First Day of School 2016-17

All three kids have been enjoying getting into the school routine. I am very fortunate that all three really enjoy school!

Parker, our extrovert has really loved getting to see his buddies again. He loves his teacher, and he has been able to reconnect with his friends from last year on the playground, and he has a few kids he knows from his Kindergarten class. We are also lucky to have quite a few great kids in our neighborhood that he enjoys playing with.

Parker was a great big brother to Mason at school, showing him the ropes and walking Mason to class.  Parker enjoys math, science, and has started reading the Magic Tree House series to us at home. He’s also very active and has enjoyed soccer, running, and playing in the woods when he gets home from school. Homework has been MUCH better this year. He enjoys most of it, and quite a bit of it he does on his iPad. Times have changed!

Mason loves school, but had a bit of a hard time transitioning into Kindergarten. I get it, it’s a big leap from preschool! He’s also more sensitive to change and unfamiliar environments. He’s a bit of an extrovert as well, but definitely has to warm up to you first or it has to be on his terms. He loved that he already knew his teacher- which was the same teacher that Parker had last year. He sits with Parker on the bus, which has helped ease his fears quite a bit. Mason does very well in school. He’s a great listener and he follows directions very well. He’s really been enjoying all things creative lately. At home, he’s been doing quite a bit of painting, crafting with paper and popsicle sticks,  you name it! Of course he still loves legos, but it’s been fun to see him use his creativity in other ways, too.

Sienna’s preschool started a few weeks after Parker and Mason’s school. She is just going 2 days, but man… she sure wishes it was more. Almost daily she asks if its a school day. So, all that to say, she pretty much loves school. Every bit of it! She’s our super social extrovert that really gets her energy by interacting with other people. She is still learning her letters and numbers. She knows her colors and shapes. Quite honestly, she could care less about all of the “school” things she should learn. She’s there to see how many people she can interact with and play with. That has been her main focus right now.  I’m okay with that. The learning of her letters and numbers will come later, I’m sure of it. I’m just thankful for her positive and encouraging attitude towards life and I’ve loved having time with her the days she’s not in school.

Amanda Graduates High School

It seems like it wasn’t so long ago that I was graduating High School, and now I’m congratulating my little sister who has earned the same title of Graduate. She has overcome many odds, and I am so incredibly proud of her determination and her perseverance she’s continued to show throughout her years at Providence Christian Academy. I’m sure she’ll do the same as she continues her education at Augusta University, where she’ll study medicine.

She is not only extremely smart and beautiful, but she is her own person who doesn’t follow the norms of her peers. She listens to the beat of her own drum, and I love that about her. She has grown into such an amazing person, and I can’t wait to see what God will continue to do in her life. Congrats, Sis!

 

Mason Can Ride a Bike!

It happened so fast! Dan and I had tried to get Mason pumped up about taking off his training wheels ever since his fifth birthday in March. We finally took the plunge, but then he resisted practicing and just wanted the training wheels put back on.

One day, Mason came home and said that they were having bike day at school and you can bring your bike in to ride around with your classmates. I said to Mason “Wouldn’t it be so neat if you could ride your bike without training wheels before bike day at school?” He shrugged, and then decided he wanted to give it a try. We tried in the driveway a few times, but nothing much came of it.
I knew if he could just practice balancing then he would be a little more confident. So, that evening I searched on youtube how to teach a kid to ride a bike. I came across a video that suggested removing the pedals. So, I thought I’d give it a try. Dan took them off one weekend and he practiced just taking big long steps on his bike downhill… just to practice balancing. Then Dan left for a business trip, and I asked if he was comfortable putting the pedals back on, and he said he was, and so we did. I wasn’t prepared at all for what happened next, and neither was he. We went down to the cul-de-sac and he almost immediately started pedaling! He surprised himself after three revolutions, and stopped and just turned to look at me shocked. I told him not to move a muscle and I ran back home and grabbed my phone to video it! He did it! I was so proud!!


Mason turns Five!

We had such a great time celebrating our sweet boy! We had his party at a fun indoor trampoline park called Get Air. He and some of his best buddies; Allie S., Allie C., Alex, Kai, Noah and of corse Mason and Sienna enjoyed jumping and celebrating! He told me it was the best birthday party ever, which makes me feel like we’ve done a great job. Not just with selecting the party location, but with raising a kid who is appreciative and thankful to be celebrated.  He asked for a specific Lego City set that was an arctic mining station. He really enjoyed building it with the help of his brother, and has loved playing with it! We also got him some digging supplies since he’s such an outdoorsman and loves any reason to dig and explore in the woods!

 

 

My sweet Mason

 

This new year is moving on well. We’re full force into February, and March is lurking around the corner with Mason’s birthday coming up. Mason will be five soon.  Life just keeps moving on. I can’t complain at all, but it’s hard to believe that he’ll  be a half of a decade old!  Yes, hard to believe for sure, but my baby boy is growing up so fast. I began pre-registration for Kindergarten for him last week, and he has become such a smart kid. I just can’t wait to see what the future holds for him!

I have a few things that I see in him that makes me really excited about his future.  First of all, he’s very self motivated and quite a bit of an independent thinker.  For example, our afternoons go something like this: Mason, Sienna and I get home from preschool, we eat lunch, we admittedly watch a bit of TV, and then Sienna typically takes a nap, although there are days that I let her stay up now that she’s getting older, and then that’s when I see Mason work his magic.  When I move on to catching up on chores, cleaning up lunch, and sometimes, taking a rest myself, Mason takes it upon himself to make his own little lego creations. These things are fantastic creations too. They have special features, and Mason uses adult words like hydraulics, and combustion engines, not really knowing what they really mean, but knowing they sound official.  He’ll also add things like “special blasters” to up the cool factor, of course.

Another thing that intrigues me about Mason is that he, unlike the rest of the members of the family, doesn’t really care as much for technology or screen time.  He’s not one to watch a long show, or sit on his iPad. We typically have to beg and plead on movie night for him to sit with us to watch the whole thing.  He gets bored easily watching a screen, and wants to be building, creating, letting his mind go wild to see what he can do to make pile of bricks turn into something impressive.  One thing he has use his iPad for is inspiration.  He’ll occasionally go to YouTube Kids and use the voice command to watch short clips of lego demonstration videos.  I catch him hitting pause so he can try and mimic what he’s watched with his legos.  All of this has been self directed. Another time, he found an old lego instruction book and built the entire car back, but with different colorful pieces. It took him almost an entire day to find all the pieces from a huge bin of legos that he painstakingly and carefully sifted through to located the correct size the instructions asked for. Again, an idea he came up with.

He is so bright and gifted in so many ways. It’s really been a joy to see how he’s grown. I’ve been reminding myself of these things, and trying my best to be intentional about compliments.  Of course, all kids need praise, but I feel like with Mason’s sensitive personality, he really needs us to do it often.  I’m starting to think it is his love language.  We have to be intentional about giving him the kind of attention that entails positive praise and not the negative attention that he sometimes asks for when he acts out.

In school, we’ve only gotten great reports back from his teachers, but in all honesty, at home Dan and I often struggle parenting Mason when he gets frustrated and angry over what we would see as very trivial things.  He can be sensitive at times or just plain moody.  If he doesn’t keep his moodiness in check, it escalates to full on anger rage in no time.  This is something that we have been working with him on.  As he grows and matures we are hoping that we can guide him in a way that he learns positive ways to cope with big feelings.

With all that being said, because he feels so deeply, he also loves very deeply. It’s not hard to tell that Mason really enjoys feeling secure, affirmed, and enjoys giving hugs and kisses. He’s such a sweet boy and can be very affectionate. When it comes to him making sure we know that he loves us, he does a great job.  This makes me feel like we’re doing something right in that area.

Mason tried  baseball for the first time in the fall. He said he wanted to try it, and he did okay, but he’s still learning.  He’s also learning to keep a positive attitude even when he’s not very good at something. It’s all just a trial and error as far as sports go at this age.  I don’t want to be that parent that forces our kids into doing things that they don’t want to do.  My only request is that they stay active. I think this is an important part of being a healthy kid!  This year we’ve decided to try him in swim lessons.  He’s had lessons before, but now that he can swim, it’s more working on breaths and technique. He’s been taking classes every Friday.  He’s cried a couple of times (because it’s hard work, and he misses his Mommy…, I know he’s almost FIVE, but he wears his feelings) However, he’s been doing incredibly well at swimming. He’s become super confident and I am beyond proud of his determination!

One thing I have learned as a parent is to be careful of labels. I try not to label Mason as the “sensitive one” or my “builder” of the family. He is multifaceted and still learning, growing, and changing. All we can do as parents is love and encourage him as much as we can, help him to realize his gifts and talents, and help equip him with the tools he needs to be the best he can be. I’m along this journey of mothering him, not making him fit into a predetermined mold.

All the while he’s teaching me, all of my kids are, teaching me the best way they can relate to others, and feel loved and accepted. My kids have been some of my best teachers, and I continue to learn from them!

Schools Out!

We had a great time celebrating Parker graduating Pre-k and Mason finishing up his 3 year old class. This year has been a bit more demanding with all the activities, class requirements, request for volunteering, etc. We are so excited about diving into the summer and all it’s glory! Here’s some sweet pictures from the end-of year program that Parker and Mason were apart of at Parkway. It’s hard to believe that Parker is a preschool graduate and won’t be joining his brother next year for preschool and that Sienna will be going to school two days in two year old preschool! The days are long, but the years are short for sure! I’m doing all I can to savor these precious years before they’re off to school all day long and get embarrassed by me calling out their name and giving them big kisses!

 

Daniel Parker Christiansen- Preschool Graduate 2015

Mason’s Lego Birthday

Blogging has taken a back seat lately but I can’t forget to blog about an important milestone- Mason’s Fourth Birthday on March 11th!

Here are a few things about four year old Mason!

IMG_2993

1. What is your favorite thing to eat and drink?  Pineapple and Pepperoni Pizza, orange juice and water

2. What is your favorite toy and super hero? Legos, Superman and Batman

3. What is your favorite show? Matchbox Big Rig Buddies show and Leapfrog DVDs from the Library (Mason is NOT a big fan of TV or movies…it’s the weirdest thing)

4. What is your favorite thing to play with outside? The kiddie pool and the water table

5. Who is your best buddy? Gatlin (from his preschool class) and Parker and Sienna

6.  What is your favorite thing to do in school?  Play with lincoln logs

7. What is your favorite color? Red

8. What is your favorite sport? Basketball and Karate (He’s yet to play any team sports)

9. What do you want to be when you grow up? A swamp driver.  I want to take my teacher to a swamp with NO crocodiles… (ooooh kaaaay)

10. How many kids do you want to have one day?  Three kids

11. What’s your favorite thing you like to do with Mommy and Daddy? Build a HUGE HUGE lego city!

12.Where is your favorite place to go have fun? Catch Air and Cogburn Park

13. What is your favorite Music?  I love Jack Johnson and Laurie Berkner band

To say that Mason is obsessed with Legos is an understatement. The kid lives and breathes legos! He also still likes big trucks, and leapfrog (his stuffed animal he sleeps with and the educational video) but Legos take the cake for the most played with!

We really wanted to do a party at Lego Land, but it was just rediculously expensive and it had a minimum of 10 kids that had to attend that had to be paid for in full in order to fulfill the reservation.  So instead, we decided to take him to make a family trip out of Legoland and the do a small lego themed party at home.

Everyone had a great time at Legoland and there were lots of activities for everyone!  The kids loved the rides, the legos building opportunities, the 3D movie, the huge play area, the huge lego city that included a miniature version of major landmarks in and throughout Atlanta. It was so fun!

Even though Mason is very outgoing, and one of the most talkative of our kids, he also is pretty sensitive, and can get overwhelmed with a big crowd. So, we tried to keep the friends to a minimum so that he could enjoy just having a good time instead of feeling overwhelmed.

I had two lego building areas where the kids could let their imaginations run wild.  The kids had a great time with building and showing their new masterpieces to their buddies.  Then we went upstairs for a few organized activities.  Mason also loves music, so we decided to incorporate his favorite songs “Shaky Egg” (with lego filled Eggs) to sing and dance to.  Then we played the song “We Are the Dinosaurs” as we grouped them into two teams and they stomped around holding small spoons of legos to carefully dump into the bins.  The kids seemed to really have a nice time!

We looked high and low for a reasonable Lego cake, and opted to do a “Curious George” cake, minus the Curious George toy since the colors were very lego, and we added our own legos on top!  Mason loved it!

We had a really nice time celebrating with family and friends! Another year older, and another reason to celebrate!

No more diapers

Over five years of kids in diapers in our house, and we’re finally done. Santa left some potty related items under the Christmas tree and we thought the holidays would be a great time to get her interested.  Dan is home from work for two weeks, we’re stuck mostly indoors because of chilly weather and a plethora of toys, so selfishly WE decided it was the right time.

She took well to it. Not right away, but after some persistent persuasion she complied. A few “Frozen” jelly beans may have helped a bit.  After day three, we could put her on the potty and ask her to go and she would try.  She’s still working on going poop on the potty, but she’s got the peepee down!  We can take her to the gym or anywhere out and about, and she’s good to go for the most part.

 

After years of kiddos in cloth diapers it feels strange to not be using cloth, and to leave the house without diapers! It seems like my sweet baby girl is growing up so fast, and has turned into a big girl overnight.  I’m so proud of her for mastering this milestone! She’s one amazing girl!

Sienna Turns 2!

I can’t believe my baby girl is so big! She truly has come into her own in so many ways over this last year. Just looking at her pictures from last year where she was just a tiny baby with barely-there hair on her head, to full locks of curly blonde hair in no time flat! She is quite the spunky girl!

Sienna's Golden 1st Birthday last year

Sienna’s Golden 1st Birthday last year

A few things about Sienna:

1. She loves to give hugs, kisses, etc. Very affectionate. She can get pretty possessive over Mommy and can be quick to nudge her brothers if she thinks they’re taking up her Mommy time. This girl loves being with her mommy. She’s truly a Mama’s girl and I love it. She splits salads with me when we go out to eat, and she climbs in my lap any given moment.

2. She loves story time before bed. Her favorite books are Sandra Boynton book and her current favorites are the Little Pookie series. It never gets old to her!

3. Similarly to number 2, she loves story time at the Library. Listening, clapping, dancing, getting attention and having fun… she’s all about it.

4. She’s a fan of music and dance parties. She is quick to shake her waistline to the beat of fun kid songs in the playroom, or even jam out in the car to her latest pop music fave. She’s a clown.

5. She loves pretty much every toy. She likes little lego men quite a bit. She’s fascinated by the fact that you can take the legs off and put on different ones, and she likes that they’re small. She also loves baby dolls, dogs, Sophia doll, her kitchen set, little people, star wars characters- especially Darth Vader (Daaat- Vaaadaa) Who knew? She loves outside toys, balls, tball, her scooter, her pink coup…etc. This girl can get into it all. She loves girly toys, but can hang with the boy’s toys too!

6. She doesn’t really watch a lot of TV, she’s usually playing when the boys are watching a show, but she does love Dora. Occasionally she’ll sit through a whole show while I clean the kitchen or get some chores done, but she mostly likes the opening song. She also likes to watch Sesame Street sometimes and she’s starting to get into Sophia the First. She loves the opening song, but hasn’t sat for the entire show.

7. The girl can eat. Like I mentioned in number one, she loves to split a salad with me. The boys never liked salads, but I just love that about her. She’s my side kick at Zoe’s kitchen, chowing down on almost half of my quinoa chicken salad. She isn’t a big breakfast eater, but makes up for it for lunch and dinner. LOVES to steal mama’s food, so it’s a good incentive to keep it clean so she doesn’t eat junk! Her favorite snack to steal right now is pistachios. She’s my little side kick. I hope that never changes.

8. Rough housing with Daddy and brothers is a big favorite. If I had to name one thing she loved doing most with the guys in the house, it would have to be horse playing! Whether it’s with foam light sabers, piling up on Daddy’s back, or having silly tickle sessions… She loves it all! She can dish it out, too!

9.She loves to talk! I think she is pretty advanced in her verbal skills, and may even be ahead of where the boys were at this age. She is pretty darn good at communicating her needs, and can throw on the drama and emotion when needed! The girl is even starting to get opinionated about the clothes that she wants to wear. “NO, MAMA, I want SOPHIA dress!” Hmmm… It’s 30 degrees, you’re wearing pants, doll. We’re in trouble!

10. Every. Where. I. Go. “Aw.. Isn’t she cute?!”… “What a pretty little girl”… “She’s adorable!!”. I know I’m bias, but she is quite possibly the cutes little 2 year old girl EVER. I get reminded of it every where I go, but I already know it. I love her sweet smile and her spunky spirit. She’s so beautiful to me inside and out!

The morning of Sienna’s birthday, we went in and surprised her with some Dora balloons and started singing to her. She was super excited about her special day!

For Sienna’s party, we decided to do a Build-A-Bear party. She loves stuffed animals, and has enjoyed being in the store before, and we thought she would be old enough to enjoy the build-a-bear experience. She had lots of opinions about the animal she wanted to pick, and didn’t like almost anything I showed her. She ended up with the Hello Kitty animal, and didn’t want to get any clothes on her. I think she just wanted to keep her soft and cuddly! I think the boys had more of a good time than she did, but it was still a lot of fun.

The party continued upstairs near the carousel. We sang to Sienna, everyone enjoyed a homemade cupcake, and most of the kids rode the carousel. I was surprised that Sienna knew what to do for her birthday candle. She blew it right out. I remember practicing this with Parker before his second birthday because I was afraid he wouldn’t know what to do… but then while everyone sang, he was trying to blow the candle out instead of waiting until the end. So this time I didn’t bother trying to teach her, but she was smart enough to see her buddy Walker blow it out first, and she followed the lead!

When we were at the mall last week, we saw that they had little stuffed animals that you could rent and ride on. Seriously… How cool is that? So, we told the boys that maybe we would try it for Sienna’s birthday. So, that’s what we did. The boys got a tiger, and Daddy and Sienna got a Rhino. Aunt Amanda took a turn for fun too. They all had a blast!


We ended the evening with Sienna opening some amazing gifts from some generous friends and family. Sunday morning was spent playing with all her fun toys since one kid had a belly ache (probably too much sugar over the weekend) and Mommy was nursing a sore throat and we didn’t make it to church. It was also very chilly out, so Daddy enjoyed building us our first fire of the season. Overall, a fun birthday weekend!


Bike Rides and Tball Hits!

We decided to sign Parker up for Tball this year.  We’re not exactly a sports family.  What I mean by that is that nobody watches sports or talks about sports, and neither Dan or I went to a college that played a specific sport. Neither one of us or grew up playing sports. Well, Dan played soccer, gymnastics and karate as a kid so I guess those count.  Dan went to Drexel U. a technology college and I went to an art school for college, so neither one of us jumped on the college football wagon or have an aligance to a particular team or sport. So sadly, Parker is at a disadvantage for any kind of sport in our house since he’s never even seen baseball on TV!

I knew Parker would love it though because he has such a positive attitude and an incredible drive and energy. He’s always so positive and loves to play and compete at anything.  Of course, since he’s never played he’s not that great at it.  He doesn’t let it get him down though.  He’s hit a few balls off the T, and last two games hit a piched ball!  He still needs to work on his throw and his outfield behavior (he was throwing his hat in the air and trying to catch it with his head last game), but overall we are proud of him. Who knew being a Mom of a little boy was so much fun?  We’re certainly having fun with this kid and I can’t wait to see how much he grows in this sport.  He’s already asked if he can play in the spring too!  The other day he got up from his nap and asked if he could watch baseball online, and see them drink Gatorade. Ha! He’s so funny!

On Parker’s birthday, I told him that he’s five now, and that I thought we should try riding his bike without training wheels. We’ve tried once before on his big bike, and he was just WAY too unstable. So this time, we decided to take off the training wheels on Mason’s bike since it is smaller and lower to the ground. I worked with him on Sunday a little bit while Dan had a friend over and they were watching a movie and the two youngest were napping. I was EXHUASTED. Parker kept leaning and putting all his weight on me, and I was hunched over trying to keep him upright. He kept wanting to try, even though he kept falling. We probably got a balance of one bike length without him falling, but that was the extent of it. I was a little annoyed because he wasn’t really taking the whole bike riding thing seriously. He would laugh and laugh, and smile and then laugh. In hindsight I guess it’s better than him crying and giving up, but I just kept asking him to BE SERIOUS which is totally NOT Parker’s personality.

I was talking to my neighbor Jenn about advice since she taught her son to ride his bike and the next day was a gorgeous afternoon, and the kids were all playing outside. Jenn and I took turns helping Parker start, and asked him to ride to the other person and JUST LIKE THAT. That was what he needed. A cheering person in front of AND behind him! He started going the longest distance that night, and two days later was riding down the street on his big bike! Such a proud Mama! Dan was impressed too, of course. My boy is growing up!