Sunday, August 30, 2009
One of my more specific goals that falls under several of my aforementioned overall goals is that my children grow up with good relationships between themselves. From the moment I knew I was having a girl for the second time, I started fretting over this. I immediately read the Birth Order Book by Kevin Leman, which I highly recommend. (I am a worrier and a plan ahead kind of girl. I have to have something to be "worried" about and try to learn about it and "fix it" all the time it seems. Motherhood is a perfect place for that!) Anyway, since those pregnant days when this was all just theory I have had many opportunities to encourage the girls to love each other and be the best of friends. The dynamic between the two of them is very similar to my sister and me as we grew up. I was the bossy, my way or the highway one, like Hannah, and my sister was the laid back, whatever you want as long as you'll play with me one, like Genna, until ages 7 and 5 that is. At 5 years of age, my sister got a mind of her own and friends of her own at school, and let's just say, I was history. The days of my manipulations came to a screeching halt, and she turned on me! For the next 20 years (give or take) I paid for every mistake I made in those early years. I am desperate to avoid history repeating itself with my own little girls.
Some of the things I do as a sort of preemptive strike are listed here, because as I mentioned before I L-O-V-E lists!
1. Never have them compete for anything against each other. Don't get me wrong, I am a competitive girl and love competition as much as the next gal, but here in this family we are all on the same team. We help each other in running "with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1.)
2. I brainwash them with the mantra, "You are best friends!" This may sound like a joke, but I am as serious as a heart attack. To kids this age, especially girls, being best friends is what it's all about. They make a best friend in about 5 seconds at the park without even learning the other kid's name. So, I figure if I say it enough, they will accept it and believe it. I guess we'll see. I constantly remind them that their siblings are the playmates that get to move with them where ever we go. Our lifestyle consists of all too many sad Good-byes to dear friends, but their sister is someone we will always pack up and take with us. :) A friend for life!
3. Explain constantly about how to love each other, why we love, where that love should come from, and what it means to love. Another mantra of ours when they have done something unloving to each other is, "We don't____ our sister, we love our sister." They have been finishing this sentence for me since they could talk. This is obviously something we are all commanded to do to everyone, but all these valuable lessons start in the home!
4. Encourage sharing and discourage the word "mine." Since they are so close in age, they play with pretty much the same stuff. There are a few things that are precious to them that I allow them to keep to themselves if they choose, but mostly everything is shared and nothing belongs to any particular child. Hannah has a harder time with this than Genna, but it is usually a momentary thing that passes. When faced with a "Mine," I usually just say that none of the toys are actually own by them and everything under the sun belongs to God anyway. If it belongs to God then what would God want you to do with it? Share it! Plus, don't forget the ever important timer. Five minutes for you and then five minutes for you! If none of this works then I throw my hands in the air and put the item on top of the fridge until the next day or whenever I notice it up there again.
5. Apologies followed up with a physical sign of regret and forgiveness, like a hug, kiss, high five, a tickle are required around here. I have noticed that if they are required to kiss or tickle each other after a disagreement that the mood is lightened and many times all is forgotten amidst the giggles.
I have to admit that I do get involved in their disagreements instead of letting them "work it out on their own" as many have recommended. The reason for this is what actually prompted this post in the first place. Hannah manipulates Genna so that Hannah ends up with exactly what she wants every time. She is so good at this, in fact, that if I then step in and state how the solution they came up with is unfair to Genna, Genna insists that it is fair and that she is happy with the new plan. Wow! Mom, was I that good too? Here is an example.
They were fighting over a doll. I thought I would try this whole work it out on their own thing and sent them off to do just that. They come back and tell me that the plan is that Hannah will play with the doll for 31 minutes and then Genna can have it for 3 minutes ("Three cuz I'm 3, Mom, "Genna insists.) I say no that's not fair lets just do our regular timer thing for 5 minutes. Hannah and Genna insist that they have a better plan AND they forgot to mention that Genna wants Hannah to tell when her 31 minutes is up. Well, what do you do then? Genna is suddenly not interested in the doll and wouldn't have taken it if I had tried to force her to do so. Another way this goes down is that Hannah just simply says, "Well, then I don't want to play with you," and Genna instantly backs down at the thought of losing her playmate.
Well, bless her heart, Genna doesn't have a clue here! This is the kind of thing that I am afraid will lead to a rebellion once she gets older and gets a mind of her own and friends of her own.
Here's another scenario that bothers me. Hannah sends Genna on errands for her and Genna happily complies. Just last week, Hannah forgot her backpack as we were getting in the car and I told her to go back and get it. What does she do? Snaps her fingers and Genna brings it right to her before I can even stop her. I explained the whole thing about how Genna won't always be like this and that one day she may even be angry with Hannah for manipulating her. I even busted out stories from my childhood, like the time I ate the top half of the cupcake when my mom told me to eat half and give my sister half or the time I didn't want to play with her so I put her in time out during our pretend play so I could play dolls in my room alone. After all this Hannah turns to Genna and asks her if she will be mad at her one day like my sister was, and Genna says,"No, I won't Hannah." Hannah turns to me and says, "She said she won't, Mom" with a shrug of her shoulders. (Sigh.) It's just like looking in a mirror.
If anyone has anything to add to being involved in the disagreements versus letting them work it out, please, lay it on me!
All that said, there is nothing sweeter than when they show love to each other! I wouldn't trade it for anything! My favorite loving moments will have to wait since this post is entirely too long already. Perhaps, I will make Sunday Sibling Talk a regular occurrence!
Friday, August 28, 2009
So to start off I made a list (because I L-O-V-E lists!) of our priorities for raising our children. Keep in mind these are very broad categories that include so much detail that I am not mentioning here. With the exception of the first two, the order is arbitrary.
#1 To get our children to heaven and help them learn to be the saints God intended them to be.
#2 To teach them our morals.
#3 To teach them financial responsibility.
#4 To help them to find their vocation and career.
#5 To educate them.
#6 To teach them responsible nutrition and eating habits.
#7 To teach them safety.
Then I took a look at our day and tried to nail down wasteful activities and frivolous free time.
On weekdays, the girls are in German kindergarten from 8:45am-12:30 or 1pm. I have flexibility on pick up and drop off times, but that is usually what I do. Isaac takes a nap at 9am and usually sleeps for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours. This is the time I think I was wasting the most, although I can't say exactly how. Then errands can be run after his nap at 10:30 or 11am. Daily Mass here is at 11:30 (half an hour away) or noon (15 mins away) which I was rarely making it to. :( This is a big problem. No matter how many times I went over it in my head, I could not figure out how to get necessary errands accomplished and attend daily Mass everyday, so I decided 2-3 times a week would be a serious improvement that we could start with, at least while Brian is away and I have no free time to do my errands unless I hire a babysitter. After I pick the girls up, it is time to start winding down for nap/rest time. This is another part that needed work because somewhere along the way we stopped reading before nap/rest time. Many days this summer, Isaac and I walk to get the girls from school which is something I do like and want to keep up while the weather is good.
During the rest of the afternoon, 2-4pm, is nap/rest time for all the kids. Hannah has rest time in her room from 2-3:30pm. Genna either takes a nap the whole 2 hours or she has rest time like Hannah in her own room. Isaac goes down for a nap at 2pm and he wakes up anywhere from 3 to 4pm. For now this is also working for us, but when Isaac transitions to one nap, it will have to change. The only thing that I have yet to work out here is Hannah's reading lesson. In the past we were trying to do her 20 minute reading lesson at 3:30 after her rest time, but this was not working because Isaac is awake by then most days and it is his crankiest/most demanding time of day (when he wakes from nap until dinnertime.) So I am still working on that. I get housework done, make phone calls, check email, blog, etc during this time.
I decided our evenings were one time of day that we seem to have down a good routine, with good use of our time, and we don't usually have to rush to get it all done. This is because when Brian left I focused on this time of day and getting the kids to bed on time. So from 4:30pm-8pm we are set.
After much planning and thought, here is the new and improved schedule!
(improvements are in italics)
5 or 6am Isaac wakes up and we cuddle on the couch while I watch the news and he drinks his milk cup
7am breakfast (Han and Gen wake up at this time and get dressed first) Girls watch Peep and the Big Wide World for 20 mins while they eat
7:30am Han and Gen do their activity sheet for the day (details in another post)
8:30am take girls to school
8:45-9am sing songs and play with Isaac
9-10:30 or 11am Isaac naps (I have my prayer time and read from the Word Among Us, then exercise or clean)
10:30 or 11am run errands, play outside, or free play for Isaac
12pm lunch for Isaac and me
12:40pm walk to get the girls from school
(2 or 3 days a week we go to Mass and then eat, and then we do not have time to walk to get the girls from school; so we drive)
1:30pm religious readings or stories and prayer time (usually Angel of God prayer or the Angelus depending on time and moods of kids)
2-4pm nap/rest time for all three (Hannah is allowed to get up at 3:30 and Isaac usually wakes up at 3:30 and typically I have Genna stay in her room until 4pm even if she is not asleep)
3:30pm planned activity for Isaac while Hannah usually colors
4pm the girls play together and Isaac "helps" me with anything I have not accomplished through out the day that I needed to do
4:30-5pm cook dinner (I am putting an educational 20 min video on for Isaac at this time because he suddenly decided to hang on my leg and cry during this time)
5-6pm eat dinner and clean up kitchen
6:00-6:30pm family time (sometimes we go outside/watch short movie/play game/have sibling play time/have special dessert)
6:30pm clean up down stairs and head upstairs to get ready for bed
7pm prayer time then story time (Han and Gen choose one book or chapter each) in Isaac's room while Isaac plays
7:30pm girls head to their rooms to read while I read and sing to Isaac and give him his last blessing before laying him down in his crib
7:45pm tuck in Genna and sing to her
8pm tuck in Hannah
after 8pm I clean up anything I didn't get to in the kitchen and make the girls lunch for the next day, then I lay out their activity sheets for the next day
Then comes my free time!
Although I still feel that there are not enough hours in the day, I do feel like I am doing a better job of managing our time and working towards important goals. I certainly do not keep to this schedule perfectly everyday, but I am trying to during the weekdays as many days as possible. Weekends are totally different and are much more flexible.
Over the next few weeks, I hope to expound upon our goals and go into more details about how I am working towards those in our daily lives.
(Blog title quotation by Mike Murdock)
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Vieve is my tenderhearted, sensitive, abstract but very bright, friendly, comic relief girl who frequently visits another planet. :) She definitely has the middle child syndrome and works so hard to get noticed! She's not camera shy either, but she is often too busy in her own world to bother with pictures. And keeping eye contact with this girl is near impossible for some reason, so I have to be fast to get her looking at the camera.
A funny thing happened while we were outside playing. I was practicing throwing the football into the baby swing and the girls were cheering me on. Then I told Genna to put some pressure on me and run at me like she's going to tackle me. So she runs up to me and starts tickling me. I guess she's like my mom and thinks if the word sounds like another word then it must mean the same thing! LOL She cracks me up!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Beach Bag/Toiletry Bag
Here is a baby blanket that I personalized for someone who works with my husband. The elephant was already there. I just embroidered the name.
This is also going to spoil a surprise, but who cares! This is for a dear friend of mine back in the states who just had her first boy. It is also a sort of creation of mine based off my nursing cover that has a towel on one corner for spit up. This is a blanket that I embroidered an owl on, and I needed something to cover up the back side of the embroidery. So I used a white wash cloth and hand sewed it onto the back corner of the blanket.
For the two big sisters I made these matching purses that I have been wanting to make ever since I saw them on another mom's blog (I can't remember which because it was so long ago) and here is where to find the directions. I do have a few surprises for this mom though that I won't post. :)
Monday, August 24, 2009
Notice the little jibber jabber at the end. Isaac has been doing that a lot. The other day Hannah said, "Isaac really thinks he's telling us something, Mom!" It sure seems that way!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
It was delicious, but I think one of the girl's bag leaked into the ice cream because it tasted a little salty. So mybe I will double bag the inside one next time. Do this outside, because it will leak water everywhere
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup milk or half & half
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons rock salt
1 pint-size plastic food storage bag (e.g., Ziploc)
1 gallon-size plastic food storage bag
How to make it:
- Fill the large bag half full of ice, and add the rock salt. Seal the bag.
- Put milk, vanilla, and sugar into the small bag, and seal it.
- Place the small bag inside the large one, and seal it again carefully.
- Shake until the mixture is ice cream, which takes about 5 minutes.
- Wipe off the top of the small bag, then open it carefully. Enjoy!
1 English Cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 cantaloupe (or equivalent of another kind of melon)
1 store bought limeade (if frozen, add most of the recommended water, but not all)
sprite or club soda (optional)
How to make it:
Any Flavored Sparkling Soda or Sparkling Juice
How to make it:
Fill glasses halfway with the sparkling juice and add a scoop of lemon sorbet on top with an optional lemon slice for garnish. Since I don't let my girls have soda, we substituted with juice.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
And I took this video of him showing off some of his knowledge and his "Round and round" game that he does. I took advantage of him being so camera friendly today!
Favorite Animal- TIGER
Favorite Movie- ANY MOVIE ABOUT PRINCESSES
Favorite Book- BLACK BEAUTY
Favorite Song- THE DAY IS DONE
Favorite Game- CANDYLAND
Favorite Food- PB&J SANDWICH
Favorite Dessert- ANY KIND OF CANDY
Favorite Flavor Ice Cream- CHOCOLATE
Favorite Prayer- DINNER PRAYER "BLESS US OH LORD..."
Favorite Part of Mass- ALL OF IT
What do you want to be when you grow up? "I WANT TO BE A NUN AT MIMI'S SCHOOL OR A NAIL PAINTER."
What is your favorite thing that you do with your daddy? "WATCHING FOOTBALL WITH HOT CHOCOLATE IN FRONT OF THE FIRE AND GOING ON A BIKE RIDE."
What is your favorite thing that you do with mommy? "CUDDLE WITH HER."
What do you think you are good at? "REMEMBERING STUFF."
What do you wish you could do that you are not old enough to do yet? "TO WEAR DANGLY EARRINGS."
Favorite Animal- KITTY
Favorite Movie- SWAN LAKE
Favorite Book- ANGEL IN THE WATERS
Favorite Song- TWINKLE TWINKLE
Favorite Game- HI HO CHERRIOS
Favorite Food- GRAPES
Favorite Dessert- PUDDING
Favorite Flavor Ice Cream- STRAWBERRY
Favorite Prayer- DINNER PRAYER
Favorite Part of Mass- GOING TO THE ALTER
What do you want to be when you grow up? A MARRIED GIRL
What is your favorite thing that you do with daddy? PLAYING GAMES AND WALKING TO THE BAKERY
What is your favorite thing that you do with mommy? SINGING SONGS AND HUGGING
What do you think you are good at? COLORING IN THE LINES
What do you wish you could do that you are not old enough to do yet? DRINK SODA (THIS MADE ME LAUGH!)
Friday, August 21, 2009
What a stinker you are, Isaac! All this time I knew you could do it, but no matter how hard I tried to get you to walk you always sat down and crawled instead. You just needed the right motivation.
edited after bedtime***Later on today, he walked between 5 and 8 steps over and over again to me or one of the girls. Yea! I was really thinking it wouldn't happen again for a while.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
When the book is finished, Genna says, "Sometimes I say stupid and hate, and I get in trouble." My head drops into my hands. Thank you, Genevieve! She is so nonchalant about telling people about her wrongdoings or her punishments. Very embarrassing! I guess the silver lining is honesty, what do you think?
Then we are at daily Mass, and they were all being excellent (silent prayer of thanks). Then Isaac lets out some seriously loud gas. Always embarrassing! Hannah and I exchange one of our looks. It's kind of a smile with a slight eye roll thing we have going here. She is my clone, after all.
So did anyone else celebrate National Embarrass Mommy Day?
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
To all of you having your first boy after having sweet innocent calm little girls (you know who you are), Beware! :) Good thing they are so cute!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
What is making me think of this today? He is getting to that age where he is no longer content to sit quietly in my arms for and hour or more during Mass. I always hold him in the sling so that I can have free arms to deal with the girls. Everyone knows if your arms are full, the kids notice and start trying to get away with things, right? The sling also serves as a sort of leash if I loosen it a bit he can stand next to me on the pew and not go anywhere. Anyway, I digress...I noticed that he would stop fidgeting or "talking" as soon as the music would start up. He would suddenly start to sway to the music. He particularly favored the flutist and her responsorial Psalm (so did Hannah, by the way.) I was thanking God today for the music throughout Mass!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
After he walked away, Hannah burst into tears (and Genna followed). I leaned back and gave Hannah a pep talk (Genna was not listening and wasn't crying as hard.) I told her again that it was okay to be sad, but that to remember that he won’t be gone as long this time and then he’ll be working from home again for a long time. I reminded her that I am staying with her and we made it before and we can do it again. She started nodding her head by the end of my speech like she was gearing up for it. I turned on a Veggie Tale movie for the trip home to get their poor minds off of it. The rest of the day went smoothly! Praise God!
Now for the countdown, not till his return yet because that is still too many days, but until the next big fun event…going back to the states for the feast of family weddings. Here is our chain, 37 days left after today!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
St. Clare, of course! I couldn’t let this feast day slip by again without a celebration!
St. Clare Sandwich-Apparently there is a Swiss cheese named St. Claire, and so we made sandwiches with Swiss cheese (and pretended it was the real thing) on Ciabatta bread since St. Clare was born in
Eclair Cake- I got this online and it was so easy and so very tasty! Layered Graham crackers and vanilla pudding with Cool Whip mixed in, topped with homemade chocolate frosting.
Brian took each of the girls on individual dates today to get ice cream and pick out a little gift from him. Hannah came back with an ear to ear smile and was so very grateful for the gifts. Genna came back happy as a clam from her date as well. He gave them tissue box covers (that I had picked up in
While Genna was gone, Hannah and I fixed up her room. She didn’t want the mosquito net anymore so we hung a quilt in these quilt clips that I made when she was a baby. We also hung her new heart shaped photo holder, but we need to get some more pictures to go in it. Here’s her bed.
Monday, August 10, 2009
He is not off the charts anymore, about the 80th percentile in both height and weight. He is thinning out a lot. His stats are: 30 ¾ inches, 25 lbs, and 47 1/5 cm for his head circumference.
His vocabulary includes 22 words. This is about the same number as the girls at a year, but as I recall they were clearer and talked a lot more. Here is the list of his words:
Around and Around
No No, Uh Uh
Ow (usually says this as, not after, he hurts someone)
Peas (for Please)
He is quite the signer. He signs 9 words, which is more than the girls at this age. Here is the list of his signs:
Physically he seems to be capable of walking, but he’s just not ready to try. I can get only one step out of him if I really try. His balance is excellent and he can literally run with a push toy, but his head isn’t ready. He is climbing a lot, on furniture, up our little slide, on small chairs, and on the couch. We thank his Guardian Angel everyday for saving him again!
If climbing is his most dangerous past time, then his most disgusting interest is eating everything including bugs, sand, mulch; anything he discovers will fit in his mouth. We have had two close calls with poop! I barely reached him before his hand made it to his mouth! Once was dog poop that I had missed, and the other was straight from the toilet. Oh, I am a bad mother! He’s really fast! I do watch him closely, I promise!
He is drinking much better from a sippy cup and can even tilt it up on his own. He is down to only one nursing a day now when he wakes up in the morning. He is definitely active and curious! He is a joy! He is very expressive with his face. He makes sure you know how he's feeling. He is super cuddly and is now giving the girls spontaneous hugs and slobbery kisses too. So sweet!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Reuben Dip with Fritos
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Sweet Potato French Fries
Cucumber Lemonade and Regular Lemonade
He didn’t really just love the cupcakes, but he enjoyed mashing it and spreading it all over his head.
He got a couple books and a stuffed Pinocchio from us.
The shirt he wore the day after his birthday (pictured below) came from Aunt Leah and Uncle Kent. He got more clothes and books from them as well. It was a nice and simple. I love my boy!
My one year old!
Stirling Castle was very worth the money and the time to get there. The tour guide was enthusiastic and interesting even for a non-history gal like myself. The highlight were the Scottish dancers (Canadians, no less) inside the chapel.
Hannah is up on in the wind above the town of Stirling.
Here are the Canadian Scottish dancers. The kids loved this part too!
We had an interesting sheep experience on our way down south of Edinburgh. There were sheep everywhere just free for the most part. We were way out in the middle of nowhere and there were not many cars at all. I only remember seeing one or two. Anyway, as we drove by them we would slow down and Brian even stopped the first few time to take pictures of them. Then Brian came up to a fenced area with a bunch of sheep near the fence. We thought they were inside the fence and so we did not slow down quite as much. Well, there was one sheep on the outside of the fence for some reason. The sheep got spooked and panicked. He was trying to force his way through the fence and got stuck half way for a while there. It was so very sad! At first I thought it was barbed wire, but, thankfully, it was not. I thought Brian was going to have to pull over and sew up the sheep for a second there. Just kidding!
Here's my big boy giving my back a break. (I still have the sling on in the picture that he rode in so much of the time since his sisters hogged the strollers.)
Kelso was in the south and so was Duns. Neither of them were exceptionally interesting except for the fishing (which Brian did not get to do since we were very limited on the luggage we could bring, and this was a trip meant to spend together as a family.)
One more post of Scotland pictures to follow. We were there for 8 days, you know!