Saturday, February 22, 2014

Random Pictures

 Here are a few random pictures from these past few days --

Madeleine finished her first sewing craft, an AG coin purse. It wasn't too hard and she was able to do a lot of it herself. She did great and it turned out so cute!
 On Monday, the girls had a playdate after school at a friends house and Harrison was my shopping buddy for a quick trip to Sams. We loaded up with a cinnamon pretzel first. It was nice to have this time with him, it's been awhile since we've had some mommy/Harrison time. He talked the whole time and we hit every sample stand and had a fun time.
 With the weather being warmer and finally nice enough to really enjoy being outside we've been taking full advantage! I'm sure it will get cold again, but for now we are loving this warm weather! Feels like spring! We hit the park Tuesday after school to play and the kids found some friends from school there which made it even better. This little girl spend most of her time on the swings being pushed by me. :)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Valentine Baking

 Making holiday cut-out cookies is one of our traditions and it's something I've done since I was little. Sometimes it's all of us doing them, but this Valentines it was just me and Charlotte working on cutting them out -- and having lots of help eating them!

 She was so proud of herself doing these cookies! She worked and worked to make them just right and then watched them bake in the oven. I love this time with her -- these are precious memories.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Muffins with Mom

 The first day back at school after being off for several snow days was Muffins with Mom. It sure was an eeeearly morning getting back into the swing and having to be at school at 7am. Yikes! But it was such fun getting to have breakfast with these 2 cuties -- but we sure look tired. :)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Valentine's Day Overload

 We had a super-fun-busy-crazy Valentine's Day this year! Thanks to pinterest, the kids picked out their valentines they wanted to give their class during some of the snow days that we had in early January. It was fun having them help put them together and be so excited about what they were bringing to school! Harrison did a super-hero valentine that turned out so cute! There were batman, superman, wonderwoman and green lantern.

 Madeleine did these bubble gum valentines. I actually found the gum in the tubes at Sams back in early January -- perfect! We just pulled off the tags on them and added our own cuter tags.
 And Charlotte did a few bouncy ball valentines to give Harrison & Madeleine at their parties. :)
 Madeleine had to make a valentine container and bring it to school. I'm not very crafty, but I think we did ok. Her school's mascot is the Owls, so we made an owl and she was happy with it.
 Harrison's party was first and I was in charge of it -- and I was so busy I didn't get a chance to take any pictures. We decorated valentine bags with stickers, etc. and then they swapped valentines. Then we did an ice cream sundae bar which was a huge hit! We set it up like an assembly line with all kinds of toppings -- chocolate chips, m&ms, marshmellows, crushed oreos, cherries, whip cream, hot fudge, if you can think of it, we had it! The kids LOVED it!

Then Charlotte & I helped clean up and headed down to catch the last bit of Madeleine's party. I did snap a picture there. It's so hard to believe that this is her LAST school party! 5th grade is middle school here and they don't do big parties. :( These 5 years of elementary school have gone by fast.
 We headed to play with some friends after school and then met up with Matt for dinner. We told the kids that they could choose our dinner spot for the night and they wanted to go to IHop, so that's what we did! Then it was home to open their Valentine's day gifts from us. These kids have been spoiled this week with Valentine surprises from both sets of grandparents -- Books from Grammy and Pops (which they loved and started reading immediately!) and candy from Mimi & Grandad (which they also loved!).
 Matt and I got them each a new book, a small candy and a (wrapped) toy -- legos for the big kids and a purse/phone for Charlotte (that she's been begging to get).

 Lots of love, excitement and sugar on this day! I'm so thankful for all of my sweeties!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Charlotte's Birthday

 Charlotte had a big time on her birthday this year! We had thought for awhile that everyone would be out of school on her big day since in fell on MLK day, but it ended up being used as a make-up day for snow. So, we made the best of it and had a fun morning/early afternoon doing all her favorite things! She had very definite ideas about how to spend her birthday this year and it was so fun to see exactly what she wanted to do! We were joined that weekend by Mimi & Grandad to celebrate her special day as well which made it even more exciting for her!
She woke up (early) that morning to a fun sign and lots of pink gifts! She'd been looking forward to her birthday ever since Harrison had his a month earlier -- she knew exactly what was going to happen and she was ready for her day in the spotlight! 
 Her first request of the day was breakfast at Ricks! We got donut holes, her favorite, and then sat and watched the cake decorating -- we were hoping to see her cake being made, but no luck! We sat there for a long time, watching them make cakes and just enjoying ourselves. Then we headed over to OC to take Grandad to have lunch with Harrison. It turned out that Matt was there that day, so she got to see her Daddy for a few minutes at lunch on her special day!

Her second request for the day came as no surprise -- she wanted a private tumbling lesson with Mr. Joe. Charlotte is crazy about tumbling (another post all in itself) and she is actually, amazingly, sort of crazy-talented at it. Our instructor has been coaching tumbling for many year and he's amazed at her talent and Charlotte loves to tumble! She asks me daily if we can go to Mr. Joes and tumble -- so we were happy to set up a private lesson for her birthday! And, he spoiled her -- we got an extra long lesson, and a tour of the office (upstairs in an old movie theater -- very cool) and some cute t-shirts for her which she is very proud of!

 After tumbling for a good hour, she was hungry! She loves chickfila and it was her one request for where to go eat for her birthday! We got there after the lunch crowd and she chowed down her favorite grilled nuggets, fruit and ice cream! 
 Since Matt was at OC that day, he picked up the big kids and brought them home. We met them there and Charlotte got to open her gifts before Mimi and Grandad had to head home. We were so so thankful that they could come to celebrate with her!!

 She was spoiled with gifts this year! She'd been asking for a Barbie car and that was her big gift! It was a nice warm day on her birthday and she was able to go out and ride in it! Such fun! She is so funny hauling around the yard in that car. :)
We came in and had tacos for dinner (her choice) and then had cake and ice cream. She is really into Max & Ruby right now and has been asking for a Max and Ruby cake for months. There isn't too much Max & Ruby party stuff out there, but I did find a few cute things, along with Madeleine's old Max & Ruby dolls which I found in the attic over Christmas and it all came together to look cute.
 As usual, Rick's did not disappoint! I found the Max and Ruby car and they created the rest. It turned out just adorable!

 She was one tired 4 year old at bedtime. I am loving this time with her right now -- she is just so cute and fun and a joy to be with (most of the time -- ha!). I really do love this age. I wish I could just bottle it up forever. She loved having "her" day and has asked me several times since then when she can have another birthday. I know that she's ready to grow, but her momma isn't ready at all!!

Happy birthday to my big 4 year old!! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Now that we are into the new year, I thought I'd post about some of resolutions we've made for this year. I've never been one to sit down and make New Year's Resolutions but I always like the start of a fresh new year. I'm more likely to make changes during the year as needed. But, we do have a few goals and standards that Matt and I have set for our family that we intend to carry through this year. Most of these are things that we have already been doing for awhile -- they are not new to our family, but we are planning to continue them into this year.

*Family Bible Study. We started this last year and everyone loved it. We've made some changes this year and instead of continuing to do a book study, we are going to begin reading through the Bible with the kids this year. Matt and I are starting in Genesis and picking out verses for the kids to read and then having them read them in our study time. They love reading out loud from the Bible! So far this has been a huge success -- and we still in creation.

*Limited Technology. I will admit that one of the things that bugs me the most is kids that are on technology and tune out when someone is talking to them. Drives me nuts! If my kids are going to tune me out -- they'd better be engrossed in a book. We believe that playing cultivates imaginations. It makes them thinkers and encourages creativity. That doesn't happen when they are face down in technology. Yes, we have an IPad and a Wii and a TV with tons of channels. However, these are all limited big time. I never want to give my child a piece of technology so I can get some peace or because it's easier than actually dealing with a problem behavior. And, yes, this is tough. But, our kids have the best imaginations because we are mean and actually make them play. Ha! They play Legos and build things or craft or create these elaborate stories that involve all types of toys.

*Encourage Reading. This is a BIG one in our house. Matt and I are firm believers that reading makes lifelong learners. We want our kids to love to read -- not a problem so far. I'm going broke keeping them in books! But, Madeleine reads and rereads her books. I'll find her at night in the middle of a book just "reading my favorite part." Madeleine flies through books and Harrison is just about to finish his first chapter book by himself! Reading will help them later in life to be able to make decisions based on facts -- not just what someone else told them. Matt and I both love to read and there are piles of books around our house so our kids are probably going to be good readers just because it's what they see modeled. Reading opens so many doors for them and helps them in school -- they are both way above their required reading level (Harrison is already at a level 21!) and they are excellent spellers as well as have advanced writing skills because they model what they've read. So, yes, books rule in our house!

* Read through the Bible in a Year (for me and Matt). We are well on our way and we are doing it separately but keeping the same schedule so we can encourage each other. We are also trying to make sure that our kids see us doing this -- we want to model for them the importance of spending time with God each day. We wouldn't do this in front of other people -- never for show -- but we want our kids to see this from us. They need to know that mom and dad made it a priority to read from God's word each day and telling them just isn't the same as showing them.

*Allowances. We started this awhile back but I never really blogged about it. We give all of our kids an allowance each week -- based on age. They do have some responsibilities to earn it. They have to make their beds and pick up each day. I want them to learn to take care of what we have and not take forgranted they toys and even the beds they have. Matt works hard to provide for us and I want them to realize that and take care of what they have been given -- allowing them to make a mess and not pick it up, to me, means that they are not taking care of their toys. And, we want to teach them to take care of what they have and this begins with the small stuff.

I guess that's all for now. We've been snowed in for what seems like days. I'm so behind on my blogging and blogger is giving me fits lately! My final resolution is to start blogging again more regularly. I love being able to go back and read about what we were doing 4 or 5 years ago (or more). Life is just busy now. And, even though we try to limit outside activities, just living keeps us busy -- taking care of 3 kiddos and Matt trying to finish his dissertation in the next few weeks and working like crazy too, but that's life I guess. :)