Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Russell’s Birthday

Russell had a wonderful birthday yesterday! However, I do think he was a little too hyped up for it, because he kept getting into trouble all day – sorry buddy, we don’t skip time-outs and spankings, even on birthdays!

But anyway, to the fun stuff:

Lots of movie theatres have $1 kids’ movies in the summer, so we decided to do one of those. I also decided to take Meredith with us instead of hiring a sitter, even though I didn’t know how long she’d last. We saw Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. I probably wouldn’t see it again, but we’re very particular about what the kids watch. They enjoyed about an hour of it, by which time Meredith was getting up and starting to inch her way to the stairs. I know Russell could have sat through the whole thing, but he was very good about having to leave in the middle.


They each got way too much junk food, but I think that’s what birthdays are for Smile Fruit snacks, popcorn, and pink lemonade!



After we left, we headed to Toys and Co to let Russell spend a little of his birthday money from Grandmother. I talked him out of getting a (third) car carrier truck and a (second) dinosaur race track, and heavily guided him toward a gas station for his Hot Wheels. He loves it!

After the kids’ naps, we tried to make it to the pool, but when we got there, it started raining and thundering and didn’t stop all night. I had grand plans of a picnic dinner, but we brought our picnic back home instead.

Earlier in the week, when I asked Russell what he wanted for his birthday dinner, he thought for a minute and said he wanted blueberries and cupcakes Smile I added cheeseburgers and chips to the list. He was happy!


After dinner, he opened two presents from us: a new board game called The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel and a new book called The Squire and the Scroll. We played the game twice last night and even Meredith understood and enjoyed it!

For my memories: Poor Meredith just didn’t understand why it wasn’t her birthday too. She kept saying things like “I’m going to blow out the candle on my cupcake like this – (blowing noise)!” and “Can I open the birthday presents?” We kept reminding her of her party in April but I guess she can’t get the concept that that means she won’t have another one for quite a while!

Russell, it was fun having such a special day with you! I’m so blessed to be your mom!

Russell is 4!

Russell is four years old! (I’m planning to take his 4 year photos soon!)


Weight and Height: TBD at doctor’s appointment. About a month ago, he was 40 in tall and 39 lbs. I imagine he’s still around the 75th percentile.

Clothes and shoes: 3T or 4T and size 8 wide.

Favorite foods and drinks: cheese, anything sweet, cheeseburgers, pickles, apple juice.

Favorite toys/books/shows: cars still, of course, but we’ve also branched out to monster trucks! He also enjoys playing with dinosaurs, and he loves to play pretend. Favorite book is still Cars and Trucks and Things That Go by Richard Scarry, but he loves all kinds of books and loves to be read to. His current favorite show is a sort of kid documentary about monster trucks on Netflix.


Notables – aka, things that make Russell Russell:

  • Russell has never met a stranger, and anyone he talks to tells us he’s the most adorable kid ever. But watch out if he gets you in a conversation, because you’ll never get out of it! He’s a talker (and a loud one) like his dad!
  • Russell prefers a few friends to a large group. He is much more likely to play with one calm boy or girl than to run and scream with several rowdy kids.
  • Russell is generally very easy-going. (When he was a baby, I never thought I would get to say that!)
  • But he has more moments of frustration lately – namely, if we ask him to do something he doesn’t want to do, or if he gets impatient and wants help with something. Frustration = screaming “I can’t! I need help!” or stomping around yelling “Noooo!”
  • Russell is currently on a gluten-free diet. We essentially put him on it to see if it would help with his attention span and concentration particularly in group settings, and it really seems to have helped.

Russell, you are funny, smart, and charming! We love you! Happy 4th birthday!

Monday, June 24, 2013

First Niece! and Weekend Pics

We had a wonderful (and very fast) weekend! 

Most importantly, our first niece and the kids’ first cousin was born on Thursday! Precious little Ella Grace weighed 7 lbs 3 oz and has a head full of dark hair…and I got to meet her on Saturday! My parents and I left Jason and the kids here and drove east to visit Jon, Meghan and Ella in the hospital for about an hour.

Just call me Aunt Jen! Ahhh, love her already!


Look at that sweet face!


And that head full of hair!


Rarely will you see such proud new parents as these two Smile


I’m so glad she was born then so I could visit, because I doubt I’ll be able to go again for a while (as I’m 37 weeks pregnant now!)

For the rest of the weekend, we had a great time with my parents. They spoiled all of us with presents Smile Russell was excited to get some more birthday presents, and Meredith got some new things too. I was excited to get a few things I wanted for the baby: a Beco carrier, a My Breast Friend (supposed to be much better than the (useless) Boppy), and a few other things!

Meredith does not understand smiling for pictures! She was happy; this is just the look she gives for cameras most of the time!


On Sunday after church we played at Grandmother’s house. We hadn’t been there in a couple weeks and the kids had a blast, as usual!




See what I mean? What kind of face is that?


What wonderful families we have been blessed with!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father’s Day 2013

I think we all had a fun Father’s Day today!

We started out with church, where we watched Russell and the other preschoolers stand in front of the congregation and sing the songs they had learned at VBS this week. Russell did zero singing, even though he’s been singing the songs at the top of his lungs all week. But we did see him put his hands up to his eyes like binoculars to look for us Smile

This is a terrible picture – I did put a black circle around Russell so you can see him.


Side note: Meredith is too young for VBS (you must be 3 and potty trained), but she wanted to be included SO much. She did not want to leave every day when we dropped Russell off, and at the family night on Thursday, she jumped up in front to sing with the other kids!

The rest of Jason’s Father’s Day:

In Sunday school, Russell and Meredith each made a paper tie for Jason. Russell’s actually had elastic on it so it could go around Jason’s neck:


Jason also received presents this afternoon. The kids each made him a special craft at preschool, and we also gave him a personalized mug with the kids’ photos on it – including Paige’s ultrasound photo.



Then we went bowling as a family. It was Meredith’s first time and she did a great job! They got through 7 frames when a pin rolled out into the middle of our lane. While Jason tried to knock it back down the hole (or whatever) in the back of the lane, the kids got bored and then decided they were done bowling. I think if that hadn’t happened they would have finished the game. Oh well!



We finished off the day with a home-cooked dinner and a new dessert recipe. All were happy! Smile

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Russell’s Monster Truck Party!

We decided to have Russell’s birthday party a couple weeks before his birthday just in case baby Paige shows up early. So we planned a fun pool party for several friends and family! We rented out our pool clubhouse and had the monster truck theme Russell requested. And thankfully, the torrential rains (which had lasted for a few days) stopped about 30 minutes before the party started, and the sun came out!


Easy snacks are the way to go! (String cheese, granola bars, fruit salad, and juice boxes.)


While we waited for it to get a little warmer outside, we played “pin the hubcap on the monster truck”:


And we had a “lollipop walk” (think cake walk):


And, because we didn’t know if we’d be able to get all the kids back inside again, we went ahead and had cake! Side note: 2 days before the party, when I mentioned to Russell that we would be having cupcakes, he told me he didn’t want cupcakes, he wanted a “big cake.” Well, if I had known that earlier, it would have been easy to buy a gluten-free, monster truck-decorated cake – but not 48 hours in advance! So, I did the best I could. Russell was happy it had monster trucks (cupcake toppers) on it.


Then we went out to the pool! For the most part, the kids stayed in the big baby pool. It was much easier for the parents (because the kids could play in there themselves), and the water was warmer. Also, there was another birthday party with older kids in the big pool.



The tire and yellow innertubes (pictured) were the party favors. They were a big hit with all the kids!


Most of the kids left from the pool, but a few stuck around and watched Russell open presents.



Russell asked for the “monster truck set” (a box of monster trucks at Target) for his birthday, so that’s what we got him! “Asked” is actually the wrong word – whenever we would talk about the party, he would talk about what would happen, and he’d say “and I’m going to open my monster truck set present!”


He got so many fun things: some pool toys, movie tickets, car duplos, to name a few!


What a fun party! We were so glad everyone could come, and Russell had a great time. I can’t believe he’s almost 4!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Pool Days

We joined a private pool for the summer. The kids and I are SO excited about this! I knew they would still want to play outside this summer, despite the fact that I feel like an oven, so I thought a pool could make us all happy. And so far, it has! If only I can figure out how to tell them we have to leave without inciting a riot!

The pool we chose is inexpensive (well, for a private pool); quiet – there are never more than 4-5 families there; 10-15 minutes driving time from our house; and small, which is a plus for us because the kids can’t get too far away (swimming or walking). Also, several of our friends go there also – the kids love running into their friends there!


Neither Russell nor Meredith actually swim by themselves, but they are learning how to kick and move with the puddle jumpers on – those things are awesome!




Of course we bring our picnic lunches! It’s a good way to give them a break when their teeth start chattering Smile



One of my friends was there with her family, and she took this picture for us:


Now, I’m not sure how this will all work when the baby is born, but like everything else, we’ll figure it out Smile