Thursday, September 5, 2013

Labor Day Fun

This year we got to celebrate Labor Day weekend by meeting little Aria and then coming home to enjoy Orion's Fall Festival and a leisurely trip to the zoo together. Last year we took Eva to the festival Friday night and I remember it well. I was 8 months pregnant, it was miserably hot, Abby and I burned our dinner and decided to go up to Fall Fest and grab dinner there instead. I had purchased some ride tickets in advance (gotta grab those deals) so we tried them out. I remember Eva sitting on that mini ferris wheel and just crying and begging for it to be over. The festival rained out the rest of the weekend we were stuck with 8 or 9 ride tickets. Well, on our bulletin board they remained for a full year, and into my pocket they went as we headed out this year. And oh what a difference a year makes. She had SUCH a fun time riding all the rides and waving to us as she went by. She says her favorite ride was the Dizzy Dragon ride with her Daddy, but our favorite to watch her ride was the mini roller coaster. There she was waiting for the ride to start, giving us the double thumbs up. Then the ride suddenly jolted into gear, going much faster than the ferris wheel and the motorcyles. Her wide little eyes as that ride begin had the two of us laughing so hard. It didn't take her long to be laughing and having a great time on it, however. Though I don't think she cared too much for it when it started going backwards halfway through!

The zoo was the same as it always is: fun and stress-free. The elephants were RIGHT at their gate when we got there, so Evalee stook talking to them for quite some time before she sprinted off to see if her monkeys were swinging around or anything yet. We laughed about how well she knows that zoo. She doesn't show one sign of hesitation when she is ready to head to a specific animal. Travis made the comment that if we ever lost track of her we could probably just head to teh car and she'd be waiting there for us at the end of the afternoon. My favorite part of this visit by FAR was watching Izzy feed the cows at the petting zoo. Oh how she would squeal with excitement when that cow's tongue would get those oats out of her hand. She followed them up and down that fence, determined to pull one into the stroller and take it home with her. It was so great to see her so excited about something. I love how much her little personality is starting to shine.

We ended our holiday with a nice steak dinner out on the sun porch, as per Eva's request. It was a great, great weekend.

Eva and Izzy lately

Miss Evalee Ann is starting to really get excited about learning new things. We bought some Brain Quest cards on a whim one day shopping, and she can't get enough of answering questions. One morning when I was already left for work, Travis heard Eva get out of bed, walk down the hall to the living room, and sit quietly. When Izzy woke up and he came out to see what she was up to, he found her sitting on the couch turning through her "cards" - as she calls them. Grandma and I have decided to take full advantage of her interest while it is here, so we have been working with her in preschool workbooks trying to make sure she's ahead of the game! She still shows NO interest in writing letters, although I try to get to attempt often. She will draw them on the iPad with her finger with pleasure, but put a pencil in her hand and forget it.

She has also started wearing underwear to bed at night and stays dry most nights. Unfortunately she hasn't been the best sleeper lately and it's rare for us to not have a visitor in our bed at some point in the night. It's hard to do much about it, and honestly I don't mind all that much, because almost all the time she sneaks into next to be with such stealth I don't even wake up.

She is also at an exciting time in her development where we can finally have a real conversation. I will ask her about her day, and she'll tell me about the things she did with Blackie at Grandma's house or what she built with blocks with Gavin at Mary's. If I ask her what she ate for lunch, she usually remembers. What really stands out to me is also how well she has started articulating her imagination. Whenever we play together she can make up these fantastical stories and tell me with detailed instruction what is going on. "Oh no, Mama! You're all locked up! We need to find the key quick before the dragon eats you for his dinner!"

I also broke down and opened a Scholastic Book Club account to start ordering her new books, and honestly it's mostly for me. No matter how bad my day is or how stressed out I feel when I am trying to cook dinner and clean the house when I get home from work, bedtime is still a sacred and beautiful time. It's when we slow down and I can breathe my children in. We giggle. We whisper about what we hope we get to do the next day. She picks out her books and we read them together -- her filling in the lines she knows by heart and pointing out the funny things in the pictures. It's where she gives me "all the kisses" and kisses my lips until she is laughing too hard to keep going. It's where I build her a cave out of pillows for her to sleep in and I tell her 27 stuffed animals good night. And when there is a new book with new adventures in it sitting on her bed table, her eyes light up. There really isn't a better way to spend $3.

Note * If you notice a serious lack of photo representation of my oldest child, it is because she does NOT want her picture taken lately. If you ask her for one, she will look anywhere but at the camera and usually pouts and walks out of the frame. 

My God that kid is active. She's a baby, and I really thought babies needed lots of sleep. Not this baby. She is always on the move and usually grunting about something. She really likes toys that challenge her dexterity lately -- shape sorters and the like -- but in particular she loves to play the game Connect Four. I don't know how Grandma discovered this, but it's one thing that she will sit and do while I chop vegetables or stir a pot trying to get dinner together. She also loves babies, shoes, and necklaces. She doesn't have much patience to sit and listen to a whole book still, but she is getting better and better about sitting. Usually about halfway through, though, she throws the book, climbs down from your lap, and is insisting you join her on the floor for some wrestling. I think her favorite game right now is catch. We have lots of little balls just her size and she loves to sit and throw the ball to you and catch it as you roll it back. I think we have a future softball player on our hands, for sure!

She has recently started insisting on getting a cup when her sister gets one, and man does she know what to do with it. That girl can chug water like it's her job. We don't give her much since we're supposed to limit it until she's one, but I think she could probably drink all day long if we let her.

She CAN walk. She does walk. But only if she thinks no one is watching and if she's not thinking about it. The trick, we have found, is to hand her a toy while she is standing. She will take it in both hands and examine it long enough that she forgets she is standing on her own. Then the appeal of the toy wears off and she glances around to see she's not holding something. This is bad news. So she'll waddle right on over to the nearest couch or laundry basket or leg as quickly as she can, convinced that no one will know that she doesn't really need a finger to hold to get around. Hopefully she will soon realize how much fun and excitement is out there -- particularly in that she will be able to keep up with her sister a little easier -- and she'll give in. But for now, she continues to crawl up our legs and cry until we walk her where she wants to go. Such a diva. :)

Sporting her TMNT bandaid because she wouldn't stop picking at a scab on her face. "I have PopTart on my face!" she would insist.

Aria Skylar is born!

The Kershaw family welcomed in a new member of the family on August 26, 2013. The whole family drove up to see her as soon as we could. Eva was so excited to come meet her all week. It was great to see everyone and get a chance to meet her. You hear it all the time, but you really do forget just how tiny they are when they are new! Uncle Trevor pointed out how much she looks like Izzy, and I guess that makes sense since they both look like their daddies! Hopefully they both grow a bit of their own looks so they don't get all the same jokes their daddies get about looking alike, however:). Welcome to the family, Aria! I'm so excited to watch you grow up!