"I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete." John 15:11

Monday, October 26, 2015

Catching Up: August

August was a whirlwind of activity. It always is, as we have a lot to celebrate in August, but this year was even bigger!

We took the kids to the water park one weekend. They had a blast! Philip was in swim lessons most of the summer and loved practicing his skills at the water park. Afterwards we went to a nearby boardwalk with a cute little beach and shopping area. We stopped into an old-fashioned candy store and everyone found a little something.

We went to our first/only baseball game of the summer - a minor league game. Philip had fun and may be ready for a MLB game - Julia isn't there quite yet! They had fun riding the merry-go-round and eating treats. We watched fireworks from our car before leaving (they still aren't fans of the noise).

Andy and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. We went out to a nice restaurant along a river overlooking Annapolis. It was a rainy night, so we weren't able to sit outside, but we still had a window seat with nice views of the bridge and downtown.

Philip wanted to visit Andy at work, so we found a day where we could go in for a visit. They were so proud to wear visitor badges. It was a nice day, so we ate outside in the courtyard. We visited the koi pond just as an employee was coming to give the fish their lunch. He gave the kids the food and they had a blast feeding them!


Andy's brother and family came up for several days for a visit. The cousins loved playing together. We all went to a bounce house place for Julia's birthday and one day visited the John Paul II Shrine in DC.



We celebrated Julia's 3rd birthday! She first asked for a Hello Kitty party, but after a few days, she changed it to a Let it Go (Frozen) party. She invited neighbors, her baby-sitter, one of Philip's friends, and of course the family we had in town. We made snow that the kids played with outside and she ordered "pa-sketty" for dinner.


We also celebrated my birthday. We had a little pre-celebration with the in-town family - pizza and cake. The following day, Andy took me out to dinner and the kids surprised me with gifts - so thoughtful!

Once that whirlwind ended, we had a week to get ready for school. We were assigned Philip's teachers, and they were kind enough to let us visit them one-on-one before school began. Philip was able to pick out his own cubby and check out the classroom without a lot of other kids around. That weekend, the school hosted a picnic for the Kindergartners. They did a scavenger hunt where the kids got to see the different classrooms they will be using throughout the school. We had a great lunch, and enjoyed meeting other parents and classmates.


Finally, Philip's first day of school arrived. You know that the first day of Kindergarten is hard on parents, but when it is you going through it - whoa! It may have been a little harder on me since Philip has always been home with me, except a couple hours several days a week last year for preschool. We were so proud of Philip! He went right to his classroom and desk, and didn't get clingy or act apprehensive at all.

All ready to bring Philip to school - and stay herself?

The first day was a half-day, so we went out to lunch afterwards. He had a good day at school and his only qualm was that "they didn't teach me how to read." That Friday on the way home, we were discussing how his friends had their first day of school that day. He said, "I hope they had fun at school. I had fun. I love school!" That was a big deal for a little guy who was apprehensive of going to school and concerned about having to go every day. We really like Philip's teachers and the school has a very welcoming and joyful atmosphere. We are so glad we chose this school for Philip this year!

 The kids took it hard when they realized that we were trapped in the parking lot 
until the teachers dismissed us the first day.
You send them to Kindergarten, and the next thing you know 
they are driving the family car!

Julia has been doing great with all the adjustments our new schedule brings. She usually asks to pick Philip up from school at about 10:00 in the morning.They became good buddies and playmates over the summer, so it is sad to see them split up during the day. However, I am enjoying having some time alone with my little girl this fall. Julia started wanting to wear dresses each day and she has one in particular that is her favorite and that she asks for nearly every day (see pics from Andy's office). She started drawing some pictures that are partially recognizable this summer (as long as she tells you what she has drawn, you can make it out). She regularly gets confused about what big/little or older/younger means. For example, she will often tell me that when I get bigger I will be able to wear her clothes. It is super cute to hear her view on things.

Philip has become super content with playing with his toys and can entertain himself for longer periods of time. He rarely asks to watch TV anymore, which is very welcome. It is too bad that as soon as he got easier to handle, I have to send him off to school! One of his favorite sayings is, "That's so rusty!"

Friday, October 16, 2015


Cecilia Grace
7 lbs. 4 oz.
18 3/4 in.
She is absolutely perfect!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Philip at Five

At five years old, Philip is:

A builder


A good playmate and big brother

A nature lover

A perfectionist

He loves knights, superheroes, Legos, dinosaurs and race cars.

This year he finally stopped raiding the pantry and now tells me when Julia is trying to sneak food.

He always surprises me with his sweet side. If I do something special for him, or get him a surprise, he will often tell me out of the blue, "Thank you for doing that for me. I really love it!" He also very sweetly gives me and Julia compliments about stuff I wouldn't think a little boy would pick up on - like my hair or clothing. He doesn't say I love you much, but I cherish these little sweeties that he gives me.

Wish I could bottle that sweetness

Over the past year, Philip has grown more independent and confident.

For the first time, he is interested in picking his own clothes and (usually) gets changed independently.

Probably the biggest change in Philip over the past year has been his social development.

He started preschool and had a great time. Despite being very slow to warm up, I was proud of how he did at school. He participated in the things he felt comfortable with and tried new things throughout the year. I have a very stubborn little boy. He told us he was going to "be quiet" at school and he found a way to communicate with friends and teachers without using words. Now according to his teachers, he wasn't necessarily always quiet - he made lots of happy noises and laughed a lot, but he stuck to his guns about not speaking in the classroom.

Having a little guy that is so very slow to warm up has its challenges, but it also helps us to celebrate each small accomplishment. When he plays with a friend without us being by his side, raises his hand in response to a question at storytime, or nods when an adult asks him a question, Andy and I quietly celebrate. He is making lots of progress - the change in him over the past year has been wonderful to watch and I know he is on his way now!

Friendships are playing a bigger role in his life. I love that he calls his classmates and neighbors, "the friends." He is finally to the point that he will usually run off to play with his buddies during playdates without insisting that Andy or I go with him. He also wants to invite pretty much any kid we meet over to our house to play.

He has started talking to adults who he feels very comfortable with - mainly family members and a couple neighbors. At the beach this summer he was okay sitting at the dinner table with cousins, aunts and uncles, even when Andy and I were busy doing other things.

His temperament has changed a lot, too. This little guy definitely gave me a run for my money from the day he was born through the preschool years. As he progressed from the early 4's to the older 4's, he mellowed out and now he is usually a breeze to take care of. He still has his meltdowns, but much less frequently.

He has started to play independently. I am amazed at how quickly he transitioned from needing lots of hands-on attention and ideas for entertainment, to playing quietly and happily with his toys for long periods of time (15 minutes is considered long at this point). Sure makes my life easier!

His art skills really took off this year. He went from scribbling to making his first drawings, to coloring in the lines, to now making more elaborate drawings.  His teachers always complimented him on the time he took with his artwork. They said he did quite well and had a much longer attention-span for it than most boys his age. These days he loves to draw and color. He will happily spend an hour or two after school just doing artwork - it is amazing.

Philip loves to learn about dinosaurs. Each time we go to the library, he heads to the nonfiction section to pick up some books on dinosaurs. My library bag gets really full, really fast!

When I first found out I was having a boy, I was very nervous about how I would handle one. I grew up with just one older sister, so having a little boy was very foreign to me. I feel like as he has grown, we have hit all the major little boy interests. At one he loved balls, at two - cars, at three - construction equipment, at four - race cars, and at five - superheroes. I have loved going through all these stages with him and learning new things along the way. I'm sure I have much more to come. Little boys are so much fun and my little boy is perfect for our family!

Philip's 5-Year Old Birthday 21 Questions

1. How old are you? 5
2. What is your favorite color? Blue
3. What is your favorite toy? Space Guys
4. What do you like to learn about? Space
5. What is your favorite TV show? Rescue Bots
6. What is your favorite food? Stuffed Shells
7. What is your favorite game? Angry Birds
8. Where do you like to go? Abby & Izzy's house
9. What is your favorite animal? I like tigers.
10. What is your favorite song? Spiderman and Tumeni Notes
11. What is your favorite book? Dinosaurs
12. Who is your best friend? Abby & Izzy
13. What makes you happy? Spiderman and catching fishies
14. What do you like to do with your family? Play
15. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Run around
16. What is your favorite holiday? Halloween
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  Bunnies
19. What was your favorite birthday gift? All of them
20. What do you think about before you fall to sleep at night? Dreams and stories
21. What do you want to be when you grow up? I don't want to be anything. I just want to be a person. I want to be a great biker.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

July Journal

What a fun month July was! We returned from vacation and were off and running. Philip began swim lessons. He asked for the lessons, but when we arrived the day of first class, he got scared. I had to drag him over to the class, but the teacher immediately took him into the water, talked to him, and swam around with him...and he calmed down right away! He has done perfect ever since - trying anything new that she asks. We really like his teacher and it has been great to watch him learn and grow.
My parents came up for a visit. Philip invited them to his birthday party many months ago, so they made sure to be here for it! Andy went down to Florida for a few days, so it was nice to have their company and help.

Philip turned five this month! He was so excited for his birthday party this year and has been changing the theme that he wanted practically daily for the past year. We finally decided on a superhero party with an emphasis on Spiderman. He invited his best buddies, a couple from across the street, his grandparents, and his babysitter. This was the first time he wanted to invite a crowd!

Philip and I made this city skyline.
The kids sprayed the bad guys with spider webs (silly string).

After my parent's visit, Andy's brother came to town with his family. They had not been up for a visit since Philip was a baby, so it was fun to have them here.  Philip especially loved playing with my nephew. We celebrated Matt's birthday one night and went to dinner in Annapolis another night. Andy took Friday off from work and we went to the Natural History Museum and then into Georgetown. My niece wanted to go to Georgetown Cupcakes, so we fulfilled her dream!


Watching the sailboat races

Philip had Andy take a photo of pretty much every animal in the Hall of Mammals.

A little birdie came to visit!

It was time for Philip to get a haircut. Julia insisted that her hair was getting long and she needed one as well. So we went in for her second haircut. It turned out cute!

Philip has been making up games for us to play. I love to watch his imagination and creativity grow. He has started picking up the cat and Herbie has been a really good sport about it! He picks Herbie up just under his arms and the cat stretches almost to the floor. They are practically the same height! When Philip is eating or doing something he likes, he will say, "I'm loving this." Philip also started calling Julia by her first name, as opposed to Babes or Baby. It seems that we are all making the transition now - we all used to call her Baby and I wondered what would happen when their new sister arrives. It seems that the transition is happening naturally as we prepare for a new little one.

Julia has really been taken by her play food and little stove top recently. She loves to go to the basement and cook up a meal for our family and guests. She seems to have swiftly transitioned into taking shorter naps - about one hour does it for her now. It seems like she wakes up practically as soon as I put her down, but I am thankful that at least she still takes consistent naps most every day. I'm pretty sure Philip was frequently skipping them by this age. She gets confused about the difference between overnight sleep and naptime - to her they are both naps. When she wakes up in the morning, she will ask, "Did I take my nap?" We took a break on potty training for a month or two, when she was showing signs that she wasn't ready yet. After returning from vacation, we eased back into it and she is doing wonderfully! If only I could convince my kids that taking a quick break from playing to go to the bathroom is not torture!

Julia has made great strides in the self-feeding department this year. This was last year's blueberry pie night...
and here is this year's. 
Both kids are having fun playing store.  They go into the pantry to grab some little shopping bags and fill them up with toys or food. Then I ring them up at their cash register. I never know where I will find some of our pantry food these days! Andy taught the kids a secret handshake that he grew up doing. He had tried before with little interest from them, but after watching his uncle/cousin do the same handshake when they were in town, Philip got excited about it. I love to see them doing their secret handshake and the excitement that the kids get from it.

Fun at the gym - their indoor playground.
That is all the news and notes from July!