Here are a few things we have started in the past month. Lately I have really wanted to make things better around our home--maybe because I know a third child in on his way (yep, pretty sure it is a boy). But all of the sudden I really want teach the kids to help out more and behave better.
We started with giving Devin chores. I tried chores months ago and it was a pain in the butt--I found it was more work than it was worth. But Devin is very motivated by money and being able to go to the store and get something by himself, so we started chores again. It is going well. There is a lot of teaching...and he doesn't do things perfectly, but he is learning and so proud of himself. He especially loves the chore chart--decorating it and putting an x when he finished something. I want to add more chores but I started small to see how things go. Adalynn is naturally more helpful, but I thought I might as well give her something as well. She helps me unload and load the dishwasher and she is getting really good at it. I also started a reward jar. More out of desperation than anything else. Devin is a pretty good kid--but some days he just doesn't listen. And he is way, way too rough with Adalynn. Like punches-her-in-the-face and kicks-her-for-no-reason rough. He also will not sleep in his own bed! I have spent way too many nights with Devin sleeping horizontally in the middle (thus creating a letter "H" out of our family).
Therefore, I bought some pom poms and really explained to the kids that when they are good or make a good decision, they will earn a pom pom, but when they are bad, I will take one away. As soon as their jar is filled they earn a toy or some reward. So far, this is working really well. We have been reading scriptures every night as a family. Sad to say it only took about 5 years to get in the habit. I always had some excuse---the kids are too young, they wont understand them, they wont sit still, blah blah. But a few things happened that changed my mind and we just started doing it. We read about 10 verses a night so we might not finish until Devin is 15, but I am loving it. As soon as we are done brushing teeth they say "Scriptures!" They both like reading their own verses also. Lastly, I saw this idea on TV and thought it was genius! Usually my kids get super hungry while I am making dinner. But since I am making dinner and annoyed with them bugging me, I usually let them eat something that A. Ruins their appetite and B. Isn't that healthy (think fruit snacks). So I saw this idea where, while you are making dinner you set out a plate of veggies. Then when they come to the kitchen looking for food they can have those. Oh wow! This has been working like a charm. They are eating way more veggies--when that is the only option they gobble them up. Now I just wish I could potty train Adalynn. She is just not ready. When I ask her about it, she gets so mad and says "I DON"T WANT TO BE POTTY TRAINED!" I'll ask her, "Don't you want to be a big girl?" and she practically screams "NOOOO! I dont want to be a big girl!!!!" Looks like we might have two kids in diapers. Lovely.
I have a few photos I wanted to put on here, so this post is a little random and all over the place!
Devin and Adalynn never seem to get sick. A few weeks ago, Adalynn woke up, felt fine and was acting normal. Then by noon she had a 103 fever and was miserable. I gave her a Motrin, let her watch cartoons in my bed, gave her lots of fluids, and I think by 5:00 she was back to her normal self. So it was over quick. It made me sad to see her so miserable and wished it was happening to me instead of her.
Waiting for Devin to get home from school. Addie is on this summer dress kick. She REFUSES to wear pants. She dresses herself, and I let her, but usually make her change if we are leaving the house.
It had been so nice lately--perfect weather! And after months of not leaving the house it has felt so good to get out and play with the kids!
Having fun with Bolt while I cleaned out his cage.
Monday (MLK) Jared stayed home and it was like the perfect day. Not that anything great happened. It was just one of those days where we spent all day together and had so much fun as a family. We had lunch here (love the chicken fingers!)...
...then stopped at the park on the way home. Jared and I just sat on the grass and talked and watched the kids play for a while. It felt good to take pictures again! Later that night we went out for frozen yogurt.
I had two different friends post how good this book was on facebook on the same day so I went out and bought it yesterday after my doctors appointment. Great book! It reminded me a lot of The Hunger Games and The Giver (both books I love).
Baby Update. I am about 16 weeks and I have been feeling the baby move this week. Love that. We find out the sex on Valentines Day. (I'm thinking boy since I'm still sick and that is what happened with Mr. Devin).
Christmas was again spent in AZ. Devin and Addie were so excited to go to Grandma's house, although Devin was concerned about Santa finding us. All month he kept asking me, "How will Santa know where we are?" He had a lot of other questions about Santa this year. He wanted to know if Santa could see him ALL the time--I, of course, told him Santa could see him ALL the time so he better be nice. He wanted to know how Santa gets into houses that don't have chimneys (like ours). He wanted to know how they make all the toys. There were many more questions, but his curiosity was really cute.
I had planned on making stocking for the kids to match the ones Pam (Jared's mom) made for Jared and I, but I soon realized that was not going to happen. We bought the kids cheapo $1 stockings and Steph helped them decorate them with "sparkles" aka glitter. While Devin was decorating his, he told Steph he wanted a heart. I told him hearts weren't that Christmasy (thinking he should stick to candy canes and Christmas trees and such). He told me "No. Christmas is about loving everyone." Almost made me cry to hear such a sweet explanation of what Christmas really is all about.
Decorating gingerbread houses. My family is so competitive and creative--ours always looks the worst (thanks a lot Devin and Adalynn). Jen and James made a pretty impressive castle. Steph and Emily had the "green" house (notice the solar panels), and Mom's was the pretty house.
Christmas morning! My parents bought Devin and Addie the car, which was a hit!
Addie would have been happy with anything this year. She loves the Wonder Pets and Barney so we got her a Barney doll and Wonder Pets boat thing. My family totally spoiled her and Devin though. Every one of my siblings got the kids a few things each so along with the presents from us and my parents it was a lot.
For months Devin had been telling us he wanted Nintendo DSI. We just couldn't justify spending almost $200 for a present we weren't sure he would like. Heck even if we were sure he would like it, that is a lot for a 5 year old! He told Santa that it was what he wanted so I started early to soften the blow. I told him it was too expensive and he told me, "No. It's not too expensive for Santa. He can just MAKE one." Hmm....I wasn't sure what to say to that one, so I just told him he wasn't going to get it. So we got him a Leap Frog Leapster instead. Devin and Adalynn love it and have spent hours playing games. Devin also got a lot of art stuff--something he seems to be really into lately.
We took a few family pictures since everyone was home.
Addie isn't too much of a girly girl, but she has started showing interest in make-up.
If you know my family, you know that a holiday isn't complete until a few guns are shot. I had mentioned to my dad that Jared and I were interested in getting a hand gun so he had me shoot a few different ones and taught me a lot of what I needed to know, even how to clean it. He ended up giving us one of his old revolvers--it is a 357 magnum (38 special?). Checking out the Osama target. Devin was more interested in collecting all of the shells that flew out of the gun then actually shooting. This is our present. We really didn't buy each other anything and we got money for Christmas so we spent the week after Christmas looking around. After almost 10 years of marriage we were finally able to get rid of our cheap Shopko entertainment center and small TV. The only problem is now we have about 50 more sports channels (including the mountain) so that is all we have been watching.
I'm again glad we were able to go home. My parents and siblings all love my kids so much and love playing with them. I can't tell you how many times I couldn't find the kids, come to find out Emily or Steph took them up to the tree house. Or coming down to the room and seeing James lying down with the kids trying to get them to sleep (after they were freaking out about a monster in our room). And seeing how excited Devin was to go to Walmart with my dad (my dad bought him all the treats he loves and I usually wont buy). It especially meant a lot this year after being so miserable and hormonal. Thanks to Jared and my family, it really ended up being a special time.
Like I mentioned before, December was a rough month for me. There were a few nights I felt okay, so we tried to take advantage of those nights and do a few things together. Jared really did a lot with the kids by himself--made me sad to see my family going out and doing stuff while I stayed at home super sick, but I was happy that they at least were able to continue with some of our traditions.
Decorating the tree
Our community had a little Christmas event--it was really cute. Here we are on the horse drawn carriage.
With Santa. Addie hated him (again).
On our way to the cactus gardens. Despite Devin's expression, he was beyond excited.
This is inside the chocolate factory which is a part of the cactus gardens. This was the first time we've seen people making stuff--looks like peanut brittle.
After the gardens, we made a quick trip to the carousel.