Busy birthday weekend

We have had a busy birthday weekend celebrating Eve.  Double digits.  End of a decade here.  No more little ones.  *Sniff* and sigh and on we go!

Friday Eve was home with a fever.  She missed out on birthday at school and getting to be Governor of her class (government unit!), but she did get to watch TV and eat ice cream with daddy, so all was well.  Her party was supposed to be Friday night, but we postponed due to her fever and the impending storm.  I couldn’t let the day go by without a candle and song though, so a quick improvise and voila – ice cream sundae with a sparkling candle on top!

A candle in a dish of ice cream is what you get when your birthday party is postponed.

A candle in a dish of ice cream is what you get when your birthday party is postponed.

At bedtime Eve gave me a little gift by asking if I would read to her.  She hasn’t wanted me to read to her at bedtime in ages and I was almost giddy at the invite to snuggle in her bed and read to her.  Of course mid way through I remembered the measure-on-the-wall thing and we all got up (me, Eve, dog, cat) and headed to Lex’s room where both boys joined in the fun.

Saturday morning I gave her the gift of staying home alone while I took Lex to karate.  When we returned I found her in her room with a mirror and all her hair supplies out.  She asked if I would do her hair (yay!) and we had a lovely time talking about jewelry and hair and girly stuff.  She had on a beautiful dress, jewelry, and lip gloss.

She let me do her hair! She ASKED me to do her hair!! <3

She let me do her hair! She ASKED me to do her hair!! <3

She's all ready to party at 11am! Sadly the party didn't start until 5pm and by then she was back in her play clothes.

She’s all ready to party at 11am!

Sadly by 5pm when the party already started she had changed back into regular clothes.  At least she kept the beautiful hair-do!  :)

Pizza and silly friends!

Pizza and silly friends!

We did a sleepover again this year, but with fewer friends and even fewer planned activities!  I told Eve that she’s old enough to entertain her friends now and we didn’t plan and crafts or projects or anything.  Just pizza, ice cream cake, and dancing!

Presents!

Presents!

Just Dance!

Just Dance!

Eve asked me to make an ice cream cake this year.  I used the Stoneware bundt pan, three gallons of ice cream, and lots of guesswork.  I’m pleased to say it came out really great!  I poured hot fudge on the top right at the end, stuck 10 sparkling candles in there and it was perfect!

I'm very proud of my ice cream cake. It was lovely and yummy, and only a little stressful trying to get the candles lit before it melted everywhere!

I’m very proud of my ice cream cake. It was lovely and yummy, and only a little stressful trying to get the candles lit before it melted everywhere!

Three layers of ice cream goodness with mini M+Ms between two layers and crushed cookies between the other two layers.

Three layers of ice cream goodness with mini M+Ms between two layers and crushed cookies between the other two layers.

Only two girls ended up staying over night (because we had changed the date at the last minute), so around 9:30pm, after we watched Moana, half of the party headed home and the other half went to bed… and talked and giggled and carried on until midnight!  I only had to go up a few times though and they fell asleep eventually.  :)

Today was spent in a sugar/tired haze.  Her friends left at 10:30, I had homework to do and school work to do so Eve and I spent a few hours in the library while Lex and Alan spent a few blessed hours in a very quiet house.

Happy Birthday to my baby who is growing up so fast.  I look forward to many, many more years of giggly girl sleepovers, braiding hair, and cuddling with stories.  <3

 

I put up all the pictures from the past few days in a Google Album.  

10!

Happy birthday to this beautiful girl!

10!

Presents

I’ve had all the feels over the past few days. She is so amazing and independent and sweet and wild and moody and snuggly. I feel blessed every day that I have her in my life.

<3

And these two together. Pure love.

I love everything about these two! I hope they always love each other too!

Sadly Eve will be spending her birthday home on the couch. Her fever is down this morning, but still there a bit and she went to bed last night with 100.7 so I don’t think she should be in school. I think her birthday brownies should though! (they are in the freezer until next week instead!) I stayed home with her yesterday and Alan will be with her today. I imagine lots of snuggles on the couch, TV, and maybe even lunch at Panera if she’s up for it. :)

Studying up on being cool. :)

Meet Jasmine

One afternoon last week Eve came into the library crying. Life was rough, bad day, missing the kitty, sob, sob, sob. I did what any loving mother would do and tried to distract her with birthday party plans. We’ve been talking about having a party at the local humane society, but they don’t do parties, so with Eve on my lap we pulled up the website for the next nearest humane society. Of course, once you’re on the website you need to browse the adorable animals too. Eve came across a brother/sister pair that she fell in love with. The listing said they were kind, gentle, and the girl was named Daisy! Eve was smitten. Then I saw a “February Special” on the front page saying if the cat had been at the shelter for over a year you could get it for free! I was smitten! Two sweet cats for free?! We decided to go visit on Thursday.

That morning I called to ask some questions and learned that Daisy and Kashmire (brother and sister) were pending adoption. Sigh. The kids decided they wanted to stick with the plan and to visit the humane society anyway. We’ve never been there before so it seemed like a good thing to do.

We met lots of cats (and laughed at some pretty entertaining dogs), but when we saw this little girl we were in love.

Miss Jasmine

The kids were ready to take her home, but it turns out that place doesn’t do “same day adoptions” so we had to put in an application and wait. And wait. And wait. Four long days of kids wondering if we would be approved, wondering when we can get the cat, and hoping, HOPING, no one else took her first.

Today we finally got word that she was ours. The kids were thrilled!! They set up all the cat stuff (food bowls, litter box, toys) and we headed down to pick her up.

Lex can’t get enough of her. He even said, “Sometimes when you cry it’s because you’re happy.” :)

Paperwork done and ready to go! Just one quick photo for the adoption website (and mom’s blog!)

We got her home and put her in the bathroom to explore. She found the “behind the dryer” spot pretty quickly. :) Daisy found that spot a few times too!

Lost already!

She was pretty happy back there. Purring away. We pulled the washing machine out and she peeked out a few times, but kept tucking herself back again.

After awhile she came out and met Arlo. He was intrigued, but not aggressive.

New friends

Eve brought her upstairs and the kitty quickly found another good hiding place. :) I spent the afternoon reassuring the kids that she is friendly (she is!) and that she’s just shy right now, but it won’t last forever. We are watching a movie right now and Jasmine is exploring upstairs. I hear her walking around and knocking things over! She came down the stairs once too, looked around, then headed back up. She’ll be snuggling in laps in no time!

Under the bed is cozy.

And then there’s these goofballs! :)

Arlo and Lex

Boots

Funny story…

Silly me…

I was looking for my boots this morning to take Arlo to the dog park. I couldn’t find them anywhere, but I noticed Lex’s boots still in the mudroom. Usually he wears his boots to school, so I assumed he had mistakenly put mine on this morning on his way out the door. I laughed at him and slid my feet into his boots. Guess what?! They are too big! My toes wiggled all around and had room to spare. Crazy!

… and Lex’s boots.

Then I got in the car and saw my boots on the seat, all packed up for skiing yesterday. D’oh! Lex must have worn his sneakers today. Silly me.

Fed Up

I have been getting more and more frustrated with the way we eat around here.  Over the past few weeks, months, years even, we have gone from a very healthy family to one where you can usually find chips and cookies in the snack cabinets.  Ice cream, once a special treat reserved for birthdays and special outings, is now a near weekly purchase and eaten once or twice a day by some people around here.  The healthyish “cracker snacks” I used to make with Cheerios (or small crackers), dried fruit, and nuts has morphed into a big bowl of crackers with a few nuts thrown on top if mom is watching.

Not coincidentally, my weight has crept up as well.  The kids are still on their “growth curves” and the doctors aren’t concerned, but I am concerned with their very limited, and even shrinking, diets and their up and down mood swings.  I often feel logy myself and find myself turning to crackers, sweets, Facebook, and/or wine to pass the time.  I was successful with WW many years ago, but in the past five years I’ve gained it all back and much more.  I’ve rejoined WW a few times, but can’t do it.  I’ve tried to track on my own and I’m unable to stick with it.  My friend is doing Whole30 and encouraged me to try, but just looking at all the food you have to eliminate exhausted me!  However, something has to change.  I weigh more now then I did at full-term with Eve!  I was looking through old blog posts the other day and came across a picture of me on my due date with Lex, and my first thought was, “wow, I was skinny!”  Not my belly, of course, but my arms, legs, and face looked so much thinner than today.  Ugh!

Sugar is something that is getting more and more attention these days.  I often find myself reminding the kids about the sugar high/crash cycle, and it occurred to me that maybe removing sugar from our diets would benefit all of us!  It’s a scary proposition, so I did what I usually do and thought about it for a month or two.  Then I cautiously broached the subject with Alan and, of course, he loved it!  Yesterday we told the kids.  They were less enthused!  :)

The plan is to use up what we have in the house, but stop buying obviously sugary things (cookies, ice cream, sugar cereals, granola bars, etc.).  From there we will move to looking more closely at the non-sweet things and looking for alternatives with no sugar.  Not “sugar-free” products, because they are just full of fake sugar, but the goal is to look for items with fewer ingredients, less processed, and more real food.  The idea is terrifying, but the idea of not making the change is even more terrifying!

The kids both cried.  Lex said it’s a good thing Feburary is the shortest month of the year (yes, that was part of my plan), and Eve, through tears, asked if she could still have a cake on her birthday.  She also worried about what to do with all the Valentine’s Day candy she will receive.  Big problems to overcome!

After family meeting, we gathered in the living room and I put on Fed Up on Netflix.  The kids insisted they did not want to watch, and I didn’t push the issue, so they sat with their laptops in the living room “not” watching the movie.  I paused it at various times and they had lots of comments about it and by the end they were both actively engaged!  Eve is all on board, because Eve is always either all in or all out of every activity!  Lex reluctantly agreed that it might be a good idea.  While we were making dinner Eve gave me a big hug and said, “Thank you for doing this now, mommy, before I get obese.  I don’t want to be obese.”  (The movie focuses a lot on obesity.)  She had a smoothie and oatmeal for breakfast and I noticed Lex chose Cheerios over his usual Mini-wheats when he had cereal today.  Maybe a coincidence, maybe not, I didn’t ask.

I was just looking through the Fed Up website and it says that you should quit cold turkey, because if you wean off it slowly the sugar will continue calling to sugar and make it harder for you to quit.  They say if you quit all at once you’ll start feeling better in 1-2 days and cravings will be completely gone within three weeks.  Maybe we should wean off a little faster than originally planned… but after Alan’s birthday this week!  Birthday Cookies are already under way!  :)

Now… what do with all those Girl Scout arriving mid-February…

Skiing – take 2

On my mother’s brilliant advice, I offered Eve the chance to go skiing today and get caught up on the lesson she missed on Thursday. She thought for a moment then decided it was a great idea. She also told me she was really embarrassed that she fell and didn’t noticed that everyone else was falling too! We decided to invite the boys and after a little convincing for the younger one, we all headed off to the slopes on this sunny 18° day.

Smiles all around! (Alan was still getting his gear on)

Eve was eager to “teach” Lex all about skiing. That made me laugh.

Lex lasted for a little while, but didn’t love it. He wasn’t thrilled with the out of control feeling, and one time Alan caught him at the bottom of the hill, but they both fell down together since Alan was also on skis. Lex said he hurt his head in that tumble. He did a few trips down, but then decided he was done with skiing and went to sit on the bench and watch the lift go around. Eve, on the other hand, LOVED it! She was up and down and up and down and at the moment is better than anyone else in her lesson group! Assuming none of them went skiing this weekend!:)

Alan in the black and Eve right behind him.

I hope we can get Lex back on skis again someday, but for now I’m just thrilled that I won’t have to fight with Eve about ski lessons for the next four weeks! Hallelujah and thank you mom!

Happy 40th to ME!

We celebrated my big 4-0 this weekend and what a celebration it was! Family from all over the country came to visit (and I can pretend it was all for me!) and Greg rented a big house and we called it the party house and a party magically appeared while I was home with sick kids. Lucky me! :)

This wise wizard turned 40 this weekend.

This wise wizard turned 40 this weekend.

Sisters!

Sisters!

Sisters!

Sisters!

I love these ladies!

I love these ladies!

Yummy!!!!!!!! (good thing there aren't 40 candles on there!)

Yummy!!!!!!!! (good thing there aren’t 40 candles on there!)

Sisters! There was an amazing super moon behind us, but the camera sucks.... or maybe we just shone brighter! :)

Sisters! There was an amazing super moon behind us, but the camera sucks…. or maybe we just shone brighter! :)

This guy threw me an awesome birthday party!! I'm a lucky lady to have him.

<3 This guy threw me an awesome birthday party!! I’m a lucky lady to have him.

The next day we gathered in the beautiful sunshine to say a final farewell to Popcube.

Cousins!

Cousins!

Does it get any better than this smile?!

Does it get any better than this smile?!

Spreading ashes. We had such a beautiful day to say goodbye to Grandpa.

Spreading ashes. We had such a beautiful day to say goodbye to Grandpa.

Afterwards we went to brunch at Mickey’s. We were a pretty big crowd! :)

Sibs. I'm so lucky to have these people in my life. <3

Sibs. I’m so lucky to have these people in my life. <3

This post is not deep, but full of love nonetheless. I have an amazing family and I’m so happy any time we get to spend time together. There are lots more photos here and here.

Goodbye family. I love you all so much!

Goodbye family. I love you all so much!

My kiddos are still sick, so we took the day off for some rest and relaxation. Hopefully tomorrow finds us all well and back to school.

Middle School Dance

Last week I texted a friend of mine who is the mom of Lex’s friend and I asked her if her son wanted to go to the Middle School Fun Night at the aquatic center. I saw an ad in the paper. She wrote back and said Jacob wanted to go the Middle School dance and did Lex want to do that. Dance?? What dance?

I went back through the middle school newsletters and sure enough, there was a dancing coming up! My subconscious mind must have skipped right over that (because I didn’t think Lex would go or I wasn’t ready for him to go??) and I skipped right over it. So I ask, “Lex, did you know there is a dance on Friday?” Yep. “Lex, do you want to go” Maybe. What?! I told Lex that Jacob was going and his dad offered to drive them both. He loved the idea! All week I kept asking if he was still thinking about the dance, and as the week went on it went from “maybe,” to “I’m thinking about it,” to “yes, I’m going!” And he did!

Despite the messy clothes and chapped face, Lex went to the dance and had… fun!

Jacob’s dad drove them there and I picked them up. I felt a little selfish, but I was excited to get the first impressions afterwards! The dance was from 7pm-9pm. I heard (from Facebook) that drop-off was a little chaotic, so I decided to get there a few minutes early (ok, 20 minutes!) so I had time to figure things out. When I pulled up in front of the school there were a few parents there, a few kids milling about, and Lex and Jacob standing by the door. I called and they ran over to the car. They told me they had been waiting “FOR HOURS!” (said Jacob). Lex quickly said it was only about half an hour. I thought, “oh no! did I mess up the pick up time?!?” Turns out I did not. Lex said, “I can’t believe people are still dancing!!”

I loved the five minute drive home and hearing them talking about things. They both agreed that it was too long, too loud, kind of fun, and totally exhausting! Lex said he danced, then bought a cupcake, ate half of it and felt sick, danced some more, laid down on the bench for awhile, danced some more, then decided to go wait outside. Sounds like Jacob stuck with him for the whole time too. Jacob said Lex has some great “break dancing moves!” Hahaha. I asked if they wanted to go to the next one and they both said maybe, but only if they could be picked up early. I said maybe just an hour, and Jacob said, “NO, only half hour!” I love it!

Lex kept talking about how tired he was. I think he must have danced hard!

I believe each team at the middle school takes a turn “hosting” the dance. They plan, organize, and run the dance. I’m curious if Lex will want to go when it’s his team’s turn.

He is surprising me at every turn. I can’t even put into words how happy my heart is right now.

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First day of a new school year!

Today began a new chapter in this house. Lex headed off to 6th grade at the middle school, Eve started 4th grade, I had my first day at the Media Specialist in the school library, and Arlo got to spend seven hours in his crate! No big changes for Alan though, sorry. Alan brought Lex in and said drop-off went well. Eve and I walked to school. I start later than she does, so I was able to walk her (and Arlo) to school in the morning, then come home, shower, and get myself ready. It’s a plan that kind of works, but needs some refinement. It worked well today though!

Back to school.

Miss Eve heading off to 4th grade.

My middle schooler!

Flowers for the teachers.

This girl is too much!

I only had one class to teach today, but I also had lunch duty, meetings, and an assembly. Tomorrow it’s just recess duty and meetings, then Thursday and Friday I get classes back to back to back! I’ll be ready for the long weekend!

Flowers for the librarian! Thanks family!!!

At the end of the day Eve came to meet me in the library and she was clearly excited about something. She said she wasn’t working on a project and I COULDNT NOT PEEK! She then asked me when my birthday is (precisely) and then decide maybe not to wait that long to share her project. After awhile she asked if she could take my picture and she set up the scene she wanted.

The new school librarian standing by the “NEW” books shelf!

Then she asked to borrow my computer.  The final output was an awesome poem called, “My Mom Poem.”  She said she started working on it in study hall at the end of the day, not as an assignment or anything, but just because she wanted to.  Sadly, she asked me not to share it because it was special for us. I’ll respect those wishes, though maybe I’m breaking them a wee bit by mentioning it here!  I can’t help it though.   She is amazing and I’m so proud to be her momma AND her librarian!

Lex took the bus to me after school and got off with a smile.  There are a handful of middle schoolers that have parents in my building, so he wasn’t the only big kid getting off at the elementary school.  He said the day went well and when I asked if he was planning to go back tomorrow he said, “I guess so.”  Raves reviews from the boy!  I haven’t heard much else from him.

I had a good day.  I’m so happy to be part of a school community that I love.  It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

Arlo did not like his day and was VERY eager to get outside when we got home.  He has been all teeth and claws ever since.  He doubled one of the holes in the yard, scratched up Eve’s arm, and is chewing everything he can find.  Apparently one 3-mile walk in the morning does not sufficiently counter seven hours in the crate!  That’s a problem I’m definitely going to have to work on.  Maybe Alan should take him to work each day!  :)
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Rock Star!

After a rocky start to “band camp” (“this one time, at band camp…”), Lex ended being a rock star!

He had been hesitant about it all summer and we frequently discussed why I had signed him up and what would happen if he didn’t like it. He agreed to go though and give it a chance. Monday morning he was less than excited and ended up in tears. We stood in the main entry to the high school (where the camp was), got him checked in (barely) and ended up in a corner with me talking him down. Ugh. Like a kindergarten drop off all over again. One of the teachers running it, who also happens to be the middle school band director and a great guy, came over and said, “This must be Lex!” Hahaha… I think he was prepped! He and another teacher were amazing with Lex though and got him on his way. She texted me mid-morning and said that he was doing great! I love it when teachers send that little update.

Lex came home Monday and said it wasn’t the best thing ever, but he’d go back again on Tuesday. Just DON’T sign him up again next year. By Thursday he was telling me about their plans for next year, and by Friday he was rocking the house! They had a concert Friday afternoon to show off the things they learned. It was so much fun. Amazing what a group of middle school kids and a few music teachers can accomplish in five short days!

He looks so little standing up there with all the big kids! He also looks angry, but really it’s his focused face.

Lex rocking the snare drum:

Eve wore her grumpy pants to the concert and spent most of it like this. That’s what happens when you eat nothing but Goldfish all day! Eventually she managed to eat her sandwich (from lunch!) and regained her sense of humor. Thankfully!

I love his dancing! He knows this song well:

Lex did a surprise solo!! I couldn’t believe it! A bunch of kids did them and the director said they were going to make up the solos on the spot. I leaned over to Alan and made a joke about Lex never doing an solo…. but he did!!

It was fantastic! I was soo proud of him. He was rocking and rolling and dancing and he got sooooo many compliments after the show! He just looked so darn happy to be there. It was amazing!!

The grand finale. Lex is in the back. You can just barely see his leg and red sneaker to the right of the directors leg. I think he was smart to chose percussion. He has lots of room to move and dance and do his thing.

They ended the week with an ice cream social and people kept coming over to him to congratulate him and compliment his performance. Even some students did! We enjoyed our ice cream then went home and crashed!

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