Friday, August 23, 2013

In other news...

...Drewski can now ride a bike without training wheels!

We attempted this a few months ago, but Drew lost interest fairly quickly, so we stopped, put the training wheels back on and patiently waited it out until he asked again. Sure enough, one morning he saw our neighbor riding his little bike outside and came back in asking to wash his bike and take the training wheels off again. Fortunately, it was a Saturday and Nathan was more than willing to help him out with all of this. I left to run a few errands, and when I returned home, I was met by a very excited Drew who told me he had a "surprise" for me (and Lala, Poppi, and the Aunties who were here visiting baby Emmie at the time).




Shhhhhh. Now there's a secret to all of this working. In order for Drew to keep himself upright on the bike, he has to be pedaling all out. Full force. Which meeeeeeeans, Daddy has to sprint in order to be that protective buffer that Daddies so like to be. So cute, and so funny!

Victory Lap. High fives all around!

So proud of this Big Kid!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


If you haven't heard, I am officially an Auntie!

Miss Emmeline Grace was born on July 31st and she is just the most beautiful, squeezable, lovable little peanut! We were so excited to meet her and have loved the past two weeks of snuggles we have been spoiled with.

Brand new Baby Emmie

Who looks this good after having a baby?? My little sister. That's who.

The hospital that Emmie was born in has a rule that no kids under 12 years old are allowed to visit unless they are a sibling to the baby. Because of this, the day that Emmie was brought home was also the first time the boys were able to meet her. They were so excited! I had hoped to get a great picture of all three boys with her, but as it usually goes with trying to coerce kids into photos, the more you add, the less the chance for a great picture! I did like this one though because it sums up how each of the boys seemed to feel about Emmie:
Drewski: Huge grin. Very excited and proud that he has a new cousin
Collin: Baby lover. He's already claimed her as "his" baby and constantly needs to touch/snuggle her
and then Tanner, pat-pat-patting his new personal plaything.

The funny thing is, the way they look in this picture is almost exactly how interactions between the boys and Emmie have played out since her arrival.

As if you couldn't tell by these few pictures, we are smitten with Baby Emmie already! Expect to see her pop up often in pictures around here! :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

One Fish, Two Fish

The two little fish in our house recently finished up swim lessons for the summer.

This year, everything seemed to click for Drew. His lessons started out in the front pool, but after a few lessons of review time of what he learned last year, he graduated to the back pool...and let me tell you, he was one proud boy to do so! Because the instructors in the back pool are different than those in the front pool, Drew had to switch teachers three lessons in. He was a little nervous about the change, but we have never, ever had an instructor that we didn't like at swimming lessons. I reminded him of this, which seemed to help, but actually meeting David sealed the deal. He was so great with Drew and Drew ate up the time he spent with him.

David was great at telling Drew silly things in between swims, or listening to some extremely long story Drew had for him (did I mention David was also uber patient?).

When it came time to actually swim though, the long stories went out the window and Drew was all business. Like I said, this year things clicked and he can now swim freely in the pool on his own (and confidently enough that I feel comfortable sitting on the side with him in the water). Because of this, halfway through, lessons switched to learning the different swim strokes and not just swimming across the pool. 



Butterfly (Put that Hiney in the air!) and Breast stroke

And diving in from the side

and from the diving board.

Of course there was plenty of fun going on as well...

The back pool had these two great slides that Drew loved! Can you see that blur shooting out of the slide?

At the end of all of his lessons, Drew got to stand up on the podium and receive his gold medal and his blue ribbon (the highlight of swim lessons for both our boys!). Drew did such a great job this year!

For Collin's lessons, his instructor was Nikki. She taught Collin's lessons last year and we loved  her. Secretly I may have been more excited than Collin to see that she would be his teacher again. Such a sweet, encouraging girl!

Collin loves the water and always has. He's my kid that I have to worry about jumping into water when it's around because he is typically more confident in what he can do than what he is physically capable of doing. Fortunately, this year he started taking a breath on his way to the side of the pool. They also worked on climbing out of the water on the side of the pool (without stairs), which put me at least at a little more ease when he is near water (he is still by no means "water proof" yet though).

Like last year, they worked on swimming independently across the pool...

...and flipping over in the middle to take a breath.

Every so often Collin would get upset about the water being splashed in his nose by another swimmer passing by. Collin is a pretty feisty crier, but Nikki was great about explaining to Collin that the solution to getting water up your nose was just to keep your chin up. She also would tell him to be bossy and tell the water to stay out of his nose, which usually had him laughing.

Like Drew, Collin also got to play. His favorites were jumping off the diving board and going down the slide.

And then at the end, just like Drew, it was up to the podium! Collin was so cute. Every year prior to this one he has cried while they announce him as the swim school's latest champion to graduate (makes for some really interesting and memorable pictures). This year however, he was looking forward to getting his medal. So much so that he started talking about when it would be his turn on the podium the first day of lessons. Huge change from last year!

He also had to get his arms just right to match the hippo behind him. It took about six tries before he felt like he got it and would let me take the picture! :)

Again, such a great year with Jan Thomas. We loved our instructors! I don't have enough good I can say about them. It was fun to see the boys' leap in confidence and skill and we're already looking forward to next year!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Collin's Birthday

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Naaaa Batmaaaan!

That was the theme for Collin this year. He knew he'd be having a birthday party and for the better half of the past few months we have been talking non stop about this party being a Batman party. Since Coll's birthday falls at the end of July and we live in the land of never ending summer, we are pretty limited as to options for fun birthday parties where we live. Logically, a swim party would be the perfect solution to a mid summer celebration, but with a mostly under three age group on the guest list, that just seemed to be more stress than it was worth with all the worrying I would do over each kid's water safety. So the swim party idea was out. Instead, we did this year's party at The Little Gym. Collin and Grandma have had a standing once a week date day at Little Gym for the past year and a half, and Collin loves it, so it seemed fairly logical to throw an indoor party there and avoid the sweltering heat (and thank goodness, it was 112 that day!).

I have never done a party where I haven't been the person in charge of all of the work, but when you throw a party with Little Gym, they literally do every ounce of the work (set up, clean up, games, etc). It was fantastic! Weird, but fantastic. With all the free time I had not planning a birthday party....I made capes! Lots and lots of pint sized little bat capes that the kids could all wear around the Gym and then take home as party favors. 

(Unfortunately I didn't think to take pictures of them with an actual camera, so cell phone pictures it is!)

I even made a tiny cape for Tan Tan

I also made Coll a birthday blanket. (Again, never thought to take real pictures)

For Collin though, I ordered a special birthday cape....a cape that instantly transformed him into a wild- run-darting-down-the-hallways-on-the-way-to-a-rescue superhero the moment he would put it on! The cape arrived a few weeks before the party and although I had originally intended to make him wait to wear it until the day of the party, I ended up giving in and letting him play before his birthday. 

On party day, I let him wear the cape for most of the morning and he had all sorts of fun running through the house and around the yard playing Suuuuuuper-Collin.

Eventually I roped him back inside to take a few pictures before we left for the part Little Gym. (Uncle Burke, Drewski, Jenn and Baby Emmie, and Coll-monkey)

Try as I might to get Drew to wear the Batman shirt that I had for him, so that he would match the rest of us, he wanted to wear Superman. This was the first year that Drew had a hard time sharing the lime-light with someone else and I think not wearing the batman shirt was his way to be different than all of us. Not a hill to die on, so that's what he wore.

He also insisted on having hair like the Clark Kent picture Nathan and Burke showed him...

...forehead curl included (he did at least wear the Bat cape I had made him).

Silly Super heros

After a million pictures at home, we were off for an hour and a half of climbing, hanging, running, kicking, jumping bat-cape wearing fun with friends at Little Gym.

Grandma, Aunt Karen, and GGMa

Birthday Boy got a free ride on the parachute...

...before everyone got a turn under the parachute

And after all the run-amok fun, it was cupcake time!

Since we did the batman theme in colors of the older batman cartoons, half the cupcakes had blue frosting, and half had yellow. I quickly learned that blue frosting was a teeth and green poop the next day. Never, ever again. (T.M.I.? Perhaps.)

The girls at Little Gym did such a great job, the kiddos had a blast!

Sunday was Collin's actual birthday. Since we had done majority of the celebrating the day before at his birthday party, we just had a family dinner at home on Coll's birthday night. He asked for a chocolate cake and wanted to play with his presents from the day before. We had saved our gifts and my sisters saved their gift for Sunday so he had something to open.

The girls gave Collin a reversible superhero cape and mask, so Sunday brought more Superhero fun. The capes are actually pretty cool. Ironman on one side, and Avengers on the other.

They also bought one for Drewski (Superman/Spiderman).

Jenn had made a card filled with Superhero stickers...

...which Collin quickly put to use. 

They had a good hour of running around the house chasing "bad guys" and saving the day before I asked them for a picture together....and this little gem is what I got. I feel like this picture summarized Drew's feelings on having to allow someone else the limelight on their birthday. Sort of a hard one to have to get one day all about you and at some other point during the year, it gets to be all about your sibling and you still need to be a good sport about it because you already had a day that was all about you. Tough concept, and for the most part Drew did great, but this picture totally summarized the struggle Drew had in sharing the limelight that day!

And at the end of the day, birthday cake!

Happy Birthday Coll-brother! We love you!