It’s really a miracle this blog is still alive. Sometimes I log in and expect it to tell me they closed it due to inactivity. For as much as I want to write about our lives, our lives always get in the way of my writing. About a week ago, I got a Facebook reminder that two years ago I had posted a blog, “10 tiny tidbits,” so of course I read it. And my, how different life looked. There was an itty bitty baby, and a budding toddler, and only one dog! So since then (yes, a whole week to actually get to it) I have told myself that I can at the very least crank out 10 more tiny tidbits. Because Lord knows, in another two years life will again look drastically different, and I will enjoy reading the memories once again.
- Leah can read. She seems like the most logical place to start, no? What a big bug. These first born kids, I really don’t know how to handle them. I’m a second born, so I’m lazy, funny, and like to be spoiled. (Or something like that). Leah is first born to a T. Rules, learning, achieving. Oh my goodness, I can’t keep up. We work on work books together for fun. She loves to teach Quinn, you know, like the other day when she sat Quinn down and said, “Ok, Quinn it’s time to learn Spanish. Rojo is red.” And I die. But this reading thing, it kind of crept up on me. She has been wanting to read for a while now, and we practice sight words a lot, but it still caught me off guard. The first time I caught it, we were putting ornaments on the tree and she ran over to me and said, “mom! this one says, Leah, mom and dad!” And it did. And I stared at her. Now, she’s known how to recognize her name for quite a while, but to read mom and dad with it – made me smile real big. And since then it’s been kind of constant. “Mom! This says Joy!” “Mom, d-o-g, dog!” And on and on and on. And we’re not reading books, but she’s got the hang of phonics, and certainly has a memory, so we are well on our way – she neither one of us could be happier about it.
- Quinn is potty trained. I can’t brag on one without bragging on the other! This little Quinn Charlotte we have, she’s something special. Leah was so ahead of her age with a lot of things, that I made a conscious effort to remind myself to not expect the same twice. Boy, was I wrong. This little one is following right along without missing a beat. Take potty training. I have but one rule when it comes to potty training – and that is that you know that you cannot make a child go to the bathroom. For some God sent reason, I figured this out when Leah was a baby. So I bought her a potty when she was 1. I set it on the floor, and I let nature take it’s course, and by the time she was 22 months she was 100% potty trained. I took no credit, and I knew it would never happen again. Except it did. I bought Quinn a potty for her first birthday and by 24 months she was done. It was harder with Quinn, only because her mom is so lazy. I held on to diapers a little longer because taking two to the bathroom in Target just seemed so terrible. But one day we ran out of diapers, and I told myself I wasn’t buying them again. And I haven’t. (Except she does still wear a nighttime diaper). God love them both, they make my life easy.
- A new table. So we bought a new dining room table a few weeks ago, and it shouldn’t have been that big of a deal. But naturally, it was to me. Our last table was wonderful, and I knew we wouldn’t find one that had quite the same quality, but regardless, it had to go. Why? Because we couldn’t fit! Sure, the four of us could if we didn’t have too much food or any guests. But the second we wanted someone to join us for dinner we had to squish together and break out the folding chairs. And when we were shopping for tables and chairs, it dawned on me. Man, how lucky are we to have outgrown our first table. This little family we have over here is booming, and it makes my heart swell. This coming Christmas will be our 11th together, and for the first few we needed no table because we had the tables of our parents in our parent’s homes. Then the next few we needed our table, but without a leaf – table for 2. Then one Christmas we suddenly had a third seat and needed the leaf. Then for a while we got by with the leaf… until there were four. And then there was just no way around it. So now we have this beautiful long table with four (or 5) chairs and a bench for three and there is room to eat again. And someday grow again.
- The thought that won’t quit. Did you catch that up there ^^, that last line I threw in? “And someday grow again.” Man, we skated through 2015 enjoying this family of four we have. The thought of “this just feels nice” was the overpowering theme. We have our two girls, and our two boys, and it just kind of seemed like the perfect set. Until sometime a few months ago. When, wait a minute, is someone missing? I swear to you, just when I made up my mind I was done with diapers once and for all, Kyle told me I couldn’t sell our Pack and Play. (Insert emoji with the wide eyes). And he’s going to regret ever telling me that, because that will single handedly be the statement responsible for a new face in this family. We’re still not 100% sure, but our New Year’s resolution for 2015 was to not add a new face to the family. And we are not making that resolution for 2016.
- Food. Do you realize that on January 5th, a whole year will have gone by of us having changed our lives. Remember when we started 100 Days of Real Food? Are you sick of hearing about it yet? Well, sorry. It really was that big of a day. The turning point of dinner fights and cooking to cater to my 3 year old. And a year later… our lives are still better and I’m not sure I’ll ever forget how far we’ve come. Leah, the child for whom I made an additional meal every night gagged every time I said the word, “chicken.” And last night, after an unexpected meal change from grilled chicken to eggs and biscuits she actually complained. Eggs and biscuits used to be her favorite dinner! If I said chicken she said no. And last night I said, “I’m sorry sweetie, it’s just too late. I’ll make chicken tomorrow night.” (Insert all the wide eyed emojis). We also eat Salmon almost weekly, something NONE of us liked. And she tells me Roast is her favorite. I don’t even know her. But I’m pretty sure I love her more than I did a year ago. So my goal of fixing her gag reflex and making one meal for dinner was accomplished… and then blown out of the water. I could not be more proud of her. However, during our challenge we couldn’t have sugar and we couldn’t eat out. And while we still have not had a fast food meal (RIP Wendys) as a family, we have gone to sit down restaurants. And we had 100 too many ice cream cones over the summer. It’s give and take. We are still mostly on board, I’m still mostly cooking. I still don’t buy any “treats” for the house, but we have made a cookie or two, and have indulged while we’re out. I assume that will get worse over the next few weeks, but then I plan to reign us back in for the start of 2016.
- The other thought that won’t quit. Goodness, I’ve been full of thoughts in 2015. Well, really just preoccupied with two. More babies and my babies. More specifically, my one baby. My oldest baby. And what in the world to do with her. Who knew that having a baby in July would be so tricky! I’m talking in regards to Kindergarten. Do you know that July babies basically get to choose what to do with their lives – and by that I mean, their parents have to choose what to do with their lives. About a year ago, it dawned on us that having this July baby meant we could send her to Kindergarten when she’s a young 5, OR a young 6. My first thought on the matter was, no way! I didn’t want it to be a matter of “holding her back” as if she wasn’t smart enough to start with the 5 year olds of the world. Slowly but surely, having talked a lot with Kyle, read a lot, prayed a lot, picked the brains of many ‘a teacher, and just plain watched my kid in her school environment, I think we’ve all but decided that she will start Kindergarten when she is 6. Her teacher this year is simply amazing, and talked to us some about it in the fall and wants to help us more in the spring, but mainly just told us to be grateful for the opportunity to choose… whichever way we end up going. When we look at it as an opportunity for an extra year of maturity, an extra year of physical growth, and extra year with no homework, an extra year of practice school, an extra year to break out of her shell – it really does seem like a bonus. And a “why the heck would we not.” Leah is on the shy side, and I will never fault her for that, but I will seek every advantage in the world to help her be successful (as I would do for any of our kids), and we both have come to the conclusion that this would be the first of many advantages we throw her way.
- The beach 2016. Ahhhh, our annual beach trip has been down-paymented. Don’t get me wrong, I am eagerly awaiting our first snowfall (like, c’mon already winter), but to have our beach vacation ready and waiting is a really awesome feeling. I know that once February rolls around I will be 112% over winter, and wanting nothing more than to hear waves. I am so grateful that we have been able to count on being on a beach for the past 5 Mays, this being the 6th. And every year the kids get a little older, it gets a little more fun and stress free. Last year’s was most definitely the hardest with a sick Quinn. We actually left a day early because I just couldn’t do it anymore. For three nights in a row, I had woken up with a puking Quinn, changed sheets, changed her clothes, wiped her down, shuffled over suitcases in the dark, all while Leah and Kyle snored away. That fourth morning I woke up and just couldn’t do it anymore. We left at 2pm that afternoon and cried the whole way out. So this year, I really feel like we deserve a make up. And I am so excited to get it!
- I hate Santa. Okay, so I don’t actually hate him. But I don’t do much more than tolerate him. If I had my way, we wouldn’t do it at all. But Lord knows, you throw a kid in school, she’s gonna come home talking about him. (Eye roll emoji). And my sarcastic attitude towards him does not filter down to either of the kids, don’t feel bad for them. I play it up with the suit and the reindeer and the whole bit. But do you know where the buck stops in this house? “Be good, Santa’s watching.” Uh-uh. Can’t do it. Nope. I hate so much walking through Target and hearing, “Come over here, right now, Santa is watching! Do you want to get presents this year?!” Like, honestly. Are they for real? They are really going to take away their kids Christmas because they wouldn’t listen in the grocery store. To me it just seems so.rude. You make up this giant, elaborate story about this full-bellied guy who knows when you’re sleeping and gives all kinds of gifts and everyone is supposed to love him… but then you throw in if you’re not good you’re not getting anything? Can’t. Won’t. Rude. Do you know I caught Leah telling Quinn the other day, “Quinn you listen, Santa’s watching!” Can you imagine how much my blood boiled?! I said, having no regard for the way the rest of the children learn it, “no he’s not. You’re still getting gifts, Quinn.” Leah just stared at me. Ha. Whatever. In this house, you are good and well behaved because your parents expect it and because you are learning how to be a civilized member of society. You are good because there was a Savior who was born for you on Christmas day, and who FREELY gives you grace and the gift of salvation… even if you don’t listen all the time. He is the reason for the season, not some joker in a red suit. But yes, Ho Ho Ho, Chimneys, cookies, rudolph, etc etc etc. (Eye rolls times a million).
- The gym. So in August, I made a promise to Kyle. We had once before tried to have a gym membership, and you know how that goes. We went for a month and never again, yet paid for the entire year. So I really had to plead my case to him, but I really felt like I could do it this time. And I have! I have been at least 5 times a week, almost every week, since August. And I kind of love it. Now, my motivation is completely selfish. I get free childcare, 12 TVs, and time to myself. It’s basically a vacation every day. Not to mention, the kids love it. Some days I don’t want to go, and Quinn says, “Gym, mom? Gym?” over and over until I don’t even realize I’m there and running. I never wanted to be a runner, still don’t, but I do like that I can run now, and have gotten myself in pretty good shape over the past few months. But mainly, childcare.
- The boys. I can’t talk about 10 things in our lives right now without mentioning my boys! Some people don’t have kids, but have dogs and spoil them like kids. Some people have kids and dogs, but seem to treat the kids better. Well, we are neither of those. In this house, everyone is on the same playing field. Everyone goes to the doctor when they are sick, eats healthy, is told to “git” multiple times a day, and has to have manners. I love these boys so much, and even though Duncan is such a problem child with all of his baths and medicines and millions of dollars it takes to keep him alive, I’m so happy he’s ours. And Samson with his extra large body having no regard for anyone’s personal space, he makes me laugh all day long. They are quite a pair. Duncan is polite, but we call him our grumpy old man because he easily gets tired of Samson or the girls if they’re too loud. But I swear to you he knows if they’re sick before they do. He knows when any of us are sad or stressed and puts his big head on our laps to do anything he can to make us feel better. And Samson loves when the kids are on top of him, he wags his tail and I swear he smiles. The more attention he gets, the happier he is. He mistakes us pushing him away for us playing with him, and is always purposefully in the way. His anniversary with us is on the 20th, and I happen to think it’s been a really super fun year having two gigantic animals roaming around at all times.
That should about catch everyone up to speed. In summary, we are a reading, potty training, dog loving, baby considering, Santa hating, kindergarten deciding, gym going, kinda healthy eating, beach longing, big table fitting family! Enjoy your holidays, everyone!