Wednesday, March 30, 2016

All About Calvin

Little blueberry face!
Oh, Calvin. My sweet little stubborn guy. 

I'm not sure even what to say about this kid. Let's start with the good stuff. He's so funny! He likes to imitate people and tease his younger brother all day. He sometimes talks baby talk and thinks it's hilarious. He's also really smart. He catches on quickly to most things, but only when he's 100% ready. Otherwise, watch out. He knows all his ABC's and their sounds, all his digraphs and blends, all the numbers, all his sight words (about 100), all his colors, and how to count. He still resists potty training which makes me insane. I honestly want to go crazy!! He sometimes tells me when he needs to go, but when I ask him to pee before naps or at night, he always puts up a fight. It goes something like this: 

Me: Calvin, it's time to go pee, then we'll read a story!
Me: Either you go sit on the potty, or I will have to put you on the potty. 
Calvin: NOOOOOOO (runs away)
Me: Calvin! I will count to five, and if you don't come to me, you're in time out! One! Two! Three!
Calvin: (running to me) Stop counting!!
Me: You need to say, "yes, Mommy," when I ask you to go pee. Ready? Calvin, you need to go pee.
Calvin: Yes, Mom.
Me: No, I said to say, "yes, Mommy." Say, "yes, mommy."
Calvin: No, mommy. (Runs away.)
Me: (head exploding) Calvin, you need a time out for not obeying. 
Calvin: NOOOO! (As I carry him to time out.)
Me: Okay, are you ready to do a pee now? 
Calvin: (defeated at last) Yes, Mommy.

This little interaction gives you a snippet into my day with this strong-willed little guy. He resists almost everything I ask him to do. Don't be fooled by his "yes, Mom," response and how it seems close enough. Nope. He knows exactly what he is doing! Anything he can do to wriggle away from my rules or standards is what he's after. He likes to test me at every turn - at people's houses where he thinks I won't be as strict, at the park, at church, etc. He's an "aggressive researcher" as one book calls them. All this means is I have to be 100% consistent with him at every turn, and I would be lying if I said I didn't lose my patience sometimes. It's really hard to constantly have to reinforce rules and obedience. Really, really, really hard! I've tried the more lenient and flexible route, and his behavior becomes even worse because he now thinks he's in charge. It's really exhausting!

I love him with all my heart. I know he's going to conquer the world someday! He must have a really cool plan on this earth, but like an untamed stallion, I think he needs me to help him control his emotions to achieve his best. And I know he can achieve spectacular things. He's so smart and he already reads people so well. I can't believe a three-year-old can already grasp the mood of a room and when he can take advantage of a laid-back setting versus when he can't. He'll sure test, though. Over and over. Even if there's a firm consequence, which there always is, he still tests to see if I'll crack just once. 

Calvin is very social. He loves his friends so much! Every day he asks to see Sally, Rowan, or Finley. He's really good about playing without as much of my supervision, something I couldn't have said a year ago. He jumps at the opportunity to be responsible and lead. Any time I ask him to help me throw away a diaper or get a snack for Graham, he does it. I've even asked him to go into the bathroom to get the lotion or help put toothpaste on the toothbrushes, and he'll do it. He likes responsibility. Cleaning up his toys, not so much. But as long as we do it together, he seems willing. It's taken months of time outs and consequences to get him to clean up his toys! But he's finally doing it without too much complaining these days. 

He's really creative in his play. I'll hear him doing voices for his toys and reenacting episodes of Dora or Diego. It's so cute. He isn't great at building with his legos, but he will build train tracks and seems pretty into that right now. He also likes to color, play Candyland, and do our reading lessons. But once he's bored, there's little chance he'll come back around. It's on to the next thing. I probably need to work on that with him.

We love him so much. I know some days can be trying, but I also know he's a really special spirit who has lots to do in his life. I only pray I can be the right mom he needs to guide him! 

I Haven't Blogged in a Long Time

Oh, hey! I haven't been the best blogger, I know. (It's been over a year since my last post!) A lot has been going on in our lives, like two crazy toddlers, selling our home, and moving to the beautiful neighborhood of Daybreak, but in reality I've just been a lazy pile of garbage. Many nights, I would just rather watch reruns of "How I Met Your Mother" than write about my day. Let's change that!

The kids and I are doing great. We could not love our new neighborhood more! It's so beautiful and the people are incredibly friendly. Sometimes we feel like we're in Mayberry! There's a park right behind our house (we don't have a yard), the elementary school is just down the street, the pool is two blocks away, and the temple is a half mile up the road. We scored the perfect location!

Sometime last year, I sat in our old home and couldn't believe how hot it had gotten already - and it was only March! We had so many huge, west-facing windows that any direct sunlight at all brought our house to above 80 degrees. We found out too late that our air conditioner wasn't powerful enough to cool all the square footage, no matter how long we had it running. Nightmare. We ended up putting these huge reflective insulation sheets in our windows just to keep some of the heat at bay. It worked, but it made our house dark and gloomy for six months out of the year. It was totally depressing! 

Sitting on our bed in the already too-hot house, I called TJ and told him we needed to sell. He put up a fight at first, but once I told him my online research had shown me a Trax station was scheduled to be built right behind our house in the next 5-10 years, he agreed it was time to sell. We weren't too crazy about our street, either. There were some really nice people, but more than half the houses were renters, which meant few cared about their lawns or gardens and our ward had 70% turnover every year. It was time for a change.

I told TJ we should just look in Daybreak since we had had our eyes on it for years but were initially turned off by the HOA fees. Living in a non-HOA area, however, did more to sell us on an HOA than anything else could have! The reason Daybreak looked so nice was because the HOA forced you to keep up your lawns, bring in your garbage cans, and not park your RV on the street. We just loved the look and feel of that neighborhood and decided to go for it.

We had our eye on this exact neighborhood, so anything that popped up for us within a mile or so radius, we looked at with our realtor. We were also preparing our old home for pictures and viewings, which took so much more cleaning and organizing than I could have imagined! Tons of work. One day, we looked at a house that had already been on the market for a few months, and we soon found out why. The renters who lived there did nothing to show the house well (it was a dirty mess every time) and said everything they could to talk us out of it! Leaky showers, cracked walls, houses that had been "slapped together," Daybreak's rules - they did whatever they could to tell us how awful it was and how we should look elsewhere. I wasn't buying it. Something told me they weren't being honest. Despite TJ's misgivings, I persevered and we put a low-ball offer on the house - $20k less than asking price and closing costs paid by the seller. The seller took our lower offer (miraculously!) and we proceeded with the homebuying process. 

We were nervous about the inspection because of all the bad things we had been told by the renters, but our inspector told us this was one of the most fantastically in-shape houses he had seen in a long time. HA! We couldn't believe it! Clearly, the renters just didn't want to move. The place needed some new carpet and a little TLC, but TJ and I took care of that the first few months of owning it. Our old home was sold just five days after putting it on the market by a retired couple moving from out of state. Another miracle! It seemed like we were supposed to move to Daybreak. 

There are still many things I want to do to update the house, like change the counters, paint that striped wall, put some pictures up. In the meantime, though, we feel really blessed to live here. The first week of moving in, every single neighbor came over with treats and introduced themselves. Our ward is so kind. The kids absolutely love the park, pool, splash pad, and lake. The lake is only a half mile from our house, so I've made it part of my jogging route and it's just a dream to run around. Sometimes I worry God can't bless us this much and something bad has to happen to compensate, but I try not to think like that anymore. We just love it here!