Friday, April 30, 2010

Family Farm Day!

On Monday, we spent the day up in New Hampshire at family farm day! The kids got to pet and feed animals, milk the cows and goats, ride the pony, jump in the hay loft, do arts and crafts, make s'mores, play in the playground, take a boat ride, and enjoy an amazing home-cooked meal. We had such a wonderful time and will definitely plan to return. Here are a few photos of our trip!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Eight Years Old!!

Eight years can fly by so quickly. Our little baby Elizabeth is now a confident, semi-independent second-grader. Today she celebrated her EIGHTH birthday at her gym, running and tumbling with all of her friends from school. She's lucky to have a great group of girls in her class, and they all helped her to celebrate her birthday at one of her favorite places. She's getting so tall and is such a bubbly, happy little girl. Happy Birthday, not-so-little Elizabeth! We love you!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas parade

Yesterday, Amy and Beth participated in our town's "Santa Parade". This much-anticipated event is an annual tradition in our town, and most kids participate in some manner. Boy scouts and girl scouts proudly march through the town in their uniforms, dance school students flip and spin, many schools decorate floats, the marching band plays music, and of course, Santa appears at the end of the parade.

This was Beth's third year riding on her school's float. Dressed like an angel, she participated in their "living nativity" theme. She is now an "old pro", and she smiled, waved and threw candy to the children clapping in excitement along the sidewalks.

Amy decided that instead of riding on the school float, she would march with her dance school. So, I purchased the required black sweatshirt, the dance school hat and snowflake, and watched as Amy spent the last two months practicing the dance routine for the parade. Her dance instructor is very creative and talented, and the routine was adorable. Amy was so excited about her big day.

But when she and Dan arrived at the starting point on Sunday afternoon, she suddenly became scared. She started to cry, and Dan watched as she was placed in line, holding her snowflake and sobbing. Finally, she told her teacher that she was just too scared. Dan pulled her out of the line, and they walked to the end of the parade route to watch the parade with the rest of us.

Amy stood next to me with her head down, while we waited for the parade to begin. She was truly tortured by her indecision and fears. We talked about her feelings and we tried to convince her that it would be a fun thing to do. Suddenly, she looked up and said, "Okay. I want to do it. I can do it!!"

We looked at our watches. The parade was set to start in 5 minutes, and we were now almost a mile from the starting point. Dan picked Amy up, and they ran all the way to the beginning of the parade route. Her dance school was just stepping out, and her teacher saw her coming. She ran out and put Amy back into line, and she proudly danced down the street, smiling at all the people clapping on the sidelines.

We're so proud of the way she overcame her fears. She's proud of herself, too. She's already talking about next year's parade! She's blessed with an amazing dance instructor, who was so patient with her on Sunday.

I LOVE this picture of her, immediately after finishing her march. Good job, Amy!!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Brian's Birthday Bash

As you can see, Brian thoroughly enjoyed celebrating his 2nd birthday with family and friends. Thanks for coming, everyone!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Brian is TWO!

I know. It's been forever. This year has been very challenging (but fun!) and it's been difficult to set aside time to write on the blog. But today is Brian's birthday, and I can't let this milestone slip by without yelling from the rooftops (or from my blog) about how special this little boy really is.

My little man is full of energy and adrenaline, but he is also full of kisses and cuddles. He is happiest when he is playing with his sisters or swimming in the pool. He takes weekly swimming lessons and has absolutely no fear of the water. At the end of the day, he snuggles up with me and showers me with hugs and kisses. He's an amazing little guy, and we're enjoying him more than words can describe.

Happy Birthday little man. We love you so much.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Happy Birthday, Amy!

Last night we journeyed into the magical world of Narnia, to celebrate Amy's sixth birthday. Amy adores this fantasy tale, and has listened to all seven of the Chronicles of Narnia books. For her sixth birthday, her only request was for a "Narnia party" with her family. I have to work today, so we celebrated her birthday last night. We donned crowns and fancy dresses, and pinned blankets around our shoulders for robes. We enjoyed a lion cake in honor of King Aslan. And as I looked across that table and saw Dan solemnly eating his dinner and cake with a baby blanket tied around his shoulders, I realized how lucky these children are to have a Daddy that shares in their imaginative world.

Happy Sixth Birthday, Princess Lucy. We love you very much!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Our family's newest ballet and tap dancer!

After muddling through a year of gymnastics classes that she really didn't "love" (are these really MY children?!), Erin decided to follow in her big sister Amy's footsteps. Today she embarked upon her dancing career, starting with a tap/ballet combo class at Amy's dance school. Lo and behold, she LOVED it! She had a permanent smile on her face throughout the class, and she can't wait for the next class! Go, Erin!!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tears and Cheers...They're Back To School!!

After a very busy few days, all the kids are settling into their Fall routines. Beth headed off to Second Grade last week. She confessed to feeling a few butterflies, but was so excited to hop on the bus and see all her good friends. She had a wonderful first day, and is blessed with a truly exceptional teacher.

Amy, on the other hand, has been dreading her entrance into kindergarten. As each summer week passed, and the big date loomed closer, she became more worried. She cried whenever we tried to talk about school, and she begged us to let her stay home. On Tuesday morning, she awoke in tears. She dressed in her uniform, ate a little breakfast, half-smiled for a few pictures, and then sat on the couch and cried. She refused to take the bus on the first day, so Dan drove her into school. She sobbed her way into the classroom, where the teacher pried her away from Dan. Thankfully, an eighth grader was dispatched down the hall to the second grade classroom, so that Beth could come sit with her sister for a bit. Dan headed out to the car, and called to tell me that "it didn't go well".

But much to my surprise, when the bus pulled up at the curb that afternoon, Amy's smiling face peered out the window. Her little hand was waving frantically. She hopped off the bus and announced that she "loves kindergarten!" She was full of stories about her new friends, her nice teacher, her art class, music class, and all the other exciting parts of her day. This morning she felt a bit nervous again, but she climbed onto the bus with Beth and once again returned with a big smile.

Erin had a great afternoon at preschool yesterday. She has a great teacher, and has already made a new friend. All in all, it was an emotional but successful beginning to the school year.

Next week, all the activities start back up. It's going to be challenging trying to get Beth to gymnastics practice three days each week, Amy and Erin to dance classes, Brian to swimming lessons, Beth to choir, and me to work! I'm exhausted just thinking about it. And on that note, I think I'll head to bed right now...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Look Who's FOUR!!!

When it's your fourth birthday, and you get to pick ANY DINNER in the world, waffles with maple syrup seem like a perfect choice. So that's what we ate tonight, and we followed our "breakfast" with cupcakes and a rousing rendition of "Happy birthday to you". Erin loved the ballet slippers and dance bag that Amy picked out for her, and she can't wait for her dance classes to begin next week.

Happy birthday to my giggly, even-keeled, almost-always-happy little girl. We love you, Erin.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Message From Brian

Today Mommy took me to get a haircut.

That's right. You read that correctly. Mommy took me to get a haircut. Usually, I go to the barber shop with my Dad. Getting my hair cut with my Dad is really quite enjoyable. I'm surrounded by girls all day, so it's kind of nice to kick back and listen to some "guy talk" every once in a while. I don't have enough words to join in the barber-shop conversations yet, but I can understand some stuff, and I can laugh with the best of them. Plus, it's just cool to hang out with my Dad after a long day of Barbie dolls and dress-up clothes.

But this morning, Mom told me that she was taking me for a haircut. I wasn't too happy. I stamped my little foot, shook my head, and said, "No! Daddy!" but either she didn't understand or she just didn't want to listen. She said something about schedule conflicts making it impossible for Daddy to take me this week. And apparently my sideburns were almost as long as Uncle Brendan's. To tell you the truth, I hadn't even noticed that my hair was getting long. I don't pay attention to those kinds of things.

We went to a place called "Snip-its". It's nothing like the barber shop. For one thing, I had my hair cut by a lady. I also felt pretty foolish sitting in a hot-pink chair, wearing a purple drape over my shoulders. I didn't cry or anything. I just watched a movie that seemed suspiciously like a commercial for Snip-its while the lady cut my hair. I was surrounded by hair-ribbons and scented shampoos, too. Anyway, when it was all done I got to put a card into a slot, and I got a rubber ducky for a prize. I thought it was a somewhat inadequate reward for having to sit through a haircut in what seemed-to-me to be a girls' hair salon, but I accepted it with reluctance.

My haircut is cute enough, although Mommy thought the price was outrageous. I also don't have that cool, "manly" aftershave smell that I usually have when I leave the barber's shop. Hopefully by the time I need another haircut, I'll have a few more words in my vocabulary, and I'll be able to make my needs known a bit more clearly. Short of that, I'll just need to throw a big tantrum. Next time, I'm going to the barber shop with Dad.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dancing Shoes

Amy is the ballerina in our family. From a very young age, she made it very clear to us that she had no interest in gymnastics, "my" sport, and the sport that I foresaw all my daughters participating in. She only wanted to dance, so she spent the last year twirling and tapping in a weekly class at the Y. She had a wonderful year, made good friends, and adored her teacher, but the options were limited at the Y, so we researched local dance schools and finally decided upon a nearby facility. She begged us to sign her up for a week of summer dance camp at this school, so back in April we did just that. She spent the past few months eagerly anticipating her new experiences, and telling everyone that would listen about her new dancing academy.

But last week, as she counted down the days until camp on July 20th, she discovered something new.

"Mom, where will you be waiting while I'm dancing? Will you be out in the car or in the waiting room?", she asked.

This stopped me short. She's attended summer camps at her preschool before, so I assumed that she had been aware of the fact that camp was a "drop-off" event. I explained to her that we would be at home while she was at camp...or at Beth's swimming lessons...or doing errands. She would stay at camp for a few hours, and then we would return to pick her up.

The tears began flowing. She begged us not to leave her there. She told us that she just couldn't be left alone. She worried that we would forget to pick her up. Dan and I worked hard to reassure her, and on Monday morning Dan took the morning off from work to take her out to breakfast and then drop her off at camp. There were a few tears, but she settled in nicely.

She's having a wonderful week. She's learning dance routines, preparing for tomorrow afternoon's show, she's been making crafts, tie-dying shirts, and playing games. There have been a few more brief teary-eyed moments, but overall it's been a wonderful experience for her.

It's amazing to me to see how hard she's working. She's not following her big sister's dreams, or my dreams, of flipping around in the gym. She's my little ballerina, and she's following her own dreams.

Monday, July 06, 2009

A Lesson Learned

Even after 7.5 years and four kids, we're still learning new parenting skills each day. Yesterday, Dan and I discovered that when two of your kids wake up and say, "I think I'm going to throw up", it's best to take their complaints seriously. It's definitely not a good idea to chalk it all up to "post-4th-of-July-festivities-exhaustion", and pack the kids up to take them to church. Because if you do something foolish like this, you might find yourself frantically rushing three little girls out of the side door of the church, while sending up a desperate prayer to God to just let the kids make it outside before the vomiting begins. And then, you might just find yourself stranded in the parking lot for 30 minutes with two sick little girls and one not-yet-sick-girl, because your husband is pacing around somewhere else in the church with the baby, and he has the car keys. It makes for a very long, exhausting morning.

Thankfully, we learned our lesson. Next time, we'll set them up on the couch with some ginger-ale, and avoid a scene like the one described above. Next time, I think we'll take them a bit more seriously...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer Vacation 2009

We are back from a wonderful and relaxing trip to Uncle Tom and Aunt Audrey's new beach house. The kids had such a fabulous time, splashing and swimming, digging and sand-castle-building, all the while keeping their ears open in the hopes of hearing the chiming music from the ice-cream truck.

Brian had a somewhat rough start, as he was stung by a bee within minutes of our first visit to the beach. My poor baby boy. He let out a shriek of pain, and I watched him hurl a yellow jacket across the sand. He wailed for a few seconds, but then he stopped crying and angrily picked up his bucket and shovel, and stomped off across the sand after his sisters. A cursory examination of his hands and arms did not reveal any obvious sting-marks, so we assumed that the bee had only scared him. Minutes later, we realized that he had a HUGE white welt on his face, with the stinger still sticking out of his cheek. His whole cheek was flaming red, and he fussed briefly while Dan held him down so that I could remove the stinger. He then returned to his sand-castle without another peep, as his poor baby-face grew redder and redder. He is one tough little boy.

We spent rainy days in the cozy Children's department at the local library, and the girls even had a private gymnastics class with a renowned area coach and judge. And of course, we had lots of fun moments together back at the house...playing board games, reading books, and enjoying sunsets over the water, from the beautiful deck that overlooks the ocean. Of course, we ended the week with our annual "cousin sleep-over". Tom and Audrey arrived on Friday night with their four kids, and all 8 children enjoyed two days of fun and laughter. All-in-all, it was a week packed with memories. We even managed to take a few very unlike us!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

One Of These Things...

...Is not like the other.

This is a picture from Easter, which I posted here a few months ago. While browsing through photos yesterday, I noticed something that escaped my attention back in April. (Click on picture to enlarge photo).

The girls all had matching, black Mary-Jane style shoes to wear with their dresses. I'm reasonably sure that they all went off to church with their matching shoes on. But after glancing at this picture yesterday, I have to wonder if somebody managed to slip something past us in all the chaos of getting ready for the big day.

And I'm not a bit surprised to see which one of my daughters tried to sneak into a pair of white, sparkling princess shoes. Are you?