Monday, August 25, 2014

Sea Life at Concord Mills

Sea Life at Concord Mills

So we got to go to the "aquarium" this past  Saturday.  We got a deal on tickets.  We only paid a total of $22.00 with tax to get in and kids 2 and under are free. 

Both girls had a good time.  I had a hard time getting pictures of Sally because she was strapped to my chest, but I got a lot of Ava.  It is funny but almost every picture that was taken of her at Sea Life she has her arm outstretched and her pointer finger pointing at something.  She LOVES this kind of thing.  She just runs from place to place with such exuberance.  Her exuberance is quite tiring, though. 

Here are some pictures from the day:
Both girls enjoyed themselves, even little Sally Jean who kept trying to get herself turned around so she could see better. 
However, I don't think I would  pay to go there for full price unless I took the girls there for a fieldtrip when they are older and are more interested in learning about the different sea life.  It was just way to small for what they ask in their usual ticket prices.  I am thankful that we got the opportunity to check it out.  

This week in pictures (kind of) August 17, 2014-August 23, 2014

This week has been tiring.  Not because we have been doing a whole lot, but just from traveling with the littles.  Going anywhere these days takes a great deal of patience, creativity, and organization.  This is true for traveling 8 hours away to going to the grocery store to pick up a couple of things.  I once thought I was SO organized, but there are areas in my organizational skills that needs LOTS AND LOTS of work. 

But anyway, on Sunday, we were in Ohio.  We went to church with my Aunt Carol and Uncle Dave. Of course Sally wouldn't allow me to sit in during the sermon.  So, I ended up in the nursery with her.  Ava, in her typical Ava style, walked right in to the nursery she had never been before and had a good time.  I love how she enters new experiences with such ease.  After church, my aunt Carol made a delicious lunch and we hung around their house the majority of the day.  Towards the evening, my grandma was ready to go back down the street to her house and so we went down there and spent a couple more hours with her before it was time for the girls to go to bed and for me to say my tearful goodbye to grandma.

Around 5:30 am the following morning, we loaded up the girls, said a couple more goodbyes to my aunt and uncle and hit the road.  Of course, Ava stayed awake for a good long while.  But, altogether, they are both very good travelers.  Ava was the energizer bunny and Sally did her fair share of playing and not taking her routine naps, so they were very tired and exhausted after we ate breakfast at our usual stop in Rio Grande, Ohio, the home of Bob Evans. I wanted to get a picture of the girls here, but Curtis wouldn't let me.  I was irritated by that, as it has become tradition, and it would have been the first picture there with both girls in it...but..oh well. 

Tuesday was back to the real world.  Curtis back to work and I had tons and tons of laundry to catch up on.  Thankfully, I was pretty diligent the day before we left at getting the house in tip top shape so there wouldn't be a lot of cleaning to do upon entering the house Monday.  I hate coming home from an out of town trip to a messy home and then when you add all your luggage and unpacking to that it makes for a horrendous time.  Anyway, I was also hard at work when we got back unpacking everything and putting it where it goes.  By Monday evening, most of the things that had been packed were unpacked and put away and a load of laundry was already started. 
This made for a much calmer Tuesday.  We were able to play and just kind of do whatever with no expectations.  It was a nice change for once.  So that is what we did all day.  We played, listened to music, read books, among other things.  We did not get in the car to go to one place!
Wednesday our friends, the Black's, came over for a bit.  The kids got to play and I got to talk to an adult.  Those kiddos are so cute together.  It is really sweet to watch them.  I was horrible at getting pictures of this I have none of this morning.  I'm such a slacker.  Wednesday was another day that we just enjoyed being home and doing things around the house.  I finally got around to cleaning out and organizing our downstairs closet.  It looks so much better! 
Here are mostly craft things like play-doh, paint, construction paper, crayons and markers.  The two bottom drawer house shoes we were on a regular basis and our winter things like mittens, ear muffs, and hats.

Cat and dog food and the vacuum.

Wednesday night during dinner we had a door to door salesman come to our door.  Curtis had just pulled into the driveway and I know he was not amused or thrilled to be having this man (very enthusiastic man, at that) on our front porch trying to sale us this cleaning solution.  But, I was amazed by this stuff.  After dealing with a long sales pitch and seeing the stuff at work, I was in love and I HAD TO HAVE SOME!!!  I had juice stains on my carpet I hadn't been able to get off with anything I had tried and I had tried several different things to no avail.  I put this stuff on it and within a minute of scrubbing, the stains were gone!  It is amazing! 
Thursday we went up to Poplin, the school where I use to teach, and we said hey to some old friends.  We also finalized my Thirty-one order so I can get my new stuff!!!!  We were going to go to the store after we left there, but I took so long talking to other adults, that the girls were getting restless and hungry.  We went home after that and ate lunch and took naps.  Once the girls got up from their naps, we headed to Target to get some things we were low on or completely out of.  While we were getting back on to the highway, Curtis just happened to be right behind us on his way home from work!  Ha!  Small world!
Friday, we went to church to help deliver bags to Porter Ridge Elementary School.  It was nice to get to do that for some other teachers.  I know those supplies will come in handy!  Of course, I was a slacker and didn't have time to snap some pictures of this (wish I had because the kids were pretty stinkin cute) but I didn't. 
Saturday is one of our favorite days of the week, because Curtis is home, unless he is on call.  This Saturday we visited Sea Life at Concord Mills.  We got a special deal on tickets.  Otherwise, I don't think I would pay full price to go there.  It was neat, but not nearly big enough.  Ava loved it, though.  Here are some pictures of her there.   

We had a great, filled week together!  I am thankful that this is what I get to do everyday.  My heart is full!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

I see you Sweet Momma

Oh momma.  I see you.  I see you at the restaurant packing your food up quickly because your newborn is crying and hungry, your 3 year old is screaming and throwing a fit and your two year old is just along for the ride.  I see the look of embarrassment and humiliation on your face.  I see the look of utter despair.  I see the look tears and sadness. 

I also see the looks of disapproving parents who think you need to get things under control.  I see the grins and giggles as others just sit there thinking it is funny.  I see the looks of those who wish there was something they could do to help. 

I see all of this because, sweet momma, I am in the throws of this myself.  I feel everyone's eyes on me, wondering when and if I am going to handle a tantruming 20 month old and a hungry 6 month old.  I can literally feel the looks of those who think they would have handled the situation so much better.  I  can hear the remarks of those who say out loud that they would NEVER allow such abehavior. 

This season is a hard time.  There is no other way to put it.  And sometimes there is no other around it. 

But, momma I saw you.  My heart crumbled for you.  And all I could think to do was clear your table off for you because I knew you just wanted to get out of there.  I wish there was more I could have done for you.  Because I have been there.

So, let this be a reminder to those of us who may be far removed from this scene, to those who have never been there before, to those who say they would never allow it,  and to those who stare disapprovingly.  Instead of being those people, wouldn't it be better to lend a helping hand, deliver a kind word, or offer a sweet smile? You would be amazed at what it would have done for this sweet momma (who by the way, stuck to her guns) and to all the mothers across the world.  We all need a little bit of encouragement along the messy, dirty road of parenting of a toddler. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Reading....oh, if I had all the time in the world, I think I would spend it reading.  I absolutely love to read.  I mostly read books that will help me gain wisdom and help me to grow in my relationship with my God, my family, and I am reading books that can help me be a better parent/disciplinarian. 

Of course, if you were to see me out in public and even within the walls of my home, you would think the discipline books were not doing me much of a service. 

Currently, the discipline book I am reading is

I must be really unintelligent, because for something that seems so simple I find myself dumbfounded and inconsistent.  I have just finished the section on counting and so I have begun trying to do that in the house.  The book says not to try this out in public until you are getting a good response at the home. So, if you see me out in public with a deer in the headlight look you can bet Ava is throwing a fit and I have no idea what to do (which is something you will see if you spend any time around us at all).  Discipline in the home with your own children is no joke.  I just hope I can get this thing under control (and when I say thing I really mean the concept of discipline, not Ava..although she can often act like a wild thing.)
I look at some of my friends and, for the most part, their kids are such willing listeners.  Sure they have their moment or two, they are kids.  But I am having a moment or two every moment or two.  I wish I had it under control like they do. 
It isn't easy to admit because I said I would never be the kind of parent who cared about being a friend to their kids, but I really struggle with that.  I remember coming across this in my classroom and saying, "When I have kids I could care less about being their friends or hurting their feelings.  I am here, first and foremost, to be their parent.  Later I can be their friend. I will have them disciplined to a T."
But, really, it isn't funny because I am really disappointed in myself.  I am frustrated with how hard this has been for me and I am confused as to what could be so hard about it.  One thing I have learned in the brief 20 months I have been a parent is to NEVER SAY NEVER.  Those words will come back to bite you one day...for real.  
Well, I am going to keep reading this book, keep praying for strength to be consistent, patient, calm and loving.  Hopefully with the help of this book and prayer, God will work a miracle. 
But, wouldn't it be hard to get mad at this too often?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sally 6 Months Old

Sally Jean
6 Months old

Sally, You are such a calm baby now!  You have gone from  being a pretty fussy, horrible sleeper, not-content-unless-you-are-being-held baby to a little one who still loves to be cuddled, but sleeps through the night and takes 2-3 hour naps twice per day, loves to play in your saucer and other fun things, and just all around content (unless you are hungry or want to go take a nap).  WOW! Are we blessed or what?

Often when I get you from your crib in the morning, you will have rolled over onto your back and I get to see this
What an amazing way to start my morning! 
You got to swing in the swings at the park for the first time.  I was a little apprehensive about putting you in one because you are still so tiny (chunky, but compact).  But you LOVED it!  You were so happy with the back and forth motion of the swing and the light, cool breeze felt so good to you.  It made it pretty clear that your mommy and daddy need to get to work on our back yard, outfitting it so it has more fun things for you and Ava to do.  

You look like your Uncle Jeremy and I really see it here in this picture.
We also took advantage of the nice weather that day to go on a walk on the greenway.  You loved it, but slept most of the way.  At one point I thought I heard you rustling around in your carseat, so I lifted the hood and this is what I got to see...
You now eat about 2 meals per day in your high chair.  You like your apples, green beans, and sweet potatoes so far.  Last night you ate a whole container of baby food, you little piggy!  Surprisingly, you are not a very messy eater.  You don't try too hard to push things out with your tongue when I am putting the spoon in that mouth.  We'll see if your cleanliness keeps up, though, I highly doubt it.  

When you look at these pictures, you can tell eating time is a pleasant experience for you. 
You are not as quick at learning certain things as your sister.  By the end of her 5th month she was sitting up all by herself.  You are 6 months old and still need LOTS AND LOTS of support.  You have until 9 months before it becomes a red flag so we better get crackin!  In your defense, you don't have as many opportunities to sit up because your sister comes to bulldoze you down and therefore we can't leave you on the floor often.  We are working on that (both you sitting up and your sister being gentle).  
The other day we went to Target and this is what happened:
I attempted to put you in the front and Ava in the back.  It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't the best choice, either.  But, you sure are cute!  
We got to go to Ohio to see our family and as always you were a hit!  You are a great traveler and so easy going.  You got to play with your cousins Addi and Kaylee.  Kaylee has the same middle name as you!  We also discovered you are growing your 2 bottom teeth.  We had no idea because, thankfully, you weren't acting fussy.  But your cousin, Sara, first discovered them!  You are doing so good growing those teeth.  The only thing that seems off with you is that you are not enjoying your bottles as much lately and taking your sweet time sucking them down. 

You were pretty exhausted from your busy time playing with everyone in Ohio.  So, on our way home, you did mostly this..
Here are some cute pictures from this month:

Sally, we just love you.  SO. MUCH.  I hate to admit this, but you are growing so much and so fast you have got mommy itching for another one already, but we will give it some more time.  I want to enjoy you guys and sometimes I feel so busy with Ava that I feel like I don't get to give you the undivided attention you deserve.  So we will wait another year or so before we bring someone else into the mix.  You are such a sweet girl.  You have the most stunning eyes.  Everywhere we go, people just love those eyes!  Your smile lights up your whole face and you are just a happy baby.  I am so thankful that you are so healthy.  You sleep well, you eat well, you are content, and you love to cuddle.  What more could I ask for?  I love you so much.  I know God sure does know how to give us the desires of our heart!  Because you make my heart feel so full!  I love you my precious Sally Jean!