Introducing my lovely little daughter, Violet. She started out a tiny little squirt, despite arriving nearly two weeks late! You will have to pardon my delay in posting (she is nearly 3 weeks old now!), but life with three kiddos has been beautifully exhausting.
I am still right in the thick of that twilight zone where I can’t remember when I last took a shower…but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t today. Between nursing constantly, homeschooling a kindergartner part-time, and spending the rest of the hours reading to a contrary preschooler, my days have been very full!
Violet is a bright spot of sunshine for us. She smiles constantly in her sleep (and is beginning to smile when awake, be still my heart!), adores staring at our black-and-white striped curtains, and is perfectly willing to let her older siblings hold her hand. We love her dearly and can’t wait to see how her sweet personality develops as she grows!
How in the world did my son turn 5? It’s not like the days or years have felt short; I honestly can’t even remember (because it seems so long ago) what my life was before this kid made me a mom. It’s just that I remember so clearly thinking he would be small forever. That his little hands and his little feet would always be doll-size. That 2-year-olds seemed as big as monsters.
Of course, if you ask her how old she is, she says, “Cake!”
Caitlin is a sweet and determined little girl. She always knows what she wants and what she doesn’t! It has been so fun watching her learn over this past year: just when I think she might take forever to figure something out, she takes off running (literally. at 13½ months. walking is for chumps). She studies everything around her, speaks in complete sentences, and stands up for herself. She loves hugs and being outside and picture books. She loves shoes and farm animals and helping with chores. Her favorite foods are peanut butter and grapes.
Caitlin loves nothing better than sitting in our laps and reading books, so we threw her a storybook party to celebrate her second year of life!
Jake definitely gave me a run for my money this year. He is rambunctious and giddy and willful and very invested in understanding every single thing.
This year we celebrated Jake’s birthday in the most fitting way I could imagine: with a mountain of candy and a giant board game. Jake’s sweet tooth rivals mine, and he has spent the last year in a quest to become a board game geek like his daddy. (It should be noted here that his favorite game is called Just Desserts, which is a game where you feed pretend customers all their favorite sugary treats, and that when we play Candyland, he cherishes the pink dessert cards so much that I have a hard time convincing him to keep them in the stack.)
Happy fourth birthday, Jake! I can’t believe how big you are, and I can’t wait to see how you grow over the next year!
Somehow a whole year has flown by, and my baby girl turned 1!
In some ways, it doesn’t even seem real: she still has no teeth and she’s not walking on her own quite yet. Although she loves to enthusiastically yell, “Hi!” on the phone, she still seems to think blowing raspberries is the best form of communication. She’s still my baby—she can’t possibly be a whole year old!
Caitlin has a smile that lights up her whole face. She throws back her head when she grins, and it’s like her entire body quivers with joy. She loves her brother, she loves to explore, she loves hugs, she loves books and ripping paper (not the best combination), and she loves to put every small thing into her mouth. She certainly keeps us on our toes, and we are so glad to know her!
For Caitlin’s first birthday, we threw a bubble bash. I bought bubble machines and wands and set out a bunch of food and we invited friends and family to come celebrate!
My son is smart and wily and creative. He is thoughtful and determined and energetic.
And he is 3 years old!
This year for Jake’s birthday, I really wanted to keep it simple. I wanted to spend less time worrying and preparing, and more time marveling at how my tiny baby turned into this enormous, articulate preschooler, a little boy with a strong will and a contagious smile!
Jake never hesitates when you ask him what his favorite foods are: ice cream and pizza. (Clearly I have been teaching him everything I know…) So this year we decided to have an ice cream party to celebrate what an awesome kid Jake is!
When I was a kid, the local grocery store was famous for their rainbow sugar cookies. Everyone I knew loved them.
Everyone except me. I thought they tasted funny. These cookies were probably the only dessert I would actually decline as a kid. They just didn’t wow me. The bright colors didn’t fool me (I had also figured out that sprinkles didn’t actually make ice cream taste more delicious…go figure), and I just wasn’t going for them.
For years, I eschewed food coloring. (This may also have had something to do with the fact that I was afraid of pink foods actually tasting like strawberries…either way, no good.)
But now my oldest is nearly 3 (!!), and I have realized that for him, color does make something more awesome. He literally likes to go around naming all his favorite colors of Legos, crayons, Play-Doh (news flash, it’s every color in the rainbow), sometimes spending more time talking about the colors than actually playing with his toys. Sprinkles are beautiful and food coloring is delicious.
Of course, I still have a rule that food should be primarily yummy and secondarily pretty, but when I spotted a recipe for rainbow swirled cookies on The PinterTest Kitchen, my Secret Recipe Club blog for August, I knew immediately that Jake would love them! Food crafts for kids!
Over the last month or so, Jake has developed quite an obsession with the book Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems. He carries it around the house with him. We read it at least once a day and up to four or five times in a row, if we have the patience. Jake likes to sit down to read the book aloud (quite accurately, I might add) to his baby sister, and he has on many occasions just recited various sections to himself when the book isn’t on hand.
Get your cold ice cream for a hot day!
I have to admit that I love this book, and not just because I am amused that all Jake’s favorite books are somehow about dessert. The crisis Gerald goes through, trying to decide whether he can bear to share his very favorite thing, the greedy rationalizations partnered with loyalty and affection for his best friend—they ring so true!
But it has always puzzled me that Gerald’s ice cream is green. I mean…green. (Maybe because real elephants are herbivores?) Nothing against mint or pistachio or matcha ice cream, particularly…I am just surprised to see such a grown-up color in a children’s book.
But maybe this is a good thing: expanding my kid’s horizons in the name of ice cream and reading!
I told Jake we would make Gerald’s ice cream…and then we set out to combine two classic green flavors, with tremendously delicious results!