Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A hard lesson in gratefulness

Thursday night after parent/teacher conferences, I was super excited because Shane said we could go out to eat. {How I love doing that!} It was the start of spring break, and we wanted to do something special for the kids, since they had had such good reports from their teacher.

We told them what we were doing and were greeted with cheers. We hopped in the car....and it started. 

"I wanna go to _________", said one.

"No, I wanna go to ________", said another.

The third one completely disagreed and wanted to go to a different place than the other two.  Shane and I had already decided where we were going, so I said, "Boys, tonight we are going to _________" and named a spot where they generally love to eat--but was not one that any of them had chosen that night.  My declaration was met with grumbling and general complaints.

And then.....

.....a deep breath and a "we go there every time" was heard muttered under the breath of one of my precious little men. Ahem.

Shane and I looked at each other and made an immediate very difficult decision: to turn the car right back around and head home.

A chorus of what are we doing-s and why are we going back this way-s and the restaurant is the other way-s were heard, but we just kept on driving. 

"We are going home, boys."

Now, I'm not going to pretend this was easy or fun. It really stunk, to be honest. Neither Shane nor I was happy about how this played out, and both of us knew it. I didn't have anything prepared for dinner, since I had thought that we were going out to eat, and Shane was really looking forward to eating at the restaurant we had chosen. So had I, after thinking about going there practically all day!  But we stood our ground. 

When we got home, I managed to put together enough leftovers to make a meal (albeit a different meal for each one of us!) and we did our best to explain to the boys why we came home. Going out is a big deal for our family, and we want them to grow up with a heart that is grateful that we even get the opportunity to do that kind of thing--instead of complaining when the place is not their ideal choice.  It was not a fun discussion, but we got through it and, when all was said and done, we felt like the boys really did grasp at least a piece of what we were trying to say.

Fast forward to the next evening: Friday night. We had nothing going on, so we thought we would try again. We decided to head back to the same restaurant that we were planning on going the night before, and this time, we were met with cheers! *grin*

Mid-ride, we decided to go somewhere else, however--a place we don't normally go to because it is much further from our house than most restaurants are. Most of the time, Shane and I go there when we get a chance to go out alone, so the boys have only been once or twice. They remembered the place though, and were ecstatic to go there again!

We had an absolutely lovely dinner, and the boys declared it their very favorite ever. *grin*

Daddy and his boys

Mommy and Lolee girl

Then we switched!
Daddy and Lo

Mommy and my favorite boys in the whole wide world!

The boys were very, very well behaved and we had a great time--but the best part was that night. While Shane and I were showering, the boys sneaked off to the kitchen and each wrote us a letter.

Ethan's (with a bit of help from Colin)


And Colin's.
Slightly manipulative, since we hadn't had the ice cream yet, 
only told them we were going to--but sweet, anyway. *grin*
 (And clearly he isn't paying attention to something, somewhere, because his 
Momma is far from graceful most of the time. Maybe he was going for grateful?)

It was a very sweet, heartwarming moment; one of those times where you really feel like that the parenting lesson went well.  Like everything went according to how it was supposed to: Mommy and Daddy teach a hard lesson, kids get it immediately, and change their attitudes and responses appropriately {and they never had the issue again....ha! Yeah.....right!}. Those seem very, very few and far between in our house--most lessons are much more difficult to learn, it seems--but I was so thankful that this one went that way!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Paislee Jay

Last Thursday, we had a beautiful addition to our family!

This is Paislee Jay, the beautiful daughter of my cousin Haley!

She was 8 pounds, 13 ounces, and 21 inches long. We are thrilled to have her here safe and sound!  We got the chance to see her a couple of days ago and pictures really do not do her justice! She is just a beautiful baby.

Hanna (one of my other cousins--Haley's sister) and Lola played so Mommy could hold little Paislee.

Proud Grandma: Haley's mom and my one-and-only Aunt Karen

Isn't she just the sweetest?

We had to get a picture of the two girl the rate Haley's children grow 
vs. the rate mine do, Paislee is going to pass Lola up in no time! *grin*

So glad you are here, baby come over to Auntie Dev's house anytime you want! I love you--we all do!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

This week, I want to remember: (3/19-3/23)

Monday March 19

After some {more} dandelion searching and some play time on the deck.... 

...and some swinging....

....we came in and decided to make some finger jello.
I am so glad Ethan enjoys helping me in the kitchen. We have a lot of fun together in there.

Lola played in the space where the garbage can usually goes.
For some reason, she really seems to love that spot!
She was pretending to be asleep, then shouting: "WAKE UP!!" and giggling like crazy every time.

Then we decided to have a game of chutes and ladders.
I happened to capture a moment where Ethan discovered he was landing on a ladder. :)

Lola took turns giving each of the players kisses....

....and then decided to start doing gymnastics on the couch/coffee table.

Can you take a guess who won?

That night, we took a long family bike ride to the park. It was a great night together.

Tuesday March 20

We decided to take a "nature walk" around the yard this morning. 
There was a lot to look at!

Ethan and Lola standing next to one of my favorite things: our peach trees!

There are tons and tons of beautiful blossoms on each tree--I sure hope each develops into a peach.

Ethan, examining the lilac blossoms.

We talked, as we were looking at the budding trees and flowers, about the importance of bees and how they help pollinate everything and turn the 'flowers into fruit'.  A few minutes later, we actually came upon a large bumblebee (you know those giant ones? We call them helicopters {because they are so loud when they fly by!} or 'pollen jocks') that we knew just wasn't right. It couldn't fly....poor E was very sad and prayed right then and there for this little bee to get better!!

Then, it was over to the daffodil patch.... cut a bouquet for our table.
It was another bright day, and we had a little trouble getting a picture. :)
Attempt #1:

Attempt #12 {ish}:

Ethan's solution:

Lola's solution:

They were beautiful, even in an old applesauce jar.

My mom came out again that night, and we spent another great night together 
riding bikes and grilling out. This time, I got a few pictures!

Wednesday, March 21

A trip to Walmart for about a month's worth of groceries absolutely monopolized our entire morning! I absolutely dread going to Walmart, but was thankful for several things today. Instead of complaining about having to go there, I decided I would list the blessings of the day:

  • I was able to leave the house just a little after 8:30, so I got there before most of the crazies came out.
  • The kids were super, super well behaved, and Ethan was actually very helpful! Love that kid. He has such a wonderful spirit.
  • Lola had to go to the bathroom (public restroom = worst thing ever) but managed to hold it until we got in there--no potty disasters!
  • I found my favorite chicken clearanced down and bought two packages! lol
  • I got my favorite cashier, who is very friendly, price-matches without issues, and admires my coupons rather than scowling at me!

When Shane got home, we did some yard work. And, we discovered our pear trees were blooming!!

Lola had some fun riding her little toy all over the yard.

One of my favorite pictures from the whole week.
I just love my precious, precious little girl.

Lola absolutely loves our three garden stones. Grandma 'Nette has helped each grandchild make one...and it's definitely going to be exciting when it is Lola's turn! She looks at them all the time.

(hard to see, but those are hand prints on the sides of the letters)



That night, for the first time this year, we had one of the kids' favorites for dinner: garlic chive bread!
I love being able to step out my patio door....

....and have fresh herbs at my fingertips. I'm so thankful for a very, very handy husband
who can not only envision something like this, but can also build it for me!
Since the weather has been so wonderful, the herbs have all been growing like, well....weeds!

I transplanted another patch, too--so we'll have plenty this year! 
This will be full grown again (like the picture above) in about one week.

Then, at bedtime, Colin told me about a little girl and little boy in his class who kissed that day at school. Thus led to a long talk....oy. Not quite ready for this stage of life yet!

Tucking Ethan in: " are my super excellent favorite."

Thursday March 22

Paislee Jay was born! My sweet cousin Haley had her baby. Welcome to our family, sweet girl! Pictures will be forthcoming. :)

Lola woke up a very needy girl. I wanted to get a picture of her in these pajamas--I remember shopping for her the day I found out we were having a girl, and these were the pj's I bought! (From Gymboree--on clearance, of course!) She was having none of my wanting to take pictures first thing. :)

However, after a little snuggle time and some banana muffins, she perked up quite a bit!
She decided to take her baby outside for some fun.

Oh...these kids and their hats!

Ethan picked dandelions (this never seems to get old to him!) and 
Lo played with her baby for a loooong time in the yard.

Then we started having....wardrobe malfunctions
This ruined (?) several more pictures! *grin*

Lo, after ditching her baby, decided to help with the picking.

Then it was another morning trip to the park. 
I managed to get one whole picture before my camera battery went dead! 
At least it was a cute one. 

And yes. I do realize that Ethan has worn that shirt three different days this week. I could give you some spiel about 'that's just how it fell during the wash cycle'....or something else....but in all honesty, this a new (to him) shirt, and the kid has been over-the-moon excited about it.  He dug it out of the dirties both Wednesday and Thursday. I chose to make it a non-issue. After all, we shower everyday. He goes to bed clean. :)

That night, we had parent teacher conferences!

Cameron with 'his favorite', Mrs. Winkler....

....and then with her current and former Merritt students!

Cameron showed us his favorite activity in the corn table....

....Lola played in the kitchen....

....and Ethan found some dress up gear.

Pretty sure the littlest two Merritts are just as excited about kindergarten as their two older brothers.

Cameron, gleefully pretending to be on red. This kid is so funny!

We got to see his most recent projects--ah, this is why
 he couldn't stop talking about those leprechauns!

Then it was off to Colin's room, where we had 'student-led' conferences.
I loved this take on the pot of gold idea!

Colin's pot

Colin demonstrating their class' smart board. These things are amazing...they don't 
even use chalkboards at our school anymore! Technology has come so, so far!

It's all touch screen. You can see Colin moving his name to the hot lunch list. 
The kids do this themselves, each morning when they get into their classroom, among other things.

Colin showed us each aspect of his day. He did a great job explaining each area and what it was for.

Then, it was off to the gym to see the classes science fair projects.

One more thing in the gym that was much more exciting to the littles: cookies.

Colin's clay turtle. He made/painted this all by himself and was super proud!

Some of his other projects:
Contraction caterpillar

Spring writing assignment

and creative writing/drawing.

Colin and his sweet teacher, Mrs. Ducey.
I just love this picture!

Ethan was excited to leave because he spied more cookies on the way in and wanted one for himself!

Friday, March 23

Shane was able to take the day off of work. Such a rare treat! We played quite a bit, but were also able to get a lot of work done around the house. We finished up a lot of the little chores that needed to be done to clean up the yard for Spring, and one big one....

....can you guess what it was?

 No, that is not a ball up there that Shane and the boys were chasing! They took the Christmas lights down off of our tree. What a ton of work! Thankfully, it is not quite as bad as putting them up--but they were still up there monkeying around for about 2 hours!

Colin and Cameron both got some good climbing in....

....while Ethan and Lola got to play on the {inherited} four wheelers in the driveway.
Ethan is technically too big for these--but man, you can't tell him that!

Now that she has got the hang of the 'go' button, she loves these things.

 My sweet girlie with just the craziest hair I've ever seen! Sticks out two inches 
from the sides of her head, and then curls straight up! 
I have to giggle at her just about everyday over this hair. :)

All's well until there's a crash....
Lola can make it go, but she definitely doesn't have the hang of steering yet!

 And I started something I'm really excited about and will probably talk more about later--
can you guess?

We had a great day together, and something else happened Friday night....but I want to share about that another day!