Happy Birthday Kyra

Kyra is 4 years old today! We actually celebrated her birthday over the weekend so family could join in on the festivities, but today is her day. I remember last year she was so disappointed her birthday was over that she began planning her next birthday and kept asking when it would be. Thankfully those little ones have short term memory, and she soon forgot to ask me on a daily basis, but now the day arrived. We had a small party with the hub's side of the family and celebrated with her choice of dinner....CORN! When I asked her what she would like with the corn, she replied "nothing else, just corn." She is my husband's daughter! So we had corn, of course we did elaborate a little. I didn't think the rest of the family would be satisfied with a single item for dinner. For dessert we had a Hello K.itty cake (that seems to be her favorite character these days). And of course she had her gifts. I think her favorite gift was a little glass beaded bracelet. The hardest part of the evening was consoling Katie who didn't understand why she didn't receive any presents. She went as far to even try and take her sister's birthday cards away. I had to resurrect Katie's old birthday cards just to appease her for the moment.
All in all it was a great evening filled with smiles and laughter. And tonight we will celebrate again by taking her out sans sister to dinner and a movie (her first!).

Happy Birthday Kyra,

You are a beautiful little girl, whom we love so much. Every day you make us smile with your creativity and joy for life. You are so excited for school to start in a couple of weeks and have been practicing by filling your backpack and pretending what it will be like in the classroom. You are great with other kids, and love to make friends with other children at the playground. You are social, yet cautious. You love to color and paint, and stay in the lines of a coloring book using only the colors the objects are supposed to be (have been for some time). You love to dress up and play princess with your sister. You make up creative names during role play and love to dance and twirl in your dresses. You are growing up so quickly and at times I can already get a glimpse of the adult in you. We love you and hope this year is full of many more firsts and great discoveries.

Love, Mom

TTT - Olympic Version

The short ones have been chattin it up this week, here's a couple of the things they said:

While turning on the TV:
Kyra: Mom, I don't want to watch Sesame Stre*et.
Mom: What do you want to watch?
Kyra: The Olympids.
Mom: Wow. You liked it that much, huh? Well, I don't think they are on right now. What did you want to watch? The swimming or diving?
Kyra: No, I want to watch the gymnadics.
(I just loved how she pronounced those. And was very impressed that she would want to watch anything other than cartoons.)

While watching the olympics:
Mom: Isn't that stadium amazing (looking at the bird's nest)?
Katie: (she catches view of the torch) Mommy, let's woast mashmellows!
(I think that marshmellow would be a little toasty!)

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Backpack Backpack

Several people have asked me if I've gotten a backpack for Kyra for preschool. I honestly hadn't thought much about it. I mean I know it will be her first year of school, but it's not like she'll have any homework (right? they don't give homework to 4 year olds do they?). So, I kind of dismissed the idea. However, a few days ago I received a note from her teacher with a list of things she will need on the first day of school...one of them being a backpack (the other thing was tissue paper, big list I know). They really only need it to put dry clothes in (for emergencies), but need one nonetheless. Thus, the search for a backpack began.

We started at Wal*mart, simply because that's where I was shopping for a few choice items. I browsed along the mile long aisle of book bags, only to surmise that they were either the whole length of her body, or were covered in commercialization. Now, I don't mind if she has a pair of Arie*le underwear or H*ello Kitty slippers, but a backpack? I don't want to have to feed into that more than she already extracts on her own. So, I dragged Kyra out of the store and told her we would keep looking.

The thing is, we went to K*ohl's, Me*ijer, Targ*et...and guess what? Every single store has backpacks covered in TV show paraphernalia. It was disgusting. And of course, every time she found one that she liked, I said no. I know Kyra was getting a little frustrated, because heaven knows she would love to have a bag with the three Disn*ey princesses on it, but they are so gaudy! And I don't mean to offend anyone, if they do happen to let their children pick out their own backpack, but I just can't let myself do it. I want my daughter to be excited about her first day of school, but there is a limit to how far I'll go.

I did find a few that were relatively safe. There was the pink camouflage, and the one with a turtle on it. Of course she didn't like any of those. Thankfully, she didn't like the ones with H*annah Mont*ana on it either, because she seems to be on the face of just about everything. But she did like the Br*atz one and we certainly weren't going to go there. Seriously, why do these stores make it so difficult for a parent to say "no" to their children? I certainly didn't want to search anymore, so we finally compromised on a pink polka dotted cupcake backpack with a cherry on top. Not my top pick, but acceptable. And she bore a smile as we left the store. Of course as we were leaving Katie wanted one too. I just had to say, "that's enough for one day Katie, you still have 2 more years before we have to go through this again!"

Tiny Talk Tuesday

The small ones in the house keep us laughing. Here's a few of the things they said this week:

While getting ready to go to the beach:
Kyra: Daddy, I want to wear a zucchini.
Dad: Do you mean a bikini?
Kyra: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.
(a bikini isn't much, but wearing a zucchini would be even less!)

In the car:
Kyra: Mom, Josh lost his tooth right?
Mom: Yes, he sure did.
Kyra: Did he get a grown up tooth then?
Mom: Yep.
Kyra: Does that mean he's a grown up?
(I bet his mom is glad that loosing a tooth doesn't entail that turning point!)

Going down the stairs:
(Kyra steps on Katie's dress on purpose to keep her from going further down the stairs)
Katie: (turns around) Don't Keewa. That hurts me.
(Okay, maybe that wasn't that funny, but the way she said it was so cute and the fact she didn't turn around and scream at her sister and instead used her words, was monumental -considering most of the time she whines to get her way.)

If you want to read more tiny talk, just visit Mary's

Friday Foto's

Black Eyed Susan Vine

Reseeding Snapdragons

Sick Day

Maybe the end isn't near, but the head pressure and antsy kids jumpin on this momma while on the couch sure feels like it!

Binki Blues

Now that vacations are done, and we have the month of August relatively free any responsibilities (before school starts that is), I thought I should work on Katie a bit. Being now that she is 2 1/2 and still uses a pacifier to go to bed, sleeps in a crib, and hasn't started potty training, I thought I should work on one of those things. Although Kyra was in an adult sized bed when she was only 18 months, I still like the control of having the crazy one enclosed in her own quarters for the time being. And potty training, although feasible, seems like a bigger task then I'm willing to tackle (not to mention she has the con*stipation issues that might make the whole process harder - that's a whole other story). So, taking away the pacifier won the final verdict.

Taking away the binki with Kyra was a relatively easy task. She was exactly 2 years old, and we simply snipped a hole in it while she wasn't looking. She took one look at it, said it's broken, and wanted nothing more to do with it. She never cried over it or asked for another one. Easy peasy!

I've known from the start it wouldn't be that easy with Katie. For one, history is a good indicator. She had a difficult time transitioning from a bottle to a cup, and an even harder time from warm milk to cold (let's just say she boycotted fluids for 36 hours to the point of being limp!) This is a strong willed child, who doesn't give up without a fight. Anyway, unless I am willing to let her bring a binki to her first day of class, the time to take it away is now.

So, I took the same approach I took with Kyra. I cut a fine hole in the binki then put it back in her bed. When naptime arrived, she grabbed her binki and shoved it in her mouth. Of course something didn't feel right, so she looked at it strangely and gave it to me. "Oh sorry honey, it must be broken, do you want to throw it away?" Oddly, she said yes (aha my plan was going better than expected). Of course after she herself threw the binki away, she wanted "anoder." When I told her there wasn't any more, she wanted her's back from the trash. We battled back and forth, until she weepinly agreed to sleep with a stuffed piggy. Ten minutes later I heard screaming from her room, in which I came back to find all of her stuffed animals thrown out of her crib, and a red faced girl, screaming "NO PIGGY! BINKY!" After close to an hour, she finally went to bed.

I was so close to buying another binki, thinking I can't go through with this. My only hope was knowing this too shall pass. Of course today is day 4 of the journey, and she still went to bed crying. The crying is lessoning with each day, but I do hate to see a child cry to sleep. Thankfully Kyra was kind enough to share her favorite stuffed animal "doggy" (I know, we certainly are creative with names) to help her get to sleep. So, hopefully by the end of the week, she should be a pro at falling asleep on her own. And with that mastered, potty training should be a breeze!

Tiny Talk Tuesday

The short ones are chattin away, here's some of the comments they've made recently:

While on vacation:
(Kyra sees her cousin walk up the steps in a nightgown)
Kyra: Mom!! Mom, look what Ellie is wearing. She has on a PJ dress. I didn't even know they made such a thing. Can I get one of those?
(If Kyra likes anything, it's dresses and pj's. The two of them combined together, what could be better?)

While at the store looking for a nightgown:
Kyra: Do you see any pj dresses?
Mom: Not yet, but did you know those were called nightgown's?
Kyra: Well, I call them pj dresses (she said rather emphatically).

While playing in the living room:
Katie: No, no baby! Go to time out (she was holding a baby in her lap).
Kyra: Why is she in time out?
Katie: Uhh, beeecaause....I no no? (interpretation- I don't know)
(I was just impressed that she used the word because. Her vocabulary has been soaring lately.)

While on Uncle's boat going for a joy ride:
Uncle: (honk honk, he had just honked the horn on the boat for kicks)
Auntie: Katie, what was that?
Katie: Ooo, Ooo! A choo choo train! (she then proceeds to whip her head all around to search for the train, while everyone on the boat giggled as she continued to search).
Uncle: (honk honk)
Katie: Ooo, Ooo! Anoder train! (she looks again for a train)
(this drill went on a couple of times, until it soon was a game. She had caught on that it wasn't a train, but of course did her dramatics for show. She doesn't like the attention of course, nooo sir!)

If you'd like to read more tiny talk, just visit Mary's

Happy Anniversary

After our lovely time at the cottage, our plans for my parent's 40th wedding anniversary party took to fruition. My SIL and I had been planning the events for months, and it was finally show time. I have to say, that I had my doubts at times that certain dishes we made or parts of the evening that were planned would work out, but with my SIL's organizational skills and knack for party planning, everything went better than imagined.

The party took place at the new ministry center belonging to my parent's church. It was the first time it had been used for a big event. And it was the perfect place for such an occasion. There was a stone fireplace that gave it a warm touch, beautiful hard wood couches, and the perfect amount of tables and chairs for the number of people who were attending. We began the evening with punch and soft dinner music (compliments of my brother, who is always talented in making the perfect music medly's). During that time, my brother and the hubs were outside cooking the main entree - chicken and beef kabobs, on just about the largest grill I have ever seen (I think the testosterone level shot up just a bit). We then had dinner. The kabobs were complimented with spinach and strawberry salad, red potato and green bean salad, and rolls. I wasn't sure if that was going to be enough food, but it was just right. After that, was a tasteful game of "Who knows Paul and Carol the best!" Turns out everyone did, because amongst my parent's friends are a few cheaters! They were a rowdy bunch to say the least (Dad included). It was fun to see them laugh and have a good time. Finally, came dessert and a slide show. My SIL has a friend that made a bunch of mini desserts that were simply fabulous. There were chocolate chip type scones that we sliced in half to put strawberries and whip cream, coconut covered lime balls, and mini blueberry and chocolate turtle cheesecakes. Hmmm. The slideshow was put together by my brother, who again has a talent for putting the perfect music with pictures. He had a gospel tune put in the movie that had my Dad clappin.

It was truly a joyous time to be had be all. There were memories shared from several friends and family. I was certainly touched by some of the stories shared by close friends. And was glad that my grandparents and aunt were able to travel aways to share in the special day. It was only too bad that my sister and BIL couldn't be there, as my sister's warm comments and brother's humor always add much to a gathering. Nevertheless, it was a very special and fun party that I will cherish for time to come.

My parents are wonderful people of whom I couldn't be prouder. They are caring and supportive to say the least. We love you very much and thank you for all the love you have shown to us and our loved ones.
The centerpieces and cards at each table telling of events/prices of the year.
Look at those master grillers!
The spread
Surrounded by loved ones.

The couple of the hour and their family!

Vacation at the Cottage

My sister, who lives in South Korea, recently made the decision to go back to school and begin her masters degree. For the most part she can do all of it online, but for two weeks out of the year she has to come back to the states for her studies. How fortunate for us that her studies took place right here in Michigan! She asked us long ago if she could stay at our house while she went to school. We were certainly glad to oblige. However, my parents wanted to optimize their time with their daughter too, so what better way than to rent a nearby cottage and create a retreat for the whole family! She could go to class and then come back and chat with the rest of the family, while sitting on the deck overlooking the lake sparkling in the rays of the setting sun. And we could bring our boat and catch fish, or go tubing, and put the kids to bed early while we drank mamosa's, laughed, and took joy in reconnecting with each other. Well....it didn't go quite that way. It was close though. My sister had a little more homework than we imagined (probably even way more than she imagined). So she didn't have a lot of time to sit around and chat. In fact it was probably harder to try and study around kids racing around her chair playing tag or swords with the water noodles (just a tad distracting). While, it would have been nice to visit with her more, we were just glad that she was in our company and we were able to see her for a short bit before going back to a far off land for 6 more months.

We did have a wonderful time together. We went fishing, paddle boating, jumped off the inflatable island in the water, tubed, skiied, sat on the deck of the cottage eating wonderful food, and certainly had plentiful laughter too. My sister in-law and I decided to leave a little early both because we had a little work to do on a party we were planning (more on that to come), and to give Mom and Dad a break from having 5 crazy kids race and sometimes scream around the close quarters. My brother had already left to go home to make the bacon, and my hubs was doing the same (whom we can't thank enough for supporting our vacation habit!) It was a great time with cousins and family. I just love seeing our little ones bond together and play like there is no tomorrow. Thank you Mom and Dad for providing a wonderful environment for us to play and stay!

Melted Goodness

A few weeks ago my hubs and I celebrated our 8th year anniversary. When we were newlyweds, I was a little idealic in thinking maybe we could celebrate each year by going on a mini trip! And we did for the first couple years. We went to Door County one year, Traverse City another year. However, soon commitments at church, my hubs growing corn obsession, and finally having children, happened. It just wasn't a very realistic goal. Nevertheless, we have always gone out for at least a nice dinner. Sometimes it's a rush decision, as in we are in the car literally deciding at the last minute (hopefully we don't have to turn around too much to get to our final destination - did I ever mention we aren't the best of planners?)

Anyway, this year I thought would be much of the same. After just getting done with one vacation, and beginning to prepare for company on and off for two more weeks, I hadn't thought much of where I'd like to go for dinner. We pretty much got a babysitter a day before, and while I got my makeup on that night, I asked the hubs where he wanted to go. "Oh, I have it all planned out" he said (which is what he always says - his way of bluffing his way through it). We then got in the car and I said we should figure out where we were going before we headed out the driveway. He said, no he really had it figured out this time and he wasn't going to tell me where we were going! Now I love surprises, but to be honest, many of my hubs surprises are flops, so I wasn't sure if we were going to a Steak House or Ste*ak and Shake. Sorry honey.
I should have never doubted though, because he brought me to a restaurant I've been wanting to try for quite some time....The Melting Pot. It's a fondue restaurant. I haven't had too much experience with fondue, but we have cheese fondue about once a year with my family and it's always so much fun.

I just have to say, not only was this experience fun (even though there were no fondue stick wars), but it was just about the best meal I have ever had! We had a four course meal, beginning with cheese fondue and dippers (veggies, bread, and apples). Then we had a delicious salad. Followed, was the meat broth where we cooked a plethora of meats (shrimp, jerk pork, chicken, fillet mignon, and butternut squash ravioli), and wonderful sauces to dip them in. The meat practically melted in our mouths. I don't think I have ever had such tender meat. There was so much food too, that we had to take some home or we wouldn't have had room for dessert (which we had to save room for, because that was the best part!). For dessert, we had a banana's foster fondue - fresh bananas, with melted white chocolate, and caramel. Mmmmmm. My mouth is watering now just remembering it. And you wouldn't believe all the dippers they gave us to dip in that wonderful goodness. Although bite size, we had brownies, strawberries, pound cake, coconut crusted marshmellows, rice crispie treats, bananas, and even cheesecake! It was seriously giving me the shivers as I ate!

Okay, now that I have my own mouth watering (and probably your's too), I'll come down from my high. It was a wonderful meal and a wonderful year. As with many marriages, we have had our ups and downs. But this year has truly been a blessing. I am blessed to have him as my husband. He is both caring and hard working. And although this was one great meal we had together, his love for me is sweeter than any banana's foster I could ever eat. Thank you for 8 years of companionship honey!

Tiny Talk Tuesday

It's been a long time since I have had anything to write about kiddo chat. Perhaps it's the fact that summer is flying by, or maybe their comments keep slipping my brain, whatever the reason I haven't been able to catch those bloggable quotes. However, the other day we were sitting at the dinner table when Kyra said something. Immediately, my hubby and I looked at each other and said, "that's blogging material!" So, here goes:

At the dinner table:
(Katie's giggling somethin fierce!)
Aunt Aub: Katie, you are so cute, I think I'll take you to my class.
Kyra: Hey! You can't take her, she's ours!
(so glad she doesn't want to give her sister away.)

While getting dressed:
(Kyra starts pulling up some itchy pants)
Kyra: These pants are making me nervous.
(then later that day while I'm making some dinner...)
Kyra: Mom?
Mom: Yes?
Kyra: I think you're making me nervous!
(Evidently I use that phrase frequently, oops. Note to self, don't let her see what a worry wort I am!)

While reading a book:
Mom: What color are these flowers?
Katie: Flowers
Mom: Yes, they are flowers, but what color are the flowers?
Katie: Mmmm....maaaybeee ORANGE?
(It was just cute to see that she was saying maybe for every color we looked at. Guess you had to be there)

"poon" - spoon
"I pilled!" - I spilled

If you'd like to read more tiny talk, just visit Mary's