Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Trouble - naps and timeouts

Oh boy, we've got trouble...with a capital T that stands for two-year-old. Frederick started climbing out of his crib at night and during naps and also on the same day learned how to open doors. So we put away the crib and switched Gwen out of the toddler bunk beds into a big twin bed and gave Freddy the bunkbed, his "big boy bed." He loves it! He loves to lay down in it, and he loves to get out of it and get out of his room.  The first night, I just kept putting him back in bed and spreading his blanket out on him and asked him to stay in his bed. After 3 times he got it and stayed in there. Same thing for his first nap, only it took 6-8 times. Then we were golden for a few nights/naps and it was quite nice. But weekends are hard for naps because he can hear his siblings playing and refused to stay in his room. I dug out our old door child lock thing and put it on, but this little boy cracked that thing in 15 minutes and after a few more attempts could take it off the door in a matter of seconds.  Ahhhhhhh! He's already refusing to sit in his highchair and its making my kitchen even MORE of a disaster every 3-4 hours. 

I refuse to give up nap/quiet time, not just for me, but also because Frederick still NEEDS naps and is so much happier when he gets them. So today, I duct taped on the child lock and its been an hour and he hasn't gotten it off yet! Also big news today was Freddy's first time out.  He took it pretty well. Maybe too well... I'm not sure he realized he was in trouble. :) Oh man. This kid is growing up. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Family fun - golf and skating

At school, Gwen was asked what her family does on Saturdays and while some kids said, "Go shopping with my Nana", or "watch TV" she said, " we work on Saturdays and do lots of jobs." Part of me was happy that maybe, just maybe, my kids are learning to be good workers, and part of me was sad that that's all she thinks we do on Saturdays. The kids actually spend like 95% of their time just playing around the house and if I get 20-30 minutes of work out of them cleaning their bathrooms and rooms and maybe one other job, I count myself quite lucky. Chris and I also usually have our cleaning jobs and a few weekend projects to work on. But Alec has taught me that just playing around the house with toys doesn't count as "something fun." We have to do something ALL together for it to count. Or at least with 1 adult... I guess playing with Mom or Dad is the definition of fun. :)  Anyway, this is a long introduction just to say that we're trying to do something fun as a family on Saturdays.  So when the weather had a slight warm spell two Saturdays ago, we went out to the golfing range.  Freddy caught on quick and loved to hit the balls, but lost interest quick and started throwing balls all over the place. 

I mostly liked watching Chris show us how its done:

Alec broke 2 clubs! He was swinging totally normal and as he swung through the club face just broke off and went sailing out into the range. Although his normal does have a lot of power the breakage is still more a testament of how old the clubs were then of anything else. I think Chris was saying he used those clubs when he was 8 or so. 

Also, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day I took the older kids to the skating rink. The schools had given out free admission tickets to all the kids, so the place was PACKED and despite have 2 free tickets, and only needing to rent 1 pair of skates and 1 triangle push thing, it still cost us $12.  Gwen's skates were not very rolly and so she couldn't go as fast as she would have liked, but it did mean she was comfortable to do a few laps without her triangle push thing. 

Alec was cruisin' on his new roller blades he got for his birthday. 

At home, Charlie usually has his roller blades on from the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes to sleep. He loved racing around to the loud music. He wanted to do the limbo game and lasted pretty long.  Then all the kids were tired and the place was super packed so when they just wanted to stand in their skates and watch some other kid play the arcade games, I knew it was time to go home. :)  

Oh and we've had the duplos out for a few days and I'm always surprised how much fun the big kids have with them. Over the years, we've acquired a nice little bundle of them and it allows the kids to be really creative. Here is a cool 3D cowboy on a horse that Alec made. Charlie made a sweet motor home/trailer that was 5x the size of the little car pulling it..complete with beds and a fireplace and other home essentials. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Charlie and Chris do basketball

Charlie wanted to play basketball this year and Chris wanted him to have a good experience and so offered to assistant coach... which turned into being the only coach. :) We had one practice before we left for Christmas and then our first game was a few days after we got home. Its pretty intense here in Starkville! Charlie is the youngest and littlest on his team of 7-9 year old boys. Without have any experience playing an actual basketball game (just shooting hoops - of which he's done a fair amount - doesn't count) made for an interesting first game. ;) Charlie defended like he would on a soccer field... shadowing movements about 4 feet away from the guy he was guarding. Also there are SO MANY rules in a typical basketball game (3 seconds in the key, no backcourt press, traveling, double dribble etc..) and a few ones unique to this age group of the league - on offence the guy with the ball has to wait for all his teammates to cross the half court line before he can cross (in hopes of encouraging teamwork and eliminating a court domination of one good guy who can make a fast break down court and score every time). But, I'm not worried. Chris is a wonderful coach and will figure out how to improve his little team and Charlie is already having fun. Win-win!

I admire Charlie's willingness and eagerness to try new things.  He never seems discouraged, no matter how out-of-his-element he is.  I sometimes catch him dancing down the court, or smiling up at the stands to wave to me, or smiling at his opponent as if to say, "I'm guarding you... isn't this fun!?"  

Me and the other kids watching in the stands. My friend Audra (who's son Dash was playing on the other team) saved the day during our second game when Gwen and Freddy started throwing fits about who gets to sit on my lap with a fun mustache sticker book. 

 BTW - I love watching Chris coach... he is so good with kids, gets really into the games but stays encouraging and he's a natural strategist.  He just looks so handsome standing across the court in his jeans, a button up and his MSU hat... hands going back and forth from his hips or pockets to folded across his chest as he analyses the players and trends. After every game he talks to each of the players individually and/or their parents and compliments them about something. Then he goes ON and ON and ON about the game for the next several hours. :) haha. Cute boy. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The 28 hour drive home

New Years Eve was mostly spent gathering up our things in Provo and then loading the car. It literally took all day to do this because we had so much stuff to bring back.  I was able to go over to my grandma Hardy's house and pick a few more things to have in memory of her. I found some wonderful holiday decorations and children's toys some of which I remember seeing in her house and playing with as I grew up. Between the things I inherited from my Grandma and our Christmas gifts and some boxes of college stuff that Chris and I left in Provo when we moved to California...we had A LOT to fit in.  For being so squished and driving 28 hours straight... the kids did great! We let them watch more movies then we usually do and I was way more patient with their calls for help than I usually am because we felt so bad for them.  

With all the snow alongside the road (but never, thankfully, ON the road) it was SO BRIGHT and were grateful for sunglasses. Chris figured out this new way to wear them so they don't hurt his nose:

Gwen learned how to braid! 

I solved my first rubix cube! It was actually pretty fun. 

We drove all day and night and most of the next day, pulling into the Walmart parking lot in Starkville around 2:00 pm. We were coming home to an empty kitchen and knowing that neither of us would want to leave the house again or drive the car for as long as possible, we thought it best to grocery shop on our way in town.  Chris wondered where we would put the groceries (I hadn't thought about that) but we just put them on the kids lap. They were watching their 5th movie and hardly seemed to notice! 

Ahhhhhh! Home at last! This is the time when the extra 45 min we took before we left to tidy up really pays off. The first thing we did was build Freddy's birthday present he never saw before we left. He LOVES it. So do the other kids. They'll all pile on it. Gwen sitting in the car, Charlie on top, and Freddy on the tailgate while Alec pushes them around the house. So cute.