Last week John went to DC and right now he is in Vancouver, BC and while there are definitely down sides (lots!) of having him gone, there are a few upsides. 1) I get a lot done after the kids are in bed (I'll elaborate later) and 2) the service people have given our family has been amazing. My visiting teachers brought dinner (3 times!) because John was gone and Peter had his tonsils/adenoids removed. Then my amazing visiting teaching companion and her husband sat with us today during sacrament meeting which was perfect because I spent most of the meeting in the halls with one or both of the little boys and it was reassuring to know my older ones were in good hands and not doing somersaults in the pews!
Back to the night time productivity...I just took an online intro to hand lettering course(so fun!) and have been working on the projects I'm going to teach for our Ward's Super Saturday next month. I also started an Instagram account to record these things I make (@janice.creates) Having a creative outlet has been very fulfilling and I am enjoying the process of learning something new.
I also applied and was hired to do some freelance writing for a local publication. Ann Arbor Family Magazine. Turns out the editor who hired me is a member of the church too. One of the writing samples I sent her was an edited version of what I posted on this blog about our experience helping Syrian refugees in our area. I thought I had edited to remove the Mormon context/words, but I guess I forgot one because during our phone interview she said, "So you wrote "ward", what ward are you in?" Oops. I don't think that's why I was hired, she says it's because I wrote for another similar publication and really understand the target audience. That refers to the reviews I used to write for Washington Family Magazine back in Maryland. When I was making my resume to submit I looked up that magazine and my reviews are still available online! The first article she wants me to do is on refugees in our community and I'm contacting a local organization our church worked with. I watched a video on their website and once again was struck by the magnitude of their plight. I hope I can meet with some local refugee families and tell their stories.
Other than those two big projects I've been trying to figure out how to best understand and meet the needs of each of my children. This is a continuous process. Lately bed time has been the craziest time and my least favorite part of the day. During church today I was thinking about it and praying for direction on what I can do differently to help bed time be better. Then tonight when I was putting Peter down (one of the worst bedtime offenders) I had the thought (ie- inspiration!) to give him more autonomy. Instead of standing beside him as he gets his last drink, brushes his teeth, etc. I told him to do those things and I'd be right in to pray with him. It worked so well for him! He did those tasks alone without complaint and then we prayed and he sang with me as I left the room. It was the easiest Peter tuck in I've had in a long time! (We won't dwell too long on Joanna's tuck in tonight which consisted of her crying in my bed for 30 minutes before zonking out with a baby lock on the door because she didn't want to go to bed and she did want more gummy bears (which she didn't earn). You win some, you loose some.)
That is entirely enough about me for one post! Now on to the rest of the family...
Scott is using walking as his main mode of transportation these days. He can stand himself up when he falls down and really gets to where he wants to go. He knows where the sandbox in our courtyard is and usually makes a beeline for it when outside although he can be detoured by a good stick on the ground. Here's a peek at him getting around outside: (I'm not sure how to embed it from my phone so it's just a link for now)
Peter had his tonsils and adenoids removed a week ago from last Friday. I am glad we are getting past the recovery part of this. Surgery is hard and seeing your kid go through it is also hard. Wednesday Peter decided he no longer wanted to take liquid medicine and even resisted my trick of mixing it into ice cream. (Did he somehow know?!) I had the thought (inspiration again I tell you!) to try chewable Tylenol and that has saved the day. Yes, I have been calling them his "candy" but in this situation it is whatever works! He is slowly weaning off of medicine now.
These pictures were of surgery day, after Peter had some medicine to relax him before they took him back. That stuff was amazing. He went from not smiling or talking to laughing and playing in less than 10 minutes.
Yesterday was cold and windy and it reminded me that winter is coming and that made me a bit sad and slightly panicky. Long, cold Michigan winters are hard, especially with two little boys who love (and do so well with) daily time outside. Thinking of our indoor weather induced confinement that will surely come is daunting. But then today was a perfect fall day: sunny with highs in the upper 60s! We took full advantage and went to Parker Mill for a walk after Scott's nap. The mill is actually open Sunday afternoons so we got to see inside and learn a little from the guides which we had never done before.
We also walked the trails and threw leaves in the river. An older couple was walking behind us for a while and when the kids stopped to spread corn meal from the mill around for the birds the wife came and talked to me. Turns out they had 5 kids, two girls then three boys, all in 7 years. She said watching our family brought back memories of when her kids were little. She was so kind. I always appreciate a kind word when I am out with the kids, those kind words mean a great deal to me and offset the less than supportive looks we also get.
I learned tonight that letting the kids roll down the hill in their church clothes probably wasn't the best idea. I'm going to try bleach on all their white shirts in the morning.
This week Joanna's neighborhood preschool went on a field trip to a park close by. We took the kids on a walk, ate a picnic lunch and threw sticks into the river.
They made a little line and marched themselves through the butterfly garden.
These stairs lead to the top of a tunnel slide. There was no keeping Scott off of that slide. As soon as he got off the bottom he was crawling to the top, cutting the line and going down again!
I love fall and the changing colors and crisp air!
And we'll end this crazy long post (remember John isn't around for me to talk to so I need some form of connection with the outside world:)) with a preview picture of Joanna in her Halloween costume. So far we have plans to have a Shiftry (it's a Pokémon, don't worry, i didn't know that either), a pioneer, a pug puppy (very specific!), a super hero or an elephant and possibly a lion (if it fits) in our family.