Sunday, June 29, 2014

Amalia's Fourth Birthday!

I can see now that birthdays get more and more fun, and a bigger and bigger deal the older the kids get.  Mollie's fourth birthday was full of excitement and anticipation, and it as so much fun for me to see her really experience and be aware of turning another year older.

She started her birthday a little early, in hopes to shorten the gift-opening time at her party, a section of the party that is always difficult for all the non-birthday kids.  My parents went all out right from the start.  I mean come on, just look at that face!

Yup, it's a Sleeping Beauty princess dress with a music-playing brooch on the front and "I Know You I Walked With You Once Upon a Dream" written in glitter along the bottom.  Amalia was in awe that such a beautiful dress even existed, let alone that it was now hers.

Maybe the best part about this age, though, is that she was almost equally excited for all her gifts, no matter how small.  Princess books ... AWESOME!


I know what you're thinking, "Who on earth bought a four year-old a drum?!  Who hates Nicole and Bryson that much?"  Well, that person would be me.  Yes, I bought this for Mollie, and I'm glad I chose this one ... it's blissfully quiet for a toy drum.

Opening gifts early allowed for a little more time to actually enjoy her gifts ...

... and for Baylor to get to try them out as well!



Doc McStuffins!  Oh my!

Needless to say, she enjoyed everything she got.

And, as she's not a fan of cake, she enjoyed an ice cream treat with a special birthday candle in it.

It was a nice, quiet day, and it was fun to celebrate our wonderful little lady.

But the birthday festivities weren't over yet, no sir.  We hadn't even had her official party yet!  The preparation for it, like all parties held at our house, was extensive; baby proofing had to be done, clutter-creating toys had to be removed temporarily, actual cleaning had to take place ... it was intense.  Even Baylor helped out, though; Mollie was just dying to have a sign like her brother, so he worked on putting that together for her.  He worked off the picture of the one Mollie and I made for his birthday.

He ran into a little trouble when he had to write out her name, so Bryson lent a hand.

Then, it being her actual birthday morning, she got to open a few things.  First up, an envelope of cards she had written to herself all year long.  Yup, cards from herself ... that's how she rolls.

Next, was a card from her dear brother.  He put a lot of thought into it, and I was really proud of him for it.

The front: balloons and flowers.

The inside: a sweet message, a picture of her ice skating, and part of a map of a skating rink.  Random, yes, but his heart was in the right place, and she has really been wanting to go ice skating.

The back: the rest of the map of the rink, including the check out area.

Of course, he was itching to get her some Legos, so I helped him pick out a set she had asked for.

I'm not sure who was more excited for her to receive this gift.

Her party was the next day, and it ended up being nearly an all-day event.  The sign took a prominent place on the mantle for the party, just as it had for Baylor.

Mollie didn't really want any games except a guess how many things are in this jar game, but she was really interested in having a craft table so I got a brand new box of 48 crayons just for the occasion.  *sigh*  It was a thing of beauty, all those perfectly-sharpened crayons lined up just so.  I digress ...

I made ice cream cones out of balloons and had a ton of leftover brown paper that I ended up using for the craft table.  (I didn't take a picture of the ice cream cone balloons because they didn't turn out so hot and had to be put in weird areas because they wouldn't float on their own with the cones attached.  Awesome, I know.)  But the kids seemed to like getting a little crafting time, and I was excited to find something that almost all the kids could participate in.

With emotions running high, because that's how birthday parties tend to go, there were a few tears here and there, but overall the party went really well.  Happy memories were made and, best of all, Amalia was celebrated.

Happy (belated) fourth birthday, sweetheart!  We love you so much!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Miss Mollie at Two

I was combing through some of our old vacation photos when I found this gem of a video.  It's hard to believe she used to be this little and say so little when she is growing taller by the day and talking up a storm now.  It's a sweet memory, and I thought I'd share it this afternoon.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

March 2014 Round Up!

Because who wouldn't love a MARCH round up in mid-June, right?

March was a busy month, partially because it was reading month and there were little activities to do every week, including a read-in at Baylor's school.  It also coincided with pajama day which was just awesome.  Who doesn't love pajama day?!

It was also busy because we had Mollie's birthday party toward the end of it, which always sends me into a tizzy.  (I'm not a natural party planner and some might say our house isn't always "guest ready", so it tends to take a lot of clean up and whatnot to get the house ready for so much company.  Believe me, I don't even go for Pinterest-worthy.)  Her birthday, however, will be another post.

She did get some money for her birthday, though, and with that money she bought her dolls bunk beds!  There was, of course, some assembly required, and the kids got to help and learn more about how to use a screwdriver.

The final product was beyond adorable!  Great choice, Mollie!

We had to take the glider and ottoman out of her room to fit in the new addition, and it was a little sad for me to see it go.  (It didn't go far, however, as I decided that it would look *fantastic* in our bedroom!  Hey, I couldn't get rid of so many memories all at once.)  But her room is a little more "Mollie" now, and she loves getting to rock her babies before putting them down for bed and tucking them in, just like a little mommy.

She also started "reading" to her dolls a little more than before, even "following along" with a bookmark just like we do for Baylor when we read at bedtime.  (The quotation marks above are because she isn't actually reading ... she's telling the story like she remembers it, using the pictures as guides along the way.  Baylor completely skipped this step while learning to read, and I wish he hadn't because it is amazing to see what her little brain comes up with for these stories.  Quite often they are more creative than the original.)

We had some particularly strong winds and cold weather in mid-March, and our much-neglected basketball pole and hoop were knocked over completely.

Bryson took a few Fridays off in March, and one day Mollie got to spend some time just her, Mommy, and Daddy.  We went out to lunch at Smashburger, and I think Mollie really enjoyed her time as the center of attention.

She also loved Smashburger itself and proclaimed it "better than Mr. Burger" - music to my ears.

March was an eventful month - perhaps why I never got around to posting this back then - but it was also full of fun and new experiences.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

That's What They Said: Present, Future, and Past

Baylor:  (at dinner)  Ughh.  I am the most tired man in this house!

Amalia:  Mommy, I HATE beets.
Me:  I'm sorry to hear that, honey, but you still need to eat them.  They are good for you.
Amalia:  There is NO WAY Baylor likes these.

(While we were in Florida, my dad asked Amalia if she was going to get married on the beach in Florida someday and she answered yes.  Then ...)
Grandpa E:  So, Mollie, I know you're going to get married down here in Florida someday, but how old do you think you'll be when you get married?
Amalia:  (resolutely)  Thirty-five.
Grandpa E:  Thirty-five.  Okay.  And how old is your husband going to be?
Amalia:  Two hundred.
Grandpa E:  TWO HUNDRED!  Wow, that is ... old.  Well, maybe he'll have a lot of money by then or something.
Amalia:  Yeah.
Grandpa E:  Still, don't you think that two hundred is a bit old?
Amalia:  Yeah.  Okay, he'll be twenty.

Amalia:  Mommy, I wanted you to make my grilled cheese into diamond shapes!
Me:  I did.  See, I have them all pointing to your ketchup.  (outlined the shapes with my finger to demonstrate)
Amalia:  Ohhh!!  Thanks, Mommy!
Me:  No problem, sweetie.
Baylor:  And hey, look!  The ketchup is in the shape of a cone.
Me:  (after careful inspection)  Well, buddy, I'd actually say it's more a dome shape.  The ketchup isn't really thick enough to stay in a cone shape.
Baylor:  Ahh, it's a dome-angular prism.

(talking about school in the fall while riding to swim school ...)
Baylor:  And when I am in second grade, you'll be in kindergarten and ... we'll get to walk to our classrooms TOGETHER!  We'll both be at the same school!
Amalia:  Cool!
Baylor: And, Mollie, sometimes, if you have Mrs. Murphy, sometimes you won't eat lunch in the cafeteria.  Sometimes, well, if you bring your lunch from home you'll get it from your backpack which you'll always have with you ...
Amalia:  Always, of course!
Baylor:  ... but if you get lunch from school you line up behind Mrs. Murphy.  Oh!  Mollie!  When you are in Mrs. Murphy's class you will bring your lunch to school!  Mommy, you better start making lunches the night before because you'll have to make TWO!!
Me:  (smiling)  Good idea, buddy.

(later on in the drive ...)
Amalia:  When I am in last grade, I will be a teenager.
Baylor:  The last grade is twelfth!
Amalia:  Yeah.
Baylor:  In twelfth grade you will be seventeen!
Amalia:  Yeah, and when you are seventeen and when you go to college, you look kind of like an adult but you are really still a kid.

(still later ...)
Baylor:  (excitedly)  Mollie, when I am in fourth grade I get to go through my second graduation!  I get to graduate from fourth grade!
Amalia:  (also excitedly)  Yes!  And then you will be a teenager!
Baylor:  No, I won't.
Amalia:  Yes, you will.
Baylor:  No, I won't.  Thirteen through nineteen ... that is a teenager.  When I am in fourth grade ...
Amalia:  (interrupting Baylor)  No, Baylor!  Don't tell me anymore!  I want to be surprised!
Baylor:  (taken aback at the very thought)  But I was just going to tell you ...
Amalia:  (in earnest but not upset)  No!  I want to be surprised!  I want to be surprised all the time.  And when I turn into a grown up, I will be surprised about that, too.  I will look at myself and say, "Hey, I'm a grown up!"
Baylor:  (persistently)  But I wanted to tell you ...
Amalia:  (firmly but kindly)  No, Baylor, I want to be surprised.

(for dinner: penne with red sauce, strawberries, bread, milk)
Me:  (as patiently as possible after repeating this phrase for nearly an hour)  Mollie, please eat.
Amalia:  (previously stoic, is now upset and whiny)  But, Mommy!  I don't want to get the sauce on my lips!  It will make them all messy!
Me:  (surprised at the turn in the conversation)  Mollie, look at my lips.  (pointed at lips)  See, I ate all my pasta and I didn't get messy.
Amalia:  (positively irate)  Mommy!  I don't want to look at your lips!  I don't want MY lips to get messy!
Me:  (giving up)  Okay.
Amalia:  (disgustedly)  Ugh!  That sauce is creeping me out!
(I couldn't help but laugh at that one.)

(also at dinner ...)
Baylor:  (to Mollie and me)  Do you know how angler fish get their food?
Me:  Actually, Baylor, I do!  They mesmerize other fish with their little light and then (makes a chomping motion with hands) they eat the littler fish.
Baylor:  (concerned)  But Nemo and Dory were faster than that, right?
Me:  (smiling)  Yup, they were, buddy.
Baylor:  They live in the midnight zone of the ocean, you know.  And there is not a lot of food down there.  (after thinking for a moment)  Actually, there IS a lot of food down there!  There are things that live in the vents.
Me:  (smiling at his knowledge)  Yup, that's right, buddy.  But I don't think the tiny little animals that live in the vents are what angler fish eat.  I think they eat bigger fish, but there aren't so many of those.  But that's why they've adapted to their environment.
Baylor:  What does "adapted" mean?
(spent a bit of time explaining adaptation/evolution)
Baylor:  Well, the angler fish could always go up to the sunlight level to find more food.
Me:  Actually, buddy, that probably wouldn't work.  First off, the angler fish has adapted to the darkness of the midnight zone so his eyes are very sensitive to any light; it would be way too light for him up in the sunlight zone.  Secondly, it is very cold that deep in the water, and he probably wouldn't survive in the warmer waters.  And thirdly, you know that water weighs a lot, right?  (Baylor nods.)  Well, the angler fish has adapted to all that pressure and likely wouldn't survive in an environment with much less pressure.
Baylor:  (after thinking for a brief moment)  Well, it is colder at night than it is in the daytime, right?
Me:  Yeah.
Baylor:  So he could come up in the nighttime so the water would be colder for him.  And if the water was kind of murky, then the moonlight ... because the moon will be shining into the water of the sunlight zone ... wouldn't show through and hurt his eyes.
Me:  (smiling)  Baylor, those are very good ideas.  You never know, I suppose.  But what about the pressure of the deep water?
Baylor:  (after thinking for a much longer moment)  Wellll, when the angler fish gets up to the sunlight zone in the middle of the night, the other smaller fish will see his light and come all around him and put a lot of pressure on him, just like in the midnight zone!
Me:  (smiling)  Well, there you go.