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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!

The Sunday Somethings, 21jul13

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

Something that makes me happy: We had a nice visit from Gabe’s parents this weekend!

Something I’m thinking: I guess I need to start writing Cullen’s next letter – he will be 3.5 tomorrow!

Something I’m hoping: I hope Maddie continues to have great days at kindergarten! She was doing well by the end of the week, but the beginning of the week was rough for all of us.

Something happening around the house: Gabe’s parents are staying this weekend, and we hosted the kiddo book club this morning. Chaos as usual!

Something I’m reading: I finished Requiem, and I started reading Summer Rental.

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe finished Blood Song, and he really enjoyed it. He’s now reading Leviathan Wakes.

Something I’m watching: We are getting ready to watch 42 with Gabe’s parents. They all haven’t seen it, but I saw it in the theater on Mother’s Day.

Something I’m playing: Still playing Letterpress on the iPhone.

Something I’m creating: I ordered the 2011 photobook! I’m looking forward to starting the next one (once I figure out which one is next). I created some things for the kid book club that I hosted this morning. Maddie and I worked a little on R2-D2. Now with school, we don’t have much time in the evenings to work on things like that. I guess I’ll be working on Cullen’s letter this week!

Something tasty: We are starting a little bit of a frozen yogurt habit…

Something about both kiddos: We had the book club at our house today, and both kids seemed to enjoy it! It was a pirate theme, and they made pirate flags, eye patches, and hunted for treasure in the backyard. I had a kid-friendly pirate name generator, but most of the kids didn’t want pirate names. The adults received pirate names instead! At least we were amused. The kids love doing crafts and art projects. They can sit for a while and work on their projects. We did part of the new kiwi crate with Grandma yesterday as well. Maddie also took a wooden rod and a coffee filter and made a flower for Grandma (all her own idea). I love how much the kids enjoy their art projects. They enjoyed having Grandma and Grandpa visit. They are worn out from all the excitement (and staying up a bit past their bedtimes). We took them to a bookstore yesterday, and they had a lot of fun picking out new books. Today, they formed a drum band with Grandma in the kitchen with pots and pans and tupperware and boxes. All 3 of them had a great time! The kids had fun with the temporary tattoos and even gave a couple to Grandpa who wore them proudly.

Something Maddie is doing (5 years old): Maddie had her first full week at kindergarten with her regular teacher. The first few days of the week were a little rough on us all! She was exhausted and whiny. She came home her first day with a lot of disappointments. She said, “I got stuck at the orange table! Not the purple. Not the green. Not even the blue. Yucky orange. I hate orange. I don’t even want to look at it!” She was upset that everyone was calling her Madeline. She was still sad that she didn’t have friends. By the end of the week, she left for kindergarten happy and excited and came home the same way. By the end of the week, Gabe dropped her off and she walked to the classroom by herself. She’s working on making friends. We gave her a mission to find out the name of the other girl at her table, and the next day we urged her to find out something about her. She was so proud that she found out the girl’s name and that her new friend has a sister. She’s doing great with the transition, and I think she’s starting to get more confidence and enjoy herself. She talks a lot about her new playground, and this weekend we took her out to the school so she could show us and her grandparents. She loves Hello Kitty and has been wearing her new Hello Kitty necklace every day to school. Maddie and I finished the Penderwicks, and she picked out a few other chapter books without pictures. She picked out a few new readers as well.

Something Cullen is doing (3 years old): Cullen is having a rough time with Maddie’s transition to kindergarten. I think he misses her at school, and he is a bit jealous about all the attention and new fun stuff that Maddie is getting to do. He’s been a bit crankier than usual and acting out for attention. When the kids picked out books, he picked Clifford, Lego Superheroes, and Cat and the Hat Comes Back. He’s very excited about all of them, especially the Lego Superheroes book (which is in comic book format). Cullen has been very boy lately. He always wants to play Star Wars, Angry Birds, and shoot guns and slash swords. It’s a little intense at times. He cracks us up, though!

Something I am struggling with: This week was harder on me than I expected. I thought the previous week would be the hard part with Maddie’s first day (the staggered entry day), but this week was rougher…maybe because it felt more real. She also struggled a little this week, so that made it tougher on me as well. Things are looking up, and it’s getting easier for all of us.

Something I learned: Lots of stuff about Maddie’s new class!

Something I’m looking forward to: Surprisingly, we have very few plans this week. That’s probably a good thing since this week was so slammed.

Something captured: The cutest pirates ever!

The Sunday Somethings, 14jul13

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Something that makes me happy: Maddie and I have been working on putting together the Lego R2-D2. It’s quite a project!

Something I’m thinking: It’s hard to believe that Maddie is actually in kindergarten now full time! I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around that concept.

Something I’m hoping: I hope that Maddie has a great first full week of kindergarten.

Something happening around the house: We’ll be preparing for guests this coming weekend! Gabe’s parents are coming for a quick visit.

Something I’m reading: I finally finished the 3rd Molly Fyde, and I think I’ll be taking a break from Molly. I like it well enough to continue the series, but I didn’t enjoy the 3rd one that much. I’ll still read the 4th, but I need to read some other things first. I’m reading Requiem (book 3 of the Delirium series).

Something Gabe is reading: He’s still reading Blood Song.

Something I’m watching: I’m watching Gabe play Super Mario Brothers for the Wii U.

Something I’m playing: I played a little Super Mario Brothers as well and a little Letterpress.

Something I’m creating: As I mentioned, I’ve been working on R2-D2. I also finished my 2011 photobook, finally! I need to run through everything and proof it. I’m so happy to have that finished! Next, I’ll have to do 2012…or maybe one of the two Disney trips…decisions, decisions. I’ll probably do the 2012 book first since the trips are easier than the general year albums.

Something tasty: The Maui Wowie pizza from Mellow Mushroom that we had delivered to our house this week.

Something Maddie is doing (5 years old): Maddie had big week with her last day of preschool, first day of kindergarten, and a special day of fun (since no kindergarteners attended on Friday). Her final day of preschool was Wednesday, and it was her last sprinkler day as well. It was also Cullen’s sprinkler day, so I thought that was cool that they were able to spend parts of Maddie’s last day together. On her last day, they had a special ceremony in the classroom (without parents) where all the kids and teachers said goodbye to her and gave her hugs. The teachers presented her with a special album of photos and messages reflecting on her 2.5 years at Children’s House. Maddie requested a dinner of cereal and strawberries as her night before school dinner, so that’s what she had! Gabe, Cullen, and I dropped her off for the first day. We arrived before the building opened so that she’d have plenty of time to get settled before the official start. The first week of kindergarten has a staggered entry, and each kindergartener is assigned a day (Monday through Thursday). Since our track (track 2) has two teachers, we didn’t know our teacher until after the first day. Maddie was apprehensive when we first walked into the classroom, but after she sat at her table a few minutes, she barely said goodbye to us when we left. We thought Cullen was going to have a meltdown, because he wanted to stay in the classroom with Maddie! We were surprised at how well the drop off went! We both went to pick her up at the end of the day, and we had our first experiences with the horrendous pick up line. It was even worse than usual because it was pouring down rain the whole time. It took a while to get her, and the first thing she said when she got into the car is that she wanted ice cream. I had promised that we would try a new frozen yogurt place when I picked her up, and I will say she never forgets promises like that! She talked a little bit about her day, but she didn’t say too much until later. Maddie and I went to Orange Leaf, a new to us froyo place. So far, it’s probably my favorite of the 3 that we’ve tried! By dinner, she was talking more about her day. She told us about all the tests the teachers did (she figured out she was being tested!) and that she got “lots of check marks, but not all of the check marks.” She did some reading, and she gave us an example of what she read in a very bored-this-is-so-easy voice, “The man gave the boy a balloon. Here it is.” Most of our fears were alleviated in the first day! Only one other girl was there for her staggered entry day, so she was disappointed about that. She still worries about making friends. She told me at bedtime, “I’m not scared of kindergarten anymore, even if I don’t have any friends.” We were glad to finally find out who our teacher is! Of course, we don’t know either teacher very well yet, but we were glad to find out who we had and to finally get a supply list! On Friday, Maddie and I had a special day of fun. We picked up Melissa who joined us for most of the day and went to drop Cullen off at school. The kids were excited to show Melissa their classrooms! Maddie was a rockstar with her friends! They swarmed her and gave her hugs. She’d only been gone for a day, but everything had changed in the meantime. It’s a big deal when the kids go off to kindergarten! From there, we headed to Pullen Park where the weather magically cooperated. It’s been raining almost every day for weeks. We rode the carousel, had Loco Pops, played on the play structures, did some swinging, rode the train, and Maddie rode the kiddie boats. The three of us went to meet Daddy at The Shiny Diner, Maddie’s request for lunch. After lunch, Maddie, Melissa, and I headed to Target where we went school supply shopping. Maddie was so excited to get all of these new things for school. I had my first taste of how complicated school supply shopping can be! After school supply shopping, we went to the mall where we went to Claire’s for hair accessories and a new necklace (she insists she wants to wear her hair in pigtails and such for kindergarten) and to the Lego store for the R2-D2 set. Maddie and I have been putting it together all weekend! She’s putting together about 95% of the pieces herself. It’s a complicated set! After dropping Melissa off at her house, we met Kristin and Chad at our house and all went to dinner together. All in all, Maddie had a fantastic special day and saw some of her favorite people. At night, we have been reading The Penderwicks. It’s the first book that we’ve been reading together that has no pictures, and she seems to be enjoying it. I’m excited because this will open up a new world of books that we can read at night!

Something Cullen is doing (3 years old): So, as you can see, we’ve been rather focused on Maddie lately. Maddie’s transition to kindergarten has had a bigger impact on Cullen than I anticipated. He has been having more meltdowns than usual, clearly looking for some extra attention. He seems to do well when we take a few minutes and give him some extra attention here and there. He already misses having Maddie at school with him, and I think that he’s sad about it. He’s pretty adaptable, so I’m sure he will be fine. It’s just going to be an adjustment for him. He was so excited about his first sprinkler day, especially since he got to bring a book bag with his towel and change of clothes. He wore his bookbag all morning until it was time to go to school. At school this week, one of his teachers offered him several food choices at lunch. After the third option, Cullen says, “that’s some good waitressing, Candice!” That cracked up all of the teachers (and us!). You never know what Cullen is going to say. He’s ramped up with his love of Star Wars, and he’s always running around throwing lasers and swishing light sabers. He’s been getting more into Legos, mostly building random things with random pieces, but he can do some of the sets, too. He’s been successfully pull-up free at night for several weeks with no accidents! I think it’s safe to say that he was ready this time. Lately, he wants to sleep in his underwear with no pajamas.

Something I am struggling with: Allergies! They have been awful lately. I’ve finally determined that I need to get back on a daily allergy medication. I haven’t needed that since before Maddie was born, so I guess my body is returning to it’s normal crabby self.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I’m working on my photobooks, woohoo!

Something I learned: We finally learned who Maddie’s teacher is! And I learned what a pain school supply shopping can be…

Something I’m looking forward to: This week is Maddie’s first full week of kindergarten. Otherwise, we have a few appointments, an evening with a girlfriend, and a visit from Gabe’s parents. I’m also hosting the kiddo book club (and not nearly ready for it…).

Something random: After having the same manager for around 13 years, I apparently now have a new manager.

Something captured: I took a bunch of photos of Maddie’s first day, of course. Here’s one of those.

The Sunday Somethings, 07jul13

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

Something that makes me happy: I got to play two good quality games at yesterday’s games night!

Something I’m thinking: Staying up too late and eating too much junk food may have been the root cause of my constant headache today.

Something I’m hoping: I hope that Maddie’s first day of school goes well. Maddie and I are both nervous about it!

Something happening around the house: Ugh, ants. The morning of July 4th, we had an infestation in the pantry. I guess it was about time to clean out the pantry of some things, anyway, but it sucked to have to throw out food we were planning to eat! Then last night, one of our friends pointed out that we had a few ants in the kitchen. It turned out that we had more than a few, and they were parading through the living room to the kitchen with a stop by the kids’ table. It was already late when they were discovered, and I had to make sure all the snacks were put away, ants were destroyed, and all surfaces were destickified. I hope that’s the last that we will see of the ants this year, but somehow I think that it won’t be.

Something I’m reading: I finished the 2nd Molly Fyde book and started book 3.

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe finished the 4th Molly Fyde book. He started and finished The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson. He’s now reading Blood Song by Anthony Ryan.

Something I’m watching: We surprised the kids on Friday with picking them up early and meeting Aunt Kristin to see Despicable Me 2. We all had a great time! I thought it was a fun one.

Something I’m playing: I played Terra Mystica and Le Havre last night. Both are pretty long games, and I enjoyed them! I was glad to have the opportunity to play two games like that. Gabe played Ginkopolis, La Boca, Pandemic, and Gotcha. We’re still playing Letterpress on the iPhones. Gabe also started playing Mario for the Wii U again. We didn’t get too far when we first got the game.

Something I’m creating: I’ve been working on my 2011 photobook. I’m getting close to finishing it up! I have a few more holiday events and then the “Hall of Fame.” I’ll be so glad to have that finished. It’s weird to see photos of the kids from two years ago. They sure have grown a lot!

Something tasty: My friend Marie’s no bake treats. YUM.

Something about both kiddos: They have been begging to watch Star Wars for a while. I’m not even sure what appeals to them so much about it. We watched a little Return of the Jedi. When Princess Leia saved Han Solo from the carbonite and took off her disguise, Cullen said, “awww, that’s nice! I thought she was a pig guy!” They both seemed to enjoy it. I guess we might have to get the series on DVD. We got some new paints, and the kids are having fun with painting. Both kids really enjoy art projects. We got together with friends to celebrate Miranda’s birthday on July 4th. She’ll be turning one this week. Otherwise, we didn’t do too much for the holiday. Often, we’ll take trips, but we didn’t know if Maddie’s first day might be Monday, so we decided to stay in town (and work on Friday). They both loved seeing Aunt Kristin on Friday.

Something Maddie is doing (5 years old): She started taking showers by herself which is a milestone for us as much as it is for her! She’s very excited about it. She’s doing a decent job of getting clean, too. Meanwhile, Gabe and I are rejoicing that our duties have decreased for the nightly bathing rituals. She’s doing pretty well with teeth brushing, too. Maddie finally brought home her USA map – that was great! I’m not sure if she’s excited about going to kindergarten. I think that she is, but she’s more nervous than excited at the moment. She is very excited about what’s going to happen after her first day with ice cream after school and then a special Mommy day on Friday. Maddie’s been coloring a scene of her and her brother at the beach. They are relaxing on beach towels next to an ice cream cart. I think she really wants to go to the beach!

Something Cullen is doing (3 years old): He’s very into swishing around swords and punching the air and “byewing” things (um, however you would spell the sound that shooting lasers in a movie would make). Poor little boy is coming down with a cold or something and spent most of the day with a very raspy voice. He was frustrated that he couldn’t talk the way he wanted! Cullen was less than thrilled about the fireworks that neighbors were setting off on July 4th. He woke up and came out of his room and said, “That’s not a good time to do fireworks…when you’re sleeping!” Cullen had a routine follow up visit with the ENT. It was just a continued follow up for his tubes. Unfortunately, one of the holes has not closed up on its own and his ENT believes that he needs surgery to close the hole. He didn’t feel it was an emergency, so we will probably give it some time before we pursue surgery.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I’m working on my photobooks, woo!

Something I learned: If you’re trying to make red, white, and blue jello with the white layer as cool whip, you need to do something with that middle cool whip layer. Otherwise, it’s just going to float to the top and look like a mess. Oh well, at least it still tastes the same!

Something I’m looking forward to: Both kids have sprinkler day on Wednesday, and I think their classes will be together for it. They will be sharing the playground for Maddie’s last 3 days, so they are excited about that. Maddie’s last day is Wednesday, and she will be going to kindergarten on Thursday (her staggered entry day). On Friday, Maddie and I are going to have a “special day.” She has requested to go to lunch at the Shiny Diner and to Pullen Park. We’re going for ice cream when I pick her up on Thursday, too. I’m looking forward to seeing how the first day will go and celebrating with my little girl! I also have my first PTA meeting tomorrow (before Maddie even starts school!). I’ve volunteered to help with the PTA’s website.

Something captured: I can’t believe she starts this week.

Happy (belated) 5th Birthday, Maddie!

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Wow, Maddie is 5 years old. Five seems like a big deal to me. Why does it seem SO much more than 4? I guess I’m thinking about how she will be starting kindergarten and gaining more and more independence. It’s hard to believe. So, here is Maddie’s letter…most of it written 3 months ago. Better late than never. (more…)

The Sunday Somethings, 24feb13

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Something that makes me happy: My family makes me very happy these days. We’ve been in a good place lately.

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking about Maddie’s letter which I hope to get done this week. I’ve had a hard time finding all the right words.

Something I’m hoping: Well, to get Maddie’s letter done.

Something happening around the house: We have two new bikes! We decided to get a (smaller) regular bike for Cullen, too. I dusted off my bike and rode with them a little bit, too.

Something I’m reading: Slogging my way through A Feast for Crows.

Something Gabe is reading: King of Thorns.

Something I’m creating: I am trying to get started on Maddie’s letter, but I’m looking forward to two scrapbooking days with friends this week. I’m taking a vacation for one of them, woohoo! I’m hoping to finish at least one photobook in the near future. Still many more to go… Oh, and the kids and I did some crafts.

Something tasty: We have had a lot of cake lately. Oh, and the best was homemade marshmallows. YUM! Now I want to make them more than ever. I need to find a good candy thermometer.

Something about both kiddos: Both kiddos are so excited about the new bikes. We had intended just to get one for Maddie as her birthday present, but we ended up with one for each kid. I guess we’ll have to find something else special for Maddie! We had wanted to wait to get Cullen a regular bike with training wheels (or without) until he had gotten better on the balance bike. He was zipping around the store on the bike, and he just looked so cute…and he *does* need one for bike day. So, anyway. Gabe and I were suckers and both kids took home nice, shiny, new bikes. We played outside all afternoon which was nice! The weather was beautiful and a perfect ending to a wonderful family weekend. They have started watching all kinds of new shows in the past few months. Some of these include the Pink Panther, Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, the Mr. Men show, and Sofia the First. They will still watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Doc McStuffins, and Super Why when they have new episodes. We got this month’s Kiwi Crate this weekend, so we made some of the crafts this weekend. They made cute little pom pom pets out of yarn and a little pet playground. We all love our monthly craft boxes! We had a break from classes this week (no ballet or rollerblading).

Something Maddie is doing (5 years old): We really thought that Maddie would be able to handle going straight from the balance bike to the real bike without training wheels. We didn’t account for how much heavier the bike is or how difficult it is to teach a kid how to ride a real bike! I don’t think any of us are ready for it yet. We took them off briefly this afternoon, but we decided to put them back on for now. Maddie enjoyed having us come to her class for cake on her birthday, and we had a nice dinner to celebrate that night. She’s very proud of being 5! She continues to do a lot of reading every day. She has been in a phase where she enjoys tracing her coloring pages to make a “copy.” The walkie talkie and ticket system continues to work well for us. Nights are not nearly as frustrating as they used to be! Maddie has seemed like a very happy girl lately, so I think a lot of different factors are contributing to that.

Something Cullen is doing (3 years old): Cullen had a big week, too. He started his new preschool class! He had no problems with the transition. He’s already doing well in the new class, and it sounds like the teachers are very pleased with his transition. I’m so proud of him! We made birthday cards for two birthday parties this weekend, and Cullen wanted to write “Happy Birthday” on his just like his big sister was doing. I didn’t think he’d be able to do it, and I was shocked when he wrote every letter. He didn’t write them in order, but he wrote them! He then wrote his name really well (and in order) several times this weekend. I couldn’t believe he could do it. I was very impressed. He’s excited about his new bike which he definitely earned by his utter cuteness in the store.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: We were excited to take two large boxes to the shred-a-thon. Woohoo! We still have quite a bit to scan and shred, but it’s a big start.

Something I’m looking forward to: Appointments for Maddie, book club, two scrapbooking (photobooking) days, the new session of rollerblading for both kids, and Rapunzel (live play) for all of us.

Something captured: Two pictures this week…each kid on their new bike! The kids picked out their own clothes today. Cullen insisted on that snowman sweater.

The Sunday Somethings, 17feb13

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Something that makes me happy: We had another wonderful weekend, this time with Maddie Special Day.

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking about the school application process. Ugh. I just want to know where we are going and what the schedule will be. I hate not being able to plan for anything.

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping we will get into the year round school.

Something happening around the house: We have been getting rid of more things, but we still have a lot of things left to sell or donate (or trash). Little by little, we are making some progress. Oh! And we finally got a new mattress!!! So far, so good, but we will have to see how we feel about it in a month or so!

Something I’m reading: I finished Son and remembered how much I like that series! I finally got back to reading A Feast for Crows (again). I had started reading it (for the second time) about a year and a half ago and got distracted. I hope that I can get through it this time. I didn’t start at the beginning, but I started pretty close to the beginning. A lot of it has been coming back to me, but I also remember that this one had chapters of people that I find myself going “um, who? do I care?” I hope that I can stay on task…then finally, finally read A Dance with Dragons and be caught up to everyone else. Reading this series is a bit of a commitment, and I haven’t felt all that committed to my reading in the past 5 years.

Something Gabe is reading: King of Thorns.

Something I’m watching: Amazing Race started last night!

Something I’m creating: I helped the kids with their Valentine’s Day boxes and the rest of their valentines. That’s about all of the creating that I’ve been doing lately.

Something tasty: I had oatmeal raisin pancakes for breakfast on Maddie Special Day. Yum! It’s like having a cookie for breakfast.

Something about both kiddos: I’m thrilled about how much Maddie and Cullen love each other. I know that the sibling lottery is a crapshoot, and I’m sure every parent wants their children to be best friends. I’m encouraged by a study mentioned in NurtureShock that says that how siblings relate at a very early age is a pretty good predictor of what their lifetime friendship will be like. They are great buddies. I’m interested to see how the dynamic changes as Cullen starts preschool and as Maddie starts elementary school. Maddie has been telling Cullen all about what to expect at Children’s House. It is funny to hear them talk these days. This evening, they were upstairs playing and laughing. It was one of those times where Gabe and I looked at each other and just knew they were up to no good. Then there’s the debate of “do we go up and investigate? or do we enjoy another couple minutes relaxing downstairs first?” They had discovered the drawer with a bag full of flossers and had them all over the floor. I think they each put them in their mouths first before putting them on the bathroom floor…the same bathroom floor with a mostly-but-not-quite potty trained 3-year old boy. Yuck. But, I must say, there were worse things that they could have been giggling about doing! We were amused by how much fun they were having. The kids had fun at the science museum on Saturday, and they were excited to see the Titanic exhibit. At the beginning of the exhibit, you are given a boarding pass. At the end, you get to find out whether you went down with the ship or whether you were saved. I found my name and Maddie’s name first. We both survived. Gabe’s was next, and he made it, too. Then we got to Cullen’s. I finally located his name on the list that went down with the ship and in parenthesis, it said, “band.” Cullen asked, “did I sink?” I knelt down on the ground with him and said, “Cullen! You were in the band! That’s exciting! You played music for everyone as the ship was sinking!” “Was I saved?” “Um, well, um, no. But you were in the band! Isn’t that cool! What instrument do you think you played?” “The drums!” He was a little bit upset at first, but he seemed to like that he was part of the band. Later, I heard Maddie telling him that he went down with the ship, and Cullen replied, “Yes, but I made sure that you and everyone was happy.” The kids liked touching the iceberg and a piece of the Titanic’s hull the best. I have to admit that I was pretty excited about touching the hull! In the rest of the museum, they enjoyed talking to people and doing various crafts. The kids loved seeing all the pretty snow on Saturday, but it didn’t stick around. It was pretty to watch as we had big, fluffy flakes. The kids had their last “ballet” class, and it will probably be our last one for a while.

Something Maddie is doing (4.5 years old): Maddie was so happy all day on Maddie Special Day. We started with our favorite breakfast place where she had orange juice and chocolate chip pancakes. By the time we left breakfast, it had started to snow. We decided that the roads were not going to be too bad considering that it had been 65 degrees the previous day. We headed to the science museum. The kids were most excited about seeing the Titanic exhibit, as I mentioned before. Maddie spent a lot of time with some entomologists talking about bugs that she was coloring. She also told them all about her Special Day. We headed to lunch at her favorite place after the museum and then to the toy store. She was very convinced that she wanted a racing car set. We started in that aisle, and we visited lots of other aisles. She would examine other interesting toys and comment, “I really like this! I’m going to stick with what I have, though.” We happened to glimpse the bikes when we were getting ready to leave, and Maddie thought a big girl bike was the only thing worth trading away the race car set. We told her that we might have to shop around, and we praised her when she made the choice to get a bike tomorrow or later this week versus going home with a new toy right away. She picked out a Hello Kitty bike on Sunday. After the toy store, we headed home where we were joined with good friends for dinner and cake. She requested chocolate cake, chocolate icing with chocolate sprinkles and “rainbow sprinkles for good measure.” She decorated the cake herself, and she decided to put chocolate graham cracker bunnies around the edge in a border. Oh, and she had hot chocolate for the first time. I’d say it was a pretty perfect day for an almost 5-year old chocolate-loving girl. She was very happy. She’s still reading to us every night, and we picked up a couple of new readers when we bought the bike. Reading is definitely her passion right now. On the way to school last week, she was reading road signs. It occurred to me that she can read just about anything she wants now. I asked her how it felt to be able to read whatever she wants, and she replied, “I’m freeeeeeeee!!!” Perfect response.

Something Cullen is doing (3 years old): Cullen starts his preschool transition today. One of his teachers visited him today, and tomorrow she will come to his old classroom to take him to his new one. They are hoping that he will stay through at least lunchtime. He will have the option to stay the whole day, so we will see what happens. When I asked him this afternoon, he said, “I’m going to stay all day and then I will hear Maria [current teacher] crying.” Awwww! Last week, the kids and I were listening to Mumford and Sons on the way to school on my iPhone. It was paused all day, and I started again just before picking up Cullen. As soon as he got into the car, he said, “This is a very long song!” Also last week, he was making noise in the kitchen, banging on something. I asked him, “Um, Cullen, what are you doing?” He replied, “I’m fighting DRAGONS.” Oh, ok, then, carry on. He then said, “Maddie, you should be ok now.” Maddie said, “But they are still alive!” Cullen replied, “Yes, but they won’t growl at you now.” He then ran over to Gabe and me, “Mommy! Daddy! Be careful. Watch out for dragons. They could roar fire on you. They are still alive.”

Something I’m looking forward to: This week, we have Cullen’s transition to Children’s House, and Maddie’s birthday including a celebration in her classroom and her birthday dinner. We have two kid birthday parties to attend this weekend, and we need to get to a shred-a-thon on Saturday. We have a couple of giant boxes full of papers to be shredded. It will feel good to have that done!

Something random: My sister’s goats started having babies this past week. She has a whole bunch of new baby goats.

Something captured: I know how to make 3 preschoolers happy – hot chocolate! I’d say that Maddie and Cullen’s first hot chocolate experience was a success.

The Sunday Somethings, 11feb13

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Something that makes me happy: We’re getting a new mattress this week! I hope that we like it, as we have hated our current one for 6 years. Oh, and I finished our taxes. Woohoo!

Something I’m thinking: We have too many appointments this time of year. Ack!

Something I’m hoping: I hoping that appointments go well.

Something happening around the house: I’m working on scanning again. Scanning, scanning, scanning. Pretty soon we’ll be recycling, shredding, recycling, and shredding. We’re taking several boxes to an upcoming shred-a-thon.

Something I’m reading: I finished Nurture Shock, and I enjoyed it! It gives parents a lot to think about. I should reread some of the chapters from time to time. I finished reading State of the Onion, and I would enjoy other books in that series. I’m now reading Son, the fourth book in The Giver series by Lois Lowry.

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe finished Book 8 of the Wool series, and it was great to finally be able to talk about it to each other. We’ll be watching for the next book in the series. He’s now reading King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence.

Something I’m playing: We had fun playing Tichu with friends on Friday night. I played The Castles of Burgundy, Telestrations, Big Boggle, and Forbidden Island at our games night on Saturday.

Something I’m creating: I helped the kids create their Valentines for this week. Maddie still needs to make her mailbox. I think real homework is going to stress me out!

Something tasty: Gabe and I have a bad Reese’s Peanut Butter Hearts habit this time of year. Yum!

Something about both kiddos: They had their last rollerblading lesson for this session and got their medals! They were excited about that part, and now they can get a free donut every time they visit Dunkin Donuts for the next couple months or something? Anyway, we went and treated the kiddos (and ourselves) to donuts after the lesson. The kids both created their Valentines. I’m not a big fan of the store bought ones (though that doesn’t mean I won’t buy them some years!).

Something Maddie is doing (4.5 years old): Maddie has made huge improvements in rollerblading! She’s getting more comfortable, and she’s actually picking up her feet to get speed. We’re so proud of her. She’ll be in the intermediate class for the next session in a few weeks. Maddie had her own design in mind for her valentines for her classmates. She drew hearts inside of a circle for each one, and then she decorated with stickers and wrote “from Maddie” on the back. Twenty valentines is a lot to do, so we split it up over several sessions. We were also proud of her when she used stickers to cover up her mistakes. Usually, she has to start over when making a mistake, so that was a big step for her! We continue to be impressed by her reading. She’s reading every day, and I’m surprised by the words that she no longer needs help with. Gabe and I are constantly introducing a new book to her and then asking the other parent, “um, did you read this to her? Has she read that one before?” and continue to be surprised when the answer is no. She’s been reading a Level 3 reader to me the last two nights. Maddie now has a walkie talkie that she can use to “summon” us to her room. This has been working fabulously. She is allowed to summon each of us once after we leave her room, and she has been using it in the middle of the night. This is a welcome change to her outbursts and screaming and yelling and crying both at bedtime and the middle of the night. It’s quite pleasant. Thanks to a good friend for the suggestion!!! Ultimately, we are hoping that she won’t need us to come every time she calls us, but for now this is a welcome change.

Something Cullen is doing (3 years old): Cullen made very cute valentines. He drew himself with each of his friends, and I labeled the people and wrote what he said about the picture. I hope that the one girl that he said he was “connected” to isn’t too creeped out by it. Haha! This morning, the kids and I listened to Mumford and Sons on the way to school from my iPhone. It was paused all day, and I turned it back on in the van right before getting Cullen. As soon as Cullen got into the car, he said, “this is a VERY long song!” Yesterday, he was telling Maddie stories which all seemed to be a variation on “Mickey and the Beanstalk” (a story he’s been getting at bedtime).

Something I am struggling with: Writing this on Sunday.

Something I’m looking forward to: We have several doctor appointments this week (two for Maddie and a dental appointment for me) and the last ballet class for the kids. I’m looking forward to my long overdue hair appointment on Wednesday! We’re all looking forward to Maddie’s Special Day this weekend. I also have a baby shower for a friend on Sunday. Busy week!

Something captured: Daddy and the kiddos after their medal ceremony on Saturday (which reminds me that we lost a knee pad!).

The Sunday Somethings, 03feb13

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Something that makes me happy: The kids had a great time at their joint Lego-themed party. I was glad that my hard work paid off and that they were excited about my efforts. Maddie told me that the cupcakes were beautiful and delicious.

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking that a Sunday party allowed me to prepare for the party all day on Saturday, but it did not account for recovery time from the party. I should have taken a vacation day to compensate for that! Of course, we also went to a Super Bowl party at the last minute.

Something I’m hoping: I hope we can finish up the thank you notes before too long…but I think we still have a few from Christmas. I’m sure the notes will be appreciated when people get them, right??

Something happening around the house: We had a small joint birthday party for Maddie and Cullen…which reminds me why I didn’t really want to have another home party. It turned out well, but home parties are definitely more stressful than the alternatives!

Something I’m reading: I finished City of Bones (and plan on reading more in that series). Book 8 of the Wool series (Third Shift – Pact) came out this week, so I started and finished it. I am looking forward to others finishing it so I can discuss it! I started Nurture Shock, which I have been planning to read for years.

Something Gabe is reading: He finished book 7 of the Wool series and started on Book 8.

Something I’m watching: We went to a Super Bowl party this year, but I can’t say I really watched much of the Super Bowl itself.

Something I’m creating: I created cupcakes for the party. I went through several iterations of “the plan,” but it all worked out great. I was very happy with how they turned out in the end. We’ve also been putting together lego kits and puzzles with the kids.

Something about both kiddos: The kids enjoyed their birthday party! They were excited about the cupcakes and decided that we should have chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry cupcakes. Maddie insisted on chocolate for herself and vanilla for at least one friend. Cullen insisted on strawberry, and I’m not even sure he’s ever had strawberry cake. Maybe he thought that’s what Maddie’s new Strawberry Shortcake underwear is all about? One of the games that they like to play in the car is “Rapunzel.” They put their scarves on their head (hanging down like long hair) and secure them with a knit cap. Then they take turns saying “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair” while the other flops their hair over the edge of the car seat. Hilarious. One of the gifts that they received for their birthday was a Wii Fit game for kiddos with Nick Jr characters. They look adorable while they try it, and they have been loving it so far. I think it will come in handy on rainy or cold days, too!

Something Maddie is doing (4.5 years old): Maddie orchestrated her first practical joke. I’m so proud (and a little scared). She came up with the idea on her own and got Daddy, Nana, and me with it. She put a path of paper on the floor and asked us to walk on the path. She had coated one of the pieces of paper with glue from her glue stick. So we’d walk on it and then the paper would be completely stuck to our foot. Pretty clever (and hilarious). I’m impressed she came up with it on her own! She continues to read to us every night, and we continue to be surprised at what she can read on her own. Maddie had her first incident report at school this week with an injury to her lip after falling off of playground equipment. Maddie did great at the rollerblading lesson last Saturday and was picking up her feet and gaining speed and confidence.

Something Cullen is doing (3 years old): We now know which teachers Cullen will have and that his move up date is on February 19th. He’s excited, and I’m sad about leaving the daycare building after almost 5 years. I can’t believe it’s time. I will enjoy being able to drop both kids off at the same location for the next 6 months. We had Cullen’s 3-year old check up. He was a little over 31 pounds (46th percentile) and a little over 39 inches tall (86th percentile). Cullen definitely took a little more time to adjust to the rollerblades after missing a week due to the ice day. He was doing pretty well towards the end and even skated a little on his own.

Something I am struggling with: Dry, itchy skin.

Something I’m looking forward to: This week, I have lunch with a friend, dinner and games with friends, ballet, rollerblading, orientation with Cullen’s new classroom, and games night. Whew.

Something captured: The party table and kiddos

Happy 3rd Birthday, Cullen!

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Somehow, I’ve managed to finish Cullen’s letter the same week as his birthday. Woohoo! (more…)