With a lot of convincing, we arrived at our church with all four kids. The older kids were not quite excited to be up earlier than they wanted on a Saturday morning. Once at the church and around their friends, they had a great time. The big kids helped hide the eggs in the classrooms (the weather made this an indoor egg hunt) and the little kids couldn’t wait to go looking.
One of our yearly PTG fundraisers is an adult only evening – Spring Fling. This year was much less work for the board because we rented a venue that took care of everything! (See last year.) We also had a much larger space with a dance floor.
Wade and I got the kids set up for the evening and then headed over. I spent half my time collecting money for the raffles and the other half enjoying my evening. It worked out rather well! The best part was coming home to three children asleep in their beds.
The second grade had a concert this morning for parents. I hadn’t realized it, but it’s the first concert since Kaitlyn was in Kindergarten, the first time. Wade, Ben, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the entire group of 2nd graders. There were speaking parts, solos, group songs, kazoos, and scarves. What more could you ask for?!?
Ben and I woke up to a cold, drizzly day. We didn’t have any plans so I convinced him to go for a hike. I was determined to return to Mill Pond and figure out where we went wrong last time. We layered warm coats and rain jackets, packed lots of snacks, and headed out.
Ben was amazing for the first 1.5 hours. I was feeling good following the trail markers as the trail circled the pond. Then we reached a point where the trail doubled back away from the lake. I decided this might be a good time to look up the trail map on my phone. It turns out there is not a trail that circles the pond.
I broke the news to Ben, fed him some more snacks, and we turned around. He made it, but he asked for a portal numerous times (to skip the walking part), and took a nap immediately when we got home.
Ben is always good for a funny story. Two nights ago, I had put Ben to bed when he showed up in my office wearing goggles. (I haven’t seen the goggles in ages so I have no idea where he found them.) I asked him if he was sleeping in the goggles. He looked at me in all seriousness and said, “No. I only need them when I leave my room.” I sent him back to bed. He showed up 5 minutes later (with the goggles still on). I sent him back to bed again.
I always check on Ben before bed and when I walked by his room. I saw that he was conked out with the goggles on his eyes. It cracked me up and I took a picture, of course.
The next morning I asked him if he woke up with goggles on and he said no and looked at me like I was crazy. I showed him the picture and he thought it was hilarious. Tonight he obviously tried to go to sleep with the goggles on, but something went askew.
Ben has been begging to do a project with Wade all weekend. The only problem is that he didn’t actually have a project in mind. Wade finally got an idea and sold Ben on it. Ben appeared with the cutest robot and then disappeared to make more. Kaitlyn followed so that she could make one too.
Kaitlyn has been asking to play mini-golf at Apex forever. We have been before as a family, but it’s a little complicated with kids of such varying ages. Tonight seemed like a great night to make Kaitlyn’s plan come to life. We dropped the big boys at church and then went out do dinner.
The final stop was Apex. First we hit the arcade and Kaitlyn was on fire. She won a 1,000 ticket jackpot and got prizes from two claw machines – a stuffed animal and a roll of 150 tickets. Ben loved the fighting games and shooting games. I was rather surprised at how good he was. He outlasted the big boys he was playing Ninja Turtles with by being legitimately good at the game. Then it was on to mini-golf and then back to redeem their tickets. The kiddos had a great night.
Pepper has lots of not so great qualities, but she does play fetch. We all love that. Pepper tends to be a little particular about what she fetches – a Kong frisbee – yes; a nerf ball – yes; a tennis ball – no. Wade came home today with a new fetching toy. I was a little skeptical because we have had similar toys before. However, today, Wade worked with her and got her to fetch the tennis ball the toy throws. Then we turned it over to the kids. The little kids love being able to throw the tennis ball much farther than normal.
It seems that all of my children are craving sweets. They now race to ask if they can “bake” so that they can pick the treat and have a little bit of control. Yesterday Alex made churros. Today Kaitlyn asked to make Chocolate Snowball Cookies. Teague arrived a few minutes too late asking to make brownies. I assured him he could make them tomorrow.
The kids have been begging Wade to put the trampoline up for weeks. Today he agreed to check to see if the ground was hard enough. With the mild winter we have had, the ground was firm enough for a trampoline. Kaitlyn helped bring all the pieces from the barn and the springs. Alex helped with the parts that could be considered a two-man job. Teague helped put up the net. Ben did all of the testing.
Some friends and I planned to take the kids to Purgatory Chasm today for some hiking. Ben and I had been before but the others hadn’t. Ben was so disappointed when we arrived and found signs saying the Chasm was closed due to construction. (I was also very curious what kind of construction closes a hiking trail. It turns out they are building an overlook to make it more accessible.) There was a very nice ranger inside the visitor center and she said the trail should be open within a month or so.
Thankfully there are other trails so we decided to hike Charlie’s Loop and the kids had a blast. They had numerous snack and lunch breaks, played in the stream, and tried to move countless boulders, sticks, and roots. Afterwards they played on the playground until we finally called it a day.
Tonight we tried something new – Apple Chicken Curry. Kaitlyn was happy to help and we all enjoyed the latest Raddish recipe.
Ben was full of energy this morning (just like always), but today he requested to do some workout videos. A while ago we discovered that YouTube has some great kid workout videos and Ben loves them. He kicks, punches, squats, etc at dinosaurs, sharks, and bad guys. Today he even participated in a video game.
Our church hosted a potluck and game night. The kids were in various stages of excitement to attend, but we all got there and I brought their favorite Chimichurri sandwiches. As luck would have it, the games were Bingo and trivia. (We haven’t played Bingo since the last time we were in KY and now we have played twice in three days.) The younger kids were very excited by the prize options – candy, toys, etc. Alex was being a teenager but didn’t put up too much fuss and willingly played the games. Kaitlyn even got to call numbers and tell some of her favorite jokes to the crowd.
I heard Ben crying in the night and found him in the hallway talking about his eye. When I got him into the bathroom with some light, I realized there was some blood. When he was calmed down and cleaned up, he told me that the drawer on his bedside table had been left open. (He keeps legos in it and plays with them right before going to sleep). I knew he had a cut on his eyelid but it didn’t look horrible so I put him back to bed and went back to my room.
The next morning, Ben had scrapes on the side of his head, a large cut, and a black eye. The best part was when anyone asks him what happened to his eye, he responds, “I tried to turn over and thought my bed was bigger.” That seems accurate enough. Poor guy.
The elementary school had a fundraiser tonight for the 6th grade’s trip to Nature’s Classroom. The PTG and the principals worked together to coordinate the event. Parents donated baked goods to sell for dessert and 6th graders donated their time as wait staff. I was there early for setup and to man the cashbox. Wade brought the family to the second seating. Ben was so excited for his “bingo” and Kaitlyn helped him choose a prize. The goal was $1000 and they got pretty close to their goal!
Only my youngest kids still bring home artwork. (The little artwork done by my oldest two doesn’t seem to make it home.) Obviously we don’t keep everything they bring home, but I still love to see what they are working on and how their skill are improving.
School was cancelled last night and the kids trickled downstairs at all hours of the morning. The rain turned to snow around 9 am. It snowed all day long but the accumulation was minimal, only a few inches. We definitely didn’t get the 8-10 that were initially predicted. My kids probably got too much screen time, but Alex got his server working, I got some computer work done, and everybody had some fun. In the late afternoon, Ben did ask to go outside. I warned him it wasn’t going to be fun snow, but he insisted he needed to take Pepper out for a walk. He went out in the slush for a little while and had a great time.
I was putting away the remains from breakfast and lunch making when I caught Pepper and KitKat having a moment.
We gave Teague a day of skiing for his birthday and today was the first day we could make it happen. He and I had a perfect day. It was sunny skies and mid 40 degrees. The lift lines were fairly long, but we didn’t mind. We had a lot of fun.
Kaitlyn has stepped up her cooking lately. She couldn’t wait to try out her latest recipe – Sicilian Pizza. We doubled the recipe to fit our family and all of the topping preferences in our household. The cheese lovers loved the recipe as written – fresh basil and large round slices of mozzarella.
These three are a mess. Today they decided to go exploring in the woods outside of their gymnastics class. It kept them quite entertained while the moms c hatted for a while.
Kaitlyn is challenging Wade to a game of chess every chance she gets.
Ben’s sleeping poses continue to amuse me. I always check on him right before I go to bed. In the first picture, he is sleeping like that because he is scared of his bed. He found a tiny tiny bug on his bed earlier in the night and is now terrified to sleep under the covers.
Ben has continued working on his writing and I am pretty impressed with the 5 year old lefty.
Our church used to have quite a thriving Sunday School program. Then COVID happened. It has been a slow struggle to find teachers and get kids back to church. Some Sundays my four have been the entire kids’ program. Thankfully that is not the case currently, but we are still struggling to find teachers. Wade recently offered to teach the middle/high school. His plan is to make pancakes and then throw a little learning in there too. I deliver my younger two and then teach where needed, which is often Ben’s age group.
Kaitlyn was so excited to make a cookie cake today. She had pulled this recipe weeks ago but we haven’t found the time till today. The suggested decorations were all sport themes, but Kaitlyn decided to make it her own. She created a unicorn design.
Kaitlyn has been asking on and off for months if I can be the Mystery Reader for her class one day. Of course she had no idea that I had already signed up weeks ago for today. It turned out to be a day Wade was free so I let him go knowing that his appearance would be an even bigger surprise.
We had our first real snow day of the year! School was canceled last night so the big boys slept in late. The little kids and I woke up to several inches and more snow falling. After a lazy morning, we rallied and most of us went out to play. Kaitlyn even built a snowman!
Ben loves to practice his writing but I am not good about getting out his notebooks. I recently ordered a customized notepad for me and the lady was also selling customized practice pads with a child’s name and the ABCs. I bought one for Ben and he couldn’t wait to try it out this morning.
Teague got quite a bit of candy for his birthday. He also has quite a bit of trouble with self-control. Therefore, he isn’t allowed to keep candy in his room. Normally we keep all sweets in the kitchen and then the owner can somewhat have them at will. Teague was quite worried someone was going to eat his candy so he brought his safe downstairs to the kitchen to lock up his favorites.
Today’s big planned adventure was a trip to the Statue of Liberty. Kaitlyn swears she missed it on our last trip. To make this one even better, I got us tickets to tour the pedestal. (I didn’t get tickets to the crown because I didn’t think Kaitlyn would actually agree to go that far.) We got an early start on the day and arrived everywhere early but that was no problem. We were simply ushered through early. We rode the ferry (which Kaitlyn definitely had second thoughts about), walked around the island, walked up the up and around the pedestal, through the museum, and rode the ferry back to Battery Park.
Kaitlyn rode the sea glass carousel and played in the park. Then we headed back to Times Square, lunch, and a few more shopping stops before we boarded the train for home.
Kaitlyn and I explored NYC all day. Kaitlyn walked and walked and didn’t complain a bit. She even asked to figure out directions about halfway through the day and very quickly didn’t need the phone to have directions figured out.
We started the day with breakfast at McDonald’s and Kaitlyn thought it was awesome to have Coke with her cinnamon roll. Then we walked to the Empire State Building – just to look up from the street. The rest of the day we spent shopping – M&M store, Hershey store, Lego store, Toys R Us (in Macy’s) and the American Girl store. We snuck in a few stops for food – a hot dog from a food cart, a churro from the sidewalk, an early dinner at Serendipity with an amazing frozen hot chocolate, and then we were on our way to see The Lion King. Kaitlyn was enthralled and loved every minute.
Kaitlyn and I are spending a few days in New York City – just the girls. Tonight Wade dropped us at the train station and we boarded the Amtrak for NYC. Kaitlyn spent most of the time on her iPad and a little bit reading. I almost finished my book. There were also a lot of snacks consumed. We arrived in NY, checked into our hotel, and went out to look around quite a bit. Kaitlyn loved running into Mickey and Minnie in Times Square and her entire trip might have been made when we bought her a watch at the Swatch store. She learned to tell time last week in school and buying her first watch seemed appropriate.
Teague is one lucky kid. Every year his birthday falls on February break (which I had never heard of before moving to Massachusetts). We started the day with a surprise snowfall, birthday donuts, and hot chocolate. Then we opened a few gifts before everyone started getting ready for the day. Lunch was Teague’s choice of Chick-fil-a. Then we split up for a few errands. Wade took Teague on a surprise visit to see some high end cars and I did some last minute birthday shopping. Dinner was everyone’s favorite Papa John’s pizza and then Alex’s cake. Teague finished the night with his presents and some extra gaming time.
When I was planning out Teague’s birthday tomorrow, I asked him about meals and his birthday cake. He requested Alex’s cake, which Alex first created with Gram several years ago. Alex was happy to help and told me exactly what he needed. Alex took over from there and I offered minimal assistance.
Kaitlyn had a playdate on Saturday and then we arranged to have the same girl spend the night at our house on Sunday night. Kaitlyn is definitely living up February break so far. The girls picked exactly what they wanted for dinner – Chinese food. Then they chose a movie for tonight and one for tomorrow morning. They played a few games and then couldn’t wait to turn out the lights and see how early they could wake up.
Last night I saw some friends post on Facebook about a Monster Truck show. I mentioned to Wade that it was too bad we hadn’t realized one was in town. Ben would have loved it. Wade looked it up and realized it was around all weekend. He bought tickets for the two of them and they had a special night out tonight. (Ben did wear the eye patch out of the house. Obviously he took it off at some point and it didn’t return home with him. He also took two monster trucks and they did make it home.)
We were treated to a sushi dinner by my mom for Valentine’s Day. Due to various activities and things we couldn’t actually celebrate till tonight. Wade doesn’t eat sushi and Kaitlyn has discovered that her love of dumplings is far greater than her like of California rolls. However, the boys continue to eat more and more sushi as they get bigger. As of right now, the big boys only eat California rolls and avocado rolls. Ben will eat anything I put in front of him, but his favorite is sashimi with any type of fish (but I rarely order it for him). This was our order for four.
Holly – rainbow roll, small spider roll, California roll
Alex – 2 California rolls, 1 avocado roll
Teague – 2 California rolls, 1 avocado roll
Ben – 1 California roll, 1 avocado roll, and bites of all my rolls
Kaitlyn couldn’t wait to bring home a flyer last week for a night of coding at the high school. She begged for me to sign her up. I was able to sign up both Kaitlyn and Teague. (It was only open to 2-6 grade.) We ended up with a lot of activities tonight, but I managed to make it to the high school with the correct two kids. Wade went to his meeting. Alex stayed home with Ben.
Teague was happy to sit by himself and had no problems following along (realistically jumping ahead) and enjoying the evening. Kaitlyn saw several friends and even arranged to sit by one of her good friends. Then she had a blast following directions and creating the shapes as directed.
Wade sent me this picture and I died laughing. Evidently he “won” a makeover from the youngest two.
Ben and I woke up today and decided to hike. We asked some friends to join us and had a great morning exploring the woods (and eating snacks).
This year Kaitlyn and Ben agreed to the same valentines. Ben is celebrating all week at school and Kaitlyn needs to take hers tomorrow for her party.
While we were visiting with our Milwaukee friends, an old picture of the three boys popped up on Facebook. It took a lot, but we finally convinced the boys to recreate the photo twelve years later.
Alex turned 14 today! I expected the big boys to sleep till late, but by the time I got back with donuts, Alex was dozing downstairs while the little kids watched cartoons. We went ahead and had our traditional donut birthday breakfast.
Then we split up for the day. My friends and I went to Salem for the day. The big boys played video games, walked to Subway for lunch, and got into general trouble. When we returned it was time for presents.
It took a while, but we finally got everyone rounded up and out the door for the Mexican dinner Alex requested. Then the girls played a little more Headbandz and the boys had a little more electronics time.
A while ago, my girlfriends in Milwaukee and I tried to plan a girls’ weekend. But we were slackers and couldn’t make decisions. Then one of the girls suggested that they bring their oldest boys and come to Boston for the weekend. Tickets were immediately bought and they arrived this morning! Alex and I picked them up from the airport this morning and then we did a bit of exploring. We settled on Harvard for a quick stop to walk around, a gift shop stop, and lunch. Then we headed to Grafton. The girls and I sat and talked. The big boys headed upstairs to play games. A few hours later the middle kids got home from school and Ben woke up from his nap. Then Teague was convinced to make cookies, my friends helped me make cheese dip, we played a few games, and then there was more talking, and a late night for the big boys.
There are definite perks to living 10 minutes from a ski hill. Having weekly lessons is one of them. This year we rented skis for the kids for the season and that means they have to carry their skis in and out (last year they were waiting for them at the lodge). The parking lot is a mud pit. I always wear my snow boots just because of the mud. Teague does great navigating the mess. Kaitlyn can carry her skis about halfway before walking in her ski boots and carrying her skis becomes too much. Then she asks for help.
Ben has always liked to keep things he isn’t supposed to have under the chair in his bedroom. We haven’t noticed anything missing from Kaitlyn’s room in a while so I thought he had matured away from this behavior. Then I happened to nudge the chair back into position as I walked past it. I heard a sound and felt something large. I got down to look and realized there was a large rock under the chair. I have no idea how long it has been there or what made it special enough to bring inside and hide.
Alex roams the downstairs late at night even when we tell him to go to bed. Tonight he showed up in my office looking like this and I ran to get my camera.
These two have had so much fun with the balloon Ben brought home from his birthday party yesterday. This morning they played “keepy-uppy” until it was time to get ready for church.