Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Kids say funny things. And sweet things. I might remember something that Leah has said long enough to tell Dan over dinner, or to post it on Facebook if I'm near the computer... but often, I forget. I'll remember that there was something notable I wanted to share, but then my mind draws a complete blank later. Darn.

However, a friend of mine has inspired me. She created a blog simply to document the funny things her kids say. They're one or two line posts and they're hilarious. On top of that, she gave me a great tip: many blog programs have iPhone apps to make it quick & easy to post. I did a quick search and sure enough, Blogger has one! (By the way, I have a new iPhone, thanks to a free upgrade and my mom's family plan - it is awesome.) So, while I'll still compose longer posts on various happenings here, you may also see more quick, short posts with just a silly quote from Leah or maybe a photo of something she's drawn, etc. The goal is get more of the everyday moments documented, as those will be invaluable to look back on in the future. :)

Two of those items before I forget:
  • Earlier this month, when we had Leah's birthday party, we explained that she could put her blankie or any toys she did not want to share with friends in our bedroom. During the party, some of the kids were continually squeezing Dodge's favorite squeak toy (which of course got him all excited!). I noticed at some point that Leah picked up that squeak toy and put it in our bedroom, so Dodge didn't have to share his favorite thing either. ;)
  • Today is Leah's first dentist visit. When I reminded her last night, she complained that she didn't want to go. She's been with me before to observe and to see my teeth cleaned, and I explained that she'll get to watch me again before it's her turn. She said, "When it's my turn, I'm going to walk away!" Haha!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Leah is 5 years old! A whole hand. Like I mentioned last week, this age feels like a big milestone. She's officially leaving the baby/toddler years behind and becoming a big kid. In just a few months, she'll begin her Kindergarten curriculum. She'll start her first full year of dance, culminating in a recital next May. She just had her first birthday party with friends. This is such an exciting time in her life, one that fills us with pride and anticipation.

I read an article a couple months ago, which was part of a series entitled, "This is Childhood". In the five-year-old piece, the author writes, "After the slow, rickety, listen-to-every-click-of-the-wheels climb to the top of the rollercoaster that is the first four years of parenting, five lets you pause for just a moment at the apex. In the brief stillness, you suck your breath in as you look back on the journey that brought you there, anticipating the free fall and the loop-de-loops beneath you that will carry you toward adolescence and teenagerland and the great beyond. Five is both an end and a beginning."  This perfectly captures how I feel about 5. There were times, especially during the first year or two, where time seemed to crawl, where we eagerly waited for Leah to learn to talk, to walk, to sleep through the night, and so on and so on.
With each milestone, with each month and year in her development, we found something to love, to appreciate, to hold onto. Now, we look back and we look at the little girl she's become and it's pretty awesome. There were challenges, struggles, and tantrums to overcome. There are different challenges and struggles (and maybe tantrums?) that await us in the future. Still, this feels like a sweet spot of childhood. I don't feel sadness that we've closed the chapter on the first five years, that Leah is growing and changing. I am thrilled for her, for the experiences that await her, for the skills she'll soon learn, and to be able to observe it all.

At 5 years old, Leah is smart, curious, and creative. She loves to draw, to color, to paint, to use scissors and glue and puffballs and any type of craft supply you put in front of her. Leah adores animals. She seeks out every dog and cat she comes across, wanting to befriend them all. She enjoys watching the birds that come to our feeder and wants to learn and talk about wild animals. Leah appreciates nature and being outdoors. She plays on swings and slides, likes taking walks, collects varieties of flowers and leaves, and practices archery with her dad.
Leah is a dancer. She looks forward to her ballet classes and loves choosing a different tutu each week. She comes home and demonstrates the positions she's learned. She is attentive in class, looks up to older dancers and is a role model for younger ones.  Leah is finishing up Pre-Kindergarten. She knows her letters and numbers 1-10, she is learning letter sounds, and she is aware and curious about what things say: street signs, word bubbles, posters. She enjoys matching, figuring out which item doesn't belong to a group, and navigating mazes. She appears to be a visual, tactile learner.

Leah is silly, thoughtful, and energetic. Leah knows what she likes and what she wants. Leah can be shy and cautious at times, or independent and friendly at others. Leah has an active imagination, which she exercises daily. Leah is the best little girl I know. Certainly, I am biased, yes. Still, I look at her, 5 years old, and I cannot help but beam with pride. She impresses me and teaches me regularly. Her future is bright. To the moon and back, my lovebug. xoxo

Monday, April 8, 2013

5th Birthday Party

On Saturday, Leah had her very first birthday party with friends. She was soooo excited all week long; on Saturday morning, she kept asking, "Are my friends driving yet? What time is it?"

Months ago, she chose a Mickey & Minnie Mouse party theme for her 5th birthday. I found and ordered the custom-made dress Leah is wearing in the photo, which we gave her on Saturday morning. Last summer, Leah had a red and white polka-dotted dress that she referred to as her "Minnie dress". Suspecting that it probably wouldn't fit this year, and knowing how much she loved it, I couldn't resist ordering a new Minnie-inspired dress not only for the party, but for the rest of the season. A friend of mine makes hair bows, so I also ordered some Minnie sequin clips to match!

Leah & I had a lot of fun with the Mickey & Minnie theme. We were thrilled to find red & white polka-dotted streamers at Hobby Lobby and we spent probably a good hour or more in Party City gathering items for goody bags, a pinata, Mickey Mouse party hats, and other coordinating party supplies. We also displayed her plush Mickey & Minnie as well as a matching cookie jar I've had for years.

A total of 10 children, including Leah, attended the party. We invited a couple homeschooling families that we've become friends with over the past year as well as a couple girls she met through dance class. Everyone seemed to play really well together and enjoyed a good time! Even Dodge made us proud and behaved very well around all the kids. He especially loved the one-year-old brother of one of Leah's friends, whom he "kissed" many times. ;)

During the party, each child colored a bow for Minnie, which we later used in a blindfolded "Stick the Bow on Minnie" game. Shortly thereafter, we handed out cupcakes - Minnie was the hands-down favorite among the mostly female crowd!
Then, we rounded up the kids to take a whack at the unicorn pinata. Yes, despite the Micky & Minnie theme, Leah was adamant about a unicorn pinata. Haha. We lined the kids up by height, allowing the youngest to go first, figuring the older ones would be able to take down the pinata. The unicorn was successfully beheaded by Averlin, age 6! The unicorn itself didn't break open so I ripped it and showered the candy on the ground for the kids to collect. Great fun!

All in all, the party was a success! We are grateful that we've met some awesome families with such sweet kids over the past year. Leah truly loved that everyone came to celebrate with her.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Big Girl Bedroom Makeover

Finally managed to take some photos of Leah's updated bedroom yesterday! When it was initially complete last month, I held off on taking pictures figuring I would take some once we hung things on the walls. Haha. Though we have ideas of what we'd like to put on the walls, our room budget has been spent... so, we'll get around to it eventually!  For now, we still have the letters to her name (that Dan repainted to match and will probably re-hang this weekend) and the bow holder I made. Leah adores her new room, whether it has wall decor or not, so there is no rush.

Truly, Dan deserves all the credit for this room. Not only did he complete all the painting as well as install the chair rail & crown molding, he came up with the inspiration for the color scheme: Sleeping Beauty's dress.
Leah told us she wanted pink, so Dan suggested the two tones separated by a chair rail, which is painted silver (with added silver paint crystals that sparkle!). We gathered a TON of pink paint samples from Home Depot and the three of us sat in Leah's bedroom to narrow down which ones looked best. The darker tone is called "Ballerina Pink", which seems so appropriate for our little dancer! Dan also suggested bamboo flooring, which we all ended up loving (so smooth!), and he found the furniture on Raymour & Flanigan's website. I found the bedding from Macy's and the curtains (which have white polka dots) & hardware from Pottery Barn Kids. Leah is completely in love with her room and her new full-size bed. She plays or lounges in there far more often than before.

I think one of the things Leah enjoys the most is having the larger bed to share with her favorite stuffed dogs and cats. There is a certain group of them that are almost always there. Even if she plays with them elsewhere during the day, she always returns them to the bed at night. I love how much she loves and feels comforted by her animals. :)

Another nice feature is the addition of the nightstand. It's a great spot to place her cup of water that she likes to have at night, as well as the remote control to her new ceiling fan/light.  The bottom shelf fits a ton of her favorite books, more than I thought it would, which is great for bedtime too. Leah says she'd like a clock, which we hope to eventually add along with a bedside lamp. She also claims to want her own telephone so she can call her grandparents whenever she wants. HA!

Next week, Leah turns 5 and she's finally got her big girl room to match what feels like an important milestone. No longer a baby or toddler by any means, but truly in the midst of childhood and blossoming into an awesome little girl.