Monday, April 20, 2015

Spring Break

It's been a few weeks but we had such a great spring break. Chris took off work so it was family time the entire week.We accomplished some cleaning throughout the week which was nice (especially behind the kitchen appliances, ew!). Chris and Xander built a toy catapult and a bookshelf. And then we did fun family activities. The kids and I put together a Spring To-Do list and managed to accomplish most of it.

We adventured through Franklin Park Conservatory. The kids loved the butterfly exhibit the most and bought some butterfly trading cards (shown by Xander, below).




We made it to the zoo and explored the North America and Polar Frontier.


We made it to the theater to see Cinderella. That was beautiful! We also used a break in the rain to go a local park and play for a while.

Since it did rain most of the week (of course, it was spring break), the kids found ways to entertain themselves. They had borrowed a game called 'Scavenger Hunt' from the sitter and that involved Xander and Josie running all over to collect items and Hannah messing with the timer. Fortunately the last round of the game involves returning all of the items. They also made a paper plate toss. And our local library has started lending out board games. Not like checkers or Monopoly but games like Settlers of Catan which have lots of pieces and rules. I managed to get Smallworld which is a fantasy world where different races take over. Xander and I had a blast learning and playing. He would often play by himself. Here is Xander trying to help Josie play and Hannah being the banker (the game does not actually involve a banker, we made up the position to get the girls involved).


Overall, it was a great break and we all returned to the real world much refreshed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter 2015

Nothing like an eight month break to get back on the blogging bandwagon, right? I will (hopefully)(maybe) catch up on all of the past events but I figure I should keep up with the current goings on.

Which means Easter photos!

A neighbor is kind enough to arrange a mini Easter egg hunt in her backyard for some of the neighborhood kids. The weather is always chilly and wet, but we still have fun. This year it was the day before Easter.

Hannah was a little slow in borrowed Crocs. Josie helped her out by sharing some of her eggs.

Josie!



Xander!
 We were actually able to get seats at Easter Mass this year. Granted, we didn't get to sit together. But at least we weren't huddled in the back, letting people squeeze through. However, Hannah's favorite church activity is going to the restroom. It was so crowded that I squeezed her through the crowd and hustled her over to the school restroom. Twice.

Happy Easter! It's Xander's first tie and he's obviously very serious.

Chris dyed eggs with the kids this year. They tried a couple different techniques including rubber bands, tape, and different colors. These were the eggs that were hidden throughout the first floor Easter morning. This was a first for me because I always had plastic eggs hidden.


Not pictured was another egg hunt and kite flying at the grandparent's house. Needless to say, the kids were pretty tired by the end of the day.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Josie Bean's 5th

I'm still playing catch up with all of the things with spring and summer. So, despite being 1.5 months late, here is a quick recap of Josie's birthday.

Chris was abroad for her birthday so no party this year. That didn't stop Josie from making invitations to at least three friends inviting them to a YMCA pool party. One was put in a neighbor's mailbox and I had to text the mom that there was no actual party.

The day began, as any good birthday should, with gifts.



Pikachu and Toothless. Toothless has the cutest growl/purr!
 Josie chose to go swimming at the YMCA, so I headed there in the morning with Josie, Xander and Hannah. Unfortunately, it was cut short due to a pool evac. In the afternoon we made cupcakes of Josie's choice. White cupcakes with strawberry frosting and sprinkles. We were going to go to Bob Evans for chocolate chip pancakes but I talked her into ordering pizza that night. We did Bob Evans the next night. Have I mentioned that the kids are pretty good when going out to dinner? Yeah, it went great!


Xander thought the sprinkles smelled funny.
Though I know Josie was a little disappointed to not have her friends over for a party, she did love receiving presents sent in the mail. Getting mail is gold in this house. The kids check every day for their magazines, so to receive boxes makes it, well, a birthday.



Celebrating with toddlers Elsa and Anna to the Frozen soundtrack.









Saturday, July 12, 2014

Father Daughter Dance

The school and it's girl scout group holds an annual Daddy Daughter Dance. Chris and Josie got all dolled up for it this year. They joined another dad and daughter for a dinner out at the local hot dog joint where Josie was so excited/nervous that she may have thrown up her dinner. Of all of the traits to get from her mother....

A tie and flowers, it's going to be a fancy night out!
Josie wanted a close up with her giant flower hair piece.
As soon as they arrived, Josie ran off and left Chris awkwardly hanging out with the other dads along the sides of the dance floor. But he managed to get a few pictures and then get to the photo booth.


Too excited to stand still!




Friday, July 11, 2014

Losing a Furry Friend

I don't mention the pets on here much. After all, we have two cats and cats aren't known for their vast interactions with children. Cats know children pull tails and chase and throw toys at them in an attempt to play catch. Our cats learned this with Xander and never forgot.

Let's do a quick background on our beloved pets. On the right, sporting a rare orange (for a female) is Ainsley. I adopted her while living in Toledo, dating Chris and living in an apartment by myself. She loves to cuddle up with strangers in an attempt to escape. Seriously, I can't tutor students without having to drag Ainsley off of their laps. On the left is Min. Chris adopted her when we moved to Columbus and he finished his Master's thesis. Unfortunately, I quit my job around the same time and stayed home to bond with Min. Then we bought a house and had children. She learned (ack, past tense! spoiler! tears!) to chill out all day in a bedroom and the moment I was alone, she would stalk me for attention. When the kids were tucked into bed, she'd be in the hallway meowing for food. 



They were often like sisters, fighting and then sleeping next to each other.
That makes Ainsley...12? She's getting up there in age and is showing it with some white on her chin that is spreading. But she is spry and agile and still begs for food even if we won't share. Her food intolerance popped up about the same time her thyroid gave her trouble and we had to start her on medication last year. Just a pill in a treat twice a day, nothing difficult. She loves to sleep on my feet in the winter which I love. Ainsley even tolerates the kids now that Xander doesn't pull tails and the girls have learned to be gentle.


Ainsley won Hannah over from the beginning.
Around January of this year, I noticed that Min was looking a little off. Her fur was always soft and she had a long, fluffy tail. Her fur was not so soft and her tail was looking a little bedraggled. Next I noticed when she was lying down and I petted her, her belly felt swollen. And a lot more vomit was mysteriously appearing. And food wasn't disappearing as quickly.


As her sides slowly began to balloon out, we realized she was definitely sick. We took her to the vet who confirmed she had a tumor or tumors. We debated having surgery but it was expensive and the vet wasn't even sure the tumors were operable. So we brought her home and made her comfortable.


Her sides continued to slowly grow while the rest of her thinned out. You could feel her vertebrae and hip bones when you petted her. Her sides rubbed the sides of the cat door when she went to the basement. One weekend in March, Min spent the entire time sleeping on the floor of the front room. We knew it was time to say good bye.


I was a mess for the first few days but I think Ainsley took it harder. For the next couple months, every time Chris and I would go to bed, Ainsley would wander around meowing for a few minutes. Looking for her lost sister.

Chris and I debated what and how to tell the kids about losing Min. She went to a farm? She's staying with the vet? I did tell them Min was too sick to come home. After some suggestions that we pray for her, I broke the news that she was dead. They were sad but not in tears. In fact, they would randomly bring up that Min was dead to strangers at the store. So I'd go so far as to say they were not traumatized.

(This was going to be published back in April but it was hard for me to write. Then May and June became super duper triple busy. I'm finally feeling like I am doing more than surviving so hopefully I can update. Or at least throw some pictures.)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Caker's 2 Year Well Check

Hannah's nickname of Hannah Cakes has slowly become Hannah Cakers and now just Cakers. She can tell how much trouble she is in by if we call her Cakers or Hannah Hope. And she will burst into tears if we call her Hannah Hope and send her to the naughty chair. Such activities include, but are not limited to, drawing on the wall and pulling her sister's hair.

Hannah had her well check at the end of February. It was practically pointless as you can tell she is a perfectly healthy girl but it's still good to go in and hear about how awesome she is.

Weight: 28 lbs (73rd percentile)
Height: 36 in (94th percentile) She's already outgrown most of her Christmas and Birthday clothes. I'm forcing her to wear too small clothes for March until the weather warms a little.

(Xander's 2 year info: http://ringinginthenewyear.blogspot.com/2009/11/4-month-and-2-year-appointments.html)
(Josie's 2 year info: not accurate because we were in California and she didn't get checked until 2 months late and it was never published. For the record 27.4 lbs (55th percentile) and 34.5 in (65th percentile).)

I've had to explain to Josie that when she grows up, Hannah may actually be taller than Josie. I used Trisha as an example and then proceeded to draw a family tree where all of my younger siblings are taller than me.

Let's see, other Hannah news. Oh, she is in a toddler bed! She crawled out of her crib all of one time due to a temper tantrum. Chris and I just randomly decided to convert the crib one weekend. She's done better than expected. She'll get up if Josie gets up to go to the bathroom (they share a room). But really nap time and bed time goes pretty well. The hardest part is making sure the usual dolls are lined up and tucked in next to her.



Hannah loves playing on the family iPad. It is supposed to be for education with appropriate apps downloaded. However, Hannah has figured out the iTunes store enough to get to music videos and movie previews. I can't tell you how many times I've heard the Frozen preview. 


Hannah still loves to eat. She is willing to try almost anything. This is the spinach artichoke dip from Super Bowl day. She just pulled the entire dish over and dug in.

There's a little bit of potty training going on. I don't feel like going hard core yet but she is willing to sit there and listen to books and get a raisin as a reward.

And new words! 
Uh-oh-dilly-oh!  (Instead of just uh-oh.)
Okay, there aren't too many new words. The big thing is that she sings so many phrases. 
Bye-by!
Pease! (Please.)
Et it ooooh! (complete with hands lifted) (Let it go!) (I really need to get this on video.)


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mother Son Bowling

Xander's boy scout troop had a Mother-Son Bowling event a couple weekends ago. It has been a couple years since we've bowled but Xander remembered the rules. The bumpers were up, which helped. He did have an interesting style...


We played with one of his classmates and his mother. It was so great to see Xander and his friend cheering for and encouraging each other. During one of my frames they realized they could enter their names in the lane next to us. Next thing we know, they are both bowling at the same time on their own lanes. The workers there stepped in pretty quickly to reclaim that lane for a birthday party.

Xander's friend and mom left after a bit but Xander and I continued on until our time was up. He has asked to go back every day since.