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We Seek After These Things: Since we have two weeks between church meetings because of General Conference, the kids are learning the 13th Article of Faith. Maggie just has to remember it from when she learned them all last year. This is her last one and soon she'll be the proud owner of a giant bag of whatever candy she wants. We have a CD with the Articles of Faith songs on it, and it happened to be playing in the car when I picked her up from school. She sang along, in front of her friend and proudly told me that she had been singing it quietly at school to practice it.

Dalton is actually suddenly amazing at memorizing them as well. That's why the CD was on in the car. He'll have no trouble getting it memorized in two weeks. I've also enjoyed explaining to him what it means. We believe in being good! He loves the word "benevolent" but today he said, "I don't want to be nice to mean people." I reminded him of a story we read together in The Friend of someone being nice to a mean person who is later nice to them. He pondered that.

This is my favorite Article of Faith. It's another explanation of why Mormons are so nice. I feel like it justifies my creative impulses, including child-rearing. I'm seeking after things virtuous, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy. If my own children can fit that definition, I think I'll have done well on this earth.

Today's Goals: I woke up with some pretty specific goals in mind for today.

Survive preschool
Do laundry
Make dinner

I got all that accomplished with the added bonus of finding the other piece of Dalton's scooter at school (yep) and reading lots of books with the kids. Preschool was actually really fun. We had yummy treats, made fun crafts and played with homemade slime. And dinner was good too. I made homemade pizza, half with just pesto and cheese and it was yummy.

Conference Weekend Notes: I've decided to try parting Sienna's hair on the right side, since 10 months of parting it on the left has had no effect.

There's a fine line between getting the kids interested in Conference and getting anything out of it ourselves.

Sienna loves to give me kisses. She also loves to climb on me, especially if I'm doing something. Like a cat.

Since Maggie was able to sit up, I've enjoyed playing the piano with her on my lap. One day it evolved into her dancing while I played. I picked out Minuet in B-flat major by Johann Sebastian Bach, which Snoopy dances to in It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown. The kids still love dancing to that. Unfortunately, our piano isn't in the living room so I miss most of the action. Also my fingers are clumsier on the keys than they should be. We spent 20 minutes yesterday playing recognizable classics. Sienna was happy to bop and run around with the big kids.

Maggie's wanted to be a trapeze artist since we read If I Ran the Circus and watched some YouTube videos. This week I learned my cousin is taking a trapeze class. I looked it up and, unbelievably even a 7 year old can take a 2 hour flying trapeze class just over at the fairgrounds. Now I have to think of an excuse to buy it for her.

I can't believe I'm having this conversation with my four year old at 9:15 at night. "If I give you a carrot will you go back to your own bed?" Except that it seems oddly familiar. Like it's happened before. Earlier this week. It worked. At least for as long as it took him to eat the carrot.

Sienna has a California baby farmer tan. I mean it's April. She must have Maggie's quick-tan capabilities.

We don't take library books in the bath tub.

I am so ready for Maggie to go back to school. It's going to be a long week of minimum days and busy season. Why do my kids fight all the time? And not listen? And they are so loud! Add in all three of them having colds and Sienna's teething. Bleh.

Heater: I don't know what's worse, Sienna crying in the night for no reason, or Sienna crying in the night for good reason. She was super warm when I got her at 3:15. I could feel the heat radiating off of her before I picked her up. I gave her some Advil and nursed her until her fever went down a little. Poor, sweet *yawn* thing.

Babysitter: Maggie paid Dalton one penny to watch Sienna so she could play dinosaurs in peace (I wonder where she got that idea). He did a great job. They went in her room and he read her stories until she banged on the door and I took pity and let her out.

Jack Frost Tag: We dropped by the park for a few moments after school. Even though I had to wake up Sienna for minimum day, and it was almost 90 degrees. Dalton soon came crying. "Maggie wants me to be Jack Frost but I want to be a fairy." Apparently, Maggie had invented a game of tag. Jack Frost had to tag one of the fairies, then it was that fairy's turn to be Jack Frost. Very clever, if poorly explained to her brother. Especially since she claimed she picked him to be Jack Frost because he runs so fast.

And then, of course, on the crowded playground, four year old Dalton was unable to catch any of the fairies. He fell and scraped his arm and we immediately left. Is it so unreasonable to expect Maggie to be nice to her brother in front of her friends? We had a discussion in the car (Dalton crying over his injury) and Maggie admitted a game of tag isn't much fun if you are It and can't tag anyone. It makes you want to quit. A clever game, yes. But only as fun as you make it.

**Inspired by Rainbow Magic fairy books.

Bleh: I got food poisoning or something Wednesday night, and then spent all day Thursday lying in bed trying to recover.

Grandma Pat: Today, we had a girls dinner with Aunt Pat, Shannon, and Leah who are in town (ish) for a cheerleading competition. It was so good to see them. Pat took a turn holding Sienna on her lap, which involves actual holding on tight, and maybe getting a little wet when she dribbles a glass of water all over herself.

I was reminded of Pat's awesome grandma-ness. She is a nice blend of grandma-spoiley, hot chocolate after dinner, make you fancy breakfast in the morning, and enforcing your rules, helpful, keeping your kid from getting trampled. I think she's just wonderful and I'm glad we were able to see her today.

Leah and Maggie had a good time bonding over Rainbow Magic books and gymnastics tricks and jumps.

Spring Break: Determined to do Spring Break right. That is, not spend the whole week fighting with my kids.

I am ridiculously excited for beach day. I love the beach and it's even more fun with friends. (It's double fun with John AND friends, but that rarely happens.) We are also going to IKEA, swim lessons, the park, and the kids have a full-day of gymnastics camp. No kids from 9-3! That will coincide with the finishing of Maggie's flower girl dress, hopefully.

We had a really nice day all home together on Saturday when John was working, and I'm hoping that can repeat. Times 7 more, and then Maggie can go back to school. That's the plan.

But I Can't Close My Eyes for 1 Minute: Dalton has had even more trouble sleeping than usual lately. He often refuses to go to bed. A new rule of no treats the next day if he doesn't go to bed has helped somewhat. He says he can't close his eyes for that long. He will claim he is afraid of something, or try to sleep on the floor in the hallway because he wants to wake up when we wake up in the morning. He doesn't want to miss anything. I keep pointing out that staying up until 9:30 makes him so tired in the morning that he won't wake up at all! He is always sad in the morning when he wakes up and Daddy is gone. He bursts into tears once the realization hits.

One funny thing is that sometimes John and I will be downstairs watching TV and we can hear Dalton not going to bed. We'll come up and see him asleep in our bed, or on the floor, or somewhere silly.

He also comes into our room in the night, which had stopped for some time. Last night I heard him tell John that he'd had a bad dream. We usually let him sleep in our bed until the teeth gnashing drives me crazy and I put him back in bed. The other night when I was sick, I had to wake John up to put him back in bed.

Part of the reason is this so annoying is that I've long felt Dalton doesn't get enough sleep. He often acts irritable, the kind of irritable that comes from an empty belly or an afternoon slump. The irritable of a two year old who's missed his nap. So, when he has trouble going to sleep at night, I have trouble with him behaving the next day.

On the bright side, he's had nearly all dry diapers at night all of a sudden. I've been buying the little packs of 23, but I got a good deal, so I bought two big bags of pull-ups. He's on his last one or two diapers before I open those packs. It's like he was waiting for me to invest in his bed wetting.

Dalton is Adorable.: Yesterday the kids went to "spring camp" at the gymnastics place. I sent Dalton over to find his name tag while I signed the kids in. I heard him ask "which one says, 'Dalton'?" and the girl next to me said, "YES! Dalton's adorable!" She was one of the gym team helpers, remembered him from Summer Camp, and was so excited he was in her group. It made my morning.

When I picked him up, she asked if he was coming back the next day. I told her he'd be here for summer camp. I'm sure he'll be looking out for her practicing during his class, as well.

Oh, and I saw another teenage girl CARRYING him around the gym. What a schmoozer.

What Do We Do With a Lazy Baby: There is no kind of pleasure like ride on the lazy river while snuggling a baby. Except maybe a speed boat ride while snuggling a baby. Apparently this is my kind of paradise.

John took the day off work and we went I Legoland. Unfortunately it was so crowded from spring break. We went on a handful of rides then decided to test our luck with the water park. It was in the low 60s and overcast so the water park wasn't at all crowded. Dalton got on the water slides with his tippie toes so john took the big kids on that while Sienna and I rode the lazy river around and around. At first she wasn't too sure of the baby tube (with a sealed hole) but she got over to and had a great time. She really didn't even get wet at all. I got her some giant Legos to chew on and we snuggled and I sang along to The Beach Boys while I pushed her floatie. Seriously a fantastic way to spend an hour.

Goal Setting: After Maggie's promotion to level 5 at swim lessons last week, Dalton decided that he was going to be level 3 this week. To be level 3 (which he was actually at two years ago), you have to basically swim the width of the pool without the instructor helping you. I told him he had to do three rollovers in a row all on his own. He's been talking about it all week.

I was quite surprised to observe Dalton willingly swimming under water during play time while waiting for his lesson. It kind of reminded me of the time Maggie suddenly figured out how to keep water out of her nose and burst into her swimming skill. Suspiciously enough.

Sure enough, when it was Dalton's turn in his lesson, he just busted it out and swam the entire width of the pool. The instructor and I looked at each other in pleasant surprise, and he did it three or four more times. Level 3!

He is so proud of himself. I praised him for setting a goal (and explained what that was), trying his best, and succeeding.

The Psychology of Laundry: I recently decided to do laundry less frequently. This doesn't, of course, decrease the amount of laundry I have to do. But it makes me feel like I am doing less. It takes up one out of 5 days instead of one out of 3.

Instead of doing laundry when the baskets are full, I stamp the clothes down and wait until it "needs" to be done. My limiting factor at the moment is Dalton's pajamas. When he runs out, I need to do laundry. I think if I get him another pair I can go a week.

This leaves me with three loads of clothes to wash, instead of two, but it's not really any more work. Also, it means I can do a load of whites, a load of whatever's in my basket, and a load of the kids' basket. Which equals less sorting! I can just take the load from the kids' basket and sort it onto their beds. My kids are very good about putting their laundry away. Dalton still makes me sort and fold his, but they haven't complained about putting the laundry away in a long time. Sometimes I just leave it on their beds and don't even remind them.

I sorted and folded the remaining two loads on my bed, hung up the adult clothes, and put away any miscellaneous kid stuff that was in our basket. Sienna's just got thrown in a pile, since she is usually asleep when I fold laundry. And, for once, I felt a sense of accomplishment when the laundry was done!

We Wonders: I am rereading The Hobbit, last read on a beanbag in San Francisco in 2002. It's so good! None of the fluff of Lord of the Rings, an exciting story, well-written, funny, and full of good advice.

It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.

Beep's Baby: I think I am spoiling Sienna. Lately she's taken an interest in carrying a bag around on her arm - probably related to Easter egg hunting. We needed more sand toys anyway, so I bought her a Minnie Mouse bucket and shovel at the dollar store. Then she saw a Mike Wazowski figurine (rawr! ah!) she just had to have. Then, today at Walmart, she saw a baby doll. We bought Maggie a baby doll for Christmas when she was two and she never took an interest in it. But Sienna fussed and fussed and was so enthralled and it was on clearance so I bought it for her. It's just a cheap plastic doll, so if she decides she doesn't like it, no big deal.

In the mean time, she carried the box around the store. She is noticing that it has toes and a belly button like she does, snuggling it in bed (not that she went to sleep) and carrying it around in her Minnie Mouse bucket. Love.

7 Year Old Problems: "I wish I was dancing, but I'm too busy reading."

While watching Baby Einstein.

Allergic: Maggie keeps saying that she is allergic to certain things. I asked her what she thought "allergic" meant and she said, "It means you don't like something." I gave her a real explanation. Hopefully she's not singing "Try it! Try it! You might find that you like it!" to her friends who "don't like" nuts.

Another Post About Gender: Mom, I learned about lions today.
Cool, what did you learn?
That the male is the boy and the female is the girl.

Lettuce Milkshake: I recently started a healthy living challenge with a bunch of my friends. You earn points every day for things like exercising, eating fruits and vegetables, and avoiding treats. I was eager to sign up because I ate way too much Easter candy and was feeling gross. It's been easier than I thought to go without candy and other treats. And when I did have my day off on Saturday and had some cheesecake, I felt kind of gross. I've also been enjoying getting extra exercise into my day. Also on the to do: 64 ounces of water, and a food journal.

I've been getting into green smoothies to get my vegetable servings in for the challenge. I've been mostly having them as a mid-morning snack. Dalton has enjoyed most of my experiments (the first one was pretty bad).

Today we went to the beach after school, so I made a big smoothie for dinner when we came home. I was wary of Maggie trying it but she was VERY impressed.

"What kind of milkshake is this?"
It's a smoothie.
Is it a green smoothie? What is in it besides lettuce?
It's spinach. Coconut, blueberries, strawberries...
Mmmm! Coconut! It's so good!

Oddly enough, Dalton didn't care for that one.

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