25 June 2015

End of School Awards

Our end of the school year family awards night was such a success last year that we knew we had to keep the tradition going. 

We are always pushing our boys to work harder and do better, but we think it is equally important to recognize their accomplishments.

We gathered outside for family night and I read each award's description. The boys beamed as they figured out who was the recipient of each award.
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Blake earned the No Training Wheels Award, Biggest Roller Coster Award, Reading Chapter Books Award and Two Schools in One Year Award.

Nash's awards included the Swim With No Floaties Award, Learning to Read Award, Great Roommate Award and Can Count to 100 Award.
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Crew was the recipient of the Learning to Talk Award, Loves to Dance With His Brothers Award, Ditched the Binkies Award and Uses "Awkward" in the Right Context Award. That last one was a stretch but it really is impressive how quickly he picks up on funny, awkward moments.
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Finn mostly tried to eat his awards but we couldn't leave him out. He earned the Crawls on All Fours Award, Loves Baby Food Award, Sleeps Through the Night Award and Rolls Over Like a Champ Award.
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Last year, we had a family talent show in addition to the awards presentation. We attempted to keep the tradition but it ended up being a mashup of showing off dance tricks and making skid marks with bike brakes. Some neighbors ended up in the mix and any sort of structure was immediately lost. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. 

What was most important was that the boys were recognized for ways they had stretched and grown during the school year. 

Traditions like these are always worth the effort.


23 June 2015

Friday Night Pool Night

We wanted to do something fun to celebrate the last day of school. We discussed a few options and ultimately ended up at the pool. Maybe it wasn't the most novel idea since we swim several times a week, but add in some evening light and some poolside In-N-Out and our boys thought it was a rare treat. They sure are easy to please.
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22 June 2015

Breaking Bad Habits

We decided to start with our youngest child and work our way to the oldest to eliminate some bad habits they have acquired over the years. 

First up was Finn. He has been the sweetest, most flexible baby ever. But somewhere in the shuffle of moving and having three older brothers with demanding schedules, he never learned to sleep through the night. He was waking me up to eat every few hours, and after eight months, it was past time to get some much needed shut eye. After a few weeks of heartbreaking on and off cry-it-out sessions, he finally got the hang of sleeping through the night. I still wake him up for a little dream feeding right before I go to bed and then he can make it until morning. Hallelujah.
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With a few weeks of good night's sleep under our belts, we tackled the next bad habit; binky hoarding. Crew was my only baby that took a binky. It didn't seem fair that he had to give up his favorite soother at age two when the others get to suck their thumbs until they're five. But we knew it was time and the whole process happened by accident.

I was out on a rare girls' night out when Troy called me in a frenzy at bedtime, asking where the binkies were. Crew is quite the binky hoarder and if I don't hide them immediately when he wakes up from his nap, he scatters them around the house. That's what happened on that particular day and Troy didn't have the patience to search for the binkies, so he simply turned off the light. And that was it!

Crew went to sleep just fine, so there wasn't any reason for me to give them back to him once I found them. He asked for his binkies at every nap and bedtime for about a week, and we simply told him that the binkies were bye-bye. He accepted that, laid down, and went to sleep. Never in a million years did I think that was going to be that easy.
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Up next is Nash and his thumb. I'm under no illusions that his thumbsucking habit is going to be as easy to break as his younger brothers' habits. I fully expect sleepless nights and many tears. But it is time. And he has his mind set on a reward that will hopefully give him some extra motivation. 

Two boys down, two to go. Ready or not, here we come.


19 June 2015

School's Out For the Summer

The rest of the country has been out of school for weeks but we are finally wrapping up the school year.

A lot has changed since that first day of first grade. New school, new state, new home, new neighborhood, new brother and lots of new friends. Blake has handled it all with class.
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He finished first grade with a much anticipated performance.
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Blake was a narrator in his class performance of "Once Upon a Lily Pad." He practiced for weeks and weeks to deliver several memorized lines.
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He didn't seem to mind being surrounded by pretty fireflies.
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Especially Lilah, his cute narrating partner.
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He might have been most excited about the jar of Skittles he received after the play and the green hair dye that his teacher sprayed in his hair. 
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His second last day of school this year was filled with much less tears than the first. He was heartbroken to leave his old school behind, but he adjusted so well to his new school. He couldn't imagine going to school anywhere else now. We're so proud of his resilience through some huge changes the last few months. On to second grade!
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10 June 2015

iPhoneography: Spring in Cali

I found a few straggling spring photos on my phone that I couldn't let disappear before documenting.

Finn loves our daily walks up the hill to meet Blake on his walk home from school.
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This is quite possibly the last time he will ever sleep curled up on me.
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We like to visit the Lego Store in Downtown Disney on our way into Disneyland.
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Having season passes really is the best. We met up with our neighbors one Disney afternoon and rode Nash's favorite ride; Goofy's Sky School.
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Our neighbor girls not only play beautifully with Blake and Nash, but they adore Crew and Finn as well. They ran laps with Crew and our broken umbrella on the one rainy afternoon we had.
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We went to support them in a singing performance.
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We love to eat at Ruby's Diner; especially on Tuesdays when kids eat free. That is incredibly economical for our family.
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I love seeing my boys in white shirts on Sundays.
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Finn is very attached to his bunny lovey. He spent his first few months in our new home sleeping on his changing pad to prevent rolling at night, just as all of our other boys have done.
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He also spent some time at Urgent Care with a ruptured ear drum and breathing treatments for his wheezing. He still smiled through it all.
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We went to Sea World on $6 admission day. The next time that happens, I'm pulling Blake out of school too. That's a deal that can't be beat.
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Crew loves to help me get the mail. He especially loves it when we find boxes in there.
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It's time to take the binkies away from Crew but I'm dreading it. He loves them so much.
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Troy took the boys to LA to visit some of our friends that were in town for a volleyball tournament. The boys have been hooked on Harry Potter lately and Blake was excited to find Daniel Radcliffe's handprints.
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They bumped into a Harlem Globetrotter as well.
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I spent a lot of our spring buried in boxes but somewhere in between all of the settling in, we managed to get out and not be total hermits.