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Maddie’s 5 and a half!

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

I’m only about a week late with Maddie’s letter this time…not too bad! Big changes between the last letter and this one with the start of kindergarten!

Cullen is 3.5!

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

I’ve managed to finish Cullen’s letter within a week of his half-birthday. Lately, I’ve been pretty good about getting his done…but then I have to do Maddie’s less than a month later. That part is challenging. I’ll see which kid wants to change their birthday to make this easier on me.

The Sunday Somethings, 17mar13 and 24mar13

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking that I could have slept the whole day yesterday, and I think I’d still feel tired. I’m still recovering from the solo parenting weekend (almost a week ago now). Gabe had a lot of fun on his trip!

Something happening around the house: We all stayed home yesterday which was a cold and rainy day. We were glad that we didn’t have plans! The kids entertained each other pretty well, and Gabe and I spent quite a bit of time being lazy.

Something I’m reading: I finished the third and fourth book of the Sisterhood of the Pants series. They were quick, fun reads. I also finished A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash and The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. Both books were for our new online book club. I didn’t love either one, though the habit book had a lot of interesting anecdotes. I enjoyed the first section of the book the most. It got repetitive, and some of the organizational/society things weren’t as interesting. The last section had a few more interesting bits with night terrors and gambling. I’m reading I’ve Got Your Number. I had been on the waiting list at the library for a while, and it finally became available recently. I’m not sure how much to expect from it!

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe has been reading a lot, too. He finished Deadline by Mira Grant and is now reading the third book in that series. He also read the first book of another series, The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett in the Demon Cycle series.

Something I’m watching: We are thinking about streaming Downton Abbey to see what all the fuss is about. It looks boring to me, but people seem to like it. It’s free to stream, so we’ll see if we like it. I guess.

Something I’m playing: We had games night yesterday. I was able to play Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar twice. I liked it, but I wonder if I’ll be able to get a handle on a good strategy to use in that game! I’m glad I finally got a chance to play it as I have heard about it from several friends.

Something I’m creating: I haven’t finished the 2011 photobook or worked on it much. I started an 8×8 book about my Disney adventures with Audrey early last year. I guess I finished about a third of the book so far.

Something tasty: I can’t stop eating Brach’s Hiding Eggs and Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs. I’m glad Easter will be over soon.

Something about both kiddos: The kids and I had a great time while Gabe was gone. When he returned, they said, “Daddy! Daddy! You missed all the fun!” We went out to dinner almost every night which kept us out of the house and kept me from needing to figure out what to cook. Keeping us out of the house was an even better benefit as I didn’t have much energy to keep up with cleaning and laundry and all that. We went bowling (their first time). They loved it, but I’m not sure I’ll do it again for a while! We went to the Shiny Diner for the first time (well, theirs, I hadn’t been in at least a decade). We had rollerblading lessons and spent the weekend with Sophie and her mommy doing all kinds of crafts, Easter egg hunts, and cookie decorating. The kids had their first official slumber party. Marie and Sophie ended up sleeping in the guest room, but Maddie and Cullen slept in sleeping bags on Maddie’s floor. They took forever to go to sleep. The kids made a sign for Gabe to welcome him home. We had a lot of fun, but we were very happy to have Daddy home again. Surprisingly, I kept everyone healthy and happy and kept my sanity at the same time. It’s a miracle. They had rollerblading again this weekend, and both kids did great. Maddie claims that she doesn’t like rollerblading anymore, but I don’t think that’s true. She has a big smile on her face while she’s doing it, and today she asked to rollerblade on the hardwoods in the house. They are both making big improvements! Oh, and we got some “journals” while Daddy was out of town, and the kids have been drawing and writing in them frequently. One of the crafts that we did while Sophie was spending the weekend with us was to make things out of toilet paper rolls. The kids all decided to make binoculars and used them to “explore” the backyard. They then returned and wrote what they saw in their journals. Some of the pictures are mostly scribbles, but the process was great!

Something Maddie is doing (5 years old): She’s not been doing particularly well at bedtime. I think part of this is her usual stuff, and another is both the time change and Daddy being out of town for almost a week. She went to bed at a pretty reasonable time tonight, so I hope that’s a good sign. She has been staying awake until 10:30pm or 11pm almost every night. That made for an exhausting time while Gabe was out of town as I couldn’t really go to bed until I got them settled (and then one or both of them would be up bright and early in the morning). Maddie is still reading every day. I’m glad she’s so motivated! It seems like in the past couple of weeks she’s gotten a lot faster with her reading. I’ve been impressed. I wonder when she will make the leap to read to herself. It’s rewarding to see all of her hard work (and mine) paying off after months of daily practice.

Something Cullen is doing (3 years old): Cullen has been enjoying his journal and enjoys drawing random pictures and writing his name (not always with the letters in order). We are wondering whether Cullen may have a food sensitivity. His cheeks have frequently been flushed, and we used to think that it happened mostly when he had been playing outside and it was too hot or too cold. Recently, I have noticed it happening at other times when he hasn’t been in any extreme temperatures (though the temperatures didn’t have to be all that extreme). We think we are noticing a correlation with things like pizza and other tomato things. Since tomatoes are one of his favorite foods, that could explain why his cheeks have been so flushed lately. I feel like it happens even without tomatoes, but I found out that many of his other favorite foods contain some of the same things that can cause sensitivities with tomatoes. We may have to do some more investigating. Cullen has been doing well at preschool! He is excited about being at Children’s House, and he was even more excited when I volunteered in his classroom on Pi Day. We made mini chocolate pudding pies in mini muffin pans. I had so much fun! Cullen was so proud to share his mommy with the class.

Something I am struggling with: I knew I would have a hard time writing this one while Gabe was out of town, so I’m not surprised I skipped. As long as I write this every other week, I think I’ll be happy. I’m having trouble finding time for writing…and still need to write Maddie’s 5-year letter. I’ve worked on it, but I have a ways to go to finish it.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I did some fundraising for this year’s Walk MS. I’m having a slow start, and the walk is coming up fast. I always wonder at this time of year if we’ll make our goals, and somehow we always do. Somehow I still find myself doubting it each year.

Something I’m looking forward to: Book club is this week! We are discussing Little Bee (and it sounds like many of us didn’t like it, so we’ll see what everyone has to say!). We also have some doctor appointments and dinner and games with friends. We are going to do a dino egg hunt next weekend, and the Easter Bunny is coming to town! Just in case I don’t write next week, the following week brings a movie outing with some book club peeps (The Host), the second kiddo book club meeting, and a birthday party.

Something captured: At the Shiny Diner while Daddy was out of town

Maddie is 4.5!

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

I can’t believe that Maddie is four and a half (or was on August 20th!). Time for another letter to Maddie! (more…)

The Sunday Somethings, 08apr12

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

Something that makes me happy: Potty training progress!

Something I’m thinking: People are nasty to each other on Amazing Race this season (and Survivor, for that matter)!

Something I’m hoping: We took two family walks today around the neighborhood and the greenway behind our house. I hope we will be able to do this many more times in the coming months!

Something happening around the house: Potty madness!

Something I’m reading: My friend’s book and a little Escape, this month’s book club selection.

Something Gabe is reading: Feed by Mira Grant.

Something I’m watching: We finally were able to see The Hunger Games with members of the book club and some hubbies. I loved it! I look forward to seeing what the rest of the movies will be like. We also picked up Hugo from Redbox. I’m not sure what we were expecting, but it was quite different from what I thought it was! I thought it was great.

Something I’m playing: Hisss, Pengaloo, and Kids of Carcassonne with Maddie. The kids have also been playing Zingo together. Gabe and I have been playing Draw Something and Mystery Manor on the iPads.

Something I’m creating: I’m still going through the photos from our cruise in December. I have over 2300 photos left, and at least half of them are still terrible. It’s a tedious process.

Something tasty: Reese’s Pieces eggs. It’s probably a good thing that Easter candy season is coming to a close.

Something not so tasty: I attempted to make gingerbread pancakes this morning. The flavor was not too bad, but the pancakes didn’t come out right. I’ll have to try some more recipes.

Something about both kiddos: We did some tissue paper crafts with the kids this weekend (from a kit). The kids also did some stamp marker art using their new stamp markers from the Easter Bunny.

Something Maddie is doing (49 months old): When Maddie is playing Kids of Carcassonne, she says, “Bagels!” every time one of her meeples show up on a piece. I have no idea why she decided to start doing that. She loves playing games (which makes me very happy!). The Easter Bunny brought her her very first “real” Legos (you know, the teeny kind). We had a great time putting together her first creation, a cafe from the new Lego Friends series marketed to girls. She was able to follow the diagrams pretty well and handled the tiny pieces, too. She needed a little help here and there, and I helped her with following the instructions. I’m so excited that she is starting to get into Legos! Given how easily she puts together 100-piece puzzles, I thought she might be ready for them! It will be a while before she puts together something that complicated by herself, but it was a great project for us to do together! I’m sure we will be putting together the cafe over and over.

Something Cullen is doing (26 months old): Cullen’s week was mostly about potty training. It is going pretty well with 3-5 accidents every day Monday through Friday. We asked him to go fairly often, and he often will pee when sitting him on the potty. I think that the poop training is going to take a bit longer. Today was the first day he didn’t have at least half an accident (on his first day, he realized he was doing it and asked to sit on the potty). He had a few smudges in his underwear a couple of times, but that was it. I consider that a huge success! Yesterday, he had NO wet accidents, and he let us know most of the times he needed to go. Also, he’s been asking to potty at bedtime (usually after I leave the room). I thought it was just a delaying tactic, but he’s actually needed to go every time. Today, the only accident he had at all was after nap. I think he had been awake longer than we knew, so we were just a little too late getting him to the potty after his long nap. By Friday, we were starting to wonder if we were making progress, but today we feel pretty good about it! I can’t believe that we’re finished with daytime diapers (and wonder how long it will be before we’re completely done with diapers!). Oh, and this weekend he started insisting on standing when peeing. I wasn’t ready for that, but he actually seems to do pretty well with it. They teach them at school to put the lid up and lean against the lid, helping them with the aim. That technique seems to be working pretty well.

Something I am struggling with: I am still recovering from the laryngitis that resulted from bronchitis more than a week and a half ago. My voice is mostly back now. I’ll see how well it is tomorrow morning when I try to sing with the kids on the way to work.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I desperately need to write my thank you notes from Walk MS. It’s daunting with over 30 people to thank, but I am very happy for the generosity!

Something I learned: Target is closed on Easter Sunday.

Something I’m looking forward to: Dinner and games with friends and games night. And my trip to Disney (the one without kids) isn’t this week, but it’s next week!!!!

Something captured: Hoppy Easter!

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 18mar12

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Something that makes me happy: Great weekends with beautiful weather. We spent Saturday with friends doing Eastery things like egg dying and hiding and cookie making. Today, we had a bike play date with friends at a local park and ended our day with an impromptu dinner with fun neighbors.

Something I’m thinking: I think that Gabe is quite pleased with his new iPad. He couldn’t wait for its arrival on Friday. He kept thinking that he could hear delivery trucks with many false alarms.

Something I’m hoping: I hope that work will be calmer this week. We’ve been very busy with some big project deadlines.

Something happening around the house: The garage repair people came back for the 3rd time, and we think that the door is fixed. Fortunately, they didn’t charge us very much the first visit. The other two visits were free. The guy who came out the third time said that his boss said, “Get it right this time!” I think that this worked out in our favor. Since they didn’t get it right the first time, the extra parts and labor didn’t cost us a thing.

Something I’m reading: I’m enjoying The Wise Man’s Fear. I’m going to be sad when I finish it as I’ll have to wait at least a year for the next book to be released.

Something Gabe is reading: He finished the 4th Percy Jackson book and is now reading Feed by Mira Grant.

Something I’m watching: Basketball, basketball, and more basketball. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that I’m watching Gabe watch basketball?

Something I’m playing: Kids of Carcassonne, Pengaloo, and Zingo with the kids. Gabe and I have been playing Mystery Manor on his new iPad.

Something I’m creating: I finally published Maddie’s letter. Since then, I haven’t been creating much but I have been trying to catch up with photos. So many photos!

Something tasty: I tried a new recipe for sugar cookies after sampling a friend’s batch. YUM. We had fun decorating the cookies with colored icing and tons of sprinkles.

Something about both kiddos: The kids had fun decorating the sugar cookies! They helped pick out the cookie cutters that we used and the icing colors. They then “decorated” with a TON of sprinkles. I used to love doing this as a kid, so it’s so fun to do it with my kids. We also did some Easter egg decorating and hiding. I predict we will be staging many hunts between now and Easter! The kids have even been hiding eggs for each other around the house (which we think is great). I predict also that the kids will be begging to visit the neighbors and their trampoline. They had a great time hanging out with the neighbors and especially enjoyed jumping on the trampoline. Cullen was ready to move into their house and didn’t want to leave.

Something Maddie is doing (48 months old): She had a few new lessons this week and seems to be making progress on both her geography/map and her phonics lessons. She’s been working more on counting. Once again, I think that Maddie is sandbagging us on things that she knows. She claims that she can’t count to 20 and always asks for help between 10 and 20 (meanwhile, Cullen chimes in and tells her 11-13). She wanted to count to 20 over and over today but wouldn’t do it on her own. We finally said we weren’t going to help her and she successfully counted from 1-20 all by herself. We’re not surprised! This reminds us of when she was 1 and pretended not to know her colors until one day she said, “hand me that blue cup.” We’re onto you, little girl. Maddie started playing Monkey Math School Sunshine on the iPhone. It has a bunch of math games with addition, subtraction, counting, and patterns. She’s doing well. She has no issues with operating the iPhone and similar touch devices. Her Wii skills need work! She can do a little bit with MarioKart, but the games that require you to point the controller at the screen seem to baffle her. I think we’ve neglected her video game training. Maybe she’ll do better with the new Wii which incorporates a DS-like device (which she also “gets”).

Something Cullen is doing (25 months old): Cullen is such a happy toddler and a funny little guy. He’s quite chatty, like his sister. He always wants to be a part of the conversation. He is the perfect audience if you’re telling a funny story. He often laughs in the right places. Of course, he laughs quite a bit. He can have a bit of a temper and knows how to throw a tantrum. When he gets tired or sick, he gets very sensitive and can be laughing one second and throwing a huge fit the next. He had a cold earlier this week, and it’s been lingering. He continues to come up with excuses to get out of his bed and come to the door, requesting us to do something for him. This week, I had to do some work at home and “check” on things from time to time. One of the times, Cullen came to his door and I said, “Cullen, get back to your bed. It’s bedtime.” His reply was that he was “checking on something.” I asked him what he was checking on, and he said he was checking on the gate. Too funny! We had trouble getting him to nap this afternoon, and Gabe went up there to tell him to get back into his bed. Cullen had taken his pillow and blanket and was laying next to the gate.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: We’ve been raising money for the National MS Society. Our walk is in two weeks, and we made a lot of progress with fundraising this week! This week was MS Awareness week. Please take a minute to learn more about MS and how it affects over 400,000 people in the United States.

Something I learned: Every year during our Walk MS fundraising, I look forward to experiencing generosity from friends and family. So many people have supported Team B-Patrol over the last few years. Every year, we exceed my expectations with fundraising. It’s an amazing experience, and the one good thing that I have to say about multiple sclerosis.

Something I’m looking forward to: Gabe is probably looking forward to the start of his fantasy baseball season. Somehow he’s signed up for FOUR leagues this year. I’m looking forward to playing games with friends.

Something captured: My sweet family enjoying the beginning of spring!

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

Cullen is one and a half!

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

I’ve been working on this one for a couple of weeks (he was 18 months on July 22nd). I was a little slow to put the finishing touches on it and collect the photos. Now it is almost time to write Maddie’s 3.5 year letter. Whew. Here’s the latest letter to Cullen. (more…)

Maddie’s 39 month letter (a bit overdue)

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

I decided that I wanted to continue doing the letters every 3 months for Maddie. I still feel like so much happens in that time period, and I just want to keep it all documented for her (and for me!). I hope to put letters to Maddie into books for her along with other keepsakes, photos, and milestones. I only need to write one letter this month, since I’m doing Cullen’s every 3 months now, but I still can’t manage to get it written on time! I’ve had this one mostly written for a couple of weeks…but I just now found the time to add the photos. (more…)

Last Easter Post!

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Hooray! It’s the final Easter post! We were supposed to go to Keira’s neighborhood Easter Egg hunt on Saturday morning originally. The hunt was postponed to Easter Sunday due to the weather. This turned out to be good for us since it meant that all of us could go, including Grandma. Originally, Maddie and I were going to go by ourselves.

This was Cullen’s first Easter Egg Hunt! I was impressed at how well he did. He had no problems figuring out what he was supposed to do, and he filled his basket with more than a dozen eggs.

Maddie and Keira knew exactly what to do, too. Maddie kept picking up eggs, shaking them, and throwing them back down. All of the eggs were empty because they were supposed to turn in the eggs for candy and prizes. Maddie didn’t quite get that concept at first. She only wanted eggs with candy inside!

Cullen didn’t want to carry the basket, but he had so much fun gathering eggs.

“What, mom?? I’m trying to gather some eggs here! Can’t you see I’m busy?”

“Do you want an egg, Mommy?”

Cullen was very interested in seeing what was inside the eggs.

My boy is super sweet!

Cullen’s first Easter Egg Hunt was a big success!

Hunting for Eggs at our House

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

We participated in a good number of organized egg hunts this year, but all of them were the “eggs spread out in a field” variety. Back in my day, we had to actually hunt for the eggs! It wasn’t just an “Easter Egg Gather.” We had to search, I tell you! Ahem. Anyway, we thought it would be nice to give Maddie an extra challenge. The Easter Bunny hid a few eggs around the living room, but we wanted to do more egg hunting outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. Grandma claimed to be an excellent egg hider, so we let her hide the eggs for the first round. We decided to use the hard boiled decorated eggs since there was no way we were going to eat them after they had been sitting out for hours and hours.

It’s a good thing we knew how many eggs that were hidden, because Grandma wasn’t kidding about hiding the eggs!

Maddie really had to search. She did pretty well overall, though we did have to give her some hints here and there.

Maddie was excited about the egg hunt. We all took turns hiding the eggs while Cullen was napping.

After Grandma hid the eggs for Maddie, Maddie “hid” the eggs for Grandma. This involved Maddie throwing them down on the ground all in one spot, mostly.

Grandma then hunted for eggs (though, I must say it was more of an Easter Egg Gather).

At 3, Maddie is getting more talented at the fake smile. Yep, we’ve entered those years where it’s challenging to get a smile that doesn’t look like the child is in pain. She’s great at saying, “CHEEEEEEEESE!”

We moved to the front yard next where Daddy hid the eggs in challenging spots. Sometimes she wasn’t sure where to look.

Since we weren’t going to eat the eggs and the eggs were already cracked, I thought it would be fun to smash them on the driveway. That’s just the kind of mom that I am. And you know what? It was fun to smash them on the driveway. I hope that Maddie wasn’t traumatized by the egg smashing. I’m sure it will come out in therapy in 20 years.

Some eggs had to be smashed more than once. It was crazy how the yolks flattened into discs. Perhaps we’ve created a new tradition of egg smashing after the egg hunting?

I can’t wait until the kids can appreciate Peep microwaving.