Growing Out On A Limb

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Oliver turns 5!



Five years seems like so much time when measuring by anything else but when measuring it by you, it feels like a quick blur.

At five, you are creative and imaginative and it shows in your drawing and toy play.  You are so smart and like to challenge yourself whether it’s reading or skiing.  You can count to 100 (sometimes need help), have a big vocabulary, count backwards from 20 without missing a beat, count by twos and threes, get adding and subtracting… you constantly surprise me.

You are very strong-willed – when you decide you want something a certain way, nothing else will do.  I guess you probably get that from me and that our similar personalities are why we find ourselves in power struggles so often.  But we’re working on it.  Your energy is sometimes a challenge for us to understand but my wish is that we can teach you to settle down that energy when it is appropriate and use it to your advantage to do great things in the future.

You really like being a big brother but we are working on being too bossy sometimes and on using your words to express your feelings instead of your fists or feet.  I love your passion but we need to help you direct it in the right place.  So far we only see it here at home and Emery takes the brunt of it.  He looks up to you so much.

I love hearing about what you did at preschool, talking about your little friends, and playing with them.  I love the stories and jokes you tell and the excitement that you tell them with.  I love how silly you can be and how serious you can be.  I love seeing your kindness to your siblings and hearing you say, “Let me help you, Emery…”.  I love how you sometimes surprise me with a kiss out of nowhere.

Here are more things about you as you turn five:

  • You like to “baby talk” to your sister and hold her.
  • You are reading level 1 readers quite easily and have been for a couple of months now.  Nana and papa say you take after mommy by reading at only 4 years old.
  • You like legos, coloring, and puzzles (100 pieces!).  Your drawings are often really creative.
  • You love playing games on our tablets – angry birds still comes up often but also subway surfers and construction games).  Your interest in trains seems to be giving way a bit to super heroes… we’ll see where that goes.
  • You still wear an eye patch five days a week.
  • Swimming, skiing, and bowling are activities that you love recently.
  • You love going outside and will even spend quite a bit of time outside by yourself.  You like to shovel the yard and to slide.
  • You love to be helpful – vacuuming, sweeping, getting the mail, feeding the baby, cooking.

Today, while coloring a picture of two angry birds getting married, you told me that you were coloring it for me because you wanted to marry me.  After thinking about it, you decided that we could not get married right now … we would have to wait until you’re a grown up.

On Saturday we had some of your friends over for a superhero-themed party.  
IMG_3858 Here are some of the super heroes now… IMG_3866

We had some longtime friends of our family, as well as a couple of new friends from school.  IMG_3893

The money shot… IMG_3897

Eleanor handled the crowd and extra noise really well.  IMG_3915

What boy doesn’t love a train table?!  IMG_3922

Opening presents.  Everyone wanted a good look.  IMG_3933


Ironman was a hit.  Man, I love this kid.  IMG_3950

Then on Monday night we had some family over for another little get together.  We had planned on it being Sunday but for the second year in a row there was a huge snowstorm and we had to settle for pizza and cake after work.  Maybe ‘settle’ isn’t the right word because we love any time we get to spend with nana and papa, grammie, nan, dawn, and scott.  They are so kind to us.  IMG_3979

On your actual birthday, you and I headed to “wally world” and spent your birthday money.  You are so much fun to shop with, looking all the aisles up and down before deciding what you wanted.

I love my Oliver … I wouldn’t change a thing about who you are and look forward to seeing who you become.  I hope you felt super special on your birthday.

Love, Mommy


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Eleanor on the move

A few weeks ago, at just under 5 1/2 months old, Eleanor surprised me when I came back to the living room and she was off her play mat by a couple of feet.  She had just rolled over a couple of times to get herself there but it really did not take long for her to figure out the whole movement thing – a few days later she was using her arms to pull herself all around the room.

Since then, the play mat has been put away (because it is pretty much useless) and we are much more careful about keeping the little toys up off the floor.  And she is using her knees along with her arms to get around.

It seems we only know how to make babies that like to get around early!  

I like the movement in this shot.  I was trying to take her picture and she kept coming toward me!



Curiosity.  Nelly is a patient dog.  

I can tell she’s going to be a character!  IMG_3966


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Hungry Eleanor!

A little over a week ago we started Eleanor on cereal.  We had been struggling with her sleeping all night and decided that she was close enough to six months to see if hunger was an issue.

She seems to be a very hungry baby, scarfing down two cereal meals every day as though she’s been doing it since she was born.  With the boys we did baby-led weaning and skipped the pureed cereal/food stage so spoon feeding is a bit new for us but it is worth the learning curve if it helps her at night (and it seems to be).

We have two brothers who were eager to try feeding her.  They think the cereal looks pretty gross.  


Since starting cereal we have tried other solids.  Her first food was sweet potato and we’ve tried blueberries, banana, hamburg (meatball), cantaloupe, peas, and corn since.

This is the face I get whenever we try anything new.  IMG_3851

But she always takes more and eventually turns it into a smiley face.  IMG_3853

I’m not sure yet if she’ll be a picky eater or not but it seems she will definitely eat a lot!

And this is just random cuteness.  



Oliver and I have been to the hill a couple of times this year.  He is definitely more patient this year and is really eager to learn how.  Up until Saturday he was nervous about going up the chair lift but suddenly he is very excited to get up the bunny hill and is working hard for it.   IMG_20140209_123340

He’s definitely more comfortable on the skis and is getting better at his turns and got around all of the gates but one one trip down.

He wants my help less and less.  Eventually he said to heck with the turns and started bee-lining it to the bottom because he would get up enough speed to get onto the lift himself.

He’s already asking when we are going again.  I’m super happy that he enjoys it and look forward to when we can go up the mountain together!

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Snow fun

A couple of weeks ago the boys and I went sliding next door.  Our yard is flat as flat can be but the neighbor has a small hill where the ground was built up for the potato house.  It’s just the right size for the boys and it’s handy.

I’m loving this shot of Emery.  IMG_20140131_160707


This is how Eleanor rolls… cute and snug and cuddled up, watching her brothers and I slide.  IMG_20140131_161310
And then the turkeys decided running was more fun than sliding.  IMG_20140131_161630

Thank goodness for a couple of inches of fresh snow, especially the heavy kind that is good for snowmen, snow forts, and snow balls!


We didn’t name him but the boys sure had fun making him!  I guess they didn’t get too attached though because Oliver dismantled him the very next day.   IMG_20140202_141537

Then we built snow forts (hard to see in the pic) and had a good old fashioned snowball fight.  I haven’t done that in so many years.  IMG_20140202_143711

And… this is what the trees in our yard look like when mommy lays down for a break.  IMG_20140202_143617

There are lots of fun things to do in the winter!