Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Anna's First Day of Gymnastics! And Court, Boooo...

I had court yesterday for my expired registration. I went to the courthouse feeling very apprehensive about the whole situation, but all the officials who worked there were very nice and helpful. They showed me were I was supposed to wait in line and kept an eye on me too, I think lol. I definitely looked like I did not belong there, dressed in bright colors and a skirt, I looked like a 1950's housewife lol! I had brought a book, my Frida Kahlo biography, with me to read while I waited. Most people were there for much worse charges, DUI's and theft and trespassing. They hooted and hollered, talking loudly about their charges. I remember that I couldn't wait to get out of there, I do not enjoy that type of energy or enviroment.

The judge took one look at me, saw my renewed registration and instantly dismissed my case. I was so relieved, I was honestly prepared to pay for the ticket and take the fault. But I am so glad that she dismissed the whole thing! I didn't have to write any paperwork and was free to leave. Yay! Then it was finally time for fun!

After dropping Alan off at preschool, Anna and I went to her gymnastics class. I was so excited, but the silly girl fell asleep on the way there! She wouldn't wake up until we were already inside too! :) We met her teacher, Miss Carrie, and her classmates. They always start class with bubbles, a perfect way to start any class in my opinion. Miss Anna was more interested in the class that was Alan's age group lol, she kept leaving to go find them.

We playing in the climbing corner for a bit, then went on the zipline and the tumble track. Anna tried both of them a few times and then was no longer interested. Then we tried the obstacle course, which she didn't care for one bit. I thought that would have been her favorite but she just wanted to go see the other classes lol. She enjoyed the foam pit though! I plopped her in a few times and she sat in the pit with me too. But then she almost lost her Spiderman toy which made her mad. Oh she was a tired girl!

Her teacher assured me that this was common with the first time. I wasn't worried about it, I know how overwhelming that big gym can be for a little one the first time. Plus this was her first REAL class. I know that in a month or two, she will love it. She loves gymnastics and today we picked out the cutest little leotard for next week. I love my gymnast kiddos!

I got a few much needed things today at the store. Anna is still using children's Mederma for her scar on her face, I picked up another tube of that. We also got her a leotard, a cute one with stars and sparkles everywhere. I also went to the second hand store to drop off some clothes. I picked up two outfits for Benton and a pair of shoes for both Alan and Anna. Six things and I only spent $19 total! Yay! We can't wait for Aunt Natalie and Benton to get here tomorrow!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Basketball and Baby Showers

I am so glad that we finally have our car back! With a family of four, two little kiddos, its hard to not have your car for a week! I missed playdates, had to reschedule Alan and Anna's gymnastics classes and had to figure out rides to work. I am so happy our car is back with us! Even if we do owe the mechanic $500+ now lol. Blah... We had a simple weekend. Alan has basketball practice and I had a baby shower for an old family friend. Not too wild of a weekend, but I still enjoyed it!

Alan is really getting into basketball. This week we learned what a jump shot is, how to play "Coach Says" and how to dribble and run. We also played a new game called Sharks and Minnows, Alan loved it! He did get hurt a few times though but I reminded him that sometimes in sports we get hurt. He is my strong boy! Alan loves basketball, his coaches and his team mates! Here are some photos from practice:

Alan doing jumping jacks

I got some time away from the kids too on Sunday, thanks to my mom. Aunt April and I went to my family friend Lisa's baby shower. Her son, Erik, was born last month. I met him for the first time at the shower. He is so perfect, like a little man lol! He slept the whole first half of the shower. I didn't know a lot of people, so I hung out with the fellow dance teachers. I sat with my old teacher Amantha and her sweet daughter Brooke. Brooke was born the day before Alan was! I also sat with my old tap teacher Taryn.

There was so much yummy food and good friends. The desserts were so delcious too! My favorites were chocolate covered strawberries and the marshmellow whipped brownies! YUM!!! Taryn and I had fun playing the games with the dance students too. They had a bunch of games! Miss Brooke was my buddy pretty much the whole party, but I think she was just waiting for Alan to show up lol. They are buds.

Taryn also invited me to an adult tap group she and her sister have started recently. Their plan is to meet once a month and jam, maybe perform once a year or so. Real low key! Exactly what I am looking for right now. I think I will join! I told her to keep me updated, I am definitely interested. I love tap and can't wait to start jamming some killer combinations again! Gah!

Lisa, Erik and all their girls

This week is a big one for us! Tomorrow I have my court date and Anna's first gymnastics class. Thursday, Aunt Natalie and Benton should be coming into town, hopefully the weather is nice enough for them. Friday, we are going to the library again. And Saturday, Aunt Natalie will have her first bridal dress fitting! Yay! I can't wait for this week to begin!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Feeling Good About Myself

As most of you know, I struggle with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, perfectionism and OCD. I was diagnosed with GAD as a child, with OCD as a new mother. I feel like I have also been a perfectionist most of my life, I have memories of being in middle school and obssessing over having the perfect handwriting. At twelve, I checked out several handwriting books and read them from cover to cover. From there, I developed my handwriting to what it is today. The funny thing about my handwriting is, I am always getting compliments about it now. People are always telling me about how nice it looks and I smile back at them, thinking quietly to myself, "If only they knew how long it took to get that way." Lots of people who know me don't know how controlled I am, how much control I have over myself. I am like one of those cars on ride with tracks, I am so set in my ways I don't think I could stop it if I wanted. A lot of it is from my Buddhist training, being mindful of everything you do. But some of it, I fear, is my OCD and my anxiety rearing its ugly head again.

Lately I stress about the littlest of things: what that person thought of me, was I being too rude or did I sound stupid to them? Did I communicate clearly? Did I make a point to talk with my friends and family this week? What about my parents, are they happy with me today? And my children, I made a point to play with both kids, tell them I love them enough, feed them healthy enough foods, and make sure they went to bed at a decent time? Is Lon aware of how much I love him? Do I look presentable as an adult or am I still dressing like I am in high school? Is my boss proud of my work, or are they (I have four seperate bosses at my job) thinking that they need to talk to me? Did I write in my family blog enough this week? Did I take pictures of my amazing children today or did I forget to record how they look at this very second? Are we being healthy enough in our lives? Are we ONE with the Earth and nature, following the way of the Tao? Was it our fault that our car keeps breaking down? And speaking of faults, is it MY fault we lost our house? Am I just messing everything up horribly? And then my stress has been compounded because of our recent homelessness. As of right now, I can't feel good about all of these things because I don't have my own place, I don't feel like I have much control in my own life. So I get scared and I think too much then I lock up, I stutter or can't think of the right words, then am completely embarrassed by myself. I totally just messed that one up badly...

I focus so much on the tiny little thoughts that circle in my mind, I forget to do something important. Like grab the car seat so we can get rides with Miss Anna. Or like remembering to take deep breaths and not get irritated by my children just being children. No one is perfect, right? But I am me and that is good enough. I work so hard each and every day to make sure my kids are happy, healthy and well fed. I work six days a week, in a teacher's position, which is a struggle all on its own. I love my husband and my family and my friends, more then any of them could ever know. I have some die hard, true blue followers that don't care if I post on the blog twenty times a week or just once. I follow the Tao a lot more then I think, and remember to be with nature instead of against often. Plus, I am a caring, genuine person. That is enough.

My family has been through so much these past few months and we aren't out of the darkness yet. But we are progressing, each day, getting closer to our goal. I need to give myself more credit for that. I may feel hopeless and like we are slipping under, but its just my anxiety lurking below. When I hear these stressors, I need to remind myself of all the good things we have right now too. Ignore the OCD and anxiety monsters, count my blessings. We do work hard, we love our kids a lot, we do the best we can. Shouldn't that count for something?

Yesterday, I woke up feeling good about myself. I felt pretty, I felt smart, I felt like a good parent and a hard worker. I was ready to take the day on! Today was a different day. I fought with several close family members about stupid, unimportant things and started out my day feeling stupid and unimportant. I remember hearing once in my Buddhist trainings, negative thoughts breed negative actions. I was angry and because of that, everything kept going wrong in my eyes. It wasn't until I realized this and MADE THE CHANGE, that things started to look up. It was all my outlook on life, my bad attitude was making my day worse without me even realizing it! I hope that I will not forgot this the next time I am angry. Negative thoughts breed negative actions...

I must remember to love myself even on the bad days, and ALWAYS remember that I am enough.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Anna the Actress

This weekend, Anna had Lon and I quite worried. The kids had been playing and had gotten quite wild, so I told them to calm down some. After having a talk with them, we noticed Anna was holding her left arm a lot and favoring her right arm. We tried to get her to reach for a toy with the arm and she refused to. The more we started checking it, the more upset she got. We decided that we should take her into the doctor to make sure she didn't hurt it or something. She screamed bloody murder when we tried to put her coat on, she screamed when we seat belted her into her car seat. I was just sure at that point that she had dislocated her shoulder or something.

She wouldn't let the doctor's check her temp or take her weight. Actually examing the arm was completely out of the question too. She just screamed and screamed, it seriously almost made me sick to my stomach to hear her scream like that. She definitely does NOT like doctors after her dog bite incident. Poor baby girl! The doctor decided to take a few XRays to determine what the issue was. I went with the technician and Anna, they wanted me to help keep her calm and hold her down. They took four XRays of her arm and had to have another doctor come in help. Anna is a strong little girl!

After the XRays, it was like she was a changed girl! She started trying to climb on everything, playing with the nurses and with Alan. She stopped fussing and started using her arm again lol. At this point, we were pretty convinced that she was just fine. But it did help that the doctor came back in and showed us her perfect bones and everything in the exact place they should be. She may be nominated for the next Oscar award lol, but she was definitely okay.That was all that mattered to us! She sure is a handful, but we wouldn't change her for anything!

Alan was so excited for basketball this week! Tiny Tots BBall finally had gotten their new toddler sized basketballs in, it was the first class that got to use them! They learned their defensive stance and what Triple Threat means (Dribble, pass and shoot). And they practiced their layouts too. Alan is a pretty good little BBaller, if I do say so myself lol! Alan had a new coach too, Coach Chris. He had a wonderful time and cannot wait to go back! Seriously, he counts down the days lol!

Alan and I also have been trying to make our alone time while Anna naps really special. I will play board games with him, read his big boy books, make cookies and other goodies, other fun stuff like that. He has been just loving it! I think its important for us to have time together, like Anna and I do while Alan is at preschool. I think it will be something he will have fond memories of when he is older. :) Today we played Connect Four while Anna napped. He worked on his counting with me and we had a good time. He even beat me a few times! :)

We are still waiting on our car to be fixed but hopefully it will be soon! I want to get back to the library again. Since I renewed my library card, I have a billion pages long list of books I want to read! The real Pain and Gain memoir, Catching Fire, and a handful of others! Must. Read. More. Books!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Andersen Happenings

We have been somewhat busy this past week. Monday, I renewed my car's registration and changed the oil in the car. Tuesday, we took Alan into the doctor to get the skin on his right wrist checked out. Wednesday, I had all day training for the rockwall at the YMCA with Cliff Tobin. And our car started breaking down again. It started making a rattling noise in the engine area a few days after we had changed the oil. Not sure yet if that has anything to do with it, but we are stranded until the car is fixed. Busy, busy, busy!

I finally got the car reregistered, so that hopefully when I go to court, the citation will be dropped. We can't afford to pay a ticket right now, so hopefully the judge will be as understanding as the police officer was! :) Now about Alan's arm: Alan had a few bumps on his wrist the other day, we thought they were bug bites but its not that time of year. We weren't exactly sure what it was but we started covering it with a bandage. This weekend, the bumps developed to a weird rash on his wrist, about the size of a quarter. This was quite concerning to us, it was so small before! So I took him to the doctor as soon as I could.

The doctor checked him out and determined it was one of two things: either it was just a simple skin conditon that could be treated by Cortizone cream or it was ringworm, which would cause a little bit more care. She said we should know for sure what it is by the end of the week. I was so freaked out that it could have been ringworm or MRSA, but that's just what has been circulating around gymnastics teachers' minds lately. We have all been cautioned to keep our gymnasiums sanitized because these two things have been popping up more in gymnasiums. Gross...

I have been watching it and caring for it all week and have determined that it is most likely the skin condition. The treatment she has us using is working, so it probably is. Thank goodness it wasn't ringworm! I may have just lost it lol. We may have had to quit gymnastics and have Alan learn at my own school. Blah, that would have sucked because I just LOVE the Billings Gymnastics School! I want Alan on the Boys Team here in a few years! Thank goodness!

Yesterday, I had that training for rockwall. It was so awesome, I learned quite a lot that I did not know before and was totally inspired again! Cliff Tobin is an amazing trainer, he not only taught us the required things but we did some team building work too. I always love my team building activities! :) The training was just so fun, we all laughed a lot and grew closer as a Y family. I even conquered my fear of heights to be a guinea pig for belay training! I climbed about halfway up (you know, only the easiest, slanted wall lol) and repelled back down, TWICE! Boom! :D I was quite proud of myself! We also got new GriGri's for work and a new Black Diamond harness! It was so much fun messing around with all the new equipment and learning it!

And at the end, Cliff even asked ME to belay him on the rockwall! He had been joking all day that he didn't trust any of us to belay him and that he actually couldn't climb during training because he wasn't supposed to get hurt. But he had one of the regular rockwall guys belay him during lunch so he could do a maintenance check on our wall. And he asked me too! I felt so special but having just learned a new hand setup, was a little nervous lol. He made me even more nervous by telling me, "Don't drop me please, I have two young children at home..." Oh I wanted to hit him lol, way to mess with my anxiety even more!! But I did great he said, I allowed him to have a smooth climb and even repelled him down nicely! I was very proud of myself!

The weather has just been wild this week! Sunny afternoons and cold nights, chilled mornings and some snow here and there. Crazy Montana can't decide if she wants to finish winter or start spring already lol! It is supposed to be 60 degrees today and earlier this week was snowing real heavy. I took this picture the other night on the way home. Its so pretty! I just had to share with you. :) Here is my "Snowy Stop" as I called it on IG. Enjoy!

We don't have too much planned for this weekend, with the car being at the mechanics. We do have Alan's basketball class and I have work, but other then that I don't have anything planned. I just hope for a wonderful, relaxing weekend together with Lon and my kids. :) And hopefully the car will be done before next week, I hate not having a vehicle in winter. You can't walk anywhere with kids when you don't know what the weather with be like one minute to the next lol.

What are your plans for this weekend?

Monday, January 13, 2014

One Big Weekend!

This weekend was a big one for our family! This Saturday was Alan's first basketball practice and my first hip hop class for the session. Then on Sunday we went Aladdin Junior at the Billings Studio Theatre. Quite a weekend full of activities for us!

Alan started basketball this Saturday. He was nervous at first but as soon as he met his coaches and saw that many of his friends were also in the class, he was much more at ease. Unfortunately, I had hip hop the same time he had class, so I didn't get to watch much. But he said he had a good time! He showed me how they taught him to dribble the ball and even shot a basket! :) I was also able to experience the High Five line lol. Its where all the parents are at one end in two lines and the kids are at the other in one line. The kids run in between the parents line and are given a High Five from each parent! Oh Alan loved that so much lol.

Here are a few photos from his first class:

Alan's cool basketball pose before class started

The High Five line! Run kids run!

I also had my first hip hop class for the session on Saturday. There was only two kids in class, so we had to add them to our Wednesday class. It was still a fun class though! I am so glad that I am back in my home. :) Yay! I cannot wait until next week, for my biggest hip hop class ever!

Sunday night, the kids and I went to Aladdin Junior, a children's musical at the local Billings Studio Theatre. I had received the tickets FOR FREE from my job! Love litle perks like these, another reason why I love my job! It was a wonderful little play, full of those catchy Disney songs that I love so much! I think I sang with each one lol! Good thing my kids are too young to be embarrassed by me! :P

We had a fantastic time though. Unfortunately on the way the theatre, I was pulled over by a police officer. Apparently my registration had expired in November and because we moved recently, no one was able to remind me through the mail. I had honestly thought it expired in April! But looking back, I think that was the old Caddy that expired in April. Darn! He cited me for it, but was apologetic about the citation and very understanding of our situation. He talked to the kids a little too, because Alan thought I was in trouble lol. The officer reassured Alan that I was alright, and even picked up Alan's toy that he had dropped! Thanks sir! It stunk that I was cited but at least we had the nicest officer ever! :)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Trip to the New Library

Our local library has recently built a new building and has remodeled. They just opened this past week. They are still under a lot of construction but can start accepting library card applications and allowing people to check books out again. Alan has wanted a library card for ages and I got my first card when I was about five, so I figured it was time to get him one. I took the kids to the new library last Friday and they just loved it!

The new library is so cool! We walked all over, looking at all the new stuff. They have a wishing fountain, a tree house reading room and a toddler play area all on the first floor! We agreed that Alan was old enough to be responsible for two books. He picked those two books out while Anna played in the play area. Alan even came and played with her for a bit! However, Miss Anna wasn't too into getting any books herself this time but she really liked the play area and didn't want to leave when it was time to go lol. She put quite the show on when I tried to put her back into her stroller, we had a whole audience watching that performance lol!

We went to the Treehouse Reading Room next, its so nice there! This would be the place I would spend all my time if I didn't have kids lol! Its like a tepee rounded room, with beautiful lights all the way up to the top. There is a bench seating area cut out of the wall, its super comfy! And a big red chair on the other side, I am assuming for community storytime. Love it! The kids, of course, wanted to run around in there and were only interested in it for so long lol. They don't do well with "quiet". :P So it was off to the next area!

We checked out the teen and adult section upstairs, the teen section has a bunch of cute meeting rooms that are half glass! Alan loved those rooms a lot, they are also sound proof, which is something I appreciated lol. :) The kids let me pick out a few books for myself too. I picked out a biography about Frida Khalo, one of my favorite artists ever; a book of Jim Henson's personal journal entries; and a book of John Lennon's letters to Yoko Ono. Quite a good starting selection, if I do say so myself!

We then went and had lunch in the library's little cafe. It was so quaint! We all shared a turkey sandwich with "seaweed" lol, it was actually lettuce but Alan was convinced that it was seaweed. We had delicious smoothies with our sandwiches and the kids picked out their own bag of chips, a big deal for them since we don't have junkfood often. They loved having lunch in the library with their books!

I am also enjoying my books thoroughly! I had forgotten how awesome it is to sit down with a good book after the kids are in bed and read for an hour or so. Its the perfect way to end the night. And with me having horrible Book ADD (I seriously can not focus unless I am reading at least three books at once), these books are the perfect variety for me! I am about a third of the way into the Frida biography and have just started the other two. I most definitely will be writing a book review on all three of them!

We plan on making the library a weekly ordeal, probably will go every Friday from now on. The kids love it so much and there is a lot to do there. Plus I thoroughly believe in creating a foundation for a love of reading in my children. My parents taught me this through many visits to the library as a child, I hope to teach my own children this same way. Because reading is knowledge! :)

Friday, January 10, 2014

No Gymnastics for Anna

I am so sad right now!! Monday I went into Billings Gymnastics School to talk about getting Anna into a Parent Child Gymnastics class while Alan was in his own class. She is officially old enough to take a class and has wanted to since she was a year old lol, I wanted to get her in class right away! Unfortunately, the only class that may work for us and our schedule is already full. So she is currently on the waiting list now, but that could take until summer for classes to open up! Boohoo!

However, I have been taking her to the Y's Open Gym on Thursdays after I drop Alan off for Preschool. She just loves it! Its our Mommy-Daughter Date time together, just me and her playing and having fun! Its a good replacement for now, until she can take a class at BGS. And the best part is, its free! You can't beat that lol!

Because of the recent holidays, Open Gym has been closed the past two weeks. Anna has really missing it and our time together. Needless to say, we were quite excited to go back to Open Gym yesterday! She had a blast, running all around. She was really into playing with the basketball and hoop this time. We had a great time and she took a nap right after! Score for this mama lol!

I just had to post this photo of her lol! She ran up to me before the camera had a chance to focus. Just call her Turbo lol!

The many attempts I had of trying to get a picture of Anna in the "Classic Donut Hole" lol. Alan has had several photo opts in it, even I have when I was a child lol. But darn it all, she is too fast for me!

I am glad that we at least have this replacement for Anna until the waiting list is up. Because she is a wild child, just like her brother! The more activity she has, the better for my sanity lol! And I enjoy it too. :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What I'm Loving Wednesday!! January 8, 2014

I haven't done a What I'm Loving Wednesday in ages, I am not sure that Jamie @ Little Miss Daisy Mae is even still doing the link up lol. Oh well, I will still give her a shout out, since I am using her button for this post. Thanks Jamie for creating this midweek positivity blog hop! With my current New Year goals in effect, I want to start doing a WILW every week again! Here's what I am loving this week!

I'm loving that our local library has finally finished construction on their new building and have reopened their doors to the public! I cannot wait to take the kids there to check it out and to get Alan his FIRST library card! My parents instilled an importance and love for reading books through our public library, I hope to do the same for my children!

I'm loving that Anna is officially 18 months old! Where did the time go??? She grew up so quickly!

I'm loving that I had 13 students show up to my first hip hop class of the winter/spring session tonight! 13 kids, I just couldn't believe it! They all did so awesome and were so enthusiastic to learn! I love it and cannot wait to see how my Saturday class turns out!

I'm loving that we are finally starting to get into the 40 degree weather here and the snow is starting to melt off the roads. We have had slick roads for too long, tired of driving around with all the crazies on the road lol.

I'm loving that Alan started gymnastics again this week, after a two week Christmas break. He really missed class and was so excited to start back up again!

I'm loving how close we are to being able to start looking for our own house. We are only a few weeks away from being able to afford a rental, then its a matter of finding one that will accept us. Cross your fingers, we should be moved into our own place by spring time!

I'm loving… that I start gymnastics this week as well. I will be teaching the Tumble Bears class this Saturday while Alan is in basketball practice.

I'm loving this new daddy blogger I found over the holiday. Have you ever read Daddy Doin' Work? He is hilarious! And very real about parenting and other life endeavors. I enjoy reading his sarcastic statements about parents and non-parents our society, he is a definite good read if you are looking for a laugh! Check him out!

I'm loving that Alan starts basketball for the first time this weekend. I am a little nervous, honestly, but only because I will also be in class while he is at basketball. I so wish that I could watch him and enjoy his learning experience with this great sport, but I will be teaching hip hop. I do hope it goes super well for him and that he just loves it!

I'm loving that Anna did not have to get any vaccinations today at her doctor appointment. She was already traumatized enough from the dog bit incident and was giving our wonderful family doctor such a rough time. I felt bad for both of them. :/ Glad that we at least didn't have to get shots on top of it!

I'm loving this, just this: "There is no need for temples, and there's no need for complicated philosophy. Our brain and our hearts is our temple, the philosophy is kindness. This is my simple religion" -The Dalai Lama

I'm loving my new tennis shoes for gymnastics class. They are Sketchers and although I wanted a pair Pumas real badly, I couldn't bring myself to pay $40 for them lol. The Sketchers were only $23 so they were perfect! I love them now too! All black, they look good with my gymnastics teaching uniform!

I'm loving these awesome Pinterest finds:

1. The cutest Minion crochet outfit I have seen yet! So cute! 2. Speaking of crochet, I need to re-teach myself how to! 3. Greek Tortellini Salad, yum! 4. A bookcase in a door? I think yes for this family of readers! 5. A great craft idea for Child Watch during Valentine's Day. And cute Valentines for Alan's preschool class. 6. An awesome idea for Natalie's wedding: a Meet the Men and Meet the Maids area! Introduces your bridesmaids and groomsmen to your wedding guests. Love it!

I'm loving my family, my friends, my job and my life!

What are you loving today?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Anna Ariel: 18 Months Old!!

Holy cow, its already been a year and a half since I have had my baby girl??? When did this happen? Oh right, it happened today lol. Its crazy how fast time has gone it seems, its been three months since I stopped nursing her. Like five months since Anna has started walking. Seven months since she has started talking, and she hasn't stopped yet lol! I just cannot believe that she is only half a year away from being two. She has grown up so much this past month, both physically and mentally. She is such a big girl! Most people think that she is already two years old, her hair is so long and she is so darn tall! I love you Anna Ariel, you are so perfect for us in every single way! You are the finishing touch on our little family. :)

At eighteen months, Anna Ariel:

*weighs approximetly 25 pounds 23 pounds and 11 ounces and is approximetly 34 inches 31 1/2 inches tall!

*is about to grow out of her 18M clothing this month! She is too tall for her pants and her sleeves are too short! She is also now into diaper size 4. And her shoes are size 6. Big girl!

*has light red ish auburn colored hair that goes down to the middle of her back! Its has grown so much this past month! She now looks like a little girl with her long hair.

*has blue ish hazel colored eyes, turning more like her brother and father each day!

*has four teeth in right now and another two on the way! Her teeth are coming through real fast now!

*eats the same that we do now. Her favorite things are just about any type of fruit, spaghetti, mac and cheese, hot dogs and pizza.

*has grown up so much this past month! She is getting good at walking up the stairs with just her feet, instead of on all fours. She uses a fork all the time when she eats now. She has baby dolls that she will take care of now, she feeds them and will push them around in their stroller. She has also started wearing hard soled shoes, she is still just getting used to them though. She walks like a little deer with them on lol!

*She has finally started sleeping normally again! Hallelujah! She will go to bed around 8 or 9 at night and sleep until 10 or 11 in the morning, only waking up once or twice for a few moments at night. She also will nap for about an hour to hour and a half each day. Today she only got a half hour in and we almost didn't make it lol!

*Can now say, "Mama, Dada, Alan, Kitty, Meow, Horsie, Happy, Puppy, Bobba (Bottle), No, Drink, Yeah, Eat, Hi, All Done, Night Night, ByeBye, Boo, April, Ariel, KK (Kalvin), Gramma, Papa, GumGum (Thank You), Pwease (Please), Ball, Play, Icky, Santa, HoHoHo, Snow and What" She has this interesting language that is half the English language and have baby babble. I just love it! I am around her enough that I understand most of it lol. She is soooooooo close to talking!

*The dog bite is officially fully healed up now. Its a pretty decent sized scar, a small "Y" shape on her left temple. Its quite red right now because she fell and hit it over the Christmas break. Grrrr... I have been putting some Vitamin E on it daily to help reduce it reddness and the look of it some. But she doesn't even notice it anymore! Thankfully for her its nothing but a bad memory. We are so blessed to have her all better and doing great!

*likes gymnastics, singing, playing with her brother, dancing with her Mama, coloring and drawing pictures, Princess Sofia, dresses, her new shoes, Minnie Mouse, her stuffed animals, puppies and kitties, reading books, Peg and Cat, being a big girl, having her hair done, and her family.

Happy 18 month birth anniversary Anna Ariel! Daddy, Alan and I love you endlessly. We can't wait to watch you grow up into a beautiful, smart young lady!

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Goals for 2014

We had a pretty uneventful first weekend of January. It was so cold and snowy out that we couldn't do hardly anything. With temperature below zero, there was no way I was going to take the kids outside to play, even though I really wanted to pull them around on the sled with their new snow pants. Instead, we went to the mall play area for some fun. We may start going there more often if the winter is a below zero one this year lol! The kids had fun and we met up with Grandma Melanie, Aunt April and Uncle Kalvin. We walked all over the mall with them while they spent their gift cards from Christmas. Saw Aunt Ariel and her friends, plus one of Alan's friends from school! Uncle Kalvin even bought the kids a stuffed animal from Build-A-Bear! He bought Alan an Angry Bird that yells when it hits something lol and bought Anna a Valentine's heart puppy. So sweet, thanks Uncle Kalvin! We spent some time with Lon too, watched Despicable Me 2 for the first time (just as cute as the first movie) and hung out at the Village Inn. It was a great weekend, despite the lack of activity lol.

Today was still super cold out, so Alan and I decided to bake cookies for Grandma Melanie instead of venture outside during Anna's nap. The boy loves baking! He was a little disappointed that we didn't make our cookies from scratch lol, but we were using the cookie dough from Aunt April's fundraiser. It was still fun and he did enjoy making little balls of cookies and counting them. We made quite a mess too, which was ironic because of the lack of mixing ingredients. But we had lots of fun!

Despite my crazy perfectionism and anxiety disorder, I don't usually don't do New Year resolutions. I find them quite silly actually. Having worked at a gym for almost four years now, I see a lot of people who start their resolutions and give up after only a few months. I feel like New Year resolutions are just preparation for a future let down. They are always so unrealistic! However, I have been seeing countless motivational blog posts talking about similar things all over the web lately and I have been inspired to post one of my own. I even read a great post about New Year themes instead of resolutions. Loved that one and my goals reflect this most of all. They aren't necessarily goals that can be measured, they are more like ideas for the New Year. Things that I want to better for myself. :) I have thought thoroughly about each one of these goals, they are all realistic and achievable for me and my family.

Be present. This is a big one for me, Lon is always getting on my case about being on my phone too much. And with our current situation where we only get to see Lon a few hours each day, that is not acceptable by any means. Nor is it fair to him and the kids. I need to give my whole family all the attention they deserve while we are together and save the social networking stuff for when I am alone. I need to play with my children more, laugh with my family more, talk no, converse with Lon more. I need to be more present in my life and my family's life more. This also goes along with multi-tasking. If I am so busy doing a million things at once, how will I ever be able to notice the first time Anna brushes her baby's hair by herself or all the times Alan tells Anna he loves her??????? I do not want to miss out on any of that! I need to take on less things at once, clear my mind and truly ENJOY my children. They way that they deserve to be enjoyed! I will change that this year.

Be healthy. And not "lose 20 pounds so I look sexy" healthy, be truly healthy all around. I need to eat better so that I can feel better physically. I need to drink more water each day and less pop. I need to stretch more each night and keep my body moving as much as possible. I have started a new vitamin regimen for my now non-breastfeeding body. I read somewhere recently that people who are inactive more then 11 hours a day will die in three years. Now that is a little much, I think, but I do understand the point that they are trying to get across. Movement is life. I bet no one can guess where that quote is from lol? This also goes along with being natural. I remember when there was a time that we only ate food that we prepared ourselves, didn't buy pop or junk food for ourselves, and I meditated every time someone told me to take a pill for something. We need to get back to thinking like a naturalist. All of my granola friends would be laughing at us if they knew our current state. Its hard now, when I am still stuck in survival mode. But I need to break that, remember that we deserve better.  I will also make this change in 2014.

Be happy. With all the stress and obstacles my family has experienced last year, I have found it hard to always stay positive and optimistic. I have always been the person that can look at a terrible situation and find the few important positive things in it. I have helped so many people out of slumps before and am always willing to lend an encouraging hand. But not lately. Lately, I have been finding myself feeling very depressed, very down on myself. I need to remember that I cannot control everything in life, though I very much would like to lol. Things happen, people change, life moves on… I need to pull myself back together during those dark times and move on too. I am a great person, loving mother, wonderful teacher, hard worker and good friend. I am not a failure and our life is not over. Even if we do not find a new place to move to this year (which I so desperately hope that we do), we will be okay. It does not change who I am. I am still a strong woman and we will prevail! I will make a point to make this change this year.

Be spiritual. I have also been less spiritual in 2013 then I normally am. You'd think with all of the obstacles and hardships my family experienced, I would be the most spiritual woman around, but I am not. I took a different route: stress. That's not healthy at all, thus breaking my above goal. Nope, not going to allow that to happen anymore. I will start meditating at least a couple of times a week again. I need to read my Dhammapadda and Tao Te Ching more. Need to remember those mantras that helped me through soooooooooooo much when I was younger. I need to pray more, share my feelings with the Tao more, and become one with nature again. I feel like I am becoming the average person again, living in that metaphorical box that holds us all back. But I am not, I have enlightened myself so much in the past. I need to remember that now. This definitely is a change I will make now that its 2014.

Be calm during stress. This one is also based off of a blog post I recently read. It talked about yelling and how unhealthy it can be for your child. I encourage every parent that loves their kid(s) to read it! Its a great read! This year I want to be calmer during times of stress, times when I feel like I am about to let go and lose it. With my anxiety disorder, this will be somewhat difficult for me but I am confident that I can do it! My children deserve more, deserve better from both Lon and I. They don't deserve to be yelled at for silly mistakes and accidents, despite how inconvenient it may be for us. They are only human and children, they are still learning. And yelling shuts down communication and severs bonds. It never helps with the problem, it only exacerbates the issue. I believe that this one will be very easy at times, as well as very difficult at times. But I also believe in the "Time Out for Parents" policy too. I will be taking more time outs myself, if I feel I cannot handle the situation properly. This will be one of the most important changes I make this year.

Did you make some goals for 2014? I would love to hear them!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Ringing in 2014

I hope that everyone had a wonderful New Year that was safe and full of happiness, remembrance and love! We had a pretty decent New Year's ourselves, we didn't do too much on New Year's Eve (in fact I fell asleep at ten lol) but I did treat the children to a special day on New Year's Day. I surprised Alan and Anna with a day at the mall. We played in the play area for about an hour, enjoyed smoothies from Orange Julius and then spent their gift cards at Build-A-Bear Workshop. Pretty decent day if I do say so myself! :) Alan started school again today, he was so excited to go back and see his friends. Which is awesome because I honestly was worried he wouldn't want to go back to his regular schedule after two weeks of fun and partying lol. But he woke up this morning talking about Preschool and his friends! He is also happy that even though its the first day back, he still gets to have swimming lessons. He just loves his new swim teacher!

Lon and I both worked New Year's Eve morning. Then we spent the afternoon at Grandma Amber's house. The kids played Legos with Uncle Chase and we watched a few movies. We watched Burt Wonderstone, Now You See Me, Jack the Giant Slayer and the adults watched White House Down. Of all the movies, my favorite two were probably Now You See Me and White House Down. Both movies had some great actors in them and both movies had exciting, gripping plots. White House Down had me totally crying like a baby by the end but what can I say, I get sad if kids are in danger, even if its fictional. Just the mother in me. :) We had a great day with them!

Once it was late, we headed over to Grandma Melanie's house to do our New Year's cheers together. Alan had fruit punch in a fancy glass (he didn't want the apple cider lol) and I had some cider. Was going to have some chardonnay but the taste didn't agree with me lol. What I really wanted was that delicious red wine from Olive Garden lol. We shared our favorite parts of 2013 and our wishes for 2014, then had some dessert and went to bed. I am so lame on New Year's lol, its the one night of the year I am always so tired and fall asleep early. Any other night and I can stay up JUST FINE until one or two in the morning, but on New Year's? Forget about it!

New Year's Day was much more exciting for everyone. We woke up nice and early to watch the Rose Parade, I loved snuggling with my kids! After that we took Lon to work, then went to the mall for the afternoon. Alan and Anna played at the mall play area for an hour! It was pretty much dead there too, only two or three kids there at a time. They just loved it! Alan ran everywhere and tried to climb on everything. Anna followed him around and went down the waterfall slide a billion times. They had so much fun! After a while, the kids started getting tired so we took a quick break and had smoothies from Orange Julius. Alan picked the strawberry orange smoothie (he wouldn't share with Miss Anna either lol) and I decided on the strawberry banana smoothie. I ended up sharing mine with Anna but I didn't mind.

After enjoying our smoothies, we went to Build-A-Bear Workshop to spend the gift cards Grandpa Kevin and Uncle Kalvin had gotten the kids. Alan picked out a Camo-colored bear and Anna picked out a limited edition Disney princess bear. Alan dressed his bear with an IronMan suit (and camo-colored undies lol) and we picked out a rainbow shirt and skirt for Anna's bear. They named the bears IronMan and Princess, of course lol. It was quite fun and we hadn't been there in a while, not since Anna was born! This was her first built bear! She was more interested in the end product then the whole process but she still had fun. And Alan was just amazed, he ran all over looking at everything, trying to decide what he wanted to pick out. There was so much stuff! And they had just recently gotten My Little Pony stuffed animals, had a whole collection! We decided the princess bear would be best for now, since it was limited edition. We can always go back to have a pony party! :) I love Build-A-Bear Workshop, its a great place for kids to go and do something, not just buy things!

It was a fantastic New Year's Day and a great way to ring in 2014! I hope that this makes for a great year for this family! Can't wait for all the wonderful things 2014 will bring for us! Happy New Year!