Happy (late) Birthday!!

This handsome fellow turned 12 last week (well, four day ago)!  I’m a little busy with life, but we snuck in some birthday celebrations here and there.

Hugs for Doctor Nurse Professor Aunt Rosy!

We celebrated a little early in Franklin with the family.

We love Snap Circuits!!

Fun with the drone.

Look at it go! Lex is a very good drone driver. I am not.

We celebrated a little on the actual day.  In past years I’ve found myself making three cakes/cupcakes: one for a family party, one for a friends party, and one for school.  This year, I made none.  :(

Do pancakes count as cake?!

The pile was a little small and half pajamas, but the big present came later in the day.

An early dinner at Panera Bread before Eve’s concert in the evening. This reminds me of another picture I have of them on Lex’s 4th birthday. They’ve grown a little since then. :)

Finally, FINALLY, the surprise arrived, everyone got home, and we let this extremely patient 12 year old open his fancy new laptop! The better for playing Minecraft on.

The weekend after his birthday Aunt Mandy came to visit and went out for ice cream and mini-golf.  Sadly I left my phone home on accident, so there are no photos.  We all had a great time though!  Then Ziggy’s for dinner and a round of pool.

Sunday evening (yesterday), Alan and I talked the kids into going to a new-ish restaurant.  We promised them dessert and had them bring games.  Lex set up a variety of chess challenges for me, then we had an intense game.  It was great!

<3 <3 <3

I felt a little guilty about this birthday because we didn’t do a party and didn’t do anything big and special.  I offered to take him on a day trip or invite some friends for ice cream and mini-golf, but nothing appealed to him.  The week was full of concerts and plays and meetings and parties he wasn’t invited to, so I feel like he got very little attention, but he said he’s happy and it was a good birthday.  I try to remind myself that in general “very little attention” is what Lex prefers.  :)   I’m glad we were able to go out to dinner Sunday night, just the four of us, and have a good family bonding time.  We get one more year with this preteen before he hits those scary-sounding teenage years.  Let’s make this year last and last!  <3

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

We have this awesome program called Shakespeare In School that comes to DBS and teaches the 4th grade a play. This is the second year they have done it. The whole class participates, they practice at school for many weeks, they do a performance at school, then they get to do a performance on a real stage in a real theater! This year the kids did A Midsummer Night’s Dream and it was AMAZING!!!

Eve has been practicing and rehearsing lines and worrying and crying and telling me a hundred stories a day about this play. I’ve read lines with her at the hair salon and in bed and in the car and she’s even asked others to read lines with her too. When she got worried or nervous I reminded her of her enthusiasm after seeing Shrek and she perks back up.

Tonight was the big night!

I wanted to record the whole thing and take a billion pictures, but the Northern Stage guy said that photography was not allowed. :( It took ALL OF MY WILLPOWER to not pull out my camera! Except this one picture I took before he made that statement. ;)

Eve was amazing!! Her classmates were amazing! They were funny and loud and expressive. Everyone remembered their lines, they paused for laugh breaks, they look at the audience, and made big movements. I spent the entire play with a smile so big it hurt. I cannot believe no one recorded the whole thing! I want to watch it a thousand more time!

Here is a picture of Eve as King Oberon from the dress rehearsal (I stole it from her class’s Facebook page.)

After the show they had a little cookie and lemonade wrap party. The energy was high (adrenaline and cookies!) and everyone was happy. It was great.

I love our school and I love her class and I love our community. Life is good.

Twelve is coming way too fast!

This handsome fella is turning twelve tomorrow and I a feeling very guilty about our complete lack of plans. I told him we wouldn’t be doing a big party this year, but I was hoping for a day trip or an activity with a friend, or something! But, alas, life is busy and 12 is coming up fast! He wasn’t very interest in any of my ideas, and tomorrow, his big day, I have a meeting after school, Alan has a meetings, and Eve has a concert. Everyone is busy, but him! We are going to sneak in a dinner at Panera between my meeting and Eve’s concert.

I was looking for presents to wrap yesterday and, though I swear I had a pile for him… umm… I guess I do not. :/ We have little toys that Eve bought and I bought him some PJs the other days, but nothing exciting. Alan decided to order him a big present (laptop! shhhh… don’t tell!). He had it overnighted, but that still leaves me with not much excitement for the big birthday morning. :/

Can we just skip birthday’s this year? He can be eleven for a bit longer. Next year I’ll have more time and brainpower to focus on him. I love him forever though, even if life is busy! I hung his birthday collages just now. He was such an adorable baby, and turning into a super handsome young man. <3

PS. Apparently 12 is the year the gross jokes birthday cards start arriving. He laughed and an unsure sort of way. :)

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.