Thursday, June 21, 2018

To My Middle Child, My Youngest Boy, On Your 8th Birthday

Climbing your "climbing tree" in the field by our house. Sometimes after dinner you drag Max down to the field to have him watch you climb the trees.

Dear My Big Little Harrison,

Gosh, I don't even know where to start. You've changed so, so much in the last year, but the things that haven't changed are the things that make you YOU: you're happy-go-lucky 'tude, your contagious laugh and enthusiasm for things you love, your willingness to try new things, your imagination. You're our expert cleaner and "picker upper" and have taken on the responsibility of being in charge of recycling each day (taking it out to the recycling bin).

You've developed quite the love for the cats and Doc in particular seems to love you. If you're laying on the couch he tries to curl up with you, he'll eagerly try to sit next to you whenever possible, and he always comes to you for treats and nibbles of your food. While you still get scared when he hisses (which is still hilarious to me....scary 12 lbs. kitty), you're pretty good buddies these days.

There's been a lot of 'memories' popping up on the ole' Facebook and most of them are of YOU as a toddler; most of them funny stories or things you have said. In the craziness of our every day life then and the challenges you laid in front of me every minute, it's only now that I can look back on those years with incredible fondness. I LOVE everything you have brought to my life. Before you I wasn't great at rolling with the punches. All that credit goes to you buddy. You taught me to just go with the flow, not everything can be planned out. You taught me to enjoy the here and now. As much as I'm trying to shape you and your siblings into decent human beings, I realize that it's you who is shaping me into a better person.

You would make your Great Grandma Ann proud with your tongue clicks (as she taught you) that you've mastered. You're a great reader and speller (you put your big brother to shame this past school year while practicing for spelling tests--you did his lists better than he did at times!). You love traveling and vacations, finding new and thrilling things to do, drinking coffee (dad and I can longer get away with only getting coffee for the two of us), chana masala (with naan to dip), playing outside for hours on end, swimming, animals, cooking, and climbing. You became quite the piano player this year and I'm trying to talk you into acting classes because, well, you're you.

Unlike your brother and sister, the older you get the easier you become. It took me awhile sadly, but I do have you figured out: you're the loudest of the three (I can pick your stomping feet out of a crowd of kids with no problem) yet the sneakiest. You're terrified of bees, but would be the first to examine a beehive. It's taken eight years for these qualities to work for you and become less nerve-racking for me. 

You're spending your eighth birthday with your best friends, eating your favorites (cereal, cupcakes, mac and cheese, and Chinese food), and playing with the dress up clothes. It's fitting that you were born on the summer solstice because you bring the light to our lives. 

I love you so much H Doggie! I hope your outlook on life never changes and you keep being you no matter what. I can't wait to see the adventures EIGHT takes you on.

Love you forever,


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Elizabeth's Birthday Weekend

This weekend was simply crazy.....crazy fun! The weekend after each mini's birthday is declared Birthday Weekend. The birthday mini gets to decide what they'd like to do for the weekend. The boys usually choose Adventureland or a pool, but Elizabeth likes to keep us guessing. This year she chose to go to a sprint car race in Knoxville, Iowa.

Not only did we enjoy the races, but we had some more action throughout the weekend. On Friday night, Elizabeth spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa's. We treated the boys to a movie night with their favorite Mexican take out.

Saturday morning we were up bright and early to volunteer at the Des Moines Children's Museum 1st Birthday celebration. It was such a crazy morning, but oh so fun! The Museum had tons of special activities going on throughout the day. My favorite were the clay leaves the kids got to make. The leaves will be put onto an art piece that will be on display in the permanent Museum location (when it opens).

The above is a sample as to what the final art piece will look like at the Museum.

The minis had such a blast making their leaves. We're definitely doing something similar at daycare with clay this summer.

The moment after I managed to easily give instructions over 50 plus people. Sometimes I forgot how loud of a voice I have....

A funny moment in the day that made me realize how small this world really is: Elizabeth (and the boys) handed out invites to their birthday party to kids at school. Immediately I had a response from Elizabeth's friend Emma that she would be attending. Oddly enough, Emma and her family were at the Museum on Saturday and I found out that I knew the family from previous volunteering experiences.

Birthday party games and cake was the highlight that ended our morning/early afternoon at the Museum.

We had to have a short rest Saturday afternoon (me included) and ran through a McDonald's on our way down to Knoxville. There's not much I can eat at McDonald's, but I can never pass up McD's french fries.

We've been to the sprint car races once in Knoxville and the minis loved the experience. Unfortunately, busy weekends throughout the racing season work against us, but this time it worked out well. It was a long night, but we all enjoyed ourselves. The BEST part of the night came at the very end when Elizabeth got to sit in one of the race cars thanks to a high school friend who called in a favor! How cool is that!!??!! She's been talking about it nonstop since then and can't wait to go back to the races. We'll definitely be going again!

Conversations with ear plugs in can be interesting....

I love the variety this girl provides: cheering on the drivers as she does cheers and dance moves in the stands. 

Our Sunday looked like this: a late breakfast at Star Bar, a few small errands, placing a grocery order, and naps while it rained. It was a perfect rainy Sunday Funday.

Games of Tic Tac Toe and sneaking sips of coffee while we waited for our food.

My favorite part of having the minis home over the summer is that they get sooo excited about the daycare activities that they take pride in helping deep clean each Sunday night and prepping for the week ahead. While I always have them help out, I don't have to pull teeth to get them to do it during the summers. During the school year, when they're not able to enjoy daycare's activities, is when it's a struggle. 

These busy weekends (and weekdays) have sure caught up with me, but I sure wouldn't change them for anything.