Thursday, December 24, 2009

We Out

And off to California we go! Don't know if I'll be posting down there or if not--see you all next year! Hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

We're going to Lucas and Jill and Mia's house--hooray!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ezra's New Grill

Before in on bottom for some reason and After on top.

About a month ago now, Ezra had a procedure done on his teeth. I think I've posted before about how bad his teeth are and how going to the dentist is a nightmare, not because he's bad at the dentist, but because we always come away with bad news. Our last dentist had wanted to put him under and operate on most of his teeth and we thought we could avoid it. But, when his new dentist here in Idaho recommended the same plan, we thought the Lord must be telling us to go ahead with it. Allowing your child to go under anesthesia is not an easy decision, so we prayed long and hard about what to do. When it came down to it, the cavities were eating into his nerves and he was already experiencing pain--pain that would only get worse over the next few years. The teeth would become infected and need to be pulled. We could have gone the pulling route--but that would have left him with his four top front teeth missing for several years. Having the baby teeth pulled so early would delay his adult teeth from growing in. Oh my. So, we bit the bullet and let the dentist do "nerve therapy", essentially mini-root canals, on four teeth, crown 5 teeth and put fillings in multiple others. You can see why he needed to go under rather than have all the work done in the dentist office--it involves a significant amount of pain.
ANYHOW, the week before Thanksgiving we got up very early in the morning and drove our little boy to the surgery center. Our very own Auntie Avy generously left her house in the pitch black cold and drove over to watch Caroline so that she need not be roused from her bed at 5 AM. We were happy to have an early surgery time so that we didn't need to keep him from food and drink too long into the day.
He bravely obeyed all orders from doctors and nurses and marched off into the operating room alone--they wouldn't let us come along. It was hard to watch him go, I could tell he was trying valiantly not to cry and that made me want to cry. But, he did it. And they brought him to us in the recovery room about an hour and a half later. The dentist was really pleased with the results...and so were we. He recovered there for a short 30 minutes and we were off for home by 9:30 AM. Once home he wanted to eat and play right away. The hardest part of the whole thing was keeping him contained to "quiet activity" for the rest of the day. Praise the Lord it's all behind us! He is very good about letting us carefully brush his teeth twice a day and he even uses fluoride mouth wash correctly. Hopefully we can instill in him good dental habits that will last him a lifetime so that he doesn't have to go through this again with his adult teeth!

As you can see, Curious George went into surgery with Ezra and was treated to everything Ezra was--including the band aid from where his IV went in : ) George was very brave and a huge help to Ezra! Thank you George.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Our Boy

My boy Ezra is a grown up four year old, as of yesterday. Somebody please tell me, how did this:turn into this:
In four short years? Last night at bed time I told him that "four" is the last birthday he's ever allowed to have. The first four years have been fun. But turning five signals the start of school and Independence and whatnot. So, four is as far as he can go. Something tells me this is not a command he'll be able to obey.
He started out his morning opening presents from Grandpa and Grandma Tractor that had arrived in the mail. So much excitement! He even kindly shared these monster trucks and their track with his sister and cousin shortly after opening them.
We had a full day with Christmas craft time at the library story time...stopping by some dear friends' house to see their brand spanking new baby girl...naps...and time!
Lots of kids feasting on hot dogs and box juice. What more could a boy want for a birthday?

The parents also came to spend the evening together. Poor little Levi was the only one unable to join the other kids at the kid table.

He didn't seem too upset. He looks at you with his big eyes and starts giggling and talking these days--so grown up already.
Ezra has had this train cake before, but I paid enough money for the pan that I wanted to use it again while trains are still "cool".

Of course, all those candy decorations are a big hit with the kids. They love to pick out which train cupcake they want after the candles are blown out.

It was a fun party with lots of fun people. And now he doesn't get another birthday for a whole year. Thank you, Lord for the beautiful blessing of our precious boy Ezra. Our lives changed in a major way the day he came into this world and we would never ever wish the old way back--how boring it would be!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Around These Parts

It's been freezing cold and a little bit snowy here these past few days in December. It's not so bad when we can stay inside. And the roads get plowed frequently, so while driving still makes me quite nervous, it's not nearly so bad as it could be!
Ezra and Caroline are getting to feeling a little cooped up, but manage to log a lot of miles running around the inside of the house. When the temperatures warm up a bit, they go outside to play with Daddy and use up some energy. Ezra is a PRO at shoveling the driveway!

And...the reservoir is frozen over and covered with snow. We really want to go throw rocks to test the ice...but it's been a little cold for our tolerance. Yesterday while sharing a Sunday dinner with Uncle Alan's family and Grandpa and Grandma Idaho we noticed some guys ice fishing on the other side.

Also, Daddy's newest hobby--coffee roasting--is getting to be a bit of an obsession for him. He is experimenting with dozens of different green bean variety and also a bit of mixing. Last night Caroline decided she wanted to get in on some of the fun.

Yes, that's a popcorn popper he's using. No, the shop-vac is not part of the process (to my knowledge).
Whaddya think? Is he worth his beans?

Sometimes a good friend ("Mr. Johnny Tysor" himself) even shows up to entertain the kids with a big machine. He kindly cleared the driveway with 4 children in the cab while we adults enjoyed a Sunday afternoon dessert in peace and quiet in the house!
The sunrises are much later now than in the summer and a little more subdued...but still just as beautiful to watch each morning.

Freezing fog makes for the most beautiful of trees.

Interestingly enough, we have approximately 2 months left until Baby joins our family. Are we ready? No. But I've started having all the labor dreams and begun to wonder if I know where the baby car seat is??? ( I don't! Did we throw it away before we moved? Were we planning to buy another???). Caroline is still sleeping in the crib and we don't have a bed for her to move into. Is that a problem? It will be at some point, but for the first few months Baby can sleep in his/her Moses Basket...better get that cleaned up too. Ahhh....all these thoughts that run through my head as I toss and turn looking for a comfortable position that Baby and I both agree on so that I can fall into blissful sleep. Better enjoy the little snatches I get whilst I can!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Simple Winter Project Idea

I love Thanksgiving projects, but it's always fun to move on to something new and different. We are officially into winter projects now. This is an idea for a simple and quick project if you are looking for a way to fill time with toddlers/preschoolers/early grade schoolers.

Winter Mittens

Prep work:
~Make sure you have a copy of The Mitten by Jan Brett. I made the mistake of thinking I had it on hand and then not having it : ) A quick trip to the library was able to remedy that. But not until a few days after we did the project. oops.
~Gather a small hole punch, construction paper,yarn, crayons, glitter, glue, markers, or whatever you are comfortable decorating with.
~Find a mitten form to trace. Online works if you're not an artist.
~Trace and cut out a pair of mittens out of construction paper if your children are too young to do it themselves. If they are older, this can be part of the project.
~Cut lengths of yarn long enough to lace the mittens together.
~Punch holes all around the outside edge of the mittens.
~If you don't have large plastic needles for the kids, roll scotch tape around the end of the thread to make it stiff enough for "sewing"/lacing with.

1.) Read the book The Mitten by Jan Brett. Talk about the different snow clothes we wear to stay warm in the winter. If you have chart paper or a white board, you can write (or have the kids write if they are old enough) all the different clothing items you come up with. Circle the word "mitten" and tell the kids that is the one you'll be focusing on.

2.)Cut out your mitten forms and trace them onto a piece of construction paper folded in half (older children can do this on their own). You'll end up with 4 mittens for each project.

3.) Cut out the mittens (or have your older child do this him/herself). Use the hole punch to punch holes around the outside edge of the mittens.
4.) Thread the yarn through a large plastic needle OR if you don't have the needle wrap scotch tape around one end to make it stiff like a needle.
5.) Decide on a stitch (wrap around/blanket vs. traditional "in and out") with your child. Allow them to lace the mittens together.

6.) After mittens are laced, tie off the ends of the thread. Now you are ready for decorating! You can use whatever you want for decorations: markers, crayons, glitter, etc. We used glitter glue--much cleaner than plain old glitter and very sticky as well. I squeeze the glitter glue onto the mittens and the kids rub it all around with their fingers. Then we used some decorative snowflakes I got on clearance after Christmas last year to stick onto the glitter glue.
Ta-Da. The finished product.

You can tie the ends of the mittens together and hang them on a tree, on the wall, from a door knob--they make a festive winter decoration wherever you put them. This project works on:
~Eye hand coordination
~Gross and fine motor skills
~The words "in and out" or "up and down" (as your child is sewing)
~Having fun together as mother and child : )
Enjoy! Oh yes, grilled cheese and tomato soup lunch tastes delicious after this project--or a simple cup of hot cocoa if it's not lunch time. Don't forget the Jan Brett also wrote The Hat and you could move onto that book and a matching project of your own choice. The possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

And Then They Left

As eventually happens with all guests...Grandpa, Grandma and the Uncles had to leave for their own homes and real lives. We were very sad to see them go. As Uncle Brettskis had an early flight out of Boise on Sunday morning, they all packed up and headed out Saturday evening.
Oh yes, a picture of the finished Thanksgiving study. There are a few blank spots to show the unfinished projects and charts we never got around to. What can I say, pie baking and snack making got in the way : )

The gingerbread house the kids and I made with lots of help from Grandma. I had plans of making the gingerbread myself. Then reality gave me a good look in the eye and I called Tadd and asked him to add "gingerbread house kit" to his last minute Costco list. They really do go together much easier this way. Another added bonus--I didn't have to buy 12 different bags of candy which I promptly would have finished off. I think the kit ends up being cheaper along with easier. Last time I made the gingerbread, I couldn't make the icing stiff enough to hold it together and Tadd and Alan had to kick in their engineering skills and use some skewers to hold the houses together. We didn't want a repeat of that event.
Before the Tractors left we met some good friends at a Mexican food joint in town. These friends just so happen to be the Missing Uncle's in-laws. They had been out of town all week and so this dinner was their only opportunity to say hi to the Tractors.
Caroline (literally) squeezing in some last moments with her boys.
And Ezra managed to fit in between two of his favorite friends.
Eventually we had to say our good byes.
No one was overly happy about it.
Caroline took one look at the suit cases waiting to be loaded and packed up her own.

She even went so far as to load them onto the back of the pick up. She really thought she was going home with them. So did Ezra. Grandma reminded him that his mommy wouldn't be there at bed time and then whose hair would he play with while he fell asleep? That was enough to convince him. Not Caroline. She didn't so much care whether I would be there or not. But the stop for dinner made her forget and she came home in the van with her own mommy and daddy without too many complaints.
Thank you for driving all this way Grandpa and Grandma and Brett and Jeff! We sure had fun with you here.