Birthday Festivities!

 We did some more celebrating for our Missy Girl’s birthday this weekend! I’ll give you one guess as to the theme:) (hint: every single girl in America!!!)

This was the night of her actual birthday. We saved her presents for when Daddy got home and after dinner and blueberry cupcakes! (which were really good, by the way!)

 
Opening a present from her Aunt C. What could it be?

Dora!

Proud big brother:) He and Zakkai work really hard to make any family member’s birthday really special! They made Eliana very sweet cards.

Z-man! Growing up so much these days!

Oooh, an Elsa crown and shoes from her brothers!! The perfected compliments to her Elsa dress:)

And her very first Lego Friends set! She got Rapunzel and loves it! The boys loved helping her put it together!

This past Sunday we threw a little family party for our sweet girl! Frozen-themed, of course! I was intimidated by all the crazy Frozen cakes out there on pinterest so I just decided to go with the colors and some snowflakes and I really love how it turned out!

It was a strawberry cake with buttercream frosting! Mmm…

She loved it!

Speaking of the birthday girl…..Ready for celebrating!

She LOVED all the attention from our families:) Her first real birthday party!

Smiling for Grandma:) She requested that I make her hair just like Elsa’s. I asked how that was and she said with a braid and over to the side around her shoulder. So cute!

She finally agreed to put the cape on and ended up loving it! Silly girl…Her happiness is such a joy to us. She is sweet!

Always ready with a big “cheese” for every picture:)

I put on a little “Jim Gill” music for a little while and Z, Eliana and their cousin Little E, sat right down like it was a movie or something;)

We shamelessly pulled out the boys’ fundraiser booklets for family to look through:) They didn’t seem to mind!

Papa and Grandma!

Uncle T!

The table decorated with shades of aqua and blue.

Frozen napkins, of course!

These are special Frozen flowers that Ben gave Eliana on her birthday:) She absolutely loved her special flowers! He’s going to raise the bar awfully high for any future suitors….:)

Ooh, present time!

The boys are always ready to help with opening presents!

Happy girl!

My sweet niece!

This Elsa doll from Ben’s mom was the piece de resistance! Eliana ADORES it! She sings “Let It Go” and we were hearing that by 7:30am the next morning, haha! She came with a little Olaf and Eliana loves him, too.

Showing Grandpa-Great her doll!

E had such a good time and felt like such a special girl. Love how she is easy to love and bring joy, too! Happy Birthday, Eliana! (again!)

Mustachioed!

 Life has been SO busy lately and I am having a hard time adjusting to it! I got used to “quieter” days at home with as much social interaction. Now I feel like all of my days are so full and I fall into bed at night exhausted! The past few nights, I have been in bed reading by 8:30pm! Is that a sign that I am getting old??

Eliana went through a really long phase where she would only let me do anything for her and was selective with her affection to others. Now in the past month or two, she is crazy about Ben, too! She is super affectionate and loves to spend time with us, constantly turning to us and saying, “I like you” or “I really love you!” It is very sweet. Ben is just soaking up all the love from his princess!!

  I recently got a book from the library about little girl hairstyles and attempted my very first ever French braid! It is not even close to text-book perfect but I was proud of it! And this is after the whole day:)

I loved it so much I attempted another one the next day. My mom used to French braid my hair a lot so it was a happy memory for me!

There are different themes on Awana nights and last week was Mustaches! As you can see here, Ben was looking debonair in his Charlie Chaplin mustache:)

  And Zakkai with his classic handlebar mustache….a fine future look, I think!

 

And Samuel looking dashing! It was funny because you couldn’t smile with the mustache on or it would unstick. Of course, that made you want to smile at everything even more!

Ah, my handsome trio of men!!

They talked me into joining the fun! I was going for a snobby, cultured look but then realized my mustache was crooked! Oops:P

So I fixed it. Hmmmm….definitely not a keeper!

 Eliana held on tightly to her mustache and refused to try it out on until after Awana! Very handsome, er, beautiful, Eliana!

So there you have it, the Thomas family Mustachioed!

Eliana’s Special Day!

 This Cutie,

is feeling mighty fine today on her 4th birthday! Can you tell? 🙂 She has been bouncing around all weekend just waiting for this special day! We had just enough to give her one gift and make her some pancakes before Daddy had to leave for work. We brought her downstairs and led her into the kitchen….

Where she found her very own Elsa dress!! Our sweet girl is Frozen-obbbbbssessed! Pretty much like every other girl in the country:) She decided weeks ago she would love to be Queen Elsa for her birthday and after doing a lot of research on the dozens of Elsa dresses out there, I decided to make my own! I didn’t like most of them and a lot of them are really expensive, especially if you try to get homemade ones on Etsy. I am mostly really happy with how it turned out:)

This is her face after seeing her dress! Funny girl.

Feeling so good! I think she looks just beautiful in this picture.

 

Even though she claimed to love the dress, she refused to try it on! I had to beg her to try it on and after a few tears, she finally acquiesced. I had to shorten the straps after trying it on her and was disappointed a little with the back. It ties with ribbon and is almost an inch too small. It will look fine with a shirt underneath but oh well. Not bad for not having a pattern! There are some cute little details on the dress that you can’t see like little snowflakes that I stitched on the skirt and around the top of the bodice:)

Eliana and I ran a few errands and I took her to the mall to get some chicken nuggets at Chick-Fil-A as a treat:) We walked around for a little bit and then headed home for a little rest.

Tonight we celebrate as a little family with some blueberry cupcakes, as she requested, and this weekend we will have a bigger celebration with extended family!

Eliana, we adore you. You are such a gift to us. A joy, a delight and such a treasure! It’s so hard to believe that our teeny tiny dark-haired birdie baby is now a sweet, dimpled four year old. You have a silly giggle, love to make us all laugh, soak up attention from your brothers and are SO affectionate with Daddy and I. You come up to us several times a day and say things like, “I really like you, Mommy/Daddy!” You adore anything Frozen, coloring and having fights with me over clothes. We can’t wait to see how God uses your sunshiny personality to touch others around you. You are precious to us all!

Love,
Mommy

Special Saturday Fun!

 We had a really fun day yesterday! Ben had to work all day (boo) so he took us all out to breakfast before he had to leave so we could spend some time together. He’s had an unusually busy week so we treasure our moments as a family!

After he left, my mom and stepdad stopped by and we did a table swap. They took our old dining room table and we got a really nice wooden card table to use in the basement. We are both happy with our trade! Since the garage was open, the kiddos took advantage of that to pull out their bikes. They have been wanting to ride them but during the week, it’s too busy traffic wise around here for them to ride safely. We found out that an early Saturday morning is perfect for riding!

Such a happy pink girl:)

Mr Z!

Samuel’s tires had gotten low through the summer or storage but one of the best investments we’ve made is a bicycle pump so we used it and he was a happy camper! We used to have kids lined up at our door asking to have balls and bicycle tires pumped up:)

I finally had to call it quits because it was really chilly out!! We hung out for awhile in the morning before Grandma (B’s mom) came to pick us up for a really fun afternoon at the farm!

First we got to jump on hay bales. And by we, I totally mean the kids, not the adults! Eliana climbed a little bit but she was too excited to go ride the Banana Bus so she waited patiently.

The boys cousins were there, too! They are all very close in age so they have a lot of fun together. This is B., the oldest of the bunch. He slid into the picture just in time!

We rode on the Banana Bus (pictures coming later), petted animals, slid down slides, rode peddle carts and finally took a hay ride! Eliana gave us this big smile every
time we took a picture:)

I kept begging Samuel to go sit next to them so I could get a good picture of the three of them. This was the best of the bunch. He wouldn’t cooperate very well so I was disappointed not to have more great shots out of the 9 I took….Ah, kids!

We had such a good time! Eliana fell sound asleep on the way home and we all washed off our farm dust with warm showers, got in our pjs, had dinner and I tucked the crew in bed early. It was definitely a happy day for the Trio!

And thanks so much for taking a minute to leave me a comment earlier this week! I really enjoy hearing from you and it always makes my day!

Apples, Charts and Catch-up!

 The days are flying by so quickly that I hardly realize how much time has passed since I last blogged. Of course, I only feel a little guilty considering there aren’t that many people reading anyways…..Not that I blame anyone; this isn’t the most exciting place to visit! (Okay, that was totally a shameless shout-out for readers and comments. Where are you?? It gets discouraging!)

Our new schedule is taking time to adjust to. We were so in tune with our old school schedule in Chicago for so long that breaking out of it has been harder than expected. It just feels so different and we feel like we are always running, trying to catch up with all that needs to get done.

Ben goes into work anywhere from 6:30am-8:30am, depending on whether they need him for overtime or not. He gets home at 5:30pm every day which is nice because he’s home in time for dinner each night. The hard part is that this is definitely a more physically demanding job than he had before (okay, physical period!) so he is exhausted the few hours he can stay awake. As a matter of fact, he’s snoring next to me as I write…:) haha.

We also were used to having him home during the day 2-3 days a week, whereas now he is gone Mon-Fri (like a regular person, I guess!) and sometimes on the weekends, too. He is SO incredibly busy all the time. And so, then, am I….

We have a cute little playground not far outside our backdoor and the boys, especially love to play there after school. I admit, Eliana doesn’t get to go often because she wants to go when the boys do and there are a lot of other kids out, too, playing wildly and not generally watching out for tiny almost-four year olds. On this day that I took the picture, it was just the four of us for awhile! I enjoyed watching all three of them swing:)

Then Eliana decided to get silly, of course. She loves to be silly!

She also loves to pick out her own outfits several times a day. I have to fight with her to dress in something cute most days. Then during naptime, inevitably, she changes into something “comfy” which usually includes a Buckeye shirt and shorts, or cozy pants (as she likes to call them) and this pink shirt. She’s a goof! I think I may secretly raid her drawers and “hide” some of her regular go-to’s to change things up. You won’t tell, will you?

This was me scrubbing in for some deep freezer surgery the other day:) In the day or two before we moved in June, somebody closed the deep freezer lid after it was unplugged and before it had completely dried. Ew. Let’s just say that I had to arm myself with bleach, my handy dandy mask and some gloves and do some strenuous scrubbing! Thankfully, it is back in operation and mold free!

It became part of Eliana’s nightly routine to read books for a few minutes with a book light since we lived with my grandparents this summer. The room we stayed in had no window so it was pitch black when you shut the door and I would lend her my book light after I tucked her in each night. I always found it back on my bedside table when I came in to go to sleep:) She earned her very own little princess flashlight yesterday as a prize (she is holding it up in the picture) and she is very proud!

It’s apple season over here! It was a strange apple-picking year here and Ben never got to go, unfortunately, but we are still swimming in apples and yesterday I finally mustered up the energy to start dealing with them. So far I canned 8 half pints of apple butter (mmm..), made 4 mini loaves of delicious apple bread and froze 2 apple pie inserts. There are still many apples to go….if Ben doesn’t eat them all first!

I made a new chart for my kiddos today. (my phone takes awful pictures, sorry!) I originally made this chart just this past spring and while it was very helpful to have the ears/mouths for them to remove, it was also extremely annoying because the Velcro ripped off several times a week and I was constantly gluing them back on! I even attempted to sew them on but after 2 of them, I said forget it and decided to make something a little easier and with a little more of a positive spin!

This chart has room for the kiddos to move up, if having a good day, or down if having a rough day. I got the idea from pinterest and from new color charts that they seem to be using in the schools around here. It’s good for the kids to be rewarded, too! They start on Green and move up or down, depending on their choices, attitudes, etc. throughout the day.


Hopefully, they will not be moving down too much, or at least, all the way down! I put “Warning” for the first move down, “Trouble” for the second and “Rough Day/Try Again Tomorrow” for the 3rd. That’s a really bad day! Each move down comes with it’s own set of consequences, like time-outs for the littler ones, extra chores, loss of privileges/toys/etc. We have an envelope with a notecard in it that will be hung nearby for Ben and I to choose from a list we wrote out of consequences. Makes it easier to follow through quickly!

 
They each have their own decorated, initialed clothespin and they get to start fresh every morning! I even wrote in tiny letters, “His mercies are new every morning” on the Start square as a reminder to them and to me that grace is new each morning:)
 
The boys were really excited when they saw it this afternoon (updates on them coming soon!) and all three kiddos got to move up one space tonight because they got all of their sticks done (yep, we still do those and they still work!) and just had good afternoons/evening. I like being able to reward them in simple ways and make them feel good about their choices. Hopefully, it will inspire them to keep making good choices:)
 
Well, that’s all folks. Keep coming back and be sure to say hi in the comments sometimes!