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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Oh, That Hanny!

Hanny is such a goof ball these days.  She tries to make all of us laugh and when she gets us all to laugh out loud, she gets truly started and has us laughing for a while.  Here she is making goofy faces at me.

And then, in true form for her age, she is keeping me on my toes.  I've found her on tables, even inside a cabinet.  Geesh.  Here she is in her first attempts to climb out of the playpen.  Bummer.  This was so helpful during homeschooling.  She had specific toys (her favorites) that she'd only get in the playpen.  Therefore she'd happily play in there for hours.  Now it's much more fun to climb.  But she gets stuck at the top.  Hasn't figured out how to get back down which then results in homeschool disrupting yelling...

The Caterpillar

While playing football outside with his uncle, Nathan found a caterpillar and brought it inside.  He wanted to keep it for a pet.  I told him that was ok for a day or two.  Sure enough, by the next morning the little bugger had started to make a cocoon.  We looked up real quick what he was and figured out that we were to expect a moth.  The pictures aren't great but the cocoon was completely open on the plastic side.  That allowed for us to see the whole transformation.  At first I wasn't completely sure the thing hadn't died and was rotting as it turned partially black and then slowly all the way black.  I figured we had nothing to lose, so we'd keep it a little while longer.  Shortly after the cocoon started to look like a real cocoon.

The kids visited multiple times each day and wondered when our moth would appear.  And as was fitting for Halloween, here is what we found when we returned from Trick-Or-Treating:

The kids were delighted.  Maybe they secretly wondered if the moth was alive in that black thing just like their mother.  To be honest, I'm still surprised it came out ok.
We went outside and set the little guy free.  He or she, in full moth fashion, went straight to our light outside.  Cool.

And What Else Is In The Garden.

I love two-colored or toned flowers!  This was a mum Dave got me for my birthday and it came back in this gorgeous fall color.  I've always told Dave that I hate cut flowers.  I love them to but I can't stand the fact that you pay soooo much money for pretty ones and then they die a week later.  This is a much better way!  Thank you, my man.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Beans In Late October

A friend of mine indulged my kids and gave them packets of seeds.  It was late in the season and she told us that they were old seeds too.  But this would not deter Isabelly.  She faithfully watered it during this hot, hot summer.  She went out all the time to check on it.  When the first little sprouts came out, she was so excited.  With the end of the growing season we didn't expect anything to come out of it.  But in late October, look at what Isabelly brought in:

The proud gardener.  She was really proud of herself.  (Notice the black eye she gave herself as well.)  I cut the beans in pieces and fried them in butter in a pan.  They turned green in the pan too!  But the girls still hated green beans, even fresh ones.  I on the other hand loved them!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Actual Party - Part 2

First off, when I was looking at the pictures from the party, I was wondering why they were so off-center and why I had not focused on faces.  Then I remembered, I gave Nathan the camera!  He had asked if he could.  His recent fascination with all things electronic had him wanting to use the camera.  Why not?  So I let him.  And he did really good!  (I can't however share that enthusiasm for my cell phone, which is always gone and has different ring tones and new reminders and a new look all the time! Thank goodness we don't have a smartphone.  Can you imagine?)

Here on our first picture is Nathan, proudly reading his birthday poem to his little sister.  He had gotten her mini animals which she loves.  He put them on the bottom of a big box, filled with baseballs.  It was a cute touch.  

Abby wanted her hair in french braids for her birthday.  We've been doing hair a lot more in our house, but as you can see, I need some more practice.  :-)  Her hair is challenging as well as it will clearly work its way out of the braid halfway through the day.

Hanny always snuggeling up to her big sister.

Isabelle was so proud of her home-made cards.  She actually made one for Hannah too as Hannah was too little to make one herself.  Isabelle wearing another pretty dress and also with braided hair, which is her favorite these days.  Isabelle had gotten Abby some paint-yourself ceramic ornaments that Abby wasn't able to get at the craft store last time.  Abby had been really sad and Isabelle remembered. She was so proud to get them.  It was funny to take her shopping.  When we got to the store, she announced: "I will get Abby lots of stuff.  But I don't have any monies (money), so you have to give me some."  She also had a fairy for Abby but she broke her halfway through the store. :( And she got her Elsa jellybeans.  Because something Isabelle loves so much, Abby just has to love as well.

This is the only picture we have of Olive and Rosie.  They got her some fantastic coloring books.  The girls had so much fun using it later on.  They'd sit on the little table and one of the girls would color one picture while the others would anxiously wait which color the girl would use next.  And as this was a felt coloring book that had patterns in each field, all the girls would shout with delight as they discovered the new pattern revealed by the wetness of the marker.  It was cute.  And yes, Aunt Megan shares my love for Hanna Andersson.  :-)

I love this picture of Dave.  Some of his birthday decorations in the background.

The cone of shame.... Copper quietly suffering in his cone.  He had his dewclaws removed as he was continually ripping them off.  But the dog was hilarious in this cone.  See all the dents?  Yeah, he had absolutely no idea where this cone was and would always run into stuff.  Like the door to go potty outside.  He'd try to run through it even though it was barely open.

Abby is always so excited about all her presents.  It's fun to gift her!  Some of her gifts she came to truly appreciate the next day.  Other than the cup, we gifted her really cute 12 days of Christmas ornaments.  She'd been wanting ornaments for her pink Christmas tree and what better ones for my girls who loves both songs and stories?  Plus, they are very colorful, which is something Abby also appreciates.

One of the only pictures of little Hanny.  See the doll she holds in her hand?  She's obsessed with these Magiclip dolls from Disney.  They are quite genius.  And the baby and Isabelle LOVE them.  They do occupy a lot of their time.  
Can you see how long the baby's hair is getting?  She also has curls but nothing like Abby.  Abby had tight little ringlets.  She is quite obsessed with my hair.  Reminds me of baby Nathan.  Any chance she gets, she takes my hair and rubs it all over my face.  It is adorable.  Then she also makes her little love sound.  Because she still doesn't say a single word.  I guess she does call me "maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa".  Maybe that counts?  

Abigail loved her party.  And as always, that was mostly due to the fact that all her favorite people were here.  While she does appreciate all her gifts, people are what makes Abigail's world go round.  Let's pray it always stays that way.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Happy Birthday Abigail!

Abigail's birthdays are always so much fun.  She leaves it all up to me and doesn't want to know a thing.  You can ask her what she wants for her birthday and she may come up with one item but overall, she'll say: "Whatever you want me to have."  Isn't that just lovely?  Here is the story for this year's theme.
Over the last few months, the kids have made friends with some of our backyard animals.  Food really encouraged that friendship.  :-)   I'm not even sure anymore how it all started.  We've had squirrels and Jay's in our yard for years.  Well, these were juvenile Jays.  And maybe that made the kids pay attention.  All of a sudden we had four jays in our yard.  The parents probably teaching the young ones how to feed themselves.  So we started to throw out things that birds eat.  Did the squirrel come first or the Jays?  I don't know.  Either way, the kids learned that our resident squirrel really cannot resist a peanut.  They learned that if you slowly decrease the distance between yourself and the peanut, eventually, you will be able to get the squirrel to take the peanut out of your hand.  He will even lean on you to do that which will take ALL the discipline little 7-year old girls have to not squeal in delight and scare the poor squirrel.  This became our morning routine.  Sometimes it was quite the interruption to our regular homeschool schedule.  Then it was a lesson for mom to let life sometimes take over and make it so that the kids learn something much more intensively than as if they learned it out of a textbook.  One of the nice things about homeschooling.  :-)  We learned that we have an Eastern Gray Squirrel (yeah, that surprised me too).  The kids identified the jays as Scrub Jays out of a bird book (and learned how to identify and pay attention to details).  We also confirmed that they were juveniles.
If you think I went on a tangent, just stick with me.  One day we went to Goodwill, one of our favorite places to find treasures that are brand-new and someone else just didn't like them.  And cheap, cheap books.  I'm also always looking for cups there.  All the kids in our house have their own cups and they somewhat match their personalities.  We've found some really good-quality, brand-new, unique and beautiful cups at Goodwill and they are never more than $2.99.  On this particular day a children's cup with a squirrel caught my eye.  It still had the Starbucks sticker on it and was brand-new.  It was super cute but the best part of it was that it had printed on its rim the following: "One day a squirrel went out to find an acorn and found a friend instead."  Perfect!  It was the story of my squirrel-adoring little red-head and our resident pet squirrel.

So the theme was born.  However, there aren't too many squirrel-themed birthday parties on Pinterest.  Since I love myself an easy task, it was changed to the ever so popular "Woodland Friends."  Grandma and myself pinned lots of ideas.  The plan was to go to a local park (big one) with the cousins and collect lots of woodsy decorations, such a pinecones, branches, etc.  However, I injured my back and couldn't go anywhere much for two weeks, much less stroll through a park, herding four kids let loose in nature.  Thankfully my every so wonderful sister-in-law and her mom came through for me.  Megan loves to decorate with natural things, so they had lots of acorns, pinecones, moss, wood and all sorts of things.  Her mom had a ton of burlap.  And Megan even came over to help me decorate (although I had one of those mommy brain moments and totally forgot and wasn't even home!).

The cake had special candles from my mom.  The little ones' flames were in the color of the candle.  Pretty cool.  But the big one in the middle was fantastic!  You light it in the middle and it lights all the little candles, opens up and is a flower and plays "Happy Birthday".  How cool is that!

 With the help of everyone (including the madly decorating Dad and Nathan who got up ALL the birthday banner decorations!), we got everything done really nice in the end. Daddy lovingly decorated for his girl and Nathan got so inspired that he even wrote "I heart Abby" papers and taped them all over the house.  (See picture below - it is not showing up very good).

He even wrote a poem for her!  And Abby loved it!  She didn't quite get the mug until the next day.  Then she was super excited and told Mr. Nathan (the squirrel) all about it.

A tired grandma after all that decorating.  :-)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Oh, That Baby!

This is what I found in the kitchen today:

She had taken the step stool out of its storage place, opened it, pushed it across to the sink, climbed up it, climbed over it, into the sink.  Then she turned on her beloved faucet.  And was delighted. 
Definitely her father's daughter.  When he was little, he thought it was "hide and sink" and that is where he hid!
This is how we found her, happy as can be.  It didn't even bother her that all her clothes were wet.  This is what happens when babies have a love affair with water and are too smart for their own good!