Monday, January 30, 2012

2012 Week 4

It's been a fun week.  Tyler's first full week in PreK was a big success.  I already feel so much better about the experience he is getting with the new teachers.  And they make a point of telling me how well he does each day.  He's happier and much more well behaved and helpful.

I managed a small craft session with friends one morning this week.  I really look forward to things like that and this one was no exception.

The kids discovered that I had pulled the scrapbooks out of hiding and were having fun one day looking at their baby books.  I am struck quite often lately by how much and how fast they have grown.  Look at the difference in size of those two little hands.

Tyler's latest pose.  I can't remember what he calls it, but it's obvious when he does it that he thinks he's got to be the cutest thing ever :)
Saturday, I think, was the best day of the week.  The weather was fantastic and all the kids in the neighborhood all played happily together outside.  Sam was working on a closet for a buddy and they both spend the morning working with power tools in the garage.  I did my thing, keeping busy.  In the afternoon we took the Flat Stanley a cousin had sent down to the base for some photos by the planes on display.  Then we went out to dinner, which happened to be the most successful dinner out we've had in a long time.  Kaitlyn has been a super star with trying new foods lately and not only did she try Sam's salad (complete with bleu cheese!) and his steak (rare), but she ate her entire order of ribs and a handful of brown bread rolls (another new discovery for her - that different types of bread are really good).  We were amazed and so happy.  Tyler was on board too, though on his level.  He gamely tried the chicken strips and discovered that though they look different than nuggets, they are still good.  I feel like we are totally winning this battle and it feels good.

Monday, January 23, 2012

2012 Week 3

Sam turned 32 this week! We celebrated with a nice dinner at home and pie with candles for dessert on his birthday, then celebrated again on the weekend with dinner out at Texas Roadhouse. And we let him buy himself a router. That's like the ideal birthday for guys, right? Steak and tools ;)
And there are my cuties. I love them.

*the only other thing I want to note from this week is that there was a bit of an upset at Tyler's preschool. More than a little actually, as the program that runs Tyler's preschool pulled all the students from the daycare center where he was going to class. It was weeks in the making, and the story is more involved than I care to repeat, but it came to a head and the move happened rather quickly this week. The program arranged for the kids to be in a new class at the Elementary school in town and Tyler started his first day there on Friday. We couldn't be happier. Tyler has been asking more and more often when he would get to go to Kaitlyn's school anyway. And already I'm so much happier with the teachers and the set up. (except for the drop off line - that thing is a nightmare and I will avoid it, park and walk him in from now on)

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 Week 2

In attempt to get ahead of what seems to be an endless round of celebrations starting in October and carrying on through Father's Day (really - I'm exhausted by then!), the kids and I spent some time making heart shaped crayons to give to their classmates for Valentines Day. It turned out to be a rather time consuming project, what with waiting for each batch to melt then cool again but the kids enjoyed it. Tyler liked putting the colors in the tray, while Kaitlyn seemed to prefer chopping up the old crayons into little pieces. (My guess is because it made her feel very big to be allowed to use the steak knife to do so)
It was a long weekend due to Martin Luther King Day. It also happened to be the weekend of my friend Audrey's birthday and since her husband is out of town she and her kids came for a visit and we made the most of our extra time off.

The kids have been doing really well with trying new foods and had each earned a fun activity. So Saturday morning we took them bowling, which is always a lot of fun. They are both getting good enough to bowl on their own and give us (or at least me - Sam bowls once a week) a little competition too. Audrey and the kids arrived in the afternoon and as soon as everyone was settled Sam was good enough to watch all the kids (except the baby - we figured we would get more time out and about if she was with us) while Audrey and I went out to dinner and did a little shopping. It was really great.
On Sunday we split our time between photos sessions of Lillian for her first birthday and crafting while the kids played. Photos have to work on baby time if you want to be truly happy with the results, so it kind of stretched out into most of the day as we worked on getting things set up then catching her in a good mood or creating one. We left the cake smash session until after her naptime and I have to say, it was a blast. Everyone gathered in the sun room to watch and she provided us with a good 15 minutes of entertainment.
Monday was our day to take the kids to the Children's Museum. Too bad we hadn't known about the MLK march in the area and ended up getting frustrated by traffic and unable to find parking. We ended up parking in a empty lot a few blocks away and having a picnic lunch in the back of the Yukon. By the time we were finished we were able to find closer parking and went on to enjoy the afternoon at the museum - even if it was more crowded than we would have liked.

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 Week 1

Welcome to 2012! Sam's promotion was official on the first so he is now a Tech Sargeant - yay! (Need to take a photo of him in his uniform with the new patch)

We have spent the first week of the year working on getting back to normal. The kids went back to school on Monday, Sam went back to work on Tuesday, and Grandma flew home on Wednesday.

The other big news for the week is that we have started really pushing the kids to try new things. They were getting way too picky and our lives don't need to be that hard. So we came up with a reward system and it seems to be work even better than we could have hoped! We thought that Kaitlyn would be willing to make some deals and that we'd have to rely more on hiding veggies for Tyler and making sure any snacks he has are high in nutrients. As it turns out, Tyler is even more enthusiastic to try new things than his sister and comes home from preschool every day ready to try something new for lunch. Lots and lots of happy dancing going on here! He thinks it's fun and not only does he try the new foods but he likes almost all of them and is enthusiastic to have them again. (it doesn't hurt that we try to get him to eat things we are pretty sure he will like, like grilled cheese and mac and cheese and pizza) One day he said in his happy little voice "5 year olds are big and very brave to try new things!"

I think Kaitlyn was getting a little frustrated that her brother was doing so well with it, especially when he started earning rewards that she couldn't get yet. I think the competition is a good little push added in there for her. And Tyler is a sweetie. When he earned his first fun activity for trying 5 new foods and picked bowling, he also said that instead of picking myself or Sam to take him while the other stayed home with Kaitlyn, he wanted to wait and go bowling when Kaitlyn had tried her 5 things and could come with us.

These are the sticker charts for the kids. The rewards we have set up so far are for every 3 in a row that they try something new, they get to pick dessert. For every 5 items tried they get a fun activity (doesn't have to be in a row). We write down everything they try in either the Tried It, or Liked it columns and for every 5 in the Liked It Column, they get $5. And when both kids hit 30 new things we all get to go to Great Wolf Lodge (an indoor water park) for a weekend. We're hoping they keep this up so we can go the end of Feb/first part of March.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 Week 52

Final week of 2011! And with both Christmas and New Years, what a fun-packed week it was!(I'm going to extend the photos a couple days past my usual week limit to include all of 2011) Christmas Eve was spent at home. The kids were very happy with their new pjs and even loved taking photos in front of the Christmas tree. They were SO excited for Santa to come that Kaitlyn put Tyler to bed herself (had him brush his teeth, sent him downstairs to us for hugs and kisses, then read him a story in his bedroom) earlier than their usual bedtime. We thought this would lead to at least one of the kids coming down later with an "I can't sleep" excuse but we didn't hear a peep out of them after that.

They slept until shortly after 6:00 the next morning, which meant Sam and I were waking up already at that point - very nice! I love Christmas morning, and this one was pretty much perfect. The kids got exactly what they wished for from Santa and loved the gifts from everyone else. Sam did our traditional Gingerbread waffles for breakfast and we all spent some time hanging out in pjs and playing with all the new stuff. Later we went out for a walk/bike ride so Kaitlyn could try out her new bike. And later we watched one of the kids' new movies and made the round of phone calls to family members back in Utah.
The kids were absolute angels the next couple of days. Amazing how having new toys to keep you busy can do that, right?

The only fly in the ointment was that Tyler started developing a cough the afternoon of Christmas Day and it was sounding pretty bad by bedtime. He woke up with a fever at 3AM (and neither of us went back to sleep at that point) and had a miserable day or two with the cold. Luckily, while it hit hard, it also hit him fast and he was soon through it.

We had a couple of custom drying rack orders which had to be worked into the holiday festivities - sometimes that's harder than it sounds.

My mom flew in on the 26th and with the kids out of school they have all been spending a lot of time playing together. New Years Eve was her birthday. We had a very nice steak dinner, watched a movie all together, and had the cheesecake Kaitlyn had insisted we make for dessert.