February 1

Eli got a few Target gift cards for his birthday, and he decided he wanted to spend them on a skateboard. I was shocked that Target happened to have a $20 skateboard, and now I have the happiest five-year-old ever.

We talked about the fact that learning to skate involves learning to fall, and we are trying to help him take safe risks.
Chris started Eli out by helping him sit on the board and roll down the hill.
(See Caleb? He was seriously bummed that Eli was the first to get a skateboard and desperately  wants his own now. I told him we would see how we feel about Eli's penny board and maybe get him one that's a bit nicer for his birthday.)

These next two pictures are deceptive. They make it look like Eli immedately mastered standing up. This is not the case at all. He stepped onto the board, couldn't stand, and crouched to keep his balance. He fell soon after. But man, he looks awesome in the pictures!

I love Caleb in the tree in the background, and Daisy's interested observation. Those two really love their baby brother!

Skater in training? It remains to be seen. I'm kind of hoping he sticks with it!

January 28

And he's five!

It was a pretty normal day around here. Chris went to work, the kids went to school, Eli went to preschool. Since it was his birthday, Eli got to choose a favorite book to share with his class. He chose Tyrannosaurus Rex vs. Edna, the Very First Chicken. If you haven't read it, you should. It's adorable.
He also chose five favorite pictures to share on the smart board with his friends. I rather like his choices, as they pretty clearly convey his personality, so I'll share them here. (finding these photos is also what prompted me to bring this blog out of hibernation. It's such a treasure trove!)
From his newborn photos. Eli loved how small he was.

From his first birthday cake smash. Eli loves the story of how he crawled right over the cake and it didn't even smoosh slightly. (I refrigerated the cake overnight and didn't give the buttercream time to thaw.)

When he was two, he loved this giraffe costume so very much!

Three-year-old Eli's first day of preschool! He was so excited and proud and ready to go to school!

Summer swim league, 2019. Who would have thought our four-year-old could teach himself how to swim and earn those ribbons? 

After preschool I brought Eli home for lunch and a nap. That evening, our family came over for pizza and cake to celebrate.

The chalkboard is a birthday tradition.

Eli's cake was pretty epic! He requested a t rex, a chicken, and chocolate rocks, and he was not disappointed.

That's one happy kid! I love his cousins cheering him on.

Happy kids eating cake.
Then they ran around like maniacs and played with his new toys.

Before everyone left, I snapped a quick picture of the kids together. Lily is wearing a dalmatian shirt because it was the 101st day of school. As in 101 Dalmations. My nephew Ryan recently got engaged, and he and his fiancee and her two boys were there. Max is holding the younger one, and Daisy and Caleb sandwich the older one. 
 And then everyone left and we all went to bed exhausted.

January 27

Eli's last picture as a four year old.
I love this tradition, and I love that the kids reminded me to take the picture. 
Eli is wearing his "ninja jammies" that are really base layer long underwear he got from Grandma for Christmas. 
He's sitting in his favorite perch on the couch that is past its prime and due to be replaced.
He is sweet, charming, and delightful.
Four was a good age. I can't wait to see what five brings for him!

January 25

Do people even blog anymore?
It has been two and a half years since I last posted here. I didn't miss it for a long time, but lately I've been feeling the urge to dust this space out and fill it up with new news and new stories. I can't promise I'll stick with it - good intentions and all that - but I think I might try for now. Not daily, for sure. But maybe every once in a while? 

The Fete de Glace is an ice festival that seems to happen right around Eli's birthday each year. I first remember attending it on Eli's 2nd birthday. Bigger kids = more hectic weekends, but Chris and I chose to skip Eli's nap (yes, he still naps!) so that we could visit the festival as a family. I'm glad we did.

The kids really liked this dragon ice sculpture.

But this Pikachu ski ball ice sculpture was the clear winner in their minds, and such a clever concept!

They always want me to hold their trash!

Lily's outfit cracks me up. She loves bright things and colorful things and hearts and rainbows and looks completely like a bag lady.

He's a gargoyle. Obviously.

My four babies. They are now 10, 8, 6, and nearly 5. I'm not sure how that happened.

They each found a star that was their height, but didn't want to cooperate for the picture. Kids, man.

And then we went home and Chris got to work finishing a project that has been gathering dust for nearly as long as this blog!  
The girls finally have a window seat in their bedroom, and I am thrilled. Lily sat on top of the seat to provide counterpressure while Chris screwed it in place. She's clearly delighted about the window seat, too!

August 18

Day three of school. Lily was devastated that she didn't get to go to preschool again today, but she only goes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I cheered her up with the promise of fluffy baby chicks. 
Amber and her crew have had a dwindling flock of chickens, so they just got 8 new chicks to reinvigorate their flock. They are only nine days old, so we went over to play with them today.


I think they liked the chicks!

Then we took them outside to play, and that was even more fun. 

 Thanks for sharing your chicks with us, Amber!

August 17

I registered Lily for preschool at the end of Februrary, and since then she has been continually asking me when it was time for her to go. At least once a week, she would shout, "Thank you for signing me up for preschool!" when we drove past the preschool location.
After months of waiting, it was finally her big day.
Look at how happy this girl is! 

We got to school early because I had my first MOPS meeting today, too. Early to school meant we had time to take some pictures out front.

I seriously could have dropped this girl off on the curb and driven off - she didn't need me at all. She charged ahead of me, into the building, ready to start preschool!

These hand prints represent one of my favorite things about Lily's school. The kiddos in her class are dark brown, light brown, pink, peach, and every shade in between. Many are still learning English, and many speak with strong accents. I love that she will get to be surrounded by such diversity!

I love that Lily got to be the big sister here, because Caleb and Daisy were already at school She got to be brave and in charge, telling Eli what to do.

She didn't know how to find her cubby and hang up her bag, though, and she didn't know what a name tag was or how to put it on. So I suppose she really did need me! And that funny face? See the necklace in her hand? Without any help or inspiration from me, she made it at home to give to Ms. Amy. When we got to school, she pulled it out of her back pack and ran over to Ms. Amy to deliver it. The face above was her, "Should I go give this to her?" face. She did, and then I left.

MOPS was great, too. Against my better judgment, I kept Eli in his underwear in childcare, instead of putting a diaper on him. It felt like toddler roulette - would I find him in different shorts when I picked him up? How many accidents would he have? But he was wearing the same shorts I left him in, and he kept his underwear dry! Hooray!

Then we picked Lily up, and she was just delighted with her whole day. After naps, we got Caleb and Daisy off the bus. Daisy told me the best part of her day was when her teacher hugged her before she got on the bus. Then she showed me this picture she drew in art class:
It's Caleb, Lily, and her in the canoe at Maggie's house. I love it! 
(I confess: I'm a bit sad that I didn't make it into the picture, but that's ok. I still love it.)

I threw together a picnic, then loaded all of the kids into the van for Caleb's soccer practice. Daisy and Lily were looking forward to playing with their friends there, and everyone enjoyed the picnic in the perfect weather. Chris met us when he got home from work, and after practice we redeemed coupons the kids had gotten for free ice cream cones at McDonald's.

(Oh! I haven't mentioned Daisy's necklace yet! Last month, I realized that going to school might be tough for her, so I contacted the artisan who made my necklace and asked her to make a smaller version for Daisy so that she could always have her family with her when she was away from us. I gave it to her a few days ago, and she loves it. Today while we were waiting for the bus, she realized she had forgotten it at home and panicked. I sprinted home at top speed, found it, and returned just in time. It was silly, but I'm glad she has something that makes her feel secure.)

It was a busy, lovely evening.

August 16

After 1.5 years of home schooling, my kids are back in public school. I am mostly ok with this decision, because I feel like it is the right thing for us in this season of life. But when I think about how hard it will be for them to adjust and adapt and meet new people and make new friends, I worry a bit. At first, they were not happy with the change. Today, however, they were all smiles and very excited. I think Daisy's anxiety eased when she toured the school and met her teacher. She went from being nervous to being excited!

I had big plans to take pictures of them on the front porch and at the bus stop, and to pray over them at the bus stop because the bus is always late on the first day. But then Eli's newly potty training self messed up our plans. Right when it was time to go, he had a potty accident and I had to clean him up. We ended up rushing to the bus stop, where - shockingly - the bus was right on time. 

My big third grader and first grader!

Lily was a bundle of emotions: sad to see them go, excited for them, sad that she didn't get to go to preschool yet...

And then the bus was there!

Daisy was so brave! No tears, no fussing, just ready.

Caleb, too. 
And then they were off! I loaded the kids in to the BOB and we walked to a friend's house about a mile away for a morning playdate. Having only the younger two at home felt so light and lovely and easy.

Chris had a work golf event today, so he was able to be home in time to get the kids off the bus. The skies were looking ominous, so he brought umbrellas for everyone. 

We all wanted to wait, but the bus was nearly 30 minutes late and the rain began coming down in earnest, so I took the little two home and left Chris to wait with an umbrella for himself and one for each kid.

Welcome home, darlings!
The kids ate all of their lunches, loved their teachers, and had  great day. What a relief!