Adelie and Staley's World

Adelie and Staley's World

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Good-bye, April

I'm not sure how this happened, but April is almost over.  We celebrated birthdays and Easter.  We put away the winter coats and hung up the summer clothes in the closet.  We've been walking to school, playing at the park, riding bikes, and spending lots of time outside.  Spring is in full swing, but summer is just around the corner.

 Adelie performed in her pre-school program this morning.  She sang and danced enthusiastically, belting out her songs with plenty of joy...and volume.  I was so proud of her!

As part of her program, each kid introduced themselves and said what they wanted to be when they grow up.  Adelie confidently shared that she wants to be a fairy when she grows up.  One of the little boys in her class used his turn with the microphone to announce that Adelie is his girlfriend.  What?!?!  Thankfully, Adelie didn't agree with this assessment.

Another sign of the impending end of the school year was Staley's class field trip to the Children's Museum in Bloomington.  It was fun to spend the day with Staley and her friends.  Well, fun in a over-stimulating, chaotic, and slightly stressful way.

It is hard to believe that we are just 3 weeks away from my Kindergartener becoming a first grader.

Another recent April highlight was movie night at school followed by a cousin sleep-over.

We used the day after Easter to enjoy the Farm Park with some friends.

And the kids have enjoyed plenty of outside playtime at home and at the park.

Briggs is much braver and is able to do so much more at the playgrounds.  He is always trying to keep up with his sisters...and doing a pretty good job.

Time continues to fly by, no matter how hard I try to slow it down.
Good-bye, April.




Friday, April 21, 2017

Easter...in photos

We had such a fun and beautiful Easter week-end.  We enjoyed gorgeous spring weather, lots of hunting for eggs, church, family time, Easter baskets, yummy food, plenty of treats.  Apart from a quick trip to Prompt Care for an ear infection diagnosis and medications, it couldn't have been more lovely.

We did a Saturday evening Easter egg hunt in the backyard.

Lots of eggs, lots of treats, lots of smiles.
(Thanks, Aunt Jan and Uncle Jack.)

We took a few pre-church photos before the kids got to enjoy another egg hunt at Sunday School.

There were Easter baskets to find before heading over for lunch with Zach's extended family.

It's always great to spend time with cousins.

The little and the big...so cute!!

I loved how Staley and Lila worked together as a team to find eggs, Adelie followed Olivia around, and Cade helped Briggs.  My kids just love their cousins!

Briggs was so cute.  He loved hunting for Easter eggs, and was even more excited when he realized there were treats inside.

After leaving the first family gathering, Zach took Briggs home for a nap while the girls and I headed over to spend a little more family time with my extended family.

We got there in time for dessert, play time with more cousins, and one last Easter egg hunt.  Luckily, the thrill never ends.

What a happy, happy Easter it was!


Remember When?

Remember when our whole family stayed healthy all winter long?  Remember how we didn't have any colds or flu or doctor visits or missed days of school or missed days of work?  Remember how we didn't even need to buy Kleenex?  Remember how all the sickness running rampant at school and church and work somehow avoided us?

Then remember how April arrived and the weather turned beautiful...and in the course of 2 weeks, all of us had a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and/or ear infection?

Remember how I like it better when we are all just healthy?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Temper, Temper

I am familiar with two year olds.  I understand that they are learning to navigate their worlds, test their boundaries, gain some independence, and deal with strong emotions that they are not yet able to handle.  To sum up, I understand that there are plenty of tears in store for us as Briggs enters this world of two.  Tears and tantrums are a part of growing up.  I understand that and I'm ready for it.

I may not have clear recollections of exactly how my girls acted and behaved at two.  I know we had lots (and lots and lots) of unnecessary tears and drama.  However, I do not recall long-winded screaming fits.  I remember plenty of sadness, but not necessarily anger.  I remember crying over plenty of silly things, but I don't remember a short-fuse and quick temper.  My son, however, is showing me this new side of two.

For the most part, Briggs is such a happy, sweet, snuggly little guy.  But he definitely has a short fuse.  Patience is not his strong suit.  He can get mad quickly, and he makes his anger known.  He's always been this way.  If his needs aren't met or his requests aren't fulfilled as soon as he makes them known, he is quick to pitch a fit.  We have had fits when I won't hold him while I'm cooking, fits when his food isn't presented as quickly as he wants it, fits when a bite of food is too warm for his liking, fits about being in the stroller or getting out of the tub or dropping a favorite toy or being woken up too early from his nap. And, of course, the ever-popular fit for unknown reasons.  These fits come on quickly and often involve screaming and crying and kicking and throwing his head back.  If I pick him up or snuggle him, he can generally calm down quickly.  However, when this isn't an option (for example, when I'm making dinner or pushing him in the stroller to get Staley from school or in the midst of getting something done or attending to someone else), he can keep it going for a healthy 15-20 minutes at least.  I'm sure at some point he forgets why he's mad or throwing a fit and just keeps it going for the sake of appearances.  It's quite unpleasant.

I don't know the best way to help Briggs.  He has the vocabulary to verbalize his wants/needs/and feelings, as well as the ability to understand things like "wait" and "in a minute."  I don't know the best way to teach him to wait, to have patience, to deal with life's adversities, to calm himself down when he gets upset.  I don't cave to his demands.  He has to stop crying and throwing a fit before he gets what he has requested.  He can sing the "have patience" song with the best of them.  I'm not quick to his rescue when he's throwing a fit.  I have no doubt that Briggs will learn these life skills with time and maturity...

...but if we can speed it up, I'm all for that too.



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

They Say...

The other day Zach was getting Briggs out of his carseat.  He said, "Are you ready to go inside, Briggs?'' Briggs answered, "I'm not Briggs.  I'm Briggy-boy."

#Briggyboy

During her 4 year old interview, Adelie told me she wanted to be a mermaid when she grows up.  Then she said, "Do you think I will be a real mermaid when I grow up or will I be just regular like you?"
#notgoodformyselfesteem
#justregular

Adelie often forgets to flush the toilet after she uses it.  One night as Adelie was brushing her teeth, I thought the bathroom smelled bad.  I opened the lid of the toilet to find that someone had not flushed.
Me:  "Well that's what smells bad.  Someone forgot to flush." 
Adelie: "It wasn't me.  My poop doesn't look like that.  Maybe it was you, Mommy." 
Me:  "I always remember to flush.  I can probably narrow it down to 2 people in this house." 
Adelie:  "Yeah.  Staley and Briggs."
#notquite
#wishshedjustflush

#alwaysahoot

The other morning Staley was supposed to be brushing her teeth while I was helping Briggs put on his shoes.  Since I wasn't hearing any water running, I called, "Staley, are you brushing your teeth?"  Matter of factly, she responded, "No.  I'm just dancing in the bathroom."

#soundsaboutright
#stillnotfast




Four Years Old

Disclaimer:  Here is my annual, long, boring post about what my kids are doing at certain ages.  This is for me. You are welcome to read it, but consider yourself warned.

Adelie is four years old.  How is that even possible??  At her 4 year old check-up, she is now weighing 33.5 lbs (37th percentile) and is 40" tall (56th percentile).  She wears her 4T clothes and size 8 shoes.  Adelie no longer naps, but sleeps for 11-12 hours at night.  She took a tumbling class for most of the year, goes to pre-school 2 mornings/week, enjoys Sunday School and story hour, and just finished up 4 weeks of swimming lessons.  Adelie is confident, social, sweet, active, and hilarious.

And did I mention adorable too??

Likes:  Adelie is very social and loves all her activities.  She makes friends wherever she goes, whether with kids her own age, older kids, or grown-ups.  She loves playing with Staley and they remain the best of friends.  Adelie's favorite play activities include Barbies, figurines, stuffed animals, dolls, and her doll house.  She also likes to build things for her figurines with big Lego blocks and Magnatiles.  Adelie loves doing craft activities, whether it's coloring, drawing, painting, stickers, gluing, cutting, Perler beads, or Play-Doh.  She also loves being read to and will sit for long periods of time to listen to books.  Outside, Adelie enjoys riding her bike with training wheels, doing sidewalk chalk, and playing on our playset or going to playgrounds.  We don't often watch television, but she enjoys Blaze and the Monster Machines, Paw Patrol, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Shimmer and Shine, and Freshbeat Band of Spies.  I can't pick a favorite for her because she enjoys most movies or television shows that her siblings pick.  With Staley's strong opinions, Adelie doesn't often get to make choices about movies or television shows that aren't influenced one way or another by her older sister.  Luckily, she's pretty go-with-the-flow.  And with her sweet, giving nature, she's also quick to let Briggs pick what he wants to watch as well.  Mermaids remain her very favorite thing, and anything with Ariel is a favorite, whether it's a toy, movie, show, or outfit. Adelie loves to wear tutus and dresses and sparkly shoes and jewelry.  She gets super-excited about putting on chapstick and chewing gum.  Adelie is a good little eater, but her very favorite thing to eat is fruit and sweets.  She loves her friends and her cousins, but she LOVES her siblings.  She is a great little sister, going along with Staley's plans and generally being okay with Staley taking the lead and making decisions (as Staley is apt to do.)  However, she is also a great big sister, sweetly helping out with Briggs, sharing with him, trying to console him if he's crying, and playing nicely with him.

Big sister Adelie

Little sister Adelie

Lots of favorites...tutu, sparkly shoes, and being out in the rain.

Dislikes:  Adelie does not like to wear socks.  She is sensitive about getting in trouble.  Although her generally active state and sometimes questionable impulse control get her into trouble pretty often, she is usually remorseful and gets sad about it.  She also doesn't like when she gets left behind or left out when she is trying to play with bigger kids.  We have far less unnecessary tears these days, but they are not gone completely. 

Luckily, we have way more smiles than tears.

Skills:  Adelie is my active and coordinated little girl.  She can run fast, climb well, and jump off things with ease.  She rides a bike with training wheels and can propel a scooter.  She loves to hop on one foot and hang upside down off of furniture.  Adelie is getting to be a good drawer.  She colors well in the lines and can cut out shapes or pictures she's drawn.  She can write her name in all capital letters.  Adelie is very independent.  She dresses herself including zipping her coat.  She still usually has her shoes on the wrong feet.  She feeds herself with silverware, drinks from an open cup, brushes her teeth and hair (with help for thoroughness), and is beginning to wash herself at bathtime (again needing some help for thoroughness.)  Adelie takes herself to the bathroom, although she still usually waits until the last minute.  She is good about washing her hands, but flushing often gets forgotten.  Adelie loves to help around the house.  She clears her plate after meals, cleans up her toys, and likes to help with washing the table or folding laundry or rinsing out her cup.  Although she doesn't always like to sit down with me for learning activities, somehow she continues to learn.  Adelie can identify most of her upper case letters (75%?). She can count to 39, although still skips 15, and recognizes most of her numbers from 0-9.  Adelie is starting to understand beginning sounds and can tell you what letter some words start with based on the sound.

Adelie seems to prefer this view of the world

Adelie has a very sweet and loving personality.  She is quick to give hugs and snuggle.  She is very generous.  She loves to make things and then wrap them up to give to others.  She is often giving gifts to Staley's teacher, her siblings, baby-sitters, friends, cousins, and neighbors.  Anytime anyone is coming over, she wants to make something to give them.  Although very sweet and loving, Adelie is also very funny and will often do anything for a laugh.  She's my child who pushes the boundaries of what's acceptable for the sake of a laugh.  She is my child who is shaking her booty or making up songs about underwear or jumping off the sofa or sticking her tongue out for pictures.  Sometimes I will warn her to stop an activity or she'll have a consequence.  She's quick to ask, "What's my consequence?", I think just to determine whether or not it's worth it for her to stop doing what she's doing.  Adelie is so sweet and so fun, but she definitely keeps me on my toes.  However, I can't imagine a day in my life without the spark and the joy that she brings to it.  I love the little girl she is and the person she's turning out to be.

My big 4 year old




Monday, April 10, 2017

Experiences

I have no problem saying "no".  Just ask my kids.  I can say "no" all day long to new toys, treats, grocery store requests, desserts, and extra television time.  But I have a much harder time saying "no" to experiences.  So when Staley came home from her first Rising Stars show choir rehearsal talking about this optional competition in St. Louis at Six Flags that she was SO excited about, I wavered.  My natural inclination was to say "no."  She had just started with this group.  There are potentially years of these opportunities ahead of her.  It would involve more fees and costumes and extra rehearsals and travel expenses...and she's only in Kindergarten.  I was reluctant, but we eventually agreed that the experience was worth a "yes."  And I'm so glad we did because what a great experience it was!!

We decided that one of us would take Staley while the other stayed home with the two younger kids.  Since Staley would require having her hair and make-up done, along with the fact that Zach gets motion sick on carnival rides, I was the chosen one.  And what a fun, special week-end we had.  I rarely get one-on-one time with any of my kids, so having all that time just the two of us was a really special experience.

Staley was extra excited because I got her from school early to drive down on Friday afternoon.  We stopped for a special lunch and picked out a book on CD to listen to together in the car.  We didn't get down there quite as early as anticipated because we made a new discovery...Staley gets carsick.  She's never had any problems in the van, but apparently riding in the car is a different story.  The good news was that we still had Adelie's booster in the backseat (so we had an extra), I had (at the last minute) packed Staley an extra change of clothes, Staley was quick on her feet and found an empty plastic bag to use right before getting sick, and our hotel had a laundry room AND a very helpful front desk staff that loaned me cleaning supplies.  All things considered, it could have been worse.  And we still made it to the hotel in plenty of time to get settled.  Staley rehearsed with her group while I laundered and cleaned the car, and there was still a little time for swimming and supper before getting to bed.

Saturday was the big day.  Although Staley is not a morning person, she popped out of bed early to get ready for her performance.  There were only minimal complaints about the fact that she had to wear her hair in a specific way and she even tolerated the tights she had to wear.  Oh, if only every day was competition day.  :) 

She was SO pleased about her dress, her curled hair, and the fact that she got to wear a little make-up.  I just love this picture of her checking herself out.

Staley's group ranged in age from 6 (she's the youngest) to 16.  She learned 4 complete songs and dances, along with where she had to move around the floor to get to different spots throughout the performance.  She wasn't nervous at all and performed her little heart out.  I was so proud!
(In the above photo, she's the smallest one on the far left, front row.)

As the youngest in the group, I loved how the older kids all look out for her.  Staley has lots of "big kid friends" in the group.  They swam with her at the hotel pool, made sure she got to where she needed to be, and always greeted her and included her when she was hanging around.  It warmed my heart.

And her directors and helpers all make it such a positive environment and great experience for all the kids.  Although it was a competition, the focus was on the experience and being the best they can be.

After the morning performance, we returned to the hotel to change and then spent the rest of the day at Six Flags.  I had assumed Staley and I would just spend the day doing some of the smaller rides together.  However, we rode the shuttle from our hotel to the park with 2 other little girls (and their moms) from her group (ages 8 and 9) who sat by Staley on the bus.  The 3 girls started making plans of what they wanted to see and do, and we ended up spending the whole day with them.

Staley with her friends Kara and Zoey.

The girls included Staley in the whole day, and Staley had THE BEST time with them riding rides and hanging out.  Staley rode the one roller coaster she was tall enough for, but the Thunder River water ride and the ultra-spinny scrambler were her favorites.

I had so much fun spending the day with Staley and her friends.

The day ended with an award ceremony where Staley's group received a first place trophy and a superior rating.  (All the teams got a first place trophy with various ratings, so I'm not sure what the trophy and the rating actually mean.)  Regardless, Staley was THRILLED that they won first place!

I can say "no" to lots of things, but I'm so glad I said "yes" to this experience!
















Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Hand Socks

Briggs has been a thumb sucker since infancy.  I know the longer he continues with the habit, the harder it will be to break.  To that end, we decided that now would be a good time to try to go thumb-less.  He primarily only sucks his thumb when he's snuggling or when he's going to bed, so we introduced "hand socks" for bedtime and naptime.  Thankfully, instead of resisting or getting upset about his hand socks, he really likes them.  Although sometimes he will tell me "I like mine thumb" when I'm putting them on him, he never complains or gets upset or even tries to take them off.  He happily lets us put them on before getting into bed, and sometimes even asks for them.  For the most part, I don't think the loss of his thumb has impacted his sleep habits or his self-calming abilities.  I'm not sure how long it will take for the habit to be officially broken, but right now it seems like he's just fine with hand socks being his new bedtime habit...and I'm totally on board with that.

Briggs and his hand socks