Thursday, June 30, 2016

Bits and Pieces: June

We've been having a pretty good summer so far. I can't complain about the weather, and we have settled into a routine. There are plenty things I could complain about (whiny kids, kids fighting, etc.), but I won't. Christopher just threw his arms around me and said "I love you SO much." And moments like that make all of those other things seem insignificant, even if I am pulling my hair out at the time. 

Ben has nicknamed the children Captain Literal and Captain Obvious. When speaking to Captain Literal, also known as Clare, you must be very precise. When we talked about it being summer, she was adamant that no, it was in fact still spring. I explained to her that most people say it is summer once school is out, even though it is not technically summer. We had this conversation several times, until I finally remembered to say "summer vacation" rather than "summer." I was very happy when it was finally, officially, summer.

Captain Obvious likes to narrate his life. The other day, Christopher and I were playing in the gym next door to Clare's gymnastics class. He would throw his ball and chase after it. Then he'd run back to me and announce "I throw ball. I run." Then he sat down to drink his water. "I drink water." He coughed. "I cough. I not throw up." Thanks for sharing, Captain Obvious.

Clare lost her third tooth last week, one on top. The Tooth Fairy forgot to come. Way to go, Tooth Fairy! We tried again the second night and the Tooth Fairy was not too busy to stop by, thank goodness. At the rate she is going, she's not going to have any teeth left!

We had a few Josie free days this month, so I took the opportunity to take the kids to the Minnesota Zoo. Clare and Christopher and I had a blast. I brought a picnic lunch. We played on the playground, saw a few animals, and then went to the dinosaur exhibit. Clare loved it. Christopher was less enthused, but that was partly because he fell on his face at the entrance. We ended the day with ice cream and the splash pad. A perfect summer day, even though it wasn't technically summer yet. 

We went on our annual friends' camping trip last weekend. (Note: one of my 40 x 40 goals was to continue this yearly tradition. 2016 is in the books!) We camped at Whitewater State Park, which is in the southeastern part of the state. It was really, really fun.  We arrived Friday night and roasted hot dogs over the fire. The night was clear, and we could see millions of stars. There were lightning bugs everywhere, but very few mosquitoes. We spent most of Saturday at the beach. Christopher took a nap on a towel for about two hours. The kids, all boys except Clare, ran themselves ragged. We roasted marshmallows for s'mores and drank a lot of beer and wine. A perfect summer weekend, and it was actually summer!

In the hammock we bought Ben for Father's Day. They've spent more time in it than he has.

Another tooth gone.

At the Zoo.



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Last Day (Delayed)

I am a little late with these, but here they are. First day and last day of pre-K.

She definitely looks older, doesn't she? She did a lot of complaining about going to school the last few months of the year, but when she got home she always seemed happy and had a lot to tell me about her day. I am hoping she will be excited for kindergarten in the fall. She will have the same teacher and half the same kids in her class, so I am also hoping the transition is a smooth one.

She had her 5-year well-check today. She is in the 66th percentile for height (43 inches) and the 59th percentile for weight.

Clare had her birthday party with her friends on Saturday. She even invited her two best friends from school. The kids had a blast in the sprinkler, and Clare was pretty excited about her hot pink glittery birthday cake.
Note my lovely handiwork after the bakery misspelled Clare.

Oh, and she lost another tooth on Friday night. It was a big week for Clare.

On Sunday we had some time at home to recover from birthday/lost teeth/last day of school week. Perfect for some Daddy-Daughter Lego time.

When I mentioned she could take a break if she didn't feel like finishing the whole Imperial Troop Transport right then, she and Ben both looked at me like I was crazy. Apparently you do not take breaks while doing a Lego construction. I am glad they have this in common.

And now on to summer break! The first day was hard. Today was much better. It is time for me to break out last summer's rule, which was to relax. RELAX.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


This feels like a milestone birthday.  Five! I suppose it is in a way - she'll be starting kindergarten in the fall. Actually, she is more like 5 going on 15. The way she speaks, the attitude, everything seems like a tamer version of what the teenage years will be like.

Despite her spunky personality, Clare is really very sweet. She dotes on her cousin and stands up for her brother. She tells me she loves me daily (she tells me she hates me daily, too, but I know she doesn't mean it). She cares about her friends. She has two best friends at school, Chloe and Keira, but I think she still prefers playing with the pack of boys she's run with since we moved here. She should have a lot of time with them this summer.

Clare lost a tooth yesterday! We were walking back from an early birthday dinner at Snuffy's when it came out. I am sure the sucker she was eating helped it along. She was quite excited. It has been a big few days for her. She has two other loose teeth, so I think the Tooth Fairy will be back again soon.

Clare loves to be outside, whether she is swimming, hiking, gardening or biking. She is learning to ride her bike without training wheels, and can already do four laps around the parking lot next door before losing confidence. She is planning to run a few races this summer, and will also be trying ballet for the first time. She'll continue with soccer and gymnastics as well. She still doesn't like going under the water at the pool, but she is no longer scared of the big pool. Small steps, but she's getting there.

She is still an extremely picky eater. She does not like her food to touch on her plate, and is unwilling to try pretty much everything I make. She does love berries, pizza (as long as it's pepperoni and black olive, or plain cheese), spaghetti (with no sauce, of course), macaroni and cheese (but just Annie's, NOT homemade) cucumbers, carrots, and most desserts, but especially strawberry ice cream and any kind of cake. Making lunches next year should be a challenge. There is no way she'll eat hot lunch.

She loves wearing dresses and playing dress up. She is begging me to take her to the salon to get a manicure. She is not afraid to get dirty, though.

She has started reading on her own, some, and we have been reading chapter books together. I plan to read "Little House on the Big Woods" with her this summer, and I can't wait.

Clare is into puzzles and books, but she also likes play doh and painting. And TV, of course. Her current favorite shows are "Phineas and Ferb" and "American Ninja Warrior" and her favorite movies are "Mulan" and "Brave."  She is hoping to see "Star Wars" soon and wants to be Darth Vader for Halloween.

She also likes watching cooking shows with me, and it has lead to one of her favorite games. We play cooking show while I am making dinner. It even has a name: "Clare and Emily's Home Cooking." At first, she was very concerned about camera placement, but she eventually decided they were just everywhere, so it didn't matter where we stood in the kitchen. It is pretty hilarious, actually. I need to film it one day, because she is a surprisingly good cooking show host.

She and Christopher are each other's best friends and worst enemies. One minute they are playing sweetly together, and the next one of them is screaming or crying. I am sure it will be this way always. (But without the screaming and crying when they are adults. Although you never know.)

The celebration of Clare's 5th birthday has gotten a bit out of control, with two family parties, a dinner out at Snuffy's last night, and a party with her friends this coming Saturday. Next year I plan to scale it way back. (There were some unusual circumstances prompting one of the extra parties: my brother and sister-in-law were visiting from England. We had to celebrate with them!)

It is so fun to have a conversation with Clare. Her observations on life are smart, logical, and funny. She remembers everything, and has a thousand questions about every new topic she encounters. Four was a good year, and I can't wait to see what the year ahead brings.

Happy birthday, Clare. We love you so, so much.