Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ceci and Katie turn two!

We had quite a party for Ceci and Katie Saturday night. They had more fun than anyone. They are so used to playing the parts of back up dancers, school pupils, basically anything but the stars and they basked in the birthday girl glow at their party. They also learned a new word: "pwesent!"

Here is Ella holding court with Luke and Sean. She was so excited to see Lukie that she gave him a very aggressive hug which resulted in a headbutt and bloody nose for Luke. He's learning young that love hurts. His mom brought pjs for the drive home and he had to change because of the blood on his shirt. Ella went right upstairs and put hers on in sympathy. It was pretty sweet seeing them running around in their pjs all evening.

Rick was the pinata police. He spent 15 minutes laying out the rules for how and when to pull the string in addition to the penalties that would be assessed if anyone prematurely pulled their string or grabbed someone else's string. He told them that any rule infraction would mean they would have to wait a minute before grabbing goodies which is the same as saying all they'll get are a couple of those woven things left on the floor that you get your fingers stuck in when you try to pull them out. I think Hans got the whole speech on video and if I figure out how to do it will post a youtube clip. Here he is posing with his beloved Dora carefully holding the ribbons out of reach of the kids.

The crowd is patiently listening to Rick's speech. You can see Elizabeth in the background cracking up as he outlines the ribbon pinata rules of play.

Katie and Ceci are used to getting trampled around pinatas and had a blast being princesses for a day and getting to be front and center for all the festivites. Watching them laughing and smiling all night reminded me that we need to make sure everyone gets to be princess for a day more often.

Friday, November 21, 2008

the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Before I had children I hated that retailers started the Christmas decorations and marketing so early. It just didn't seem right to hear Christmas carols before Thanksgiving. It was a reminder that I hadn't begun my shopping. I now welcome this time of year.

I can employ the best discipline tool ever given to parents. Santa! Just the whisper to Sophia and Ella that Santa is watching totally transforms their behavior.

Sophia strolled into the kitchen last night with gum smeared all over her pants and explained that she didn't know how this happened and she DEFINITELY didn't take it out of her mouth.

Sophia: It just slipped out of my mouth while I was talking.

(this was laughable since she had chewed up gum smeared all over the legs of her pants. I still can't imagine how this happened)

Rick: Who were you talking to in the bathroom all by yourself?

S: Ummmm...just myself.

R: About what?

S: Lots of different stuff.

Me: Do you know who is watching all the time who knows when you fib?

S: God?

Me: and....SANTA!

S: OK, yes I took it out of my mouth. I'm really sorry!

Unfortunately God does not instill the same sense of regret as the potential tragedy of being looked over by Santa. I remember a couple years ago talking about where Santa lives with Sophia and she all of a sudden perked up and said: "I know where Santa lives! At the North Pole...with Jesus!"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Indoor fun

Now that the weather has turned colder we have moved into the time of year, that Rick will tell you lasts 10 months, when we spend more time playing indoors. It's great to watch everyone having fun together with Sophia as the social coordinator. Katie and Ceci are now becoming part of the action with their sisters and are able to participate more in the games of school (with Sophia as teacher) and High School Musical or Hannah Montana as they are growing up.

Our family room mantel transforms from Polly Pocketville into a stage in the evenings. Here is Sophia with her back up dancers Katie and Ceci singing a selection from High School Musical. Ella looks like she's playing the part of a crew member. Sophia probably instructed her to clear out the books so the talent doesn't slip.

Here is Sophia giving Katie a horsey ride. Ella kept trying with Ceci, but had less success.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sweet Katie

Katie is a very sensitive little girl.

It's fascinating to watch the emotional roller coaster she's on while watching tv. She has this pained look on her face watching Dora and Boots run away from grumpy trolls and yells "Oh No Dora!" multiple times during a half hour show. When Swiper Fox jumps out from behind a bush she gets very upset and says "OH NO! OH NO! OH NO!". When Mickey Mouse falls off a building or gets hit by Goofy's jalopy she is visibly upset "Oh No Mickey!!!" It really is exhausting to watch. After a 30 min cartoon she looks like I felt walking out of Schindler's List. She hasn't figured out yet that in the end Dora and Boots accomplish exactly three tasks safely and make it to the gumdrop mountain unscathed. I guess it does make sense for her to be concerned for the safety of a five year old girl roaming the jungle with only her pet monkey and no adult supervision in sight.
I took this of the girls watching tv Saturday morning in their pjs (don't ask why Ella is wearing a bow because I have no clue. She probably slept in it. I swear I don't stick bows in her hair when she comes down for breakfast). Ella and Sophia have the standard blank stare telling the world that they are watching tv and their brains have totally powered down. Katie has that little furrowed brow and clenched fist waiting for something terrible to happen to one of her tv friends.
She is also the first one to comfort her sisters if they are crying. Ella will burst into tears at whatever horrible thing I have done to ruin her life at that moment like given her the wrong color cup or cut her sandwich in half and while Rick and I completely ignore outburst number 1,452 for the day Katie will say "Oh no Ella!" and run over with a stuffed animal or a hug for her.

Katie is our little nurturer.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Halloweens Past

Since I just started blogging this year I thought I'd add pictures from Halloweens past. It's fun to see some of the costumes recycled.


Sophia 9 months old


Trick-or-Treating on Southport while we still lived in Chicago. Sophia was adorable. She got the hang of it pretty quickly and ran from store to store yelling "twick or tweat!"


I remember taking this picture and Sophia refused to let me hold her Skittles. She agreed to hold them to the side, but would not let them out of her grip. I don't think she was clear on the concept that there was A LOT more candy to come.

You can see Rick making goofy faces reflected in the window. Since he saw these pictures he refuses to try to get the girls to smile when they are sitting on our front steps where most of our photo ops happen.


This was the best shot I got of all four girls. Katie and Ceci had zero interest in sitting still for a picture. Sophia and Ella were determined to get them to sit and smile because I told them no trick-or-treating until I got a picutre that I never got.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Progress Report

We got Ella's report card for preschool yesterday.

She got mostly 2's which means making progress. They never get 3's until the end of the year. I guess that's to show how much progress they made during the year learning how to line up squares and count to twenty. It's pages of academic and practical skills and characterisitics. She did get a couple of 3's though:

Hand washing (When she was two I remember telling Rick I was worried there were some OCD issues since she LOVED washing her hands. So glad all that practice paid off)

Snack table

Singing with Sister Henrica

That's my girl!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Master Negotiator

The great candy negotiations began Saturday and have been ongoing ever since. I think Sophia could wear down the UN with her torturous jockeying for more candy. She never lets up. I'm convinced she lies in bed at night coming up with strategies to get more. She has really stepped up her game from last year and I think we may offer her services to the Israel/Palestine conflict. This 5yr old could get that mess solved. They wouldn't know what hit them.

me: After dinner you may have one piece of candy.

S: ok, how much EXACTLY do I have to eat to get candy?

me: three big bites of chicken and all your broccoli.

S: (with a very full mouth) Done. How many pieces?

me: one

S: How about five?

me: one

S: I just LOVE these TWO. I can't choose. PLEASE may I have just two pieces?

me: one

S: What about two very small Jolly Ranchers? they are TINY.

me: ok, that sounds reasonable.

S: But I really don't like Jolly Ranchers. SO how about one small Jolly Rancher and one very small candy bar.

me: no

S: But these are mini candy bars. Not as big as the other ones I was going to have.

me: OK. ONE small candy bar and ONE Jolly rancher.

S: But two Jolly Ranchers make up one small candy bar so how about two Jolly Ranchers and one mini candy bar.

(Ella has already finished her ONE mini 3 Muskateers bar and is watching amazed at Sophia's progress)

me: Fine, but that's it!

Ella: Why does Sophia get THREE!

me: ok, you may have one more since yours was a medium sized candy bar.

Sophia: so do I get one more small one since Ella gets two BIG ones? that's not fair! I should get 4 mini candies to Ella's 2 medium ones.

By this time I have pretty much given up. She has totally worn me down. And she knows it.

Monday, November 3, 2008


This was a BIG evening in our house. Sophia and Ella had been counting down the days. Katie and Ceci were just excited to get to finally wear their costumes. They were clueless about the amount of candy that was about to be showered on them.

We had a snow princess, batgirl, Elmo and Cookie Monster.
Sophia saw the costume in a catalogue and HAD to have it. The week before Halloween had been quite chilly so in preparation I had told Sophia that I was pretty sure snow princesses wore Ugg boots since it's so cold and snowy where they reign. She went for it however this deception backfired on me when it was almost 70 degrees at trick-or-treat time and she held firm that to be an accurate snow princess she HAD to wear snow boots. You can see them peeking out of the bottom of her dress:

Ella must have seen a batgirl costume in a catalogue and had her heart set on it. She never wavered so in a sea of princesses we had batgirl. She was running around saying "da na na na na na na na...BATGIRL!"
When I saw her buddy Sean was batman it made a little more sense to me why she was determined to be a superhero.Katie and Ceci were the ones I could still pick costumes for. As I remembered Halloween as a child being forced by my mom, who I was sure was trying to ruin my Halloween, to wear a coat over my costume I thought head-to-toe fleece would be a great idea. Unfortunately, I'm sure they were sweltering, but their astonishment at going door to door for candy took over and they didn't seem to mind. After each house they would look at whoever the nearest adult was hold up their candy and say "OPEN!" They wanted to stop and eat each piece of candy as it came in.

They loved their costumes. They kept looking at each other and cracking up saying "Cookie! Elmo!" and hugging. It was really sweet.