Monday, April 28, 2014

To Tori, as you turn 4.

 They say the middle child is always the complicated one. 
I don't know if that's true.
But it must be hard to find your place in the family when someone is always older, and doing things before you, and someone is always younger and needing more attention.
But you handle it with grace, usually.
Little Tori, you are suddenly not-so-little.  You're at that point in your childhood where your pendulum swings from desperately wanting to be a big girl, doing things for yourself without help, to desperately wanting to be the baby, snuggly and dependent on us for the simplest things.
You're brave.  And loud.  And my, you are funny.
You can get away with murder because you are so damn adorable.  The kind of adorable that strangers remark about when we go out.
And like the nursery rhyme, you are the little girl, with the little curl, right in the middle of your forehead...and when you are good, you are very, very good, and when you are bad, well, we all know the rest.
You thought that you would get to go to school as soon as you turned four.  I know you're excited to ride the bus like your big sister, but you've got to be patient....patience doesn't come easy at your age.
As you've carved your niche in the family, you are excelling in being in the kitchen with me.  We baked your birthday cake together--you picked it out, and all the toppings.  You decorated it yourself (and it was beautiful!).  You're my expert egg cracker, batter mixer, and dinner helper.
You are a bolt of lightning when I walk through the door after work..."Mommeeeeeeeeeeeee's home!" followed by a full-on sprint to give me a hug.  (Unless there is something really good on TV, in which case I am invisible.)
If our family were a class, you'd be the class clown.  And you'd win best smile.
 You're the catalyst for chaos in the full of energy and silliness that Dani and Tommy can't help but follow you.  From your inexplicable and silly phrases, "I got a fruita in my toota" as you dance around shaking your booty, to your unparalleled couch bouncing ability, Daddy and I often have to turn our heads so the other kids don't see us giggling at your antics. 
In the middle of a tantrum, you demand "a hug and a kiss".  And you wrap your arms around me and hold me tight, as inside the toddler and big girl battle for dominance...sometimes it works and you calm down, other times, the toddler in you is stronger and the tantrum continues.
You, Tori are our brightest light, and our biggest challenge.
Keep diving in head first.
 And keep snuggling with me.
Happy birthday my sweet Tori.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Here comes Peter Cottontail

 We had two Easters this year.  We spent Saturday at my cousin Dave's house.  It was a beautiful, sunny day full of family, food, and of course--Easter egg hunts!
We had dropped off the eggs earlier in the day, so Dave's daughter could hide them.  The kids had a blast running through the yard--Brady the dog found (and chewed) a few before the kids could find them, though.
 The kids showing off the haul.
 This was the best of a number of shots attempting to get just one family photo!
 And today, it was just the five of us. The kids wanted another egg hunt, so I hid the empty eggs from yesterday in the back yard.  And they wanted more, so then I hid them in the front yard.  Still demanding more, Dani then hid the eggs in the front yard (with Daddy's help) for Tori and Tommy to find.
We had a lovely dinner, and spent some more time outside.  We pulled out the bikes, hot wheels and other toys after dinner and went outside again.  Dani was on her bike, Tori on the hot wheels, and Tommy pushing a baby stroller as we went back and forth along the block.  It's so nice to finally be outside in the sun!
Happy Easter!  Happy Spring!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

You ought to be in pictures, baby.

For the first time ever, we had professional photos taken of the kids.  I am a firm believer in candids, but these are awesome.  We should not have waited so long!

In my area?  Check our photographer out at:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

March madness.

 March means birthdays--one which Wes and my mom share.  Happy 42, Big Man.
And we had lots of recent visits from Grandma and Grandpa.  Grandpa got to enjoy a weekend with the kids, without Grandma.  Usually, he's second fiddle to Grandma, but when she's not around, he is lavished with attention.  Snuggles on the couch.
 Snuggles after dinner.
 And then Grandma came, and more fun was had.  Tea parties.
 Trips to the park.
 More tea parties.
 Finger painting--I think Grandma enjoyed it more than the kids!
 And, somebody lost another tooth!  This time it was just in time for family photos.
We're trying to teach Dani and Tori about money, and the tooth fairy deposits are helping with that.  A month or so ago, I opened savings accounts for the kids.  Since Dani was born, we've been throwing change into a large baby bottle bank.  The kids are always asking for coins to put in it.  It was finally full so Dani, Tori and I went to the bank to feed the coins into the machine to deposit into their accounts.  (the net was almost $150!).  If you enter my house, they will shake you down for more coins for the bank. 

And, I broke down and bought a minivan.  There's just no making that cool.  But it's practical...woo hoo!
And, in funny things my kids have said lately:
"Mommy, nobody's perfect; not even astronauts." (Dani)
"But Mommy, I'm not littering, I want to give the birds some stickers to play with."  (A disappointed Tori when I wouldn't let her throw stickers out of the car window.)
During a dinner, I had made a roast beef on the rotisserie.  Dani pointed out that the meat was the same color as Daddy, "brown and pink".  I suggested to the kids that perhaps that meant that Daddy was perfectly cooked and ready to eat.  Tori's response was, "NO!  We can't eat Daddy, because he would be too hard to chew."