Fiona – 54 months

March 27, 2014

Fiona I will apologize. 1) This is really late, but I will do my best to only discuss things that you were doing up until 54 months. 2) I apparently haven’t used my “real” camera enough, so I think this might be the first time I have posted photos from my phone. They still count as photos though! 2013-September-Boston-day1-5 Months 48-54 were busy, we did more traveling. We went apple picking in the North East and added Maine to the list of states that you have been to. We also headed back to California just before Christmas. You are a fabulous traveler. You pack your own suitcase for the plane, and I think you might be ready to pack your own clothes too. Maybe I will let you try for our next trip. 2013-11-01-14.29-3 You learned to ride a bike. You got one for your birthday, you got on it and took off. We have rode all over the neighborhood. I can’t wait for your brother to get better at peddling so that we can go on family bike rides without either of you on my bike. And see that cape you are wearing? Yeah… so you like to dress up. Alot. For Christmas your big present from your dad and I was a dress up station. Your dad made it, and mommy shopped (along with Papa) for costumes. You wear all kinds of fun costumes. Skateboarding unicorn, check. Flaminco dancer for breakfast, check. You also LOVE to dress as a princess. I never know who or what you are going to be when we leave the house. 2013-11-01-14.32 A big thing that happened to you, was that you broke your arm. You went to the playground with daddy and fell off the slide. At first we didn’t think it was broken, but after awhile of you not using it we knew something was up. So you got a fancy pink cast that was decorated and sparkly but the time you were healed. You are my kid, so it was bound to happen eventually. Now that it has happened lets try and see how long we can go before you break something else shall we? 2013-11-01-14.29 You also had your first sleep over. It was a very big deal for you to have someone sleep over. You and your bff were so excited. You helped me design and make the invitation. You guys ate ice cream, watched a movie, and giggled until late. Your friend wasn’t sure she wanted to stay the night, but her mom came over and we read a few more stories and you both eventually passed out. Sleepovers are such a big milestone, sigh you are growing up bit by bit. You have been bugging me to have another one, which will probably happen over the summer. 2013-december-fiona-dance-recital-13 You also had your second recital (which involved two performances. 1 at the YMCA and the other at the Trail of Lights downtown. The second one was in front of hundreds or total strangers). You did not disappoint. You listened to your teacher so much more this time, but of course you had to show your own personality. At the second performance there might have been some giggling because you ended every move with a jump or a spin. 2013-december-fiona-play-3 You were also in your first play. Your school put on a performance of Twas the Night Before Christmas. You were one of the mice. And you made a darn cute mouse. I look forward to many more of these performances. 2013-11-30-13.29 Goodness, so many firsts. You also ran your first 5k. At 4 years old. I was so proud of you that I could have cried when you finished. Total strangers cheered you on, you were the youngest kid running (your brother was in a stroller, so he doesn’t count). And even though we finished almost last (it was a small race), people that you passed cheered for you. You were tired and you wanted to stop sometimes. But we would play one of your favorite songs and skip for awhile. I didn’t care how fast you were (but you did finish in just under 45 minutes), all I cared was that you tried. I have no idea if you will continue to run, but for now you enjoy it. 2013-11-01-14.29-2 You also enjoy helping me in the kitchen. I have started teaching you to cook. You can make a tasty breakfast; scrambled eggs, toast and fruit. You will help make meals; chop things, stir things, and carry them to the table. You and your brother often fight over who gets to do what in the kitchen. 2013-october-heaps-halloween-5 Your a little easier to get along with lately. You have less tantrums and are better about using your words. Your a total goof ball most of the time and you love to be silly. 2013-october-pumpkin-patching-6 Your also much more helpful and independent. You want to buckle your own seat belt, roll your own window up and down and open doors all by yourself. At least you are polite and will hold doors open for others. 2013-11-01-14.30 I would also like to mention your headbands. If you notice you are wearing a different headband in every photo (Except the one where you were cold and wore a hat). Some how you have become obsessed with headbands, and it all started with this butterfly one. You wore it ALL. the.time. Eventually I got sick of seeing the same one, so I bought you a few more. Next thing I know you have over twenty and the majority are… shall we say eccentric? You wear butterflies, bows (big and small), bunny years, hats, pigtails, pirate ships,flowers, skulls, antennas, crowns, and the list goes on and on. It is a strange  accessory, but one you have made all your own. Since we are talking obsessions… lets chat Frozen shall we? It is the ONLY movie I have ever seen in the theater 3 times. 3. And you loved each and every time we went. We bought the movie the day it came out, and I have lost track of how many times we have watched it. You can recite parts, sing along and even dance to it. Luckily its a good movie, so I don’t mind terribly2013-September-Boston-day2-16   So big, and so full of spunk. You can be a dramatic handful and super caring. You continue to grow and amaze me in so many ways.

Lincoln – 30 months

March 25, 2014

Oh goodness it has been a long time since I have posted, life and work have gotten in the way. I had 2 of my biggest projects ever back to back. So it has been an exhausting few months.

Somehow in the midst of all my crazy work schedule you turned 2 1/2. The last 6 months have brought so many changes for you.

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You got to travel…again. And now that you are two you have your own frequent flier number. Congrats. You are a seasoned traveler and will get a lot of use out of that number. Right after your birthday we headed east and you got to go to Massachusetts, Main, and New Hampshire (you are headed that way again in a few months, maybe you will be able to check off a few more states). We also went back to California just before Christmas and I got to show you a few more of the things I did growing up, like Christmas in the Park. It was so much fun to see it through your eyes. The wonder of it all was so exciting to see. Your always so excited to see new things.

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While we were in Boston our friends kids introduced you to soccer. It was pretty much love at first kick. We came home and enrolled you in soccer cubs (mommy and me) and you loved every minute of it. You did so well in fact that they bumped you up to big boy soccer. You are the only 2 1/2 year old in the class. You get a little intimidated, but over all I am amazed at how well you do considering how young you are. For probably the only time in your life, you are in the same soccer class as your sister. Every time we drive by the place you play soccer you get excited and talk about how you kick the ball. You aren’t playing games yet (that will start this fall) right now its just drills and ball skills.

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You have become much more coordinated. You have been crashing your sisters dance class every week. Luckily Fiona has a very understanding teacher and lets you dance for the first 10-15 minutes and do warm ups with them. You call it your dance class and look forward to it every week.

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And your a lot like your sister; you tend to dance to your own beat. Although you do a pretty good job of following along when you can. Your favorite parts are at the beginning when they warm up, because that usually involves music that you know like itsy bitsy spider (one of your favorites!) and twinkle twinkle. You have become interested in music lately. Usually on the drive to school Sofia and Fiona take turns picking songs that we listen to, now you pick too. Your favorites are Turbo, Batman, What does the Fox Say, Lion King, Itsy Bitsy Spider (we have a dance/pop version), Superheros, a song from Wreck it Ralph and of course anything Frozen. You can belt out “let it go” rather impressively.

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Fiona has pulled you into her world of pretend. I love listening to you guys play pretend together. You have picnics on the living room floor, you are superheros that fly off to save the city, and are pirates that sail around making each other walk the plank and look for treasure. You also like being animals, kitties and frogs are favorites. And of course you like being batman. For the longest time you refereed to your self as Batman. “Can you say Lincoln”, “No, I batman!” or “me, hero!”. You did eventually learn to say your name (while mommy was traveling for work, I got to hear you the first time over video chat), but you still like to be Batman. You also love to pretend to nap while Fiona “reads” you stories, and you like it when I pretend to nap. You like to shake me and say “mommy, wake up, it morning time!”

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It has been a really cold winter, with several episodes of what the weather people like to call the Polar Vortex. Weather people don’t have lot to get excited over and really like to hype things up with names. Anyway it has been a colder then average winter and we had several “snow” days. Only one of those snow days actually got any “snow”, and even then it was just lots of ice that we scraped into snow. But you still thought it was awesome. You helped me build a miniature snowman and then slide down the driveway on a tray; “wheee!”. You are so much braver then your sister. Sometimes not in a good way. I’ve watched you drag the stool from the bathroom to about 2 1/2 feet from the recliner, then you launch your self off the stool at the recliner so that you can jump on it and make it spin. I now keep a case of ice packs in the laundry room… just in case (okay, they are more for your overly dramatic sister, but you have used your fair share).

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Dare devil stunts aren’t just for the living room. You got a skateboard for Christmas (and pads thankfully) and love riding it. We have taken you to the skate park a few times and you LOVE it. You also love riding your sisters pink radio flyer scooter around the skate park. You are working your way up to one of the bigger ramps. You ride up and down the little one and then get to the edge of the big one and change your mind. Im going to be cheering loudly the day you get brave enough to go over the edge, and then I will be buying more ice packs and probably be enlarging the first aid kits I carry with me at all times. I will be proud of you and worried about you all at the same time. So even though I warn you to be careful I will cheer you on as you master something new (even if that something new scares the crap out of me).

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You and your sister adore each other. Fiona wants you to dance with her in class, and she loves chasing after you in soccer. She also cheers you on (safely from the sidelines, thank you very much). She waits for you to try new food to see if you like it, and then gives you all of hers if she doesn’t. For the most part you guys play great together. Don’t get me wrong there is plenty of “Lincoln took my toy”, and “YaYa (which is what you call Fiona, even though you can say her name) hit me”, or “Lincoln’s not sharing!”. I am going to enjoy this phase while I can because Im sure there will be some really impressive sibling rivalries in the future. So I will take the hand holding and hugs for now.

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Your curiosity is a joy to watch, although not always a joy to clean up. You dragging the dogs water bowl outside to play in the water and make mud got old pretty fast. We went to the Botanical Gardens the other day to explore the faerie houses and you loved them “another faerie house!!!” and you would run off to see what kind of faerie house it was. That is one aspect of your personality that hasn’t changed; the joy and excitement. You still cheer for all kinds of things (cereal, yeah, that’s still pretty exciting). Cake. Cakes, gets lots of cheers. You always get excited and ask “me?” and your voice gets high at the end. “Disneyland, me?”, “soccer, me?”, “medicine, me?” and if I tell you no (like when Fiona is sick and she gets medicine and you don’t) you respond with “aw, man!”.

You also discovered Look and Find books and an obsession was born. You will spend an hour quietly going through your stack of Look and Find books in your room. We even went old school and got you a Where’s Waldo book for when you sit on the potty (potty training has begun!). That pesky Waldo is no match for your finding skills.

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Your sweet, unbelievably sweet. Probably to make up for the times that you drive me nuts. But you give kisses, lots of kisses. Sometimes slobbery, but I really don’t care. If you kiss my check, you ask to kiss the other one (yes, of course. I am never going to turn down a kiss from you). You bring me flowers “for you!”. And you snuggle. “Mama, nuggle? Nuggle in my bed?”. I try, I really do try to snuggle in your bed, but it lasts about 5 minutes and then I give up and will happily pat your back if you want me to. Sometimes you need help falling asleep. Sometimes you think you are a rockstar and stay up until 10:30pm. Those nights drive me nuts. We are having to cut your naps short so that you go to bed at night, and you really aren’t happy about waking up “no wake up, me sleep.”. You are going to be a pain to drag out of bed in the morning for school when you are older.

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You had your 2 1/2 year check up the other day. And this is as undressed as you were willing to get. Look you compromised, you took off your shoes and your socks. You also had to bring “chicken butt” with you. That orange chicken that you drag around behind you, you call it Chicken Butt. And no, thats not embarrassing at all when we are out. I blame your sister for that. She taught you all about chicken butt, and you think it is just hilarious. “Old McDonald has a farm E-I-E-I-O, and on that farm he has a…”, “Chicken butt!!!”, cue lots of laughter. You think your hilarious, and so does your sister. You guys crack each other up over the strangest things.

Not surprisingly your tall, you measure in at 38 inches (that is 3 feet 2 inches!). You are in 4T (!) tops already. You are so tall, most people think you are so much older then you are. You are in the 95% for your height. You are in the 70% for weight and  weigh 32 lbs. You are still in 3T pants though, because you have no tooshie.

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You have grown so much and so has your vocabulary (seriously, so.much.talking) in the last 6 months. You are such a sweet kid, and a total boy. There are many things about you that baffle me; cars, dinos, drums, and jumping on things. Oh and your tantrums, you have started those too. And to be perfectly honest they are hilarious, even perfect strangers can’t take you seriously when you jump up and down and flap your arms. But luckily those are rare. Mostly you are my sweet boy.  Happy 30 months kiddo.

On our last day in Boston we decided to explore downtown Boston. Fiona has a book, Hello Boston, and we used that as a guide to determine where we would go. I had a thought that we could go to the places in the book and take a photo of Fiona with the book in the same spot. I just figured it would be a way to see all the touristy spots and that Fiona might be excited to see the spots from the book. I did not anticipate how excited she would be and how much fun she would have.

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We spent the entire day running around all of the city and I took photos of her with the book. When we got home I had the photos printed, and then typed out the book with the words from the book matching up with Fiona holding that page open. Then I created a little book for her to take to school so she could show her classmates about her trip to Boston. She excitedly ran into class “I made a book!!!”. And she still likes to flip through it and “read” it.

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We started the day riding the T, just like the ducks in the book. But this time we were smart and brought a carrier for Lincoln. And by “we”, I mean my fabulous friends still had a backpack carrier in their basement even though their boys are 12 and 10. Patrick carried Lincoln all around Boston, and Lincoln loved it! He would get out and run around, then come back point to the carrier and tell us “backpack up”. At the end of the day he even napped happily snuggled up in the backpack. We came home and promptly bought one.

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After riding the T and seeing the capitol building we wandered around Boston Commons and Fiona made friends with the sculptures.

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I love how she is showing the duck sculpture where he is in the book.

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Lincoln thought that a Lincoln sized duck was pretty cool.

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He then tried to ride the smaller ones.

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Play Me I’m Yours (http://streetpianos.com/boston2013/) was going on in Boston while we were there. We found 3 different pianos. At the first one she sat down to play and showed us what she had learned in her recent piano class. She instantly had a crowd around her. She is such a little performer.

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We had lunch at Quincy Market and then walked over got pastry not too far from Paul Revere’s statue. I think Patrick was just ensuring that we walked off all the calories from the lobster tail (my favorite pastry) before we ate it. We stopped in the courtyard where Paul Revere’s (or just Paul as Fiona refers to him. “Let’s go check out Paul’s house”) statue is and ate our pastries. Then the kids discovered leaves.

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And it was game on. They chased each other throwing leaves at one another.

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Lincoln loved throwing the leaves at Fiona, but Fiona would just threaten to throw them at Lincoln and not hit him. They wore themselves out chasing the leaves. Fall in New England is very different then fall in Texas. We all had a lot of fun eating pumpkin donuts, apple picking, eating soup, and throwing leaves.

Until next time New England!

I apologize for the 2 week break in posting these photos. The Heaps have had the stomach flu, a broken wrist and of course work and Halloween costumes to make.

After picking apples we headed down the hill in search of raspberries.

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I think the kids may have liked raspberries more, just judging on the volume of fruit that was consumed.

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Lincoln learned quickly how to find them and pick them.

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I love that I have a very similar photo of Fiona doing this same thing (exact same pose) when I took her blackberry picking when she was little. My kids love berries.

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Fiona loved picking them as well. There was many exciting shouts as the kids ran up and down the rows finding the ripe berries.

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After Lincoln filled his basket (okay I filled his basket, he was too busy eating them) he plopped down and started eating. Im amazed he had any room left for lunch after all of the fruit they ate.

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Mmm… fresh raspberries! I often think we should plant berries. But I know I would never see a single berry. My kids would eat them all.

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Fiona was proud of her raspberry stash.

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I once again handed over my camera and had my friend snap a couple photos. Was there a single one where the kids were actually looking at the camera? No, there were far more exciting things to look at. Im just happy that they didn’t have mouths full of apple.

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After our fruit picking we headed to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was a very picturesque, typical New England town. Mark said that it was a little weird how everything looked like the town in England where he grew up.

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 My little boy looked so grown up on the trip, he is leaving toddler behind and becoming a kid. Sigh. He talked so much while we were there and has continued to be a little chatterbox since we got home. And he still thinks the trick of hiding his hand is hilarious.

Only one more post from Boston!

What is a quintessential fall thing to do on the east coast? Go apple picking. So of course we had to go while we were there.

The kids slept late on Sunday worn out from all the fun on Saturday. As Lincoln slept we realized that perhaps it was more then him just being tired that was causing him to sleep late; he was running a fever of 101. So while Patrick was out getting James from his sleepover he picked up some childrens ibprofin and we dosed Lincoln up when he finally woke up. Then we headed to the apple orchards.

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By the time we got there Lincoln was feeling much better and even agreed to walk… for a bit. All of the kids were eager to get started picking the apples, and more importantly, eating the apples! We headed to the top of the hill and Fiona and the older boys ran ahead to get started. Fiona quickly perfected her apple picking technique. “Mama, there are three ways to pick an apple. 1) You pull 2) You twist 3) (holding fingers up for emphasis) You pull and twist.”

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Being the fabulous big sister that she is Fiona eagerly showed Lincoln how to pick apples.

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Lincoln thought apple picking was awesome; snacks are just hanging on trees waiting for him to come along and eat them.

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We warned Fiona not to pick too many right away. It was a big orchard with a lot of varieties of apples, and it would be a long way to haul a heavy bag. But she eagerly filled it (and insisted that we bring it home with us. She has been giving out apples to people since we got home. Trip to the dentist? She needed to take them an apple. Her friends and teachers needed apples as well).

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Lincoln was not so interested in filling his bag.

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He was mostly interested in eating the apples.

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Lincoln may be tall for his age but compared to everyone else there he was little. So I handed off my camera and hoisted him up so that he could pick some of the higher fruit. And by pick, I mean eat.

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Look at that grin! Fiona loved it. She ran from tree to tree scouting all the different types of apples.

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This was the gorgeous view from the top of the hill. And it is also the point where Lincoln, Heather and I got ditched. Lincoln was starting to slow down and insisted on being up, so we walked along the ridge while everyone else went exploring. They came back with a ton of variety of apples; all of them were delicious.

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It wasn’t all bad being ditched. Along the top of the hill there was a wide open space an picnic tables set up (all which were full, it was prime apple picking season after all). Lincoln and I snuggled up while we waited (and I once again handed over my camera so Heather could snap a photo of the snuggling).

Once we all met up again on the other side of the orchard we headed down the hill to pick raspberries. Which will be another post, because ummm… I take a lot of photos.

Saturday morning Heather’s boys both had soccer games. So my kids got to watch actual games, instead of just kicking a ball around. Since donuts (especially Dunkin Donuts) are huge on the east coast we picked some up before the game. Fiona chose chocolate, and I got some pumpkin (widely known fact; I heart all things pumpkin) ones for Lincoln and I.

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Delicious, delicious pumpkin donuts. Lincoln ate most of his, and then when we weren’t looking sneaked two more munchies (donut holes) and ate those too.

The kids had fun watching the games, and as far as I know both boys won. Since they played at the same time we watched half of Eric’s game and then went and watched the last half of James’s game (luckily they are at the same place). However a trip to the bathroom with Fiona meant I missed almost all of James’s game, so I could be wrong whether he won or not.

After the games we rushed James off to a sleep over and then headed to the coast so that the kids could see the Atlantic and “dip their toes in”… we all know what happens when Fiona says that…

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We stopped in a little town called Woods Hole and got lunch; mmmm lobster tacos! What we didn’t realize was Lincoln was coming down with something, which meant he was unbelievable clingy. Mostly to me. He would sob “mommy up, mommy up!” I could only do so much carrying so Heather’s fabulous husband, Patrick, offered to take him (I should also say that Mark tried to take him, but none of us would let him. Mark had his gallbladder removed and several hernias repaired a few weeks prior and still wasn’t suppose to lift much). Lincoln finally agreed that Patrick was an acceptable ride and settled in on Patrick’s shoulders.

We wandered around Woods Hole for awhile and ended at the aquarium, we got there just in time for the seal feeding. Which the kids LOVED. The seals swam around, did tricks like jumping through hoops and knocking balls of sticks.

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Then we headed to the beach. Which was surprisingly warm.

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The kids climbed on rocks, splashed in the water, and collected shells. Eric tried to show Fiona a crab and put it in her shell cup and to put it simply she was not impressed. She quickly dumped the whole thing out and started to cry. Poor Eric had no idea what he did wrong.

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I handed over my camera to Heather so that she could snap a family photo of us. Proof that all of us were there, at the same time!

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Then Fiona was off and running down the beach pretending to be Ladybug girl in the waves.

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Darwin got to come to the beach too. He wasn’t so sure about the waves though!

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As you can see Lincoln has come a long way from being the crying baby on the beaches in Hawaii. Now he thinks they are pretty cool. And as you will note, he is soaked. He decided to sit down in the water.

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Fiona, as usual, loved the water. At one point she stops splashing and pulls off her (soaking wet) skirt and hands it to a baffled Heather and told her that she “didn’t want to get it wet”, a little late for that kiddo.

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Fiona had so much fun playing at the beach, we really do need a beach family vacation soon. Somewhere warm preferably.

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Not that the non tropical weather slowed Fiona down at all.

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Lincoln mostly wandered around on his own scooping up water and pouring it on himself, because I guess that is what boys do? Really, I have no idea why.

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Fiona on the other hand was pretending to surf with Eric, and being her usual goofball self.

After a full day at the beach and soccer field most of the kids fell asleep on the way home. They did however wake up when we stopped at a local dairy for ice cream. Apple pie frozen yogurt; I love fall!

After both kids slept on the drive home they were ready to play when we got back to our friends house. The boys we home as well and it had warmed up to be a gorgeous fall day (especially by Boston standards).

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Mark tried to teach Lincoln how to kick the soccer ball. Lincoln took instruction well, and loved playing with the big boys.

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Did I mention that my friends just got a new puppy a few days before we got there?  A super cute weimarunner puppy (who got more attention then a newborn baby when we took him out in public. Seriously so many people came up to him).

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He looks so much older then his 2 years. He watched the boys play and Heather’s sons were so sweet to try to include him when they could.

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Look at that concentration as he mimics his daddy and kicks the ball.

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The puppy (Darwin) was only 9 weeks old and doesn’t have all of his shots yet. so he can’t go out and play too much. But he happily watched the soccer shenanigans from inside.

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I think we might need to sign a certain little boy up for soccer. He got comfortable enough that he would try chasing the ball down on his own. and kicking it. It didn’t go far, but that didn’t matter to him in the slightest.

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Its warm in Texas, which means its probably been about 8 months or so since Lincoln wore a long sleeve shirt. He thought it was hilarious that he could “lose” his hand and then pull it out and surprise you. It was a form of endless entertainment for him. This is the look he would have on his face as his hand reappeared, like; “tada! its still here!”

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Fiona got bored of soccer pretty quickly and went to hang out with Heather’s younger son and their neighbor (see the other little girl? She is in first grade and Fiona still towered over her. Sometimes I forget how tall she is). Eric knows how to make all of the bracelets that he is wearing, and that made him super cool in her mind “mama, he can MAKE bracelets!”. Fiona followed Eric around the entire time we were there, its really good that Eric is a super sweet kid and didn’t mind a 4 year old shadow.

Next up; the Heaps head to the Cape

The Heaps head to Boston

October 11, 2013

Every once in a awhile you meet some one and become friends. That friend is there for you throughout the years; weddings, births, deaths, moves across country. You don’t talk everyday, but you know that when you need them; say at 8pm when you find a tick on your daughter and need to know how to remove it, or when you are trying to figure out how to get your large couch out of your impossibly tiny apartment, they will be there. For me that time was kindergarten and that friend was Heather. 30 years later we are still in touch and try to visit each other at least once a year. It was our turn for a visit, and we had slacked off a little. So a couple weeks ago we packed up and headed to the east coast to spend a long weekend with our friends.

We arrived on thursday night and got to spend some time with their family before all of our kids passed out. Since the following day was a school day, Heather’s boy headed off to school and we headed off Sturbridge Village; an 1830′s New England living history museum.

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The kids loved it, they got to play outside; in leaves (!), see people dressed up, and ride in a buggy pulled by horses (or Yee haws to Lincoln).

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Leaves!!! Lincoln got to wear one of the long sleeve shirts that another friend sent us. They won’t get much use for another couple months here in Texas but they got a lot of use on our trip.

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Fiona loved all the leaves and was stuffing all of our pockets with them.

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Sturbridge Village was beautiful. They did an amazing job of bringing in buildings from around the east coast to set up the village. There was a working saw mill (which produced the wood planks to make the benches around the village), an apple press, a blacksmith, etc.

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And this is what happens when you let a 4 year old dress herself. That kid has layering down to a science! And those shoes are ones that took us 4 stores to find, and Im pretty sure her daddy is never taking her shoe shopping again.

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This is Heather. Im not sure what the two of them are discussing, but Lincoln looks very concerned.

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Sigh… my baby looks so grown up. Like a little boy.

He was getting frustrated while we ate lunch so Lincoln and I took a walk and found some cows (moos!). He was so excited to see a pen full of cows.

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Him and I hung out while everyone else finished eating. We enjoyed the fall colors, look trees with green, yellow, orange and red!

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Fiona ate all of her lunch and then we let her pick out a treat at the general store. She picked out a striped lollipop (which she managed to eat a third of before she threw it away).

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Seriously, how pretty is New England in the fall?

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We tried to get the kids to sit together for a photo… yeah that didn’t go so well. I think Fiona is practicing her Blue Steel look.

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Then Lincoln fell off the wall to play in the dirt, and Fiona thought it was hilarious. Sigh, just one photo of the two of them looking normal that is all I asked for. Although this is a much more accurate representation of the day.

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By this point in the day Lincoln was exhausted. We couldn’t get him to stay quiet or focus on anything. Every time we walked into a building (general store, blacksmith, etc) he would get antsy and disruptive. So Mark and Fiona wandered ahead to check out an old house and Lincoln played in the dirt.

Eventually I sat down with Lincoln and Heather for a few minutes and Lincoln passed out. Then in our brilliant planning we had not brought a carrier or stroller, so I carried Lincoln around while we slept for an hour (he slept longer, but by then we were in the car). At least we got to look at the apple press and glass exhibit in peace. Although my arms hurt for the next two days.

That was the last photo I took at Sturbridge since my arms were otherwise occupied, but it was far from the last photo of the day. We crammed a whole lot into our 4 1/2 days. The rest will follow soon.

A race party – the fun!

September 25, 2013

Throwing a party for a bunch of little boys is very different then throwing one for little girls. 

They are very easily entertained with a box of cars and a plank of wood. It was so cute to watch all the boys crowd around the race ramp. Some of the other boys were a little unsure (they are not quite as obsessed as Lincoln is with cars).

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But Lincoln knew what to do and happily raced cars for over an hour, and showed all his buddies how awesome cars are.

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Isn’t he outfit cute? I ordered one for Fiona as well, but it didn’t arrive until the day after the party. But she didn’t mind, and luckily Lincoln agreed to wear his coveralls. We saw those years ago at a classic car show and have been looking for a reason to buy them since.

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After they were done racing cars it was time to turn themselves into cars and race. The first race the older kids participated  (the siblings of little ones) so that the little ones could see what to do.

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How cute are they all lined up ready to run. Although it was much like watching the wiener dog races a few months ago; some would run, others would stand there, and the occasional one would run the wrong way.

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But they all had fun!

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Lincoln and Fiona are still playing with the cars and often hold races before dinner. I hear Lincoln shout “I win!!” even if he doesn’t (which is most of the time, Fiona is fast!).

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Lincoln did win one race… okay Luke totally let him win one race.

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Then it was time for cake. I didn’t get a single photo of everyone singing happy birthday, mostly because I was squatting near Lincoln trying to keep his fingers out of 1) the frosting 2) the flame on the candle.

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But he loved his vroom cake.

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Vegan banana cake is delicious (it is his favorite, its more like banana bread then cake, but he loves it). Everyday (a week and a half later) he still talks about his vroom cake.

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We opened presents after most people had left so that it wouldn’t be so chaotic. There are now even more cars and fire trucks in my house. His last present he opened was his Tow Mater quad from his grandparents. I love how in the photo you can just see the portion of the banner that has his nickname on it.

This was definitely a party that will be remembered in out house for awhile. Vroom, vroom!!!

 

Race car party – the design

September 23, 2013

 

 

 

 

When we started planning Lincolns birthday party a few months ago we tossed around a few ideas; monsters, dinos, balls. But really there is only one thing that my son is obsessed with; cars. Not the movie Cars (which he does like), but cars in general. Or vroom vrooms as he calls them. He loves to drive them around, race them, push them down ramps, push them across the floor, etc. So we decided on a car theme. I kinda wanted a retro speed racer feel to the part and invites.

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Once again Mark and I teamed up on the invites, and they came out adorable! I picked out the colors I wanted, found a couple examples of the type of car I wanted, and then I asked Mark to use his illustration talents to draw Lincoln in a race car.

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The day before I sent them off to print we decided to do a quick photo shoot for the back of the cards. The original idea was Lincoln on his tricycle. So all of us headed down the street to where they are doing new construction so that we had an empty road. The road is on a hill, and the kids had fun racing up and down it. Mark rode his skateboard over, and Lincoln was more interested in the skateboard then the bike. I got a few photos of Lincoln on his bike before Lincoln ditched it for the skateboard. Lincoln quickly figured out how to push it and he was off. The photo of him on the skateboard ended up being so cute that we went with that for the invites instead of the trike ones.


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The design of the rest of decorations were based off the invites. We stuck to mostly cyan, green, orange, with accents of black and white. The food table, as usual, was my domain. We had Racing Fuel, aka H2O.

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A vroom cake. This is definitely not the coolest car cake out there, but the kids were all impressed and Lincoln LOVED it. He actually ate the cake and not just the frosting. He has asked for a vroom cake every. single. day since the party.

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My favorite food was the pretzel cars. I made a cinnamon apple pretzel dough and cut the pretzels into strips when I baked them. A friend came over and helped me attach wheels and steering wheels, and then I cut a small slit into the top for the Teddy Graham. My mom gave me the idea, she saw something similar using milky way bars. As my friends joke, this is the Kristina-fied version of it, meaning the healthier version. They were super cute, and rather tasty.

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I cut watermelons into car shapes (which is also a favorite for his lunchbox).

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And since the fruit kabobs went over so well at Fiona’s birthday I made a stoplight version for Lincolns party. Well I should say my fabulous neighbor made them. I cut everything up, gave her the flag toothpicks and she assembled while watching the Longhorn game.

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For the decoration of the food area I bought street washi tape and made roads that criss crossed over brightly colored paper and stuck a few cars down.

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The party favors were of course matchbox cars. I lined the tins with black felt that I drew white dotted lines down, glued on handles made of car ribbon, then added a few racing tattoos and a car.

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They were all lined up ready to race.

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The colored flags on the door also were across the living room. And my neighbors also helped me make the ones for the door and stuck the checkered flags on the doors to welcome the pint sized racers.

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Speaking of racing, we had two activities planned and they both involved racing. Mark made a ramp that the kids could race cars at. Mark didn’t think it would be as big if a hit as it was. He thought after the party he might hang it on Lincoln’s wall, but Lincoln and Fiona love it and use it daily! The kids all crowded around it and raced cars down it at the party.

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The other activity was box car races. I made a bunch of car costumes out of boxes for the kids to wear and race it. We strung up a streamer for the finish line, put down some flour as a starting line and had the kids line up. There were so many kids that we had to do multiple races.

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I was really worried that this activity would be a flop. But the kids all seemed to like it, and they all looked so darn adorable all lined up ready to race.

Stay tuned for party photos!

 

 

 

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