our pad

our pad

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Trivia

She might not know her colors, but I think she's pretty smart! Here's miss Ella answering some current event trivia...
video

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

True Colors

I have worked with Avery and Ella on identifying their colors since they where babies. We have read and continue to re-read countless books on colors, done puzzles, I even went out and bought flashcards on colors, but despite my best efforts naming the color of every object we encounter throughout the day, my girls remain completely clueless on colors. I'll point to the yellow flowers on the table, and ask what color they are, to which Ella will reply "purple" and Avery will say "green." I will then say, "no the flowers are yellow, aren't the yellow flowers pretty? So what color are the flowers?" And they will often then retort in unison, "yellow." Thinking they might be getting it, I move on, pick up a lemon and ask them what color it is. Ella answers "blue", Avery "red". I was really coming to terms with the fact that maybe they are color blind when they both surprised me with this:


An amazing ability to sort by color without even hesitating. They can clearly recognize the colors and find which ones belong together, but identifying and naming is still an abstract concept for them. I hope they will get it eventually, I guess that is what preschool is for! They do enjoy sorting, and using muffin tins, have fun grouping shells, buttons, pompoms, beads, bells and other odds and ends, by shape, size, texture and yes, even by color! A nice quiet even educational activity which doesn't involve too much clean-up (except when the tins get dumped on the floor,which happens everytime of course)!



Monday, April 25, 2011

Last Day of School Vaction Makes My Monday




Easter Monday is a day that Catholic school children get off from school, an extra day to come down from the sugar high that was Easter! With school vacation last week, and the day off today I will be all set to send the boys off to the bus at 7:45tomorrow morning and that makes my monday! I think the boys enjoyed the break, and it was nice to not have to pack lunches, iron uniforms, and supervise homework! To break up the week I first took the kiddos to Nanny and Papa's beach house for a couple of days. The weather wasn't great but it was a nice change of scenery and we got in some walks and did some sea glass hunting at the beach. Avery didn't quite understand that you can go to the beach and not go swimming and as soon as we got to the sand she took of her shoes and began undressing to go for a dip- despite it being 40 degrees and drizzling! Later in the week my mom and I took just the boys to New York City for the night. Nanny and ampa graciously watched all three girls. It was such a great little break. The weather was beautiful and we enjoyed walking through Central Park and seeing everything in bloom. The boys loved the Museum of Natural History, the Lights of Times Square, staying in a hotel and going out for fun meals at a fancy Italian restaurant, and a diner with singing waitresses. It was a nice week and now we will get back into our routine of school, homework, sports, play practice, and play dates tomorrow!








Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

The kids woke early and all had fun finding their Easter baskets. Cam was the first to find each basket but was good at re hiding when he discovered one wasn't his. They all loved the goodies found inside each basket and had a nice sugar rush just in time for church! We hosted Easter dinner this year and celebrated Addie's first birthday at the same time. We all enjoyed a wonderful meal with the family, grandparents and Aunts and Uncles. I did a bunny theme for the first birthday celebration- made bunny chocolates for party favors, bunny topped cupcakes, a bunny cake and arranged pictures of Addie's first year on the wall and added bunny ears to go with the theme! The sun came out and the kids got to finish the day off with an egg hunt with the neighbors.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy First Birthday Addison!


Dear Addison, You are one year old today! Last year at this time I went to the hospital to be induced as you were a week overdue and you arrived later that evening, a fast and easy birth and what a wonderful surprise you were! You have brought me and the rest of your family nothing but happiness during this past year, and although you are the fifth child, have perfectly rounded out this family. I can't believe how fast this year has gone by and wish I could capture and store away every minute of your life so far. You have been a true blessing and I can not remember one moment ever being frustrated with you- you seemed to understand from the start that your mom was very busy and with four older siblings had a lot on my plate and you decided to make it easy on me- sleeping through the night at three weeks, smiling at anyone that looked in your direction from about two weeks on, falling into great nap patterns but happy to go with the flow, eating anything I served you, and content to entertain yourself, watch your siblings with those big eyes and fill every ones heart that held you with love. You have changed from a beautiful complaisant infant into a playful and curious toddler, so sweet and happy and full of life. I love when I go into your room to get you in the morning or after a nap and you flap your arms in excitement. I love when you clap when I walk in your direction, I love how you reach for your big brother to pick you up, I love how you giggle when brothers play peek-a-boo with you, I love how you shake your head "yes" when I ask you a question, I love how you move on and find something else to play with when your sisters take away your toy, I love how you snuggle on my shoulder with your blankie, I love how you flick your fingers when we sing Twinkle-twinkle little star, I love how you scrunch your nose and pant when I ask you what the doggie says. I love how you say "uh-oh" after you purposely drop something to the ground. I love how you open and close your fingers with your palm facing your face when you wave bye-bye. I love how you bop your head when your hear music. I love when you look in the mirror and say, "Hi Baby". I love you my sweet baby girl and hope you will always be this happy and full of joy know the joy you have brought to your parents, brothers and sisters during this first year of your life. Happy First Birthday Addison Grace!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Easter Projects




Easter is just a few days away and we have been crafting up a storm getting ready for the big day. The girls love their project time, usually in the morning while Addie squeezes in her morning nap. We made bunny ears to wear, little bunnies to pet and play with, a candy Easter egg topiary, bunny puppets, little birds nest filled with eggs, and decorated bags to bring home our loot at the Easter egg hunts we have been invited to this weekend. We will wait to dye actual eggs until the day before Easter, but everyone is looking forward to that!

Bunny Ears:














These we made by cutting a band long enough to fit around the girls head out of a paper bag. I then cut out ears and had the girls glue soft fuzzy pom-poms onto them. They then glued the ears onto poster board so they wouldn't flop over. I then stapled these onto the bands and stapled the bands closed (with staples facing out). It was a very simple project but the girls loved hopping around showing off their new ears.


Birds Nests:











I got a little inspiration for these at FamilyFun.com, but simplified a bit for the two year old crowd. We began by gathering twigs from the yard-killed two birds with one stone (no pun intended): yard clean-up and an engaging project all rolled into one. We brought these inside and then glued them to a brown paper lunch bag which we rolled and squished down to form a nest. The girls then stuffed their nests with grass and arranged plastic and wooden eggs inside.

Egg Topiary:



















This was a project more geared towards the boys as it involved sharp toothpicks. We began by sticking a toothpick (broken in half) into a chocolate wrapped egg, then stuck the other end of the tooth pick into an egg shaped Styrofoam ball covering it almost entirely. The boys left a small bit on the bottom of the egg uncovered to allow room for a stick which we found outside to form the trunk of our topiary. We then stuck the trunk into a pot to stand up straight. We then tied a bow around the base to finish it off and now have it on display. I do have to keep turning the tree to hide the bare spots from little sneaky fingers!



Bunny Sock Friends:





We have so many socks with out matches so it was great to put these to use. The
girls each filled a sock with rice and orzo, then I tied off a head with an
elastic band and tied off ears with some ribbon. I then cut the ears out from
the top of the sock. The girls glued on eyes and a cotton tail and have been
busy playing with their furry friends ever since!

Easter Bags:


We have two Easter Egg Hunts this weekend not including our own,
so I picked the girls up some paper bags and Easter stickers and let them go to
town decorating the bags to put all their plastic eggs in!


Bunny Puppets:


The girls glued ears, a nose, bowtie, and cottontail onto a
brown lunch bag to make these fun bunnies, which have been singing and hopping
around the house all
week!






Saturday, April 16, 2011

Updates




Jameson- J has been cruising through 4th grade. Every time I see his teacher, she tells me what a delight he is to have in class and he just brought home a truly stellar report card. His attitude about school and with friends is so pleasant and for this I am so proud and thankful. He had a science fair last week and did a fun experiment to determine how size and shape of balls affects how fast they travel. He has done some traveling of his own recently and had a great time on a ski trip with Jim and Cameron. He loved taking the chairlift and going off jumps, and wishes he could do a lot more skiing. Hockey ended on a good note and now he is gearing up for the start of baseball and spring soccer. He was so excited to have just won his NCAA basketball bracket that he did with a bunch of friends, and is still busy playing basketball out on the street with the posse of boys from the neigborhood. Jameson has been so great with his siblings, and I have been relying on him to help me with the girls, whether its entertaining them in the playroom or helping me keep an eye on them while we are outside. He amazes me with his positive attitude and truly has a calming effect on the whole family.


Cameron- Cam is making great progress with his reading. He has come along way this year and I am so proud of him. He still struggles with school work and gets easily frustrated during homework but we are trying to sort it out so that he can get the help he might need and he will know what a great kid he really is. He was thrilled to finish hockey and those skates might be hung up for good! He loved the boys ski weekend and is quite a natural skier and fearless out on the mountain. Now that the weather is warming up, he has really enjoyed playing outside with his neighbor friend usually building a fort of somesort or making a science potion. We played a little wiffle ball today and he had a blast with that too. He is so curious and always very busy. He is very determined (read :stubborn/ defiant) but so lovable and affectionate too! His can make Addie giggle louder than anyone I know! He just started soccer and has had fun practicing out in the backyard with me and just scored a goal in his first game. Baseball has just started too and he is lucky to have his dad helping coach the team.


Ella- Ella is still very much into her baby dolls. She loves to rock them, swaddle them and give them bottles or make a bed for them. She also loves bags and purses and is always filling them with odds and ends from around the house. She also enjoys projects so almost everyday we try and do a crafty activity. She still loves her pacifier and carrying around her "bitty" but we have been trying to leave these items in the crib. Speaking of crib, nap times have been a challenge to say the least. Her zipper on the crib tent broke so she started climbing out of the crib again, resorted back to her old ways of taking off her diaper in her crib, so back she went into sleepers with the zipper in the back and now her sister and her have to be separated for naps because they were having way to much fun in their cribs keeping eachother up! On her own Ella will easily nap for three hours and I often have to wake her up! In other milestones, Ella is really starting to speak in full sentences, can sing her ABCs and count to 20! She has been asserting her independence a lot recently (read :tantrums all through out the day) and is very opinionated about what she wears, how she wears her hair and what shoes go on her feet. She usually wants whatever her sister has and is usually the one to end up getting it! She loves animals and we have yet to pass a dog she doesn't run to pet. She is a great eater, although tonight told me her dinner was "yucky, Eyya no yike. Eyya have ice cream!." Yesterday, I tripped Avery by accident, and Ella said with out hesitating "Oh, sorry honey" beating me to it. It struck me as very funny at the time. She is quite the character these days and always makes me laugh.



Avery: Avery is also into babies, bags, jewelry and make-up (especially mine that she finds in my purse when I don't keep it out of sight). It is so fun to watch her engage in pretend play and see that little imagination at work! She loves to get into drawers and cabinets and is always finding treasures to keep in her pocket. She loves to color and can recognize a couple letters in her name and tries her best to write the letter A. She is pretty good a drawing circles. She could listen to stories for hours on end. All of her baby dolls are named "Baby Gemma" after her little cousin. She loves special alone time and is so pleasant to be with one on one. Her sister and her have been getting into lots of scuffles recently and Avery is usually the one to give up the favorite toy and always ends up in tears. This age has been particularly difficult with Miss Avery as she has such strong opinions about what she wants and when she wants them. I am trying very hard to be consistent with timeouts for unfavorable behaviors like hitting, whining and shrieking. Hopefully I will see the fruits of my labor soon and get back my sweet little girl. She was doing great with Potty training a month or so ago, but I got too lax about it and we have regressed a lot but hope to get back at it soon! She enjoys playing school and I think we will all be ready for her to start in the fall as these days leave me utterly exhausted!



Addison: Addie is still the sweetest baby ever and I don't want her to become a toddler! I wish I could keep her this sweet and happy forever. She always has a smile on her face and is so happy to go with the flow. She is great at entertaining herself, but now that she is mobile has to be watched every minute or will be easily led into trouble by her sisters. When you ask her a question she always nods her head "yes" in agreement. It is the cutest thing. She blows kisses making the the sound affect along with it and it just melts my heart. She waves and says "hi" to everyone and is such a friendly little girl. She loves music class and crawls around the room visiting everyone and dancing along to the music. She has been pulling up on anything she can reach, and balances for a few minutes so walking is not far off, although I wouldn't mind if she stayed my little baby forever!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend Highlights

The weather was wonderful this weekend and it is finally starting to feel like spring. Some memorable kid quotes from the past few days include: Jameson, after playing with his baby sister for close to an hour in the playroom, "Mom is'nt Addie the sweetest most playful baby in the world?" I think so, and think its pretty nice her big brother agrees! Avery (without any prodding by me, apologized to her sister for taking a toy), "Sowee Eyya" to which Ella replied, "Your welcome Avie." Avery (after I caught her with a pencil and pencil sharpener and told her she had to put it back), "I do my homework!" On a similar note Ella has been walking around with a backpack on for a week saying "I go bus". Can you tell they have big brothers in school? When I ask Addie if she's a big girl or a baby she says "Baby"- a brand new word! At dinner I ask the kids the best and worst part of their day, today Cameron said, "I don't have a worst part because I got to spend the whole day with you!" Awww One quote I would like to forget from today, Ella "Uh-Oh" as she dropped an industrial size bottle of chocolate syrup on the ground cracking it open all over my pantry. This clean up rivaled the syrup incident of 2009!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Twins for Sale- Two For the Price of One!

If you think you had a rough day, I invite you to read on. I woke to Avery and Ella shrieking about an hour earlier than their usual wake-up time. They were both in foul moods and up too early for their own good. They had taken the sheets off of their cribs, and stripped their beds of the mattress pads as well. This has become a new way of tormenting me at bed time and nap time. I remade the cribs which is real pain when you take into account the bumpers which all need to be untied, and the crib tent which has to be contended with. I'm tempted to let them sleep on their cold mattresses to get them to stop doing this, but my softer side always takes over and I remake the cribs. Things progressed pretty smoothly from there and girls enjoyed a lovely breakfast and after some play time it was time for baby Addie's nap. I've learned that I can not leave the girls unattended for long, so they came with me while I changed Addie and read books with me while I gave her a bottle. I then turned on Barney on the TV while I brought Addie upstairs to her crib. I returned after no more than a minute (the length of time it takes to zip Addie into her sleepsack and pop a pacifier in her mouth) to find that the girls had moved a kitchen chair to climb up on the counter to get to the cabinet where I keep the baking ingredients. I'm sure they were reaching for the sprinkles, possibly the chocolate chips, when they knocked down the 2lb container of sugar and 1 pound bag of flour, which knocked a bowl onto the ground breaking it into a hundred million pieces. I walked in at this point and after calmly exclaiming my horror ( I gave up yelling for lent) carried the girls up to their cribs so that they wouldn't step on the glass with their bare feet or track the mound of sugar and flour around the house. I cleaned up the floor, swept, vacuumed and mopped, all in under 5 minutes then went to retrieve the twins from their room. The flour-sugar-glass mess was nothing next to what I was about to witness. Both girls had taken off their pants and diapers and pooped in their cribs managing to get it just about everywhere- all over the dolls and books I put in the cribs to keep them entertained while I cleaned up the previous mess, all over the sheets, all over themselves, their hair, their blankets, oh and Ella managed to smear it all over her crib tent. Did I mention that just yesterday, we installed a new crib tent on Ella's crib after she managed to get a hole in her other one (after she climbed out of her crib one too many times)? I know better than to put the girls in their cribs with out backwards sleepers on (so they can't unzip and take off their diapers) during nap time and at night, but it didn't even cross my mind to take this preventative measure while they were in the cribs for 5 min while I cleaned! Anyway I scrubbed the girls down, then bathed them, redressed them, then set out on the miserable task of cleaning, sanitizing, and bleaching the cribs. The crib tent was a pain to clean to say the least for it had to be disassembled, washed dried and then reassemble. Leaving the upstairs smelling like an indoor swimming pool from all the bleach I decided it was time to get out of the house and off we went to the gym, where I was able to leave the girls in the babysitting room, completely guilt free. We got home and after some lunch, I put the girls in for naps. I was so excited for the upward swing in the day at this point for I had booked a sitter! I wished her luck and off I went to run some errands- glorious errands, and get my hair done for the first time in 6 months. I was so enjoying this time alone until I got a text that from the sitter that Avery was throwing up everywhere, so I cut (no pun intended) my hair appt short and returned home to clean up vomit and deal with my sick and extra clingy and cranky two year old. We made it through the dinner hour when I noticed Ella holding Cameron's wallet. I had her put the wallet down, but noticed she still had a nickel in her hand. When I asked her to give me the nickel (could have been a penny, didn't get that clear a look), she popped it in her mouth. When she saw me coming to retrieve the nickel, she swallowed it, not with out gagging first. I called the pediatrician and am now blessed with the task of examining her every stool to see if it passes. As if I haven't dealt with enough poop today!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Symbolism

When each of my children were born I gave them a nickname associated with a tangible symbol. This way I have a little pet name for each of them that makes them feel unique and special. I also pick up there little symbols from time to time when I see them in a store to put away for them or give them as a gift. Jameson is my star, Cameron is my sunshine, Ella is my sweetheart, Avery is my angel and Addison is my princess. We now have quite a collection of stars, suns, hearts, angels and princesses especially adorning our Christmas tree! I think I picked quite fitting nick-names for each of my babies even before I knew their personalities. Jameson is very much a star. He lights the way for his younger siblings, always setting a good example of patience, responsibility, truth and love. He was the star of his Christmas pageant, elected class president, just brought home a straight A-report card and really is a star in my eyes. Cameron is my sunshine and a beaming ray of light. He is so full of enthusiasm and energy. He has a very exuberant and powerful personality and certainly rules this side of the galaxy! Ella is such a sweetheart, loving and affectionate. She is very sweet and caring with her baby sister and very nurturing with her baby dolls. She loves to cuddle and I see already she has a big heart! Avery was our fragile twin in the womb who caused us much worry but when she was born healthy and strong I knew she was my angel and had angels watching out for her. She has a strong outward personality but is an angel at heart, often conceding to her twin sister. She is my little angel and very much a mommy's girl. Addison is my princess- so lovable and adored from the start by not just me but by her siblings as well. She exudes happiness and will always be my little princess!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Mess Makers

Cleaning up after my kids is a full time job. At the girls music and gym class they are the first to jump up and start helping out at clean up time, but at home its a different story. I like my house organized and tidy, but my kids are out to sabatoge me at every turn. They can empty a cabinet in the blink of an eye, dump a box of crackers in a matter of seconds, unravel a roll of toilet paper before I notice they've left the room, write on walls faster than I can write my name, and leave a path of destrution wherever they go! Today I used up an entire box of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, trying to wipe my walls and tables clean of crayon and smudge marks. Here is just a sampling of the messes I encountered today:

Addie is just starting to get in on the mess making action, seen here after she dumped the basket of winter hats of gloves. Oh well time for spring anyway!


Avery attempting to clean up the coffee grinds she spilled while rummaging through the trash.


Ella apparently thought her artwork should be framed on display, so colored right over the frame with permanent marker (don't worry she colored on the walls too)!