Monday, October 20, 2014

I Shall Capitalize on This...

Gracie has a new found passion for vacuuming.

Far be it for me to stand in her way of happiness.

Spread your wings little vacuuming bird, and fly high ;)

I mean, she happily vacuumed for a solid 10 minutes.

Let's hope she keeps this new found passion through her teenage years :)

Have a happy Monday!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Project 365: #41

Another week is in the books!

 Day 283:

Walking back from the high school homecoming parade with the Kindergarteners!

Day 284:

Singing on the stage in the youth room at church :)

Day 285:

Two little cuties watching the Kitchen Aid do all the work!

Day 286:

I made these yummy bars for our first small group meeting!  And, yes, pictures of dessert in the refrigerator is what happens when I forget to take pictures until right before I go to bed :)

Day 287:

Gracie just seriously cracks me up!  The enormous Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls make good buddies when your sisters are in school!

Day 288:

Things have been pretty musical over here!  Leah is learning how to play the recorder in music class, and we have a Dollar Store recorder she enjoys using for practice.  Maggie is playing a Winnie the Pooh tambourine on a stick, Gracie is playing a broom guitar, and Leah is playing a guitar she made out of boxes.  There's lots of creativity around here!

Day 289:

Maggie and Gracie (who are both rocking the "flower girl" hair style) are somehow playing Go Fish with puzzle pieces.  And, yes, that's what our living room look like after school/before bed/a lot of the time!

Do you have any fun plans this weekend?  We are hanging out with out of town friends on Saturday and then have a fun church activity that night.  Should be a good day!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Nighttime Wins!

Aaron and I like to say that Gracie's personal inner monologue is, "Play!  Play!  Play!"

In case you were wondering, my personal inner monologue is, "Cut strawberries.  Braid hair.  Stop the crying.  Cut strawberries.  Braid hair.  Stop the crying."

Anyway, Gracie's personal inner monologue has made for some less than awesome going-to-bed-times the last 6 months or so...but probably way longer.

And, bless Maggie's heart, she needs her sleep, so Gracie being chatty and playful at night wasn't going real far when it came to building sisterly community.

Nothing was helping.  I would go in friendly.  I'd go in angry frustrated irritated less than friendly.  We even took out all of her stuffed animals so she wouldn't have anything to play with.

Her response?  "That's okay, Mom.  I don't mind."


I even sat in their room one night so that I could immediately ask her to be quiet if she talked.


The next night she was crying because she wanted me their room.

Whomp whomp whooooooooomp.

Seeing as this heightened in the summer, naturally, it was hot out.  We don't have central air, but we do have an alarmingly large window air conditioner that does a good job cooling the house down.  

We always have the girls' bedroom doors closed at night, but we decided to leave their doors open so the cool air could get in.

Bedtime problem=solved!

I don't know if it was the realization that Aaron or I could walk by at any second and see her making bad choice, but that made a HUGE difference in Gracie's bedtime behavior.  She stopped talking to Maggie and stopped trying to keep her awake.  It was amazing!

I never in a million years would have thought that keeping their bedroom door open would help.  Plus, we haven't had problems with any of the girls complaining about noise or light or anything.  

But, we still had problems with her calling out and neeeeeeeeding something from us right after she laid down.

She was no longer bugging Maggie which was good, but still...

Namely, she just had to poop.

I mean, I seriously think she conditioned herself to have to poop like 2 minutes after she went to bed.

This led to me saying insane things like, "You had that poop in your bottom before you went to bed, and that's when you are supposed to poop...before bed."

Then I'd poke my head into the bathroom to check on her like every 30 seconds, and I'd say, "Did you squeeze out all your poop?"

WHO AM I???  I mean...I just can't even...

When she turned 4, I even tried telling her that kids who are 4 only call out in case of emergency.

Every now and then, she'd earn back 1 of the stuffed animals we had to take away, but not very consistently.

There was nothing we could do that would make her stop.  We just started praying that God would give Gracie a heart that wants to obey.

Gracie is quite self motivated which will hopefully be a huge asset in her decision making as she gets older, but it can certainly present some parenting conundrums.  I mean, I can't make her want to obey.

Well, I'm happy to report that the last couple of weeks have been awesome!  Gracie has been going to bed like a champion, and I'm so, so thankful!

I know it might seem like a little thing, but I'm so thankful that God cares about the little things, too.

It also builds my faith.  I know God is powerful enough to change the heart of my stubborn strong willed daughter, because I've seen it.  Believe me, Gracie's heart didn't change because of any excellent parenting techniques. 

I can trust that God will change hearts that need changing...including mine.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Packed Full of Walmart Bags

Towards the end of the summer, I asked Maggie and Gracie to clean their room.

When Aaron does this, they're all like, "Yeah!  Dad!  I love to clean my room!  WHOOP! there it is!"  And things like that.

When I ask them to clean their room, they're all like, "Mom.  I don't know hoooooooow to clean my room.  Can you tell me what to do?  It's sooooooo much.  I caaaaaaaan't do it."

Yeah, I don't know why that is, but it's just one of those weird, oddly frustrating things.

Anyway, so when I asked them to clean their room, they got right to it.

This was a pleasant surprise, until I realized just what they were doing.

They filled Walmart bags with their stuff, and packed the Walmart bags into their closet. 

Maggie and Gracie were so proud of themselves (and the stuff was off the floor) that I didn't have the heart to tell them that wasn't really what I had in mind.

I finally decided to have the girls buckle down and clean out their closet.

I mean, look at it!

And, then the bags...

I am by no means a neat-nik or clean freak or whatever, but that seriously made me want to hyperventilate.  To be fair, those bags were stashed in the closet until we started cleaning.

We found some fun things, like Swiper.

He looks creepy and guilty all at the same time.

I also found a stack of cash.

And, like all cleaning things, it got worse before it got better.

Maggie was a happy, little cleaning machine!

It looks so awesome!

Then, after they cleaned and organized, Maggie sorted her dresses according to color :)

She is her father's daughter :)

Oh, do you see how freaking yellow their closet is?  That's what color their room was.  Yikes!

I'm glad to say, that while all this cleaning occurred about 10 days ago, and it's still looking pretty good!

It's probably some sort of miracle :)

Have a happy week!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Project 365: #40

It's been a great week over here, but, if I'm being honest, there was a lot of crying, too.  Such is life, though, right?!?

Day 276:

Shopping at the cheese store on Orchard Day!

Day 277:

We love the penny horse rides at the grocery store!

Day 278:

I love their funny faces!  We were eating deconstructed caramel apples...yum!

Day 279:

Aaron was out of town Monday night, so us girls went to Berry Yo with friends!

Day 280:

Maggie came home from school feeling all of the feelings, so Leah read to her.  You know, they girls can really get on each other's nerves sometimes, but when someone is sad from an outside influence, they really rally around each other.  It's really, really sweet...

Day 281:

The big girls had a half day of school, so we went to a different park that usual.  It was so fun!

Day 282:

Enjoying smoothies on Thirsty Thursday :)

We have 2 parades this weekend!  The big girls have a parade for school (homecoming for the high school) this afternoon.  Aaron, Gracie and I are walking to the downtown with Maggie's class!  Then, the university has all of their homecoming stuff on Saturday.  Pretty exciting :)  

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Orchard Time!

Leah and Mags didn't have school on Friday, so we made our yearly pilgrimage to the apple orchard!  I'm happy to report that it went much better than last year!

I was telling the girls how we'd been going to the orchard every year since Gracie was a tiny baby!  I found this proof picture in Leah's "about me" page from the scrapbook her teacher put together in PreK.

Be still my heart!  Could they be any more adorable?  Gracie was maybe 4 weeks old.  

We listened to some Adventures in Odyssey on the drive there which made it zoom by!  

Even though the drive was good, we were super excited to get there!  The girls enjoyed doing "Cheers!" with their apple cider :)

Poor Gracie got some sort of bite by her right eye which made it a little swollen, but she was a champ and had an awesome time anyway!

We sampled some different apples, even though we knew we were getting honeycrisps.  

Mommy Confession:  I buy honeycrisps and the cheaper galas.  I give the girls galas in their lunch because they don't have quite the level of appreciation of honeycrisps as I do, and I want to hoard savor the honeycrisps for as long as possible!

We made it to the apple cider donuts, and they were perfection.  So fresh and warm...delicately crispy on the outside and lightly tender on the inside.  I literally almost got choked up, because they were so delicious!  I seriously need a life.

We enjoyed the beautiful view

and did a little browsing.

After we checked out, the girls had the time of their lives riding the tire horses,

posing by the measuring stick,

and enjoying the view (yes, I asked them to put their arms around each other...super adorable).


We stopped and got cheese curds on the way home.  Apparently nothing says, "Delicious cheese!" like an enormous mouse!

We met Aaron for a late lunch at Culver's

and had such a good time!

After quiet rest, I even took the girls to the library! 

Now that they're older, it's less scary taking them to the library by myself.  Leah can even look for books by herself!

The girls check library books out very differently.  Gracie literally walks down a row of books and randomly grabs some.  Maggie asks to find an author or character she's interested in and picks from there.  Leah treats choosing a library book like a  

Anyway, for supper we had a quintessential orchard-y meal of apples, apple cider donuts, popcorn (I bought the kernels at the orchard), and cheese curds.  

It was autumn heaven on a plate!

We realized, too, that Gracie had inadvertently chosen the perfect shirt for the day!

"Today is my favorite day!"

And it really was <3

Monday, October 6, 2014

Project 365: #39

I'm a little late getting this up, but we had a good week!  Enjoy the catch up!

Day 269:

I'll admit that I actually forgot to take a picture this day and the above picture is from the day before.  But, I do feel like it's worth documenting the time a school bus kind of got stuck on our dead end street and had to do a series of tiny y turns to get out!

Day 270:

We were hanging out at Menards and saw this.  Um.  Merry Christmas/Happy Winter/What the Heck?

Day 271:

A doubler!  A double banana!  I've never seen such a thing!

Day 272:

Maggie wearing my favorite shirt (it says Pick Flowers Not Fights) on hat day!

Day 273:

Happy Anniversary blurry selfie :)  Ten amazing years <3

Day 274:

We went on our anniversary date the next day!  The company was amazing...the food, not so much.  Aaron's inner food snob came out which was entertaining :)

Day 275:

Grocery shopping with this cutie!  She likes to keep the cart organized...organized in an adorable four year old sense :)

I hope you have a great week!