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The Sunday Somethings, 16nov14

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Something that makes me happy: Crafty days with Paula and Michelle! Yesterday, I got started on our Disney scrapbook and did some sewing.

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking about Christmas!

Something I’m hoping: I hope the weather cooperates for our trip to Ohio and Kentucky coming up.

Something happening around the house: Gabe fixed the dishwasher!!! He thought of one more thing, and it worked. Hooray!

Something I’m reading: I finished Goldfinch, which I found to be a bit tedious. I enjoyed the first half better than the second. I read The One & Only, the newest by Emily Giffin. I was disappointed in that one! I also finished The Lavender Garden, which I liked better than the other two. It would have been a decent book club read, but it didn’t blow my socks off or anything. I’m now reading Kiss and Spell, the 7th book in the Enchanted, Inc. series. It’s light, fluffy, and enjoyable. Just what I needed.

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe finished Red Seas Under Red Skies. Since the last post, he’s also read The Republic of Thieves, Prince of Fools, Annihilation, and Lock In. He’s now reading City of Stairs.

Something I’m watching: We’ve been enjoying The Walking Dead and The Amazing Race. Gabe is keeping up with a few other shows, but we aren’t watching too much at the moment. Our family went to see Big Hero 6, and we LOVED it! I also saw Gone Girl with book club peeps. It was interesting to see that movie after reading the book and knowing a bit about what was going to happen. The movie was pretty true to the book, for the most part.

Something I’m playing: Gabe has started playing games regularly on Monday nights. So far, they have played Caverna, Terra Mystica, Snowdonia, Concordia, Bruges, Glass Roads, Ra: The Dice Game. We have had a couple of dinner and games sessions with friends and played Quixx, Linko, and Walnut Grove. We had a games night, and I played Snowdonia, Splendor, Linko, Hey! That’s my fish! and Telestrations. Gabe started over playing Zelda: The Skyward Sword. We realized we didn’t get too far in that one!

Something I’m creating: I’ve been creating all kinds of things! Since the last post, I finished the WWDC book (and several of my coworkers also wanted to order a copy). I finished the Key West book from the girls trip in May. Audrey and Melisa ordered their copies! I started the Disney Cruise book from our trip back in February. I’m glad to finally start on that one, even if it is a bit daunting. I’m worried I’m not going to be able to fit it all in one book! I created our holiday cards, and I’m hoping to send them out just after Thanksgiving…but we’ll see if that happens. I did some sewing yesterday, again. I made pillowcases out of fabric that Maddie picked out for both kids. I also made a few surprises.

Something about the grownups: I love my crafty days with Paula and Michelle! We just had one yesterday, and I felt like I accomplished quite a bit. Gabe has been enjoying his board gaming nights. He’s getting to play some quality games. They are meeting about every other week. We had fun with the block party, especially the after party at the fire pit. We also had a great time with neighbors on Halloween. We enjoyed that it fell on a Friday this year, and the neighbors had another fire going as well as some fireworks. Good times. Gabe and I celebrated our 8th anniversary, and we had a great dinner at Maximillians. We went to a “romantic” movie and saw John Wick (haha). I had fun finally building the Lego Haunted House that I’ve had for 2 years, and Gabe put together the Ghostbusters car…an awesome combination. For the past several weeks, some of my coworkers and I have started having a shorter lunch and taking a long walk. The weather has been beautiful, and the trails around our campus are awesome. I’ve been walking 2-3 miles during lunch every day. I’ve also been tracking my foods and calories with myfitnesspal. I needed a little bit of a healthy reboot.

Something about both kiddos: After Maddie and I participated in the Chocolate 5k, we had a pile of Ghirardelli chocolates in different flavors. Our family held a taste test challenge with eleven varieties of chocolate. Cullen’s favorite was Intense Dark, Maddie’s was Dark Chocolate Truffle, Gabe’s was Toffee Crunch, and mine was Dark Chocolate Mint. Gabe’s least favorite was Hazelnut, mine was Sea Salt Caramel, and Maddie and Cullen both hated Dark Chocolate Mint. My favorite moment was when Cullen tasted that one and exclaimed, “That tastes like toothpaste!!!” He was horrified. I’m glad to know that Dark Chocolate Mint is safe from predators in my household (Gabe hates it, too.). The kids had fun with Halloween! We went to more houses this year, but we still covered a very small fraction of our neighborhood. Considering that they trade most of their candy to the Halloween witch, they don’t really need to gather all that much. Each kid picked out ten pieces of candy to keep, and the witch took the rest of it in trade for small Lego sets. The kids designed their own jack-o-lanterns again this year. Maddie’s was a simple smiley face, and Cullen’s was a simple frowny face. Their imperfect designs crack me up.

Something Maddie is doing (6.5 years old): Maddie had a marathon challenge at school where we had to complete 26 miles over the course of a month and a half or so. The kids could walk or run the 26 miles, and Maddie completed it! It was a challenge mostly for us to find the time to get in some mileage. Maddie and I did a local Chocolate 5k, and I was so impressed that she ran the entire way. I couldn’t believe it! The day before, she participated in Walk to School day, and she almost didn’t make it less than a mile…so I was worried about how well she’d do over 3 miles. She was so proud of herself, so maybe we’ll be doing some more 5ks in the future. Maddie was a beautiful Elsa, and somehow I was able to bobby pin her blonde wig enough so that it would stay on during trick or treating. We weren’t sure how that was going to work! She will get another chance to wear the Elsa dress when I take her to see Disney on Ice later this year. It’s Frozen themed, and she doesn’t know that she will be going yet. Maddie’s class had “Pumpkin Day” on Halloween, and I volunteered. This was a combination event with the other first grade classes, and they rotated to different stations in the different classrooms. I helped with a station where the kids brainstormed descriptive words for pumpkins. They then had to complete a worksheet with some of these descriptive words and measure a pumpkin in different ways (height, circumference). I thought it was a pretty smart move for the teachers to do something different on Halloween since the kids were going to be too excited to pay attention to regular instruction! They aren’t allowed to do anything specific for Halloween. Maddie had been wiggling a loose tooth for over a month, and it FINALLY fell out on November 3rd. Well, more accurately, I gave it a final yank. She was so excited to lose her first tooth! The tooth fairy came and gave her a whole dollar (yeah, our tooth fairy is cheap). She didn’t much like having the tooth yanked, but it was so loose that night at bedtime that I was seriously afraid that she might swallow it in her sleep. She lost one of the front ones on the bottom, and the one next to it is loose now. I imagine it will take some weeks before she loses it, though. It feels like her top front teeth are starting to get a little loose as well. I volunteered for Literacy Lunch and read some books to Maddie and three classmates. Gabe volunteered for Literacy Lunch once as well. He also volunteered for Otter Time, which is at the end of the day and involves helping kids with various academic areas and enrichment. Maddie is doing pretty well with piano, but it is hard to motivate her to practice at home. You’d think I was torturing her when I sit down with her at the piano. She does seem to enjoy it, so hopefully the practice will become less torturous. She’s doing fantastic with swimming. We are hoping that she will be moving up to the next level and new challenges soon, but she’s still benefitting from the current level. She continues to improve, and we haven’t seen her stagnate in this class yet. Twice a week has really helped her, and she seems to love it. Maddie is tracked out and she went to her favorite art camp this week where they did Inuit art. She is going to the same art camp next week and will also be going to a new Lego and Technology camp during this track out.

Something Cullen is doing (4.5 years old): Cullen still often wakes up before the rest of the family. These days, he doesn’t tend to sneak too many snacks as he has in the past. Sometimes, he does get his “breakfast toast” (which is what he calls his organic breakfast pastries). Frequently, he plays the iPad. He will play his usual games, and he’s also figured out how to access his list on Netflix. One morning, I came out and he was playing the iPad. He had been banned from the iPad for a few days, so I said, “Cullen, you know you’re not supposed to be playing the iPad.” Then, I noticed a couple of men walk through the backyard. “Gabe, there are men in the yard, and I don’t know what they are doing.” Cullen says, “They told me what they are doing!” Um, what? Yep, that’s right. Around 6:30am, the guys tasked with aerating our lawn knocked on the door and he answered it. By himself. When they asked where his parents were, he told them that his parents were sleeping. Within a couple of days, we had installed a double cylinder lock and keep the key out of reach. Cullen was an awesome superman for Halloween. He especially loved running to make his cape fly behind him (I didn’t break it to him that the cape didn’t really fly like he was envisioning). He ran out of steam before Maddie with trick or treating and was ready to return home. His class had a Halloween parade that morning…our last preschool fall parade! The parade was with all of the Children’s House classrooms, and Gabe counted at least 12 Elsas and 19 superheroes. Our kids didn’t exactly pick unique costumes this year. Cullen was sent home with a fever two days before Halloween, but thankfully he recovered quickly and didn’t have to miss all the fun! Cullen had two other opportunities to wear his Halloween costume. His Kindermusik class wore costumes on their class before Halloween, and he went to a costume party for one of his best buddies in preschool to celebrate his birthday. I love when the kids can get more wear out of their costumes! The fake muscles cracked me up. When he put on his costume the first time, he had trouble with the stiff upper part with the muscles. He said, “I need someone to help me with my bras!” Um, not exactly son. Cullen went with me to vote. He was excited to accompany me, and I explained the process to him. When we left, he said, “That’s it? That wasn’t very fun? Why did we do that?” And then after I explained how important it is and our civic duty and all that, he asked, “Did we win?” Cullen had several more Lego classes, and they finished up the session. Cullen went to another birthday party where he played mini golf and rode in a go-kart. Cullen loves music class, and he has a talent for it as well. They are learning all about different percussion instruments and rhythms. He’s doing pretty well with swimming and has a lot to learn. I’m curious to see how he does when we go to Great Wolf Lodge (soon!).

Something I am struggling with: You know, the usual. Writing these posts. It gets tedious when I neglect it for a month!

Something I’m looking forward to: In the next month or so…we have more swimming and music lessons. Thanksgiving. Great Wolf Lodge in Ohio and a trip to Kentucky. Dinners and lunches with friends. Book club. Doctor’s and dental appointments. Art camp and Lego technology camp for Maddie. Our annual holiday poker tournament. Putting up our Christmas tree and decorations! Sending our holiday cards! Annual Christmas date with Audrey. Disney on Ice for Maddie and me. Rudolph play for the family.

Something captured: Elsa and Superman

The Sunday Somethings, 12oct14

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Something that makes me happy: Fall! We didn’t have the best weather, but we did one of my favorite fall activities with the kids today – the pumpkin patch. I’m thinking about doing another pumpkin patch this year to make up for our not-so-great weather today.

Something I’m thinking: Gabe and I are thinking about where to eat for our 8th anniversary coming up soon. That’s another reason to love the fall.

Something I’m hoping: I hope to get the motivation to finally finish my 2014 WWDC book. I worked on it this weekend with the crafty day with Michelle and Paula.

Something happening around the house: Our dishwasher is still broken.

Something I’m reading: I read Attachments, Fly Away (book 2 of Firefly Lane), Necessary Lies (for October book club), and When You Reach Me (also for book club). I’m now reading Goldfinch.

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe finished Ghost Brigades, and he is now reading Red Seas Under Red Skies.

Something I’m watching: Fall TV is starting up! We have been watching Amazing Race. Gabe has watched Gotham, Sleepy Hollow, and Arrow and I pay some attention to those. The Walking Dead starts tonight! I also watched a marathon of Gilmore Girls (season 2) during our crafty day.

Something I’m playing: Gabe is starting to play with some friends in a regular games night a couple nights a month. He played Caverna the first time, and they are playing Terra Mystica next time. We had a games night recently, and I played Splendor, Lords of Waterdeep and Russian Railroads. Gabe played Splendor, Concordia, and Castles of Burgundy that night.

Something I’m creating: I’m working on the 2014 WWDC photobook. It’s much longer than last year’s. We had quite a few photos, and the bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge takes up about half the book!

Something tasty: Funnel cakes and ribbon fries from the farm fun today. Ooh, and pumpkin pancakes on Gabe’s birthday at our favorite breakfast place.

Something about the grownups: We got our flu shots. I barely felt the shot, but my arm was sore for the rest of the day. Fingers crossed that it keeps us healthy this year! The flu was no joke when I had it last winter. Gabe and I have both enjoyed volunteering some in Maddie’s classroom, and we watched Cullen at bike day at his school. I had my September book club meeting. Gabe started a regular board gaming group. We are quite excited that we are planning a bonus trip to DISNEY! We are trying to decide when to tell the kids or whether we just want to surprise them on the day that we leave. Melissa, Jason, and my parents are joining us. It went from a vague idea to a planned trip within a week. Now that we have it planned, I’m so glad that we’re not waiting another 2 years to go to Disney (as we had originally planned). It has been 2 years since our last trip. The kids are going to love it! We celebrated Gabe’s birthday on the 5th, and the kids and I surprised him with a tiger striped Bengals cake. Unfortunately, it didn’t help the Bengals win their game on that day.

Something about both kiddos: Both kids are doing swimming and music lessons. Maddie continues with swimming twice a week and piano. Cullen is doing swimming once a week and loves his Kindermusik classes. I’m excited about both kids doing music classes, and they both seem to love it. Both kids went to their friend Elizabeth’s birthday party where they had a great time playing in their awesome backyard. The highlight of the party was the confetti eggs (who says these are just for Easter?). Today, we went to the pumpkin patch! As I said, the weather wasn’t great. It was misty and cool, but we still had fun. The kids played in the colorful maze, the hay bale maze, the cornbox, the giant slide (well, Maddie), the hay jump, bounce houses, and hay ride. We all watched the hilarious pig races. We each picked out a pumpkin. Maddie and Cullen also recently got their flu shots, and neither of them cried a bit. The nurse said they were her easiest patients of the day.

Something Maddie is doing (6.5 years old): I volunteered to read as part of the Outstanding Otter Literacy program where we read about a character trait. I read about loyalty last year as well, and both times some kids thought that we were going to be talking about “royalty.” I’m always impressed by what some of the kids can express (and have greater respect for the teachers every time I visit the classroom!). Gabe read to a smaller group in Maddie’s classroom for Literacy Lunch. That program is weekly, so we will probably both be reading for that here and there. I also volunteered for Apple Day, which was a fun time in Maddie’s class. I was able to run the science experiment station where the kids predicted which liquid would slow browning of the apple slices. We were all surprised that milk worked better than lemon juice (though I’m not sure how that would taste!). Maddie loves having us come to her classroom! She’s very into getting her hair put into a ponytail lately. She requests that almost every day. Today she asked for “Anna braids” and continues to grow her hair so that one day she can have an “Elsa braid.” We haven’t gotten into a good routine with piano practice, but Maddie does seem to enjoy her lessons. We don’t want to push her too hard this young as we want her to enjoy it. Her class has been working on “how to” writing, and Maddie wrote about how to be a grandparent: “First, you have to be old. Next, you have to have kids. Last, you have to have a name.” My parents thought that was amusing! We had our first quarter conference with Maddie’s teacher, and she seems to be doing well. She’s been doing some pull out enrichment/AG classes for math. I was surprised that they weren’t doing the same thing for reading, but they don’t have any kids in the class at a high enough reading level. She is doing well with her reading and still has been enjoying the Arthur chapter books. Her spelling has been improving, and she does well on her weekly spelling tests. Maddie’s favorite thing to do outside at our house right now is to climb one of the trees in the front yard. The other day, Maddie very sternly pointed at herself in the mirror and said, “Hey! You’re a copycat!” Maddie still loves her Daddy, but she has shown some preferences towards me again lately. I think she’s evening out her parent preferences a bit. Both kids fight over who gets Mommy at bedtime these days.

Something Cullen is doing (4.5 years old): Cullen had bike day, and we realized that we really need to get him a bigger bike. He did great at bike day and loved having us cheer him on. Cullen is doing very well with his music lessons. He is demonstrating good rhythm and demonstrates his singing voice well. I’m so proud of him. He has always been very musical, so I’ve been excited to see where this adventure takes him. I hope that he enjoys music for a long time! Recently at school, Cullen said to one of his teachers, “I smell chicken nuggets.” The teacher said that they weren’t having chicken nuggets, but they were having a different type of nuggets. Cullen said, “Fish nuggets?” The teacher said, “yes, what kind?” Cullen replied, “Dead fish.” Cullen is doing a Lego class during the preschool day once a week, and he had his first one this week. He said that it was fun, and they learned about camels and made a little camel. A few days after a fire drill at school, Cullen woke up in the morning and said, “Last night, I dreamed that there was a fire on the playground at school. That was NOT a good dream. That is a dream that I think I’ll delete.” Cullen has been very sweet and loving with me lately. He also wants to be very tightly tucked into his bed where he looks like a mummy. Cullen is now able to operate the Wii U on his own, as we discovered one morning. He had taken out Gabe’s game and put in his own. He was playing on the game pad without the TV. He’s getting better and better at video games.

Something I’m looking forward to: For the rest of the month, we have…more swim lessons and music lessons, Gabe’s game night, a movie night with my book club friends, Cullen’s Lego class, our neighborhood block party, a chocolate 5k for Maddie and me, our 8th anniversary, some kid birthday parties, my book club, Halloween, pumpkin day at Maddie’s class, the fall parade at Cullen’s class.

Something captured: They really do love each other.

Cullen is 4.5!

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

It’s time for Cullen’s next letter…he turned 4 and a half on July 22nd. (more…)

Happy 6th Birthday to Maddie!

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

A bit more delay getting this one out, but at less than a month after her birthday (and a cruise right after), I’ll take it. Here’s the latest letter to Maddie. (more…)

Happy 4th birthday, sweet boy!

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

It’s time for another letter to Cullen, just a tad late this time. Happy 4th birthday to my sweet, sweet boy! (more…)

The Sunday Somethings, 29dec13 and 05jan14

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Something that makes me happy: Group photos for events and vacations. I always regret it a little when I don’t make everyone pose for a group photo! I love having them later.

Something I’m thinking: I couldn’t live somewhere where the single digit temperatures and lower are common. Brr!

Something happening around the house: Legos everywhere!

Something I’m reading: I’m partway through both The Golem and the Jinni and Lexicon. I intend to finish both of those, but I had to take a break from the first one so that I could read Lexicon for this month’s book club. I finished the 4th book in The Book of Ember and read the first part of Sand by Hugh Howey. I also read (and recommend) a novel by a friend, An Uncertain Faith by Allie Potts.

Something Gabe is reading: He read the first part of Sand and is now reading The Golem and the Jinni.

Something I’m watching: We have caught up on most of our shows, and we watched the Downton Abbey premiere last night! The kids have been watching a ton of Ninjago now that Cullen has the first two seasons of the show on DVD.

Something I’m playing: 12-person Telestrations, Big Boggle, Village… not sure what else. Oh, and I’ve been playing Pikmin 3 on the Wii U. Fun!

Something I’m creating: I’ve been working hard on photobooks! I started and finished my WwDC/San Francisco book from last year, and I’m about halfway through my 2013 photobook. That one will be challenging to fit into one volume, but I think I can do it.

Something tasty: I was going to make some cookie dough truffles, but so far I’ve just been pinching off pieces of the eggless cookie dough. Yum! The best thing that I’ve had in a while was the Creme Brulee from the fancy dinner that we had with Gabe’s parents as part of their Christmas gifts from us.

Something about both kiddos: We had a wonderful Christmas, despite a little bit of illness at the beginning of our holiday break. We were supposed to spend Christmas Eve with friends, but nobody wanted to spread germs. We made chex mix and decorated sugar cookies. We did some crafts. We had a great time and read The Grinch and The Night Before Christmas before bedtime in preparation for Santa’s visit. The kids had a slumber party in Maddie’s room and were asleep fairly quickly. Santa visited early and finished depositing the gifts and filling our stockings by 10pm. The kids were excited, and Christmas morning started with stockings followed by opening Santa gifts. We had red and green pancakes (with chocolate chips) for breakfast. We lounged around in our pajamas all day. The next day, we celebrated with friends and Gabe’s parents arrived that evening. On New Year’s Eve, we had our usual games night party. It was a fun, chaotic evening, and we let the kids stay up as late as they wanted. Cullen made it until 11:30pm when he decided he wanted to lay down in our bed and promptly fell asleep. Maddie made it to 12:15am and watched the ball drop. She was so excited to have stayed up that late. They both need to work on thank you notes for all the wonderful presents they received, and they still have a few more presents to open. We like to spread out Christmas a little! The kids are getting along together fabulously (with the exception of our usual breakfast table drama where Cullen doesn’t want Maddie looking at him). They play with Legos, Ninjago, art projects, and more. I love how much they adore each other. They are still taking their sports lessons.

Something Maddie is doing (5.5 years old): Maddie and I worked on her science fair project last night. She is testing the strength of three different configurations of six sheets of origami paper (cube, tubes, and flat sheets). Her hypothesis was that the paper rolls/tubes would be the strongest, and she was disappointed to find out that she was wrong. She seemed satisfied that being wrong was part of being a scientist and doing science experiments. She did five different trials and recorded her observations and counts in her lab notebook. We will need to gather the results and make her presentation board by next week. Santa’s main gifts for Maddie were legos, the rainbow loom, and a kindle fire. She has made numerous bracelets since then, and it was cute when she loomed with the neighbors. Other gifts from friends and family included a Lalaloopsy doll (something she kept asking for), a bracelet craft set, Lego sets, a fancy art set, board games (shared with her brother), and new books. Maddie still loves the Legos, but she doesn’t sit and put them together for long periods of time. Her attention span isn’t as great as it used to be for that, but hopefully that is just a phase. Maddie has decided that she also likes Ninjago and plays battles and other imagination games with her brother. I think she has enjoyed the show, but she also learned that her brother will engage with her more if she’s willing to play what he wants to play.

Something Cullen is doing (3.5 years old): He barfed on the way into his classroom on December 23rd, which was supposed to be our last day of work and daycare. We started our break a little earlier, and he shared a bit of the stomach bug with me. At bedtime one evening, Cullen asked Daddy, “Daddy, is the Grinch a real person?” Gabe said, “No.” Cullen replied, “How do you know?” Daddy: “He’s just a story by Dr. Seuss.” Cullen: “Sometimes you’re not right about things.” Cullen also has said to Maddie several times recently when she has been singing, “Maddie do you think anyone wants to hear that? Nobody wants to hear that.” Cullen has had a rough time at nights, and he has been crawling into our bed in the middle of the night at least every other night. He was doing pretty well over the break, but he has resumed that pattern the last few days. I hope that it’s a short phase. Santa’s main gifts to Cullen were Ninjago spinners, Legos, and Star Wars DVDs. He has loved playing with his numerous minifigures and new Ninjago sets and spinners. Other gifts included race cars and a car track, more spinners, Ninjago DVDs, more Ninjago lego sets, and a Ninjago encyclopedia which may now be his favorite book ever. I think it’s safe to say that Ninjago was the theme of Cullen’s Christmas. He’s still crazy about Ninjago, obviously. He’s really enjoying all of his new things, and I love to watch him play with the figures and built sets. He doesn’t have the attention span to put big Lego sets together right now, but he does enjoy playing with the final result.

Something I am struggling with: Writing these reports…

Something I’m doing towards my goals: Finishing my photobooks!

Something I’m looking forward to: I’m reading to Maddie’s class on Friday, and I’m volunteering in a couple weeks for their 100-day celebration. I’m not looking forward to Gabe being out of town for a couple of days next week for a business trip. He’s going to miss Maddie’s science fair, too. Boo.

Something captured: Gabe’s family with Mickey ears – we’re ready for the cruise!

The Sunday Somethings, 22dec13

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Something that makes me happy: Pretty sure that the answer is about the same every year around this time: I love Christmas! Oh, but I also want to say that I love my new card holders. This is the first year that I have had them, and they make me happy!

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking about the last few things that I need to get done before Christmas Day…just a little more organizing and wrapping, I think. I shopped early, but the problem is that I end up buying and stashing. Things can get a little out of control.

Something I’m hoping: I hope the kids will be excited about the stuff that Santa is bringing!

Something happening around the house: New toys! Lots of Legos! We’ve already exchanged gifts with a few people, including my family, so the kids have plenty to keep them busy already!

Something I’m reading: I read the first 3 books of The Book of Ember series, and I’m close to finishing the 4th. The books are readily available at the library (on the kindle), and I like it just enough to read the series. They are quick and easy reads, though the third book was pretty awful.

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe abandoned Blackout and is trying to decide what to read next. We received some new books already for Christmas, so he has several to choose from!

Something I’m watching: We have been catching up on our shows. Survivor is finished, and Amazing Race is finished. Some of our shows are on break, but we are very behind on others. We’ve been catching up on Sleepy Hollow, Elementary, and Walking Dead.

Something I’m playing: We played Suburbia. It was the first time that I had played it, and it was Gabe’s second.

Something I’m creating: Not only did I finish my 2012 photobook, but we already have it (and I wrapped it and put it under the tree). Also, I started, finished, and ordered our NYC 2013 trip. I’m getting caught up! Next up, my WWDC/San Francisco trip from this year, and then our 2013 photobook. I can do it!

Something tasty: I’m not sure where to begin, but I must say that my dad makes the tastiest meatloaf on earth.

Something about both kiddos: The kids are so excited about Christmas! They have been working on their Lego Advent calendars. Usually, it is the first thing that they do each morning. Cullen’s last several days have had really cute toys for under his tree: airplanes, a boat, a train, and a construction vehicle. It’s been fun to see what’s behind the little door each day! Maddie’s is the Friends version, and it’s very cute as well. Both kids are doing well in their soccer (Cullen) and rollerblading (Maddie) classes. I’m glad that we signed up for another session. We took the kids to Disney on Ice. They seemed to enjoy it, though it’s not necessarily something we need to do every year. It’s not as entertaining for the adults as some other productions are. I thought the theme was better this year, but they had maybe less tricks and spins on the ice. I did enjoy the finale scenes with the snow and Christmas sleigh. We had several holiday gatherings with friends, and my family visited this weekend. The kids have already opened a good number of presents. We’ve been watching Christmas movies and Christmas specials of their favorite shows, of course.

Something Maddie is doing (5.5 years old): Maddie handled the transition back to school quite well! She had two and a half weeks, and now she’s on break until after New Year’s. She has one day of camp tomorrow as Gabe and I are both working. She’s doing the drama camp, but since it is just a one day session, I think they tend to do more art projects than plays. She will love it. Maddie has been making even more progress with rollerblading. I’m guessing we’re going to have more sessions of it in our future. She’s starting to get the more advanced moves like side stepping and skating backwards. She has a habit of biting her fingernails while doing it. This is her new nervous habit, which I guess is more socially acceptable than putting her finger in her belly button or picking her nose (both things she still does sometimes). She has some new books and has been reading some of them to us. She’s getting pretty fast with her reading. For gifts, Maddie has received Goldie Blox & the Spinning Machine, stamp markers, several books, a My Little Pony DS game, Hallmark ornaments (woohoo!), the Lego Friends bakery, sticker books, and another year of the kiwi crate. She started the bakery this morning. She’s been using her stamp markers to make scrapbooks with some old photos of her as a baby. She already put all of her stickers that came with the sticker book into the book. It’s a good thing that they are repositionable! We have played with the Goldie Blox, too, and she seems to love it! What a great toy. Maddie is so proud of herself and proclaims that she is an engineer. She’s learning what works and what doesn’t, and I’ve seen her build something that doesn’t work and improve on it so it does what she wants. Very cool. She’s been playing her DS game, too, and we’ve started reading some of her new books. She’s getting use of a lot of her new presents! I’m sure we will do the kiwi crate for December sometime this week. Maddie received her 2nd quarter report card with excellent grades in every area. She had pajama day and a book exchange with her classmates on the last day of school. They also watched the Polar Express.

Something Cullen is doing (3.5 years old): Cullen was sent home with a stomach bug last Tuesday, and he was out Wednesday as well. He had a stomach bug on top of cough and congestion. Poor little guy. He is still coughing some, and he’s been a little sensitive. He’s mostly better, at least. We’re trying to break him of his iPad habit. He begs to play it all the time. It’s the first thing he does in the morning (“can I play Daddy’s iPad?”). It’s the first thing he does when I pick him up. He only played it once or twice in the past 2 weeks, and he didn’t beg to play it very much in the past few days. Cullen received a lot of great gifts, too. He received several new books, the Ninjago Kai Fighter Lego set, The Ninjago Golden Dragon Lego set, Lego Star Wars DS game, Hallmark ornaments, sticker book, and another year of the kiwi crate. Cullen is very into the Lego minifigures, and he’s very excited to finally have some ninja guys to play with as well. Jason helped him put together the jet, and Papa and Daddy helped him build the golden dragon. He flies them around the room rescuing Maddie’s Lego friends girls and fighting bad guys. It’s not uncommon to see ninjas, bat man, Lego friends, and storm troopers interacting in this household. I love his imagination! He can play for a very long time with his minifigures, and it’s quite entertaining to hear him make up dialogue for them. Cullen had his holiday concert last week at preschool. He seemed to be singing most of the songs, and he waved and smiled at us between every song. He was so excited to have us there, and he was even more excited to have us in his classroom. Their class made cute ornaments for the parents with their handprints made into snowmen on a clear ball.

Something I am struggling with: I’ll need to make some physical therapy appointments (finally) for my knee. It’s been bothering me more again lately.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: Creating photobooks and creating holiday memories for the kids!

Something I’m looking forward to: Christmas!!! We have Christmas Eve with friends and plan on making and decorating sugar cookies. Christmas Day will be spent by ourselves, which is a very nice day together. Gabe’s parents are visiting for a few days after that. I have an all day scrapbooking/photobooking event on my calendar, and hope that I’ll be able to do it! We have a few gatherings planned with friends, but not as many as we would like!

Something captured: Silly family photo for our Christmas celebration!

The Sunday Somethings, 08dec13

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Something that makes me happy: Legos! I’m glad that the kids enjoy them as Gabe and I are also having fun with them. All four of us built things this evening. The kids also each have a Lego advent calendar.

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking about Christmas gift ideas for friends and family.

Something happening around the house: We put up our Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving. I love it. I love seeing the ornaments each year. Gabe also put up some of our outdoor lights. I love all of it!

Something I’m reading: I finished the second book of The Demon Cycle. I started and finished Out of My Mind (in one evening). That one is this week’s book club selection. I loved it. I also started and finished The Selection, and I enjoyed that one well enough to continue the series.

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe finished The Daedalus Incident and started Blackout by Connie Willis.

Something I’m watching: We’re watching The Amazing Race finale at the moment. This weekend, Maddie and I saw our neighbors perform in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I had my annual Christmas date with Audrey and saw The Grinch musical on Saturday. This morning, we saw a production of Frosty the Snowman. All three were great! What a wonderful weekend of live entertainment. Since my last update, we took the kids to see Frozen and saw Catching Fire. Frozen was cute, and the kids enjoyed it. We thought Catching Fire was great!

Something I’m creating: I’m still working on the 2012 photobook. I’ve been making progress, little by little.

Something tasty: Audrey and I ate at Revolution before The Grinch, and we did the 5-course tasting menu. Tasting menus are fun! I wouldn’t have ordered anything we had on my own, so it was a great experience to try some new things. The cocktails and wine helped, too. Oh, and we had a lot of Chex Mix that I made for Thanksgiving. YUM! I can’t wait to make more for Christmas. We took them to the movies that weekend to see Frozen. We all had a good time at the movies.

Something about both kiddos: We finally were able to visit Chad and Kristin’s farm when we had Thanksgiving with Chad’s family. It was fun to see their goats and chickens and the barn that they built. We also were able to see where their new house will be built soon. Over the holiday weekend, we made gingerbread houses. The kids also had a snow-themed book club. The kids also started another session of rollerblading (for Maddie) and soccer (for Cullen). I thought we’d be taking a break from the sports lessons, but both kids wanted to take another session. We took them to see Frosty the Snowman this morning. They seem to enjoy the plays, and we’ve already gotten some tickets for plays next year.

Something Maddie is doing (5.5 years old): We were so proud of Maddie at her drama and arts camp. She was nervous about trying a new camp, but her usual art track out camp wasn’t open the week of Thanksgiving. We thought it was a great time for her to try the drama camp since the 3-day version doesn’t have a real performance at the end. They did perform a play after the first two days for themselves, and I got to see the video. It was hard to hear her speaking some of the time, but other times she did great. She told me that we wouldn’t have to “make” her go ever again. What she meant by that is that she loved it and would happily go for a full week. She went to another week of art camp last week. The camps have been so good for her. We are loving the year round school schedule. She went back to school on Thursday, and her classroom was in a new location. She did so well with that transition. We’re starting to get the hang of this kindergarten thing.

Something Cullen is doing (3.5 years old): Cullen has been addicted to Gabe’s iPad lately. We have had to limit his time for sure. He loves playing all the Lego games, especially Ninjago. He still loves everything Ninjago and runs around the house, using whatever he can find as a ninja weapon. He sang the holiday songs to me today as a preview for his holiday concert.

Something I’m looking forward to: Cullen’s holiday concert at preschool is this week. It’s his first one, so it will be fun to see how he does! I have book club, the kids have sports lessons, we have dinner and games with friends, our holiday poker tournament is next weekend, and we have Disney on Ice next weekend.

Something captured: The kids at Frosty this morning with their new buddies.

The Sunday Somethings, 24nov13

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Something that makes me happy: Winter holidays!

Something happening around the house: The living room is a disaster. What else is new?

Something I’m reading: I finished (and enjoyed) the first book of The Demon Cycle and started on the second book.

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe finished the third book of The Demon Cycle. He’s now reading The Daedalus Incident.

Something I’m watching: We’re getting really behind on some of our shows. We have managed to stay up to date with Survivor, Amazing Race, and Hart of Dixie.

Something I’m creating: I’ve been working on our 2012 photobook. The year-in-review books take me a while.

Something tasty: Dove Dark Chocolate…yum.

Something about both kiddos: We have been doing “good/bad” on some days, and on other days listing the things that we’re thankful for. Everyone names something they are thankful for, and you can’t repeat something that was already said. We keep going around the table saying one thing at a time until we’re done with the game. It’s fun to hear what the kids say. The kids wrapped up their sports lessons this past weekend, and we were surprised that both of them wanted to sign up for more lessons! Maddie is signed up for more rollerblading, and Cullen is signed up for more soccer. The kids have been having fun playing with all the leaves in our yard. We’re thankful for the girls next door who have been raking the leaves so they can jump into them, too. We had a wonderful, quick visit from Nana and Papa while Daddy was visiting with Grandma (and Grandpa, Heidi, and Dylan). We visited Santa and checked that off of our holiday requirements. We also did the carousel and train at the mall. The kids loved it.

Something Maddie is doing (5.5 years old): Maddie was very upset this weekend when her beloved Baby Sister doll broke her leg. The fabric separated from the leg in a way that I think I will be unable to repair. We are sad about it, too. This is the doll that she received when we found out that she was going to be a big sister. She has been rather attached to baby sister for more than four years now. Maddie’s new phrase is “more than outstanding,” and she uses it when asked about how she liked something. She went to art camp for two weeks, and I love to see how her art is progressing. The first week, they did art inspired by Walt Disney and last week they did art inspired by Georges Seurat. Maddie kept saying all week, “Dot dot, it’s Seurat!” We were impressed with both of her art shows. She is at a drama and art camp this week, and she’ll finish out her track out weeks with a few more days at art camp. Maddie’s giant goose egg bruise is still not quite healed. She banged it a couple more times, so it took a little longer to heal. Maddie is making a new friend, Elizabeth, who is Austin’s big sister. Maddie has been thankful for some great things. She often says things like love and freedom and electricity. She is thankful for trees, and not just because she played in a giant leaf pile that afternoon. She’s also thankful that trees provide us with oxygen and paper.

Something Cullen is doing (3.5 years old): Last week, Cullen said, “Maddie, I love picking boogers. Do you know why? Everyone asks if I’m digging for treasure!” Cullen has had several play dates with two of his best buddies from preschool. We have had a couple of dinners with his friends, and yesterday he went to a bounce house with Blaise and to Austin’s house. I love that he’s forming these strong bonds with other kids. I’m enjoying getting to know their moms better, too. Cullen has decided that he no longer wants to be a stormtrooper when he grows up. He wants to be the red ninja (from Ninjago). He said we will have to call him Kai. He’s very into Ninjago these days. He talks about it all the time, and he wants to play ninjas with his friends at school. I had to tell him that his garlic knot was not a ninja at dinner the other day. He took my ceramic mixer implements to his room, presumably to be used as a ninja weapon. Cullen saw Santa with his friends when we were at dinner as he just happened to be at the restaurant that night. The boys were cute all together with Santa! Cullen loves playing two different Ninjago game on the iPad. He is constantly asking if he can play Daddy’s iPad. The other day, one of the things he was thankful for at dinner was that he was going to get to play Daddy’s iPad after dinner. Haha! Wishful thinking!

Something I am struggling with: I’m struggling with writing this every week (or sometimes even every other week). Sometimes we’re just busy on Sunday and I forget about it. Other times, I’m well aware of it but just don’t feel like doing it.

Something I’m looking forward to: Maddie is going to a new arts and drama camp this week. I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving and getting our Christmas decorations up! We also have kiddo book club next weekend.

Something captured:

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!