Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Flow and find your joy

Aunt Laura came to visit.  I can't even begin to say how excited I was to have her come for a visit.  We rented a place in the mountains.  Super awesome place at a lodge and with a pool.  I was psyched to just be, relax and enjoy my kids with my sister.  Not often I get to share my life with just her.

I wanted to make it special for her since the Christian was coming to visit the Jews.  I had some gifts, some sweets and even a stocking.  There are no photos here of the stocking.  There are no photos here of the mountains.  That is cause we were only there for maybe 14 hours and made a very hasty retreat back home.  We left in our wake a room full of 'sickie' (as Elizabeth calls it).  We will spare the details.
The poor little dude had it bad enough that he bought himself a visit to the ER for IV fluids after four days of 'sickie'.  He eventually recovered nicely.  Elizabeth and Jeff were only down for about 12 hours.  Laura and I were spared unless you consider the mega clean up duty and then no one was spared.
I was sad for a bit of time that we didn't get this great trip with Auntie Laurla.  Disappointment is really about expectations.  You expect things to go a certain way and then when they don't there creeps in the sad disappointment.  I am working on this awareness and was able to let these expectations go after a bit of time and really embrace the different trip with her.  This is not easy for me but if you let life and kids teach you then you learn to just flow and find your joy.  We laughed a ton, the kids recovered, the adults recovered, there was some sun, there was the park, there was the Nutcracker and it was nice.  Not the nice I had expected but its own different joyful nice. 

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Now and one year ago!

Kids really let you see how time flies.  The first four photos are from last weekend.  The last four are from a year ago.  It goes so fast.  It is funny to me that in the photos from 2012 he always looks surprised. 

Baltimore and Vancouver

 Not a lot of photos lately but we have been busy.  Went to Baltimore for Thanksgivikkuh.  Great to have the Speert cousins together.  The traveling was a challenge as it is with any 15 month old but he rallied.  Elizabeth was also a trooper.  She was sick in the middle of one night and asked Jeff to open the curtain so she could look outside cause it would help her feel better.  She thought it was like in the car when you are car sick.  Bless her.  The kids are really great little travelers.  I think all of our camping adventures have provided them with the flexibility.

We also had parent teacher conferences this month.  I asked Elizabeth if there was anything she wanted us to talk about with her teacher.  She said that she doesn't like the lock down drills.  It broke my heart to hear this especially once I heard why.  She said the kids all have to get down and be very quiet so 'they don't hear us.  Mom who is they?'.  That really broke my heart.  Needless to say the teacher and I were both in tears talking about the implications of this needed drill.  Many discussion have followed with our sweet E.  We love her school and especially her teacher but it is tough.
We returned from Baltimore and felt a bit bad realizing that Henry had three teeth come in during that week.  Umm no wonder he was so clingy and a bit needy.  He has just recently started to walk but still prefers his scoot and crawl.  His words are exploding which is so fun but also frustrating cause he gets MAD when you don't understand what he is trying to communicate.

Today we just returned from a weekend in Vancouver.  Jeff and I both love that city.  We went for Jeff's office party.  Elizabeth was such a delight to have along.  She has really learned how to join in on conversations and has such sweet stories to share. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Life and Performances

At the McSpeert household we currently have limited use of the oven.  Please see below for reasoning. I forgot how quickly toddlers can destroy a house.  He is a little hurricane leaving drawers open and contents strewed though out the room.
 Lately E has enjoyed reading to Henry which is phenomenally sweet.
 He Ling, one of the teachers from YuChai, asked a few of the kids if they would like to perform a poem in a Chinese cultural even.  We all said yes without asking enough questions.  It ended up being quite a few late nights and practices some distance from home.  Keep in mind I think 5 miles is quite some distance.  We don't really leave our hood much.
 I was actually dreading the day as she was spent and there were two performance at 2pm and 6pm.  In the end it was an amazing experience.  The performance was in downtown Bellevue and the kids opened the two hour cultural event reciting a poem and doing a little dance while May, one of their teachers, played a traditional Chinese instrument.
 Elizabeth loved every moment and it didn't faze her that there were 200+ people in the audience.  It is interesting to see the things she is nervous/anxious about and the things she is not.  Performing on a stage in front of hundreds of people causes her nothing but joy.  Save us all but she is made to perform.  She was able to very quickly memorize the poem, the movements and when it was all over she asked if we were going to do this every weekend.
 It was great to have her together again with her YuChai school friends and especially with her teacher.
 Below is her teacher He Ling (who was a professional Opera Singer in China) along with her daughter May.  We are so lucky to have found met these wonderful people.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Halloween Tradition

 We did Halloween with Lila again this year.  Henry happily wore Elizabeth's old costume and was fascinated by all the kids out trick or treating.
 Elizabeth was a witch at school but changed into some dress up clothes for the evening outing.  Lila was a Ninja.

 Two blocks from us is a crazy Halloween street with hundreds of kids.  It was fun this year to recognize so many other families from school.
 It is very funny to me how much Elizabeth does not really care about the candy.  Don't get me wrong she loves a treat but mostly she just wants to play trick or treating.
 Photos below are Lila and E from Halloween pasts.  It brings me such joy that these little sweet girls are still such good friends.  I think it will serve them well in years to come to have this friendship outside of their school social circles.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Visiting the Corvalis Crew

This weekend we made our annual pilgrimage to Oregon and the Corvalis Crew.  Our youngest, Henry and Felix are still figuring each other out.  This picture makes me laugh.... looks like Henry is running from Felix.
 Felix is a very typical third child.  He is up and moving and climbing and essentially keeping up with the older kiddos.  Henry is still not walking on his own which I am mostly ok with except for the fact that his pants are wearing thin.

 The older three, Lucia, Oscar and Elizabeth, have it all figured out.  They play together beautifully and just simply had a blast.  Most of the time they were off happily doing their own thing.  They are all such sweet little souls.

 Tried to get a group shot but Felix and Henry were not willing participants.  

Next stop with the Crew... Methow in February.  Yippie lets ski!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Last Camping Trip

 We went on our last camping trip of the year and it was one of the best.  We set up a top rope and had a day of climbing.  Been a long time since any of us have climbed on actual rock.
 The kids sat captivated watching all the climbing. They were literally mesmerized.   One guy tore up his hand on a crack climb.  Sweet little Helena declared that she was going to climb and get all bloody also. 

 Elizabeth and Jacob are now in Kindergarten and not together all day.  I hope they stay friends!

 Henry mostly nursed and napped.  Sweet boy.

Friday, October 04, 2013

A bit about Henry Keel

So many updates are about Elizabeth I thought I'd focus on our little guy.

He is a scooter.  It is a very odd sight and up until last week it was his only mode of travel.  Not sure how this started but it doesn't slow him down.  He can scoot freakin' fast and can carry things along.  This past weekend he started crawling but the scoot remains his favorite.

P1030889 from kathleen mcgregor on Vimeo.

We called him our chilled out dude but that has started to change.  He has developed opinions, knows what he wants and expresses himself loudly when he is not pleased.  It is sort of nice to see him develop his personality.  Elizabeth is not quite sure as he no longer just lets her cart him around.  There is a lot of my saying 'Elizabeth, listen to his voice, does he sound happy, maybe you shouldn't do that to him'.  I should put that on record and repeat.

 Currently his two main motivations in life are the stairs and my lap.  He wants any and all stairs.  Stairs at school, at the pool, in the house, at the playground and all stairs seen when on a stroller run.  He also wants my lap.  Mostly he wants my lap if his sister is in my lap.  He will actually scoot over, crawl in and then try to push her out while 'expressing himself loudly'. 
He is still a happy little dude.  Not so laid back anymore but happy for sure!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Random Photos and School Thoughts

 The first week of school I was hearing things like "Mom I am ok on the outside but inside my heart is sad" or "can you kiss my hand so I have you with me all day".  This were tough comments to weather. There were no tears but obviously an adjustment.
 It has been just a few weeks now and things have changed.  This week her after school comments have included "Mom I am having a happy life" or "boy you sure picked a great school for me".  She is excited to go to school each morning and loves her teacher.
She is still pretty clingy with me right now which has required some balancing as Henry has retaliated with the same clinginess.  If I hug one then the other is desperately trying to squirm their way in.  E's comment was that 'maybe I get your right side and Henry can have the left'.  I am making time each day for just her and I to share together which helps.  Probably helps us both.
I am thrilled that she is loving school, that she has found some sweet friends and that she is even learning about her own strength.  At dinner last night she processed the past couple weeks in this long story about how she was scared in the beginning and now she loves school and she is proud of herself.  In the end I think I may be the one having the most difficult adjustment.  I miss her.  She is my pal.  She is fun.