Sunday, August 30, 2015

We Got Schooled

Twas the night before school started and all through the state, cousins were playing at their Auntie's estate. The food was delicious, cooked with great care, and the children had the time of their lives playing there.
The families all nestled in close for a pose.
Then the boys hit the boat to try a few rows.
The children ran home to get snug in their beds. As visions of alphabets flashed in their heads. The alarm clock rang out, bidding summer farewell. A boy jumped out of bed named Eli Excell. Donned in new clothes, hair brushed, looking cool. One little kindergartner headed to school.
Alright enough with the rhyming. Did you realize I was rhyming? Go ahead and reread it a little more singsongy if you missed the cue. Turn it into a storybook for your kids if you'd like. Send me the proceeds.

Kindergarten! Eli LOVED his first week of Kindergarten! I went with him for the first day to fill out paperwork and get to know his teacher a little bit. (I wasn't the only parent there, you weirdo. We were all invited.) His teacher is super cute and fun and energetic and darling with the kids and says cute things like, "Now give your brain a kiss" when they follow instructions and calls all her students her friends and she is seriously a dream. I foresee a happy year provided she doesn't hate us for ditching two weeks for a vacation in a few weeks. *scared face*

Eli was super excited to get to go to school all by himself on his second day of school. I was walking him to class and he was really concerned about recess. He was telling me he didn't get recess on the first day (the day all the parents were there) and he was really hoping he'd get recess on the second day. Meanwhile I was just thinking...but how do you even know what recess IS?!? Do kids just go to school knowing recess is their favorite subject? Well he did get to go to recess on the second day and he was thrilled.

Meanwhile on day three he didn't get his "going-home treat" because someone at his table was "crabby." That was all the details he'd give me. He wouldn't tell me which kid was crabby or what crabby kid did that was so crabby. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed it wasn't him.

In other news. I psychotically giggled as I grazed Lincoln's feet against grass for the first time in his life a few weeks ago, certain he'd shrivel up, gag and snarl his face up at being prickled. I don't know why I expected anything different, but angel baby smiled and giggled and squirmed his toes and fingers all around the grass loving the feel of it!
Eli had a few days off school for Kindergarten testing, so we used one of those days to meet up with the old roomies. Where the peace sign will forever live strong.
Too bad we picked the hottest day of perhaps the summer to meet at 1:00 for lunch! And there was a total of one splotchy tree to shade us while our poor kids quickly turned rosy scurrying around in the heat. But it was fun and always a treat to see my 49ers.
I escaped a play date with Leslie without a single Leslie selfie on my camera. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?
I escaped a play date with Kenz without a single flash of her double-jointed/missing-jointed thumb. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Adulthood has ruined us.
Eli is a man of many bribes. He pretty much doesn't listen to a thing we ask him to do until a bribe is attached to it. But once you give him some motivation, that kid does great things. Great things like get ready for school without whining or dilly daddling. Our deal is if he gets ready for school quickly and happily, he gets to play computer when he gets home.

And then there's Carson. Carson is a man who beats to his own drum. For approximately 6 months we have been RACKING our brains trying to figure out how the heck to potty train he-who-is-unmotivated-by-anything-resembling-a-bribe. We tried positive reinforcement. We tried lots of attention for every minor success. We tried treats, candy, rewards, everything in the book.

Sadly, the turning point is when I had the thought, "I'm going to make Carson's life as miserable as he's making mine to see if that "inspires" him to start using the potty." I starting making a distinct effort to show the similarities between a diaper-wearing three-year-old and little baby Lincoln. And I made a big deal of showing the differences between big boy Eli and Lincoln. I made him wear diapers all the time instead of the occasional underwear he'd try to slip on before. And the kicker -- I made him go to his room for a "nap" during TV time because babies don't get to watch shows and they have to take naps.

So poor Carson would be stuck in his room -- hearing his favorite TV shows playing while he was "napping." Two days of that and what do you know? We have a little boy who has had no accidents whatsoever for a solid week! He just started going like he's always known how. Little turkey.

Anyway. Long story, dumb picture, Carson also earned his computer time back now that he's such a big boy! Hoooooorrrrraaaaayyy! I loved the day Eli was playing some alien robot fighter game and I walked in and saw Carson playing "Doll, Doll, Dolly." Carson's never been ashamed of his feminine side!
Lincoln is 7 months old! Everyone always asks me what milestones he's been up to. To which I have to say, "Nothing? But we like him that way." He is Mr. Immobile and I wouldn't mind if he stayed that way for another couple of months! This is his best attempt at sitting:
He doesn't roll around. He doesn't crawl. He doesn't sit. He is chill and happy and chill and happy with being chill and happy. So are we. Here's what he does do:

  • He can scooch. As in, if you put him down with his head one way, you may walk in and find his head where his feet were, but that's about his range. 
  • He has yet to roll back to belly, but he will bring those little legs up and collapse them on the floor next to him almost like he's going to attempt to roll but then finds himself content enough to just lay bent in half on his side instead.
  • He can still fit in 3-month clothes and size 2 diapers. But he's more comfortably fitting 6-9 month clothes. 
  • We've started dabbling in "solids" with him. He's had oatmeal (not a fan), sweet potatoes (not a fan) and applesauce (fan). 
  • He still wakes up once at night. Usually around 4-5. 
  • He goes right to sleep when you put him in his crib as long as he's been awake for at least an hour and a half and no more than two and a half hours. 
  • Doesn't love his binky. Does love his thumb.
  • He finds anything his older brothers do absolutely hilarious. 
  • Great traveller. Stroller, carseat, baby carrier. He doesn't care. He loves it all. 
  • He smiles any time anyone is looking at him. If you make eye contact with him, he grins from ear to ear. 
  • We can't get enough of our sweet, sweet baby!

Eli and Carson helped me make cookies one day. We *did* have this great system down with lemon crinkle cookies where we'd make the dough together and then I'd roll the dough balls and they'd dip them in the powdered sugar. They were surprisingly clean and helpful last time they helped me with this job, so I entrusted them again. They turned on me.
Their hands were all over the powdered sugar the entire time, Carson squeezed half the dough balls he handed me into an unrecognizable goo. And the powdered sugar/cookie ratio was alarmingly off this time around. But, the cookies were made with love and that's all that matters, right? And by love I mean germs.
One day the boys were out in the garage as Jeff came home from work. They raced up to him telling him all about the "movie theater" they had built for their tractors. I love to see little imaginations create things out of unexpected items.
That was our first week of school. With less school in it than I would have hoped. This week is our first full week. Gulp!

Friday, August 28, 2015

So Long Sweet Summer

We spent one evening picnicking at a park. The boys were quickly drawn to the water to "fish" with sticks.
And these boys were drawn to the water for Lincoln's first rock skipping lesson by the family rock skipping pro.
My Miamaids suggested we make a fun treat for mutual one week. I suggested we make homemade ice-cream. Mostly so I could steal my parents' ice-cream maker and have two solid weeks of daily homemade ice-cream. Perfect way to end the summer!
When the older boys are running around the park, I bombard this one with pictures.
Our evening ritual these days is chilling in our shady backyard, jumping on the trampoline, dreaming up home improvements and tickle-attacking Lincoln.
Summer. Can't you just stay forever? Please.
My life as of late is an endless list of unnecessary Disney preparations. It's how I deal with the anticipation. I give myself Disney projects like buying the whole family new swimsuits and meticulously scheduling out our day-by-day play-by-play and buying the boys their...FIFTH...matching t-shirt for the trip. I mean, they HAVE to have SOMETHING to wear when we're driving to Disneyland, don't they?!?

And of course there are no such shirts that fit a 6-month old, a 3-year old and a 5-year old, so I was forced to get creative and turn Lincoln's t-shirt into a romper. With a gulp I sliced into his matching tee, unsure but hopeful I'd be able to pull this project off...
Much to my surprise, it turned out adorably!!!! Now I have a hankering to turn all my old college tees into rompers and turn Lincoln into the biggest baby SUU fan of all time.  If Disney doesn't come quickly enough, I may have enough anxious energy to romper-fy a whole new wardrobe for the Linker Meister.
Heading to school has kept us temporarily preoccupied. Eli was a bit nervous to meet his teacher and put up a shy front, but he was super excited to get the school year started. Don't mistake his lack of enthusiasm for a picture for a lack of enthusiasm for kindergarten.
Jeff extended our sprinklers over to our garden this year and that has made all the difference in the world! In years past, we had to hand "sprinkle" our garden every stinkin' evening. Which resulted in the death of our garden halfway through every stinkin' year as our watering endurance waned with the summer.  This year our garden is on autopilot now that it waters itself and we're quite enjoying the vegetables of our (non) labor.
One day Eli was inquiring as to whether I make money. I told him that's why I sew curtains sometimes is to help make money for the family. Then he suddenly looked like he had it all figured out and proclaimed, "You and Dad make money and we bring the happiness. That's what we do."

Yes you do, cute kids. Everyone's got their job in the family and you're great at yours.
We went on a hike up by the old Snow Basin or something? I'm not really sure. Jeff drove us to the mountains (in a more secluded and a more animal enriched area than I prefer to traipse) and we wandered the trails.

Carson and Eli have completely forsaken their Transformer identities and are suddenly...AVENGERS. All day every day. Eli has claimed Iron Man and Carson has taken ownership of Spiderman. It was only a matter of time before we were Super Heroed. The boys have dubbed me Black Widow, Jeff Thor and Lincoln is Ant Man. It's all fine and well with me because it turns out super heroes are a lot more enthusiastic about hiking than Eli and Carson are.
But even Spider Man gets tired and requests a hoist from Thor for the whole second half of the hike.

It was gorgeous and nice to be out in the mountains. Other than the cows grunting just around every corner -- which I frequently paranoid myself into believing were moose grunts. And lizards slithering around with every step we took -- very similarly to what one would expect a snake slither to sound like. And birds pecking around in the leaves  -- imitating the sounds of a cougar stalking us in the bushes. I was on edge the entire hike which caused Jeff to question why I even like hiking. Well. The views and the exercise make up for my hiking paranoias. Usually.
This was our one last summer hurrah before school started the next week! Stay tuned for adventures in kindergarten!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Summery Summary

I had to reclaim my title after my mom tried to give my sister the credit for my cleverness. Also I couldn't think of a better title.

I have Lincoln trained so well to fall asleep in his crib on his own! Yay! Part of the reason it's necessary for him to fall asleep on his own is because he insists on grabbing/scratching my face any time I try to rock him to sleep. No bueno. 
While visiting cousins in Panguitch, Eli was introduced to the world of Minecraft. He has since been BEGGING for the game. Jeff suggested Eli do chores around the house to earn some money to pay for Minecraft. The next day Eli said to me, "Mom. Can I do chores to earn money?" I replied, "Yeah. You can vacuum your room for 25 cents." To which Eli surprised me by saying, "Hmmmmmmmmm...How 'bout 26 cents?"

His negotiation skills could use a little work, but I was impressed he even attempted!
Jeff and I celebrated 7 years of marriage! Woot, woot! We went to the Bountiful Temple to do sealings and then we went out to eat at Chili's. On our way home, Jeff found a sign with his name -- written the way he spells it! We traveled down Jeffery Drive hoping to find that Sarah Drive crossed its path, making for the perfect sign of our love to cap off our anniversary date, but we had no such luck. What we DID find was that the end of the road had a sign that labeled the street "Jeffrey Street." WHICH IS IT?!?! We mustered up enough self control to refrain from rummaging through the neighborhood's mail in an attempt to solve the case of the misspelled street.
This little rascal enjoys his evenings plopped on a blanket on the grass in the backyard, watching his crazy brothers flop around on the trampoline.
One day the crazy brothers got an innocent grasshopper in on their flopping. Grasshoppers like to jump, so it seems only logical that grasshoppers also like trampolines. I don't know why this grasshopper was so eager to escape the grasp of my children.
Eli does this terribly irritating thing where he obsesses about electronics. We do an hour of computer in the morning and an hour of TV in the afternoon. If he senses it's getting close to either TV or computer time, he is all up in my grill driving me CRAZY asking me when he can play. One day I was frustrated with him because he had a friend over and he wouldn't play with his friend because he was too worried about when he would get to watch TV. After his friend left, I lectured him on how it's not nice to be worried about TV time when we have a friend over and yada yada yada. Well. He was NOT taking my lecturing to heart. I could see sassiness begin to ooze from his eyeballs as soon as I began the lecture. Then halfway through he started staring at me like this:
It was a look that said, "Mom. I know this lecture is ridiculous. You know this lecture is ridiculous. Stop talking." And so I did and we both started laughing. Then he threw me a bunch of dramatically crabby faces when he realized just because the lecture was over didn't mean I would let him watch his show early.
Carson has been a bit of a sass cake as well lately -- but never when he's helping me make cake. Or zucchini bread in this instance. We have had our first truly successful garden this year, so we have zucchini coming out of our ears! One day I whipped up 4 loaves of zucchini bread and my trusty sous chef was anxious to help. This boy will drop whatever he is doing if he senses movement in the kitchen. He loves to help with any and all food preparation and I love him for it.
My mom has been deep cleaning her house over the past month. She's forced me to take ownership of all the useless childhood memorabilia that I never wanted in my house, but I loved in hers. One such memorabilia is my hearty Pokemon card collection. Eli and Carson were drooling over my stash for days! Trying to fit in with all the neighborhood boys by collecting Pokemon cards finally paid off as I was able to genuinely impress my boys for the first time...ever.
I've got a Pinterest-worthy tip for all you moms of little children who have begun to venture out of their beds after bedtime...take pictures of them! One night Eli and Carson would not stop coming downstairs just for the sake of coming downstairs. I had the brilliant idea to shoo them back to their rooms by paparazzi-ing them until they retreated back to their rooms. For two boys who hate having their picture taken, it worked like a charm!
I have this problem called I only cut my hair once every year. And then it turns into a mop.
It had only been 6 months since I got it cut last, and it was driving me crazy. Too long. Not a good cut. Too much hair in general. Add that to the summer heat and I was d-o-n-e with it all.
Bam! Chopped off four inches, added some bangs and had nearly half of my hair thinned out! It dries in half the time, feels so much lighter and I totally love it!
In a story that was utterly traumatizing to the whole family and that I don't think ever completely made it to the blog, Eli once had approximately 4,000 cavities and had to get two teeth removed through a process nearly as expensive as braces. *sad face* (PSA - Brush your kids' teeth and don't send them to bed with milk. Ever.) So you can understand my hesitation to return to the dentist seeing as the last time we went we were suddenly thousands of dollars in the red.

I braved up and scheduled the whole family appointments for the first time...ever? Carson was first up. He did an awesome job getting x-rays. Then he saw the big dental chair and instantly started the waterworks. "That's going to hurt me!!!!"

What? How did he even get that idea? Are kids hard-wired to fear a dental chair? With much coercing, he finally climbed aboard the chair and with much more coercing finally opened his mouth long enough for a cleaning.

Meanwhile I braced myself for round two of dental debt.

The dentist came in, looked at Carson's teeth then looked at me with...the look. The look of "how am I ever going to be able to break this terrible news to you?" I gulped. He began, "It looks like...he's got...quite a bit of...staining. On his back tooth."


I glanced back and forth from hygienist to Dentist, waiting for the bad news to continue spewing forth.


"...What's...staining?..." I asked with hesitation. "It's what happens before cavities...ladi daddi da..." He answered.


"Is that it?" I continued, still holding my breath? "Yup! That's it! Everything else looks great!"
WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Eli's appointment is in a couple of weeks...Still holding my breath we'll have good news for him.
My house is a never-ending Lego explosion. Eli's getting quite crafty in his creations, and the boys stay busy sifting through Legos for hours at a time, but there are Legos in literally every corner of my house...and everywhere in between! Not a night goes by that Jeff and I do not find a rocket ship to greet us on our nightstands as we go to bed. It's endearing and infuriating all at the same time.
I'm beginning to suspect that Lincoln loves baths so much because he loves getting out of the bath so much and being a cuddle bug in the towel. He always gets bright-eyed and excited when he gets wrapped up post bath.
Well, let's face it. He's bright-eyed and excited most of the time.
Unless he's hot at a splash pad. Not his thing.
Carson decided he wanted to hold Lincoln one day to see how much he'd grown. Carson always says, "He's not a peanut anymore!"
We had a parknic one evening as we began to get ready for school and bid summer adieu. But more on that later!