Sunday, February 8, 2015

Ginger Groundhog is 14!

The best part of Groundhog's Day is definitely that we get to celebrate Ginger's birthday. I hate to say it, but the Groundhog gets pretty much ignored around here-- sorry, chump, no Groundhog's Day glory for you. 

Ginger is waaay cuter than Punxsutawney Phil, anyway, so it's to be expected. See?

I was super excited for the chance to use some of my cute new paper for the presents. I have a thing for wrapping paper.

We ate an absolutely delicious dinner of chicken burritos (thanks for requesting them, Ginger, they really hit the spot!) and then opened gifts. 

Ginger has really been getting into art lately, so this sketch book made her really happy.

The present that made her the happiest, though, is something that we hid until the very end-- a longboard! Ginger has been wanting one, and we're so glad we got it for her because she's been on it almost constantly since her birthday. Total score.

After the gifts, it was time to move on to the blowing out of the candles portion of our evening. Ginger didn't want a cake, so I made her the gluten free chocolate chip cookies she wanted and served it with her favorite salted caramel ice cream. She was happy.

It was such a great birthday, and we're really glad that Grandma and Grandpa Gorilla could join us for the celebration.

Happy Birthday, Ginger! We love you!

What's Been Going Down

The morning that the kids returned to school after Christmas break, Edith was ready to jump immediately into working on her goals. She brought up the idea right after I got out of the shower and kept pressuring asking me to help her with more and more as the morning went on. So self-motivated, that girl. We ended up working on her reading, practicing writing her name, learning to zip her coat, and learning how to button sweaters. She spent a looong time on the sweater-buttoning, but of course she refused to try something with bigger buttons first. Edith is one determined girl. She's going to go places with an attitude like hers. 

A week later we finally got some good snowman snow. So, after we shoveled (work before play, and all that)…

We worked together to create this lovely snowgirl named Marshmallow:

You can tell how pleased Edith is with it just by the smile on her face. I'm so glad we got a chance to make it together. 

A few days later, Edith and I were able to go watch Bud compete in his school's geography bee. He was one of only 2 fourth graders in the school bee, with 4 fifth graders and 4 sixth graders who all won their class bees. It was really fun (and nerve-wracking!) to watch. We're so proud of Bud for taking part, and the icing on the cake was that he placed 3rd, being beaten out by two of the 6th graders. Way to go, Bud!

 I love the way Edith expresses her personality and individuality with the outfits she wears. They make me smile because they are so her.

When she came out in this outfit one morning, the conversation we had made me so happy: "So, you think this goes pretty well together, huh?" She looked back over her shoulder and replied, "Of course! It's unicorns, flowers, and mouse!" 

 I mean, it's not everyone who can pull off this look to go to the grocery store:

Edith had a sickie couple of days that were a real bummer. It was an odd little fever without much else, but it took the wind out of her sails.

Just a few days later, though we went out for a fun walk with Big. We stopped to take some photos of ourselves and I said, "Let's make funny faces!"

They totally hung me out to dry! Thanks, kids. 

Edith and I were stoked to get the chance to go see Bud compete again, this time in the school spelling bee. Bud totally rocked it, tying for 4th place! The girl they had reading the words pronounced things a little weirdly, though, so both Bud and a friend ended up getting out on words they knew, but couldn't tell that's what she said. Total bummer, but now they know to take the time to ask for a definition and that the word be used in a sentence! So proud of you, Bud!

The month of January ended up being a pretty fun and exciting one. I mean, how could it not be great when I get to hang out with this girl? Cutie pie. One night I was helping Edith brush her teeth when suddenly she put her hand to her chest and said,
Edith: "My heart is beating really fast. I can feel it."
Me: "You can? Is it beating faster than normal?"
Edith: "Yes. Maybe I'm going to die."
Me: "Hmmm…I don't think you're going to die. I hope not, anyway. Do you feel okay?"
Edith: "Yeah. Maybe I'm turning invisible. That's probably what it is."
Me: "Yeah, probably."

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year's Eve

We haven't really done much to celebrate New Year's Eve in the past, but in keeping with our new conviction to make events more special we made this year a little more of an event. Not much more, but a little. I forgot the noisemakers, but at least we had food and games!

The evening started out with some Love Train and candied almonds. Edith was so excited to be able to stay up late and join in the party.

As it neared 9:00 and Edith couldn't stop yawning, we quickly cleaned up the game and I served the traditional cheese and cracker snack. Five kinds of delicious cheese with salami, pickles, and apple slices? Now we're talking! 

After we yelled Happy New Year and made a sparkling cider toast, we shuttled an exhausted Edith off to bed. Then I was able to play all three of my handsome boys in some games of Rack-o. So much fun. They really are great company.

We celebrated the (eastern time) New Year again at 10:00 and got the boys off to bed. One of these days, when they actually sleep in after staying up late, they'll get to finish out the night. 

Once the boys were down, Pen and Ginger settled in to watch a movie in the basement and Rophone and I relaxed together upstairs. I think our simple New Year's Eve was the perfect combination of celebration and relaxation. Happy New Year, everyone!

The Between

We didn't do a whole lot between Christmas and the New Year. A lot of enjoying the snow and just doing stuff. Yeah, stuff. Let's see if I can clarify…

Oh, yeah. There was more game playing. 

On Friday the 4 younger kids went out in the backyard to have a snowball fight, but the snow was too powdery so they just gave each other snow showers instead. And, yes, the photos are all blurry-- I had my camera on auto focus to catch the action, but it kept focusing on the snow that was falling instead of on the kids. Oh, well. 

Then, on Saturday, I took the 4 younger kids to the library while Pen was working. There was a need to supplement the books received for Christmas. I mean, with a whole week left in the break, we needed to make sure we have plenty of options. There can never be too many books. 

Both before and after I took the kids to the library, I worked on this year's ornament project. I'm super excited about it.

Hopefully the kids will have some great ornaments to start out with when they get their first trees of their own. I gave a couple as gifts, too. Super easy to make (mostly) and I love the way they look.

We woke up to a ton more snow on Monday, and it continued to snow the whole day. 

When we went out to shovel, Big actually opted out after a few minutes (what??) and he and Edith announced that they would just sit on their "thrones" and watch me while I worked. What a bunch of lazy royalty. Ha! 

(Big redeemed himself when we went out to shovel again in the afternoon, thank goodness. Please, please, please don't let him lose his love of work yet. Please!) 

I ended up staying out for even longer than the kids that morning, shoveling our snow and working on the sledding track to make it better. I helped a neighbor, too, when I noticed she could use some help. It was so great to be out that I just didn't want to go back in, but brrrr! Those single digit temperatures for 3 1/2 hours sure did freeze my legs! Buying snow pants is definitely on the agenda. 

The kids went out in the snow again on Tuesday. I love how it occupies them and gets their pent up energy out. I took a few photos when I went out to fix the end of the sledding track. 

They sledded and played for hours on end. So much fun.

Anything else? Oh, yeah. I've been eating a lot of grapefruit.