Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Abbey's First Day of Preschool

Abbey has been waiting for this day for so long and it finally arrived...her first day of preschool! She was so excited this morning (and has been all week that Ben has been going to school). She has brought her backpack to school with her everyday when we drop Ben off, so she was very happy that today she got dropped off as well. And of course, Juliette ran around frantically this morning looking for her backpack as well!

Big preschooler!

At school waiting for the doors to open.

She had no trouble going in. She gave me a kiss, said hi to her teacher (who remarked about how pretty her dress was), and walked into school with the other kids. I can't wait to pick her up and hear all about it! Ben was giving her info on what to expect in the car on the way this morning, but I bet she comes out with a lot to tell me all on her own!!

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Morton Arboretum

After we had our pictures taken, we met up with Uncle Phil, Aunt Sandy, Joey and Jillian. We had bought groupons to get in and since we knew they were already members, it was a great place to meet up and have some fun! Before we met up with Terence for our pictures though, Daddy took this one of me with my two oldest kiddos...

Juliette apparently wanted her own picture...

Since we were there before the Kurby's, we went ahead into the kids garden, which is a lot of fun.

The kids (and Daddy) did a fun craft of making love bugs...

While Ben and Abbey were always running off to the next thing to see, Juliette lingered and seemed to just enjoy walking along and stopping to smell the flowers.

Then we got to a fun play area and waited there for the Kurby's. We also saw our friends the Glynn's again! You may recall, we randomly saw them at Arlington Park a few weeks ago. Ben got to play with Keegan for a short while but then the Kurby's came and it was time to move on. Glynn family...we will have to actually plan to meet up somewhere next time!

We came to an area where the kids could wade in the water. I did not want them to go in, but Daddy helped them get their shoes off and told them to have fun, but not get their clothes wet (ummm, yeah that worked). Here is how Abbey tried to fulfill that request...

Joey showed us the cool rope bridges. Ben, Abbey and Joey had a blast going on these and just kept running straight back to the start to do it again and again and again!

We surprisingly didn't take too many pictures...probably because it took all adults to keep an eye on all the kids running around! Kurby family, we had a great time with you guys. Thanks for meeting up with us and showing us around!

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Family Pics

Sunday morning we met up with my cousin Mary Helen and her husband Terence and their 2 year old Jonas at the Morton Arboretum. Terence is a photographer and he graciously agreed to take some family pictures for us. I love how they turned out, but can't decide which is my favorite...which one do you like best?

Thanks so much Terence!

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Back Yard Camping

Ben has been asking all winter when we can go camping (much to Paul's delight), so we finally found an open weekend with good weather to try this out. We decided to make it as real as possible, so Paul made a fire in our fire pit that we inherited from Aunt Theresa and made Knights in Shining Armor for dinner (classic camping dinner with meat, potatoes and veggies wrapped in foil and put on the fire to cook). It was delicious!

Then the kids helped Paul set up the tent.

After dinner came my favorite part of camping...make smores! Paul gave each child a marshmellow on a stick...Juliette immediately began to eat hers off the stick!

Time to toast the marshmellows...

Add graham crackers and chocolate and enjoy! Yummm....


I would say she enjoyed it...and yes, that is marshmellow in her hair!

After everyone was cleaned up and got in their PJ's, it was time for story reading and sleeping in the tent. Juliette was pretty tired, so I put her to bed in the house. The kids did really well - I didn't think they would last the whole night, but they fell asleep and I didn't see them again until the next morning. Unfortunately, since Juliette was in the house and someone needed to be inside with her, I had to sleep in my bed and miss out on the awesome tent sleeping experience...thanks Daddy for roughing it with the kids!

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Play Set

We are still having loads of fun on our new playset! The kids are always asking if we can go outside to play on it and we have been able to enjoy it each night after dinner for a little bit (which is nice because there is not enough time to go to the park, but enough time to play in the backyard so it works out well). Here is Ben pushing me and Juliette on the swings and Abbey is learning to pump her legs.

Even Chien got in on the action...

Ok, it was really against his will, but we all got a kick out of it...he did NOT enjoy the slide though!

After that he ran away from us whenever we would call him! Luckily, Abbey was very sweet to him and tried to make it up to him by giving him some love...

Juju still likes climbing up there...

But still wants a hand before going down the slide...

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Juliette Turns 2!

While Juliette turned 2 on August 19th, her doctor's appointment was this past Friday. Since she had to be examined first (Abbey's request - see below), she was very brave and did great! She was not at all bothered by the exam, the finger prick that had to be done, or the shot she got. After the shot, she looked down at her arm and said, "Mommy, that's an owie!" and then resumed sucking her thumb (Abbey on the other hand began to cry when Juliette got a shot, but quickly calmed down when I assured her that she was not going to get a shot that day). The doctor was very impressed with her verbal skills and said she was doing fine. So now on to her stats...she weighed in at 25 pounds and 31 3/4 inches, which puts her in the 30% for weight and 10% for height...I guess one out of the three is taking after me in the height department, although she is doing better than I did as a child considering she is at least on the growth charts!

Developmentally, she is turning into quite a little girl and not as much of a baby. She loves following her brother and sister around and trying to do whatever it is they are doing. She thinks it is hilarious to run as fast as she can with them. She loves to sing songs and dance around. She speaks in full and complex sentences, although she seems to feel the need to shout to be heard (perhaps this is a consequence of being a third child). She will often shout some sort of command (Get me milk!", and when I say, "I'm sorry?" she will get quiet and whisper what she wants in a polite way ("Can you please get me some milk?"). We are working on avoiding this first step of shouting before being polite, but we'll get there.

She loves Dora the Explorer and asks to watch it whenever it is her turn to pick a tv show. For anyone who has not seen this show, it is very interactive and asks the kids to repeat things or say when they see something on the screen. It is also teaching spanish so it asks to repeat certain phrases in spanish too. Juliette will repeat everything and really interact with the show...it is super cute to watch it with her, especially when she tries to repeat the spanish phrases! And at the end of the day during dinner, we often have the conversation of "What was your favorite part about today," to which the kids will respond with something we did or something that happened. Juliette always responds, "My favorite part was Dora and Boots" regardless of what we have done that day or if we even watched Dora!

She is still in her crib and will probably stay there until we get some sort of bunk beds for the girls' room. She is a great napper and good at night time too. She usually wakes up early though (around 6:15-6:30) and wakes Abbey up, but they have to stay in their room until 6:40, which Abbey is very good about with her tot clock. She is getting better at eating, although she still rarely gets dessert since she won't eat most of what is on her plate for dinner. She preys on her siblings by being cute to them and asking them for bites of their dessert and they usually try to sneak her some (we strongly discourage the other kids giving her any bites - they lose their dessert if they do - but it is cute to watch). There are times she will eat all vegetables and not touch anything else and times she will only eat meat or potatoes or whatever, so I am not too worried about her nutrition, but it would be nice if she would eat an entire meal for once!

She is growing well and I am excited to take her to a mom/tot gymnastics class this fall. She is both adventuresome and cautious at the same time. For example, she has no problem climbing the tall ladder to get up into the play set, but she wants someone to hold her hand before she will go down the slide! She loves swimming and has no fear about going in the deep water.

She is turning from our sweet baby into a big girl and that has us both sad and excited to see what this next year brings. We love you Juju!

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Abbey Turns 3!

Yes, I realize that Abbey turned 3 about 6 weeks ago now, but I was unable to get her a doctor's appointment with our doctor in a time that did not directly coincide with nap time until today (although this is mostly my fault for waiting until the week before her birthday to call and schedule an appointment). Anyway, since I wasn't able to get an appointment until now, I made it a double appointment so Juliette could get her 2 year appointment at the same time (more on that later). Abbey has historically been extremely scared of the doctor, but she did great. I think it helped to have her go to so many of her siblings' appointments and also to read books about going and of course playing doctor at home always helps too. And I am sure part of it is her age and growing out of the fear too. She did great though! She was very nice to the doctor, although she did request that Juliette go first. She asked me about a million times to tell the doctor that Juliette would go first, but once he came in, I didn't even have a chance before she quickly told him that Juliette would be going first! She said she needed to hold Juliette's hand during her part of the appointment so she wouldn't be scared. Juliette was not scared, but Abbey did hold her hand anyway and it was sweet. After she watched the doctor examine Juliette (and noticed that nothing seemed to hurt or bother Juliette during the exam), she was brave and fine during her exam. She weighed in at 30.5 pounds and was 37.5 inches. This put her in the 50% for weight and 70% for height. She has historically been in the 50% all around, so she really grew in height this time (taking after Daddy I guess).

Developmentally, Abbey is 3 going on 5 (to keep up with her brother and cousin). She does whatever they do, and usually does it almost as well as they do too. She is our very good eater (they all are pretty good, but Abbey is the one who will try anything). Whenever Paul has something new or different to eat, she wants to try it. There aren't many foods she doesn't like, but the big thing is that she is always willing to try it. She is pretty adventuresome in other ways too. Basically, she just wants to keep up. Ben is more cautious and I would not be surprised if we teach them both to ride their bikes without training wheels at the same time (Ben wanted no part of that this summer, but I bet if Abbey shows an interest next summer he will do it pretty quickly).

Abbey starts preschool next Tuesday and she could not be more excited. She loves her backpack and just the other day I saw her showing it to Juliette. These were some of her comments, "See Juliette, it has my name on it...not your name, my name! And see here are the zippers...so you can zip stuff." Every day Ben has gone to school this week, Abbey has brought her backpack in the car like she is ready to go. We had orientation yesterday for her class (she has the same teacher Ben had last year so that is good) and she did great. Of course she had no problem talking to the teachers as she is pretty outgoing (compared to Ben anyway). I do not anticipate any problems come Tuesday when I go to drop her off...of course it will probably be harder on me!

She is learning all her letters and probably knows most of them by now. She can read her name and that helped her find her cubby at school. She is very empathetic and will often try to comfort her brother or sister when they are upset. She is sensitive and sometimes she is quite the crier/whiner. I would say that is her main behavior issue at this point, which we never really had with Ben. But she is a pleaser and wants to make you happy. She loves to be around people and loves sharing her room with Juliette. Just yesterday I suggested that we go shopping just her and me to get some one on one time and she didn't understand why we wouldn't bring Juliette too ("But Mom, she's my sister!"). She is a real sweetheart and we are having a great time with her and can't wait to see what the next year brings, especially as she enters preschool and is able to finally participate in some older activities (she is beyond excited for her first dance class that is about to start - she talks about it almost every day). We love you Abigail Marie!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First day of Kindergarten!!!

That's right...it's hard to believe...but Ben is now in Kindergarten!! He is doing half days, 5 days a week. We had the option of full day, but I wanted another year of time with him (considering he spent the first 4 years in daycare everyday, he deserves some extra home time). He was very excited this morning (notice his nice new uniform too)...

He wasn't the only one who was excited. The girls quickly got on their backpacks as well to take pictures!

Juliette clearly thinks this is exciting stuff...

He's ready to go!

Abbey is ready to go too, but she doesn't start until Tuesday of next week (at which time I am sure there will be similar pictures taken). Abbey can't wait to go to school and keeps asking when her first day is (she will be going two mornings a week to preschool and has the same teacher Ben had last year)!

Ben in the car on the way...

And drop off! This year, since he is a big kid now, he just gets dropped off with all the other students to make his way inside. Luckily, they have student volunteers to help kids to their class rooms. I am sure he could find it (we went there yesterday for orientation and it is only a few class rooms away from his class last year), but I felt better having someone walk him to class for now. I am sure soon enough though he will just be running inside by himself and I will have to drive away assuming he knows what he is doing! Good Luck Ben...can't wait to hear all about it today!!

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Juliette's Party - Part 2

After a lot of outside fun and a yummy grilled dinner, it was time for cake! Well, while Paul was up working late on the play set the previous night, I was up late working on this...

Caroline and the birthday girl waiting for the cake...

She liked the Elmo cake...

And I think she liked the way it tasted too...

Then it was time to open up some gifts, so everyone gathered around to "help" her...

A snow white costume!

A very fun fishing game got everyone involved...

And by the end of the night, as usual with our kids, lots of costumes were brought out for everyone to enjoy! I can't believe it, but everyone in this picture is actually looking at the camera and while not everyone has a huge smile, nobody is crying so I consider this picture a huge success!

It was a great party! Thanks so much to everyone who came and helped us celebrate. We can't believe our baby is 2 now. She has a doctor's appointment on Friday, so I will update then with her stats and other developments! We love you baby girl - Happy Birthday!

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