Hello again.

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It has been a long time since I have posted.

We were really hit hard this year by all the sickness…and up until this point, I really was just trying to barely stay caught up with work and the kids and etc… I am well now (I’m hoping for a while) so I thought I would recount some of our last few months so that I will have a record to remember.

Hmmm…lets start with Christmas. We went to Texas as usual. This year we started off at the Lairds, then moved to my mom’s, then to the Neill house. As always it was great to visit with everyone, and the kids had a blast playing with their cousins and relatives. Unfortunately, half way through the trip, everyone got sick. Bella actually tested positive for the flu and strep at the same time, and then proceeded to have an allergic reaction to the Tamiflu that evening. Jeremy had strep, and me and Audrey just had some kind of virus. As much as we love seeing everyone over the holidays. Jeremy and I have decided traveling with kids may not be the smartest thing during that time of year. It is hard to care for little ones who are sick when they are not sleeping in their own beds and (understandibly) want to play with all the people they don’t normally get to see. We would also like to allow them to play with their Christmas gifts after they open them, instead of immediately packing up a bunch of boxes. So we have decided next year, we will see what it is like to stay home. I have mixed feelings about this, because to me, Christmas is a time to celebrate being with your family…but I also really look forward to skipping all the work that comes with traveling during that time of the year. Maybe we will figure out a way to do it every few years or something. Or maybe some of our family will want to come spend some time by the beach during the holidays.

We were all really sick for New Years, so we pretty much just stayed in bed. I think I was asleep by 9pm…I let Bella snuggle in bed with me and watch some of the NYE TV programming. She loved the music (as always – she is such a musical child).

Now we are getting back into the swing of things with school, etc…and I’m hoping that we are starting to get over all the germs. Audrey is still fighting it this week – but I am really hopeful once she is over it, we will get some well-time for a while.

Bella – I think developmentally, Bella has been taking some huge steps lately. She is starting to get the idea of sounding out words, has started really reading some very simple ones, is memorizing a bunch of sight words, her handwriting is becoming less of a daunting task for her, she is able to truly count higher by herself – schoolwork in general, is becoming less of a power struggle, and I think alot of that has to do with being finally developmentally ready to tackle the job. She has been working really hard, and her efforts are showing in the classroom and her homework and just in general with her attitude towards the idea of learning. Bella really responds to encouragement – and I’ve really been trying to focus on what she is doing right in her homework and learning and just how hard she is trying, rather that saying she is getting “good” at anything. If you ask her, she will still tell you she hates school…but I am hoping as she becomes more successful with learning and figuring out how to learn (school-type) stuff, her attitude towards it will change. She is also more into being social with other kids lately. She has made a close friend at school (Delilah) and she is also playing very nicely with our neighbor, Maya. She craves the time with her friends now (in short spurts), and it is nice to see her learning social skills and enjoying other kids company. She seems to be really taking an interest in trying to “do” things that she previously just had no interest in “doing” – ie, learning to pump on the swings.  Her attitude towards helping at home has become much more cooperative as well – she feeds the dog, clears her plate, brings her laundry down…all by herself, and when she forgets and is reminded she doesn’t try to push back and get out of doing it anymore. She also recently started Hip Hop class – she loves it. I love to see her enjoying something new. She loves her little sister, and is very helpful with her as well. They play really nicely together (most of the time). I feel like Bella is really coming into her own little happy place lately. It makes me very happy to see it. And our house has a more harmonious atmosphere as a result as well.

Audrey – Where did the last two years go? My baby is really starting to be more of a “kid” everyday. She is very independent, and wants to try to do everything herself. She is starting to dress herself, put on her own shoes, and wants to keep up with Bella in every way imaginable. She loves to play with Bella. They love to dance to One Direction or other pop CD’s in the living room and Bella will pick her up and swing her around. She also loves to take care of her babydolls and the doll house Bella handed down to her. She seems ready to potty train (recognizes that she is going, and wants to wear underwear), but has lost interest in actually going to the potty. I’m hoping that she gets into that soon. Would be so nice to have less diaper time in our house. She is growing up too fast. I feel like if I blink she will be in Kindergarten. I am debating when to put her in preschool right now. Luckily, she is still into snuggling with me…for the time being I still get that at least…