Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Leif's 2nd Birthday

Our youngest is now two.  Those baby years just flew by!  I think that each child grows faster than the last.  But even though it has passed in the blink of an eye, the past year with Leif has been delightful.  He has really come out of his shell, opening up to more than just his Mom and his Nan as his abilities have grown.

We didn't do much to celebrate (two-year-olds have low expectations), but he was thrilled.  He has seen a lot of birthdays lately and loved that it was finally his turn.  Here's what we did to celebrate:

1. Carl helped him get out of bed in the morning and he toddled into my room for a "good morning".  He was excited to get a "happy birthday!" instead.  

2. He did well unwrapping his presents--again probably because he's had a lot of examples lately.  

3. Grandma bought him a little red wagon and Carl bought him a cell phone.  He was pretty happy, sitting in the wagon, talking on his cell phone.  I was *very* happy, thinking about how I won't have to lug him around in the baby backpack when we go walking.  

4. Grandma's wagon came with a book about a flying wagon, which he promptly asked his dad to read.  Leif loves listening to books almost as much as he loves to be lugged around.

5. We went to the library.  Because what kid doesn't want to check out books on their birthday?  OK, maybe not yours, but Leif was happy about it.  And now that he is 2, he can check out two books instead of just one.  Woot!

6. Nan's friend Ruth Ann brought him a balloon.  I always underestimate the power of balloons.  Kids love them.  They are more exciting than most of the toys we buy for them.  He certainly seemed to enjoy Ruth Ann's balloon more than he liked the chunky puzzle I gave him.  

7. He helped me to mix the batter for his cake.  Or rather, he pushed the button on the stand-mixer.  He was pretty impressed with the big effect and enjoyed turning the mixer on and off until the batter was mixed.  

8. After dinner, we had all the Duedes over for green cupcakes.  Leif knew what he was supposed to do with the candles but he couldn't quite make it work.  His little blow completely missed the flames.  Fortunately, Sven was happy to help.  

9. After the cupcakes, the big boys had to hurry off for scouts.  Leif didn't mind.  He only had eyes for Nan and her big purse full of gum.  They compared cell phones.  Nan's was preferable.  

Happy birthday, Leif!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Leif's Early Words

Before a year: Mama, Dada

Before 15 months: yeah, please

Before 18 months: no, bye, hot, ow, shoes, cheerios, hello, door, cracker, more, socks, go, down, dog, gum, up, Leif

Before 21 months: cat, out, book, wee-wee (like what the fifth little piggy says), teeth, popcorn, stairs, truck, duck, drink, phone, bowl, Carl, Sven, milk, woof, brush, smoothie, bread, dump, Nan, breakfast, let's, Soren, hug, Daddy's office, bonk, yogurt, blanket, stop, Rachel, pumpkin, corn, get, page, prayer, amen, done, ok, jacket, house, hand

Before 2 years: diaper, poopy, Maddy, cereal, thank you, clap, tap, goodbye, bunny, tape, chocolate, again, eye, turkey, bucket, cup, more, water, watch, salt, pepper, pjs, Nate, high chair, Poppy, wait, taco, rabbit, cookie, Ash, poke, eye, sticker, nose, eye, fingers, mine, bowl, plate, cup, spoon, mac, cooking, and more!

(I stopped keeping track of new words sometime before Christmas, when he started copying everything that everyone said.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Sven Speaks

SVEN: We're Mormons and Mormons don't eat with their fingers.

SCOTT:  So when Soren scrapes salad dressing from his plate with his fingers, he's not a Mormon anymore?

SVEN:  No.  That's not the way it works.  He's still a Mormon, he's just not a good Mormon.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Soren's 9th birthday

Kids get older.  That is a fact of life.  But it still surprises me every year.  Soren is nine now.

I remember the day he was born: how I pushed for three hours with no idea how to get him out; how Scott got back from a final exam to see me deliver the placenta; how cute our little stranger was after he'd been cleaned up and dressed in a Christmas stocking; how alert he was, with no intention of closing his dark eyes and missing anything.

Now he's a pre-teen.  Whoa.

Here's what we did to celebrate:

1. I got up very early in the morning to buy foods he liked, then I wrapped them up like presents.  For breakfast, he unwrapped a box of fruit and cream instant oatmeal!  (It was Monday and we usually have oatmeal on Monday--usually the plain kind that you make on the stove.)  All the kids were excited about birthday oatmeal.

2. Grandma and Grandpa sent him a guitar.  I told Soren that when he was nine, I would support him in developing his talents by paying for and driving him to one class or lesson.  He chose to learn the guitar.  Grandma and Grandpa Berg sent him a very nice one and he was delighted with it.  I tuned it up for him and he spent a little time experimenting, then we scheduled lessons for January with a teacher.

3. His homeschool workload was lighter and all of his assignments were birthday related.  He wrote out the birthday song for his copywork and then had to play it on the piano.  He got to pick a board game to play then opened a present from Dad with a new computer science text in it!  They started working on that right away.

4. For lunch, he opened another present: a box of "shapes macaroni and cheese".  Everyone was glad to have it but Soren informed me that wrapping up food didn't really make it a present.  Here I thought I was being fun.

5. I gave him a new game for his birthday (Carcassone), which I taught him to play in the afternoon.  Games are my go-to birthday gifts; thankfully, my kids love new games.

6. True to tradition, Soren didn't want a typical birthday cake.  This year, he asked me to make pancakes instead.  Since we had just eaten a giant chocolate cake two days earlier on Scott's birthday, I was very happy to oblige.  I put sprinkles on the pancakes, so they would be festive.  We made a short stack and put candles on it so that we could sing to him.  Soren managed to blow them all out in one go.  The pancakes were yummy, especially with whipped cream and Aunt Rachel's homemade blackberry syrup.


7. After the little kids went to bed, Soren, Scott and I played another round of Carcassone.  I love that Soren is old enough to spend time with in ways we both enjoy.  I am excited to see the man he grows up to be; I'm sure it will come sooner than I expect.

Happy birthday, Soren!

Monday, November 28, 2016

More than Just Making It

Goals for Soren:
* focus on his own schoolwork while Mom is helping other kids
* stay quiet during lessons and adult conversations
* keep his bed dry at night

Goals for Carl:
* obey instructions cheerfully
* play nicely with Sven

Goals for Sven:
* stay in bed at night
* finish potty training
* follow reasonable instructions given by his older brothers

Goals for Leif:
* eat some of what we are having for dinner
* no shrieking!
* regular naptimes and bedtimes

Goals for Carolyn:
* finish writing novel
* pray for missionary opportunities daily

Goals for Mom:
* attend to positive behaviors, reconnect when things are going well
* start school promptly in the morning and don't multi-task
* supervise tooth-brushing morning and night

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Best Things about Soren (at 8 years)


1. He loves a good pun.
2. He can do the dishes.
3. He is curious
4. and makes interesting connections between the things he is learning.
5. He wants to be a peacemaker, both in our home and in the world.
6. He is cheerful
7. and friendly.
8. His handwriting is improving.
9. He is teaching himself computer programming and makes up his own programs.
10. He is passionate about environmental conservation.
11. He makes (and performs) up his own piano music and some of it sounds pretty cool.
12. He also makes up (and sings) accompaniment/harmony/sound-effects for primary songs and hymns.
13. His brown eyes look like Scott's.
14. He can tie his shoes the awesome way.
15. He expresses sincere gratitude whenever he feels it.
16. He has a strong desire to choose the right
17. and help others to do the same.
18. He is learning to play the harp!  (It's more difficult than he thought it would be.)
19. He has a vibrant and active imagination.
20. He talks easily about his ideas and feelings.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Fable: The Good Mother

A certain child was working on a project that he couldn't complete himself.  He felt so frustrated and discouraged that he wailed and cried and beat his fists against the table.

And by chance there came down a certain mother that way, and when she saw him, she passed by on the other side.

And likewise his teacher, when she saw him the next day, came and looked on him but had no time to help.

But a certain family friend, when she came to visit, came to where the child was, and when she heard about his project, she had compassion on him.  She went to him and sat down beside him, pulling the work between them and took the pencil in her own hand and helped him.

And later, when she departed, she told the child that she would love to help him again if he ever needed it.

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was mother to that child?