Friday, December 12, 2014

Birthdays Galore

For the first time ever I baked my husband a cake on his birthday. Yes, last year I tried, messed it up despite the fact that it was JUST A MIX IN A BOX, and he ended up baking it himself. (Sorry Honey!) This year I made a Boston Cream Pie cake and it doesn't look so pretty but it did taste pretty good, and after 11 years of marriage I can finally say that I did it once - baked him a cake. Thank you for your everlasting patience, David, and Happy Birthday to the most wonderful husband and father I could ever imagine!

Just a short two weeks later, E celebrated his FOURTH birthday!! What!! No longer baby, toddler, preschooler, now this grown up kid is in school, learning everything and telling us all he already knows. This beautiful boy is so precious, with his huge smile that lights up his face, and lights up everyone else around him. He was very specific about the cake he wanted, but the most important element was the "pintles." It MUST have sprinkles or it just wouldn't be good enough. David baked and decorated that one, my skills are clearly not up to par to deliver on Eli's high demands.

Happy birthday to you both!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Change or Two

We've had a big development lately in our family. Well of course there have been a FEW of those...

My little Echo has moved on to a new home. After twelve years of faithful service to the Fortier 5 clan, after many soda spills and being run into by bikes and children, after 156,000 miles of adventures, its been adopted by someone else who was looking for EXACTLY just that kind of car. We've gotten a van, or the Bus as the kids and I call it, because it's HUGE. I think twice as long as the Echo? It comes with lots of buttons and secret compartments, and best of all, the rule to NOT EAT ANYTHING EVER inside this fancy new (to us) bus.

Elijah has been enjoying his back seat view when I park him there while I run laps in the parking lot at Shelly's ballet school. Shelly, by the way, does not like this "running laps" idea. But such is life, I don't have time to sit around waiting for her for an hour or two while she dances. We've got to "get our energy" as Elijah likes to say!

Monday, December 8, 2014

E came to me with a story about a bad dream, I couldn't really understand him but I held him on my lap and we cuddled until he was ok, we started talking and laughing together, and then I told him that something strange happened to me last night. "Was it a bad dream?" No, it wasn't a bad dream, but it wasn't something good.

I told him that while I was sleeping, someone tried to put their foot down the back of my pants. He started grinning, "That was a-dent-y (accidentally) me!" he confessed. Why did you do that? We laughed over it but you know what? I sure hope he quits doing it - its bad enough that he sneaks into our bed every night, but to have him weaseling his foot into my pants is just weird!!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

We started out our day bright and early with a 5k run at the lakefront. Actually, I ran with a friend, and the rest of the family cheered me on (thank you SO MUCH dear family for your support, despite the cold weather, wind, and early wake up on a holiday).

I had a great time and then we got to go home, warm up and take a nap before the real party began - Thanksgiving with the Fortiers. As always, this was a great event with family enjoying good food and conversation.

Bonus - Later that week we hung out with the Fortier Moving Crew and managed to move everything from Union Grove back to Racine all in ONE DAY! Lots of trips back and forth, but we got it DONE!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Art in Action

These kids of mine, I don't know where they get their ideas but its incredible to watch what sprouts out of their creativity.

Shelly lost a tooth at school and brought it home in a little plastic box shaped like a tooth. The Tooth Fairy seems to be always running behind at our house, she didn't pick up Shelly's tooth the first night. Shelly spent a long time writing a note and asking me how to spell things. (Mom, how do you spell tooth? How do you spell please?) This all resulted in a beautiful note not from Shelly, but from Shelly's tooth.

Of course the Tooth Fairy could not ignore this plea, and made an exception to the rule, the rule of trading teeth for money.

Shelly, and Summer too, were so VERY excited when Shelly discovered on her pillow the note with Summer still attached, the new note from Ms. Fairy, and money! Shelly came running to me with her treasures and explained the whole thing. She ran to Dad to read Ms. Fairy's note to him. And then... Then Shelly says, "I wonder if I could be pen pals with the Tooth Fairy." I guess we'll have to wait and see how that plays out.

While Shelly was writing her note to Ms. Fairy, Elijah caught the creativity bug and asked if he could paint. He brought out the water colors and set to work. He brought his finished painting to me and asked me if I knew what it said. "I love you like the rainbow," I read to him. "Yets!" He said to me, very pleased that I could read it.

He came back with another and read it to me, "I love Mom and Dad and everybody in this world that I know."

Elijah sings this song in a quiet voice, I can barely hear him but he persists, the song long and drawn out, sweet and telling. "I love mom and dad... I like you... I want to go to the beach.... I really want to go on a train, oh I really want to go on a train, to the, to the beach...."

And while we're talking about E, I had the best conversation with him the other day. We recently received some postcards from Aunt Niecy in sunny Florida. I suggested to E that he send one of his paintings to his cousin Lulu and he frowned a little. He didn't think that was such a good idea. She's pretty little, and what if she ruins it? He started to dictate a letter to me in his most serious, grown-up voice. "Dear Yuyu. Here is a painting I made, but just don't yune (ruin) it." I told him I didn't think she'd ruin it on purpose, but he still wasn't sure about sharing his art with her. "You could send it to Nana," I suggested. He brightened up, "Yeah, cause her don't have babies!" This would guarantee that it wouldn't get ruined. "No, but she used to have babies. Do you know who her babies were?" This completely puzzled him, of course, and then I said, "Grandpa Craig used to be Nana's baby." His eyes grew wide, "That bampa is MY bampa!" I love those moments when the kids make connections and you can see the light go on in their eyes as they suddenly understand something new that wasn't there before.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Catching My Breath

First we had a great summer vacation full of camps and visits to Bampa and Mamaw's house (aka HC aka Camp Snoopy). Then we had the BEST VACATION EVER!!! (Which I didn't write about because next...) Then SCHOOL STARTED!!!

It has been a whirlwind of activities, rushing to catch the bus, drop E off at school, drop Arch off, do it all in reverse a few hours later when they come home. Then off to BALLET, SCOUTS, SWIM LESSONS, slow down! Did I mention the homework, cleaning bedrooms, laundry, homework, more ballet (that's TWICE a week), and don't forget bike riding, playing outside and homework. And the extra field trips ("Mom will you chapperone?"), parties ("Mom will you help?")...

There is no break. Until yesterday, when I got so sick I could barely think and finally called it quits. I had a meltdown, begged for help and went back to bed. David stepped in and got the kids to school and E to HC and me to the doctor. Strep throat! I've never had that before and hope I never have to deal with it again. And most of all, I hope my kids don't catch it because it is AWFUL!

This is life with a family, there is no actual break, life just keeps swirling on and when Mom is sick then someone else has to step in to start paddling the boat or it will crash on the rocks. Or something. Anyway, thanks family (husband, grandparents) for picking up the slack. Now, back to work!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What He Learned in School

After school today Shelly asked Eli what he learned, he said "nothing!" She switched tactics and asked him what he DID at school today. We learned about how he just played all day, and he got to eat outside. It was a very productive day, it seems!

After dinner tonight, Elijah suddenly revealed that he DID learn something after all...

E: When I grow up I want to be a teacher. 
Me: Oh really? Why?
E: Well because teachers can count really good. And they can tell everybody what to do.
Shelly: Well if you're going to be a teacher you have to be friendly. 
E: Well I AM frienee!
Shelly - giving me a look like "yeah right!"
Me - Looking back and forth between the two and wondering where this conversation will take us next!

That's a "First Day of School" crown on his head. He proudly informed me that he colored it himself, when I came to pick him up.

Annndd..... Take TWO! Another First Day

My littlest sweetest boy has waited and waited for this day to come, and finally it has arrived. I packed his lunch, tucked a blankie into his backpack, and off we went. He is the proudest little thing I've ever seen, finally given the chance to walk in his older brother's and sister's footsteps. TODAY he started school.

Of course I talk about how small my boy is, but this afternoon something strange happened. This actually happens all the time, but it struck me once again today. I was folding clothes. I picked up a pair of pants, whose pants are these? Definitely too small for Shelly but are E's legs really that long? I know its true, his legs really are that long. But seriously, since when is he getting so tall? And since when is he in school???

It was so quiet around the house today with all the kids gone, kinda nice, and kinda sad too. Oh well, the seasons don't wait for me to catch up, and now the school season is in full swing. Time to get on board with it, Mom!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Here We Go Again!

It almost doesn't feel new anymore, but I know the kids don't feel that way. The "back to school" routine is getting pretty familiar, this is Archer's seventh year of school! Shelly's starting her fourth year, and this will be E's first year. E is already an expert on how all this works, this is due to listening to the other two always talk abut school. It is also due to the fact that he already knows everything. It's a common phrase we hear, "I already know that."

Anyway, we had Open House last week, met the teachers, stashed all the school supplies in their desks, and today they headed off for another great school year.

Shelly starting Second Grade!

Eli starting 3K!

Archer starting Fifth Grade!

Waiting for the bus!

P.S. Want to see how much they've grown? Compare how tall they are in front of the door to last year's pics
      School Again

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Summer Means...

Road trip! 

We've pushed off our summer road trip till the almost-end of summer vacation, but here we are, packed up and on the road. We broke the news to the kids yesterday and immediately began enduring the questions. "Where? Are we going to ____? How far away? Is it a ____?" Over the next eight hours they managed to squeeze three clues out of us. 

1. It's in Wisconsin. 
2. There's a big horse.
3. Pack your swimsuit.

Archer swiped a Wisconsin road map from David's car and they began studying it. One side is the map, the other side is the list of tourist attractions we should visit. Archer and Shelly carefully reviewed the thirty or more attractions, seeing if any of them matched up. I walked in the room and Archer pointed out his top few guesses. His number one pick was exactly right, but of course I couldn't tell him. I said the picture he was looking at didn't show a big horse, and he countered with, "I saw a commercial for that place and they have a giant horse." They went back to studying, I continued helping Elijah pack his bag. (The first thing he had to pack was a snack. I kept trying to put him off and said we need his clothes but he just kept carrying around that big duffle bag talking about a snack. Finally I gave in and let him pack a box of crackers so we could get on with packing everything else.)

Anyway, at 9:00 last night we caved and gave them a bit more information. It's northwest from us, its more than 30 miles away and less than 130 miles. Circles were drawn on the map, a wedge was drawn to narrow the field to everything northwest of us. And the speculation continued. Archer announced that Wisconsin Dells is right in the center of that area on the map, I told him it wasn't even listed and he said he KNOWS Wisconsin Dells is there. 

I can't wait for the "I told you so! I knew it!!" that's coming in just a couple of hours when we pull into the parking lot of the place he guessed. And better yet, I can't wait for the fun we're about to have!