Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dry Spell

It has been so long since my last post . . . and apparently Blogger has made some changes.  It took me about 5 minutes to figure out how to actually begin a new post.  Ooops.  While I realize I may not have any readers left out there. . .well, other than my parents.  Who knows? Maybe they gave up on me too!

Just a few quick points because I can't possibly recap the last 5 months!

1.  We had a great summer.  It went by very quickly, but we a lot more hang out time this year than the last couple of summers.  We took a mini-vacation with my family to the Lake of the Ozarks.  The weather was beautiful and my 31 year old brother is the only one who ended up with a sun burn.  We took turns planning meals, and I must say, we are great cooks!  

 Umm, yes, my brother did bring his juice extractor and his kitchen aid mixer.  I mean, who doesn't?

Had to throw in this picture.  Just looking for sympathy - this is what Daphne has been like for about the last year.  This is what happens when you give up naps at 2 years old.  

2.  We got a dog.  This was a big step for me. . . the girls had been begging.  Kevin was totally okay with it. I was the last one on board.  I have to say, we couldn't have ended up with a better dog.  Hugo is such a sweet, calm dog.  He is 5 so he was totally house trained and the only thing he chewed up was a plastic pear.  I think maybe he thought it was real!  Ha!  The funniest thing is that he follows me everywhere.  No, I mean, EVERYWHERE.  If you know me, you know that I NEVER sit down for more than 5 minutes until about 8 p.m.  I go up and down the stairs about 100 times a day and Hugo follows me.  Every once in a while we will be in the basement and I realized I forgot to print something off for school.  I will run up 2 flights of stairs to grab something out of the printer and run back down.  And, yes, Hugo follows me even then.  The girls and Kevin are totally jealous.  Kevin often tells Hugo that I was the last one on board!  

3.  School got off to a great start.  I hope to blog about what we are doing this year at a later date. . . but don't get your hopes up!  Norah is doing great.  She is goal oriented so she works very hard to get everything accomplished carefully, but at a decent pace.  Lucy is entertaining.  She is doing well, but her goal seems to be to just make it through the day.  She is not quite a careful - but she doesn't stress out about her school work.  She loves her math - a girl after my own heart!  Daphne is enjoying the fact that I actually have something prepared for her about 3 days a week.  The 2 days that I don't, she begs for school!  She, however, is a perfectionist.  Last week, she cried because the horse she drew didn't actually look like a real horse.  I am not even kidding.  She SOBBED.  I kept telling her that hers looked great.  Finally, I told her that 3 year old can't draw real horses.  

4.  We went apple picking last weekend.  We went to a quaint, little orchard about 30 minutes from our house.  It was perfect.  The weather was great!  It wasn't busy and there weren't a million other things to see and do.  

As I said, I hope to be back at the blogging thing, but I can't promise anything.  Life is just busy.  Not in a bad way, just busy.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Happy 6th Birthday, Lucy Mae!

Better late than never. . . .

Lucy turned 6 on May 1 and she finished kindergarten on May 10.  This was a big and . . . interesting year for Lucy.  Kevin and I have concluded that age 5 at our house tends to be a rough age.  So far, we are 2 for 2 when it comes to the full passion and opinions of a 5 year old taking control of emotions at the Swinigan household (I am PRAYING that 5 is different for DJ).  Anyway, Lucy has grown a lot, but despite some rough patches, she is a very happy, go-lucky kid.  She LOVES and LIVES passionately.  Everything that Lucy does is BIG.  When she is crafting, there is stuff everywhere. . . literally falling off the table because every square inch of the table is full.  When she plays - whether dressing up, playing Barbies, etc - things are everywhere. . . .and she uses everything that she gets out.  When she eats, she eats big - food and crumbs are everywhere.  When she paints - there is paint everywhere on her, the floor, the table. . . everywhere!

Lucy has a huge heart when it comes to those she loves.  She is the first to give up a toy to make her sisters happy.  She always wants to make (or buy) things for other people.  She enjoys helping out - especially when it comes to jobs/chores that seem too big for her.  She just wants to try.

School was a big change for Lucy this year.  While homeschooling is all Lucy has ever seen, doing the work that I expected was sometimes a challenge.  She has no problems doing schoolwork if it is all fun and games, but as soon as something is hard - she panics.  Lucy has done fantastic this year - she has picked up math incredibly fast and is doing a great job with her reading.  My goal this summer is to have her read something everyday just to build her confidence - she can do it, she just doesn't think she can.

Lucy played soccer and while she is not overly aggressive, she did really well.  She picks up the skills quickly and she had a blast!!

How did Lucy go from this (spring 2007). . . 

to this?

We are so thankful for Lucy's life - for her  passion and personality!  I pray that God uses her passion to touch the hearts of those around her.  I look forward to another year of excitement with Lucy!!

A Day in Forest Park

After a week of crazy hot temperatures, we had several days of beautiful 65-75 degree weather.  Not typical for June in St. Louis, but we will take it!  With perfect temperatures, we wanted to get the girls to the zoo.  Our spring was so busy, I think this is just our third trip this year!!!  Gasp!

We went to church last night so we could head to the zoo first thing this morning.  We left the house around 7:30, grabbed breakfast at Panera Bread, and headed to Forest Park.  The zoo was not busy this morning at all - it was so nice!  We spent about 4 hours at the zoo when we could tell the girls had hit a wall.  They were hungry and tired so we headed to the car.

We packed lunches to eat while we were still in Forest Park  - this was met with some resistance until the girls saw where we were eating.  We spread out blankets and parked it on Art Hill.  The girls ate quickly and then ran up and down the hill - completely wearing themselves out (although no on napped on the way home).

 The lion looked as if he was posing for us!! 
 DJ had to have her sunglasses on - she panicked if she couldn't find them!
 I think the peacock was the highlight of the day - AMAZING!  He would turn one direction for people to get pictures and then he would slowly turn the other way - as if he was modeling or something. 

 You may notice that there are no pictures of Lucy on the carousel.  She, ummm, freaks out on the carousel - always has.  We make her ride, but I sat with her on a bench.  
Typical train ride.
 Picnic on Art Hill 
While I am still in denial that Daphne gave up her naps so early, it is nice that we don't have to rush home so we don't mess up her nap time.  The girls are anxious to go back and spend more time in Forest Park!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rainbow Birthday Party!!

While the girls don't have friend birthday parties every year - we always have birthday parties with our families.  As the first born, Norah has had several but (other than first birthdays) she is the only one.  Lucy has been asking to have a party for several months now, so we decided to have a birthday party for her this year.  I threw out some theme ideas - tea party, Pinkalicious, camping, etc.  She didn't like any of those ideas - I should have known she already had her own idea.  Lucy wanted a rainbow party.  At first I wasn't sure how I would make that work - but after some encouragement from facebook friends and some ideas on Pinterest, I knew a rainbow party could be really fun.  The only problem - I couldn't do all the cute ideas - which ones do I try to recreate.  I started by asking my friend, Sara, to do the birthday invitation.  She did a great job!!  (Seriously, people, if you need birthday invites, Christmas cards, birth announcements, etc, check out her great designs!!!)

The Balloon Garland came from here.

I saw this ribbon decoration here.  I loved it and knew Lucy would too!

The rainbow cupcakes came from here.  I was just experimenting when I made the frosting.  I prefer the cupcakes with more white icing and just a little bit of color, but as I got to the end of my bag of frosting, the color came out thicker.  

I debated over drinks for the girls.  I saw several ideas about getting different colored drinks, but with only 12 girls, I didn't want all the sugary drink leftover.  I ended up buying sugar free packets of kool-aid.  I mixed up each color and poured them in ice cube trays.  I made lemonade, too.  I thought is was really fun to see the girls faces light up when they saw the colored ice cubes - and as their lemonade changed colors.

Here's the birthday girl!!  I can't believe she is going to be 6 this week!!!!  AHHH!  

While this week was CRAZY with soccer and Boot Camp Challenge and this weekend is CRAZY with more soccer and more Boot Camp Challenge, I knew today was the best day to fit in her party.  The girls seemed to enjoy themselves and Lucy was THRILLED to finally have a friend party!!  Her actual birthday is Tuesday - I will post more about Lucy then!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree

Below you will find 2 pictures. . . 2 very different pictures. One shelf belongs to Lucy and one belongs to Norah. Based on the types of books, you would know that the first picture is Lucy's and the second is Norah's.

This gives you a little clue about their personalities. I don't know if it is a first born thing or not, but Norah prefers to keep things straightened up and organized. Lucy, as evidenced in the picture, is the EXACT opposite. You will find her shoes and socks all over the house - she leaves them wherever she drops them. If she is writing/drawing with markers - she will leave everything out in the exact same spot until she is told to put it away. When she does her school work, she leaves everything out all over the place.

Looking at the shelf makes me chuckle - well, drives me a little bit crazy, but also makes me chuckle. Why? She is so much like me. Most of you who have regular contact with me and see my house may not believe it. I try very hard to to keeps things organized and clean. . . but the inner slob of my childhood is often fighting to come out. My parents and certain friends from high school will remember what my bedroom looked like. . . my friend, Janelle, often came over and helped me clean my room so I could actually go out for the evening.

I still leave my shoes all over the house. If I am at the table and I kick my shoes off, I will leave them right there until I need them again. If I am in the basement doing school with the kids and I take them off, I leave them right there. All this to say, while Lucy has always favored Kevin in looks and actions - this one thing, I can claim because Kevin is more like Norah.

I will help Lucy fix the shelf, but it won't stay straightened and I will continue to get a kick out of it every time I walk by it.

Happy Easter 2012

I don't have a lot of pictures from Easter this year. The girls were not super cooperative at the same time - or at all. I am so glad that Easter is not about dresses, shoes, or pictures. I am thankful for the day set aside to celebrate the resurrection of my Savior.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Museum Of Transportation

Several months ago, we bought a groupon to the St. Louis Museum of Transportation. It was about to expire (March 26th, I think) so we decided to use it on Norah's birthday. Kevin took the afternoon off and we met him there after a quick lunch at home.

The weather wasn't great, but it only actually rained for a couple of minutes while we were there. The rain/hail basically held off until we were on our way home. Then is just down poured. I have never seen so much hail in my life. It was like driving through snow - and the roads were slick!! Daphne slept through the whole thing - which I can't believe because it was so loud!!

Some Things Are Better With Grandma!

My family came to our house last weekend for a little celebration for Norah's birthday. My mom ended up staying for a couple of extra days - which is always a huge blessing. I end up getting a few extra things done around the house, a few errands run by myself, and she always does my laundry!!

Let me back up a little before I get to the meat of this post. Lucy had this idea to buy Norah a sewing machine for her birthday. She came up with the idea all on her own and was SURE Norah would love it. We discussed the fact that sewing machines are a little out of the price range we usually have the girls stick to when picking out a gift for each other. She didn't care. She decided that even though she is saving for an American Girl doll, she would take all the money she had so far in the spend and save sections of her bank to use for Norah's present. Then she would start fresh saving for the American Girl doll. I am going to stop here and point out that we know with little doubts that Lucy's love language is gift giving - and if you know me, you know that this would be the LAST one on my list.

So, we ended up pitching in some money and letting Lucy buy the sewing machine without using ALL of her money. Norah did love it (with Norah, you just never know. Her response to things can be unpredictable so I was praying that she would be grateful since Lucy was sure this was exactly what Norah would want) and spent a week begging to sew. Knowing my mom was coming, I held Norah off. Norah was more than anxious to get busy sewing. Mom helped her make a skirt, bag and a skirt for her doll. Mom said she did fantastic - I tried to stay out of the way - and I know mom was a much better teacher. Grandmas just have more patience - at least that is the case in our family.

Lucy, of course, wanted to sew too, so on Tuesday Mom spent the morning sewing with her. They sewed everything by hand - actually Mom did most of the sewing and Lucy was happy to sit next to her and cut up scraps of fabric and sew every once in a while. Mom said Lucy was so excited, she talked a mile a minute!! Mom and Lucy made a hat, purse, and a wallet.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy 8th Birthday, Norah!

From this:
to this:
(photo courtesy of Dorinda Peyton Photography)
Eight really seems grown up. . .too grown up sometimes. Six years old to seven was a rough year at our house. Thankfully, seven to eight was significantly better! I is enjoyable to watch Norah make the right decisions based on something else she was already taught. While she certainly gets a kick out of loving on her sisters until they scream, she is also incredible helpful. She is usually very willing to help Daphne with something or teach Lucy something new.
Norah's favorite thing to do right now is read. She ALWAYS has a book in hand. . . and she can't hear or see anything going on around her when her nose is in a book. Certain school things are so much easier now that she can read directions to herself!!
We are so thankful for Norah and are excited to see what God has in store for her over the next year!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Valentine's Fun!

Tot School
The week leading up to Valentine's Day - Daphne's Tot School theme was love and hearts. We read Guess How Much I Love You, You're Lovable to Me, and Roses are Pink Your Feet Really Stink. Much of our activities came from Over the Big Moon.
Working on one-to-one correspondance - putting one heart eraser into each heart cube.

Spooning the hearts into the ice cube tray
Working on Valentine's number puzzle
Daphne loves to do "which is different?" pages - I think she actually likes using the dry erase marker.
Valentine's Day sensory box - rice was the base and then we filled it with Valentine's goodies as well as some things for scooping.

Matching shapes puzzles

We ended our Valentine's theme with a little Valentine's party. The girls were excited to have some friends over for food, games, and goodies!!

Daphne - 3 years old

I just realized, while I blogged about Daphne's birthday party, I never actually did a birthday post. So I realize I am well over a month over due - but better late than never, right?

Statistics -
Daphne is 36 inches tall (50%) and 23 pounds (under 3%). She grew 3 inches since her 2 year old check and she gained 2 pounds. She is still tiny - but the good news is that she did actually gain some weight because between 18 months and 2 years, Daphne actually lost weight.

Daphne talks all the time. I mean all. the. time. She always has questions and/or comments about something. About 50% of the time she is saying something funny and crazy. She is really the clown of the family and she loves having people watch her.

Here are some of the funny things she has said/done recently:
Daphne, how old are you? "thixthteen"

Me: Thanks for the sticker.
Daphne: Don't say thanks.
Me: Umm, why?
Daphne: Cause it's rude.

On a warm day in January, the girls and I went to the zoo. As we were walking through River's Edge, I overheard Daphne say, "we go see aging ellie-fats" otherwise known as asian elephants.

Daphne was cutting with scissors. Me: D- You are cutting upside down. Your thumb goes up.
Daphne: I NOT care.

Daphne wasn't very happy about sharing her birthday month with me. The day before my birthday, Lucy said, "Daphne, tomorrow is mommy's birthday!" Daphne's response, "Noooooo. It MY birthday, Luthy!" Then on my birthday, she kept saying, "It my birthday next. You make cake for MY birthday. You make it today?" At bedtime she said, "NOW it my birthday."

Daphne alternates between claiming to be a big girl and the baby. Depends on the situation - if she is trying to get out of trouble, she tries to snuggle up and reminds me that she is my baby. If she wants to do something that I already told her she was too little to do, she tells me that she is a big girl.

Daphne is definitely the most outwardly loving of the three girls. She is constantly hugging everyone. She is always hugging and hanging on me. I often have to peel her off of Kevin before work because she needs, "just 1 more hug."

I think Daphne was born a ballerina. She pretty much lives in a leotard, walks on her tiptoes, and spins. She also does this little break dancing thing on the ground. She just cracks us up!!

Daphne is obsessed with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She begs everyday to watch. She sings along with the theme song - and never misses a word!

Daphne is definitely a joy and a blessing to our family. She makes us laugh every single day and we can't wait to see what God has planned for her!!

Here are some pictures of Daphne from the last year - there are a bunch of pictures. I couldn't narrow them down (the quality of the pictures isn't that great - they are all from my phone. They were just too funny to pass up!!)
Daphne often picks out her own clothes - especially if we aren't going anywhere. You will notice that a theme throughout these pictures is that she doesn't care whether or not she matches.
She referred to herself as "Princess Daphne."
The middle of winter and Daphne is seen in a swim suit.
Daphne doesn't nap often, however, when she does nap, it is never in a normal position. Here she is with her hooded bath towel on her head. Don't worry - I took the towel after right after I took the picture.
Daphne wanted to help clean so I gave her a new sponge. She climbed in the tub and decided to "clean."
And here she is . . .in her clothes hamper. This is a weekly event.
I am only guessing that the sun must have been in her face.
Don't we all play with play-dough in a gold hat?
This is one of my favorites!!
Even if the leotard is 2 sizes too big - it still works for her!
Bed head - that was fun brushing through
She is a girl who gets what she needs.

Apparently she needed to be really close to the tv!