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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…)

The Sunday Somethings, 22jun14

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Something that makes me happy: I took the kids to Krispy Kreme for their first experience with “hot now” doughnuts. They had so much fun viewing the conveyor belt and eating fresh donuts! They were quite excited, though I wasn’t sure that loading them up with sugar was our best start to the day.

Something I’m thinking: Um, I have been very negligent of my somethings lately. We’ve been so busy!’s been more than a month. I guess I didn’t do a “better job” like I had hoped in my last post. So…the kid updates are going to be even longer than usual this time!

Something I’m hoping: I hope that Maddie’s last week of kindergarten goes well. They have a lot of fun activities planned this week, and we should find out her first grade teacher at the end of the week.

Something happening around the house: The sunflowers that we planted in early spring are blooming! We are all excited. We are talking about doing some landscaping in the front and the back, but we’re not sure what we want to do exactly. We do know we want to get rid of some of the overgrown bushes.

Something I’m reading: I finished Damsel Under Stress. I then started and finished The Way of Kings which was a 1000+ page fantasy novel. I enjoyed it, but I felt like I was reading it forever. This week, I started and finished The Secret Keeper for this month’s book club selection. I’m now reading Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen.

Something Gabe is reading: He finished Last Argument of Kings. He started and finished Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie and started The Way of Kings.

Something I’m watching: We haven’t been watching very much lately as we’ve been playing some video games, and I’ve had a ton of pictures to catch up on sorting.

Something I’m playing: Gabe and I both have been playing Battleheart Legacy on the iPad, and we’ve been having a lot of fun with it. It’s a cute RPG. I haven’t played too much Candy Crush lately. The whole family has been playing Mario Worlds 3D (mostly Gabe and the kids), and we got the new Mario Kart for the Wii U. That’s been getting a lot of play in the house as well.

Something I’m creating: I’ve been doing a lot of sorting of photos, and I’ve been trying to get through the photos from my week in San Francisco at WWDC. I need to get started on both the Key West photobook and the WWDC photobook. I did finish my 2013 photobook.

Something tasty: Fresh, hot Krispy Kreme donuts!

Something about both kiddos: As I mentioned, the kids had their first Krispy Kreme experience. They loved wearing the hats, watching the doughnuts on the conveyor belt, and eating the fresh, yummy doughnuts (they also demanded some chocolate covered ones, but I required everyone to have a fresh one first). Since my last letter, both Gabe and I have been on trips without the kids. The kids always get to do special things with the parent at home, so they don’t seem to mind. They usually get presents when we return, and they get excited about the little gifts. Their favorite thing lately when we’re away is seeing pictures of the tiny koala bear and his adventures. He has a lot of fun, but I have to say he gets into some trouble at times, too! It’s a neat way for us to connect with the kids while we’re gone. Gabe spent 4 days away with his mom in Vegas, and I spent a week in San Francisco for WWDC with work. The kids are great friends and are constantly playing together. It’s a loud place when they are both at home as they are coming up with scenarios and making up rules to whatever world they are currently imagining. It’s nice that they get along so well (most of the time), though it also drives us crazy sometimes as they are so loud! They are happy together most of the time. Both of them have been playing more video games and getting better at Mario and MarioKart, especially Cullen. We went to the mountains with friends for Memorial Day weekend. We stayed in a cabin with a beautiful view near Blowing Rock. The kids loved the Dan’l Boone Inn (we all did and ate there twice). We all had a great day at Tweetsie Railroad. I had been there as a kid when I was a little older than Maddie, so it was neat to revisit with the kids. It’s just right for their age, and it’s nice to not have waits for any of the rides (and only pay the initial entry fee instead of paying per ride like at the fair). My parents came for a short visit while Gabe was out of town. We went to see How to Train Your Dragon 2 while they were here, and we all enjoyed it. The kids had fun with Dana twice while Gabe and I went to see Jack Johnson nearby and Vampire Weekend downtown. Cullen was jealous and wished he could go to the Vampire Weekend concert and can’t wait to be a “grown up” so that he can go. Cullen said he was going to marry me when he grows up. Maddie said, “I don’t think so…because when we grow up, our parents will be dead.” Uh, nice. The kids had their kid book club this morning, and they read Magic at the Bed and Biscuit (for the magic theme). Several of the kids performed magic tricks, and Marie had several tricks up her sleeve as well. She does such a nice job with the club, and the kids love it. Our next theme is the rainforest, and we’re going to a special related exhibit at a local museum.

Something Maddie is doing (6 years old): Since my last post, Maddie had two weeks of track out art camps. She went to a new one and her old favorite. The new one was structured more like a class, and it didn’t seem to fit her as well as her usual camp. She didn’t seem to like it for the first few days, but she claimed it was her second favorite camp by the end of the week. She learned about Monet at the regular camp the following week. Maddie has had some issues with headaches and feeling ucky in the car on long rides when she tries to read or plays handheld games for too long. She has never thrown up due to this until our ride back from the mountains. We thought that she was carsick, but it could have been a bug or something else odd going on as she threw up two other times since then. Hopefully, we’re in the clear with that now. Maddie was invited to her first ever slumber party, but we decided that none of us are ready for that. I accompanied her for the fun part of the evening, taking her home at about 10:30pm so that she could sleep at our house. That worked out pretty well for her. I’m a little nervous as the older sister threw up while we were there. I hope all the girls don’t get stomach bugs! She was quarantined from the kids for the most part, but stomach bugs always make me nervous. Maddie continues to love Frozen, and the party was Frozen themed. I got a cute video of the kids watching the movie and at least 8 of them singing “Let It Go.” You can’t see the kids, but you can hear their sweet voices. The oldest sister put make up on the girls, and they had a fashion show. Maddie had her last field trip of the year to the kids’ museum. I chaperoned, and I didn’t lose anyone, so I consider that a victory. I was in charge of 3 girls, and they were well behaved. The kids seemed to have had a great time. Maddie’s last week of kindergarten is this week, and she has a lot of fun things planned for the week. Tomorrow, her class is performing some kind of end of year show. Afterward, we will enjoy a picnic with the kids. Wednesday is some kind of summer fun day where they get to spend pennies that they have earned in the past few weeks. It will be set up as a sort of carnival, and I volunteered for that, too. Friday, they are having a movie, popcorn, and jammie day. On Thursday, they can bring in board games from home. I think they are done learning anything for the year, and we’re getting in a lot of fun. She’s a bit nervous about starting first grade. The thing that she’s most nervous about is meeting new friends. Since there are only two classes on her track, she will know about half the kids. I think she’s nervous about whether the ones that she likes will be in her class. I hope she will have some favorite friends in there! It will take her some time to meet the new ones, but hopefully it won’t be too bad for her. We can’t wait to hear about her new teacher! Maddie is still doing gymnastics through August. She claims that she doesn’t like it, but I know that she enjoys it while she is there. I think she would enjoy a straight tumbling class more. Last week’s class focused more on tumbling, and she was having a great time! She started a swimming class once a week, and she is doing pretty well with that. We’re going to try to continue the swimming lessons for a while until she seems comfortable in the water and can swim on her own pretty well. I hope it goes well at the new place. We are happy with it so far. She is signed up for a group piano class later this summer, and we’re hoping to start regular group piano lessons in the fall. She seems excited about that, and I hope that she will be excited when she starts! Maddie’s class had a “Donuts for Dad” event for Father’s Day, and Gabe was glad that he was able to attend before heading to the airport for Vegas. Maddie loves having us in the classroom. We intend to take advantage of that for as long as it lasts. I know the day will come where she’ll be embarrassed to see us at school! They made some kind of thing with their footprints and a poem about walking with dad. Maddie is very interested in My Little Pony, and that is her reward of choice. We have been working on her getting good behavior reports from school, and she earns tickets for good days. She turns her tickets in for the opportunity to buy new My Little Pony toys, and she is saving her tickets now for a larger toy. She is pretty good at “saving” for something bigger!

Something Cullen is doing (4 years old): Cullen is totally obsessed with the iPad games and now the Wii U games. He’s especially obsessed with playing Mario 3D Worlds for the Wii U, and he’s getting surprisingly good at it. I’m impressed. I am seeing him complete worlds that I remember that Gabe struggled to complete. His goal is to get the “gold star” on all the levels, which requires you to beat the level with all 5 of the characters. Maddie gets frustrated because he often beats her at the video games now. He almost always wins at MarioKart against her, and he does a lot better with Mario as well. Of course, as her little brother, he rubs it in a bit sometimes as well. We all need to work on being better sports. He can get quite upset when he can’t complete a level and keeps losing lives. He gets his video game temper from his dad (OK, and maybe from his mom, too). I told him about Nana and Papa’s 44th wedding anniversary and what that meant. He said, “Ewwww! I don’t want to hear about people getting married! That means they have to kiss on the lips!” He’s pretty convinced that kissing on the lips is what makes people married and what people have to do if they are going to get married. I tried to explain to both kids that they will probably want to kiss someone on the lips if they want to marry them. I reassured both kids that there is absolutely no requirement to get married. They are both happy with living at home forever (when they aren’t talking about marrying each other). Cullen claims that dogs get married by rubbing cheeks instead of kissing on the lips. Cullen has some transitions at school soon. Some of his favorite classmates, including his best buddy Austin, will be moving onto kindergarten. Austin’s last day is this week, and Cullen will really miss him. Before too long, Cullen will become one of the graduates (once all the current graduates move to kindergarten). He’s excited about becoming a “french kid” as the graduates get to go to french class and get special art and music lessons. Cullen has still had some tummy issues, but he has seemed fine over the past few weeks. We changed out all of the toothbrushes in the house, so maybe that helped get rid of the ick? Cullen still loves reading to me, but now he’s reading harder material. He usually reads a page or two and says, “that’s enough for now.” I try to get him to read a little more than that, but I’m letting him set the pace. He’s starting to get a lot of the long vowel rules. It’s still exciting to be teaching a young reader!

Something I am struggling with: Keeping up with photos and keeping up with posts!

Something I’m doing towards my goals: Well, I finished the 2013 book…but I haven’t made progress towards others.

Something I’m looking forward to: Maddie’s last week of school (and several fun events), a trip to Great Wolf Lodge and another to Edisto, Maddie’s first day of first grade (only a week off in between grades), Maddie’s swimming lessons, Maddie’s gymnastics, my book club, Gabe switching jobs (his last day is this week, and he has a week off before starting contracting), hopefully a scrapbooking day, and Marvel Universe Live are all in store for the next few weeks or so. It’s a busy and Maddie-centric time!

Something captured: I think the kids approved of the donuts.

The Sunday Somethings, 16feb14 and 09feb14

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

Something that makes me happy: A weekend of playing games! I wasn’t sure how the weekend was going to work with the logistics of the kids, but Gabe and I both were able to play quality games last weekend.

Something I’m thinking: I’m glad that it didn’t snow last weekend and make a mess of the gaming weekend…

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping we’re done with snow for the year. Two big snow events is more than we can handle in the south. We now need to make up 5 more days of school, and the make up days are running low. I’m wondering if they are going to add time to our daily schedule versus make up the days.

Something happening around the house: Twice this month, we’ve been stuck in the house all together for several days waiting for snow to thaw.

Something I’m reading: I finished The Returned. The book wasn’t all that great, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the show. I’m now reading the third book of The Demon Cycle, The Daylight War.

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe finished Sand, and now he’s reading Pandora’s Star.

Something I’m watching: We’re keeping up with Hart of Dixie, The Walking Dead, and Downton Abbey. We’re also watching Elementary and Sleepy Hollow, but I think we’re behind on those. We are still recording S.H.I.E.L.D., but we are about 10 episodes behind on that one. Oh! And we went to see The LEGO Movie yesterday, and we all loved it!

Something I’m playing: Gabe and I have sadly been playing Candy Crush (as have the kids). I swore I wasn’t going to play that game, but here we are. We played a ton of games last weekend. Gabe played Lords of Waterdeep (with expansions), Bora Bora, Amerigo, The Cave, Freedom: The Underground Railroad, Spyrium, and Geistesblitz 2.0. I played Shitenno, Village (with 5 players, but without the expansion parts), Village (with 5 players and the expansion), Glass Road, Rampage, Belfort, Lords of Waterdeep (with expansions), Lords of Waterdeep (without expansions), Bora Bora, and Spyrium. Lords of Waterdeep was our favorite game of all the ones we played.

Something I’m creating: I did a few more pages in our 2013 photobook. I have come close to finishing it before the cruise…something I was hoping that I could do so I’d be ready to work on the cruise book when we got back!

Something tasty: Snow cream! When it snowed heavily this week, we put out a bowl and made fresh snow cream. We all thought it was tasty (except for Cullen who liked it well enough but didn’t rave about it like the rest of us).

Something about both kiddos: We knew the winter storm was coming, so I think that we bought two of the last two sleds in the area on Monday. We got two of the saucer type. We ended up with over 6 inches of snow before it turned to sleet, and the next day we got even more snow (though I don’t think it added too much to the pile). We had more than enough snow to sled on the road. The kids had so much fun! Their first time sledding was a success. Then, we went next door for dinner to celebrate our neighbor’s birthday. We had a fun snow day. I was glad that the school system cancelled schools ahead of the storm, as that prompted me to work from home. We heard so many stories of people taking hours to get home or having to stay in hotels for the night. We were thankful to be safely home together. The kids were excited to make snow cream and especially liked the mini chocolate chips and sprinkles mixed into it. The kids loved being in the hotel for the games weekend. I can’t wait to see how they like the cruise ship! We all had fun with Cullen’s birthday party. We invited two of Cullen’s classmates to see The LEGO Movie and go out to dinner. We already want to see it again. That’s definitely one we’ll have to get on DVD. The kids had a good Valentine’s Day. Both celebrations were postponed on Friday. Maddie had hers on Saturday, and Cullen’s will be tomorrow. We gave them a sweet Teddy Bear Valentine’s Lego set that they put together in the morning. We also had heart shaped pink pumpkin pancakes for breakfast, and we ended the day with heart shaped chocolate chip cookies. Both kids are doing great with playing video games and have gotten better at playing Mario 3D Worlds. They also love watching us play, if we can stand the constant commentary from them. “Get the bell! Don’t fall into the lava! Daddy got dead!” The kids were both home for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. They did a pretty good job entertaining themselves so that Gabe and I could work.

Something Maddie is doing (5.5 years old): Maddie’s 6th birthday is this week. At first, she was disappointed and thought it was “not fair” that we have to drive on her birthday. She has since embraced it. I mean what other kids get to drive to a Disney cruise on their birthday?? Maddie had one dance class from her hip hop / tumbling class, but they missed another one due to the winter weather on Thursday. She’ll miss both of the make up classes due to vacation. She also missed her last two rollerblading classes of this session. We wanted to sign her up for more rollerblading since she could sign up for the advanced class this time. Unfortunately, we’d miss too many of the classes for this session. We’ll have to try again for the summer sessions. Maddie is officially tracked out (after her Saturday make up day), and she’s going to art camp for a few days this week before our vacation.

Something Cullen is doing (4 years old): Cullen had fun with his birthday party and especially enjoyed getting presents from his friends. Cullen has been going to sleep each night in our bed, and then he gets carried to his room once he’s asleep. This has become quite the bad habit! We are going to have to do a reset on this after vacation. Cullen has been playing a lot with Legos, especially the minifigures. He also loves the Ninjago spinner game.

Something I am struggling with: I’m feeling like I’m not prepared for our cruise, but I know a lot of that is due to not needing to do all that much to prepare for cruising. So much of it is already mapped out for you! I’m debating whether we want to do an excursion on St. Maarten. Originally, we had decided against it, but I’m thinking we might want to do a tour.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I’ve been working on the 2014 photobook, and we’re about to go on a Disney cruise! Two things on my goals list.

Something I’m looking forward to: Our Disney cruise!!!! Gabe has a dinner with a friend, I have lunch with a friend, and I have a rescheduled hair appointment. Maddie’s birthday is also this week. Big week for us!

Something captured: Silly kids at dinner last night.

The Sunday Somethings, 19jan14 and 12jan14

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

Something that makes me happy: I had fun watching Maddie and Daddy playing Mario 3D Worlds together. Maddie’s doing pretty well!

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking I better get started on Cullen’s 4-year old letter!

Something I’m hoping: I hope we have fun at the hockey game tonight. A generous coworker gave our family the tickets he couldn’t use, and it will be Maddie and Cullen’s first hockey game.

Something happening around the house: The house is in need of a serious clean! We managed to get presentable for games night, but we missed our regular cleaners appointment when I had the flu.

Something I’m reading: I finished both The Golem and the Jinni and Lexicon. Both are books that I would recommend to others but fell short in some way overall. I started and finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane, an odd, creepy little thing. I am now reading the second book of The Selection, The Elite.

Something Gabe is reading: He’s almost finished with The Golem and the Jinni.

Something I’m watching: Right now, I’m watching Gabe play Mario 3D Worlds. We’ve been watching Downton Abbey, The Walking Dead, Hart of Dixie, and Elementary. I think those are the ones that we’re mostly caught up with, but we have a few others that we have languishing on our DVR.

Something I’m playing: We had games night last night, and Gabe and I played several games together while letting the kids run free. The kids had a few incidents here and there, but they did pretty well playing with their friends overall. Gabe and I both played Tribune, Puerto Rico, Ticket to Ride: Team Asia, and Big Boggle. Fun games night!

Something I’m creating: I ordered my little WWDC book and showed it to coworkers. I think my coworkers were amused and impressed. I’ve been working on the 2013 book, but I’ve had a few setbacks with being sick.

Something about both kiddos: They are both continuing their sports lessons (soccer for Cullen and rollerblading for Maddie). We’ve been seeing improvements with both of them, and they seem to be having fun. Gabe and I appreciate the hour later time with 10:30am lessons instead of 9:30am! They had fun yesterday with their friends at games night.

Something Maddie is doing (5.5 years old): Maddie started a class at my work called Rollin’ Hip Hoppers. It’s a hip hop dance and tumbling combination class. She spent the first class in Daddy’s lap the whole time, not wanting to participate. I managed to get her to participate in the second week (though will admit it took some bribing). It helped that her friend Sophie is in the class. Sophie was great at helping Maddie be more comfortable and even held her hand during some of the class. Maddie and I finished up her science fair board last weekend, and the science fair was this week. I was so proud of her, and I think she was proud of herself! She has a 100th day celebration coming up this week at school and was tasked with creating a poster with 100 items. She wanted to do hearts, so she glued candy hearts to her poster. It looks cute (and tasty!). I’m excited to come and volunteer at her class for the 100th day celebration (though, really, when did this become a thing???). As I mentioned, she has been doing some of her video game training today. She’s getting better at the different types of games. Mario 3D World is fun for her to play with Daddy.

Something Cullen is doing (3.5 years old): Cullen and I visited the Lego store for the monthly minibuild. He built a cute little snowplow. We had a great time with the minibuild and a dinner at PF Chang’s. Cullen was a perfect little dinner date. We had to wait to do the minibuild, but it helped that we took the dinner break after getting our ticket. We’ll have to do more of those! Cullen has had a cough for a while, and we took him to the pediatrician. He is taking an antibiotic now. He then got a little bit of the flu, maybe? It didn’t seem as bad for him, so we aren’t sure if his flu shot helped a bit or he caught something different. He had a high fever for a couple of days, and then he was fine. I can’t believe that Cullen is going to be 4 this week!

Something I am struggling with: I managed to get the flu and was quite sick for about 5 days. At least two of those days were spent being miserable and trying to sleep in bed all day. Poor Gabe had to manage everything while I was out of commission.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: Still trying to get those photobooks done.

Something I’m looking forward to: I’m looking forward to volunteering in Maddie’s classroom twice in the next two weeks. This week, I’m helping with their 100th day celebration and next week I’m supposed to read to them after their lunch. I’m looking forward to celebrating Cullen’s birthday, though his “party” will be in a few weeks. He’s going to take a couple friends to the movies to see The Lego Movie. This week, we’re going to go out for dinner on his birthday at a restaurant of his choice. Cullen has his 4-year old check up. Maddie has Rollin Hip Hoppers on Thursdays for the next two weeks. The kids have their book club meeting this Saturday, which is a Hansel and Gretel play. And we have a Pinkalicious play on Sunday. Next week is my book club and a scrapbooking day with Michelle and Paula! I’m looking forward to the hockey game this evening, too.

Something captured: Our little scientist!

The Sunday Somethings, 11aug13 and 18aug13

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Something that makes me happy: I’ve been doing some catching up on my photobooks. I still have quite a few left to do, but I’ve at least been making progress.

Something I’m thinking: Disney really hit a home run with their new Sofia the First series. Our princess hating 5-year old is obsessed with Sofia all of a sudden.

Something I’m hoping: I hope Maddie’s track out will go smoothly this week. Just when we were getting the hang of kindergarten…

Something happening around the house: I can see the floor in the living room. Mostly.

Something I’m reading: I finished We Need to Talk About Kevin. I read The Fixer Upper, my second Mary Kay Andrews book. I needed some fluff. I then read Mudbound which has been on my “to read” list for a while. I now have started Dust, the last book in the Silo Saga by Hugh Howey!

Something Gabe is reading: He’s reading Shogun, but he will probably take a break from it and read Dust as well.

Something I’m watching: Right now, I’m watching Gabe play Mario on the Wii.

Something I’m playing: We have been playing a lot of Le Havre on our iPads! We have been playing 2-player, but we tried a 4-player game of it last night. That was too slow for me…I doubt I’ll be attempting to play with 4 (or even 3) again! I still play a little Letterpress.

Something I’m creating: I finished the photobook of my Disney trip with Audrey. I’ll be starting my next photobook soon. First, I’ll need to write Maddie’s 5.5 year letter, “due” this week. I’ve been creating things for TBGT which is coming up fast.

Something about both kiddos: On Friday night, we went to see Disney Junior Live: Pirates and Princess Adventure. It started at 7pm, so it was a late night for both kids. They handled it pretty well, though both of them were exhausted by the time we got home! Unfortunately, they woke early on Saturday, so they were a bit sensitive for most of Saturday. It’s something we can do every now and then, at least. Both kids loved the show. The kids have been playing together pretty nicely lately (yes, they still fight).

Something Maddie is doing (5 years old): Our Magic Tree House Book Club field trip to the planetarium went well! They have a special Magic Tree House show that I thought was pretty good. Maddie loved it. Of course, her favorite parts probably had nothing to do with the stars. I think she liked the parts where the tree house spins to the next destination. It has been years since I’ve been to a planetarium show! We finally finished reading Remarkable by Lizzie K. Foley. This has been my favorite book that we’ve read together so far! It was long and took us quite a while to get through with only a couple chapters each night. I’m excited that she’s ready for this type of no-pictures chapter book. I’m looking forward to reading things like Harry Potter together! Maddie has had mostly great days at school, getting into the groove of kindergarten…and now she’s tracked out. She’s going to Art Camp this week. She’s excited about that! She’s been doing a lot of painting at home lately. Her class goes to the library at school once a week, so she’s been bringing home a book each week. She loves this. Maddie is rather obsessed with Sofia the First all of a sudden. For weeks, she has been insisting that she wants to be Sofia for Halloween. I realized last night that the Disney Store online was already sold out of her size. Fortunately, we found it in our local store today. She’s thrilled. She left a trail of glitter all over the house when she tried it on this afternoon. We put together some more of R2-D2 this weekend. One day, we might finish it!

Something Cullen is doing (3.5 years old): On the way home from school the other day, Cullen said, “I told C that his art isn’t pretty.” I said that wasn’t a nice thing to say, and that art is subjective. What one person thinks is pretty, someone else may not. Cullen claimed that two other friends said the same thing. I told him that it still wasn’t a nice thing to say, even if other people agreed. He said, “C is my friend, but his art just isn’t pretty. He thinks it’s pretty, but it’s not.” Cullen talks about dressing up as super heroes and other costumes for Halloween, but he’s pretty consistent about wanting to be a Storm Trooper when choosing between costumes. I guess we’ll be trying to find him a Storm Trooper costume soon! Cullen did a lot of Legos this weekend, too. He gets a really cute determined face when he tries to put together teeny pieces with his chubby little hands. Cullen really needs some action figures. He stages pretty elaborate scenes in the car with whatever toys that he has handy. He even used his Spider-Man shoes to stand in for Spidey a few times.

Something I am struggling with: Writing this every week…but I’m glad that I do it. I would forget things all the time otherwise!

Something I’m looking forward to: I’m curious to see how art camp goes for Maddie this week. I have volunteer training at school for their literacy program, and I’m thinking about taking the day off to do some other errands and maybe work on photobooks. I have a hair appointment, lunch with a friend, a rescheduled dinner and games with friends, and a “scrapbooking” day.

Something captured: The kids before the Disney Junior show

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, 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