Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cookies and Coolness

 A couple of weeks ago, I make cookies for movie night. Here I am thinking I can just leave them to cool on the counter. I walk into the kitchen and find that, easily half of them either have a bite taken from them, or have frosting licked off. Guess who the culprit was? Mr. 3 year-old.
 Colin, fixing himself a snack. He is wearing a jacket he dearly wanted and received using his Christmas shopping trip. It is a cool jacket. And he makes it look even cooler. He is very aware of style, and takes note of what is fashionable. Layering, hooded shirts, skinny jeans, Chuck Taylors, hair paste, cologne. He is into it all.

Ella's Percy Jackson Birthday Party

 Micah and Ella were in cahoots in birthday party planning. Because they both love the Percy Jackson series, it was deemed the best idea. Micah worked with his Legos to come up with the cake topper. Ella was pleased. Ella wore a favorite outfit: leggings, horse top, her little shrug, and her new boots.
 Victoria Howe (next-door neighbor):
 Kaylie Skowronek:
 Garrett Dobson:
 Abby Anderson:
 Paige Harris:
 Callie Frac:
 Gigi Hernandez:
 Ashlynn Hanna:
Other than gift-opening and cake and ice cream, the party was completely out of my hands. They had an obstacle course downstairs, and had lots of balloons. Lights were out, other than a black light to show the way to the "laser" maze at the end of the course. They had a good time. Ella received a couple of Rainbow Looms, which are tools used to create the currently popular rubberband bracelets. Ella was thrilled to get them. She has since made a bunch. She likes to be creative, and that was a perfect gift!

Ella's 9th Birthday

 Breakfast in bed: pancakes with sprinkles and hot chocolate. And if you share the room with your sister, she of course gets it too.
 Ella and Mira were sneaky little things the night before her big day, when I was putting up decorations. They kept giggling, whispering, and sending Mira out for "trips to the bathroom."
 Ella got a pink Nintendo DS with an adorable fuzzy pink purse in which to carry it, and a Nintendogs game. She was very happy. Chad took her out to Chick-Fil-A for her birthday dinner.

Grandma and Grandpa Barnett and Aunt Amber came down on the next Saturday to watch basketball games, and Grandma took her out for lunch and some shopping. She came back with a huge pink unicorn she named Cupcake.

Grandma Miller came down, took her out to lunch, and for shopping. She returned with another huge stuffed animal: a tiger she named Tigerpaw. She also got an adorable pair of cowgirl boots: brown with pink flowers. She wears them all the time.

What's Ella like these days:
  • Bookworm! She would rather sit down with a book than play videogames, the iPad, or even play with friends. The most recent series she's been interested in are the "Warriors" series, and "Percy Jackson." That one is easily her favorite. Now she and Micah talk Greek mythology together.
  • She enjoys quiet time in her room, playing with stuffed animals, while listening to an audiobook. And she does not appreciate being interrupted. 
  • Piano is coming along nicely. Right now she is working on "Arabian Dance." When she first gets a song, she feels overwhelmed, and struggles. But as soon as she realizes she's making good progress, she has no problem going down to practice. 
  • French class is enjoyable. She likes her teacher, M LeGrand. 
  • She is doing so well in all subjects. Her teacher, Miss Biggs, is wonderful, and always has good things to say about Ella.
  • On Sundays, she will only wear skirts that she deems comfortable and not too poofy. Even though she has some lovely dresses in her closet, she is happiest in footless tights, lacy socks, denim skirt, and top with a half-sweater. 
  • Leggings are a favorite. Jeans are a big no-no in her opinion.
  • She prefers to have her hair down. A side ponytail will do if she must have her hair pulled back.
  • She and Mira worked hard to memorize the song "The Books of the Old Testament" for Primary. I'd promised the kids that I'd buy them each a candy bar if they learned it. When Ella heard this, she worked for it. And then I got to listen to her (and Mira...and Matthew) sing it over and over in the house.
  • Basketball has been fun for her this season. She liked having her dad as her coach. She is learning to get in the game and start to play a little more aggressively. 
I love Ella. She has a softness about her that will be an asset to her and those around her. 

Sledding and Winter Fun

 Over by the kids' elementary school is a great place for sledding. It was bitterly cold, and Ella and Micah soon regretted having worn only the knit gloves, rather than the recommended snow gloves.
 Colin went down a few times before opting to take Matthew to the car to keep warm and play.

Off in the distance are Colin and Matthew, playing in the snow.

Mira was up and down that hill so many times, she was too warm for her jacket.
Another form of winter fun: Candy Land. I can't count the number of times Chad or I have played this with Matthew. He has been known to stack the deck in his favor, lining all the candy cards just so he can draw them. Next step: learning to put the advanced candy cards at the bottom of the stacked deck to avoid drawing the cupcake last of all and having to go back to the beginning of the board.
Ella is our little bookworm. My New Year's resolution for January was to read a chapter book to the girls. We started off great with "Warriors: Into the Wild." After getting several chapters into it, Ella couldn't resist reading ahead. It got to the point that she wasn't interested in me reading to her, because she was well beyond us. Right now her series of choice is "Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief." She loves this series!
I keep a stack of plastic cups in the pantry just for Matthew. They have been used many times for his castle building. Besides building with them himself, he likes it when Colin, Micah, Ella, or Mira will build it up for him and let him barrel through. And then, "Build it again!"

For movie night recently, the kids finally got to do what they've been asking for. We got down the gingerbread houses, and they got to pick off the candies, break the gingerbread apart, and enjoy.
I can't remember why these two ended up in bed together, but it was so cute, I had to capture it.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Blake and Maren's

 We were so happy to be going to Washington to visit cousins. Blake and Maren had recently moved into their beautiful new home. The day we got there, Amber was just finishing up her visit. And Blake just learned that he had a stomach bug.
 The kids had so much fun just being together. They played with toys, watched a few movies. We all went to the movie theater and watched "Frozen." Great movie! We took them to the Rec Center at WSU and had fun playing basketball, ping pong, swimming, running around the track. We got to go to church with them. Other than that, we were at home, relaxing, visiting, and playing.
 Blake and Maren were wonderful hosts. We sure ate well.

Our last night there, we left Colin in charge of the kids for a while while Chad and Blake were playing basketball, and Maren and I were out running errands. When we got back, it was discovered that Matthew caught the bug Blake had. He was sick throughout the night. In the morning, Micah notified us that he was also sick. We threw gallon size Ziploc bags in the car, and were on our way. Those Ziploc bags came in handy. Matthew was fine on the drive home, but poor Micah was miserable. We made it home, though. It was worth the trip.

Christmas Morning

 Our tree has many of the ornaments the kids have made for us in preschool and elementary. I can't believe how quickly 5 or 10 years go.
Colin's wish list:
  • Quadcopter
  • Head tennis bag
  • Zen magnets
  • Perplexus maze
  • Newton's cradle toy
  • mechanical pencils
  • marble roller coaster
  • flat-brim Jazz hat
  • RSL jersey
  • Juicy Drop candy
  • gift card
  • magic cards
  • Neocube
  • Wii games
  • DSI points
  • clothes
  • Brian Regan tickets
  • Hex Bugs
  • candy 
  • clementines 
  • Halloween decorations
  • money for fireworks

Micah's wish list:
  • Phantom Halo Lego
  • X Box 360
  • Madden 10 X Box game
  • iPod gift card
  • Navy Seal costume (with binoculars, fake gun, cap, and fake grenade)
  • Daisy bb gun
  • football
  • outdoor basketball
  • Cincinatti Bengals shirt
  • Mocking Jay pin
  • Catching Fire movie
  • Hunger Games
  • Camp Half-Blood t-shirt
  • fake pack of gum that tasers you when you pull it
  • post it flip note (for motion drawings)

Ella's wish list:
  •  iPod Shuffle
  • Halo Legos
  • fox stuffed animal
  • art set
  • clay that comes with paint
  • Kachina doll
  • Monster High doll
  • Moon Dough
  • fake stick on nails

Mira's wish list:
  • Easy Bake Oven
  • tea cup set
  • gift card for iPod Shuffle
  • jewelry box
  • fake nails
  • Monster High purse
  • Monster High Doll (Abby)
  • DS
  • Henry and Mudge books
 Around 5:30 in the morning, I just couldn't sleep any longer. And when I heard whispering and rustling in the living room, that sealed the deal. Colin and Micah were out, investigating the gifts in the living room. I emerged to see their excited faces. We looked over everything together, and knew it was going to be a while before the whole family was ready for the day. To keep occupied, we went to the basement and played a couple games of Yahtzee. Then I made cinnamon rolls and sausage to coax everyone from sleep.
 Gift-opening was fun. The best part of it all was watching the kids' excitement over the gift they'd bought for each other. Fake nails, rubberband bracelets, footballs, light up toys, lipstick, fake grenade, cans of root beer, and playing cards were happily exchanged between siblings. The big gifts this year were the pool table, Colin's Zen magnets, Micah's Camp Half-Blood t-shirt, Ella's art set, Mira's bike, and Matthew's marble run.
 The marble run is so fun, I enjoy helping to put it together in different combinations.
 Colin was well prepared for his Zen magnets. He'd watched many a youtube tutorial. They are interesting to work with.
 Oh, the girls got a rainbow assortment of leggings, and they both screamed and squealed in excitement over those. I think Chad underestimated the happiness those leggings would bring, haha!
We went to Mom and Dad's in the afternoon for a wonderful meal and gift exchange. I didn't get any pictures there, but it was nice.