Wednesday, February 26

party all night.

we had a few hours after the kids left, then some family and friends came for dinner and cake and more partying. the weather stayed beautiful all day long, so we built a little fire in the backyard and played outside more.

i took even less pictures of this event, believe it or not, but i do have a few to steal from grammie. 

our evening was a lot more laid-back, and was full of roasting marshmallows, eating birthday cake, and opening more presents. she even got to open packages from far away family that came just in time. it lasted long into the night and i'm not at all sure how both girls made it without a nap. i thought poppy was going to fall asleep on her feet. they just played and played and played.

(she got a ton of puzzles for her birthday, which is perfect, because she loves puzzles.
she's done that one with the states at least seven times since sunday morning and even did it once with absolutely no help.)

after everyone left both girls snuggled up on either side of me and fell asleep. it was the perfect ending to a perfect day. 

i can't say enough how much i appreciate everyone who helped make her birthday so special and memorable. she had the best day of her life and she spent it with so many wonderful people.

Tuesday, February 25

p-a-r-t-why? 'cause we got to.

i haven't been able to keep up with the craziness of my little girl turning four years old on saturday. 

we spent last week busy gearing up for her elaborate, fun, and unforgettable day. 

if you know ellie, you know that she makes plans. and when she makes plans, she makes big plans, and she expects everyone to help her make her dreams come true. even before poppy's birthday in november (yes, we've been planning since then) ellie has been talking about her rainbow birthday cake. over the months it evolved into a rainbow cake with a rainbow pony made of cookie on top and a rainbow unicorn pinata and basically inviting every person she knew to come celebrate. i'm not kidding when i say she would rattle off names of friends she wanted to invite, including most of the church nursery, her friends from primary, random kids from the park, adults that she likes, etc. in fact, we started back at dance class last week and on the way home she told me: "mom! there were so many new friends in there! you are going to have to call my teacher and find out all of their names." if she had her way, we would have invited to whole world to come. 
(she's a friendly little thing, and i don't know where she gets it. she has forced her poor socially awkward mother to come out of her shell.)

unfortunately we don't have the space or means to accommodate such a party, though if we did, i would have gladly invited her entire universe of people. i took control of the runaway train and invited a few friends for a party in the morning (which still turned out to be 10 three/four-year-olds, all but one could come) and we made plans for an evening with some family and friends. we did a little decorating and baking and preparing each day of the week to get ready and keep her excitement from spilling over.


and so, so much fun. 

ellie woke up laughing on her birthday and we heard her giggling all the way into our room. she burst through the door and said "it's my birthday!" and we grabbed her to kiss her and checked to see if she'd grown overnight.
so began her epic day.

the kid party in the morning was amazing. ellie's aunt and uncle were so great to come and help and between the adults we were able to keep all the kids happy and out of trouble (for the most part). the weather was perfect and we were able to play outside and inside and, surprisingly, the house didn't even get trashed the way i thought it would. the kids played with sidewalk chalk and balloons and i didn't even have to plan anything as far as games. 
we had a lunch of rainbow fruits and vegetables with "cloud popcorn" and and the kids ate in shifts, whenever they felt like it, picking at the food from the table. i was surprised again at how much healthy food was eaten just by having it in reach and available for snacking. i'm pretty sure every one of those picky kids ate something healthy before we went crazy with sugar.
i convinced ellie that the kids would do better with cupcakes instead of the giant layer cake she was going to have later, so rainbow cupcakes it was. they were delicious.
a note: if we ever do such a big party again, i think we'll have to make a no presents rule. firstly, she got so many great presents that i kinda felt guilty! spoiled rotten by her sweet friends. but secondly, opening presents was the only time when things got out of control. it was a madhouse and i was literally terrified for a moment. the kids were all so excited and yelling and couldn't wait and wrapping paper was flying and it was overwhelming, to say the least.
we saved the pinata for last, and it worked perfectly, so that we were all outside again and ready to go as the parents came back. ellie had her heart set on a pinata, even though i wasn't so keen on the idea. we didn't find the rainbow unicorn, but a friend of ours spotted the rainbow one and it was super cheap, so i caved. ellie was so happy with it. as you probably know, it's almost impossible for a bunch of kids her age to break a pinata. they still loved it, even though uncle miles eventually had to break it after daddy's sabotage didn't work. and it was very entertaining watching the kids take their turns.

i am so grateful that ellie has such a wonderful community of kids her age. i love them all. they're adorable and smart and funny. although it might not always seem like it, i'm so glad that ellie has dragged me into having a social life. everywhere so goes she makes a friend. just the other day, we stopped at mcdonalds for a second to get a gift card and she made a new friend while standing in line. after we left she was upset because she had forgotten to ask her new friend's name, and wanted to go back the next day to find her and introduce herself.

we had a great time and i'd do it all again in a heartbeat! it probably helps that i've been with the kids at church for so many years now, it's normal for me to be in the middle of a bunch of crazy kids. in fact, if i can recover from this weekend i was thinking about having a st. patrick's day party - but with some help from other moms, of course.

i'll post tomorrow about the perfect evening of our all-day party. see you then!

Tuesday, February 18



well, it snowed again. these girls and their wishes!

i keep thinking that the first go 'round was a warning, because the second storm (well, technically two storms in two days) was much worse. but last week everyone was still scared to death from january's experience and most people just stocked up on groceries and stayed home, watching the snow and ice pile up. the kids were out of school almost the whole week, and home depot even closed for the first time since we've lived here.

we were worried about losing power in our poorly insulated house, so tuesday afternoon between storms we parked the van in the garage to protect it from falling trees and headed up to spend some time with grammie and pop-pop.

and what a time we had! everyone enjoyed it, especially judge.

it looks beautiful, but don't be deceived. the second night it switched from snow to ice pellets, then back and forth from snow to ice. when the ice would come down it looked like the tiny beads of silica that come with new shoes. you could hear it against the windows, it crackled like someone opening a bag of chips or someone throwing tiny rocks at the window. the wind was blowing. it looked nice, but i'll bet it was miserable out there.

on thursday morning we ventured out. the snow was so crunchy, and when i cleaned off the car a little there were definite layers of ice, snow, ice, snow.

we found out laundry baskets don't make for good sledding, because they dump you out at the bottom of the hill. we lasted mere minutes before we had to come back inside for some hot chocolate and cookies.

we made it home safely thursday afternoon when the sun came out, and before the roads turned back to ice. things were fine in athens, no lost power or even lost trees (maybe a branch or two).

we're glad we had our little snowcation, though. it was probably too much fun. it has been hard getting back into real life after having our daddy to play with us and nothing on the agenda for days.

(we almost skipped valentines day because of the strange week, but i'll do a little post on our simple day later.)

goodbye, snow! maybe you don't have to come back next year after all.

Friday, February 7

some more quotes: poppy.

now for poppy, who is talking so much lately! so so much!

as some of you know, when ellie first started talking she named her special baby doll without any prompting or help. the name was "anoggaday" and that baby has always been anoggaday ever since. we got poppy the exact same kind of baby doll for her own (because you can't have just one of anything with two girls), and a few months back poppy finally named her baby, too. the name she has chosen: " teenahnah." and it's the same as it was with anoggaday, she has been called teenahnah ever since. she also picked a name for her new christmas doll: "belinda" (her pronunciation "baywinda").

she makes a lot of her own theme music and plays out very dramatic scenes. "nuhnuhNUHHHH!"
she says things like
"no, don't do dis!"
"who are you?!"
"no, not my baby!"
"mudder, no!"
"i'm da queen!"
she loves to do the scene where mufasa falls into the gorge during the stampede, and it's hilarious. "'car (scar), don't do dis!" "nooooooooo!" "help! somebody! anybody!"

she can be super girly and she loves makeup. the other day i took her on an errand to a big beauty supply store (without even thinking about how much she would like it). we walked in and she yelled "make up! make up!" and ran straight to that section. she even tried on a little eyeshadow (all over her face). the girls at the counter complimented her and she just batted her eyelashes and looked smug like, "yeah, i know."

she loves to brush my hair (and she really wishes she had longer hair). the other day i cut some bangs and when she saw it, she said, "hair diffwent!" and i asked if she liked it, to which she responded, "no. don't wike it. don't wike it." it's probably because her favorite thing used to be brushing my hair down over my eyes and fluffing it.

she still uses her very quiet voice a lot of the time, especially when she's just talking normally. the other day she came in and kept trying to tell me something. i couldn't hear her and kept asking her to repeat it until finally i had to put my ear in her face. she said softly: "avocados are good."

she's right smack in the middle of the "no" phase, except she takes it to the extreme. 

me: "poppy, get down from there!"
poppy: "no, i won't! never!"

me: "poppy, you need to sit down and eat your lunch."
poppy: "NEVER!"

and so on.

we are phasing out naptime, but sometimes she just drops wherever she is.

so, in general, she's very dramatic. it's not always bad.
before i leave the house without her, she gets right in my face and says sadly, "mom. wait. don't go. don't leave. mom. don't leave." it's heartbreaking.
but when i get home or pick her up from somewhere, she acts like we haven't seen each other in years and it's the best. "moooooooom! it's you! you're here! you came back!" complete with tight hugs and a million kisses all over. 

the other day i went to get her from nursery at church. she was busy reading a book, but when she saw me come in her face lit up, she said, "MOM!" and tossed the book behind her. it made me feel like a million bucks. 

she's really, really good at making people feel special. 
love her. 

Thursday, February 6

some more quotes: ellie.

i have a lot of quotes to catch up on. we'll start with ellie. 
some of these are months old, but i want to remember them, and i hope you enjoy them, too. 

ellie is finally old enough for primary at church! she's a sunbeam, and, yes, those pictures above are the best pictures i could get on her first day. she was too excited to hold still. or be serious. she loves it, and because i've been helping out in primary for years, i love it. she finally gets to have all the fun with us. she has learned so much already and loves to talk about the things she learns.

however, i'm not always sure what she learned or made up. for instance...
on the way home from church last week, she said:
"Jesus threw a big fireball at the earth and that's how all the dinosaurs died."

well, it could be true?

moving on to more random quotes.

ellie: "mommy, can you get out?"
me: "why?"
ellie: "because you're wrecking our playtime."

 "writing emails"

"i'm not dumb! i'm funny and silly!" (the girl knows how to deal with teasing, that's for sure.)

ellie went to the park with her school friends and rode in another mom's van. when she got in, she sniffed around and said "well, my van smells like fresh bacon!"

we were having a long conversation about life and death, what happens to your body when you die, etc. (i know, she's only almost-four but seriously. she wants to talk about this stuff.) so then she started talking about God and Jesus and then we talked about how Jesus died. then how Jesus came back to life. and, as ellie says, "yeah, 'cause that's how Jesus does." 

i made quinoa the other day and she actually tried it and actually liked it. 
"mommy, what IS this yummy stuff you made?"
"can i have more of this vegetable oatmeal?"

 she made a beach on a cold, cold day.

daddy was teasing her.
her response: "stop saying mean things to kids who are just walking around!"

there is a song on the movie "pocohontas" that goes "savages! savages!"
instead, ellie was singing "sandwiches! sandwiches!"

talking to a pretend boy: "hi, it's me, ellie. i'm all grown up now (hee hee hee)."

daddy was talking about "dealing with adults" at work all day, then ellie piped up:
"i'm just dealing with an adult who is being pretty mean right now." (him)

that's all for today, but i'm sure i'll be back with more. i can't even keep up with the stuff this girl says.

Monday, February 3

corn festival(s) part two.

so this actually happened several months ago. but i did put out the first part and i really, really love these pictures and loved our time there so i had to post the second part. i guess you can think of it as the long-awaited sequel?

(see the first part of our corn festival adventure here.)

at the beginning of the school year some other moms and i put together a little co-op preschool (joy school curriculum, the same i did when i was her age!) for ellie and her friends. it has honestly been so much fun and i wish we could do even more. sometimes poppy and i drop ellie off and get to have a little alone time, which has been great. every time poppy gets a chance to participate, she has the best time. she thinks she is the same age as all of ellie's friends and she loves to feel like a big kid.

 (all the girls, plus poppy, and our only boy off to the side. 
i am so in love with this picture. all these sweet kids learning about the world together.)

anyway, we took the group on a field trip to the pumpkin patch back in october and it was, as usual, so much fun - despite the rainy, gloomy day. it was just as fun the second time around because we got to do completely different things that we didn't have a chance to do the first time. we learned about pollination and how pumpkins grow, picked our own tiny pumpkins, and played so hard. they are all really smart, fun, good kids and i love that ellie has such wonderful little friends.

here are some pictures from our day:

(dear santa, we want one of these for the backyard!)

 we just had school at our house on friday and it was so much fun. 
while we were getting ready for everyone to come, we had a little exchange that i have to share. 

me: "ellie, you have to finish your cereal. your friends will be here soon!"
poppy: "ellie, your friends will be here soon!"
ellie: "poppy, they can be your friends, too. they can be our friends! we can share friends!" 
poppy: "okay!"

my heart almost burst. seriously. and the thing is that they are all so sweet to poppy. they don't even treat her like the annoying little sister (that she can sometimes be).

love all these kids.