Sunday, January 3, 2016

February

Ok, it is downright ridiculous that this blog is a YEAR BEHIND.  So, even though I won't have/remember a lot of the little details of the last year, I'm relying on Facebook and pictures to get the big events recorded so I can catch up!  With that being said, here were some of the bigger events and fun things that happened in February 2015.  (I know!)

On February 8th Miss Kassidy started moving forward with purpose a little at a time.
video
She also had a rough couple of days and when I got desperate and threw a binky at her one day, she spontaneously decided to become a binky baby.  She was in love with them from this point on.
Lots of Kassidy developments came that weekend as the 8th also saw us beginning to mix formula and the milk we had left to slowly wean her and get her to take formula in her bottles.  (Seriously miss our fantastic pediatrician who helped us through that transition.)
Here she is taking a bottle while I heat my shoulder because my shoulder kept mysteriously seizing up on me all month.  I never did figure out why, but eventually it worked itself out.

Some of my favorite Kassidy developments (I know, but they change so much at this age!) were that she would clap and say "Hi!" and "Yay!"
video

A few days later Mckayla hit a big mile stone as she went to the dentist for the first time.  She did so much better than Ellie at her appointment it wasn't even funny!  MG is hilarious though, because whenever she's unsure of a situation she just gets very serious and takes everything in.

That same night we began quite the adventure as a man came and knocked on the door fairly late at night holding a duck and asking if it was mine.  Come again?  Yes, he had found a hurt duck nearby in the road and decided for whatever reason it might be ours or we might know who it belonged to.  Given the fact that some people down the road had roaming chickens I guess it wasn't THAT weird.  But it was.  And the duck got away from him.  Into our window well.  Under a huge pile of leaves.  Yeah....

So, we left the duck there to see if it would get out.  It didn't.  So I called animal control - who told me to call bird and game or whatever it's called - who told me to call state patrol because they often pick up animals after hours - who told me to find a vet to take the bird to.  Did you know that our county had some limited bird flu, so you can't transfer that duck across county lines?  And that most vets won't touch a wind animal even to put it down because you have to have special permission to deal in wild animals?  MANY phone calls, the next morning I found one vet in the county who would take the bird - in Prosser.  So, the next morning, when the bird was still alive, I trapped it in a towel so I wouldn't get bit, put the bird in an empty cage we had, and packed up the girls after Ellie got done with preschool so we could take the bird to the vet in Prosser.
The vet took the bird in (it had a broken wing) to see what they could do, and we left.  I never did hear from them if they had to put the bird down or if it healed, and I honestly kind of prefer it that way.  When the girls asked what happened to the bird I just told them we hoped he had gotten better, and could honestly just leave things at that.  Yes, Steve knows he is married to a bleeding heart...
After the vet, it was lunch time so we stopped at the McDonald's there in Prosser to get the girls food and make the drive worth it for them.  They called it "Old McDonalds" which I like because it means we obviously don't eat there very often...
The big girls loved playing and Kassidy enjoyed taking her first whack at french fries.
In the beginning of the month we seemed to be making progress with MG's potty training again and after Ellie was purposely using her pull-up as a bathroom at night, we decided it was time to change things up.  We eventually learned that an incontinence pad was not the same as a pull-up to her and motivated her to try and not have accidents at night!  On the 20th Ellie was dry the whole night with us taking her potty once or twice in the night, and we continued that pattern while she earned daily small prizes for being dry.  We had a few small accidents, but something obviously clicked where her body was finally ready to go all night without having accidents, and Ellie picked a prize to work towards when she could be dry for a whole week in a row.  Here are pictures where she made a princess shrinky-dink bracelet and a foam sticker picture.
Other fun things from that month: include the weather getting warm enough for Mckayla and I to start venturing out to parks during Ellie's preschool.  She was so adventurous and would amaze me at the ladders and things she would climb at just 2 years old.
This also meant that Kassidy went on a swing for the first time on the 20th.  She loved it, if only because she enjoyed playing with the chain.
The girls also provided us some awesome entertainment with their "dinosaur hunts".  Daddy would hide their toy dinosaurs and they would make tinker toy guns to go hunt them down.  Daddy was proud.   This day Mckayla cracked me up as she dressed up as a princess and then used her princess wand as the barrel of her gun.  She assured me "I only shoot t-rexes, Mommy.  If you see a t-rex, Mommy, you shoot it!"  Ok sweet girl, I will.
While MG's dress up tends to be fairly princess-like, Ellie's can be quite eclectic. 
I also had the pleasure of watching my friend, Holly J's kids one day, so that meant I had 6 kids 4 and under for a few hours.  It was an adventure, but a fun one as all of our kids pair up fairly closely and had buddies to play with.  The biggest issue was Kassidy trying to maul poor Cort constantly...

I also had an experience where I was extremely grateful for my lifeguard training when Kassidy choked on a yogurt drop at stake conference and I gave her back blows till she threw up in my hand and was fine, all with no one the wiser.  Mom level - expert.  HA!

We also celebrated Steve's birthday, which the girls and I get much more excited about than he does.  And then on the 14th we continued one of my favorite family traditions, our Family Valentine's Dinner at home.  As usual, we all got dressed up and Steve and I cooked a fancy meal and the girls were big enough to help choose some of the sides.  They are always running wild, even in dresses, so it can be quite difficult to get decent pictures, but we always document the day, so here was what I got.
Our dinner this year included crescent rolls, steak, crab legs, asparagus, and strawberries.
The best family shot we got for the night.

Yeah, I have to admit, Steve may fear February each year as he thinks he's getting old and decrepit, but this tradition gives us something to look forward to every time Valentine's Day rolls around.

A few last fun things that happened in February...

Kassidy had a well check on the 19th and her stats were 21 lbs 1 oz and 29.25 inches tall.  She officially had the big Bennett head, and was wearing 18 month clothes.  She now had 5 teeth through and was crawling and working on eating table foods.

Ellie told me one day, "Mommy, thank you for giving me DNA to do taco tongue!" (rolling your tongue)  Yeah, she's not your average child.... lol

Speaking of DNA, Steve and I learned through a family finder application through the church we attend, that we are 13th cousins once removed.  Nothing like being able to pull that into conversations and see if people get uneasy or not!

Lastly, poor MG was having some nightmares about bugs and spiders.  Daddy - ever the scientist - had the solution.  He told her about how one of her stuffed animals - a bushbaby - eats insects.  So, bushbaby would come sleep with her and keep any insects or spiders away and eat them.  That bushbaby had renewed importance and increased love, and she still has him sleep on her bed.  So cute, and such a funny, loving Daddy!
Anyway, that should hit most of the major, and fun things we did in February.  Now, I am officially less than a year behind and hope to keep making progress over the coming days and weeks!

Monday, June 22, 2015

January

Our January started off in Preston.  January 1st we went and had a girls' night at Aunt Lori's house.  Unfortunately Grandma couldn't come after her surgery, but Aunt Lori made sure there were lots of fun crafts for the girls and Moms, too.  Lori made sure my girls had a lot of fun painting little owls, which the girls still love.  Bridget had lots of fun with Kassidy.  And all of the rest of us made Thankful trees.  It was lots of fun.

 The next day our big girls had fun playing out in the snow with Daddy.  We didn't get snow where we live this year, so they were really excited!  Granted, it was cold, so they didn't last very long, but they enjoyed it and also liked the hot chocolate they got after.
 This picture was from our final night before we left.  Steve said this is his definition of cold - seeing the pink on the mountain tops as the sun goes down.  It was beautiful.

On the 3rd we drove hom from Preston.  As soon as we got back, the girls were very excited to open up their new drum set from their Aunts Kathy and Lori.  The first picture is from the day we got home.  This has seen a great deal of use.  Ellie enjoyed dressing up in some of their new Christmas dress-up clothes and playing in the second picture.

It was a rough return home for Steve and I.  As soon as we got back we both got stomach bugs.  Then, around the middle of the month I got all stuffed up and sick.  I was just about ready to give up on breastfeeding so I could take some medication or something to help me breathe, sleep, and eat.  After a couple weeks I got better, but later in the month, Steve got the flu and had to take sick days because he kept coughing till he was sick.  We got to take turns keeping the kids busy so the other one could rest, but we survived.

We also had a rough time with potty-training Mckayla.  We realized that she kept having accidents - only at home!  Which was frustrating to say the least.  We were having a hard time getting her to care.  Eventually we had to go back to washing her with cold water after accidents and giving her treats when she used the bathroom.  We were using every technique from the very beginning of potty-training just to try and get her to care about her constant accidents.  It was rough, but the only good thing is we knew it would end - eventually.

Kassidy just kept growing by leaps and bounds.  She started sitting up independently and figured out how to pull toys out of her toy basket so she could sit and play on her own happily.  I love that stage... where babies can sit and keep themselves happy with toys but aren't mobile yet...
 Kassidy also discovered the joy of these mesh food bags.  We thought these were so silly with the older girls, but then tried them with Kassidy and she loved having cucumbers, apples, berries, and other food in her mesh bags.
By the end of the month Kassidy was understanding some basic signs like food, milk, more, and all done.  She also started shaking her head, clapping, and was starting to accidentally scootch backward and could barely get her stomach up off the ground.  It is so fun to see all the abilities a baby adds as they grow so quickly!

A few other fun things from the month.  Steve saw a mouse in our kitchen towards the end of the month.  He set traps for nights, but the peanut butter kept getting licked clean.  He finally caught the mouse on the 25th and we were actually kind of sad about it because it was a tiny mouse but was a worthy adversary.

We also attended some Ready! for Kindergarten classes.  I have enjoyed the program immensely and think it's a fabulous asset for our family and community.  I asked about becoming part of the program where we have enjoyed it so much and I enjoy teaching and informal education from my college degree.  I was so excited to have the director of the program excited to have me come observe and get ready to teach the next session!

 We also were so grateful to have an experience at the very end of the month which showed us once again the way the Lord cares about the details of our lives.  We have been really stressed about where Ellie will go to kindergarten next year because we are zoned into what is probably the worst elementary school in the city.  I happened to mention to a friend that we weren't sure about getting a transfer to a better school, and she told me the deadline was the next day!  We called the district, and sure enough that was the deadline.  We got her transfer request in just on time.  It doesn't mean she'll get to that school, but it did give us comfort that the Lord knows this is a big concern in our lives right now.
 So, that was the end of January.  We were sick a lot, but thankfully it was a slower month after the busy holidays so that we could try to recover.  The next month was much busier though, so it was a good thing we had a slower January to get ready for a busy February!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Our First Christmas On Our Own

Steve and I decided this year, that since Ellie was now four, she would be old enough to start remembering Christmas morning years down the road.  As much as we love having Christmas with family around, we wanted her to have memories of Christmas morning in her own home.  So, it was our first year to spend part of break with my side, part with his, and Christmas Eve and Christmas at home.  Honestly, this was kind of a depressing prospect.  The last several years we have opened presents Christmas morning with at least one other family around us, and having just the five of us seemed small and lonely at first.  However, we were excited to start our own traditions and have fun with Christmas on our own.

We started Christmas Eve out in Spokane, and drove home that afternoon.  We raced to get our last few things for Christmas Eve and Christmas dinners before stores closed, and then came home for dinner.

Grandma Sun had sent some sugar cookies home with us to decorate, which was great, because driving home Christmas Eve and wanting to make cookies for Santa that night were not really going to work the best together.  The girls really showed just how different they are while they decorated their cookies.

Ellie was big enough she enjoyed frosting her own cookies.  She carefully made sure she frosted the whole cookie.  Then she took turns with the sprinkles - first this type, then that - painstakingly covering each area in different sprinkles till the whole cookie was covered.  She would not consider a cookie done till the whole thing had sprinkles.
Ellie and her finished cookies.
In contrast, Mckayla was content to let me frost her cookies after trying one knife of frosting.  She then would grab sprinkles and shake with both hands with reckless abandon, spraying sprinkles.  Now, to be fair, the girl is fairly ambidextrous, but that had little to do with her technique of just getting the job done quickly.
 MG and her finished cookies.  Man this girl's mischievous looks terrify us!
 Comparing the two finished products.  Funny girls.
 And Kassidy enjoyed sitting back and taking it all in.  Next year, Kassidy....

 After we had decorated cookies while listening to Christmas Carols, it was time to continue a fun tradition from the Bennett side.  We had picked out an Olaf pinata for the girls, hoping they would be less afraid of this pinata than they had been of others in years past.  We also let the girls wear their shooting muffs which we use for anything loud, like viewing fireworks or going to hockey games, because Ellie is extremely sound sensitive and Mckayla wants to be just like her big sister.  It was fairly hilarious to watch, and took some help from Daddy to finally put the poor thing out of its misery, but the girls did have fun.

I have to say, the first time you shove a My Little Pony figuring into a pinata through a small hole in its back, you feel really bad for poor Olaf, and you laugh till you cry even though you should be more mature than that...
 Daddy is always the pinata holder.
 This kid is too funny, and decided to get some cheap shots in when Steve went to get something quick.  I just laughed and took a picture...
 Ellie and Mckayla also cracked us up by taking turns using Ellie's camera from last Christmas to "take pictures" of each other as they hit Olaf.
 The big girls enjoying the spoils of their hard work, with Kassidy watching from her walker (at a safe distance).

Then, it was time to leave cookies out for Santa and get ready for bed.  Steve and I had been trying to get presents wrapped and things ready over the weeks leading up to Christmas, and thought we did well, but it still ended up being a late night for us.

Here was our tree this year.
 After Santa came!  One day I will finally get around to finishing and personalizing the girls' stockings.  For now, I am just content that they each have one and they are homemade.
 Santa loved their cookies.  Especially the gingerbread ones Grandma Sun made.  Delicious!
And then it was Christmas morning!  The girls were good and came and got us up right away.  They still aren't old enough, nor do we talk it up enough, for them to have been super excited, but Ellie is getting there.
 We were mean and made them get dressed and ready before they could open anything.  Then we let them get into stockings.  Santa usually brings them a new toothbrush, and every year it cracks me up how excited they are about that, even if I only usually get blurry pictures of it.  They were also obviously excited about other stocking-stuffers.
 We then started with the real presents.  Call us mean, but we had them take turns one at a time, helping the morning excitement last a little longer.  Mckayla got a car tower here.
 One present the girls got to share was a trunk with some Frozen dress-up clothing.  Needless to say they wanted to put it on first thing, and wore their Frozen clothes the rest of the morning.
 Ellie opening her new magnet set from Santa.
 I love that I have pictures of the girls patiently waiting to see what the other got, but with intense interest.
 We let Kassidy sleep in where she was still sick, but eventually it was her turn to open presents too.  Wrapping paper was so fascinating.  Everywhere we opened presents she mostly just wanted to eat wrapping paper...
 Our happy girl and her new giraffe toy.
 I like to think of this picture as a great illustration of "Christmas Carnage," and it makes me happy.
 Kassidy dressed and playing with some of her new toys.

After presents we had pancakes and sausage for breakfast - a favorite of our girls - and later watched A Muppet Christmas Carol.  The movie is an unofficial tradition from growing up with my Muppet-loving Dad, and so all of us girls have a soft spot for the Muppets as well.  I LOVE this movie still, and the girls thankfully do too, so it's now one of our family traditions to watch it with them each year at some point in time for Christmas.

Steve and I tried really hard to stay to a reasonable budget for our first Christmas with 3 kids, and were worried about how that might go.  All I have to say, is that we had a fantastic first Christmas on our own.  The girls loved their gifts, we had fun really putting time and effort into buying gifts we thought they would enjoy and were within our budget.  We fudged a little in the end, but not by much, and the girls were so spoiled anyway!  It felt great to not over indulge honestly.  And they played all day with their new things while we enjoyed a guilt-free Christmas.

It was great to start our own family traditions, even if we did miss having more family around.  It was wonderful that we got to do presents with family on both sides and have time aside for our little clan this year as well.

That night Steve made a tasty turkey.  I made real mashed potatoes (just like Grandma Sun's which are my favorite kind!).  We ate far too much good food, and even had pie after.  We also took time to watch some wonderful youtube videos The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and others produced about the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ.  It was so wonderful to spend time on Christmas Day to focus on the real reason we give gifts and have such joy.  The girls still occasionally ask to watch those videos, and it still brings us all joy each time we do.

Yeah, it was a quick layover at our home for Christmas between coming from one set of Grandparents and leaving for the next, but it was a great first Christmas in our home, and we look forward to many more to come.