Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ten on Tuesday

1. LEGOs!  Because we always love them.  E got a gold and white ninjago dragon for his birthday that has been an excellent group project.  B, E, and Brent have all jumped in now and again.  Great to have a place where we can leave things like this out and come back to them.

2.  Speaking of which,  Great Grandpa dropped by and saw the house!!  I wasn't sure that would ever happen and it was a huge surprise. I almost missed saying hi because of all the calls I had, but broke free long enough to talk for a bit. I think he liked it? Hard to say, but glad we got to show him our home.  That also makes two times seeing him in less than a month with two more scheduled in the next month.  Hooray!
 3.  Love this photo - we close down the pool one evening recently. We're not swimming two times a day EVERY day any more, just most of them :)
 4.  M is having some swimming confidence issues that ended her swim meet early on Monday with just full body sobbing. Her coach is doing great with her and we have a joint strategy going in to Saturday's meet.  I believe she will swim two different races Saturday morning... if the plan works?  This "balking" tendency of our kids is super frustrating and nearly inexplicable, but we continue to try and work through it.  B has made it largely to the other side so we know it is possible!  We'll keep being positive and encouraging, but also keep making them try "hard things."
 5.  This guy is loving pool time and getting slightly more adventurous.  Overall, he is kind of emo.  Lots more tears than a few months ago, but also amazing snuggles.  We're hanging in there as snuggles always win.  The otter snuggles in Finding Dory are basically E & my spirit animal so we're good.
 6.  The oh, so comfy, best reading couch ever has arrived.  I realized at some point that I built my own blue room, just like my grandparents, but this one encourages using the furniture and curling up on the couch a bit more.  The kids and the baby sitter spend most of their time in this room as it keeps the noise away from the office.  They seem to be having a good time and I'm glad it is finally pretty much furnished and very comfortable.
 7. E went to VBS with Zane last week.  He "might" have been two young, but I think had a great time and occasionally tells us random things he learned after the fact even though he wasn't very forth coming during the actual week.  Zane, however, went also and was full of information so we got the gist.

 8.  We did a lot of things for Zane's birthday including dinner at Tucker's, the Finding Dory movie, and the big Harry Potter party.  it was tons of fun and their party decorations were, as always, completely on point. I feel we may need to step up our game slightly for M's party.... or have Audra and Zane just make us some decorations?
 9.  I had purple hair for my Tonks costume and kind of loved it.  This is also pretty much my face while my job has been trying to figure out whether or not I should come to DC and where I am most needed.  Just hanging in there and rolling with whatever.  Looks like no DC this month, just San Francisco beginning on Saturday as planned.
10.  Yes, one more swimming picture.  Here, B is lined up to begin the breast stroke.  He hadn't thought he was competing and maybe kind of hoped he wasn't as he isn't very confident in this stroke. The coach told him at race time that he was in and gave him a quick reminder on the pool deck about how the stroke works.  He did great! He went right ahead, jumped in, and won his heat. I am so insanely proud of him for pushing through his fears  and doing it anyway.  Such a great life skill.  Swim team is being very good for him.  He isn't the fastest by any measure, but is getting better every day, trying hard, and conquering his nerves to just go for it.  Great moment for him and for us. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Swimming through June 2016

Every June we double down on swim lessons.  We sometimes take them at other times of the year, but in June, we focus.  This year, that process is much better due to the existence of a neighborhood swim team.  M & B have team practice 4 days a week for nearly an hour.  Then there are weekly swim meets.  It is awesome and they are improving SO much it is incredible.  E is taking swim lessons once a week at the Y and it is a disaster.  Last year his lessons were also pretty much a disaster.  That said, the older kids used to be much the same in the early years and love it now so we shall be patient.

 First day of swim team - we begin with basics. For M, basics begin with how to put on goggles :)
 So kids 5 and up are in various levels of team/lessons.  Kids younger than that and parents or baby sitters sit around and watch.  Kids older than 10 swim earlier in the morning.  The team has about 40ish people and is awesome.  GO Swordfish!
 E rather likes watching swim lessons.  This particular day he was wearing his robe, PJ top, and tshirt -- it was probably 80 degrees... I have no idea, but wasn't fighting that particular battle.
 On the third day of swim team, we also went swimming at Great Grandpa's cabin with our cousins and Grandma.  Which included diving lessons and lots of fun.
 Then we went swimming a third time at the pool on our way home when we stopped to pick up our OTP swim bracelets (long story).
 The next day was E's first lesson and it began so well.  This has been the only happy moment for E... and his parents, but it was adorable?
 In addition to lessons, we go swimming at the pool probably at least 4 days a week.  We usually stay just over an hour.  They love it and seem never to tire of going.
 B apparently does not have a lot of plans to wear non-swimwear this summer. He puts it on first ting for swim team and rarely takes it off before his bath.  He requested, nay, urgently begged for his first speedo for the swim meet.  Brent and I stiffled our laughter and bought him long, sort of tight racing shorts.  He loves it? Who  would have guessed.
 We often mistime our visits to coincide with the start of the hourly safety break so there is some sitting around.
 Why yes, there are swim team shirts!  M had horse camp last week and thus was not competing in the swim meet as she had not practiced (and admittedly is probably still not "race ready").  She SO wanted to be in the water, but looked great on the sidelines and kept me informed about what was going on while I worked in the concession stand for the meet.

 The day of the first meet, we left the house about 7:10 to make it to the pool for the 7:20ish team meet and warm up.
 B competed in freestyle and back stroke.  He won his back stroke heat, but fared less well in freestyle.  Brent sadly missed the first two races taking E to his "lesson."
He seemed to enjoy racing and was not nearly as nervous as I would have guessed.  So grown up all of a sudden.  He is a very confident swimmer now and his kick is probably better than mine already!  (I did beat him in a short race Wednesday, but who knows if I will for much longer....)
Luckily, to everyone's surprise, B swam in a freestyle relay at the end.  His relay team finished second and he got his very first swimming ribbon.  The swim meet lasted about 3.5 hours from warm up to completion.  There are four more this season.  Two of them are at our neighborhood pool and two are not.  The final meet is at the Y for the city championships.

Right now swimming both with the team and for fun in the afternoons is super popular.  We'll see if it continues into the hotter part of the summer, but right now it is great fun.  I am so glad they get to try this all out, make new friends, build a skill, and have fun together.

(Ps - M would like to add that their team swimming suits arrived today so now they are set for the next competition.  B's team speedo is substantially tighter than the one we purchased.  He still loves it.  )

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

E's 4th Birthday!

My numerous camera, technology, and schedule issue are cutting in to blogging, but here's a photo heavy look at E's birthday party.  We began by opening presents outside the gates of the zoo while he waited for friends to arrive.  Presents first was awesome as was giving people their favors early in the party to be played with during the party.  Everyone is happy and I magically ordered the perfect number of stuffies for the child attendees while simultaneously having no idea who was coming. Hooray!
 Look who joined us!  The Jones boys! I think this may have been the first time that every one of E's cousins was in attendance at his party.  SO exciting.
 There was a scavenger hunt which B, not surprisingly, took the most seriously.  Here he is acting like an animal.
 M photobombed a lot of pictures.  Here they are posing with her favorite animal/a creature with feathers. (For the scavenger hunt, of course)
 I looked like it might be a second trip to the OKC Zoo without seeing Rhinos (which is unheard of as they are front and center) but they appear fully covered in mud near the end of our visit. (PS photos are clearly not in order hmmmm)
 This was Grayson's very first zoo trip and he loved it. His shirt was super popular too.  I loved watching him sprint all over on tiny short lets.
 The weather was stunningly lovely so the lion statue was perfectly cool for climbing and I have a variety of versions of this shot.  Kids here are mine, Vos, Millers, and Jonses.  (Yes, TWO families came from TX to this party!)
 More photobombing by M as B captures an animal with a shell for the scavenger hunt. Too cute to not include and B was surprisingly tolerate of all this.
 E & Aunt Jamie closer to the end when he was tired.... Thanks to Donovan for lending us this shirt and a shell for the day!  We missed having the Wainrights around, but they somehow still managed to help out!
The day before had been our anniversary party and the first swim team meet. I was so so close to not decorating the cake/cupcakes, but am glad I did.  Sadly, this is about the best photo of them, but they were very popular!

 Panorama as we sang happy birthday.
 Only one of E's school friends could come, but he was a super fun friend to have a long and they had such an awesome time together!
 Aunt Audra and E's best buddy Ro were there too, of course.
 So many adorable kids!
 E may have been "persuaded" in to this hug, but I think he liked it :)
 E & his new buddy wise.  Love his face.
 The bison!  Now the Oklahoma Trails connects to the giraffe area by walking by the edge of the Bison exhibit.  SO much more convenient!  After we finished that loop we made our way slowly out of the zoo and off to get pizza with the Korenaks.
 Brent and I were tired, but the kids were not so we began present opening again at home. LEGOs, Magformers, book, and a puzzle to add to all the presents from the party.

 He adores the elbow and knee pads and hand guards the Millers bought him, possibly more than the scooter itself! He wears the gloves A LOT.
Brent and I tried to slow the kids down, but by 3:30 or so we were out again and on our way to the neighborhood pool.  Both of my siblings and their families met us for an hour or so of pool time before heading back to our house for left overs, more fun with new toys, and finally Tony watching for Mom and me. (Spoiler alert, Hamilton won 11!)  It was a crazy busy day in a silly busy weekend, but so lovely.  The zoo party was really awesome.  Perfect weather, a great group of people, very simple, and a very happy small boy.  Happy birthday E, we love you so very much!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

WITL 2016: Wednesday

I just irrationally love this photo.  It is very M right now.  Off we go on the wild ride that is Wednesday!
Wednesdays are complicated.  Or maybe they are just a really efficient use of time/scheduling as we all try to do things at the same time.  Mornings are less complicated so let's start there.
From left above:
  • All morning departures for all family members must include hugs.  So today we developed the hug selfie.  The bonus is I got extra long hugs today :)
  • Before the hugging there was some video time - this may only occur when the child is completely ready and typically wins me 5ish minutes to put on makeup and make coffee... E almost never is ready more than 10 min early. 
  • All the kids eating breakfast together.  Hooray!
  • E has such good pick-up pictures I have to use them.  Here he is walking along the wall he walks every day and abandoned his random poses for a moment. Love it.
  • My mom lobbied the legislature today and then brought my sister and I surprise lunch, which was a great break in the work day.  Usually I have a big meeting on Wednesdays just after this, but my boss is on vacation so smaller meetings today.
  • After school, E and I went to CVC to pick up Fluoride (because randomly the water here is not fluorinated and kids teeth need fluoride... coming from someone whose water did not have it as a kid).  While he was perusing the toy cars and I was searching out kid allergy medicine we were separated and briefly couldn't find each other.  That adrenaline rush resulted in him convincing me to buy all the kids lollipops just like the ones people used to sell when I was in elementary school. 

 At home, we had the daily kid debrief and lollipops.  Then:

  • B did his Spanish homework last minute before his lessons. (Which happen while M is at dance).   During the lessons, Brent cleans and hangs out with E. 
  • M and I got ready for phase 2 of the day. She had ballet/jazz class for 1.5 hours. I ran for an hour (around 4 miles.. slow, but I ran and that is big at the moment).  
  • While we were gone, Brent made dinner as he typically does on Wednesdays.  Today, was Shrimp with Peruvian Chili Lime seasoning, whole wheat noodles, and avocado.
  • The boys ate it all up and got to make and enjoy chocolate pudding.
  • M ate almost nothing so she took a bath and read with me instead (not sure how the reading photo is missing - we read Aqualicious, Bread and Jam for Frances and the Tea for Queen Bee book).
  • Brent returned to work for dorm night (all the teachers go once a week to help tutor their subjects during study hour).  He left after E's bath so no Harry Potter tonight.  Instead, B read E the Ninjago rise of the Serpentine book..... Brent and I are both pretty sick of reading Ninjago books at the moment so this was nice and allowed me to listen to M read for longer.
  • Kids went to bed and I did watched some gymnastics, showered, and blogged before Brent came home with a hillarious gift from one of his students.  Just so random. And now time for bed.

Wednesdays go pretty well at this point, but there is a lot going on.  Not pictured - M's Ocean Day celebration in Kindergarten, more stuff coming home from school.  Any of Brent or my work day.  B & E playing in the front yard, chores, dorm night, etc...This will be our last Wednesday like this before schedules shift, but glad to capture the fun. 

Gratitude - For busy full lives and our kids getting to try out and enjoy things like dance and Spanish early on.  I'm also thankful for how well Brent and I work together to make the logistics work for all of us.  

Overheard - We had ice cream with swedish fish today, which I brought.  It was delicious. And we had hot dog octopuses, star fish sandwiches, goldfish, and capri sun.  It was a picnic!  We made cool ocean crafts in the morning. I want to have an Ocean birthday party at the pool.  I know just what to do - M (In fairness, M has millions of birthday ideas and changes her mind frequently, but Ocean Day sounds like fun).

Observation - I've been giving the kids harder chores this week than usual and am not getting much complaining.  Such a bonus.  M is whining a lot bout things like eating her food or doing basic stuff like putting on her shoes. One tough thing about Wednesdays is not getting to see Brent very much, but it is definitely downhill to the weekend from here!

Notes - I am not sure why this project is so daunting, but it really is.  A week seems like a long time for all of this, but each day is really different and really different that it was a year or two ago so I'll keep going.  I haven't done as well with the journaling pages today, so I'm doing that next!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

WITL 2016: Tuesday

 Tuesday- Already missing my DSLR... In any case, a lot of photos still and a little trouble convincing myself to organize them this evening.  The above title page is E outside his school at pickup.  He hops on these rocks as we depart almost daily.
 Tuesday morning - The picture of M not being a morning person didn't make the cut as there are so many of my visit to B's school today. I may make a collage of random morning pictures later or scrapbook it separately? The stories here are:

  • I finally made it to lunch with B.  We used to do this monthly, but it has taken up to the last week of school this time.  WE had fun and I went to recess with him too.  SO chilly!
  • B plays video games in very designated blocks.  This was in the morning cycle after he was completely ready for school.
  • B eating breakfast.  He falls somewhere between M & E on morning attitude.  Probably the most chill as he volunteers to wake up before he has to (see video game time).  Also randomly often puts on his daytime pants without his daytime shirt of late.  Also eats breakfast more than once before leaving.  Starts with cereal, but eventually has something else like yogurt, crackers, dried cranberries, cheese, etc...
  • E, once awake, is his full silly self.  He doesn't wake up early and sometimes need some help moving along, but is probably the most energetic of our crew in the morning. Above he is surfing/getting dressed. I should specify that his energy is rarely directed toward the actual getting ready tasks...
  • M checking out the lunch menu - a near daily task- here in the final week she seems to be moving back to bringing her lunch box.  
  • B sitting in line with R waiting to return to class after recess.  We shot hoops, played four-square, and a few other random games B came up with before R joined for catch.  Came to the sad realization that B often spends recess alone, but he seems fine with that and has a routine? I'm sure I'm overthinking this..
  • The day I finally made it to lunch happened to feature frito chili pie & cinnamon rolls.  The cinnamon rolls did not meet the standard of my elementary school, but were still good:)

Part 2 - full of random and missing bits.  In the course of the week I have to assume we'll hit the basics, maybe just not all in one day.

from top left:

  • E being cute while he is supposed to be cleaning his room.
  • M&E made a bunch of pillow/blanket beds, nests, etc... after dinner.  This is one of their creations.  They have great imaginations and play so well together right now.
  • Me working in fingerless gloves.  There are many attempts at this selfie as I was trying to show my new GW gloves and not look crazy. I mostly decided I am looking more middle-aged and settled for this one. This whole headset, gloves, makeup/on camera look is now standard as video calls arrive at random. I most likely am wearing jeans with it any given day.  Also played with a variation on the chignon today.  Added bobby pins as I found them around the house.  So random, but I'm keeping myself in the story!
  • Before dinner (after room cleaning) M & E played with minecraft figures while B was actually playing minecraft downstairs. I joined them intermittently between making dinner.  It was a fun game.
  • Brent reading Harry Potter while E "reads" Ninjago.  Book 7 of Harry Potter is pretty intense, just as I'm sure you recall.
  • B looking at a summer camp brochure.  We finally found a camp we both agree on - Brixology- Engineers Shape the World -- which actually manages to not conflict with swim team or our other obligations and is nearby.  And engineering intro + LEGO sounds great.
  • Bathtime with E.  Brent is usually in charge of baths, but was playing a game with B so I joined in and discovered M has pretty much dumped a HUGE amount of soap into baths over a couple weeks that should have lasted maybe 4 months...grrrr.
Not pictured - after bedtime reading and yoga for me and Brent & Gavin gaming.  Also things like dinner, going through all B's returning school supplies and M"s returning projects, the kids playing piranas, lots of chores, Brent working, etc...

Gratitude - I am thankful for getting to spend one-on-one time with each of our kids.  Sometimes it is tricky; always it is awesome.

Overheard: B: I am a canibal so I eat you (eating sounds); M: I don't want to be eaten; E: I want to be eaten! and be a canibal and a piranah.  E really wants B's attention.  B loves driving M crazy (as brother's do).  This ended in a stalemate, but was revealing of their normal reactions.

Observations: M&E have amazing imaginations and daily create new fascinating scenarios, games, activities, and missions to play through together.  I love to watch them play. 

Note. I am still toying with format.  Leaning towards 6x8 with a title 6x8 photo, 2 collages with a center 3x8 with the times and general journaling.  The back page with be a a different feature of the day - so maybe day 1 - food; day 2 - morning approach, etc... We'll see. In concept the bonus journaling for the day would be 3x8 with two 3x4 pictures next to it.  


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