Saturday, December 13, 2014

Date Night is out...

Date Day is the way to go, ya'll!

We took Friday off to get our Christmas stuff done. Anne stayed home and we took the girls to school. Nothing like freedom for an ENTIRE day!

We got the van washed and vacuumed. We shopped without distractions or disruptions. We had the most amazing lunch at Firebirds- a big 'ol rib-eye with french fries, a Cosmopolitan, and of course chocolate mousse for dessert :) It was amazing to sit and enjoy a relaxing meal with my awesome husband!

We did more shopping after lunch and then it was time to pick up the girls. The day just flew by, but we got a lot done. More importantly, we enjoyed each other's company and got a little break :)

Date Day is happening again, but we're not waiting a whole year!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Big Change!

We were disappointed with Abigail's preschool. For one, she still didn't like to be dropped off, even after 11 weeks. She wasn't even happy to see her teachers or the other kids. Second, I felt like there was a very low level of professionalism. From misspelled progress reports to their appearances and attitudes...as a teacher myself I was just not impressed. We didn't get an incident report that she'd slammed her fingers in a door until nearly 10 days later. Their high teacher turn over also made me nervous...every week we were getting a notice of a teacher leaving (the director left as well!)

She said she liked school, but we could tell it just wasn't a good fit.

So we switched her to a new school. It's accredited, highly recommended, and close to my school. Many of my students have attended there and a few of my parents (whose opinions I truly trust and value) had amazing things to say. This was her first week and WOW. She loves going. She walks to the door by herself and she's just READY for the day. She says she wants to go every day. Her teacher has been there for years and has a great reputation. She's only been there for 3 days and we already have a mountain of her adorable creations. We are so happy with our choice, but more importantly SHE is happy!

She doesn't complain about being there all day (her structured school day ends at 1, I pick her up around 4.) She has rest time, snack, and free play the rest of the time. I'm in direct contact with her teacher and the principal (they've been wonderful with the transition!) Abby is the first one there in the morning. That's a very good thing for her! It gives her some time to get settled with some peace and quiet. Too many people = overwhelming.

I think the only reason I had never considered this school was the start time- 8:00 is the earliest I can drop her off. I like to be in my classroom by 8, usually before when possible. Now I'm arriving around 8:15 and my kiddos arrive at 8:30. It's a squeeze, I just have to make sure I'm more prepared on those days. I know we also wanted her and Annie to be together. We've made other arrangements for Anne which we're really excited about!

What a whirlwind this school year has been! So far this change has given us a lot of peace of mind and has even made my commute a little better. I love that she's so close. Our fingers are crossed that she continues to love it!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Abigail Mae is 3 1/2!

















It's so crazy. I clearly remember taking her in to meet my 3rd graders on Field Day in June. She was maybe 6 weeks old. I carried her in the Bjorn and she basically slept the whole time.

She seems so much older than 3 1/2. She looks older, too! She's very perceptive and direct. She's assertive and persistent. Three has been a challenge, only because she's so different from her big sister. She definitely keeps us on our toes!

Abigail loves school and dance class, but hates to be left. Drop off at school has not improved, still a stage 5 clinger. Luckily her sadness is short-lived. When I pick her up I always wait and watch her. She's usually doing her own thing, but perfectly happy. She says she loves school and her teachers. But she says that she's there a long time :( At dance class I have to bring her into the class and shut the door quickly. She begrudgingly goes and sits in the circle and then she's great! There's absolutely no issues at soccer because Dad and Annie are right there on the sidelines. I wish my school still had the peer model program that Audrey did when she was 3. It would have been so perfect for her!

I do notice that she's not very friendly to other kids at first. When I'm leaving her in the morning, I talk to the other kids and try to get her to do the same. She totally gives them the grumpy face! Then she turns to me and asks me to stay :( I definitely think it's situational. When we go out, she talks to people all the time! She sings and dances in front everyone. She chats up people everywhere we go. But sometimes when I directly introduce her to someone (my students, Audrey's school friends) she shies away. After awhile she's completely fine :)

She is just fascinating. I love to watch her play, she's so imaginative. She loves to have quiet time in her room where she plays with all sorts of toys. She reads books in her own way, telling her own story from the pictures.

When you ask her something like, "How'd you get to be so smart?" or, "Why are you so cute?!" she says, "I got it from my momma!"

She continues to be an incredible big sister. She's so encouraging of Annie. I love how she lights up and laughs when Annie is around, how she interacts with her. She just adores her!

When she's upset (doesn't get her way) she'll say, "Carry me!" or "Pick me up!" And she's so content with being held for a bit. She's learning to deal with her frustrations and I'm more than happy to love on her once she's had her fit. If reasoning doesn't work with her, she gets no attention until she pulls herself together. Sometimes that's hard- especially if we're in a store or the van.

I wouldn't buy her a coloring book at CVS. I thought she was fine, she usually says something like, "Ok, maybe next time!" But then she started to worry that someone else would come along a buy it (ha!) So she laid on the ground and cried. That was a first! I calmly told her we were leaving. That's when she wanted to be carried. No problem! She was still wanting the coloring book, but at least she was communicating with me. We went to dinner the other night and sat in a booth. She got so upset that Audrey sat down first in the corner spot...I mean, she was mad and starting to make a scene! I walked her right out and told her that we would be leaving. She was fine after that. Those episodes, while embarrassing in public, are basically learning opportunities for her.

She must pick out her own clothes and PJs. That's very hard for me to give up, but I know that's part of how she asserts her independence. She stays dry all night, which is way earlier than her big sister did. She's wearing size 4 clothes and specifies how she wants her hair done each day (that hair! I have total hair envy!)

I love spending time with just her. I am so interested in how she talks, plays, asks questions. I treasure our alone time so very much. People say she's going to be our difficult one. I don't think so. Why do we have to even have a "difficult" one? She's different from Audrey. Annie is different from both sisters...we adjust our parenting styles to meet their needs. So long as we're meeting her needs, she'll grow to be a respectful and responsible person. She'll feel loved and supported. She'll have difficult times (they all will!) But she will not be "difficult." Not to us :)

Abigail amazes us everyday. Chris and I love swapping stories about her. She's such an amazing kid! We can't wait to see how she grows and changes over the next few months!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Anne's First Birthday

It was a perfect day for a birthday party!

We celebrated with family and friends on Sunday the 28th at Grandma & Grandpa's house. Her decorations were pink and gray (chevron, stripes, and polka dots!) We had pizza, snacks, cupcakes and cake balls. She demolished her giant cupcake and didn't care at all for opening presents :)

A couple days later we celebrated again with more family. More pizza and cake and presents! It seems like each girl celebrates her birthday AT LEAST 3 times, lol.



Favor bags filled with Kisses!












It was an awesome celebration. Our girls had so much fun, they are littles bundles of sunshine...I'm such a happy momma!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Happy Birthday, Anne!







...and I might be crying just a little bit :(

Chris says that he's terribly sad she is our last baby. I have to agree. It just goes by so fast! And she's so amazing!! How could we not want 10 more?!?

It's been an incredible year. She was the best surprise. I pretty much knew all along that there would be a third daughter to complete our family. I feel blessed beyond words!

I fell in love with her immediately,and so did her big sisters. My favorite part of this past year has been watching them grow together. Their love for her is very apparent. She entertains them and they are the BEST big sisters (Oh, Abigail- you have impressed us so much!!!!)

Annie is such a happy baby. I adore her huge grin, and the scrunchy face she gets when she's excited. She's very vocal, so I'm sure we'll have another talker on our hands :)

She can stand up by herself, but she doesn't do it very often. She takes one step then immediately falls. She's gotten very good at cruising. She actually loves to just dive straight at me when she's standing, lol. She nods yes and shakes her head no. She waves and gives kisses. She mimics sounds and movements. She loves to dance!

She's a chunky thing! Big thighs, round belly, squishy cheeks. I cannot kiss her or squeeze her enough! She has the cheesiest, dorkiest smile.

Several teeth are coming in at once. She's doing very well, considering! Sleeps all night, takes two long naps during the day. I adore how she sleeps- on her belly, feet and arms tucked under with her butt straight up in the air. We've been SO lucky in the sleep department- smooth bedtime routines and they all sleep beautifully in their own beds!


Such a sweet face!





















Dad picked out a musical instrument ensemble. Audrey immediately declared that there would be a musical performance! I have no doubt that will be carried out soon.


Just an awesome big sister!!






DONE!

Since I have to work late tonight, we celebrated her birthday last night. Chris made dinner and bought her gifts and a cake (our oven broke!) Annie had skipped her afternoon nap, so she was SO overtired...but she had a great time regardless! We ate, sang Happy Birthday, and had cake. She had a quick bath and opened presents with her sisters (well, they opened them and played with them. Anne was pretty much done after her bath!) In fact, Abby took the flashlight toy to bed with her, and Audrey brought Hallie Hippo with her! Sheesh ;)

Annie had her bottle and went straight to bed. I held her for awhile before putting her down, thinking back to where we were at that time last year. I'd had my water broken and things progressed nicely from there- not too fast, thankfully! She has the most boring birth story, but we were prepared and that's what I had wanted the most! I remember feeling very calm throughout the entire labor and delivery. I very clearly remember the look on Chris's face and the sheer joy in his voice when he said it was a girl. I cried and laughed...I will always remember that!

Celebrating last night felt right. She was born at 12:16 am on the 25th, but it felt like her real birthday yesterday, lol. This morning I got to hang out with her and I felt totally fine with going into work later (and staying later.) We'll have her party on Sunday!

This past year has been amazing for our family. Annie completes us. Our 3 girls are everything and we feel incredibly blessed. Happy Birthday, sweet Annie!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Adjusting!

Abigail has a rough time at school when we drop her off. She gets so sad, almost in tears. She gets very clingy when we pull in, wanting to hide behind us or have us carry her in. We sit her down in the common area where they have tables set up with different activities (the Computer Lab is also open, and she can eat breakfast.) We get her busy with an activity, but she still gets upset when it's time to say goodbye :(

I call to check on her during the day, and her teachers say that she's sad for a few minutes, but then is completely fine the rest of the day. Abigail tells me that her teachers always cheer her up :) She says that she likes school, but that her day is too long (she's right, by the way!) I think she'd love going to school much more if she weren't there ALL day (and thank goodness it's only for 3 days!) I had a feeling that was going to be an issue. But this school is pretty unique for the fact that the kids rotate classrooms. They travel in their small groups to gym, science, language arts, communications, art, math, creative play, outside recess, home living and computers. She has 2 snacks, lunch, & she actually sleeps during nap time. I know that socially and academically this is a terrific place for her. I just hate to LEAVE her when she feels sad, it's the worst :( I do take comfort in the fact that it's not that she doesn't like school- it's just that she'd rather be at Grandma's, lol.

She started dance class. Again, she is SO hesitant and flat out refuses to walk in. She seems scared. But as soon as she goes in (I LOVINGLY push her in and shut the door!)- AMAZING! She follows directions, she turns and waves at me through the window, she follows along...I am so proud of her. So apparently it just takes her awhile to warm up in social situations. The initial separation is tough on her. So far we've had three classes. At the end of each class she is all smiles, runs out absolutely BEAMING. She said she was excited to go back next week. Yeah, we'll see!! ;)

Annie has had great days, not much going on with her :) I love seeing her in the morning before work. There were a few days I only saw her for an hour afterwards because she napped early and was SO ready for bed. As much as I wish I could hold her all night, her sleep schedule is important, so we'll continue to follow her lead.

Our after school routine is pretty consistent! We get home and I love on Annie for a bit. I get everything unpacked and check backpacks while the girls play. I make the girls dinner, unless it's Chris's day off- then he has dinner ready shortly after we get home. If it's just me and the girls then Chris and I eat later. I don't stress about it- if I can make dinner, I do. If not, I know that he'll come home and take care of it so I can just enjoy the girls. Between 6:30-7:30 we are taking baths, getting into our pajamas and brushing our teeth. They choose between having some TV time or quiet time. Then it's story time! We read in Abby's room first, and she goes to bed. I read again with Audrey (she's been reading to me!) and she goes to bed. Annie goes to bed anywhere from 7-8, depending on her last nap (and her mood!)

I get things prepared for the next day, do a bit of schoolwork, and I'm in bed by 8:30...crashed by 9! I have so much on my plate (we all do!) that I have to keep reminding myself that this is how it is at the beginning of every school year. It slows down a bit in October, and before I know it, it'll be Thanksgiving Break!

I'm having my first bout of Mommy guilt :( Annie's birthday is on Thursday, and so is our Back to School Night. While I know that Annie will not care about, nor remember, her first birthday, I do and I will. There's no way I'm not seeing her on her birthday! So we're celebrating on Wednesday evening with cake and presents. Seriously...a mere 16 minutes earlier and she would have been born on the 24th anyways! I'm taking off Thursday morning to spend some quality time with her. I feel much better about the situation, but I'm definitely missing my flexible SAHM schedule, lol.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Audrey's (and Mom's!) First Day of School!

No doubt about it, she was made for school!


In her classroom, ready to meet and greet!


The night before school!


Woke up super early!


Ready to go!


Abigail took this awesome picture ;)





Our first day of school was great! I got to see Audrey several times; our lunch times overlap by 10 minutes. My classroom also has 2 windows that face the Kindergarten courtyard, so I get to see her when she's at recess. During my planning time I swing by her room and peek in. I love having her there, the teachers and staff and my former students love seeing her again. She is really enjoying school ("It's better than awesome!!") She wakes up super early but doesn't seem tired in the afternoon (except for the first day when she fell asleep on the way home!) She's such a rockstar :)


How cute is this? Another 2nd grade teacher (right next door) has a daughter in Audrey's class. The really cool thing? She was born one day before Audrey- we actually ran into each other at the girls' very first doctor appointment when they were just days old. Now they're Kindergators together!


Spying on her at recess


She spotted me :)


We've been in school for two weeks. The commute is my only complaint. I wish we lived closer, but moving isn't an option quite yet. That has been the hardest adjustment I think...and maybe I'll get used to it again. I do like to use the drive time to mentally prepare for my day, talk to the girls, etc. The drive home is also great for reflection.

All in all, being back at work is great. I'm so busy from the moment I wake to the moment I'm back in bed- it's crazy but I enjoy it! I'm feeling very overwhelmed, the beginning of the year is just a million things happening at once. My plate is FULL! I just remind myself that I am super lucky to be where I am, and have what I have. Life is definitely food :)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Anne Elizabeth is 11 months old!







So, that's weird!!

Chris keeps saying that she'll be a toddler. Um, no...she's still baby Anne, thank you very much!!

Big things going on this month! I went back to work 2 weeks ago. It was very strange to go from seeing her all day, every day...to not. But thankfully she was very good for Steph and didn't have any separation issues. One of the things I find myself missing most is the ability to just pick her up and kiss on her anytime I want.







She started cruising and she can stand freely for a few seconds (when we make her.) She's a speedy crawler and will try to get away from you if she knows you're coming for her :) We have to keep doors closed and certain areas blocked because she gets into everything! But she's not showing any signs of wanting to walk. Fine by me :)

She still has only 4 teeth. She's wearing mostly 9-12 month clothes. he has rolls and rolls and rolls, lol.





She's still a fantastic napper/sleeper. She takes 2 long naps during the day and sleeps all night. Sometimes she'll wake around 3-4 if she went to bed early the night before. I'll feed her and she goes right back to sleep. I am especially happy that she does this so I can see her before I get ready for work. I love to love on her :)

Her screeching has calmed down, by just a little. She still very much wants her mom, lol. When she's upset or wanting something, she says, "MAAAAAAAAA!" REALLY loudly. It's so funny! She's so good at playing Peek-a-boo. She'll hide behind something and say, "Bah!", then laugh and repeat 1,000 times :)





Audrey at 11 months:









Abigail at 11 months:










It's hard to believe she will be ONE in just a few short weeks. She's grown like crazy right before our eyes and I'm grateful that she's a happy & healthy girl. Annie completes us, she is our darling little angel baby. Her big sisters are so sweet to her, she's a very lucky lady!