Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lake Arlington

One of our favorite things to do in the summer is go to Lake Arlington and play in the little beach area. Here are the kids with their pails and shovels, ready to build some sand castles!

Good job Abbey - way to fill up that pail!

These two really play well together...

Juliette enjoyed filling up her pail with water.

I just like this picture of the kids in the water.

Unfortunately, someone came over and told us that the kids were not supposed to actually swim in the water, just wade in it up to their knees.  Well that didn't make my swimmers very happy, but they reluctantly followed the rule (although we have never had that issue before).

A fun time was had by all!
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Abbey is 4!!!

Our darling princess turned 4 - I can't believe it! Abbey had a great year. She began to assert her independence, but was pretty good about reigning it in when necessary. She had a great time at preschool. We are constantly amazed at the things she learns and picks up just from being around Ben or listening to conversations we have with Ben about what he is learning in school. She apparently told Mama Kay in New Orleans how to pronounce a word based upon the phonics sounds of the letters in the word - wow! She came home from preschool writing her name very well - I don't think anyone taught her, I think she just looked at the letters and tried it. She is always trying new things and doing things to keep up with Ben. All summer she has watched Ben's swim practices and lessons and now she tries to do the strokes as well. She knows the names and will try to do them across the shallow end of the pool. She also loves going under water like Ben does.

Abbey is such a sweetheart. If one of her siblings is upset, she tries to comfort them. She is the first one to check on one of us and make sure we are ok. If it is her turn to pick a story and one of her siblings gets upset, she will often use her turn to pick whatever book her sibling wants so they will be happy, saying something like, "Don't cry Juliette - I am going to pick Dora!" If I have a headache in the morning, she will remember later in the day and ask me about it. She is very observant and likes to watch people. She notices the tiniest things. I think that is why she is so empathetic. She really picks up on how people are feeling.

On the flip side, the only issue she really has is that she cries/whines a lot. We try to teach her that crying does not solve her problems and that when she gets upset, she needs to do something to make it better, not cry about it. But it is a hard lesson to learn.

I took Abbey to her doctor's appointment and she was very worried about getting shots. I couldn't remember if she needed them, so I was unable to calm her fears about that before the appointment. As soon as the doctor walked in, she started crying. The doctor just smiled and said, "It's nice to see you too!" Unfortunately, she did need two shots so there were lots of tears throughout the appointment :( But on to her stats...she weighed in at 35 pounds and was 40 1/4 inches tall, which put her in the 50% for weight and 65% for height, so still tall and skinny!

All in all, she is doing great and makes us so proud. She will go to 4 year old preschool in the fall, which is three mornings a week. Juliette will go to 3 year old preschool, which is two mornings a week (different days than Abbey). So Abbey and I will finally get some good one on one time, which I am very much looking forward to! Happy Birthday Abbey Dabs, we love you!

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Family Birthday Celebration

I usually like to spend the kids' actual birthdays just celebrating as a family and doing something fun that they choose, but because I was able to get a good deal on a party if we had it on her birthday, we had her party on her actual birthday. So, we decided to spend the next day celebrating with our family day. Abbey decided she wanted to go to Make A Messterpiece, one of our favorite places (that we conveniently have a membership to)! We got there a little early, so I used that time to try to get a good picture of the 3 amigos...

Abbey doing the bubble art - always a favorite!

Juju is quite the painter!
The kids eager to prove they know the answer at the Experimentation Station...

This was a really neat experiment.  They put whole milk in a bowl and then dropped a few different colors in the bowl using food dye.  Then they put dish soap on a q-tip and gently touched the q-tip to the colors, causing them to swirl and mix.  It was pretty neat.

Juliette adding the food coloring with the dropper.

Very cool!

The kids waiting for the kitchen demonstration to start.  This was also neat.  They took cream, put it in a bottle, and shook it until it sounded solid, which made whipping cream.  Then they shook it some more until it sounded a little less solid, and that made butter!  We got to take home butter and crackers - it tasted pretty good actually (except it was unsalted).  But it was an interesting kitchen experiment!
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Abbey's Birthday!

On July 7 at 2:21pm, our darling daughter turned 4 years old!! We started off the day by taking Abbey to a bike shop and letting her pick out a new big girl bike (thanks Madgie and Patch)!  She chose a pink bike (shocker) and we let her get a different pair of streamers to add on to the handle bars.  We spent the rest of the morning on bikes!


After a quick lunch and nap, it was time to PARTY!  Abbey wanted to have her birthday party at Jump Zone this year and she wanted to invite a bunch of kids from her class.  She likes Jump Zone because it has a princess themed jump house!  We got there early to set up and she quickly tried out the birthday chair!

She had a blast running around with her friends!

Juju is a little wary of jump houses still (although Jump Zone does have a Mickey Mouse themed jumpy that she likes as long as big kids are not also in there).  Luckily, there are also other toys she can play on with Cousin Hunter!

Ben had a great time as well running around with his friends (several of Abbey's friends have older siblings that are Ben's friends too).  As always though, he has the most fun with Caroline!

Then it was time for pizza!

Abbey gets ready for cake time!
This year Abbey requested a barbie cake, so this is what I made for her.  I think it turned out pretty cute.  It was my first venture with fondant (which was used to make the top of her dress).

I also made cupcakes with barbie sticks for decoration.

Time for Abbey to blow out her 4 candles!

Juju and Aunt Domi...

Unfortunately there was no time to open presents at the party, so we had the Acuff's over to open presents.  Abbey got great presents this year - perfect for her!

Juju got a little tired/bored while waiting for Abbey to open up the presents.  Although as soon as the presents were open, she was quick to want to play with them all!  Luckily, Abbey is such a good sharing sister!

We ate cupcakes at the party, so we lit the candles on the cake one more time before cutting into it!  She really wanted "pink" cake, so I made a strawberry cake, but she wouldn't actually eat it - ha!  I will remember this next year and stick with chocolate!


It was a great day and a great celebration!  I will blog about her doctor's appointment and growth stats soon.  We also had a family celebration on Sunday, but I will get to all of that soon!  I am slowly catching up, but it takes me some time!
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Monday, July 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Joey!

After the parade and a quick nap, it was off to celebrate Joey's 4th birthday!  Joey has an awesome blow up slide/pool that the kids love to play on!

Both Ben and Abbey jumped right in and enjoyed playing with the other kids in the water.

Juliette didn't really want to get into the pool with the big kids running around, so she stuck with the water table until they cleared out for a bit.

Then it was time to sing to Joey and have cake!

While the big kids played in the water, Juliette had a lot of fun playing with this picnic basket set...hmmm...good to know for her upcoming birthday perhaps...

Finally, all the big kids got out of the pool to watch Joey open presents, so Juliette seized the chance to play in the water with the little kids.  She had a blast, but quickly got out any time the big kids came around!

We had a great time at the party!  We were happy to celebrate Joey's fourth birthday, and we also remembered Josh on his birthday too.  I can't believe it has been 4 years since the twins were born! 
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July 4th

I am so behind in blogging!!! I know, I seem to always start posts that way lately, but summer is a busy time! Ok, so after our trip to New Orleans, we got back just in time to celebrate July 4th. We go to the parade in our town every year, but this year was extra special because Ben's kindergarten teacher (that we loved) lives on the parade route and invited the class to come to her house to watch it! She is an amazing teacher and really loved her class and bonded with the kids. She has never invited a class to her house before, so we all felt very special! And it was extra fun to watch the parade with so many friends!  Before it started, here are Ben and Abbey looking very patriotic!

A lot of the kids came and some more showed up after it started too!

Abbey had fun!

I just love this picture :)

Juju enjoyed it too...

It was hot, but the kids did really well and had fun.

Family photo!

And as usual, lots of candy was thrown out during the parade!

It was a great spot to watch the parade!

The moms and Mrs. Balogh (in the middle - back row).  I really have gotten to know these ladies and become good friends with them.  We have all commented how sad we will be next year when the kids are split up into different 1st grade classes!  Luckily, all these ladies seem committed to the school so we should be together (even if in different classes) for a long time!

The BEST kindergarten teacher ever!  Abbey can't wait to have her after one more year of preschool!

It was a great time!!
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