Sunday, November 29, 2009

November Happenings

I'm trying to remember what has prevented me from blogging this month. I've had loads of photography sessions which have probably contributed. I have, however, been storing up little memories this month that are definitely worth sharing.

We hear very regularly how happy Schroeder is. He seems to have a dimpled smile for everyone he meets. He goes easily to anyone, but he knows who we are. Not every stage of childhood is this easy to take joy in, so we are savoring this sweet stage.

He did, finally, get his first tooth (mid-November). I thought it was coming through back in September, but these things take time. I'm the type of mom who has nothing on hand but a little Tylenol to help him through it. Nope, no baby orajel or teething tablets. One might think that's because he's a third child, but I didn't give it to D'arcy either.

He's eating fruits (beginning of November). I'm trying to be more consistent with how often I sit down to feed him veggies and fruit from a jar. It's happening about three times a week at this point. This is probably a third baby thing. I'm already sitting down to nurse him four times a day. He eats it all like a pro, though, and doesn't seem to be picky. Remember, though, that the term "picky" eater doesn't fly in this house. A month, ago, he took to blowing raspberries with his food instead of swallowing. I'm not sure if he wasn't pleased with the taste or if he just thought it was fun. I never looked down at the label, though, to make a connection of what food "he didn't eat" aka "he didn't like". At this point, I'm not giving him the choice of what he eats so why even bother looking.

We are trying to teach him the word "NO" and the sign language motion for "more". No is used when he raspberries his food, and goes for the little speakers under the TV table. "More" would be good to know when he wants more of anything including tortilla which is my replacement for cheerios. Why buy a box of cheerios when I can tear up a tortilla that I already buy for the kids?

Why do we think he could be capable of making the "more" sign? Because our little stroke victim has worked his way up to waving and clapping his hands! This is so stinking adorable.

Last, but not least, Schroeder is pulling himself to standing. I think I mentioned this in a previous blog. He can do it in his crib which is sometimes where I put him when the kids are playing in their room. I can't trust that he won't get trampled if left on the floor, but from his crib he can stand and watch Crazy #1 & #2 play. They like to entertain him by dancing and singing.

I've mentioned previously that parenting Julian is our hardest job at this point. He still makes me smile daily, though. He is very excited for Christmas, and is taking his Fisher Price manger everywhere. He watched Charlie Brown Christmas tonight, and has already remembered his favorite line from last year which he'll say over and over and crack himself up. He loves to sing Christmas songs and Praise songs. When the song "Sing, Sing, Sing" comes on on KLove, he will belt it out. Our kids always have a song to sing which is something I love.

He sleeps with Buzz and Woody right now. Although, the minute he got Buzz, Woody definitely got a slight demotion. I think we've heard, "There is a snake in my boat!" and "To Infinity and Beyond" about a hundred times in the last couple of months. Yes, you read that right "...snake in my BOAT!" He insists that it's boat and not boot.

At the dinner table he always instigates prayer, and loves to do "Cheers". He'll say, "Let's Cheers mom and dad!" Then, he'll grab his glass and want to clink it with everyone else. D'arcy also likes that game very much.

He's all about using the phrase "of course" right now. "Of coarse I will, mom," he'll tell me.

Julian is improving a great deal with the use of a writing utensil. His left hand is getting stronger, and he'll stay around long enough to even color a whole person.

D'arcy spends most of her time dressing up and then crafting. She still loves to draw and sew and weave and paint. Doing such things is the bane of Julian's existence but is the great joy of D'arcy's.

As we approach the end of our stay in Texas, she is preparing to leave her friends. She definitely expresses sadness in having to leave. I know it will be hard for me to deal with their emotions on top of my own. She's asked Stephen if he'll be able to find a new job. We smiled and wondered, has she been talking to our parents?

D'arcy also danced at her first recital on Saturday. She'll have another one in December. This one was on very short notice, but she very much enjoyed herself. Here are a few pics from that.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas Williams style

I have one green and red storage container that I keep 90% of my Christmas decorations. So, no, we aren't extravagant when it comes to decorating, but there are a few things you will find around our house that help us celebrate the holidays. This is what you need to celebrate the Holidays Williams style.

Fisher Price Manger Set

With lots of little hands around, there is no safe place for a fragile Nativity set. I believe my mom found this last year at the local Christian bookstore. She bought one for her home in Indiana, and I bought one for our church. Before it could get to church, though, the kids had fallen in love with it. Every Sunday, we would tote it back home so we could play with it all week. This year, I invested in another one for our home. Julian is going around telling everyone he got a manger. "A what?" people will ask. He puts all the pieces in his backpack and carries it from room to room. The other night as he was going to sleep he asked that I lay all the pieces down so that they could sleep too.

Nativity Advent Calendar

My mother in law looked diligently for a Jesus' themed advent calendar and found this one which is also great for little hands. My only qualm is that the velcro on the back of the pieces catches the threading of the dates. It's hard to get the kids to stop at just one piece. I've stopped getting upset if the decide to get Jesus out before the 25th.

Godly Play Advent Lessons

I'm the Children's Ministry director at our church. We use the Godly Play curriculum and I have worked their advent lessons into the advent materials our pastors created for their five daughters. We use this at church, and I reinforce it at home. At some point during the week, we'll sit down and reread the lesson, look at the pictures, and light the advent candles at home. We do the last lesson on Christmas morning before we open presents. The picture is something my friend, Joy, (our pastor's daughter) created to help her family celebrate Advent. She generously let me use adopt it for my family.

Sufjan Steven's Christmas Album

I love Christmas music. Stephen isn't a huge fan, but this is an album we can both agree on (at least in December...he still can't understand listening to it in August). It's a five CD set that is eclectic, yet traditional. Check it out.

A Real, Live Christmas Tree

When Stephen and I were dating, I kept insisting that we would always have a live Christmas tree in our future home. It was kind of a running joke. So much so, that Stephen's mom bought me a Christmas Tree stand as a shower gift. The first year we were married, we headed to our local Lowe's store to pick out a tree. We picked a modest $35 one, put the top down on our convertible, and drove it home to our apartment. We had to use our butcher knife to cut the lower branches off in order to get it into the stand. A couple hours and a lot of sap later, we had a live Christmas tree. Keep in mind, that this all happened about a week into finding out I was expecting D'arcy, and by the time Christmas rolled around, I was feeling nauseous. Somehow, the beautiful scent of fresh Christmas trees got associated in my mind with first trimester nausea so for the last five years, we've put up this monster of a fake tree. Well, it's been long enough! We sold our fake one at a garage sale, and next weekend we are off to pick out a modest $35 Christmas tree and put it in our minivan!

Charlie Brown Christmas DVD

Under our christmas tree, instead of presents, you'll probably both our Advent Box, our Fisher Price Manger Set, and a basket full of Christmas books and movies. You may have guessed that we like Peanuts since we have a little Peanut of our own (Schroeder). This is definitely my favorite Christmas special, and the kids love it, too. We have the Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Charlie Brown specials, and last year, D'arcy insisted we needed to locate an Easter one to keep the fun going.

Christmas Cards

I've found a creative outlet in creating a special Christmas card each year. I think three years ago, I sent it via email, but am committed to sending it snail mail from now on (barring any future financial crises). Sending Christmas cards, to me, is such a quaint tradition. When creating a card, I try to strike a balance between giving my friends a taste of what we've been up to all year and sending them a message of blessing. This is the picture we used last year. I hope to post this year's Christmas card in December for all of you to see!

Cinnamon Rolls

I can't remember a Christmas that my mom hasn't made these for Christmas morning. Yum, Yum. I still can't believe that when I joined Stephen's family, they thought the perfect Christmas food was crackers, Summer Sausage, Bill Bolt's cheese, and coffee. Add a couple of girls who can bake to the mix, and now we have some real treats on Christmas day.

We are looking forward to once again being "Home" for Christmas. We've never spent Christmas morning in our actual place of residence. Instead, our tradition is to always be in Indiana with our family during the holidays. We are thankful for jobs that have lots of paid vacation and holiday bonuses that help us make that trek every year. Since Santa Claus isn't really part of our holiday experience, the kids don't get anxious about him leaving their gifts in Texas while they're in Indiana. Instead, they rely on the fact that we'll always be with their Grammy & Poppy and Grandma & Grandpa for the holidays.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kids say the darndest things...

Julian says, "My foot won't walk!" He was suggesting that his foot was asleep.

Julian said, "Mom, I hurt my finger." I say, "On what?" Julian says, "On my hand!"

Schroeder: Climbing

Over the last couple of weeks, I've noticed that when I let Schroeder down on the floor instead of crawling away from me he's turning around and crawling up me. At first, I just thought it was because he loved his mama and was getting a little clingy. He does love his mama. (A couple of weeks ago, he was being held by Stephen at a restaurant. We were leaving and I stayed behind to gather our things. When I turned the corner and caught up to the family, Schroeder got this huge smile on his face.) However, loving me wasn't what was making him turn and crawl up on me. He was just excited to climb and pull up and I was the closest solid mass to help him achieve this goal.

Tonight, he pulled himself to standing on the side of Julian's little rocking chair. Julian was eating a little piece of bread, and Schroeder thought it looked good. The kids are getting a big kick out of Schroeder's new achievements. I got down this little car slash push cart from the attic, and they've been having loads of fun putting him on it. He enjoys it as well until he falls off.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Book Recommendation: We're Going on a Bear Hunt

We read a lot of kid books at our house. I really enjoy reading to the kids. I'm pretty animated. I've even tried to use accents (when reading Charlie & Lola) but the kids protested. I usually let the kids pick out their own books, but I have veto power. No, I will not read Wall-E to you. At least not more than once a year. However, some books I enjoy just as much as the kids do.
I first heard the book, "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" by Michael Rosen, at the Library during ABC club. It held my attention. The illustrations are cozy, impressionistic, and beautiful. They alternate between black and white and color. The book, like many children's books, repeats itself. The words are melodic, though, so you can almost sing through them. There's lots of fun sound non-words that make the pictures come alive some of which you just can't help but move to.
Anyway, for those of you reading to kids or are a big kid themselves, check out "We're Going on a Bear Hunt".

Sunday, November 8, 2009


D'arcy is learning to read. She has about 15 sight words that she learned in her first nine weeks, and is now working on being able to spell them. Last night, I used her sight words list to make her a little note. It read,

"I like D'arcy. D'arcy is a good girl. I can read. So can D'arcy."

I, like, is, good, and can are all on her sight word list so she just had to sound out girl and read. I brought it in to her and told her to read it. She immediately told me that she didn't know how to read, but I insisted that she could read this note. She was able to read it pretty quickly, and looked up at me with a big smile. She ran to read it to her dad, read it to herself before she went to bed, and brought it to church in her purse to show everyone how much she has learned.

Our (still) toothless wonder

Nope, no teeth, but I really lovely smile. Technicaly, not the best picture, but I couldn't resist sharing this beautiful face.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tips for Tuesdays: Stuff Managment

As I have begun to prepare for a move across the country to Portland, I have come to this conclusion. I don't want to move one single thing that I don't like, need, or want. That combined with the reality that we may very well be living in less than 1000 square feet of space in Oregon, made me take some drastic measures in the area of STUFF MANAGEMENT.

I have a house, three kids, a small business, a dog, and a husband who liked to collect as a child. This means that we had lots of stuff. I was overwhelmed and bogged down by managing it all. I emailed a friend looking for some pointers on how to win this war. She has more kids and lives in fewer square feet than we do so I knew she had to have some sort of method to help her cope. I have to credit her for some of the suggestions I'm about to give to you.

Two garage sales, several trips to goodwill, and lots of craiglist sales later here are some suggestions to win the stuff war.

1. Don't decide what you want to keep first and then where your going to put it. First, decide where you will store something, and then only keep what will fit.

Here's an example. I was keeping ALL of D'arcy's clothes to pass down to a (crossing my fingers) future sister. And they were all so cute, it was really hard to part with them. So I set a goal. Everything I was going to keep had to fit into 3 containers which meant that about half of what I had had to go. This helped me immensely in the sorting process. I eventually made another goal of getting it all down to 1 container!

Here's another example. I went from a toy room to a toy closet. Besides very big items and craft materials, all the kids toys had to fit into our hall closet. I made two or three passes through their toys before I finally achieved this goal.

2. If you haven't used it in a year, get rid of it.

This applied to the bikes that Stephen and I had as teenagers. We moved them down to Texas, and they had sat in our garage for four years without once being used. Oh, but maybe someday.... If the day ever comes when I really want to ride a bike, I'll go on craigslist (which is where we sold them) and buy one.

3. How many mugs, washcloths, hooded towels, clothes, shoes, and lotions do you really need anyway? Keep your favorites and get rid of the rest.

4. Reign in sentimentality.

I have a duvet cover that I made when Stephen and I got married that we used for the first four years of marriage. Will we ever use it again? Probably not. But it has all the factors for misplaced sentimentality. First, I made it. Second, we used it during a memorable time in our lives. Does this mean I should store it in our linen closet until I die? NO!

5. If you are keeping it in the hopes of one day fixing it...then fix it already or just get rid of it.

This applies to the shelf that I bought at a garage sale at least three years ago that needed screws worth $1.50 in order to hang it. Well, I finally went out and bought those screws!

This also applies to the stack of clothes that needed mending. One shirt had sat in this mending pile for four years. I decided it wasn't worth my time and energy and got rid of it.

Don't be held hostage by your stuff any longer!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Party

To see some of the pictures from our Community Group's Halloween Party click here.