Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, Natalie!

I pretty much can't get enough of her. Except when she won't go to bed at night. Or when she makes one of her signature messes. But really, I could just eat her up!

I hate it when she turns a year older, but I can't stop it no matter how much I wish her to stay my baby. She started her special day with a McDonald's big breakfast and some presents.

She couldn't wait to share her moon sand with Emma. They played for hours.

They are perfect friends, those two. Their relationship warms my heart and makes any day better. Natty's birthday just wouldn't be complete if it weren't shared with Emma.

They shared a Subway pizza for lunch.

And some girlfriend chatter.

Grandma and Grandpa gave her new Twinkle Toes. She lights up with every step.

She requested Red Robin for dinner but broke into tears when she thought the waiters forgot her birthday. Thankfully, after a friendly reminder, the singing crew arrived with the sundae and balloon.

Natty agreed to gluten-free cupcakes to accomodate her sister and Alyssa returned the love by making a really cute slide show as a birthday tribute.

No birthday is complete without the spanking machine...

Happy happy birthday, Natalie dear! Do you really have to be six?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Unfortunately it's become old hat. The nurse has the swab already in hand as she calls Caleb back for his appointment. Within minutes we have a positive strep culture and shortly thereafter are filling the prescription for amoxicillin.

Today's visit was the fourth of its kind in six months. That's right, four bouts of strep in exactly (to the day) six months! Yes, we always complete the round of antibiotics and yes, we always change the toothbrush. We know the drill.

Tomorrow we call the ENT to see if a tonsillectomy is in order.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Praise Mail

We've started a new tradition at our house called "Praise Mail." I once heard that praise is much more meaningful if given publicly. So several weeks ago, when we had some specific things that had warranted praise, I brought out this little mailbox. The kids were truly delighted with the special delivery.

Sometimes the praise mail has been an acknowlegement of simple things like making a bed or keeping a room clean. And I must admit that the establishment of praise mail had partly selfish motives. Sure, I want my kids to feel good about themselves, but I also hoped that the public praise would encourage the continuation of good behavior.

Other times praise mail delivers a compliment for bigger accomplishments. Like when Alyssa is the bar champion two meets in a row!

At the Hop--home meet--2/23/11

Rose City Challenge--Portland--3/5/11

Or when she sets a new school record for sit-ups...359!

Caleb got praise mail for braving a scout campout in record cold temperatures. While the local news was suggesting that people bring in their pets, we sent our 12-year-old out in the frigid (below zero) temperatures to camp for the night! I didn't sleep a wink but he came home in good spirits with all toes still attached.

Jon was praised for giving a great talk in ward conference last week. I'm going to put one in tonight for saving our girls from drowning in the hotel pool over the weekend. Thank goodness for his quick reaction. Things can go from fun to frantic so fast!

Natalie's been praised for becoming such a good reader and for being a nice friend.

Sometimes there's a lot of mail and other times just one, or even none. But that little red flag that alerts the family of an impending delivery is always exciting. So each night before family prayer, we open the mailbox to read its contents. (And we sing the Blue's Clues mail song, too. That was Jon's contribution to the tradition. I thought it was dorky but the kids love it!)

Once I even put in an item of praise for myself. :) We all need a little praise mail every now and then, right?