Monday, March 28, 2011

Family Home Evening

Want a fun and easy Family Home Evening? Play games! Since General Conference is approaching, tonight we talked about latter-day prophets and how important it is to follow the counsel we receive from our current prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. For our activity, we played "Simon Says", but instead we said "The Prophet Says....". The girls loved it! There were lots of giggles had by all. As a closing song, we sang "Follow the Prophet". I love family nights that are simple and engaging...and tonight was just that. Pure fun with a sweet purpose.

Oh, and we also sang "Latter-Day Prophets", a song that Ava has been learning in Primary. Guess what she thought his name was?

.....Gordon BaHinckley.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Week in Review

A few weeks ago I started teaching very basic piano lessons to Ava. She has been asking me to teach her for a long time, and I just wasn't sure she was ready until recently. So, every Sunday after church, we have been sitting down together for a lesson. At first, I thought Ava was more interested in the uninterrupted one-on-one time with Mom (I really try to make sure I am giving her the same attention I would give to any of my other students...David takes Ella and Dallin in the other room, and we set a timer to make sure they all know it is Ava's time). But about two weeks ago, I started noticing something. She was really learning! In about one month's time, Ava has learned the musical alphabet, can point to any given key on the piano (A,B,C,D,E,F,G), can find middle C, is counting rhythms quite well (i.e. knows the difference between quarter, half, whole notes, eighth notes, and can count them accordingly), and can play a few simple songs while reading the music in front of her. The only reason I dare to be impressed by this is because I've been teaching piano for about 10 years now, to dozens of different students young and old...and my little Ava is among the fastest learners I have taught. That's my girl! Granted, she's no little Beethoven just yet, but I think she is displaying some musical talent, just the same. I'm just happy that she seems to be enjoying it, and sits down to practice her songs several times throughout the week without me having to ask.
For today's lesson, she decided to wear a fancy dress-up.

Meanwhile, Ella played quietly on the computer in the other room. The combination of headphones and Nick Jr. is God's gift to mothers.

This past week it was also my turn to teach Ella's preschool. We learned all about nursery rhymes. We talked about rhyming words, read stories, and then played games that correlated with the nursery rhymes we read. For example, we had a race to "fetch a pail of water", we jumped over candlesticks, we ate "curds and whey" while pretend spiders sat down beside us, and they each got a turn to let Humpty Dumpty (each kid got a hard boiled egg) have a GREAT fall. Oh, and we played with watercolors. What day at preschool is complete without watercolors?
Let's see, what else did we do last week? Hmmmmm... oh yeah. We did a whole lot of snuggling with this handsome little guy.

OOoohh....he was trying so hard to crawl here. He was eying that toy. For sure.

And I finally decided to lay him in his crib at night! Hooray! He has been doing great. He is sleeping from 8 to 6 or so, just like normal. What a champ.

So, here I sit on a Sunday night, with everyone else asleep, and planning for the week ahead. It's strange, because I think I may be the only person in the entire universe that absolutely loves Monday mornings. For me, the dawn of a new week is like New Year's Day all over again. I feel fresh, renewed, and revitalized, with lists of goals to accomplish, and hope for a wonderful week ahead. Call me crazy, but it's true. In my mind, a "case of the Mondays" consists of a clean house, (Monday is always deep-cleaning day) fresh vacuum lines in the carpet, clean sheets, fresh bread, folded laundry, a yummy dinner and a fun family night. What could be wrong with a day like that? Ahhh Monday...I love you so. Okay, okay....enough day-dreaming about tomorrow (I have a serious case of OCD if I'm day-dreaming about cleaning, I admit it).

For now, here's a little look at my 4-year old Beethoven in the making... (sorry it's upside down, I was holding my phone the wrong way when I took the video).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

January, February, March...Oh MY!

What an exciting time these last few weeks have been. Ella turned three in February, Dallin hit the three-month mark in March, and Ava will turn five in April. Between all of the party-planning and Spring Break festivities, I'm just about ready to break my "no daytime napping" rule! I've even had a few creative outbursts, including a diaper cake or two, cupcakes galore, learning to sew, and hosting a St. Patrick's Day party for the kids and their friends. It's been busy, but definitely worth it.

But, most importantly, let me briefly recap Ella's fun birthday! On her big day, we rented an enormous bounce house, and had a Dora the Explorer party. It was great, because we had the party on her actual birthday, which happened to fall on a Friday this year. She was so excited to invite all of her little buddies, including a few of her cousins, neighbors, preschool friends, and friends from church.

During the party, we played games, went on a Dora-style adventure to find Ella's birthday cake, and did a whole lot of bouncing! We even opened Ella's presents in the bounce house with all of the kids inside. I also made Ella a special cake (a yellow cake with lots of yellow icing...per Ella's request. Her favorite color is yellow!). It was a very fun and memorable day.
And, on the very same day that Ella turned three...Dallin hit the twelve week mark. Twelve weeks? Has it really been twelve whole weeks since this handsome little man entered my life?
In some ways it seems like he was born yesterday, and in some ways I can not even remember life without him. He is such a sweet addition to our family. The girls ADORE him. He can do no wrong in their eyes (or ours, for that matter). So, in honor of his three-month birthday, here's a recap of D's life thus far:

Week one: Rough. My milk took SIX days to come in. Which is an eternity. Baby Dallin was totally starving, and I was a nervous wreck. One night he woke up every half hour to forty-five minutes. He was just plain hungry. We even realized that his poor little legs looked like chicken bones. He was losing weight rapidly. Per Dr. Swan's recommendation, we supplemented with goat's milk on day five. I saw a lactation consultant on the morning of day six. That night, thankfully, my milk came in. And when I say it came in, it came IN. Baby Dallin was so happy. He probably ate every hour or two for a while after that, and who could blame him? He had lost over a pound since birth. On the plus side, the love, support, and MEALS we received were beyond fantastic. Love and visitors were in abundance.

Week two: Dallin regained all of the weight he had lost, plus some. I took him in to see Dr. Swan to have him weighed, and was nearly 8 pounds. What a champ.

Week three: Christmas time! Precious baby Dallin was such a sweet reminder to our family of the true reason for the season, the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Having a new baby boy in our home during Christmas was nothing short of magical.

Week four: At around the beginning of the new year, once the chaos of the holiday season had passed, we began to regain a sense of normalcy and routine in our home. I am a very systems-oriented person, so finding a new routine that would fit our family's needs was (and is) important to me. For example, we found our way back to our normal bedtime routine, including storytime with Daddy when he got home from work.
Baby Dallin adapted so well to increased times between feedings and naptimes. He started sleeping for longer intervals at night around this point.
Because of his flexibility and easygoing nature, I was able to get out and do a lot of fun things with our family and friends without worrying about him fussing too much. We even enjoyed a nice hike at Usury Pass with the Jones', Britts, and Anselmos around this time.

Plus, around week four, he really started noticing his surroundings a lot more. He started to follow objects with his eyes, and mimic facial expressions.

It's always so much fun when you can really start interacting with a new, sweet little human!

Week five: Blessing Day! Dallin was so sweet on his special day. He did not cry one bit during his blessing...and he didn't even spit up (a small miracle)! On his blessing day, Dallin wore the same sweater that David was blessed in so many years ago.
After sacrament meeting, we had a light brunch at our home with family and close friends. It was a wonderful day.

Weeks six through twelve: This sweet little guy gets more handsome by the day. I am loving having a boy more than I ever thought I would! And who ever said dressing a boy isn't fun?

But even without clothes on, he is still pretty cute...

Oh, and did I mention that he has already been roped into a few tea parties? Poor little man never stood a chance...
To add to all that cuteness, Dallin is already a champion flirt. Over the past few weeks, he has perfected the art of a sweet grin with a mischievious raised eyebrow. He can melt hearts with that smile. Well, he melts mine at least! He is also kicking a lot when he gets excited, easily raising his head, and gaining more control over his arms.
Another thing I've noticed recently is that when I have him sitting somewhat reclined, with his back against my belly, he is always trying to lean forward and sit up on his own! He is pretty strong. He is not rolling over yet, though. Good thing, because I still have him sleeping in the bassinet next to my bed at night. I just can't bring myself to put him in his his bedroom...all the way across the house! It seems like a million miles away and he is still so little. I had a hard time moving both girls to their bedrooms, too, when they were babies. He is sleeping a solid 8-10 hours every night, the transition will be easy whenever I decide to make it. We usually put him down at around 8:00, when the girls to do bed, and he is usually up and ready for his first feeding at around 6:00.

Needless, to say.... I love this little angel.

So, how do I keep getting so lucky with all of these wonderful children? Each one is a ray of sunshine in my life. I thank my Heavenly Father every single day for allowing me the opportunity to be their mother.