You guys, toddlers are hard work. But, they are also so incredibly adorable. This little guy slays me on the daily with his little antics. His latest thing is the cheese face. I don't even tell him to smile. I pull out my phone or camera and he poses. It is hysterical. He usually backs up against whatever he is standing near, tilts his head to one side and gives me this toothy smile. It just slays me, I tell ya. 

And here's the thing, dealing with a toddler may be physically exhausting...not only will they wake up endlessly while getting molars, they also will empty the contents of your tupperware drawer ten times a day. But, they aren't to the mind games yet. They unabashedly come to you for a hug. They lay their little heads on your shoulder. They still prefer you over mostly everyone else. They really are great little people and toddlerhood really is a sweet, sweet time. 

I obviously say all this while having to deal with the bigger kid problems that come from school. Just as some day I will probably be yapping about how second grade is a walk in the park compared to junior high...oh junior high. That is literally the time of parenting I fear the most. Such an awkward stage as a person, so I can only imagine having to be the parent of someone going through that. 

But toddler cheese smiles, those are pretty dang awesome. 

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On Learning to Not Put My Foot In My Mouth

I used to be a huge gossip.  This was way back in my high school days. But, you know what? I learned gossip hurts. I've been hurt and I've hurt others. And I just hate that icky feeling of knowing I shared something that wasn't mine to share. Why do we do it? To feel in the know? To act superior to others because other's challenges build us up? Wow, that's awesome...sense the sarcasm

One hard lesson I have learned over and over is my opinions on whatever in your life, or whoever's life, don't really matter. Not even don't really matter. They flat out don't matter. Did you hear that? MY OPINIONS DON'T MATTER. Why should I care how someone else spends their time? Or their money? Or what they eat? Or what they do or don't allow their children to do? If something works for my family, great! It doesn't mean it works for others. And if I don't want other people's opinions, then I shouldn't give mine. 

But I also HATE it when people ask for my opinion, but don't really want it. If you know we are opposites, why ask? Especially when you don't really want it and really are just looking for a fight. I am working on putting up boundaries in this area of my life. Just because someone asks my opinion doesn't mean I have to give it. Imagine that. Now learning to graciously not give my opinion is a whole other story. Because, often times, people push if you refuse to instantly build them up when they are fishing for your opinion. But, I am learning, keeping my mouth shut speaks volumes without me having to. 

That being said, I want SELECTIVE people to speak into my life. Just as I would hope to be able to speak into the lives of selective people as well. These people I care about so deeply that giving them my (well thought out) thoughts and opinions, no matter how hurtful, is important to me. Now, when I say hurtful, I don't mean in the way I say things, I mean in the message. So often, for all of us, the truth stings at least a little bit. Because, let's be honest, people speaking into your life is generally about something you need to grow in and GROWTH ALWAYS HURTS.

I really am working on opening my mouth less and less. Having to deal less and less with the "why did I say that?!" thoughts that plague me for hours after I said something stupid to someone. As I get older, and less flexible, putting my foot in my mouth becomes more and more of a challenge to deal with ;) So I am thinking practicing self restraint with what comes out of my mouth is a much better idea. 

And, on a side note, teaching kids to control their mouths. Wow, that is quite the job! What they can and can't say in different situations. Learning not to be brutally honest with everyone they see. It's all so difficult. Learn from my mistakes children, learn from my mistakes. If only it worked that way

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Last Week

Last week felt like a bit of a doozie. It started off with both Isla and Callum getting sick. Isla only had it for two days. Callum had it all dang week long. It made for a long week. A tired week. A week full of a lot of crying. For the first time in my almost eight years of being a parent, Ian offered to come home one afternoon and let me nap. THAT is what kind of week it was. One night Callum was literally up the whole night. Another, he woke in 15 minute cycles. Then he kept falling asleep during the day and crying inconsolably when I would have to wake him to go get Connor or Isla from school. So many people commented about how they had never seen him cry before. Which he normally doesn't, but he was just that miserable.

I took to bribing Callum with suckers when I would go get the kids from school. But, as soon as the sucker was gone, the crying was back. I also learned that Callum does not like the center of a tootsie pop. I guess tootsie rolls aren't his thing. One particularly desperate day, I went through five tootsie pops picking Connor up from school...in my defense, they are mini tootsie pops. Also, I don't care about defending myself because I think all parents have had days, weeks even, when it is strictly about survival.

But I made it. We made it. We are all still alive. We are all healthy. Mostly. Those coughs that kids get seem to stay around for weeks and weeks and weeks. Isla even asked me why everyone tells her that she has a cold. Haha! As hard and exhausting as it was of a week on me, it is also so hard to watch your baby be sick and miserable, trying everything you can do to help, but knowing they are still miserable. That just sucks.

Here's to hoping we got that out of our systems and don't have anymore sickness in our house for a good long while.

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A Glimpse Into the Life of Callum

I often think about how a picture can tell someone familiar with the situation so much more than just what was immediately captured. Like this picture of Callum. It speaks volumes about where he is right now. But it speaks of things to me that so many others would miss. 

It speaks of how he now just goes in the playroom by himself and actually plays. 

How he is still sporting his Christmas jammies from last year. I bought them a size up and cuffed the sleeves in hopes of getting two Christmas's out of them. It may be a stretch, but I'm still hoping. 

On the table is the cash register that is arguably one of his favorite things in the playroom to play with. 

But the duplos are up there too. He used to just throw them for fun. Now he actually tries building with them. 

Of course, emptying all the contents out of the play kitchen is also one of his favorite things to do as well. 

This picture also tells a little bit about me. Because slow evenings with early bath times, then some play time before bed, are kind of my favorite. 

On a side note, I'm glad I do posts like these. Stages are fleeting. It's so easy to forget some of the really cute stuff your kids did. While writing this on Callum, I came across one from Connor. He's grown up so much in the past couple years, but it was fun to be reminded of his obsession with smoke detectors. 

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A Weekend Fit For Us

I feel like often times weekends are spent doing things that need to be done around the house or heading out on adventures. But it's not often that we do a bunch of things that really speak to each of our personalities and likes. So when this weekend just sort of happened, it had me chuckling about how various things we did suited each of our personalities so well. 

The weekend started off with my brother, aunt and I having a yard sale. Yard sales are the type of thing I enjoy and totally suit my personality. I love cleaning out and I love making a few bucks in the process. Plus, it was fun to spend a morning with my brother and aunt. 

As soon as the garage sale was over, we went straight to buy Ian a car. This man is a bit of a car hoarder, I tell you. Funny story...when we were first married, Ian became friends with his car mechanic. He used to go hang out at the shop on the weekends. The guy was 10-15 years older than us and owned at least 7 random cars. Fast forward 13 years and we currently own 4 random cars...and a practical Honda Pilot. Anyway, added to our collection this weekend is a '92 (or maybe '93?) Volvo 240 wagon. Swedish gold, as Ian said. He promises one of the other cars will make an exit from our family soon. Because, let's be honest, we only have so much driveway space and I refuse to become like our old neighbors that had so many cars, they parked all over their lawn! 

After getting the car, we installed three car seats in it, so we could take the kids out on an adventure. I used some of my yard sale money to buy us all dinner. We let the kids choose where we would go, knowing full well what they would choose, Sushi Garden. It's their favorite, which I find such a crack up, given how picky they normally are. 

Sunday was full of church, laundry, napping, birthday present picking (hoping? wishing?) by Isla, a little self makeover also by Isla, and finished with dinner at our house with my parents and brother. Unfortunately, it also ended with two kids having fevers, but you can't win em all and it still was a pretty dang great weekend. 

Just in case you didn't get how the weekend matched our personalities, the yard sale spoke to my purging tendencies, the car to Ian's hoarding (haha!), dinner being the kids favorite, Isla's makeover and family. Because who doesn't like spending time with family?

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Callum {1 year, 9 months}

Weight: 24 pounds, 8 ounces
Length: 33 inches
tooth count: 16

Likes: climbing on tables, playing with Connor & Isla's toys, popsicles, any toy with wheels, the toy cash register
Dislikes: being put in his car seat, sitting still, being forced to do anything he doesn't want to do

This little guy really has a will, and an independent streak. It's funny how people at the kids school only see him in a stroller, then if they happen to see him outside of it, are surprised how feisty he is...hence the reason he is always in the stroller at their school, haha! But seriously, if he is in a stroller he is content. If I try to hold him, he fights me to the death to get down and run around. After litereally never falling asleep anywhere but his carseat or home, he started napping in his stroller when we went to Boston and still can do it now. 

Speaking of sleep...Callum still wakes at night. He had a bit of a good stretch sleeping through, but then molars or something happened. He usually wakes twice a night. With the kids school schedules, I have been trying to get Callum to nap only once a day. I would love that nap to happen after I pick up Isla, but before I pick up Connor. With Callum getting up early in the morning, he really struggles making it that long and often crashes around 11. But the good news is, if I put him in his stroller when he falls asleep, I can easily take him to get Isla and he stays asleep. Also, because of the one nap a day thing, he goes to bed at 7:30 and does so much easier than before. 

A few  of Callum's favorite things are climbing on anything and everything and playing with the kids toys that they don't want him touching. He seriously gets joy out of listening to them scream. He enjoys listening to them scream so much, that he gets delight out of pulling Isla's hair. No joke. He has a huge smile on his face when he is pulling her hair and she is screaming. He pretty much gets the same joy when he gets in their room and starts grabbing at their toys as they freak out. He also loves climbing in cars, "driving" and touching all the buttons and knobs. Anytime he is around an open car door, he tries to get in and play. In terms of playing with toys, does throwing things count?! It's seriously a favorite past time of his. He also loves stacking anything that's stackable. He has recently gotten in to playing with Connor's old trains and really seems to enjoy them. But, the thing he does most is empty out the entire contents of the play kitchen. Numerous times every day. It's a favorite of his, haha! 

Callum still babbles a lot, but now has more noises that he babbles, if that makes sense. He also now says the words - mom, dad, baa (ball), hi, yeah, no and Isla. He points at things and "talks" a lot, but I obviously have no clue what he is saying. And sometimes, if we aren't getting it, he takes us by the hand and leads us to what he wants. He also knows many of his body parts - head, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, tongue, fingers, feet, toes. 

Callum's favorite food is probably popsicles. It doesn't matter where he is in the house, when he hears the freezer open, he comes running. He also stands at the freezer screaming numerous times a day. He is still a great eater, though getting slightly pickier. If he doesn't want something, he just throws it...which is just as awesome as it sounds. But any fruit or meat are usually a win with him. About a month ago, I took the tray of the high chair, so he now sits at the table with us. He does try grabbing at other people's food on the table, but he is learning. 

The things I really want to remember about this age are the way it feels when Callum grabs my hand (aka, my finger), how he lays his head on my shoulder when he is tired. How when he knows he's done something wrong, he puts his hands behind his back so you can't grab him. The way he tries to help put his shoes on. 

And here's an "action shot" of what taking pictures of a toddler is really like! 

Just for fun, Connor and Isla at the same age. I can't get over how much hair the other two had compared to Callum! 

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To Sum It Up

We have kind of a busy weekend ahead of us. Tonight we are headed to a 1920's themed party. I normally hate themed parties, but I actually semi got on the bandwagon and am wearing a sort of period dress. Semi and sort...that's about as close as I get for themed parties! Then Saturday it's more backyard work for us before having some neighbors over for dinner. 

Some things from this week:

I made this for dinner last night. It was tasty and the kids didn't whine and complain, so I'm calling it a win. 

I've always just said no to a top sheet, so I got a bit of a kick finding out I'm not alone in this

Speaking of sheets, I am on the hunt for some grey ticking stripe sheets that I don't have to sell a kidney to purchase. Tell me if you see any for a decent price anywhere. 

This. Not only is it important to see life beyone our own tiny circle, it's also important to love and support others. 

I've always been interested in the royal family (yay for baby #3!), so enjoyed this

Whether you have nothing or tons of things planned for this weekend, I hope you enjoy it. 

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A Lemonade Stand

The kids had a lemonade stand on Saturday. Isla actually wanted to have a fruit stand, but settled for lemonade instead. With a projected high of 111, it was the obvious day to have a lemonade stand...NOT. But it all worked out. Ian and Isla made lemonade from the lemon juice I had squeezed from the lemons from my parents tree. Isla made the sign as well. Now that I think about it, Connor really just contributed the tip jar. Our neighbors came out and supported the kids in full force. Their tip jar was overflowing, in a ridiculous way. In fact, the kids are a little mad at me that I have yet to take them to the store to spend that money that is burning a hole in their pockets. The kids even managed to get a couple cars to stop by waving a sign around at the road. And, in what only can be described as a miracle, the kids actually kept their lemonade stand open for an hour and a half...really throwing in the towel because their friends arrived to support them and they wanted to play with them instead. 

^^ One of their customers...which I assume was their favorite customer, haha!

These are the types of things I love about childhood. And these are the types of memories I hope my kids remember from their childhood. The simple, fun ones. The ones that didn't cost much money. The things we said yes to.

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All About Isla

I am sure all kids are different. I totally get that. But some of the differences between boys and girls still shock me, and make me smile. Isla was so excited when she got to bring home her all about me poster to decorate. She wanted to waste no time and start working on it as soon as we got home. Her one request was that it was colorful. She was so into picking the different colors, coloring and drawing little pictures. I'm pretty sure her enthusiasm was much greater than Connor's two years prior. Also, she cares about coloring in the lines and completely much more than Connor did. 

Here is what it said on the poster, since it's kind of hard to read:

My favorite...
Color: pink, blue and purple
Animal: cat
Food: tomatoes and miso soup
Book: Fancy Nancy
Sport: swimmung and ballet
Thing to do at school: learn
Thing to do at home: spend time having fun with my family

I totally did NOT school her on those answers and those last two totally caught me off guard. Sweet girl. 

I am a star because: I'm really good at ballet (also, really humble)
I show others I care by: helping them in any way

Three supercool facts about me:
1. My big brother had the same kindergarten teacher as me
2. I do ballet
3. I'm like to swim

Let us take a moment to enjoy Isla writing her name in all caps, because it will probably be a last, given that they are now making her write it "properly". I will miss seeing that all caps name with the "S" that has changed and improved so much over the past two years that she has been writing. 

I always try to not sway the kids answers on these types of things. I love hearing about their true likes and dislikes. Also, I love hearing about the things that they are proud of. It's really cute and such a good snapshot of their lives at this exact moment. It won't be for much longer that Isla identifies our house as "the green house on Sycamore" or wants to be so many things that it's hard to decide. 

But kindergarten man, it's such a cute age and precious little moment in time.

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