Monday, October 8, 2012

Dallin's First Day of First Grade


 September 5th brought our first day of school. Dallin is (gulp!) leaving us all day long this year. (well, at least until 2:30pm). We're super excited for his teacher, Mrs. Hembruch. We joined the mob at school the Friday before school started to see the class list. You can appreciate the diversity of where we live as evidenced in this class list!

Dallin is super excited. He is already reading very well. He finished FOUR Harry Potter books this summer. He's off to a great start.

This next shot is taken just moments before separation. Drop off for first grade is totally different than Kindergarten and I think I was more apprehensive than Dallin was (where do we go? you line up in the playground every morning? Where do we put backpacks?). I kept my sunglasses on to hide my misty eyes.

The first day was a success--they had PE! Dallin has quickly figured out how fun tether ball is ("my new favorite sport") and they're already learning how to type in their computer lab time. Dallin reminded me today that he is only four months away from his seventh birthday. SEVENTH birthday. Whoa. It doesn't help that he is growing so much taller right now and stronger! He climbes the rope we have hanging in our garage in three seconds. But really, can't Peter Pan come do an intervention?
Fortunately for me, here are my two playmates while Dallin is at school:
Nolan (14 months), Thad (barely 3)
Don't they look like fun!?

Do you like me?

During the past couple of months, one question has been asked more than most others. (no, not can I have more chocolate milk?)

My sweet three-year-old Thad often asks throughout the day, "Mom, do you like me?" After I quickly respond Yes! it's followed with "Mom, do you love me?" When I ask the question back to him we are all smiles and enjoy a quick hug. It's often the highlight of my day.

Yesterday after Thad knowingly defied my pleas not to pour his milk onto the ground, I briskly walked him to his bedroom to lay him on his bed in timeout. As I sopped up the milk which was quickly sliding under baseboards and soaking into carpet, Thad walked out of his room. With crocodile tears streaming down his face and in a somewhat hiccup-sort-of voice again asked me, "Mom, do you like me?"

With my heart softer than where it was a couple of minutes earlier, I smiled and embraced this passionate and active three-year-old.

Yes, Thad. I love you so much.

Here's Thad with his amazing lego tower he built! He's so proud!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Day of rest?

This morning Evan needed to be at church (with me and the littles) at 8:30am. This means the night before we did all the prep we needed: grapes were cut in half in baggies for snack, sugar cereal (Golden Grahams and Cocoa Pebbles) was out with bowls and spoons on the breakfast table, outfits laid out, Grandma Marquardson's quiet book on the banister with extra diapers and wipes. The preparation paid off...we were actually on time.

Things quickly went downhill. Nolan (15 months) could not stop shrieking in church. Evan went to help pass the sacrament. The first hour was a circus act--dumping the triscuits all over the floor, trying to get Nolan to stop shrieking, making Thad and Dallin paper airplanes (don't throw them, don't throw them, if you throw them I take them....okay, they're mine!), Evan and I taking turns taking out Nolan, Thad leaving on his own to throw the empty grapes baggy in the trash, Dallin getting a drink. The interruptions just didn't end.

Fast forward to the second hour of church...Dallin happily ran upstairs to Primary (wait, you're giving a talk today!!), and when Evan came back down from taking to Thad to nursery, he had Thad but no Nolan. Nolan is still three months shy of nursery eligibility, but apparently the nursery leaders were nice enough to let him stay. Thad prefers adults apparently. So Thad, Nolan and I spent the hour in nursery. Nolan buzzed around playing with toys (more shrieking) and Thad sat on my lap.

Third hour I made a break for Relief Society. Thad wasn't going to have it so he joined me. The topic was keeping the Sabbath day holy. Boy do I need that lesson!

After church, I quickly make whole wheat pancakes..By the time I sit down three of the four are already finished and onto the next thing. The TV is on. I eat, help the baby out and Evan kindly asks if I want to take a nap. Yes!

Two hours later I'm up and Evan naps. The TV is still on. The daily laundry has already accumulated involving stains of blackberry jam, blood, potty-training mishaps, etc. I'm making dinner, everyone is loud! How is this restful/rejuvenating?! I want to get our family out of the house, burn off some "I've been cooped up in a house all day and I'm a boy" energy. Evan and I have a quick disagreement on this topic and he gives--we leave in the stroller for a walk to the park.

The park was wonderful and fun. We get home at 6:15.

I throw the salmon in the oven, finish the salad I started earlier and beg Dallin to set the table ("I've been doing this for three years!" he whines.) Table set, cookies in the oven, we sit down to eat. Nolan ends the meal with his usual scalp treatment--this time it was butter on bread. I bathe Thad and Nolan. We cleanup the days crazy, read stories and Dallin went to bed at 8:55pm. I'm beat.

I'm capturing this crazy in hopes that some sort-of self reflection might give me insight into how to make Sundays better. I love these boys to pieces, but how in the world can I feel like this is restful and rejuvenating! I feel trapped at home with no space and no yard! This is a bit of a rant, so thanks for hanging in there. Know I'll feel better in the morning, but maybe just not best to call us on a Sunday afternoon if you're looking for pleasant conversation :)

What do you do to keep the Sabbath holy with little kids? What works for you?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Welcome Nolan Robert Gilstrap! (just a little late...)

Nolan joined our family May 26, 2011. So I've wanted to write this post for some time and others, so here it is!

Labor went smoothly. But if you can believe it, Stanford Hospital turned me away (third birth, dilated to a 3.5, strep B positive) at 2:30 in the morning to go walk around. Evan and I drove over the nearest grocery store; it didn't take long until we were back at the hospital. Next time (if there's a next time!) I am going to insist I stay. I wasn't able to get the two rounds of antibiotics before Nolan was ready to come. Fortunately he arrived safely and was healthy.

 I love this one of Dallin and Thad looking at their new brother for the first time:

 My mom stayed for two blessed weeks and shortly after the Gilstraps arrived. I won't ever forget the day I was having when Howard and Luana arrived. After being on my own with three kids for about 24 hours, Howard innocently asked how I was doing. I remember my response. "Ummm, I don't want to talk about it." and then I burst into tears. I'm still embarassed about it now. Oh, but the difficulty of my situation was very real in the moment!

 So of course there are lots more pictures of those first few days at home, but I wanted to show where this little guy is now. Nolan is now 11 months old; crawling like crazy, trying to stand with help, eating like a champion (no purees for this kid, he went straight to adult food. Today he ate four entire chicken nuggets!) He loves strawberries, hates bananas and applesauce, is super mellow and pleasant but doesn't like to nap for me (just other people.)
 Nolan has beautiful light brown/dark blond hair with curls in it. He's definitely got the lightest hair of all of us. Blue eyes, of course..
We love this little guy like crazy...

The name Nolan doesn't have any special significance, we just liked it. I don't even think I know any Nolans, except the famous baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan. Nolan's middle name, Robert, is after my mothers father. We felt like we should give him a good solid, "normal" name in case he hates Nolan. That, and my grandfather is a wonderful man.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hangin' Around in January

Here's a few shots hanging around our house, which is pretty much what we did in January!
Thad now does this funny squint when you tell him to smile for the camera:
 Dallin can act goofy too:
 Okay, a little more normal. We'll work on smiles before family pictures.

Valentines Day!

I love Valentines Day. And this year I have a preschool class to take valentines to!! Dallin and I embarked on this project I found here. I think they turned out cute..well, one more step to go: tape the coloring heart crayons onto the cards.

I was really proud of Dallin. He cut up the crayons with a huge knife and no accidents! It was a good reminder that he's more capable than I give him credit for sometimes. He dropped the chopped up crayons into the heart-shaped molds. Nice work Dal!

Is it love in the air, or the fact that I'm going to be living with four boys shortly (I'm taking about my baby boy being born in May) that I'm making flower pins and hairclips??! I feel I've gone crazy for flowers lately.
I also got out our annual valentines cards. Boy was that a project, but I enjoyed it! Homemade this year folks, that's right. Don't expect it every year! (and someone please save me one because I had to mail every single one I made). If I missed you for some reason, send me your address and I'll add you to our valentines mailing next year!

I've got a few more things to do before Monday to make sure these boys feel loved! Hopefully a post on that later. In the meantime if someone can tell me why my Canon PowerShot S5 always takes pictures out of focus, I'll save you a valentine treat.

Advent Calendar

I have an advent calendar that I made; each day we open a jar which has a scripture, a name for Christ, and a Christmas activity. I've found this is a great way to really feel like it's Christmas all month long.

This day's activity was to decorate a gingerbread house. We bought the coolest pre-assembled gingerbread house at Costco, that I even got Evan to participate!
Thad discovering his tongue (he managed to eat way more candy than Dallin somehow..)
 The final product!

Yes, it is December and Dallin has his shirt off. This is normal in our house...!