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Sophia Says

I first asked S this list of questions when she was three and a half (I didn’t know about them when she was three, or I would have asked her then)…well, I continued when her 4th birthday rolled around and here’s what she said (answers that stayed the same are in blue):

1. What is your favorite color? Pink

2. What is your favorite toy? hedgehog (stuffed animal)

3. What is your favorite fruit? pineapple…actually, banana

4. What is your favorite tv show? Dora & Thomas

5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? carrots

6. What is your favorite outfit? Princess dress

7. What is your favorite game? Candyland

8. What is your favorite snack? Cheeze-its

9. What is your favorite animal? Dolphins

10. What is your favorite song? Old MacDonald

11. What is your favorite book? If I Ran the Zoo

12. Who is your best friend? Alyse, Isla and a girl she met at the park (once).

13. What is your favorite cereal? Chocolate Cheerios

14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Go down my slide

15. What is your favorite drink? milk

16. What is your favorite holiday? Valentine’s Day

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Rosco the kitty (she named him)

18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Chocolate Cheerios

19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Scallops

20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Princess

These questions were asked on June 26, 2012. S is 4 years old.

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Mermaid Party

A few, ok, MANY months ago, I started looking around on the internet for ideas for S’s 4th birthday party. This was right about the time that I discovered the glorious PINTEREST site and the creative juices just started flowing. I thought it would be so cool to do a mermaid theme for S. When I asked her about it, she said, “you mean, Ariel?” Uh, no hon…no Disney princess mermaids…just real (?) old-fashioned mermaids, the kind that swim in the ocean with glittery tails.¬† So we had a quick mermaid lesson and I continued perusing the internet for ideas. What came about was something like this…

Free banner from inkgarden.com

Purple and Aqua Color Scheme

Free sign from VistaPrint

My version of no-sew mermaid tails (fabric from distinctivefabrics.com)

Cake from Craigs Cake Shop

Foam mermaid crowns and stickers (Michael’s) for decorating when the girls arrived. You can also see S’s special seashell chair (wishworks.com)

Starfish hairpin from a seller on etsy. I had one too, but it broke off the pin before I could even use it, so I just stuck the end of the starfish in my hair and it worked well.

Duct tape on the water bottles to match the color scheme.

Favor boxes (amazon.com) with Rock Candy, Salt Water Taffy (Kara’s Party Shoppe) and bubbles.

Mermaid in a bubble activity.

Buried treasure dig. Love my dad for getting into it with the girls and helping out!

Ring toss game. Floaty animals from Party City.

Girls making their crowns. Bubble machine was a hit!

I didn’t get a shot of all the food (and I also didn’t have time to make labels for all the food like I had planned), but we served octopus hotdogs, peanut butter and jellyfish sandwiches, mermaid juice (kool-aid), seashell pasta salad and fruit salad (which was supposed to be starfish fruit salad, but apparently it is not starfruit season). I also had submarine sandwiches for the adults.

The “crew”

S posing with her mermaid cake and her birthday shirt (etsy).

It was so much fun to plan this event for S. I know she and her little mermaid friends had lots of fun. I definitely couldn’t have pulled this off without the help of J and his bro and SIL and my parents. They were my set-up and demolition crew and so much help in between! It was a lot of work, but lots of fun, too. I joked off and on during the day that next year it’s going to be a Chuck E Cheese party…but I kind of doubt that once I get back on pinterest and start thinking about the next party!

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ImageThis past weekend we spent the day with Thomas. Not just any Thomas, mind you, THE Thomas. You know, the TRAIN? As I expected, S had entirely too much fun meeting the real, live Thomas and his trusty pal, Sir Topham Hatt.

I wasn’t even aware of this event until my dad told me about it. And he found out about it because his company has the honor of hauling Mr. Thomas all around the country this summer as he makes his appearances at railroad museums. I even found out that they require that Thomas be loaded on the trailer backwards so that his eyes are facing out and can greet little ones along the road! How fun!

Anyway, back to the day…there was so much to see and do and the 25 minute train ride was a great finale to the day. There was a Thomas storytime/book reading area, model train demonstrations, magic shows, a meet and greet with Sir Topham Hatt, temporary tattoos, an arts and crafts area…and that was just the indoors activities (nice and air-conditioned, too!). Outside there was a bounce house and a slide, a sandbox and jungle gym area, a hay bale maze, gift shop, food tent, and a nursing/diaper changing area. It was definitely geared for the little ones and staffed by very helpful volunteers. We were so impressed by how organized everything was. It was very well done. They even had photographers set up at the key locations to take your group photos, which you could look up later online or view in the gift shop….which reminds me, I still need to look ours up online.

S was elated to meet Sir Topham Hatt and was not afraid of her first real “character” experience. She went right up and held his hand. And when we got there, Thomas was making his rounds around the track and she was yelling and waving like he was her best friend.

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You have to purchase your ticket for a certain boarding time. Ours was 12:15. If I had to do it again (and we likely will next year), I’d get a slightly earlier time for the train and get there earlier for the activities. Everyone was getting tuckered out by lunch time.

Plenty of restrooms and room for strollers, definitely a very family friendly event. It was so fun to see S so excited about meeting him. She was pretty tired when we got back to the car (kids were both asleep by the time we rolled out of the parking lot), but she said, “I want to come back tomorrow!” Oh, and parking…there’s a shuttle that you can take in, but we just parked across the street next to the school and walked the two blocks in to the museum. Easy peasy!

And in case you were wondering…I did not hear any of the stick-in-your-head Thomas songs during the day, just some nice, soothing music on the train ride. ūüôā

They’re two they’re four they’re six they’re eight. Shunting trucks and hauling freight…

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tap tap. Ah, poor neglected blog. Much like many other poor, neglected things in my life right now. My house, the yard, my weight loss program…the list goes on. There is just not enough time in the day or in the weekend for that matter. In an attempt to have ONE “What have we been up to?” post in between the Mylestone updates (which I seriously have to force myself to write…no time, no time!), I give you the D Family events¬†recap:

We’ve¬†been sick. That’s about it in a nutshell. I know, how boring. ¬†J with bronchitis, me with some form of sinus infection, M with double EIs and now S, off to the doctor today with daddy after complaining at night that her ear hurt, is the likely next candidate for some antibiotics. We’ve spent more money¬†at Wags this past month than I care to admit (although most of that comes off of our Benny card…love that!). It seems that as soon as the nice weather hit, we all caught a bug of some kind.

Speaking of the weather, how glorious to have 70/80 degree temps in MARCH! Yup, good ‘ol WI weather, sure never know what to expect. Once I heard the forecast for the week, I dove into closets and boxes and started pulling tags off of all the kids’ summer clothes. It was so much fun. Seriously. I LOVE getting them ready for new seasons and pulling out all my bargin finds.

S has been enjoying all things outdoors…chalk, trips to the park, walks on the nature trail, backyard fun. And Myles has¬†taken his first swing at the park and discovered the weirdness of grass. He’s totally perplexed by it, it’s really kind of funny.

This early summer-like weather has me thinking of all the fun things we want to do this summer.¬†Trips up north, swimming¬†lessons,¬†storybook ballet¬†(S is totally game for another round!), library trips, setting up the pool in the backyard,¬†strawberry picking, etc., etc. Oh, and one big birthday bash for a certain little man who will be turning ONE and a special little lady turning FOUR. Yeah,¬†mommy’s been planning some splashy¬†good fun (in all my spare time). And with spring break quickly approaching (thank gawd!), I’m hoping this weather streak will continue and we can partake in picnics and trips to the zoo and all kinds of outdoor fun things very soon!¬†

So, not much of an exciting read, but it makes me feel better to get a post out there. And what would a post be without some pics of the kiddos? ‘Til next time…

the cracker clan

mmm…mangoes. and dare I say “I’ll have the roast duck with the mango salsa” in my best caveman voice?

S’s new picnic table courtesy of our awesome neighbors!

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Just The Ladies

I took S to her very first ever theater performance today. We saw the Eric Carle story montage at the Overture Center. The story, well three actually, was very entertaining. It was all done with puppetry, black lights and music. The place was filled with kids that were entertained by three of Mr. Carle’s stories: The Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear Brown Bear, and Papa Please Get the Moon for Me. S has the first two books, so we were very excited about those two. Mr. Caterpillar was a big hit and the kids cheered him on when he came on stage.

Here’s us getting ready to leave before for the show.

Once we were there, we took in all the oranate details of the Capitol Theatre. It was my first time at this particular theater. We’d been to Overture Hall for a handful of performances (J and I), but never to the Capitol Theater. I liked the more intimate setting and the cool detailed ceiling and velvet lounge chairs along the walls.

Then we headed in to find our seats. S was excited and couldn’t sit in her’s very long¬† for my shot that I had to have.¬†¬† I even got in trouble by the usher lady who warned that no photos were allowed during the show. Relax lady, just trying to caputure a memory here.

After making friends with our pint-sized neighbors, the lights dimmed and the show was on. We stayed for a few minutes of the aftershow where they explained all their puppetry secrets and then we headed to lunch. I let S pick the spot and she wanted the Great Dane. Fine with me!  S was very into coloring while she waited for her mac n cheese.

I really enjoyed spending the afternoon with Miss S. She’s getting so¬†big and is so much fun to be around. It was nice just to have some “girl time”, too. Thanks for a fun time, Sophia!

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Snow Fun

Seeing how Miss S is feeling a bit under the weather today, I thought I’d post about our time a few weekends ago when she was feeling GREAT about the weather and itching to get outside and use her beloved sled. Yup, our little WI gal not able to use the sled until JANUARY. Not that I’M complaining. I sure didn’t miss the shoveling and driving in sloppy, slippery messes. But I think the kids were missing the white stuff.

S and I headed to the park across the street and found a “bunny hill” for her trial run down the slopes in a sled. Part of my mommy brain wondered if she should be wearing a helmet. Aren’t kids wearing helmets for everything these days? Considering that there are no obstacles on this particular hill, I dismissed my over-protective thoughts and tried to psych S up for her first ride.

I think I was likely more scared than S was, so I took a deep breath and sent her on her way down the hill. She had fun! The hard part was climbing back up the hill. We got stuck on one part and S didn’t care for that too much. She did a few more runs and then decided it was time to hit up the park. Because snow-covered parks are so much fun.

Such a big girl on those swings! Check out that cool koala bear hat, a fun Christmas gift that she loves!

Since this snow wasn’t snowball or snowman worthy, she decided a snow angel was in order.

It was nice to spend an hour outside with my little peanut. I feel like I never get time to spend with her like I used to since Mr. M always needs my attention. I think I need to buy a bigger sled so we can cruise those hills together!

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New ‘Do, Too

Not to be outdone by her younger sib, S decided she wanted in on the haircutting fun, too. Actually, it was more of mom and dad initiated. When we asked her if she wanted her hair trimmed she said no because she thought it would hurt. After a little explaination, she was game so I called and set up an appointment.

She had fun going to a salon. They put a booster on the regular chair and she got to wear a smock adorned with little monsters getting their coifs trimmed. We had coached her about sitting really still and she mentioned to Miss B about a hundred times that she was going to sit still. She had fun jabbering to Miss B about all kinds of things.

We didn’t do anything drastic, just trimmed the ends. I’m still contemplating getting a few inches cut off since her hair is really getting long. All in all, a good first hair cut experience!

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The start of a new year always feels so refreshing to me. It’s a time to let the past be the past and look forward to a new year full of possibilities. Saying good-bye to 2011 was not that hard for me. Yes, 2011 brought us our little man to delight us and that was truly wonderful. For that, I am thankful to 2011. I am not so thankful for the political nature of our state that took a toll on my family and friends and put the profession of educating our youth in such a bad light. So, for that, I say, adios 2011…here’s to changing things up in 2012 and giving us new reason to hope!

We rang in the new year in our traditional style. J cooked up yummy things in the kitchen (lobster ravioli, in fact) and we munched on appetizers wearing our NYE hats, much to S’s delight. She even got to stay up and enjoy the festivities this year, thanks to a late afternoon nap. S is all about “parties” right now, so she had fun staying up late with Daddy. Myles and I didn’t quite make it ’til midnight, but I did wake up a bit when I heard S and Daddy cheering “Happy New Year!” downstairs.

So, a new year. Got any resolutions? I think my word of the year is going to be “declutter”. I’m hoping this will apply to all areas of my life…my house, my body, finances, etc., etc.

Best wishes for a wonderfully happy and healthy 2012!

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Note: this post was obviously written awhile back. I wanted to get it out while it was still 2011! Happy New Year everyone! ūüôā

Getting ready for the holidays while working full time and raising a baby and a three year old is a little hectic. Ok, A LOT hectic. I really have to put my OCD, clean-freak tendencies aside as my house sits in a state of disaster. Weekends are a whirlwind of activities, laundry, grocery shopping, meal preparing, holiday decorating, card envelope licking (really, could they put a better tasting flavor on those?? ick!), nose wiping, diaper changing, cold coffee sipping, Christmas tree getting and decorating kinds of things. Whew. It’s exhausting.

Last weekend we had plans to get the tree on Saturday, but it rained all day. (Yup…rain….still no snow in these parts!) So after a morning of advent calendar opening and lounging around in our snowman jammies and santa hats….

we went to our town’s pancake breakfast instead. Still plenty of holiday festivities there. Even the man in red made an appearance. It was the kids first encounter with Santa. M was unfazed, but S wasn’t about to sit on his lap. She inched in for pic and that was as close as she got.

Sunday as the only day left to get the tree. The parking lot was a mud pit. People were slipping and sliding all over the place, but we managed to bundle everyone up and select “the” tree.

S thought it was pretty neat that the tree was on the roof of our car and had fun hanging up the ornaments this year. I think she asked “Is this fragile?” for every one.

We kind of “cheated” St. Nick’s visit this year and had him come on Saturday night so the kids could enjoy looking through their stocking on Sunday morning without having to rush off to school. Myles had fun eating his stocking (look at that pre-haircut mop!).

So, we are somehow managing to get ready for Christmas. I’m not sure how the last-minute gift shopping and present wrapping is going to happen, but we’ll figure out something. It’s a fun time of year and I plan to focus on that. S is enjoying the special things about Christmas even more this year.¬† And we are milking the “nice list” for all it’s worth.

Just a few of my favorite things this year are this ornament I made from a pinterest idea. It was rather difficult to get this result, but I’m glad I made the attempt.

The other thing I’m loving is our mantle with our family stockings. Now that our family is complete, I was so excited to purchase a set of stockings with all of our names on them. I also got a really good deal on them, buying them off-season, so that makes them even more special to me. I love looking at the kids’ stockings and smiling at their names side-by-side. We are so lucky to have Miss S and Mr. M in our lives!

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Sophia Says

photo by Andrea Paradowski

So I just found these questions on pinterest and the idea is that you ask your child (starting at age 3) these same questions every year on their birthday. At some point you can compile them into a book or some other crafty way of sharing your little one’s responses over the years.

Since S already celebrated #3, I figured I’d better ask them now, just to have a record of her three year old thoughts. This is what she said:

 1. What is your favorite color? Purple

2. What is your favorite toy? yo-yo (she doesn’t even have a yo-yo)

3. What is your favorite fruit? mangoes

4. What is your favorite tv show? Dora The Explorer

5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? carrots & breadsticks

6. What is your favorite outfit? Ariel (Little Mermaid) pjs

7. What is your favorite game?  Parcheesi

8. What is your favorite snack? fruit snacks

9. What is your favorite animal? elephant…no! giraffe

10. What is your favorite song? Dora The Explorer

11. What is your favorite book? On The Night You Were Born (a book that was just given to her that day)

12. Who is your best friend? Myles (awwww!)

13. What is your favorite cereal? Chocolate Cheerios

14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? jump around with a jump rope at Christmas and slide around on my sled and go to the park in my snowsuit.

15. What is your favorite drink? juice & milk

16. What is your favorite holiday? Thanksgiving & Christmas

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? stuffed animals (Moose & Mouse)

18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? donuts…with frosting and sprinkles

19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Hot dogs

20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Cinderella

These questions were asked on November 17, 2011. S is 3 years and 5 months old.

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