Sunday, March 22, 2015

Free Ice Cream Is...Free Ice Cream!!!

I don't know if you've ever read the book The Berenstain Bears and the In Crowd, but that is one of the lines in the book.....Free Ice Cream is...Free Ice Cream. It's in regards to Sister Bears friends ditching her to go off with the new kid in town because she offered to buy everyone ice cream. Everyone except Sister and her friend Lizzy that is. Mother Bear is the one that says the line and I love how she doesn't sugar coat it...after all Free Ice Cream is...Free Ice Cream! 

So on Monday when I heard that Dairy Queen was giving away Free Ice Cream to celebrate their 75th Anniversary we ditched the schedule and took the kids out for some Free Ice Cream!!! 

We also asked the neighbor kids if they wanted to go...Donald took us up on the offer, but Dominic stayed home. He's 11 now so I think he's going through a 'too cool for school' phase! I mean come on....Free Ice Cream! ;)

Of course everyone and their mother was there as well. The line had us almost out the door. Thankfully they had one employee solely making cone after cone of vanilla ice cream. 

As I sat down I thought to myself...well as least this place is noisy so people won't mind if our kids get loud. I mentioned it to Michael and then he said....that's only our kids making noise! We asked them to quiet down and sure enough....holy cow they are loud! 

Zeke Man ended up having to sit sideways in the booth so he wouldn't keep ramming his ice cream cone into the table....kid is super short!!!!

Sugar was the last thing these two needed! 

Cute wound up boys! 

As for Michael and I....vanilla ice cream was not going to cut it so we splurged and got a large Butterfinger Blizzard and split it. After all we did save a bunch of money with not having to pay for the kids ice cream! Thank you Dairy Queen! 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Time To Knuckle Down!

September keeps just getting closer and I decided to really knuckle down and make a commitment to having school with Ella two days a week. I really want her to know as many letter sounds as she can before she starts kindergarten this fall. Since we've moved things around upstairs there is no way for us to do school up there anymore. Actually I really like doing school in the dining room anyways. It allows me to switch loads in the laundry if I need to and it's just more spacious. 

Monday and Friday are school days or in the case of her first week...Monday and Thursday. Friday I was volunteering in Jack's class so we had to move it to Thursday instead. We are starting at 'A' of course. I actually sat down and came up with a lesson plan....prep work really helps! Just for my records here's what we did for the first day of school. 

Write letter 'A' & 'a' - Talked about the sound 'A' makes and the difference between capital and lower case. 
Write words that start with 'A'. 
Go on an 'A' hunt around the house.
Color 'A' sheet or in this case color a picture of Animals! 
Do jumping jacks while saying the ABC's
Snack - Applesauce 
Story time - Aladin and the Sly Magician
Counting to 20 with link cubes 
Play ABC Bingo
Sing Songs - Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider & Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee. 

It takes almost 2 hours from start to finish and both Ella and Zeke really enjoy it. In fact the whole time we do school they both call me "teacher". They know that once school is over they can call me mama. 

Zeke showing off the Alligator I drew for him. 

I don't know what it is that changed, but Ella is much more receptive to being taught now. Which of course makes teaching her a whole all easier. I thinking turning 5 has something to do with it! 

As for the second teaching day here was our lesson plan...again for my records! 

Write letter 'A' & 'a'. I even quizzed and had her point to the letter we learned on Monday and she remembered! This is huge! A while back when we were trying to teach her how to spell her name we would point to the four letters on her wall and say E-L-L-A and then ask her what the first letter was and she wasn't able to tell us. I also didn't have sheets of paper with dotted lines this time she just used a dry eraser board. She did draw dots to help herself with writing the letter, but she did it just fine. 
Shape letter 'A' & 'a' with Play-Doh. 
Sing songs about letter 'A' from ABCmouse. 
March around the house singing the ABC's. 
Snack - Animal crackers & Apple fruit leather 
Story time - Ali Baba and the 40 thieves 
Counting using Duplo blocks....we also tried to make letter shapes out of them. 
Play Go Fish....we really used it more like a memory game. 
Sing Songs - B-I-B-L-E, Jesus Loves Me & Deep and Wide. 

The second teaching day was a little more rough, but both Ella and I were a bit moody. 

She did have fun though and that's the point. I want her to enjoy learning! Since it's took her a bit longer to warm up to being taught by me we will have to do school through the summer in order to make it through the alphabet by the time school starts. I'm hoping I can be on top of this, but I also am being realistic since summer time is usually way more unstructured. It is only a 2 hour commitment twice a week so that's not bad....we will probably just have to play around with the days a little bit more since we aren't going to want to say no to going to the beach if it's a school day. That's the great thing about homeschool! 

Friday, March 20, 2015

He's Officially Graduated!

Zeke is finished with therapy! 

That doesn't mean he's concurred all his eating and texture issues, but he's made some huge leaps in the right direction. I'm so proud of him and so happy he's come so far. Here is a list of the things Zeke does or does not do that he struggled with before. 

- Will sit at the dinner table without crying until everyone is done eating. We now required all the kids to sit at the table until everyone is done eating. This has been great for all of them! 

- Doesn't need to be washed 3 times while eating a meal. He does have a washcloth next to him so he can clean himself, but he's no where near as bad as he used to be. 

- Asks to have food put on his plate...even food he doesn't like. He knows that he has to have everything on his plate, but he doesn't have to eat it. 

- Is willing to help with setting the table and likes to help in the kitchen as well. 

- Has started trying new foods and actually enjoying a few....yay for nuts, carrots and nachos! 

- Is able to play with dry foods and doesn't get freaked out with the texture. 

- Doesn't cry when we say it's dinnertime. 

- Is not drinking his meals, but instead having 3 regular meals and 3 snack times....all at the table. Of course there are times when snack time falls when we are in the car so he'll eat in there and we do eat in the living room if we have a family movie night. 

- Has learned it's okay to play with food and not necessarily eat it. 

- Has started picking up food that would normally need to be cut into bite size pieces so he could eat it with a and chicken nuggets. 

- Will eat cold foods such as frozen yogurt, frozen blueberries and ice cream.

Here is a list of things he still doesn't do....

- Eat the end pieces of hot dogs....he will eat everything else, but those ones that are rounded on the end he won't have it. He did put one in his mouth the other day and then took it out so that's a huge improvement. 

- Try a food when we ask him too. If you mention trying a food he will just flat out say no. He will usually kiss it or smell it if you ask him to though. It's all about little steps! 

- Play with wet or messy food such as pudding or applesauce. 

- Try pasta...has never had any type of noodle at all. My carb loving self thinks this is such a shame! 

We started therapy in October of last year and seriously the changes we've seen are incredible. I no longer get all anxious when it comes to dinnertime because I know that he's going to handle it well. I learned strategies to help him and not to make him feel pressured and I love that he has opened himself up to new things. Children Therapy Center has been such a great place for us. Miss Jodi is awesome and Zeke still asks to go see her....he loves Miss Jodi and misses her. She did say if we need to come in for a consult in the future we can, but I'm hoping that what we've learned will be enough and that as he grows he'll become more and more comfortable and willing to try new things. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

SeaTac Community Center!

Last Friday the boys didn't have school so we were able to have lunch with Daddy at work. I was going to ask him if there was a cool park nearby that we should go to, but he beat me to it. He told me to take the kids over to the SeaTac Community Center. I didn't even know SeaTac had a community center. 

There were three separate for little kids, one for bigger kids and then a rock climbing area. 

The big boys headed over to the little kid area at first and then quickly discovered that wasn't going to be very entertaining. The funny thing is Zeke wanted to go to the big boy area right away and was so frustrated that he had to go to the little kid area. I mean what do we think he is...2 years old!!! ;) 

At first Ella needed to hold my hands to go across these, but after a few times she ended up just jumping across. Zeke went across once and I had to bend my leg down as an extra step between each one since his little legs are so short! 

To the right of these were the monkey bars and I had Jack work on using those. His core is still really weak and this is something my neighbor Rachael told me would really help build his muscle and would be fun at the same time. While we were there he didn't seem to thrilled with it, but then when we got home was bummed that our swing set doesn't have monkey bars so I'm thinking he enjoyed it more than he was letting on. He definitely likes to challenge himself. 

Pretty good picture of all 4 of my monkeys! 


Show me the love! 

Swings is another thing that still really freaks Jack out. He does not want to go high at all. In fact he avoids the swings like the plague most of the time. I had to tell him he was getting on these one. He is able to keep himself going, but he doesn't like going high or fast. Again this has to do with his core and the fact that his body has a hard time telling him where spatially.

They only had two big kid swings and two little kid swings and let me tell you my Ella Bean is a healthy girl and it was hard getting her into this swing. I need to start lifting weights! 

Little boy...big hill! 

The rock wall was cool, but I think it was missing some of the hand and foot holds. They were very sparse and there were tons of holes where there could be more so I'm not sure if they broke off and just haven't been fixed or if they just thought that kids should be able to climb with the few that were there. 

There were definitely enough to get you started and then once you got 3/4 of the way to the top there weren't any. I tried to climb and even my arms weren't long enough to make that stretch to get to the top. Oh well...the kids had lots of fun and after this we walked around a bit and explored and then it was time to head home for naps. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Goals For 2015!

Now for this years goals! 

Home & Yard Goals: 

Get estimate for driveway 
Have consultation about kitchen remodel
Fix broken front window
Purchase weed eater - DONE!
Build Kids Clubhouse - DONE!
Replace wood and restain deck
Figure out backyard landscape

Financial Goals: 

Pay back 3-6 months savings - DONE!
Save for window replacement
Save for appliances
Start saving for trip to Hawaii for our 20th Anniversary in 2019
Start saving for a car

Personal Goals - Michael: 

Learn more about the Backhoe

Personal Goals - Lyndsay: 

Get more toned
Finish reading through the Bible
Be more intentional with teaching Ella

Couple Goals: 

Go on more dates

This years goals definitely seem more sparse, but I think that's because we realized that we piled them on a little thick last year. The nice thing is we can always add to the goals throughout the year. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Update On Goals For 2014!

It's March and I'm finally getting around to posting about our goals for this year....better late than never right! 

First I wanted to have a record of how well we did on our goals for last year. Click here if you want a recap of our goals for 2014. 

Home & Yard Goals...completed. 

Secure flashing on roof
Bleach house
Paint exhaust stack
Paint master bedroom ceiling
Build tree house
Fill in the area where the clematis was with dirt
Kill moles! 
Power wash fence, driveway and walkway

Home & Yard Goals....not completed. 

Move pea gravel to the play area
Edge play area
Put crushed gravel on ramp and easement
Buy dirt, raise soil level and reseed the backyard
Stain the deck
Buy and install forced air heaters in the kids rooms

The few that we didn't do were mainly in the backyard and that's because we are still trying to figure out exactly what we'd like to do in regards to design back there. As for the heaters in the kids rooms we are still researching options in regards to those. Out of all the things we did accomplish my favorite one hands down has got to be KILLING THE MOLES!!!! Oh yeah I'm so happy those awful things are no longer in our yard. Maybe now we can level out our front yard once and for all.

Financial Goals...completed.

Replenish emergency fund
Complete Baby Step #4 of Financial Peace University 
Save for a replacement car for Michael

Not only did we save for a replacement car...we bought a replacement car....WITH CASH!

Financial Goals...not completed. 

Save for driveway and home remodel 

I have a feeling this goal will be on our list for a few more years. This is one of those times I'm really happy that we cut up our credit cards because if we had them I'm sure I would have a new driveway by now. But....I'm super glad it's not that easy and we will thank ourselves in the long run! 

Personal Goals - Michael 

Finish reading meters - March 2014 Michael officially started his new position on the service crew so wahoo to no more meter reading! 
Learn to drive a stick shift and the dump truck - This goal ended up not being necessary. It doesn't really matter if Michael knows how to drive a stick shift or not. 

Personal Goals - Lyndsay 

Read the whole Bible chronologically - I made it to August so I got close. 
Get an update in regards to make-up and clothes - Did some shopping and researched Pinterest for how to do make-up for my eyes. 
Maintain mental health and improve physical health - My mental health has been improving still working on hormone issues and my depression, but 2014 was definitely better. Physical health suffered a bit so I'm working on that this year. 
Get involved in the PTA - Went to meetings never took the plunge and signed up. 
Join the church choir - Sung the Christmas choir and loved it!!! 

Couple Goals: 

Go on consistent dates - Again we had pretty consistent dates until August...something I guess Disneyland threw us off. 
Go to the gun range - Never did make it to the gun range

Overall I feel happy with what we accomplished in 2014. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Special Visitors & Confirmation!

Last week Logan got to come over and have lunch with us. Her mom and baby brother got to come too, but Ella was more excited about Logan. They haven't seen each other in quite a while. 

Ella wore her rainbow necklace that Logan got her for her 4th birthday and Logan wore hers too! So cute!!!

Not sure if you can see, but that little thing in on the left side of Logan's head is her Cochlear Implant. Logan and Ella both have fluid issues in their brain. Ella has Hydrocephalus and Logan and extra fluid in her ears. Last year they found out she's completely deaf on her right side and the left side also has extra fluid so she could go deaf in that ear at any time. It's been a crazy couple of months for Richard and Jen! Logan's surgery went great though and she seems to be doing well. 

This particular day was Logan's second appointment with the audiologist to get her implant adjusted. She didn't do very well the first appointment because everyone was there so Jen asked if I would watch baby Conner so it would just be her and Logan at the appointment. I have literally gotten rid of everything baby related so Jen brought over Conner's bouncy chair. 

Ella and Zeke were talking with Conner and trying to get him to smile and at first he wasn't having it. 

But we finally coaxed one out of him! 

Conner did really well...he is a pro at letting you know that he's is absolutely wasting away to nothingness and you better get him a bottle before he straight up dies! Seriously a pro! :) 

It was fun having a baby around for an afternoon, Logan and Ella could have played all day and night as I'm sure Jen and I could have talked all day and night! I was telling her that I enjoyed playing with and holding Conner, but something was also confirmed in my heart. I am really, honestly, truly done with having babies. After having Zeke I wasn't really sure if I was done. In fact while I was still in the hospital I even said...I could do this again! But now...nope! I'm done. It's nice not to worry about diapers, bottles, spit up, and baby gear everywhere. Kind of a strange feeling since my life was so wrapped up in babies for so many years. With that being said I would watch Conner again in a heartbeat...who can pass up baby snuggles! 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

First Fire!

A couple weeks ago I had to break up a shouting match outside with the neighbor kids. Long story short....Owen and Donald found a lighter in the neighbors yard and were trying to set dried up Hydrangeas on fire. The older boys were arguing because one was trying to get the lighter away from them and I think one was wanting to tell on them and I don't know it's still a bit confusing to me. The point is we needed to have a talk about the danger of fire and how important it is to find an adult if someone is going to do something dangerous. 

I also explained that if they are curious about something...ahem...FIRE! They should talk to us and we will be happy to let them explore in a safe manner! I also talked to Michael and we agreed that we need to try to say yes to the kids more in regards to this. Owen especially is always asking to have a fire in the fire pit and frankly it's annoying. Michael is tired after work and it's just not something he wants to do, but if it means that he won't go exploring this sort of thing on his own and he'll feel comfortable coming to us with his curiosity than it's worth it.  

So the very next night we had a fire! The neighbor kids that were involved also came over so it was a good teaching moment for them as well. 

Even though it has been warmer the backyard is on the east side so there wasn't any sun on that side and it was getting chilly. I decided to make hot cocoa for everyone to help keep their insides warm. 

The kids had fun getting out their camp chairs. It's crazy how much bigger they are then when they first got them. Click here to see the blog when they first got them. 

This girl would probably have ran around in a swimsuit all day if I let her. She's so nuts! I think towards the end when it was completely dark out she did go and get a coat on. 

Daddy let Owen help him start the fire. 

He was a happy boy! He also enjoyed lighting sticks on fire and swirling them around in the air to see the smoke. 

Dominic was not interested in pictures! :) 

Donald cracks me up...he's from California so you'd think he'd be freezing up here, but I constantly see him in shorts. He does wear a coat almost all the time though so maybe he's just one of those people that as long as he has his top half warm he's okay. 

We were outside for quite a I said it was totally dark out. It was fun for the kids and hopefully they have learned that it's okay to be curious as long as it's with an adult present. In fact I know they did learn that they have to bring lighters to me because a couple days later Donald and Jack came running back from the bus stop to give me a lighter they found on the ground. Seriously why are there so many lighters just hanging around on the ground in my neighborhood?!?!?! 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Out For A Walk!

Lately since the weather has been nicer I've been trying to get the kids out of the house and walk the neighborhood everyday. One of my goals this year is to get in better shape so I won't keep having to go to the Chiropractor every couple of weeks. I'm working out with my neighbor Rachael once a week..she's a personal trainer and she's mean...I mean awesome! ;) 

All the trees are budding right now! 

We even had a few days that were over 60 degrees! 

My bulbs are coming up! 

Michael's already had to mow the grass once. We already finished one of our yard goals for the new year by purchasing a new weed eater....the difference in makes when mowing the lawn is amazing! We were also looking into buying an old push mower with the blades that go round and round. It's better for the grass and we don't have that much yard. The other day Michael saw someone in the district mowing with one and started chatting about it trying to see if it would be a good decision or not and the guy had an extra one and just gave it to him! So cool! 

I'm so ready for to see blue sky everyday!!! 

After we walked around the neighborhood we decided to head down to the service road. 

I didn't want to go out to the main road so I only let them run about halfway down. It's amazing what fresh air can do!! 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Kids Surprises!

I don't know about you, but whenever we go away without the kids we have to come back with surprises. I didn't necessarily want to come back with something Wyomingish, but I didn't want to come back with candy or a normal toy either. I did buy all the kids Wyoming shirts so when we go back in August they can where them. 

On our way back to the hotel after Grandma's funeral and all the visiting with family we stopped at Walgreens so Stephie could get some lotion. I just decided to wander around and noticed that they had some pretty awesome sales on their toys. I found some really fun crafty toys that I though the kids would enjoy. I did end up buying Zeke's the next day at Wal-Mart since I didn't seen anything I liked for him at Walgreens. 

I didn't want to wrap the presents, but since I got three of the kids the same type of present I wanted them to see them at the same time. 

Heads on the table! 

Open your eyes!!! 

I love their expressions! 

They are little statues of characters they love and they get to paint them. 

Ella got princesses of course...Snow White and Rapunzel. 

Owen got Guardian's of the Galaxy....Rocket and Star Lord. 

Jack got Spiderman and Electro....he going through a phase right now where his smiles look like he's in pain. Silly guy! And yes our boys spend lots of time running around in their underwear! 

Zeke does not like to get messy so I figured painting wouldn't be a good choice. I wanted him to have something that wasn't necessarily a toy, but would still be fun. I found this cool wooden Thomas puzzle. 

The kiddos got right to work painting one of their statues. 

I found out later that this isn't the type of paint that will just wash off things so the plates they used are pretty much our painting plates for now on! 

I didn't notice that the backing in the box was actually instructions for how to mix the different colors into the ones you needed to make the characters look right, but the kids didn't mind. 

Zeke had to put his puzzle together on the floor since it was so big. 

All done....let me tell you this kid plays with this puzzle daily! I'm not kidding he LOVES it! 

Almost done with Spiderman! 

Owen is my least artistic child...he's more strategic. I was super impressed with him for finishing what he started and he did a great job for not having the instructions. 

This girl loves to paint so she was a happy camper! 

Owen's Star Lord! He still hasn't painted I said not the most artistic. I imagine that Jack will end up painting it for him. 

A couple days later Ella and Jack finished their second statues and now they are proudly displayed in their rooms. Ella is quite the artist..don't you think? I personally think that Rapunzel has a Medusa look going on and it's a little creepy, but that's okay! 

Jackson is my most artistic kiddos. He amazes me with is ability to remember small details and exactly what color goes where. It was fun seeing the kids enjoy their gifts!