Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Birthday People

At the beginning of November we held a birthday celebration for Miriam, Vivian, and Simon. Their birthdays all fall within a month of each other! It's a family celebration. Both of the older girls would like a "friend party" but...we've got enough family to fill the house so we're holding off on the friend chaos for a while longer.
Aunt Nichole and Elijah
Mommy and Simon
Even the Canadian family members were able to make the party! So we attempted a grandkids picture. These were the best two. Miriam and Vivian look good in about every picture so apparently they've hit an age that knows how to keep your eyes on the camera and smile. Felicity was rocking some nap-time-hair. Catherine was super serious in every picture...perhaps this is just how Canadians act when the camera comes out? Elijah and Simon sat still enough that they weren't an out-of-focus-blur. That's success, people.
The party was a Woodland Animal theme. Toad stool and grass cupcakes, anyone? (Props to Aunt Maria for all her effort decorating these!)
Aunt Bridget made a pin the tail on the squirrel game.
Even Nana - who still spent most of her days in a hospital with Papa (still recovering from his car accident at this point) - played! She's always such a good sport and up for just about anything that will make her grandchildren smile!
Meal, then cake. Simon attempted to grab the candle, but didn't burn his fingers! He was all smiles and happiness (typical for this guy) while people sang.
Miriam and Vivian are old pros at this candle business, 
so they gave Simon a hand.
He just acted disappointed when the flame was gone.
And the icing on his fingers weirded him out when he finally got a chance to attack the cupcake. It took him quite a while to decide he even wanted to mess with the thing!
But then he did and didn't look back.
Gift opening time! The big girls loved this and Grandma even brought Felicity a present. Simon didn't care about much other than a card with googly eyes and was happy to let Catherine and Felicity open his gifts. We gave the girls tickets to see Wild Kratts Live which is a PRETTY BIG DEAL in their world!
Happy 1st, 7th, and 8th birthdays to Simon, Vivian, and Miriam. We love you.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Miriam is EIGHT

Our house is suddenly full of Miriam. It's the best kind of fullness. She is fully present in a new way as she crosses into a new year. She sees the needs of those around her and strives to meet them. If Simon needs comforted, she's there with a squeeze. She can make Mommy and Daddy's bed for them in the morning. While grocery shopping, she makes sure Vivian and Felicity are paying attention enough to keep up with the cart. In the classroom, her teacher says she gives other students a hand with tricky lessons. We were talking recently about what we all want to be known for. With so much certainty, she answered, "Being a helper." She truly is and desires to be a helper, a shoulder to lean on, your right hand woman, the person who walks in unafraid to carry your burden with you. Her open heart is a model for her parents.

She'll quietly read books or loudly be part of the "band" in the basement. We love that she's unafraid of play and believe it's her younger siblings who keep her fun and innocent. And she's smart, so smart. She's responsible and gentle and kind...as long as her sisters aren't pushing her buttons. They know how to get under her skin and when they do she lashes out quickly. This is probably her mother's temper revealing itself. Which means Mommy will need to work extra hard to teach her self control.
It's simply our pleasure to be her parents, to watch her grow. And grow, she does! Part of the fullness of having Miriam in the house is her height! She is so tall! Perhaps she's really average height, but every morning when she comes up for her hug Mommy is surprised by the height of the hug!

For her birthday meal she asked for hamburgers, of course. And brownies. She prefers their chocolaty fudge to any cake.
She went on her birthday date with Daddy to Wu's. She's an adventurous eater so all those delicious Chinese flavors were right up her alley.
Some tea, edamame, a hearty soup with all kinds of veggies and meats, a taste of her Daddy's hot burned pork...
 ...and more chocolate.
After dinner they stopped at Cracker Barrel to shop...our girls think this is the epitome of a good time. She brought her birthday money from out of town family and picked out something for herself and each of her siblings.

Happy 8th birthday to our eldest sweetness.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Seeing Double: Seven

Thus we enter the time of the year when we have two seven year olds! Irish twins, Miriam and Vivian, "enjoy" about a month of being the same age. At least one of them generally likes being as old as her sister. The other one...doesn't. This year wasn't as bad as last
Smiles!!!
Chatting. So much chatting. Girls talk. And talk. They just talk so much. Over each other or one at a time. Sometimes at the same time on purpose.  Miriam and Vivian's signature move is to look at each other and say, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" And then they try to say the same thing at the same time. Occasionally this works. Often they aren't "thinking what I'm thinking." But it's still makes us smile.
And they boss. Some people boss more than others.
They tell secrets. Some people love secrets.
Happy Sharing Seven, big girls.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Vivian is Seven.

Vivian was six...here she is on her LAST day as a six-year-old. There was a last-night-we-tucked-in-six-year-old-Vivian. 
She woke up SEVEN. For her birthday treat at school and her birthday cake she requested vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting. And sprinkles, of course.
This was not surprising. The girl enjoys the white carbs more than most...rice being her #1 choice. And breakfast cereals. She eats them twice a day - breakfast and after school snack. Rice crispies (rice theme!) are her favorite. But for her birthday meal she chose corn dogs, mac and cheese (from the box, NOT homemade!), and broccoli. 
Then she went on her birthday date with Daddy a few days after her actual birthday. To Cracker Barrel so that she could spend a bit of her birthday money in the store after their meal. She bought a stuffed unicorn named Pixy.
Other notes about seven year old Vivian: She is smart. So so smart. She speed reads! Says math is her favorite subject. Adores her teacher. Does not enjoy coloring just for the sake of coloring. Likes to watch Wild Kratts and Arthur. Has a sharp tongue. Wants to be warm! Often prefers to play alone and can get pretty grouchy if she's interrupted by her sisters. Loves to share long stories, real or made up. Barbies are her favorite toy and she sleeps with her stuffed dog Woofster at night. Isn't a morning person and sleeps in later than the other three...we have to drag her out of bed for school.
She's a tiny power house...all muscle, running or hopping everywhere she goes. Viv's probably going to be shorter than Miriam and Felicity when they're all grown. She's fearless, doesn't mind dirt, can make Simon laugh just by looking at him, doesn't care what she wears and sometimes even puts her clothes on backwards. She has her own way of considering the world, categorizing, and asking questions. We just love every bit of her.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Simon is One!

At the one year mark, Simon:
  • Has four teeth
  • Says dada, mama (mostly when he's sad or mad), and points to whatever he wants; is generally very vocal
  • Starting to shake his head "no"
  • Good at clapping
  • Dances whenever there is music
  • Sleeps 11-12 hours each night without waking and take 2 naps that are about 1.5 hours each
  • Never had much separation anxiety
  • Waves goodbye to Daddy and the girls each morning; LOVES when Daddy comes home
  • Is just okay with bathtime
  • Is a bit of a picky eater - especially likes grapes, strawberries, bananas, carrots, cheese, crackers, and goldfish...and anything sugary
  • Does well with a bottle and sippy cup
  • Adores his sisters - loves to play peek a boo with them, hates to be shut out of the playroom when they're playing
  • Great going up and down stairs - no more baby gates!!!!
  • Has taken a few steps but is such a fast crawler he DOESN'T want to walk
  • Is a reorganizer...cleans out several cupboards each day in the kitchen and pantry
  • Loves his cousin Elijah and gives him big kisses when they see each other
  • Not extremely ticklish, but being chased really makes him laugh
Simon and his other best friend, Claire (Mommy's cousin)
Simon's first birthday was celebrated with piles and piles of candy
and a ridiculous family costume. Because Simon's birthday is on Halloween! 
Gru, Lucy, Margo, Agnes, Edith, and two cutie-pie Minions
And if our Halloween spirit wasn't bright enough, Grandma and Grandpa put on a show for the trick or treat-ers! Aren't they the best!?!?!
We hope he loves this someday...
because I wouldn't put it past us to make Simon's birthday the reason we MUST ALL dress up every Halloween. Like a tradition that goes too far and leads to someone actually shaving their head.
Oh. Wait. That happened on year one.  
We'll see what the next 80ish years of celebrating Simon bring!

Monday, November 20, 2017

October Extras

There were October days that weren't spent in Florida or the Halloween/Simon Birthday Extravaganza.

Celebrating Sarah's 34th birthday. So much love.
We had a bonus child for a few days! Sarah's niece Catherine came to stay!
She is a busy two year old now! She painted and colored and played with Felicity while Simon napped and the girls were at school. She was our entertainment and always hoping to be a big help with Simon. When her baby brother or sister appears in December she's going to love her big sister role!
Sarah and her sister Bridget took Felicity, Simon, Catherine, and Elijah on errands one morning...four kids age four and under. That was it's own kind of adventure, especially as lunch got closer. Four hungry tiny ones are LOUD.
We also celebrated Grandma's birthday...all of her grandkids there to help blow out the candles!
Catherine did really well with us - she wasn't used to our hectic mornings and all the after school busy-ness of homework and dinner prep. But she kept up with all the commotion! And probably learned to cherish quiet in a way she'd never considered before.
When Annette and Tom came to pick up Catherine we surprised Annette with dinner out to celebrate her 30th birthday with her parents, siblings, and godparents.

Tim made the local paper for getting a flu shot. Slow news day...
Sarah and Miriam began working on the Blessed program to prepare Miriam to make her first Reconciliation in December. She goes to Catholic school and Sunday morning Religious Education at our parish. But we know the world's values don't always align with ours and she'll be facing challenges throughout her life. We want to give her a foundation in God's love that will ground her as the daughter of a King for the rest of her life. We're making sacramental prep a priority so that she's ready for the graces that are about to be poured into her life.
Let's see...Simon turned one at the end of October and finallllllllly stopped demanding to be spoon fed at every meal. The girls were all 100% done with baby food by the day they turned 10 months old. Vivian rejected the purees when she turned 8 months old. Simon was MORE THAN content to be fed every single bite of his food. But we did it! And he's a ridiculously picky eater. But slowly we'll conquer those taste buds...probably getting more than 4 teeth in his mouth should help, too. We'll find out as they pop through.
He's very, very active. Beginning to climb into his sisters beds, up and down the stairs with ease, in and out of boxes. No interest whatsoever in walking.
He took his first power wheels ride. Mommy wasn't home - this would have given her a heart attack.
And he's already being conned into pushing and pulling the girls around. 
This is just the beginning, Buddy.