Susie's Leaning Tower of Chocolate

Hi, I'm Susie. You can find out all about me, or just read my journal.

[No comments] Words Arthur Learned this Week:

Moo
Uh-oh
Glub, while pointing to Dory or fish, not sure where he learned that.
Pooh

He signs "sleep, more, truck, all done" and he can also say dada and mama and sss for cheese and ssss da for "what's that" or "who's that?" Which I apparently say to him all the time. He says something for blankie or night night or Mickey but I haven't figured it out yet.

[No comments] Trucks: Arthur has started saying a new word: uh oh. He is on the verge of learning to speak, and becoming a little person instead of my baby.

He is very into trucks. Trucks in books, trucks on his clothes, toy trucks in his hands, and trucks outside. We've been closely watching the garbage man (and garbage truck videos on YouTube) for a few weeks and last night we met him. Arthur was pretty impressed. He's learned the sign, and it's just about the cutest thing ever.

[No comments] She's Just Saying What Everyone's Thinking: Sienna: But Dad just went to work yesterday!

March Challenges: The March decluttering challenge was the rest of my bedroom, closet, and both upstairs bathrooms. And all the board games in the house, because 1/3 of them are in my closet. One of the goals I had was to wear all of my shirts, which I managed to do. I also wore all the Sunday clothes I wanted to try out. I have others I didn't wear, but they are ones I wear regularly. I cleaned out my sewing stuff - again - and did two unfinished projects. I decluttered under all the sinks, both medicine cabinets, and the box of medicines in the hall closet. The kids helped me sort through all the games and got rid of a few. I tossed all the underwear and socks I don't like, and bought some new shorts and capris for the summer.

My closet has a lot of Easter and Spring Fling stuff in it still, and I only got one of the bathrooms deep cleaned, but I am happy with the progress in March.

The other challenge was a gratitude journal. I tried to do daily blog posts on things I was grateful for, without explicitly saying as much. We were going for an easier challenge in March, and maybe it was a bit too easy because we weren't as successful. But it was a worthy exercise.

Long Day: Today was a long day filled with obvious blessings, generally in the form of sleep. John left at 5:45 for a day trip to Las Vegas. I thought Arthur would wake up when he left, but he actually slept until after 7!

I went on the fourth grade field trip, which was basically a five mile walk. We walked over to the nature preserve, around the loop, and back to the school. They had set up a police escort, which was kind of fun, and also helpful. It's hard to get 140 people across the street at a time.

Then I picked up my little kids and Arthur hadn't napped yet. And he took a long one so even after I prepped some dinner stuff and made lunch for Sienna and me, I still got a little nap. Then I made dinner. If I'd know what was in store for this day, I wouldn't have planned something so fancy. Arthur actually took another nap, which was helpeful. Between his cold and teething, he's whiny. Maggie helped with Arthur, and Dalton did a "surprise" which consisted of picking up the ENTIRE house, and making everyone's beds. So sweet!

We had all four missionaries serving in our ward over for dinner. John actually made it home from the airport just as we were eating. I made potato soup, rolls, salad, and chocolate-strawberry trifle. It was delicious.

Non-Flake: I have some friends. Some are flaky. But some are really wonderful. They bring piano books for you to borrow, and remember the first time you ask. They return things you lend them. They buy you groceries. They pick up your kids. They bring you extra dinner when you are too tired or busy (or lazy) to make some for yourself. They share extra dessert with you. They meet you at the park so you can chat and ignore your kids. They love -and discipline - your kids as their own.

Carpool: Arthur is sick and didn't nap according to plan today. I got him up and we went to get gas and a car wash and cough medicine for Dalton. He fell asleep in the car on the way home. Luckily, I was able to get another mom in our carpool to cover for me.

Sienna is all signed up for TK. We are being sent to a school even farther than Dalton went, but she has friends who'll be going there, too. Hopefully we can work something out!

Arthur's Molars: Thank goodness for ibuprofen and oragel. Arthur just watched the last half of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them with us. He's been crying all day, when not held.

Lucky Disney Day: Today we had a lucky Disney day. We woke up a little later than usual so it was almost opening time when we got off the freeway. We ended up making eight u-turns waiting for the Pumbaa lot to open - out favorite place to park! We went on lots of rides and the kids did Jr. Chef cooking with Goofy. Then, we went to get free chocolate bunnies from ghiradelli and ended up ordering a cocoa float. But they messed the order up and we ended up only paying $5 - for two! And they were delicious.

Screamy Snug: Arthur woke up screaming at 9:30 tonight. Bad dream, maybe, as he seemed fine. I picked him up and he clung to me. So I rocked him and we had a great snuggle as he went back to sleep. I love that sweet boy, and will take any cuddles I get.

P&Q: My neighbor was out of town a couple days this week so I helped watch her kids. It really wasn't a big deal. I even found myself at Costco with her 2 year old and none of my own kids. But today was a nice cozy day with my own two little ones.

Of course Sienna threw two exhaustive tantrums today. But never mind that.

Art Class: A new community center opened near us and they were offering free art classes to celebrate. I signed Maggie and Dalton up and completely FORGOT Dalton's. Today was Maggie's class. She and her friend did Van Gogh style paintings. They had a good time. I'm glad there's a closer community center option for us. And I love the inexpensive city classes offered.

Simple Three: Three things I've started this year, within the monthly challenges, that have made my life a lot more simple.

Running the dishwasher every night. I enjoy cooking more when I don't try to limit my dishes.

Shopping once a week. Or less often at least. I've been shopping while Maggie is at gymnastics on Monday nights. And thirdly, there's a dollar store nearby, which is saving me a lot. Today I bought five boxes of Reese's puffs, baby squeezes (2/$.99) and organic strawberries. Among other things.

Bookaholic: Im a total binge reader. I'll go months without reading anything, then read a book a day for weeks. Obsessed.

Arthur Disney Date: On Friday, I took Arthur to Disneyland all by himself. Sienna was in Utah with John and the other two kids were at school. We got there early, ride a few rides and saw lots of characters. He is totally in his element, playing with Pluto, laughing at Goofy, trying to sit on Donald's non-existent lap, knocking Mickey over. We had a great time.

Waffles: John has taken Sienna off to Utah to visit his parents. As long as we were driving to Long Beach to drop them at the airport, we went to the new Waffle Love store and had a cinna love waffle for lunch.

Day Off: I am lucky enough to have a neighbor watch my kids on Tuesdays while I volunteer at school and do whatever else I need to. Usually I'm working, cleaning, or running errands the whole time, but without the constant interruptions of young children, it feels like a day off.

This week I decluttered sewing supplies and the bathrooms and the hall closet. I also had the kids help me do games after school.

We have one of Maggie's friends sleeping over. Her mom is at the hospital with her aunt. Made me extra grateful for neighbor's who help out.

Sunny Sienna: Sienna is so fun. She is always doing and saying silly 4 year old things that make me laugh. This afternoon, we went through the Taco Bell drive they to get Maggie some dinner before gymnastics. The same 16 year old white kid as previous weeks was there. Sienna tells from the back seat "he doesn't speak English!" She thinks English is any language she doesn't understand.

One thing I don't like about Sienna is how she follows Arthur around bothering him all day. John commented that in all the pictures he takes of the kids, she is touching him. He is taking her to Utah this week, and I think it will be a nice break for Arthur. But she does make me laugh.

Double Digits: Ten things I love about Maggie:

1. She is a great big sister. Arthur adores her. I frequently find her playing nicely with Sienna, especially if it's just the two of them outside. And she and Dalton have created entire fantasy worlds together.

2. She chooses the right. She always gets the "integrity" award at school for doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.

3. Her music skills are rapidly improving. I love listening to her play the piano and practice the viola.

4. She's smart. I never have to help her with homework or review. She's a little too smart for her own good, and goes through tests too fast sometimes, though.

5. She's creative. She is always drawing comics, and creating games.

6. She's snugly. I think it's mostly to put off bedtime. But I'll take it!

7. She's responsible. I love watching her be a good big sister, do her chores without being told to,

8. She's adventurous. She loves the fiercest roller coasters and expanding her independence a little at a time.

9. She likes tacos. Nuff said.

10. She has confidence. If I could guarantee maggie keeps any of her traits throughout her life, this is one I would choose. (After kindness, most important thing ever.) I love that she KNOWS she is smart, and fun, and beautiful.

Things I Found Arthur Playing With: One year old
A firecracker
A balloon
A bottle of iron pills
An open container of cayenne pepper
Food coloring

: I don't want to be a queen! I want to be a princess!"

A Tiss and a Hug: Sienna loves to give people a kiss ("tiss") and a hug when they leave, or take a nap. Sometimes she is too late, so she invented something where she stands with her arms wide. A hug for when they've already left. She calls this a "benis."

Finding a Friend in the MIrror: In cleaning out my desk. I found a paper with notes from the book Finding a Friend in the Mirror by Shane Barker. It's even dated 6/10/01. I found the notes I took very interesting, and also great advice for just about anyone! Be happy!

Influence and example - you make a difference
Talents and abilities
you're somebody's best friend, favorite person.
Don't compare when you're unalike - different skills and talents
Think of what you are, not what you're not.
appreciate your worth
Think only good thoughts - think of successes
Always be at your best
Pat yourself on the back

Don't get caught up in what's wrong in your life - look for the good.
Concentrate on what you do have
No one is perfect
You can have fun when it rains

3 things you're proud of (accomplishments)
3 things right about you
turn faults into assets
List things you worry about yourself - try to do something positive with them

Finding talents:
consider what you like
analyse it
try it
use it, polish it, use it to bless lives
pray for guidance

Try everything
try an interest or talent of a friends
Make a long list of things you've never done
Try three this week.
Don't let fear stop you.

Don't miss out because you're afraid
ask - you never know
do it NOW!

Plan tomorrow, next week, next month, next year
think of areas you want to improve
What do you want to achieve
What can you do right now.
review often

If you can't find happiness or success now, you won't be able to later
Don't wait for a better opportunity
Picture the type of person you'd like to be - then Start Now

Confidence -believe in yourself

Don't give up when everything seems against you.
Fight back. Make the came-from-behind win.
Don't give up!
Fight Back!

Find people who look on the bright side, love life, love people
Join large groups of people

Find activities that make it hard not to be happy.
Don't mope in front of the TV, get your heart pounding
Or maybe a certain place

Make someone's day brighter.

What's That I Hear?: We took the whole family to see Moana at the dollar theater today. I bought a few of the songs a month ago, but only Dalton had seen the movie. Arthur was about as well-behaved as you might expect a 1 year old in a dark theater to be. But every time one of the songs I bought came on - he sat completely still to watch and listen! It was pretty funny how he recognized the songs.

Ode to Laundry Day: I finally got back on track (after Arthur baby laundry) to doing laundry one day a week. I feel like laundry takes up the whole day whether it's one load or four. So I'm back to doing all my laundry on one day. I have actually been getting it started Monday night, which means I can get it all washed and dried before noon.

Here are some laundry statistics:

Number of loads washed today: 6 (including one load of towels)
Percent of Dalton's laundry inside out: 80
Number of single socks, despite washing every single piece of laundry in the house: 6 (they were all found by the time it was put away.
Percent of kids' laundry that gets folded: ZERO
Number of pairs of underwear Sienna went through this week: 13

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