Friday, July 22, 2011



Our 4-year-old continues to impress us with her vocabulary, smarts and interests. She loves animals. She still wants to be an entomologist and has an arrangement with our next door neighbor who is a 3rd grade teacher that when she becomes an entomologist she'll visit her class to teach the 3rd graders about bugs. She also loves the neighbor's new puppy and I need to make sure she doesn't go and visit the puppy too often! Here are two experiences from the last 24 hours:

Abby found a frog in the backyard. "Mom, her name is Isabella Stickypaws. She has sticky feet so Stickypaws is her surname." Surname? I'm not sure where she learned that one!

At lunch today, I told Abby we needed to make a pie for the branch Pioneer Day Pie Contest. She asked what a pie contest was and I told her. She replied, "Maybe we should just take a Sweetie Pie." For the locals, that might mean something. For non-locals, Sweetie-licious is a bakery in our little town that is incredible. It wins all sorts of national pie competitions. We love Sweetie Pies but the pocket book only allows us to get them on very special occasions. So apparently Abby thinks that 1) my pies don't have a chance and 2) if we are committed to win this thing, we need to go for the best. So do you think I could fool anyone with one of these?
Briton has been very busy with his speech therapy right now. I don't know if I have said anything about speech on the blog so here is the sweetened condensed version: Back in October we had Briton tested for a speech delay. I wasn't concerned at all but thought I'd get him tested before the baby arrived. We figured it would be easier to do pre-baby. Over the next couple months, he was found to have a speech delay and qualified for services. We still weren't concerned. As our speech pathologist worked with him, she started to feel that he had a condition called apraxia. We have tried to learn as much as we can to determine what will be best for Briton. We found that one of the most respected authorities on childhood apraxia has her clinic just over an hour from our home. We have taken him to the clinic a few times for some evaluations and have been amazed at the responses they elicit from him. It's been educational for us to observe both the Kaufman Clinic and our speech pathologists work with Briton so that we can feel more competent as we try to reinforce/build upon what they are teaching. The prognosis is good. It'll take quite a while for Briton to speak clearly, but he will. We watched a youtube video recently of some teenagers who were treated for severe apraxia as children. It was great to see them so poised, confident and even articulate. Briton is absolutely delightful and we are proud of the efforts he puts forth in his therapy and practice.

Hannah is now mobile. How do I feel about that? I am not sure, but it is very fun to see how it is helping her to develop her personality. For a while she has rolled from her back to tummy but could not go the other way. Now that she can, she can move across floors and beds and she is very happy about it! She continues to be calm and pleasant. This is helpful as I try (successfully or unsuccessfully depending on the moment) to juggle my time among the 3 kids and other stuff. She is a joy.

Monday, July 11, 2011

New York

After Toronto, we headed to Niagara Falls and upstate New York. Our first stop was in St. Catharine's, Ontario to ride the $0.05 carousel. A couple miles down the road we arrived at Niagara. The bigger kids and I took a boat ride up to the base of the falls and we all enjoyed it.

That evening we watched the dress rehearsal for the Hill Cumorah pageant in Palmyra, NY. It recounts stories from the Book of Mormon and how we got the Book of Mormon. Mike and I loved hearing Abby tell us what was coming next in the pageant. She'd see a story from the Book of Mormon start and tell us the end of the story. She is such a bright little girl and we're so pleased to see her learning the stories from the scriptures.

After the pageant we drove to our friends' home an hour and a half away. We really appreciated the Nelsons letting us stay with them for two nights and we enjoyed the visit. They're great! Most of the day on Friday we hung out at their home. The kids loved playing with their children. We swam at their neighbors' pool in the afternoon and then went to a campground to roast hot dogs and hike to a beautiful waterfall that evening. (As much as I think Michigan is very lovely, it is very flat. Translation: no waterfalls.)
Saturday we headed back to Palmyra to see the sites. We've tried to teach our kids about Joseph Smith - and especially the First Vision. It was special to be able to take them to places where he walked and lived and make those stories more real for them and us. (Pictures: In front of the Smith family log cabin, In the Visitors' Center, Mike and Hannah in the Sacred Grove, Abby and Briton on the path to the Sacred Grove with the Palmyra Temple in the background)
We left the sites and drove partway home finishing the journey on Sunday with a stop in Ontario for church.

We had a great time and were especially grateful to be able to spend time together!

Friday, July 8, 2011


Monday: The Ontario Science Center

We got into this museum for free (a $53 value) because we are members of our local children's museum (a $60 purchase). It was worth everything we didn't pay for it:) The kids loved the children's areas as well as many of the more grown up exhibits. When we were deciding what to do our last day in Toronto, we considered going back and spending another day there. It was a lot of fun! The pictures show Briton using the conveyor belt in the construction area and Abby building her own roller coaster. After the science center we drove into downtown and looked at the base of the CN Tower - 1800 feet below the top!
Tuesday: Ontario Place

Ontario Place is an amusement park/water park/IMAX theater. We watched a movie (about bugs, of course), played at the splash pad, rode a paddle boat and rode carnival type rides. The kids were thrilled about (almost) all of it! Our only problem was that our kids are small so they didn't meet the height restrictions for a lot of the rides. They thought it was a huge treat to be able to ride what they could though.
Wednesday: The Toronto Zoo

I was really impressed with the Toronto Zoo. The enclosures are big and natural and there are some really beautiful animals. Being our third day of go-go-going, we were pretty tired and didn't see everything, but we liked what we saw. The zoo has a nice splash pad as well so that was a treat for all of us!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

O Canada!

Here we were stopped on a bridge. At this particular moment, Briton (and the rest of us) was in Canada and Abby was still in the U.S. Kind of fun, eh?
Shortly before we crossed the border into Canada for our summer vacation, Abby asked us about passports. We explained what they were and in the process I said something like, "Passports help the people at the borders know who to let in the country." Her response was, "Oh, they won't let Briton in because he hits and bites!" I got a chuckle out of that one. (Incidentally, Briton is leaving the biting stage but is in a bit of a "hitting my family members and laughing about it" stage.)

Dinner in Chinatown: Abby eats with chopsticks better than I do. The kids loved the meal - seafood and all!
Visiting the local temple is always a nice Sunday afternoon activity on vacation. The grounds of the Toronto temple are beautiful. It is terraced and has wooded pathways all around that were perfect for the kids to explore. Keeping a certain 2-year-old out of the fountains was unsuccessful.

Some pictures

I haven't updated in a bit so here are a few pictures:

Here is Abby in a tree. She is probably about 7 feet off the ground here. She has become very resourceful in getting into the trees in our yard and circle and she loves it! Briton can't quite make it into the trees on his own, but when he has a little help from dad, he takes off and will go as high as he can get.
We went down to MSU's Bug Room the other day. Our budding entomologist was in heaven. Briton also enjoyed it. He was pretty interested in the bees, but not as excited to hold the cockroaches. (Can't say I blame him?!?)

7 months

Here are two pictures since she is so cute:

Hannah grabs at anything and everything so keeping the bear on the couch was difficult. She sits very well. She doesn't roll, but is now trying (and almost successful). She loves her brother and sister. She does fun things with her tongue. It is always moving and out. She is starting to develop a bit of stranger anxiety. I am not terribly excited about that, but it isn't too bad. She is still very friendly and social.