Our Ballroom Babe

Madeleine joined the school’s ballroom team this year. She loved every minute of it! With her mix of choreography memorization skills and theatric pizzazz, she wowed Rob and I every time she got on the dance floor.

She went to practice twice a week before school and practiced in our family room every afternoon. She loved going to competitions and really enjoyed being part of a team.

Her team did really well and went to state (which is where Rob and I had our first encounter with a real dance mom…Scary and yet so hard to look away!).

We are so impressed with her instructors and are grateful that they work so hard to give these kids an amazing experience.

Madeleine had quite the birthday this year. She decided months earlier that she wanted to use her present and party budget (and saved her own money) and stay overnight in a hotel with her cousin. We had a lot of fun! Since the hotel was mostly paid for with points, she was able to choose some fun activities to do including going to Classic Fun Center, a movie, and Build-a-Bear.

When we arrived back at home, she found her sister had made a surprise for her…rice krispie treat hedgehogs!

 

Although her celebration had already been a blast, Rob and I decided to throw her a surprise party anyway…at SWIG! It was a swinging success!

While we are on the subject of Madeleine, I have a funny story:

Madeleine and I had a dentist appointment this week. She has a cavity and I have one from a couple of years ago that needs to be redone. She really wasn’t looking forward to it. The day came and I was still congested and getting over a cold. I decided to reschedule and when I called they asked if I wanted to reschedule Madeleine’s as well. “Why yes, let’s do that,” I said.

Madeleine came home from school and immediately started crying because she was so nervous. I broke the good news to her and said we were going to sneak away to go shopping together instead. Well now that cheered her right up, of course! So off we went to the Outlets.

She requested mini pretzels and we sat down on a bench in the lovely sun eating them together. I remarked, “This is nice!” She responded,

“Yep! I would be sitting in a chair with a weird man hovering over me,

but instead I’m sitting on a bench…eating pretzels…

like a BOSS!”

I laughed pretty hard and told her I love how funny she is. She says “I know. It’s one of my great qualities.”

Sure is!

Keeping You Posted on the Kidlings

It’s about that time…time to post an update on what the kidlings are up to these days. I tell ya, they’re fun. These ages (11, 9, 7) are super easy and Rob and I are revelling in it while it lasts.

NATE

 

He is almost 12 so we bought him a suit. Snazzy! I feel like I should win the Best Mom Award when he puts that thing on. Today was wear #2 and he came home from church covered in dirt and ketchup. Boys.

He is hilarious. He is so witty can rightly pull off sarcasm, puns, inside jokes, body language, sophisticated humor, and anything else in order to gain a laugh. He’s more of an introvert though, so it’s mostly us who gets to see this side of him but we relish it. Here is a fake movie trailer he made this morning. Rob and I laughed out loud so many times while watching it. Here is the link.


 He is doing well in school. He is still off the charts in reading and science. His handwriting has vastly improved. He has learned how to better handle his frustration when he doesn’t “get” something and is getting better at staying focused rather than letting his mind wander so much.

He worked hard over the summer, earning enough money to buy a used xBox. He’s learned how fun it is to have his own purchasing power.

He and his sisters have “Sunday Fort Day” every week. They first come up with a concept and a name for it. Past examples include animal sanctuary, haunted house, no giants allowed, carnival, etc.  After they do this they draw up plans and execute. It’s a giant mess. Furniture gets moved, toys come out, and pillows and blankets from the entire house are gathered. But…it keeps them busy for a couple of hours and it’s amazing sibling bonding time. I’ll take it.

MADELEINE

She is a solid 9 now and what a little lady she is becoming. She’s pretty mature and just seems to “get” whatever there is to get. She’s beyond the age of letting me buy her clothes without some serious input because this girl has her own taste and I can never seem to capture it.

She is observant and a very quick thinker. Her reasoning skills are unmatched. She will try her darnedest to win any disagreement and confidently makes the twists and turns required to succeed. Behind her pretty freckled face is a brain that is pretty unstoppable. Her memorization skills are one of her spiritual gifts. I’m not sure how that gift will be used in the future, but I’m positive it will somehow be a great blessing to her and others.

She has been exploring her feelings and emotions lately. Her natural tendency is to bury anything negative deep down and pretend they don’t exist. We are working on making her feel comfortable and confident enough to acknowledge them, feel them, and work through them. She doesn’t love it, but it’s brought her closer to me and Rob.

 

She is participating in Ballroom dance class at school twice a week. She is game for anything in the performing and creative arts. She has never been into playing with toys, even when she was little. All she ever wants is art or craft supplies. She keeps herself busy on different projects just about every day.

CAROLINE

She just turned 7 and lost her first top tooth tonight. She buried it under her four pillows and made a sign pointing the tooth fairy in the right direction. We tried to get her cavities filled this week but fought off the laughing gas like a champ and screamed and flailed her way out of it.

She is a good little student. Her teacher told me how quiet and obedient she is at school. They aren’t working too much on math yet but she loves it and has gone way ahead in her book. It’s pretty cute seeing her sit at the table all studiously and working through it quickly and surely. It reminds me of how her dad looked when working through his math problems in school. Good for her.

She has started dance lessons at a little neighborhood studio and just loves spending the time with her friends and doing something on her own. She is naturally so strong and flexible that it all comes incredibly easy for her. She is still a strong singer. I only wish she’d sing in public the way she does at home.

She is a giggly girl. Whenever she is with her bestie cousins or bestie friend she turns into a crazy person, laughing so hard she can barely stand. She just thinks they are all so hilarious and she can’t physically handle it.

 

SCOUTS

My kids now read this blog every so often and they’ll be so happy if I take a moment to write about their beloved cat sibling. So here it is…

He’s super aggravating with his excessive meowing every morning at 6 am. I’m guessing daylight means nothing to this animal. He also hates this time of year when it’s getting cold outside and he doesn’t want to go out when it’s offered. Then he meows to go out. Then he doesn’t go out. Then he meows to go out. Then he doesn’t go out. On and on every morning from 7-9am and every evening from 9:30-11:30pm. It drives the adults in the house absolutely crazy.

He still lets the kids snuggle right up with him, carry him around all over, dress him up, play with him, and any other whim they come up with for him. He’s gracious and selfless and couldn’t be more sweet.

THE END

Monthly Spotlight: October

Here we are the week before Christmas. Do you know what that means? It’s time to post about October!

First up, Caroline’s 6th birthday!

Since she is such a candy lover we did an All Candy All the Time party for her. We played candy-themed music in the background, played candy games, and decorated cupcakes with the candy that we won. The highlight was when I dressed Rob up as a “Human Piñata” and let the kids loose to chase him around the yard. It was hilarious and well worth the hour it took to hot glue 200 pieces of candy on his shirt. Unfortunately I lost the video 😦

We sent all the kids home on a serious sugar high! You’re welcome, parents.

My sister asked me what gift she could get Cara and I said bath toys… which I guess meant bath paint and crayons. I was seriously startled when I turned around one evening to find this! Geez! I guess we will call it even for when I got her daughter a big container of beads. Haha!

This is one of our favorite playgrounds and it’s even more fun when you’re there with cousins. It’s in Saratoga Springs if you’re interested in climbing the super tall pyramid or swinging on the best swings ever.

I love this picture of Madeleine in her braids.
Next up, Halloween! 

Madeleine received bins and bins of sewing fabric and notions from her grandma and has been very busy with her creations. She designed and sewed her own genie costume for her school Halloween parade! I’m in awe of her creativity!

Cara and I were at the store one day and she had a lot of fun dressing up as different food items!

I don’t have a picture of Nate in his costume. He decided to be a basketball player and just wear a jersey he already had from a couple of years ago. When I asked him why he decided on that he said, “Because I wanted a new basketball but I didn’t want to earn money to buy one myself. I knew if it was part of my costume you’d just buy it for me.” Sly kid…

When the girls were gifted some beautiful hand-me-down dresses from their aunt’s growing up years, they fell in LOVE immediately! They just don’t make dresses like this anymore, you know? So pretty and twirly! They started calling themselves “Old-Fashioned Girls” and two months later they are still wearing the dresses to church almost every Sunday.

Here they decided they wanted to look like “Creepy Dolls” slowly rocking in their chairs. Haha!

Rob bought a Sirius Black magic wand at Comic Con and really likes dressing up for occasions. As usual, he was too busy to put together a costume so Madeleine and I took it upon ourselves to help a wizard out.

I bought a long, black “Diva Wig” and cut it to the right length. Then Madeleine and I sewed some fabric together for prison garb. It was pretty easy since it was supposed to look all raggedy. Perfection not needed! Rob had time to spray paint the stripes. Looks pretty convincing, I’d say and he even won best costume at work (a spooky skull candlestick)!

Except someone did mistake him for Jesus…

The most hilarious moment of the evening was when our bro-in-law walked in dressed up as Rob himself!! He painted his hair and beard dark (he is normally blonde), put on glasses, found his best Rob Clothes, and brought some “Dirt Blueprints” to carry around. I’d say he really hit the mark!

Here’s Cara’s super creepy picture!

And finally?
Just waitin’ at the doc’s office… Your kid does this too, right?

That’s it for October! It was a great month!

These Little Lights of Mine

***These little lights of mine, I’m gonna let ’em shine!***

That’s the song that comes to my mind when I think of these children of ours.

Nate started 5th grade. Here are a few things about him these days:

 
  • He loves mountain biking.
  • He says, “Oh. I forgot.” A LOT. I haven’t been able to decipher if he truly does forget or if this is just an easy excuse.
  • He’s a shorty like his parents. All of his friends are seriously outpacing him in the height department.
  • His main goals in life are to learn and to play. Not too shabby.
  • He has an advanced sense of humor, totally gets and dishes out sarcasm, and makes us laugh constantly.
  • He isn’t that big on sleep. He comes out of his room at least three times every night to do something or tell us something that is on his mind. He’d stay up until 11pm easily every night and still wake up at 7am all bright eyed and bushy tailed.
  • He is loving the Harry Potter books and movies right now.
  • He is completely cool to have around.
 

Madeleine started 3rd grade. Here are a few things about her lately:

  • She reminds me so much of Rob, in looks and bubbly personality.
  • She hates disappointing anyone. If she does, she will immediately work to make it right.
  • She is very rarely grumpy and if she is, it only lasts about 5 minutes before she is happy again.
  • She loves to correct others and make sure things are done properly. Except…
  • She hates reading and following instructions. It deprives her of her own ideas and creativity.
  • She memorizes things quickly.
  • She is in drama class and I love hearing her recite lines and stories because she says them with inflection and animation.
  • She is a complete joy. 
 

Caroline started Kindergarten. Here are a few things about her lately:

 
  • She was blessed by her dad at the beginning of the school year to have courage to make friends. She really has been courageous and has made friends and she reminds me often that it is because her dad blessed her.
  • She is hyperflexible and very strong and shows me up with her yoga moves.
  • She sings beautifully and with passion all the time at home and in the car.
  • She gags and threatens to throw up every night at the dinner table after even just touching the tip of her tongue to her food. It is mostly a learned behavior, I’m sure.
  • She loves “treasure hunting” in the toy boxes and trash cans.
  • She is still working on her speech sounds R, TH, and SH. She still says HIMS and THEMS instead of HIS and THEIR.
  • I’m so glad I kept her home with me the last couple of years instead of sending her to preschool because it gave us the time we needed for our relationship to blossom into something great.
  • She makes us all laugh all the time.
***Let ’em shine! Let ’em shine! Let ’em shine!***

Madeleine’s Baptism

We had such a special family weekend last month.

On Friday the 8th we drove up to Layton to be at our nephew’s baptism. Then Saturday morning was Madeleine’s baptism. The next day, Sunday, was our niece’s baby blessing and that night was her brother’s (another nephew’s) baptism.

It was truly a weekend full of love, support, and the spirit whispering to us that we are children of God and that He loves us.

Madeleine was the only child being baptized that day so she had the whole program to herself. We had many family members participate and I’m sure she felt very special.

I took down some quick notes from the blessing she was given after being confirmed.

  • Heavenly Father is proud of you for choosing to be baptized.
  • We love you and are excited for you.
  • Stay close to the Holy Ghost and be comforted by him when you read the scriptures, pray, and serve others.
  • Your love will swell and you’ll rejoice when you help others.
  • You’ll do well in school and your studies.
  • You’ll feel peaceful when you are a peacemaker.
  • Continue on the path of good choices.
  • Talk to your parents and friends.
  • Feel empathy for others.

After the program we all went back to the house and enjoyed pizza and good company.

Our family feels extremely blessed to have had the support and love of so many extended family members and friends. We love you all!

The Snow Sisters

These girls! What can I say?!
They never fight. They look out for each other. Madeleine stands up for her sister when there has been an injustice. Madeleine knows how to placate her sister’s sometimes drama-filled demands and/or reactions to perceived injustices. Whenever Caroline has the opportunity to get a treat, she is sure to get one for her sister, too. Caroline is always excited to fill her sister in on anything interesting or important that she may have missed.
They’re the perfect pair.
Here is a glimpse of Madeleine at 7:
  • She has only lost 2 teeth and can’t wait to loose more.
  • Has decided she really wants her ears pierced because if her friends and cousin’s are brave enough to do it, then she is, by golly!
  • Has a lot of confidence. Every time I give her a compliment, she comes back with, “I know.”
  • Expects a lot of herself. She thinks everything she does, such as homework or artistic creations, needs to be perfect and gets teary-eyed and frustrated when it’s not up to her standards.
  • Is a daddy’s girl. They are both goofballs and she loves teasing, wrestling, and laughing with Rob.
  • Dances like a broken helicopter hopped up on speed. Hold on to your drinks, everyone!
  • Is constantly practicing her own gymnastics, much to her parent’s worry, because she just flings her body without any control. 
  • Falls, trips, and stumbles a lot but she always hops right back up and announces, “I’m okay!”
  • Wants to participate in every single activity…unless it requires even a semblance of competition. Then there is no way she wants to be a part of it.
  • Tries very hard to be kind to everyone. Her age betrays her sometimes, but she really does try.

Here is a glimpse of Caroline at 5:
  • Is still a sugar maven. She often says things like, “I want suuugaaaarrrr.” and “Can I have something sugary?” We can get her to do anything by dangling something sweet in front of her.
  • Is getting the hang of her letters. Math already seems to come naturally to her.
  • Has yet to wear a pair of jeans or jeggings or chinos or trousers or even thicker-than-leggings-but-still-soft-cottony pants. She won’t even try them on.
  • Is doing well in gymnastics. Her coaches wanted her to try out for the “hot shots” team but she isn’t interested in going more than her one practice per week.
  • Plays with her little dolls all day long, every day. She’s very imaginative with them.
  • Loves to take a very hot bath for over an hour many days a week.  
  • She is a singer! She belts out her voice from her little body and fills our home with song. 

Those are my girls! 
The other day, Rob gave me one of my favorite complements ever. He told me I’m a “strengthening mother.” I hope that is true. 
I want my kids to figure things out in their own way. I want them to develop and be able to rely on their own strengths and abilities. I want them to feel the satisfaction and confidence that comes from knowing they can do something for themselves and also the ability and drive it takes to actually get it done. 
I want my girls to be strong in body and mind. And they are.

Family Pictures 2015

I had been planning to do snowy, wintery family pictures this year but since we didn’t really have any snow we didn’t get the chance to take them.

Then I decided to do some dressy, urban family pictures downtown. It was two weeks away and I needed to get all of us a haircut and an outfit.

Then one Sunday morning Rob told me in passing that he rode his bike next to a cool meadow in full bloom with poppies. I decided right then and there that we were going to be spontaneous and take our family pictures that evening in the meadow, old outfits, untrimmed hair and roots, and all.

I wanted to keep it as low key as possible so it was a fun event rather than a stressful one. Well…it wasn’t exactly fun but it could’ve been worse. It would’ve been a lot easier if the meadow wasn’t full of a dozen other photographers and families with the same bright idea.

Regardless of the crowds we still got some really cute shots. I love how my kids’ personalities SHINE!

Cara was in a really good mood at first and came up with her poses all herself. She’s such a doll!

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Madeleine is a pro. Her sweetness sure wins us over.
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Nate, on the other hand, had only the desire to make weird faces. Typical.

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All three all together. So sweet.

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Next up, me and Rob. We only got one in before the kids bombarded us.
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We also got one family shot in before Cara’s mood changed for no reason.
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Here’s a similar picture from our last family portraits.
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Packing out!

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Madeleine’s Randomness

Here’s what she has been up to lately.

A couple months ago she finished her very first chapter book all on her own. Have you read these Junie B. Jones books? I love them. So funny.

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She has started a new hobby…writing music! Rob is so excited for this. She will jot down her lyrics and then ask Rob to record her. It’s precious but the thing is…all her songs are so depressing! It’s funny because she is the opposite of depressed in real life. Click on the black boxes below to hear her singing them. Believe me, you’ll want to.

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After she bathes we usually put her hair up in a bun. She says it makes her look like Mulan.

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She started ice skating lessons and loves them. Well, to be honest she loved the first two lessons. After that she said she had learned everything she needed to and didn’t feel like she needed to finish her 6-week session. Too bad, she’s finishing it anyway. Click on the pic or here to see the video.

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She beat everyone at bowling on Christmas Eve.
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She is a bright star in our family. We love Madeleine!

Pictures of the Girls

It seems like it has been too long since I got out some lighting gear with the express purpose of taking pictures of the family. About a week ago I grabbed the softbox and a speedlight and wouldn’t you know that the two girls were willing willing subjects. My girls are beautiful and incredibly photogenic despite their messy hair, slightly dirty faces, and wearing pajamas in the middle of the day. Here are the photos we made together. Hope you enjoy them. These two girls are the best.

Madeleine

Cara

Sisters

Nate & Madi Soccer

In May, Nate and Madi finished their soccer season. We decided not to sign up again this year but instead are exploring other extracurricular activities.

Rob enjoyed being Madeleine’s soccer coach and he is excited to be Cara’s in another year or two.

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Most of the season Nate looked like this. When I asked him why he didn’t go for the ball more, he said, “I just figured the other boys can handle it!”
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For the last game we really encouraged him to go for it and he did.
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