Sunday, November 29, 2015

Share the Love

Two weeks ago our primary presented their Primary Program in Sacrament Meeting. This year Hollyn participated for the first time, so I had all 3 older kids in it and only Kieran with me watching. That was cool. :-) The program was not just the usual cute, but holy cow was it fantastic! The kids all did a wonderful job, particularly for the songs. Each song included harmony and/or extra flavor added one way or another. It was the single best primary program I have ever beheld.

Then last week our ward choir performed. I don't know if many of the Young Men and Women were recruited or were already involved in the choir but the group was humongous and, like the primary kids, utterly fantastic! They were so good in fact that Brennan actually took notice and asked to join the ward choir. (He saw a couple friends in it, although that's never enticed him before.) I've suggested to Brennan numerous times in the past about joining the ward choir and/or a local children's choir or school one. He always declines. But watching our well done ward choir last week did the trick.

So today we stayed late after church to sing. Asher took the littles to the nursery but Brennan and I sang. He did pretty good considering he was trying to follow me on Alto and it was sight-reading for everybody. But the boy LOVED it. He was kicking his feet excitedly the entire time, with a giant beaming grin on his face. He told me repeatedly how much he was loving it. This makes me happy because I love singing in the choir but haven't done it in several years due to having little babies who couldn't take on a 4th hour at church. I've especially been yearning to join the choir under our current director because she's so exceptional.

I love when the kids develop an interest in MY interests. Doesn't it just add so much joy to your heart when they love what you also love? Brennan enjoying the choir so much made me so happy. Recently he got really into drawing floorplans. Asher thought is was super cool and started drawing his own as well. As they excitedly showed me their dream homes (in Asher's case his future business), I just swelled inside.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

How We’re Doing

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I love my kids. They’re seriously the coolest people. I have to laugh at how often I get complimented on their good behavior after sacrament meeting because I’m always sure we’re the loudest family in the congregation. But really, they are good. I’m so proud of each and every one of them for the amazing people they are and are developing into.
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Hollyn starts preschool again in a couple of weeks. She’ll be attending Philomath High School’s Little Warriors preschool like she did last year and like Asher did before her. I’m excited for her to do that again and she is definitely looking forward to it as well. She has been since last June, lol.

Hollyn is quite a girl. She reminds me of Jackie in her over-friendliness. Today for example our Home Teachers came – new ones after not being visited since Asher was a newborn. She didn’t know these men but immediately took a shining to one in particular. She told him, “Some people I like, but some people I don’t like.” He agreed with her that that is true and she continued to tell him that she liked him. She then hopped on his lap and flirted with him mercilessly the rest of the time, snuggling and trying to get his attention. She will do that with someone any time she gets. Usually a man (heaven help us!). She always has, this isn’t a recent trait. She’s just very friendly. She approaches people at parks, in the stores, wherever she is to introduce herself and her baby named Kieran and her Mom and tell them how old she is and her entire life’s story. ♥

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Good ol’ Brenny Cakes. (He let me write that on his homework assignment once. Tee Hee) Brennan is doing well. Great, in fact.

Back-story: Two things you should know about Brennan. Every teacher he’s had has approached me with concerns that he fits the qualifications for ADD/ADHD. These aren’t teachers who push this in general; they know boys and their higher level of activity; they didn’t press me to get a diagnosis or anything. But Brennan has struggled in school as a result of these characteristics because he isn’t paying attention when instructions are given, he doesn’t complete all the instructions even when they’re right in front of him, etc.  He’s a smart kid and not failing or falling far behind, he just can’t stay focused long enough to do as well as he could be doing.  Brennan will tell you the problem is that he’s bored. All school subjects bore him. Instead of listening he’s busy thinking about his Legos at home, or playing with the ones he snuck to school. Or this year, drawing complete comic books.

The other thing, which is undoubtedly related, is that Brennan doesn’t fall asleep easily. Since his toddler or preschool years he has stayed awake past 10pm or later, then finally falling asleep only to have a LOT of trouble waking up come morning. We put him to bed on time, but he’ll sneak his lamp on to read. I’d confiscate the lamp after seeing it still on at 10:30 so he’d go back to playing with Legos or other things in his bed. Like school, his complaint is that he’s too bored waiting to fall asleep so he feels compelled to do things.

Cut to: A couple weeks ago Brennan asked me yet again about moving into the downstairs bedroom. Out of nowhere, and mostly because I saw it as something that would never happened so I wouldn’t have to do any rearranging, I told him that if he started being asleep by 9:00 consistently, he could have the room. He immediately despaired at the impossibility of it. He brought up the being bored thing so I told him that that’s how we do it. We’re supposed to be bored. We literally get bored to sleep. Playing with toys and reading keeps us awake. Letting our brains relax is the key. It was a light-bulb moment for him and he became more excited to try.
I also brought up another idea. I told him that some people take Melatonin which is said to help us fall asleep faster and get better quality sleep. He was SUPER intrigued at the idea. The only thing is, he’d never swallowed a pill before – one of his many fears. But this was worth learning the skill for. We broke a melatonin in half and he bit the bullet. He swallowed it down in half a second and he’s been a new kid ever since.

First of all, he was super proud of himself to learning to swallow pills. He overcame a fear and learned a valuable skill just like that. More importantly, either the pills or the placebo effect are working miraculously! Ever since that first night (and he’s been taking the melatonin every night since), he has fallen asleep around or a little after 9pm. He has WOKEN UP on his OWN BEFORE I get there to do it. You guys! He’s waking up by himself! He’s well rested and energetic when he gets up, instead of it taking me half an hour of nagging and prodding. This is crazy!

I haven’t had a chance yet to find out if his teacher has noticed anything different but last Thursday Brennan mentioned to me that he’d noticed the school days are suddenly going by much faster –  he feels like it’s not seeming so boring and dragging on. He thinks he may be getting distracted less but that’s a hard one for him to tell. I really, really hope this is a new ongoing trend and not just a little phase born of the adrenaline of pining for the downstairs bedroom. Brennan is very motivated by that prize so he’s trying to go to bed earlier and trying to fall asleep instead of trying to fill the boredom like before. But golly I’m so excited to see something helping him and working!

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I love the first picture of Kieran, the frowning one. That is SO him, lol! Not that he’s an unhappy child, it’s just his default face while he’s taking things in and figuring out the situation. Oh Kier-Bear, I love that cute round-faced frown of yours.

Kieran is doing super duper. He loves to sing certain songs like The Wheels on the Bus, ABCs, and Old MacDonald. He’s still a sweet little angel in nursery and our toddler-terror at home. Ok, “terror” is a little harsh. He has his toddler moments for sure. But he’s a sweet kid so I think I’ll him. Winking smile

Kieran enjoys saying the prayers all by himself. He starts with “Dear Heavenly Father” then speaks a bunch of gibberish in a perfect “prayer voice” for a couple minutes, then wraps it up. We all love when he says the prayers. It’s also not unusual for him to just start going even when it’s someone else’s turn and/or pray simultaneously to the other person.

He’s getting better at sacrament meetings. I think I just went two Sundays in a row without having to take him out of the chapel. Woo Hoo! Sometimes I take him out in which case I enforce the rule of “if you have to leave the chapel you aren’t allowed to walk around or play. You will be held”.  I walk around with him and we point out Jesus in all the paintings. Sometimes though, because I’m so totally consistent, I let Brennan take Kieran out for me. My rule is totally out the window in that case but I’m ok with it. It’s nice to enjoy the talks every now and then.

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Ashie McConnie. The big 2nd grader in the family. He enjoys school and does well. He’s turning into a “boy” though. His humor is boy humor. His manors are quickly deteriorating. At school conferences last month I was told about his story he read aloud to his class that had them rioting with laughter. It involved farting, guns, death by falling off a cliff, and the word “stoopid”. What can I say, he knows how to make other little boys laugh, lol. The story is actually super clever and funny without those things. Almost a “Who’s on First” type thing. I love the creativity.

Asher started piano lessons a couple weeks ago. He wants to join the strings group next year on the cello so I thought I’d give him a head start on music reading. Actually the REAL reason I started him younger than I’d intended is because when he and Brennan have the same amount of things to work on each day I have an easier time getting them to do it. I’ll have one do their 20 mins of reading while the other practices piano and then switch, for example. This is also the reason Brennan now does 2-minute-math. Because Asher has it, I found it easier to just have them BOTH it. It’s been hard the last few years as Brennan’s had disproportionately more stuff to do compared to Asher and  I struggled to get any of it accomplished because the kids are all doing different things at any given time. Particularly, it’s tough when one person is supposed to be doing something productive when everyone else has nothing to do but play. It’s been a distraction for Brennan and hard for me to maintain structure. Therefore… Asher now takes piano lessons because Brennan wasn’t practicing, lol.

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How does one pick between pictures like this? So similar but different enough to make me unable to choose.

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I had pictures with each kid individually but I love this one where Kieran just walked up and plopped down to be part of it. The halo around him is hard to see here but it’s lovely in the full resolution.

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The glare while taking these shots was atrocious. I can’t believe we got ANY pictures with eyes open. I was laughing hysterically trying to open my eyes and they just would.not. Or apparently they did, but I don’t know when.

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Again, which one? They’re too similar. I heart Kieran’s face in this top one particularly.

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I didn’t post the main picture I chose – you’ll just have to come visit me to see it displayed on the wall. Smile I love the Mom-and-individual-child pictures we got too – also not posted.  I’m excited to give each of my kids a picture of the two of us. I’ve long thought, “If I died suddenly, my kids would have hardly any photos of me, and sadly, none of me with THEM to cherish.” I’m stoked to have some now.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Best.Kiss.Ever.

I keep meaning to update with actual comments about the kids' current states - like things they say or what kinds of things Kieran does these days, etc. I also have a ton of video clips that're building up because it's such a bother to format them for posting on the blog.

Unfortunately it's past my bedtime tonight already so I'll have to write an update another day. But here's a fun video of Kieran giving lots of kisses. He makes the BEST fish-lips, I have no idea how he got so good at them. And he happens to be a fan of smooching in general. I love getting my Kieran kisses! (And the boys just think it's hilarious, apparently)


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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween 2015 (Hey, that rhymes!)

This is pretty embarrassing but I got more pictures of the pumpkins than I did of the kids. In fact, I didn’t get ANY of Brennan or Asher in their costumes, and just some random ones of the younger two. In my defense it was pouring rain – like DUMPING – the entire time they were wearing them last night.

We hit the trunk-or-treat for about half an hour where we all got soaked to the bone. Then Brian took the older three out around the area. When they got back they changed into dry things quickly and we enjoyed cocoa and the movie Hocus Pocus. Pretty fun.

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Asher’s self-carved creation

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Brennan’s vomiting jack-o-lantern

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Mine and Hollyn’s

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Mullet-man

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Little Bo Peep and my sheep

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(Before I had the poofy-slip)

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Hollyn the Mermaid. Fittingly wet. Smile

I’m sure the kids won’t mind putting on their costumes again some time for some picturesSmile'

 

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Kieran frosting cookies at the neighborhood party

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Pumpkin Patch

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Other Fun

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Kieran!

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Hollyn actually looks pretty good as a blond with curly hair… Wait…