Tuesday, January 29, 2008

our little beauty

I was looking back at videos from a year ago and was surprised to discover that Ivan was pretty much incomprehensible. We could tell some of what he was saying, with plenty of context cues, but it was still very much a guessing game-- much like Dominique now. It's incredible to see what a year does in the life of one so young and amazing to think that Dominique will be talking away clearly like Ivan is today about a year from now.

Her favorite things right now is "drawing" and reading. She didn't want to go to bed for a nap today (none of them did) and when I went to check on her, expecting to find her in a fit on the floor, she was sitting in the rocking chair in her room amidst a pile of books- calmly reading away. Later, after her nap, she came out with what I think was carpet pattern all over one side of her face. I don't think she quite made it into her bed.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

1 second later

We got to go see Miss Mary last week, so that was fun. It was nice to do things from what used to be our usual routine. We will still get to go out there from time to time, so that is cool. The way we have it set up with the boys still gives me two weekdays for our activities- swimming, library time, groceries. Doing any of that on the weekend can be really nutty.

So, guess what happened one second after I took this picture? Ivan was just obeying me, trying to be a good boy when I said "look this way for a picture" and ZAM- someone took advantage of the situation to get herself a little slurp.

Gross eh? Our weekend went well. I ended up babysitting for a friend who is about to have her second. Her first is Dominique's age and is getting over being sick, so I begged Brian to keep ours so I could keep hers- even sick, I think I got the better end of the deal. I forgot how peaceful, calm and easy it is to just have one at a time! I didn't tell my friend that of course.

Well, I better figure out what all I'm doing tomorrow with the 4! At least it has warmed back up. I didn't take the kids out last week since it was cold and rainy. The older ones wouldn't have minded, but the youngest is not walking or crawling and would have been cold and miserable. I wish there was a park in walking distance.

Haven't asked a question in ages... What age were you in your first memory? Can you remember things from when you were 3 years old? I wonder if Ivan will have memories from this year and what they may be ;) Make 'em good- you'll only live this moment once.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

His birthday party

Saturday we had friends over for deserts and drinks. I couldn't believe all the people who showed up. We have a lot of friends- and they are so fun. A bunch of them have musical abilities, although Brian didn't say to bring instruments- apparently a few just carry them with them like they would a favorite hat. The kids totally loved the impromptu, unrehearsed "concert" with juggling by Brian's old roomate who has moved back to Abilene. There were tons of kids and they were great at just entertaining themselves. So I actually got to talk to adults and enjoy the evening. So much more fun than kid's parties when we are juggling food and trying to get games going. The kids were so cute. I had a video of the major ball war- Ivan has a huge toy submarine with about 100 plastic balls that he can play and roll in and the kids had instigated a boys against the girls all out war, hurling the balls across the room. Then they made their own dance/party music time- so I had to post that too.

The totally cute moments were the girls. There were two girls about age 5 and when the second one arrived, the first when went straight to her and took her hand at the door and started talking to her. I asked her mom if they knew each other from school or something and she said no and "make sure you ask her name" to her daughter. Well a little while later- look who was holding hands too. There must be some inbuilt sweetness in girls that says let's make friends and hold on tight to someone special. There's something inbuilt in boys too, but somehow their message came out: look a friend, I'll tackle him!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

His birthday and introduction to games

Brian's birthday started with a quick visit from his mom, the weekend before his big day. Ivan enjoyed the horsey rides, we all got spoiled with gifts and eating out. It's always so good to see family. Family love is just so cool. It's extravagant and like a giant hug.

Sweetness last night occurred at the table during snacks. Ivan perceived that his sister needed her drink, so without being asked he pushed it close to her. In her sweet little voice, she said "thank-you" and he responded "you're welcome". It was so precious and natural. It made me proud of them and obliterated the memories of the numerous fights and screaming fests from the day.

Not only do 3 year olds (and less) have a short attention span, but they have difficulties following instructions. Major difficulties. I imagine up all sorts of activities for us to do during the day and often quickly discover that these are difficult task when you're learning them for the first time. Today we were trying to do a relay race and it was so comical. I made the mistake of using a ball instead of a baton, so the first instruction was "no don't throw the ball at him, hand it to him". Then I was trying to get them to sit (or at least stay put) when not running- instead, they would run to the other, throw the ball in the general direction, then proceed to run throughout the house. It was pretty much mayhem. But to me it is exciting that they will learn it eventually (hopefully in a couple of more tries), then they will have learned a new game/skill.

Musical chairs was funny. They thought it was horribly unfair that anyone would be left out- if they missed a chair. As soon as I took a chair out, they would say- but where is ...'s chair. So we had to play where everyone had a chair and just sat on it when the music stopped.

Hide and seek is inane. They hide and before I've finished counting, they are yelling "I'm here" or jumping out of their spot. If I hide- it takes them forever to find me (all 6 foot of me holding a baby and trying to keep him quiet). The 3 year olds don't have a concept of space yet and will look for me in a drawer. Then once I am found (usually with hints like me yelling- youhoo!!, they pick that same spot for their turn). That is if I'm lucky enough to be found soon. I think Caleb gets distracted with trying to look for me (since it doesn't happen in 30 secs) and I can often hear Ivan instructing him: "no Caleb, we have to look for mommy".

Next week should be more fun. It was cold and rainy this week, so we stayed indoors for the littlest one. We're going a little stir-crazy.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Introducing the boys

Here is the foursome outside on a beautiful afternoon. Caleb is 3 years old with loads of energy, creativity and intelligence. With Ivan being the same age, they are at the same stage in many things, but it has been neat to see how they are different and learning from each other. Sometimes it feels a bit like a boys team- like when the two big brothers decide they both want to pee in the toilet at the same time. I'm so glad they are both potty trained. I think Dominique is so pretty in her little skirts. She got this one at Christmas. Of course I hate wearing skirts, so we'll so how she does with them as she gets older. The littlest one is Micah- he's 9 months old and so cuddly. He loves to stand up and is very curious in his own right. I keep them three days a week- Mondays through Wednesdays 7:30am to 5:30pm. It gives us a great mix with having days off each week and some with regular friends. We can do some day care type stuff and learn all about sharing and getting along with others.

This was dad's grand creation for xmas. Can you believe it? I was blown away. I was equally impressed that we found a way to pack them to get them home on the airplane.

I don't know if aunt Susan reads this- but she should recognize this. I think she knitted it about 30 years ago. We used to get hand-me down clothes from our cousins. I think I was too big for this one once it came to us, but seem to remember my brother wearing it. I found it in a box when looking through scrap material. Mom laughed and told me to wash it and take it for Ivan. He totally loves it- it's his favorite color and warm, retro and with such a rich history!

This is my too cute story for the week (so far). I finally figured out where my children got an expression from. Dominique has this sing-songy expression "hold me now" that she's said for months. Ivan likes to imitate it. I didn't know where she got it, until last night. When I left Big Buddy's he said "bye now" in that same sing-songy way and it sounded just like her- or like her imitating him and Ivan imitating her, imitating him.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

round it up

What a fabulous daddy! He so tenderly and carefully cares for his girls (the momma and the babe).

Ivan using the remote control as a phone.

Dominique is missing her shoulder rides. There are dangerous things hanging from the ceilings here- ceiling fans!

Ok, so it was sparkling juice- but what a funny picture!

Sorry- I don't miss all the bundling just to go out and play. Ah, but that snow is pretty.

These 3 pics were taken while on a walk at Beaver Creek preservation area. If you are from Saskatoon- you just have to go. Beautiful year round. We saw deer leaping away as we drove up. Birds come to eat from your hand (ok, not this time with the kids yelling at them to come), great trails and a good excuse for some hot chocolate once home.

We've been back 2 weeks now and life does go on, so I'm feverishly posting the last pictures and video from my blogables file. Thanks to a party with friends last night for Brian's birthday (last tues.) and a wedding tonight, we have gotten to see a lot of people we love this weekend, eat and consume way too many calories and let the kids spin around in a sugar induced, kid frenzy fiesta until many hours past their bed time. Lukily I have tomorrow off with the boys. Wynetta and I are taking the kids to go see Mary in Anson- just like the good 'ol times.

The picture of sleepy dad and Dominique is our last airport shot before we left. No one was very wide eyed at 5am.

Dominique figures she should grow up before Ivan (girls can be like that). She can correctly hold a pen and is often making crazed out designs on papers. She also likes to try to dress herself. Ivan has yet to master these skills. She also wants to use the potty whenever Ivan does which can be interesting since we only have one bathroom, albeit two potty seats- unfortunately they always want the same one at the same time. Dominique has peed once (I think it was an accident). Her favorite thing is to make us get her all undressed and on the potty. Then she farts- laughing all the while then says she's done. She gets paper, throws paper in the toilet, flushes and washes her hands.

A neighbor gave us some good chocolates as a belated Christmas gift. They were each filled with something different. We went around asking what everyone had in theirs. I had chocolate filling, my friend had peanut butter, her husband had lemon. When we got to Ivan, he said he had wonderful.

This was a shot from the baby shower I was so glad to attend. So many people love my sis and her family and her little bundle of BEAUTY.

and here, as the piece de resistance- the crowning moment of our trip- hee hee- enjoy...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Only a few more posts to go

Ivan and Imogen.

Playing the wii.

grandma bliss

We didn't put them in these on purpose. The Wallaces spent the night and both girls went to get their night clothes on- when they came out, we discovered they were twinsies!

another hallmark moment

We are figuring out our new groove. I will have the extras Mondays through Wednesdays (except this Monday I have a day off). So Thursday I took the kids swimming. They hadn't been in over a month and I didn't realize that Dominique had forgotten how to swim. I let her get in and picked her up when I saw her sputtering. She clung to me for the next 15 minutes or so, then gradually started letting go. She finally kicked away from me with great delight at having refound her water balance. Ivan had more courage than ever and decided he could jump in the pool on his own (from a squatting stance with his knees hitting the water first). The last time he jumped in, he went in face first and decided that was enough adventure for the day.

Since we can not go to library time anymore on Wed., I thought I'd try the library time at Chick-fil-a. It's hosted by the restaurant and the library. It was nice to see some familiar faces, the bonus' being the play area, helium filled balloons, little prize basketballs and the visit from the cow. We'll have to try to make this part of our routine.

We're going to have some friends over for drinks and deserts to celebrate Brian's birthday (last Tues.), so I'm supposed to be cleaning house ;)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

from the relics

I found this picture at mom and dads and had to make a copy of it. This is from one of my first homes- before grade school.

Ivan and Dominique are wearing scraps of material from the blanket mom taught me how to make for Imogen. The cool thing is that the material Ivan is wearing is some 20 years old. It was left over from a home-ec. class I took in high school. The scrap was only big enough for one side and we found the matching material (almost the exact same color and pattern reversed) at Christmas in a fabric store. I also had left over velvet felt that we used as piping around the edges. When finished moms said that Imogen will be very happy playing on blanket, curling up in it, spitting up and dirtying it. She's always good at bringing everything back to reality like that.

It's cold enough today here that it could snow, but I don't think it's humid enough for it. Even if it did snow we'd never have enough of it to do this:

I'm about to upload pics to a site where I can get them printed :) yeah! Dominique just loves to look at pictures. She's constantly dragging out the most recent album and naming off everyone she sees. It'll be fun to have more pictures of Canada and of Imogen!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

These pictures remind me so much of Jenn when she was little- always with a pen or pencil, drawing or writing.

First he pulled his arms out of their sleeves. Then he pushed his shirt down. Then he wowed us with his pizzaz.
Dominique on mom and dad's balcony with the Saskatchewan sunset at her back.

This video was the group dancing at the museum in the area where you can create (where the first pics above were taken). The picture below was Dominique's balleresque finale of her little dance. She held this pose very long and relished in the delight it gave those around her.

Monday, January 14, 2008

more of Canada

My precious little brand new niece sleeping off some of her "habit".

Varnetta- we miss you! A friend who was staying at mom and dad's while we were there.

Mom on an overlook by the river (where we stayed about 20 secs. since it was very cold).

Here is how we would look if we had 3! What do you think?

Beautiful frost at mom and dad's.

Uncle John is so fun, ok and funny too ;)

We have a picture like this of me about the same age. Dad said I used to talk forever on the phone. When I asked who I was talking to- he said- no one.

Uncle Brian enjoying our short time with Imogen.

Look in those precious little eyes!

OK, so I have a way huge file of good shots from Canada that I'm trying to get posted- thus the onslaught of pics. This does demonstrate my knowledge that you really aren't reading this for my depths of wisdom and witty commentary- we all know you keep coming back for the pictures and videos. I have a bunch of those too.

So enjoy the view while it lasts. Then you'll be back to boring old Abilene pictures with their redeeming value of course being my growing and changing children.

Right now I am enjoying a welcome respite. It says that God will not give us more than what we can take and that is the case right now. The three year olds were spilling over with way too much energy this morning and I was trying to put the 9 month down for a nap- so I asked the other three to please color or read books quietly. Yeah right! I ended putting them in separate rooms- still trying to get Micah down (he wouldn't go). When I gave up and had them doing a craft the two older boys went to wash their hands and Ivan bit Caleb- who stayed upset for 30 minutes at which he came out and delightfully forgave Ivan and they played somewhat nicely the rest of the time outside. We made it to lunch, I got one down for a nap and when video time was over the other three went down. So right now I am enjoying the quiet and recharging for the afternoon.