Saturday, November 7, 2015

Ainsley at 6-1/2

Here are a few things Ainsley has been up to in the last 6 months:

Ainsley had her dance recital in May. She loves performing, especially with her cousin Mya!

Ainsley had a blast at the lake this year, and had fun doing anything with water. 

She lost her first two teeth!

 Had lots of fun at KI!

Went to several summer camps with friends:

In August, Ainsley started gymnastics and we think she's found her passion! We can't keep her right side up. :) 

Evan is 10!!!

I saw it every post, but 10! Evan is 10! I really, really don't know how that happened. I do know that it has come too quickly.

If you ask Evan what he loves at 10, it's pretty simple - playing with his friends and Minecraft. (The ultimate fun is playing Minecraft with his friends.) He loves running around and playing any type of game - frisbee, basketball, football, wiffleball, dodgeball -  with friends, Dad, Poppy or Grandpa.

Evan played soccer in the spring and the fall, and had another two great seasons.

This fall, Evan tried out ultimate frisbee and really enjoyed it. I think he'll be playing again in the spring. 

A few months ago, we upgraded Evan's room. He really needed a desk, and had been asking about a loft bed for a long time. We surprised him one day with a new loft bed! He loved his new space and can often be found at his desk. Here is the before and after: 

Evan finally has a boy cousin!!! Hudson was born in June. I am sure they will be buddies as they grow up. 

Evan continues to do Cub Scouts. We all love how family friendly the group is! We have fun hiking, camping out, learning new things, and even selling popcorn. Here are some pictures from the Heritage Day parade:

We had another AMAZING summer together filled with:

  • Seattle!!! We were so lucky to spend a week and a half with our great friends in Seattle. The city is gorgeous, but the memories and fun that we had were priceless!
  • Lots of summer camps
  • A fun trip to the lake where Evan learned to knee board. It was to great to see him work hard, not give up, and finally accomplish it! It helped that he caught on before Dad. :) 

  • Tons of trips to KI 
  • Enjoying the food plan at KI

  • After KI, stopping at Speedway. (Both kids prefer Icees over ice cream - crazy kids!)

 For Evan's actual birthday, he wanted a sleepover with his best friend. I think it was a great success!

We are having so much fun with Evan at this stage. It's amazing to see him starting to really figure out who he is, what he likes, and how to handle situations and emotions. It's not always easy, as we all navigate between childhood and becoming a teenager. When we see Evan making the right choice, using self control, or making a good tough decision, it's nice to know he is on the right path. We know it's part of him growing up.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Evan - 9-1/2

Happy Spring!! It's been awhile since our last update and Evan is now 9-1/2.

We have had so much fun these last 8 months! Here are some of the highlights:

School - Evan is doing homeschool again this year. We both enjoy the time we get to spend together and the flexibility that homeschooling provides. (**Bragging here - Evan is 2 full grade levels ahead in math and he it doing so great.) He is also excelling in reading and science. I love to see him learn, even if a few days are difficult.  We are still attending Learning Tree, and this year Evan is taking Lego, Art, Gym, and Little House. (I'm teaching Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, and Algebra II and really love it.)

Sports - Evan is still playing SAY soccer and enjoys that pace. He played in the fall and now in the spring and Doug assistant coached both his teams. He also played Upward basketball in the winter and also did archery for awhile in the fall.

Scouts - Evan is also still participating in Cub Scouts. We all had a great time at the fall campout in John Bryan State park. He did really well in at the Pinewood Derby in winter - placing 3rd place out of all the scouts. He even went to collect maple syrup this year. He has some great friends and it's been a wonderful group to be part of.

Friends - His two best buddies are still Tyler and Zachary. We are so lucky to have these great boys in his life. They all play so well together. Zachary lives right down the street, and as and added bonus Ainsley and Zachary's little sister are great friends as well. Tyler moved to Seattle in the fall, but the boys have kept the friendship going with weekly Skype dates and a fun Christmas visit.

Interests - This year, Evan joined a First Lego League team and is having fun learning and working with the group. His favorite item by far is his iPad - preferring that to even a movie or TV show. He also loved to connect online and play Minecraft with his friends. Thankfully, when he is unplugged, he still just likes to play - he loves riding bikes, shooting hoops, running around outside and making up games with his sister.

Fun Activities - We have done so many fun things this year. For his birthday, Evan had an archery tag birthday party, where the boys and their dads faced off!. We also attended 3 plays at the Cincinnati Children's Theater. Through our homeschooling group, Evan got to visit the Post Office Tour and National Underground Freedom center. We've spend several Friday afternoons rollerskating. In the winter, we were able to go snow tubing as will as skiing for the first time!

We are really enjoying watching Evan grow and the young man his is becoming. He has a wonderful heart and is an amazing brother to Ainsley. We love you Evan!!

Ainsley is 6

Ainsley Just celebrated her 6th birthday and we are really enjoying watching her grow up! She is smart and has a quick wit, and she keeps us smiling with all her singing and dancing!!

 Ainsley embarked on a new adventure this year - kindergarten!! She has a sweet teacher - Mrs. Grabeman - and a nice class. We have been impressed to see how much she has grown in ability to read this year. She has worked her way through the levels of "just right" books and will try books at home with lots of determination.

This year, Ainsley is taking dance once again with her cousin, Mya. The girls are learning ballet and tap and enjoy seeing each other each week. We are looking forward to their recital in May. Ainlsey still loves to tumble on her own. This winter she tested herself - doing 100 cartwheels in a row, doing headstands for more than a minute, and attempting handstands.

She also tried cheer-leading this year for Upward basketball. He favorite cheer was "A-W-E-S-O-M-E, Awesome, Awesome, To-ta-lly," She had fun learning the cheers and dance routines. I think she will participate again next year.

This year, Ainsley tried Daisy Girl Scouts with mom as one of her leaders. It is a nice group of girls - all 15 of them! Ainsley enjoys the crafts and activities, but I think a smaller group might be better for next year.

Her best friends are Angel and Mya. Now, when friends come over, they disappear for hours on end playing mom and kid, reenacting Frozen, playing school or vacation. It's wonderful to see the imagination. She also loves her two younger cousins - Leah and Abigail.

Ainsley even loves to play even by herself. He choice of playing changes - dress up, Barbies, and American girl dolls are a few of her favorites.She also loves to play with Evan, but their play is a bit different. :) They both love each other, and play well together almost all the time.

We are really enjoying the kids at their ages - we try to be intentional about doing lots of activities, adventures, and trips with the kids since they are so excited about seeing new things, and are just plan fun to be around. We have been lucky to make so many great memories - lots of trips to Kings Island, going to Disney World and Destin, visiting friends, Disney on Ice, rollerskating, skiing, snow tubing, theater, the museum and downtown, and new parks just to name a few,

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Christmas 2014

We just wrapped up another fabulous Christmas season. We had a wonderful break, and were so blessed to spend time with family and friends. We are thankful that everyone is healthy and happy! I wanted to capture those memories so we can look back in years to come.

Around the week before Thanksgiving, the kids and I started asking Doug to put up the tree... we try to hold out for the day after Thanksgiving, but never seem to make it. This year, the kids got to put up their little trees in their rooms a week or so early.

This year, before our big (12') tree went up, Doug and I had the fun job of un-lighting the tree. After 10 years, the pre-lit tree was only half pre-lit, and we spent many hours in the basement cutting off the lights. It was worth it though! We all love our big tree. It should be good for many years to come, even if it is a little more work to light the tree when we put it up.

We got to do so many fun things to celebrate the season this year:
**We went to the Children's Theatre to see "The Snow Queen" with Nani, followed by a visit to the Museum Center. Ainsley didn't want to visit Santa, but had fun interacting with Pouge and Patter, the talking reindeer.

**We were treated to the Festival of Lights by Doug's work. We hadn't been in a few years, and everyone really enjoyed the light displays and animals. Added bonus - we won $100 for going!

**For the second time, we were able to attend Santa's Candyland at Prasco. We love seeing the Christmas story, visiting Santa, and eating lots of candy!
**We made our annual Gingerbread house with Chad, Jen and Abigail. Each kid got to make their own house this year. We're not sure if they got more candy on their houses or in their mouths.

**Ainsley and I attended Awaited. We both loved the show and enjoyed singing along to the songs.
**Our family enjoyed the annual Cub Scout skating party. Our kids can both skate independently which makes it fun for all!
**Ainsley and I attended the Nutcracker with Mya and Robin. The girls loved the show, especially the Sugar Plum fairy.
** We spent Christmas Eve Eve and New Years Eve with our good friends from Seattle and neighbors down the street. We all had so much fun visiting and attending church together. The kids all played while we all got to visit. We are so thankful for the time we had together. The kids and adults all love each other so much.

This year was quiet different because Evan was in the know about Santa. He was asking questions, and then ended up reading something in a book that caused us to confess. It definitely made things different, but he was a great sport. He told us multiple times that he enjoyed knowing and being in on it.  He even helped be assemble Ainsley's dollhouse.

Ainsley's top wish from Santa this year was a fold-up beach. This is something that she made up.  She said it was a beach to play on that folds up into a bag.  It made things interesting, but I think Santa figured it out.

One of the things that Doug and I have a love/hate relationship with each year is Twinkle, our elf. :) Ask us every night, and ugh.. but each morning, the joy we get seeing Ainsley search the house makes it worthwhile. (He landed in our pantry in this picture.)

Of course, we had a fabulous time celebrating Christmas Eve with extended family, Christmas Day with the Ross family, and Christmas day after with the Weis family. We love having the time together to make memories, and everyone is so generous.

There are a couple of moments we will remember most about this Christmas.  First, Evan could not fall asleep the night before because he was so excited. It was somewhere around 1:00am when he finally fell asleep.  Ainsley didn't fall asleep until much later than usual as well.  We thought we were all going to be very tired the next day since the kids would be getting up so early.  To our surprise, we were the first ones awake.  The kids didn't come out of their rooms until after 9:00!

The second moment happened Christmas morning.  Before the first present was unwrapped, it touched our heart to see Evan bow down and pray before a single thing was opened, without any prompting from us. Ainsley even followed his lead and did the same.

We are all so thankful for the real reason for this season, and it was so special to see our kids embracing it as well.