Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Twins, Kind Of

I don't typically think my boys look much alike. Maybe because their personalities are so different. People always say how much Noah looks like Ben. One of the assistants at preschool almost called him Ben when we were there the other day. We were letting Noah's hair grow out, but it was always looking a little crazy. We just cut Ben's hair and I cut Noah's. It's not as short as Ben's, but at least he doesn't have bed head now.

With both their heads shaved, they look more alike to me than ever.
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What do you think?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Fab 40


I'm in Denver with my best friend for our 40th birthday celebration. Well, she's already 40. I'm not. Ha!  We went to a Dave Matthews Band concert Friday. And today we went up Mt Evans. We are staying with Pam's sister and her husband and having a great time. But, I sure miss my babies and my wonderful husband.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Slow Learner?

I remember reading a funny story on the internet years ago. It went something like: The first child has everything sanitized. The second child goes by the 5 second rule. The third child gets the binky that the dog licked. It went on and on explaining the difference between the first and last child. It's pretty funny and pretty true.

With Emily, we worked on letters and numbers all the time. We read books every day. Ben wasn't so into the number and letter memorization, but he loved books. We used to read him Goodnight Moon every single night. He'd find the little mouse on every page. Noah, well Noah chews on books. Does that count?

I don't think I'm alone in this matter. Time moves on and with it my daily checklist fills up. With Emily, I had 1 kid and wasn't working. With Noah, I have 3 kids, a part time job, couponing (which feels like a part time job) and volunteering at the school. My plate is full and often times overflowing. I think every Mom feels that way, and I don't think it will change for the next 15 years. The other day, I was watching a video from a blog I read. The little girl is 3 and she has Down Syndrome. Her and her Mom were sitting on the floor doing flash cards of the alphabet. Dang, that sweet little girl new almost all of them and the sounds too. Not that I expect Noah to be smarter, but it just showed me that he doesn't know anything. Not because he's not smart, but because I've never worked with him. Sure he knows how to count to 20 and can sing the ABC's, but does he even know what an A looks like?

Turns out, he doesn't!

I broke out the flash cards. Half are missing or chewed up, but they'll do. We start going over them. He doesn't get a single one right. I narrow it down with multiple choice. I show him an A and ask is this a B, S or A? He get's it wrong. Really, it's a 33% chance he'll get it right, yet he misses them over and over. I decide we need to start on a smaller scale. We get the A, S and O flash cards. They look totally different. He gets the O after a few minutes, but the S and A are not clicking. I even try to tell him the S looks like a sssssnake. Sounding it out perfectly. He'd get it right and 5 minutes later, get it wrong. Then, it him me. He may be THAT kid.

Emily and Ben are naturally smart. They don't have to do much to get all A's in school with an occasional B thrown in to prove they aren't robots. They are always at the top of the class and in the higher reading groups. School is easy for them. I'm starting to wonder if Noah will be my kid who...well, who isn't.

I know this year in preschool, he will learn so much. He just turned 4 and honestly, I've barely worked with him. I credit any knowledge he has to Super Why and Team Umizoomi. I know in preschool through December, they work on tracing their names. It's their homework every week along with a worksheet of the letter of the week. So, I decided to write Noah's name 4 times and have him trace it. I did the first one with him. The others he did on his own. And can I just say that he is the best tracer out there! Look at those straight lines!
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He's a genius! I think there's still hope for him! And if not, at least he's cute!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Croutons

I make homemade croutons instead of buying a bag at the store. It's really simple. I save the heels of the bread or if a few pieces get a little stale, and I toss them in the freezer. Every few weeks, I take it all out, cube it up, add some olive oil and seasoning salt and bake. It makes delicious croutons out of something that would have gone in the garbage.

We leave the container on the kitchen table as we have salad several times a week with dinner. Noah barely eats anything, but he loves my croutons. I find him at the table often having a snack.
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I love that his life is so simple right now and he can spend his day playing with his action figures and getting into the croutons. Ah, the life of a 4 year old.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Open House

Today was an open house at Noah's preschool. We were all really worried about how it would go. After Noah's crying fit after one lap in karate, we just weren't sure how he'd respond to preschool. I asked him a few times about it and he said he was scared.

Today was the day. It was from 9:30-11 and you could go anytime in there. I know after years of these things that you never go right on time. You go the last 30 minutes. I thought 25 kids and parents in the little room would be overwhelming to him. I was happy when we got there and the teacher told me we just missed the crowd. Perfect. There were only 2 other families there. I wanted a kid or two so he knows it's fun, but not 25.

We walk in and the teacher comes over to greet him. She kneels down and introduces herself. We see her often at Costco and she was Ben and Emily's teacher. She put out her hand to shake his and he just sat there staring at her. Then, his little lip started to turn down and I thought abort, abort! Let's move on. So, we went to wash our hands. He cheered up in the bathroom as he liked the little stool and the automatic paper towel dispenser.
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Then, each kid gets their picture taken. He wouldn't crack a smile.
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I had to fill out some paperwork, so I sent him over to the play kitchen. Funny story...we sold the play kitchen about 3 months ago. Emily got it from Santa when she was 2. Noah barely played with it anymore. He'd usually go over about once a week and toss all the baskets out and then move on. So, I put it on Craigslist. Yesterday, he says to me, "hey, where's my kitchen?" I guess that shows how often he played with it if it took him 3 months to realize it's gone.

Anyway, he was excited to play in the kitchen. So, he went over there and made me some pizza.
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He'd look over from time to time to make sure I was still at the table. Then, another family came in. The little boy had gone to this preschool last year, so he was an old pro. He went over to the play area and they started playing vet with Clifford. Noah's first friend! His name is Sawyer. I know he must be good because with a name like Sawyer, I can bet his parents were fans of the show Lost as Sawyer was the best character on there. They played well together and I could here Noah talking to him and stuff. It was so cute.
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On our way out, each kid gets a snack and a juice box. Noah thought it was fantastic!
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As we were leaving he told me he was so excited for school. Success!!!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

New Wheels

We go on family bike rides often. Ben has learned to ride a bike with no training wheels this year. Noah uses training wheels and probably will for the next 2-3 years. This limits how far we can go as he just can't go as far or as fast as the rest of us. I also go on bike rides with my friend for exercise at least once a week. I put Noah in a child bike seat on my bike. The problem is that he's gotten too big. His knees are in my butt.

Enter the trail a bike and Craigslist. This invention is genius.
Noah's new wheels. Sweet!
Away we go. This solves all our problems. Noah can go on longer rides with us. He can also learn balance and maybe he'll be out of training wheels even sooner then the other kids were. This was $200 new, but we got one that looks brand new on Craigslist for $90. The best part is that we can turn around and sell it in 2 years for probably the same amount. Awesomeness!

Noah loves it, but he prefers just to kick back and not peddle. Um, that's not what I was hoping for when we bike up the hills in our neighborhood. I'm hoping he starts to help out soon!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Four

Noah turned 4 today! Four. I can hardly believe it. It seems like it's been so long since he was born, yet I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I guess that happens when go through what we did. Being born 9 weeks early might have been a struggle for some kids, but not Noah. Nope, that kid was ready to fight and said "later" to the NICU just 18 days later. He was technically 34 1/2 weeks and just tipped the scales at 4 pounds and we were on our way home. By far the scariest time in my life.

Noah was excited to turn 4 today. Sorry for the picture overload, but he was just so cute and had so many expressions. I had to post them all. Noah doesn't really like cake or ice cream or anything sweet, but when given all the options, he wanted a pumpkin cake. So, that's what I made him. He wanted to help.
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While the cake was baking, he was DYING to have some. So, I made him chocolate chip cookies. I even sang him happy birthday.
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He couldn't wait for us to get Emily and Ben at school. He misses playing with them during the day. We headed to pizza for dinner, since it's one of the five things Noah will eat. Noah was drawing the Ninja Turtles while we waited.
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We got home and opened gifts. Ben and Emily made Noah a card. Noah loved them.
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He also got cards and money from Grammie & Grampie and Granny. Papa and Grandma Suzy sent him some Star Wars figures. He loved them.
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Then, he got some Ninja Turtles.
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Emily got him this stuffed Ninja Turtle which he loved.
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Sweet story behind that stuffed turtle. Emily and I went shopping at Target last weekend. She picked out a few outfits for herself. There was a shirt or two that I didn't get because they were too expensive. And by that, I mean $15. Isn't that bad? But, it's true. She was torn between getting one of two shirts. One was $8. The other $15. No brainer to me. In any case, she asked if we spent too much money. I told her no. Then, we were walking by the bedding department and Emily stopped in her tracks when she passed the stuffed turtle. I told her it wasn't on sale and was $20, so maybe we'd get it another time. She said, "well, why don't I put back those 2 shirts and we can get him the turtle." She was being so sweet and selfless that I got the turtle and she got her shirts too. I love when you catch your kids being a good person.

Then, we had cake.
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And everyone (my husband included) got to play with all the toys.
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I hope Noah had a special birthday. He's a special boy, and we love him so much.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gym and Karate

Today was the first real day of gymnastics and karate classes for Emily and Ben. David was able to get off work early since he didn't take a lunch, so he went with us. He goes for a walk every day during lunch, but it was raining today, so he had to stay inside. It was a win for us.

We went to Emily's gymnastics class first. I didn't get any good photos as she was far away while I was there. She did the vault and she did so good. They did handstands onto a mat over the vault and her first time she could hardly do. By her third pass, she was doing great. She started the bars and I had to leave with Ben and Noah to get Ben to karate. David stayed with Em. Normally, I'll just go back and fourth by myself.

He practiced some kicks.
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He practiced jumping over the noodle ninja.
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He was doing great. I got him all signed up for the next 4 months. He was so excited to get his uniform. He couldn't wait to try it on when he got home. He thought he should meditate on the spiderdome.
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He's a true ninja! I thought Noah might want to take a class today, but nope, he wanted to leave. He wants a uniform like Ben though, so there's still hope.

Meanwhile, David texted me this picture of Em and I about died! She is so awesome.
My girl on the beam. She's awesome.

She took 2 years of gymnastics at the Y, and we quit 2 years ago. She had just gotten past the tot classes and moved on to a girls level 1. She really hadn't even learned to do a cartwheel or handstand well. I am so so proud of her. This was the summer of the handstand, so I'm so glad all her hard work is paying off. David said he could tell she was so proud of herself after she did the handstand on the beam. She also did a cartwheel off the beam.

I'm so glad my kids are enjoying their extra activities.

Monday, August 5, 2013

2 and 4

Emily and Ben started school today. It really couldn't have come at a better time. I loved our summer together. It was an absolute blast. But, it was time. Time for them to read a book, to learn, to be on a schedule. It's the perfect ebb and flow of the school year. The summer started right when they need a break, and it ended right when I needed a break.

Emily is in the fourth grade this year. She had me chop off 3 or more inches of her hair last night. She looks so sweet.
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Ben is in second grade this year. He always looks so handsome.
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Noah was totally bored with the photo shoot.
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Noah got to join in a picture.
First day of 4th and 2nd grade. And preschool for Noah ( but not for a month).

The kids have stellar teachers, and I know we are going to have a great year. Noah starts preschool after Labor Day. I'm just praying he doesn't walk in and run out, like he did with karate last week.

In any case, it was nice to get the kids off to school. I came home to a quiet house, and Noah and I went for a bike ride with my friend Dakri. We missed our exercise all summer long. It just didn't happen with all the kids home. It felt good to get out there and stretch our legs. I could've done without the hills, but the views were beautiful. We saw ducks or geese (not sure), horses, alpaca, goats, jackrabbits. No wonder Noah wasn't bored on the back of my bike.
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It's nice to get back on track. The house was so quiet today. I got tons of work done. I think school started just in time.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Winding Down

Summer vacation is winding down for us. The kids start school in 2 days. I'm happy and sad at the same time.

We had the meet and greet at school with their teachers last night. Ben has the same teacher as she moved from 1st to 2nd grade this year and took her whole class with her. She's a great teacher, so we are thrilled that he will have her again this year. Emily got the teacher we were hoping for, Mrs. Jackson. She's our friends all time favorite teacher, so you know she's great. Her room was well organized and she seemed so on top of things. I look forward to another great year.

Noah doesn't start preschool until after Labor Day, so we'll have a month before he goes. Will I be sad? Maybe a little, but M, W, F from 8:30-11:15 is not a lot of time. I have BIG plans for that 2 hours and 45 glorious kid free minutes. Well, the plan is working out, grocery shopping, volunteering at the school and working. The glorious part is that it will be kid free.

Today, we decided to end the summer with our fun filled Friday's. We started at the tennis courts. Tennis, basketball, stomp rockets, hoola hoop.
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And when the kids got bored with that they did cheer.
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And played swords.
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Then, we hit the pool for 90 minutes. It was a great ending to a really great summer. My kids are tan. Their hair is streaked with blonde from the sun and I know they have loads of memories from the past two months.

We are ready to start a new school year!