Growing Out On A Limb


Happy 4th Birthday, Oliver!

Dear Oliver,

I have said it every year so I’m going to skip the I-can’t-believe-it’s-been-four-years sentiments (even though I don’t and never will believe how fast time seems to fly when you’re measuring it by your milestones).

You (mostly) skipped the terrible twos and went instead for the terrible threes, which, in some ways, made the last year the hardest of all.  You challenge me in ways that I never expected but also manage to amaze me greatly in some way every day.  I constantly have doubts, as every mother does, that I am teaching you the right things and steering you in the right direction and then you do something so incredibly sweet and caring that I feel I must be doing something right.  I hope every day that you will become a caring and strong little boy in spite of or because of our relationship, whatever the case may be.  We’re learning together it seems.

As you turn four, you are still very strong-willed and passionate and know exactly what you want, which makes for some tempered moments .  But I also see you becoming more thoughtful, more intelligent, and even more patient (sometimes).

Here are some more things about you as you turn four:

  • You can be so focused when you are building or drawing or playing a game.
  • You are really sensitive – I get hugs and kisses out of the blue and in moments when I’m pretty sure you are genuinely loving me for doing something nice for you.  Mommy will never complain about kisses, whatever the motive!
  • You can easily write all of your letters… now onto numbers!
  • You like to help your little brother (sometimes) but if you are in the wrong mood you will argue with him until you are both blue in the face (“Yes!”, “No!”, “Yes!”, “No!”).
  • Sometimes you need some time to yourself to unwind and get your energy back
  • You still love to be outside.  You like sliding and this winter we have started skiing – some moments are frustrating for both of us but I love the look on your face when you get down the hill by yourself.  You especially love the “magic carpet” that takes you back up.
  • You are a really good colorer and a surprisingly creative drawer – if you start drawing a car and it doesn’t look right, you call it a camel and keep going!  You’re also holding your pencils and crayons properly lately… getting ready for preschool, maybe?  
  • You boss Emery around a lot, although he’s usually quick to respond to what you ask of him… he loves his big brother!
  • You love playing on mommy and daddy’s “games” (tablets) – you like Angry Birds most of all but also the coloring games, puzzles, and car/monster truck apps.
  • You are self-conscious sometimes.  I’m not sure where that comes from but I am going to do my best every day to help you know how great you are just for being you.

Because you are great.  You’re great when you are helping your brother put on his boots, great when you say out of the blue, “Does anyone want to hear a joke?”… I even think you’re great when our personalities are clashing (okay, sometimes that one is in hindsight).  But I do think you’re great because I’m your mom and you’re my son and every moment between us, good or bad, makes our relationship stronger and special and ours.

I love you, sweet Oliver.


Now let’s talk party!  We had your party yesterday because we thought more people would make it on a Sunday but a snowstorm sure ruined our plans!  But that’s okay … we had some close friends and close family and enjoyed every minute of it in spite of the weather (and all the leftovers).

This year’s party was … Angry Birds!


The food table…



Fun Angry Birds bowls… IMG_0964

IMG_0954Brother of the birthday boy.  Doesn’t he look so tall and slender in this picture?  I swear he’s grown four inches since his birthday.  
IMG_0974 Daddy made a fun Angry Birds game to play at the party – an Oliver-sized slingshot that actually shot angry birds at boxes and piggies!  Oliver loved this so much I think we’re going to have to find a place to set it up at home.


Emery was a pretty good shot too!  All of the other kids tried too but I didn’t get good shots of them.  IMG_3857Then there was cake!!  Mmm… chocolate with praline filling and brown sugar buttercream.  This one was really fun to make and Oliver thought it was pretty cool, which made every minute worth it.


IMG_0958 When I asked Oliver at bedtime what he wished for when he blew out the candles, he said, “I wish that I love you”.  Sweet melt-a-mommy’s-heart sentiment but he clearly doesn’t get the point of wishes!  IMG_0981 Present time!  Oliver led this all himself, going from one to the next saying, “I want to open this present next!”.  IMG_0985 The girls helped a bit here and there.  IMG_1007Emery tested out the new magnet board.  IMG_1024Even though the crowd was smaller than expected, I think we all had a really fun time.  Most importantly, Oliver said he had a lot of fun and really liked the party.  And since that’s the only reason I do it … for them … that’s all the thanks I need.




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More Winter Fun

Wow… were we ever thankful to get some milder weather this past weekend, not to mention a few inches of fresh snow!  I think we were all going a little crazy with all the cold no-way-we’re-playing-outside temperatures we’ve been having lately.

The boys and I played outside on the fresh snowbanks for a while on Sunday morning.  IMG_3827

I think Oliver was bossing Emery around when I took this shot.  Shocker.  IMG_3829

Not surprising to you if you have boys, the dump truck and loader are fun toys in all seasons!  Bonus:  I think they were playing nicely here.  IMG_3831 They would load up the dump truck, push it to the other side of the driveway, dump it, then take it back for another load.  IMG_3834

IMG_3835 In the afternoon, Oliver and I went skiing again.

I think the magic carpet is his favorite part.
IMG_3838 He gets better and braver every time we go.  We work on his snowplow and are starting to talk about turning.  We still haven’t attempted the chair lift and the big bunny hill but soon!!  IMG_3839

I think he loves it because it’s all him – It’s not a team sport, he’s not waiting on anyone or depending on anyone else.  It’s all about him pointing the skis down the hill and going.  IMG_3840I’m looking forward to the day we can strap on the skis together and go!

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Valentines Day 2013

Happy Valentines Day!

Here’s a peek at the Valentines I sent with the boys today.  As usual, I wanted to do something a little different than the 32-in-a-box valentines (not that there’s anything wrong with those).  I love the Valentines I see that use the kids’ pictures but it seemed like a lot of work that I was likely not going to get to while also planning a certain 4 year old’s birthday.  So I settled on these ones.

I used simple little birthday favors (12 each) that I spent maybe $4 total on.  Oliver’s have the spinning top and Emery’s are the little popper things.

IMG_0930    IMG_0931

The boys thought they were pretty fun.  And I’m super thankful to have such good looking Valentines.


I thought Emery did a good job pronouncing Valentine:  “ba-weh-wine”.  That’s a tough word!  IMG_0926
I asked Oliver if he wanted to write his name on his Valentines, thinking that he might stick it out for one and scribble on the rest.  Look how studious and focused he looks.  Also look at how well he’s holding that pen… thanks Jean!  

I wrote his name on paper for him so he could copy the letters (he doesn’t remember all of the letters in his name yet).  He really amazed me with how well he could print his name in letters so small!  I knew he could do letters but usually they’re sprawling and all different sizes … typical toddler stuff.  He surprises me all the time.

Hopefully they enjoy giving them to their friends as much as I enjoyed making them.


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Winter Walk

Last weekend we found a not-too-cold day in the midst of all this January weather and took a nice walk outside with the family.  It rained a week or so before that and what was left of the snow was so frozen it was really easy to walk on – we didn’t even have to stay on the trail (which we didn’t because we rarely do).  And it was just a few degrees below zero so ideal temps and no one was cold.

This is how we spent the afternoon of our ritual Superbowl/birthday day which, by the way, is probably my favorite day of the year.  It was only made better by these couple of hours enjoying the outside.

We’re quite the crew!

walk in the woods

Even Emery had an easy time getting around on this snow!  IMG_3786 Oliver loves being outside.  Period.  He loved being able to leave the trail and run wherever he wanted to.  IMG_3795Sleepy Aaliyah… she was with us for most of the walk ride!
IMG_3801 King of the Castle with papa.  Or King of the Mountain, as Oliver calls it.  I’m not sure who has more fun horsing around… the boys or papa.  IMG_3816It is days like these that remind me why I love winter.  Funny how they come just when you’re getting tired of the bitter cold keeping you inside.