It's time to buckle down. The baby is now 10 months old and not only sleeping through the night but on a regular nap schedule, so it's time to get back to my blog! Hopefully, this year I will do a better job of recording all the sweet (and not so sweet) nuances of the day-to-day life I share with my great husband and 4 adorable kiddos. Accepting how quickly time is passing is very difficult for me, but at least if I write it all down, it will be easier to revisit once my babies are grown. I was nearly brought to tears on Sunday when, during a family trip to the mall, I discovered the boys are now too tall for the play area. Granted, it is a nasty, germ-infested cespool and I should be grateful they can no longer beg for 15 minutes of running over the younger kids, but it is another marker that their toddlerhoods are behind them. We spent many hours when they were younger passing the morning at the mall, eating Chick-fil-A biscuits for breakfast, browsing Gymboree, and bribing them with the promise of 15 minutes of play area time at the end.
Speaking of time passing, we have had a busy coupla months! The time from Halloween until mid January is always a whirlwind for me, but this year in particular it was hopping! Halloween and its many festivities give way straight into Jackson's birthday (and the ensuing party at home, treats for the school, etc.), followed by Thanksgiving, Holiday shopping and decorating, Christmas (including teacher gifts for being the room mom for 2 of the classes, Christmas cards, baking, packing, etc.), and then coming home in time to take down Christmas and plan Sam's party in ONE week. I'm exhausted just listing all that! Toss in karate lessons twice a week, ballet once a week, doctor's appointments, elementary and preschool drop-off and pick-ups, and volunteering at the schools, and you have one crammed schedule!
Jackson chose a Star War Lego theme for his party this year, and after making his personalized invitations and creating/cutting out 25 character masks, I designed and made the mashmallow fondant cake, complete with chocolate legos and fondant light sabers, bought lightsabers for all, and designed tags for the bags full of sweet tart lego candy we send home with each child. Food included "Vader Potater Chips," "Yoda Soda," "Wookie Cookies," and "Hoth Chocolate." The kids and adults all had a great time, and I was forced to face the fact that my eldest is now 6 years old. Jackson continues to love school and excel, being selected as the highest reader in his class and chosen for an advanced reading program. His teacher has declared him to be sweet, consciencious and compassionate, although a bit too meticulous at times. He runs into my arms each day at the bus stop, and I love sweeping him up for a huge hug and kiss. It won't be long until he will be far too embarrassed to allow such a thing, so I am doing my best to enjoy it all now! Legos can occupy him for long periods of time, and he continues to be a fabulous big brother to Sam, Olivia, and Claire. He lost his first two teeth in December, and man, the tooth fairy had her work cut out for her. I can't even IMAGINE how hard it was for her to sneak in his room at night and pull out the envelope with the tooth without waking Jack OR Sam, and it must've been NEARLY impossible to put the crinkly bag of legos and dollar bill BACK under his sleeping head. I know that when I went in to check and see if she had visited, he was VERY quick to pop up and search for his goods. I think it took 4 tries and about 2 hours. Needless to say, it was a late night.
Christmas was filled with activities, like a family outing to see the James Center Grand Illumination, a gingerbread decorating party at the Rife's, a karaoke party for adults at the Borchert's, a night of popcorn and hot chocolate in pajamas as we took in as many of the tacky lights as we could stand, and a visit to the Children's Museum to see the Legendary Santa. We trekked to Williamsburg to spend a quiet weekend with Aunt Leah, Uncle Anthony, and Kinzie, and spent 9 days at Mimi's and our cousin's in Roanoke. We have had several good snows, and even missed a few days of school when we have blissfully hunkered down, lit the gas fireplace, and watched movies. Our elf on the shelf came back the night we were at the Grand Illumination and we found him on our Christmas tree when we got home that night. We found him each morning in all kinds of silly places, except a couple of times when it was either too windy for him to fly, or he decided to stay because we had been so bad he was giving us a second chance and wanted to be able to give Santa a GOOD report. *Snicker*
Sam has now turned 5 and his party was a Mad Scientist theme. I had ONE WEEK to pull it all together when we got home from Roanoke and it was a desperate dash to collect 14 white men's dress shirts and get them sewn in to little lab coats for all the guests. Ordering the science supplies from Amazon was easy, and Lowes was kind enough to donate 18 pairs of kid sized goggles so we could wear authentic scientist outfits. We made homemade lava lamps, played with instant snow, made water gel and a tornado, a yeast/peroxide volcano, and a diet coke/mentos geyser. We predicted and tested sinking versus floating, and the cake was an active volcano, complete with dry ice to create smoke coming out the top and sparklers for the fire. By the way, I had NO IDEA dry ice was such a pain in the toosh to store. When I picked it up on Friday for the party on Saturday, I was told it might dissipate before the party even started. I had to purchase 10 pounds of pellets, and store it in two coolers, tucked with towels and newspaper! The food included "Lime Slime Jell-o," "molecular structure cheese ball station," and "acid and base salsa and chips." The kids were sent home with their lava lamps, lab coats, goggles, and Pop Rocks. For once, they were actually engrossed in an activity the whole time, and it wasn't a free-for-all of wild kids running around my house! The Deeter cousins spent the night and the kids were in heaven! He now has his first loose tooth, which I CANNOT believe, and is starting to amaze me with his ability to read and do math. The doctor and nurse were very impressed at his 5 year checkup, not only because he continues to be in the 95- off the chart percentiles for height and weight, but because he knows far more than the average 5 year old. We figured out today, he'll be a karate Black Belt at 8! Crazy!
Olivia is a bundle of energy and so very loud! We have decided her only volumes are ridiculously loud and asleep! I'm not sure if it's just her personality (from her father's side of course!) or a conditioning from no one listening to her most of the time, but man it can make you crazy. Good thing she's so stinkin' cute so we haven't had to lock her outside in the cold...YET! We discovered last week, after months of her SWEARING there was a little girl in her ballet class named "Kikkidy" (and my proclamations that there is NO ONE NAMED KIKKIDY!) that there is a girl named "Kennedy" and she was confused! She also continues to love school and cheer for the days when she goes (just Tuesdays and Thursdays). She can now write her name and is starting to pick up way more street smarts than we are ready for!
Sweet Claire is now clapping, waving, and saying "Mama," "Dada," Nana" (banana), and "Nighnigh," (for night - night). She eats all sorts of things, preferring to feed herself to anything spoonfed, and is crawling military style and on all fours. She pulls up, cruises, and has just begun pulling things out of cabinets, baskets, and tabletops as quickly as she can get there! She still loves peek-a-boo, and nothing more than spending time with her 3 adoring siblings!
So there you have it! Can't wait to see what 2011 has to bring for our family!
Olivia, tonight, when served her dinner of soup and side of "Pirate's Booty" popcorn, said "Daddy, I didn't want any PIRATE HEINIE!" Haha!
And Sam, asking for "Eye of the Tiger" to be played on the Ipod said, "I need to work out my arms a little bit!" He also told me (as I tried on clothes to clean out my closet), "Oh, yeah, that's a keeper! You should wear that on a date!" Way beyond his years!