Saturday, November 30, 2013

Monday, November 4th

Our week started off with a Monday full of school, play and a surprise Boo gift from us to the kids.

The kids did their usual schoolwork and then played several games with their color-counting bears and a few other manipulatives.  I love watching what games they invent - modern education does not give enough credit to how important play is.  It's a child-led way for them to practice all of the skills they are learning.  There is also an incredibly valuable knowledge trickle-down effect when the older and younger ages play together.

Waverly was in a very happy, content mood and I needed to clean my bathroom so I laid her on my bed and got to work.  The bathroom is line of sight to the bed and she was in the middle surrounded by pillows so she couldn't make any fancy maneuvers and roll off.  I could hear her babbling happily so I tackled a few things before checking on her and I found this - the new little cat sitting on top of a pillow...on top of the baby!  Waverly was pulling and tugging at her fur and the cat was purring and sitting there totally pleased.  I realized it had been the cat that elicited the burst of "talking" from the baby :-)  When she caught me watching out of the corner of her eye she looked at me and just had the most conspiratorial look, like, "This is so amazing what is happening right here, right now." haha

In her high chair at lunchtime, with a little mesh bag full of crisp apples - she really can't get anything out of them but she loves gnawing around.  I think she is starting to teeth in earnest now, and it seems to feel pretty good on those gums!

Jim had ordered a special holiday boo online for Scarlett (one they had looked at together previously and she had loved), so when it arrived in the mail that afternoon, I made a quick run to pick up one for Victoria and Lincoln while the kiddos napped and Gram stayed home. They were really excited to receive their festive boos!

Jim and I haven't been getting much Starbucks lately, trying to avoid the sugary drinks.  However, as a special treat I stopped and picked up iced coffees for the both of us - I asked them to be topped with whipped cream so that they felt more decadent than they tasted :-)

Salty has been feeling much better since taking his prescription medicines - he's all smiles now and even managed to sneak a little forbidden sofa time with Jim when the kids were in bed!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sunday, November 3rd

Sunday was very full, although it started out relaxed with at home time.  Toward lunchtime we rallied and headed out for a fun family lunch at Texas Roadhouse - the kids had never been before and were quite entertained by throwing the peanut shells on the floor and the spontaneous dancing by the staff :-) During nap time for the kiddos, I headed out to do a quick thrift store run (I've so missed it during the past few months!) and then went home to get the big kids ready for Pajama Night at AWANA.

I don't know why these cats tolerate this girl - maybe they can sense how much she loves/obsesses over them?  But one of her favorite things to do is walk around with one under each arm.  In a weird way it seems to have worked in so far as desensitizing them to one another and they no longer hiss when in each other's presence. 

 While Waverly is obviously her own person with her own unique personality, it's funny to me to see little snippets of her siblings' temperament manifest.  She can be very easy going (like Victoria and Lincoln) so long as there isn't something she specifically wants to do... but already I can see that she often has an agenda, or her own little baby mental list of activities she'd like to do (Scarlett).  "First, the exersaucer.  Then a little light stretching on the ground.  Finish up with a bit of toy/floor time." haha

She loves this new rattle-ball toy that Grammie bought for her!

 Out to lunch and we were seated in this big, long booth - three on each side, and Waverly actually sat in a highchair seat between Jim and I!  Now that she has her own highchair at home we figured she could attempt to sit in one while we're out and about.  Overall she did great and sat happily in her chair for half of our time there.  I gave her a chunk of rock-hard crusty bread to mess around with and she really went after it with a look of fierce determination on her face! :-)

Victoria, Lincoln and Scarlett all did so well, ordering their own food and eating like champs.  I'm not say that they always behave perfectly when we're out to eat, but by and large I think they do an awesome job for their ages and I'm thankful that they are fun to go out with!  After nibbling on a few shelled peanuts, the kids spent a lot of time and effort prying open dozens of peanuts and forcing me and Jim to consume them :-p

 Victoria ordered the kid's ribs and Lincoln was pretty sorry that he hadn't also ordered them.  Fortunately, his sister was sweet and let him have one; he devoured it and then spent time nibbling on the bone. 

I love going to the thrift store - it has been several months since I've been able to go on a regular basis, but I'd like to make an effort to at least drop in one for 15 or 20 minutes a couple of times a month.  Sometimes it can be a total bust, but more often than not I'll find a hidden gem or two.  This trip I found two awesome shoe items.  This pair of (toddler-size) boys' size 12 Keen Boots in really good condition.  Brand new they are $64.95 and they rang up at $2.92 at my local Goodwill.  It's a size and a half too big for Lincoln, but I snagged them anyway as they'll be perfect for either spring or next fall.

And while the picture looks dingy, these Sorel boots had only superficial dirt (which I know as I had my ever-handy baby wipes with me and the grime wiped right off!) and were a size 13 which will be perfect for one of the girls in Spring.  Brand new these average between $55-80. Another win! 

The kids in their jammies and AWANA vests, ready to go and have a fun time playing games, hearing a Bible message and memorizing Scripture.

 Waverly and I were going to run a couple of errands, only she decided napping in the car would be infinitely more fun! :-p  Because she hadn't napped all day and I didn't want an overly tired, crabby babycakes come bedtime, I essentially drove to our destination and held her while she napped, then drove home! haha  Babies. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Saturday, November 2nd

We were all looking forward to our homeschool group's annual S'mores Bonfire event at the Phillips' home on Saturday evening.  The rest of the day was spent at the gym, around the house, making food to take and otherwise relaxing before we headed out!  It was such a fun time, and as always the Phillips did a lovely job hosting.

We were some of the first to arrive, so the kids ran around greeting everyone who showed up after.  Lincoln was taking a quick lemonade break.

Their scenic backyard - Jim and Waverly securing our seating near the fire ;-)

Judd and Lincoln on the trampoline - love these two goofballs, and what sweet friends they are!

My kids are obsessed with climbing the sprawling fig tree in the Phillips' back yard, and of course its even better when the leaves are all off it (bug-wise, according to them! hehe).  Scarlett~

The two traditional swings were taken, but Scarlett was undeterred and used her long arms and legs to hoist herself up on the handle bars.

The weather was so perfect!  In previous years, it's been a bit too warm or freezing cold - and really, when thinking of a fun bonfire with s'mores you want it to feel crisp but not uncomfortably chilly and we had just that type of evening.  Waverly was enjoying her perch on daddy's shoulders :-)

Waverly LOVES other babies!  More than any of my other kiddos at this same age, which I find interesting and adorable.  This is her little friend Miner - I think he is right at a month, possibly six weeks, older than her.  She always wants to touch the other baby - clothes, hands, face, whatever!

A few of the kids were ready to eat and set up on the fireside deck.

Several of us moms were down the yard a ways (near the play set) just chatting when we glanced up and noticed that *every single dad* in attendance was up near the back porch, huddled together.  I found this hilarious - like a junior high prom, the men and women did not mingle, lol.  That wasn't true for the entire night, but it was still funny :-)

So much excitement - baby bear was tuckered out.

Amanda P.'s aunt, Linda, was there to help her get food out and whatnot (playing the "Gram role," as I would call it, haha) and she made the hot chocolate up for the group.  Scarlett told me in no uncertain terms, "I really like your hot cocoa, mama, but Aunt Linda's is way better."  Thanks a lot! ;-)  Olivia and Victoria huddling up with their warm drinks.  It definitely got much colder when the sun finally went down!

Our sweet friend N, eating a perfectly squishy s'more!

We toughed it out as long as we could, but eventually Waverly grew uncomfortable being outside in the cool air, despite the layers.  I headed inside with her and we discovered we weren't the only ones opting for warmer quarters - Waverly's other little friend Caden (about six weeks older) was comfortably hanging out on the sofa, where I plopped her so they could stare at each other and try to put fingers in each other's mouths, lol.

Back home, everyone was full of good food and drinks and worn out from the fun evening :-)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Friday, November 1st

In previous years, Jim and I have doled out the Halloween Loot a couple of pieces at a time from November 1st until Christmas and whatever is left gets dumped.  It seems like a sound, logical way of approaching the candy situation, but the reality is that the kids ask for it often and I feel frustrated and they feel frustrated, too.  Plus, it's difficult for the adults in the house not to occasionally snack on it as well!  This year, I wanted to try something different and I shared my idea with Jim and he was onboard.  Basically, I wanted to let them eat whatever candy they wanted on the day following Halloween.  Then, the rest of the candy would be dumped - saving aside some to be used as gingerbread house decoration (thanks for the idea, Mrs. C!) and a couple small baggies to have in the car for long rides.

All told, I think it was a huge success.  The kids didn't eat themselves sick on candy, and they really enjoyed sorting out the items to save for the gingerbread houses we would be doing in a month or so, as well as bagging up all of the suckers for the van.  It was really fun to let them indulge and then junk the rest of the candy knowing I wouldn't have endless daily requests/negotiations for the next eight weeks!

A true breakfast of champions - hot cocoa with whipped cream and full size candy bars ;-)

Salty had a vet appointment to find out what on earth was making him so itchy all of the time.  It didn't seem like it could be fleas, since we use flea treatment on him, but it had gotten so bad that he had scratched a couple of sores onto his skin :-(  He was such a good boy, and the girls accompanied me.  They found it so hilarious to "photobomb" this picture I was taking of Salty, since he is notorious for sneaking into pictures I'm taking of the kids, lol. 

Salty isn't exactly a lap dog, weighing in at 75.8 pounds (per the vet scale).  So it was pretty comical watching him try to squeeze himself into a sitting position between the girls carseats!  In the end, the vet searched him from head to toe and declared him free of fleas, but with a case of poison ivy.  I can honestly say that I did not know dogs could get poison ivy/poison oak, but now I do!  He was prescribed a couple medicines to help heal up his scratch-wounds and so help the affected areas not itch so badly.  Hopefully he'll feel better soon.

Thursday, October 31st - Halloween!

Halloween finally arrived!!  The kids couldn't focus on much else all day and I wonder how/why regular schools even stay open on Halloween and the day after ;-)  It was all I could do to get the girls to plow through their material!  Lincoln was feeling much better but just not quite back to his usual self.  Jim and I discussed and were on the fence about whether he should go or just stay home for more rest... ultimately though, the poor kid was so despondent at the thought of missing out, so we came up with a good solution: we would take him in the wagon and he couldn't run door to door, but the girls would share their loot with him.  This ended up being perfect, as we kept Lincoln isolated in case he was at all still germy and he still got to experience the festivities.  We met up with a few families to partake in the evening's fun as we descended upon our favorite neighborhood for trick-or-treating!

The kids asked me every 15 minutes from noon onward, "How many minutes until we can put our costumes on!?"  The time arrived and they were all but bursting with excitement and anticipation!  I have wizened up from previous years and knew to take the pictures here at home when they are comparatively calm instead of when we are with friends ;-)  My lovely fairy, James Rogers (Captain America's son), and the pink ninja!

I must have snapped about 20 photos of all four kiddos together and these are the only two usable ones.  In this one, all are looking at me, but Waverly's bottle top hat was squishing her eyes so badly! lol

Of course, it's never truly a family picture until at least one animal comes over and is all, "Hey, what are you guys doing? Nothing important, right, so I'll just stand in front in a way that you can't even crop me out."

These two! My heart can't even handle it :-)

The kids pointed out that I was the only one not in costume, and volunteered that I could just be a witch since "I was already in black."  Thanks guys :-p

We met up with the Young, Phillips, and Cerdas families and after the kids patiently (I use the term loosely) allowed us to take one group photo, they were off and running - literally.

First house of the evening!

It would seem the wagon was a good call, as after about twenty minutes or so, James Rogers declared he was going to lay back for a bit and then he promptly powered down.  He snoozed as soundly as if he was on a feather bed in a quiet room! lol  

Fortunately, Captain America was fully prepared to helm the wagon and did an excellent job pulling him all around the neighborhood loop :-)

All in all, I think we trick-or-treated for just under an hour and a half - the kids had loads of loot and we made it back to the vehicles just in time to avoid getting rained on!  Perfect timing :-)  On the drive home, Waverly was none too pleased about the dark vehicle so we turned her spotlight on.  This afforded me the opportunity to watch her studying her fingers.  It was so precious to see her purposefully controlling each finger - it appeared as though she were counting!  Such a fun stage she is in, discovering new things every day.

Home and washed up, the kids gathered in the living room where we had dumped all of the candy they collected.  Each one was able to select four pieces to eat as they wound down from their big, exciting evening.  Happy Halloween!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wednesday, October 30th

Lincoln had been feeling a bit puny all week, but seemed to be on the mend Wednesday.  We kept things low-key (as much as they ever are here!) to make sure he could get some extra rest and feel up to trick-or-treating the following day.  The girls did school and spent quite a long time on a sewing project of their own creation.

Jim had a great surprise for me Wednesday morning - the previous day he had been in-town and stopped by Ikea for two things I'd really been wanting to pick up.  One thing was for the office space in our room, and the other was a new Ikea highchair for Waverly!  He put it together and we plunked her down in there.  In my mind, I had imagined her being much tinier in the seat, but nope - she fit great.  At first she was all, "Whoa! What is this?"

A big ol' smile soon followed... 

And pretty much stayed plastered on for quite a while - I think she enjoys the better view and having the tray to whack around on :-)  She definitely says, "Thanks, daddy!"

 The girls need a dedicated sewing teacher - they're so eager to learn but I have already taught them the two things I know how to do!  I think I am going to look into kids' classes at a JoAnn Fabrics or similar, or nag one of my crafty friends to teach a little co-op class.  The girls really enjoy messing around and creating their own little sewing projects.

Just in the nick of time, Jim's Halloween costume came - Lincoln had asked and asked his daddy to dress up like Captain America so that he (Linc) could be James Rogers, Captain America's son (from the movie Next Avengers).  He was just BEAMING when Jim strolled out of his office wearing the full gear :-)

Scarlett's finished dress that she made herself (the sleeves are a red shirt she's wearing underneath the red dress).  She is very proud of it and it is currently hanging in her closet!