Monday, September 15, 2014

Evan: 18 Months/ONE AND A HALF

Dear Evan,

One and a half! No longer a baby, but a full-blown toddler! 

You are so easygoing! It's simple to come up with a list of your loves:
breakfast (many days you eat at least three of them)
the big kids
being scared
playing with legos
hiding in my closet
snuggling when you first wake up
playing with things you shouldn't have (sharpies, knives, dog food, dishes, kids' stuff)

You are not so much about:
sitting in the stroller if there's not motion involved
staying in one place
having your diaper changed (see above)
being left behind or having doors shut in front of you

This month you:
split your lip
scraped the skin off your nose
pulled several chairs over on yourself
pulled the stroller over on yourself
climbed several ladders, slides, and play structures
found your way down ladders, slides and play structures

kissed Sam on the lips several times while he napped on the couch
tried to get a fly and a moth to come to you, involving a high-pitched, sweet "'ere" and an outstretched, beckoning hand

You fell asleep:
in our arms
in the car
in the stroller
strapped in your high chair
on the way to school
on the way back from school
in parking lots
in the ergo

Yet also managed to NOT sleep through the night nearly the whole month. 

At home you are great at playing solo. You love to tinker downstairs and look out the upstairs windows.
At church you love to play in the nursery, run around the downstairs, and act like you own the place.
At school you act like you belong there, climbing all over the K playground and keeping up with people twice your size.
At night, you love to wake up screaming. When that doesn't work, you call out, "MAMA!" And if that doesn't work, you sing "MaaaaaaaaMaaaaaaaaaaaa!" until I get you.

Thanks for filling our lives so full of laughter and joy. No thanks for sleepless nights, but hey, we'll eventually forget all about it thanks to the memory impairment from frequent wakings and lack of sleep.

Thanks for not playing with your poop when you removed your diaper one morning. I'm thankful the situation was "contained" by easily washable bedding and didn't find its way onto walls and furniture. 

Thanks for trying to pick up dog poop in the backyard with plastic bags. I'll go ahead and do that chore until you're more coordinated.

Thanks for the snuggles, the kisses, the pat-pats, and the big hugs. Every day is a gift with you, our little gift from heaven.



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Maddie: 71 Months

Maddie Mae,

Wow. This month, you've had a lot of firsts:
you started second grade (and you LOVE IT!)
attended aeronautics engineering class (liked it)
took a watercolor class (you keep improving, your art is amazing)
took a few shots at the goal (and would've scored if not for the good goalie)
received your first real Bible. It's blue. You love it.

You love:
playing at the park after school, especially with friends
talking about second grade
welcoming new people and making them feel comfortable
spending time with Evan (or any babies, for that matter)
playing soccer
reading well past your bedtime
blue (blue backpack, blue shoes, blue Bible, blue school clothes)
wearing nice clothes to school (what?! When did that happen?)
joining me for my workout videos (girl, your pushups put me to shame)
seeing your friends, especially Nicole & Mikaela

Not so much into:
Sam (see my previous post in which I use ALL CAPS to communicate my emotions about this)
practicing your violin (ugh. The daily nag.)
pink or purple (you've let everyone know your disinterest in anything remotely pink OR purple)

Things I love about this age:
you can make your own lunch, snacks, etc.
you get completely dressed and ready for school, most days, without instruction
you are a wonderful, devoted, thoughtful friend
homework is still pretty enjoyable (with a few exceptions)
we have real, adult conversations all the time
you are SUPER helpful with the baby, and you enjoy it

Your personality:
inquisitive/curious/constantly asking questions
sweet and thoughtful 
tightly wound at times

At soccer you surprise us with your speed, agility, and how much your shooting has improved

At home you are generally helpful, often a little crabby (school makes you tired), and generally more interested in going out than staying in

At school, your teacher has nothing but positive feedback about your willingness to work hard, focus, and your heart that is so kind and welcoming

At times, you surprise me with how grown up you are. The things you say and do seem to be too old for seven, and I definitely can identify the mannerisms you pick up from older kids at school. You are so mature, so wise beyond your years, and so fun to be around. We really enjoy you, as does just about everyone who has met you. We feel so lucky and blessed that you are part of our family.



Saturday, September 13, 2014

Intro to Paleo Cooking & Giveaway!


Open to: Anyone interested in cooking Paleo, Gluten-free or Grain-free dishes

October 18th OR November 15, 2014


Whether you are interested in learning more about Paleo cooking, or you've been cooking gluten-, grain-, or dairy-free for years, this is an opportunity for you to come together with other folks for a night of sampling good food, enjoying good company, and getting equipped with delicious and nutritious recipes to add to your weekly meal rotation.

Main Dishes

Cocktails, reimagined



Cookies, Cakes & Donuts!

My 34th Birthday Cake! Recipe here


One lucky participant in our fun night of sharing will walk away with my favorite Paleo cookbooks as well as some fun baking supplies and treats!

  TO RSVP: leave your name and email address (if I don't already have it from IG or FB) in the comments below! Let me know which date works best for you. Stay tuned for more details! XOXO

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Sam: 66 Months

Dear Sam,

You've tried lots of new things this month:
Kindergarten (you love it!)
speech at your new school (so far, so good)
first time playing soccer (you're indifferent)
baseball camp (you looked enormous among the 3-5 year old crowd)
aeronautics engineering camp (totally your jam!)

In the past thirty days, you've made me: 
laugh out loud
chuckle incredulously
full of pride and joy
wish I could bottle you up

At the ripe old age of five and a half, you love:
construction of any kind
Kindergarten and your K teacher! YAY!
building forts and secret hideouts
dressing up (spy, ninja, cowboy)
playing school (this is new)
helping out

A few words to describe your personality lately:

You are not a huge fan of:
soccer, unless there's some sort of bribe (gatorade) or incentive (a dime a kick)
Maddie (ongoing sibling struggles will be THE END OF ME)
being told no (OH, THE NEGOTIATIONS)
following orders from a coach ("He just bosses me around and tells me things to do the whole time!)

At school, you keep count of the friends you've made. We're up to 7.

At soccer, you make us proud and you crack us up. You are one of a kind.

At home, you can be so helpful and fun. You can also make a lot of messes.

Your teachers calls you sweet, kind, an eager learner, and someone who participates in class all the time by raising your hand and contributing to the discussion.

We are SO PROUD of you, buddy. You are handling all these transitions and changes with a wonderful attitude, a sweet spirit, and a real sense of humor. Thanks for always keeping our lives interesting, funny, and full of surprises!



Saturday, September 06, 2014

Soccer Season!

Maddie is playing on a U8 team this year. She has one year under her belt, and it was SO fun to see how she's improved since last year!

DUDE! She rocks!

Sam is on a U6 or Pony team. It's his first year. There was a lot of this:

We spent a good portion of the day on the field today and it was so much fun! Maddie and Sam both played hard, were aggressive, and made us proud!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Mug Swappin', Mug, Mug Swappin'

It came, it went, it rocked! Cuppakim's Annual Mug Swap 2014 was so fun. This was my third year participating, and I had such a wonderful time! Here's a recap, instagram style:

Four weeks ago, on August 1st, signups were opened. Kim said she would accept the first 500, but ended up taking 1000 participants! Holy Mugs, Batman! I announced my intentions to join in the fun with a little clink of the morning cups with my boy, as well as a pic of last year's mug swap booty, and a photo of the recipients of the greatest blessing, donations toward their adoption. Win, win.

After two weeks of patiently waiting, I snapped this quick photo of my favorite mug and spoon from last year's mug swap. So glad I did, because a few days later, my mug met its demise at the hands of a "helpful" toddler who loves to empty the dishwasher. :(

Meanwhile, I had some shopping to do. I had been given the lovely Jenna to bless. I shopped at my most favorite mug store ever, Anthropologie. For being known and celebrated as a place to drop a wad of cash on totally crazy expensive furniture, they have really reasonable, really fun mugs. In my package I also sent a fun kitchen towel and sunny measuring spoons, also from Anthro. Scattered all around were fun little California treats, Jelly Bellies from the Jelly Belly Factory near my home. Cappuccino, Chocolate (pudding) and French Vanilla to make one's own Vanilla Mocha flavor explosion. :)

After three weeks, I received my lovely, sunny, happy, totally-me blessing: a "B" mug with turquoise handle, a cute little picture book full of encouragement, honey sticks, coffee, and a "Coffee & Jesus" spoon made by mamamango herself. Such a fun, happy package to receive on the first day of school.

It's been such a joy participating these past three years, and getting to know all kinds of new internet friends. Mark your calendars for next August 1 so you can hope to be in the lucky few that get to bless and be blessed. Thanks, Kim, for all your hard work! XOXO

Monday, August 25, 2014

First Day of School 2014-15: Kinder & 2nd Grade

Well, our first day is already over and was a success! 

The day started bright and early (like 12:30am early) when Sam came into my room crying and upset about the "fort" in his bed falling apart. After much discussion, I finally asked him to crawl in bed with me and go back to sleep. Maddie woke shortly before 6, excited and unable to go back to sleep. She joined us in the bed until we all rolled out about 6:30.

Sam & Maddie with their teachers' flowers. The lightbulbs say, "Can't wait to grow BRIGHTER in Kinder/2nd Grade this year!" It was Maddie's idea to take flowers on the first day. :)

My big girl! All set for her first day of Second Grade, in a 2/3 split with Mrs. Buhler. Maddie is thankful this year to have several friends in class, five or six girls from her Summer softball team!

Sam's first picture pretty much sums up his morning, as well as the attempt at school pictures:

Little Buddy was pretty nervous and was having a hard time channeling all that nervous energy into anything besides whining, asking to stay home repeatedly, and running around like a crazy person.

When we got to school, Maddie gave us the shove-off, letting me know she'd be "fine" and to take Sam to Kindergarten. :) He was pretty unsure about the whole thing:

The parents were able to stay for 20 minutes, and thankfully by the end of our classroom tour and after playing with some unifix cubes, Sam was ready for me to go. He gave me a kiss and headed straight for the carpet when Mrs. Dennis rang the bell.

I'm really grateful for the kids' placements this year. Mrs. Dennis couldn't be any sweeter. She is totally warm and loving and nurturing, just the kind of person Sam needs. She gave him a big hug and talked so sweetly to him at the end of school today. She told him, "Thanks for being such a sweet boy in class!"

Maddie's teacher also told me how "sweet" she was. Couldn't ask for any better compliments about my kiddos! Looking forward to another great year as Sycamore Sharks!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Back to School Eve Feast 2014

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Back to School! And in keeping with tradition, we're kicking off the 2014-2015 school year with a Feast! 

This year's theme: Let Your Light Shine.

I was thinking about how to send my kids off to school and started singing, "this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine," which made me think of the verse:

Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

All the party decor just flowed from there. I found a cute print on etsy that incorporated a lightbulb so we just went with it. I had so much fun planning and preparing for this year's feast.

First, the traditional back-to-school party crowns:

Some of the decorations:

I printed a few instagram photos of moments where their little lights were shining bright:

New this year are fun little "let your light shine" tags (also found on etsy) which will accompany the kids to school each day on their backpack and bookbag as little reminders to shine their best. I can see this becoming a tradition as well. :)

On the menu:

Pineapple Sunbeams

Sun Buns:

Lemon Roasted Chicken
Yellow Squash Sunbeams
Yukon Gold(en)s

It wouldn't be a party without sparkly (lemonade):

 Second Grader 


And, last but not least, Sunny Lemon Cake with Lemon Curd and Whipping Cream

Bags are packed, folders stowed, lunches ready, outfits laid out, kids in bed, Mama at peace.

The children were nestled, all snug in their beds
while visions of back-to-school danced in their heads
With Mama in her jammies
holding a nightcap
hopinh everyone stays down for a long night's nap

Merry Back-to-School to all, and to all a good night!