I knew it would only be a few years before Ben’s birthday would fall on Thanksgiving Day. Today was that day. He woke up and requested donuts. I went in search but it turns out no donut places were open on Thanksgiving Day. The grocery store was open and chocolate muffins were a crowd favorite. Then we spent the day watching the parade, cooking, eating, visiting with family, and celebrating a birthday!
Ben started this little game and the photography was so fun we got the entire family involved.
Kaitlyn couldn’t wait to get a game of Bingo started. It has become one of her favorite activities at Gram’s house. Wade was happy to join in the fun and we were all shocked to realize he had never played with us before. Kaitlyn won a growing dinosaur, which she gave to Ben. Wade won snowcaps, which he gave to me. Then it was bedtime.
At the end of last weekend, the kids wanted dessert but were adamant that we didn’t have any desserts in the house. Kaitlyn immediately got creative with what she could find. The boys were impressed and followed her lead.
Ben always gets to celebrate a couple of times for his birthday – once at home and once on the road. Today was the day we celebrated at home.
The plan was donuts for breakfast. I had planned to get up and go to Dunkin. Alex had taken orders the night before and told me he was going to walk down to pick them up, but I didn’t quite believe him. I knew it was going to be early, cold, and dark. Imagine my surprise when I got downstairs this morning and there was Alex sitting at the table, drinking hot chocolate (our favorite is from Dunkin), with a box of donuts.
We had candles in donuts and then Ben chose a present to open. He chose the biggest and it was the Gabby Dollhouse he has been hoping and hoping to get. I put it together and he and Kaitlyn played until the bus came.
Ben and I had a sushi lunch (his favorite) and then he picked Chick-fil-a with milkshakes for dinner. His cake was paw patrol but we did presents first, at his request. He had a fabulous birthday and he can’t wait to celebrate again in KY.
We started decorating for Christmas tonight. (I like to have the Christmas decorations up when we get back into town from visiting family for Thanksgiving.) Ben quickly decided to try on all the Christmas hats at one time.
This past summer, Ben decided to let his hair grow. He wanted a ponytail like Kaitlyn (see here). After about 4-5 months, he has decided (with no prompting from me) to get a haircut.
I will admit there were parts of the longer hair I really liked. Because of that, we decided to keep his hair longer than we did before.
Sometimes when the big kids are at school, Ben convinces me to play games. We get some snacks, pull out his favorites games and have a little fun.
Teague joined the bell choir this year, but it is a very small bell choir. They started the year with three ringers, but at some point the number dropped down to two. They kept practicing and hoping to recruit more kids. Sadly that hasn’t happened. Wade has pitched in to practice with them and today they had their first performance. Teague did a great job and it was fun to see him up front!
At the end of cheer season, parents and friends are invited to a special performance by all the cheer teams. The girls perform their routines, do a few stunts, and show off any special talents. This year a few football players appeared at the end and gave flowers to all of the cheerleaders. It was equally sweet to see by the adults and obviously awkward for the poor preteen football players!
The kids had the day off from school (Thank you Election Day). Kaitlyn started the day by getting a cavity filled. After that we picked up one of her friends and headed to the Ecotarium for a day of fun. The kids would have stayed till closing time, but their favorite activity was definitely the wind tunnel.
Today was Kaitlyn’s last soccer game for the fall. I never dreamed it would be in the 70s and the entire team would be in shorts! Her team had a great season and she can’t wait to try out winter soccer.
Ben and Kaitlyn still loves boxes. This Kohl’s box was even better because it came with huge letters begging to be colored.
It appears that Ben has picked up some habits from his older siblings. I happened to see this under this bed today. Why do my kids hide wrappers under their beds? Do they actually eat the snacks under their beds too?!?
Teague had his yearly eye appointment today with Dr. Hunter. The office called yesterday to tell me there was a new address. I was a little shocked. We have been visiting in the same building since Teague was 18 months old. One of the earliest pictures I could find was 2014. We still love Dr. Hunter!
Alex has a new project and it’s so cute. He has discovered coding. He spends every free minute working on a new project for Minecraft. His biggest helper has been a friend that used to live in Grafton but now lives in Egypt. Alex is not loving the time difference. Tonight he was so proud to finally show me some of his code and some of the finished product.
Ben and I found ourselves at Target on the day after Halloween. Of course we went through the marked down Halloween items and came home with a few new costumes and several bags of candy. We bought home three costumes but the chicken costume is definitely my favorite!
Halloween is always a little more tricky when it’s on a school night, but the kids were up to the challenge. We started the night at one of my friend’s houses for a little party (pizza, bouncy house, etc). The best part is she lives on South St – THE Street for trick or treating. The street is closed down and people come from all over. There is a definite party atmosphere with music, glow sticks, and candy – lots of candy. Alex joined us for dinner but headed home afterwards to watch an outdoor movie with friends. We met up with some of Kaitlyn’s friends and proceeded up and down the street.
Side note: Ben’s costume was the best! Having him in a costume with lights made it so easy to keep up with him! I’m going to try to push a light up costume of some kind next year too!
Today was the Trunk or Treat at our church. We had a whirlwind day full of activities, so Wade and Ben went first in the minitruck (our “trunk”). I arrived with the other kids and then we got to the candy portion of the afternoon. Ben loved running wild, Alex loved scaring little kids in the “Scary Hallway,” and the other two loved traditional candy acquiring.
Alex and a huge group of teenagers showed up after school today. He likes to have his friends over but sometimes his friends come with more friends. Alex came inside several times to tell me he wasn’t sure he wanted that many people at his house. I told him to roll with it and meet some new people. He came in a few more times but seemed to enjoy himself overall. Some days he wants to be social and some days he wants to do work on his own projects.
Kaitlyn tried a new Raddish recipe tonight and it was a winner! She cooked pretzel bites and they were devoured in minutes!
Teague has always struggled with his handwriting. Now we are finding that lack of neatness is carrying over to his Math. The problem comes when his teacher wants to give partial credit but can’t follow his work enough to do so. Below you can see what we are working on…my work and Teague’s. It’s a work in progress.
Wade spent the weekend working on leaf pickup. That of course means that the kids spent the weekend outside playing in the leaves.
Wade took Kaitlyn to her game and I had to join them a little late. It turns out I missed her goal at the very beginning. Darn it! It was still a great game!
Kaitlyn has been doing cheer for three years and we have been going to Lowell, MA for competitions three years now. It’s about an hour away and we have always had to be there VERY early. This year was different. We didn’t have to arrive till 2:45. I didn’t factor in that that would make parking a little trickier and getting home very late. The girls did a great job but didn’t place high enough to move on to the next round.
This morning there was frost on the ground and very chilly temperatures. I tried to convince Ben to wear a hat to school. He left it on long enough for me to take a picture. He didn’t want to mess up his hair and just wasn’t ready for hat season…
Today was the day! The kids’ biggest fundraiser of the year for their school. Being on the PTG board, I was heavily involved all week and spent the day taking pictures of the event. The run was a huge success and we almost doubled the goal we set!
It’s the time of year that school pictures are starting to arrive.
Kaitlyn got face faint several years ago and goes through phases of wanting to “practice.” Today was a day she wanted to practice. However, we recently realized the hair doll she got for her birthday is also great for practicing makeup and face paint. Both wash right off! She practiced and nobody had to sit still or worry about crazy face designs. Although, that spider is pretty impressive!
We had a lazy Sunday most of the day, but Wade and I both attended Kaitlyn’s soccer game. We enjoyed watching her play while the boys enjoyed being at home.
Pumpkin Carving Party time! If you are keeping track, tonight was our 16th party. I didn’t actually count the number of people attending, but we definitely had a lot of new faces and people who have been coming since we started the party here in the beginning. We were having so much fun that we were a little slow getting to the carving of the pumpkins, which means we were also late getting to the group picture. This is the first year in many years we have taken the picture in full dark.
And always the group photo:
We went to the high school football game as a family tonight. Kaitlyn was supposed to cheer, but her soccer practice interfered so we ended up just attending the game as a family. Most everyone found some friends at the game and spent a lot of time running around. By the time we got home, everyone was pretty tired and ready for bed. I thought everyone had gone upstairs to get ready for bed, but as I passed the laundry room, I did a double take. Ben was just hanging out in the dryer….
We weren’t sure if soccer would happen today. It was a rainy day, but surprisingly warm. We decided to show up and just see if practice was happening. It did. The kids played surprisingly well and the parents tried to stay dry.
One of our school’s biggest fundraisers is the Fun Run. We kick off the week of fundraising with a Pep Rally. This is the first year we have had any parents back in the building since COVID and I was there with some of the other board members. I took pictures and Ben tagged along. It was so much fun to watch the kids get excited about raising money for field trips, author visits, etc. Even better was the obstacle course their PE teacher created and some of their teachers participated in for the entertainment of the kids.
I floated the idea of hiking and most everybody was interested, but they only wanted to go to the Big Rock place. Of course I agreed and off we went.
Kaitlyn has been wanted to have one of her besties over for a sleepover for months and months, but one thing or another and we just haven’t worked it out. Having cheer practice at 8 am on Saturday mornings has also been a huge issue. But having a Monday holiday was perfect! We picked up pizza, some snacks for a movie, and then got the fun started.
This was our Saturday. It started with Ben wanting his own chore list. He petered out after about three chores, but he did manage to unload the silverware from the dishwater, empty all the small trashcans, and pick up all the dog toys. Then Ben was “dressed” to go outside with Pepper. It’s his new favorite activity. He takes a dog toy out but then never actually gives it to Pepper. They just run around like crazy outside, but they both seem to enjoy it.
Next up was morning cartoons. We have been delaying them on Saturdays until Kaitlyn gets back from cheer practice. Then everyone finished up chores and disappeared for iPad time or got ready for their playdates. (Kaitlyn is pretty excited that she managed to schedule three playdates in a row this weekend.)
You have to love a kid who loves books this much.
Ben is back at soccer today, but today he was fascinated with the cones. He couldn’t quite leave them alone. Because he couldn’t leave them alone, the other kids wouldn’t leave them alone. Thankfully the coach decided to pivot at some point and included cones on the head as a feature of the game. (On a side note, Ben was having quite a day. His shin guards wouldn’t stay up so we took those and the socks off. At some point, I also realized he had put his shirt on backwards too.)
I wonder where Ben got this idea?
Could it have been from his big brother?
Today the first of the Christmas “Look Books” arrived. Ben and Kaitlyn have fought over this magazine. Teague gave it a cursory glance and Alex ignore it completely – ages and stages…
I had a little helper with the groceries today.
We eat a lot of rice in our house – white rice, saffron rice, fried rice. Everyone has their favorites, but most people will eat most variations. However, it is usually warmed up and usually with a meal. Until recently. Several times lately I have walked in to find Alex eating cold, white rice out of a left over container. Yesterday he even learned to make rice because we didn’t have any and it sounded good for a snack….
When I took the picture below, Alex was definitely my favorite son. (Favorite son status definitely changes minute by minute.) I was having a rough afternoon with another son and had just wrapped that situation. Alex walked into the kitchen, took one look at me, and said, “Cookie dough?” He then presented it on bended knee. This child completely gets me.
Wade has been slowly working on the wood chips/mulch left from having our big tree cut. He took today off and had a large list of things he was trying to get done. One item on the list was to get the rest of the yard cleanup done. He was still working on it when the kids came home and they quickly jumped in to help.
I’m pretty sure Ben is regretting his decision to sign up for soccer this session. Today he decided it would be a lot more entertaining to kick everyone else’s soccer balls instead of his own when doing soccer drills. He thought it was hilarious and the other kids were getting so upset. (Part of me was laughing inside because it is such a typical Ben thing to do. The other part of me was trying to figure out how to correct him from the sidelines.)
I was quite surprised when I opened Ben’s backpack this morning and found two of my socks (non-matching) inside. Then I realized they matched the two Ben was wearing. I asked him why he had put extra socks in his backpack. His response was so typically Ben – “backups.”
Obviously I take a lot of pictures of my kids. Most of them are candids, which they don’t mind at all. In fact, they are pretty indifferent to my camera. The problem comes when I ask them to look at the camera. Instead of looking right at me, they turn their face in the right direction and then their eyes wander off into space. All of my children do this and it drives me nuts!
In the pictures below, I actually got Ben to look at me, but he is obviously distracted and barely gave me the one glance.