Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Gracie's 1st Birthday

As with tradition, I made Grace's birthday cake... 
with an individual cupcake for her to enjoy on her own.
I had a lot of help from Owen.

Grace's "whole-orange" cake on her FIRST birthday!

looking excited...

Grace didn't need to  be persuaded to eat her cupcake... she dove RIGHT IN.

And what's a birthday without a few presents to open?
new clothes from Aunt Dorothy...

Luke drew a picture of him teaching Gracie how to walk. 
Evelyn gathered up a few books and items from around the house that weren't needed and were more suitable for Grace: mainly cardboard touch & feel books, My Little Ponies and a few other random items for Grace to appreciate. 

Miss Grace is 1!

Miss Grace,
Sometimes I still can't believe that we are lucky enough to have gotten you. 
A few things about YOU as you turn 1...
You reach out and grab onto any & every thing you can get your hands on. 

When you first look at me or your dad you'll make good eye contact and then turn your head away shyly. 

The Nuk is a permanent fixture... Almost like an appendage from your face. And it's essential. 
We love how you'll snatch it and jab it in.  If it's put in upside down you will give a look of disgust and quickly turn it around. 

Likewise, you quickly spit it out when you are close to food or see someone eating. 
You. LOVE. Food!
There isn't much you don't like at this point. (Maybe not straight up avocado or cucumbers) but you don't mind tomatoes, any squash & sweet potatoes, grapes, clementines (ANY fruit), breads, chunks of meat, beans, cheese... 
You name it!

You enjoy being outside. You REALLY enjoy riding in the baby carrier on a hike and you still don't mind the other baby carrier when we walk to get Kaden from kindergarten. 

You like to have me in your sight and you do not like to be left alone in a room. 

We still can't determine your eye color. Hazel? Gray?

You can get around, even if you don't technically "walk" yet. 
You even like to wrestle your brothers- especially Owen. 

Owen likes to "play with you."
Kaden likes it when you try to walk to him. 

You are happy in the mornings and we (Owen, Kaden, and I) greet you with the phrase, "good morning sleep-sack!" Due to your sleep apparatus... and then we just say it now regardless of whether or not you are in it that morning. 

 Your hair is awesome. I love it!! Cute curls after your bath. 
I have had to start putting a barrette in to keep your bangs off your eyelashes. 

Your hemangioma is camouflaged by your hair AND it's starting to fade.

You have 6 teeth (4 up top with 2 on the bottom). 
You like to growl. 

You are the BEST and have made our family complete. 
We absolutely LOVE you, Gracie Dow!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Snow Creations with Daddy

One of the boys' favorite things to do in the snow is to make snow (men?) with daddy.
When Ben shoveled the front walk he piled most of the snow in one area, which proved to be a good starting point for a snowman.  When shaping a snowman, he quickly realized the shape was already more like Star Wars' Jaba the Hut...
Gracie mad at not being able to play in the snow.
posing with Jaba

Monday, December 28, 2015

It's Called "Magic Monday"

I think the term "Magic Monday" actually started when I was pregnant with Grace and in extreme need of a nap.  If I had a full day with the kids (Kaden + Owen) and was feeling exhausted, I would literally go to Julie's house and take a nap.  I know that sounds crazy, but we would try to get all of the kids down, or let Kaden & Luke play quietly and it was so much more relaxing to know that another adult was there (with patience) if someone woke up early or decided NOT to nap.

Don't get me wrong... it wasn't JUST about taking a nap but also having another ADULT to talk to during the day.  

Magic Monday has somewhat evolved over the past 18-months...
 school time for Owen and Evelyn to learn their letters and counting to 10...

Around October it also became "crafting Monday" as the kids needed Halloween costumes.
day 1 of the mummy costume

 day 2

November turned more into a cooking month and trying new ideas and recipes...
"Hey, let's learn how to make a killer apple pie with lattice crust!"

November also included processing over a 15 pumpkins into purees... 
Because Sarah couldn't stand to see the pumpkin patch plow them under.
AND because, 
"Why not... it'll be fun... what other projects do we have going on?" 
(What we said in the beginning.)

 Mondays have even evolved a bit.

"Hey... since you two aren't doing anything on Monday (big-girl jobs)... 
Would you mind x,y,z for me?...."

 Here we are cutting fabric and hot gluing it onto string/sticks to make a cake centerpiece for Laura's birthday cake.

 Notice Grace under the ironing board.
And notice the grandma housecoat and stocking cap... Julie's house can be quite COLD in the winter!

Mondays might also include haircuts for the kids... 

In December we tried our hand at homemade friend gifts again.

Hot bags (filled with uncooked rice).

Another idea that sounded "quick and easy"... and tested our friendship as we worked into the dark hours of the night.  ;)

While napping might not happen as much anymore, 
Mondays are still quite magical as we are usually being creative-- with crafts or testing new recipes in the kitchen-- and having FUN, getting to stay home with our kids.  

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Owen is 4!

Owen Dow
We can't believe that you are FOUR!
You and Grace had your birthday wellness visits together.  
At four, you are 40.5" (3 ft. 4 1/2 in.) and weigh 34 lbs., 8 oz., putting you at exactly the 50th percentile for both height and weight.

Before our visit you asked if you had to get shots... 
I deflected the question for as long as I could because I didn't want you to fixate on it and stress out.  I finally broke the bad news to you when we were sitting in the office.  At first you took it pretty well and started bargaining (something you've just begun to do more and more), 
"How about we don't do shots today..."
You finally resigned to the fact that you weren't going to get out of the shots but some type of compensation was going to be necessary (a sucker, a donut, etc).  Fair enough. 

After Dr. Fletcher checked you out from head to toe and proclaimed you to be "perfectly perfect," you were totally calm and relaxed... until his nurse swept back into the room with 6 needles in her hand (4 for Grace and 2 for you).  You. Totally. Panicked.
"NOPE.  No.  This is a bad idea. No. I don't want to do shots."
While it was mildly entertaining listening to you (I also felt a little bad), the whole ordeal was over in less than 30 seconds.  As I was pulling up your jeans you decided, 
"OK... we're getting donuts, right?"

(Darth Vadar helmet on Christmas morning.)
You also have a great amount of patience and can delay gratification. 
After your shots, you got to choose a donut from The Donut Stop.  I knew that we had a couple of stops before going home so I told you that you could carefully eat your donut in the back seat.  
You opened the bag on your lap to peek at your prize before replying, "No... I'm going to wait until I can eat it at the bar."
I vacuumed and washed the car and made another stop to feed a friend's dog before we pulled into our garage 20 minutes later.  You carried your bag in, got your animal plate and finally proceeded to slowly eat your donut at the bar.
I smiled.
As you can see, you LOVE to dress up in costumes and play make believe. 
Bumble Bee costume from Drew @ Christmas.

You're a great kitchen helper.  You like to dump measured items into the bowl and like to stir everything together... and, of course, you wait for a taste and love to lick the beaters.

rolling out pizza dough for dinner

As far as eating goes, you are more adventurous than most 4-year-olds.  If you won't commit to the whole dish, I can persuade you to at least try one bite and then decide whether or not you want to keep eating it.  More times than not, you'll keep eating it.  

You just might be the slowest eater we have ever encountered.  It can be pizza or it can be curry... you don't want to be rushed and more often than not, you are still sitting at the dinner table completely alone long after everyone else has finished their meal.  
The promise of dessert doesn't seem to prompt you to eat faster either; many times you can take it or leave it. 
We still consider your our blanket baby.  You have always wrapped yourself up in the softest blankets in the house, so it was fitting that Nonnie got you a new "soft blankie" for Christmas.  
Every morning you stumble into the kitchen wearing your blankie like a cloak.
newest "soft blankie"

You are funny and definitely have a playful personality.
You repeat funny lines from movies and wait for a reaction.
You've also been known to parade (or bear crawl) through the house naked until someone says something about it.  
Middle-child starved for attention?  We're not sure. 

When we give you a job, you are a hard worker and usually keep going until you finish (i.e. stamping all of the Christmas cards, coloring a page, or creating a bead project).  
You are definitely a hard worker. 

Owen David Dow... you are a bright light in our lives.  
We love you more than anything.