Monday, September 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, K-girl!

Ms. K turned SIX this month! It is so wild to see her getting so big. She is such a fun girl. The big day was busy -- I helped K and J make mini cupcakes in the morning to share with her class at school. J-boy, A and I got to share the treats during the last 10 minutes of class -- K made sure everyone got 2 mini cupcakes, even when it meant she only got one. After school we went to Sonic for Happy Hour slushes, then rushed home so I could finish wrapping gifts! We went to dinner at Red Robin (K's choice), and I think we just might make it a monthly Monday night tradition -- Monday is 'Family Night' at our Red Robin -- they have a fantastic balloon artist, and the kids get free milkshakes! After dinner we rushed home for cake and ice cream with Grandma and Grandpa L and Aunt Sonya & Uncle John and their kids. It was a great day!

On the following Saturday we had a friend party. After several years of princess/fairy/PINK parties, we branched out this year to enjoy a cooking party. We made aprons out of cloth napkins (adapting an idea for dishtowel aprons), and chef hats out of tissue paper. The girls played games, made their own little english muffin pizza and decorated cookies. Thank heavens for the internet -- I love borrowing other peoples' great ideas!!!

So here are a few of my favorite things about my lovely little K-lady:

K is such a good BIG SISTER! This morning I was sitting in Baby A's room feeding the baby, and K and J-boy came in. J-boy struck his best ninja pose, made a mean face and said, "I'm gunna go kill the bad guys!" K immediately jumped into a complimentary ninja pose, and said, "Okay, let's go get 'em!" J jumped out of his pose and ran off, K looked at me with a very grown up look of indulgence, leaned toward me and whispered conspiratorially, "He's such a funny brother!"

She's always trying to keep J-boy out of trouble (he seems to be in trouble a lot these days...). He's big into trantrums, and she soothes and cajoles and pleads and gives in to him regularly. One of K's favorite things to do is hold her baby sister -- especially when she's dressed in what K deems 'cute clothes.' The other day K got upset with me that she only got to hold A in the morning while she was wearing her non-cute PJ's. :)

I don't know if it's in her blood or if it's from my influence, but she loves MUSIC! She hums along with the background music in movies -- she just can't seem to help herself! She plays the piano and practices her lesson without being nagged - and she really just loves it! Nature or nurture? You decide.

She tries very hard to make sure everyone is HAPPY. She'll notice when I'm starting to get frazzeled or frustrated, and she'll come over, put a hand on my arm, look into my eyes and say, "Mom, I sure love you!" She loves to go swimming with her dad -- she loves to make him proud.

And lest you think she's too good to be true, she's also got a devious little streak -- more than once, J-boy has come down the stairs asking me where his cousin T is, or asking what his special treat is, or asking what his new movie is. You see, K & J share a room, and occasionally K will be less than honest with her little brother in an attempt to gain some personal play time and space. That's my cue to give K a 3 sentence lecture on telling the truth, and then engage J-boy in something that gives K a little break from her brother. :) Sneaky little bugger, isn't she?
Anyway, we're grateful to have her! So Happy Birthday, big sister! Thanks for being so great!

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

A View of a Room

Baby A's room is done! Of course, there's still 2 or 3 little things I have tucked in the back of my mind to take care of at a later date, but for now, it's time to move on. :) I've never really gone all out on a baby's room -- the timing just wasn't right for J or K. And since we won't be having another baby for a long time (if we have another baby...), I'm trying to squeeze this baby phase for all it's worth. So this time that included a nursery. I started collecting fabrics and ideas when I was about 5 months pregnant. The fabrics and baskets I bought new, everything else came to me some other way. The crib is the same one J and K used, the bookshelf was another trash find (the same bookshelf of the infamous painting incident), the changing table is on loan from a friend, the lazy boy is second hand (and covered in white sheets... maybe someday I'll be able to justify plunking down $75 on a slip cover...), the little side table came from a garage sale (thanks, Heidi!). I love to use music - lyrics or printed music - to add some meaning to the final touches, so I used the song My Heavenly Father Loves Me for A's room -- I think it turned out pretty sweet. Anyway, here's a few things I learned from the process:

-always lock the door if you're too lazy to wash out the paint roller :)
-just START. Once I'd finally settled on all the fabric and my 'design' for all the sewing, I was completely intimidated and just stewed over it for 2 weeks.
-dying fabric basket liners is much more efficient than sewing new ones! (thanks mom!)
-always buy more paint than you think you'll need (5 cans of spray paint and 4 trips to WalMart later...)
-it helps to have help! I was pretty burned out when my parents came through town, and mom worked on the baskets for me (painting and dying... it was all very tragic... hee hee). Heidi found the recliner (I HIGHLY recommend having a recliner in a new baby's room - way better than a little rocker!) and the side table, and kept the bookshelf in her garage after 'bulky trash' until I was ready to paint it. Andrea was my 'consultant' and went with me to USA Baby to look for ideas and plan, and my sister Kendra helped with the scrappy bits - the tags on the baskets and the picture hanging over the changing table. Now I think about all these ladies when I'm sitting in that chair in the middle of the night, looking around the room as I nurse A. :) So thanks for your help!!
-power tools are empowering. :) I used my father-in-law's router to make the sign that hangs under the big A. I found some directions online, got more (and better) directions over the phone from my dad, and then talked to my father-in-law to make sure I was putting the bit in right. It was the first time I'd ever used a router, and I'm so addicted. When I was done in my make-shift wood shop, I was covered in sawdust, dripping sweat (it was a warm day), and happy as a clam. I told my FIL how much I love his router when I was about to return it, and he said, "Keep it for a few more weeks -- let me know how the projects go." So if you'd like to rout a hunk of wood and make it beautiful, come on by. :)
-I love my Cricut. I used it to cut the lettering for the sign, the song lyrics above the bookshelf, the tags for the baskets, and the scrappy part of the picture above the changing table. I got it at the After-Thanksgiving sale at WalMart for $120 (way better than the $300 sticker price!!). And if you have really nice friends with fun cartridges, you might be able to borrow them!! Thanks, Calli and Ashley!!! :)

Anyway, I love having this room for A -- and I'm pretty sure she loves it, too. Even when she's fussy and tired, I lay her down on the changing table and she'll just start cooing and smiling and looking around and kicking her wee little legs (she's got really cute wee little legs, in case you're wondering). Anyway, her sweet little room is a good place to be. :) Even for those 5 am feedings.
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Friday, September 12, 2008

Poverty in Paradise

On August 2nd, Joseph left home for another world -- San Pedro Sula, Honduras.  For two weeks he worked with other dental students, dentists, hygenists and volunteers to provide oral care for anyone who wanted it.  The children would line up in the mornings, and the adults came in the afternoons.  They'd go through a quick triage to identify which problem was the worst -- many of them needed a whole mouthful of procedures, but they limited the work to one per patient in order to serve as many people as possible.  In just two weeks, they performed over 3,000 procedures -- mostly restorations (fillings), extractions, root canals/crowns, and floride treatments.  The need is so great -- some of Joseph's pictures are so sad.  He visited a few of the children in their homes -- 8 children and 2 parents living in a little one room cinderblock shack with a tin roof, laundry hanging to dry on a barbed wire fence.  But the children were beautiful and charming -- a few of them became self-assigned helpers.  Joseph LOVES the kids.  And he loved using his Spanish.  He even got to chat a bit with one of his old mission companions who lives in Honduras.  
The team worked really hard -- 12 hour days in a city-center-turned-clinic with no air conditioning during the hottest and most humid time of year.  They got to play a little, too -- they visited the Fortress of San Fernando, swam in the Carribean Sea, ziplined through the rainforest, and watched a soccer game @ the Olimpico Stadium. The soccer game was interesting -- the opposing teams' goalie kept faking injuries to run the clock down. The fans were a little rabid by the end -- Joseph brought home a video clip of the police with their riot gear out on the field at the end of the game, keeping the teams from tearing into each other!
Joseph came home tired, but also renewed -- I think these meaningful, service centered vacations are going to become more and more common for us as the years go on and the kids get older.  Maybe next year I'll get to take some of the pictures...  :)

By the way, side note:  My blog is a year old!  I'm really proud of myself that I've kept a 'journal' for the last year -- this is the most consistent I've been with this sort of thing since I got married!  So, happy birthday, blog!