Adelie and Staley's World

Adelie and Staley's World

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Birthday Celebration

This past week-end was Adelie's birthday, and we had a full week-end of celebration fun.

We started off Adelie's birthday with a very special treat.  Pink milk!!  Every.single.time we would go to the grocery store, Adelie would ask if we could get pink milk.  And I always told her, "Maybe for your birthday."  So for her birthday, I got pink milk.

And although excited, I don't think she actually liked it as much as she thought she would.

 We surprised Adelie with tickets to see Disney on Ice on the afternoon of her birthday.  So fun!!  While Briggs hung out with Aunt Carrie and Uncle Erik, the girls enjoyed watching Disney stories unfold on the ice.  I will admit, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it definitely exceeded my expectations.  And Adelie was thrilled at the very end when Ariel was one of the princesses to come out to skate in the final song.


And then, of course, Adelie got to pick her special birthday dinner and dessert.  She initially wanted fish sticks, but changed her mind to gondola sandwiches at the last minute.  I'm sure Uma and Papa, who joined us for dinner, were happy about that.  And cotton candy ice cream was her dessert of choice.  She then opened a few presents from us before bedtime.

  Staley was so excited to give her a "fancy dress" (that she picked out from the 4T bin in the basement) and a note explaining that she was going to give her a real coronation and turn her into Princess Adelie.

Sunday afternoon was Adelie's family birthday party.  Not surprisingly, she wanted a mermaid party.  Staley tried to talk her into something else since Adelie had also had a mermaid party last year, but Adelie always came back to a mermaid party.  So a mermaid party it was.

Mermaid decorations

Adelie in her mermaid shirt hugging her new Ariel doll.

And so much fun that some of her guests even came in costume!!

Mermaid treats

A mermaid quiz.

And even some of her gifts were mermaid-themed.

What a fun week-end we had celebrating my mermaid-loving girl!!




Saturday, March 25, 2017

Interview with a 4 Year Old

This is Adelie's birthday interview:

Favorite color:  Purple and light blue
Favorite food:  Fruit
Favorite dessert:  Cotton candy ice cream
Favorite toy: My special things box
Favorite stuffed animal:  My Ariel doll
Favorite animal:  Unicorns
Favorite game:  Mermaid Island
Favorite TV show:  Blaze and the Monster Machines
Favorite movie:  The Little Mermaid
Favorite place to go:  Jumping Jax
Favorite thing about school: Playtime in the sand
Favorite place for vacation:  Wisconsin when we went swimming
Favorite thing to do with Staley:  Play with figurines and DC Superhero Girls
Favorite thing to do with Briggs:  Play cars and trucks and tractors and Paw Patrol
Favorite thing to do with Mommy:  Play stuffed animals
Favorite thing to do with Daddy:  Play Daddy Mountain (which is basically when she climbs all over him)
Favorite book:  Barbie Musketeers
Favorite princess:  Ariel and Cinderella
Favorite superhero:  Supergirl
Favorite outfit:  My 4 shirt with Ariel on it
Favorite pajamas:  My Ariel nightgown

What do you think you'll be able to do when you are 4?  4 year old pre-school
What are some things you're excited about doing when you're 4?  Going to pre-school for the treasure box at 4 year old preschool
What are you scared of?  Ghosts
What's the best thing about you?  I'm friendly
What are you good at?  Arts and crafts, drawing
Who is your best friend?  Staley
What do you want to be when you grow up?  A mermaid


Happy Birthday, Adelie!

It was four years ago today that Adelie was born.  Four years ago that our family of 3 became 4.  Four years ago that Staley became a big sister.  Four years ago that I realized that the fierce love of a mother can grow exponentially the second another child enters the world.  It was four years ago that I got to meet my little love and wonder about what kind of little girl she might grow up to be.  Through these years, I've learned that my baby girl is...

Easy-going

Happy

Mischievous

Adorable

Full of energy

Silly

Twirly

and social.

But Adelie is so much more.  She has a spark that is contagious.  She is sweet and loving, thoughtful and generous, fun and energetic, social and smart.  She is friendly and outgoing, ready with a hug or a homemade gift or a kind word to anyone she meets.  She is always ready to hang with the big kids.  She is confident and charismatic and hilarious.  She's just fun!  I am so proud of the little girl she is becoming and I can't wait to see where life takes her.

Happy Birthday, Adelie!
We love you!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring Break (Woo-Hoo!)

Staley and Adelie are on Spring Break this week, so we decided that the rest of the family should be too.  And since we were all on spring break, we decided there was no point in staying home for the whole week, so we headed down to St. Louis for a few days.  We initially planned on staying 2 nights, but were having such a blast that we ended up staying for 3.  Sure, we had to wash a few pairs of socks in the sink with body wash, but it was totally worth it.

We started off our fun with a stop at the St. Louis Science Center.  The kids loved the dinosaur area, the tornado and earthquake simulations, the rock climbing wall, and the math area.  Briggs also thought it was pretty great getting to sit in a combine and on a tractor.  Winning!

Fun times in the dinosaur area

Posing with the multi-colored tornado simulator

Driving the combine

Monday in St. Louis was 85 degrees and sunny, so we took full advantage by spending the ENTIRE day at the zoo.  (Remember how it snowed a week ago and now our kids were complaining about being too hot??)  We saw lots and lots of animals, rode the carousel and the train, played in the Children's Zoo area, watched the Sea Lion show, and cooled off with some shade and ice cream.  I absolutely love the St. Louis zoo, so I'm glad my family does too.

Family time at the zoo.
(We ditched the coats about 5 minutes later and were sweating by the afternoon.)

Riding a tiger!

And a snow leopard!

Briggs loved riding the train.  He would have done that all day.

We followed our zoo day with another favorite...the Magic House Children's Museum.  This is always a favorite for our kids, but it was even better this time because my friend, Jenny, met us for the day with her 5 year old twins.  What a treat!!  Playing in the climber and sliding down the big slide were listed as highlights by my girls, although they also loved the village area and the building/art areas.  And Briggs really enjoyed the water area.

Adelie and Staley with Mason and Maddy

No surprise that this guy found some rubber ducks to play with.

We rounded out our week of fun by exploring a new place called Myseum.  You can't go wrong when you mix bouncy houses and mazes with hands-on science fun and imaginary play activities.  The girls really liked the shadow room, the maze, the fun house mirrors, and building with magnets.  And Briggs's favorite was (no surprise) the train table.

The arch building pro

Cool plasma experiments

Briggs also liked the glowing shape wall

And because we didn't feel like we'd fit in QUITE enough fun, we stopped at the Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate factory for a free tour (and samples) on our way out of town.

Ready for our tour in our cool hats

And, of course, no trip would be complete without visiting some of our favorite restaurants, trying out some new places, swimming at the hotel, and playing at Turtle Park.

We enjoyed a carriage ride after a yummy dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory

We tried out the World's Smallest Hot Fudge Sundaes at the Fountain on Locust

We climbed on turtles at Turtle Park.

And, of course, found time to go swimming twice at the hotel pool.

We love our St. Louis week-ends, and this one was no exception.

Hooray for Spring Break!!
Woo Hoo!!!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Time to be a Kid

As my kids get older, I'm realizing that navigating what your kids are involved in gets trickier and trickier.  I wanted to avoid having too busy of a family life too early on, so we made a decision that our kids can be involved in one activity each season.  In theory, that's a great idea.  In reality, that's really hard.  I want my kids to be able to pick an activity that they are excited about, but I also want them to be exposed to different activities.  I want them to be able to follow through with something while also having opportunities to try new things.  I want to say "yes" to things they want to do.  I want them to have diverse experiences and try a wide-range of activities while still being able to stick with something long enough to build skills.  And when you want it all, life can get hectic.

Staley chose her Stage Kids acting class as her spring activity.  The same agency also offered a show choir group that meets for the 30 minutes before her acting class, so we let her sign up for both.  Then we found out the show choir group had the option of performing in a competition in St. Louis in April, which Staley also really wanted to do.  Of course, that involves extra practice time at home and week-end rehearsals.  Then Staley's school sent out information about swim lessons in Eureka.  It was relatively cheap and local (and we feel like that's a pretty vital skill), so we signed the girls up for that two nights/week for the month of March.  Then one of Staley's friends at school invited her to Awanas at a local church on Wednesday nights which she loved and now wants to go every week.  And just like that, our month of March has Staley with activities 4/5 nights during the week and 2 hour show choir practices on the week-end.  How did this happen? 

Staley likes all her activities.  Yes, she's been busy this month, but she's happy.  However, today was a good reminder to me of what she's been missing.  Staley had her show choir practice this morning, but then the rest of our day was free.  After lunch Staley and Adelie went into the play room to play Barbies together.  Four hours later they were still having the best time playing together when I told them to clean up for dinner.  And I thought about the fact that the girls just haven't had as much time to play together lately.  Staley's at school all day.  Evenings this month are full of activities.  And with dinner and baths and being in bed by 8, there is not much extra time for play. Week-ends can fill up quickly with family activities and church and homework and show choir rehearsals.  And just like that, the time to just play becomes less and less.

Our schedule will get less hectic soon.  Swimming lessons will end next week.  The show choir performance will be over in a few weeks.  Soon summer will be upon us with less activities and more free time.  I'm looking forward to that.  But this past month has made me worried.  Worried about what our life will be like when we have 3 kids in activities.  Worried about how I can let my kids pursue their passions while trying new things while maintaining responsibilities while still having the time to just be kids.  I see my friends and family with older kids and just how crazy their life becomes and I'll be honest.  I don't look forward to that.  Sure I want to watch my kids play sports or act in plays or master a musical instrument.  Of course I want them to be involved in activities where they make friends and build confidence.  But I don't want that meet-yourself-coming-and-going schedule.  Currently on days when we don't have activities, I love how we just play at the school playground for an hour after school before going home.  How we do family game night or family walks after dinner.  How we have time to snuggle and read together every night before bed.  How family meals are always eaten together.  How we can enjoy lazy week-ends where we just play all day and never leave the house.  I don't look forward to the time when those days are the exception and not the norm.

Luckily April will bring us mostly back to our normal, less busy schedule.  Although March was a bit of a wake-up call for me, I know I have some time to try to figure this all out, or at least to prepare myself for the craziness that is to come.  For now, I'll focus on enjoying our week of Spring Break with lots of time for family fun, and I'll be thankful for the four hours of Barbie play time already under our belts.




Two Years Old

Briggs is officially 2 years old.  He is now 34" tall (49th percentile) and weighs 26.5 lbs (31st percentile).  He is outgrowing his 18 month clothes and is wearing his 18-24 month, 24 month, and 2T clothes.  He is still wearing his size 4 diapers and size 5 shoes.  Briggs still naps every day, generally for 1.5-2 hours and usually sleeps about 12 hours at night (8:00-8:00).  He just turned forward facing in his car seat and LOVES it!!  Briggs is still our sweet, snuggly, happy little guy.


Likes:  Briggs loves all vehicles.  Trucks, cars, diggers, trains, tractors, school buses,...  Vehicles are his favorite toys, favorite books, favorite songs, favorite clothes, and favorite things to see when we are out and about.  Seeing the buses are the highlight of taking Staley to and from school.  Briggs has lots of toys that he plays with, but he daily plays with his train table and Paw Patrol figures with vehicles.  He also loves to carry around little things with favorites being little objects from his Busy Books, Squinkies, and little rubber ducks.  He loves rubber ducks in the bathtub, to sleep with, and to carry around the house.  He also enjoys playing with his sisters, so figurines, Palace Pets, and Calico Critters are also fun activities.  He usually sleeps with his stuffed Marshall, Spot, Cookie Monster, and has recently become attached to a stuffed Jasmine princess doll that belongs to Staley.  Briggs's favorite shows are Paw Patrol and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Wheels on the Bus is his most requested song.  He loves reading, and will sit for long periods of time listening to books.  Favorites generally include books with or about vehicles, but he is also getting into picture books like Pete the Cat books, Llama Llama books, Oh David books, and Thomas books.  Briggs is a good eater.  He eats most everything, but loves macaroni and cheese, crackers, fruit (especially berries), marshmallows in cereal, and M&Ms.  He enjoys outings and has fun in the church nursery, at the library, picking up Staley from school, playing at parks, and even running errands.  Briggs is very social and good with other kids, and loves the neighbors, the girls' friends, and his cousins.  Briggs has lots of likes, but his sisters remain his very favorite!!

Briggs hanging out with cousin Liam


Briggs riding on his digger

Reading books with Aunt Jan

Dislikes:  Briggs does not like having to stop fun activities, when Adelie takes his favorite toys, being told 'no', and waiting for things he wants.  He has recently decided that he really doesn't like sitting on the potty, so he has basically stopped doing that.  He also dislikes having his toenails cut, getting lotion on after baths, and being woken up too early from naps.

He's a good little sleeper

Skills:  Briggs is getting more and more coordinated.  He is running (fast), going up and down stairs on his own (still usually sitting down or crawling backwards down stairs), jumping with both feet off the floor, and getting good at climbing and sliding at the playgrounds.  He is good at activating levers on his toys, putting tiny things into his vehicles (I'm always finding puff balls or squinkies in his little cars and trucks), and using his tools.  He loves to use his tools to "fix it like Papa."  He is often found using his tools to work on his vehicles or the play house.  (Just like Daddy and Papa.)  He also enjoys coloring, painting, and putting stickers on paper.  Briggs is getting more and more independent.  He uses his silverware well (although often prefers his hands), can drink from an open cup (although I still usually use a lid for convenience), and can put his empty dishes on the counter.  He likes to wash his hands, brush his hair, and brush his teeth although needs some help for thoroughness.  He is trying to take off his shoes and coat, but still needs a little help.  He was requesting to use the potty for pooping relatively consistently a month or two ago, but has since stopped.  Briggs is a good little talker.  He is talking in sentences and we can understand most of what he says.  He expresses himself very well and has a very big vocabulary.  And if he doesn't know what something is, he is quick to ask.  "What's that?" and "Why?" are two of his current favorite questions.  He is using pronouns (I, you, me) consistently.  Briggs is a smart cookie.  He knows most of his colors.  He counts to 13 well and can count to 19 with a few missed numbers.  He has a number of his books and songs memorized.

Fixing the play house "like Papa"

Briggs is very sweet.  He love s to snuggle and cuddle.  He is very good at sharing, often readily sharing his toys with his sisters, cousins, and friends.  Briggs is easy to take places, being very content to ride in the cart or his stroller or be held.  He loves to make us laugh.  He is a good eater, a great sleeper, and generally happy to go along with whatever his sisters want to do.  Briggs is happy, smiley, sweet, loving, and brings such joy in our lives...every.single.day!

My big 2 year old!



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Love

Zach (putting Briggs to bed tonight):  "I love you, buddy."
Briggs:  "I love cars and trucks...(long pause)...and snow plows...(long pause)... and tractors."

Maybe if he had kept going, we would have eventually made the list.

I sure do love this boy!
And he sure does love his vehicles.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Briggy-isms

Instead of "my", Briggs always says "mine."  As in "I playing with mine Paw Patrol characters."  or "Where mine yellow train?"

Briggs doesn't ask us to hold his hand.  He always says, "Bring mine hand." 

Instead of saying "I don't like it", Briggs says "I can't like it."  If he tries something at a meal that he doesn't care for, he'll hold it out to me and tell me, "I can't like this."  It does sound better, as if he's really, really tried but just can't seem to like it.

When Briggs wants us to pick him up, he'll often say "I want carry me."  (Sort of like a shortened version of "I want (you to) carry me.")  Or he'll just say "Carry Momma" or "Carry Uma" or whoever it is he wants to pick him up.

Briggs calls pizza "Pizza Hut."  If we are having pizza, whether it's at a restaurant or just at home, he'll always say, "I want more pizza hut."  or  "I'm all done this pizza hut."

I think Briggs is confused by "other" and "another."  He will often say, "Where's my nother Squinky?"  or "I want my nother blue car."

"Maybe later" must be an answer I often give Briggs.  Now if we tell Briggs he can't do something or can't have something, he'll often knowingly answer, "maybe later." 

In the same way that I always smile when Adelie asks if it's "bed-night", I love these little Briggy-isms that are a part of our day.  When my kids stop using their cute little sayings or mispronunciations, that is just one more sign that they are growing up.  And I can't like it!

"Carry Uma.  I holding mine digger and mine nother red truck."


Really?!?!

This is what we did this morning...


Oh, and next week is Spring Break.

Really, Illinois?  You've been around a long time.  Don't you think it's about time you figured this out?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Birthday Celebration

This past week-end was Briggs's birthday.  We had a full and fun week-end celebrating our baby boy turning 2.

The birthday boy

On Saturday, our families joined us for a digger-themed birthday party.  It's such a blessing to have amazing, loving family and friends who join us for the chaos of our children's birthday parties time and again.  Briggs's party followed a similar pattern to all the parties that have come before.

There were decorations.

There were games.  The grown-ups had to try to match construction vehicle names to their pictures...

...while the kids threw "rocks" (aka brown socks) into a dump truck.

There were presents.

And, of course, birthday treats.

It was such a fun day!

Sunday was Briggs's actual birthday.  Briggs enjoyed cinnamon rolls for breakfast before church.  He took a 3.5 hour nap after lunch before enjoying some more play time with his new toys.  Briggs enjoyed his birthday dinner of macaroni and cheese (his request), meatballs, cheesy carrots, fruit, and rolls.  It was extra special because Grammie, Grandpa, and Uncle Ethan joined us.  There were a few more presents to open before bath time and bed time.

Showing off his new helmet, dump truck, and rubber ducks.
Although Briggs got so many cool new toys, his new rubber ducks might have just been his favorite.

My baby turned 2...and we had a great time celebrating!
(I love the little photo bomber in the background.  :))