Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Evie

Dear Evie,

You turned seven this year.  How on earth did that happen?  You were so excited to be such a big kid.  This was your first year of full-time school and you LOVE it.  You take great pride in memorizing your schedule, packing your backpack and setting out your clothes and packing your own lunch (on the rare occasion that I temporarily lose my mind and think you will pack anything healthy).

Your biggest accomplishment this year is reading.  Over the summer, your reading ability all of the sudden just took off and you are trying to read everything that crosses your path.  I love that you love to read!

You have strong opinions about fashion and you and I have started to clash a bit about that.  I want you to equally wear all of your clothes, but you have certain clothes that make you feel good about yourself and you are outspoken about only wearing those.  You discovered athletic clothing - particularly girly athletic clothing - and I think you spent an entire week of the summer in a running shirt and running skirt.  I did put my foot down this week when you tried to pair yoga pants with boots.

You are my most adventurous eater and sometimes I think I might bang my head against the wall from all the complaining about food - except for you.  You will try anything and you even ate an entire bowl of roasted brussel sprouts that Dad and I hated.

You are very artistic and love to paint, draw and make things.  You painted a pumpkin for the school Halloween festival this year and won first place in your class.  It was a little minion.

I love you and love watching you grow.  I can't wait to spend the holidays with you and tell you how much I love you and I love that you are in our family.  You are my special girl.

Love,
Mom

Lillie

Dear Lillie,

You turned five this year and you absolutely couldn't wait.   Your birthday coincided with the first week of school and I would venture a guess that it was the most important week of your life so far.  You were beyond excited to start kindergarten.  Your only complaint is that it is a half-day and you really feel ready to go out for the full day.

You and Evie are sharing a room this year.  You originally had your beds separate, but were excited about the idea of bunk beds, so we just stacked them a few weeks ago.

For your birthday, Daddy finished your Lillie at Home video, which was your version of Giada at Home.  You LOVE to cook.  You have even taken over an entire cabinet in the kitchen with your measuring cups/spoons, cookbooks, apron and chef hat, mixing bowls and plastic knives.  You take great joy in letting me borrow some of your spatulas, since you have more and yours are nicer than mine.  We are celebrating Thanksgiving this week and you have tried your best to call dibs on baking the pumpkin pie.  I thought you would love to watch a cooking show with kids, so I showed you Master Chef Junior.  You hate it because you think that cooking under the pressure of a timer is the worst idea ever and sucks all the joy out of it.  I'm inclined to agree with you.

Most of your life revolves around school - the anticipation and preparation.  Your best friend appears to be a girl named Haley and you often tell us what Haley thinks of things.  You love your teachers and, while you are super excited about Thanksgiving and Christmas, you think the break from school is excessive.

We love you so much.  You add so much fun, joy and personality to our home.  You have some great thoughts that you freely share.  One of my favorite this year was on the way home from your field trip to the firehouse.  "Evie thinks that being a mom is the easiest job in the world, but it's not.  Being a fireman is the easiest job in the world because all you have to do is put out fires and there aren't that many fires.  I'm going to be a fireman."

I can't wait to spend the rest of your fifth year with you and see how you change and grow.  I love you.

Mommy

Chloe

Okay, so I've missed a few birthdays, but it's still 2014, so I'm going to sneak them in under the wire...

Dear Chloe,

You turned two this year!  It has been so much fun getting to know you.  It's not until the toddler years that personalities really start to emerge and we love yours.  You are funny, fun-loving and mischievous.

Two nights ago I was sitting in the office and heard you slam the garbage can lid.  You ran away, yelling, "Hahahaha!  You never find it now!"  For the life of me I couldn't figure out what you put in there, so I'm hoping it wasn't me you were trying to hide something from.  You were very pleased with yourself.

You still have a place in your heart for Elise and frequently call her Lisie Claire.  She has a reciprocal affection for you, calling you Chloe Bear in return.

I can't wait to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with you.  You are actually old enough to be able to enjoy the holidays and get into them with your sisters.  Half the time I think you are just cheering along because you take all your cues from the older girls, but you are very anxious to be included and involved in any adventures.

I took you to your pediatrician appointment recently and the doctor commented on how verbal you are.  I am convinced that is only because you have so much conversation constantly surrounding you.  It is impossible to live with three other sisters and not be trying to get as many words in as you can.

We love you so much and are so glad you joined our family.

Hugs and Kisses,
Mommy

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fridays

Fridays are the best, but only starting around 5:00 when I can start making dinner and pop open a bottle of wine and talk to another adult - at least when he walks in the door after I've finished my first glass.  Also, I tend to find myself hilarious after that first glass.  I'm pretty sure other people do too, but my judgement can't be trusted by that point.

Being that I have a full hour and a half before that magical time, I decided to clean my blinds.  I got through 1 1/2 blinds before I died of boredom.  I was thinking of blaming the whole stay-at-home thing for my boredom until I remembered suffering through the last torturous hour of work back in my working days and then I realized that pretty much everyone hates 4:00-5:00 on Friday afternoon.

Aside from the mental anguish of blind-cleaning, I hung out with a toddler whose greatest joy is Netflixed episodes of Bo on the Go and we picked up a kindergartner from her first field trip.  The first field trip of kindergarten is always a trip to a farm, where apple cider is tasted, pumpkins are picked, hayrides are ridden, and fake cows are milked.  Apparently real cows don't like dozens of kindergartners trying to get their sticky hands all over its udders.  Or as Lillie called them, thingamabobbers.  Henceforth, we will all be referring to our lady parts as thingamabobbers.

On the way home, Lillie told me that Evie wants to be a  mom when she grows up, because she thinks that's the easiest job.  Lillie says that Evie is wrong - being a mom isn't the easiest, being a fireman is.  All firemen have to do is put out fires and there aren't that many fires, so she's going to be a fireman.  I think that's a solid plan with some decent logic.  I could be sitting in a firehouse right now, eating chili and waiting for the next fire.  Plus, I am willing to bet that firehouses don't have blinds to clean.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Pinterest

Here's the problem with blogging as infrequently as I have been.  I have started at least five different sentences explaining my absence, or trying to catch up with what has happened in the last six months, but that is really impossible to do.  I think I just have to jump back in with what is going on and that is this - I don't really have a reason I haven't been blogging.  Things are good, but we have four kids and that tends to eat up some time.  Oh, plus Pinterest!  I blame Pinterest.

Things here are going well.  We are starting to settle into a routine with school.  The girls are the ages where everything is changing every year.  Last year, we only had one full-time schooler, and one half-timer.  This year, it's two full-timers and one half-timer.  And, as should be expected, school kind of rules our routine.  

When I sent Elise off to school, I'm not sure what I expected in the way of homework.  I figured it might require a little help, but I honestly don't remember my mom helping me with homework.  Sorry Mom!  I don't know if I just lost the memories of the HOURS spent at the kitchen table doing homework every night, or if our elementary education wasn't quite as demanding as current education and I didn't have that much.  Well, I know it wasn't, but I don't know if the lack of homework was real.  For me, homework was something you did in high school at your desk in your room, alone.  

I also have this thing about our weeknights.  I really don't want to slog through homework after dinner because I feel like that will delay bedtime, that part of the day that restores  some semblance of sanity. So, I have turned to Pinterest to find meals that can be made ahead of time or in the crockpot.  I have more than once been tempted to announce that we are an eating-out family now.  I will do homework and get everyone dressed to leave and we will outsource our meals to the fine folks at Max and Erma's.  But Eric has this thing he calls a budget, so I spend more time on Pinterest.  

Pinterest - the cause of and solution to most of life's problems.



Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Break

I had grand plans this year.  Spring break plans.  I was never a kid that did anything on spring break.  I never traveled in high school or college.  I remember calling the dry cleaner at home begging for a week of work over spring break in order to have enough money to keep me in spaghetti for the rest of the semester.  My former employer was really nice and obliged, giving me a full forty hours.  That is the only spring break  I remember, ever.

And in my efforts to live through my children, I decided to make this spring break one that they would remember.  And oh, will they.  I badgered Eric to take some time off work.  He took Thursday and Friday.  We made big plans.  I bought a bike for Lillie.  This bike, that I wish came in an adult size because, the cuteness!  I buy all my exercise equipment based on how stylish and cute it will make me.
I struggled to assemble it.  Every time I start to think too highly of my intelligence, all I need to do is try to assemble a child's toy.  Or figure out the rainbow loom.  I digress.  Anyway, one of my favorite memories as a parent is packing a picnic lunch one day and taking it to the park.  I remember the kids loved eating at the picnic tables, they played themselves silly and we generally had a wonderful time.  It was one of those days that just came together to be special all on its own.  That was at our house in Fort Thomas.  The park near that house isn't all that close to our new house, so I thought it would be fun to recreate that experience at our new park.  There is a park in our neighborhood that is fantastic.  It has trails for walking and bike riding, a killer jungle gym, lots of grass, clean bathrooms and picnic tables.  It's also at the top of a hill.  It gets a lot of wind.

I discovered this as we unpacked our picnic lunch, yelled at kids to, for the love of Pete, please hold their plates down.  The wind knocked over a cup of lemonade.  It blew a plate full of tuna all over Elise.  It blew food onto the concrete that Chloe rushed to try to eat.  It made Evie cry.  And then Elise. 

We threw in the towel on the lunch and decided to unpack the bikes to ride.  Eric mentioned that we should probably not have tried teaching three kids (while pushing one in a stroller) how to ride bikes.  I thought training wheels on two would be enough to prevent falling, but I was wrong.  There were tears.  We eventually asked each kid to push her bike back to the car.  More tears.  It was declared the worst day ever.  Then the kids declared it the worst day ever.  Lillie decided that she isn't a bike rider after all, but thanks for the bike anyway.  She can at least ring the bell for fun.   And that's what I was going for.  A bell for her to ring.  At least she will never forget this spring break.  Even if she tries.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Elise

Oh, this poor little blog that is all but abandoned.  My hope is that as life eases over the years, I will have the time to return to it without feeling the pangs of guilt when I sit down and see the vacuum cleaner staring at me, the one who needs to be cleaned and pulled out of her highchair and the various other chores that make the blog seem extravagant.

But the one thing I don't want to abandon is the annual letters to each of my girls.  I know I have missed a few here and there in the business of life, but I am hoping to generally keep up.

My oldest baby girl, Elise, just turned eight.  As such, here is her letter.

Dear Elise,

Oh my goodness, sweet girl.  I can't believe you are eight already!  I have actual memories from when I was eight and I can't believe you are old enough that you will remember things from our life now for the rest of yours.

This was a HUGE year for you.  I feel like I say that every year, but it really was.  We moved.  You moved schools.  We changed churches - not really churches so much as the location of our church.  You astound me with your ability to thrive wherever we put you.

It was hard for me to switch your school.  You loved your school and I saw firsthand how much you were loved there.  I was sure you would never find another situation like it.  And although your new school isn't exactly the same as your old one, I am thrilled with how well you have adapted.

You are so smart.  I don't know why this surprises me, but it does.  I think I always had low expectations for you.  I can't explain why.  I remember when Daddy handed your tiny little 5 1/2 lb self to me when you were born and I was surprised that you were so beautiful.  I didn't expect you to be really ugly or anything, but I just wasn't prepared for how beautiful you would be.  I still think you are just gorgeous.

And when you entered school I was just shocked at how smart you were.  I was never that smart.  It's weird to raise a kid who is smarter than me.  I remember struggling and crying in the second grade over counting money.  You mastered that (without the tears) in first grade.  You have mastered addition and subtraction and have moved on to multiplication, which is not supposed to be done until third grade.  I have no doubt that you will have that completed before you enter the third grade.

You stopped bunking with Evie and got your own room this year.  We discovered that Evie was making you turn off the light long before you were tired and you were frustrated with staring at the ceiling in the dark for hours each night.  We set up a room for you with a bookshelf, which you have filled with probably a hundred books, all chapter books.  I'm certain that you have read at least half of them.  You journal.  You make bracelets.  You have your own e-mail account and write your extended family.  You have your own little life going on inside your room, all set up the way you like it and I am amazed every time I get a glimpse of what you do when you are on your own.

I have enjoyed this year with you.  I have loved being able to have real conversations with you and getting to be friends.  You are a great kid and I will always love you with all my heart.  I am so proud of you.  You are amazing and wonderful and I am your biggest fan.  I love you Elise.

-Mom-