Sunday, March 27, 2016

Spring Break and Easter 2016

This week was Spring Break, ultimately culminating today in Easter.  As I sit here reflecting on what we did over the last week, everything before Thursday is a blur.  I know we played games, went to the library, went to the park, read books, played with cousins, and just relaxed.  Just don't ask me to tell you what happened on which days.

After Thursday, things become much clearer.  Jeremy took Thursday and Friday off of work, his first real paid vacation days since we left Vanguard almost 5 years ago.  Originally we had planned to go to the beach, but decided that since the weather would not be that great, we should just have a staycation instead.  On Thursday we went to the park, went out to lunch, and then had family pictures taken (they turned out great, but you are just going to have to wait to see them).  On Friday, we went to see Zootopia and played at Dave and Buster's.  Saturday we went to two different Easter egg hunts and went on a long bike ride to the park and back.

Today is Easter and my heart is so full and happy.  I am so grateful for my Savior, for His sacrifice, and that He lives.  Most of all, I am beyond thankful that I can live again with my family forever.  I seriously can't get enough of them!  So far today we celebrated with a visit from the Easter Bunny.  Merrick got a Hover Ball and a baseball glove and Carrigan got a Spot It game and nail polish.  They have already been putting them to use.  As you can see C.C. really likes painting our nails and Jeremy was a really good sport and even let her paint his toenails.  We had almond pastry for breakfast and talked about the true meaning of Easter.  I was so proud listening to Merrick talk about why we really celebrate Easter.  He really knows his stuff.  Soon it will be off to church and then to Ben and Becca's for dinner and another Easter egg hunt.

I can't believe that the week is almost over and tomorrow it will be back to reality.  I guess I should focus on how thankful I am that I love being with my family so much.  I don't think everyone feels that way and I really should stop taking that for granted.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Random Tidbits

We had a short week of school this week, followed by parent/teacher conferences, and now we are officially on Spring Break.  I thought that today, before we get into the festivities of Spring Break and Easter, I would take a minute to share some random tidbits that have slipped through the cracks over the last two weeks or so.

Several weeks ago when we attended the Family Fun Expo we left with a big bag of free stuff.  I should have thrown it all away when we got home, but in a lapse of judgment just hid it away, apparently for the kids to find later.  Once they did find it, the mustache stickers were a big hit.

Since we started potty training, we have really ramped up the hand washing.  The result has been some seriously dry hands.  It got so bad one night at bedtime that we decided to lather C.C.'s hands with lotion and cover them with socks to trap the moisture in.  She now randomly will decide sometimes that she needs lotion and socks at bedtime.  This last time I couldn't help but snap a picture of her seriously passed out with her bright green sock hands.

Last weekend we went to the Children's museum.  At one point we ended up in the clay room.  Merrick and C.C. both built creations and Merrick decided it was time to move on.  C.C., however, was not done.  Jeremy decided to take Merrick on to the next thing while I waited for C.C. to finish and then we would catch up to them.  A while later they came back to check on us and C.C. was still going strong with the clay so they went to do something else.   Eventually it was time for the clay studio to close for the night and I was finally able to pry Carrigan away from the clay.  This girl loves her crafts, she did not get that from her mama. 

 These three bestie cousins (Lincoln, Isabel, and Carrigan) have somewhat of a love/hate relationship.  I think that comes with the territory of being so close in age.  This week they decided they needed to strap on leash backpacks and take each other on walks.  The result was a really cute cousin train.

Merrick got a new kite last Fall.  Unfortunately, ever since the kite was purchased, it has not really been kite flying weather.  Anytime there is wind he asks to fly it, but usually the wind is being accompanied by downpour rain and storm and I have to tell him that it just is not going to work out.  This week the stars finally aligned and Merrick was able to fly his kite for the first time.

So that is it for this week.  Like a said, random tidbits.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Engineering Wonders

For the last eight weeks, Merrick has been taking a class after school on Thursdays call Engineering Wonders.  He has been learning how and why thinks work and move.  Thursday was their last class so I thought today was as good a time as any to report on everything he has been up to.

Over the course of eight weeks they built and tested clay boats for buoyancy, learned about demolition, made toothpick bridges, did an egg drop, made flashlights, made roller coasters, made a sugar cube igloo, and one other thing that neither Merrick or I can remember and we don't seem to have a picture of.  They learned about the process of engineering and how to make a plan, execute the plan, and test it.  We even took the fun home and since his egg survived the egg drop, did an experiment with it by soaking it in vinegar.

I am so glad Merrick had a chance to take this class.  I think he learned so much and it fueled his already curious mind.

Before I go today, I do also need to mention that after Merrick's kindnesses last week, this week Carrigan rose to the challenge.  After working for weeks and weeks to fill her chart at preschool, she finally filled it this week and chose a pencil for Merrick for her prize.  Sometimes I just blown away by their thoughtfulness.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Show a Little Kindness

Last week when I sat down to write my blog post I was feeling overwhelmed by my new church calling and feeling like I had been just about as busy as possible with it over the proceeding week.  Turns out I was wrong and it could get busier.  This week it did.  I can't tell you how many times this week Jeremy said to me "this is like a second job" and the truth of the matter is I spent a lot more time on my church job this week than on my actual job.  Despite how it seems, I don't want to use this week's blog to complain again.  Instead, I want to talk about some amazing, unexpected blessings that have come during this crazy time.

This week I have noticed some changes in my relationships with my family, my kids in particular, and changes in their relationships with each other and the outside world.  How is it that when I am stretched thinner than ever before that I have more patience with my children?  Why, when I was home by myself with the kids (Jeremy was at dinner with his old boss) and I made a dinner that everyone always complains about, did no one complain?  Why has Merrick decided that he really wants to help C.C. throughout the day AND why has C.C. decided she will let him rather than insisting that only mommy can help her?  I know the reason these blessing have come, but I am still overwhelmed by gratitude for them.

I have been particularly touch this week by the kindness Merrick has shown and I wanted to write down two stories of that kindness so they are not forgotten.

Every month at school Merrick has a reading chart to complete.  He has to read in 20 minute blocks throughout the month to fill the chart and once it is full he gets a prize.  In February it took us to the very last day to get it done (good thing it was a leap year).  I sent Merrick to school that morning with his completed chart so he could collect his prize.  At pick up, he came running up to Carrigan with something in his hand.  I was a Sophie the First (her current favorite) figurine.  He handed it to her and told her he got it for her and it took me a second to realize that he had turned in his chart and the prize that he chose to get for his month worth of work was a prize for his sister.  I am still so touched by this that I can hardly put it into words.

The other story took place just a couple of days later.  Merrick had been telling me for a day or two that there was going to get a new kids in his class on Thursday that just moved here.  On Thursday morning we were all going through our usual routine.  I was in my room getting ready and when I came out I found Merrick at the desk in the family room busily cutting away at some paper.  I asked him what he was doing and he told me that he wanted to make a present for the new kid on his first day so he was making him a snowflake (because "it is still winter so it is still appropriate").  Again I was amazed at his ability to look outside himself and be so concerned with this new kid, making sure he felt welcome on his first day.

So my takeaway from this week is kindness and love.  I am grateful that somehow, despite the busy week, those traits were still able to be the focus.

This picture is a few months old, but I am pretty sure it never made it onto here and to me it exemplifies the love and kindness I was talking about as Merrick and C.C. snuggled and fell asleep together in her bed.