12.02.2016

Thanksgiving Break

Remember how I mentioned that we were excited to visit Adam's parents in Houston for Thanksgiving? Well, Adam's grandma passed away recently, so we decided to change our plane tickets to go to her upcoming funeral. Instead, we had a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend at home with my parents and younger brother, Scott. Betsy was actually cutting a couple new teeth last week and slept really terribly, so the silver lining was that five of us weren't all sharing one room for that delightful experience.

So glad to have Grandma and Grandpa here for Thanksgiving!

We went to Mass on Thursday and, of course, had a delicious meal. I tried to get a picture of my children in their cute, festive outfits but they were not in a photo-taking kind of mood. 

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Yep, those were really the best we could get. Why is it so hard to sit still and smile for two seconds? Some winning recipes from our Thanksgiving feast - pumpkin cinnamon rolls, cornmeal dinner rolls, cream cheese mashed potatoes, caramel apple pie, and cinnamon ice cream.

Before digging in, we went around the table and shared what we were thankful for. I think all the adults said they were thankful for the same thing - my dad's new job. When he was transferred to Eastern Washington last year, he was told that this assignment would last until he retired, but a couple months ago he found out he was being transferred again. He was to spend six months in Indonesia and then be spent back to the Houston office. His stint abroad would be "single status" so my mom couldn't come and would have to coordinate the move back to Houston on her own. He was actually set to leave this week. But right before Thanksgiving, he got a new job with the nuclear energy company that provides power to the eastern half of the state. (My dad is a metallurgist - his degree is in materials engineering.) We are SO glad my parents are staying in Washington!

On Friday, we went to the Pacific Science Center - Adam gets a great company discount there which makes it a super affordable family outing. The kids were not huge fans of the temporary exhibit on Sherlock Holmes, but they loved the playground, the butterfly garden, and the MOD Pizza we had for lunch. All of us girls headed home while the guys stayed to see Doctor Strange on the IMAX.

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On Saturday, my mom, Betsy, and I did some shopping while everyone else went ice skating. This is something that would be quite difficult for Adam and I to do without extra helpers, so I really appreciate my dad taking the girls out on the rink (especially since skating hurts his ankles) and Scott taking great pictures of the whole thing.

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Claire definitely enjoyed herself more than Maggie, who declared the experience "too scary." Claire, on the other hand, has decided to become the "best ice skater in the world." Now that we know that Maggie's not a huge fan (at least for now) maybe we'll attempt taking them by ourselves to the "stroller skate" at the outdoor ice rink in Bellevue over Christmas. This was at the ice rink in Lynwood - we all met up at the Cafe Rio in the mall for lunch afterward.

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That afternoon, Adam and Claire picked up the fifty Christmas books I put on hold at the library. I'm pretty sure Claire and Maggie had one of their grandparents reading to them constantly until they headed home the next morning!

11.24.2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

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So thankful for my three little turkeys, my fellow turkey tamer, and these pictures of us all together from Jen Sanders Photography. I hope you're having a wonderful day with those you love! (And lots of pie.)

11.20.2016

October and November Happenings

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My parents came to visit the first weekend of October because my mom had a doctor's appointment at UW. And...we roped them into helping us clean the preschool. (Everyone has to sign up for one weekend cleaning a year.) Basically they're the best.

We've been to the really great Snohomish Aquatic Center a couple times, but we just discovered the indoor pool in Lynwood and we're in love. It has the same fun splash area, lazy river, and water slides with the addition of a separate warm water pool that's perfect for babies. And it's down the street from Cafe Rio! We've already been twice this fall.

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Claire and Maggie went horseback riding at our town farm park. It's such a great program! I'm actually really, really allergic to horses so Adam always laughs when I sign them up for another session. But they love it and I want them to be comfortable around animals. Because of the aforementioned allergies, which extend to most furry creatures, pets are probably not in our future.

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My friend, Marie, and I went to the Happier live podcast taping. We're both avid fans of the podcast, so we had the best time experiencing it in person. Gretchen said she liked my iPhone case! The next evening, Adam and I went on a date. We saw Sully, which was fantastic, and had a delicious dinner at Purple. The following afternoon, I got a pedicure and a hair cut. I felt suuuuuuper relaxed after going out sans-children three days in a row.

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Uncle Jeff (Adam's oldest brother and their cousin Estelle's dad) was in Seattle on a business trip, so we got to have him over for dinner twice. Claire and Maggie were thrilled to have him take over bedtime story duty. 

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We made one last trip to this location of the children's museum. They're moving to a bigger space in the new year, which of course is not at all a bad thing, but this location was the perfect equidistant spot to meet some of our favorite friends. I will definitely miss the fact that you could walk to Nordstrom Rack and Panera (bagels!) from the museum. Speaking of museums, with Adam we went to the Burke Museum of Natural History on the UW campus. It was pretty lame, honestly, especially compared to the Houston Museum of Natural Science we grew up visiting. We'll probably just stick to the Pacific Science Center from now on. 

Adam and I each found low-key volunteer positions at church that have been fitting into our family life really well. Adam's been working with the children's choir, which performs at four masses a year. He's wanted to do something music-related but the adult choir is too big of a time commitment for this stage of our life. Some good friends started an American Heritage Girls troop at our parish and I've been helping out as the troop shepherd. Basically, I plan a short liturgical activity for one meeting a month. In October, we made missionary rosaries using this tutorial from Catholic Icing. In November, I had everyone draw a patron saint for the new church year out of a hat. This year, I was able to stick to North and South American female saints. In December, I'll just bring an advent wreath to use during opening prayer. So...we've pretty much already started volunteering for activities we'll have Claire join when she's in kindergarten next year.

 We're in a "married group" with four other families from church. We all have two or three little kids under age five and we meet for dinner one Saturday a month. This month, we signed up to bring a meal to the homeless shelter together. We each made eight servings of the meal, which was enough for our dinner too, and then we divvied up the dinner sides, breakfast, and lunch. After our dinner, the moms headed home to put the kids to bed while the dads served our meal at the shelter. It went so well that we've signed up for two more dates this winter.

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Preschool is really doing a number on our immune systems, guys. We've already had two colds and two stomach bugs go through the house this fall. But besides the constant sickness, preschool has been a great experience. This week, we went on a field trip to the theater and had their Thanksgiving feast. Everyone had to bring a dish of their choice (Claire picked fresh bread with honey butter) and contribute their favorite fruit to a "friendship fruit salad." So cute!

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This week was also Maggie's back-to-back feast and baptism days. Saint Margaret's day is when we traditionally indulge in our favorite winter dessert, hot chocolate and Walker's shortbread, for the first time of the season. Our baptism day tradition is to serve the honored daughter's favorite meal (Maggie's request was chicken nuggets with sweet potato fries) and then stick their baptism candle in a cupcake while we sing "happy baptism day to you."

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To add to the craziness of this past week, Claire and Maggie also started their dance and gymnastic class again. The studio has four quarters a year, but we skipped the first one to wait for Maggie to turn three and move up to Claire's class. We'll be probably skip the last session too just to save money. They're enjoying it, learning a little of both disciplines, and looking super cute, of course!

11.18.2016

Nine Months With Betsy

Nine Months Official

Birth Weight: 7 pounds, 2 ounces. 
Current Weight: 17 pounds, 9 ounces.

Birth Length: 19.5 inches. 
Current Length: 28.5 inches.

Likes:
Yogurt melts and these Gerber cheese crunchies.
People! She has no stranger anxiety thus far.
Swimming in the warm water indoor pool.
When her sisters wake up in the morning and when Daddy gets home from work.

Dislikes:
Daylight savings time. 
Cutting her first bottom tooth.
Having her perpetually runny nose suctioned. 
Being belted into a shopping cart or restaurant high chair.

New Tricks:
Shaking her head. 
Waving on occasion.
Eating an applesauce squeeze pouch on her own. 

Nine Months Collage

Here are some more pictures from the last month:

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For comparison's sake, here are Claire and Maggie at the same age. And here's the rest of Betsy's monthly reports!

11.16.2016

Maggie at Age Three

At age three, Maggie...

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Weighs thirty-two pounds and is thirty-six inches tall.

No longer introduces herself as Sleeping Beauty. She says she's turned back into Maggie.

Can color really well and draws the cutest little smiley faces you've ever seen. She loves to paint and do play dough, although I'm sad to say neither happen very often with an active baby sister around.

Completes twenty-four piece puzzles on her own, often doing the same one over and over. She can do more challenging puzzles with help and now has the attention span for easy games like Candy Land.

Pretend plays with her dolls and her big sister all day long. They are very into setting up stores, carnivals, and hair salons at the moment. She loves to regale us with detailed stories about her dolls at dinner and in the car.

Must be wearing a dress or a skirt at all times. Her favorite color is pink. She prefers headbands to hair bows and has requested to keep her hair short, even though Claire is growing hers out. She does not like to wear socks or tights, stripping them off as soon as we get home.

Reads books to herself constantly, narrating her version of the story aloud. She insists on sitting in your lap when you're reading to her, otherwise she's "uncomfortable." We've been reading chapter books while the big girls lay in bed each night for the last few months. Maggie follows the story surprisingly well.

Currently really loves Clifford and The Hive, aka "the bumblebee show," both found on Netflix. We've turned our Friday pizza night into Friday pizza and movie night. It's been fun to introduce them to new movies beyond Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Winnie the Pooh, which were on rotation at our house for a very long time. Maggie white-knuckled her way through Finding Nemo but didn't find Peter Pan scary at all.

Doesn't have the biggest sweet tooth. She loves strawberry ice cream but isn't a big fan of doughnuts or cinnamon rolls. Her favorite foods are watermelon, frozen blueberries, scrambled eggs, cheese sticks, pizza, and chicken nuggets with Chick-fil-A sauce.

Naps a couple times a week. Usually once on the weekend and once on the way home from preschool pick-up. She still lets me transfer her into her bed to snooze some more. We took the side off her crib this summer to make it a toddler bed and she had absolutely zero issues with the transition. Sleeping in the same bed as Claire on vacation was a little bit trickier. She's a very warm sleeper, preferring to skip the blanket and just use a sheet.

Still sleeps with a pacifier. We have a trip planned soon and are waiting to take it away until we get back, but it's days are numbered. She seems to prefer her Corelle doll, "Baby Joyce," and her Sleeping Beauty doll to the soft dolly she's slept with since she was a baby. Although she's adopted and is now very fond of the stuffed dog my great aunt gave to Betsy.

Is pretty much potty trained. She's not perfect and definitely still has a few kinks to work on, but accidents only happen every couple weeks at this point. She wears pull-ups overnight and usually changes into underwear when we're going out for the day because it's just easier that way.

Eagerly anticipates being a preschooler herself. She's got the goodbye song memorized and is already thinking about what to bring in for show-and-tell. But she's not sad that she doesn't get to stay with Claire. I think she still prefers hanging out with me and Betsy. Her favorite part of the week is when Claire's at catechesis, Betsy is napping, and she gets some one-on-one time with me. She loves having her own special activity, music class, and is eagerly awaiting their dance and gymnastics class starting up again this week.

Plays so well with her baby sister. She's so great at getting down on her level. We can always count on her to entertain Betsy with peek-a-boo or another silly game that only the two of them understand.

Can throw a tantrum and whine like a pro, or at least like everyone other three-year-old I know. We like to say that when Claire is upset she gets very sad and when Maggie is upset she gets very angry. She's still not that well-behaved during Mass. Every once in a while she'll just decide to start crying uncontrollably. We're pretty sure it's simply because she's bored. Every time we say that if she does that again she's going into the nursery, but we keep backtracking and giving her one more chance to shape up.

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The vast majority of the time she is absolutely adorable and the sweetest sister for Claire and Betsy. We often wonder what we would do without her in the middle of our three girls!