Saturday, May 28, 2011

The new playscape

 Scarlett and Holden's Great Grandparents sent them some birthday money. They asked that I pick out a present that Scarlett and Holden would enjoy. Man, have I done just that. Folks, please meet the new playscape:

 I found this second-hand playscape on Craigslist. It rocks. I was a bit of a Craigslist junkie in the past couple of weeks looking for the perfect playscape and trying to coordinate a time where we could pick it up before someone else came along and bought it. Brand new, this playscape would have cost $400!
 The kids LOVE it.
 And Joe and I love it too. Like REALLY love it. We've been able to sit on the back deck and talk uninterrupted while the kids play in the yard. It's heavenly. Thank you for the present G-Gma and G-Gpa!

Friday, May 27, 2011

May-hem 2011

Here is my May-hem post of 2011 - birthdays, parties, and birthdays again. May, understandably, is packed for us. It started with Holden's 2nd birthday on the 13th. He woke up and looked older. (It kind of broke my heart a bit.) There was a birthday shirt for daycare...  
and cake, of course, for after dinner.
  And then came the kids' party. It was a Toy Story hoedown. Scarlett and Holden wore Jessie and Woody shirts and we handed out awesome cowboy hats and bandanas.
Lots of our favorite kids were at the party...and I stole most of these pictures from their mothers. As usual, we were running around like maniacs and were too busy to take pictures.
Gio was there
and Gwen and Jack.
and Raleigh
and Jasmine and Minnie to name a few.
Lots of fun was had.
maybe too much fun.
Hugs were given.
Lots of hugs.
Some ended more gracefully than others.
...much more gracefully.
And then Goose turned 4 on the 18th!
Birthday shirt for school...
and cake for after dinner (sound familiar?)
Yay May-hem!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Don't ever grow up

Joe and I were getting the kids ready for bed last night. They were all p-jammied up and we were cuddling and reading stories together and WHAM!!...Joe gets hit hard with a "please don't ever grow up" moment. You know the suddenly hits you like a ton of bricks - that feeling where you really wish your children would stay this small forever.
Joe told Scarlett not to get any bigger. She began to tell him that she had to get bigger because, well...that's just what kids in a family do. But then, as she was talking (and talking, and talking), she started to get worked up about something. She said "I can't talk about this anymore or I'm going to start to cry...(tears start rolling down her cheeks) SEE dad! (now sobbing) I'm CRYING!!"
I give her a huge hug. I ask her to take a deep breath and explain to me why she's upset. She tells me she's sad because one day her and Holden will get bigger and have to go off by themselves and she doesn't want to. She wants to stay with us forever. She never wants to grow up and go to...Canada. (Yes. Canada.) The kid was hysterically sobbing because she thinks that one day she would grow up and would have to go to Canada without Joe and me. It took me 30 seconds to realize that she was confusing Canada with college.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Happy 4th birthday, Scarlett

I brought you and your brother to the movies a few weeks ago. Before the movie started (and despite the fact that I was chasing your brother down the aisles) I glanced over at you and you were singing along to "Firework" as it was playing in the background of some preview for a movie about prom. For a brief moment, I was awestruck. You were beautiful. You couldn't possibly be mine. You were self-sufficiently sitting in your seat (sitting, admittedly, at the very edge so the seat didn't flip up and swallow you) and you were in your own little world, obviously very pleased that this particular song was playing, a song I wasn't even aware you knew (and did I say you were beautiful? I think I may have). I will remember the sight of you at that particular moment for a very, very long time.
I spent quite a while thinking about just how to write this post. I didn't understand why it was taking me so long - far, far longer than any other year - to figure out what to write to you...and then I realized I wasn't approaching it correctly. I didn't want the same little montage of all the "big girl" events and milestones that had happened to you in the past 12 months. While those things certainly exist and are in no way insignificant, they aren't an accurate representation of this past year with you. In this past year you've sprouted into such a...person. This is the first year that I felt like in addition to the things your father and I tried to instill in you, like manners, patience, and consideration, your own characteristics and talents began to emerge. Like ambition, sociability, and your love of story-telling and art. I am so incredibly proud of the person you are becoming...but I'll never complain if you fall asleep in the car and I get to carry you, sleeping in my arms, into the house.
Baby you are a firework.
Happy birthday, Scarlett.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy 2nd birthday, Holden

No way. I can't believe you're 2, baby boy. I'm not buyin' it.

But, alas, it's true. That squishy, bite-able baby Munch has turned into a little boy. If you see a stick, you pick it up and poke stuff. If you see a mud puddle, you walk right into it. Rocks get thrown. Sisters get tackled. You climb up and dive off of furniture. You sing Tenor in the "NO!"-llelujah Chorus. Jokes about football are constantly made in your presence. We hold our breath when you're near anything breakable. You scrape your knees and don't cry. You have boundless energy. And one nasty temper.

But while you're undeniably all boy - you're the sweetest little boy I've ever known. You're the perfect combination of tender-rough and tumble. You love to hug, cuddle, and dance. All is right in your world if you're tired and Puppy is by your side. You yell "FUN!" when you're really enjoying something (and it makes my heart all warm inside that we get to hear you yell "FUN!" a lot). Without hardly saying anything, you make the entire family laugh. Whether you're shouting "bye-bye dinner" as we're leaving a restaurant, or following us around the house with a pair of your sister's shoes asking us to put "Shoe on, Shoe on," or how whenever you hear the word "big" you immediately lift up your shirt to show everyone your tummy...even if that's not what we were even talking about - at all. You crack us up, kiddo. We absolutely adore you. And despite the fact that you're now 2, you'll always be our baby guy.

I could not have found a better song to represent this past year with you; while your desires are simple - they're essential. All you ever need is a song in your heart, food in your belly, and love in your family.

Happy birthday, Boog.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Holden and Gwen sitting in a tree

Holden and Gwen
sitting in a tree.
First comes love,
then comes marriage,
...especially if their moms have anything to do with it
(Artistic license taken)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

GGGGGOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!! (Or Scarlett starts soccer in soccer language)

Scarlett started soccer last night. To say that this was a highly anticipated event would be an understatement. We could NOT wait for this day to come. Seriously.  
Joe and I have always been competitive. I've played sports since I can remember and was always pretty athletic. (I would by no means call myself an athlete now, but I held 4 school records when I graduated high school - the mile, the 2 mile, the 4 x 800 relay for track and the 200 freestyle relay for swimming...ahem, ahem. They may all have been beaten since I graduated (they totally were)...but still. Those records were mine at one point.) And Joe continues to play in old man, ahem, competitive town football and softball leagues. And he's good. We were curious to see if our kids would be athletic and competitive.
So far, at least one of them TOTALLY is. She's one of the youngest on the team, and a good head shorter than most of the other kids. This league is for 4-5 year olds and, as most of you are aware, Scarlett won't be 4 for a couple more weeks. They're letting her play because she'll be 4 when the league is in session.
And who would have guessed that our princess-loving baby girl would totally kick butt and take names?! She LOVES soccer, and we hadn't even so much as kicked a ball with her before. Initially, she had some trouble comprehending the "no-hands-on-the-ball" rule, cause it would seriously be so much easier to just pick the damn thing up and put it right where you want it, but after about 20 minutes she had her technique down. And it is quite an adorable little technique, if I do say so myself.
This is instructional soccer, so there will only be scrimages, not real games. Here is Scarlett's first one-on-one scrimage with another little boy on her team.

Not too shabby for a first try, huh? She's focused, determined, and knows the objective. And she even got it into the right net! After the one-on-one's, the coach then went on to split the whole team into 2 and they played a real scrimage. Scarlett's team wasn't doing that well so she got frustrated. When the gave away a goal, Scarlett yelled "I don't like to lose!" When it happened a second time she yelled "not again!" She looked over at Joe and me and gave us a big ol' thumbs-down gesture. This got a good laugh from the other parents and one of the moms said "she has got so much...spirit!" (So that's what they call it these days.)
We both were incredibly proud of Scarlett, but Joe couldn't contain his excitement with the fact that we had obviously produced an athletic child. Have you ever seen him smile so big? This morning I totally caught him uploading some soccer pictures from the computer onto his phone so he could show his friends at work.
Holden was very intrigued by the mini soccer cones. They kept him busy for a good 20 minutes. "Hat! Hat...hat dada. Hat!!" But we're thinking baseball might be his sport. (P.S. - the bat he's holding is craaazzzy heavy.)

Daffodil Festival - 2011

This past Saturday we went to the Meriden Daffodil Festival. We seriously love this festival. Every year that we've gone it's somehow managed to be one of the first truly warm weekends after what felt like a very, very long winter. We're able to shed our jackets and spend an hour or two in the sun. To me, this festival is the start of our summer.
We got the requisite "kids in front of daffodils" picture. (Admittedly, not one of our bests. They were both in wonderful moods and very cooperative but I could not for the life of me get them to look at the camera at the same time. Story of my life.)  
Holden taking the time to stop and smell the flowers...then promptly rip them apart.
This was the first time we trusted Holden enough to sit next to Scarlett and go on a ride. He LOVED it.

Watching them go round and round together on this ride made me a little more emotional than it probably should have. I just can't believe they're about to be 4 and 2. When you go to festivals like this year after year, it's incredibly apparent how much your children have aged in the past year. (Wah.) little guys.
After the cars, we went on the carousel.
I spent the ride trying very hard not to bite Holden's cheeks. I succeeded.
Then we went and saw the animals. Holden immediately pulled himself up on the fence like so:
And yet another conversation ensued about how big he's gotten since last year.
We had corn dogs for lunch.
And then Scarlett danced in front of what must have been 200 people watching a performance. I swear I wish I had HALF the courage this kid displays on a daily basis. 
This was the start of what I'm sure will be a fantastic and eventful summer!