Did I hear a 'niner' in there?

Well.  As you may have guessed.  Our family recently flew across the country in a Cessna 221.  The cabin was pressurized, so we could fly at a pretty high altitude.  But it was still pretty loud in there, and we had to wear these awesome headsets to hear each other talk.

Paul's cousin has a plane and flew us out to Utah for Paul's other cousin's wedding.  It was pretty sweet.  Six hours of flight time.  No baggage claim necessary.  We officially have a new cousin-in-law.  And had a fabulous time at all the wedding festivities.  It was so good to see family out it Utah.  Paul flew home Wednesday, and I drove up to Idaho Falls (in the car that we bought in Utah).  And so begins leg two of my very long vacation.  Everyone in Idaho is missing Paul sorely and wishes he could be here to visit.  And I am glad I have someone to fund my cross country travels, but I miss him too.  Single parenting on vacation isn't all the fun you think it will be.

The word "vacation" conjures up images of relaxing days with loved ones in far distant lands while my children play merrily in the background.  But they miss their dad, and their bed, and their quiet times, and their dad....  And bedtime isn't nearly as fun when it's two to one :)  We're surviving though, and loving being here with Clark and Lindsay and the Desmonds.  It's been a great trip.


Warning: Brag Board Ahead.

I just want to jot down a few milestones for posterity's sake.  So if that kind of thing bores you, move right along.  I won't be offended.  (Sometimes I make quick work of your kid's milestone posts too.)

This girl.  She has started doing this thing where she hugs me around the neck and pats my back and lays her little head on my shoulder and it just melts my heart.

She also has all of her teeth, I think.  I am not brave enough to do a thorough examination.  (Or, truthfully, motivated.  If I were a better mother I would count each tooth lovingly.  But for me, a quick peek is sufficient.  Yep, they're in there.)  She is working so hard to learn how to jump.  And she's getting pretty good.  No air time yet, but I bet she'll get there any day now.

Charlotte has recently developed this quirk of absolutely requiring something in her hands while she breastfeeds.  (LONG SIDE NOTE: (JUST SKIP THIS PART, ARCHIE.  Yes.  She is fifteen months, and 80% of her diet is breast milk.  Maybe 90%.  She has very little interest in solids.  Unless junk food is present, which it is usually not, so I don't factor that into my estimates.  When Ella was fifteen months (and still nursing) I remember being mildly embarrassed.  And being grateful when I found others who were also doing "extended breastfeeding".  Ahhh, how time changes things.)  So, anyway, she asks to nurse, then climbs off my lap, grabs a toy, or whatever mildly interesting object is close at hand (this afternoon it was a throw pillow) and keeps her little hands occupied during mealtime.  She never stops moving.  Ever.

Recently we have noticed her singing the tune of Twinkle Twinkle in moments of solitary play.  I have been telling Paul about it for a while, but he never believes it when I tell him that our children are doing precocious things.  So, when we were in the car together Monday and she was singing it, I said, "Paul, do you hear her?! She's singing Twinkle Twinkle!  I told you she could!"  And he said, "Yeah, I know, I heard her singing it yesterday.  During Sunday School.  Really Loudly."  Char sings some portion or at least does hand motions to most every song we sing now.  My favorite is when she is the echo on the "Hello" song.

Another fun thing that she does is run away from me yelling "No! No! No!" when she doesn't want to do something.  The reason it is cute and not aggravating is because she is not saying it with defiance as much as with desperation.  As in "No, please don't make me!" vs. "No, I won't do it, buster and you can't make me."  I don't mind a little desperation in my life.  It makes my job more exciting.

Ella is just learning by leaps and bounds.  She has recently started asking me to teach her how to write her letters, which is really fun, because I have opinions on pushing your children into that sort of thing, but it has been completely child-led.  So far she has learned E, A, F, O, and the J shape, with no guarantees that the J is facing in the correct direction.  I know.  Totally random letters.  But this is at her request, so I just go with it.  I started trying to teach her to write her name, but she didn't care about that.  She just wants to write the letters.  So she does.  She writes them all over the page, and then she tells me stories about the letters, and how they are all going to the park together, or other such adventures.  She is starting to come up with really fun stories to tell.  Sometimes at night she will tell me a bedtime story.  Or sing me a bedtime song, complete with her own lyrics and tune.

She loves to draw, and has recently been "writing books".  Which means she draws several pictures and then folds up the paper several times.  Then she 'reads' the book while unfolding the paper.  Her pictures are varied and sometimes even recognizable.  She draws a great stick figure.  And once she tells me what animal she drew I can see the resemblance.  She's also a fan of drawing trees, clocks, and grass.  And really anything that she can think of.

Ella loves self-directed play time and spends it in her room streaming a constant flow of dialogue for her toys.  She says her prayers independently now.  They are a bit rote, but we've been working with her on it, and the other day while we were on a date and our friends were watching her, she said a prayer and blessed the people in their family by name.  So, my parenting is paying off.  Her typical prayer includes our immediate family and asks that we sleep well.  But she has been known to pray for grandparents and aunts and uncles.  She also is frequently grateful for Jesus and Nursery.  So that's good. :)  

Have I even addressed potty training on the blog?  We started potty training her when she turned two and it has been a long road.  She has been happily going to the bathroom since then, but always needed reminding.  Not long after we moved her I started forgetting to remind her, and she started remembering herself.  So, she is potty trained.  I know nobody really cares, but this is for posterity's sake, anyway.

Whew.  Well, that's all I can think of for now!



Ella got a Zoku for her birthday, so we have been eating Popsicles basically all the time.  Peaches are fifty cents a pound here, so I juiced a a couple and added some yogurt to make peach creamsicles.  Yum.


An interesting take on the whys of home schooling.

I think this woman really nailed a lot of components of why I want to home school long term.  (As in, I am already home schooling right now.  I try to keep that in mind each day, because at no point in human development do we learn more quickly than we do as infants and toddlers.)  The older I get, the more painfully aware I become of the time limitations we have here in mortality.  So, the idea of sending my children off five days a week for nine hours a day, with only some unknown percentage of their day is spent on things that I consider of worth, is a bit distasteful to me.

Anyhow.  Don't worry about the social development of my children just yet.  Paul's still not on board.


Another Independence day come and gone.

Ours was delightful.

It consisted of breakfast with the ward, and swimming, and naptime for three of the four members of our family.  I’m not going to tell you who didn’t take a nap.  But I will tell you that that person opted to watch Blue’s Clues instead.

After naps we decided to go to see African Cats at the Dollar Theatre; which was made all the more enjoyable with a running commentary by Ella Joy herself.  Then we headed home for dinner, and yes, another round of swimming.   And so I’m not sure if Ella has really grasped the full import of this holiday, but she did enjoy it.

Actually, so did Charlotte.  She definitely knows what swimming is and when we say the word she responds by clapping her hands and saying "Yea!"

She is a fearless non-swimmer, and jumper.  And although we didn't catch any airborne pictures, you get the general idea.  She consistently tries to wriggle out of our arms in the water and we try to let her flounder underwater for a few seconds to see if we can instill a little fear.  No luck so far.

Ella on the other hand has officially, as of today, transitioned into the swimmer category.  Yes, we took off her floatie, and she just went for it, and made it a good ten or twelve feet swimming on her own with her face in the water.  What a rock star.  We start swimming lessons next week, so hopefully we'll be able to improve her technique a little bit.

Here's hoping everyone else's Fourth was as enjoyable!