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The Sunday Somethings, 16nov14

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Something captured: Elsa and Superman

The Sunday Somethings, 18may14

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

Something that makes me happy: I had a great time with girlfriends in Key West! Maddie especially enjoyed the adventures of her little koala bear as he posed around town. He’s going with me to San Francisco for WWDC in a couple weeks.

Something I’m thinking: I’ve been negligent of my somethings for 3 weeks.

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping to keep up a little better as it’s the only way I can remember what the kids did at particular times.

Something happening around the house: The usual chaos, though I appreciate that most of their toys have a “proper” place after we did some room reorganization in the past few weeks. The kids do much better when everything has a specific place!

Something I’m reading: I’m reading Damsel Under Stress, book 3 of Enchanted, Inc. I finished City of Ashes. I also read Whisper Falls and the sequel A Whisper in Time. I really enjoyed the first two books of that series! I read Columbine for this month’s book club.

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe finished The Blade Itself and the sequel, Before They Are Hanged. He’s now reading the third in the series, Last Argument of Kings.

Something I’m watching: Tonight, we’re watching the finale of The Amazing Race (very cool finale!). We’ve been loving Orphan Black, but we are a little behind.

Something I’m playing: Other than Candy Crush on the iPhone, I’m not sure what else we’ve been playing. Maybe some board games with the kids? Gabe has been playing quite a bit of Mario 3D Worlds on the Wii U.

Something I’m creating: I’m finishing up my 2013 photobook…I just have a few pages left, and it will be done! Then…I have to still do all the trip albums that are adding up this year. The Disney Cruise, Key West, and soon WWDC.

Something about both kiddos: They had a fun time with Daddy while I was away in Key West with girlfriends. They made a giant fort, which is one of the first things they asked about when they found out I would be away. One of Daddy’s signature special things is to build a huge fort while I’m out of town. They love it, of course. The kids are playing together quite well lately, and they have been playing with some toys that haven’t gotten played with in a while like the Mr. Potato Head set and several of Maddie’s doll accessories. It seems that reorganizing the house gives many of their toys new life. They spoiled me over Mother’s Day weekend with extra rest, breakfast in bed, and a fun morning to see a play (Sid the Science Kid). Gabe and I weren’t all that thrilled about the actual play itself (it was just one step above Dora in terms of tolerability), but the experience with the family was great. We have done several kiwi crafts lately. One set focused on science with a few science experiments, and the other was about farming and gardening. We planted some seeds, so we’re eager to see how they grow. Both kids made gifts at school and presented them to me at a party in the classroom. Both kids wrote notes to their teachers for teacher appreciation week. It can be a pain to get them to write thank you notes and appreciation notes, but I love what they come up with when they do it.

Something Maddie is doing (6 years old): Maddie is tracked out from school, and we needed the break. She has been getting some reports of defiance from school. Her last week before track out was perfect as far as the color chart is concerned, so we’re happy about that! We have some reward systems at home where she can earn tickets and trade them in for small toys or device/iPad time. Her first week of track out was spent at the arts and drama camp, and her next two weeks will be spent at more art camps. She loves it. She did well in her play this time and spoke her lines a bit louder. She needed some prompting with her lines. Maddie was excited that Kristin and Chad were able to come to her play this time. They just happened to be in town at the right time. More than a year ago, Maddie brought home some sunflower seeds from preschool. She has been asking to plant them for a while, and we planted them when the time was right this season. We are all excited that several of them have sprouted and are growing fast. They are maybe a foot tall now. Maddie seems to have a big interest in growing things right now. Maybe that will give us the motivation that we need to redo the landscaping in the front yard. Maddie continues to enjoy gymnastics, and we plan to continue at least through the summer lessons. We’ll see whether she wants to continue in the fall. We have signed her up for a piano introduction later this summer. Maddie had her foot doctor appointment this week, and he’s happy with how things look. She is supposed to come back in 2 years. They didn’t take any x-rays this time, and he noted that she has a callus on her small foot that shows how she compensates. Maddie said that other kids in the gymnastics class have noticed her foot, and she has told them that she was born that way. She doesn’t seem to be bothered by it at this point, physically or emotionally. Maddie’s class had Muffins for Mom, and she was so thrilled to have me there. I will miss some of these little school events and the handmade gifts. She gave me some sort of bean plant and a handmade card. I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to keep the plant alive, but she’s excited about it given her fascination with plants lately.

Something Cullen is doing (4 years old): Cullen has had numerous tummy issues over the past weeks. I’m not sure what is going on with him. He might have a food intolerance or some sort of nasty bug that he can’t shake. Cullen continues to progress with his reading. He begs to read to me every night, and we are able to do it on most nights. He has gotten to where he can read as many as 3 different phonics books. He’s still doing short vowels, though we are on the ones that have mixed short vowel sounds. He’s almost done with that set, and then we’ll start working on the long vowels. That will be a little challenging at first, but I’m sure he’ll catch on quickly. I’m so impressed with both his motivation for learning to read and his progress. We are so proud of him. His favorite thing to do right now is to call someone on the webcam and read to them. Cullen’s class all went to lunch with their parents during teacher appreciation week. Austin’s parents were out of town, so he joined us for lunch. Cullen loved it. We then returned to his classroom for a party where the kids had popsicles, and we presented the teachers with their gifts from the class. They presented the mothers with foot cream (that they made) and a really cute butterfly made from their footprints and handprints.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I’m finishing up my 2013 book.

Something I’m looking forward to: Our trip with Earl and Michelle to the mountains and my trip to WWDC. Other than that, we have the usual gymnastics classes. My book club is at the end of the month, and I have a haircut this week. Maddie has a new art camp this week, and she is going to her regular one next week. Gabe and I are going to see Jack Johnson on Wednesday, so that should be fun! The kids have dental appointments soon.

Something captured: Happy Mother’s Day to me! My one request every year (aside from some extra rest, of course) is to get a photo of my babies with me.

The Sunday Somethings, 20apr14 and 13apr14

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Something that makes me happy: We had a wonderful visit from Gabe’s family this weekend.

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking about all the pictures that I need to sort from the last few months. I’m quite behind, and I still haven’t finished my 2013 photobook.

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping to catch up on pictures soon, but I’m not sure that’s going to actually happen!

Something happening around the house: We had eight people in our house this weekend with Gabe’s parents, Dylan, and Dylan’s girlfriend Morgan.

Something I’m reading: I finished I am Malala. I started and finished The End of Your Life Book Club, and I was disappointed in that one. I am now reading City of Ashes, the second book in The Mortal Instruments. None of these are for book club.

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe finished Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, and he started reading The Blade Itself.

Something I’m watching: Most of our shows are coming to a close. The Walking Dead is over, and we finally watched the last episode of Downton Abbey. We started watching Orphan Black, and now it seems like everyone else is watching it, too. We tried to watch The 100, but that was awful. We’re watching Resurrection, and that one is good enough to keep watching. We’re still watching The Amazing Race, though we need to catch up on Sunday’s episode. We’re also still watching Hart of Dixie. I imagine that show isn’t going to last much longer, but I still like keeping up with it.

Something I’m playing: We played a lot of games with Gabe’s family while they were here. We played Trivial Pursuit, Sour Apples to Apples, La Boca, Hoopla, Kaleidos, King of Tokyo, and Tribond. Grandma played Max the Cat and Too Many Monkeys with Gabe and the kids. Gabe and I are still playing Candy Crush. We played bar trivia and photohunt this weekend, too. Cullen showed Dylan how to play his Ninjago spinners.

Something I’m creating: I did several of our cruise posts since my last somethings. I still have a few more to go.

Something tasty: We made sugar cookies on Easter. Yum!

Something about both kiddos: The kids really enjoyed having visitors this weekend. They love Grandma, Grandpa, and Dylan, and they instantly took to Morgan (or “Mogo,” as we all call her). They played lots of imagination games with them, showed them Frozen, showed them their games on their devices, played board games, and put people in “jail.” Both kids have been playing their devices too much. We’ve been giving them too much device time without requiring them to turn in tickets. Maddie was out of school on Friday, and we all went to lunch with Cullen at the cafe.

Something Maddie is doing (6 years old): Maddie’s class did child-led 3rd quarter conferences. She’s doing very well in most things, though her teacher has had some recent issues with Maddie’s conduct. She also says that Maddie is weak in “retelling,” so that’s something we’ll be working on. She gets reading homework, so we have a lot of opportunity to strengthen that skill. I don’t think she’s terrible at it, personally. She’s reading well above her grade level, and she is able to tell me about it. You do have to prompt her a bit as she’s hesitant to answer. I think she’s much more comfortable when there is a right and wrong answer. She’s less comfortable when there’s not a “right” way to do something, so retelling is challenging for her. She is still enjoying gymnastics. I think she enjoys seeing her friend Sophie at gymnastics, too.

Something Cullen is doing (4 years old): Poor Cullen has had a stomach bug that comes and goes (or he’s caught several in the past 2 weeks). He has thrown up all over his bed at least 3 different nights and had a lot of other stomach issues. Poor little boy. The first night that he threw up in bed, he came down and said, “Mama! Dada! I barfed all over my bed. It was the biggest barf ever in the whole wide world.” He was out of school again today. Poor boy missed Earth Day and his class Easter egg hunt. He had fun playing the Ninjago spinners with Dylan. Dylan had a lot of trouble beating him at the game! Cullen is very excited about learning how to read, and he asks to read to me every night before bed. He gets frustrated sometimes, but I’m quite impressed with his progress. We are still working through the phonics books with short vowel sounds. I’ve been sticking with the same book until he has it mostly memorized to build his confidence, and then we move to another one. He responds very well to visual cues (like pointing to his nose to remind him of the sound for “n”). This has helped him learn much better than simple repetition. It’s not too long before I don’t have to use the visual cue.

Something I am struggling with: I had some kind of upper respiratory crud, but it seems to have cleared up now.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: We should beat our $5,000 goal for this year’s MS walk.

Something I learned: I get to go to WWDC this year! This year’s tickets were distributed through a lottery. I didn’t personally get a ticket, but I was able to get a transferred ticket from another coworker. Hooray!

Something I’m looking forward to: Maddie has gymnastics this week and next. I have book club next week. Maddie has a birthday party this weekend, and both kids have kiddo book club. We have dinner with friends next week. I’m going on my girls trip to Key West soon!

Something captured: How cute is our nephew and his girlfriend?

The Sunday Somethings, 30mar14

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Something that makes me happy: Our family is happy that Kentucky is in the Elite 8! Now I hope that they can win this evening!

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking about the blog posts that I’m writing about our cruise. I’m glad that I’ve gotten started on those. I really need to get to sorting out those photos, too.

Something I’m hoping: I already said that I hope Kentucky wins tonight!

Something happening around the house: Well, Gabe was sick when the cleaners were supposed to come over a week ago. They should be coming this week, though we have a lot of picking up to do before that’s going to be possible!

Something I’m reading: I finished Hollow City. I was a little disappointed with this sequel, but I will read the next one, I’m sure. I am now reading The Husband’s Secret, which is an upcoming book club selection.

Something Gabe is reading: He finished Pandora’s Star and started Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.

Something I’m watching: More NCAA basketball, Amazing Race, Hart of Dixie, and The Walking Dead (finale tonight!!!).

Something I’m playing: Just Candy Crush. Which is sad, I know.

Something I’m creating: Blog posts about the cruise.

Something tasty: Still addicted to “hiding eggs” or “bunny basket eggs.”

Something about both kiddos: The other day at lunch, the kids were sitting at the table by themselves (having lunch earlier than us). I overheard them playing “good/bad” with Maddie recording their responses in a notebook. I thought that was awesome that they were asking each other the good things about their day without our prompting! They often ask us to play good/bad when we are all at the dinner table, but this is the first time they have played it by themselves. Both kids worked on Lego sets from The LEGO Movie this afternoon. We went to Maddie’s school’s spring festival, one of the big fundraisers of the year. The kids had fun. We’ve all watched more of Frozen.

Something Maddie is doing (6 years old): We got her some new shoes this afternoon, though her feet didn’t change size that much. I made the mistake of putting her wet shoes in the dryer after one of our snow days, and I think I ruined the shape. Oops. She has refused to wear them since then. We had another pair that she can still wear, but she has started to complain about those, too. She is thrilled with the new shoes, so maybe we won’t have complaints. One of them is a half size bigger than the previous pair, but I think the other pair should be fine for a while, too. She had another gymnastics lesson, and we have some new clothes for her to wear to gymnastics. She had no shorts that she could wear for gymnastics, so Gabe bought her some sporty clothes that will be more appropriate than what she has been wearing! Maddie and Cullen do a lot of pretending, and lately Maddie has opted to be Elsa or an owlicorn. Yes, owlicorn.

Something Cullen is doing (4 years old): Cullen has been motivated greatly this week by the offer of an extra “ticket” that he can use to trade in for time on the iPad. He has been getting himself dressed, including picking out his clothes, almost every day this week. It’s been such a nice, welcome change. We’re also able to get everyone out the door much more easily! He is addicted to the iPad, but at least we have curbed that somewhat with the ticket system. Cullen has been learning his “left” and “right” as he now gives me directions to and from school. Cool way to subtly learn his right and left!

Something I’m looking forward to: In the next couple weeks, we have Maddie’s gymnastics, the MS walk, family visiting, a birthday party for one of Maddie’s friends, the neighborhood Easter Egg hunt, Easter cookies with friends, Wizard of Oz musical (for me!), a possible photobooking day (for me!), and a possible poker game (for Gabe).

Something captured: Go Cats!

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.

Happy 4th birthday, sweet boy!

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

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

The Sunday Somethings, 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, 08dec13

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Sunday Somethings, 20oct13

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

Something that makes me happy: I finished the October 2012 Disney photobook! I have a few corrections to make, and then I’ll be ready to order it. Woohoo!

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking about how to organize our general photobook for 2012. I’ll feel great to be finished with that one.

Something happening around the house: We’re getting our new roof this week!

Something I’m reading: I didn’t get very far into The Cuckoo’s Calling. I made it a little over a quarter through the book, but I was too bored to continue. I don’t know if I will reconsider if others claim it is worth reading. It’s one of our book club books, so I’m curious what others will think about it. I started The Astronaut Wives Club, but I wasn’t sure I was in the mood for it. I decided to start Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. I really like it so far!

Something Gabe is reading: He’s close to finishing Emperor of Thorns.

Something I’m watching: I actually watched The Walking Dead with Gabe last week. I might just keep watching it with him.

Something I’m creating: The Disney photobook.

Something tasty: Maple cotton candy from the state fair!

Something about both kiddos: We had a Trunk or Treat on Friday at work. The kids had a good time, and it was fun to get them in their costumes for the first time this year. They are cute as a stormtrooper and Sofia the First! We skipped the pizza and went out to eat at Zoe’s Kitchen. The kids love eating there! Today, we took them to the State Fair with Sophie and her mommy. Gabe and I don’t care for all the crowds, but the kids had a great time. We went first thing this morning, and it was quite crowded when we left! The kids loved the giant slide (of course), the carousel, the little rollercoaster, and the ferris wheel. We were all a bit exhausted this afternoon.

Something Maddie is doing (5.5 years old): Maddie had her first field trip this week at school, and I was a chaperone. It was at a local pumpkin patch and corn maze. The corn maze was a bit long for such little kids! They were all excited about the beginning, pointing out every ear of corn that they spotted. Towards the end, they were tired, hot, hungry, and didn’t like “long corn mazes.” It was great to meet some of Maddie’s new friends. Maddie rode a school bus for the first time, and she didn’t like it. She said that it was smelly and didn’t like sliding around without seat belts. She did great at rollerblading this week. It really makes a difference for her to have her friend at the lesson! She still wants to take ballet lessons, but she is considering taking gymnastics with Sophie! I hope that we can coordinate that. She’s been trying to do cartwheels around the house, so I think she’d love gymnastics.

Something Cullen is doing (3.5 years old): Cullen had his bike day this week, and he rode his “real” bike this time. He was so proud of himself! He had soccer on Saturday morning and seems to enjoy it. He has a new friend in the class (a coworker’s son), and it’s great to see him making friends! He has made a close friend in preschool, too, and we love hearing about his new friendship. This week, he was telling us about his new friend and said, “I was running out on the playground, and Austin came up to me and said, ‘oh, HEY!’ and I said, ‘oh, YEAH!’ and then I thought to myself, ‘there’s my little friend who always likes to play with me!’”

Something I am struggling with: I had a migraine this afternoon. Ugh!

Something I learned: I’m not sure I like corn mazes!

Something I’m looking forward to: I have a PTA meeting and a conference at Maddie’s school. We are looking forward to celebrating our anniversary on Wednesday! We’re supposed to get a new roof on Friday and Saturday. The kids have their usual rollerblading and soccer on Saturday and this month’s kid book club. They each have a birthday party to attend on Sunday. Busy week!

Something captured: My two favorite boys after the fair today!

The Sunday Somethings, 06oct13

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

Something that makes me happy: Hallmark ornaments. I went and picked out the special ones for this year for our family today. I love that every ornament on our tree has meaning. The only problem is that one of these years soon, we’re going to need more than one tree!

Something I’m thinking: I need to find my photobook motivation now that I’m caught up on sorting through recent photos and scanning documents. Good thing I have a scrapbooking day next weekend!

Something happening around the house: We got a fancy new washer and dryer! Our old ones weren’t working so well anymore, so we’re pretty excited about the new ones. We’re in the process of getting a new roof, thanks to storm damage and our insurance. Woohoo! I’m excited about that. Hopefully, the color we picked will look nice.

Something I’m reading: I finished Old Man’s War. I also read Deep Dish and Dreams of Joy (sequel to Shanghai Girls). I’m finally reading October’s book club book, The Storyteller.

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe finished Dust, and he’s reading Emperor of Thorns.

Something I’m watching: We are watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Sleepy Hollow, The Crazy Ones, and Elementary. We’re also watching Amazing Race and Survivor. I’m excited that Hart of Dixie starts back up this week, and Gabe wants to try the Once Upon a Time spinoff.

Something I’m playing: We played Riff Raff, La Boca, and Hanabi on Friday night.

Something I’m creating: I’ve been creating things with the kids, but I haven’t done much of my own creating.

Something tasty: I made red velvet cake for Gabe’s birthday this weekend.

Something about both kiddos: The kids are quite into art projects. They still love their kiwi crate subscription, and we’ve done some of those projects recently. They made kites that they could fly outside, and they made Piet Mondrian artwork. Today, they had a class called “Clay Creatures” where they sculpted whatever they wanted out of clay. Cullen made two dinosaurs, and Maddie made a flower, turkey, and dinosaur. Their sculptures turned out pretty cute. The neighborhood block party was this weekend, and since we have the only double cul-de-sac, it’s usually held in front of our house. The kids had a great time! The kids played on the bounce houses and slide for almost 4 hours straight. They were able to play on the inflatables for almost an hour before anyone else arrived. They had so much fun, and this year was more relaxing for us than it has been in the past. The kids were exhausted after the party (and then we revived them a little before bedtime with cake). The kids did great this week with their rollerblading (Maddie) and soccer (Cullen).

Something Maddie is doing (5.5 years old): Maddie has been getting lots of confidence with her writing (and reading). She’s doing “writing homework” every day now at home in addition to her reading. I have asked her to write *something* every day, which was something we couldn’t get her to do a few weeks ago. She was afraid of writing things because she didn’t know the correct way to spell things. Now she’s much more confident with this activity and doesn’t mind attempting the phonetic spellings. She is working on spelling new words correctly, too. I love seeing what she comes up with to write about! She has been reading a lot faster with emotion. She had a project to “decorate a pumpkin” which is due tomorrow. The assignment was fairly open ended – they could draw and decorate a pumpkin on regular paper, decorate a real pumpkin, or use whatever materials they like. Maddie and I went to the craft store, and she picked out supplies. She chose a small, white fake pumpkin with yarn, stickers, felt, and paint to decorate. She decided the pumpkin was a self-portrait called “Maddie Flower Pumpkin” – it turned out quite cute!

Something Cullen is doing (3.5 years old): Cullen is very emotional lately. I hope it is a phase that he grows out of before too long. He gets extremely upset about little things and has emotional outbursts. He refuses to nap when he’s at home, and he’s napping less at school. Unfortunately, he still needs the nap and then gets cranky in the evening. He has accidents every once in a while during the day, but he’s still wetting the bed a lot. At least we have a heavier duty washer and dryer to handle the extra loads. Cullen still talks about Star Wars a lot, and he says that he only wants Star Wars things for Christmas. He got a blaster to go with his Storm Trooper costume this week, so he’s been excited about that. It shoots foam darts with quite a bit of power. Cullen continues to be quite sensitive with sweets, and we have to be careful about having them after dinner.

Something I am struggling with: My knee has been hurting when going up and down stairs for a while, so I finally went to the doctor. I need to find the time to do PT twice a week. I haven’t started yet, but I really need to get started with that.

Something I’m looking forward to: We have a conference with Maddie’s teacher, maybe will participate in “walk to school day,” soccer and rollerblading, my scrapbooking day, and a visit to the pumpkin patch with friends.

Something captured: A 40-year old hubby and a tired little boy