Monday, October 13, 2014

Seven and one half

Mylie Mae,

Happy happy half birthday.  For the last week, I thought you were turning eight and a half.  Blame it on my foggy brain, but I like to think it is because you have become so tall and smart and beautiful and responsible.  You just seem like eight and a half.  Alas, happy SEVEN and ONE HALF years on this special Saturday.

People who love you are starting to make predictions about who you might become some day.  Dad and I think you are a lot like April Ludgate.  Don't take that as an insult, because we really like her.  Uncle Michael thinks you will be a stunning beauty like {This Girl}.  You say you want to be a Veterinarian.  

Today you asked me to teach you multiplication, and I did.  Five minutes later, you pretty much had it and spent the next thirty minutes illustrating about 24 different multiplication facts.  You are just so smart at math.  

When you are mad or sad, you act very tough, but there is a tender heart under that armor.  If I give you my whole attention, you will open up and share your feelings.  I am getting better at that, giving you my uninterrupted attention, because I know you need it.  

In the last year, your baby teeth have begun to disappear and over sized teeth grew in their place.  A fact that a boy in your class rudely teased you about.  I was so mad that someone made you feel bad about your appearance.  I'm going to tell you the truth:  You are so beautiful.  Every person goes through an awkward phase, and you are lucky to be getting it out of the way early.  And not only are you physically beautiful, but you are so strong and smart and artistic.  I love the way you care for people and animals.  And although you have no ambition to play sports, you are so naturally athletic.  You run fast, throw balls far, and are so coordinated.  You are a quirky mix of tomboy and girly, but mostly tomboy.  Your wild hair makes me nuts, but I am really trying to let you be who you are without criticism.  That includes teaching you to brush that disheveled mop, but not forcing you to let me do it, even though I really really want to.We pray that your strong will might be an asset to you as you grow and face pressure from others.  

It all comes down to this, we just love you.  You take a lot of energy, but we know that the investment in you will pay off as you grow into the woman God designed you to be.  You are a blessing to us now, and will be a blessing to us then.  You are so so loved.

It's Nice to be a Winner

Didn't Win?  You can still be a winner to me!  USE COUPON CODE "HOLIDAY14" during checkout for 15% off your entire order!  Good Through November 30th!!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Help Me, Help You: A Giveaway

Most people know I run a little handmade shop on Etsy called L'alfabeto.  I know L'alfabeto is  a weird word to say out loud.  It's like you are saying Lil' Alphabet-o.  Less weird?  More weird?  Blame the Italians, because according to google translate, that's Italian for "alphabet".  About six years ago, I was working part time and wanted a little bit of fun money.  So I started thinking about what I could make and sell on this new little website called "Etsy" that most people had never heard of.  I had a dream about making letters out of wire.  Like a literal, asleep, REM cycle dream, about how to make wire letters.  Strange yes?  So I tried it out during my waking hours and sold those first few experimental  creations from my newly created online shop.  Six years later, I've refined my technique and I'm still doing it, but lately I've needed to take it a bit more seriously.  You see, it's no longer just fun money, but actually making a tiny dent in supporting our family.  So, I need your help!

I need to get the word out!  Would you please consider sharing a link to my shop or a link to this giveaway?  As a little added incentive, I'm offering up a $30 shop credit.  Wire letters not your thing?  That's okay!  Perhaps you'd like to get some Christmas ornaments as gifts!  There are a couple of ways to enter below in that handy little rafflecopter which does the dirty deed of picking a random winner for me.  Thank you!  

**Giveaway will run from Monday 10/6- Sunday 10/12 at midnight
Winner will be posted here and notified by email**

Didn't Win?  You can still be a winner to me!  USE COUPON CODE "HOLIDAY14" during checkout for 15% off your entire order!  Good Through November 30th!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Heard Around the House: September 2014

Noah:  Mom, do you know where my panda pencil is?  I want to take it to school today so I don't have to use one of those chewed up ones with holes in the eraser.

Mom:  You do know that on the first day of school, all the supplies are new... right?

Noah:  Yeah, but I want to be prepared for the apocalypse... the school supply apocalypse.

Presley:  Mom, can we go to Hawaii?

Mom:  Sure, I'd love to take you to Hawaii someday.

Presley:  What's in Hawaii?  Are there guardian angels there?

at Uncle Michael's house

Presley, handing a fake lizard to Mylie:  Here you go Sissy, I found this on the massager thing downstairs.

Mylie:  What massager thing?

Presley:  You know, the flat thing where mom massages the clothes.  (aka, the ironing board)

Go-Kart-ing with Uncle Michael

Presley:  Mom, do you want to know something you haven't knowed yet? (aka, can I tell you something?)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

New Year, School Year

 The first day of school was yesterday, and there were no tears or sadness from anyone.  This year marks a record of sorts, we are at the same school as last year marking the first time in the history of The Crazies that they have attended the same school two years in a row.  I am so proud of these two!

Fourth Grade
 This kid and his sense of humor... He tells me he's going to walk onto the playground wearing his shades, then very slowly take them off.  Not fast, because that would seem nerdy, but slowly take them off and slip them into his pocket, because that looks confident and cool.

Second Grade

They both wanted to ride the bus, but that didn't stop me from driving to the school after seeing them off at the bus stop for one last playground picture.  Noah wasn't annoyed at all.

 Happy school year!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

End of Summer Report Card

Summer's over... whomp whomp (sad trombone).  Today is the first day of school, so to relive all the summer magic, I thought I'd post a little summer recap for posterity's sake.  Also, so I can prove to my children that they had a fun childhood.
Here is our Summer Bucket List, as it stands today.  We didn't knock everything off our list, but most we did.  We would still like to take Noah to the Kroc Center in the next month, because he was awarded four passes for having perfect attendance last school year.  We want him to feel rewarded.  We didn't end up doing a lemonade stand because midsummer, the city closed our road due to repairs, so we didn't have any traffic!  We just ran out of time for the rest.  Here's a picture recap, in no particular order:

1.  Grand Haven Beach on Lake Michigan
After the beach, we walked down the road and ate lunch at Pronto Pups (aka the world's MOST DELICIOUS corndogs... from a gal who's not particularly fond of corn dogs).  The line was super long, and people walked away with fistfuls of corndogs.  Not joking.

Eating on the hill beside Pronto Pups, overlooking the river

2.  Bus ride to John Ball Zoo
The kids received free admission and round trip city bus passes at the end of the school year.  We took full advantage and rode the bus.  It was really fun!  I was a little nervous trying to figure out where to get off the bus, but the bus driver was really helpful.  Bonus:  the city bus did not disappoint and was full of lovely and strange characters (some requiring explanations from mom once we were off the bus and out of earshot).

3.  Splash Pad

4.  Visits with Uncle Michael and Auntie Alycia
We got to see them twice this summer!  The girls were thrilled that Auntie let them play dress up from the clothes and accessories from her closet.  Noah loved lego building with Uncle Michael.

5.  Painting, Sewing, Drawing, and General Craftiness
A beloved past time for this crew

6.  Too Talls
Our family's new favorite!  This is a block from our house, so it is a nice walk or bike ride away.  I think we made it there for treats every couple of weeks.

7.  The National Rowing Competition
Since we're still kind of new here, I'm not sure if this is an annual event here, but it was so much fun to watch.  It was held at the park across the street from our house.  There were thousands of boats (shells?  rowers?  whatever they're called), and the athletes were so friendly, and answered lots of questions about the sport.  We watched the co-ed pairs, and women's teams of four.  Gary took Mylie down another day and watched the mens' teams of eight.  Gary has his sights set on rowing now, and the Grand Rapids Rowing Club boathouse is just a mile from our house.

8.  Bike Rides
I think we went on bike rides nearly every day.  We road along Riverside Park, sometimes over the river and down around the minor league ballpark.  Sometimes we stopped and took a closer look at some of the cool things we spotted, like this turtle below.

9.  Our First Annual Yes Day!
The rules were 
1) Mom and Dad will say YES to anything for one day only
2) Your YES couldn't infringe on someone else's YES 
3)  It couldn't cost money

One might think that our kids might get out of control on this day, but they didn't.  We were very surprised to see that they really collaborated on the whole event.  They spent a couple of days leading up to the big day talking about what they wanted to do.  They even gave me a list of meals they wanted (and all agreed!).  So here's how it shook out... CocoPuffs for breakfast (they had never had them, but were thrilled to try them.  They ate the whole box in one day),  They wanted to eat in the family room, Noah wanted to go to Target to look at toys, while the girls wanted to go on a bike ride to the park.  They wanted ice cream for dessert after dinner.  There were requests to play cards, watch a movie, and stay up late.  They also chewed a lot of gum.  That's it!  Given almost free rein, this is what they were content with!  We will definitely do this again.

 9.  Farmers' Market
We had so much fun!  We got so many fresh berries, sweet corn, soups, napa cabbage, and raw honey. The kids' favorite part was eating a fresh, raw piece of sweet corn.  So good!

10.  Fishing Tournament at Grandma and Grandpa's
a.k.a "Krull Lake Bluegill Derby"
This one was checked off our list, kind of.  A lot of work was put into planning this event, and everyone was SO EXCITED!  We had teams picked, award ribbons, team champion plaque, games, goodie bags, homemade ice cream, and a sleepover.  The day of, we got round one in (out of five) and then the sky opened up and the deluge of rain began.  We had to postpone the rest of the tournament, hopefully in the next month or so.  

 Fishing Cousins

Right before the rain

11.  BBQ
Luckily a really nice group of families have included us in their circle of friends.  What was dubbed "Grill and Chill" was a weekly BBQ, rotating at various houses throughout the summer.  We met almost every Wednesday night for dinner. It averaged 10-14 adults and 19-23 kids.  For The Crazies, this was the highlight of almost every week.  I didn't get many pictures, but there were usually marshmallows on the fire, catching lightning bugs, lots of running, and usually a few casualties among children.  

12.  Vacation Bible School
We did two rounds of VBS with friends.  So thankful!