but my sister actually made a little man.  Oh!  Here he is ... his name is Warren Beady.  (For whatever reason, I find this endlessly hilarious.)

Look how cute!

They are an absolute blast!

My father-in-law's birthday was also at the end of the month, and I just had to post this picture from the celebration.  This is what 59 candles in a cheesecake looks like!

February was fun, but March is shaping up to be pretty awesome as well!

Valentine's Day 2013

Actual Valentine's Day was fun this year.  The kids and I spent the middle part of the day with Oma and Aunt Christine and had all sorts of fun.

Oma (and Grandpa E) surprised the kids with Toy Story action figures and some cute cards.

And Aunt Christine got them an adorable book.  (Of course, being awesome and all, I didn't get a picture of it.  *sigh*)

We tried out a Spoonlickers cake ...

... and played, played, played!

It was a lot of fun and, most importantly, we could all feel the love.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Mollie's First Dentist Appointment!

One day, in the first couple weeks of February, we were hanging out at my parents' house, enjoying a nice lunch, when all of a sudden, Mollie fell off of a bar stool.  Head first.  Luckily for me I didn't actually see it happen; I had my back to her while I was fixing up my lunch, and if I had seen it I might have keeled over myself.  (My mom, who did see it, took quite a long time to recover from the sight. It's a heart-stopping event when you see someone small you love tumble head-first out of a tall chair.)

Anyhow, once the crying stopped, the only thing she really complained about was that a couple of her teeth hurt.  I checked them and though they weren't bleeding or dangling by a thread, one or two of them felt slightly loose.  As she is almost three years old, it was time for her to have her first dental check up anyway, so I called them and got in with our favorite hygienist a day or two later.

The day of the appointment also happened to be the day of Baylor's Valentine's Day party, which I was scheduled to go to (and wouldn't miss for the world), so my mom watched Mollie and got her to her appointment on time.  Baylor's party ran a little late, as preschool parties tend to do, and we got there not long after they went back.  Oma offered to take Baylor home so I could focus on Mollie, and Baylor was thrilled to take her up on it.

Miss Cathy soon got to work on the little lady's teeth, and I was surprised how well Mollie sat for it.  With her dollies and sleep sheep under her arms, she seemed extra brave and complied with all of the usual dental visit requests.  Plus, since she loves wearing sunglasses and has a ton of them, she was able to wear her own for the appointment.  Bonus!

She even sat well for the flossing!  That's my girl!

I thought for sure that the sucking instrument would freak her out, but she did great.

There was a little bit of time before the dentist was ready to see her, so she did a few Melissa and Doug shape puzzles while she waited.

Dr. Stewart came in and, more typical of how she usually is, Mollie was terrified.  However, instead of climbing out of the chair and running away, she sat petrified as he checked her teeth ... which worked out well for the appointment.

She did great for her first appointment and was proclaimed a no-cavity kid!  Also, none of her teeth were loose by the time of the visit; Miss Cathy said that was probably because they had tightened up (something I didn't know teeth could actually do), but they did let me know what to look for in case something had happened with her beautiful choppers.

After getting a prize and a water, we headed to the car.  She seemed pretty cool with the appointment and reported that the only part she didn't like was when Miss Cathy painted on the fluoride.  (Same here, kiddo.)

Thank you a million times over to our wonderful dentist and his amazing staff (particularly Miss Cathy) for making Mollie's first dental visit so positive.  Hopefully this will set her up for a lifetime of great dental experiences!

Preschool Valentine's Day Party!

Baylor had his first Valentine's Day party on February 13th, and he was anxiously excited for it.  Parties, in general, make him nervous, but he likes school and it was going to be a pizza making party so there was a little excitement thrown in with the nerves.  The party was in the last hour of class, and I showed up a few minutes early and listened in the hallway as the teacher finished up a book.  Once we were let in, the party got going and, as things tend to do when you're trying to throw a party with eighteen preschoolers and a bunch of their parents, it moved very quickly.

First up, pizza making!  Baylor initially thought he didn't want sauce on his English muffin pizza, but then he changed his mind and wanted it on top of the cheese.  I was a little worried that he wouldn't eat it if it didn't end up looking like a regular pizza, but we went with it.  

I had him wear his red button-up shirt for the party, and he looked so very handsome!  I actually told him he looked "dapper" and ever since then he's been into wearing "dapper" shirts ... which generally means shirts with collars.  This is his I-just-tried-pepperoni-for-the-first-time-and-did-NOT-like-it face.

Once the pizzas were assembled, the kids found their places on the rug and got their activity tags to show them what order they were supposed to go in.  I volunteered to head up a group, but I should remember in the future not to do that and to just be there for Baylor; he needs a little more attention and help getting comfortable with his new experiences, and I feel like it's my job to help him with that.

Our first activity was a pizza version of the game Topple; this little plastic chef had a pizza balanced on one of his fingers, and the kids were supposed to roll a dice and then put on the corresponding pizza toppings, trying to avoid tipping the whole pizza over.  Unfortunately, the pizza was almost too tippy and usually only one or two toppings would send it totally off-kilter.  Luckily, it seemed like the kids had fun anyway.

Our next activity was a little craft, right up my alley; we made a treat for the birds by stringing Cheerios on pipe cleaners and then shaping it into a heart and tying it up with a string.  It was really cute, and Baylor got to stand next to one of his favorite classmates for the duration of it.

Next up ... the pizza play dough table.  *sigh*  I'm too anal retentive for this type of activity, so I had a little trouble just letting the kids do what they like, especially Baylor who basically took a bunch of toppings and coated them in play dough.  But in spite of my nervous hovering, he still seemed to have fun!  Yay!

It seems like there may have been one more activity, but I forgot what it was.  That's what I get for writing this over a month after it actually happened.

Once all the groups were done with their activities, the kids headed back to the mat so Mrs. Sims could tell them what was going to happen next.

As the kids made their way through the activities, Mrs. Fillman and a couple parents had the toaster oven in overdrive.  They somehow managed to cook all the little English muffin pizzas in time for snack.  Baylor enjoyed his in spite of the sauce-on-top situation.

There were also sweets to be had, and Baylor quickly ditched the little pizza for them.  White chocolate coated rice krispy treat, anyone?

After the snacks were consumed, the kids got to hand out their Valentines.  It was a bit chaotic as all the "mailboxes" (decorated brown lunch bags) were in a row, tacked to the "chalk holder" (I don't know what you call it now) at the front of the room.  Preschoolers aren't exactly known for their patience and waiting-in-line skills (plus there ended up being two lines that started from opposite directions ... not a good start) so it was a bit of a free-for-all, but I did my best to make sure each one of Baylor's little classmates got one of his awesome (but way over their heads) spy valentines.

In the end, I think my little man had a good time in spite of not being a huge fan of parties in general.  Of course, we couldn't bask in the glow of preschool party success for long as we were already late for ...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 141

Today I am grateful for having done juuuuust enough earlier in the day to be able to call it a night at a respectable time.  I don't feel well after likely having eaten too much sodium today (lunch and dinner seem to have done me in), and I need to rest and feel better in the morning.  Looking around the house I know there is so much to be done, but I feel halfway decent about how things look at this point and am calling it ... I'm going to bed.

Have a wonderful night!

That's What They Said: That's Mollie

(While I was in the bathroom ...)
Baylor:  (from the kitchen, upset) Mom!  Ughhh!
Me:  What is it, Baylor?
Baylor:  (in reference to the waffle I left him to eat) Crusty thing!  I don't like crusty things!
Me:  Okay, buddy, hold on.  I'll be right there.
Amalia:  (sitting next to Baylor) It's okay, Baylor.  It's just like tacos ... and tortellini.
Baylor:  (quizzical pause)
Amalia:  Yeah, it's just like tortellini.  Tortellini is soft.  Soft things are soft, and hard things are hard.
Baylor:  (oddly comforted)  Yeah.

Amalia:  (while typing on her imaginary computer as I brushed Baylor's teeth)  Yay!  The basketball won on my pink 'puter!  Go green!  Go white!  Yay, State!

(While talking about Sleeping Beauty ...)
Baylor:  Is there a scary part in Sleeping Beauty?  Near the end?
Me:  Yes, there is.  Maleficent turns into a dragon.
Amalia:  What happens to the princess?
Me:  Maleficent puts a spell on her and makes her sleep.
Amalia:  Does someone tuck her in?
Me:  (smiling)  Yes, I suppose.
Amalia:  I want to be in that movie.  I like dragons.
Me:  Yeah?
Amalia:  Yeah, and I will bring my sleepy-time pals with me.  And you can tuck me in for night-night!

Amalia:  (singing)
Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream!
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
in the water!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 140

Today I am grateful for this same day fourteen years ago.  Fourteen years ago today, Bryson and I went on our first date, and I am so glad we did.  There are so many wonderful things that have happened in the years since, not the least of which being our two amazing children, and I'm so grateful for all of those things and for that great first date (though I didn't know it was a date at the time) that made it all possible.

Thanks for the last fourteen years, Bryson!  I hope we have many, many more to come!

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 139

Today I am grateful that I finally got around to making a loaf of low sodium bread.  I had been out for a few days, and my mornings just aren't the same without a big piece of peanut butter toast.  Sometimes it's the little things in life, you know?

Have a wonderful night!

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 138

Today I am grateful that the kids both took naps this afternoon.  By lunch time both of them were exhausted and irritable and just couldn't get out of their own way.  Napping did them both a lot of good today, and I'm so glad they were able to make that happen.  (Particularly Baylor, who doesn't always nap and who had a rough night of sleep last night.)

Have a wonderful night!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 137

Today I am grateful for the three-day college basketball break we have coming up here.  While I love watching college basketball, particularly MSU basketball, I feel like it's been on nonstop since Thursday.  And since we don't have cable and our CBS coverage is sketchy, we have been using our laptop to stream it directly to our television.  Which means I haven't been able to do much work on there or compulsively check Facebook and my e-mail like I usually do (so I guess it's been a curse and a blessing).

So here's to Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday!

Have a wonderful, basketball-filled night!  (And, as always, GO GREEN!)

A Year of Gratitude: Day 136 (a day late)

Today I am grateful that Mollie had a good birthday.  She was showered with gifts and love from her friends and family, and she got to have pizza and breadsticks, one of her favorites, and the day was awash in pink.  It really was her day.

Baylor, sadly, had a tough day all around, but he was able to steal a few quiet moments during the party (including a respite in our walk-in closet during the singing of "Happy Birthday") and did quite well considering.

It was a good day with lots of cheer for a wonderful little girl who has brought so much love and laughter to our lives.

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 135

Today I am grateful for you, my little girl!  I can't believe you are turning three years-old today, Amalia!  It seems like just yesterday we met, and at the same time it seems like you've been with us forever.  You are an amazing, spunky, funny, beautiful, loving, adventurous, and talkative little girl, and I'm so lucky to be your mom!

Happy birthday, chicka-bee!  I hope three is your best year yet!

Love you forever and ever,

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 134

Today I am grateful that I got to witness Baylor step out of his comfort zone a little bit last night.  He has such a wonderful imagination and is always weaving elaborate stories, but he never likes to write them down himself.  Last night that changed and Baylor hand-wrote his first story!  Here it is, illustration included:

It reads:

Baylor was pumping until he heard his dad say, "Baylor"

It took quite a while for him to write this, and he needed a bit of help on the spelling (and with a little trouble with the starting letters to "until") but he did this all on his own.  (I did show him the correct punctuation for quotes ... I figure it's never too early to start learning proper English, right?)  Oh, and the pumping he is referring to is pumping water ... he is giving his sister a Lego set for her birthday that includes a water pump, so it's on his mind right now, I guess.

The picture is of him sleeping with his Star Wars light saber shirt on, though I don't know why as it doesn't seem to pertain to the story.

I'm so proud of my budding author!

Have a wonderful day!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 133 (a day late)

Today I am grateful that my mom was able to come over to my house for a while yesterday and help me get ready for Mollie's birthday party.  I am not the best house keeper, even though I was raised by one who is, and it was nice to have some help in focusing on the stuff that needed to get done - and someone to just hang with Mollie (and Baylor, after we brought him home from school) while I rushed around and did stuff.  I focus so much better when someone else is here, thank you ADD, and it was nice to get so much done in such a short amount of time.

So thanks again, Mom!  I appreciate it more than I can really express!

Have a wonderful day!

That's What They Said: School, Percentages, and Brilliance

Me:  Baylor, it says here on the calendar that you get to make noise makers in school today!  Doesn't that sound like fun?
Baylor:  What are noise makers?
Me:  Well, I don't know exactly what they will be, but sometimes they are little things like maracas that you can use to make noise.
Baylor:  No, I think it is talking about the other kids in my class.  They are noise makers.

Baylor:  (while sitting on the potty and reading labels of cleaning products and soap on the sink)  It says, "Kills 99.9% of germs".  What does that mean?
Me:  Well, germs are things that can make us sick, so we use stuff like that to keep our house clean so we can stay healthy.  I have to go check on Mollie, I'll be right back, buddy.
Baylor:  (a minute or two later as he's washing his hands, crying)  Mommy!  Mommy!
Me:  (running into the bathroom)  What's wrong, buddy?!
Baylor:  (crying a little harder)  I'm killing all my germs!

Baylor:  (sweetly)  You get a Lego set for Mother's Day!  It's the Death Star.  Here you go!
Me:  That's great, buddy, but you know what I really want?  I really want you and your sister to eat.
Baylor:  (not-so-sweetly)  NOOOOO!!!!  I WILL NOT EAT!  That is NOT the gift I am giving you.
Me:  Baylor, the best gift you could give me would be to eat without crying and carrying on and taking forever.
Baylor:  NO!  Eating will make me die!
Me:  Oh, Baylor, it won't make you die.
Baylor:  Yes it will!  It will kill 99% of me!

Baylor:  (in a serious voice)  I am a spy.  (then light-heartedly) I am also a restaurant owner!

Me:  You guys, I am going to shovel snow while you are taking your nap/rest today.
Amalia:  Mommy, why don't you wait for spring?  It is almost here, then the snow will be all gone!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 132

Today I am grateful that I am able-bodied enough to take care of our house.  It's not fun some of the time, but I am glad that I am able to do it nonetheless.

Baylor commented during lunch that I should clear off the driveway (thanks, kiddo) and asked if I'd be doing that during nap/rest time.  So that's what I did.  I pulled on my boots, shrugged into my ski jacket, secured my earflap hat with the jaunty little pom-pom on top, and put on my d-bag/trying-too-hard/last-grab-at-youthfulness neon wayfarer sunglasses and went outside to shovel off the four-or-so inches of snow that had fallen already.  The kids were upstairs resting/napping, having been warned that I couldn't not just run on up every time someone felt the need to share an interesting tidbit of information with me (I'm looking at you, Baylor), and their monitors were on the breezeway with the volumes jacked up as high as they go.

Yes, it was hard work and I probably could use a little ibuprofen to ease some aches and pains, but it felt good to be able to take care of our little family like that and feel like a semi-responsible adult.

Now I just get to look forward to the years when the kids can help me with it.

Have a wonderful day!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 131 (a day late)

Today I am grateful that Mollie, Baylor, and I didn't get in a serious car accident on the way to or from the library this morning.  We got a lot of snow today, and the neighborhood roads were pretty slick.  Our van couldn't even make it up our tiny hill on the first try; I had to back it up and try to get a sort of running start to get up it.  The main roads were pretty clear, though, and I figured we were in the clear for the duration of our little trip.

Unfortunately I was mistaken.

As I pulled into the driveway, I apparently hit an icy patch where the driveway meets the road and slow-motion slid into our trash bin (thankfully empty at this point) which then partially knocked over our mailbox.  Mollie was a little upset at the events and just wanted me to make everything right again, Baylor was upset that Mollie was upset, and I was miffed that I made a little extra work for myself.  But, overall, I was just so grateful we were all okay.  I'll take a wonky mailbox any day over actual injury.

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 130

Today I am grateful that I was able to work out this morning.  A couple weeks ago I seemed to have injured my hip (it felt like a pinched nerve or something) and stopped walking on the treadmill as a result.  This morning I was finally able to get back on and exercise a bit.  It felt really good to move, even though I can't run nearly as fast as I did before; I think that may have been part of the problem, though, and I'm trying very hard not to hurt anything.

So I got to walk/jog for twenty minutes, then I got to do twenty-five minutes of Pilates.  It felt really good, and I'm glad I was able to take the time to do that for myself this morning.  Here's hoping it happens more often.

Have a wonderful night!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 129

Today I am grateful that I was at least moderately productive.  I ended up sleeping in this morning, a rare occurrence for me.  (Who knew I'd ever consider 6:00 a.m. "sleeping in"?)  So while I didn't end up working out, I still did a couple loads of laundry - one of which even got folded, divided the ground turkey from Costco into half-pound packets and got those in the freezer, made a Lego train station with the kiddos, made lemon blueberry pancakes, and just generally took care of the kiddos.

Was there a lot more I wanted to do today?  Yup, A LOT more.  But I'll take a win where I can get it.

Have a wonderful night!

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 128

Today I am grateful I put the time and effort into taking down the outdoor Christmas decorations.  I kept staring at them out the window, wondering how long it would take the snow on them to melt so I wouldn't have to somehow dry them off and wishing they would just take care of themselves.  Alas, they aren't magical decorations, so after the kids went down for rest/nap today I went outside and took things down as quickly as I could.  Our garland separated after some particularly heavy snow rested on it, and I had to put that back together as best I could; we'll see if I end up cursing myself next Christmas season.  The lights were tangled up really bad as well, yet even though it took considerable time and effort, I was so relieved to finally have it taken care of.

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 127 (a day late)

Today I am grateful for the enormous hug Mollie gave me when I scooped her out of bed this morning.  She was so excited to see me, even squealing, "Mommy!" when I entered the room, and the full-body, legs-wrapped-around-my-waist, tiny-arms-wrapped-around-my-neck hug she gave me was awesome.  It was the perfect way to start out the day.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 126

Every day I have posted I have many more things to be grateful for than I express here.  Some days I have to think harder than others for something original to share, but I always have so much for which to be grateful.

Today I have a few things I'd like to highlight ...

I am grateful that Baylor woke up happy this morning.  When he realized I was there to wake him up he actually said, "Hooray!  It's morning!"  Son, please do this every day.

I am grateful that I took the time to walk Mollie up and down the toy aisles today at Meijer looking for ideas for her birthday.  She pointed out a few things she'd like, and tonight I was actually able to get one of them.  I had planned on just ordering the trike from, but I thought I had better double-check the price at Meijer just in case.  As luck would have it, it was $10 cheaper at our trusty local supermarket thanks to a fortuitous sale, so I scooted on over there tonight and picked up what appeared to be the last one.  (It was the last one on the shelf, anyways, so I am choosing to believe that it was in fact the last one at the store - or on the Earth, whatever - and that it was meant to be.)  Now I just get to look forward to the excitement on her face when she opens it.

I am grateful that the kids played so well together today.  I don't know exactly why it was, and it didn't last the entire day, but I was so grateful that they seemed to be getting along really well.

I am also grateful for the nearly-half hour of absolute silence they gave me after we got home from the library.  They dove right into their books and didn't come up for air until Oma and Aunt Christine showed up for lunch.  It was amazing and wonderful and exactly what I needed after herding them at the library.

So for all that, and so much more, I am grateful today.

Have a wonderful night!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 125

Today I am grateful for having stored chili in the freezer.  I was planning on making this Mexican bake we enjoy, but all three onions I had on hand were bad.  You might not know this, but we at the Jacques household really enjoy onions and use them in most of our meals.  (What?  They're good for you!)  Anyhow, with little time left, it was nice to know I had stored half a batch of chili in the freezer a while ago and could just pull it out for dinner.

Which reminds me, I need to make some more chili!

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 124 (a day late)

Today I am grateful for Baylor's interest in writing one of his favorite authors.  Yesterday, after going out and getting a haircut with my mom, he came home and said he wanted to write a letter to Chris Van Dusen, the author of some of his favorite picture books.  He wanted to suggest that Mr. Van Dusen write a book called "If I Built an Earth Mover", no doubt inspired by the giant construction equipment hard at work on the corner near my parents' house.  So we sat down, and he dictated the letter to me.  I guided him a bit, and we ended up letting Mr. Van Dusen know which books we had and which one was Baylor's favorite (If I Built a House).

As we ended the letter, Baylor, without looking up from something he was working on, told me to finish it off with, "Love, Baylor".  The kid is so full of love it astounds me.  So I wrote the "Love," and he wrote "Baylor", adding extra flair because that's just who he is.  I also had him add "Age 4", in part to let the author know why the child this letter was from didn't write the bulk of the letter.

After putting it in an envelope, addressing it to Mr. Van Dusen, care of the publisher, and adding a stamp, Baylor made sure it got into Oma's mailbox as we headed out for frozen yogurt.  I have no idea what will come of the sending of this letter, if anything, but I love that Baylor had an idea and wanted to reach out to someone about it.  I love this little dreamer of mine, and I hope his ideas are, at the very least, read and appreciated by the person he admires.

Here's hoping!

Have a wonderful day!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 123 (two days late)

Today I am grateful that Baylor was really okay with the fire drill that happened at school yesterday.  Ordinarily he doesn't offer up much information about school - what happened, what he ate, anything fun they did, etc. - but yesterday one of the first things he said to me after he was done was about this fire drill and how he did okay with it, how it wasn't too loud.  I could tell he was really proud of himself, and I let him know just how proud I was of him.

Little steps ... little steps.

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 122

Today I am grateful that Mollie got to wear her Saturday underwear all day long!  She didn't have one accident and did a great job getting herself to the potty when she needed to.  I'm so thrilled with how well she's doing with this whole potty training thing, and I think she is pretty proud of herself as well.

(I really hope this post doesn't backfire on me.  Every time I mention how well she's doing, she has an enormous accident.)

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 121 (a day late)

Today I am grateful for the hour-and-a-half mad dash clean-up I did this afternoon before some friends came over.  It's amazing how much I can get done when my adrenaline starts pumping!  I did laundry, washed dishes, cleaned countertops and the stovetop and the sink, vacuumed under the dining room table, started dinner ... seriously, it was unreal.  If only I could replicate that without the heart-pounding burst of energy that an unexpected deadline gives me.

I'm also grateful that our friends came over tonight.  It has been way too long since we last saw them, and it was so good to catch up and let the kids go off and play together.

Have a wonderful night!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bowling with my Homies

After a fun time bowling last year, we finally decided to get out onto the lanes again with the kiddos.  This time, it was a lot more fun as they were able to participate a bit more and really get into it.  Mollie was excited to wear some funny new shoes.

And Baylor was excited to try bowling all by himself.  (That lasted about one frame, though, as he really did need help getting some momentum behind his throw.)

Mollie was also excited to be using a pink ball.

She cheered on everyone else as they bowled.

Then ended up needing a little help from one of the employees in retrieving her ball after it got stuck midway down the lane.  After that, she received a lot more assistance in her swing.

Baylor really got into the game ...

... and even did a little dance when he knocked a bunch down!

Mollie was all over the place as everyone else bowled, though one of her favorite spots was right in front of the scoring computer.

She did, however, have a bit of a sulky moment, and my dad decided to demonstrate it for me.  He does a mean "Mollie sulk".

Mollie's other favorite spot was at the fan on the ball return spot.  She just loved having her bangs blown around by the little hand-drying fan!

Plus, it gave her a chance to watch over the balls.

Even Aunt Christine tried out the fan! 

I know my family tends to think I post some unflattering pictures of them from time to time, so I thought I'd throw an embarrassing one of myself into the mix to even things out a bit.  Victory dance, anyone?

We had a great time, and it was nice for the kids to get to try something relatively new for a change.  Hopefully we'll bowl again soon!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 120

Today I am grateful for the happy little half birthday Baylor had.  While he didn't get the presents and cake he was hoping for, we did go out to eat - partially to celebrate and partially because I was tired and didn't want to cook - and have ice cream with hot fudge when we got home.  As he went to sleep, I could tell he was happy, so in spite of a couple rough moments here and there throughout the day, I'll call this one a win.

In case you're interested in a trip down memory lane, here are some memories from half birthdays past.

The first one.

The second.

The third.

The fourth.

My how he's grown!

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 119 (a day late)

Today I am grateful that the kids have started the day so happy to see each other.  At first, Baylor was unhappy that his sister was up before him, but when he got downstairs he smiled and ran over to her, so happy to see her.  Then he exclaimed, "I love you, Mollie!" and she responded in kind.  He smiled and looked at her and said, "Mollie, can I always be around you today?"  She nodded.

Here's hoping they stay friends all day ... and forever after.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dollie Daycare?

For reasons I can't quite understand, the kids just love to take apart our couch.  Sprawling across the living room, those cushions drive me nuts on a regular basis.  With that said, I often just let them keep the cushions out all day once they've started in on their creations.  Usually they just attempt fort after fort, but one day Mollie got a little creative and created some sort of baby daycare for her dollies.  

Each one had its own little seat, its own little tray, and a little something on the tray.

She was so proud of herself, and I was fascinated by her efforts.  What a funny little lady she is!

Pizza from Scratch

My dad got a cheese making kit from my sister for Christmas, and in early February they finally decided to try it out.  Lucky for us, we got to enjoy some of the fruits of their labor.  

Now when I say we had "pizza from scratch" I mean it; Dad and Christine made the cheese while Mom made the pizza dough.  If I had known exactly what was going on that day, I would have brought over some of my homemade pizza sauce and had a totally from scratch experience.

The kids were not overly interested in what the adults were doing so long as they got to have pizza for dinner.

Once the crusts rose, the za-making began!

The end result?  Hands down, one of the best pizzas I've ever eaten.  The cheese was unbelievably fresh-tasting, the sauce - though not homemade - was light and delicious, and the crust was a wonderful complement to it all.

Delicious food and warm company always make for a wonderful evening.