Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Happy Fourth Birthday Penny!

Today our sweet and sassy girl turned four years old! She seems so grown up now when I think about how she was a three year old.  She has matured so much!  Penny is a smart and funny girl that knows what she wants.  And she is tough!  In the last year we spent  a lot of time with friends that are a family of boys.  Not only was she the only girl in the group, but she was the youngest.  She hung in there with the boys no problem!  Penny can do anything, as long as she is given the space to do it in her own time.  At first she was unsure of being a big sister, but now she loves Ellie with her whole heart.  At the beginning of the summer she was afraid to put her face in the water.  Now she can swim underwater! Her independence and stubbornness are teaching us daily lessons in humility and patience, though we can't help but admire her for it!

Penny started Pre-kindergarten this week, and she loves it!  That little brain of hers thrives on stimulation and I know she is going to learn tons this year!  Penny also loves to sing, dance, and make us laugh!  Her comic side has really blossomed this year.  Every evening before bed we have a ritual of Daddy, Mama, Cooper and Penny watching Sesame Street music videos on youtube.  Penny likes  the "Cecil Ball" songs, the "ladybug's picnic", and when Elmo sings with Adam Sandler.  Not only does she know all the words to all the songs we watch, but she can act them out and change the pitch and sound of her voice to mirror the character singing.  The best part is she does this solely to make us all laugh!  

Penny may run with the boys no problem, but she is still a girly-girl!  Her favorite color is pink, she flat out refuses to wear pants, and she is crazy for fairies, princesses, and her babies.  (This non-girly Mama has no clue where this comes from.) Penny loves "pink baby" now as much as she ever did, though quite often her growing collection of pigs join the fray.   Cooper is her all time best friend.  We know this because of how she always wants to be with him and because she says all the time, "Cooper is my best friend!"

We are proud of our girl and can't believe she is already four!  Lucky girl has had a busy birthday week!   Ma-Mas and Pa-Pa visited over the weekend and we celebrated with a little swim party on Saturday, where family friends Steve and Mary joined us for dinner and cupcakes.  Tuesday was Penny's first day of pre-kindergarten (In a new school, in a new town, without Cooper!) and today (Wednesday) was her actual birthday.  She got to wear a paper crown at school and her classmates sang "Happy Birthday," which she loved.  After school our family visited the Build-A-Bear workshop.  Penny and Cooper both had fun creating a "pink princess mermaid bear" for Penny and a princess lamb for Ellie. (Cooper just wanted a shirt for his bear at home.)  Later at home she got to open one more present (a Lego Movie lego set) and swim.

 The birthday girl in action... 

Blowing out the candles.
As requested, Mama made "pink strawberry Princess Peach cake."
Posing on her first day of Pre-K!
Penny at Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Playing at the mall.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Kindergarten Coop!

Cooper on his first day of Kindergarten.
A rite of passage occurred today...both for Cooper and the parents.  Cooper went to kindergarten! (And this stay-at-home-mom lost one reason to stay at home.) When I left him in his classroom, Cooper was all smiles.  I could tell he was a little bit nervous but was trying hard to be brave.  We are so proud of him and we know that he is going to have a great school year! When Cooper was born this day seemed so far away that it couldn't be real.  Now here we are! It really only seems like just the other day...

Brand new Baby Cooper!
Cooper at 17 months...his first "school" picture.
Cooper on his first day of Pre-K.
It's hard to believe that was just last fall.
****Our first day went well!  I couldn't get him picked up after school fast enough! Cooper was full of smiles and chatter about his day!  The only caveat was that he said he couldn't open his pudding at lunch and that he just wanted to eat it at home.  (That is Cooper-speak for "I was too shy to ask for help.")****

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Eight Months Old!

Here we are at the eight month mark!  Every month for a baby is significant, but this last one seems markedly so.  Little Ellie has grown and changed and gone and done.  We have been all over the place as a family and she is one little trooper!  Her personality is starting to emerge!  She is a happy little sweetheart that loves Mama best!

At eight months old Ellie:
  • has grown!  She weighed in at 16.5 lbs and measured in at 25 and 1/4 inches.
  • eats a lot!  Ellie LOVES baby food and eats almost everything I feed her. The only limit to her eating is her sensitive stomach so each food we try is still a learning curve.  She even will eat peas (something she rejected a month ago) if they are mixed in with something else.  She goes wild for butternut squash and applesauce.  She is also slowly trying out finger foods.  She likes various Gerber baby snacks, Cheerios, and veggie chips.  We are still successfully breastfeeding and having one bottle before bed.  
  • sleeps nearly the same. Some nights she wakes up a few times, sometimes she doesn't.  The only difference is we have shed the swaddle blanket and it is getting harder to sneak out of the room after I put her down.
  • got another tooth.  She now has both of her bottom middle teeth.
  • is working on her moves! Ellie has started trying to scoot to get to things she's interested in, so I imagine it won't be long before she is up and crawling.  She also loves it when we hold her in a standing position.
  • has a lot more to say!  Ellie now seems to make sounds just to hear herself and has added "bababababa" and "mamamama" to her vocabulary.
  • has traveled!  In the last month she has been to the Frio River, Houston, Corpus Christi, New Orleans, and Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.   
Hanging out in Houston.
At Ma-Mas and Pa-Pa's house.
Ellie on a boat!
While on vacation, our friends were amazed at how good she was!
Beach baby mohawk!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Family Vacation 2014...Santa Rosa Beach, Florida!

Our summer has come to an end with a bang! We spent our family vacation this year with our good friends the Eggers and the Devines in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida (#vacationwithfriends)!  We left from Houston last Sunday morning and made an overnight stop in New Orleans, Louisiana.  We stayed in a quaint hotel one block off Rue Bourbon, so we were able to show the kids the local flair and flavor.  I don't think they knew what to think of all that was going on (#parents of the year). Day two consisted of another day of driving to our rented beach house.  The next four days were spent on the beach and in the house pool.  The girls also got a chance to visit Seaside for some shopping and we all got to test out some really great restaurants.  Naturally on Friday morning it was hard to leave!  We pushed all the way home instead of breaking up the trip like on the way there.  After 15.5 solid hours on I-10, two delirious parents and three sleeping kids pulled into the driveway at midnight.  What a wild week!

Horsing around in our New Orleans hotel room.
Two days of driving and the Big Easy were too much for this little one.   Ellie couldn't quite make it through the first walk on the beach.
She started to get the hang of it!  Yay for Ellie's first vacation!
In no time at all Ellie was enjoying the ocean!
For the first day on the beach, Penny preferred the sand to the crashing waves.
By the second day, she was joining the other kids in the ocean!
This adventurous kid just couldn't get enough of the beach!
Different this time around was Daddy was in charge of the camera most of the time.  Mama made a few of the pictures!
We finished every beach trip with a dip in the house pool.  I think the kids had just as much fun there as the beach!
Cooper kept everyone entertained by putting on a show jumping in the pool.  He kept telling everyone to watch by saying "Everyone shut it down!"  and  "Look at my eyes!"
HUGE this trip was Miss Penny becoming so much braver both on the beach and in the pool.  She started swimming across the pool underwater!  We were so proud of her!
Look who can write his name in the sand?
We really enjoyed our time spent with these folks!  
And these people!
All the kids (Six in all!) had such a great time playing together!
We had two nannies (Not my term, they asked to be called that!) accompany us on the trip.  The kids always had someone to play with take care of them and the adults got to have some adult time! 
 Thanks again Reagan and Paige for all your help!
Daddy and Penny at the end of the last beach day.  We had so much fun we are already talking about next year's trip!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Into Our Last Month of Summer

We marked the beginning of our last month of summer with a weekend visit to Houston.  We stopped in for quick visit with Nonnie on Friday afternoon, then went on to spend the rest of the weekend with our friends, the Edmonds'.  The kids got off to a bit of a rough start being friends, but after a few hours on Saturday, everyone was having fun.  

Name something better than a slip-n-slide in the summer!
Penny and Cooper loved playing with someone else's toys.
Ellie relaxes at the Houston Racquet Club.
"Mom, be sure to take a picture of me on the slide!"
There ya go...