Pre-teens and Genes.

How’s this for a cute little face to make you smile??

Eliana is into a lot of interactive comunication like making faces back and forth, for example:) This one is one of her favorites! She also likes to stick out her tongue and scrunch her nose up and give a “cheese” grin. Such a little character!

She definitely knows she is loved!

Samuel went for his yearly check-up today and got a clean bill of health! If you followed his little saga last week, you’ll know how much that means to me! He is 50th % for weight and 75th% for height! Tall and skinny:) He definitely did not get the tall genes from me…..

As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure I shrunk our kids. I’ll have to apologize for that someday.

It’s so hard for me to get pictures of my wild-man Z. He used to be a shoe-in for pictures with adorable grins and his big baby blues. Now he scowls and tell me “DON’T take a picture!” Why do I feel like my boys are exhibiting early teenager signs? Is this normal??

I’m so glad I can pass down my “perfect teenager” genes. Aren’t my kids lucky??

Ha:)

Today….

* It was almost 200 degrees outside. Okay, maybe not that much. But it sure felt like it.

* We got out early since we knew we’d be in house-jail for the rest of the day.

* We hit up the farmer’s market for some fresh raspberries and blueberries! And maybe a cup of freshly squeezed lemonade to share:)

* I actually did an art project with the boys involving paper, glue, styrofoam peanuts and paint. Okay, okay, I didn’t really do anything but at least I came up with an idea, right???

* I took a nap after I put E down for her’s and parked the boys in front of a cartoon. I am not ashamed to admit it because it was absolutely necessary. Trust me.

* My husband is working an insanely long day and I miss him. He won’t get home until almost midnight tonight.

* The children and I escaped any thought of heat and played down in the cool basement. So thankful we have a basement!! And thankful for legos to keep myself…I mean, the children entertained….

* I ate a handful of chocolate chips to celebrate the completion of the nightly putting-to-bed ritual. I’d say running up and down the stairs a few times to settle down restless boys and change a surprise diaper earned a little chocolate! Actually, it doesn’t take much to earn chocolate…

* Eliana said, “Hey, Mama!” when I got her up from her nap:)

* Our hot water heater got drained so we can hopefully get rid of the funky smell coming from one of our faucets. The boys were a little grossed out by the spluttering orangey-brown water that came out afterwards. I don’t even want to know what that is from.

* I finished invitations for Samuel’s upcoming birthday party! The theme? What else? Angry Birds!! We have one excited almost-birthday boy over here;)

* I am finishing my very long, cooped-up-in-the-house kind of day with a Shirley Temple movie and a little quilting!

Ciao!

Shoes and Kale

It’s been a wonderful day here! Obviously this kind of day doesn’t happen too often or I wouldn’t be so excited about it:) It wasn’t just a good day or a pleasant day but one of those days where lots of little blessings come and they fill your heart with joy!

First we spent the morning at one of S’s friend’s house where the boys got to spend the morning swimming in a small pool. They had such a good time! Eliana enjoyed watching them and climbing on and off kid-sized chairs:)

She has really been into trying on the boys’ shoes and walking around in them lately! She tries so hard to get them on, asks for help from whomever is nearby and then clomps around and around the house in them, periodically asking for a re-shoeing.

Checkin’ herself out in Samuel’s brand-new shoes! I could’ve sworn I JUST bought the boys new shoes. Actually I did. Not even 3 months ago. Want to see why we had to buy Samuel shoes?

And a closer look……

This kid is tough on shoes!! He runs and plays and jumps ALL day long so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I was trying to hold him off on a new pair til his birthday but he was actually wearing holes in all of his socks, too, because of these shoes so we had to break down and buy new socks and shoes yesterday.

I’m thinking we might make it til school starts before we have to buy more……sigh.

I had a busy day cleaning again because we showed our place a few more times this afternoon. I actually don’t mind (esp when I get plenty of notice!) because it’s really nice to have a super clean place!

After all the people left, we got to do something fun that we’ve been waiting for for weeks! We got all of this produce you see above. Oh, you’re wondering why that’s fun? No, I’m not loony (well, maybe a little..). We joined a CSA this year, which basically means we bought stock into a farm and they give us produce! We put our budgeted summer produce money into this CSA for a bi-weekly share of some yummy fresh goodness.

So we’ll be getting fresh veggies straight from the farm every other week from now through the end of October! We’ve been so excited about this and have been waiting for our first share. We pick it up at a house only 10 minutes from home and we get weekly emails telling us what we’ll be getting, what’s happening on the farm and recipes to cook the veggies, many of which we’ve never tried before!

Today we got things like Kale, broccoli, squash, zucchini, snap peas, spinach, sage, bok choy and a couple other things I haven’t identified yet….:) Can’t wait try it out!

I just hope the kiddos are just as excited;)

We also got some other good news today that will allow us to breathe a little more freely and not be quite so cramped financially!

So we can hopefully join our family in the big trip this summer to celebrate my grandparent’s anniversary!!! We are so excited!

Feels so good to be thankful for lots of little blessings:)

Sweet Girls and Perms.

I took these pictures a few weeks ago and since my brain isn’t forming coherant thoughts at the moment (this happens at least once a day!), you can enjoy a sweet little girl instead:)

Watching the train go by. Love the way the sun shines on her golden hair!

Her hair is growing SO long! She gets a really cool Carol Brady mullet in the bathtub:) And there are curls at the bottom, especially when it’s humid out. It’s amazing to me, considering I’ve never had anything but stick straight hair.

Barring that perm I got when I was about 8…..that fell out the next day and left only a puff of fluffy, curly bangs.

I try to forget that time in my life.

Love this sweet, precious girl! I will never ever perm her hair…

Zoo Day!

Today was a gorgeous NON-90+ degree day so we decided to get out of the house and take advantage of it! Doesn’t look like we’ll be getting too many of these this summer, unfortunately:(
Since I’m looking for inexpensive (or free!) activities for the summer, the zoo fits right up our alley. Since we have a membership:) I don’t think I’ve ever gone by myself before but today the munchkins and I packed up a lunch (well, I did all the packing….) and after a quick trip to the library to pick out prize #2 for Samuel (who’s a reading machine!!), we unsuspectingly joined the other 2,384 people who decided to zoo today.
We decided to hit up animals that we usually ignore. Or forget about. Things like bats, wombats, and hedgehog/porcupine looking things. Animals like that;) The wombats were actually incredibly adorable. They sleep on their backs with all feet spread out, looking for all the world like dead rugs. If you haven’t seen one, take a peek at what one looks like! Haha.

 After peering at dead-looking wombats and creepy flying stinky bats for awhile, we came out into the fresh air and dawdled over giraffes, zebras and adax’s before decided it was time for lunch.

Okay, the boys decided it was time. Since they are never NOT hungry! Why didn’t anyone warn me about this?? When I was growing up, my mom and 4 sisters and I would split one large pizza and have leftovers.

True story. But now? Now, our family just looks at a large pizza and it disappears into thin air! And half of a second one, too…

I just love making fun memories like this with the chillins! We were walking around a huge water fountain/pool they have in the middle of the zoo and Samuel said, “Are there animals in there?” I said I didn’t think so but maybe there were some fish in there.
To which Samuel replied, “Oh, I like fish! They’re yummy!”

Hahaha!

 Missy kept looking at the animals and saying “Wook! Wook!” I have to walk a fine line with her, keeping her contained but also allowing small amounts of freedom. Toddler hood=Rights and free will.

We did something we’ve never done before! We got to visit Stingray Bay today. They have a huge “pool” filled with stingrays and you get to touch them! The boys seemed really excited but Zakkai refused to touch them and said it was too stinky in there. It was a little fishy smelling..

So I was the only brave one out of the 4 of us. They were weird feeling~smooth like you would imagine a dolphin’s skin to be, yet with small grainy particles on it. If you held your hand in the water very still, they would swim right up and glide under your hand, almost like they wanted to be petted!

Of course, the exhibit exited right into a gift shop where the boys tried to sweet talk their poor (literally) mama into stingray stuffed animals. Right. Thankfully we made it out unscathed and happily as poor as when we went in:)

Our last stop was to see some aquatic animals, after a quick rest at the water fountains, per request of Zakkai:)

Samuel was really excited to see dolphins and was really hoping to see a big, fat walrus. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one that we found.

“Wook!”

She partied hard and strong but definitely started to fade towards the end. She enjoyed watching the peaceful, fun-loving dolphins swim around but I knew we had to make a quick escape for nap time.

She almost made it…..:) She slept through a transfer to the car and from the car to her crib, where she crashed for 3 hours!! I had to wake her up for dinner!

Definitely the sign of a fun day:)

She was in rare form tonight, being awake and wild while her brothers were being put to bed. The boys decided they wanted to sleep in their bean bags (where Samuel has actually been sleeping for almost a month!) and Eliana chose to visit with each other them for a few minutes. Where is she?

There she is!! Samuel asked me if they could add a prize to their collection which would be “sleeping with Missy.” I vetoed that one very quickly! Can you imagine?

It was a fun day and a great way to start out the week. Happy Monday!

Catch-up!

Yesterday was a fun day for the boys. We joined a summer reading program at the library a couple of weeks ago which has fueled some serious reading over here~especially with Samuel! They get to mark their reading logs either by time or amount of books (depending on age bracket/reading levels) and for every so many, they get raffle tickets for a big prize at the end and smaller prizes in the middle. Both boys finished their first sections and were begging to go to the library to get their prizes.
So one of our stops yesterday morning was to one of our local libraries (there are 3 within a 10 minute drive!) for prizes:) The librarian even gave Missy one, too. That kept everyone highly entertained for our next two stops!
Then the boys counted down the hours (and minutes!) until we got to go to a friend’s birthday party. This was Samuel’s very best friend from kindergarten, whom we haven’t seen in about 6 months. Apparently the boys weren’t the only ones watching the clock intently because Peter’s (the bday boy) grandma told me that he could hardly sleep he was so excited that he would get to see Samuel and Zakkai at his party!
All in all, with all the driving included, we were gone for FIVE hours. It was a simple party at a park with balloons for the kids to blow up, big blow up balls and toys to play with, lots of energy and of course, a cake. Doesn’t take much to make kids happy!
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I am just blown away at the increase in Eliana’s vocabulary and communication skills these past couple of weeks! She literally learns several new words a day. She repeats everything that we say to her.
For example: As we were walking out of church today, we were asking her about her time in Sunday school with Zakkai. This is how the conversation went.
me: “Did you have a good day?”
E: “Day?”
me: “Did you play?”
E: “Pay?”
me: “I saw you coloring a picture!”
E: “Pi?”
me: “Mama’s so proud of you!”
E: “You!”
She’s such a little joy. Except when she exerts her toddler-ese wisdom and independence and throws fits, of course:) She even came up to me today and said, “Hug?” And let me wrap my arms around her soft little, chubby body and give her a big hug!
And last night as I was taking her upstairs for her bath, Ben was saying goodnight to her and told her he loved her and she said, “Bye! Luh you.” I could eat her up!
Except Ben would probably fight me for the rights to do that…:)
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Ben has decided Zakkai needs to join a theater class someday as a creative outlet for his dramatics:) He definitely has a flare for life….and emotions! We regularly have to talk to him about his yelling and screaming. Most of the time when he’s that loud, it’s because he feels an injustice has been done (and a lot of times it has! By a certain big brother….). But even his whisper is like talking at normal volume.
He came hobbling inside to show me scraped knee #54 of the summer today. (okay, maybe not 54 but it sure feels like it!!) He was practically dragging his leg behind him, moaning and wailing about how horrible it was. I came to inspect it, certain I would see blood or a gaping hole or something. Nope. Just a pink, slightly scraped knee!
Magically, his tears and theatrics disappeared after a quick clean-up and kiss from daddy. He sailed out the door he’d barely made it through only 3 minutes before:) What a kid! (Oh, and you should see the process we have to go through at bath time to cover up all cuts just in case a single drop of water should land on one!)
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And last but not least, my Samuel! He’s been really into reading for his library log. Mostly Magic Tree House books, at the moment. He took a break from those for a couple of months but seems to really be enjoying them again. He even brings books to read in the car!
He’s picked up this truly obnoxious, scrape-your-fingernails-down-a-chalkboard-whine this week, thanks to a neighbor friend. He’s copied the boy’s whine down to the pouty mouth and exact high-pitched moan. It.drives.me.nuts.
I mean, I have seen and heard this other boy do it so many times (who is WAY too old to be whining) and I am amazed at how perfectly Samuel has exacted it. It’s really awful. I told him I will not talk to him or respond at all if he whines at me like that. I had to even send him to his room today until he could come out and talk to me like a normal human being.
Ugh. Kids copy off of everything that their friends do and say! Makes you really aware of what you are (and want to) teaching your kids!
Like teaching Zakkai not to copy off of the neighbor kids’ oh-so-delighful usage of the word “fart” and “butt.”
Have I ever mentioned I grew up with only girls????

More peace!

Thankfully, it has been a much more peaceful day here today. Hectic but not scary! Samuel’s rash (called petechiae, for those who were asking~not a heat rash) is starting to fade and I hope I never see it again!!

This morning I sat down around 9 to check my email and got an email that changed my whole day! Our landlords were asking to show our townhouse for potential new neighbors this afternoon from 3-6pm. They had asked if we’d be available about a week ago in case our neighbors (the ones who are moving) wouldn’t be ready but we never heard back….until this morning!

I immediately hustled all 3 kiddos upstairs to clean, clean, CLEAN! Well, Eliana got to play:) We worked hard upstairs putting away toys, folding laundry, and breaking up fights. I was doing all of those, including the last one. A certain someone did not have his best day today and spent a lot of time losing toys and privileges due to much yelling, arguing (with me) and talking back. Ugh.

A sneak peak at the certain someone……

We had to take a break from cleaning for the boys’ soccer class but after I fed my ever-hungry crew and got Miss E down for a nap, it was back to cleaning! I cleaned for at least 4 hours today! It definitely spurs you on to do a good job when you know your landlords will be walking through your place:)

I needed a good cleaning motivation! Oh, and the best part? We got paid a little bit for our “help” today. Every penny helps these days so we are very thankful. To get paid to clean our own house:)

Yesterday afternoon while I was making dinner and shaking with nerves waiting for the dr’s phone call, Little Miss got ahold of a pencil and started to do some damage! Luckily I noticed that she had the pencil pretty quickly and found her a nice big piece of paper to go to town on.

As you can see, she had a great time! She even decided to help distract me by coloring all over the floor and the side of one of our cabinets. So sweet:) Thank goodness for Magic Erasers!!

Despite the busyness of today, throughout the back of my mind I kept processing through yesterday and just feeling immense thankfulness that our sweet boy is healthy and growing!

And a silly note to end on, Eliana was munching on some delicious homemade pizza at dinner and she heard Ben say my name and next thing you know she was saying, “Hy-ee! Hy-ee!” And after 20 or so times of practicing, she had it down pat, scooting around on her ride-on toy yelling, “Hahdee! Hahdee!”

Funny hearing your name coming from the lips of your baby:)