Monday, November 17, 2014

Hannah's 5th Birthday!

Hannah's birthday was on a Tuesday this year (a Tuesday way back at the beginning of August, mind you), but we kept with our usual tradition of a multi-day celebration starting on Saturday. I made her chocolate zucchini muffins with a chocolate avocado icing, and her cousins, along with Grammy and uncle Chip, came to play for the day.

She got a scooter, a make-your-own jewelry box kit, and a new dress because Clay really wanted to buy her a beautiful dress. Hannah totally agreed with his idea of a beautiful dress!

We spent the rest of the day chasing them around the pool; fortunately, it was pretty easy to keep track of them because an overcast sky toward the end of summer resulted in a pretty empty pool.

I really wanted to throw her an official party this year, but the logistics proved too much for me. I am just not an events planner. It's why we never had a wedding and why my kids have never had a party outside of just family. See, I wanted to throw an old-fashioned sort of party, the kind where her friends come over to play in the yard, and there's nothing really scheduled except impromptu and spontaneous fun, but we didn't have a yard in August, so that wasn't an option. I thought about shelling out insane amounts of cash to have her party on-site at some location--she always has fun at the ones she attends, and there are advantages like nothing for me to set up or tear down or clean up--but I really wanted something more personal.

Another thing I'm beating myself up for is not scheduling Hannah to celebrate her birthday at school. Since she's a summer birthday, I have to work with the teacher to find a time during the school year to recognize her, and I never managed to do that for her third or fourth birthday. I'm not letting her fifth slip by though!! I already scheduled a half-birthday celebration in March with her new teacher. They have a great ceremony where the birthday kid walks around the earth (or maybe the sun?? I can't remember) once for every year old that they are, and they bring in pictures of themselves at every age. I'll probably just send her in with the book I made her.

Since she never had a party AND since she never celebrated at school AND since the logistics of a house party weren't working out for me AND since her birthday was on a Tuesday, I had the semi-genius idea to commandeer a day of summer camp. I figure that way I don't have to stress out about who to invite--whoever is at camp that day is invited. And I don't have to stress out about feeding them--you know I'd want to do something healthier than pizza, but I'd also want the kids to eat it--because they bring their own lunches.

So I rented a big moon bounce and ordered some cupcakes. Hannah and the other kids in summer camp spent the morning alternating between the bounce house and the playground. We got there a little early and bounced around by ourselves for a few minutes before all the kids gathered and came out.

The camp directors granted Hannah's best friend VIP status and let her out for some early bouncing too.

Photo by Greenspring Montessori
And then there were cupcakes! The two camps of 3- and 4-year-olds had almost 40 kids between them, so I took the easy route and ordered from Whole Foods. They were delicious and way cheaper than I expected, so it was totally worth it.

The moon bounce was there all day, but Hannah didn't want to stay. She cried and cried and begged to come home with us. We tried to talk her into staying and continuing the party; we even left without her at first thinking she'd calm right down and have fun, but we had a bad feeling about leaving her crying on her birthday, so Eric dropped off me and Jacob and went back to pick her up. She was still crying, so it's a good thing he did! It's her birthday after all, so if the morning was enough, so be it!

Since I'm behind on blogging, I'm lumping in a few earlier summer camp pictures....Hannah's school is awesome about taking and posting pictures on their Facebook page. I lifted a ton of them and wanted to re-share here, but it occurred to me that other parents might not be thrilled with their kids appearing here without permission (hoping the group photo above is too small to upset anyone), so I'm left with the two below: Hannah the snake charmer and Hannah the star of the sequel to Up.

Photo by Greenspring Montessori

Photo by Greenspring Montessori
Happy 5th birthday to Hannah!!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Back in the Saddle

We had a lot of dad-less adventures this summer since Eric was busting his butt in a new training program and traveled almost constantly until the end of July. My favorite of these adventures occurred in the middle of July. Early one Saturday morning (Jacob woke up at the ungodly hour of 5 that day so when I say early, I mean early), I packed up the kids and drove to Shepherdstown, West Virginia to visit Laura at her east coast home base. Hannah loved picking pears from the tree, exploring the cool old house and everything in it, and having some much needed one-on-one with her auntie Laura and Maesy. As usual, I sucked at taking pictures, but no worries since Laura always shares hers!

Photo courtesy of Laura Mae Socks

Photo courtesy of Laura Mae Socks
It cracks me up how serene we look in this next photo Laura took; it was actually the most chaotic hammock experience ever. I had child elbows, knees,and butts in my face, guts, and boobs for the entire two minutes that I was in that thing. I jumped out of it somewhat frustrated and annoyed, but this photo makes all that sound like a blatant lie, huh?
Photo courtesy of Laura Mae Socks

On Sunday morning we followed Amy to the farm where we reacquainted Hannah with Desi and introduced her to Jasper, Amy's mom's newish horse (new to us).

Jacob loved the farm and all the animals every bit as much as his sister.

The people who own the farm breed Irish Wolfhounds, and one of the puppies from a recent litter took to Hannah pretty rapidly. This worked well for Hannah who spends her days drawing pictures of herself and her future dog and wishing on every star she sees for a puppy.

 Hannah was pretty psyched to be able to ride Jasper and was in no hurry to hop down.

Jacob, on the other hand, was not thrilled with being on top of the horse and resumed his on-the-ground position fairly quickly.

Hannah spent much of the later part of the day down at the pasture with Sharon petting the horses and enjoying life.

I am immensely grateful to be part of such an amazing tribe of people who adore my children and enjoy sharing their lives with them. I only wish we were able to spend more time with all of them!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Group Selfie with Amy

I made Hannah a photo book for her 5th birthday with all my favorite photos from the first 5 years of her life. It took me for-EV-er (until the end of October, well after her birthday at the beginning of August) to finish, and now I'm bummed because this photo didn't make it in. Argghgh! I thought I was so thorough in siphoning through the millions and bajillions of photos I have...

This group selfie is from a hike we all took around Robert E Lee park in July. Amy wore Jacob on her back, so I was feeling light and free without my squishy little 25-pound snuggler. It was awesome!