Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Five Years Old

Our boy has had a great fifth year of life.   So much growing up, getting bigger, expanding his independence - it's been so wonderful (and challenging) to see him grow into his own.  

Newities of this past year:  Reading, writing, and arithmetic! Pre-K,   ;)  

Yes, this year has been another great year of learning for Ace.  He really has come into his own in understanding and writing.   This past Christmas he took the time to copy out words from the Toys R Us catalog to create his first Christmas Wish List and practice his writing skills then.   He's getting very good at writing his full name (quite the feat!) he writes whole stories on his own by sounding out how he things the word should be written - so of course there are words that aren't spelled correctly, but he's doing it 100% on his own and loves to do it.   He recently read an early reader (level 1) book that had 76 pages and he read it start to finish over 45 minutes.    Ace can count to 100 with ease and in fact has written them out as well.     He's so intuitive and his vocabulary quite expansive.

Ace loves his video games - often on MANY mornings it's the first thing he asks to do.   He practices and gets so excited when he accomplishes a new level or beats a boss that was previously an impossible feat.   It's so fun to see his joy and while mommy doesn't share in this enjoyment of video games -he and his dad bond over it quite nicely and love to play together.      He and his dad still love to go on walks and collect a walk rock each time they go. 

Ace found many friends in Pre-K this year and along with his sister made some great friendships and had many playdates to parks and outings with all of them.  It was fun to watch him make friends and desire to spend time with them and seek out opportunities to do so.    He's had the early heartache of saying goodbye to friends that have had to move away and while he's still young already has felt the impact of missing someone.    He lit up when his good friend Lu (who moved away at the end of June) drew him a picture and mailed it to him for his birthday. 

Ace and Mae continue to navigate through life as siblings and most of the time he's a wonderful big brother.  He grows impatient at times with her pestering and he has had a real wild-hair for antagonizing her.    He pushes her buttons - especially in the car - to be 'right' or to get her to see the 'truth' or whatever it may be.  We constantly are trying to tell him that you can't change everyone's mind and that you just have to let things go sometimes when they don't want to see truth, reason, or your opinion.    He doesn't often see it that way. 

Four was challenging in many ways.  He often was mouthy, talking back, and wanting to do his own thing in his own time and not always listen - but he still has that deep seeded desire to please others and wanting to do what is right, so while it was a more challenging year it was still quite rewarding.  

Ace had swim lessons the whole month of July and was a fish!  He loved them!  He learned to actually swim a short distance, regained his knowledge about back floating and overall just had a lot of fun and had no fear of water, putting his face in it or any hesitation to hop right in.   Although he was a good rule follower and always obeyed instructions! 

Sleep for Ace was again great - he occasionally would have a nightmare about "a noise" that would awaken him and scare him.  Sometimes he was simply wanting extra attention and seeking to come into our room on the rare occasion, but overall he was a great kid that slept through the night.   He loves bedtime and very often takes the time to spend a lengthy time talking to his dad and getting quite philosophical with him at those times.  It is definitely a special time for those two. 

Ace loves Jesus and very much wants to know more about him, to understand him and is quick to inform his sister that "Everything belongs to Jesus!" (she doesn't quite agree yet and thus the battle of YESSSS and NOOOO takes place often on this sticking point.)    He still more often than not wants us to pray and he listen but he loves to read the Bible, do devotions and hear more about God.  He loved going to VBS and learning about Jesus.   I took his friend Em with me in the car to and from and after one of the days I asked them what was your favorite part  - Em responded "I liked hearing about Satan"  and Ace quickly said "Em, I think you missed the point."    haha  he's witty, blunt, and often a step ahead in some areas.

Eating for Ace is a standard 4 year old feat - sometimes he eats more than mommy and other days it's a painful drawn out repetitive 'eat your food' type of event.    He doesn't like spicy food and generally will eat anything else. 

Favorites of Ace in year four - still loved the song Stronger by Kelly Clarkson and was always excited for it to come on.   He loves to read stories, watch shows on Netflix, play on the xbox, run around at the park and go to Em's house at every available opportunity he can.   He is always seeking something fun to do and asks to do school.   He's dabbled in some addition and subtraction and has a pretty good grasp on the general idea of adding and subtracting - which for 4 is impressive.  I've introduced him to money and what they are and he loves to learn new things about the planets, geography and about our presidents.   He does have this desire to not fail and as a result sometimes it means he won't try in fear of failure, but as we're aware of it we find ways to work through it. 

Ace is a kind hearted and super thoughtful kid who often says thank you without prompting multiple times after we've done something for him.  He seeks out flowers to pick for me any chance he can and he loves to do things for others than he thinks would make them happy.    He loves to spend time with all his grandparents and see or talk to them whenever he can.    He adores his Uncle Kai and Auntie and generally wants to be with family.      We love him and can't wait to see what five will bring as we embark on this journey into kindergarten and beyond!    We love you, Bear!

Interview at Age 5:


2. WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR BREAKFAST?  (Skipped this question as we were still in bed and had yet to have breakfast and I wanted him to focus and finish... mentioning breakfast would have not worked in my favor.)

3. WHAT IS YOUR MIDDLE NAME? Yep got it right!  ;)

4. FAVORITE FOOD? Cinnomon Spice [Cereal]  (Mae's favorite food is 'cake' brother asked what her favorite healthy food was and she answered peanut butter and jelly... no REALLY healthy?)

5. WHAT FOOD DO YOU DISLIKE? The food that I dislike is Macaroni and Cheese without hotdogs.. kind of.


7. FAVORITE LUNCH?  That kind of stuff that has turkey with the cheese and the English muffin.

8. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO? My favorite thing to do is usually... to... um... play outside usually.



11. WHEN IS YOUR BIRTHDAY? August 24th!!!!!

12. ARE YOU A MORNING PERSON OR A NIGHT PERSON? A night person... what do you mean a night person or a morning person?? 

13. PETS: Yah, Pixel.


15. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP ? I think a fireman! (Why?) Actually someone who works at ____ (we don't disclose that information on the blog, but he got it right)  like dad.
16. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CANDY? Maybe a lollipop or something... or maybe actually every candy is my favorite candy. 

17. WHERE IS THE FURTHEST YOU'VE EVER BEEN FROM HOME? Mississippi!  That's pretty far, mom... Right? (Yes.)

18. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK? The King and His Six Friends  (Second year running with this answer. He and his dad do read this one together.)

19. WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?  Once that I got one of the boats in one shot (Um what do you mean?)  Like in Battleship - I sunk the boat in one turn.  (Oh exciting!)

20. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE?  Maybe Cars.  I like the music from ... I like some of the songs come on the radio usually.

21. WHICH CAME FIRST, THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG? EGG!  (Why do you think that?)  Because chickens start out... baby chickens start out as eggs first.  What do you mean the chicken or the egg first?

Thirty (One) Months Old

When did my baby girl turn 2.5?   Well it's actually be a few weeks now!  Time seems to be barreling so fast!!  It took me nearly a month to get her 2.5 pictures even taken! (Bad mama!)   I can't believe that my preemie clothes wearing infant is now a chatty, expressive, and opinionated toddler!  Wasn't she just turning two?

Newities in the last six months:  singing, sleeping all night in his own bed exclusively, first haircut, very opinionated on clothing and shoe choices.

Heath wise we have had a wonderful six months!  Sleep wise we also have had a great path to rest in the night as well.    She still is quite the staller for going to bed and in recent months I have been taking pictures of her and having people try to "Find Mae Mae Today!"   She wrecks her room and then snuggles down into a location to sleep.    Whatever works!  It's silly and fun and I am sure she won't be doing it forever so it's something silly to love now. 

Mae still loves to touch Mommy's tummy for comfort.  It's what she replaced mama milk with and while she doesn't do it all the time - it's almost a guarantee she'll ask for my tummy at bedtime.   "I want your tummy."   It's sweet.

Mae at the moment doesn't seem to have many favorites - she loves to read books in brother's bed and most recently watch Silly Songs with Larry on her father's phone before bed, but as far as reading the same book over and over - she hasn't landed on one lately.  She does love Ladybug Girl, Princess stories, and the Bible.  Mae enjoys Doc McStuffin and Lalaloopsy toys.  She still loves to watch Daniel Tiger every chance she gets and loves to answer questions posed to her from Super Why.      Mae is recognizing some letters of the alphabet and can mostly sing the song as well with a few repeats in place of the regular locations.  It's cute.   She recognizes all her colors but doesn't have the names associated with them down yet, but give her the colorpillar and pile of things to sort and she'll properly sort them all.

Little sister does good to keep up with her brother and all his friends.  She doesn't miss a beat in keeping up with them running, playing, or even wrestling from time to time.  It's adorable to see her with all the bigger kids and aside from needing a nap before them, her size and age doesn't slow her down at all!    She loves her brother, but also is quite a standard "little sister" when she wants to be.  She has a banshee scream that can cause anyone to go deaf.  It's impressive that such a loud high pitched noise cmes out of her.   She's got more temper and tantrums than brother did at this age.   She will pout and growl "I'm MAD!" or "I'm frustrated"   It's sweet... sometimes.  :)

Mae got her very first haircut about two months ago.  She was so excited to sit in the big chair and get her hair done and get a lollipop.  She was a good listener and didn't squirm or fuss at all (with the exception of wanting to switch chairs repeatedly to try out a different location.)  

Our little girl continues to grow, be sassy, sound adorable and just be so so sweet and cute.  She will tell you her birthday is in January, she will tell you (and invite you) to her party that mommy is planning for her - and she always talks about being a big girl these day and that when she is bigger SHE will go to preschool, kindergarten, and drink coffee.    We love her and can't wait to see how the rest of her third year unfolds!

Monday, August 5, 2013

She's Glowing - Baby Shower Decor

It had been over a year since I planned out a festive and thematic baby shower (Ready to Pop) - and it was so fun that last time to deviate from a standard "nursery themed" shower to something more modern, chic, and festive that I knew that I wanted to do that again with my best friend's shower for her new baby girl!    I searched and searched and nothing really was striking my fancy until I came across a bridal idea involving neon and I was struck with the idea of "She's Glowing!" for a great shower theme to incorporate neon!   

Planning a baby shower from afar is tricky in some ways, but when you have good help it goes great!   I enlist the help of my dear friend Shell and found the perfect location at the Mommy-to-Be's SIL's place!  Who by wonderful luck is also a baker and volunteered to do all the desserts for the dessert only party!   With the major players, themes, and duties assigned the creative work began to unfold!

First up was the invites.  I decided that I wanted to make them myself this time and got to work in Photoshop and using Picasa designing them.  I bought washi tape (this and this) and Avery Postcards and envelopes from Amazon.  The washi tape was over priced certainly, but I had plenty for 45 cards/envelopes and I didn't have to haul my two kiddos around town looking for just the right design for my vision.   Well worth the extra cost.     The Post Office was also quite happy to indulge my thematic neon theme with some perfect 'Celebration' stamps.  Finish off the addressed envelope with a little highlighter and the invites were ready to be sent off.  I also created an insert that matched that said "It's a Girl!"  with the details of registry, nursery theme, and requested RSVP, but all that is a tad too personal, so just imagine it looks the same and just as awesome.  ;-)

After those were off and running the next part of was creating the theme with décor.  A big chunk of that was me heading to the paper store to the die-cut machines for 2+ hours and cutting out a ton of shapes, letters, and items for one of the activities.   Tedious, but I find it oddly satisfying.   After getting everything cut, I brought it home and sewed together the "She's Glowing" banners, the triangle garland, and plotted out the next steps!

New outfits were part of Bec's gift all thematically neon in color choice!

I made Baby Hannah her own name banner that acted as part of the décor for the party as well.
For the "Ready to Pop" shower I had a game where mommy-to-be popped a lot of balloons.  It worked out great and was a lot of fun.   So in trying to make sure that everyone "Glowed with the party"  we requested all the guests wear a little neon.  In addition to that we provided some hair accessories and glow bracelets to help punch up the theme. 

One of the guests ordered a diaper cake that fit perfectly with the theme (and nursery motif of jungle animals!)
Food and drinks are always a staple at a party and thematic coloring was essential again for this.  I found some neon plastic cups at the local party store (that survived a carry-on luggage jaunt on the plane, whew!) and some chevron thematically colored paper straws as well.   Shell made a pink lemonade punch, we had some neon orange Izze soda, washi taped water bottles, and of course neon plates and forks to dive into the neon dyed cake that SIL made.  :)   Since it was a 7pm party we had said clearly it was dessert only, but we did provide a few neon(ish) colored snacks as well (rainbow goldfish, rainbow neon nerds, mandarin oranges, and baby carrots.  

What shower is complete without games?   For the most part I like a free flowing shower that doesn't require much conversation and socializing to stop and so for that I had a bit of a twist on that part.   We decided to have a photo booth with lots of silly props (shout out and kudos to Shell for the awesome spray paint job on that bright green frame!)   so I acquired a fun backdrop in hot pink (aka a polka dot queen sheet that I found at Target.)   and then went to the dollar store and a few other spots to gather some props.   Bec's other SIL is a photographer as well so I didn't have to haul all of my extra equipment to Cali and so that worked out perfectly for that!   

Our only 'organized' game was 'Take Care of Baby!'  If you set the baby down then someone else could adopt it.  I spent about an hour drawing various faces, hair, hats, and diapers onto the babies and then hot gluing them into little blankets that again were thematically colored.    This game was a huge hit for the 8-13 year old crowd and that worked out well in general to keep them entertained as well.

The night concluded with Bec opening her presents while I worked to put together a slide show to the song "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" which we hooked up to the tv and played as a final wrap up to the shower.  It was a great evening and I've been told by several people it was the best shower they've ever been to, which is quite the compliment!   It could not have been done without the help of some awesome ladies and a best friend that is always happy to let me take the wheel and have full creative control!  Thanks Shell, SIL, and Becky!  Can't wait to meet Hannah!!

July in Photos

4th of July, Bec's baby shower, Cali visiting, trip to the beach, church BBQ, VBS, Swim lessons and a boozy beautiful bridal shower for B!   July was busy and Loving Husband and I celebrated nine years of marriage too!    Can't wait to see what August holds for us!