Monday, January 28, 2013

Party Central

Last weekend was A and H's birthday (A on Saturday, H on Monday). We had an extra long weekend due to the MLK holiday and then a teacher workday on Tuesday, so we spread things out and basically celebrated all weekend. Friday J and I went to the kids schools for lunch and birthday treats. H was first since he eats at 10:30 am. He picked his his best buddy from his class to sit with us at the "special" table and passed out mini cupcakes to his class. Then we headed to A's school for a "celebration of life" (Montessori birthday celebration ) and lunch. We sat in the circle with her class as she was asked questions by each kid and teacher. Then I joined her for lunch and enjoyed listening in on the fun things 2nd and 3rd grade girls discuss. She chose donuts to pass out to her class.

Friday night we had a small family celebration with my parents and their godmother. A had requested chicken and dumplings without the chicken so we gave it a try and it was yummy!

Saturday we cleaned a bit and then welcomed the rest of the family: my dad, J's parents and J's brother's family. For a relaxed afternoon and evening of playing, eating, and bonfire-ing. The kids got some really great "big" gifts, with Christmas loading us up on stuff, I tried to have their birthdays be simpler. one or two things they really wanted.

We ended the day with a double-birthday celebration with homemade cookie cake (they both requested it). The kids all spent the night here for a cousin sleep-over, which ended with me having to separate them all so they would sleep.

Sunday the cousins went to the hotel for a swim in the indoor pool and then we went to late church. Maggiano's for lunch (YUM!) and then home to get ready for A's friend party. She wanted a sleep-over but didn't like that they stayed up so late at the last one she went to, so we had an "almost" sleepover. The girls came in their jammies and brought pillows and stuffed animals. We did nails, made pizzas, had a bonfire and roasted s'mores, and watched a movie. All the fun parts of a sleepover with none of the yucky sleeping parts! It was the best kid party we've ever had. The girls were all so fun and funny! She picked a few kids from both her old school and her new school and they all immediately got along, which is saying a lot for girls!!

Monday we rested up a bit in the morning and then J took A & H Frisbee golfing (H's gift from us was a new Frisbee golf bag, he loves it!). I baked H's cake and got ready for the next and final party of the weekend. H had his friend party at the movies, he invited his 4 favorite buddies (and his sister) to go see Wreck-it-Ralph. Then we came back to the house for cake and presents. It was fun and easy, which by this point of the weekend was exactly what we needed.

It's hard work having these 2 birthdays in a row, but when it's all said and done, it's so much fun and the best part is that we have a whole year before we have to do it again!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Weekend update

A beautiful weekend with rare temps in the 70s allowed us to get some much needed outside playtime and vitamin D. Saturday was spent on the greenway scootering and strolling with friends. Then we played at the park until dark. Sunday we were busy after church but ended the day with an outdoor Lego/Playmobil/Calico Critters village build on the front porch followed by sidewalk chalk body tracing. A taste of Spring was just what we all needed for a fun and relaxing weekend.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

That Resolution Feeling...

It's Epiphany, its a new year. We're taking down Christmas and simplifying. It feels good and right and quieter. I am trying to focus more on what it means to create a home for my family this year. Trying to be intentional about having a clean (enough) house that we can live and play and learn and create in. Having a place for all things, it's a challenge after all the new things we've gotten lately but we'll get there. It's a challenge with a toddler around too who thinks she helping straighten when she pulls things off the shelf as I'm putting things back on. She's in that stage of development where she enjoys putting things away though, especially in a basket, so that helps. The big kids don't have the patience to wait and let her do things on her own, or wait and teach her or let her figure things out. They don't understand that they were able to have that time as toddlers and she deserves it too. They also need a routine of how to care for their things and help around the house so I'm developing a new morning routine and evening routine chart.

We're trying to be intentional about what we eat and how much of it. Meal planning, more vegetarian, and more whole foods. ^J^ is doing a better job of exercising than the rest of us, but we're all doing more than we used to and that's what matters. He's also motivated by the crazy-nuts Spartan race he signed up for, personally I have no interest in crawling through the mud under barbed wire, but we'll be there to cheer him on!

Reading is a big goal of mine this year. I want everyone to be reading more. I'm in 2 bookclubs and there's no reason I can't stay current and read at least those 2 books a month. The kids both need more reading time and practice and we need to model the importance of reading to them. *A* has finally found a chapter books series she can read well on her own (Bad Kitty) and it's been awesome watching/listening to her finally succeed in this area. (H) is getting there with sounding out words and I'm hoping reading will come more easily to him than it did with *A*. We need to have dedicated reading times where we just sit together and read. The kids got a lot of Art kits and other crafty stuff for Christmas so there's that too. Basically we're ready to get rid of the t.v., not totally but only use if for specific programs we enjoy and nothing else.

Lots more ideas and thoughts, but the kids are ready to play and there's greenery to take down outside.
Happy 2013!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy, Merry, Blessed

We had a fabulous Christmas this year. Full of family, fun, gifts, joy, love, relaxing, playing, sleep, and (finally) wellness for all. As is the norm, Christmas lasted 3+ days with celebrations at my parents, our house, and then to Atlanta to celebrate with ^J^'s family. Typically at some point I get overwhelmed by it all but this year it was just fun and relaxation. Everyone went back to school/work today and none of us were ready for it. It was just too short and we all could have used a few more days home together. 

Here are a few highlights:

A present-fest at my parent's. Aunt P.J. was here for Christmas too which made it even more fun!
Finally got his skateboard!
Wishful thinking, maybe Santa knows something we don't!

Love these looks of opening...

Wild and Crazy 5 kids-opening-all-at-the-same-time 

This was a big LEGO Christmas and we loved it!

At my Great-Aunt's house
She always has such a great spread!

Gift-giving from their great-great Aunt!

 Hugs all around!

(H) got a hold of my camera and took shots of all kinds of things, this one is my favorite!

This kid has got it. 
Drawing after the kids go to bed. 
Playing playing playing!

 It's been fun, now it's time to clean...