Saturday, June 30, 2012

St. Patrick's Day 2012

Remember how I love St. Patrick's Day? And finally got my act together last year to carry on my family's tradition? Welp, we did it again this year, with the Smith's.

 We started off with the hunt, where the kids searched for money, gum, and mints that had been taped onto shamrocks and hidden in the "jungle of Nool" (aka, the woods in our back yard). We had an unseasonably warm March, and got to do the hunt outside this year.
 Lorraine found the pot of gold, AGAIN! She was the lucky one who found it last year, too.

 Nick and Max

 In the excitement of coming inside, getting ready for our corn beef dinner and dividing up the loot, we didn't notice that Owen found a stash of rolos and went to town!

 I love St. Patrick's Day and also love that we finally have a tradition in place that my kids looks forward to. Hopefully we have someone to celebrate with next year...

Valentines Day

 We started Valentines day this year with flowers from my nice husband and chocolate chip heart shaped pancakes.
 That afternoon Chase, Cora and I went to a Valentine-themed playgroup, and  I got lucky enough to score some of the left-over cookies and frosting so I had an activity for us to do when Nick got home.

 While I finished putting the kids to bed Brad ordered take-out for us and rigged up our kids table so we could eat while we watched a show. I would rather do this than go out, so it was a perfect way to celebrate love day.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Random memories

Dinner time around here is
 usually a battle, especially, as of late, with Chase. Cucumbers are my go-to vegetable when we're running short on time -- I just slice them up and serve them and all the kids love them, usually. This night Chase was being more finnick-y than usual, and would only eat his cucumbers like this...

 And this is now the way he eats them, always. Whatever.

Nick dressed up as Brad one night, and it was just too cute for me not to snap some photos. This kids has grown up so much lately and is my number one helper. He is responsible and caring and I'm so proud of him.

 One night a few months ago, Brad and I actually hired a babysitter so that we could go on a date. I had the kids bathed before we were scheduled to leave and was trying to feed them a quick dinner of mac and cheese so they wouldn't be hungry while we were away. I don't know if it's the fact that we rarely have it, or what, but I guess Cora thought it went in here freshly washed hair instead of in her mouth!!

 My parents gave these sleeping bags to our kids for Christmas and they love them. They roll up into a stuffed dinosaur that can be used as a pillow. On this night, when I checked on the kids before going to bed, I discovered that Chase had stuffed his dolphin pillow pet, 2 blankies, and 3 stuffed animals into his sleeping bag with him, and then promptly fell asleep.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I've been feeling strongly for the last year or so that I need to be better at teaching my kids to work. I remember having daily chores and Saturday chores from a very young age and I knew it was important. But I find myself cleaning up after my kids far too often, feeling like it wasn't worth the battle or the time to make them do it themselves. They have now had daily chores for awhile (dishwasher, bedroom, toyroom), but I was still struggling with Saturday chores. Then, when I couldn't sleep one night, I read a friend of a friend's blog (I wish I could remember who's!) about the way they did chores and it changed everything for us. I catered the idea for the ages of my kids, but it has worked great!

I write down all the chores that need to be done that day and cut them up into strips. But instead of one paper saying "clean the upstairs bathroom," I break every chore down so it would say "clean the sink of the upstairs bathroom" instead. So there are 5 or so strips just for the upstairs bathroom, make sense? 

We gather at the table and each boy picks a strip. But there aren't just house hold chores on there. There are also strips that say "write all the names of the people in your family," (for the kid that's learning to read and write) and "eat 10 marshmallows," and "take a break," and "write a thank you note to Grandma for the package she sent," etc. Other ideas are: read a book with mom or dad, do a secret service for someone in the family, practice piano, and so on. Chores include things like clean a toilet, dust the piano, vacuum the stairs, etc. They don't pick a new strip until they are both done with the one they have, thus discouraging dawdling (they're going to clean that toilet pretty fast if they know their brother picked a "take a break" strip). And Brad or I are either doing their chore with them, to teach them to do it correctly, or we have to check it off before they can move on.

 "Write the names of all the people in your family" strip...
 "Write a thank-you note to Granny and Grandpa for your birthday present" strip
 "Clean the window" strip
The best part about this is that THEY DON'T FIGHT! THEY RARELY COMPLAIN!! They actually look forward to doing chores on Saturday morning. And the chores get done in a fun way. I wish I could give credit to whoever I stole this idea from, but I guess that's what I get for being a year behind on my blog. ;)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chase is FOUR

Chase turned 4 in January! Every birthday with every kid weirds me out. I can't believe they are so old and grown up. When we moved to PA I was pregnant with Chase and I remember thinking that he would be 4 when we moved, and feeling like that day would never come. But it did. Sigh. His birthday was on a Sunday so the night before the Shepherd's and the Smith's came to celebrate Chase's day with us. He requested pizza and chocolate cake. I made a Texas sheet cake for the first time and it turned out pretty well.


 The next morning, after a sibling snuggle on the couch, Chase opened more presents and we went to church.

 That evening while the boys did Chase's new legos with Brad, Cora found her own entertainment.
 And we all enjoyed left-over cake!

Chase, at age 4, both delights and challenges me everyday. He is loving and caring one minute, then mischievous and deliberately disobedient the next. But his disposition has always been a sweet one. He loves puzzles and legos and sticker books. He loves the color yellow and to dance ("shake his booty") and sing. He loves trains and cars and playing with his siblings and friends (especially Lorraine, or Borraine as he says it). He loves school and is so smart. It is a joy to see him grow! We love our Chase!
The above picture was taken in May when we were making a "All About Me" poster for pre-school.