Thursday, July 20, 2017

June Randoms

Helped my parents clean out the mud room. Convinced them to let us rip up the carpet too (not that it took much convincing, Mom was on board from the start). It needed to be done. 

 After our zoo trip last month, my parents took the kids home while I went to Dulles to get Darin. They went through the McDonald's drive through for dinner and Shae got this mini beanie baby in his happy meal (Bongo--he would want you to know). He fell in love with it and I just loved walking in to see him sleeping with it on his neck one night. Belén got a "wolfie" named Timber--let it be known. (They are super in to beanie babies lately--the two that they have other than these ones--and it's bringing back all my childhood memories of LOVING beanie babies. They were my life for a period there, before baseball. Wish I still had them to pull out for the kids!)
 Belén and I went on a walk at Stewart Park one morning while Shae was at Joy School. It just so happened to be Free Carousal day, so we made sure to jump on before leaving. She actually didn't love the horse and started clinging to me about 10 seconds in. Thankfully, there was a little carriage seat right behind us that I fell in to with her and we enjoyed the rest of the ride from there.
 It was such a beautiful day, so we packed up a picnic dinner, picked up daddy and headed back to the park for the evening to play and ride the carousal over and over again.

 After the Dryden library cow themed story time (it was Dairy Days weekend which is a pretty big deal out there). We are so in love with this little library. The librarians are just the sweetest and do THE best story times. 
 Library days are the best days for so many reasons. My favorite being when we get home and pull out all the books and the kids sit and look at the pictures for quite awhile before we stack them all up and read through them together while eating lunch. There's just something so special about reading a new book that none of us has ever read before, together, and then talking about it, or laughing through it, or reading it again immediately. And getting old ones that we have loved and remembering them together. Reading picture books is my favorite favorite FAVORITE part of my day job right now. 
 This kid can SWEAT. Check out that sweaty head...after doing a puzzle!

 I started doing some ESL volunteer work last month. Currently I am doing one on one tutoring with a super sweet girl (Thao) from Vietnam. She is just the best. She crocheted this adorable flower headband for Belén and she loves it so much. She puts it on just about daily saying, "Me, flower." 

 We watched our dear friend's kids while they took a few days to head up to Maine on a little get-away. I braved a little walk with all 4 kids one day, just to the pond down the road a bit from our house. I got some great looks from people, walking with 2 small kids in the double stroller and two more small ones walking next to me. We were having a great time throwing rocks in to the pond when sweet Franny just books it right in and falls flat on her face. Of course the one day there were people sitting out on the bench right next to us...I must have looked crazy. Needless to say, we went straight back home and locked ourselves inside for the rest of the day.

 My parents stayed with us for two nights during this period as well on their way back from a Canada trip. Our house was packed, but I'm so grateful they were there. With two vehicles and extra hands and eyes it made it possible for us to actually get out and have some fun. We went to Taughannock (will I ever be able to spell that without looking it up first?) one day and enjoyed the playground and beach there.
 This girl was just so snuggly with me and I loved it so much.

Shae and Eppie doing the best quiet time of their lives together while the little girls napped. I didn't expect this to actually happen, but when I told them it was quiet time, they just curled right up on the blanket beds I had made for them and listened quietly to audiobooks. Over time Shae played with some toys quietly and Eppie just watched while I worked in the hall way (since the rooms were occupied with sleeping babies). It was a quiet time miracle.
 The kids first sleepover. Aka: The best night ever.
 Started playing on a co-ed city softball team which has been so fun, but has also made me realize that I am just not as young as I once was. One thing that does not change with age, how badly a sliding abrasion tear up on the leg hurts. So bad.

The Saturday we were watching our friend's kids there was a tournament that I got to participate in. I was gone in Cortland most of the afternoon/evening and it was just so refreshing to be outside playing ball, meeting knew people and letting Darin watch all 4 kids for the day :) (Thank you love!)
 So completely in love with this sweet and sassy little two year old. She's just so much fun these days.
 I felt SO bad taking her away from this tea party she was having at the library with three other girls she met there. They were so nice to her and included her in everything. She seemed so grown up! It was just so girly and totally adorable to watch (with the barbie and fairy books all over the table). It amazes me (and slightly frightens me) how easily she picks up on things that she sees other girls do. 
 Raspberry picking at Indian Creek Farm with our friends Lydia and Everett. Shae was actually really excited about it, despite his face in this picture.

Darin found a place to rent a cello and has been trying his hand at it to see how much he remembers/reteach himself. 
 We started a little chore system for the kids for us to earn money to go see Cars 3. We had a gift card that we wanted to use to go see it, but we didn't want to just go see it, and felt like it was a good opportunity to teach the kids a lesson about work. I know there are a lot of feelings out there about chores/money for kids and we still haven't figured out a normal routine yet that works for our family (which I'm totally okay with at this point since they're still so young), but this was a good "testing the waters" experience for us and the kids loved it.

Shae had 3 things that he had to do each day to earn a quarter to put in his Cars 3 money jar. 1. Read a book to mom or dad (simple super easy beginning readers) 2. Practice math with dad 3. Do a special chore (not just the everyday pick up toys, put your clothes in the hamper kind of chores. We wrote down a bunch on popcicle sticks and they got to pick one per day. Ex: wiping down all the door knobs/light switches, mopping, cleaning the toilet, dusting a bookshelf, etc.) We tried really hard to make this a choice for Shae. If he didn't do one of the things, he just didn't get his quarter that day and that was okay. However, he only missed like one day. He was actually really stoked about doing his 3 things each day--especially the chore! While mopping he said, "Mom! This is so fun!" Somebody please tell me this excitement about chores lasts forever. Please?! Somebody?!

I'm excited to do some more reading about this topic to establish a system that works for us. I've never really found myself to be a believer in paying kids to do chores. That should just be expected of them as part of the family, right? But then I also don't really believe in just giving them money (or big treats like a movie theater movie) without some sort of work involved (unless it's a gift I guess). And I do really believe in teaching kids/teenagers how to use and manage money when they're young...ahhhh! This has been on my mind so much lately. Give me all the tips people! But like I said, our kids are still young so I won't stress too much about this much yet. But I will say that this first experiment went very well. Shae really enjoyed doing everything and it was impressive to see how well he got with his math flashcards and reading while being so consistent with it.

I win the worst Watermelon Picker ever award. Give it to me. This was just so sad.
The Halls introduced us to Circus Truck, which was SO GOOD! Can't wait to go back.
 It was pretty rainy while we were there, and while there was a little tent to eat under, the kids had a blast playing in the warm summer rain.

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