Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Christmas to me!

Hazel gave me my favorite Christmas present of the year: she truly slept through the night for the first time! On Christmas Eve I fed her at 8:30ish while I was muddling through "The Night Before Christmas" for the children who were nestled all snug in the beds. (Once upon a time I had that memorized. Hmmm.) Christmas morning, Hazel didn't wake me up until 5:45! If only I had gone to bed when she did I would have felt like a million bucks! (But thanks to Elder Mazzagardi, I am working on my night owl tendencies and someday soon I'll arise from my bed at 5:45 and feel my body and mind invigorated. It can be done!) As a bonus, Hazel was still tired after I fed her, so I tucked her back in bed and slept some more until Aaron woke me up at 7:45, declaring that he was too excited to sleep. For the record, Xander and Elodie slept just fine for another half hour! I guess Aaron is still a kid at heart--I think his favorite Christmas present was the two-pack of Nerf guns Xander got for "him." I love my boys!

Back to Hazel. It seems the sleeping through the night gift wasn't a fluke! She's done it every night since then! As Babywise calls it, we got the "gift of nighttime sleep." Sunday night I somehow got to bed early (for me, 11:00 is early) and enjoyed an unbelievable 8 hours in a row. Wow, it was beautiful!

Speaking of beautiful, my kids are, but we're a bit unsettled now and I can't find my camera cord, so hang tight for pictures.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Whole Story

If the words contractions and dilated make you squeamish, then this is not the post for you. (In other words, "little" brothers and other like-minded souls, consider yourselves warned!)

So really this story begins over five years ago, when I was getting some great birthing advice from one of my big sisters, Meredith. She had already been among the women I trust who recommended the HypnoBirthing class (although she'd never taken it since there were no instructors in her area), and then just a day or two before Xander was born, we were chatting and she was giving me even more excellent advice based on the recent natural birth of her second child. It was all great, from recommending a mirror to motivate to relaxing during contractions with a hot shower, but I think the best bit of wisdom she imparted was to wait as long as possible to go to the hospital because it makes labor seem a whole lot shorter and easier when you're not confined by all the, well, hospitalness. So we've done that each time, and have only been at the hospital for a couple hours when each baby was born. Well, we just took that "wait as long as possible to go to the hospital" bit to a new level this time, and boy was it an adventure!

Three weeks ago, it was a get-things-done kind of Tuesday. Aaron had the day off and was madly logging everything from his September rotation into Typhon before the deadline. I went to Xander's school to volunteer in his class, as usual on Tuesdays. While IO ws there, his teacher asked me if I had the sense that it was going to be soon, and I said, "Yeah, kinda, but I'm not too sure." Pretty noncommittal. When I got home, I convinced Aaron to head into the crawl space to pull out the stuff I needed to pack my hospital bag. I decided to pack the overnight bags for the kids while I was at it, not because I thought I was in labor (though I was having the occasional contration like I had been for a few weeks), but just because I was 39 1/2 weeks along and it seemed like it was high time. We had some lunch and I read Elodie her stories before her quiet time/nap. By mid afternoon, my contractions were getting a bit more frequent and regular, but they were still so mild, I didn't really think too much of them. But I did decide that just in case it turned into the real thing, it would be good to get the house clean in case we had a showing while we were in the hospital. As I was vacuuming, I occasionally had to pause for a contraction to breathe deeply, but they were still pretty mild. Aaron noticed and glanced up from his computer screen to give me some soothing words of hypnobirthing encouragement. We were starting to wonder if this might be the day, but "who knows?" we both thought. The mild contractions were coming probably around every 5 minutes, but I was still feeling good so I went about my normal activities and drove to pick up Xander from school to take him to music class. There was no parking at his school parking lot, so I had to park at the park parking lot down the street and walk on over, having mild contractions along the way. I saw Xander's teacher again, and she told me that since I was a bit late, she had been wondering aloud with Xander if maybe I was in the hospital having the baby. I assured her that it was just the lack of parking and slow pregnant waddle that made me late. I dropped Xander and his friend off at music class and went home to make some saucy edamame stir-fry over brown rice for dinner. Yeah, I had contracitons during dinner, but they were mild enough that I still had an appetite. As we were reading family scriptures before bed, the contractions were getting a bit more substantial. Aaron noticed and asked the kids to give me a break because I was doing the hard work of getting the baby to come out. But Aaron had taken over the job of getting the house clean, so I assured him that I could still take care of story time. I just had to make a deal with Xander that if I tapped him on the shoulder, it meant he needed to read that page, whether it was his turn or my turn. He read way more than half of the stories that night as I breathed through the more-freqent contractions. We told the kids that if they woke up in the morning and Grandma was there instead of us, they would know that the baby had come. But the contractions were still so mild, I figured it probably wouldn't turn into the real thing until the morning. I was so tired. I really just wanted to sleep. So I had my local PA student check me (he had his OB/Gyn rotation in August) and he said I was barely dilated. The last thing I wanted was to go to the hospital too early, so I decided to see if I could just sleep through these contractions so I'd have the energy for the big event the next morning. I was pretty sure at that point that these contrations were going somewhere, I just didn't know how soon. I sat in bed and read my scriptures like usual before bed. My dad called at around 9:30 to have me look up a phone number for him, so I went downstairs and got what he needed. When I got off the phone, I asked Aaron if he could tell that I'd had a couple of contractions while I was talking to my dad. When Aaron said he couldn't tell, I figured that if they were mild enough to talk through wihtout anyone noticing, going to the hosspital was a long way off. Aaron finished the rest of the house cleaning and started to fold laundry while I read The Mockingjay to him as we'd previously planned, but we hadn't planned on the frequent deep breathing breaks, so that didn't last too long. When he was ALMOST done folding the laundry, he noticed that I needed his undivided attention, and sat by me to begin the real HypnoBirthing. I got all super comfy in my bed and he did the full relaxation thing with reassurances and encouragement through the contractions. I really got into the zone and murmured to him that if he ever thought it was time for us to go to the hospital, I'd just leave that decision up to him because I really didn't know and just wanted to stay there and sleep. Well, the contractions had gotten intense enough that I wasn't able to sleep through them, even though I was super relaxed. Aaron is amazing and was totally in tune with me. Around 11:00, he said he thought we should head to the hospital. I remember thinking, "That's fine. We'll probably be there longer than we have with any of the other births, but that's fine, whatever." So Aaron called my mom and she was there in about 20 minutes. We gathered our stuff up and headed out. We realized we'd forgotten my purse, which I really wanted sicne it had the phone number of the midwife I like best and she had told me I could call her to come in even if she wasn't the one on call because she is super nice like that. So we went back home and got it. My mom said she looked at the clock as we left for the second time and it was 11:40. I must admit that the ride to the hospital was anything but comfortable. It was getting pretty difficult to relax while sitting up and bumping around, but Aaron kept his soothing voice turned up to high and did a pretty good job of keeping me in the zone. But when we got to the hospital and the security guard said he wasn't allowed to just leave the car in the closed valet parking area, but that he had to park while some dude from the ER wheeled me up to the 4th floor, I was not too calm about it. In fact, I felt pretty agitated. Aaron assured me that he'd hurry, and off we went. I got to 4th floor triage right at midnight and tried to answer the nurse's questions between contractions, but that's what Aaron is for, and he wasn't up there yet. I started signing release forms and what not when Aaron arrived impressively fast and took over that process. I asked them if I could please just skip triage and get settled in a delivery room, but they kinda laughed it off and said they'd be quick. I think at that point my body knew that this baby was coming soon, but my mind hadn't quite wrapped itself around that so I wasn't able to put it into words and be super convincing. I was too in the zone for things like that. They made me switch wheelchairs so the ER guy could have his back, and then they finally took me into a triage room. The nurse asked me the standard question, "How would you rate your pain?" I remember hearing someone say rather forcefully, "Don't say that word!" Aaron tells me that I was the one who said that, and that it sounded a bit rude. Sorry, like I said, I was in the birthing zone. Aaron had to smooth things over with the nurse and explain that we do HypnoBirthing and we avoid the term, "pain." Then the nurse asked me to get up on the bed. I ignored her request while I breathed through a contraction and then I looked at that narrow little bed and again asked if I could please just go straight to a delivery room. No deal. I told them about how weird I was feeling. Like really weird. My left eye was twitching and my left hand was numb and crazy tingly. I didn't know what was wrong with me! (Looking back, I think that was my body's response to being ready to push but not in a position to do so. Holding that baby in was making my eye and hand completely spazz out. That's my theory.) And I felt like I really had to go to the bathroom, like a number 2. (That's another helpful thing Meredith told me about back before Xander was born. How right she was.) The nurse asked me if I wanted to step into the bathroom before I climbed into the bed, but I told her I'd better not. (I remembered that feeling with Xander's delievery, but that nurse was onto me and said it might be the baby's head and didn't let me go to the bathroom before checking me again. At which point I was complete.) I guess I didn't seem like a woman who was in the final stages of labor, because it didn't seem to occur to this nurse that the bathroom might not be the place for me! Anyhow, Aaron helped me up onto the bed and I lay on my side, which was gratefully way more comforable than sitting upright in the wheelchair. The nurse seemed in no hurry to actually check me, and was just getting the bands for the monitors around my giant belly and calling up to the midwife to come check me. Apparently the midwife was doing something and would be down in a couple minutes. I tried to hurry things along and got the nurse to just check me herself instead of waiting for the midwife. She said that I was fully dilated with a bulging water sac. To which I replied that I felt like I wanted to push. She said something that I think no nurse, midwife, or doctor should ever say to a woman in labor, "Don't push yet!" Lucky for me, I have an Aaron, who said, "You can push if you want to." I heard the nurse open the door and shout into the hallway, "I need some help in here, we're having a baby!" I pushed, and my water broke. The nurse called out, "We have mec!" Aaron says that my water didn't just break, it exploded, hitting the opposite wall (which wasn't that far away since triage rooms are tiny), splashing his jeans, the nurse, my new purse that my friends gave me for my birthday, my shorts on the counter, everything. With greenish meconium-laced amniotic fluid. Aaron says he and the nurse looked at each other, stunned, for just a moment before getting back to business. I pushed again and the baby's head crowned. I looked at Aaron and saw that he was still wearing the backpack. We had just gotten there, how was I already pushing? It was surreal. Another push, and her head was out. It was so fast I hardly felt it. How can you not feel a head coming out? Unreal. Fourth push, her body slid out. I heard her screaming and saw her tiny little body and but still couldn't quite beleive it. What, the baby is here already?!? How can that be? We just got here! It was 12:13. Only 13 minutes after we got to the 4th floor. Triage rooms are not fully equipped for birthing. They don't have warmed baby blankets and baby warmers for one thing, so they handed our little baby girl to me while she was still wet so I could warm her with skin-to-skin contact. I was still wearing the shirt I came to the hosptial in, so I yanked that off as they handed her to me. She was wet and squirmy and screaming and totally amazing. Some baby-care nurses came in and took her from me to finish drying her off and warming her up, and I could her her scremaing, but still I kept asking, "Is she OK? Is she healthy?" oh, it was such a relief to hear her cry and and to hear the nurses' affirmations that she was totally healthy! WOW! Aaron said it was the most exciting birth he's ever seen, with the explosive "shrom" and the speed and intensity of it all. The triage nurse got to catch the baby. The on-floor resident came in just after the baby arrrived, and the midwife made it down a few minutes after that. She took care of delivering the placenta , so she didn't totally miss out on the action.

I got back into a wheelchair, they handed me our sweet little girl, and we headed up to get settled in a recovery room. It was so fun to call my mom while it was still 12 something and tell her the news. Crazy that we were saying good-bye to her the second time just 33 minutes before Hazel arrived! Let me tell you, folks, HypnoBirthing works. Maybe a little too well!


(Whoa, that was long! Well, I said it was the whole story, right? Now I'm curious. How many of you actually made it to the end of my overly-detailed story? Comment if you're reading this so I can satisfy my curiosity!)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Baby Girl Bliss

Now doesn't this look like a happy bunch? We are all so completely overjoyed at the speedy arrival of our newest little daughter. Hazel Gwendolyn Dahle was born at 12:13 am on October 6, just 13 minutes after our arrival at the hospital! I asked the triage nurses if I could please skip the triage part and just get settled in a delivery room right away, but they assured me that they'd be fast and led me into a triage room anyways. Well, Hazel was faster, so the triage nurse got to do the midwife's job that night! It was quite an adventure! Aaron says that it's the most exciting birth he's ever seen, and he's seen more births than your average dad. For me, the best part was hearing her nice healthy SCREAM right when she came out. Ahhhh, music to my ears. Well, I'm hearing that music again right now, so I'll sign off!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Fall, Y'all!

We had a lovely time making and eating an apple pie together to celebrate the first day of fall. It was extra fun to use apples that we'd collected from Grandpa's apple tree and the nifty Pampered Chef peeler-corer-slicer that Aaron scored at the thrift store this week. Xander and Elodie loved cranking the handle and watching it work its magic. And eating the long curliques of apple skin was pretty fun, too. Then we got to enjoy the smell of baking pie with a nice fresh fall breeze coming in the windows. Warm apple pie ala mode with caramel sauce--it was a great way to ring in a new season!


Xander has gotten pretty excited over seeing little patches of yellow leaves in the trees, and I have gotten pretty excited over the occasional nip in the air. But when I announced that today was the first official day of fall, it was Elodie who reminded me of the best part about this fall--a new baby! I've been telling her that the baby is going to come in the fall, around Mom's birthday. When I told her it was fall, she made the connection right away. So we are especially glad to welcome a new season and anticipate the nearness of welcoming a new little girl into our family!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Mom's Best Friend

One summer morning as the kids were getting dressed, I heard some commotion coming from upstairs so I headed up to find out what was going on.

I saw Xander first, who informed me, without waiting to be asked, "Elodie is immodest!" Sure enough, when I followed the ensuing screams of defiance to Elodie's bedroom, I saw her in her princess sundress with no shirt underneath. Immediately, I remembered an article in a recent Friend magazine called "Modest at Any Age" and asked Elodie if she wanted to come downstairs and read a story with me. This was obviously not what she was expecting me to say to her. Her defiance left, and she came with me willingly. I had recently read the story to her, so we just looked at the picture and talked about the story together. Then I turned to the Modesty Checklist that followed. I explained to her that the prophets have taught us how we can be modest to show that we respect the bodies Heavenly Father gave us. We went through each point to check if what she was wearing was modest. Does it cover your shoulders? No. Does it cover your stomach? Yes. Does it come down to your knees? Yes. Is the neckline high enough? No. And down through the list. When we got to the end, I asked her what she wanted to do. Without hesitation, she said, "Put a shirt on underneath so I can be modest." Elodie is not the type who easily takes suggestions from me regarding clothes (or many other things--she's more the strong-willed type than the compliant type). But with the help of my Friend, she was able to see the decision objectively and make her own decision. Here she is after successfully making that difficult decision for herself.

I was so grateful for that resource and for the focus on standards and absolutes in this ambiguous world. Many of you reading this post may think that it really doesn't matter how "modestly" an innocent little 3-year-old dresses. It's irrelevant because she's just a little girl! And perhaps that's true. I wore tank tops and short shorts to keep cool in the summer when I was a little kid, and I turned out just fine. But as I had kids, I started wondering, "at what age does it start mattering that my daughter dresses modestly and understands what it means to respect herself and her body?" (Or son, of course, but let's face it, this world prizes immodest dress in women way more than in men.) I thought about how I perceived modesty as a teenager. I thought that I dressed modestly because my clothes were more modest than everybody else at school. Sure, I wore sleeveless shirts, but I didn't wear strappy tank tops like so many did. No, my skirts didn't always come quite to the knee, but they were so long compared to the booty shorts most girls wore! I subscribed to relative modesty. It wasn't until I hit the clearcut standards of the BYU honor code that I reshaped my thinking about modesty. And when I did, I was converted to it and could hardly believe how recently I had seen the matter so differently. When I was preparing for a mission and got to go to the temple, I was grateful that I was already converted to the standards of modesty that temple worthiness entails.

And so I've discussed this modesty issue with my sisters and my friends and even my mom, and we do have different views on it. But as I look at the options, I can't imagine it being any easier to wait to teach my children the standards of modesty. When will she be more receptive than when she is 2 or 3 years old? Will it be easier to teach her the standards of modesty when she develops curves and the boys are flocking and Mom and Dad realize that her dress is sending the wrong message? Or when she is packing for BYU and we tell her that most of her wardrobe won't work? Or when she is about to make sacred covenants in the temple in preparation for a mission or marriage? I just can't imagine it being easier to let it go when they're young and then expect it at some indeterminable future point. So I decided from the time I had my first baby that tank tops were out. That the adorable sleeveless dresses would look just as adorable with a shirt underneath. That shorts, skirts, and dresses had been officially grown out of when they no longer reach the knees. It just seemed easier to me to be clearcut from the beginning.

Then I saw this story in the Friend, "Modest at Any Age," validating my decision. I felt grateful for the increased focus on standards in this relative world. Maybe it didn't really matter back when I was a kid, but I get the sense that it does now. As the world gets fuzzier and fuzzier, we need to get clearer and clearer. These are principles that can best be taught in the home, by example, by consistent adherence, by clear expectations, and by direct instruction with the help of great resources like The Friend and For the Strength of Youth.

This simple experience with Elodie gave me a great sense of confidence and reassurance that as a Mom, I have all of the support I need to teach my children correct principles and let them govern themselves. What a great feeling!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Top Ten Ways to Tell that Xander is Growing Up

 

#10 Xander can tie his own shoes.

The school shoes we got for him have laces. I told him we could get them if he would work on learning to tie his own shoes. So I've been practicing with him. But then Dad taught him the "bunny ear" method, and he did it for the first time Sunday before Church. Wow, that's independence.

#9 "I can read myself a bedtime story; isn't that awesome?"

This is what Xander said to me when he was supposed to be getting PJs on and brushing his teeth and I was trying hurry him up. I told him at his current pace, we may not have time for a bedtime story, and this was his reply. My hurry tactic may be ruined, but it is awesome to have a reader!

#8 Xander can send a text message.

Well, with a little help from Aunt Melayna. She let him text a little birthday wish to Aunt Rachael, who assures us that she was able to decipher his spelling just fine.

#7 Xander can build his Lego helicopter by following the instruction book--all 30-some steps.

Can I just say that I LOVE the inventors of Legos? One summer day, before this school routine started, Xander played Legos ALL morning--for 4 hours straight. After lunch, swimming, and some down time with a movie, he was back to the Legos for a couple more hours. Now THAT is a good toy.

#6 Xander can make up jokes that have a punchline to "get." (Sometimes. He does still find nonsense and bathroom humor hilarious. Although, come to think of it, so do my brothers.)

I pointed out a pick-up truck that had a screen painting of horses on the back window of the cab and Xander came right back with: "That truck must have a lot of horsepower."

#5 Xander can write things like "new Sunday shoes" on mom's shopping list.

After at least a month of being forced to wear too-small shoes every Sunday because I forgot about that minor detail until Sunday morning rolled around each week, he happened to notice a shopping list on the table and added the item to my list, getting the job done nicely!

#4 Xander gets to eat lunch at school in the cafeteria.

I was prepping Xander for the fact that he'll probably be changing schools in the middle of this kindergarten year, and chances are, it will be to half- day instead of full-day. I'm pretty excited about that, actually. But he said: "That's bad because then I won't get to eat my lunch at school!" (Since the newness of school has kinda worn off and Xander has noticed more how it infringes on his playtime, he has decided that he really would prefer half-day over full-day, even if it means no lunch at school. We’ll see what the future brings!)

#3 Xander is starting to make choices based on how they might affect others.

On the way to Church, I was munching some peanuts and Xander asked for some. Then he said, “no, I don’t want any, because I’m going to see Cooper, and he might be allergic to me.” I thought that was very good of him to think far ahead enough and outside of himself enough to make a better decision.

# 2 Xander is learning to spell some important words, like “Spider-Man,” correctly (rather than just phonetically).

012

Just this week, the kindergarteners were given the homework of writing a “story” at home every day. At school, they are supposed to write true stories about themselves. To spice things up a bit, I told him that at home, he could write about whatever he felt like. So, not surprisingly, he decided to write a story about Spider-Man saving a girl from a burning building. A couple weeks ago, Elodie found some books about Spider-Man in the easy reader section at the library and picked them out for Xander. He thinks they’re some of the coolest books ever and has read them several times. So after he worked on getting all of the details of his picture right, with the fire orange and blue and webs coming from Spider-Man’s hands and everything, he began to write. As he sounded out Spider-Man, he asked me if he should put a line (meaning a dash or hyphen) after “spi,” and I told him, “no, just write it all together.” Then he asked if he should put it after “spider” before “man” and I told him the same thing, “just write it all as one word, you only need a dash if you can’t fit it all on the same line.” So he listened to me. But after he got ready for bed, he dug the Spider-Man book out of the stack and showed me that there really is a “line” in it, and that I was wrong. Wow, my whole life, I’ve been spelling it Spiderman. But according to this official book, I’ve been wrong. And Xander noticed and remembered and then proved me wrong! I was so proud of him! They say that the best way to become a good speller is to read a lot. I guess for the really important words, it’s already starting to sink in for Xander! Of course in today’s story, he spelled stinky “stingkey,” showing that he obviously needs to read more books about stinky things!

#1 Xander can ride a two-wheeler bike!

002

On Friday, July 16, Xander was begging me to help him learn to ride a two-wheeler by holding onto his back and running aorund like crazy trying to keep up. I opted out, claiming that it was just too awkward with my huge belly, and deferred him to his dad when he got home, even though I knew Aaron was on call until 9 or 10 that evening. Well, it was Xander's lucky day. They let Dad off early at the hospital and told him to come back at 6:00 for his evening call. So in this one hour window that Dad had, he took Xander off down the path on his two-wheeler. When I went outside to call them in for dinner after 30 minutes or so, I saw Xander riding down the path by himself, with Dad trailing a ways behind. The next day, Dad lowered the bike seat a bit, and then Xander was able to start and stop by himself, too. I was quite impressed.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back at the Home Front

This is Elodie right after dropping Xander off at school yesterday. Her face seems to say, "What am I going to do all day without Xander?" Sometime after lunch yesterday, I suggested to Elodie that she go up to her room to play. She came down after just a minute saying, "I already played with everything in my room." Things sure do feel different with just one kid around! It makes me even more excited for the new baby to arrive! That oughtta keep Elodie busy!

Another First

That's Xander, climbing onto the school bus like it's no big deal. Like he's done this loads of times before. But, no, it was his first time. And he didn't even bat an eye. Even though I'd prepped him for months that when he started school, he'd get to ride the bus with his pseudo-big-brother Nolan (a big 4th grader now) who would take good care of him and then during breakfast this morning, we found out that Nolan was going to be getting a ride to school and would not be Xander's bus buddy today. That made me a bit more apprehensive, but Xander didn't seem to mind at all. We walked over to the bus stop, and when the bus arrived, Xander joined the swarm of kids and climbed aboard without even looking back at me. He was gone before I knew it. I felt a bit weird seeing him leave like that.

After school, when I went to pick him up from the bus stop, he came walking towards me when I was only about halfway there. He had gotten off at an earlier stop, at the park, and just started walking home like he didn't expect me to be there to meet him or anything. Of course he knows the way home from the park; we've walked it TOGETHER hundreds of times. But alone? How old does this kid think he is, huh? I wanted to clarify that I planned on meeting him at the bus stop, so I was asking him if he wanted to get off at the park everyday or at the stop that's a little bit closer to our house so that I could plan on leaving at the right time and going to the right spot. "Oh, no, Mom, you don't have to come and get me. I can just walk home by myself. I'm a really big boy now." Oh you think so, do you? Well I'll be there at the bus stop, even if you don't think you need me! Independent or TOO independent? He's making me wonder!

Xander loved riding the bus. From how he talked about it, it was one of the highlights of the day. I guess as far as kids go, he does a pretty good job of telling me what he did and learned at school, but it is SO weird for me to not really know what he's been doing all day. When I asked what he learned, he said, "I learned TONS of stuff," but when I pressed for details, he said, "I can't remember all of it." Hmmm. I know that he got to go to Music today, which he liked, but not as much as he loved gym yesterday (it was his favorite part of the day yesterday). That he played with a friend from Church at recess. That the bought lunches smell better than his packed lunch and when can he buy his lunch? That Mrs. Parker sings the days of the week song differently than we do at home and can we start singing it her way? That she read him a book about Dos and Don'ts that was really funny because it says stuff like "Don't wear underwear on your head" and "don't make other people smell it." That sometimes Mrs. Parker lets them lie down while she's reading them a story. That he missed me a little bit at school today, but he didn't cry about it like a little girl in his class did. That the kid from his class who sat next to him at lunch today is named Aaron just like dad. That he wanted to draw a picture of Nolan before the end of school, but he didn't get a chance. That he's learning classroom procedures quite effectively. (He raised his hand at dinner today to make a comment, and it's only the second day!) Pretty good details, huh? So why do I still feel like I really don't know what's going on in that classroom of his all day?

And I'm learning some things, too. For one, not to tell Xander that he can finish building his Lego helicopter in the morning if he wakes up early enough. It seemed like an innocent thing to say when he was crushed about putting his Legos away at bedtime last night. (This all day school thing is really cutting into his playtime. Only 10 minutes of bike riding and barely time to get your helicopter halfway built? Sheesh.) But when I was hopping into the shower at around 7:00 this morning, Xander knocked on the door to show me that he'd finished his helicopter. How early DID he wake up to get that finished by then? Who knows. But when I got out of the shower and saw him lying grumpily on Elodie's floor, I knew it was too early. "Why did you wake up if you were still tired, Xander?" His reply was so innocent and sweet: "because you said that if I woke up early enough, I could finish building my Lego helicopter." Note to self: watch what you say because he is listening!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The First Day of School!

Who was SO excited to start kindergarten today? I'll let this picture speak for itself.
Today was a lifechanging milestone for Xander--and for me. Xander is officially in kindergarten. I am a school mom. There's no turning back now. My days as a mother of just protected preschoolers is over. We have sent Xander into the world--the world we call Yale Elementary school. I know a lot of parents who would be proud to send their kids to Yale for an education. Xander could hardly wait to get started. He was so proud last week to be able to show dad HIS school at back to school night, and after his screening with a kindergarten teacher last week, he exclaimed, "That was SO fun!" This morning, he was dressed in his school clothes including his socks before I even saw or heard that he was awake. After saying good morning to me, he went right back upstairs to get his backpack, which he wore for the next hour before we had to leave for school. After a First Day Brain Food Breakfast of Quinoa-infused whole wheat blender pancakes and spinach-infused fruit smoothie, we packed his lunch, THREE criss-cross peanut-butter cookies included (I just couldn't turn down his request when he was being so adorably reasonable as he explained that the day would be even more awesome if he had three cookies in his lunch instead of two), and headed off. Along the walk to school, I let Elodie dawdle and play at the park a bit because we had left in plenty of time. With his school just past the park fence, Xander looked back over his shoulder and urged, "Hurry up!"

I managed to convince him that he had plenty of time to play on HIS school playground for a bit.

Then we walked around to the front of the school where the kiddos were gathering up. We found the two other kindergarteners Xander knows from church and the little informal preschool group they were in together. They won't be in his class, but I could tell Xander felt a confidence boost upon seeing some familiar faces.


Then it was time to line up in their classes. Xander was brave and excited and cooperative and sweet. As they were about to walk into the building, I gave him a hug and he hugged me right back, kissed my cheek, and said, "I love you, Mom! Bye!" My heart melted. When Elodie called, "I love you, Xander!" He stepped out of line, gave her a hug, said, "I love you, too!" and quickly got back in line. Mrs. Parker was the first one to lead her class into the school. You can see in this picture that Xander wasn't the first one in line when they started moving, but they paused at the door for the teacher to tell them something, and while they were stopped, it appeared that the kids in front of him were a bit hesitant. Somehow, Xander ended up in the front of the line and led his class into the school. He was the first kindergartener in the school this morning. That is just how eager Xander was to get started with kindergarten! It was a little hard to watch my little boy go off into the world like that. I mean, kindergarten is a whole school day in these parts. He is still so little and wonderfully innocent in so many ways. But his whole go-get-'em attitude sure made the first day easier on his mom! I didn't sense a moment's hesitation in him all morning. The start-of-school Father's blessing on Sunday and his sweet prayer for courage at breakfast this morning sure helped me feel reassured that he is in good hands. He is going to do great this year!

Update: When I picked him up and asked him how his day was, in typical xander form, he replied, "I had the best first day of anybody! No other kid had a better first day." Well all right, then! He even told me he made two new friends. And that his lunch code was 1-3-1-2. I didn't even know what he was talking about until he showed me the paper in his backpack that said they were supposed to practice their lunch code so they'd have it memorized. I guess he's already got that covered! What a cutie!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The County Fair

Fer Pioneer Day Weekend we swung on down t' Colorado Springs t' pick up our nephews and niece fer some fun. We all had a hay day at the County Fair here in Arapahoe County. Elodie sho nuff got herself her face painted and said she reckoned she liked that more 'en anything else we did do at that fair.

Xander fer one liked that there tractor pull. The rodeo was pretty exciting, too. Xander had fun hollerin' and cheerin' fer that last bull named Ziggy. We reckon the cheerin' worked 'cause he threw that crazy cowboy off him perty darn quick like.

O' course Xander had to get him his face all painted up, too, and he was perty happy with the manly results.

Then those model trains had him all excited and giddy. That boy sho is easy to please. He didn't seem to mind none that we didn't get to do one single ride not even the Ferris Wheel. All or nothin' rides sho is hogwash. Nothin' fair 'bout that.


We came home tired but down right happy. Xander wanted to make sho before bed that he could go back to the fair every year. He worried his head a bit when he realized we're movin' away from these parts before next summer. Knowin' there's Fairs all over this fine country helped him settle right in fer sleep.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Xander is 5!

Xander was SO EXCITED to turn 5. He is the kind of kid who gets pretty excited about a lot of things. Like the incredibly long wrapping paper tubes Melayna gave him for his birthday this evening. That was an exciting present; I mean, those'll make some huge rocket boosters! Last night we got Xander in bed early to help him get enough rest for the exciting day, but he didn't actually go to sleep until almost 2 hours after I tucked him in, due to the combo of excitement and summer daylight. And this morning, he was up at 6:20. (For some frame of reference, the previous couple of mornings he was up around 9:00. For some reason, my kids often sleep in when their bodies need sleep. Go figure.) He was just so excited to have his big day begin, how could he wait? He certainly couldn't fall back asleep when I sleepily suggested that he try to get some more rest so he'd have energy for his big day. (Or was that so I'd have energy for his big day?) After his requested breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast, and hash browns, eaten outside per request, we geared up and headed off to the swimming pool with his soon-to-be Colorado cousins and some friends. Then we loaded Katy and 5 kids in the Beast (that's our Excursion's name, FYI) and headed right over to Subway, where Xander decided months ago he wanted to eat for his birthday. Of course, he wanted to eat it outside, so we headed over to the splash park and found a lucky picnic table. Pretty soon, his friends started showing up for his birthday party where they splashed and played and frosted and ate the requested chocolate cupcakes. It was simple for me and loads of fun for him--four thumbs up!


(On a side note, I love how Xander gets carried away with the thumbs up, sometimes bantering between him and Elodie, other times simply outdoing himself. A thousand thumbs up! Ninety-eight-thousand-hundred-trillion-seventy-nine-fifty thumbs up! Infinity thumbs up! The last time I heard Elodie try to trump him with infinity thumbs, Xander informed her, "Infinity is not a number, it's a concept." And while to you that might sound like a funny thing for a now-5-year-old to say, to me it was one of those heartwarming motherly moments, "Oh, he IS listening to me, his math nerd mom!")
We came home and the kids took a little break from the sun and lounged around watching Curious George. (Xander actually really wanted to watch Popular Mechanics for Kids but was unable to convince his girl cousins and sister that learning about how roller coasters work is REALLY COOL! They were pushing Barbie Swan Lake or Princess and the Pauper, but the diplomatic Xander found some middle ground.) I whipped up some sausage pizza, per request, with broccoli, not salad, on the side, per request. Of course he requested that we eat it outside. And then we finished it off with a little watermelon cake. Doesn't it look just like watermelon? That's because it is watermelon. We're having the real cake (a Blackbird Jet ice cream cake) on Thursday when more of the family comes in for the Fantastic Fillmore Reunion! Woohoo! Pretty much, the birthday excitement just doesn't stop!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Life

I've always been a pretty optimistic person. I generally don't worry too much about things. I don't often get super stressed out. I like being optimistic. I like assuming the best without mentally enumerating all of the things that could go wrong. And while I still feel like an optimist overall, it's different now somehow, and I miss it. It's like I lost a little bit of that along with losing Dexter.

I went this week to another ultrasound. As I watched the screen at the beginning, our little girl didn't seem to be moving around at all . Previously, I would've thought nothing of it; babies don't move every second of the day. But this time, I felt myself searching desperately for some little movement, looking forward to the part where they check the baby's heartbeat and let you listen to its rhythm and see the beats graphed out on the screen. And when I did see her move and heard that nice regular heartbeat and heard the Ultrasound Technician declare that everything looked healthy and good and normal, I felt relief instead of, well, what I used to feel. I don't want to be paranoid or pessimistic. I miss assuming that everything is fine. I mean, back when I was pregnant with Dexter, I had a second ultrasound and they found an abnormality in his brain that wasn't there at the first ultrasound. But when they told me that, I wasn't worried at all. That used to be my immediate reaction, even when there were things indicating that everything may not be fine, I felt fine. I felt peaceful. I felt very clearly that everything was going ot be OK. And I assumed that OK meant healthy and whole like my first two children. And then I learned that there are other ways for things to be OK. Everything was OK with Dexter--it was just how it needed to be. The "OK" I first imagined was very different than what "OK" turned out to mean. But when it got to that point, I was no less OK with the reality than I was with my assumption of what OKness would look like. In fact, everything was so fine that I specifically remember the same week that Dexter died discussing with Aaron that I felt ready to have another baby whenever the Lord wanted to send one to our family. I felt so strengthened and supported and reassured that everything was as it should be, that I felt ready because I was willing to provide a body for another sweet little spirit even if his or her mission was the same as Dexter's. Because I KNEW that the course of his life was the will of God and I felt so confident that whatever happened with any other child God sent to our family would be the Lord's will, too, whether that meant a long or a short life on Earth. I felt such peace and trust. I felt ready.

And so I was surprised last summer when we were pregnant with our fourth and I felt hesitant to share the news with family or to even let myself get too excited about the prospect of another little baby to raise. I tried to convince myself that it was OK to get excited, that everything would be fine. But I didn't feel it. I wondered if I had lost my optimism. And then when we miscarried in the first trimester, I felt grateful for what I then recognized as the Spirit preparing me to face another challenge. It was much easier on me since I hadn't told anyone. It was easier on me because I hadn't assumed that everything would be fine like I used to. I felt peace and confidence mixed with my sadness.

Now, with this pregnancy, I have felt that everything is fine from the time we found out we were expecting. It felt different than last summer's pregnancy. I didn't have to convince myself that it was OK to get excited; I just felt excited and OK with that, like I didn't need to guard myself from hurt. I still do feel peace. I feel like everything will go well. So I was surprised that my former optimistic assumptions were no longer my first reaction at the ultrasound. I guess I just learned from Dexter that I don't necessarily know what "OK" means. OK might mean whole and healthy, but OK might mean that it's all in the Lord's hands and will go as it should. I don't think I've lost my optimism at all, really, it just looks a little different.

Perhaps the blessing of Dexter's life helped me learn not to take life for granted. It is a gift--both the giving of life and the sustaining of life day by day. As I felt the relief at the ultrasound, I felt such gratitude, along with a renewed, deepened sense of awe at the miracle of life. A new little person of her own is growing inside of me! I can feel her! I saw her sweet face and her little hands and feet! Pregnancy is just amazing! I love being such an integral part of this miracle.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Aaaaaaaaa-chooo!

The first thing I heard out of Elodie this morning was a sneeze. And then another. Followed by this statement, "I hate allergies. I wish I was a boy and didn't have allergies!" Now I think her wish to be a boy is only based on the issue at hand and the sample size she's familiar with: our little family. Here in the Dahle house, Mom and Elodie have the hayfever seasonal allergies and the dry itchy eczema skin and Dad and Xander don't. Lucky boys.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I knew it!

Doesn't this look like the face of a girl who knows what she's talking about?

I mean, back at the beginning of February, when we were suspecting expecting but hadn't confirmed those suspicions, Elodie started throwing some pretty sweet little requests into her prayers, "please bless our family with a new baby girl" and things of that nature--always a girl baby. It somehow seemed like she knew; not only that a baby was coming, but that it was going to be a little girl. And so, even though I've never had very strong inclinations about whether I was carrying a girl or a boy, this time, I've felt like it's probably a girl, and told people as much when they've asked me my guess. And I think I was just persuaded by Elodie's unwavering conviction that "it's going to be a girl baby." She just seems to know.

Well, this morning, we had the whole family together at the ultrasound, and when the technician identified the girl parts, Elodie said confidently, "I knew it." Now Elodie is going on to predict hair and eye color. She says yellow hair like her, but brown eyes like Daddy. When I asked, "you don't think she'll have brown hair like dad?" She said, "No, that would be weird!" Hey, what do I know? She's the girl who knows what she's talking about.

We are so excited to welcome another daughter this fall. Wouldn't it be fun if she came on my birthday? She's due right around then (October 12th)!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Like Father, Like Son


These guys have a lot in common. Xander got dressed after Aaron had left for school, but they were somehow in sync with the simple jeans a a T-shirt look that day. And take a look at their shoes.

Somehow, Aaron and Xander manage to completely wear out shoes in a couple of months. But I can wear shoes for years and still not have a single hole in the toe or bare spot on the sole. Take my work-in-the-yard shoes, for example. They ran a half marathon (not with me in them, but with the cousin who kindly handed her stinky tennis shoes down to me) before I was even married and they are still going strong. They're dirty and shabby and fully functional. But with Aaron and Xander? Their shoes have to be thrown away--they're not even good enough to function as work-in-the-yard shoes. What do those guys do to their shoes?

So it was getting to the point where Aaron and Xander's shoes should have been thrown away a month or two ago, but living by my favorite depression motto, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without," I stalled as long as I could. Finally, we saw a sale and found Aaron this great pair of running shoes for a great deal. Unfortunately, the store didn't carry Xander's size, so he went home empty-handed (or empty-footed, as the case may be). Well, Xander thought that Dad's new shoes were pretty much the coolest shoes ever made. In fact, the next day, when he was requesting a specific cup color, he informed me that his new favorite colors were orange and gray. Luckily we have an orange cup. Even more luckily, as we were walking through the store a week or so later, Xander reminded me to go to the shoe section, and what did he find? His very own pair of orange and gray shoes. He was ecstatic!





Friday, April 23, 2010

Being Polite Could Save Your Life

For our FHE activity Monday night, we played Doctor to help Aaron prepare for the practical portion of his Entrance to Third Year Exam the following morning, where he would have pretend patients and pretend to get their medical histories, do physicals, diagnose them, counsel them, and such. So we got out the kids' medical kit and were having fun faking catastrophes and quickly being restored to health by the amazing Doctors.

When it was Aaron's turn to be the patient and Xander was the Doctor, Aaron was doing quite a dramatic rendition of a heart attack. When he fell upon the floor, Dr. Xander auscultated (that's Aaron's fancy word for listened) with his stethoscope and announced that his heart wasn't even beating. After several vigorous shocks with the blood pressure cuff, Xander auscultated once again and declared excitedly that his heart was beating again--he was better! Like a thorough physician, Dr. Xander proceeded to counsel his patient. "You need to be more polite and take smaller bites. When you swallowed the whole hamburger, it got stuck in your heart and gave you a heart attack. So you just need to take smaller bites, OK?"

What perfect advice. The laughter that ensued certainly helped reduce Aaron's risk of heart attack due to exceeding levels of stress that night! It was just what the doctor (or midlevel provider, as the case may be) ordered.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Our Mountain Getaway: Togetherness

One year ago today, I entitled my post "Families Can Be Together Forever." We spent a couple days of Aaron's Spring Break celebrating that truth with some togetherness time in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. (Courtesy of the thoughtful generosity of his PA School classmates--we can't thank you enough!) We had so much fun sledding together, drinking hot chocolate together, swimming together, eating out together, eating in together, trudging through the snow together, roasting marshmallows together, reading stories by the fire together, playing crazy eights together, building a snowman and snowdog together, snuggling up in our cozy cabin together, reading the scriptures together, singing songs together, and enjoying the gorgeous mountain scenery together.

It was the perfect time to share something worth celebrating with our kiddos. I decided I'd give them a big clue and let them guess.

Me: "Have you noticed anything about my tummy lately?"
Xander: "It's getting bigger because there's a baby growing in there."
Elodie: "It's just getting fat like Daddy's."

Who do you think was right on the money?

(This picture was taken on Apr. 8, when I was 13 weeks along.)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Good Clean(ish) Fun

Elodie is quite a well-rounded young lady, thanks to the influence of her big brother. She is quite opinionated and doesn't usually appreciate my suggestions about what she should wear. She does not like to wear jeans and LOVES to wear skirts with fun tights. Some days her outfits even almost match, like her purple day above. So that part of her is pretty obviously girlie. Yet she tells me she wants to play football when she grows up, even though she sees the amount of tackling it involves when she watches Nolan and Xander play football in the family room. Do you think she's got the build for it?

She also enjoys shooting bow and arrows with her brother, who was kind enough to insist that I make a bow for Elodie after he finally got me to help him make one for himself. The hanger with tied-together rubber bands ended up working out pretty well; much better than the splintery shards of wood Xander was bringing in from the garage when he was trying to make a bow all on his own. And the quick drawing of a target was a good substitute for me and Elodie as the prime targets. If only dad wasn't gone studying all the time, he'd make a pretty good target...
And when I was distracted, she found a highlighter and out came some more girliness. "Mom, it's just eyeliner!"
Yes, she is wearing a Princess Cinderella dress, but she just "launched a missile" complete with sound effects. For the record, I always call them rockets, not missiles. Where does she learn these things?
Oh, yeah, from my little space engineer. He currently hoards toilet paper rolls and the like so he'll have the materials when an idea strikes him. I think his favorite thing I bought him lately was a roll of masking tape. I believe this was a rocket that morphed into a jet that has the capacity to scoop up water to put out forest fires. Yes, these projects do result in a trail of paper, cardstock, and tape scraps, but it is so fun to see his creativity blossom! And he's not too bad at cleaning up after himself, either! This stage of life is just good, clean(ish) fun! Do I have to send him to all-day kindergarten in the fall?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Olympic Celebration

Some of our fun friends came over for dinner last night. They happen to be Canadians. And the other fun friends who came thought it would be fun to bring a Canadian dessert in honor of said friends (and the Olympics, of course). This friend is a trained pastry chef, so I knew it would be a winner. If any of you are looking for a fun Canadian treat to munch while you watch the Olympics, try Nanaimo Bars! Yum, yum! Warning: the recipe does sound a bit involved--you may feel like a pastry chef as you make them!
And since we ate them after a heaping serving of vegetable & lentil curry over brown rice, I really didn't feel too bad about enjoying these little beauties!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

You're toast!

Elodie and Xander are both pretty into cardboard swords these days. It started a few weeks ago when Xander's primary teacher gave him a CTR shield made of cardstock with some yarn attached to it. He didn't think a necklace shield was too cool, so he asked me to put a handle on it. And once I showed him my armor-making skills, the requests for new swords and shields have just kept coming. Because cardboard swords bend and break, you see. And Xander has no tolerance for a floppy sword. Or sometimes, you're at Aunt Melayna's and you both forgot your swords, so you both have to beg and beg to have new ones made right then and there. And gratefully, Aunt Melayna's a softie. When we were gone in Florida for 4 days, Xander came home with a new cardboard sword made by Uncle Milan. And, call me silly, but the fact that he had written "Ctr" on it made me feel much better about the sword fetish.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Daddy Daughter Date

After reading the article on becoming a more influential father in this month's Ensign, Aaron and I decided it was time to implement what we've intended on doing when our kids were "old enough"--one-on-one outings with Mom and Dad. Since it was Elodie's birthday this week, we figured that was a good reason for her to go first. So daddy and daughter went to Baskin Robbins last night. What little girl wouldn't choose such a pretty scoop of pink bubblegum ice cream? We had told her for months that she couldn't have gum until she was three, so she felt pretty grown up to finally be old enough for gum. Aaron said she absolutely loved it and thought it was so special to have real chunks of bubblegum in it. Which she of course swallowed, since it's mixed in with the ice cream. Aaron sampled it and found the rock-hard chunks of cheap bubblegum rather repulsive. But to a three-year-old, this made it quite a special night.
The night seemed a little less special when she woke up 3 different times, complaining of not feeling good the first time and then throwing up 3 times throughout the night. And yes, it was bright pink. She slept in until almost 9:00 this morning to make up for the lost sleep, and since she's awoken, she's felt fine and had a normal appetite. We're pretty sure it was the bubblegum. So this served as a great opportunity to teach her why swallowing gum is not the best idea. In fact, she told me this morning that maybe she's not old enough for gum yet. At least we'll be holding off on the pink bubblegum ice cream indefinitely.

Friday, February 5, 2010

You are what you eat

The year I was born, President Benson said this regarding physical health and the Word of Wisdom:

"To a great extent we are physically what we eat. Most of us are acquainted with some of the prohibitions, such as no tea, coffee, tobacco, or alcohol. What need additional emphasis are the positive aspects--the need for vegetables, fruits, and grains, particularly wheat. In most cases, the closer these can be, when eaten, to their natural state-- without overrefinement and processing--the healthier we will be."

"To a significant degree, we are an overfed and undernourished nation digging an early grave with our teeth, and lacking the energy that could be ours because we overindulge in junk foods. ... We need a generation of young people who, as Daniel, eat in a more healthy manner than to fare on the "king's meat"--and whose countenances show it (see Daniel 1)."

(My dad emailed me an article containing this quote and my dietician sister posted this picture on her blog today; they are both great examples of this principle! They make ME look like a junk food junkie! These are great reminders and they go so well together that I thought I'd pass them along!)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Elodie Marie is Now Three!

Elodie was so excited to turn three. All day, when I told her we were going somewhere, like to take Xander to music class or to go to the store or to walk to the park, she wanted to just go to the "Children's Nuseum." I found out a couple weeks ago that on the first Tuesday of every month, they have a free afternoon, and since her birthday fell on the first Tuesday, we decided to incorporate the Children's Museum into her birthday party since we've never been there before. Well, when we finally got there, it was packed (free fun = overcrowded) and Elodie was a bit overwhelmed, shall we say! She's kinda the slow-to-warm-up type. When she saw the dress-up dance studio, she wanted to try it out. But when it came to actually doing it, well, this was the result.

Before long, she warmed up and began clickity-clacketing around in the tap shoes, twirling the rainbow ribbons, and swishing the pink scarf.

video

Then she enjoyed a little stint as a clerk at Whole Foods, reshelving what the 20 other kids were steadily ransacking off of the shelves.


Then she joined Xander the train engineer for a few minutes before we had to get home to have the "real party" with dinner, cake, and family.

The long-requested princess cake made her appearance this year. Elodie tends to change her mind, and had gone through all of the princesses as she expressed her greatest birthday wish over the last couple of weeks. Before I added the food coloring to the frosting yesterday, I made her nail it down--a blue Cinderella or a beautiful pink princess. She went with pink. I made it Monday while she was in bed and didn't let her see it until after her birthday dinner of "noodles and sausage and cheese" (Pasta Bake).

She seemed to like it, I'd say! I had lots of fun creating it--it's so fun to have a little girl! It definitely took more work than last year's butterfly cake, so I am VERY glad that she changed her mind last minute last year from a princess cake to a butterfly cake. I had the time to enjoy doing it this year! I was remembering tonight that Dexter came home from the NICU last year the day after Elodie's birthday. It seems so long ago. Alas, I digress. After numerous attempts, Elodie finally blew out all THREE candles (one is hiding behind the cake). As I was tucking her in bed tonight, I asked her what some of the best parts of her birthday were. First, she said watching a princess movie with everybody. (After opening presents, she convinced everybody--Grandpa, Grandma, Melayna, Rachael, me, and Xander--to watch 20 minutes of Barbie Swan Lake with her. So this may have been listed first because it was the most recent thing she'd done.) The next favorite thing she listed? "The cake." Aw, thanks Elodie! How'd ya know I worked hard on that just for you?


All around, it was a full and fun third birthday. We love our spunky little Elodie Marie!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sweet Melliflous Voices


One of my favorite sounds is overhearing Xander and Elodie playing when they don't realize I'm listening. This is a frequent occurence and I just love it. One conversation sounded like it was getting a bit heated, but when I came in to see what was wrong, they already had it worked out. Elodie informed me, "I'm not going to say 'beautiful.'" I reassured her that there was nothing wrong with that word, but she told me, "I'm going to say, 'cool.' That's a cool truck." Apparently Xander took issue with her when she described the passing truck as a "beautiful truck." This led to their heated debate about what words can be used to describe boy stuff. I guess it sunk in--I noticed that today, when Elodie got Xander to play "The Bag Game" as she dubbed it, although she called her pink flower bag "beautiful," she was careful to call Xander's bucket "handsome, handsome, handsome" as she handed it to him.
As Uncle Milan (AKA Brat Child) will attest, it's pretty fun to hear Elodie play the mom, too. She really seemed to relish the chance to discipline her doll Erika the other day. "Erika, I have to put hot pepper on your tongue!" Then Elodie turned to me, nodding her head, "she said S-T-U-..." Hmm, guess what had happened just that morning when Elodie shouted at Xander, "You're stupid and I don't like you!" Yowza, that girl knows how to use her words! Now we're working on word choice and tone of voice! She toned it down a bit later that day when she was mad at Xander again, "You are mean and selfish!" On the bright side, at least she didn't say S-T-U again. And at least she had said "don't like" rather than "hate." And at least she's getting plenty of chances to learn the words to great songs like the Builder song "to speak with kindness in my home," and "Jesus said love everyone, treat them kindly, too," and "I'm trying to be like Jesus, I'm following in His ways."
Speaking of Elodie singing, she just loves to sing her own made up songs. They go on and on, occasionally incorporating phrases from "real" songs, but mostly, they're just her ramblings. Tonight, she whipped out a new one at family prayer. She was saying the prayer, and in the middle, she just started to sing it like one of her Elodie originals. "I'm so, so, so graaaatefullll that I have a mooom and a daaaad!" Oh, my little Elodie! What's not to love?