Sunday, December 26, 2010




Your sweet smile, bedtime snuggles, cheesy grins, tractors and hot wheels and Curious George…

We love everything about you!

We love you so much, and we’re so grateful that God has blessed us with you.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Whether we know you in person, see you often or seldom, or have only met online ~ we’re thankful for you! We wish for you to have a MERRY CHRISTMAS filled with the joy of Jesus Christ!

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Oh, how we look forward to a third little face on this card next year. This was probably our last chance to do a boy-colored card! :)

This post is linked at the 1+1+1=1 website.

The Box

We’ve been having some issues with our water pump lately, and we ended up having someone come out to install a new part.  (THANK THE LORD, it was still under warranty for 2 more months, so we didn’t have to pay $150!)

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Keith offered to throw out the old part, but the man said he needed it for the warranty.  He offered to give Keith the box, which Keith brought into the house for the boys.

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Oh, what fun the boys have had with this box in the past week!  I just threw it out a little while ago, and Alex sobbed!  There were big tears dripping down my little boy’s face, as he just didn’t want to let that box go.  It almost made me go and bring it in from the garage, but I resisted. (Our living room was ready to say goodbye after a week of housing this giant box!)

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It’s been a crawl-in house, a place to stand up and peek out the little “window”, a slide, a bobsled…you name it!  (Alex liked us to stand him in the tall box, and then he’d let the box tip over so he fell to the ground.)  But now it’s falling apart and almost useless.December2010 108

Isn’t it amazing how much fun kids can have with one piece of trash?!      December2010 112

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tot School – Christmas (35 months)

Alex gets it!  He gets it in the most basic way, but the fact that he understands brings me a lot of joy!  We went out for breakfast yesterday with Grandma and Grandpa, saw a Christmas display, talked about Santa, and stopped in a few stores.  As we were getting out of the car at a store, I said something about how Christmas isn’t about Santa or presents, it’s about celebrating…

Alex looked at me and said, “Jesus Being Born!”

And THAT’S what thrilled me!  He knows what Christmas is really all about.  I haven’t been drilling it into his head, but that’s what we’ve read about and talked about as we’ve worked on Tot School in the past 2 weeks.

We’re reading lots of Christmas stories together, and here’s some of the fun we’ve had recently:

We made red and green Christmas playdough (cinnamon and peppermint scented) with Grace.  The kids helped with the measuring, did all the stirring, and (of course) left the cooking part to me.

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After that, we pulled out all the Christmas-shaped cookie cutters and had a good time!

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Alex chose to do this on other days, too.  This playdough is getting a workout!

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Alex & I are working through a printable book from Musings of Me.  This first page is about the angel Gabriel visiting Mary.  Alex and I read the story from his children’s Bible, then we made this angel with coffee filter wings – loosely inspired by an angel that I saw on the Hubbard’s Cupboard website.December2010 075 December2010 077We marble painted Christmas trees with Grace.

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We did several different magnet pages – Santa, Ornament, and a few others – with both magnets and dot markers.  (See?  There’s a little Santa fun thrown in the mix!)

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We did the people/animals nativity sort from Carisa’s Christmas printables.

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So, Jesus is on top of the shepherd, Mary is upside-down, and the pig is kind of borderline human, but he got the concept! ;)

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And, for this post, the last thing is this pre-writing skills page from Carisa’s Nativity printables (link above).  It’s not perfect, but he’s getting the hang of following the lines.  I’m pleased with this for an almost-3 year old.

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In the coming week, I’d like to finish the Christmas book that we’re making and read the Legend of the Candy Cane, let Alex eat his first candy cane, and perhaps make candy cane cookies.  We’ll do some other fun stuff, too, I’m sure, but those are my main goals.

Be sure to check the 1+1+1=1 website to see what others tots are doing!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Picture Post

Sometimes it’s good to flip through the pictures and remind myself that my boys are pretty cute little critters.  Since they’ve been exhausting and exasperating their mommy & daddy lately, I needed a good dose of “cuteness reminder” today…

Grace & Alex pretending to be dogs…

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Alex, Max, and Grace running and running and running in circles…

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A “kid pile” of Gage, Grace, and Alex…not sure where Max was!

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“Singing” his guitar (as he calls it)

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Ah, there’s a story with this one.  See the stickers all over his face?  I gave Alex a sheet of Highlights stickers (courtesy of Aunt Deb, I believe…) to keep him busy at my midwife appointment the other day.  He stuck a few to the paper on the table, but it was *MAX* who wanted the stickers on that day.

I handed the stickers to Max one at a time, and he covered his whole face with stickers.  He didn’t want any of them removed, either.  He got smiles from Cheri (the midwife), from the nurse, and from everyone in the lobby as we were leaving.

We went to Meijer for groceries afterwards, and I figured I’d just let Max wear the stickers because he was so happy about it.  He got so many smiles and laughs from people in the store!  As we were standing in the checkout line, the lady in front of me did a double take, looked at my boys, and said “You!  I just saw you at Cheri’s office!  Your little boy made my day!”

Max now begs for stickers on his face every day.  Strange new obsession…but cute, nonetheless…

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I just adore his wildly wavy hair after his bath at night! December2010 046Oh, and we wouldn’t want the dog to feel left out.  I’m not sure Maggie enjoyed this game of dress-up as much as the rest of us did…

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First time letting Max eat yogurt independently:  It was interesting, I’ll tell you that! December2010 073

My little helpers – the mini-swiffer got passed down to Max today, now that he’s walking pretty steadily.  (Notice that, once again, Max has a sticker on his head.)

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Little Potty Talk

(Yeah, the subject is your warning.  You can stop reading here if you don’t like the words pee and poop, ha!)

December2010 041Ya know, it’s a GOOD THING this kiddo is so cute! 


It’s hard to tell in this picture, but he’s sitting on his frog potty after taking a bath.  Let me say, I *highly* recommend this potty for boys…the high front is a wonderful feature! If it was a removable piece, I guarantee you that I’d find it on the floor 20 times a day!

We started potty training on November 1st.  It was an interesting week, to say the least.  I put Alex on the potty every 20 – 30 minutes all day, every day that week.  (Unless he did a fantastic job, and then I’d give him a longer time in between…)  It was exhausting for both of us, and poor Max didn’t get as much attention as usual either. 

I anticipated plenty of accidents, and there was no punishment involved.  He was rewarded with 1 or 2 jelly beans for each potty success.  (And I was rewarded with more laundry for every failure, ha!)

A few days into it, he started getting VERY angry at me when I’d try to put him on the potty.  I wasn’t about to back down now, though, so we kept at it.  There were plenty of tears shed, and I fell into bed exhausted every night!

We stayed home most of the week, but there was one day (midwife appointment) when I absolutely had to leave the house.  On that trip, I learned that it’s almost impossible to go shopping, get a 2 year old on the store potty, and hold a not-yet-walking 1 year old all at the same time.  If my mom hadn’t been with us on that first shopping trip, it would have been a distaster!

This prompted a purchase I’ll probably never regret – a portable potty seat with great options: The legs fold in to fit in a diaper bag, it can be used open on any toilet (and it’s STURDY) or pop up the legs, throw in a plastic bag, and it’s a real portable potty! (Potette Plus)

(Anyway, enough about the genius products that been-there-done-that parents have invented…back to Alex!)

So anyway, over a month since we started potty training, there are good days and bad days.  Alex understands the concept.  He just doesn’t really care.  If we make him go potty, he can do it independently on the frog potty or on the toilet.  On his own, though, he really doesn’t care if his underwear is wet.  He rarely initiates trips to the bathroom (although sometimes he’ll surprise us).  He stays dry through almost every nap, though!

He’s stubborn, too.  Today, he sat on the potty for over 30 minutes without going.  We *had* to go to the store, and he *insisted* he couldn’t pee.  Finally, I had to toss him in the car and go.  Guess who peed while we were out?  (And who wet his underwear TWO MORE TIMES today?)

My newest “incentive” is Christmas tree shaped ice cream treats.  We rarely give our kids dessert before bed, but Alex knows we have these…and the only way he can earn one is to stay dry all day.  If he stays dry, he gets a Christmas tree ice cream topped with red & green sprinkles on a GLASS snowman plate, with a grown-up fork.  That’s big stuff when you’re 2!  Out of 5 days, he’s only succeeded in earning one ice cream dessert.  And I’ve stopped giving him any sweet snacks, too.  If he wants sweets, he’ll just have to start taking ownership of this potty thing.

He’s proud of his big-boy underwear.  His favorite is Jeff Gordon racecar undies.  He also has Thomas the Train and “Just Like Daddy” big boy underwear.  He’s picked it all himself, and he loves choosing what he’ll wear each day.

We use pull-ups for naptime and bedtime, and we also put him in pull-ups at church (to be kind to the nursery workers) or for all day trips away from home.  Oddly enough, he’s usually doing an amazing job of staying dry during naps or when we’re out and about.  While I swore I’d never use pull-ups during the day, we’re finding that Alex loves keeping the little picture on his pull-up (it goes away when wet…) and sometimes it’s the incentive we need to keep him dry.

Poop is another story – sometimes he cares; sometimes he doesn’t.  He gets a treat from his Trunk or Treat bag if he does it on the potty.  We don’t expect perfection in this area yet, but some days he’s WONDERFUL at it!  He’s quite likely to tell us when he needs to do this, although sometimes he tells us too late.

Oh, and now we move on to the new obsession – TOILET PAPER.  We’d reached the point where we send Alex to the bathroom on his own every hour or so.  Except he’s bored with the whole potty thing, so he needed to add in something new – using half a roll of toilet paper every time he’s in the bathroom alone.  I’ve fished a LOT of toilet paper out of the potty in the past few days!  So, no more independent potty trips for Alex until I can trust him again.

So, we stick with it.  We’re the “meanies” who send our son to the potty every hour, even if he gets angry with us.  We don’t put up with nonsense.  We keep hoping he’ll get it eventually…and *praying* he gets it figured out by April! ;)

Snowflakes & Santa Claus

(This is sitting in my “Live Writer” drafts…no clue if I’ve posted it, and I’m tired of looking at it.  So, here’s one very outdated post from mid-December!)

This past Saturday was our first “real” snowfall of the season.  Thankfully, it happened on a Saturday, so Daddy got the joy of seeing his little ones playing in the first snow of the year.

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Max had been walking in the garage while I unloaded groceries one day last week, and he fell (with bare hands) into a small bit of snow in the driveway.  He cried and cried about that cold, wet feeling on his hands.  I was worried he wouldn’t like playing in the snow on Saturday, but since he had mittens on, he *loved* it!

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Alex was pretty excited about it, too.  He quickly learned that his SANDBOX is not much fun in the snow, though! ;)

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Daddy pulled out the sled, and both boys giggled and smiled as we took turns pulling them around the yard.

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Later in the day, we headed over to the tractor store for their Christmas Open House.  SANTA comes there…and who can resist Santa on a sleigh pulled by John Deere Gators? ;)

Both boys willingly sat by Santa.  Alex took it very seriously, and he told Santa that he wanted a Gator for Christmas.  This took his mommy & daddy by surprise, as he’d told us he wanted Santa to bring him a tractor…and that’s what “Santa” had already picked for the boys!  (Thankfully, later in the day, Alex told us he really wanted a tractor.  I told him I’d call Santa after Alex went to bed, letting him know that Alex changed his mind.)

Max was fine with sitting by Santa, but he just stared up at the strange red man with big, blue eyes.  His picture blocked his face, so the lady offered to take another picture.  Max cried and cried about sitting by Santa for the second time, though, so we just stuck with the first picture!

Fun at the Tractor Store:

driving a real gator…

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trying out the 12” bike…which he could ride pretty well!

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driving the toy Gator…

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telling Mommy that he wished Santa would bring him everything in this pile…

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I really believe in keeping CHRIST as the main focus of Christmas (and it will show in our Tot School posts this month, I’m sure…) but a little Santa stuff thrown in is definitely fun for the boys! :)