Normal on Purpose

Last Sunday when we were planning our week we were taking things off the calendar so that we could have as “normal” a week as possible. After the celebrative busyness of the holidays, we wanted to keep things simple this week.

00 James and Eliza having a tea party
Eliza and James having a tea party

Monday we had our normal family home evening with the kids. We had our lesson on “The Book of Mormon Teaches Me About Jesus Christ.” We showed some pictures from prophets in The Book of Mormon who talked about Christ, and we talked about when Christ visited the Americas. We also sang “Search, Ponder, and Pray” with hand actions for the kids. I’m so glad that we started doing this when the kids are young. They know to look forward to FHE on Monday and it’s just what we do now.

Good morning hugs
Good morning hugs

Tuesday I had my normal day at work and went to scouts in the evening. This week we worked on preparing for our next camp-out. A few months back we challenged the boys to cook a meal that was something other than hot dogs and they’re taking us up on the challenge this time. I think they’re going to do pizza for dinner and mountain man hash for breakfast. We also worked on leave no trace training and talked a bit about how we can better be prepared for cold-weather camping.

Playing the triangles at music class.
Playing the triangles at music class.

Thursday I was assigned to bring snacks to work. We have a tradition on my team called “Snack Thursday” where people are assigned each week to bring something to share. This week was my turn. Sarah and I made energy bites and the team loved them.

James playing peek-a-boo
James playing peek-a-boo

Friday Eliza and James had music class. We started paying for James this year too so that he can participate in all the activities. He probably loves the class as much as Eliza does.

James after his haircut
James after his haircut

Today we had church at 9:00 again. We’re still adjusting to to this schedule a bit with the kids. They didn’t get to bed super early last night and I had to wake them up to get them ready for church in time. I don’t think that Eliza got enough sleep because she broke down after 20 minutes in nursery today. She was excited to go and usually she does fine but her lack of sleep last night made it hard for her.

Saturday chores
Saturday chores

Sarah taught a good lesson today in Gospel Principles class about the Atonement. She has become a really good teacher and shared a great lesson. We both had meetings tonight. I had my scout committee meeting and Sarah had a coordination meeting with the stake Relief Society presidency about the upcoming women’s conference they’re doing. Sarah is doing a musical number and apparently it’s a pretty big production.

Eliza needs a bigger bike
Eliza needs a bigger bike
James playing peek-a-boo again
James playing peek-a-boo again

 

Christmas Traditions Start in Ernest

This week has seen the first of many activities that have started to become traditions for our family. We had two main events happen this week. First we had our second annual Christmas Sing Along on Friday and then on Saturday we went out to see the main street Bethlehem exhibit in Burnet.

Last year we started the tradition of having a sing along at our home every Christmas. We invited a bunch of our friends from church and from my work to come over and sing Christmas carols with us. We invite them to bring their children and also to bring something to snack on. This year we had a great time. Some of our friends from church that live a few blocks away showed up first with their kids and we sang a bunch of songs with the kids. They were super energetic and were asking for all the fun songs. It was fun to see them just being happy! We had a few other families show up through the night and had a good time singing together.

Our front room setup for our sing along.
Our front room setup for our sing along.

Saturday night (after a somewhat crazy day) we went out to Burnet, Texas, to see the main street Bethlehem that the First Baptist Church puts on every year. They have a life size Bethlehem built up that’s probably about a half acre in size. They have people selling animals, making rope, paying their taxes to the Romans, etc. It is very crazy and busy (just like it probably actually was.) Every once in a while the shepherds will come in and tell everyone in the town square that Jesus has been born. They’re quickly escorted out by the Roman soldiers. We had told Eliza that we were going to see baby Jesus and she was focused on that the whole time. While we were looking through the town she kept on asking when we were going to see Him. We saw the star over the manger while we were going around and pointed it out to Eliza that that was where Jesus was born. She kept her eyes on that star the whole time. At the end of the streets, they have the stable (actually a cave) where they ask you to be quiet as you look at the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Eliza and James both got to go right up to the stable, as close as they could get, and look at the baby. Eliza was so happy to see Him and James thought it was so neat. We had a great time on our trip even though we got home late from it.

Daddy and Eliza looking at a donkey in Bethlehem
Daddy and Eliza looking at a donkey in Bethlehem
Eliza looking at Baby Jesus
Eliza looking at Baby Jesus
The kids looking at Baby Jesus with Daddy
The kids looking at Baby Jesus with Daddy
Eliza looking at the star on the way out from Bethlehem
Eliza looking at the star on the way out from Bethlehem
James enjoying a cookie after seeing Bethlehem
James enjoying a cookie after seeing Bethlehem
James saying "wowh, wowh, wowh" to the pretty lights.
James saying “wowh, wowh, wowh” to the pretty lights.

In other goings on this week, on Saturday I took Eliza Christmas and grocery shopping. We got some of our last gifts for Sarah. She and I had a fun little daddy-daughter date together. It was good to be able to spend some time alone with her and strengthen our relationship. Sarah and James also had some good bonding time while we were away.

Daddy put a stuffed animal up James's shirt. He thought it was pretty funny.
Daddy put a stuffed animal up James’s shirt. He thought it was pretty funny.
Eliza joined in the fun and stuffed her piglet up her shirt.
Eliza joined in the fun and stuffed her piglet up her shirt.

James is talking more and more all the time. He still doesn’t have any “real” words but he talks a lot. When we were out in Burnet the other day he was looking at the Christmas lights on our way back and kept on saying “Wowh, wowh, wowh!” He has a great happy attitude. He’ll get cranky, very cranky, when he is hungry but as soon as he has food he’s like a new man! He eats like a horse sometimes. Tonight we had Filipino food and he ate three whole servings. Eliza, our little vegetarian, had a plate of broccoli and green beans and we had to talk her into eating some meat.

James liked the taquitos so much that he didn't want to put them down to get a drink.
James liked the taquitos so much that he didn’t want to put them down to get a drink.
Eliza with her pile of vegetables for dinner.
Eliza with her pile of vegetables for dinner.

Eliza has been having a bit of trouble sleeping lately. Several times this week she has ended up in our room on the floor in her sleeping bag because she gets scared of something. Hopefully this phase gets over quickly. We just got James finally sleeping like a real human through the night and now Eliza is getting up again. Maybe someday we’ll get sleep again (although when I watch my parents I think this is doubtful . . . In fact, I think it just gets worse! Thanks mom and dad!)

Eliza and James like looking at the rainbows from the crystal on our tree.
Eliza and James like looking at the rainbows from the crystal on our tree.
Eliza comforting James when he was sad.
Eliza comforting James when he was sad.
Eliza's basket fills a lot of roles. This week it was a Santa hat. Mommy had to sit on "Eliza Santa's" lap and tell what she wanted for Christmas.
Eliza’s basket fills a lot of roles. This week it was a Santa hat. Mommy had to sit on “Eliza Santa’s” lap and tell what she wanted for Christmas.
Eliza wearing daddy's boots.
Eliza wearing daddy’s boots.

Sarah was gone on Wednesday night to the family history center and again on Thursday night for Relief Society, so I got to stay home with Eliza and James. They are so good at night, most of the time.

Butterfly stroke across the floor

I guess this week was pretty uneventful. I’m sitting here trying to remember what happened and I can’t think of anything. So, either it was so crazy that I lost my mind or nothing happened.
Oh yes. On Friday night Sarah and I went to the temple. We haven’t been to a session in San Antonio for a long time and it was good to go back. Our friends watched both Eliza and James so that we could go. Eliza is awesome when she gets babysat these days. She just wants her food and then she’s good to go. James, on the other hand, is a screamer. Our friends would never tell us exactly what happened but we got the impression that he gave them a run for their money. He really needs to figure out the whole bottle thing.
Eliza loved this nightgown that she borrowed from our friends while we were at the temple.
Eliza loved this nightgown that she borrowed from our friends while we were at the temple.
I spent most of the week getting ready for scout camp. This is always stressful as I try to track down rogue medical forms and make sure boys have last minute changes to their schedules all set up. I think I got the last of the forms tracked down at church today so we should be all ready to go bright and early in the morning.
He's a mover
He’s a mover
Dancin on the table
Dancin on the table
Playing "ring around the rosey." Eliza like the "all fall down" part. James didn't like that part so much.
Playing “ring around the rosey.” Eliza like the “all fall down” part. James didn’t like that part so much.
James has been moving around a lot this week. He likes to eat books, toys, paper,  dust, cords, and anything else that is on the floor within his reach. Sometimes he’ll see something across the room and start scratching his voice and growling as he does the butterfly stroke across the floor to get it. It is kind of hilarious to watch. He cruises when he wants to and always makes sure to make enough noise that we know he’s on the move. He likes to yell especially loud when he gets onto the tile and starts slipping around. He has started to sing more with music when we sing and when he hears it. He can sit up, when we force him, but he doesn’t like it. He likes to be stiff and to have his legs and body straight. When you do force him to sit, he straightens up before you can let go and pops back up.
James puts up with a lot
James puts up with a lot
On Saturday Eliza really wanted to go swimming. We had a million things going on and so we kept putting her off. She took a late nap and when she got up she was reminding us again that she wanted to go. I took her to the pool really quick while Sarah got dinner. She was much more brave than she was last week and wanted to jump off the wall into the shallow end. Then when we got to jumping in the deeper end she’d try to lower herself backward into the pool. I’m proud of her for making progress in not being afraid. We’re trying to work on kicking and “swimming like a fish.”
Eliza playing her "Goodnight Moon" matching game.
Eliza playing her “Goodnight Moon” matching game.
A few weeks ago Sarah introduced Eliza to the song “Soulful Strut” (it’s the song on The Parent Trap when they have their fun handshake) and now she always wants to listen to it. She tries to say “soulful strut” but it doesn’t quite come out right and is super cute.
Wake up Eliza
Wake up Eliza
Eliza tried to climb up on the book shelf this week and slipped off and skinned the under-side of her toes pretty good. It bled quite a bit and she was scared and sad. Sarah did a good job doctoring her up. She tells us about it several times a day now about how she “bonked her toes” on the shelf and that “it was sad.”
Eliza's "bonked" toes
Eliza’s “bonked” toes
Her nursery teacher is moving out of state this week and so Sarah had her make a cute card and we took it over one evening. Eliza was sweet getting a picture with her and her teacher gave her a stuffed piglet to go with the rest of her Winnie the Pooh collection. She’s been carrying that around ever since.
Eliza and her great nursery teacher Sister Fuller
Eliza and her great nursery teacher Sister Fuller