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Monday, May 25, 2015

Weird

I can't seem to get used to the idea that I won't have another newborn. Sawyer is getting older, which is great, but I am not even fully aware of how quickly the stages are fading away until I glance behind me and realize they are so far in the past I can barely see traces of them. Some friends of mine were having a conversation about breastfeeding, and I realized I didn't have anything to contribute. It's only been 18 months since I stopped for the last time, but that phase is over and done and I have pushed it off my plate and moved on. I don't feel like I can relate anymore, and that's weird.

In a way, it's a positive sign that I am ready for this-- ready to have my children grow up and for me to grow along with them. Just think of the vacation possibilities, the family outings, the game nights, the family cleaning days, the movie parties, and the conversations that could happen when you aren't tied to a nap schedule, toddler capabilities or preschool appropriate topics! I am excited to move past diapers, bottles, cribs, and sippy cups. But that it is happening so fast is catching me off guard.

Today we put Sawyer down for a nap and then Jeff and I started a landscaping project in the front yard. When Sawyer woke up, we were still out working, so Logan got him out of his crib, found his shoes, put them on him, and brought him out to me. Savannah brought us glasses of ice water when we were parched but too dirty to come inside. They all entertained themselves doing various things while we yanked 3 huge bushes out, and at the end of the day I realized that I like this independence and helpfulness they were all exhibiting.

After all is said and done, I will have spent a decade with a near constant supply of diapers and a permanent nursery. Although that sounds like a long time when you think of how many dirty diaper changes that amounts too, it feels like it went by too quickly. The child bearing years are fleeting, and while still young by most measuring sticks, I suddenly feel so old. There are articles all over the web about "Pregnancy Over Age 30." Past prime. That's my new label. I am gradually getting rid of all my baby equipment, another sign that we are migrating out of babyhood and into kidhood. My oldest has surpassed the halfway mark of his years with me. In another 9 years he will leave my roof and go out on his own. How is this possible? How? HOW?

It is bittersweet, this passing time thing. Bittersweet, and weird.



Family of four, 2008

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Cinderelly

The day after the talent show was the first grade play. They performed a modified version of Disney's Cinderella, starring none other than my sweet Savannah! She was so elated to get the part of Cinderella, especially since she had coincidentally chosen to sing a song from Cinderella for the talent show. I was excited because my sewing labor got to be used more than once!


Savannah had a small set of lines to learn, and we worked hard to help her memorize them, even working on them while we were in Florida. I'm pretty sure Logan had her lines learned as well as she did at one point! She was a little worried about the proposal scene at the end, but reached deep inside for a little extra maturity and didn't shy away from it.

The day of the performance we were a little rushed getting out the door, and I didn't bother to check her socks. Whoops! Surely Cinderella had green Hello Kitty socks, right?


She had one little singing solo during "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes." So cute.


Dancing with the prince. They learned a box step ("waltz") for the play and all the little couples dancing on stage were just about the most adorable thing I've ever seen.


The dreaded hug. It was probably one of the quickest hugs in the history of hugs. I'm lucky to have gotten this shot at all! This also shows off a little wardrobe malfunction due to a quick costume change.


Bravo, Savannah!


Apple Glen's Got Talent

Logan and Savannah performed in their school talent show this week. I am really proud of them for the hard work and dedication that it took to prepare for it. The flyer came home over a month ago and I talked to both of them about what they would do and how hard they would have to work at it. Savannah immediately jumped on board, but Logan wavered for a day or two, unsure of whether he was willing to work on it every day. In the end, he decided to go for it and thus began our rehearsals.

Logan elected to play the Star Wars theme song. The song is actually a little more advanced than his current skill level, so he had to work really hard to learn it and memorize it. Then came the practicing. Logan is a free spirit, so getting him to play at a set pace and proper rhythms is no small feat! But he worked diligently and improved so much over the weeks that he prepared.



Savannah wanted to sing. No surprise there! I picked out a couple of different options for her, and she chose "In My Own Little Corner" from Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. She mastered the song pretty quickly, but I wasn't sure how she would do with stage fright. The kids had to audition just to get into the show, and I was probably more nervous than they were waiting to hear if they had made it in. Then, having jumped that hurdle, I worried whether she would choke on stage the day of the performance. They had a daytime performance for their peers that I didn't attend, but I sat at home biting my nails all through it hoping everything went well. I shouldn't have worried. At the nighttime performance for parents, she was confident and audible and did amazingly well.



Side note on her costume: This is a bigger and better version of the Cinderella costume I made for Isabelle at Halloween. I solicited Laurel's help to make it and we knocked it out in a single morning! I loved using her serger which gave it a much more polished and sturdy feel, and between the two of us we learned how to add a zipper. Voila!



Jeff and I nearly burst with pride watching these two. We love them so much.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Last Day of Preschool

This week was Isabelle's last day of our co-op preschool, and our last chance to host. We celebrated with bubbles and water, which would have been a lot more fun had it not been storming and chilly outside! We also practiced writing their names, since we finished the entire alphabet last week and didn't have a letter to focus on.





Sawyer got in on the fun, too. He was drenched and shivering by the time he came inside, but all smiles!




Every year that I do a preschool co-op, I enjoy the first few months, tolerate it around the holidays, then start dreading it by the end of the year. It takes me a few years to recover before doing it again with the next kid. There's a lot to love about them - the cost savings, the kinship with the friends, the chance to be involved in my child's early education, and the opportunity to "play school" with a group of real live children! Plus, I get 3-4 weeks off between hosting which means I can run errands, schedule appointments, or just have some peace and quiet for a few hours once a week. But by this time of the year, when we have been over-scheduled and overrun for far too many months, I am ready to have completely empty days with nothing on my schedule, including preschool. So with that, I am happy to say farewell to school in all it's forms and am hoping to find a private preschool for Isabelle to attend next year during her last year before Kindergarten.

Aside from my personal reasons for liking and disliking preschool this year, Isabelle completely adored it. She loved seeing her friends every week and soaked up every little piece of information presented to her. I joke that these types of preschools are really just glorified playdates, but the other moms did a great job and I couldn't believe what Izzy would retain and pull out of her head days and even weeks later. She can tell me all the things you need for a garden to grow and remembers all the key objects that start with the letters they learned. "D is like Dinosaur!" she'll shout triumphantly when she identifies a D on a sign or in a book. It's been a good year for Miss Isabelle. Her mind is developing and little by little, she's learning how to share, care for others, and not be an all around pill. I sure love you, little Gizzard. I'm sure glad I have one more year before I lose you all day every day!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Musical Bikes

With Logan's new birthday bike, Savannah inherited his old bike. I thought she might turn her nose up at the orange bike after her girlie pink one, but she loves having a bigger, faster bike and hasn't looked back for a second. This girl LOVES riding her bike. She and her friend two doors down love riding to the top of the hill around the corner, then coming ripping down back towards home. If she is home and it isn't raining, you can almost always find Savannah on her bike. Don't worry - she knows she has to have a helmet on if she leaves the driveway.



As part of the grand bicycle swap, Isabelle should be moving up to Savannah's old bike, but her training wheels have always been wonky and makes the bike a little tipsy. So for the time being, she's totally content on her pink trike, which--I will say--she gets around on! The days of family bike rides are so close I can almost taste it!

Moments Like This


Sawyer has had terrible allergies this year and it has made him preeety cranky some days. I asked Logan to help me out one day and try to make Sawyer happy. The next thing I knew, they were out on the swing set and Sawyer was not just smiling, but deep belly laughing. As much as I love being the source of my children's joy, seeing them bring joy to each other is even better.


Chicken tales

Just like kids, the chicks are growing up too fast and not fast enough all at the same time. They were outgrowing, destroying, and escaping their cardboard box, so I lucked out when my friend was getting rid of a dog crate and moved the whole crew to their new home. Within a few days, they were starting to stink up my kitchen, so they moved into the garage, but not before I had the entertainment of watching them play keep away one night with a piece of straw. Chuckle, sigh. They are so stupid and funny.


My chicks range from 3-5 weeks old, which is a big difference in chicken years. I tried to get a good photo showing the difference in size between them, but it turns out they are also rather prideful and stretch their necks out when I pull out the camera so the small ones look almost as big as the older ones!


See the black Australorp there in front? She's actually a lot smaller than the black and white one behind her, but she looks taller with that looong neck.


The little yellow Ameraucana is still much smaller than the rest. But she's growing feathers and holds her own, so I know she'll catch up.



I will admit-- the best part of this little photo shoot was watching Savannah try to catch them when we were done.



Real life

Somedays, you just embrace nap-head hair and extremely overgrown grass and capture the moment exactly as it happens. Because imperfection is beautiful.






Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Alabama Coast

On the way back from Florida, we hugged the coastline along the Florida panhandle all the way to Mobile, Alabama, our halfway point. Just southeast of Mobile, in Daphne, we stayed with some friends for the night. Now I have heard great things about Daphne from these friends, and nearby Gulf Shores is a popular vacation spot for our area, but I had no idea how idyllic that part of the country is! Beautiful, lush forests right up to the coast, cute Southern towns with a slow pace of living, and temperate weather that still gives you seasons. Is it possible that perfection actually exists?!

We got settled in and then took a short drive to pick up ice cream and walk along the pier. We got there right at sunset and my mind was pretty much blown. We spent an hour just walking along the water and enjoying the views.





It was fun getting to see our friends in their home element and getting to know their kids. Thank you, Nick and Titi! We can't wait to visit again (or have you come visit us!).

Florida - Gators, Parks, and Museums

After checking out of our rental house in Ft. Lauderdale, we drove a few miles down the road and checked in to our fancy hotel for Jeff's work conference. We still had a day before the conference officially started, so we packed back in the car and drove south to an alligator farm. When in Florida, you gotta see some 'gators!


I'd say "some" was an understatement. I never could get anyone to give me a straight answer for why they had so many alligators. I think they are bred purely for entertainment.


The alligator feeding was highly entertaining. Alligators have tiny brains (smaller than your thumbnail), which means they are almost entirely driven by instinct. Those jaws are powerful and will snap down the minute anything comes between them. I'm glad I'm not the one throwing chicken into their mouths every day!


While there we took an airboat ride through the Everglades. I didn't see as many alligators as I'd hoped, but the scenery blew me away. The kids enjoyed the headphones and the 360's made by the boat captain.






The farm also had a snake show and an alligator show. Short and sweet, they taught us a few things, showed us a few things, and let us touch a few things. It felt like a very low-budget zoo, but was just perfect for our group and schedule.




Can you spot the alligator?


Due to my recent infatuation with chickens, I couldn't get enough of these silkies and their baby chicks. You know how when you go on a kid-free trip, you keep seeing kids that remind you of your own and you miss them terribly and forget all the work and mess and heartache they create? That's how I felt about these chicks.



Holding a baby alligator was definitely a highlight. Logan was very outspoken during the alligator show, and kept yelling out the answers to the host's questions (usually incorrectly). At the end of the show, he was the first person to jump up and hold the alligator. No inhibitions in this kid!


The others weren't far behind. I really did not expect them to all want to hold it!



Christmas card 2015?


The next two days, Katy and I were on our own with 7 kids between us. The first day we decided to hike around a state park near the hotel. It ran parallel to the beach and seemed fun. We packed a picnic and took all the kids over around dinnertime. It ended up being a complete disaster! The bugs were out of control-- I'm pretty sure we all came home with 2 dozen mosquito bites apiece-- and Sawyer fell and got a piece of glass stuck in his knee. He was bleeding everywhere and I couldn't get the glass out. That ended our excursion quickly.


The second day we headed to a science museum. It felt a lot like every other science museum we've visited (which isn't a bad thing-- my kids love these museums!) but had a few Florida specific exhibits that were a lot of fun. They even had a small aquarium with turtles, alligators, sting rays, otters and lots of cool fish. The local flora and fauna is a lot more exotic in south Florida than in most of the other aquariums we've seen.





It was such a joy being able to experience this beautiful part of our country with friends and family. We are so fortunate to have these employee perks!