Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ella's Tea Party Birthday

Miss Ella-Bella decided on a tea party birthday. She'd originally requested a cake in the shape of a teacup, but I felt that was pressing my cake-assembling abilities past their limits. We settled on a place setting on top of a tablecloth:
The morning of her birthday, she excitedly opened her gifts (before Dad and Micah had to leave for an 8am basketball game). She was most giddy over her Tiana (Princess and the Frog) toys.

Ella wanted to invite her friends to wear attire appropriate for a tea party. All the girls looked so pretty. Once all her friends arrived, we played "Tea Party Bingo." I'd made up the game pieces. I don't know why I did this to myself. It was so much work, they ended up being kind of difficult to work with, and in the end, it would've been easier to just do a simple no-frills bingo game. But still, they enjoyed it.

Mr. Matthew gettin' around!

After Bingo, we put on the tea (hot chocolate). Mira quickly reminded me, "Mom! You forgot the tablecloth!" Oh dear, can't forget that. The girls are all showing how they are so fancy, holding their teacups with their pinkies up.

We then served up a berry smoothie that Ella had seen in a tea party book. It sure did look pretty. And they loved it with the fancy straws.

Matthew wasn't about to let us get away without him getting his own hot chocolate and smoothie.

The girls played Musical Chairs, and then it was time for gift-opening.
Here is Ella with her schoolmate, Ryan Pace:

Thankfully, Mom came up to help out with the party. Chad, Mom, and I worked well together. Mom skillfully took over food prep and cleanup. Chad took on Matthew and games. I kind of ran around doing whatever was leftover. It was perfect. Thanks, Mom!

Ella and Sarah Starley

Schoolmate Leah Homer

Cassidy Anglin

Lilly DeWitt

Ashlynn Hanna

Paige Harris


Makenna Anderson

Ailie and Kaylie Skowronek

Chad, helping out

We love our birthday girl.

The next day, Matthew and Colin sat on the couch together, looking back on videos from Ella's birthday. How sweet is this? I told Colin that one day, Matthew will look back on this picture and see how much his big brother loved him. Colin's so kind and attentive to him.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Free Day

Ella turns 7 next week, and she's been gearing up for her party. I just haven't got my act together yet. Grandma Miller came up yesterday, picked them up from school and took them to Arctic Circle. (What a treat!) Afterwards she took Ella out for birthday shopping. Here Ella models her new beautiful nightgown with long, sparkly sleeves.
Mira just must be part of this!

Since Daddy-O was out for a long evening, the kids and I put together a blanket fort in the living room. They love sleeping in these. When I say sleep, I mean sit in there with lots of blankets and pillows, flashlights, books, and spend the next 2 hours trying to sort out sleeping arrangements. It finally gets to the point where I have to threaten them with sleeping in their own beds if they don't quiet down.

Turns out, the boys were the only ones who slept there. Ella got scared and fell asleep in my bed. Mira was hot and uncomfortable and slept on the floor of my room. (The designated kid sleeping spot.) Colin awoke this morning and said, "I didn't sleep very well. It was hot, I got a carpet burn, and it just wasn't very comfortable." It gets to the point when you can no longer camp out on the hard floor and get a good night's sleep. I think Colin is there now, too.

Matthew's 18 Month Check-Up

Matthew went in for his well child appointment yesterday. Poor thing knew right away this was a place he did not want to be. He clung to me when I put him on the table, and he screamed when I had to take off his clothes. And then, when it was time for his flu shot, you can imagine what that was like. (Don't tell him I'd forgotten we already got our flu shots last month!)

His stats are as follows: weight 47% (25.9 lbs), length 93% (34.5 in), head circ 69% (19.1 in)

He's a great sleeper. He goes down for bed and naptime very well. He sleeps 12 hours at night and about 75% of the time gets a nap of about 1 1/2 hours. (Sometimes we're just running all over and he never gets one.)
He's a picky, picky eater. But he surprised me the other day when I made lentils for dinner. He loved them! I was shocked. But normally, it's blueberries, cereal, pretzels, apples, milk (preferably chocolate), raisins, and peanut butter. If he sees you with chips or french fries, watch out! They won't be yours for long.
When asked about his language skills, I said, "Well, he doesn't have 20 words." I think we all just cater to him quickly that he's learned a grunt can get him far. Right now he says: mama, dada, shoe, cloud, sock, no... come to think about it, that might be about it. But he will repeat after us if we prompt him. I'm not worried about his language. He understands so much and I know I just need to make a concerted effort to help elicite more words.
He loves to snuggle stuffed animals/dolls; piggy back rides from his big brothers are the best; his new train is a favorite toy; he loves the clouds and airplanes on his bedroom walls; when he's got a stinky diaper, he will let you know so it will be changed; he's always up for bathtime; he loves playing with balls: kicking, throwing, rolling. He is a lot of fun.

A Few Days Off

This past weekend we all had a three-day holiday. Saturday was basketball games and then taking it easy.

Sunday we went to Marshall's missionary farewell (Chad's cousin). After a nice family pot luck, we stopped at Mom and Dad's house to celebrate Mom's 63rd birthday.

Monday Chad took the kids swimming and then we decided we needed to finally check out Cabella's. It is an amazing store. From the get-go, Colin was interested in the guns and crossbows. All the animals on display were amazing! The presentation of them all was top notch. We (and by that I mean the kids) climbed in tents, tried out cots, and tested toys.

Cousin Michael's University Hunt

My cousin from Santa Cruz, Michael Finelli, came for a visit while on a tour of various universities in the west. He says he loves the rocky mountains and would love to attend school around here. He's looking at Kinesiology at the University of Utah. He's so brave, driving around solo, stopping here and there along the way. No fear for this one. I love it!
We just loved having him stay. The last time we saw Michael was when we vacationed in Santa Cruz about 6 years ago. The kids latched on to him right away. He was so sweet with them, asking them questions and whatnot. I was actually surprised at how quickly they became attached. Every morning, when he left for the day, the kids were concerned they wouldn't get to see him anymore. Ella sidled right up next him on the couch--our reserved little Ella.

Mom wanted to make it over to visit with Michael before he headed off to his next destination. It was neat hearing some stories she recalled from growing up with his dad, Cousin Chris.

Micah was happy to give up his room for Michael, and we loved feeding him. He is a personable young man, so easy to have around. We enjoyed watching a couple of sporting events in the evenings together. He really never sat still for long, always playing around with a ball or stretching out. (Perfect for kinesiology!) We wish him the best on his quest to find the right school, and if he ends up here, lucky us!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Smoothie for Two

Since I got a wonderful new blender for Christmas, we've been enjoying our smoothies once again. We missed them after our old blender went kaput. If you do not share with Matthew, he will yell his displeasure. At dinner, Matthew shared mine and then went for Chad's. He was so possessive of it, I had to get Chad a straw so he could have some, too.

I'll Just Do It Myself

Sometimes you get asked by your child to do things like read a book, push the swing, or build a snowman. You always want to say yes, but sometimes you're just plain busy taking care of something. Saturday we got our first snowfall after a dry December. Ella rushed outside first thing in the morning, ready to get into it. She asked for help building a snowman, but I was preoccupied. A little while later, I looked outside, and she'd built this all on her own. I must say I was surprised and impressed. Now the goal is to get her to read to herself once in a while rather than always expecting to be read to. (Although I enjoy doing that.) It's nice to be surprised once in a while by a very capable child.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Arrow of Light for Colin

Tonight Colin received his Arrow of Light at the Cub Scout pack meeting. Even though all the boys there were rambunctious and rather silly (what's new?), it was a special moment. Colin was asked if he promises to continue to follow the Cub Scout promise and motto throughout his life. Brother Brough dressed up as Akela and asked him these questions, painted his face, and gave him his arrow.
Mira was very interested in all the paint Colin was getting on his face. Matthew was fascinated by the candles.

Here he is, pinning the arrow of light pin on me. He even gave Chad and me hugs while people were watching! Thank you, sweetie.

Meeting the Boy Scout leaders on the other side of the bridge. In May, Colin will be an 11 year-old Scout. Thanks to his dad for taking the lead with all things scouting!

Girls and Polish

Mira wanted to have a little friend over to play with. She called a few people and didn't speak to anyone, but left a couple of messages. A little while later, she had two friends coming over. Now, if you're female, you know that, with little girls, three can definitely be a crowd. We started off great with nail polish and fixing hair. Then they ran off to play and from time to time I'd overhear conversations like this: "You hurt my feelings." "No one wants to play with me." "If you aren't nice, I'm going home." I had to remind them that they needed to all speak kindly and that we weren't going to indulge and any whiney or grumpy things. (Girls.) But they are precious!
As soon as Matthew spots anyone applying nailpolish, he wants his fingers and toes done. So much so, he'll come barge right in and stick his foot in your face and grump at you until you comply. So if you happen to notice his big toes have pink nailpolish peeling off, you'll know how that came to be.