Saturday, December 7, 2013

Pretty Perfect Christmas Evening

Evan and Ainsley - I don't want to forget tonight. The snow was coming down all day, and the outside of our house looked magical. Doug got off work early, and we were all snug at home. We had pancakes for dinner, which turned into lots of fun as we made crazy shapes and added chocolate chips. We decorated the tree. Everyone helped, we listened to music and talked about what the ornaments meant to us. We snuggled up to watch the Polar Express with popcorn. Our little family, all cozy on the couch. I loved watching both of your faces watch the movie. Ainsley, covering your eyes at the loud and scary parts, and snuggling in my arms the whole time. Watching Evan entranced with the story. I am so blessed. Thank you God for my amazing family and making memories that I hope I remember forever.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Summer Bucket List

At the beginning of the year, our family made a bucket list of things we wanted to do this summer. We didn't get to them all, added a few not on the list, and had a fantastic summer!

Here's what we did check off the list:
- Putt-putt

- Going to the lake

- Tuckers for ice cream

- Tried banana splits

- Young's Dairy

- Roasted marshmallows
- Coney Island

- Ohio State Fair
- Luminations (downtown at Washington Park/Music Hall)
- COSI - MythBusters
- Rootbeer Stand
- Bike Ride at the Loveland bike trail

Of course, we had lots of trips to KI (the rides mostly this year - cooler weather and Evan now rides the big rides). Lots of playing outside, and we had the little backyard pool up for a bit. We even played in a rainstorm!

In case you're interested, the ones we didn't get to were: KI movie in the wave pool (too cold), family raft ride at KI, put out our travel bug, sleep in tent in our backyard, drive in movie, reds game, creeking, and find a waterfall. We might cross a few off in the fall. :)

All and all - another AMAZING summer!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Evan - 7 and 3/4th

 Evan at almost 8.. A few things about our big kid..

- Evan finished up 1st grade and his first year homeschooling. It went way better than expected. He learned a lot, progressing like crazy in math. (He finished up half way through 3rd grade math.) He did great in his other subjects as well and has become quite a good reader. His least favorite subject is writing, but we're working on it.  It was also great to see him grow throughout the year. He was able to do lots of extras (museums, science experiments with Poppy). He also really enjoyed Learning Tree co-op, making lots of new friends and learning new things. (And thank goodness I didn't have to teach Art!)

- Evan played soccer in the fall and basketball (Upward) in the winter, and we took a break off in the spring. It was nice for us all to have a break, having free nights all spring long!

- Evan continues to do, and love, Cub Scouts. He is in a den with his two best friend, and he has a blast. He built his first Pinewood Derby car (with lots of help from Dad) and ended up placing 6th out of his whole pack. He has also gone camping, built a boat for the regatta, and done lots of go-see-its (bank, museum, fire house).
- We have a new kid at Kings Island! As of the beginning of the year, Evan hadn't even rode the Beastie. He will now ride everything - the Racer, Stunt Coaster, even the Beast! It's been a blast riding the big kid rides with him.
- Evan's been losing his teeth! He lost the first wrestling with Poppy, he pulled the second and third ones himself, and the 4th one popped out on the boat at Norris Lake.

- Evan continues to be the best big brother (and big cousin). He his so kind and patient.

- We've had a busy summer so far, with Evan going to Nature Camp, MAD camp, and Cub Scout Camp. He has a few more to go too. Of course, we're trying to squeeze swimming in as much as possible. 

Evan continues to be our sweet, inquisitive, full of life boy.. and we are loving every minute of it!

Ainsley - 4 (and a 1/4th)

Ainsley is 4.. it's pretty unbelievable. We both look at her and are so amazing by how she's grown, her beauty inside and out, and the little girl she is becoming.

- Ainsley finished up her first year of preschool in May. She loved school and her teachers and friends (especially Mya). She also attended Learning Tree this year with Evan and me, and made lots of new friends there. From her teachers, I hear that she really likes to concentrate on her work and complete it entirely. She also wants to always write her own name.

- Some of Ainsley's favorite things to play are dress up, her play kitchen and her tea set. She has also recently become interested in make-up (oh boy). She will play independently for awhile, but also loves to play with Evan, following whatever he's doing. Another favorite thing for Ainsley is to sing and dance and put on a performance for us all. Of course, she has developed a love for princesses, with Ariel being her favorite. She also loves to pick out her own outfits.

- Ainsley and Evan have a wonderful brother/sister bond. They play together great most days. Ainsley does things Evan would never do at that age (ride big rides and KI, watch movies, play ipod), because they just love to play together. 
- Ainsley's best friend is still her cousin Mya. They are inseparable!  It's been fun to watch them play. Now, when they have a playdate, they will disappear into their room and not come out for hours. They are too busy playing babies, princesses, doctor, or rescue. She has also started having playdates with other her other friends and it's fun to watch her turn into a "big kid" hosting her friends.

- At A's 4 year check up, she was right on track. She is 39" (tall enough for some of the bigger rides at KI) and 36 pounds.

- Ainsley is still a water bug and loves to swim. She also loves to ride her bike and swing on the swingset. Another favorite is finding bugs and taking care of them. 

- I would say that Ainsley is 90% easy and 10% opinionated. :) Most of the time, she is go with the flow, will follow along with Evan's activies or places, and is just easy. I would say 10% of the time, she has an opinion, and there is no changing it! You just have to let her decide, and that's the only way. She is also shy in most new situations, but will usually warm up in 15 minutes or so.

Ainsley is really such a joy! She still makes us laugh with her crazy faces and funny comments. We love our Ainsley!

With her new baby cousin, Abigail. She loves her!!!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ainsley - 3 and 3/4ths...

When I look back at Ainsley's 3 year post, I can't believe how much she has grow into a little lady. We are so blessed to have a sweet little girl!

- Ainsley is SO much fun! She is a little person, so observant, and is always surprising us with her sweet take on life. She can be opinionated, but for the most part, is an easy little girl.
- Ainsley started preschool this year, going 2 days a week with her cousin, and bestie, Mya. She loves her teachers and all the things she is learning. She sings the little songs from her school (Open, Shut Them Prayer; The Days of the Week) and prays each night "because her teacher told her to". She also goes to co-op with me once a week and I volunteer in her classroom. I love to get to see her with the other 3 year olds. She is a very good listener, and spends lots of times doing each of the activities.
- She also took a ballet class over the summer, and loved every minute. I cried the first time I saw her dance. She took a tumbling class this fall with her cousin and she loved that as well. 

- She has completely mastered writing her name, and frequently "writes" us all kinds of letters. She also loves to draw pictures on paper or on the whiteboard and color. 
- Ainsley's favorite toys lately are her dress ups and her play kitchen. She loves put on shows for us all dressed up, dancing around and singing.  The more accessories the better! She will also serve you tea or pizza if you head on over to her kitchen.

- Her favorite princess is Ariel, but she likes them all. She just watched her first princess movie, Cinderella. 
- She also likes to pretend to be a baby. She wants us to hold her, sit her in the baby doll highchair, and treat her like a baby.
- She loves to sing and ride her bicycle as well. 
- Over the summer, Ainsley became quite the swimmer at the pool. She loved her puddle jumpers for the first half of the summer, and then discovered she knew how to jump under the water. She will go under the water for 3-4 seconds and push herself through the water. I can't wait to see how much she'll improve this summer!

- Ainsley got her hair cut for the first time over the summer. I was so upset that I cut it too short, and now I look back and love it.

- Following her own footsteps with potty training herself, she gave up her pacifiers on her own this summer. She woke up one day and told me she was done, so we gave them away to Chad and Jen's baby. She never looked back, even though I was very nervous!
- She loves to play with Evan. They are such buddies and I am so thankful for their wonderful relationship. I hope this continues as they both get older. She also loves her cousin Mya, It is so fun to see the two girls together.
Ainsley is definitely a little girl now, and we are all having so much fun with her!

Evan - 7 (and a 1/4) :)

Evan turned 7 in October which still seems pretty unreal! He is such a great boy. We love him and are so very proud of him.

It's been a long time since we've posted, so we have a lot of cover!

- Evan played soccer in the spring (instead of baseball), and then again in the fall. (Doug coached both his teams.) He is currently playing Upward basketball for his second season. It's been fun to watch him start to really start to pick up on both sports.
- In addition, he learned to really swim this summer (passed the 12' deep swimming test), took a tumbling class, and really enjoys indoor rock climbing. He is quite determined when he gets on the wall to always make it to the top. He will stay up on trying over and over.

 - Evan also started Cub Scouts this year, joining a Pack with his two best buddies. He is having a great time. He got to camp out with Dad in the fall and his boat won the award for best pirate theme in the regatta. He's working on his Derby Car right now. Most of all, he loves having time with his two friends.

- Our biggest change in the last year has been to Evan's school. He has been doing 1st grade this year at home! I won't go into all the details here, but we chose to try homeschool out this year for a number of reasons, to give him more individual attention and learning plan, more time to explore his interests, more time as a family, to name a few.

- School has been going much better than expected. Evan is excelling at school. Math is still his favorite. (He is placed in 2nd grade math, but we are already working on 3 grade concepts.) His reading has also greatly improved. It's fun to see him reading everything in site and he recently just finished reading his 1st Magic Tree House chapter book on his own.Writing is still his least favorite, but he is improving in that as well.
- We are also attending a co-op once a week where he gets to socialize and learn from other parents. (At first he wasn't sure he wanted to go, as usual, but has now decided that he loves it.) He takes a class on the 50 States, Art, Science Investigators, and Math Movers.
- On the days A has preschool, Evan knows it's time to get serious about school. Poppy also comes up at least once a week to help Evan with lessons or watch Ainsley while we do school. It's been great having the ability to take lots of field trips, play outside, and try new things.

Fun Stuff
- Evan has made new friends this year at co-op as well as staying friends with his buddies and neighbors.
- He still loves anything outside, especially if it involves water! He has also gotten really fast on his two wheel bike, zooming around the neighborhood. He loves hiking as well.

- He loves Pokemon, and finally learned how to play after months of sorting cards. Looking through his cards is still a favorite activity.
- He will play DS, Wii, or iPod, but in small spurts. His favorite TV shows are Wild Kratts, Phineas and Ferb, and Mythbusters.
- He doesn't really play with many toys, but is always coming up with something to play using a few items and his imagination.
- He plays so well with Ainsley. He is very patient with her, but they are starting to get more and more on level with each other. They love coming up with pretend scenarios and now playing on our finished basement! I would say that this has been one of the biggest advantages of homeschooling. He's also great with kids of any age. He will play with the older kids across the street and will play with his cousins or Ainsley's friends. 
- For his 7th birthday, we had a sleepover with his two best friends. They did a scavenger hunt during they day and slept in tents in the basement at night. I think all the boys had a great time.
- After at least 5 years of the same haircut, Evan decided to change it up! He looks so handsome and much older. We're still experimenting to figure out which way he likes it, but the bowl cut is gone. 
- At his 7 year checkup, he hit 4 feet tall! He's also around 55 pounds, on track with everything developmentally, and still had his allergies (yuck) and slight asthma (which acted up this winter - boo).

We pretty much consider ourselves to be the luckiest parents to have such a great boy who is "all boy" with such a tender heart. We love you Evan!