Wednesday, March 18, 2015

a mild little happy winter.

Somehow, we've already reached mid-March. My blogging has fallen by the wayside. It would be easy to say life is so "busy", and it is busy, but the real issue is at the end of the day, there are dishes to be done and floors to sweep and clothes to fold. And when there aren't those things, there is Netflix to relax to or my book club's monthly pick to curl up with. Along the way, blogging has become less of a "priority". This weekend, Carly lost her first tooth! Can you believe it? I went back to my blog and read about her first tooth coming in as a baby. And wouldn't you know, it was the same tooth. I'm not sure I would have remembered that without my blog. I have always said I'm this blog's biggest fan, and it is because it is our family's simple little story. So even if I'm not very "good" about doing it often enough, I hope to keep going, keep recording, keep remembering. 

So today, we're going to go back in time and hit the "everyday highlights" from our January and February. We had a most wonderfully mild winter. After surviving the Polar Vortex in Michigan last year, this was a rather nice treat. The first weekend in January we got our only (I think) major snowstorm. It was a totally beautiful Sunday. Me and the kids headed out to play in the snow, and may have been a teensy bit 45 minutes late to church. But the remainder of that day it snowed so peacefully. Then you know what? It rained that night and on Monday the roads were clear. Pullman speaks my love language.

But it was cold, and we got a long of rainy gray days, so we had a lot of indoor activities keeping us busy. Like making puppets out of brown paper bags in various amounts of clothing.

And watching movies with chocolate popcorn.

And stories! All my kids are book-obsessed and I'm happy they are. It is sweet to find them all on the floor flipping through books, and our weekly (or bi-weekly, or tri-weekly) visits to the library result in stacks of books in our living room. Over the last few months at school, Carly has been learning to read! It is fun to watch her learn. The school teaches using Bob books, and when she can read it to a satisfactory level she gets to take it home and keep it. She has quite a collection going. It is fun to watch her get it, though sometimes she tries to cheat and use the pictures. Like "Meg sat on a barrel" when it really says "Meg sat on a keg." (But why is Meg sitting on a keg in this kids book? haha.) But I slow her down and remind her to actually read the words, and sometimes have to cover the pictures. She is doing great.

Books on CD in a fort are popular too.

Yes, its a sweet life we've got going on.

While Carly is at school, John and Quinn get all the fun. Probably too many times we've headed to the mall for Qdoba chips and queso. We never mention it to big sis.

The kids still continue to play a LOT of imagination. The are constantly making up scenarios, throwing birthday parties, going to the beach, sailing on ships, being dinosaurs. Below they are the three musketeers . . . . the Barbie version, unfortunately, which is why John is in a skirt.

Quinn started a ballet class! She is ballerina-crazy. She loves ballerina books and dressing up like a ballerina and watching ballerinas on YouTube videos. Going to her very own "dance class!" has been a big deal. To be honest, its a tiny little class at a local daycare, with only one other kid (a boy . . . she was so confused), but it works for now. Next year we'll have her go to the same place Carly goes. But she is learning her positions and says "tendu" like the cutest little Prima you've ever met. She frequently requests "dance music" and I play Nutcracker songs while she leaps and twirls.

But, wouldn't you know, we have had a lot of gorgeous weather this winter. It has really caught me off-guard, considering our winter last year. I kept comparing the two and trying to wrap my head around surviving last year and being really grateful I wasn't doing that again (sorry, friends). 

Here is was a really lovely January day, and Quinn had at one point been in actual clothes.

We've been able to visit the park consistently in the afternoons.

One February day John and Quinn did "yard work", aka, lifting big rocks and using the hose to make mud puddles. But I just had to let them. Because it was February and we were playing outside in the sunshine! I couldn't get over it.

And our Spring-tradition of opening our first big box of sidewalk chalk happened in February too, and I wasn't even mad about it. We had discussed at length making "Chalks-a-boxen" a spin-off of a favorite book Roxaboxen. We drew roads and everyone got their own house. Carly's had flowers and Quinn's had ballerinas and John's had a volcano. My mom came to visit and added a pond, a school, and a store. I'm sure Chalks-a-boxen will be a recurring theme all spring and summer.

February also brought Valentine's Day. Our week had been a bit hectic, so our Valentine's was pretty low key. Chris made Nutella strawberry pancakes and shish kabobs. It was a beautiful day outside so we worked in the yard and took the Christmas lights down. That night we put the kids down and went a little crazy and had a movie double header: Guardians of the Galaxy and The Monuments Men (guess who picked which movie? haha). It was fun, even if we are getting to old to do such things.

That week Carly had insisted upon making homemade Valentines for her class. Her school requested no toys or treats be connected because they wanted to "focus on friendships." That made my life way easier; sometimes our hippie school has its perks. Her Valentines turned out really cute. She has such a good heart (no pun intended).

I was feeling uninspired for our annual Valentine we like to send out to family. But when I was struggling to get a decent picture I told the girls to kiss John, and his reaction was perfect. A Valentine was born.

Carly's school had a back to school night. She was so excited to have me come, especially since the babies stayed home with Chris. It was a big signal we need to have more one-on-one time with each kid. But it was so fun to have her show me around her class and show me how much she knows. At the back to school night in the fall she was so hesitant and unsure, but now she really owns it and has learned so much. She showed me the "Bird's Eye View" as it is called (Montessori has clever little names for everything), where she visualized counting by 1's, 10's, 100's, and 1000's. I just sat and watched her brain work. She's so smart. We have actually reached a dilemma in that we are afraid she has learned too much and is too mature socially to put her in Kindergarten next year. We will hopefully be able to talk to someone at the public school to get an idea of where she will fit best, Kindergarten or first grade. Part of me really wishes she could go to Montessori elementary because I like their philosophies and she has done really great there, but yikes to private school tuition! Thankfully, we live in a really high-quality school district.

I got my haircut! And so did Carly! I went 6 months without a haircut and it wasn't pretty. Carly hates getting her hair brushed and it wasn't pretty. We are both doing much better post-chop.

We call her Quinnalina Ballerina.

John is a good ol' boy. He is low-drama and go-with-the-flow, starkly different from his high-drama Type-A sisters. He has such a pure heart. His sisters will be a bit sneaky or devious, but he never is. He has a current obsession with volcanoes. One day he and Quinn were deciding what show to watch. Quinn was trying to convince him to watch Peppa Pig. "It has two boys," she told him. "Named Daddy Pig and George." He couldn't be swayed: "But volcano show has HOT LAVA." It made me laugh out loud. Their arguments were too good: Quinn got Peppa Pig on the tv and John got Bill Nye the Science Guy Volcanoes on the iPad.

So, there we have it. The beginning of 2015 in a choppy, unorganized fashion. Our weeks have had a consistent, predictable routine and it has been nice. It has been nice to just be doing our thing, because we have a sweet and simple little life. Just the way we like it.

It was a mild little happy winter.