Saturdays

Saturdays for me and Little H look a lot like this…

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…while the big kids and Daddy spend their Saturdays like this.

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JDubbs is coaching both the big kids in t-ball, the reason why we held Jax back to play t-ball one more year rather than go on to coach pitch.  We wanted one year where both Jax and Em were on the same team with Daddy coaching them, in case Em didn’t take very well to baseball.  So far they’ve both been pretty good about it, and I hope they continue on, but if not we always have memories of this year!  Em is always trying her best and Jax does his best to boss everyone around, even kids on the other team!

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They both have the potential to be good enough to play, at least for fun, and I’m glad we will have these memories to start them on their baseball career.  Not all kids enjoy the slower pace of baseball, but playing is in their blood, on both sides.  I think with Daddy there to guide them and Little H and I there to cheer them on, they will continue on long enough to experience all the fun and camaraderie being on a team and baseball/softball has to offer.  There are too many fabulous memories for both JDubbs and me to look back on to hope that our kids don’t at least give baseball a try!  So far, so good!

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I could get used to Saturdays like this.

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Both my big kids have had a great start, thanks to their Dad!  He has had lots of patience and given up his weekend mornings to encourage them and help them feel successful and proud!

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They make quite a team!

 

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A Tale of Two Parties

My darling creative, sparkling, wonderful Em turned six last month, and she is so loved it required two parties!

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The first party was for three of her friends after school on her actual birthday.  Em is an artist through and through, and to celebrate that each friend celebrated her inner artist!

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We got a little excited about these invitations…there was a little extra glue going on.  But it was all Em’s idea and she was super creative with how she wanted to decorate them!

When the girls arrived after school, there were art supplies waiting for each of them at their seat.

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Each girl painted her own picture on her canvas, and then we filled cupcake necklaces with sand art.  They all loved it and the time flew by!

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And of course, colorful cupcakes!

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It was a really fun way to celebrate her actual birthday and she felt super special.  She felt even more fabulous that weekend, when all our family came up for her family party, this time an animal theme she designed all her own!

The cousins loved the animal masks, and the girls all wore matching dresses made by Nana.  It was so adorable to see them all together!

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Em used our many Schleich animals to decorate her cake and Nana and Papa’s house, and there were plenty of “party animals” to go around!  Her ideas for animal touches were so fun! I’m glad I let her help decorate this year instead of trying to surprise her as usual.  She really knows what she wants, and her vision is always great!

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Including these creepy-eyed stuffies (not my favorites but my kids LOVE them) in lieu of goodie bags for the kids!  They were such a hit!

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Em knew exactly what she wanted for food as well, and with some creative wording, she was able to get all her favorite foods at the party!  Such a smart lady.

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Em remembered how Papa orchestrated a scavenger hunt for her presents last year and made a request for another go round.  He obliged and she tracked down all the amazing gifts bought and made for her, including a professional easel handmade by her Auntie Amanda.  What a lucky lady to have such a beautiful day!

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Mmmmm….and a yummy cake made by Auntie Jenny.  Loved by so many, this precious girl.

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Happy birthday, dear Em!  You deserved every minute of happiness from your celebrations!

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Easter Blessings

These little bunnies and I have had a very busy week.  School vacation is a blessed mix of laziness and adventures, sleeping in and staying up late.  What with all the long drives, visitors, evenings with friends and daytime excursions, the blog and its obligations kind of slipped my mind.  But I wouldn’t want to forget to commemorate this Easter and all the fun we had, so here we are again!

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The day before Easter, we drove down to Massachusetts to spend the night with family.  Then we woke up Auntie Amanda and Uncle Chris bright and early to play, open Easter baskets, and have some fun before heading over to Grammy’s for dinner.

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My aunts and uncles, my kids’ aunts and uncles, lots of food, handmade name tags, and plastic eggs made for one very festive afternoon!  I love watching my kids connect with extended family, especially mine since we’re so far away.  I grew up with them in my own house, and having my kids love and appreciate them means everything to me.  It’s an extra blessing in my book.

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And in the spirit of Williams family Easters past, there was an epic egg hunt, for all the bunnies, even the big ones!

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After the egg hunt, there was room for one last cupcake and some more cousin fun before we hit the road to get our pup from the kennel.  We all (especially Little H!) made the most of it.

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One, two, three, four, five times blessed…more than that.  We had so many wonderful reasons to smile that day, and I’m glad I took a minute to reminisce and appreciate it all!

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Outside!

I could lament how inadequate this winter was, how short the ski season turned out to be and how we only made one snowman and went sledding as a family one time!  But when we are outside without jackets on, soaking up the sunshine, knee-deep in mud season, hanging out with JDubbs while he turns tree sap into homemade maple syrup, I find it hard to feel bad about anything.

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The day after Little H’s birthday party mud season was in full effect, with temperatures in the 50’s and the kids rocking their boots and sweatpants, light jackets on or none at all!  We played baseball in the side yard–in March!!–brought out the little playhouse, and generally relished the feeling of the sun on our faces.

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I can’t lament the sunshine, or not having a single snow day, or how our summer is going to begin the second week of June!  I can’t regret the months ahead of more time outside, less idle time inside, more fresh air and less TV.  With Little H turning three, they can all go out and play in the yard together, and although mud season can be awfully messy, I will take it!

Happy Spring!

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A Paw Patrol Paw-ty!

Little H had a pretty fabulous family birthday party over the weekend, if I do say so myself.  It had a lot to do with the guest list, with lots of family making the trek up north to celebrate us, but the birthday girl herself was pretty darn cute.  It doesn’t hurt when big sister takes the time to make sure you are party ready, from your fingers down to your toes.

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Thanks to Pinterest and the dollar store, I found plenty of easy ideas for Paw Patrol party food, including serving it in these over-sized dog bowls with silly pup wording.  I’m pretty sure the Chew Toys were gone before the party even started, and I may have made my kids addicted to Cocoa Puffs!

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With the party set up, it was time to welcome family and enjoy the unseasonably warm spring weather.  What a day!  All of Little H’s cousins were there to celebrate, and because they range from teenager to not-much-bigger than H, I called in reinforcements.  Nothing brings cousins big and small together like bubbles, and nothing makes me happier than bubbles and sunshine.

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Indoors, nothing made Little H happier than an entire house decorated with the Paw Patrol everywhere she turned, filled with people who love her, yummy food, and awesome gifts.  It was the perfect day to be a three-year-old.  Or related to a particularly fabulous three-year-old!

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And cake!  Mmmm…an extra perfect day to be three.

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Such a glorious celebration, so much love!  So grateful to everyone and so proud of Little H.  Happy birthday little one!

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It was definitely a day to remember!

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A Whirlwind Winter Vacation

A funny thing happened on the way to Massachusetts to get my hair cut: a storm decided to unleash its icy fury on Vermont the morning the kids and I were supposed to leave, so my darling husband suggested we go down the night before and stay in a hotel.  Even with all the logistical hassle of staying in a hotel by myself with three kids (such as how to get all the kids and all the luggage in and out of the car during a storm), I knew that an extra night away would make our whirlwind visit to family and the city that much better.  So we found a great deal at an Embassy Suites outside of Boston and the four of us headed south for a February vacation adventure.

Of course, as luck would have it, the DVD player in the van went berserk halfway there, but the kids were so excited to go to a hotel that they took it in all in stride.  I pulled up to the hotel and found a luggage cart right by the front door, unpacked the van, left our belongings with the concierge, and went with the kids to park.  Once inside, the kids couldn’t believe how “fancy” the hotel was, including a glass elevator that we had to ride to the very top floor and all the way back down every time we got in, and a swimming pool and hot tub spa.  And who could forget all the luggage cart fun?

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Bad news was that once we unpacked, I realized I forgot Jax’s bathing suit!  With not even a pair of shorts I could substitute for them, we were off to the mall for a “quick” trip to find some.  It actually wasn’t that bad, since the mall had a Disney store and a Lego store and a thousand sets of escalators (which my kids are attracted to like magnets).  Jax picked out some God-awful Star Wars bathing suit that cost a million dollars at the Disney store, Em picked out some God-awful stuffed glittery princess cat, and Little H picked out a set of Mickey Mouse fork and spoon (thatta girl).  We bellied up to the bar at Johnny Rockets for some classic diner food and were back at the hotel before the snow got too bad.

Fast forward to a nice swim and a late movie and everyone got a great night sleep. The next morning Grampy met us for breakfast and the kids swam one more time before leaving.  We met Grammy for lunch and then the kids went back to her house while I got a much-needed hair cut, and then the big cousins and Auntie Jessie came over to play.  Phew! What a busy day, but so filled with laughs that I could never regret it, even with overtired meltdowns at the end of the day.

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The next morning was the biggest adventure of all! I packed up the car and we headed to the Alewife T Station, followed by Grammy, for an adventure into Boston to go to the Aquarium.  Teaching the kids how to use the subway system was great–they were super into it and loved every minute of being in the station and on the train!  The happiest commuters ever!

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After a short walk we finally arrived at the Aquarium, and even though half the state of Massachusetts had the same idea as us and Jax kept complaining that Boston is “too loud,” it was really worth all the effort.  Jax is learning about penguins at school and loved listening to the presentation, as well as the opportunity to touch sharks and rays.  Em loved the harbor seals and sea lions and Little H actually participated in a small education group about taking care of turtles!  My favorite part was the giant tank in the center of the aquarium, where the kids could watch the divers feed the fish and see all different species.  All different kinds of fun for everyone.

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And yes, maybe the kids whined on the walk back to the T station, and maybe we all caught colds and were squished in crowds, and maybe Em refused to be in a photo with me at the end of the day because I wouldn’t buy her something in the gift shop, but in the end, it was so worth the whirlwind to expose these kids to this incredible city and world.

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And I’ll always have this photo to remember the trip by.  Thanks random stranger for offering to take the picture and then confirming he got a good shot.  You nailed it!

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It’s all in the memories!

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School Is In Session

We had a four day weekend last week, but that didn’t stop my kids from declaring school in session!

It started with Jax experimenting with baking soda and vinegar while I was still in my pajamas and eating my breakfast.  It was an entertaining meal to say the least!  Quite educational.

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I was proud of my little mad scientist, who set up the entire experiment himself, but had to put a stop to his explosive tendencies when the mess took on a life of its own.

IMG_4290 I suggested to him and Em that since it was frigid outside and they had lots of big ideas of how they wanted to spend their day, Why don’t you set up a school?  Little H and your many creepy dolls could be your students.  They loved the idea and just like that, I had the table to myself again as they ran off to set it all up.

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Em made the “schedule:” Math, Music, Gym, Library, Art, Science, Home.  If you need help following along, just follow the light saber pointer for assistance.

I was pleased that they insisted on starting the day with the Pledge of Allegiance…

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…and then Jax took over for some early morning math work.  The girls were an attentive audience.

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I had to insist to Jax that he keep the math equations basic, and Em was happy to help her little sister when she was stuck on an answer.

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Star student!

Then Em got out the instruments for a little bit of music, It’s The Hard Knock Life from “Annie,” to be exact.  As always, we are ever-so-grateful to Uncle Chris for Little H’s trumpet.  As delightfully deafening as ever!

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Music was followed by Mr. Jax’s gym class, which began with five laps around the house for warm ups and then a rousing game of hopscotch.

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Then it was time for a super Pinterest science experiment fail with Teacher Mommy: supposedly if you fill two glasses with colored water and place a tightly wrapped paper towel in, the color will “travel” up the paper towel and fill the middle glass with the secondary color revealed when you combine the original two colors.  We tried several hyphothoses–more water, less water, water in the middle, increased length of time, thinner paper towels, shorter paper towels… You name it, we attempted it.  The only conclusion to be drawn from this experiment was this: Pinterest lies.  Or our paper towels are just too damn absorbent.  Inconclusive findings at this point.  Definitely wasn’t Mommy’s fault.

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At least it was pretty.

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To disguise my Pinterest failure, I announced it was snack time and Jax read a story to the students during Library.

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Miss Em really came to life when she was teaching art, actually communicating to her “students” rather than shuffling shyly around in front of them as she had before.  She even had real projects in mind and helped Little H with her work.  Art is definitely where she shines.

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And right before the bell rang, there was choice time.  Jax and Little H decided some dress-up and theatrical play was in order.

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If this is what their days are like in school, I can’t believe they aren’t following asleep in their suppers.  What an exhausting (and completely entertaining!) day of school! I’m so pleased that they love their school and teachers so much that they want to be just like them.  Makes my teacher-on-hiatus heart happy.

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