Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy 5th Birthday, Haley!

Our Sweet Pea is 5! It seems impossible that it's been 5 years since she surprised us by coming 4 weeks early. We celebrated together on Tuesday with presents, a 2-layer swirly pink cake, and dinner out.

The next day she had her first "friends" party, where everything was pink, pink, pink. They had fun dressing up, playing musical chairs (after a few turns we realized they enjoyed it more if no one got out), eating cupcakes, and following a treasure hunt to the favor bags. Thanks for coming, Audrey, Maia, Johnny, Marquessa, Jake, Brynlee and Peyton!

At age five, Haley:

Loves art and craft projects - she brings home fun projects from school and doesn't let a day go by without drawing, coloring, stapling or gluing something.

Loves to dance and dress up. She really wanted tap shoes for her birthday, even though she's not taking lessons right now. She squealed and ran to hug and kiss Rob and I when she opened the box. One of her favorite songs to dance to is "Sarah" (you know, that one from the 80's, "Sar-aaaah, Saaar-rah!"), which is on the demo track of our keyboard. Yeah, it gets old pretty fast, but she loves it.

Is such a good big sister. She (almost) always plays happily with Jake and I hear her saying "Come on, Jake. Let's go play in my room." She's quick to help him out when he's stuck somewhere (quite a frequent occurrence) or needs his socks on. She says he's her best friend and they're going to get married someday.

Loves to ride her bike and "train" for runs. She plans to run the 1/2-mile kids' event at the Fargo marathon in a few weeks. When we go for a bike ride she tells me that she's cross-training.

Is goofy and funny. She loves to tease and tell jokes and tickle. She skips when we walk places and brings a smile to those around her.

Is so sweet and thoughtful - she can't stand to see anyone upset and is always ready with a hug if someone needs it. She always wants to surprise us with breakfast in bed or pictures or presents.

Still surprises us with her intelligence and deep thinking (you'd think we stop being surprised by now). She'll be quiet for a while, then blurt out a question like, "Do you think Heaven is past the stars, or one of the stars? Maybe some of the stars are lots of other Earths!"

Happy Birthday, HaleyBear!

Phew, We're Tired!

Last week the kids and I were a bit over scheduled. It seemed like every day was booked full and we hardly had time to catch our breath. Lots of fun stuff, but it came as no surprise when we came down with a stomach bug at the end of the week - it seemed inevitable after wearing ourselves out! Some of the highlights of our full agenda:

Haley's ballet recital is coming up in a few weeks and they finally got their costumes! She wore hers all day and even put together something for Jake. She's doing really well considering she's only been taking lessons for a few months. I learned the dance too and she has fun watching me try to do it...passe left, passe right...

I took advantage of the relatively nice weather and squeezed in an extra workout one evening when Rob was working late. Pushing 2 kids for an hour is hard work! Fortunately it got them both asleep...Jake's Lucky Puppy had to come along for the ride.

I'm learning how to do face painting...a woman in our ward asked if I'd be interested in helping out at a few events if she taught me how. This was after we'd sat down for the first time and she showed me the basics. I went home and did this on myself in the mirror...don't look too closely at the lines!
Play date! Haley's friend Audrey came over to play one afternoon. They'd been wanting to have a pajama party but neither one wants to actually sleep over at the other's house. So they just put on nightgowns and Jake put on a sleeper and they hauled pillows and blankets out into the living room. Somehow dancing was involved, and ballet flats, and snacks -but no actual sleeping.
Freckle juice. This really close-up shot is to try to show Haley's freckles. I love them! It's the cutest sprinkling of perfect little freckles. Rob thinks I'm making them up, but they're there, I promise! We borrowed Freckle Juice by Judy Blume from the library and Haley got a kick out of it, but swears she didn't drink any such thing.
One morning I came home from a run to find guitar time going on. Rob loves this picture; I'm not sure anything could make him happier than seeing both kids playing guitar! The guitar-case seat is a nice touch, too.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Old MacDonald Had A...Tiger?

A while ago Jake was tagged - a cute idea to include the kids! So here are 8 things about Jake:

Jake loves music. Drums, guitars, pianos...the other night after I tucked him in he said, "Wait, Mama." When I asked him why, he answered, "My guitar. On the wall. Rock and roll!" Rock on, little one.

He would play in the sandbox all day, every day if we let him.

He loves chips. A while ago we were at Target and he saw an end-cap display of Tostitos. The next thing I know he walks up to the shelf, hugs a bag, stares at it lovingly, then plants a kiss right on the front. I could have died laughing.

Jake is not timid, and he has no reservations about letting his feelings be known. It doesn't matter if everyone at church or the crowds at Target are watching, he will scream bloody murder if he feels an injustice has been done (ie: He has to share the chocolate milk with Haley).

Despite his fierce side, he's also a cuddler. He loves to pretend to be a kitten and snuggle up with me, meowing. It's very endearing.

Jake has always been a morning person. He goes from sound asleep to wide awake in about 30 seconds. He sits up, says "Wake up, Dad! Cheerios!", and literally hops on both feet all the way to the kitchen. There's no turning him back, even if it's 5:30 a.m.

He loves to rub stuff in his hair - gel, mousse, lotion, lip gloss, vaseline.

Old McDonald has always been one of Jake's favorite songs. When he was tiny I would sing that to him instead of lullabies. He seemed to prefer the faster beat, and we'd all sing it together to calm him in the car. We often run out of the standard farm animals and have to extend to tractors, bees, giraffes, tigers, elephants and other exotics. You try making giraffe sounds...
Jake now tags: Brooke Constantine, Anna Ward, Stephen Osmonson, and Payton Dye.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

We Love Chicago

Last week at this time we were in Chicago - beautiful, busy, exciting Chicago. We had such a great time, and it felt great to get out of town to slightly warmer weather. Rob spent some time at the MPSA conference - the real reason we were there - but we also had lots of time to swim, visit museums, sightsee, and shop. I have so much admiration now for moms (like my friend Stephanie) who live in big cities with young kids - it was quite the challenge to get our double stroller on the El and we wound up walking or taking taxis most of the time.

The kids loved everything, and were so sad to leave (me too - back to making our own beds and cooking our own meals!). Jake still says, several times a day, "Chicago!!! So excited!!!" Fortunately the MPSA conference is held there every year so we will be back for sure.

Some of our favorite memories from the trip:

Swimming in the pool every day.

Pretending to be princesses as we explored the Grand Ballroom in our hotel, the Hilton Chicago.

Watching from our hotel windows: the busy streets at night, Lake Michigan at sunrise.

Spending most of a day at the Children's Museum - building, creating, climbing, playing in the water area with raincoats.

Valarie spending 30 minutes drying Jake's clothes at the hand dryers after playing in the water area (Jake's raincoat was no match for him).

Drawing on the tablecloths and enjoying amazing Italian food at Pizano's.

Sitting at the edge of Lake Michigan, tossing in stones and making Valarie freak out about the kids falling in.

Going for runs along the Lakefront trail - it's hard to beat that view! The downtown skyline and Lake Michigan...gorgeous.

Several nights we stayed late at Navy Pier or shopping on the Magnificent Mile - then we'd tuck the kids tight into the stroller and walk the several miles along the Lake back to our hotel as the lights came on in the city. Rob and I enjoyed actual uninterrupted conversations as the kids drifted off to sleep.

Jake pushing every single red button on the displays at the Field Museum - lots of display narrations!

Shopping! The American Girl Doll store, Nordstrom, Ralph Lauren, Crate and Barrel - we were in shopping nirvana...our small-town kids just loved all the escalators.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Breaking News

A few weeks ago we moved Jake into his own big-boy bed, and last night he slept in it ON HIS OWN from 7 pm until 5 am. This was a huge milestone for him (and us!) and hopefully by blogging about it I won't jinx us.

Our sweet boy has not been a very good sleeper since he was about 1 week old and we had lately begun to doubt that we would ever sleep uninterrupted for more than 4 hours. Hopefully it wasn't just an April Fool's joke, and this is the beginning of many good night's rests!

Haley and Jake were very helpful while assembling the bed frame.

Jake tests it out - he was thrilled to have his own bed, and has insisted that we read stories on it every night instead of in Haley's room. For days after we set it up he walked around saying, "My bed! My room!"

Below, Rob and Jake relax after all that hard work. The polka-dot sheets are ones that Haley picked out when she first got a big bed (she's since moved on to pink flowery sheets). As soon as Jake's bed was made, Haley ran to her room and brought Bofa the Bear from her own bed for Jake to have, because she knows how much he loves it. The room still needs some paint and decorating, but at least he's sleeping in there!