Friday, February 28, 2014

Growing up before my eyes

Yesterday was rough. not only do I now have a 6 (!!!!!!) year old, but Bennett decided to quit acting like a little girl and start acting like some elementary age big kid overnight.

Exhibit A- She had ballet right after school and then we had to run a few errands afterwards. She was begging the whole time to go home so she could sit at her desk and play with her new art set. By the time we finally got home, she ran straight upstairs and began writing notes. She didn't even take the time to change clothes. As I was walking around upstairs putting away toys and laundry, I checked in on her and this sight just made me catch my breath. I had to pull my phone out of my pocket right away and take a quick picture. Who is this beautiful big girl?

Exhibit B-  Every day her Kindergarten class checks out a book from the library and they have to read it to you at home. I could not believe it when Bennett pulled this book out of her backpack. And then she read it to me with complete ease.

 No, not Knuffle Bunny!!! This was her favorite book when she was 1 years old. We must have read this book at least 100 times together. In fact, when I was in the hospital giving birth to Will, this was the book little 16 month old Bennett wanted to bring to the hospital in her "special bag." Here is a picture of my Dad reading it to her in the waiting room.

And now she's reading it to me. Ugh.... Okay, I'm off to put a brick on Lainey's head. And Will's too for that matter. Bennett is a lost cause.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Happy 6th Birthday, Bennett!

Oh my goodness. My baby girl is 6. I started this blog when I was pregnant with Bennett and my hope was that it would be a digital scrapbook of sorts for our family. I don't share opinions very often, even though I have a lot of them. I don't really use this as a forum for giving advice. I just mainly like to keep a record of our lives. And it is usually on someones birthday that I get extremely sentimental and so I am thankful that I have a record of all of my children's birthdays on this blog so that I can go back and reminisce. And try not to tear up too much.

We are having Bennett's party this weekend so today was mainly just a normal day with a fun few surprises thrown in for our special birthday girl. We always fill their rooms with balloons the night before their birthdays. This year was no exception. Bennett woke up at 5:40 (!!!!)  ready to go. She then woke up Lainey who woke up Will. So all three of us were sitting on the couch before 6 am playing with balloons. Ugh.

We picked up our carpool buddy, Luke, early and went out for a breakfast treat. Bennett told me later that this was the highlight of her day. She was wearing a birthday girl ribbon and kept walking around intentionally so everyone could see her ribbon. Seeing her that excited was very special. She is just so appreciative. Man, I love her.
 Luke gave her a special birthday present.  Notice the ribbon prominently displayed.

We checked Will out of pre-school and the whole family went and had lunch with her at her school cafeteria. We brought a cookie cake for her to share with her class.
Hanging out at school with the birthday girl
 I teach drama at our church on Wednesday nights so the poor birthday girl, who hadn't been home since 6:50 am had to hang out by the stage while I taught.
 But all the kids sang to her and made her feel very special.
 She finally got to open presents at 5:30 pm. That's a looonnnggg time for a 6 year old to have to wait. She was about to burst to open her presents from her family.
 Her big present was a new desk. This kid loves to draw and loves art so a new desk was the perfect present for her. We filled the drawers with paper and crayons and she got a tape dispenser and a stapler. You would have thought she was in heaven. Sweet girl.
 We told her we would go out to any restaurant, but she wanted pancakes at home. Done. We told her to pick anything to put in the batter and so she chose chocolate chips, blueberries and nuts. We can handle that.
 You have to put candles in birthday pancakes.
 And then we did take her out for yogurt after dinner. Notice how she is still proudly showing off her ribbon.

 After Bennett went to bed I kept hearing noises upstairs. I went to check on her and this is what I found- she had gotten in her sleeping bag and she put all of her presents around her. I told her to go to bed and she sighed and said, "I wish I lived in China. It's still February 26th in China." When I told her that it wasn't she said, "Okay, fine. London then."

There really aren't enough words for me to express how much I love that little girl. I love who she is becoming. I love her creativity, her sly sense of humor, her wit, her love of life, her joy, her passion, her heart for others, and her love for the Lord. Although I still really miss the little bitty thing who wore pigtails and wanted to ride around in the car looking for horsies while clutching her sippy cup, I am loving this stage of life as well.

And I am so grateful for each and every stage. Looking forward to her big birthday party this weekend! Happy 6th Birthday, my Bennett. I love you to the moon and back.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's 2014

I thought I would be fun and make a dessert every night this week leading up to Valentine's Day. I thought that the kids could help me and that it would build anticipation and excitement.


What was I thinking? That's like offering your family a bag of candy every night before Halloween? How did I forget the insane amounts of chocolate and candy you get at Valentine's? Not to mention that my fridge is full of leftover desserts that we never ate because we were making a new one every night.

I'm full. And uncomfortable. And in need of some carrot sticks. And a gym membership.

But for posterity's sake I will post the pictures of our fun week and all of the calories and sugar that went along with it.

Valentine's Dessert Night 1. Strawberry and chocolate pies. They were absolutely delicious. We will definitely be making these again.

 Night 2- some sort of Valentine moose munch. It was good and actually even better the next day. But the white chocolate didn't coat very evenly.

Night 3- Strawberry milkshakes

 Night 4- Oreo Dessert

I went to Will's class party yesterday. Isn't he the cutest?

 And these were the cards we sent out to their classes. Third year in a row. We love them.

Valentine's morning. Following the trail of hearts from the bedrooms...

.... to their surprises waiting on the kitchen table.

Lainey was not impressed. She was like, "Are you kidding me with this junk I found all over the floor?"

Bennett was thrilled. Lainey was still annoyed.

Will and I went to Bennett's class party. He's wearing the same shirt that he wore to his party the day before. I was too busy baking to do laundry.

And then tonight we made homemade heart shaped pizzas for dinner.

Bennett gave us the Valentine's that she made for us.

And then we made our final dessert for the week. Night 5- chocolate/marshmallow pizzas.

Valentine's scavenger hunt after dinner. Rob hid clues all over the house and they loved running from room to room searching for clues. **DISCLAIMER** We had to stop the hunt halfway through because they were fighting like nobody's business over who found the clue first, etc...  Just keeping it real. They were definitely coming down from a massive sugar high.

We ended the night by belting out the Frozen soundtrack on Bennett's karaoke machine.

Until the kids started fighting over who got the words right or who got to sing which song. Then we were definitely done.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Massive catch up

Life is changing so much that I can barely keep up. Lainey seems older every single day. She is saying new words and understanding so much more. Will hit a growth spurt and none of his clothes fit anymore. As I type this, Bennett is sitting at the kitchen table working on her piano theory homework. What?

I am just going to throw a lot of pictures out there so I can feel somewhat caught up.  They are mainly of the kids. Rob and I don't change that much.

Going back a few weeks.... when we got back from Austin we welcomed two of my nieces for a few days. We are always thrilled when they get to to come spend time with us.
 Uncle Rob patiently playing board games.
 Apparently we play games a lot around here.
 Headed to church with 5 of the most special kids out there.
Rob and I don't do presents for each other. Not for anniversaries, Christmas, Valentine's Day, etc.... We usually do one gift for birthdays, but that's it. Instead I took a little bit of Christmas money and bought my own gift. Storage shelves for our playroom! My 16 year old self is dying. But, priorities change. Here is one side of my Christmas present. Isn't it fabulous?
 Another angle
 Corner view
 New art corner. Merry Christmas to me!
 Someone was having fun while Mommy organized

 This January, a miracle happened in the deep South. It snowed! Just barely, but you would have thought they were calling for 5 feet of snow. My kids were so so excited. I didn't have the heart to remind them that this was winter looked like for us just a few short years ago.
 They didn't care. They waited patiently excitedly all day long. They were running to the window every 5 minutes to see if it had started snowing yet.

And finally, when they woke up the next morning, they discovered a thin layer of ice! Whoo-Hoo! I guess it's the little things in life when you are 5 and 4 years old.

Hmmmm...... what else? Oh, yeah. We went to Montgomery one weekend to see a wonderful production of "Goodnight Moon" at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. The kids loved it and they loved spending time with their grandparents even more.
My sweet friend Allison watched Lainey for us and she took this absolutely gorgeous picture of her while we were at the play. Love you, Ali!
Speaking of Lainey, I tried to put a bow in her hair one night. She hates me.
And while we were in Montgomery, my nieces came down from Birmingham to see us again. I sure do love living close to these sweet girls. And then all the kids got to spend time with their 2nd cousins who live in Montgomery. Are they 2nd cousins? They are the children of my first cousin, so what does that make the kids? I don't know. But I know that they all love each other.

We also went to the zoo where I rode the train with this guy. There's a story there. We kind of met while filming a funny video for our church at the zoo and we rode this train in those videos. It's where we had our first conversations. It will always be sentimental to us.
We also rode the new sky lift...
....and enjoyed our time with our cousins.
And even though we do a lot during the days, this is usually how we spend Saturday mornings. Pardon the unflattering angle and the crying baby. Just keeping it real.
And this is my favorite way to wind up the evenings.

Okay, whew! I think I'm caught up now. Hope everyone is ready for a fun Valentine's Day. My oldest daughter is slightly excited. If you could see all of the paper hearts covering every inch of our house, you would agree with me.