This little boy rocked our world =) He has always been on his own schedule (from the beginning: he came 3 weeks early to now when he is the only early bird in the house) But he is such a blessing! I really can’t believe he is already 3! Alex is certainly not a baby any more. In fact he will tell you emphatically “I am a BIG BOY!”

He is developing lots of independence. He loves to get everything out for breakfast including climbing into the cupboard to get the cereal, and the milk from the fridge. He surprises me with his strength, he has helped daddy move some wood for the fire pit, and can lug a full gallon of milk. He does pretty well in the store walking beside me instead of in the cart.

We haven’t quite mastered getting himself dressed yet, but he does so much else on his own that I am happy to help.

Sleep always has been an issue with Alex, and I think some of that is just him. I have resigned myself to the fact that somehow Jason and I (who pre-kid loved to stay up till 1-2am and sleep till 10) had this little guy who is ready for bed by 8 and up at 6 happily every morning.  That being said, when he was still waking up 1-2 times a night 5 nights out of the week we kinda wondered if something else was wrong, we noticed large tonsils and he never ever breaths through his nose. So next week he is getting his tonsils and adenoids out. That *should* help him to sleep through the night, and more sleep might even help him grow a bit more.

Speaking of growth, he is still between 5-10% on the growth charts. Wearing size 3T and size 9 shoes. He and Kalea are about the same size and now that she is talking a lot I can finally see why people think they are twins =) He is right around 30 lbs, but he is still the perfect size to cuddle up on my lap.

Despite being on the smaller side, he is really pretty smart. I am amazed at what he can comprehend and memorize. He memorized all his Puggles verses for AWANA this year, and with the pre-school program we are using he memorizes verses. The longest one he memorized was Matt 5:16 (Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven) He is very into Memory games, and matching things up. Playing pretend has become quite the hit around here too.

Just in the last month or so he has started playing really really well by himself. I will often walk by the toy room and here him talking to his cars as they drive over the large roads he has built.  And he talks ALL THE TIME. It is a constant running monologue, often full of funny facebook status material. We are also in a self identification stage, and we must use the full name. He isn’t silly, or goofy, or little or big he is in fact “Alexander Jayce Hamsher!” and he will tell you that over and over and over again!

He and Kalea play fairly well together, Kalea is developing a bit of the “terrific twos” and so I usually break up several fights a day. Alex and Michael pretty much love each other tons. Alex constantly will be giving him hugs and kisses and tickling him. Its pretty sweet. I am definitley noticing an empathetic and sweet little boy on my hands. It is hard not to be super excited to see what God is going to do with this sweet, independant smart little boy.

A few hours old

1st birthday

Alex 2nd Birthday

 

Alex's 3rd Birthday

 

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This year we decided to do Alex and Kalea’s birthday parties together. With their birthday’s being only 2 weeks apart, trying to do 2 parties, is a little too much stress on mommy. We will likely do seperate once they are old enough to do friend parties, but in the meantime together it is! This year the theme was Veggie Tales. There aren’t a lot of things out there on veggie tales for birthday’s so I kinda pieced stuff together. Here are some of the pics:

Alex AKA Bob the Tomato

Kalea AKA Larry the Cucumber

I made these shirts for the kids, it has their Birthday age on the back as well. Super easy and fun to make. Ill do a blog post on it, but each shirt cost under $5 =)

We set up some shade on our patio and ate outside on this gorgeous day!

Veggie faces for center pieces

cantelope turtle table decor

Bob drawn on the kids table cloth

Larry on the kids table

I had a lot of fun decorating this cake, but I totally used a box mix and had the fondant too thick. It looked cool, but the flavor was lacking. Guess next time Ill have to focus on that instead of just the fun stuff =)

Singing Happy Birthday to them, Kalea loved it!

Blowing the candles out

Chowing down!

Enjoying a melting cake pop

Putting himself into a major sugar coma

Pretty girls!

M&M at 8 months

What party wouldn't be complete without a good ol' roll down the hill!

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At a mother daughter banquet this past weekend, a friend shared that you just have to choose to laugh rather than cry at some of the things our kids do. I constantly remind myself of the need to laugh.  Somehow, the phrase “there is no sense in crying over spilled milk” gets put into constant practice literally at our house. (Unless its breastmilk, then I really do cry.) Our house is always full of noise  excitement   tears  laughter   life.

Here are a few of the things that we have laughed at lately

Alex emptied the ENTIRE newly organized  toy/book shelf (Including actually pulling the shelves off). When I asked him what happened he said “the big giant tomatoes did it!”.  Hmmmm maybe I should reconsider veggie tales.

I set the kids up to do some water colors. I even had them take their shirts off, and still Kalea turned them into finger paints and made me wish I had taken her shorts off too.

Not to be outdone, Alex did the same

Alex (trying to save me from extra work) poured himself an extra bowl of Cheerios… all over the floor.

This was pretty classic of Kalea’s look and mood most of the week 😛

This little guy became mobile:

Which led to this guy getting upset

Because “MOM! Michael is playing with my STUFF!”

When I would ask Michael about it, he merely looked at me, grinned and showed me his new trick: Clapping =)

Welcome to life at the HamHouse! =) I <3 my life!

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Kids have a way of really humbling you. Not gonna lie, my kids are great, but they are 2, 1 and baby. So, we have our moments. Well I don’t know what got into them this week but they were pretty well rotten  whiny normal kids. And they were stepping on my last nerve. A. Lot.  I was that mom this week that everyone looks at and says “I won’t be like that”. I lost my temper, put off reading books, snapped, and mumbled under my breath. Which in turn caused them to act even more like 2,1 and baby.  I think you get the picture that it was just a bad week.

But despite my shortfalls as the mommy I should be, I was so blessed by this little girl 

 

When I went to go get her up in the morning, I could hear little cries coming from her crib. I would walk in with my pleasant “good morning Beautiful!” and then ask what was wrong. “oh *little sigh*, I just tryin.” “why are you crying?” “Tuz, I just missin you”.

Gulp. I wouldn’t be missin me, I would be hanging out in my bedroom to avoid me as much as possible. But my sweet Kalea, had a way of showing me just how I should be loving her. Even when I’m in a bad mood, even when she is in a bad mood. She still loves me unconditionally. She still wanted to spend time with grouchy mom.  After that I kinda shaped up, and tried not to get so aggravated when Kalea shreaked because Alex took the toy sweeper out of her hand, or Alex whined about not having honey on his cheerios, or Michael simply could not be put down and the dog wanted to go out at the most inconvenient time.

So often we look at the parenting relationship as a mirror of us and God, with the children being similar to us. This week, I realized that my kids can give me a pretty good look at the character of God. He loves us unconditionally. We can throw a fit, scream and yell because God isn’t doing things our way, in our time (seriously, do you know how slow a 1 year old can move?) And doesn’t God know that I have dishes to wash and laundry to fold? I just don’t have time to sit and read with Him. We can grumble under our breath about how it just isn’t going as smoothly as it should be. And yet after my fits, He still wants to come up and give me a big hug like my Alex and out of the blue say “I love you so much!”  He still cries just because he is “missing me”.

Now, Jason and I are still working on our three displaying all of the character of God, but they pretty much have the displaying unconditional love thing down.

Today in church we heard a great message about how rules without relationship will lead to rebellion. Right now I can get away with just rules. They pretty much have to listen to me, they are all under 3. But now is the time to really foster the relationship, so when they are teenagers we have a good foundation. Thankfully, as I muddle through this whole mommy thing, they are in a very forgiving stage of their life. And we can kinda learn this together.  I have to keep reminding myself, I only have one shot with these kids, I can either keep beating myself up whenever I have a failure moment, or I can learn from it and learn from them and move on, apologize to my kiddos and do it better the next time.

Now, here is praying I remember this post when the inevitable whining and shrieking start in the morning.

 

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When we moved in to our home (16 mo ago) we repainted all the rooms upstairs (they were pretty… interesting) (I don’t have these pics saved on the computer =( )

Last year about this time we ripped up all the carpet/flooring downstairs and installed beautiful hardwood flooring.

This year, the next step in our remodeling was a new coat of paint in the Kitchen and Family room. (The toy room is on the to do list, but we will have to dry-wall and so so we think we will just leave the paneling up until the kids are a little less likely to destroy them =P )

 

First up was the family room. It was a really boring/blah cream color. Not HORRIBLE, but not really warm/inviting/ nice either.

Before

 

Before (different angle)

Wainscoting (sp?) came down, it was glued on and nailed... looked like a mess.

 

Mudding over all the messed up parts on the bottom half the wall.

 

Down came the trim...

After a bit of debate, we decided to take down the plate rail too. (I am so glad we did, the room looks much bigger now)

All ready for primer/paint!

 

The other room that needed done, was the kitchen, it was a icky almost sea green. We had a really hard time figuring out what color to paint it, we both wanted like a terra cotta color, but that looked BAD with the cupboards, reds didn’t look great, oranges GROSS, yellows, browns eh didn’t really do anything for me. The color green actually wasn’t too bad (just not the shade it was), but we wanted something different. I think we found it =)

Kitchen before

Kitchen before (different angle)

 

First coat (Burlap) in the family room.

 

Our faithful helper (my Mom-in-law)

Trimming the kitchen in "Marooned"

hmmmm I think it might take more than one coat (they did 3)

Family room after =)

After - another view

Kitchen after.

Kitchen after another view.

 

I really struggled with which colors to pick (for like months) But I am so so so happy! I LOVE them, the house feels cozier now, it really makes my cupboards look good. We just need to get the trim stained and up (Jason is going to be busy 😉

Thanks so much to Jason who has worked so hard on re-doing these rooms while I have been basically useless (well running after 3 kids) and to my MIL Gwen who helped a TON!

 

 

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So for about 6 mo to a year I have been knowing I needed to make Alex a learning calendar. I had never heard of them until my sister-in-law was telling me about one she made for her daughter. I was hemming and hawing about getting supplies, what I wanted it to look like and basically just putting it off. I have no idea why I did that. I finally got tired of talking about it, and just DID it. I had all the supplies on hand (except a stapler and push pins, so I went and bought those $2) I don’t have a nice laminator and my printer is on the blink so this ended up being a truly hand-made project!

Construction paper, poster board, washable markers, 3x5 cards, contact paper and poster letters.

Putting contact paper over the grid on the calendar not only protected it, but turned it into a dry-erase board!

The days of the week are all permanent, I can adjust the number of the days every month. Each day we will move the star to "today"

The pockets are simply stapled together construction paper. We will move the yesterday, today and tomorrow sticks every day.

 

Different stations over here. Pretty much all hand drawn because - no printer. =)

This is my favorite part of the calendar. The list of the months is on the side. The months are written in the color that corresponds with the color of its season card. Each season has a card with a picture from a calendar cut out that represents what that season looks like. The weather “station” has 4 options:sunny, cloudy, snowy and rainy. We look out the big window and Alex tells me what it looks like outside. The “letter” pocket holds a shiny capital letter we are learning each week. (I used poster sign letters from the dollar store). The verse pocket holds a 3×5 card with Alex’s Puggles verse/phrase from AWANA.

The kids LOVED it! They kept wanting to go over it all through the day.

 

We quickly discovered that curious hands would destroy it, if we kept it low. So, Jason rigged it up to hang on the wall for me.

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I do a lot of pre-school activities with Alex. Most of the time we do this in the afternoon when the “little ones” are napping in the afternoon. Kalea is starting to show some interest in more learning activities too. She likes to read a BUNCH more than she used to, she is liking to color and do “letter a” with Alex on the iPad. (it is a starfall app). I have been trying to come up with some kind of pared down activities that would be fun and learning for both kids. I of course loved when I found this idea on pinterest. (yep, there is my newest addiction again)

I had the kids making sensory bottles. They LOVED it. Kalea especially (which was my goal!) Here are the supplies I used.

Clear beverage bottles, scrunched foil, little plastic bracelets, marbles, dice, rubber bands

I had the bottles, foil and rubber bands, everything else I got in the dollar toy aisle at Dollar General. I cut the beads off the string so there was more individually to put in.

I filled the bottles half full of water then gave each kid half of the supplies to put in.

Kalea was dressed as a princess for the activity.

;

They both did a great job dropping the small objects into the small holes. I was pretty impressed with their hand-eye-coordination, the rubber bands gave them a bit of a problem, but once I showed them how to kinda ball them up Kalea figured it out right away and wouldn’t let me help her anymore. =)

Please excuse the hair, this was a no hair-do day.

Alex got a decent amount of enjoyment from the bottles. It opened up a great conversation about differences in weight, how all the heavy stuff sank to the bottom and the light all floated. I would ask them to look for a certain color and they would turn their bottles till they found it. Kalea really really loved it, she carried with her all day, just spinning it all around and looking and looking at it. She would bring it up to Jason or me and say “show you! Show you!” because she was so excited about it.

Since we did this one, I would change a few things. I would only use a few heavy items (like the marbles) and more floaty items (the foil was great!) I also found some other really fun ideas for some. So as soon as we get some more clear bottles we will be experimenting with different types and learning different things with them.

Overall: this project was a WIN!

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So I caved, I gave  into peer pressure and joined pinterest. I shouldn’t have. I will never get off my computer now. Except of course to do the things that I find on Pinterest. So far I have made a couple games and pre-school activities for the kids (future blog posts to come). And then I came across these energy bite cookies. I started drooling immediately. So I did a quick cupboard inventory, and adjusted it slightly to accommodate. Let me tell you, they. are. amazing. They are quicker than no-bakes (like 5 min tops) healthier than no-bakes (no sugar or butter) and less clean up (no pots and pans!).

Ok so without further ado: My new fave cookie.

  • 1 cup uncooked oatmeal
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all together, and chill mold into balls (or cookies).  I really want to get some flax seed for extra nutritional value.

I probably didn't need 3, but they were sooooo yummy!

ENJOY!

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I bribe my kids. Occasionally. And only when I’m desperate. Like last week.

I went to pick the kids up at mom’s and found out that some how Alex had managed to get his very first splinter =( It was a pretty big/long one too.

I felt SOOOOOOO bad for him, he kept asking me to just “kiss it out”. Mom held him down while I used a combination of tweezers and a pin to try and dig/scrape/pry the stubborn little booger out of his poor finger. He kept not holding still very well, so I told him if he cooperated he could have ice cream. You could see him gather his composure and weigh in his tiny little head if ice cream really was worth going through this deep agony over. He relented, and after about 45 minutes of working on it, we got the whole thing out.

So I spent a whopping $1 and got him some ice cream (which we split 3 ways, because it was hard on mommy too, and Kalea couldn’t be left out!) and bribed my 2 year old. He did however tell me that “that sure was nice of you to get my ouchy out for me mama”.

With all the spoiling, I may end up with a brat, but at least he will be a polite one! 😉

And you know what, if he gets another splinter, he’ll probably get another bribe. Just don’t tell him that!

(Oh and I sincerely thought about trying to get pictures of this first splinter episode, but then I also thought it was more important to take advantage of the time and get it out. So you just get the story =) )

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Alex is constantly asking me to “do pre-school mom”. Just about every day he asks, so I usually try to come up with something on the fly. (I promise, all of our homeschooling won’t be quite so loose, but hey he’s 2!) I figure at this age, learning about the world around him and creative play is just about as educational as figuring out that there are a few numbers missing when he counts “1,2, 5,7,8,9”

So here are a few of the things we have done recently. We studied the color red one day, so we took a crayon as the reference and started picking up  went on a scavenger hunt. We found all the things that were red in the toy room, and put them on a pile. (mysteriously all the blue, green, yellow and purple things ended up on shelves put away)

He took that crayon and compared it with everything to make sure he had red.

 

Posing with all his findings. *note the blue scarf he is wearing has a red chief wahoo on it*

 

After we were done finding red things, we experimented with red water. I put a couple drops of red food coloring into a tupperware container about half full of water. (I made sure that it looked nothing like a drinking glass, and made sure he knew not to drink it. I didn’t want him to think this would be a fun dinner time experiment too) Then I gave him a straw and we talked about how to blow bubbles in the water. We experimented with how if we blew into the straw hard we got loud, big bubbles, and if we blew softly we got quiet, little bubbles. He LOVED this little hands on “science” experiement. He has asked to do it several times since then.

 

When I first got excited and started doing preschool with him, I thought I had to do the full blown lesson plans prepared the week ahead of time and formal time to sit and work on stuff. But as it went on I realized. Thats. Not. Practical. Not right now. In 3 years when he is ready for Kindergarten, thats when I need to be more structured, for now creative play, impromptu learning and educational games is all that he needs!

Now we certainly do work on letters and learning the names and sounds of each letter through a puzzle game we got and games on the iPad. (The starfall app for iPad was a great 3$ purchase!) But I am much less formal about it. For now.

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