Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Three Days, Five Parties

It was a big weekend. Five parties in less than 72 hours. Sarah's introverted side was ready to crawl in a bed for a long winter's nap by Sunday night. And it's not even Christmas yet. That's not to say the parties weren't a wonderful (they all were!)...just that Mommy might be a Grinch. In any case, the parties:

1) Library Story Time Christmas Party
Story time is a highlight of Felicity and Vivian's week without cookies and juice boxes. With five cookies and juice boxes!?!? Yeah, slice of heaven.

2) Pancakes and Pajamas Christmas Party
Our church group, Couples with Kids, just always is the most fun with the best, kindest, uninhibited people. So EVERYONE wore their pajamas and ate breakfast for supper and played and laughed. The pictures above are from human Hungry, Hungry Hippo. There is a pile of balls in the center and four teams wheeling all over the place trying to capture the most balls. True entertainment!

3) Cookie Making at Grandmas
Somehow we took no pictures, but there was a lot of sugar, butter, cookies, icing, and happiness, of course.

4) Sarah's Dad's Family Christmas Party
Aunt Bridget, Baby Catherine, Grandma
Great-grandma, Vivian, Miriam, Baby Catherine, Aunt Annette
Cousins play games until they can't see straight
Again, another super-festive, happy bunch of people together! The best part of the evening was Miriam and Vivian eating dinner with Sarah's cousin Evan who they wouldn't make eye contact with when they were younger. They had a silly conversation with him, calling him Dr. Evan and giggling. Watching them grow up is just delightful!

5) Sarah's Mom's Family Christmas
The girls had such a good time! Don't know how they had any energy left to party, but they did! Sarah's aunts set up a craft table for the kids and had fun photo booth props that Vivian had so much fun with. Uncle John was a good sport and played along with her attempts to dress him up.

And for a bonus:
Vivian lost her second tooth!
Whew! Time for bed.

Monday, December 21, 2015

School Christmas Program (the first of many)

Miriam's school Christmas Program was last week. It was very nice. There were the preschoolers who made us laugh. And the sixth graders who were just starting that awkward phase. And all the stages in between. We sat at the top of the bleachers...not the safest place because Felicity is a NOSY little person and who spent quite a bit of her time peering all around at the crowd and reporting back in a "whisper" the going-ons. 
Vivian can hardly WAIT to begin Kindergarten after watching the show. She'll have her own set of friends and songs to learn and she'll be up on stage. 
Most importantly, she's met Miriam's teacher and already adores her. Mommy took a picture of Miriam and her teacher...
...and then Vivian jumped into the next one as fast as her little legs could hop.
The girls left declaring they were STARVING. So it was a quick snack and off to bed.
We left that night so grateful for the wonderful little school full of teachers, staff, and students who really do care about each other. It is so very evident in the way they speak and the way they treat one another that they respect and love each other much like a family. It's truly a blessing for us to be able to send our girls to this Catholic school.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Chicago Christmas

We took a day trip to Chicago yesterday to visit Aunt Bridget and Uncle Ryan and have the "its Christmas time in the city" experience.
We started off by picking up Bridget and Ryan...complete with a rousing GOOD-MOOORNING-NEIGHBORHOOD honk. Then off to Storytown , a children's improv show. The girls got to help pick the setting, create the story as things went along, and be in the show! The performers clearly just loved having fun.
Tim laughed until he cried, so not just the kids had a good time.
Below the girls are pulling a lever to send a kid down a super big and scary water slide.
Here they're being serenaded on the Lazy River. The tickets were VERY reasonably priced and the girls are still talking about the show, so it was a morning well spent!
We had lunch, drove downtown, walked by St. Peter's just as confessions were happening so we squeezed that in during Advent, then headed to the Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza. This used to be a favorite activity for Mommy and Daddy around Christmas, but this year it was a complete zoo. Mad house. Could not see anything and could only smell weird bratwurst smells. We didn't last long in the crush of people. Next time, we'll probably skip this and actually go to the zoo.
But we did run into this lovely Christmas Princess. We still don't know exactly who she is or what she represents but the girls thought she was magical.
Felicity finally passed out so we walked over to the French Market which improves on every visit. This time we did a cheese tasting and ate treats. Mommy and Daddy shared a caramel-cashew-goat-cheese gelato, Miriam had a blood orange gelato, and Vivian and Felicity shared a HUGE chocolate and peppermint cupcake with a macaroon on the top. So yummy and the best pickmeup before hoofing it back across town to Millennium Park where we took in the Christmas tree, ice skaters, and of course, the Bean.
Aunt Smidge made us dinner so we went back to their apartment, watched Elf, and ate. Daddy packed us into the car and drove the three hours straight home. It was a long day, but we had so much fun together!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Love grows

Yesterday, while trying to finish up Christmas shopping, Vivian and Felicity somehow became friends. Suddenly Vivian is nurturing enough to kindly help Felicity during their "games" and Felicity to old enough to play along in the imaginary fun.

While Mommy shopped, they pretended to prepare for school. Vivian buckled Felicity into her backpack and Felicity choose a lunchbox to match. And when Mommy said, "Say cheese!" Felicity leaned into her big sister and they both smiled.
We'll keep praying for World Peace because, indeed, all things are possible.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Miriam: Six Years Old

Miriam is six years old. We've gone from this:
The first-born, tiny, alien baby whose parents had no idea what to do for or with her. But we loved her.
And she grew and grew and...
she's still growing. In October she lost two teeth. A very proud moment for her.
It's so different having her gone at school. Sometimes it feels like we barely see her.
Miriam doesn't like breakfast or feeling like she's failing.
She loves to draw, write, watch Arthur, be outdoors, and eat just about anything we put on her plate. Miriam is thoughtful of others and likes to please her teacher and parents. Doing what's right and doing it all-by-myself is high on her To-Do List. She's responsible, curious, eager to learn, and loves a good knock-knock joke. There are only 11 kids in her Kindergarten class - she likes all of them and comes home telling who was funny today, who she played with at recess, who was her Centers Buddy. She can read pretty fluently but decoding her spelling is still entertaining.
Because of Thanksgiving Break, she didn't have school on her birthday which was a nice treat for all of us.
We celebrated at Grandma and Grandpa Wellman's house and then went to Light Night in Fort Wayne. Aunt Annette, Uncle Tom, and Baby Catherine were in town so she was happy to spend time with them. At the Gingerbread Festival is was a delight to examine each gingerbread creation with Miriam. She found something to ooohhh and awww over in every single one! She just LOVED the roof and LOOK at that fish pond and THIS is a Frozen castle and THOSE are jellybeans!!!!!! It was so sweet and made us appreciate the hard work each entrant put into their work.
Miriam also got to see Santa on her birthday! Not many kids have that honor!
We ended the night at the Botanical Gardens and with a fireworks show. 
Truly a dream birthday for our wonderful six year old.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Seeing Double: Five

Miriam and Vivian are in the short window each year when they are the same age. Two five-year-olds. Viv's glory days. Miriam's "I'M STILL OLDER THAN YOU" days.
And while there is a sliver of hope that five-year-old Vivian will make us look back at three-year-old Vivian and shake our heads in disbelief. Then there are these moments.
"Everybody smile!"

One more day of two five-year-olds. And then Miriam will settle back into her comfortable Oldest Sister position. Vivian will continue to be exactly who she is. And Felicity will watch it all in admiration and continue to tell anyone who asks how old she is "FIVE!"

Friday, November 13, 2015

Vivster is Five

Vivian is five. We never let her birthday pass without remembering her as our baby who came out purple with the cord wrapped around her neck.
But we also recall what a fat and happy baby she was!
And how she used to put everything, everything, everything in her mouth...
And how she was the most challenging toddler/preschooler.
Lately we're often commenting on how Vivian's behavior is improving. She wants to be helpful and tries to please her parents. She's the easiest sick child because she's tough, her pain tolerance is incredibly high, and she never complains. She's keeping an eye on Felicity and learning how to be gentle. When Mommy recently had her gallbladder removed, Vivian became Mommy's right-hand-girl. She ran to fetch things while Mommy recovered, bent over for Mommy to get things off the floor, helped switch loads and loads of laundry, didn't whine about Mommy moving slowly. Being needed made her feel valuable and loved and helped her mature.
She's curious and thinks outside the box...actually she's so busy being a Vivian she doesn't realize there is a box. She was born into a family of rule followers and straight line thinkers. Sometimes we have to take a step back and just watch her before reacting because her methods are very different from ours but she's just doing her best to learn. And someday she'll be inventing all kinds of wonderful things with her wonderful brain if we can manage to channel that wonderful energy and teach her a pinch of self-control.
She received some special gifts this year - Barbies. The first Barbies to enter our home. Presumably, the first of many.
Living with five-year-old Vivian is going to be a treat.