Friday, February 28, 2014

Day 5: 7 Quick Takes (Take 5)

Going to be extra quick.

1. Mommy karaoked this weekend. Apologies to everyone in the bar who heard it.
2. Baby girl tasted Oreo. She's only 10 months old, but whatever. She loved it.
3. Miriam has started posing for pictures and it is cracking us up!

4.This lady just saved us all kinds of time trying to articulate our parenting philosophy. Read, if you care.

5. More gratitude for the week: We're so thankful for a warm home. There have been propane shortages around here. People who can't afford to heat their homes. People who don't have homes. People who work outdoors. It's bitter, it's frigid. But we're warm and cozy and blessed.

6. Drum roll please....Mommy and Daddy are doing a 5K. TOGETHER. Yes, you read that correctly. Daddy is WILLINGLY participating. He didn't lose a bet. He wasn't forced in any way. Mommy didn't sign him up and tell him afterwards. Couch to 5K is happening for both of us! We'll keep you posted on our efforts.

7. This post is heavy on the links and light on the pictures. Let's fix that a bit.
Ahhhh. Much better.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Day 4: F Week

F Week was fantastic. Get it? Ha ha ha. Just a little preschool humor for you. Moving on.

Fish sponge painting went over really well and took Mommy all of five minutes to prep. Cut sponges into fish shapes. Squirt paint out. Tape down a big ol' piece of paper. They covered three monster sized papers in fish and wanted to do more but the trees were begging us to stop.
Flowers...remember the ones Daddy gave us for Valentine's Day? They turned out to be pretty well timed! We recycled some of them into petal collages and we dissected a couple in the name of "science". (Please speak up if a part is labelled wrong! No botanists live in this house.)
But their favorite part of flower day? Mommy handed them a pack of pipe cleaners and simply said, "Make a flower however you want." Felt incredibly lazy but they are still asking for a repeat!

Fairy Tales were, BY FAR, the most fun to plan and do. Even if you're not into "themes" or "regularly scheduled" learning time, maybe attempt these. No pictures of this one: watched a YouTube video of The Three Billy Goats Gruff and acted out the story with blocks and toy animals. Over and over and over. It was a winner. We also read Princess and the Pea and made a little bed for our princesses with Mommy's fabric scraps. Another good little project.
Finally, Mommy gave them different sized pieces of "fancy" scrapbook paper and let them design their own castles. The girls took turns telling stories about their castles, who lived there, what they did. There were gardens, homes with two kitchens, castles filled with "twenty sinks!", towers where you can watch movies, bowling allies in the basements, bedrooms where twenty babies slept together. More over and over and over. Success.
And while we did this, Felicity snuck off with a fruit snacks wrapper she found on the floor. So much is wrong with that.
Family, another easy F. We talked about our family, looked through the scrapbooks Mommy made for our wedding and each of the girls' first years. Kids love to look at pictures of themselves as babies and the girls just poured over each little detail, exclaiming, "Awwww. Look how cute baby Miriam/Vivian/Felicity is!!!"

Then they drew a picture of their family. Which is something they do an hourly basis every single day. Miriam, in particular, is obsessed with her "art" right now.
At three, Vivian's drawings are still primitive, to say the least. But we've got eyes, a mouth, legs, and sometimes arms or eyebrows!

Miriam gets all the facial features and body parts, as well as clothes, hair, and some letters to label her figures. We're impressed! But then, she's our kid and it doesn't take much.
Had to share this last drawing. It's Mommy, Miriam, and Vivian at the zoo feeding the giraffe. The scary alien on the far right is the giraffe. Our favorite detail: she remembered the (purple?) leaves each of us are holding on our hands/arms. So many drawings to save, so little space.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Day 3: OF SEVEN?

Well, it's only the third day of this challenge and already we are not quite sure what there is to post. That's the thing...we're kind of...boring. Not so much bored. There's always something, some very immediate need happening. But instead of calling each other to meet up for drinks in ten minutes or going on a weekend trip with friends tomorrow, our lives are very set, in the best possible way. The routine of each day looks the same and deviating from that only confuses the preschool/toddler/baby brains on the premises. Want to hear how that goes? If you insist.

6  Mom is up. Working out. Getting ready for the day because...
6:30 Felicity is up which means Daddy probably is too to give her a bottle while Mom gets a shower.
Good morning, Bright Eyes!
7:10ish Door BUSTS open with a BANG. Vivian is awake. Miriam maybe. Pretty often lately she's yelling, "SHUT THE DOOR. I'M TRYING TO SLEEP!" from her top bunk quarters.
7:30 Miriam is definitely out of bed. All are being fed.
8 Dress 'em. Do their hairs. Try to convince them to make their beds...effective 10% of the time. Tim's heading out.
9 Felicity's morning nap. Leading directly to "Theme Time". It's G Week. Today is Goldilocks. They're going to LOOOOOOVE it! Then some TV time. Should probably send PBS a check so we're not total freeloaders.
This is the new thing she does while watching TV. Huh.

10:30 Fah-wiss (as Vivi calls her) is up.
11:30ish Lunch. During which they desperately circle their Mommy like starving puppies. Why does being hungry make them MORE hyper?
12:30 Get them OUTSIDE if at all possible. (When will this winter END?) More playing indoors.
We only give our kids safe, educational toys.
1:45 Big girls down for nap. And by "down"'ll hear the sounds of Vivian playing in her room for at least half an hour before she passes out. Sometimes she actually falls asleep propped up against her bedroom door thinking about how to escape. And Miriam doesn't nap so much anymore
2 Felicity down for siesta dos.
2:45 Miriam is yelling from the confines of her parents' room where she's been mostly quietly reading and singing to herself. She's ready to be sprung from the Big House.
3 Snack. Just Mommy and Miriam most days. A very nice part of the day.
3:30 Felicity up.
4ish Vivian emerges. Who knows what we do from here until...
Baby smash.
5:30 Mad rush to get dinner on the table before they all are losing their minds like lunch time.
6 Tim is home (HURRAY!!). Supper.
6:45 Bathtime
Very safe toys.

7:45 Felicity to bed.
8:30 Big girls are in bed.
8:31 FREEDOM! (Said in best Dave Ramsey scream.)
10 Sarah is passed out on the couch. Tim is still working upstairs.

On repeat. Over and over. You know the drill.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Day 2: Attitude of Gratitude

Sometimes parenting feels like a lot of work. And probably being a kid feels like a lot of work. And work feels like a lot of work. We can get hung up on what is wrong and how we're suffering. Mommy gets hung up there too often when she's overwhelmed with the needs of these three small people. Some of them are edging more toward helpful rather than helpless. But then it's time to make another lunch and the wailing washes over her hungry brain...until she's about to lose her mind with the negative "I CANNOT DO THIS ALONE" on repeat until everyone is seated and eating and calm again. The resolution this week is to stop the negative thinking and count the good things. For example, the lunch time rush: we have food to eat, these children are healthy, our colorful kid plates are so cute, naptime is almost here, these babies trust us.

Seven days of posting are a wonderful opportunity for us to count and record our blessings. We used to do this weekly - celebrate the little moments of our week that bring us joy. This week, we're each giving our top three.

Felicity - People who change my diapers. Pasta. Touch and feel books.
Vivian - Hide and seek. Hot Chocolate. Cereal.
 Miriam - Vivian. Hearts. Blankets to curl up under during Dinosaur Train.
 Sarah - Healthy children. A supportive, involved husband. The new season of The Voice.
Tim - My three little girls. And their Mommy. Sunny days.

Count your blessings today, too. Our lists could have been much, much longer. They're all around; we just take them for granted. You have your assignment. Scoot.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Day 1: The Gardens

Been pretty horrible at blogging about our daily fun(iness), so when we saw that there is a 7 posts in 7 days challenge, it seemed like the right thing to do. Should be interesting to see what we're presenting as "blog-worthy" material by Day 7. Getting this show on the road:

Day 1.

Last week we went to the Botanical Gardens with friends, which you already know if you're on Facebook. But the girls had such a fabulous time, we really wanted to get it on the blog, too. You see, at the end of every year, Mommy prints out a blog book. So that even when the Internets die, our girls will be able to remember all the fun times. And all our very important thoughts. This was such a great little trip that it must get into that blog book.

  1. Free parking downtown...they validate for the garage across the street.
  2. SUPER yummy bagel shop right in the building. Play. Eat lunch. Play. Go home and nap. Perfection. And if you don't want to eat at the deli, you can pack a lunch and eat at the tables in the atrium.
  3. It has been so very nasty this winter. So cold. So snowy. So gray. So much time indoors staring at each other. Until we walked into all this lush, colorful, fresh-oxygen-filled space and about lost our minds with glee. No joke, our brain cells probably went into overdrive because we were breathing with live, lovely plants all around us. 
  4. They set up a huge "enchanted garden" for children. Two tree houses/forts, tunnels to crawl through, fake animals to search for in the foliage, a talking tree, coloring, dress up clothes, sandbox, water, music-making experiments, books to read, toys and toys and toys.
  5. The regular exhibits are open, too. Desert, rainforest, etc. which are always nice.
  6. The staff are so sweet and smiley.
  7. Cheap entertainment. It was around $10 for four of us to get in. Two and under is free. Considering how much fun the under two child had, it almost felt like stealing.
  1. Well...nothing comes to mind. There's a gift shop, but the girls know better than to beg because it ain't happening.
  2. Oh yes. They DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE. Vivian claimed she was going to live there. Even without her Mommy. (WHAT?!?!?) But even then, no meltdowns, no tears, nothing. So proud.
Babies really loved the water.
Pete and Miriam...friends when she's not mother-henning him.
Felicity was hamming it up for the cellcamera.
Good thing we had a change of clothes for this one - she was SOAKING wet by the time we had lunch.
And she wouldn't stop eating the wood chips! Bleh.
This is probably an obvious statement, but we're going back. If you like tired, happy kids, you should, too.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Aunt Annette's Bachelorette Party

Saturday was Aunt Annette's Bachelorette Party. The girls had their first "real" babysitter...we normally use family members or friends who they are familiar with. But the standbys were all a part of the festivities. But no worries because the babysitter was awesome. She brought stickers, crayons, and coloring books for the older girls. They both loved her and about LOST it when they saw her serving at Mass the next morning. Felicity, however, gave her a really hard time. Cried. And cried. And cried. From the moment we left until her early bedtime. Not comfortable without her Mama's arms. So maybe we can beg the awesome sitter to come back? Hopefully.

Daddy went out with the groom-to-be and other manly men to drink beer and whatever else needs to be done during a future-priest's Bachelor Party. While Mommy and her female family members pampered Annette with lots of homemade-spa-goodness.
Then we were off to a local bar's banquet room for drinks, games, and food with Annette's closest friends and family. We got her a decorated for the festivities. Totes adorbs.
The waiter thought we weren't drinking enough so he sent up a tray of shots. Extra big tip for him.
But he shouldn't have been too worried, because we went out dancing afterwards...with AUNT BRIDGET who just turned 21 a few days earlier.
Yeah, these pictures are pretty horrible, but we weren't standing still! So much to celebrate, so little time.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Holed up, Snowed in, Cabin Fevered

We've been having lots of fun the last couple of weeks with the alphabet, Valentine's Day, and of course, the SNOW. 
The snow is actually half way up the fence now. And more is coming tonight. This is where the garden is normally seen...but it's disappeared. The nice thing is that the lowest layers have frozen solid and the girls can kind of walk on the top rather than have to struggle through drifts up to their waists.
Also our perspective on cold has changed. Anything over ten degrees is completely acceptable for outdoor play and twenty or above is practically warm.
Daddy brought in this's not even close to being the biggest one hanging off the roof.
Vivian has a small issue keeping her mittens on. Felicity has face planted a couple times when trying to crawl through a drift to reach her Mommy. It leaves her sobbing and shivering until we take her back inside. Miriam wanted to know last week, "Why is winter the longest season?" It's not. It just feels that way sometimes.
Until spring, we'll keep them cuddled up close.

D Week. So to offset the HOURS we are cooped up inside, Mommy has been trying to keep the girls busy with their alphabet activities. We talked about Daddy, dentists, dinosaurs, and more during D Week. While playing with dinos and playdough, we were reminded again that we're raising girls.
 Miriam made her dinosaur a beautiful saddle for a princess to ride him. And Vivian's dino sat on a throne.
Best activity award goes to elephant toothpaste. Miriam and Vivian were in awe. If you want to look like a superhero/genius to your kid this week, we recommend it.

E Week. Eggs, Easter, eyes, ears, Earth...and ERUPTION! Miriam is still freaking out that volcanoes exist. But she also wants to take a vacation to see one...mixed signals. To explain eruption to the girls, Mommy gave them a container of baking soda and a few small bottles (picked them up at Joann's) of vinegar and food color. This was Vivian's heaven. She could not get enough of "making the bubbles happen."
 And then they got to erupt milk!
During the milk bubbling, Miriam asked to try water. It doesn't create bubbles the same way as milk and we got to have a conversation about how liquids are composed differently and behave differently. She asked to mix the water and milk together and try to make bubbles. It was amazing to literally watch her mind working.

Valentine's Week. We love celebrating Valentine's Day with our girls. We never made much of a fuss about it before children, but like every other holiday, they make it so much fun. We made a reservation, got dressed up, and took them to a Japanese restaurant. They tried everything in our bento boxes. Miriam was crazy about the miso soup and salmon. Felicity gobbled up her first taste of shrimp. Vivian liked everything except the sushi! It came back out of Miriam's mouth, too. She politely said, "That is not my favorite taste." During dinner we also took turns saying something we love about each family member and exchanged Valentines.
Daddy gave his Valentines flowers, Mommy made hers brownies!
During the week, Miriam and Vivian made PILES of Valentines. It was craft mania and there were always tiny scraps of paper on the floor for Felicity to eat no matter how often Mommy swept. We also made a list on the white board of Ways to Show Someone You Love Them. The normal stuff came up like, "say I love you" and "give a hug", but they also thought of "say you're sorry" and "help pick up toys"!
It's so nice to have four Valentines!