Sunday, January 26, 2014

Rainbow Birthday Party for a Five Year Old

Reina has been waiting her whole life to turn FIVE. You think I'm exaggerating? Nope. Since she could talk it's been of great importance to her. It's a magical age in her mind that lets her know she gets to do more and be more independent (even more than she already is) i.e. SCHOOL! She goes to my mom's childcare center and sees the school kids coming home and all of the cool things they get to talk about and bring home. Of course she wants to be a part of that, which is why ever since she can remember has wanted to be five. So just a half year more and she'll get to take part of that VERY LONG ROAD. Does she really know what she is signing up for? No, but neither has any other kid until they realize that school isn't the raddest by about sixth grade.

We have been preparing her for school in simple ways through workbooks that help with her comprehension and writing of letters. Mummi and Elaine have been a part of her learning as well with activities and lessons. We (not Reina so much) also have enjoyed hearing her read stories to us in some of her Bob reading books. Her latest book has been a struggle because it is starting to put two short words together to make a compound word and her head hasn't quite rapped around that concept yet; example: into. She wants to give up, and because I see she is really trying and getting frustrated I tell her she can be done for today (after already reading a book and a half). She chooses not to give up! I think I know someone else like this. Reina does not like getting any sort of help or constructive criticism and will pout about it, but the next day will take the advice we give her as if she learned it all by herself- little stinker! We haven't done much else to prepare her but she already seems to know as much, if not more than the kindergarteners or first graders I substitute teach so I'm not worried. She's a smarty that has a memory like her daddy. She is a leader and my only real concern is that she will be a little too overpowering to have many friends. If you think this is from my genes then you would be wrong. I was actually a quiet, "teacher's pet" kind of kid with lots of friends. She is very charming and friendly but seems to enjoy older kids best.

We finally enrolled her in a real dance class as part of a "coming of age" gift; a beginner ballet/jazz class. I'm really going to have to alter my schedule to make this happen because the time slot is only one specific hour each week for her age, but it's something we both have been anticipating. She is beyond excited! Is it the fact that her cousin Heleena is in the same class? The fact that she gets to wear a pretty pink leotard? Or is it really because she wants to learn how to dance? Probably the first two and I'll hope she enjoys learning something that I love as well. You should have seen how she was posing and adoring her reflection in the mirror while trying on her leotard in the dressing room- darn you Disney princesses!

Since her fifth birthday was a big deal, she got to have a birthday party of her choice- RAINBOW PARTY! Fourteen little girls ran around with rainbow wigs a-flying. Even Baelor tried one on for a half second...and decided he does not like anything remotely feminine. We had a "make your own pizza" station which is great for picky eaters. I highly suggest this route for your next kid birthday party. It's easy, and they enjoy choosing their personal pizza toppings.

We played a couple of games with prizes: Pin the rainbow tail on the unicorn (thanks to Paul's great unicorn-drawing skills) and musical chairs (using foam rainbow squares in place of chairs). The rest of the time the kids explored the playroom and Reina's dress-up clothes. We ended with a rainbow cake and gifts.

Each girl took their wigs home and some rainbow candy. With all the time it took to decorate for the party, we had to keep it up for a week to enjoy!

I thought about making a rainbow cake, but lost the desire after Christmas, Baelor's birthday party and cake, and then the preparations for this party! I resorted to my very first store-bought cake. Yep, I fed the kids sugary frosting and preservatives! Gasp! And guess what, the kids did not get sick!?! Didn't you know you're a bad parent if you give them anything that is not gluten-free, grass-fed, omega-rich and dairy-free? I feel like I need to go to counseling now. No offense to anyone by the way. I am actually one of those semi-crazy parents that feed my kids mostly healthy with a little treat almost daily. We usually stay away from pre-packaged and ingredients that you can't pronounce.

It's fun to interview children on their birthdays as to see how their likes and dreams change throughout the years. Here is Reina's answers last year vs. now as a five year old.

What is your favorite color? Pink and purple and yellow
Who is your best friend? Miia (her cousin she see's a few times a year)
What do you want to be when you grow up? A mom
What is your favorite food? Cupcakes, cookies, candy and bubble gum
What is your favorite vegetable? Broccoli and carrots
What are you good at? Reading, and doing cartwheels (as she demonstrates)
What song do you love? "Once There was a Snowman"
What is your favorite sport? I like to do Zumba and go swimming
What is your favorite movie/show? Despicable Me 2
If you could have any wish, what would it be? I wish that I had a baby rabbit
What do you like to do with your friends? I like to play dollies with them What kind? The little Barbies (princess ones that are rubbery/clip-on)
Who is your favorite person in the world? Everyone; my friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, mom and dad
If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go? Miia's house and Loon Lake
If you had one hundred dollars what would you buy? I would buy toys What kind? Those things that you got for my birthday (Littlest Pet Shop)
What is your favorite outfit? Pretty dresses Which one specifically? The leopard one Elizabeth got me

We figured that since Reina was a big five year old now she probably didn't need the training wheels on her bike anymore. So Daddy took her out on the first nice day since her birthday for some Road Tests. It only took ten minutes for her to fly solo. Check it out!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Two Years and Too Cute

If you think December is busy with Christmas, try having two kids' birthdays the first week of January! Baelor is now a big boy of TWO. I just realized it was his golden birthday (January 2nd). We celebrated while all of my siblings were in town from the holidays, even my sister Tarja and her family from California!

Baelor and Reina with cousins Kamryn, Reagan, and Ethan and aunt Tarja
 The weather in January is quite cold and gloomy where we live so all entertainment is usually indoors. We did a simple dinner, cake and presents at our home. Entertainment will naturally come with 14 children in the house! I wasn't sure how we were going to fit 3 sets of grandparents, 14 children, and 8 parents in our home, but somehow we managed! It was a bit daunting for me thinking how to make enough food, but everyone was stuffed and even had leftovers! It was kind of the perfect ending to our two week long holiday fun with family.

We brought the outdoor patio table inside for the kiddos, adults at the dining table and the two littlest boys at the itty-bitty table. Baelor no longer uses a high chair which has increased the space in the kitchen dramatically!

I  made a chocolate cake made from scratch that had an Oreo cream cheese filling and whipped cream topping. It. Was. Amazing. And I think it looked quite beautiful for the little effort.

Baelor's Two Year Milestones:

-Understands everything, but still does not say many words (choice?)
-If we say, "Baelor, say _______", can usually say the said word
-Smiley and happy nearly all day, every day
-Still is in LOVE with his Reina's baby blanket (and binkie) and will ask for them by name...we are getting closer to being rid of that horrible habit (binkie)
-We've tried potty training but still has only tinkled once in the potty and tooted plenty
-Is very coordinated with balls (throwing and catching). Due to his love of basketball, we got him a mini-hoop that he usually plays with daddy. After Kids' Club at the gym on our way to wash hands in the bathroom, he always has to go view the basketball games taking place in the gym. On a lucky day that I am not paying attention, he'll run on the courts and snag a ball....once in the middle of a game (oops!)
-Enjoys going to bed at night
-Likes the sound of his voice shouting and making singing noises. The louder the better.
-Has no interest in books or movies (except kitty videos on youtube).
-Favorite foods currently are nuts, green smoothies, cheese and dried fruit like figs and raisins.
-Loves to snuggle and wrestle with his family
-Is very good about folding arms during prayers
-Everyone finds him a very pleasant, easy-going and happy kid
-Jumps with both feet off the ground
-Can gallop
-Still extremely expressive and wins in the biggest "cheese" smile contest

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

We started Christmas this year with decorating right after Thanksgiving while Paul had some time off to put the tree up. Here are a few of our Christmas vignettes. (I don't spend money on Christmas decorations so I know that they could be super cool and fancy, but simple is nice too)

I like to mix naturals with old and new touches...mostly from second-hand stores or simple crafts I've made. To me this creates a story. I've seen some inspiring projects and ideas on Pinterest...there are future Christmases for greater creations.

In the apothecary jars are real acorns that I picked off the ground behind the gym one VERY rainy day. I'm sure I looked like I was homeless, but they have a story now. You have to cure them a certain way otherwise you'll get a bug infestation.

I like the clean, natural elements that highlight the true meaning of Christmas.

Since I have two full weeks off, I'm trying to pack in as much "mommy time" as possible. We baked Finnish Lucia cookies and delivered them to friends. Baelor kept sneaking pinches off the dough while I was rolling it out, but all his germs got cooked out, right? I'll keep our other adventures for another post.

Grandma and Grandpa Guinn stayed home this year, a very rare occasion. So we celebrated by opening our presents and having Christmas dinner at their house along with Paul's brother, Bryan, and his family.

Baelor's favorite gift this year was a remote control car I bought a while back (it spins so never gets trapped in a corner)
Grandma Guinn went all out with a crown pork roast...booties and all
Baelor eating dinner in Paul's old highchair (also used by Reina)
Cousins' table: Corbin, Lauren, Logan, Reina, Degan, Brecken
Grandma and Grandpa even decided to display their village this year! It's always fun to see a great display.

Christmas evening we went "....over the river and through the fog to Grandmother and Grandfather Scarborough's house we went". The dense fog did make our trek into the countryside difficult, but we made it in time for the annual gift exchange. I got the not-so-coveted "angel" last year so it was my turn to disguise the little devil angel. Poor Cody got it (a rather newbie to the exchange). At least I included a clock that he actually liked (it was a countdown clock to when he can give the angel to someone else, as part of the riddle included in the gift).

Girls in their princess jammies (ignore Reina's hair...growing bangs out and she currently hates a clip)
Reina and Baelor got some very cool wooden toys from Grandpa Scarborough. He is a perfectionist when it comes to his woodworking, or anything for that matter. The girls got keepsake boxes with their names and a chosen music box song. Reina's has the music to "The Musicbox Dancer"- very appropriate.

The boys got semi-trucks with a flat bed (low boy) and side dumper! Baelor liked packing all the My Little Ponies and dumping them out. He is such a boy at heart. He'll turn Reina's doll hairdryer into a gun, or make a car out of a corner of toast.

The wooden toys are made out of very fine wood such as walnut and oak (not cheap pine), so they will be passed down as a great remembrance of Grandpa Scarborough.

Grandpa Scarborough with his well-known phrase: "See these fingers? You know what they are? Tickle fingers. They find little girls and they tickle them!"
We had most of my siblings and their families here for Christmas.
Baelor happened to get sick (a rare occasion for my kids besides colds) the night of Christmas while we were staying at Grandma and Grandpa Scarborough's house with 16 other people. He threw up once on the carpet before bed and several times more through the night. Luckily it was all in his pack-n-play so cleanup was just a lot of sheet changes. The weird thing is that he had no fever and was fine by morning. For being nearly two and only throwing up perhaps one other time, I'd say he's quite healthy.

The boys played outside

Finn and Baelor in G&G Scarborough's backyard
Like I said, the boys played outside...throwing Uncle Teem's new tomahawk

Actually us girls joined in as well!

The first time for all of us throwing a tomahawk! It was more fun than I gave a tomahawk credit...actually, never thought much of a tomahawk until this adventure. I even beat the guys in a friendly competition a couple of rounds. Take that!

The fog still had not lifted at all the day after Christmas!

This is ice, not rain

Here are some of our Christmas traditions:

-baking Lucia cookies
-reading chapter 2 in Luke in the New Testament (birth of the Savior)
-setting out cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer
-always finding tangerines, pistachios, chocolate gold coins and toothbrushes in our stockings
-having a special breakfast (this year was crepes)
-not waking up early to open presents
-only Santa gifts and stockings are opened in our pajamas
-Christmas music in the car for the month of December

Christmas morning: crepes with homemade jam and real cream
Future traditions:
-New pajamas the night before (just hasn't been needed yet)
-Doing a musical number for the Christmas program at church
-Secret Santa for a family in need 

Cookies for Santa and a carrot for each reindeer
Santa gift: My Little Ponies and Squinkies
Santa gift: Workbench
We are grateful for the blessings we enjoy because of our Savior, the Prince of Peace.