Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Love....

...being a Mom!

I love listening to Lynlee laugh and talk.  I love watching her figure out how to use her arms and legs, figure out how to grab at toys and kick her feet.  I love snuggling and drinking in her sweet baby-ness.

I love watching Ellie grow up.  I love singing with her and dancing with her and watching the same shows over and over and over again.  I love playing babies and doing puzzles and reading books.

 I love amazing moments.  The other night, Ellie was playing in her "nook" and Lynlee and I sat down to play with her.  Ellie was doing her thing, jabbering and laughing and sometimes saying words I recognized.  Lynlee was watching her and then Lynnie burst out with a belly laugh!  That made Ellie laugh, which made Lynlee laugh more, which made me laugh.  It was so sweet and precious.  And then Greg came home and heard us, and he started laughing, which started us all up again.

I love snuggles and kisses.  I love middle of the night feedings, when no one else is awake but me and my baby girl (either one!).  I love changing diapers and tickling tummies and knees.  I love kissing cheeks and fingers and toes.

I love that we have two amazing, sweet, happy girls so close together.  I love that we bought a double stroller tonight so that we can continue our outdoor adventures in comfort.  

I love our birth moms.  To say they gave us everything is trite and insufficient - but true. 

I love being a mom.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Toy Pile

Ellie's new thing is to gather lots of toys together, climb in the pile, and play.  For hours.  And then she moves the pile to a new location.  She has gathered toys from the family room, Lynlee's room, her room, and my room.  And after we clean up for the day, she starts all over again!
last night

this morning

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Lynlee loves to hold on to her toys.
Ellie loves her baby dolls.  She calls them "bies" whether she is talking about one baby or multiple baBIES.  She has to sleep with one now, and loves to carry around 2 or 3 at a time.

 Lynlee loves her "Aunt" Kylene
and her Aunt Jonette
 Ellie loves tolerates having her picture taken (and check out my picture a day blog for the scoop on this cute dress)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Styling...and a visit with Tayler

Ellie got a pair of sunglasses, and she knows she is styling when she wears them!  She peacocks around and dances and jabbers.  So adorable!
 We had a great visit today with Ellie's birth mom, Tayler.  We headed over to the Dinosaur Museum, and had fun walking around and getting dirty in all of the sand.  This was Lynlee's first trip in the big stroller, and she was smily and good!
 Tayler is so gentle and loving with Ellie!  Tayler crawled into this sand & water place (quite a feat, crawling under the railing) and played with Ellie for a long time.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Family Fun

We are working hard to build up Lynlee's muscle tone - putting her through her "Jane Fonda" every day (as our pediatrician calls it).  So Lyn sits in the Bumbo, and jumps in the bouncer, and we kick her legs and move her arms a lot.  Ellie likes to help - in this picture, she is bouncing Lynlee.
 Shortly after her "work-out" in the bouncer, Lynlee crashed hard on my bed.  She often sleeps with her hands by her face, but this time her arm was sticking straight up in the air.
 Ellie loves to take baths in the big tub.  This morning, Greg added bubbles, and a new fascination was born.  This may have to be a morning ritual now!
 My sister Robyn is in town for a work conference, so last night we had a girls' night.  I met Bobi, Lyssa, Mom, Teri & Gwen, Aunt Chris, Aunt Phyllis, and Grandma at Marie Callander's for dinner.  Big news - my cousin Bryce and his wife Caitlin had their first baby, Patrick Henry, on St. Patrick's day (and they named him after Caitlin's father).  Then today, Robyn and Mom came over for a couple of hours to hang out with the girls and Greg.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My friend Elizabeth

My friend Elizabeth is sooooo cool!  She is clever and witty and writes the best blog posts.  Without her permission, I am reposting her finest post ever!

This is Ellie.
I like Ellie.
 She likes me too.
She likes to give me hugs when her dad is not looking.
Her dad is the bishop, and he doesn't want her to date until she's sixteen.
Mom says I can't date until I'm sixteen too.
But we can still play in nursery.

We also like to go on adventures together.
 We went to the farm a few weeks ago.
 My mom accidentally ran over her sunglasses with our car when we left the farm.
Oh well.  I probably would have broken them sooner or later.
The End.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lynlee - 4 month doctor visit

Lynlee is such a good baby at the doctor!  She was awake when we got to the office, but by the time we were called she had fallen asleep.  Even being woken up prematurely, she just watched the nurse and the doctor do their thing.  Of course, she was not happy about getting her shots, but she stopped crying really fast.  What a big girl!

Length: 24.4 in ~ 50th percentile
Weight: 15 pounds 4 ounces ~ 90th percentile
Head Circumference: 41.7 centimeters ~ 75th percentile
P.S.  Thanks to Emily L. for the suggestion to take crayons along!  Ellie had a great time coloring on the paper.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Power of Positive Parenting

sweet girls, waiting for a visit from Lynlee's birth family

My favorite parenting book is The Power of Positive Parenting by Glenn I. Latham.  I reread it recently to fine-tune my parenting skills, a necessary development as Ellie gets older!

The basic premise of the book is that children respond more effectively to praise than to punishment.  That doesn't mean that you never punish, per se, but that you reinforce the good things your child does and ignore the inconsequential, age-typical behaviors.  Any behavior that you pay attention to will be reinforced; thus, pay attention only to behavior you want to continue.

Dr. Latham's parenting rules are:
1.  Seize opportunities to have frequent positive interactions with your children.
2.  Clearly establish and communicate your expectations.
3.  Clearly establish the consequences for compliance and noncompliance.
4.  Ignore behaviors which do not threaten the basic quality of life, limb, and property (which include most unacceptable behaviors).
5.  Attend to inappropriate behavior in an unemotional, precise, and directive way.
6.  Do not question a noncompliant child about his behavior, or ask him to explain his inappropriate behavior.
7.  Use the inappropriate behavior of one child as a cue to you to attend to the appropriate behavior of other children.
8.  Smile and laugh, talk and touch--a lot.
9.  Assess behavior analytically and treat it clinically.

I was first introduced to Dr. Latham when our friend Mo (who knew him from her time at USU) organized a fireside and had Dr. Latham as the guest speaker.  Greg and I came away from that meeting inspired and energized about how to be good parents, and I think this was 10 years before we became parents!

Here are my notes from that fireside, and pretty much an encapsulation of the book (although I recommend you get it for yourself):
    1. make your expectations clear
      1. never tell the child something he already knows
      2. have the child tell you how she is to behave
      3. what privileges can you earn?
      4. put all "noise" on extinction - ignore the noise and direct the conversation back to the target behavior
      5. use instructive (e.g., do's) rather than prohibitive (e.g., don'ts) behavior
      6. emphasize the benefits of compliant behavior
      7. let the consequences, both good and bad, speak for you
    1. coercion has no place in the family (or in the church)
      1. it encourages children to
        1. escape
        2. avoid
        3. counter-coerce
    2. do not suppose that short-term compliance achieved using coercion leads to long-term gains; it produces only short-term compliance
    3. Eight types of coercion
      1. criticism - to find fault
      2. sarcasm - to make fun of a child through ridicule
      3. threats - to warn a child of some hostile act by the parent (e.g., if you do that again, I am going to ____)
      4. questioning - to ask a child why they misbehaved
        1. this encourages lying, evasion, and defensiveness
        2. the child's answer is rarely (e.g., NEVER) acceptable
        3. gives a huge amount of adult attention to inappropriate behavior
        4. makes you look incompetent
      5. logic - trying to reason with a child
      6. arguing - trying to convince the child that they are wrong and you are right
      7. physical or verbal force - to hit or shout to make a child behave
        1. a soft voice is the voice of the Lord in your home ~ Pres. Hinckley
      8. despair - to feel hopelessness
    1. first recognize that 98% of all behavior is inconsequential (which annoys, bugs, and frustrates you) and only 2% of behavior is consequential (hurts, damages, and destroys)
    2. Extinction strategy - ignore the inconsequential behavior
      1. ignore with a purpose
      2. leave no message that the child "got" to you (roll eyes, sigh, etc.)
      3. time the behavior that is being ignored (85% will stop in 30 seconds, most end in 1 min 45 sec)
      4. a short time later, look for opportunities to acknowledge appropriate behavior
    3. Selectively reinforce other appropriate behavior
      1. turn your attention to children that are behaving appropriately
    4. Stop and redirect
      1. stop the consequential behavior, then redirect to appropriate behavior
      2. get close, establish eye contact and remain silent for 3-5 seconds, all while remaining calm
      3. ask, what do I expect of you?
        1. 97% of the time, the child will tell you how she is to behave
        2. if the child protests, calmly ask again
        3. most children will protest no more than 3 times
  4. REINFORCING METHODS to encourage good behavior
    1. acknowledge appropriate behavior in some positive way
      1. behavior responds better to positive consequences than negative consequences
      2. have 8 positive interactions for every negative interaction
    2. acknowledge appropriate behavior casually and briefly
      1. when praising, use no more than 8-12 words and talk no more than 3-5 seconds
      2. children stop listening after 7 seconds
    3. acknowledge appropriate behavior intermittently
      1. acknowledging every appropriate behavior leads to satiation
    4. verbal praise should be
      1. deserved
      2. given sincerely
      3. given with variety (sometimes descriptively, sometimes generally, sometimes embellished with values)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lynlee is 4 Months Old

At 4 months old, Lynlee

~ is wearing 3-6 month clothes and size 3 diapers
~ is regularly sleeping 9-11 hours at night
~ is a good smiler and has laughed out loud a few times (yesterday at me and today at Ellie)
~ is generally sweet and mellow, but when she gets mad - watch out!
~ is really interactive.  Likes to look at herself in the mirror and responds well to talking and singing.  And she makes the funniest faces.
~ is ticklish on her back (that always gets a smile out of her)
~ is good about going to sleep on her own, in her own bed.  She wakes up so happy and is always smiling when I go to get her
~ likes to watch Ellie play, especially when Ellie is sitting right next to her
~ grips everything: her clothes, burp cloth, toys
~ has nails that grow like crazy.  I file them once and sometimes twice a day, and she still manages to get a new scratch almost every day
~ likes to chew on her hand and fingers (see picture below)
~ has the cutest, most kissable cheeks ever!
~ has long and curling eyelashes
~ has light brown eyes that almost have a green tint when the light is right
~ is such an integral part of our family.  It is hard to remember life before Lynlee!  We are so lucky to know her.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ellie is 19 months old

 At 19 months old, Ellie

~ is wearing 18-24 month clothes and size 4 diapers
~ is really expressive and loves to talk.  I love the way she says "soh-wee" and how "thank you" comes out "koo."  She also tends to say the second syllable of a lot of words, like COB for Jacob and BOP for Baby Bop and J for BJ
~ and can you tell that our new obsession favorite is Barney?
~ is really helpful and likes to say and sign "help" as she is helping.  Favorite things to do are sweep and hold the dustpan for me, throw her diapers into the garbage outside, and put her shoes next to Daddy's shoes.  She is also getting better about putting things "away" (thanks to our Kindermusik "put away" song).
~ likes to color and play with stickers
~ when she says her name, always points to her throat (see picture below)
~ likes to play pretend and mimic what I do, especially as she takes care of her baby dolls
~ lives on potatoes, yogurt covered raisins, and Froot Loops (those are vitamin fortified, so they are super healthy - and now they are made with whole grains:)
~ knows all of the rainbow colors + pink, black, and white (and correctly identifies them about 85% of the time)
~ can count to ten
~ knows 2 shapes: heart and star
~ is such a sweet girl!  I am so grateful to know her and to be her mommy

Yummmm.....French Fries


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