Adelie and Staley's World

Adelie and Staley's World

Monday, November 30, 2015

In the Spirit

I love Christmas.  I love the music.  I love the decorations.  I love the shopping.  I love the Christmas programs and advent calendars and lights and cookies and stories and activities. I just love it all.  I used to be a Christmas purist, complaining about how early all the Christmas "stuff" went up in the stores and refusing to put up our decorations before December.  But that was before kids.  I've always felt the joy of Christmas, but with kids, it's just intensified because my joy feeds off of their joy and excitement.  And so now I figure, why wait????

It's the last day of November.  But we've been listening to our Christmas CDs for the past 3 weeks.  We've watched "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."  We've checked out Christmas books from the library.  We've done most of our Christmas shopping.  We bought our tree.  We've decorated.  We've been singing Christmas songs.  And today, we even made Christmas cookies.

Decorating the tree... putting multiple ornaments on the same branch.

Pretty excited about making Christmas cookies.

And pretty serious about decorating them.

Yes, it's only November.
But we're already in the Christmas spirit around here.

Friday, November 27, 2015

It's Not all Roses

Every season in life brings struggles.  Struggles with phases your kids are going through.  Struggles with decisions and choices.  Struggles with time management, meeting everyone's needs, getting things done, finding time for myself.  Struggles at home.  Struggles at work.   And right now is no exception.  I'm not complaining.  I know there are many people who have bigger, more serious, more difficult struggles in their lives.  This is just a way for me to remember life as a parent right now.  I love my kids.  There is nothing better than being a mom.  I wouldn't trade this time in my life for anything, but it's not always easy.  Right now I'm struggling with...

1.  Getting things accomplished.  I feel like my lists continue to grow.  House work.  Laundry.  Meals.  Blogging.  Paperwork.  Disney trip planning.  Christmas preparations.  I feel like there are always things to be done and limited time to do them.  Currently Briggs' nap schedule doesn't usually line up with the girls' nap and rest time.  He's usually awake when they are resting and vice versa.  It gives me more one-on-one time with Briggs and time with the girls while Briggs is sleeping, but virtually no time to get things accomplished during the day until everyone is in bed at night...and then all I want to do is collapse onto the couch.

2.  Santa.  We have decided not to "do" Santa with our kids, which I'm finding is easier said than done.  Santa is everywhere.  Most of my kids' friends and cousins believe in Santa.  Staley has been asking why Santa doesn't bring us presents, and even Adelie has been asking questions about Santa.  I try to be evasive, like telling them that Santa is a symbol of giving and that we don't need more presents because we already get lots of presents from family.  We always try to reiterate that Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas.  They are too young (as in, they'd probably spill the beans to all their believing friends) for us to just say "Santa's not real", but I continue to struggle with the best way to handle their questions.

3.  Guessing games.  Staley is currently really into playing guessing games like 20 questions.  And I really struggle with finding the patience to play this with her.  Not that I don't like to play games with Staley, but these games don't work great with Staley...primarily because she's always thinking of very random things or changing her answer in the midst of playing.  As I ask questions, I can tell that she keeps changing what it is that she's thinking of...and then, in the end, I have to give up as she settles on some very random thing that I never would have come up the dog from the new American Girl movie that I've never even seen.  It just gets really old playing games that I have no chance of winning.

4.  Fatigue.  I'm just tired.  Briggs still doesn't sleep through the night.  Ever.  And since after the kids go to bed is the only time I really have to get things done AND the only time I get to spend with my husband, I don't generally get to bed as early as I should.  The end result?  I'm just tired.  Always, always tired.

5.  Decisions.  No one ever told me that there would be so many decisions as a parent.  Some big.  Many small.  But they all feel important.  I just feel like there are so many things to think about.  Do we try to "sleep train" Briggs or just hope he figures out this night time sleep on his own like the girls did?  When is a cough or a runny nose or pulling at the ears reason to go to the doctor?  Full day Kindergarten or half day Kindergarten?  Organic milk or regular?  So many decisions. 

6.  Stuff.  I have been struggling with how much stuff my kids have.  Our house is full of toys and clothes.  I don't want my kids to be spoiled.  I don't want my kids to feel entitled.  I want my kids to understand how blessed they are, and to have a heart for those who don't have as much.  I want my kids to learn that they can't have everything they want.  With Christmas coming up, I've been struggling more with how to teach my kids these lessons...and how to best decrease all the stuff in our lives.

7.  Work.  I love my job and the families that I work with, but sometimes I struggle with the other "stuff" that goes into my job.

8.  Lessons.  I struggle with the best way to teach my kids lessons.  How do you teach your kids to not be bossy?  How do you teach your kids to be good friends?  How do you teach your kids to move faster?  How do you teach your kids to listen, to obey, to respect, to be honest, to have empathy?  It's a constant struggle between making sure I'm saying "yes", playing, enjoying, and encouraging while still knowing that I need to set limits, train, correct, and be firm.  Sometimes that's a hard balance to find.

I love my family.  I love the busy, chaotic, loud, crazy, tiring life that I lead.  It won't always be like this.  I know that my current struggles will cease and new struggles will emerge.  It's just part of the cycle of parenthood.  It's not all roses, but it's all totally worth it.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


I'm so thankful for my family.  I'm thankful for friends.  I'm thankful for good jobs, good health, and a good home.  And I'm very thankful that my life doesn't depend on getting a good picture of my 3 kids together.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Compliment of the Day

Last night at dinner, Staley told me, "This is the best casserole in the history of my whole life."

Pretty high praise for a casserole.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Question of the Day

Is it considered a success when you finally break your daughter of speaking in a baby voice...and instead she starts speaking in a hoity-toity British accent???


Saturday, November 14, 2015

It's In!

Briggs is now the official owner of one tooth.  His bottom left tooth made its appearance yesterday.  And now I'm officially out of excuses as to why my son continues to wake up at night.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Adelie's bedtime prayers always make me smile.  Tonight, she started her prayer with all her thank yous.  "Thank you for Jesus and Mommy and Daddy and grandmas and grandpas and football and Staley and Brigger-doodles."  And then she ended with "And hooray for fruit snacks and jelly beans!"

Hooray for this little girl who always makes me smile.
Well, most of the time, anyway.  :)

Can't Be Too Careful

Staley's school had a tornado drill yesterday.  Today at lunch, Staley was explaining to me about what to do in case of a tornado.

Staley:  "If there is a tornado, we have to go to the basement.  And we should bring things in case people get ouchies and water and snacks and flashlights."
Me:  "That's good thinking."
Staley:  "And we should bring lotion too."
Me:  "Why would we need lotion?"
Staley:  "In case someone has dry skin."  (Duh!)

So in the face of inclement weather, we are prepared for the loss of electricity, hunger, thirst, injury, and the ever-dreaded dry skin.  I guess you can never be too careful.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Shining Star Again

You might remember at the end of the summer when I blogged about Staley's little production of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" that she did with her Shining Stars class.  Well, she enjoyed it so much that we signed her up for another Shining Stars class this fall.  And the little 8 week class again culminated in a production.  This time it was "The Three Little Pigs."
Staley's teacher had offered her a role as one of the pigs in this production, but surprisingly, Staley decided that she would rather be a big bad wolf.  And so, she was.
My ferocious big bad wolf
Staley knew all her lines, and said them loudly and confidently.  And she huffed and puffed her little heart out.
The big bad wolves ready to blow down another house.

Staley taking a bow
I continue to be amazed, and proud, of the confident little girl that my Staley is.  She wasn't nervous about performing up on a stage in front of a group of people.  She was so excited about the grandparents, cousins, aunt, and friends who came to see her.  She loved her moment in the spotlight.
And I loved it too.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Eight Months

Once again, I've blinked and eight months has flown by.  Briggs is my happy, cuddly, playful, giggly, sweet, loving baby boy.  He now weighs 15.5 lbs.  He is wearing his 6-9 and 6-12 month clothes and his size 2 diapers.  He nurses 4 times during the day (and usually another 2 at night), eats 2 meals, and takes 2 naps.  Briggs will occasionally sleep for 6-8 hours at a time at night, but more often is still only sleeping 3-5 hours at a time.  Although his night time sleep habits haven't really been improving, he is pooping more regularly and spitting up less regularly, so we've got that going for us.  He still doesn't have any teeth, but gives the best gummy smiles.  He remains my happy, easy baby.

Big sisters aren't the only ones who can play dress up around here.
Likes:  Briggs is usually pretty easy to please.  Consistent favorites are being outside and taking baths.  He loves to play, and is starting to get excited about any toys that are new or different.  He really likes playing with the Little People bus and ark, his ring stack toy, monkeys in a barrel, his box full of rattles, his activity table, and his hamster wheel.  He has developed a much longer attention span for books recently with favorites being 'Dada', 'Peek-a-Who', his new thumbprint numbers book, and any books with big flaps, textures, mirrors, or sounds.  Briggs is a good eater, but favorite foods include Puffs, any fruit, and sweet potatoes.  He loves attention, being held, peek-a-boo, silly noises, funny dances, ceiling fans, mirrors, and his sisters.  He loves all people, but currently has a bit of a preference for his Mama.
Briggs always loves spending time outside.

Enjoying his box of rattles
Dislikes:  Briggs will get fussy when he is hungry or tired.  He does not like having his face wiped off after meals.  With a current cold, he has demonstrated a strong dislike for the nose sucker.  He will definitely let you know if he is lonely, bored, or wanting to be held.  Luckily, for the most part, Briggs' fussiness is generally rare and short-lived.
Skills:  Briggs is becoming more and more mobile.  He can roll and pivot around to get across a room quickly.  On his stomach, he is starting to move himself backward and forward a little bit, but not quite commando crawling yet.  He will stand at his activity table or with his hands held, but is still unstable on his feet.  He sits really well, and has just started trying to transition from sitting to hands and knees.  Briggs is very good at grabbing (and then trying to eat) anything within his grasp.  He is a hair puller, a face grabber, and loves hoodie strings.  He can activate his cause and effect toys, will bang toys together, and likes to open and close little doors on toys.  Briggs can finger feed, and is starting to try to bring his cup to his mouth.  He pulls off his socks and his hat consistently.  Briggs is starting to understand so much more.  He is now waving, playing 'so big', shaking his head 'no', and saying "Mama."  His best skill remains his ability to fill each of our days with joy!
Playing 'so big'

My big 8 month old!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How Big Is Briggs?

So big!!!

Like Her Mama

Staley is my girly-girl.  She loves dresses and skirts and tutus and all things sparkly and glittery.  Many days when choosing her clothes, she informs me that she wants to be "super fancy."  I prefer yoga pants and sweatshirts and jeans.  Rather than super fancy, I prefer super comfy.

On Monday as Staley was getting dressed, she told me that she wanted to surprise me with what she chose to wear.  When she came out, she said, "I picked this so I could look like you."  Instead of her usual dress or skirt, she was wearing her super-soft jeans and a casual top that I had bought for her that she'd never worn.

And although I'm biased, I thought she looked super cute...and comfortable.

Monday, November 2, 2015


Briggs loves his Mama.  He can be a bit of a Mama's boy at times.  And now we have officially determined Briggs' first word:  Mama.  He has said it on multiple occasions, and pretty consistently cries it when he wants to be picked up.  And although Zach was a little reluctant to admit it, he's finally agreed that it's official.

Briggs and his first word!


Staley is a planner.  During the summer, Staley decided that she wanted to be the "new" Cinderella (from the movie that came out this year that she hasn't even seen) for the Pumpkin Patch Party at our church and a cat for Halloween.  As a special summer treat, Grammie bought her the new Cinderella dress, and Staley made her cat costume in the middle of July.  Since August, Staley had almost daily been changing her mind about her Halloween costume.  She had no less than 100 different ideas about what she was going to be.  Princesses, animals, superheroes, Barbie movie characters, a ghost, a witch, a horse, a ballerina...  Some days she would change her mind every 5 minutes.  I just smiled, nodded, and figured that when Halloween finally came, she'd have to pick something.  And amazingly, Staley came full circle.

She was the "new" Cinderella for the Pumpkin Patch Party.  And because she loves to 'make' her own costumes, Staley and I made pipe cleaner butterflies to put on her shoes and in her hair, as well as a pipe cleaner bracelet for her wrist.
Staley's butterfly shoes
And then she was a cat for Halloween.
Although Adelie would change her mind to go along with what Staley was planning, she mostly told us that she was going to be a mermaid or Ariel for Halloween.  But when seeing that her cousin, Lila, was going to be Elsa for the Pumpkin Patch Party, Adelie decided that she needed to be Elsa too.  (Oh, the perks of having a rack of dress up clothes to choose from!!)
My little Elsa

And because Adelie is generally agreeable, I was able to talk her into being a cat like her sister for Halloween.
And Briggs?  Well, he doesn't care.  Initially I was hoping I could talk my girls into being Anna and Elsa so that Briggs could be Olaf.  (How cute would that have been??)  Of course, trying to talk Staley into doing something that isn't her idea is like trying to nail jello to a tree.  So when Staley decided to be the new Cinderella, I decided that Briggs could be a mouse and Adelie could wear her "regular" Cinderella dress.  But Briggs slept through the Pumpkin Patch Party, and then by Halloween, Staley had decided to be a cat.  Cat and mouse still worked, and I was pleased that I could have at least one year where my kids had a cute little coordinated theme.
And he was a pretty stinkin' cute mouse!!
Once the costumes had been decided upon, then all we had to do was enjoy the Halloween festivities.
The week-end before Halloween, Lila and Olivia (aka Elsa and Laura Ingalls Wilder) joined us for our church's Pumpkin Patch Party.  There were games and prizes and crafts and snacks.  The highlight, as always, was the cake walk.
On Friday, Staley got to enjoy more time with Lila at their pre-school Halloween party.  More games.  More prizes.  More snacks.  More fun.
On Friday evening, the kids dressed up to visit their great-grandparents at the nursing home.  Then we visited a few other relatives around town for some trick-or-treating practice.
Posing with Great Grams
Spending time with Nana
And then, the main event.  All the cousins from my side of the family joined us for dinner and trick-or-treating around our neighborhood.
Two cats, a mouse, a zebra, Darth Vader, and Harry Potter.
Adelie was a little concerned about Liam's costume and asked, "Does Darth Vader eat cats?"  Luckily, I think Darth was a little more interested in eating his candy than eating the cats.

The past few years, our trick or treating consisted of going to the homes of a few relatives and a few neighbors.  Adelie especially didn't know what to expect.
Adelie:  "Is trick or treating a birthday party?"
Zach:  "Well, no.  Trick or treating is something we do on Halloween."
Adelie:  "But is there cake?"

Even without cake, the kids LOVED trick-or-treating.  They were so enthusiastic!!  And after we walked around the block, the kids were just as enthusiastic about handing out candy to people who came to our house.
Good-bye, Halloween!!  Until next year...
And on Sunday morning, the first thing Staley said was, "Do you know what I'm going to be for next Halloween???"  And so it begins.