Monday, January 13, 2014

Five Years of Snuggling

Happy happy Birthday, Wyeth!

On December 3rd at 10:53 pm, you turned five years old. My head still spins that our little one is five.

You are one of the most passionate and stubborn people I know. You feel everything. Your feelings get hurt. People can be "so mean" and you often feel like a victim of your sisters' squabbles. Many things are "not fair!" and people "never do [nice things]". Whining is not uncommon. And most things need to be done "RIGHT NOW".

And of course when they can't be, you get upset. And the whole cycle can start again.

But then again, there are amazing things about having this much passion. You are enthuastic as well. And will say things like 'THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!' You also love on people. And love them deeply. Your hugs and kisses for all of us are the best.  And just yesterday you asked me to 'snuggle' on the couch.  I dropped everything I was doing and snuggled you tight. Your favorite part of our beach trip this year was that you got to 'snuggle with Mom on the beach'. It doesn't get much better than that.

You continue to be incredibly musical. You pick up music on the piano easily. And you love to listen to music. Recently we have spent much more time listening to the top 40. You will say things like 'do you hear that drum mom?' 'Dad do you hear the piano?' We will be curious to see if your musical skills will bloom. We hope so! To support that passion, Grandma and Grandaddy got you a huge drum set for your 5th birthday. You wanted them for over a year. And your reaction was to be totally overwhelmed by it. We all waited for a huge reaction of joy. But I don't think you knew what to do with yourself.

You continue to adore your sister. Geez. You two do fight and when you both have screaming matches, it is hard for me to not get frustrated. Seren loves to be 'right' and you get set in your ways as well!  It is a bad combination. That being said, your sister is your biggest ally and your strongest supporter. You feel better when she is around. And she does too. Together you guys take on the world. And we love to watch your relationship grow. It just doesn't get much better.

You are a physcial kid who responds very well to touch. You always have been. Our hugs, cuddles and hands comfort you. I love this aspect of you.

And you are beginning to read! In November,  you floored me while you were reading to me in Flushing over Thanksgiving. You were not just repeating back stories you read time and time again. You were actually sounding it all out. It is an amazing thing to sit back and watch! You are not as 'into' academics as your sister is. But when you focus and stop being humble about your academic pursuits, we enjoy watching you soar!

This past year you tried out basketball, soccer, gymnastics and of course three mornings a week at Breezy Point school.

You continue to bring us such joy. Your heart is so big and you just take it all in. You are friends with everyone and love life. Even when you are stubborn, you love life. We talk to you abou these 'episodes'. While less frequent than age 3, the tantrums do pop up. And we say to you ,"you know that we love you even when we are mad, right?" And you say, "I know. I love you even when I'm mad at you too."

Happy birthday Wyeth. Thank you for making us smile on a daily basis. Thank you for saying the most ridiculous things! We are so proud of you, Wyeth! Happy Birthday! We love you.

We started our celebration in Flushing where we had a joint celebratiion for you and Granddaddy. They bought you a cake. And we celebrated together!

On your actual birthday, we brought cupcakes to school! Then Grammy and Poppy came out to dinner with us to Red Robin. The waiters brought you an ice cream sundae! We went home and opened up presents. You were most excited about the remote control car! We hope to celebrate with your friends in the early Spring.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Back in the saddle

Today, after nearly two weeks off of school, work and routine, we rushed the kids through breakfast. Seren ate cereal while I brushed her long hair.  Her response to the morning was classic.

"Oh man, are we back to the rushing thing again?"

Yup. The rushing thing begins again. And wearing pants. And shoes. All of it.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Snow day!

Around five inches of the fluffy stuff, freezing temps, and blue skies.  Happy.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Christmas in Hershey!

Hershey Park is about 2 hours away from us. I hadn't visited the park since I was in middle school in a band concert! But every year they run these adds about Christmas at Hershey! This year my parents generously treated us to a night at the hotel and two days at the park! And we had a blast!

We left Saturday morning and make it to the part with very little snow. But then it started to really come down. And it was amazing! We dressed the kids up in their snowpants and went to the park! They enjoyed ride after ride as the parents looked on and laughed.

We got to see Santa's reindeer, ride the train, go "ice skating" on a plastic surface, and ride the rides. All in heavy falling snow!

My parents got us adjoining hotel rooms which was fabulous! The lodge itself was very beautiful and PACKED with families! It was just PACKED with little kids!

After a short rest, we went out to dinner and tried to see the infamous "Sweet lights". It was so snowy that half way through, they started to unplug the lights due to hazardous road conditions. We were really disappointed as it was touted as truly a spectacular event. Oh well. At least we got home safely. The snow continued to fall.

I really enjoyed myself! I had no idea what to expect but spending time with my parents and being part of such a magical place was really a special treat! The  hotel also served cookies and milk- and my god, the cookie was worth the 4 hours in the car! SOO good. The snow hampered us a bit but just added to the magic!

Christmas 2013

Please forgive me in advance for my sentimentality; I adore Christmas. And this year was no different.

I just felt so blessed this holiday season. Not the whole time. I stressed out the week before Christmas pretty hard core. But when Christmas morning showed up, I felt a deep sense of gratitude and peace. It was a really big blessing.

Leading up to the holiday season was truly filled with awesome small moments that I really treasure.

** Seren's holiday concert was everything it was supposed to be- off tune kids, flashy dresses and parents with too many cameras. Seren was thrilled to be performing. She commented several times that at her old school, you had to be a 4th grader to perform and at her new school, Kindergarten students were on stage! She was in her element on stage- happy, confident and singing with her whole body. I loved watching her perform and I got a bit emotional watching her- this new school? She is thriving. It was a bit of a rough time in October and part of November but man, she made the transition. And she just beamed from the stage. That was fabulous.

** Beck, the Elf visited again. He adds a certain special magic to the entire season. Our Beck just moves. He doesn't "do" anything. And twice, he forgot to move. The best part is that Seren and Wyeth explain the 'why'. They continue to be creative, imaginative children. Beck was a huge hit. And every morning, as she hugged me good morning, she would look around for Beck.

** The Christmas lists were great! This year we didn't see the Big Guy as much as we usually do. Part of me was relieved; it gets harder to explain how Santa can be at the tree farm, the mall, the Living History farm we visit, etc., etc. But we didn't see him much at all! Due to the timing of the holiday this year, we rarely saw him. Pangs of guilt around this issue plagued me. And the kids didn't have any lists until the 22nd of December! Sam and I fretted about this the entire month because the kids just kept saying "Santa knows what I'd like!" And since we didn't visit Santa (our usual visit was cancelled due to snow), we couldn't then ask the kids "What did you ask Santa for?"  But they just loved the season. And the last Saturday before Christmas, I came upstairs at 7:30 and they were making the lists! And they were the best lists ever! Wyeth wanted a truck, a camera, a kite, legos and a "waterproof webbie". Webbie, as you may remember, is his beloved turtle. Wyeth spoke at  length about this request. He wanted Webbie to be able to go swimming with him, into the bathtub with him and to Sesame Place! Seren said to him, "But Wyeth, if you ask for a water proof Webbie, he won't be the same Webbie. He won't be the Webbie you know."  Together they decided to ask Santa for "two pairs of swimming suits for a stuffed turtle." Problem solved!  (Sam and I joked we should get Webbie a ziplock bag!)  Seren's list was to get an American Girl Doll, to get toys for her guinea pig and to get magic. Specifically, as she noted, she'd like to 1) live forever and 2) turn into an animal and back again.  HA! Not much Santa can do about those items!  Santa and the grandparents delivered pretty well on the others.

** Snow in December- Enough said. It was awesome!

** Caroling in Fallingston. A local community has a community wide sing that we participate in each year. This year, snow was falling. It was so beautiful! We all hold candles, sing some Christmas songs and then walk to the library for cookies, tea and hot chocolate. Score!

**Making home made cookies. Every year since Seren could walk (2007), we have made homemade cookies and delivered them to our neighbors. It is usually a highlight for me. And this year was no exception. Making the cookies took some time and much patience. And we had to deliver them much later in the evening then I had wanted. But this year Seren decided she'd like to sing as we did it. So for each house, we rang the doorbell and performed two verses of "we wish you a merry Christmas". Two of our neighbors got tears in their eyes. At the end of each interaction Seren would yell "I hope Santa brings you lots of presents!" It is such a simple expression of gratitude for neighbors; a total high for me. Just great!

** The Living Nativity was fun! We visited the Living Nativity the Monday before Christmas. It is so odd- basically a local church hires in a camel and many other farm animals. It is pretty awesome. The donkey takes a big poop and Wyeth says "well, that donkey pooping wasn't in the real story." Then they complained about the smell and he says, the sage that he is, "it is the smell of real life."

**The Christmas Eve pageant. We have 'flirted' with Church for a long time. We go. Then we don't go. We go. Then we don't go. Which I've written about. We attended the evening UU pageant at our local church on Christmas eve. Seren and Wyeth both got to be in the Christmas story. Seren was a giraffe (they included lots of 'other' animals in the story) and Wyeth got to be a star. Under duress. At the end of the story he said to Seren "I'm out of here. I'm done with this!"

**The saying goodbye to Beck, the writing of the notes, the excitement. The entire crescendo of the season comes the night before Christmas. The lists, the singing, the songs, the cookies, the gift buying, the craft making....the excitement every year is both thrilled and exhausting. This year, as he always does, Santa came by on the firetruck. Sam had cooked us an amazing Australian meal that was had devoured earlier. We opened our huge gifts from grandma and granddaddy via Skype. We had gone to church. And written the notes of love to Santa. And we had said our sad goodbyes to Beck. Seren got a little teary but reasoned, "Well,he most likely will love to live with Santa again." And then he showed up on the firetruck! Usually we hear the sirens for hours. And we have to run out several times to 'check' as it gets close. This year, we anticipated the he'd be around in another 20 minutes when it sounded kinda loud! Sam checked and then yelled "This is it!" The mad dash to the door left Wyeth crumbled in a heap as we all bumped into eachother. We all gave up on shoes and ran out the door to jump and wave at Santa. And it was awesome. I didn't cry this year. But I loved it. I was very much present in that moment. And it feels so good.

** The kids fell asleep by 9. And this year, since Santa was bringing any live animals, Sam and I were relatively calm and excited. Seren woke up at 12. And then at 12:15 and then again at 12:45 to see if Santa came. She finally woke up at 7:15 and we had to wake up Wyeth on Christmas morning. Again. We all came in and he just laid there. We were whispering, "Good morning! It is Christmas!" No movement. Then Seren says, "Mom and Dad said Santa came!" His eyes popped open and he said "He did?"

Man, it was a total blast. I loved it! The kids loved it! We were blessed with health this year! And we stuck to our budget which meant it wasn't overdone. It felt awesome! The kids each had favorite gifts. Wyeth's were legos, his camera (quamera) from Grammy and Poppy, his bruder truck and this Perplexus ball that frustrates the hell out of him but he enjoys. Seren loved the American Girl doll, Ivy, from her grandmom and granddad, the carrying case for her dolls and her guinea pig toys.

We are blessed by goodhealth and love. Christmas is a time to tell others that we love them; it felt great to be able to share the spirit of Christmas the entire season.