Sunday, March 27, 2011

Boy Genius.

Yeah, I get it. Everyone thinks their own kid is fabulous. Of course, I'm of that same persuasion. However, I really do think I've got a smart one on my hands here. Tonight's evidence? A drawing of Lightning McQueen, complete with the word, "Rusteez" written across Lightning. He completely sounded out the word on his own. He decided it should be spelled "Rusteez" because I recently told him that "tree" was spelled with 2 e's because of the "eee" sound in it. Apparently it sank in.Both of the boys were really excited to use some "Lightning and Mater" pens that Jeremy had gotten for Christmas.
We've worked really hard with Jayce on how to hold a pen/pencil correctly. It certainly hasn't been easy, especially because he's a lefty. I can't even hold a pen correctly with my left hand!
He just kept working on his drawings, not even caring that I was snapping picture after picture of him working so diligently.
Just in case your eye can't catch the wording on his drawing (mine wouldn't be able to either if I hadn't seen him write it out), I highlighted the letters in red on this picture.
I love my little boy genius. I can't wait to see what he's going to be able to do next year while actually in school!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Fever

In light of the fact that this:is what we woke up to this morning, I'm choosing to see the beauty of the ice on our surrounding trees and bushes (and roads and cars - since I'm inside today) and I'm thinking back to just a few days ago, when we spent two full days out of the house, outdoors in the sunshine and pleasant spring weather....
We made trips to the Gardens and our local zoo on our two beautiful days of sunshine. Unfortunately, I neglected to bring the camera to the Gardens, so today, zoo pictures.
Of course, I took some pictures of the animals. The otter was out and playful, Jayce really thought the iguana was cool, the penguins are always a favorite of mine, and this poor horned owl was being fed a tootsie roll pop by a group of teenagers. Thankfully, he survived.
More importantly, here's pictures of the kids. I told Grayson to act like a fish. Here's what I got.
Jayce posed with the bull frog. This one is especially for my mom, who loves frogs! (This is completely sarcastic, she hates them. Something about a bad experience... we'll leave it at that.)
Here's Jeremy trying to point out the snow leopard to Jayce. He was actually active and "talking" while we were there!
Jeremy showed off his jumping skills, so the kids wanted to see how high they could "jump" with a little help from Daddy.
Grayson with the pelicans.
Looking for lions. They were a little harder to see this time. I suppose those African animals don't really appreciate high 40's and low 50's with sunshine as much as this native Michigander.
The boys posing with the Komodo Dragon. We actually got to see him up and walking around. I think that was the first time in several years of visiting our zoo.
Posing with the penguin statue.
Of course, we played on the train.
Grayson tried to give me a heart attack by climbing over some stuff in a very dangerous way. That poor kid has more bumps and bruises on his head, I just didn't want him to fall again...
Sitting at the table in the "dining car".
When we asked Grayson to sit with me and smile for a picture, he put his arm around him. So cute!
Mommy and Jayce.
Grayson doing more acrobatics on the train.
Grayson got a thrill ride on the way back to the car. Jeremy let go of the stroller and let him roll down the hill. He thought it was great fun!
So Jayce got in on the action too. I think he just wanted an excuse to shove Grayson down a hill, and he saw how much fun Grayson was having.
That led to Jayce and Jeremy running along with Grayson in the stroller. I was laughing at the top of the hill, trying to keep up.
Grayson even got a kick out of falling on his rear while trying to get off the stroller while it was still moving.
All in all, a beautiful day spent outdoors with the family. And something to look forward to... when all this ice melts away. Happy Spring!

A Little Update.

This week, I got a compliment on my recent "change my life" quests. I guess I'd never really thought about it like I was out to "change my life", but I think that's a little bit true. Consider it a "mid-life" crisis on the idea that I'll be turning.... (gulp) THIRTY very soon. I guess there are some areas of my life that I'd like different: my spiritual growth, my house being cleaner/more organized, working on self more than other things. So, I'm on a mission, in this year of thirty, to change myself into what I'd rather be.
We recently canceled our cable. We've had it for more than 6 years, and because of the cable, the TV had become a fixture in our household. The first thing the kids would ask for after getting up (from night time or nap time) was a show or a movie. HGTV was our go-to Saturday companion. I wouldn't go to bed until at least midnight because there was always something to watch. I'd even sleep with the TV on overnight on the nights that Jeremy was working. The TV was becoming a problem.
When Lent rolled around for this year, my first thought was, "Let's get rid of TV!" I thought I'd have a hard time convincing my family, but I didn't! Jeremy was right on board, even suggesting we cancel the cable (why pay for something for 6 weeks that we aren't using)! He went through and unplugged everything so it couldn't be a temptation, because if I was honest, I'm not sure I could figure out how to plug everything back in! The kids don't even ask anymore to watch - it's a non issue.
Jeremy and I have found ourselves "connecting" more - we talk and read and go to bed at a decent time. I don't find myself planning the kids schedules based on the big black box. (Yes, I was totally guilty of trying to throw them in bed early because of the TV.) We get more done around the house. Today's project is starting on cleaning out the basement. I don't even think the kids miss it - the first thing they reach for after getting up is toys instead of the remote.
This Lenten time has been a good time to reflect on the sacrifice we are making, while thinking forward to the celebration of the sacrifice Jesus made so many years ago. This past weekend, our youth pastor at church spoke about being "Set Apart". He spoke on how our relationship with Jesus really calls us to be different than those around us - others should be able to look at us and realize that we are different. He asked the questions: What have you had to give up that you didn't want to because of Jesus? What have you had to do that you didn't want to do because of Jesus? How is your life different than those around you because of Jesus? Doesn't the Lenten season really make you consider what sacrifices we are making our own lives in relation to the sacrifice God made for us?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March Resolution

I'm deciding to continue on my year of the new Melissa by giving myself a new resolution for the month of March. It's come to my attention, and not by any other person than myself, that I waste a lot of my day. There are days in which I am busier than I can imagine and just sitting down to eat is a treat, but most of my days are not like that. I find myself spending a lot of time sitting in front of the TV, playing video games, surfing the Internet, and generally doing things that are not necessary.
So, this month, I'm resolving to catch up on some reading. I'm giving myself 5 books (it was originally 4 books that I've started reading, but never finished) to finish reading before the end of the month. I'm actually planning on keeping a "book journal" that I'm going to take notes in throughout this journey. I've found myself much better at remembering things when I actually write stuff down. I'm an avid note taker at church on Sundays because of this. Here's my list:

Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
*I've had this book for probably 5 years (a gift from my brother, I believe) and I started reading this book last summer, but I never really got into it. Therefore, I'm finally going to finish.

Bittersweet by Shauna Neiquist
* I went to a book reading by Shauna this fall and really enjoyed it, so I bought the book. I started reading it that same week, and just never finished.

For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn
* Jeremy and I went to a marriage conference last February, and I picked this up here. I ready 3/4 of it soon after, and actually picked up several copies to give away for Christmas, but I never actually finished reading it.

Have a New Kid by Friday by Dr. Kevin Leman
* I heard all kinds of good things about this parenting book a couple of years ago, so I bought it and started reading it, got the main idea, and quit reading. Again, I stopped for no apparent reason - I've even traveled with this book several times, hoping to finish it, but never have.

Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
* I was only going to pick out 4 books for March, but I've had this for a while (another Christmas present from my brother?) but never had much of a desire to read it. However, after all the controversy surrounding his most recent book this week, I figured I'd check it out. Besides that I'll have a little extra time this month because I'm getting away for a whole weekend without kids!

Wish me luck on my newest adventure to becoming a "new Melissa"!