Aug 31, 2013

Back to School Celebration!

I decided we needed to kick off this very momentous Pre-K school year right.  We put a VERY high value on education in this home and I think it's important for us as parents to set the tone.  I want Ella to view school in a positive light and to be excited to go, make friends, and learn.  I got my inspiration from nieniedialogues.  (And, no, I'm not mormon, but just because someone believes something different than me, it doesnt mean they can't have some rockin' ideas!) But our back to school celebration was... and ALWAYS will be 1/1000th of what she pulls off.  
Let me start off by saying that I don't do stuff like this because I feel like I "have to", because I'm trying to keep up with the Jones's or because I think I need to live up to some ideal on Pinterest.  I do stuff like this because I LOVE to!  It's my thing.  And if it's not your thing, please don't think for solitary second that I judge you.  Because I don't!  I'll be me.  You be you.  It'll be awesome!

I realized as I was posting these pictures that it looks kind of elaborate.  With the heart of not putting on pretenses and keeping things real, let me assure it, it was not elaborate.
I had the plastic table cloth, wrapping paper, paper plates and napkins left over from previous BBQ's and parties.  

I went back to school shopping and packer the backpack that she's had for years with her pencil box, a lunch box, and a few do-dads I found on clearance that I knew would make her year!

The sunflowers were grown by Ella herself, right from seed and it only seemed fitting to decorate with them.

She requested pizza and chocolate milk for her special dinner.  You can see all of our efforts to get her to eat healthy are paying off :).  The pizza is from a box.

I stayed up a little later than normal the night before making the cake (funfetti box mix in a 9x13 pan), writing out the Bible verse on construction paper and constructing a special Pre-K crown with cardstock and good old crayola!

The balloons, I had J grab on the way home from work.  Sent Jason outside with the kids for a half hour before dinner so I could set up and... Voila!  Instant back to school Par-tay!

 Here she is just before we left for school.  Look at the last year and this year side by side!  She's grown so much!!!  (Why won't her hair do the same!?!?)

 And here she is.  backpack hung, lunch box on the shelf, pencil box in her her cubby and all settled in at her desk for pre-K!  She didn't shed one tear.  As I walked away and stood in the doorway, expecting her eyes to follow me, and give her one last wave good-bye... she wasn't even looking.  She was already talking to her new friend that sits right beside her.  So proud of her!  She's come a long, long way!!!

Aug 29, 2013

Back On The Radar

Oh hello.  Today Ella went to her first day of Pre-K (here's a sneak peak picture)!  With only one child at home, who naps in the morning, I found myself wandering aimlessly around my house at 9:30am, amidst deafening silence wondering, "What.  Do.  I. Do?"

I considered my options.  Fold laundry.  Sweep.  Mop.  Organize.  Clean bathrooms.  Watch TV.  Read.  Then I realized I haven't blogged all summer.  And so here I am.  Perhaps in these rare down times I shall have time to catch up with all my photos and such! 

SUMMER. WAS. CRAZY.  I just looked back at my calendar and there was not ONE weekend that wasn't booked with something!  Here is the quick and dirty run-down!

-quick!  get garden fence in.
-Jason hurts digging fence post holes
-My sister has her first
Jason goes to CT for work for 3 weeks.

-SIL Erin, spends many a weekend visiting... YAY!
-We visit my sister and Baby Ian
-We go to camp a weekend or two.
-We take a 5 day trip to MN to visit my dads side of the family.

-my sister visits with baby Ian
-SIL Erin visits some more
-my Aunt, Uncle and cousins come stay with us for a week
-we go to camp for another weekend
-We have a BBQ/Josiah turns one bash at our house to see friends we haven't seein in MONTHS!
-I volunteer to help in Ella's class for VBS for the week
-Jason finds out wrist is actually broken from back in May
BOOM it's August

-Haskell family reunion and another weekend at camp - AWESOME!
-Do some get connected things at camp
-Family photo shoot and visit my sister - Ella rides a pony again!
-Full week vacation at camp
-Weekend getaway to celebrate 10 years of marriage!!!  ROCKIN'
-BOOM, Ella goes back to school.

CRAZY!  It was packed with friends, and lots and lots of family which is the way we like it!  It was busy, but in a fun, kickin' it kind of busy way.  I shall miss it, but I am also welcoming the new routine and rhythm that the school year brings.  The crispness in the air that beckons in fall.  These things, they are good for my soul!

Jul 7, 2013

10 Months Old!

Well, he's pretty darn near one year old in reality.  And Im not even sure I'll get any "11 month old" pictures taken.  So these shall do.  They are adorable enough for two months worth of pictures!

He is pulling himself up and cruising along anything he can find.  
He giggles, and belly laughs all the time.  
He squeels and screeches with delight when he does something he's pleased with.  
I have found NOTHING that will deter him from playing in the dogs water dish and bowl.  Like a moth to a flame.
He likes the water quite a bit.  Loves his tubby and loves a good dip in the pool or lake.
He eats like a champ and nurses like a champ too.  He likes almost everything we feed him and would much prefer something he can feed himself than something he has to be spoon fed.
He's napping two solid 2-3 hour naps a day... praise the LORD!
He's sleeping BETTER.  But is the lightest sleeper I know.  He wakes up at the slightest noise and still needs to be resettled once or twice a night.
He says Dada, Ella "rerra", Doggie, ball, done, and has uttered mama ONCE.
He has 7, almost 8 teeth and cutting them is not the fussy painful event it used to be.
He's had TWO haircuts!!
He LOVES his sister.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVES her.  And the feeling is mutual.  I continue to pray for this bond to last and grow.  It is precious to see.  
We took a family trip out to Minnesota to visit my dad's side of the family.  This wild child, always on the go little boy had me worried... but he did AMAZING on the 3 hour flight!  And both he and Ella were stellar during a 5 hour delay and then 3 hour flight home!  God is good!
He has a special knack for finding trouble in a split second and getting his cute little heiny over into said trouble in two seconds flat.  
He is an escape artist.  Even buckled in as tight as we can get him, he can kneel, stand up and turn around in his highchair and any grocery cart around.  Seriously working on my nerves here.
He is a COMPLETE mama's boy.  If I am in sight he wants me and only me.  Fussing and reaching for me like it's been decades since he's been in my arms.  Endearing sometimes, downright tough other times.
He keeps me on my toes this one.
He is sweetness and all boy perfectly blended into one!

Jun 5, 2013

Just Call Her Ella the Duck Whisperer

If you'll recall an earlier post about chasing ducks and kissing goats, it may have appeared that my child likes to terrorize small winged creatures.  I assure you, she does not.  She LOVES animals.  She only wanted to pet a duck and was then enthralled with the reaction she got from said small winged creatures.

Well, on a return visit to Auntie Jen and Uncle Greg's Ella insisted that she REALLY wanted to pet a duck.  I explained that they would run away again and I didn't want to give the poor little things heart attacks.  But, my child is a persistent one and she persuaded me to let her try once more.

THIS was the result.  
Duck catching, petting, kissing and yes, even holding success...
in her black sparkly dress shoes none the less!
My sister was astonished.  
Amazed actually.  
She'd not have believed me if we didn't have the pictures to prove it. 
She said she can't even get near them.  
And apparantly some of my sisters friends question her honesty.  
Because they did not believe her when she told them that Ella got this close to the ducks.  
So here is the photographic proof.
 Oh yes, my friends.
She caught and petted not only this one, but one of every color... even a brown one, which she held,
and it pooped on her.  
 Us Fraunhofer girls, we are many a thing, but liar is not among them!
Behold, I give you: Ella, the duck whisperer

Eat it!

If you know when his birthday is, you know that in real time, he's 10 months old...almost 11.
But in my busy world, in photo downloading, editing, blogging time, we've not yet done 9 months.  So here he is in all his glory!

The following photo sequence and accompanying commentary sum up Josiah's life quite well!
Mom put me on this blanket.

WHOA mom.  This sun is REALLY bright. 

I don't want to be on a boring blanket!  What's this green stuff!?

I'm going exploring... catch me if you can!

What's this?

I shall determine the answer by eating it.

Hmmm, what's over there?

Lets eat it!

Mmmmm, this looks veeery interesting.

I'm a gonna eat it!

See ya later!  I'm off again!

May 12, 2013

I Will Savor.

~For the woman who longs for a baby of her own, but month after painfully long month that little plus sign never seems to appear...
~For the momma who's world was shattered in one unforeseeable, fatal moment and it literally feels like her heart has been ripped from her chest...
~For the fearless one that endures endless medications and tests and procedures, tirelessly hoping to conceive, for herself, what seems far too easy for others to accomplish, and yet her empty arms still ache...
~For the momma who formed a sacred life inside her womb, rubbed her belly, sang sweet songs, dreamed dreams and made plans, yet never got to see her face...
~For the dear one who birthed her sweet child only to have him taken to heaven so quickly she can't help but scream at the unfairness and question God's goodness...
~For the mother who watched her own flesh and blood battle an illness with courage unimaginable, dying inside and longing to just trade places and take away the pain, only to lose that fight years later...
~For the woman who sits and waits and prays for that call, to tell her the child who's been hers in hear heart since she first laid eyes him will now be hers for real, yet the silence is deafening as the clock just keeps ticking on...
~For the saint to who welcomes the most neglected, abused, abandoned children into her home and loves  them as her own, knowing full well they could be returned to the hands of their abusers should the powers that be see fit, and yet she loves on...

For these women, I have no answers.  But I will not forget you.  I will weep with you, pray for you and honor your struggle.  And I will not take one single second for granted.  On the hardest of days, running on the littlest of sleep, with the crankiest of children I will do my best not to wish away even the toughest of moments.  Because I am blessed.  Yes, it took a combined total of 5 years to have our two beautiful babies...but we were able to get pregnant.  Each time, our children were born full term.  We are all healthy and vibrant and thriving.  I have had an easy, easy road compared to many.  I am not foolish enough to think that we are immune to hardship and I know full well, things could change in an instant.  But I will trust HIM will all my tomorrows, come what may.  And I will strive to be present in each moment, to soak in, to be grateful and to savor...

sweet footsteps waking me up from sleeping in
little girl giggles burrowing under mommy and daddy's covers
three toothed, chubby cheeked baby smiles
trot, trot to Boston bouncing on my knees
sweet nursing sessions that will be no more in the blink of an eye
preschool wrapped presents
hand drawn pictures
and homemade letters
new favorite mugs with pictures to treasure
sweetly etched menus
savory home-cooked breakfast
favorite snacks throughout the day
holding the hand of the sweetest little voice belting out "Light of the World" beside me in the pew
bare"hooves" in the grass neighing and galloping around the "jump course"
green thumb hands getting grubby in the dirt weeding side by side
tiny footprints in the sand
baby toes first dips in the Atlantic
jumping waves and racing them back to dry land
splashes and squeals and summer cotton soaked through to the bone
blond curls tangling in the sea salt spray
"just one more time momma!?"
Daddy's fleece flopping long as an over-sized little girl dress for snuggly warmth
spontaneous "I love you" 's. 
"Thank-you for everything you do... like breakfast every morning." from four year old lips.
Lobster treats, ice tea sipping, jelly dripping, boat watching dinners on the cove.
Goofy, overtired baby giggles delighting to the core
Butterfly, Eskimo and Regular kisses... "three sets momma"
lavender lotioned, peek-a-boo baby, almost too cute to leave his crib-side
squeaky clean, tuckered out girl snuggled down with one last kiss
flip the light switch, walk the hallway, plod the stairs...

...carpet's dirty, laundry's unfolded, dust bunnies abound, toys are strewn, dishes pile, counter's cluttered, bathrooms unscrubbed, yards a mess. 

Yup.  You can tell I savored today.

May 6, 2013

Chasing Ducks and Kissing Goats

Ella LOVES to visit Auntie Jen and Uncle Greg.  You see, their house is awesome.  There is a climbing rope and monkey swing in their cathedral ceiling living room.  There is a pond and stream.  There are goats, chickens, ducks and two dogs that are pretty much at her mercy and don't mind one bit.  There are also evening jaunts to help Auntie Jen with the horse chores.  She even got to lead a horse all by herself for the first time!

We had just such occasion to visit a few weekends ago to attend Auntie Jen's baby shower.  She's due in two weeks and we can't wait to meet Baby Ian!  Here are just a few pictures of Ella's fun!

Apr 30, 2013

Finding My Rhythm

I've been working evenings for a little over a week now... and today, I feel  like I finally found my rhythm.  Either that, or some crazy burst of energy that will leave me more tired than before come this evening!

Here's how my days/nights look:
4:30am Jason gets up to get ready and leave for work
6am Im awake with Josiah
Take care of children and house etc. during the day
4-4:30pm Jason arrives home (we exchange pertinent information as fast as possible)
4:45pm I leave for work
10:30pm I arrive home finish anything needed to get ready for the next day, get ready for bed
11/11:30ish Go to bed
2am awake to nurse Josiah
start all over again.

It was really rough.  I was getting really heavy eyes near then end of my shift at work.  I was finding it near impossible to get up in the morning.  I was struggling just to keep it together during the day, let alone be present and active with my children and not seeing Jason at all STINKS.  Jason got home early one day last week and I took a nap.  I slept in until 10:30am on Saturday morning and I took another nap on Sunday.  Monday was okay.  And today, I finally feel like I've found a rhythm.

Last night I spent some time with God when I got home, wrote Jason a lovey dovey note (figuring if we just pass like ships in the night, at least we can pass notes back and forth like we're school children again) and then made a plan for the day.  Today I've accomplished the following:
Took a Shower (big stuff I know! ;)
Swept the whole downstairs
Did a few mountains of dishes
Prepped Dinner
Cleaned 3 bathrooms
Emptied all the trash
Had the ADT guy come out to get out alarm system up and running again
played outside with the kids (swinging, t-ball, "princess ponies")
Took the dog for a walk while pulling the littles in the wagon.
Set up and did a fun activity with Ella during Josiah's first nap
Had a finger and toe nail painting party with Ella during Josiah's second nap
Took some nice pictures of the kiddos
Got out the kids and my summer clothes
Did a MILD organizing of the storage room (had to in order to get to the summer clothes ;)
Oh, AND blogged!

Wowzers!  Feelin' Good.  I think tomorrow I might need a nap again!

Apr 11, 2013

Josiah Video

He's actually only six months in this first video.  I love this little voice so much!!!
I have tried EVERY bib.  Velcro, snap, and now T-shirt collar.  Its no match for Houdini.  I need to just make a shirt style bib that ties in the back... also known as a straight jacket.
The boy is fast.  
I was just trying to capture his mad finger food skills with bananas.  And I got this!  He signs "more" for the first time at 8 1/2 months old.  I've been doing the more sign with him since about 6 months old.  So exciting!  Maybe this will decrease the fussing!
And here is a sweet little gem.  Ella LOVES her brother.  Sure there are the occasional frustrating moments where Ella wishes she had my attention, or his fussing is getting on her last nerve.  In turn, Josiah LOVES hi sister.  Sure there's always the moments where she turns on heel to run and accidentally trips over him, kneeing him in the head.  But isn't that what siblings are for!?  For the most part Ella is helpful, involved and intentional with her brother without every being asked.  And Josiah adores her, watches her every move and thinks everything she does is amazing and hilarious... you know, save for the kneeing him in the head thing.  I have prayed that they would have a wonderful sibling relationship and it brings me such joy to see those prayers answered.  I will continue to pray for their relationship all of my days!  

8 Months!

(There will be a follow up post of all video!!!)
Okay, he's really closer to 9 months old now, and I could barely get an in-focus picture because this little bubba does not stop moving for one solitary second.  But here he is in all of his 8 month glory!  Yes, he has food all over him.  It was my only hope of getting him to sit remotely still.
Oh hi mom!  This is the smile I ALWAYS get when he first sees me.  
You want me to pose?  Okay, how's this face?
Okay, I'm getting skeptical... how long is this going to take?
Bo-ring!  I'll eat my buckle.  I have a little bit of a buckle addiction to be honest.
Bbbpppllllll!  That's what I think of this!

Dude.  I'm outta here!

  • He still likes to eat... lots more foods now.  He generally does not want you to feed him and only wants to eat things he can pick up on his own.  Independent.  Stubborn.  (must get that from his father... wink, wink.)
  • He still doesn't like to sleep...well, naps are great now.  He goes to sleep like a champ at 6:30 and wakes up for the day around 7am.  But some nights there is still lots of resettling and he still nursing once in the wee hours of the morning.  I'm okay with it.  I'm rolling with it.  I'm savoring the sweet moments nursing.  I'm asking God what He has for me in this, what he wants me to learn (thanks to some advice from a wise mama of 5!)
  • I know all the pictures of him are always all smiles...but don't be fooled.  That's only because he has my undivided attention.  He has a constant middle of the road fuss that you will hear non-stop unless he is sleeping, being held, being entertained or getting into something.  I'm going with the theory that he's HIGHLY intelligent and therefore needs stimulation or else gets bored.  That will serve him well in life.  However, I'm fairly certain it will give me many a gray hair in the near future and I'm willing to bet big bucks that I have my work cut out for me when he goes even more mobile!
  • Speaking of mobile.  This boy can army crawl like nobody's business!  He's always one the go.  He wants to get into EVERYTHING and will!  He's constantly exploring and spots something new and undiscovered in seconds!
  • It's harder to diaper this boy than it is to wrangle a greased pig!  Talk about squirmy!  Especially when his sister is around.  He LOVES his sister.  He can hear her a mile a way and contorts himself to be able to see her.  She can make him giggle and smile like no other!
  • He talks a lot...lots of babbles, coos, noises, sounds, giggles, belly laughs, squeals .. fusses and cries.   
  • He has more hair than Ella did when she was two and he weighs more than she even dreamed of weighing when she was one!
  • He WILL not keep ANY bib on.  The child is Houdini.
  • And he is a genius.  He just signed "more" for the first time today at 8 1/2 mo old!  
  • He is a true boy joy who's giving me a run for my money but has completely run away with my heart.