Saturday, December 11, 2010

Interview with Molly - 2-and-a-half

(Did I ever post this pic??? This is, in fact, the exact combo she wore to Church on Easter...the fabulous dress, and the froggy boots!)

A while ago, I did an interview with Ben, somthing that a lot of blogging mommies were doing. It was fun to get a snapshot of his thoughts/feelings at the time, and so I tried to do it with Molly, too. Some of the interview questions were a bit out of her league at the time, and I got a whole bunch of "I don't know" responses.

Well, I was working with Ben on doing another one for him now that he has turned 5, and Molly seemed to really be excited about the idea. So I tried it with her again, and we have had success! There are a few tricky spots, but she got pretty close on most!

Here is an interview with Molly, when she is 2-and-a-half years old, in Fall of 2010.

1. What is your favorite color: “yellow" - still pronounced "ley yow:)

2. What is your favorite book: “Froggy" - which we only have in Spanish. I read it, and she listens happily, even though she can't be understanding more than about 10 words in it!

3. What is your favorite movie: “Thomas"

4. What is your favorite food: “Pizza...and beans and rice!" - this girl loves her Mexican food!

5. What is your least favorite food: “Spaghetti"

6. What is your favorite fruit: “Vegetables" - hummm...the interview may still be a bit over her head:)

7. What is your favorite vegetable: “Grapes"

8. What is your least favorite vegetable: “Flowers" hummm, again:)

9. What is your favorite t.v. Show: “Mr. Rogers"

10. What is your favorite song: “ABC's"

11. What is your favorite thing to do with Mom: “go to gymnastics"

12. What is your favorite thing to do with Dad: “Get lemonade"

13. What is your favorite game to play with friends: “Ben and me with you guys!"

14. What is your favorite store: “Target"

15. What is your favorite sport: “No sports here"

16. What is your favorite Bible story: “Read books"

17. What is your favorite place to go: “Mackalan Deli" (Macklind Avenue Deli is a place in the neighborhood that we walk to for meals occasionally)

18. What is your favorite restaurant: “Mackaleno Deli" (playing with words a bit here!)

19. What is your favorite toy: “A baby toy...I give each a baby toy to babies"

20. What is your favorite thing to do with Ben: “puzzle jumble"

21. What is your favorite drink: “Juice, water, milk"

22. What is your favorite thing to do at school: “puzzles" (this one wasn't really fair, she doesn't go to school yet!)

23. What is your favorite thing to do outside: “Play in the backyard"

24. What do you want to be when you grow up: “A gardener - to guard Mommy's plants" (love this one!)

25. What can you do now that you are 2: “Snuggle beddy" (play snuggle bed, which we do often)

26. Who is your best friend: “Ben" (so sweet!)

27. What is Mom's job: “I don't know"

28. What is Dad's job: “To go to work"

29. What does Mom always say: “I don't know"

30. What does Dad always say: “I don't know"

31. What is your nickname: “Molly - Mollykins"

32. What makes you laugh: “Grandpa calls me Mollykins and then I laugh!"

33. What makes you sad: “Of Mommy and Daddy be frustrated" (this one makes me want to cry a little bit)

34. What are you thankful for: “God, Nana, Papa, Gigi, Hazel, and Martin" (Don't worry if you are a beloved family member and she didn't say your name. She often starts with one person, and just files through names that are related to that person! She'll list you next time, I'm sure:))

35. What does Mom love about you: “Cuz it's just so sweet to snuggle!"

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

You learn something new every day!

Ben has been picking up skills at the speed of light lately. He has really been enjoying cooking. It is one of his favorite things to do. When we make anything with eggs, he always cracks and stirs the eggs. In fact, he can make scrambled eggs all by himself from start to finish. I do insist that only I turn on the stove, but that is it. I make sure to stand near for fire safety, but I never have anything to do! Aaron and Ben love to bake home-made bread together, and Ben is actually quite helpful in the process. He can also make a box of shells and cheese by himself (it's just like mac-and-cheese). I usually do the milk and get the pot of water on the stove, but he does the rest. He is so cute when he tests a piece of pasta to see if it is done enough. He will hem and haw and need to test at least 10 pieces before he is sure it is done. But he knows when it is done!

Another fascinating thing that is happening in our lives right now (**warning, this may be extremely boring to anyone in the entire world who is NOT a speech therapist;)**) is that he is learning to correctly say the "r" sound. He says all the other sounds correctly, but the "r" has still been sounding like a "w". Now, being a speech therapist, I know that the "r" sound doesn't really need to develop until a kid is 7 or 8, so I never once gave it a moment's thought. But out of the blue, about 3 weeks ago, I heard him over-emphasize the "r" sound at the end of a couple of words one evening. I noticed it, just because it was something he had never done before, but I didn't say anything because I didn't know what exactly he was doing.

Well, in the past 2 weeks, he has started doing this with "r" at the end of lots of words,and at the beginning of some. And the correct sound is starting to pop out really frequently.

The reason this is so amazing to me personally is that I have never actually heard a person develop this sound on their own. Everyone I know either can already say "r", is too young to say "r", or is a speech therapy client who is struggling to learn this sound. So to have the experience of actually listening to this skill develop in the course of natural development...SO cool! (you know, to a speech therapist)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

To Be Honest...

Emily Confession:

So, I know I put on a very good show, but the honest truth is that I am not nearly as awesome of a mom as I thought I would be. I'm not saying I'm terrible, I'm just saying that I am not nearly as good as I thought I would be before I had kids. Seriously, I was the perfect mother, until I actually became one.

I think my kids know well that I love them, and want to do my best by them. But I also know that there is disappointment every day...every single some event/sutuation/interaction for me. I loose patience when I don't think I should, or I want to check email when all they want is my attention. Maybe I put them off while I wash dishes, telling them that I will be there soon to play...all the while knowing that my hope is that they will end up playing something on their own and not wanting me anymore.

I'm not a terrible person or a bad mother, but as I am working through this year, the last one with Ben not being away from me more than he is with me on weekdays, I am struggling with staying focused on enjoying this time in my life and their lives. After this year, "real" school starts, and things will change. I waited my whole life to be an at-home mom, and now I really battle with enjoying each day for what it brings, rather than getting it over with so I can get them to bed and have some time to myself and finish the chores!

I will say though that I have been trying to work hard on this during the past few months, and have been feeling really good about how I am doing. My children are amazing, so that helps:). And, tonight, I stumbled upon a paragraph in some stranger's blog that just stopped me in my tracks and seemed to sum up everything that I have been thinking/feeling in my parenting lately.

From:, here it is:

"Yes, your hands are full. No you can not afford them. Yes, you sometimes mix up their names. This is not actually an indicator that you have trudged too far down the path of insanity. It is just LIFE. And life can be hard, but children are still awesome. You see the beautiful moments, where everybody gets along and where there is just a touch of the divine in your home."

Truly, those beautiful moments, the ones that only I see because I am the at-home mom...are honestly SO SO touched with the Divine. My heart almost bursts with the joy and the peace that I am honored to see and to be a part know, during 1% of my day. Now the other 99%...well, we're working on that :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Birthday Boy!

Well, it's tiny baby is now a 5-year-old!! Unbelievable.

In some ways, it has not sunk in at all. He can't possibly be 5. And in other ways, it's hard to believe that he was recently just 4...he's been so big and smart and awesome for so long.

It has been really amazing to see his development lately. The last few months have been good for him. For a while there, he was growing a lot emotionally, which was good, but also made him prone to tantrums, demands, and melt-downs, and left me walking on egg shells a bit...always trying to give him just the right amount of warning before any possible battle that might set him off...especially about things like getting dressed in the morning, or stopping a highly preferred activity.

But thankfully we have survived this round of development, and have moved on to better days with MUCH greater independence, a generally easy going and wonderful temperament, and with so many new strengths and skills popping out every day. 3 months ago, I couldn't imagine him being able to handle Kindergarten next year, and now I can't believe we still have 9 months to go until he starts. (Though I intend to do my very best to enjoy every bit of the next 9 months!!)

He is zipping his own jacket now, brushing and flossing his own teeth (though we still do a follow up just to be sure), dressing himself well, (when I don't get all cranky-mama on him and just do it for him to get it over with more quickly...bad mama!!), recognizing letters and numbers very well, reading a variety of early sight words (Ben, mama, dada, nana, molly, zoo, and a bunch of other ones that he knows from preschool activities), counting as high as he can (which, oddly, varies from day to day!), and even working out some early adding and subtracting of numbers. Really, the number thing has just been in the last week or two. But it is so wonderful to see him work out all these preacademic skills, and to grow more confident as a mom that next year will be well for him. He rides a bike with training wheels well, and rides a balance bike well, too. I don't think it will be much longer before the training wheels are off. He also learned to pump his feet on the swing to swing himself, though that was back in summer.

One thing we have been doing more of is playing games together, like Candyland and Hi Ho Cherry Oh. He is really enjoying the game aspect of it, though I do have to share one sweet story. I realized recently that he likes to win, but he doesn't like me to loose. If it is a close race to the finish, he is fine with winning, but if the color cards just aren't falling my way on Candyland, and he is WAY ahead of me, he will start saying things like "Oh, Mom, that blue card means you get to have an extra turn...I read it in the rules." So sweet and empathetic for such a young guy!!

He has also been really introspective about Christmas gifts this year. He has been questioning me a lot recently as to why Santa doesn't always bring you exactly what you say you want...why it's not a "place an order" kind of deal. And then this week, he told me that he had decided to not ask Santa for anything specific. He said that he would just let Santa decide what he thinks Ben's gift should be, and then Ben would be happy with that, instead of wishing it was something else! Such an awesome kid!

I will post some recent pics/birthday pics as soon as I get them uploaded, but in the mean time, here are 2 pics I have been meaning to post since August.

Ben's first day of preschool this year.

Monday, November 8, 2010


We had a pleasant Halloween here this year. Nothing too fancy. To be honest, I think we were all still coming down from the excitement of a wonderful family wedding (Uncle Marty and Aunt Aubrey) the weekend before, so we weren't up for much.

Plus, we just aren't one of those families that "does" Halloween. Great example: when it came to picking costumes, here is what transpired:

Approximately 20 minutes before it was time to trick-or-treat, I dragged our box of dress up clothes out to the living room, dumped them out, and asked the kids to pick what they wanted to be. B deliberated for about 4 minutes, torn between the Thomas outfit he ultimately chose, a Bob the Builder costume he wore 2 years ago and also to his preschool party this week, and the fire fighter costume he wore last year. M deliberated for about 3 seconds and decided to be the "fancy princess", complete with wand and high heels. Costumes for 2010...done!

We headed out with Granny, Grandpa, and cousin Jacob and another friend of Jacob's in tow, made our way up and down the block, and headed home. Trick-or-treating for 2010...done!

The kids dug into their candy, easily finishing off 1/2 that night...eating a lot, and giving a lot to Jacob and his friend in a fantastic spur-of-the-moment game called "throw the chocolate at the 12-yr-olds and watch them fight over it!!". The rest was gone within 2 days, continuing my belief in letting the kids have at it for a few days and then just being done with it all, rather than a 2- or 3-peice at a time sugar drip that lasts for weeks or months. Candy for 2010...done!

All in all it was a great year:) One of these days we will have the kids plan out their costumes and order them in advance, but at 4 and 2, it's nice to still be keeping it simple. Enjoy the pics!

Happy family with our awesome pumpkin carved by Daddy and our decorative squashes grown by Aunt Riri, Uncle Curt, and Cousin Anna!

The lovely "fancy princess" in her heels. She was SO mad when I insisted that she had to put on real shoes for the actual trick-or-treating! She almost decided to not go at all she was so mad! But she brings up a good point...what kind of fancy princess goes out in tennis shoes??!!

A handsome train! To be honest, I was a bit surprised that he never wanted to be Thomas before this year. My mom got him this costume months ago, and I thought for sure he would insist on this one only...rather than deliberate for a whole 4 minutes! But to be honest, he likes Thomas enough...but REAL that is where it is at!

Sweet kids!

Molly loved watching Daddy and helping him work on the pumpkin.

Sweet Daddy and Kids!

Monday, November 1, 2010


Oh blogworld...where to start!?? I have been gone for so long! New fall schedules, many singing gigs, a temporary second part-time-job, and a camera lost for 6 weeks have all conspired to prohibit me from blogging lately. I'm so behind that I'm not sure where to start.

Rather than jump in to the 304,239,301 stories I want to tell, I guess I will start with one new skill that Mister B has picked up.

He's been growing "up" so much lately. Really developing many school and early reading skills. Lots of letter and sound reading, and lots of good emotional growing too. He's gotten his "bravery" up a lot these days...which is what we call any time that he has to do something he is nervous or scared to do. Hopefully I can go in to more stories later, but to start, here is his newest development.

Yep, that's right. When he's hungry, he can feed himself! It's so sweet when he decides that it is time for him to take lunch-matters into his own hands. We will be playing, and he will get hungry. I might offer an apple as a snack, and he will think about it for a moment, then his face will light up and he will announce, "I know! I'll make myself a sandwich!" He'll tromp off to the kitchen and take care of business. So industrious!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Miss Moose Mouse

Most awesome pic of the most adorable 2-yr-old ever, right?!!!

Miss Moose Mouse has been going through a WONDERFUL stage lately. Whoever gave two-year-olds the "terrible" title didn't meet my kids. Both have been just delightful to be around while being 2. Lots of joy, discovering, exploding language, fascination, and many, many kissies:)

She has been LOVING Ben these days. The 2 of them will play for long, long stretches of time, laughing their head off and creating all sorts of play plans. They can make fun out of nothing, and will spend half a morning with each other, just having a blast. He is often the leader, but it usually isn't in a bossy way...its more like they both know that he knows more things, so he gets the idea started, and then they both go with the plan. One of their favorite games is to play "baby birdie". They will create a nest for themselves out of blankets, pillows and dolls, and then take turns pretending to be either the baby or the mommy bird. They will feed each other, take care of each other, and sweetly play together in their nest for the longest time. Tonight, however, randomly, they were ground hogs:)

Her language is EXPLODING! And, delightfully, her verbs are not all quite right yet. She mixes up the tenses quite a bit. Here are some quotes from this summer:
"Where is you, Daddy?" (where are you?)
"I dooed it by self!" (as in, I did it by myself)
"Let's look to the frog!" (look FOR the frog)
"What did Ben sayed?" (what did Ben say?)
"What did Ben dooed? (what did Ben do?)
"Mom, what do Ben has? Why do he need it?"

She has also been referring to herself by "I" instead of "me". If she needs to clarify who I was calling, instead of asking "Me?", she will yell from the other room "I?"
She also says "This one?" meaning herself:) If I ask her to hurry, she will sometimes say "This one is coming!"

Her speech has also gotten remarkably clearer lately. But she still has a few "baby" words that we are treasuring!
ley-yow for yellow
slip-slops for flip flops
pla-bah-bee for probably
sparking pot for parking spot
fay-vit for favorite
butterslies for butterflies
sumping for something
sanks for thanks
tory for story
sugar bite for mosquitoe bite:)
And this one has progressed lately: she was saying "airshner" for air conditioner, but now she is saying "airsner desner".

And lately, she has really gotten into our night time prayer routine. We always have the kids say something that they are thankful for from the day. She used to list some object in her line of sight (bed, doll, shoe, diaper, etc), but then realized that she could think of lots of family and friends to name. What fun! For quite a few days she was naming long lists of people, but then suddenly, I guess, that got too tiring:) Now she lists "Hazel (her newest cousin) and all my people". So, if you know Molly, you are being prayed for nightly:)

And lastly, yellow (ley-yoh) is her FAVORITE color! Seriously...favorite...color. And I don't mean "Oh, the cute 2-yr-old once said that she likes yellow". I mean every time that she sees even a hint of yellow, she yells at the top of her lungs, "Mama, LOOK!! fay-vit color!!!!!" Yellow flowers, yellow cars, yellow pictures, yellow pieces of name it. If it is yellow, she loves it:) Sweet girl!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Up in the Sky SO High!

So, pretty much as soon as each of the kids grew out of infancy, Aaron started playing a special game with them. He will throw them straight up in the air, as high as he possibly can and then catch them...and they LOVE it.

Sometime before he was two, Ben named it: "Up in the sky so high". As in, "Daddy, throw me up in the sky so high." And now, both kids love every chance they get to be tossed.

Here are a few recent pics of them soaring.

Little Miss Moose Mouse soaring with the greatest of ease. She really loves it and will throw her body around while she is up there flying. A future in gymnastics, maybe?

Ben has been flying since before his first birthday. He's gotten bigger over the years, but Aaron still seems to be able to launch him pretty well!

And finally, with a little help from a good friend, Aaron got to fly "up in the sky so high" for once, too:) Don't worry, his hands eventually returned to normal.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Vacation Part 4: The Jesters

If you know us well, you know that we are pretty blessed with a wide range of people who we care about, and who care about us. We really have some amazing friends!

That being said, it's not every family that could spend a week hiking and camping alongside another family. It seems that, spending that much time together, roughing it and needing to get a lot of "work" done for each meal and all chores, inevitably people would get over-tired, over-stimulated, or just over-cranky and things would get ugly for a while...right?

Well, much to our joy, that did not happen at all during our week camping with the Jesters.

These 4 people are some of the nearest and dearest in the world to us, and spending our first week camping in the Rockies as a family with them was so so wonderful. There are so many amazing memories, and instead of making us think it was a risky trip, we now can't imagine camping for a week with our kids WITHOUT the Jesters with us!

I was a bit worried that their kids (aged 7 and 9) would become annoyed with our kids (aged 2 and 4). Instead, the 4 kids were WONDERFUL. And with there being 4 adults, the work load was always easily managed, and the kids could still be watched by at least one adult, when necessary. And the older kids were amazing with our kids, so all 4 could have relative freedom and play without a lot of adult "rules" because they watched out for each other and helped each other. Molly and Ben pratically worshiped the 2 older kids, and I think that helped the older kids have patience with such young camping buddies!

Here is a fun pic of a group hug:) We had dinner in town one night, and as we were getting up to leave, the 4 kids spontaneously had this sweet hug.

Aren't they such a beautiful group of kids!!?

The whole group. Gotta love amazing friends! These were taken at Mills Lake. A 6-mile hike (round-trip) that we all survived and LOVED! Aaron and I would never have considered such a hike if we had been there with the kids by ourselves. But with the encouragement and constant motivation of the Jester kids, Ben hiked the whole 3 miles up by himself! And he got a ride all the way back down from Jason during a rather treacherous and wet thunderstorm. What are friends for?:)

And, one of my favorite Rocky Mountain experiences from my own childhood...snow in the dead of summer!! I was so delighted that my kids got to experience it too. When we were kids, my siblings and I were always excited beyond belief to see snow in the summer, especially being from Louisiana at the time! All 4 kids loved the snowball fight that quickly ensued.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vacation Part 3: The Dirt

So, the trip was basically awesome in every way. It was a week with freedom from work, stress, time lines, to-do lists, chores, and most especially...cleanliness.

Yes, friends, freedom from cleanliness was one of the best parts of our trip. When camping, we do strive for a basic level of hygiene. But other than the don't-get-e.coli-during-dinner kind of cleaning, there's not much to be done about the dirt. And the kids LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT.

About 5 minutes into the Park, so about 4 minutes and 49 seconds into Ben and Molly scooping dirt and rocks into magnificent piles, I said, "Don't get too dirty guys". And that was the end of my efforts at cleanliness. They had the most marvelous time kicking up dust clouds ("It looks like a steam cloud chuffing out of an engine Mom!" says Ben with delight), making rock piles, letting the sticky marshmallow from smores create a protective sheen on their faces that not even U.V. rays can penetrate, and just generally living like wild children. It brought joy to them, and delight to us to see them so happy exploring such simple parts of nature. Frankly, just thinking about it makes me want to throw them in the back alley to play and relive the fun:)

Here is Ben making some more "puffs of steam."

Molly showing off her special rock pile. She started this as soon as we got to our campsite and finished it by the end of the week. Ben and the Jester kids helped a bit too.

Smores faces...yum!

Nothing like playing in the dirt!

Seriously, it was even fun for the big kid in the group! Dirt just rocks!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Vacation Part 2: The Tent

So, as I mentioned in Part 1, my biggest fear of the week was that sleep would be poor. For those who don't know, I have a checkered past with sleep and my kids, and I am prone to useless anxiety about getting enough rest. I spent WAY too much time leading up to the trip worrying that at least one of the kids would be up many times each night...needing a bathroom, hearing strange sounds, needing water, needing snuggles...whatever. I was geared up for terrible sleep.

But, the most magical thing moutain air, comfy air mattresses, long days hiking and playing in the moutains, and sleeping within arm's reach of Mommy and Daddy all came together to produce some of the most wonderful sleep of my life!! The first night was a bit touchy, but other than that, it was AWESOME!!

I'll admit that when we camp, Aaron and I like to be comfy. Not "we 'camped' at the Hilton" comfy, but nice-sized air mattresses with lots of blankets, pillows and warm jammies comfy. And it was SO worth the car-top carrier we had to buy to have those air mattresses. Such great sleep!

And I also have to admit that our brand new, very warm tent helped too.

We hadn't planned on getting a tent. We were going to borrow my parent's tent to save a few bucks. It is a monster 12-man tent that requires 4 people, 6 sled dogs, 1 backhoe, and a turtle to set up, but they were willing to lend it and we (I) thought it would be nice to have some (lots of) extra room for the week. So we packed it, and its massive bag of poles, and its massive tarp and drove them all out to the Park. It was even the (4 gigantic piece) item that put our packing over the top and required the last-minute purchase of a car top carrier.

But, alas, my brother was the only person who knew how to set it up. We scheduled a meet time a week before the trip for him to show us how to get it set up, but he wasn't able to come at the last minute. And as we tried to figure it out ourselves, we realized that he has long since removed the instructions. But Aaron and I figured, "We both have Master's degrees, the internet, and good experience with tents. We'll print new instructions from the web, and just figure it out when we get there." Uhhh...BIG mistake.

We get out there, with a huge storm rolling in over the mountains, and despite our very best effort, combined with the best effort of our friends with us, we were NOT able to get the thing even close to usable. So Aaron dashed off to downtown Estes Park, found a camping store and bought a nice, 6-man Kelty tent. He raced back up to us, we furiously set it up, and hopped inside and zipped up the rain fly just in time to avoid the hail storm that rolled in:)

Really though, it worked out well because we LOVE our new tent, and are now inspired to camp much more often. If only the mountains were closer!

Sweet Moose Mouse catching some zzzzzz's:

Sleepy Mister B, warm and cozy in the footed jammies that his Aunt RiRi and Uncle Curt gave him this year for Christmas. They keep him WARM...ideal for camping at a high altitude.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Vacation! Part 1: The Car Ride

So I have been a poor blogger of late. The summer has been busier than I expected (isn't it always!) and we spent a WONDERFUL week away as a family, which has also kept me behind on posts. But I have a few free minutes, so I thought I'd try to start catching up. First thing's first...I need to share some pics and stories from our wonderful summer trip!

In early July, we took a week and drove out to Rocky Mountain National Park. Aaron and I LOVE the Rockies, and love RMNP especially. We have been there many times, and have been wanting to take the kids out for some camping just like we used to do before we were parents. We were a little nervous to go with them as young as they are, especially Molly. We were afraid a 2-yr-old wouldn't do well with 14 hours in the car, and a week in a tent, with no set nap time or consistency.

But some very dear friends of ours were up for going as well, and our kids adore their kids (as do we), so Aaron and I decided to give it a shot, thinking a few extra fun friends around might help, and hoping that the kids would love it out there as much as we do.

Thankfully, we couldn't have been more right. The trip was AMAZING, and the Jester family were more help to having a fun week than we could even begin to explain! SO many wonderful times for everyone.

Here is the first story:

Getting out there and back!

My biggest fear was how sleep would go in the tent for 5 nights. I'll get to that later. My second biggest fear was how the kids would survive the super-long car ride.

Well, I'm happy to announce that they did a superb job! We stocked the car with some new small toys/trinkets and art supplies, filled a bag with new books from the library, got a bunch of fun snacks and treats, and snuck in the car dvd player to be used only when we were all reaching the meltdown stage. And, other than a few select moments, we all survived the car just fine. In fact, it was kind of fun to be traveling together all day. There was plenty of time for talking, music, reading, playing, and just generally having fun together. Molly even got some quality naps in. The dvd player was pulled out a few times, but not nearly as much as I feared...which made it all the more effective of a tool.

Here is a pic of Molly with her special car cup, special trip snack cup, and her special car drawing toy having a great time!

Ben showing off how fun it is to be in the car for an entire day:

Molly demonstrating proper nap technique, especially when you are driving across the blisteringly bright plains of sunshiney Kansas!

Ben flashing DOUBLE "I love you's" to us for straping him in a hard, plastic car seat and drinving him across 3 states.

And finally, how to keep a salt-addicted 2-yr-old happy when your driving cross country: (and yes, she finished the bag!)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Sometimes, we will look at one of the kids and think, "How can this little one belong to us???!"

And other times, we can't deny that these kids are chips off the old blocks!

What do you think...could these two be twins, separated by 30 years?

On a random, slightly related note, sleeping has been interesting around here lately. The kids are "usually" in bed by around 8, and up around 7. Sometimes a bit earlier or later either way, but that is generally the framework.

Lately, however, we have been WAY off. First of all, the sun has been up so late in the evening that bedtime has crept back a bit. Then, we have frequently had summer evening plans that have also contributed to the late nights. To top it all off, 2 weeks ago we took a GRAND family vacation to the Rocky Mountains for some camping. I am working on some blog entries from that trip to share soon (it was so so so wonderful!), but we were there for a week, and the kids definitely adjusted to Mountain Time Zone.

So, this combination of factors has brought bedtime to 9ish, with the kids often wound up and not actually asleep until more like 9:30 or 10. Which has then brought wake-up time until more like 8 or 9.

I've got to admit...a fews days this week, it has been AWESOME!!! I slept yesterday until 9:30 in the morning. It was unbelievable!!! That hasn't happened since before I had kids, literally!! Today, I got up earlier, but the kids didn't get up until 9:15. I can't even begin to tell you how much work I got done on the house, all before they woke up. It was lovely and all sorts of wonderful.

Now, it's not perfect. Aaron and I can't get much done in the evenings, or spend much time together because the kids are awake so late. And there are days that we have things we need to get done, and I am having to wake them up, which means they aren't quite getting the sleep they need on those days, which also means they can be cranky, no fun for anyone.

So we will definitely be moving back towards a more "normal" schedule. But I just had to comment on my magical couple of "sleep weeks", before I am back to being up by 7 everyday and I forget entirely that there were a few blissful weeks of summer sleep-ins!

Monday, June 28, 2010

You know you have "made it" when...

Aaron and I had a little cash left over at the end of the month, so we decided that, since we had clearly "made it" to the big times, financially speaking, and since it was 90 million degrees in St. Louis, we would put in...not one...but TWO pools!

Feast your eyes on our oppulence, people. Feel free to be jealous. And also feel free to stop by any time, just make sure to bring your swimming suits.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Yeeee Haaawwww!

For those who don't know, Aaron and I both come from long lines of farmers. We each have only one or two relatives left who actually still live on or work on farms, but we both spent time on farms as kids, and have lots of family members who ride horses and know their way around farm animals.

Well, living in the city as we do, you can imagine how removed from true farm life our kids are. This is something that we can't do a whole lot about, but we do enjoy opportunities that can remind our kids of their roots when we are able.

Recently, a good friend had a birthday party for her daughter on a family farm. Ben and Molly were invited to attend, and got their first chances to ride horses.

Aaron jumped right on up on the horse, looking quite a bit like his Grandpa Schiltz, and Ben (to my surprise, honestly) jumped right on too! They had a great ride, and both seem to be naturals, though Aaron had plenty of previous experience.

Molly, surprisingly, took quite a bit of convincing, but she did finally agree to give it a try. She enjoyed it somewhat, but let's just say that it wasn't love at first ride! Oh, and the bandana was supposed to be for a "cowboy/cowgirl" theme to the party, but as you can see, Molly chose to wear it more as a "pirate wench" costume.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

When the cat is away...

So you know how two-year-olds are driven to do things "by self!!!!"? And how sometimes they are super sweet and want to help with all their hearts?

Well...this is what happens when a driven, sweet, two-year-old decides to put on her own sunscreen while Mommy is busy doing dishes:

And, YES, it is actually diaper cream, not sunscreen:)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

You Learn Something New Everyday

Don't you just love it when you can actually see your child's world expanding? Sometimes it is something grand, like when a baby realizes that you are still there even after you have left a room...and sometimes it is something that there is a space between each of your toes, and sometimes you will find treasures (a.k.a. dirt) in there!

Molly has made this amazing discovery this spring, and now can often be found in her favorite toe-inspecting spot...checking to see what might be lurking in there.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Interview with Ben

Several of my friends with kids have been doing interview with their kids, with the intention of repeating the interview each year to see how the answers change. I've been meaning to give it a shot with Ben, and we finally got it done! It is a pretty random set of questions, most stolen from other people's lists, and a few of my own thrown in for fun. Here are the answers, from his 4-and-a-half year old self:)

1. What is your favorite color: “Green and blue”
2. What is your favorite book: “Olivia”
3. What is your favorite movie: “Thomas the Tank Engine”
4. What is your favorite food: “Couscous”
5. What is your least favorite food: “Crunchy lettuce and 'sour cream and cheddar' potato chips”
6. What is your favorite fruit: “Apples”
7. What is your favorite vegetable: “Green beans”
8. What is your least favorite vegetable: “Sweet potatoes”
9. What is your favorite t.v. Show: “Mr. Rogers”
10. What is your favorite song: “Thomas the Tank Engine”
11. What is your favorite thing to do with Mom: “Read books”
12. What is your favorite thing to do with Dad: “Watch t.v.” (Can I tell you how much I love 11 and 12?!!!)
13. What is your favorite game to play with friends: “Play Hide-N-Seek”
14. What is your favorite store: “ Target, because they have that train that is spinning” (In the Christmas season, Target always puts a little train set with l.e.d. lights on display, and he loves to just sit and watch it go round and round. I can't explain the Walgreens, though, we never go there!)
15. What is your favorite sport: “Basketball” (also can't explain this one)
16. What is your favorite Bible story: “My little Bible book”
17. What is your favorite place to go: “Davenport”
18. What is your favorite restaurant: “Noodles and Company”
19. What is your favorite toy: “My model trains and wooden trains”
20. What is your favorite thing to do with Molly: “Snuggle”
21. What is your favorite drink: “Juice”
22. What is your favorite thing to do at school: “Eat snack”
23. What is your favorite thing to do outside: “Ride my bike”
24. What do you want to be when you grow up: “A model train driver because I can still switch tracks...because model trains can go on different tracks too!”
25. What can you do now that you are 4: “I can run faster”
26. Who is your best friend: “Nana”
27. What is Mom's job: “Keep me safe, healthy, and growing well and big and strong so that I can be a model train driver good enough to not do things wrong to the trains.”
28. What is Dad's job: “Keep my love tank full and to make me grow strong and healthy and have nutritious food.”
29. What does Mom always say: “I want to snuggle you”
30. What does Dad always say: “I love you”
31. What is your nickname: “Benjamin Garon Schiltz...Gigi calls me that. And I call her “Gigi buh divi”, and I call you “Mommy bah dahmmy”, and I call Molly “Molly buh waddy””
32. What makes you laugh: “When somebody tickles me”
33. What makes you sad: “When I loose something and I can't find it again”
34. What are you thankful for: “That God gives us strength”
35. What does Mom love about you: “That I am special”

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Family!

Just wanted to share a few cute pics from late winter of our sweet, happy family!! Things are far from perfect around here, but it really feels lately like we are in a good zone.

The kids are finally sharing a room, which means there are no kids in our room! Woohoo! And they are sleeping well, most of the time:) But I also think they seem to be getting along as siblings better than ever before. They play together for "real" now, so much more often. By "real", I mean that they will construct play plans entirely independently of a parent, and then play whatever they have thought of, for long periods of time.

I do need to give praise to my husband here for a moment too...I think the reason that I am feeling so upbeat about how my children, and our family in general, are doing is because my dear hubby gave me the weekend "off" last weekend! For the first time since Molly's birth, Aaron packed up both kids (and I really do mean pack...he packed everything for their trip!!) and took them to Davenport for the weekend. All 3 of them had a wonderful visit with Nana and Papa. And as for me...I slept.

And a few other things, like painting the garage, scrapbooking, and drinking tasty wine with friends, but mostly, I slept. :)

Other than the sleep, the most glorious thing about a weekend "off" was the silence...LONG stretches of time would pass without me uttering a word. I never cared about such a thing before kids, but this weekend, it was striking how freeing it was to not be needed by anyone for 48 straight hours.

So, now that the family is home, I am finding myself emotionally recharged, rested, in LOVE with my life and family, and wanting to share these cute pics! Enjoy!

And my very favorite...