Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fall 2016

Look at those 3 faces!! We had a quick but fun-filled fall. It amazed us how fast it went by. At first it was a very quick start to the school year. The girls are in Kindergarten and wearing uniforms to school. They love their teachers and had excellent report cards for the first quarter. We are so proud of the progress they are making.

And then we were buying pumpkins! Admittedly, it was a hot day in October, but still, pumpkins all f a sudden. We got 2 regular ones to carve (see my latest efforts below, I was pretty proud of myself!), Jake got a gourd, and then 2 large white ones that each weighed over 40 pounds. 

Cat was Ariel the mermaid princess, Jake was the BB8 droid from Star Wars, and Sam was the Queen of Hearts from Alice and Wonderland. We had a ton of fun at the Halloween carnival, especially Jake, and then we went trick-or-treating at a few houses in our neighborhood. Just enough candy, not too much ;-)


And then there was a hurricane! The wind was not nearly so bad, and though it rained a LOT, it stayed away from our house. Dave and the kids went down to the creek to see how high it was and stomped through ankle-deep water to the bridge into the woods.

Oh Jake! We love this little boy so much, despite all the trouble he gets in to. He knows how to make 'the sad face' and stick out his lower lip and say awwww and then pretend to be all upset with his head down in his hands. It is all an act and we all know it, including the girls, who can't help but laugh at him. He now knows all his letters, colors, and numbers and counts pretty well. He thinks he can read because he likes to point to words on the page as you read them and repeat them. His new favorite thing to do is play basketball. He kept trying to go outside and play so we got him an indoor hoop that hangs down from a door. He also is working on his potty skills, but we have to be careful. He likes his underwear so much he thinks they should be 'outerwear' and he doesn't want to wear pants. We walk fine lines around here sometimes.

Samantha is still our little positive cheerleader. She is doing great in school and has been put into a small advanced reading group. She still sings any chance she gets and always wants to do pretend games, especially if it involves princesses or school. Princesses at school is the best!  We're working on getting her to understand that there is a difference between helping and getting into other people's business, which is hard for a lot of people. She just really wants everyone to be happy because she usually is.

Catherine loves school this year! She enjoys talking about what she's learning and gets excited to show us her work. She's doing very well, too, and is right on track. We just wish she would show us how much she knows like she does at school with her teachers. We're still trying to get her to be more confident at home. Her artwork is amazing and her reading and writing are really coming along because she now wants to put words and stories to what she draws. Her other new hobby has been fixing hair and learning to braid and experiment with clips. It's been interesting around here.

And now my favorite season is coming up, Christmas season. We've already started decorating and took one trip to see Santa already. More to come with lights and presents and the Santa Train and fun times with family.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Summer 2016

We spent a lot of time at the beach this summer. I was determined to go and that meant I had to go by myself a lot, and that was very intimidating, but I did it! The girls had to spend more time digging in the sand than they preferred, and Jake had to spend more time jumping over the waves than he preferred, but life is about compromise and we all had fun. Best of all, the girls were great listeners and very helpful setting up the tent and getting everything cleaned and ready when it was time to go. I have been so proud of them this summer, especially on our big trip in July. So many people have remarked how well behaved all 3 of them are and yet I know they are still happy and having fun and it makes my heart swell.

When the tide was out it was the best! There were enough tide pools for the girls to be able to dig small holes to fill up with water and splash, and enough drier sand for Jake to dig, and enough very dry sand for me to relax on within 3 feet of them. Perfection!

We decided that the girls needed to try a team sport and they played T-ball this summer. It isn't really a sport for Catherine, the kids all run to the ball and get in her way, but she's good at it. The coach pitches to her and she hits it into the outfield (T-ball outfield), and Sam's pretty good, too. Both prefer to play 1st base because they are guaranteed to touch the ball, and I think if Cat was DH for both teams she'd be in heaven. Maybe soccer next time, so she can use her speed to get around the other kids with the ball.

Jake loves to play, and is pretty good off the tee, too. It makes him so mad to go to the games and not be able to play, so we do our best with a ball on the side and make use of the playground when I can pry him off the field.

Kristian taught the girls and cousin Alexa how to do the Whip at Great Grandma's birthday party :-) 

We went to the museum a lot and played a lot of dollhouse, which I discovered recently is much more fun when it is Superhero house. We baked cookies and picked cucumbers to make pickles and played in the sprinkler and got hot and sweaty most days (which wasn't hard because this summer was kind of brutal!). We went to bed late, caught fireflies, and danced.

At the very end we went to visit Uncle Mike, Aunt Alyssa, Lily and Cooper in D.C. We went to the American History museum and held up the Washington monument and saw where the President lives.  The kids were so tired (it was 95 that day!) but we made it and had a good time, though I think their favorite part was simply visiting with their cousins and bouncing on their trampoline.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

School year in review

My apologies for not updating this in months. This year with the girls at school and other things left me feeling like I was treading water for a long time. But we did make it to the zoo twice and the aquarium at the shore, and had a lot of wonderful things happen, too. We did make it to Duke Gardens near my birthday again to catch sight of all the tulips and grab some photos.

Catherine thought this would make a great picture and she was right, and naturally Jake had to jump in and help. Catherine has really impressed me this year in her maturity sometimes, especially when one of her siblings gets overdramatic. At school she showered off her prowess as an artist. I, and my principal, and her teacher, are so impressed with her sense of order and symmetry and color, but sometimes she has to be told she can't do everything in rainbow stripes, it takes too long. She is gaining confidence in her sight words and wants to read more and more. She also made it through the school year without getting into too much trouble, a boy tried to kiss her, and another proposed marriage. (She said no and he was pitifully sad the rest of the day, apparently). Her PE teacher said she is like the road runner, her legs move so fast you can't see them. She is working hard on her Spanish and SeƱora is impressed with her dancing skills, too.

Bubbles and golf are Jake's two new favorite things and that can look like this:

This March the girls turned 5!! They had a birthday party at the park on a cold day but the rain held off and everyone had a great time. They continued to thrive in separate classrooms and I am sad that I'm not going to see them on the playground outside my window next year when they move to the 'big kid' playground in the front of the school.

You can feed the giraffes at the zoo! How cool is that!?

It did snow but it was a lot of ice underneath and the girls slid down the driveway and front walk without making a dent. So we had a few snow days and enjoyed ourselves making cookies and playing  Trouble and Candy Land. They all got new snow suits and mittens for Christmas and loved getting chances to try them out. Jake not so much. He liked the snow, didn't like the snow suit.

The girls found an inch worm at Duke Gardens and wanted to put him someplace 'safe and pretty'.

We took a trip to Nashville and while I attended a science conference Dave took the kids to the zoo and they all got to see kangaroos! I think Dave was most excited about it.

They had their first gymnastics meet and they loved it. The kids were split into very small groups for medals but they still would have at least placed in the top 5, especially Catherine. As it was, they tied on 2 events and Cat won the other 2 and all around. We have some work to do and we're taking the summer off to try t-ball (can't wait to see this!) but they still really like going.

I LOVE this picture on the podium! Catherine loves pointing out that she has more medals than Dave and me now. 

Samantha has done so well this year. I was worried about her being without Catherine, and she still really gets upset with some separation things (Mommy, I miss you when you're at work. Sam, I work in the same building where you go to school.) She is reading so well and working hard at sounding out words she doesn't know by sight and we're so impressed. Still so cheery, she's easy to get up and get ready for school and she gets upset when it isn't a school day or she can't go because she's sick. (I won't say anything about Catherine except that I seem to remember similar issues). She loves music and Spanish and, of course, recess like everyone else. Everyone is her best friend and she hugs everyone in the building.

I LOVE this picture of her, it completely captures her spirit and joy, and the next one is just pretty.

Jake is a manipulative little stinker and I let him get away with it because he is, as he says, 'dorable'. He loves to do EVERYTHING that his sisters do and because of that he knows his letters most of the time and most of his numbers, too. Colors not so much, but he'll get there. He plays golf and baseball and anything that the girls play and that means teaching him to take turns so he can attempt to be a part of Candy Land and Uno and Trouble games. Everyone on the phone is either Daddy or Papa (can't say Grandpa yet) or Nana and he insists on talking to them, which means holding the phone while we cross our fingers he doesn't hang up on the person. We had to get a new babysitter and our new one has a daughter a few months older than Jake. It has been very good for him. He has a playmate and someone to learn social skills with other than his sisters. He is sweet and caring, though he is still learning not to hit or pull hair, and he still gets 'hangry' but it is getting better. Or maybe I'm just learning how to distract him better.

"…and good night to the old lady whispering 'hush'." 

We took the side off his crib after he jumped out twice and turned it into a toddler bed, and this past week we took the side off so it is a 'real bed'. He loves it.

Elephants are this way!

And he is 2 now! Birthday celebrations were so much fun with him, he gets so excited and now blows out every candle he sees. He still knows where the camera is at all times, and even was asked to be in a photo shoot at the local museum. Hopefully he ends up someplace famous and earns some college money :-)

So that's it for now, a short update on a long period of time. I'll try to do better this summer.