Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Time with Milayla

I love dialogues with Milayla. She has gone full force into a quick, witty and curious toddler mode that is so much fun. As her mind absorbs seemingly everything around her in this stage I love listening to how she interprets and understands it. She's smart. And quick - I cannot emphasize the quick part nearly enough.

Then there is her willpower. It's strong. And sometimes defiant...but oh how she is learning to use it as a force of good as she puts it in full force to learn new skills and vocabulary (in more than one language..).

And she is thoughtful, sweet and tender. Traits I hope she never grows out of because I have seen the beautiful sparkle in her eyes when she helps others and puts those skills to use.

I feel pretty darn lucky to be her mom and help her along her path in this life.

And before I get too mushy, here is a little snippet of life with Milayla:

Me: "Hey, Milayla, can you please come here for a moment?"

Milayla: "K. Coming!" (pushes her car towards me then lifts it up and begins making an airplane noise as it 'flies' through the air)

Me: Wow. You have a flying car?

Milayla: Cars don't fly. It's helicopter.

Oh, imagination. Love it. I also love when Milayla and I get to spend a little time together, just the two of us. Here are a couple pictures from our little game night that we had.

She insisted on her stuffed animals being involved as well. Couldn't really turn that one down. So sweet.

Had so much fun with this smiley girl.

Monday, April 14, 2014


March has a serious picture overload. Just a heads up. And this is after I cut them down by over half. In any case, enjoy the little bits of goodness from our month of March.

This is what covered our playroom floor more often than not. The kids are getting so good at coming up with their train track layouts that they so rarely ask for help, but they do at least invite us along to play still. 

Atticus' lion has been getting sneaky on Atticus and has been playing hide and seek with him. Atticus usually finds his lion sleeping, reading books, or just picking some pretty obvious hiding spots. It's been great fun as both kids get excited to find where lion got himself into this time.

Some craft items from the month. One day we drew places that make us think of spring outings. Milayla drew a garden. I drew the view from our apartment in The Netherlands. And Atticus originally drew a big backyard with flowers, an apple tree and a tractor then he flipped the page over and added a chocolate factory. Because every backyard needs one of those.

Milayla was my kitchen helper to make the brownies for Jason's birthday. She had sole responsibility for adding the chocolate chips to the top of the brownies. She was being so serious about it that I left her to it while I got the dishes ready to wash up.

When I came back to the table she had placed nearly the entire bag on the brownies and was so proud of herself that she was giggling hysterically. I couldn't help but smile.

They were very chocolatey brownies.

And the best part about helping in the kitchen? Getting to lick the spoons clean.

These pictures that Atticus drew sure put a smile on my face. He decided to draw us at an amusement park (which is interesting, because we have never been to one) and then he drew a picture of him and Milayla on a roller coaster. Milayla has a big smile on her face while Atticus has what he calls his "eeeeeeee" face.

Then he drew a picture of Daddy and Mommy on a roller coaster. Mommy is the one with the big smile. Daddy has the 'eeeeeee' face. Guess we already know who the roller coaster lovers are around here. Ha!
The names are reversed on this one; Daddy is the one on the right

After a few days of being stuck inside pretty steadily because everything was so ridiculously slippery and icy, I packed the kids up and headed for Ikea. You know we were excited to get out of the house, when the promise of wandering Ikea and eating ice cream caused the kids to get ready in record time. And made Milayla smile nice and big.

Though, can't say I blame them. That Ikea ice cream is good.

I am happy to report that as I write this, this big ice block in our yard is almost melted. YAY! And we are being greeted with patches of grass, along with playgrounds that have thawed enough for playing on!

We did still get plenty of play time in the snow though.

Our first snowman. He's just a little guy since the snow we kept getting was super dry.

Once it warmed up, it rained, and then snowed again which left us with the perfect snow for snowmen!

The kids did a team effort to get Jason's birthday banner all colored.

Our congregation celebrated the birthday of the Relief Society. The ladies who organized it did a wonderful job. It all came together really well. I was really fortunate and was able to sing a duet with Jessica and be accompanied by Tanya - both of whom are very talented!

And I got to sit and chat with these lovely ladies and some others who joined us a little later.

Snow day crafts, like caterpillars, fingerpanting, fort building (not really a craft...but not too far off with how serious these kiddos get about the construction) and drawing.

It is happening a little more regularly that I will call the kids for breakfast in the morning and they will tell me that they are busy. That is a response that would typically irk a parent, especially when it sounds like they are in the playroom, but when you go to find them folding up all the laundry that you washed the night before without being asked there is no way that you could be angry. You might think that this is because they don't like breakfast, but they certainly do, they just really like helping with laundry and I won't complain about that. If there is laundry to be put away, they will typically head off to help with it before heading to breakfast.

Atticus had a friend from church over for a play date, but I'm pretty sure that Milayla and Sophie ended up playing together for at least half of the play date. Milayla had a castle well underway when Sophie arrived and so Sophie jumped in by handing her new bricks. They made a good team.

Milayla has been the queen of pattern making lately. She pulls out puzzles and works through them one at a time until she works through them all (and we have a lot), then she will make patterns out of the chess and checker pieces, then it is on to equilibrio or the mosaic blocks. She is so determined and focused. It is very sweet to watch.

We were on duty to clean the church. We spent several hours trying to give that place the best scrub that we could and I still feel like we didn't do enough. But, I do have to say, that everyone worked their tails off without any word of complaint. The kids were so happy to have a chance to help take care of our church building. I think they were also pretty happy about the fact that it meant they got to stay up late.

Atticus has been taking french classes for the last couple months and he is really starting to enjoy them. His teacher said that his comprehension is very good, but he will still respond in english. We're on the lookout for some extra curricular activities for him that immerse him in french a bit more. He has made some great progress and is eager to learn more - even asking Jason to speak more french to him at home. Here he is with his teacher:

And this is the lovely note he came home from french class for me:

Milayla is growing in her interest with Lego. We only have a little bit of lego from a little travel case set, but the kids usually do quite well sharing or taking turns.

Milayla has adopted Atticus' elmo hat which was finally getting a little snug on his head. She is pretty happy about that. It goes smashingly well with her bright pink winter jacket. She loves it.

One of the things about our apartment that I was a little concerned about was that the kitchen and where the kids play are on clear opposite ends of the apartment (we have a long apartment) so that when I was doing meal preps I wouldn't be able to still have some involvement with the kids. Well, more often than not, they are bringing their play to me or setting up picnics in the living room for us to share after I am done the prep work. Even if it means I am tripping over train tracks while making dinner, I do love this.

The kids helped blow up balloons for Jason's birthday. And by help I mean this:

They did end up helping to put the balloons into bags so that we could hide them until Jason's birthday though.

And this book has taken up permanent residence on our coffee table while I try to slowly chip away at it's 800+ pages. This is a book on homeschool curriculum. We have decided to take the leap and homeschool Atticus - one year at a time. We were all ready to register him for school but on the evening before registration we felt so unsettled about it being the right fit that we stayed up most of the night trying to figure out what was the right fit. It turned out that, for now at least, homeschooling is the right fit. I'm in the throws of picking curriculum and drawing up a preliminary plan. I have told myself not to stress too much about it being the 'perfect' fit because the beauty of homeschool is that I can adjust it as needed throughout the year. We're pretty optimistic about it all and I'm a little worried. Of course, a parent is always a teacher to their children, but homeschool is definitely on a different level. Yet, I feel that this will be a step to helping me to parent better. Guess we will see. For now, we are taking it one step at a time, maybe we will homeschool long term, maybe not. Perhaps I will have to write more about it all another time.

Pretty sure the kids have developed my insatiable appetite for books. This is where Jason usually finds us when he makes it home from work - at the library (though with the weather warming up, I think our time may be equally split with the play ground now). We leave with stacks of books and big smiles on our faces.

And, lastly, just a couple random pictures while we were out running errands.

Milayla fell in love with this bear at first, but after she hugged it something spooked her and she didn't want to go anywhere near it. 

 And I'm pretty sure that I was the most intrigued with these chocolate space duck pops. I nearly caved to quirky marketing until I noticed the picture of the actual chocolate pops; somehow, little ducks in bonnets don't say "space ducks" to me. Oh well. Fun box though!

 And after that long bout of pictures, that were all out of order, I am nearly ready to start documenting April. We're very much looking forward to Easter around here!

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