Well here are some things that we’ve been up to:
- I made the girls carrot shirts and hair clips for Easter and all the kids got fleece carrots. Oh and before that I made the girls a bunch of clover hair clips for St Patrick’s Day. Oh AND I surprised the kids with a hamster the day before St Patrick’s Day so she is named Lucky Clover (Clover for short)!
- On April 1st (which was a Sunday this year!) we convinced the kids it was a school day and had them get ready and drove them to school. When it was closed we took them to Chuck E Cheese for some fun. They are very trusting/gullible. We have to keep the April Fools going every year!
- Bennett isn’t shy and has a loud voice so he won for best boy in his class for poem reciting (of course he is probably the least organized and never brought me the notice so I could go watch it). Luckily the winners of each class will read them again this week so I can go in like a good mom! Ben also came in second place in the Boy Scouts pinewood derby.
- Gee this isn’t in any real order, just my thoughts of what we’ve been up to! In March we had a preview of spring and opened our pool EARLY, the kids had a week of swimming in 50-60 degree water! They are nuts but we encouraged it. I guess with the warm weather and then the return to seasonable weather, the mini ants have moved back into our house early this year. We will get them gone ASAP!
- We just had a trip to Maryland to visit family and go to the Baltimore Aquarium and then to a little Robot Fest yesterday. Ethan really LOVED taking picture at the aquarium and making cardboard robots. Jillian confirmed that she is really a child that should have one of those kid leases when she climbed onto the half wall at the aquarium and could have fallen far down to the first floor (anyone have a leash I can borrow for our next trip? Otherwise I may have to buy one for the cliffs in Maine).
- On Feb 4th and Feb 12th Jamie lost her first two teeth, both when biting into apples! The bottom middle teeth and they are poking through a bit now but I think they are pretty crowded so its taking some time. She currently has a very wiggly top tooth we are waiting on!
- My boys still think the Dr Who Daleks say “desterminate” instead of exterminate, its fun listening to them play. Not sure if they still are saying “canyon balls” but I always loved that one. Of course NOTHING topped when Ethan was younger and thought the holes in your nose were called “nostricles”. Jamie is calling squirrels “squirtles” but I blame that on too much Pokemon play here lately.
- This is the first week where we will have activities every weeknight except Fridays! WOW, hope it goes more smoothly than I am imagining! John has volleyball and Jamie has dance on Mondays, boys have baseball on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Wednedays is rollerhockey for the boys (they are in different age groups this year so that means 2 hours there instead of 1) and also Jamie has Girl Scout Daisies every other Wednesday. Its tough fitting extracurricular stuff in for four kids! Those four nights are just things for John and the three older kids, luckily Jillian can do her dance class during the big kids school day!
- That’s all for now!
The weather was HOT and humid the last 2 days. Yesterday I kept the boys home from school because I thought we could use a day off and it was a great day. Today we were back to school and it was Jamie’s last day of preschool for the year. After we picked up the boys from school we stayed at the playground like we normally do but there were hardly any other kids because it was too hot. I held out as long as I could and then brought them home to do the sprinkler and water balloons. It was crazy fun and educational too -Jillian worked on her colors. I tried to keep Jillian’s wheelbarrow stocked with one of each color and she said the names with me as I filled all the balloons. My fingers got pruney from all the filling. Its been my side mission lately to get all 4 kids in pictures together and I was able to get some goofy ones. Good afternoon but I didn’t make dinner yet and I’m on the computer now instead feeding Jillian. Oh well, John hasn’t left work yet anyway! Maybe I succeeded in tiring them out enough that I can give them a fast dinner and early bedtime?
We have never been to Sesame Place with the kids (and I’m sure its very different from the one time I went as a little kid) so it was a big adventure for us. The weather was hot and the kids were happy to alternate between the fun water rides and the dry rides and attractions. We hit the roller coaster first (3 times in a row) and the 3 bigger kids LOVED it (even 3 1/2 year old Jamie which surprised me). From there just went where the kids lead us and really didn’t do any planning with the map. I’m not sure that we saw the entire park, we never made it to any of the shows and we only saw a small part of the parade but I have no regrets since the kids didn’t know we missed anything. It was very nice that our Mom Bloggers lunch was the only planned thing on our agenda. We had a great lunch break under a pavilion with fans where we rehydrated and recharged for more fun. The kids really had fun until the last minute at 8pm when Oscar told us to go home! We were there over 9 hours straight and by the time we hit the road to drive home the kids were ready to get some rest. Oh its hard to sum up the trip in one post so I’m just going to end with tips for people who are planning a trip.
Our Sesame Place tips:
- bring the kids dressed in their bathing suits and swim shirts, swim shorts like Jamie’s for girls are much better than regular girls bottoms (we packed the kids extra bathing suits in case they wanted to be dry but they ended up wearing the same ones all day)
- bring your own stroller for kids 6 and under, they get tired and you want to have them use their energy on the fun stuff not having to keep up with mom and dad (and its great for storing the things)
- water shoes or crocs (flip flops fall off too easily and you want something that can get WET)
- SUNSCREEN multiple times (little face stick is handy and the spray kind for everywhere else so you can get it over quick and get back to the fun stuff)
- your kids will get cranky when they are tired, be patient and ignore some things you wouldn’t normally put up with (can’t stand those parents that take the kids somewhere to have fun and scream at them the whole time!)
- if a ride has a wait come back to it later, there were always good things open with short lines and by later in the afternoon some of the ones that were busy earlier were practically empty
- plan to stay the whole day, it was long but so worth it and by the time we made our 3 1/2 hour drive home the kids were happy to be in the car sleeping!
- try to go to the Counts Splash Castle during the hottest part of the day, it was the best thing for cooling off the whole family (except in our case we discovered 1 1/2 year old Jillian currently has a fear of water!)
- John and I split up several times and it was nice to have our cell phones to text each other so we could easily find each other, we should have brought some zip lock bags to put his phone in for the wet rids though (I lost him a little while when I was keeping his phone safe when he took the boys on a wet ride)
- if possible I think going during the week would be good so it is not as crowded but considering it was packed on opening day we really didn’t have trouble with that many long lines
- HAVE FUN, we definitely did!
Its tough with Jillian so little and it makes me nervous to venture too far back without John, but Friday was was gorgeous and the 6 of us plus my father and brother took a little adventure through our stream and into our woods. I love it in the spring before all the weedy plants pop up and its all dried leaves and fun little deciduous things and moss. Lots of deer poop and even an owl pellet right on the lawn/woods border. Owls so close to our house is wonderful! Next spring Jillian will be 2 1/2 and I think that I will be able to take all 4 kids back there solo a lot more. After the woods/stream we stayed out in the yard playing and I got this cute picture of Ben in the sandbox but wow the boys need haircuts so my mom and I are heading out with them as soon as John gets home tonight (and of course IHOP after).
Yesterday on our way home from Lego club we decided to drive to a nearby reservoir to see if the Eagles had come home for the summer. I took the boys there 2 years ago and we had a fun little adventure, but didn’t see any eagles. This trip we hit the jackpot. We saw about a dozen bald eagles in total. At one point we counted 9 in the air while others were hanging out on the ice. We even saw 2 locking talons. The eagles were too high for good pictures, but we got a few decent ones.
I love living where we have 4 seasons, but I’m not always ready for them to go and change on me! I feel like we got no where near enough snow this Winter. Luckily, towards the end we had a nice storm and the kids got ttheir sledding in. I think one of the most ideal days is a sunny day at the end of Winter when there is still enough snow on the ground for sledding, but you can feel Spring in the air. So I’m giving in to the excitement of Spring and the new things it will bring, but its hard to say goodbye to days like this:
Here is another one of our advent calendar activities! There are so many hand and footprint craft ideas and I think they’re fun so we did our family wreath and then we tried out something I thought up on my own: a family tree made of footprints. I had thought of this last year but Jillian was a newborn and things were too crazy. I had hoped for better, more Christmas tree results but I’m actually pretty happy with it (we made another one that looks just like a regular deciduous tree). I think I will try it again on a real canvas sometime. I got 2 papers for us to use and each person did their feet on both because I figured a backup would be good in case one of the kids smeared the paint. I should have used bigger papers because I guess I wasn’t thinking our feet would be so big! You need to start with the biggest feet and work your way to the smallest. For the one we made a Christmas tree I did the baby’s hand as a star and then the next day the other kids made ornaments with fingerprints. I’m really glad we tried this crazy idea, its definitely something I want to try again. There are a lot of possibilities: a fall tree with different colors for the feet, a tree made of hand prints, a set of 4 for all the seasons? I know weird!
Well I thought we’d try to make some of the gifts we give this year. Its not going as well as I’d hoped, I think they are on the young side for some of the things I had in mind. At first they liked making these ornaments but after making 1-2 they lost interest. I envisioned us making loads of them for their grandmas, teachers and friends but we have only finished 4. The main problem with how I did things was that the cheap remnant of cream fabric I got was too thin and the black fabric marker ran no matter how careful we were (it works fine on other fabric). So I’d try this again but with better fabric and maybe in a few years since it would be fun for them to try sewing with a needle. I do really like how Jamie’s snowman looks like a happy banana! I might try to do this again using their paper drawings, scanning them and then printing them on iron-on transfers.
Ethan also made a Lego ornament all by himself with a rubber band as the hook, I think he did a wonderful job with it!
I was planning on making an advent calendar with fun things to do the first 25 days of December but when I saw this post from the Artful Parent I decided that instead of the traditional advent with the little doors, I would make mine out of gingerbread paper dolls. I just did it really quickly by tracing a cookie cutter. I glued the very tops of 25 numbered hearts and each night I have been putting a little paper slip with that days activity under the heart (that way they can’t peek ahead of time and I can decide last minute what I want the next days activity to be because I know one day I’ll opt for a Christmas movie over a big project). I considered it being a countdown calendar but instead I started at 1 for the actual date. Instead of putting it on a table I thought it would be safer taped to the wall and it filled a wall in the dining room nicely. So far the kids really like it. We did paper gingerbread men, Christmas decorating and a painted hand wreath so far. This afternoon we are decorating real (but fake) wreaths.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Halloween and I’ll be sad when its over. It is definitely my favorite holiday. I love having the house decorated for Halloween and I think it will have to stay that way until next weekend to prolong the fun just a bit. I don’t understand some people who are grumpy about Halloween and who freak out over “what to do with the candy”! I keep seeing ideas for parents to sneak, bribe or steal their kids candy away and I think its nuts and kind of mean. We are going to go trick or treating tonight rain or shine and the kids can eat their candy. No restrictions, its just once a year and if they totally pig out and eat a ton of chocolate and sugar they will live and live happily! Who wants their kids to grow up remembering how they’d cry on Halloween after collecting candy only to have it taken away? I confess, I will pull out those awful tooth breaking stupid candy (like Laffy Taffy) but all the rest is theirs on eat. I have such fun Halloween memories from when I was a kid and I hope my kids will have even better memories! I’m so looking forward to tonight (and hoping it doesn’t rain). Oh and to make this Halloween extra memorable, Jillian decided to learn to walk today! She had been taking 1 or 2 little steps since her birthday last week but today (her due date last year) she is taking 6-7 steps at a time!