Thursday, December 27, 2012

Our Christmas

We had a wonderful and uneventful Christmas at our house this year. We were lucky to have Josh home with us, last year he spent Christmas day working. Lillian and Claire woke up shortly before 8am and waited quietly in their room for us to come get them. As soon as we opened their door, they yelled with excitement that Santa brought presents. We all took turns opening gifts and I was lucky enough to open the first one. Josh really surprised me this year and bought me a beautiful new camera that I have wanted for several years. By the way, that was your disclaimer that this will be a picture heavy post and expect to see many more posts with photos while I learn how to use my camera. 
 



 After opening up all of their presents, they insisted on playing with every single item they received at once. Our living room looked like something exploded in it.
 Both Claire and Lillian asked Santa for a unicorn Dream Lite and new undies. Claire was very excited to open her new undies and ran around with them on her head.
 Leia couldn't be left out with receiving gifts, she is the proud new owner of a candy cane bone, which is now half gone.
 Games were played.

 And we certainly did not have a shortage on sweets while family came over that evening.



In the afternoon, Josh's parents came over, as well as his sister, Maggie and her husband, Baris. We chatted, munched, opened more gifts and eat a wonderful dinner together.
 


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday Lillian and Claire

Four years ago at 7:48am and 7:49am, Lillian Faith and Claire Elizabeth entered our lives and world and our lives have never been the same. These girls have brought so much joy and love into our lives. Each day is full of laughter and smiles. I am not going to lie, they test their limits and have learned when they need to turn that charm back on.
 


Today, unfortunately, Josh had to work, but the girls and I made the most of their special day. They asked for Trix and a picnic in the living room to watch My Little Ponies, so they got it. We went for lunch to their chosen destination, Red Robin an then went and they were able to pick out a birthday cake. After returning home and a little quiet time, Josh was able to come home early from work and we opened presents with Grandma and Grandpa than had cake and ice cream. After dinner, their choice of spaghetti and bread sticks, Josh took them to their play room with their new Nerf dart guns he bought for them. They set up forts and went to war.
Throughout the entire day, they kept repeating, "this is my favorite birthday," or "this is the best birthday ever." We didn't do anything big or over the top, but they were able to choose what they wanted to do to help make today special.
Lillian, Claire, I love you so much and cannot imagine what my life would be like without you in it. I look forward to many more special birthdays to celebrate with you. I can't believe my babies are four.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Party Time


 
 


This past weekend we celebrated Lillian and Claire's 4th birthday surrounded by a room full of family and friends. All I can say, these are two very blessed and loved little girls We decided against hosting their party in our home again this year since there were too many people. The venue we used was perfect, tons of space for the kids to run and play, room for everyone to sit and enjoy lunch and we still had room to spare. 
For lunch we served chili and hot dogs, which was perfect for a cold December day. We had trays of fresh fruit and vegetables and went quickly and of course some pink punch. Our niece was put in charge of the camera, so I could have pictures and still enjoy as much of the party as I could, so while I am thankful for photos, they are limited.
I had two stations set up, one was a table loaded with crayons and fairy pictures to color. I added some pirates for the boys, since they were not too interested in the fairies. The second table had little wooden bird houses we purchased at Michael's and trays of paint and brushes. All of the kids  and a few adults loved painting and taking how their very own fairy house.


 I made white cupcakes with pink butter cream frosting and adding the adorable wrappers and fairy toppers I found clearances at TJMaxx. Since I was worried we would run out of cupcakes as our guest list continued to grow, I had Josh pick up some mini cupcakes to add to the table, just in case. Only a few reminded at the end of the day.





As favors, the little girls all went home with their own pair of fairy wings and the boys took home a pirate sword. It was fun seeing all the little fairies fluttering around the party. We tried to limit the sword usage, since 7 little boys running around with a sword could cause a little chaos.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this day so special for our precious girls. It's so hard to believe that in just three short days my babies will be turning four years old.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Visiting Santa

We took Lillian and Claire to visit Santa at Bass Pro Monday evening and they very excited to share their wants with him.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Two Weeks Late

I'm only two weeks late on talking about Thanksgiving, so I am going to keep this extremely short and just share photos.
We hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year. The whole Ward side of the family come to our house and Lillian and Claire loved having their cousins to run around with.
 
The day after Thanksgiving the three girls spent their day dressed up, just like princesses should be.

 
 Grandma read stories.
For Thanksgiving dinner, the four little girls sat at a table of their own. I don't think any of them ended up eating anything after snacking all afternoon, but they enjoyed the company.
 After dinner, they played games, read stories and played hard.
 Claire stopped a few times over the weekend to snuggle Hadley.

Here are a few shots of some of our fall decor. There were more fall touches around the house that I did not photograph.


This was Lillian's Thankful Turkey that she made at school, Claire was home sick that day so she didn't get to make one. She was thankful for feathers, my sissy, squares, Jesus, animals, butterflies, Will (classmate), and Mom and Dad.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Thanksgiving Program

Last week Monday, we had a little Thanksgiving program and pot luck at school. Each class sang a couple songs and then we sang one as a large group. Sadly, I didn't get to take many pictures, because I had to have my teacher hat on and try to keep my class sitting nicely, but I did manage to snap one and Josh was able to make it and I think I saw him trying to take a few photos. Anyway, Lillian and Claire did fantastic. Claire really got into all the motions for the songs and sang in a loud voice. Lillian held back a little, but she wasn't shy, that's for sure.
After all the songs, we were able to feast on some delicious food and I was able to put my mommy hat back on for a short time.
I love that I am right across the hall from them and can be there for all the events for school, but it is also so difficult not always being able to be that mom who can stand there taking photo after photo or putting all my focus on just them. I love those few moments at the events though when I do get to be mommy and not just teacher. 
 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Enjoying the Weather

It's been awhile since I have posted photos of Lillian and Claire, mostly because I have been terrible at taking them. Today the weather was beautiful, afternoon high in the mid-60s and sunny. The girls and I ended up spending a good chunk of the afternoon outside. They first asked to play in the front with chalk and then we headed to the back yard and they made pies and ice cream out of leaves. They played until the sun went down.




Sunday, November 18, 2012

Speech Screening

For awhile now I have had my concerns about Lillian and Claire's speech development. They are just a month away from turning four, but there are still many times I have to have them repeat several times what they are saying in order to try and catch what they are saying. Both girls, Claire especially, has troubles saying "Claire" correctly, comes out at Gee. I am able to understand about 75% of what they are saying, Josh can understand them most of the time as well, but I know many others struggle. Because of this, I scheduled them a speech screening and took them in for that on Wednesday. After a long afternoon and a lot of paperwork for me, I was asked to come back to speak with a parent educator and we discussed the results of their Dial-4 screening. The Dial-4 assessed areas of gross and fine motor, language, concept and then I filled out a questioner on their self-help and social awareness. As expected, they were right on track with everything but language. They both have articulation and sound issues and are being suggested for further assessment from speech pathologist. A team will go over their results from the first screening and determine if they think Lillian and/or Claire will need to come in for further testing. If so, they will give me a call, hopefully soon, and set up a time.
After talking to a few people about their results, I have been asked about how I feel about the results and if I am at all upset. When I was young I had speech issues and for many years could not correctly say the /r/ sound. After years of speech therapy, I perfected it. Josh also had speech problems when he was young. It's not at all uncommon for young children to have troubles with their speech in some form or another, but is also something that with help and hard work, can eventually be corrected. So no, I am not upset that they might have to go through speech therapy, I am ready to get them the help they need.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Quirks

Do other children call McDonald's, Old McDonald's? Lillian and Claire have been calling the golden arches Old McDonald's for many months now. I have no idea how the tied the song to the chain.

When asking for input on our weekly menu, I asked Claire what was something she would want for dinner this coming week, her answer, chicken fried steak. Again, is this normal?

Unsharpened pencils quickly become magic wands in our house. At the library yesterday they had a display case showing 4 different prizes you could enter to win because of the locations 20th anniversary. Anyway, one of the employees came over while the girls and I were looking at the books and she mentioned a Pete the Cat book that was in the case. Instead of getting excited over the book, Claire yells in the library with full excitement that she wants a pencil that is in the case.

These girls will do pretty much anything for a glow stick, necklace, wand, bracelet and flip out if they catch you throwing away the used ones.

9 out of 10 times Claire puts her own shoes on, they are on the wrong feet.

When the living room windows are open, even if they are not, they like to sit by the window and yell "hi" to people walking by our house. They wave and say hi to strangers while shopping and get dissapointed if someone doesn't respond to them.

I love how they leave the "S" off when they say snuggle and just say nuggle.

They get excited to start our prayer at dinner and make sure everyone closes their eyes and folds their hands.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Can I just start by saying, I am so glad Halloween is now over with. Don't get me wrong, I loved making the girls costumes and I love the excitement they have had over this holiday, but I am over it. Sunday we had two trunk or treats we attended. If you don't know what a trunk or treat is (I had never heard of it until about 6 years ago), it is when people decorate the trunks of their vehicles and pass candy out to children. Sounds creepy if it were any time other than Halloween, but it's wonderful. Our church held a trunk or treat after service on Sunday, so we did that one in the morning. Then, in the evening, the girls came with me to the trunk or treat at the church where I work and they go to school. It was so cold, low to mid-40's and we were standing around outside for about two hours. The girls were such troopers. They loved helping pass out candy and seeing every ones costumes. Of course, they loved receiving candy as well. 
 
 


 Today at school, we had our Halloween parties. The kids all wore their costumes, had a special snack and games and then we had a parade for parents and grandparents. Again, they received a ton of candy and loved every minute of the day, I am sure.
This evening, after Josh headed out for work, the girls and I started to walk up and down our block for trick or treating. We have a bunch of scrooges on our street and less  than half of the houses always have their porch lights off. Lillian and Claire would get so excited every time they noticed a light on and raced to push the doorbell first. Their sweet little voices saying "trick or treat" melts my heart each time. They had a ball. Luckily, tonight the weather was much warmer, low 60's, so we didn't have to worry about hat and mittens like over the weekend.





Now we have more candy in the house than I have any idea what to do with. After I took the girls trick or treated, we went to Grandma and Grandpa's house and by the time I made it back home all the little monsters and princesses were back home and no body came to our door. So not only do we have all of the girls candy they have collected, but also the candy we bought to hand out to those who came to our house. I guess it is time to start bulking up for the winter. ;-)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pumpkin Patch Field Trip

Two weeks ago we went on a field trip with school to Faulkner's Pumpkin Patch. This is the same pumpkin patch we visited last year with the girls. I took the girls in the morning, sadly, Josh had to work, and it was so cold. It was windy and maybe 50 degrees. One of the first of the colder days this fall. When we arrived, I had to stand at the entrance with one of the other teachers to make sure everyone knew what was going on for the day. While waiting, I took the opportunity to take a few pictures of the girls, but of course they didn't want to cooperate and give me nice smiles. Oh well, at least they were both looking in my general direction.
 
 One of the employees of the farm saw me taking pictures and offered to take one of the three of us. I took her up on her offer, since it is very rare I get to be in photos with them. It's a shame my eyes are closed.
 After most of the families arrived, I was able to be mom instead of teacher and I loved it. Most events with school, I have to put my focus on my class and my students families, I rarely get the chance to be mom at school functions. Thankfully, most events so far, Josh has had off work so he could be there for the girls. We had about an hour of time to walk around and explore the farm and play. There were tons of kids there. Shortly after we arrived, so did two large school buses full of kids. The girls did well taking turns and being patient waiting for their turns on the two horse swings, the diggers and go carts.


 After our play time, everyone grouped together for lunch. Once lunch was over we had our tour. The tour consisted of a "corn" maze, feeding the animals, story time, a turn through the giant caterpillar slide, a hayride and, of course, picking out a pumpkin.


It was chilly and busy, but we had a blast. I love that Lillian, Claire and myself were able to spend the morning together doing something special.