29 March 2010

Chocolate Pudding




Friday we invited Ella over for some chocolate pudding...messy style. My cousin Katherine used pistashio pudding for her joy school group last week. I've wanted to play with pudding for some time now. The last time we tried Amelia was not too fond of the texture. This time she was in heaven! Ella came over in mess friendly clothes and the fun began. I plopped a huge spoonful in front of each girl. Ella looked completely horrified. She told me her mommy doesn't let her play with pudding. After several reassurances, she gave me a look saying, well, if you insist then it's your funeral. They had a wonderful time. Ella kept asking for napkins to wipe her hands. I think Mia ate more pudding than she played with. Both girls had a great time taking a warm bath with lots of bubbles to clean up. Alison came over around 3:30 to watch my kiddos while I took a couple more pictures of the kids from last week. My studio was a little too small for 3 kids at once. I kicked in another session of outside pictures.

Saturday was a very relaxing day. We mostly just stayed home and enjoyed a lazy day. I made a "short" Walmart trip that ended up being quite long. Our Walmart is going through renovations so each Saturday the store is hosting crazy sales. I did not get much, just enough toothpaste for a year ($1), some hair stuff ($1), and a humidifier (for $5). The line to check out took over 40 minutes. Each cashier needed an override code by a manager, there was only one manager on duty. Pretty crazy. We did make an excursion to get Dairy Queen treats after dinner.

Sunday is mostly related in the previous post...

Today the sun is shining and the temperature is in the 70's! Amelia started to throw up this morning. She seemed to feel better after throwing up the first time. So we went to the park for 3 hours. It was heaven! Amelia enjoyed trying to catch the little birds hopping around, feeding the ducks, eating a very scant picnic lunch, and playing her heart out. Phillip enjoyed the sunshine and being held by me. Once we got home Amelia went straight to bed at her request. Not even 20 minutes later she started screaming. Yep! She totally drenched her bed, clothes, hair, carpet, bed rails, bed skirt, etc. Yuck! Poor kid is now watching Thomas with a huge bowl. Now that I mention the story my tummy is a bit queasy. Maybe that is why my head hurts so bad.

28 March 2010

Passover Thoughts

I am way to emotional to write this entry, but need to clear my mind. In the last couple years I was at home my Mom would hold a passover dinner before Easter. My memory holds that this event usually set a spiritual setting for Easter instead of the customary commercialism. Ever since Justin and I married 5 years ago I really wanted to hold a passover meal as a new family tradition. I decided last week that this year was the year. All week I planned, researched, and tried to better understand the meaning of the passover and how it could strengthen our family's testimony. As I sought to put my swarm of thoughts together the complete meaning seemed to avoid me.

After church I prepared a traditional Seder plate/meal. During the process of preparation the meaning of the Passover finally became clear. I wanted to hold this meal not because the Passover is a traditional Jewish feast, or a Christian holiday, but because as Latter-day Saints the Passover has very intimate roots. Once a year the Jews of the Old and New Testaments would commemorate the Passover. It was replaced by the Savior with the sacrament. That is very significant to me because like most gospel principles the principle replaced from the Mosaic law to the New Law were parallel. Only once a year were the ancient saints able to participate in the sacrament/passover. It was a strict and symbolic feast. How grateful I am that in these latter-days we can commemorate the passover every Sunday with the passing of the sacrament. The new bread has leaven which like yeast combined with flour and water can lift our hearts to a higher level. We have a rich heritage stretching back to the time of Adam. To join the leagues of our ancestors and spend a day to ponder the symbols and meaning of the Passover is a privilege not soon forgotten.  

I held the Passover feast in the form of a FHE with the Haley and Titus family. I admit the spirit fled me during the telling of the story. I tried to communicate my testimony as I explained the feast and some of the symbolism. The whole dinner seemed a failure to me. I did not even finish saying what I had to say because the ability to express my heart was lost in the translation. I cowered in the bathroom for a good couple minutes crying my eyes out. I felt a bit better but still had to express my testimony. Sorry to those who participated, it did not turn out like I planned.

I know that our Savior lives. This time of year is amazing as we can focus our hearts towards the sacrifice of our Savior with singularity. As the earth awakens after the winter we can shake the mist from our eyes and see what our Savior has done for us. I struggle to fathom the atonement. How can a perfect person experience so much pain, angst, heartache, and sin and not be weighed down? Instead the Savior can see us each individually, the billions of individuals, with an understanding so personal that He knows us. His atonement not only paid for our sins but our heartache and everything in between. He alone understands my personal battles with self-esteem, depression, fatigue, jealousy, pride, etc and etc. Wow! The Passover day should be a day to stop and reflect, this is where the journey to Gethsemane became imminent. I close my eyes and stop for a moment, the song "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" seems best to portray my testimony.

When I survey the wondrous cross 
on which the Prince of Glory died; 
my richest gain I count but loss, 
and pour contempt on all my pride. 
 
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, 
save in the death of Christ, my God; 
all the vain things that charm me most, 
I sacrifice them to his blood. 
 
See, from his head, his hands, his feet, 
sorrow and love flow mingled down. 
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, 
or thorns compose so rich a crown. 
 
Were the whole realm of nature mine, 
that were an offering far too small; 
love so amazing, so divine, 
demands my soul, my life, my all.
 
I feel better...my thoughts are more complete. Enjoy this Easter week!

25 March 2010

Seven Months Old








My little baby is seven months old today! He is such a delightful, happy baby. I had him weighed on Tuesday, he is 15 lbs 13 oz now, that means he gained a pound in one month! I can tell he is gaining weight because his legs are getting chunky and his cheeks are super kissable. Phillip is still swaddled for sleep. I was safety pinning him into his swaddle because he was Houdini baby. This week I stopped pinning him. Now when I get him his little fists are waving and he is usually blowing raspberries. Phillip is starting to wiggle around a little. He arches his back and slides on his head to move around. Finally this week he is discovering the joys of rolling around a little more. He is a Momma's boy! Whenever he sees me now his eyebrows waggle and he does this funny eyelid batting routine. Like Amelia he is very vocal, loving to hear himself squeal, babble, and spit. He says "Oh Boy" when prompted...at least I think he says it back to me. His favorite games are now Peek-A-Boo with a blankie, tickles, and when Amelia "helps" him play.

Phillip LOVES the transition to baby food. He is on a four hour nursing schedule and eating solids twice a day in the morning and evening. This evening he ate two entire containers of baby food, 3/4 of a banana, and 3 oz of juice. I better get ready for a growth spurt! During dinner preparations I usually give him a mesh food bag filled with banana, apple, pear, orange, any soft fruit. After the third time he started to kick and squeal like a Nazgul (sp?). His mouth works as soon as he notices me getting his snack ready. When we feed him his little feet rub together until he is done eating. Phillip does not have any teeth...not even swollen gums yet. Maybe his teeth will come in late like Amelia's.

He can sit unassisted for short periods of time. I don't like to sit him up on his own at this time, when he can roll into a sit then we will let him do that. Supported sitting is much preferred.

Justin just loves Phillip's soft, fuzzy ears. My favorite things include when he grabs my face and gives me juicy kisses and when he blows raspberries while nursing. Amelia's favorite thing about Phillip is when he smiles at her and she loves when Phillip sings with her in the stroller.

24 March 2010

Tidbits

Phillip caged
Phillip a little overstimulated, thanks Amelia for trying to entertain him!
The strange Cablea's home newest display for St Patty's Day
 
Cute little man
 

I realized that a whole lot of pictures were skipped over. This post is a conglomeration of those older pictures and our week so far. My last roommate, Sarah, came to visit me on Friday. Her dad got a new job in Colorado, about 2 hours south of Sidney. She, her two kiddos, and her twin sisters came out to visit their Dad for his birthday. I am sooooo glad they took a couple hours to come visit! Sarah is about the most amazing person ever. She is always positive and maintains a cheerful personality. I always feel lighter after a chat or visit with Sarah. Her two kids are pretty cute. Last time we visited Mia and Bridger decided not to be friendly. We had some lunch at the Cabela's cafe. The kids were holding hands throughout the store. They were super cute. When Amelia wanted to stay Bridger reeled her in, when he wanted to stay and shoot guns she refocused his attention. Sarah let me "play" with little Kenna in my studio. Amelia and the twins helped her eat about 5 rolls of smarties. Hey, whatever gets the perfect picture!



Saturday I had another photo shoot with a family from Sidney. Two cute boys and a chubby little baby girl! Afterwards Justin and I made an impromptu decision to drive to Sterling just to get out of dodge. We had some dinner at River City Grill (pretty yummy food) then went to Dollar Tree.

Having a Sunday picnic with daddy and a bologna face

Ella came over to play for the morning on Monday. Alison went horseback riding with the Titus'. The weather was bright, temperate...and WINDY. I got out Amelia's cheap skate Dora kite for the girls to play with. They had a great time dragging the kite across the yard. I think we spent the entire day outside! We even walked to Alison's house just because. Justin was in Lincoln Monday and Tuesday. Amelia dictated the cutest email ever to him. Justin came home from Lincoln with a nasty head cold. I hope he stays home tomorrow.


Amelia's sunglasses
Amelia preening with her new Snow White earrings and ring

Today I made a complete mess in the kitchen making bread using my Mom's recipe, chicken noodle soup from scratch, and preparing 3 lbs of apples for dehydrating. I even made Phillip a huge batch of apple sauce to add to his freezer selection of baby food. Amelia's Belle dress is about 80% done. I just can't seem to find the time to finish it with editing the last photo session, making a blog book (from last year AND this year), and everything else on my plate. This afternoon the wind died down enough to walk to the library and enjoy an hour playing there. Hum, that is about it.

23 March 2010

To my Daddy-Ba-Daddy



Hi Daddy! We miss you! My Daddy drove to Lincoln to tour a dusty old bank for Cabela's. He got to stay in a fancy hotel with a pool and eat Prime Rib. Mommy, Phillip, and Amelia stayed home and ate Macaroni and Cheese. I recently started calling my daddy, daddy-ba-daddy. He eats it up. Mommy found me Snow White slippers at the consignment store this morning. I love them! You can even see my Snow White smile.

Poor brother cried at the hospital today. Mommy took him to get ouchies on his leggies. I charmed all the ladies with my pink hat, pink boots, and squirrel shirt. Phillip was pretty cute for a boy but he spits up on everything. Today my Mommy is taking me to Old McDonald's for lunch because Daddy is gone. He is coming home on his blue horse car today when it is time for jammies.

I sent my first email today this is what I told Mommy to write:

Hi Prince Daddy. Come home on your blue horse. I am Snow White today. Mommy got me Snow White slippers, and my prince daddy loves it. Prince Daddy is Prince Charming. Prince Daddy wants to go to Old Mcdonald's with me, and have a hamburger in my princess dress...he he, that's silly. Prince Daddy loves me and he likes me and he's silly. OK, I love you daddy....and Amelia loves her prince daddy~~~Mommy loves her Prince too....

OK, BYE

17 March 2010

Happy St Patty's Day

Team Green
Phillip's newest onesie, inspired by Courtenay Lance

Green is about the most luscious color ever. To have a holiday steeped in the color green is perfect for me. We did not really do anything special except wear green and watch Darby O'Gill. The kids and I went visiting teaching this morning and afternoon to Potter. The weather was PerfecTo, topping out at 71 degrees. Too bad snow is forecasted for Friday. We visited Stacey in the library courtyard. Amelia found a stick and commenced to prance and flit about like a little butterfly singing her own songs. I loved her carefree demonstration!

Monday I finally went to the dentist after a whole year (gasp). Ahhhh, my teeth are scraped and clean, so nice. Amelia and I spent the rest of the day deep cleaning the first floor. She loves to spray and wipe any surface. The Siler family came over for FHE. Sister Siler is Amelia's nursery leader. We had a fun little lesson on Alma and the seed parable, planted some flower seeds, then made pudding "dirt" cups for dessert. The kids were kind enough to ohh and ahh over my extensive rock collection. We enjoyed getting to know the Siler family a little better.

Yesterday and today we had some fun friend time. Tuesday Ella, Parker, and Brynn came over to play "rice" with Amelia. We ended up painting, putting together puzzles, and enjoying yummy snacks as well. Amelia and Ella both had fairy wings on while playing with rice. I finished making one of those popular headband things that are all the rage in Utah. Maybe a photo will show up one day. Not sure it looks good on me yet. Ella came over this morning for another play session. Amelia is bossy and Ella tattles...the talking is never ending much to my delight.

I failed to mention last week that Justin and I have an awesome reason to celebrate: we paid off my car, greyskull, two years and two months early! Now we can really start to save for Justin's forthcoming truck. Honestly, his truck may turn into a family vehicle...we will see. The only debt we have is my dang student loan, which has such a low interest rate that paying it off can wait; and our home. Pretty awesome if you ask me. Following the prophet's advice to live simply and avoid debt is hard; the return of being free from debt is sooooo worth the sacrifice.

14 March 2010

Delicious Color


 



Mmmmm, lickable cuteness. Mia wore this outfit at church. I am delighted with the bright colors and Mia's cute antics. Te he he heeee. My little taste of spring is more than I can contain!

Freed from Hibernation...for a DAY



Ahhhh, Saturday was ah-mazing! The temperature soared to nearly 60 degrees, bliss! We packed up the kids picked up Ella and went to the park for two hours of fresh air. Alison, Matt, and boys all went to watch a fly fishing documentary produced by a local friend. We took Ella to save her from sitting for two hours. Mia helped Justin make sandwiches for everyone before leaving. I packed up the rest of lunch and once Phillip woke up from his nap we set off. Justin put on his man scarf so Amelia had to put on her scarf too...it happened to be a bright green boa, tucked into her jacket. She had me in stitches watching her run all over the playground with her boa flapping in the wind.




Two other families from our ward also showed up so the girls had plenty of playmates. Phillip had his first ride on the swings. At first he was not very sure about it but then decided it was delightful. Me, I felt freed from winter's grasp in the breeze and sunshine! We fed the geese then walked around the pond path. Once we left I still felt starved for sunshine so we had a tea party in our side yard. The rest of the day permeated with the lasting effects of fresh air. We went to Cabela's after dinner to look for either a smoker or a set of cast iron cookware. A couple times per year Cabela's offers their employees one item at cost, this time we invested in a smoker. I can't wait to try it out.

Toddler Games

A couple months ago I realized how fleeting this stage in our family life is. I have two kids at home with me all day! My first instinct as a mother is to turn on the TV and put my baby in the jumperoo then go to my craft room and sew, or crochet, or edit photos, or update my blog. As I was indulging myself in one of these activities I heard my toddler's voice singing along to Dora and my infant babbling. It hit me that I was not engaging them...I was missing out. The worst realization was that I was at home with them, surrounded by their little splendidness and missing out. Since then I cut back my huge cut of "ME" time and started to focus on "US" time. One inspiration came from my cousin Carla. She has 8 lovely kids, works from home, and still finds time to educate her two year old. My new goal is to play one on one with Amelia at least 30-60 minutes per day and when Phillip is awake I am not allowed to do my personal stuff. Most of my crafting is done during one of his naps or after bedtime. It works very well. Carla inspired me with her Montisorri geared activities. Check out her fun blog at The Funny Farm

Montisorri Motto:

Is first and foremost the development of skills necessary for a productive and fulfilling life. The best of the academic curriculums are...[of little value] if the child does not develop inner discipline, integrity, and respect for others and oneself.

A child is taught certain "works" or activities based on a prinicple after the work is completed the activity is not done until after clean up.
I have the activity ready before Amelia learns whatever skill we work on, she is not involved in the preparation.Here are some activities Amelia and I have worked on in the past couple months:

Daily Life Activities--I will demonstrate a couple of these activities, be creative in making up your own steps!
*Washing Hands
Have towel, stool, and soap ready
Toddler stands at sink, gets hands wet, turns off water, soaps up, scrubs hands, turns water on, rinses, then dries hands. Clean up involves cleaning water spots and drying sink with towel. I usually let Amelia wash her hands 2-4 times in a row using the same steps.
*Brushing Teeth
Toddler stands at sink with a toothbrush, cup, paste, towel, and sticker book ready! She begins by rinsing her brush, opening the paste and spreading a little on her brush. We have a little jingle to brush to: first the front, then the sides, open wide, top, then bottom, swish and spit, last of all our tongue we get. Clean up and paste spills and water spots.
*Shampooing Hair and Washing Body
*Packing a suitcase
*Putting Groceries Away
*Folding Clothes
*Making Bed
*Feeding a Baby
*Blowing Nose
*Rolling Towels
*Cutting Fruit--yes, with a real knife AND very close supervision
*Using Measuring Spoons
*Rolling Bread Dough
*Making and Decorating Cookies

*Sorting Pasta by Shape and Color:
Skill learned is tranference and color sorting, shape identification, and texture exploration

to prepare for this activity color different types of pasta using rubbing alcohol and food dye. Use a ziploc bag, pour a tsp of alcohol and a couple drops of dye, add about a half cup of dried pasta, shake bag until pasta is fully colored. Place the colored wet pasta on a couple paper towels and dry over night.

The activity is completed by putting all the pasta into one bigger bowl. Place a bowl per shape or color around the big bowl. The object is for the toddler to correctly sort the pasta by shape and or size. Clean up includes putting pasta back into big bowl and putting away as directed by an adult. Stacking bowls and putting in sink. May include some sweeping or vacuuming.

*Sorting Pom-Poms by Color and Size using a Tool
Skills learned are transference, tool manipulation, color sorting, and size identification

Put a variety of colored pom-poms into one big bowl. Give toddler a large clothes pin, tongs, or spoon. Objective is to transfer a pom-pom using a lever tool from the large bowl to a smaller bowl based on size and or color. I usually do this activity first by size, then by color, then by size. Clean up pom-poms.

*Sorting Skittles by Color
Skills learned are sorting by color, putting small objects in a bag, delay of gratification and naming colors

Get a large bag of skittles, pour bag in middle of a towel, sort the skittles by color into piles. You can stop here. We also sorted the separated colors into small baggies with one of each color per baggie. Took a lot of baggies but it was fun and then we had 60 small baggies full of small sugary snacks that will last us 60 snack times!!! Say colors out loud.

*Puzzles
*Cutting with Scissors
Skills learned are using small muscles, hand-eye coordination, cutting, rules for using scissors

I keep some of my colorful yarn cuttings (larger than 4 inches) for Amelia to play with. Once I have collected a pile of 10-15 strands we do this activity. I put the different color strands into a central pile. I empathsize over and over that scissors are only used when Mommy is near and on paper and yarn. Cut yarn into different lengths. We sort the yarn sizes into approximate length piles.


*Painting with Watercolors

*Pouring Water and Wet Transfers
Skills learned include hand control, no spilling, properties of water

Set up a pitcher of water that the child can lift, array a spread of different sized containers, all on a towel (or three). Let the child slowly pour the water into one container until half full. Then pour the water in the new container into a smaller or larger container. Continue to pour water until the pitcher is empty. Make observations with the child, noting how water conforms to the shape and size of the container.

*Squeezing Water
Skills learned include strengthening hand muscles, muscle precision, water play, shape identification

Cut 2-3 cheap sponges into different shapes (squares, triangles, circles, stars, etc), fill a medium bowl with about an inch of water, have an empty bowl ready to squeeze the sponges into. As child chooses a sponge have him/her identify the shape, squeeze all the water out of sponge into the empty bowl. Continue until the first bowl is empty. Switch bowls and have the child repeat.

I also have cut a sponge until small 1/2 inch rectangles. Amelia puts a wet sponge into a garlic press and uses the tool to squeeze water into a separate bowl.

*Planting Seeds
Skills learned include patience, filling a pot with dirt, watering properly, handling small seeds, etc

Prepare an empty pot, have child fill pot with dirt, plant seed, and water. Explain while you work that the seed will take time to grow and that it needs sun, water, air, and dirt to grow.

*Animal Imitation
Skills learned include large muscle exercise, voice manipulation, copying

We do this activity outside or in a large space. I make a list of 10-15 animals then show Amelia how to act like the animal with my voice and body, she copies me once I am done. Very fun to do outside when you want to burn some calories!!!

*Discovery Walks

*Playing with Rice
Skills learned include sharing, tool manipulation, cause and effect, following rules. I have two rules: 1. no throwing rice 2. rice stays on the blanket. If these rules are violated the rice is immediately put away.

To prepare get a large amount of rice, wash it to remove rice flour, you can also color rice using rubbing alcohol, food coloring, and a gallon bag. Pile the rice into the middle of a large blanket or length of fabric, arrange cups, plates, funnels, spoons, etc around rice. Let the toddlers play! Clean-up together!

*Bowling
Skills learned include using large muscles, ball orientation, aiming

make 4-6 (large) lego towers, place at one side of the room, get a ball and roll to knock over towers.


Future activities:
using a turkey baster or water dropper to transfer water
setting the table
snaps
buttoning
funnel activities
mixing colors
threading nuts and bolts
rubbing different textures with crayons and paper
Unscrewing and screwing lids
Shaker jars used to put soft and loud items in (like beans, metal washers, pom-poms, etc) then have toddler tell you if the object is loud or soft.