Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The first day of school

Well, after a fun-filled summer and a panic-filled few weeks as I scrambled to make sure that everyone else (aka... me) was ready, the time has come.

We started school!

Miss Leah is meeting all the standards for first grade.  If I were starting her in PS, there is no way it would be at a kindergarten level, so we're going to go ahead and call this her first grade year even though she is only five and a half.  I don't feel any pressure whatsoever about keeping her "up to snuff" on the first grade side of things; if her fervor for learning cools, we may do two years of first grade.  If she keeps on track, I'll continue moving her up.  The beautiful thing about all this is that we can work exactly at her pace!

My big boy is going to do school with us for about an hour a day, and very gently at that.  I absolutely adore the curriculum we're following.  It's just the right combination of early academics and play, and I love that at three he'll be memorizing Bible verses along with us.  

I typically would prefer to wait until he's 3.5 or even four to start "formal" schooling - even this gentle preschool program - but he loves to sit with Leah and me while we do school.  He might as well get in on the action!  Plus, the greatest thing about the curriculum is that, because it is Biblically-based, it is still relevant to Leah, and super easy to modify to fit both kids.

I was going for an action shot, Leah jumping for joy in our newly-refurbished backyard garden.  We quickly discovered that jumping for joy with a backpack on isn't as easy as it looks... 

I am so excited to begin the school year!  I can't help myself, I have always adored this time of year.  

And, for the record: Casey's favorite part of homeschooling: 

Jammies are always an option!

So, without pauses or hesitations, we are mighty, full of confidence, excitement and joy... and we are coming for you, school year!!!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Logan 3.0

My favorite little guy turned three.  And he's just so full of life and joy!  Some things about Logan at three:

  • He is still full of words.  Noises, grunts, growls, yells, questions, observations, songs and laughter.  So, so much laughter.  And poop jokes, because, well, that's hilarious.  
  • He loves to play "I spy" in the car.  Except, he says it this way: "I 'py wif my 'ittle eye, sumpin....."  and then he takes at least a minute to find something that meets whatever high standards he is evidently adhering to. 

  • This child of mine love, love, loves the water.  He spent all summer running through the sprinklers and learning to swim.  

  • He is wonderfully inquisitive.  He likes to observe, loves to ask questions, and is the first to get his hands dirty. 

  • He loves to do projects with Leah.  I have decided to start him in preschool this year - a move I would definitely not make with such a brand-new three year old, except that he loves to sit at the table and learn with us.  

  • He has the greatest memory.  He learned about half the states and capitols with us last year, and memorized all the presidents.  He can recall events and details that seemed insignificant to me from a year ago, and heaven forbid you should put avocado in his quesadilla.  Because... he will remember.  And you will never live it down.  
  • He is such a boy.  He loves things that move: trains, trucks, construction vehicles, airplanes.  He loves Darth "Dark" Vader and 'Piderman, despite the fact that we've never once watched or read anything with those characters in it.  He loves to build and play with cars.  It is amazing to me when I watch the very natural differences between Leah and Logan, because she never liked any of these things that he gravitates to.  

  • He still naps for about 2 hours every day.  He is my up with the sun, always ready to go kid.  He used to sleep well through the night, but I recently made the mistake of letting him sleep in my bed after he had a bad dream.  Since then, every night he has a "bad dream" and pops into my room around 2 a.m.  It's creepy, really.  Particularly when Casey is out of town.  And also because he stands outside my bedroom door and jiggles the door handle until I wake up.  But, what can I say?  I'm a sucker for snuggles. 
  • He gives the best hugs.  The best.

  • He is so funny and spunky.  He makes us laugh and keeps us on our toes.  
  • I always forget that he is only three.  He is so mature in so many ways, he doesn't seem at all like a baby.  He knows a lot of those "academic" things, like his shapes, numbers and colors, but it's more than that.  He can do so many things, and is so competent and capable for such a little guy.  And, truly, so darn reasonable for a brand-newly three year old.  

  • He wears size 8 shoes, an 3T clothes, though his legs are short like his mama's.  
  • He weighs 33 lbs (61st percentile) and is 37.13 inches tall (33rd percentile).  He has lost so much of that wonderful, chunky baby fat, and is now pretty much just solid muscle.  But, the kind that is still perfect for snuggling.  
  • He is an awesome brother to his sisters.  

We love you and are so proud of you, my sweet Logan!  We are thankful God gave us a Logan to be part of our family!

Friday, August 28, 2015

A letter to my son

My wonderful son,

Your daddy and I were talking recently about you, the things we love about you and what we're looking forward to in the next year.  The thing is; we were having a tough time coming up with anything to be excited about.

Not because we're not excited about your turning three.

You see, you're just so darn wonderful at this exact moment in time, it is truly hard to imagine that it gets any better.

You are kind.  You are helpful.  You are loving.  You are smart.  You are so, so funny and so, so sweet.  You love absolutely everything about life with a contagious enthusiasm and obvious joy.  You are easy about almost everything - except food.  Food is your currency and one of the few things you're certain to melt about - and reply, "I can deal with that!" even when you don't get your own way.  You love to snuggle, and give the very best hugs. You put your sisters above yourself.  You think of acts of service to perform for those around you.  It is so much fun to be your mom and watch you grow!

If ever I was going to freeze time, it would be right now.  How my heart longs to keep you in this moment.  To hear your sweet voice pronouncing - and often  mispronouncing in the most adorable fashion - words that are much beyond your three year vocabulary.  To watch you willingly don dresses to play Anna and Elsa with your sister.  To hear your infectious giggle.  To listen to the generosity in your heart's prayers.

Our family is so blessed to have you in it.  We are so much better for knowing you.

With great big love and gratitude,


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Our little birthday carnival

My little sweeties.

I don't know if I can put into words how humbled I am by the responses of my children to their birthday parties.  

 Alright, so Livvy gets a pass this year.  But look at Logan's face when he came downstairs after nap time to see his birthday party for the first time!

That kid.  His enthusiasm is palpable.  Everything about life is SO! EXCITING!  And that face right there?  Yeah, it makes every second of party planning so very worth it. 

So, welcome to our birthday carnival!

If I'm being really honest, this is one I've been planning for the last two years.  We were going to do a birthday carnival for Logan's first... but he awoke with croup on the morning of his first birthday.

 So we put it off a year.  But... well, for his second birthday, I kinda had a baby 3 weeks beforehand and wasn't exactly up to very much.

Fortunately, a carnival is exactly the right thing to satisfy a 5, 3 and 1 year old!

Leah and Logan's friends range in age from about 7 to 3, and of course we also have a wonderful array of little ones.

The carnival was perfect for all ages!

The highlight for my birthday boy was getting his face painted.

Because, um... Spiderman is like, better than Jesus.  Yes.  He will tell you this if you are foolhardy enough to ask him who he likes better.  

Leah told me adamantly for two weeks beforehand that she was going to get a unicorn and a fairy on her face.

And then...

...I learned that five year olds are notoriously unreliable and flighty.

Being the sophisticated little lady that she is, Olivia elected not to get her face painted.  Have to keep things classy when you're one.

The kids had a great time taking photos.

The adults had some fun, too...

I love that the kids are big enough to actually do things at birthday parties.  You know, besides making messes and drooling on things.  We really have come a long way.

Although, of course they did a lot of running around like wild maniacs, because, well, that's pretty much a constant state of being when you're a kid.

We had some old fashioned carnival games.  The first was a water balloon race.  

They had to carry a balloon on a spoon and pass it off to their partner.

Which of course they all totally cheated at.

But it was super cute and fun all the same. 

We also had a potato sack race.

Trying to get seven 3-7 year olds to all put on those sacks, line up and start at the same time was a task and a half.  I think we finally just let them go because we couldn't wrangle them all!

And can I just tell you how very much I love this photo?  Yes, that would be my kid - the super all-for-justice, always-do-the-right-thing kid - totally cheating and literally jumping the line like a crazed, potato sack maniac.

Fortunately, karma - and the big kids - caught up to her.

We also did the ping pong ball fish game.  Which really just turned into splashing around in the cups of water, but everybody had fun taking home a little fish. 

Olivia loved watching all the kids from the safe distance of Mommy's arms.

Although, for posterity's sake, she did let someone else hold her.

Yep, it's true.  And she was exactly as happy about it as she looks in that photo.  Regardless, that was maybe the first time ever she's let someone else hold her for more than about 4.8 seconds.

We managed to corral the little ones for cake time, and it was really fun.

Logan's exuberant faces are so cute!

Unfortunately, the wind was blowing so strongly that I couldn't keep the candles lit for anybody to blow out.  So we let him do it directly from the lighter.  You have to blow out a candle on your birthday, right?

Olivia was thoroughly unimpressed with Mom's hard work.  

Logan wanted a blue cake (of course), so that's exactly what he got.  I also got brave and made a chocolate cake entirely from scratch, so this year we had one blue french vanilla and one chocolate, both with an Oreo-whipped cream filling that was so stinkin good.

Why are kids eating cake photos so darn cute?

We had such a wonderful time.  I just adore those kids.  All of them!  We're pretty lucky and blessed to have such a fun crowd to celebrate with.  

Three and one.  I can't even believe it.  

This may have been your first real birthday party, my big boy, but I hope you feel special and loved each and every day of your life!  

I changed my font at thecutestblogontheblock.com