Saturday, December 31

magical pizza

jason has been gone most evenings this week, so dinners have mostly been pbj or cheerios. but since that is what hiba and matthias had for lunch and breakfast yesterday, that wasn't going to work. we were having a little bit of a rough afternoon, so dinner needed to be a distraction and something that wouldn't cause a fight. so i thought we'd make pizzas.

i told hiba and she was SO excited. she loves helping me with anything, so when i told her that she would get to make her own, she was pretty thrilled. she asked if they could be magical pizzas. sure, why not? (i'm not sure what made them magical. of course, i'm not sure what made them pizzas either since they were really just slices of bread, cheese, and olives. but hey, whatever works.)

hiba was very careful and concentrated.

you may or may not have noticed that matthias isn't in those pictures. is this because i thought it would be easier to do one at a time? or because i wanted to spend quality time with them separately? 

no, not so much. it's because at this point, he is in his bedroom in time-out, where he has been for the last hour (not even joking) because he didn't want to pick up the books he threw all over the living room. i would put him in time-out, get him up, ask him if he wanted to pick up the books or go back to his bed, he would scream at me or just flat out tell me he didn't want to pick them up, and we'd do it over again. for an hour. 

so many books. i totally understand his opposition. 

the pizzas finally lured him into cleaning up, and i finally gave in and helped him (although i did make him start and do most of the books). so then he got to make his magical pizzas too.

matthias was not so careful about spreading the cheese. he just dumped out the whole bowl.

hiba at a lot of her olives before we actually cooked the pizzas. 
so magical.

Thursday, December 29

maybe we should go to india first

hiba (as we are on our way home from the zoo, in the late afternoon): hey mom, can we go to china today?
me: um, no. i don't think we'll be able to fit that in today.
hiba: why not?
me: well, china is very far away and so it takes a long time to get there.
hiba: but i told marty and yaqin that i would come see them at China with you. so we need to go to china.
me: i hope that someday we can go see marty and yaqin in china with you and matthias, but i just don't think that we'll have time for that today. it takes a very long time to get to china because it is very far away.
hiba: oh. little rock is far from china? *pause* well, what is close?
me: what do you mean? what is close to little rock? or what is close to china?
hiba: what is close to china?
me: um, india is close to china.
hiba: well, maybe we should just go to india first do then we would be close to china. will that work?

Wednesday, December 28

christmas recap

we had  a pretty great christmas.

well, as long as you over-look the fact that matthias was sick, which meant he was sad and pathetic and didn't sleep, which meant i was stressed for him and didn't sleep. it was seriously like having a newborn again. up every few hours at night. for four nights. i don't do well when i am sleep deprived.

but, other than that minor detail, things were great. this is the first year since we've had kids that we could do christmas at our own house. hiba's first christmas was spent in the US while we were here for a visit. we were living at jason's family's house for matthias' first christmas. and last year, we split the time between my family and jason's, so we didn't do anything at our own house. we didn't even have a tree.

so i was pretty excited to do christmas at our house, start our own traditions, etc. and it was fun. it lived up to my (pretty low) expectations and i think the kids really enjoyed it. christmas is so fun with two little kids. they are still at the age where they are grateful for almost anything, so getting all those presents, in hiba's words, was magical. (also, according to hiba dishwashers, making cake, playing matching games, christmas lights, and a whole list of other things are magical. but i still think she loved presents the best.)

yay for decorations!
my parents, rachel, and daniel came down to our house on the 23rd and stayed the night. we had a birthday dinner for rachel on christmas eve eve (also a magical day), and then did christmas on christmas eve. it was fun to host and great to see them all.

birthday girl!
new children from grammy and oscar

opening a present from uncle daniel

gifts from uncle nate and aunt kristin - we missed them!

"ooooo, trains!"

a new "finding" book from nate and kristen. 

hippy grammy and hiba
christmas morning, we had christmas with our little family. the kids got to open their stockings (magical) before breakfast. they were pretty excited about stockings.

then we had breakfast and read the christmas story. in my head, this was going to be a really sweet time, with both the kids listening attentively, while jason and i explained the reason for christmas, the mystery that is Christ's birth, and the depth of God's love for us.

in reality, matthias refused to sit and listen and spent half the story turning our christmas lights on and off, while hiba listened, but interrupted every other sentence to interject comments that may or may not have had anything to do with what i was reading. but hey, that's how our life is, and we got through the story, with matthias even joining us at the end. and really in my head, that is exactly how i thought it would go.

then on to the presents. by this point, the kids had it down pretty well and there was no taking turns. there was lots of hiba and matthias helping me and jason open presents though.

a microphone!

princess stickers!

a new basketball goal - their big present for both of them

hiba got a shopping cart and reusable bags

matthias got a tool bench. now he can hammer to his little heart's content!
our big presents from them came from our church building, because we sold the building and were cleaning it out. some people may call that being cheap. i think of it as being green. i was pretty excited and all three things have been a huge hit the last few days. i was a little hesitant to give matthias that encouraged him to hammer, since he hammers everything with anything, but it's actually worked out well, because now he just hammers on his tool bench. all the time.

after naptime, we headed over to jason's family's house for more presents and dinner. yaqin made chinese food for dinner, which was delicious. i forgot my camera, so no pictures, but we had a great time. the best moment was when matthias opened his present from marty and yaqin - a bag of cheetos! weeks ago, when i asked him what he wanted for christmas, he said "chips". and that was all. so he got chips. presents at the pollack's was right at the worst time of his sickness - fever, runny nose, coughing a ton, watery eyes. he looked terrible. but when he pulled the cheetos out of the gift bag, he eyes got so big and lit up. it was awesome. apparently, he knew exactly what he wanted. 

Friday, December 23

a birthday present for Jesus

i'm going to take a break from writing about potty training. mostly because right now matthias has a pull-up on. and we have no clean towels left.


this morning, i was talking to hiba about christmas. i really want her to know that christmas is about Jesus, not about presents and getting stuff. so i was telling her how it is Jesus' birthday and that is why we get presents for each other. then i asked her what she wanted to get Jesus for his birthday.

she stopped and thought for a minute. i couldn't wait to hear what she said - a new toy, some cookies, a car - really, these were the answers i was expecting.

but instead, she looked at me and said, "sharing. i want to get Jesus sharing for his birthday".

she then talked for about five minutes about how Jesus is happy when we share and how she should share with matthias and all her friends and this is what she wanted to give Jesus for his birthday. she even talked about how we should share with people if they need things and we have a lot.

i don't think i've ever been more happy hearing something come out of her mouth. i know that some of what she said was just repeating what i've said the last few weeks. but she's hearing it. she has such a tender heart, so much love and care for people. it's fun to see this in her at such a young age. hearing her talk about how to love Jesus by loving others is just about the best present she could give me. 

Thursday, December 22

the train has left the station

so on a scale of success to fail, i would put potty training yesterday on the epic fail side. in all fairness to matthias, it was not the best day to start. more about that in a minute. but really, he is ridiculous. so stubborn. so dramatic. SO whiney. and then also so cute. so cooperative. so excited.

the day started out ok. he sat on his little potty while they watched a tv show, with no real results, but hey - points for trying. then he put on his big boy underwear and ran around, playing. then i suggested about a half hour later that he try again - something that i thought was a reasonable request and he had been relativiely excited about moments before. well, this suggestion brought the response of throwing himself on the floor, whining, and absolutly refusing the idea of sitting on the potty.

ok, plan b. i asked him if he wanted to change underwear after he sat on the potty. his response was more fussing, grabbing new underwear and wanting to put it on right then, without trying to go potty. i said no, which resulted in more screaming. literally. screaming.

ok, plan c. i break out the treats. all he has to do is sit on his little potty for two seconds and he can have a treat. that's it. pretty simple, if you ask me. well, apparently that was to much to ask. he just wanted a treat. for being. and for his stellar behavior up to this point. i said no. more screaming.

so that was a great start. i finally just ignored him, he went back to playing and literally less than a minute later, i hear "oopsy, oopsy, oppsy". and he's standing in a puddle.


but i didn't give up. the day did get a little better. no success, but only a few accidents and less fits. at the end of the night when i was changing him into his bedtime diaper, he actually wanted to sit on the potty. so we're trying again today and tomorrow, when we really don't have anywhere to be or things to do, and then we'll reassess the situation. this morning has already been better, so i have hope.

on to a new topic - as i said, yesterday may not have been the best day for the potty train to arrive. and that's because jason, marty, and alan (jason's brother and dad) spent the majority of the day tearing apart our kitchen, installing a garbage disposal and dishwasher, and putting the kitchen back together. so it was a little hectic around here. i obviously didn't have my full attention to devote to matthias and we went out several times to get the kids out of the way.

so now we have a dishwasher. the house didn't have one when we moved in, which wasn't a huge deal to me. i've never had a dishwasher. my parents don't have one, we didn't have one in our first apartment, we didn't have one in palestine, so it didn't really phase me to not have one here. the is a place where there used to be one in our kitchen (and now there's one again!), so we always thought that we would put one in. well, someone gave us one, so the guys decided to install it. and a garbage disposal. it took a little longer than expected, but they got the job done.

i've never really minded doing dishes, but it's not one of my favorite things. and i especially hate waking up to a pile of dishes. on a good day, there are a few dishes from the evening before and a lot of dishes from jason's breakfast in the sink to greet me as a wake up. often there are dishes from dinner the night before piled in the sink, on the stove, on the counter, mocking me viscously as i wake up.

this morning - there was hot coffee in the coffee pot and zero dishes out. and my kids slept till 8. and matthias happily sat on the potty while watching dora. i felt like i was in an alternate universe.

so potty train fail + successful installation of a dishwasher = not such a bad day after all. 

Wednesday, December 21

choo choo!

the potty train is here.

when my sister was little, we were on summer vacation and talked about how when we got back home, she would get potty trained. so she started talking about "the potty train" and how it was coming to our house on july 6. the phrase has sorta stuck.

so the potty train has arrived at our house.

the playroom - all ready to be peed in!

carpets are rolled up, underwear is bought, towels are stocked, i've got a super enthusiastic and encouraging older sister to help out, and we've got minimal plans for the next few weeks.

big boy! 
i'm so glad that one of my jobs as a parent is to take and share photos that will one day embarrass the heck out of my kids. 
so we'll see how it goes. matthias goes between being really enthusiastic and absolutely uninterested - like in two minute time spans - so i'm knocking on wood.

Tuesday, December 20

from our family to yours....

....Merry Christmas!!

if i was on top of it enough to do a christmas card, these would be our pictures. and i would have totally sent you one. but now you get to see our christmas cheer and not hang us up on your refrigerator for the next few months. unless you want to. 

merry christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 19

weekend update

it's finally starting to look like christmas around our house. i hadn't really done much as far as gift shopping, christmas cookies, talking with the kids about christmas, etc. until the teen mops christmas party was over. so this weekend was the start to our short holiday season. it was quite busy, but lots of fun.

friday night we had some friends come over for dinner at the last minute. the kids played great together and watched a movie, while jason, shannon, and i enjoyed dinner and games. we introduced shannon to one of our nerd games - ticket to ride - or as jason calls it, the gateway nerd game. we had fun and i think we may have a new couple recruited for nerdy games. we'll see. we also made chex mix, which is one of my new favorite activities. i made it for our christmas party a few weeks ago, for the teen mops christmas party, for our church christmas party - and there is always some leftover. homemade chex mix = delicious. the highlight of friday night was when the kids cleaned up the toys completely unprompted. we have shannon's kids to thank for that - it's never happened with our kids before.

saturday was busy, busy, busy. jason had to work for a few hours and then wanted to try out a new gym, so hiba, matthias, and i decided to hop on the holly trolley and enjoy the festivities. it was....well, it was a lot better idea in my head than in reality, but it wasn't too bad. we met up with shannon and her kids, and leslie and her family - some other friends from mops. i've ridden the trolley a few times with my kids, but it's usually pretty empty. well, not when it's free and includes coupons to all sorts of fun things downtown. nope, then it is very crowded.

we rode from the little rock side to north little rock and got off to peruse the argenta market and have lunch. there was free hot chocolate, which matthias immediately spilled all over himself. when we got to lunch, i realized that my shirt was soaking wet....from where i was holding matthias. because his pants were soaking wet. and of course, i didn't have any clothes for him. so he changed into hiba's cute little pants. luckily, he is huge so they wear the same size and the jeans i had for her were just a little girly. so lunch finished without any huge problems, but then we missed the trolley by about a minute, so had to wait at the stop for about twenty minutes for the next one to come. we opted to not go get pictures with santa during this time, which meant six kids running around at the bus stop, trying to run into the road, collecting apartment hunting times. finally the trolley came and we were first in line, so we all got seats. and as soon as i sat down, i smelled an awful smell coming from matthias. and of course i didn't have any extra diapers. because why would i? and i wasn't going to change him in the middle of the trolley, so we just suffered for the ride and then leslie came to our rescue when we stopped.

whew. so we went home and took naps.

in the evening, we had a christmas party with our church peeps. i love our church peeps. they are awesome. hiba was a little bit sick (which seems to be a recurring theme when we have fun church functions), so she and jason had to stay home. but they watched christmas movies, ate popcorn and chex mix, and had hot coco. matthias and i went to the party and had a fabulous time. we're in the process of selling our church building and finding a new place to meet, so we did advent and communion at the party. there was also a lively round of christmas songs, which matthias loved. he found some jingle bells and danced his little booty off. and then of course he was loud and disruptive during silent night and our ending prayer, but no one seemed to be upset or judgy (except for me. i was totally judging myself and my lack of parenting skills), which is why i love my church peeps.

sunday was great. jason, my wonderful husband, let me sleep in so i woke up to coffee and breakfast being made. since we had church on saturday night, we got to just take it easy for the morning. jason and i went over our christmas lists and figured out what gifts we needed to get. he took matthias in the morning and went shopping for the girls. before they left, hiba gave two requests - a sword like the one matthias has and a tiger she can sleep with. matthias actually found both of them and is super excited that he got presents for hiba. so far he hasn't told her what they are, but we'll see if that lasts till next sunday. in the afternoon, i braved wal-mart and got grocery shopping and christmas shopping all knocked out. so now presents are wrapped and under the tree, christmas music is playing, cookies are being decorated every day, and we are talking about Jesus' birthday a lot. yay for christmas time!

Saturday, December 17

Jesus, the mechanic

apparently, Jesus likes to fix our car. which is just fine with me. i'm definitely not going to complain about that one.

we recently had to have our headlights fixed. which was kind of necessary, but also kind of expensive. but instead of stressing out, i really did just know that it would be taken care of. the china trip used up a good bit our our savings, but we had enough to pay for the car. and buy food. and buy christmas presents. and give presents away. i think i had a bit more perspective on how much we really have this time around.

so we paid for it, i said a little prayer asking God to not let anything else break in the next few months, and went back to life. simple as that.

and then we got an unexpected gift. that was for just over the amount it took to fix the car. which means we can still pay for the car. and buy food. and buy christmas presents. and give even more presents away.

Friday, December 16

a teen mops christmas

hi there. remember me? i used to write things here - sometimes funny, sometimes about my kids, sometimes thoughts on life? yes, hi.

i'm not really sure what has happened since thanksgiving, but i do know that we've been busy. i'll try to post about anything exciting or interesting that i think of, but really, let's just get this ball rolling again.

so it's christmas time! i love christmas. i love getting presents for poeple. i'm pretty sure my love language is receiving gifts, but not just stuff. real gifts, that mean something and are heartfelt or something that is especially needed. and so i love giving gifts like that too.

one of the thing that my parents were great about is making christmas about giving. especially about giving to people who don't have as much and can't give back to us. we would serve at salvation army christmas meals, get gifts for kids through angel tree, help out families in town that we knew were needy. and i really loved it. my dad especially would get really excited about giving, which was definitely passed on to me. and i hope that i can pass that on to my kids.

and last night was the perfect chance. we had a christmas party for our teen mops meeting, which included loading the moms up with presents for them and their kids, diapers, and food. it was a really fun night and i loved seeing them all get presents. i know that some of them would get stuff anyway and aren't really needy. but i also  know that some of them wouldn't. or at least wouldn't get stuff without stressing out about how they can get presents for their kids and food at the same time.

i took hiba and matthias shopping earlier this week to get gifts for a few of the moms and kids. it was neat to be able to talk about why we were getting things for other people and not for ourselves. we had to stop by chick-fil-a to get something for jason, which was also a perfect opportunity to explain to hiba that we wouldn't get food, but instead we would use that money to buy presents for kids who need them. she was actually more excited about this idea than i thought she would be. it was a little hard for her to walk through wal-mart and see all the toys displayed and only pick things for other people, but she did a great job and i think even got it a little bit - as much as her 3-year-old mind could understand. and she didn't tell any kids last night that we got them presents because their mommy would not be able to, so that's a good thing too.

hiba did a great job too of not being sad when she didn't get any presents to take home with her. i did assure her that she would get presents on christmas, so she was ok with that. matthias was great too. mostly because he didn't know what was going on. which is fine too.

i hope the rest of christmas can stay focused on giving. i've been pretty wrapped up in planning the party, making sure there were gifts for everyone, etc that i haven't really done christmas stuff for us. so i hope that as i shift to getting presents for our kids and jason that i can stay focused on giving meaningful gifts and can keep sharing the idea of giving with hiba and matthias. it's been really fun to see her understand that it's not about her, it's not about getting things, but it's about giving things because of Jesus' birthday, so i hope that trend will continue over the next few weeks.