August 31, 2011

Sugar and Spice

The other day Hattie came home from school very excited to show me a drawing she had done in art class.  Her art teacher asked everyone to pick their favorite place "in the whole wide world," and then they had to draw a picture of that place.

And what did my sweet Hattie draw?
Her house! :)
I was beaming.

"You picked to draw our house as your most favorite place?" I asked.

"Yes," she said.  "Some kids drew a picture of the zoo or the beach or the mall, but I just love to be at home the most."

Baby girl melting my heart.

That right there is better than any raise or bonus or promotion that anyone could ever give me to tell me I am doing a good job.

Then she explained her picture.  We were all inside watching her pick a flower outside, and Ben was crying (as Ben tends to do these days - teething!).

"And the tiny little house next to ours is Mimi's house, but it's far away, so I had to draw it small," she said.  I thought that was pretty amazing for her to add depth like that to her picture.

Definitely a work of art to be forever cherished by my heart.

And the picture's pretty good, too.

August 26, 2011

7 Quick Takes

I'm linking up for 7 Quick Takes at Conversion Diary for the first time.

Kindergarten ain't not joke!  Hattie has matured so much this first week in kindergarten.  She has to like walk herself to class and like tie her own shoes and open all of her food packets without any help whatsoever!  Who knew my child was so capable!?!

I am quickly realizing that our church preschool is a sheltered environment, and I WANT TO GO BAAACK!  I miss it.  I am having a hard time with the letting go thing.  I can NOT imagine how I will leave my child in College Station, Texas (WHOOP!) for her freshman year of college in t-minus 13 years and just drive away.  Thank goodness for baby steps!

We had well check-ups Tuesday after school.  Who plans doctor appointments on the 2nd day of school?  I was already stressed and tired, and then I had to be at the doctor at 4 pm.  We waited in the waiting-room for ONE HOUR before they even called our names.  Ben was a teething, miserable mess, and the girls teetered back and forth from being hyper to hungry.  It was a hard, hard afternoon, BUT I could still see the silver lining: my kids are well, on-track growth and developmental-wise.  They are healthy in every way possible.  An occasional hard afternoon that wares on my patience is nothing to fuss about......... so I tried not to.  Still, I was glad to put everyone to bed early.

 This is my current favorite show.  Seen it?  Most of their experiences are so similar.  In the 3 episodes I've seen, the people who died all saw light, except one.  That one was enveloped in complete darkness but still felt safe and warm and "home."  I just find it so fascinating and a little bit scary.  

I just love this picture!  Hattie is so tender and maternal with him.  I love. it.  This picture speaks volumes of why siblings ROCK! :) 

Sean bought me a sewing machine two years ago for Christmas, and I just opened it up this past week to try and figure it out because I found something that I both want and feel like I could sew.  I spent about an hour with that sewing machine before I got frustrated and walked away (gave up!).  This common theme of not being able to follow written instruction just keeps popping up in my life.  When will I ever learn!?  I'll tell ya when: when someone who knows a thing or two about sewing machines comes over to my house and shows me how to thread it and use it.  Any takers?  My learning style = reflective observation.

I am going to see The Help this weekend - can't wait!  Did you read the book?  I did.  It was good.  I am in a book rut right now.  Any suggestions?

She spent all day on Tuesday being a kitty-cat.  She told me early in the day that she was a kitty-cat, and her name was Rose, and that was the end of it.  She wouldn't break character for anything.  It was a loong day trying to figure out what her meows meant.  I finally got to a place where I could tolerate all of the licks "kisses" I got on my arms and legs.  Her brother was amused atleast :).  She is a mess!  Such a performer, this one is!  I love almost every minute of it!

August 22, 2011

At Summer's End

I will miss my girls for sure.  And kindergarten feels like the big leagues - I feel like a small fish in a big pond.  BUT I am so looking forward to spending some one on one time with my sweet, squishy baby.  And the girls could use some time apart from one another, fo sho!

This morning when I walked in to wake them up at 6:45, they were both sitting at the edge of their beds. Nervous, no doubt.  Hattie couldn't eat much breakfast.  Her tummy hurt.  Mary Ellen ate all of hers.  I don't think she fully understood what was coming.
 By the time I got Hattie to school, she had lightened up, and her nervousness turned to excitement.  The halls of the school were packed and overwhelming, even for me.  However, as soon as she walked in her classroom and spotted a friend who she had met at a kindergarten social recently, she left my side, and never looked back.  Her teacher had them sit in a circle and asked them how they were feeling.  My Hattie, almost the smallest kid in the class, was the first to shoot her hand in the air.  She answered, "I was nervous this morning but not anymore."  She's going to do GREAT!

My bear, my sissy, my sweet Mary Ellen had a harder time.  She always does with leaving my side.  She's only 3!  But I know she will soon be asking me every day if she gets to go to school today.  She's only going 3 mornings a week this year.  And that's plenty for her right now.
It's going to be a great year!  And I know by the end of it, they are going to seem so much bigger and look like such babies in their first day of school picture to me.  This whole growing up thing just is not fair, I tell ya!  Can't I just freeze time?

August 19, 2011

Great Gift Idea

For Hattie's birthday, she got a butterfly garden.

I would say it is one of the best gifts Hattie has ever gotten.  It costs less than $15 at Walmart.  It's fun and easy.  Both my girls checked on the caterpillars and/or butterflies several times a day.  And the whole kit comes with a great informational guide about how the caterpillars turn into butterflies and why they do the things they do while transforming.  Sean and I even learned a few things.  And, most importantly, it pacified the hankering that Hattie has for getting a pet right now ;).

Last night, we said goodbye to our two friends, named Rocky and Sleepy.  Rocky because Hattie thought the caterpillar looked like a rock all curled up.  Sleepy because the caterpillar never really moved, so I told her it was resting when I really thought it was going to have the same fate as caterpillar #3 who, sadly,  never got to spread its wings and fly.

Here's a picture of the girls watching the butterflies fly away.  I love the look on M.E.'s face :).
 It was bitter-sweet for Hattie, but one actually sat on her finger for quite a while, long enough for me to run inside and grab the camera and snap a shot.  That was special for her and eased her goodbye blues.
We definitely plan on doing this again some day.  Probably around the time someone starts begging for a dog or cat :).

August 15, 2011

It's Been Too Long

This summer has been the best and busiest summer I've had since I became a stay-at-home mom.  I think it's been a combination of my children's ages and the fact that I, for the first time ever, hired a sitter for two mornings a week to keep Ben while I spent those morning doing anything and everything with the big girls.  I remember when Mary Ellen was a baby and needed that morning nap, the mornings were so long trying to entertain Hattie while her sister slept.  I wasn't looking forward to that when summer was nearing, and I knew the girls would be home all day, every day.  Our budget allowed for me to either put Hattie in a summer camp of some kind 2 days a week or for me to hire someone for Ben while I took the girls out on "adventures."  Thanks to a friend who gave me some great recommendations for sitters, I'm glad I chose the latter and got to enjoy the fun things of summer with my girls while Ben napped comfortably at home and was well cared for by his baby-sitter, who happens to be a very sweet, beautiful college girl, so I'm sure he didn't mind :).

And now we are nearing the end of summer, and it's true that I am sad to see it go.  In just six short days, we will be back to having to be somewhere at certain times and carpool lines and packing lunches.  I am looking forward to having some time alone with Ben again while Hattie goes off to kindergarten and Mary Ellen goes to preschool 3 mornings a week, but it will be an adjustment for all of us.

As we close on Summer 2011, here is an update on my kiddos and what they've been up to:
Hattie turned 5 on July 4th.  She is ready for kindergarten and is so excited!  We have "meet the teacher" this Friday, and she is ready.  I am nervous.  Most of her summer at home has been spent playing barbies and littlest pet shop with her sister.  They have played so well together all summer.  They fight, yes, of course, but Mary Ellen is finally at an age where they are good playing partners, and she's pretty easy-going about allowing Hattie to boss her around while they play.  That's their dynamic.
 Hattie's favorite place to be is at the YMCA pool.  She worked really hard all summer perfecting her swimming skills.  While she's not a strong swimmer yet, she can definitely swim.  And I'm so proud of her for just kind of figuring it out herself while watching and playing with other kids at the pool.  We did no swim lessons this year.

Hattie has become a fairly good writer and reader.  Sean or I can tell her to write a word, something easy that she can sound out, like cat or dog, and she can sound it out and write it, and it's legible!  I'm so proud of her.  She's always just wanted to learn and do well and please.  I think she's going to be a shining star in kindergarten!
Mary Ellen just turned 3 this past weekend.  At 3, my middle child is in love with all things girly and prissy.  She loves her barbies, dress up clothes, jewelry, purses, and makeup.  Just this past Sunday, she was enjoying her new birthday presents while Sean was watching her and her brother.  Hattie and I went school shopping.  One of her presents from her grandparents was makeup.  Sean went in the bathroom to shave, and when he came back to the playroom he found this:
Poor Ben!  The things he will be subjected to because he has two older sisters are endless.

Mary Ellen has always played well by herself.  I guess it's a second/middle child thing because I've heard other moms say this about their second child.  She is just more independent and has no reservations about doing what she wants, when the thought comes to her mind, like putting makeup all over her brother.
If you've been around Mary Ellen at all this summer, you have probably witnessed her obsession with swimsuits and braids.  Not a day goes by that she doesn't request to put her swimsuit on and demand that I braid her hair.  She is very conscious of being dressed to impress at all times and wants to get out of her pjs almost as soon as her feet hit the floor in the morning.

Mary Ellen has a very tender side to her, too, though.  She still cries when we leave her in nursery on Sundays, probably because we aren't consistent with it, but she goes often enough that she knows the women there.  I know the first day of school will be hard for her.  She will definitely shed tears.  She is very close to me, and does not like when I leave the house without her.  And when I return, she always runs up to me saying, "Mama's home!!!!" like it's the best thing ever :).
Ben, or my Benny-boo, as I so affectionately call him, has grown and grown and grown.  The secret is out: this boy loves to eat!  It took him a while to warm up to solids, but now, he devours most things I give him.  I am finally bumping him up to taking solids 3 times a day.  With that, he eats about 22 ounces of formula.  He is much bigger than the girls were at this age, take it from me and my aching back!  At 9 months, he is still not crawling, but that is due entirely to the fact that he learned to go from his tummy to sitting.  So anytime I put him on his tummy, he almost immediately sits up.  And his sisters have been too kind with giving him something to play with when all of his toys are out of reach.
I love having a son and I love the age he is right now.  I really think 9 months is the best baby age.  He has finally dropped that 3rd nap and is taking two solid naps a day.  He is teething his top two front teeth, which stinks, but he's also processing and learning so much.  His babbles and squeals are to die for.  And the way he says "mama" when he sees me, melts me.

I guess the biggest difference between him and his sisters at this stage in the game is how mad he can get.  If I take something away from him he protests much louder and with much more force than his sisters ever did.  The girls have always backed off fairly easily, but he challenges me more, already, and he's not even a toddler yet.  Also, he is way more into Sean than the girls were at this age.  If Sean is around, Ben can't take his eyes off of him.  He watches his every move.  It's funny to me how when Ben says "dadda," it's always so happy and playful.  When he says "mama," it's usually in a whiney voice, like he needs or wants something.

So that's what the kiddos have been up to.  Growing and ever-changing and developing.  And for that, I am so thankful to my God who has let me borrow and love these precious lives He's created.

Wisdom From the Pope

“The inalienable dignity of every human being and the rights which flow from that dignity - in the first place the right to life and the defense of life - are at the heart of the church's message." Pope John Paul ended his address, saying: "In spite of divisions among Christians, 'all those justified by faith through baptism are incorporated into Christ...brothers and sisters in the Lord.'" Pope John Paul 2