Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Schwartzes vs 2015 Ornament Selection

Every year we buy the kids a new ornament. My mom always bought a new ornament for each of us growing up every year and it was neat to get them all when I got married. Our ornaments were pretty eclectic and came from wherever mom saw something she liked. Chris's mom collects Hallmark ornaments so he is use to a beautifully appointed Hallmark tree. So we compromised and all my crazy ornaments go on the tree, but the ornaments we collect for the kids come from Hallmark. We take them to the store each year and now that they are old enough they get to pick out their own. Their boxes are labeled but I just realized I should probably start writing a little blurb somewhere so the kids will know when they are 40 why they have some of the random ornaments we let them pick. (But I do veto some, for example a couple years ago Sarah really wanted a boob-tastic looking Marilyn Monroe ornament. yeah, no.)



(1) Chris: 1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator--Chris doesn't always pick out an ornament for him. It just depends on if he sees something he likes. But this one basically jumped off the shelf. He saw it and immediately wanted it! He loves Cougars so of course this will have a place of honor on our tree.

(2) Charlie: Puppy Love--Charlie wasn't into picking out an ornament this year, there were too many other things he wanted to touch in the store. So Chris and I decided on this random dog one because Charlie LOVES puppies. He actually only has one animal word, and it's "puppies!"

(3) Cody: Holiday Darth Vader--So this would normally be one that I veto. Do I really want Darth wearing a Christmas sweater on my tree--no. But Cody is obsessed with Darth Vader right now. He dresses up in his Darth costume a few times a week. He has 4 different Darth shirts and so help me if at least one of them isn't clean it's a struggle to get dressed. So while I was sad he didn't pick an airplane this year like he did the past 2 years, I couldn't deny that for this year Darth was the best choice.

(4) Sarah: Princess Anna--Sarah has quite a few princesses so I wasn't surprised when she picked this one. She quickly picked it out to go with her Elsa one she either got last year or the year before, I can't remember. (Which is probably why it's good that I'm finally starting to write all this down.) On the way home from the store she made sure that I knew she wants to hang her new Anna next to her Elsa cause they are sisters. Got it sweetie.  :)

(5) Natalie&Chris: It Takes Two--So Chris and I always pick out an ornament too. And while we don't necessarily collect a certain series it seems like we kind of do. I noticed last year we pretty much buy either a snowman couple or a Micky and Minnie ornament each year. So while we were at the store picking out our ornament I think we decided to just start collecting the Micky & Minnie one.   So ta da!

Hopefully we'll finally get a tree this weekend so we can put our ornaments up. I am ALMOST ready to buy a fake tree.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Schwartz's vs Sarah's Last Dance Performance (for now)


While Sarah and I have really enjoyed dance for the past 3 years, I'm just a little burned out. She's not. But I am and so I used the little performance her class was participating in at a nursing home to make a clean break. I referred to it as the winter recital and told her we were going to take the spring semester off to try new things. She was disappointed at first but eventually got on board to play soccer in the spring. 

I got a little sad as we watched her last performance. She's come a long way and knew all of her steps and moves. I'm not swearing dance off for good, but at least for one semester. I told her if she really missed it we could check out the other studio in our area next fall. 

So enjoy a little Christmas ballet dance:






Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Schwartzes vs Baby's 1st Haircut

Everyone's been giving me grief about Charlie's baby mullet for some time now.  The problem is he's my last baby. So once we cut those baby curls and they're gone that's it. It's over. Baby time in the Schwartz house is over. Plus I think his baby curls are adorable. HOWEVER, we have family pictures scheduled for this weekend so I guess it's time to let them go. Chris being less of a fan of the baby mullet (ironically) offered to take a long lunch, pick the boys up from the gym, and take them all to get their hair cut.

Sweet baby girl, I mean boy! Sorry, that's Charlie's long luscious locks there.

Chris swears Charlie was doing just fine but when I walked in he was none too pleased about this hair cut.


And just like that, Charlie is a big boy now.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Schwartz's vs Sarah starts Kindergarten

What?!

Yes, today my oldest child started Kindergarten.  She is upbeat, friendly, and excited to learn so I knew she was going to have a great day.  And she did!

However, the best line of the day came from Cody at 6 am.  He's not a morning person.  So I came in gently telling him it was time to get up and his response, "but it's still dark outside!"  However, Sarah popped up like a Disney princess summoning animals to come help her get ready for the day.  She is always peppy in the morning which made it easier at least.

The stagger start here so for the first 3 days only a third of the class comes, then the last 2 days half of the class comes.  Next week all of the kids will finally be together.  We're allowed to walk them to their class the first week of school, so their 2 first days.  Chris told his boss he'd be late those two days so we could alternate taking her and not having the boys with me.  It worked out nicely.  We even had time in the morning to take the traditional first day of school picture.  And Chris let me walk her today because the first day we were encouraged and allowed to take pictures.  Yay!

Grandma Schwartz takes each of the school age kids out for the day and they go shopping for school clothes.  This was one of the outfits the picked together.  Let's all just ignore the socks and shoes, but to explain, Sarah said the yellow socks matched the yellow flowers in the pants and red shoes go with the red parts of the flowers.  So there ya have it.

Sarah's teacher seems very nice.  She's been teaching for a while and I have some friends who have had her and they say great things.  So we're excited and looking forward to this year.

Goodness, she grew up!

I had quite a few people ask me how I handled it and if I was nervous.  I was fine dropping Sarah off, honestly.  As a former teacher I know that they also want what's best for each of their students and have always thought Elementary teachers are bred different with more patience and an ability to truly love each "baby" like it's their own.  I was anxious about things that only makes sense if you know me.  Not knowing how the car line works, or what the routine is for the day for both Sarah and the new one I'll have to create for the boys.  I'd love nothing more than a typed up schedule including their "related arts" days so I know when to make sure Sarah wears sneakers for gym.  I worry about what to pack for her snack and will it be as much as or similar to what the other parents pack.  What the heck is a snack cart and will she feel left out if she doesn't get to buy a treat from it?  And as I was walking back to the car I worried that she wouldn't remember her water bottle for lunch because we left it in her bag instead of putting it on the lunch box shelf.  Just little things like that.

But I didn't worry that she wouldn't enjoy it or do well.  I mean just look at this face:


In the afternoon when I picked her up as soon as she saw my car she started waving and calling "hi mommy!"  And I was so excited to see her!  We got home and she showed me all of the great things she did and told be what they worked on and learned.  She had a great day!  She even wanted to share it as the Family Home Evening lesson. 


I know she's going to love school.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Last night before the kids went to bed, I asked Chris to give us each a school blessing.  It's not really something that's appropriate for pictures but I did want to remember the sweet spirit and feelings that we had.

Growing up my dad didn't do school blessings at the start of each year, it wasn't one of our traditions and I knew nothing about them.  During a lesson in young women's when I was growing up, one girl mentioned her dad did them, others concurred and I filed that little bit away for something I'd hope my husband would do for my family.  So it was a great moment for me to have that desire fulfilled.

As Chris blessed Sarah, everyone even Cody was quite and still.  I peeked and was so touched to see her sitting so reverent with arms folded, eyes closed, a sweet smile on her face.  When he was done, we asked her how she felt and she said "good and happy".  Cody immediately wanted one as well and  sat down in the chair.  I peeked at him too and of course his eyes were open but he seemed to be still and was listening.  When his was over we asked how he felt and he said he "felt warm".  We took that opportunity to explain that you get those feelings when you feel the Holy Ghost and he was witnessing to them that daddy was righteously using the Priesthood to bless them.  It was a good teachable moment.  The kids wanted me to get one as well, and heavens knows I was going to need one too to survive this first school year so again they all sat reverently as daddy gave one more blessing.

It was a sweet and powerful spirit in the room and it was a wonderful moment for our family.  I'm thankful that Chris has the authority to perform these sacred duties.  And I'm glad the kids were able to feel the Spirit and understand that in their own way.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Schwartz's vs Operation Empty Nest


Also known as "why would you say that to me!"

Chris and I were laying in bed chatting on our anniversary and I casually asked what's the next 4 years have in store for us.  What's it going to be like on our 15th year anniversary.  He thought for a moment and said, "Well, by that point, all of the kids will be in school.  Charlie will start kindergarten that year."

WHHHHHHYYYYY would you say that to me!!!!!

I've never been an "it goes by so fast" person.  I smile and nod when people say that and know when I'm in their position I'll look back and say that too.  But right now, I've got a helmet on and I'm living in the trenches just trying to survive.  With Chris out of school now, I've finally accepted the need to get out of survival cooking mode and not serve hot dogs, mac and cheese, tacos, and cereal practically every night cause he'd like real food.  Ha!  I have only just begun looking over those deep trench walls that are lined with legos and little rubber princess dolls.  

WHHHHHYYYYYY would you say that to me!!!!!

All of a sudden putting it like that it goes by so fast!  I compare most timeline things to Chris's school.  It took us 10 years, T-E-N Y-E-A-R-S to get a bachelors degree.  For so long I thought he was never going to graduate.  It felt like forever.  I happily plan vacations that are over year out because after enduring Chris's school, a year of looking forward to something happy is like waiting a month.  No big deal.  I got this.  So four years for me will go by REALLY quickly.  I can't believe that in just 4 years Operation Empty Nest, Phase 1 will be complete.  

Nuts.

Oh, and just in case you are curious, Operation Empty Nest has 3 phases some run simultaneously with holding patterns of various lengths.  They are as follows:
Phase 1: All kids start school
holding pattern for 13 years while all kids complete k-12.
Phase 2: All kids leave for college/mission
holding pattern 2-3 years
Phase 3: All kids marry 
holding pattern length unknown but please don't let it last forever!

At the successful completion of Operation Empty Nest, there will be a Victory Tour.  Though it's way to early to start planning that vacation.  Even I put limits on how far out I plan things.

Random photo cause, you know you only come for the photos.
Kindergarten Camp (Orientation)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Schwartz's vs the Tooth Fairy


Teeth freak me out!  And this one has been driving me nuts!  Back on July 14th during lunch Sarah said her tooth hurt while she was eating some pretzels.  She thought some salt got stuck in it so I looked at it and casually said, "oh yeah, that tooth is probably getting ready to fall out".  Well, that wasn't very smart since she's my first kid and they had no idea teeth fall out.  She FLIPPED out.  We had to call dad to calm her down.

But why are my teeth going to fall out!!!!

So I didn't really want the tooth coming out before school started cause I wanted nice pretty smiles in back to school pictures.  But that tooth has been getting more and more loose then last week I noticed the new tooth already started coming in.  At my dentist appointment Monday, she proudly showed it to Dr. Pulido who told me we needed to get it out.  So Tuesday I caved and asked Chris to try to pull it.

What I thought would be her last baby teeth smile.

She was brave and he yanked and tugged but it wasn't ready yet.  So it stayed in.  She was upset because I told her when her tooth came out we'd go get ice-cream.  Oh well, another day.  Wednesday, during nap time for the boys, she sat next to me while we watched our dance show and just messed with it.  It was making all those horrible teeth noises.  ICK!  She even made it bleed but didn't notice and I certainly didn't tell her.  When Chris got home he tried again and still nope.

Today before dinner it was super gross, like half way hanging out of her mouth.  I asked her if she wanted dad to pull it before dinner and she said yes.  I left the room, and no sooner than I walked out of the kitchen Chris was giving the all clear and Sarah was shouting for joy.

Yay!

Our first baby tooth is out!

big ole baby tooth hole

She hung up her tooth fairy Grandma Smith gave her.  I'm glad our tooth fairy looks for this hanging somewhere and not under her pillow.  

And we went out for the promised ice cream treat.  She even got to pick 3 extra toppings for being so brave and letting daddy yank on her tooth 3 days in a row.

She's excited to have lost her first baby tooth, which is a drastic improvement over how she took the news about having to loose it last month.  And I'm thrilled not to have to listen to those gross grinding noises.  ICK!

And just for the record, the going rate for a tooth around here is one gold dollar.  She was thrilled about her gold coin and put it in her penny jar.




Friday, July 10, 2015

The Schwartz's vs Family Fun Day

Today we had an impromptu "Family Fun Day".  My knees have been KILLING me so I asked Chris to take off and go with me to the orthopedic doctor.  I'm not great and explaining things to doctors and have a tendency to downplay problems.  Anyway, after my appointment we went and picked up the kids from Grandma and had to go to Charlie's 15 month check up.

21 lbs 9 oz (25th percentile)
30 1/2 longs (25th percentile)
18 1/4 head (25th percentile)

Charlie normally is pretty cooperative at check ups, but with Chris there he was acting like a fool.  That's why he already has a paci and blanket before he even got shots.  As soon as we took his clothes off for him he started crying hysterically and yelling, "dadadadadadadada!"  But his check up was fine.  Dr. Catherine again congratulated me of him being my fattest baby.  Of course he doesn't have all the words or social things he's supposed to have by now but none of us are worried because he's fine and the 3rd kid.  He's still screaming all the time for everything hoping he'll out grow that soon.

THEN after Charlie's check up we surprised the kids with our family fun time.  Sarah has been begging to go see the movie Inside Out.  The commercials run frequently enough on Disney Jr. that she's been able to tell me all the characters and the general trailer premises for a while even when I pretend to not know what she's talking about.  I had no interest in the movie but we decided to surprise them.

We pulled up to a movie theater they'd never been to before so even though we drove up to a Malco marquee neither of them knew we were going to a movie until we parked and got close enough to see the movie posters.  They were so excited!  Charlie was most excited about the popcorn.  He loves popcorn!  He ate 80% of the large popcorn bucket by himself and screamed when someone tried to move it so Sarah could reach.  

Cody sat on my lap the whole time and was just enthralled with a big smile for every second.  Sarah on the other hand had some problems.  She is deeply empathetic and for some reason although she's pretty much already figured out Santa's not real, she doesn't get that cartoons aren't real.  Go figure.  So we've always had to be careful about what cartoons she watches.  For example, she doesn't watch The Little Mermaid, even though Ariel is her favorite princess, because the scene when Ursela gets big and causes the storm terrifies her and stresses her out about what's going to happen to Eric and Ariel.  

Anyway, during some of the intense scenes in inside out Sarah was clawing at me and just shaking.  And then during the really poignant part of the movie she was in my lap just bawling.  I don't think even she understood why she was crying.  Chris was standing up with Charlie and he said he had a few tears make it down his face during that part.  I welled up a bit but they never rolled.  And Cody, was just big smiles even during that part.  I was pretty touched at how moved she was during the poignant part of the movie and it gave us a great conversation topic and we talked about that situation and all the feelings that were going on there.  

Then we decided to take a trip to Target to get the kids a little happy.  Of course since they just saw Inside Out they wanted toys from that.  Sarah wanted a "joy! Cause she's my favorite!" and Cody was quick to follow suit with, "I want Angry cause he's my favorite!"  



Then we boogied home to change clothes cause we had plans to meet the McKinzie's at the Y pool where we swam for a couple of hours until it closed.  Cody and Sarah had a great time with their buddy and Charlie just loved sitting in the water with me or Chris.  

(not from yesterday just needed to add a picture of Charlie at the pool)

The moral of the story is Inside Out is a great family movie and Chris being out of school is awesome cause we can have these random family fun days.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Schwartz's vs How the World Kept on Spinnin'

I have a few things that I'm slightly crazy about.  We've been slowly working on finishing our upstairs for like, ever.  Well.  Maybe not forever because that's how long Chris has been in school but for at least 3 years we've really been focused on it.

When Charlie came along we really wanted to get it done because one of my crazy things is I didn't think the kids could survive sharing a room.  I thought it would be the end of nap time and bed time as I knew it because they would just sit there and keep each other away.

So Charlie slept in his pack and play in our room like each of our kids.  Except when he was finally sleeping through the night he had no where to go because the upstairs wasn't done.  So we started dragging his pack and play into the living room every night before we went to bed.  Eventually that got old and in January we (as in me) bravely decided to try putting his pack and play permanently in Sarah's room.  I lectured her on what a big deal this was and how important it was not to wake him up.

She has LOVED sharing her room with Charlie.  It makes her feel so important and responsible.  It's a big huge deal!  And they've done well.  Both of them still nap and sleep at night.  I was SHOCKED!

My other crazy is that Cody even though he is almost 3 and a half, was still in his crib with the front on it.  I didn't think he would take naps if he was allowed access to his toys during nap time and bed time.  So the plan was to keep him in his crib until the upstairs was done and all the toys moved up there.

It was working great because he didn't care he was in a crib.  Every now and then we'd talk about how he was going to get a big boy bed.  But he didn't care.

Then on this fateful day, he asked the dreaded question "Can you make my boy into a big boy bed".  And it just didn't seem right not to let him do it.  I mean after all, he's freaking 3.5 years old!  And we need to start working on night time potty training.

So we took the front off his crib and made a big deal about how this is important and he needs to stay in bed unless he needs to go potty.  NO playing with toys.

Sarah came in to congratulate him.  He was excited and proud to show her his new bed set up.

Ready for his first sleep in his "big boy bed"

Unfortunately it was too much freedom for him the first day.  He didn't sleep at all.  2 hours into nap time he came out and randomly gave us a pillow.  When Chris followed him back into his room he saw a bunch of the extra blankets stacked beside his bed (not where we left them) and he told Chris he just wanted to pretend they were stairs.  

After nap time I talked to him again and since then we haven't had any more problems.  He doesn't get out of bed and play.  

Apparently your kids can share rooms with each other and toys and the world will keep on spinning.  This is news to me.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Schwartz's vs Sarah's Birthday Parties

Starting now I guess, until I come up with a different plan.  Sarah will have her traditional too many birthday celebrations.

First we have our movie and dinner out with her "aunts".







This year we saw Big Hero 6 and went to Red Robin for dinner.  I really love my awesome friends who love my kids like they are their own.  Sarah and Cody get so excited when we hang out with them.  I'm sorry I have been blog lazy and their dinner didn't get it's own post like it should have.  Especially since Susan is like the only person who still checks my blog.  Hi Susan!


Then we'll have our family dinner on her actual birthday.



After that in January we'll do a Schwartz family birthday something.

See here: http://www.schwartztastic.com/2015/03/the-schwartzs-vs-sarahs-5th-birthday.html

And we'll round it out with she gets to pick 3 friends and go do SOMETHING for her birthday.

This will hopefully avoid me having to throw any actual parties.  I like this plan.  It worked this year.

So this year, since one of Sarah's favorite things to do is to color and create things we decided to take her and a few friends to a pottery painting place that recently opened in Tipton County.







Sarah LOVED this!  She had such a great time and now has a delightfully ugly mermaid sitting on her dresser.  yay!  I'm sure this is an activity she'll probably pick for a few years in a row just because she loved it so much.  

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Schwartz's vs Sarah's 5th Birthday


Sarah's birthday is in December, but as a reminder, we don't do birthday party celebrations until the end of January or early February.  For now, I do it out of convenience and to help Sarah separate the two events.  She gets confused.

So this year we had a family dinner at Grandma and Grandpa Schwartz's house and enjoyed some delicious food and cake.  The cake was very special.  Over the summer Lorna showed us a picture of an amazing ballerina birthday cake and asked if she could try making it for Sarah for her birthday.  Sarah loved it.  And I stressed and stressed over trying to plan some elaborate ballerina themed birthday party.  Then I finally just admitted to myself, I don't like doing that.  So we enjoyed the beautiful cake at the family dinner instead and everyone (being me) was happy with that decision.  

Now before I start sharing pictures, I want to say Sarah is by far the BEST gift receiver.  I probably buy her things more often then I should because she is so genuinely excited and grateful for anything you give her.  Even when she thinks it's just a box of Fiber One bars...


So excuse the onslaught of Sarah opening presents pictures.  

Thank you Aunt Melissa and Uncle Adam for the new Elsa dress

And the ballerina puzzle

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for all the new doll house furniture.

Two of my favorite guys

Ok, so part of why Sarah's birthday wasn't until February was because I lost her present.  I bought it last June when there was a big sale and put it away.  Then when I went to get it out of the hidey hole I couldn't find it.  I was super stressed about it, and eventually found it in the hidey hole behind some boxes of Kleen-ex. 


Someone trim this girls bangs!

It's a pink iPad!

Thanks mom!

Only loaded with educational apps.


 Before you judge me for what we decided to get her.  We carefully discussed and debated this decision.  Sarah and I have been struggling to do some kindergarten prep work.  And I am terrified at how far behind she is when I compare her to her peers.  I've tried to work with her but I get so frustrated so quickly and it gets ugly and then neither of us are happy.  She enjoys playing with my iPad but will do the bare minimum of what I ask so that she can play all the other games I downloaded in the early days.  So her iPad ONLY has educational apps on it.  And she's good with that.  She hasn't even asked where her princess sticker game is on hers (cause it's not there).

So far I've been really impressed with how she's handling it.  I was worried about her begging for it all the time and whining when the time was up.  But she hasn't done either.  Every now and then she'll ask if she can have some iPad time and depending on the situation I tell her yes or no and she excepts the answer either way.

Her favorite apps right now are Brain Pop, Jr. and Endless Alphabet.  I do have to prompt her to do Hooked on Phonics but she never complains when I ask her to work on that.

I have noticed that she recognizes more letters now and even when she doesn't know a letter's name she can sometimes tell me its sound instead.

So I'm happy with the decision we've made.  Cody is a little jealous.  He whines to use my iPad more often.  But he's getting better.  And who knows, if they ever go on ridiculous sale again we might get one for him and put it away until he's 5.  I just will make sure I put a sign on the kleex-ex to remind me where it is.

And now birthday cake:




So, I forgot candles.  We had to use matches.  Classy, right?

Happy Birthday Sarah!