Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Emmy's 5th Birthday

Oh what a day.  It was packed full of fun things, that's for sure!

 Good morning 5-year old!

 I just started this new tradition:  the kids make (someday maybe they'll actually buy the candy, too. . .) a candy-gram for their birthday-sibling.  I bought some candy and worked with Miles on it (Jonas, ahem, was supposed to help.  Too bad he had a no good, terrible, horrible night and was unable to have such a privilege. . .).  Translation:  Dear Emmy, You are not an *airhead*.  You do great *tricks* on the bar.  You are great at *rolos.*  We'd fly to the *milky way* just to see you dance.  We love your *many* smiles.  Happy Birthday, Miles, Jonas, and Lucy.

 The birthday breakfast made complete with fancy chair and yummy, special cereal.

 Her first present of the day:  a balance beam made by Ben.  Cute, huh?  The kids all loved it.  I think it's pretty spectacular too - even though I took a nasty fall (so lame!) on it last nite and totally bruised up my shins.  We're thinking a little more padding might be a good thing. . .

 They're adorable.

 Lucy demanded (yes, demanded, she was in that type of mood today) her "ballet clothes" be put on.  Alrighty.  She was super cute on the beam.  She so loved it and kept wanting it to be her turn.

 One of her many fabulous tricks on the beam.

In the late morning Ben took Emmy to the Coffee Trader for a little daddy-daughter time.  (He lucked out and had today off.).  Emmy, whose own bike is totally flat and who opted not to ride Jonas' bike, got to ride in Lucy's seat.
 What a sweet ride!

 Ben and Emmy both chose Hot Chocolate.  Sillies, it's still totally summer.

While they were gone I started to work on Emmy's cake.  Lucy was a little of a handful and luckily Ben and Emmy got back so he could watch the girls while I finished.
 Sooooo it's not my best work.  But the kids all loved it, especially Emmy.  And that's what matters, right!?  (But I sure would have loved it to look a little prettier. . .)

I then took the girls to McDonalds to play and eat.
 My kids get Happy Meals on only 2 occassions:  1.  Their grandparents buy it for them.  2.  It's their birthday (though I don't think any of my other kids have ever gotten one on their birthday. . .)

We came back home and I got Lucy down for a nap.  Then it was off to *surprise* the swimming pool!  Emmy has been begging for a week to go swimming and so this worked out. . . well. . . swimmingly.  It was just me and Emmy.
Here she is ready and happy and striking a pose.  We really had such a good time!  We were pretty much the only people in the pool for most of the time we were there.  It was perfect.  We went down the outdoor waterslide about 2 dozen times.  No joke.  We went for a straight 35 minutes once - up and down (as soon as we splashed in the water:  "Can we go again!?").  It was definitely a highlight of her birthday.

We came home, the boys came back from school, we had snack, then it was time to open presents:
 This is how Lucy was for most of it.  It was pretty difficult not be allowed to open any of Emmy's gifts.

 She's so cute.  Here she is modeling the snazzy socks and flip-flops all the way from Japan.

 Another cute picture.  Jonas is totally in her face because she just opened her very first Lego set.  She always sees the pink lego box at Target and wants it (most likely because it's pink and girly).  But she hardly ever plays with Legos.  So I thought we'd start smaller.  Hopefully tomorrow she and I can work on it together.

 Ben giving Emmy some basic driving lessons.  (She got a cute remote-control Lalaloopsy car.)

 Lucy wanted to model Emmy's soccer socks.

After opening presents all the boys headed out for gymnastics class.  Emmy played while Lucy whined and "helped" me with dinner.  Emmy requested "spaghetti and meatballs."  But she had told me at least a dozen times (just counting today!) not to put meatballs in her noodles.  The meatballs were for everyone else.  Pretty sweet and thoughtful.  She scarfed down 3 bowls and meatless spaghetti and meatballs.  :)

After dinner the kids watched an Angelina Ballerina show I checked out from the library.  That was fun.  Then it was time for cake and ice-cream (or in Jonas' and Emmy's case:  cake and cone.  They opted to have a cone instead of ice-cream.  I limited them to 2 items out of 3:  cake, ice cream, frosted cones).
She did great in blowing out all her 5 candles.

Happy Birthday 5-year old!  Love you!

P.S.  Emmy's outfit count for the day:  4.  Not a record-breaker or anything.  But just in case you were wondering. . .

Monday, August 27, 2012

To My Dearest Emmy

Happy 5th birthday!  What a year it has been.  You are just growing with each new day and becoming a lovely, lovely little gal (with some unpleasantries, of course, too).  I think your beauty increases on a daily basis.  I often just stare at you and think, "You are so beautiful."  Your face, your petite body, your short hair that has only needed one haircut in your entire life, the way you move, the way you dance.  It's all beautiful.

When I think of you I think of a spirited young girl!  Indeed you are.  Spirited in sweetness - as well as spirited in angst.  You are such a lively, active little girl.  You are the first of our children to actually have some hussle in you!  I love it.  We went running on the track a few times this year and you were a super-trooper of a runner.  You beat Jonas twice (in running/walking a mile) and the last time Jonas was encouraged to keep up with you, so you did it together.  I can't wait until you are old enough to do Girls on the Run.  We'll have so much fun together!  One spring evening we went out as a family for a soccer practice.  Jonas' practice had been canceled so Ben wanted to go and do some practicing with Jonas.  You pretty much were the only one practicing with Ben.  You ran, kicked, tried to get the ball away, etc.  You were awesome.  And, you get to play soccer this fall - yay!  I can't wait to watch you.  I have a feeling it might be a bit more thrilling than watching your brothers.  :) 

You are doing gymnastics again this year.  You are a delight to watch.  You love it.  You are happy doing it.  You try hard.  You giggle tons at your coach.  And, you're good.  You're a great little cruiser on your 2-wheeled bike.  You love riding around and going on bike rides, just like your brothers.  You are brave.

Your spirited natures also manifests itself in your screams.  Wowzers.  Your little body producing such a volume is almost astounding.  It's almost as if you have gotten a degree in Tantruming.  Yes, you are that good.  I will say you don't do it super often (thank goodness), but more than you probably should.  Sometimes (when I'm in a good mood), it's amusing.  Other times?  NOT AT ALL.

You still like all things girly, yet you are not afraid to get your [painted] fingernails dirty.  In fact, you and dirt are really good friends.  You're just a wonderful mix of girl and dirt, I think.  You love pink, sweets, dress-up, dancing, "girl books," ("Did you get me girl-books?" is a question you ask everytime we go to the library), lip gloss, painting your nails, playing princess, playing school, and shoes.  You'll also dig in the dirt, hold worms or toads, draw chalk all over your face, and hike a mountain.  Oh, which reminds me, you were such a spirited little hiker this summer, too!  You rocked it for a 4-year old.  Your dad and I were super-impressed with you.  Go Emmy.

I think you are even a better big-sister than you were last year.  You are so good to Lucy.  Yes, you have your moments with Lucy (well all do!), but I think you have a lot of patience and kindness when it comes to Lucy.  Oh she still adores you so much.  So much.  She's in to everything you are in to.  Tutus and mud and the like.  When you wear your dance clothes, she demands to as well.  So you'll find something for her and even help her put it on - all while I'm doing the morning dishes.  It's so great.  You and Lucy put on many dance performances on the fireplace for me.  You look adorably beautiful as you dance in your frilly dance-outfits.  You get really serious during your "performances."  Too cute.

You have been counting down the days to your birthday since "12 more days until my birthday!"  I hope your birthday is a delight for you!  For you delight me.

I love you Emmy girl.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

How could you not love this face?

Oh, the hard life it is for a first-grader!  Two days ago a young girl in Jonas' class was trying to kiss him.  It was his favorite part of the day he had told me.  Though he did tell me that when he turned around to see what she was doing he said (and I quote), "What the heck are you doing?!"

But today. . . the said girl doesn't like him anymore.  He's a little bummed about it and so we were talking about it.  He told me how I (that's what I'll call her) likes another boy and how she won't sit by him anymore and how he tried to tell her something and she wouldn't listen.  Poor kid.

But then he tells me, "All I did was what Dad showed us."  What dad showed us refers to the above picture.

Hahahahaha.  I'm still laughing about it.  It's just too great.  Maybe he'll learn by the time he's 16 that that's not what to do to impress a girl you like.

Just maybe though.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back To School, 2012

* update includes each boys' favorite part of the school day

Well the boys started school today.  They were excited and happy to go - which makes me excited and happy.  Sure, I'm a little sad not having them and their noises around.  Truly.  But I love school (I wish I was going back to school today, too!) and just love it being a part of our home.  Let me rephrase that - I love elementary school.  There.

Here are our traditional photos:
 Jonas, 1st grade.

 These pictures so don't look like him.  I think he struggled with smiling - he wasn't sure what to do without his bottom 2 teeth.  Silly boy.  But still a 1st-grade cutie.

 Miles, 3rd grade.

 Yep, he got to wear his Japanese shirt (no shorts - to pajama-y).  Funny - yet awesome - kid.

 The 2 boys with slightly weird expressions on their faces.  Possibly it was due to the super crazy face Ben was making behind me?  (I did tell Ben to make them laugh.)

 Miles with Mrs. Reich.  She seems pretty fantastic to me - I have only heard good things about her.  Miles had had the same teacher for the past 2 years and so this is a big change for him this year.  I'm sure he'll like her, too!

Jonas and Mrs. Dodd.  Same thing with her, too - she seems super-duper and I've only heard good things about her.  *BONUS* Jonas' seat was right next to the lovely Bella (his friend from Kindergarten.  Ya know, the one he wants to marry?)

And what did I do all morning with the boys gone?  I deep-cleaned their rooms!  Wahoo!  Not only does it look clean, it is clean (ahem, boys, under/behind beds!?  Come on.)

The girls played and screamed.  I reorganized the children's bookshelf and now it looks awesome.  For a day probably.  Then I had an errand and it was easy-peasy with 2 children.

And now Lucy is napping, dinner is being readied, and Emmy is playing with her best-friend and our neighbor, Lily.  Yay!

I can't wait to hear how it goes for the boys.  I hope they have a fantastic day!

* Updates:
Miles' favorite thing about his first day of school:
     Miles reported that his favorite part was when they got all the school supplies out of their backpacks and went through them.  He was super happy that he got to keep a lot of his eraser-toppers and his silver pencils (they were out of the typical yellow ones!).

Jonas' favorite thing about his first day of school:
     Jonas had two favorites:  lunch.  He found his best-buddy Jake (they are in different classes this year) and they ate lunch together.  His other favorite:  the birthday party.  Wow, on the first day?!  I guess those summer birthdays got to be celebrated today - cupcakes, plus a goodie bag of toys and treat.  Yeah, that's a pretty good day.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ties and TV shows

My parents' 4 grandsons.  Not sure you could find a more handsome bunch, in my not-so-humble opinion.

Ties made by Erin.  I was suppose to help, but didn't want to botch them up since my sis had found such adorable fabric.  :) But they are pretty simple and I can't wait to make some on my own!  I did make some coordinating headbands for the girls that turned out pretty cute - I just need to find some clothes to match the headbands.  :)

Also, on a totally unrelated item:  TV shows.  Wednesday is the day my kids get to watch TV.  They each get to pick one show - via hulu or netflix.  So they watch for about 60-90 minutes total.  I think it's funny what each child picked to watch last Wednesday.

Miles - inspired by the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, he chose Mr. Bean.  And he loved it lots and laughed lots, too.

Jonas - Metajets.  I'm not so sure about this one.  Sure, it's cool to see those flying things.  But I'm not totally into girls punching guys - even good girl versus bad guy.

Emmy - Bo on the Go.  It's a totally cute show - an interactive show where you have to exercise!.  Which is why Lazy-bum Jonas always gets mad when Emmy picks it.  Ha.

I love how different they all are.  Of course all my kids are glued to every show, whether or not they picked it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Birthday - Cute and Sweet

 Lucy and the birthday tradition of streamers on your bedroom door.

 I had to show this picture, even though you can't totally see my cute streamers that I sewed to ruffle them up.  I love ruffled streamers now - thanks to MADE.

 Yep, today you did get a sucker at breakfast time - or, rather, after breakfast time.  Yep, you were thrilled about it!

 After breakfast and some sucker-sucking time the older kids were anxious to give their gifts to Lucy.  Emmy gave her one of her fairies.  Jonas had made some "doll" that was created from a hot-glue gun stick, doily, and streamers (for the hair).  It did not look like much of anything (though, of course, it was a very sweet gesture) and so Lucy just kind of ripped it up - what else?  Jonas burst in to tears.  Poor kid.  He just wants Lucy to love him so much.  I then shared a story with him about how my brother Derek had worked for many weeks in his wood-works class and had made me a wooden duck that you pushed on a stick and its legs flapped around (you totally know what I'm talking about, right?).  Apparently I hated it, cried about how much I hated it, etc.  Funny that my mom brought that up, too, when I mentioned the kids giving things to Lucy.  (My mom thinks I was about 3 when that incident occurred.  Glad I wasn't 10!)

Miles worked on the above "doll-house" for Lucy.  Ben cut all the pieces and then Miles was left on his own.  He hammered it all together.  Then he asked Emmy if he could use some of her doll-house things and she agreed.  Cute idea from a sweet boy.  I was impressed with my kids since I had not yet said anything about them giving something to Lucy.

 We went to the park in the morning.  It was a little short since I had bread rising, but we still had a fun time.

 After nap I had promised a "very special birthday snack."  Milk and iced-animal crackers.  Yay!  9 out of 10 pictures I tried to take Lucy smiled like this.  "Smile!" I'd say and she'd cheese it up, squint her eyes, and put her head down.  At least this one she was looking straight up.  Silly birthday girl!

 She and Emmy and a neighbor friend Lily spent a little time in the kiddie pool.  I guess the idea of it was much more exciting than actually doing it?

After dinner it was present-opening time:
 So beautiful.

 So sweet.

 So silly!

 Lip gloss was a big hit.  (Except for when I had to take it away because "enough is enough.")

 Hello!  (Notice the cute flip-flops - "flop-ops" as Lucy would say.  They are little bears.)

 I'm great!  How are you?  It's my birthday.  I'm 2.

 She got a doll that she calls "baby."  She immediately gave her a hug.  So adorable.

 And a stroller for baby!  Lucy loves her baby and stroller.

After some play time it was on to cake and ice-cream:
 Cute picture of cute Lucy and a so-so cake.  :)  This is what the cake should have looked like.  I had actually done 4 layers and it looked utterly ridiculous.  We (Ben and I) realized that we needed to shave off the top so it would have sat flat and looked much sharper and better.  But it did look okay once we removed 2 of the layers - okay enough to be in a picture.  The kids didn't know it was a "flop" and sure made me feel good!  :)  "Wow!" they said.

This little birthday gal didn't care one bit what it looked like.  She just wanted to eat.

A bedtime she insisted that she wear her flop-ops.  Okay, done.  Then after she'd been down for a few minutes I heard her on the baby-monitor saying, "Mom, need   my     baby in       my bed."  (She has pauses when she speaks, thus the extra spaces).  You bet I went up there and got her baby to her.  So cute!

I love having birthdays and the chance to celebrate one of my precious little babes.

Happy Birthday Lucy

Dear Lucy,
Oh Lucy.  For 99% of the time you are a pure joy and delight to have around.  We (your family) adore you and treasure you and pretty much think the world of you.  We don't spoil you with gifts a plenty, but you are definitely spoiled with love and attention - and I think that's okay.  We just can't stop ourselves.

I alone just can't get enough of you - (well, unless you're pitching a fit.)  I just love to hold you, squeeze you, and kiss you.  I don't think you always love it, but you usually don't mind too much.

Growing up with three older siblings makes you think you're one of the gang.  Which, of course you are.  But that doesn't mean you get to walk like them and talk like them, so to say.  But have mercy when we try to tell you that.  You'll have none of it.  You are already a very determined (ahem, stubborn) little girl.  You can and do think for yourself.

Like your big sister Emmy you love all things sweet.  You used to be such a great little eater - you'd eat pretty much whatever we'd have for dinner.  Now?  Not so much.  You won't even eat PB sandwiches for lunch.  Oh what's a mom to do?!   You love chocolate and it was definitely one of your first words.  You're also like your big sister in other ways:  you love to dress up, you love to do ballet, you love to be a princess, you love to pretend-make food - pretty much whatever Emmy is doing, you want to do too.  Emmy is usually wondeful to you and plays so great with you.  You two are lucky to have each other.

Like your big brother Jonas you like to be silly.  You like to make us laugh.  You can be wild and crazy and just a goof.  It's great.  You can play well with the boys, too.  You can roar like a dinosaur; drive cars like a race-car driver, and literally get your hands and feet dirty in the mud.  Jonas still loves to dote on you - but you have learned (from who?!) the crafty skills of hair-pulling and face-pinching.  It makes for a very unhappy Jonas.

Like your big, big brother Miles you love to talk.  In fact, I've never heard a 2-year old articulate like you.  It's amazing and impressive.  You not only parrot whatever is said around you, you demonstrate knowledge and remembrance.  You get a lot of comments on how well you speak.  You'll string together 6-7 word complete sentences.  The other day I questioned something, "Why Lucy?"  You replied, "Because."  Sometimes all you need is a one-word sentence.  My favorite word of yours of late is "well."  You use is perfectly and adorably.  "Well. . ." and then you speak whatever it is that is on your mind.  It is quite helpful to know pretty much exactly what you want.  But, sadly for you, it doesn't always mean you get exactly what you want (like when you said, "No, I want a sucker" at breakfast time).

I haven't even scratched the surface with all your cuteness and with all that makes you YOU.  But sometimes things are harder to put in to words.  You have to live it to experience it to the fullest.  And lucky for me I get to live with you.  And experience Lucy to the fullest.  Oh what a joy that is.

I love you.  I adore you.  I treasure you.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer Mini-Olympics, 2012

(*updated with a few pics I stole from my sis)
 Erin and I started off our Saturday with a Midway 10K race - how lucky to find one right in Midway?!  It was the loveliest run - I truly loved it.  It was fun to run with my sis, it was beautiful, Memorial Hill was fun to run up and then down, plus we had the best cheering fans ever.  We ran right by a road super close to my parents' home.  So the whole gang came to cheer us on - it was pretty awesome and I'm pretty sure the best of all cheering sections.  It was so cute to see them run and shout, "Go, Mom!"  and "We'll see you at the finish line!"

 They hung out (ha) at the finish line waiting for us.

 And there we were!  Yay!  It was a fun finish and fun to have everyone there.

 This is how Lucy got to ride for the last 1/2 mile of the trip home.  Yep, she felt larger than life.

Then on to Olympics, 2012!  My sister had the idea to do one and so we ran with it (ha, again).  We planned the activities on Friday nite, my sister made up some of the treats, we gathered my parents' croquet set to use for practically every event, I made some flags, and that was that.  I wondered how it would really turn out?  Would the kids like it?  Do it?  Have fun?  Only time would tell. . .

 It didn't start so well.  To get this picture a lot of tears were involved over who got to hold the flag.  Yes, really.  I finally came up with this solution.  Oh brother.  But the picture is pretty great.  (My sister made the stencils for all the shirts.  I painted them on.  The backs all have an Olympic event picture.  So cool.)

 The "Opening Ceremonies."  Each kid got a flag with their name on it, plus all the events on the back to record their time, distances, etc.  Each kid also got a "torch" - i.e., ice cream cone filled with yellow-dyed rice krispie treat.  They were great.  I don't know why, but Lucy was quite upset at this point.

 But she quickly got over it as soon as she got to sit down and eat her torch.  Yum.

Now on to events:

So this race was suppose to be to hold a straw between your nose and upper lip (making a silly, pucker-face), but it proved too difficult for the kids.  So we changed it to holding the straw under chin.
 There goes Miles!

 We had the measuring tape all out and ready to measure how far they threw their javelins.  Go Jonas!

 This was a fun one!  Emmy is so great - she just loved it all and went fast and did her best.  She's our little mini-athlete for sure.

 Lucy adapted the balloon race to her own skill-level.  Looks like she had a blast!

 I think this was everyone's favorite.  The kids all did it again (and again!) when we had gone through everyone.


 Go, go, go!

 Yep, Lucy did this one, too.  I think she did 2 hurdles and then ran to Ben - who was at the sidelines taking all the photos.  She only did a few of the events.  I'm not sure exactly why.  She was just in a mood or something.

 Yay Jonas!  We even had an official timer that flashed everyone's time big and bright.  I loved it.

 How cute is this little sprinter?

 Miles and friend Isaac tied on the sprint.  This was the tie-breaker.  Go, boys, go!

They threw little croquet balls and we measured the distance.  Cool.  (I don't know why we didn't get any good face-shots of Jonas!?  He's such a cutie.)

This was an easy and fun one.  Score for Miles!

We had 2 teams with 3 running legs.  I think Jonas ran it twice for his team (he and Emmy).  And guess what team won?  They tied!  No joke.  It was totally perfect and we didn't even have to lie about it being a tie.  "Yay!  Everyone won gold!"  Which lead us to the gold medal ceremony:
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.  Cute kids with the awesome medals - golden oreos with fruit-by-the-foot.  Erin found the idea on pinterest and Chuck made them all up Friday night.  These were huge hits - and tasty, too.

The kids really did super great.  They were excited, had fun, and stayed interested.  A totally fun time.

Goooooooooo Team!