Mother’s Tea, Round Two

Piper had her Mother’s Tea last Friday, a few days after Ellie. It’s quite a different format in the toddler classroom than the primary classroom. The kids helped the teachers make cookies with jam in them and they squeezed the lemons for the lemon tea. We sat on their tiny little stools and had tea with them, played outside in the water trough, did some work and then did circle time. The kids made us these adorable keychains with their pictures in them, which I hung in my car.

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The kids do this little dance individually after circle time before they go outside:

Mother’s Tea, Round One

Tonight we had Mother’s Tea at Ellie’s school, an annual tradition that all of us moms (and dads) really love so much. It’s always quite a bit of effort to hold back the tears when they start singing “You are my sunshine,” etc. It is extremely sweet of all the teachers to work with the kids for weeks to practice songs to sing us, make us our sandwiches, our “about mom” papers, our corsages, and our gift. This year’s gift was soap; mine was purple of course, in the shape of a heart with tiny little seashells in it. It smells wonderful. The bag Ellie made for the soap has 3 little yellow stars on it.

One of the other things I really love about Mother’s Tea is seeing all of the other kids and the other parents. It’s fun to see how unique everyone is and how they’re growing up. Today when I picked Ellie up from school so we could go get some dinner before Spring tea, one of her little friends was talking to me and when we were about to leave she told me she loved me…melt my heart! There is another little girl who has the most amazing style. I love her tie dye rainbow dresses and headbands. It’s fun to see Ellie in her element with her buddies as well and it’s great to see her treat her friends kindly and love them.

The “about mom” papers are always one of my favorite things about Spring tea.  This years was quite different from last years:

  • Within a single year I grew 12 years older. That one actually does feel accurate.
  • Somehow laundry grew exponentially in the last year. That one actually does feel accurate.
  • My movie preferences changed from Frozen (which I’ve actually never seen) to “grown up movies.” Thank God I’m sure she means movies capable of being shown in theaters.
  • My favorite color changed from blue to black.

My hands down favorite thing about this year’s “about mom” card is that she thinks I look pretty when I laugh at her. That makes me so happy to hear because if that is her definition of beauty for the rest of her life I will be so proud.

Here is a video of their first song:

And here are a couple of pics from the festivities:

Let Your Hair Down – Ellie’s 4th Birthday Celebration

When Ellie was about one, I had to travel for work. I read a book called Carry On Warrior, which I also wrote about here. I distinctly remember a part of the book where the author talks about being in line at Target with 3 crazed children in the checkout line and some older woman looks at her and says something to the effect of “Treasure these moments, they go by too fast.” At that point I’m pretty sure Glennon (the author) was visualizing throwing a huge middle finger, while in actuality she smiled sweetly and held her breath. The point is, I’m starting to feel the need to treasure those moments now with the girls.

Time is just continuing to go by faster and faster and I find myself even more frequently sitting in a moment and focusing so as to never forget it. Ellie’s 4th birthday was exactly one of those times when I wanted to pause and never forget it. Although it was pretty busy and crazy, I felt like it slowed down a bit by me focusing on being conscious and present.

Although I’m no princess fan, Ellie loves Rapunzel, so we threw a Rapunzel party. Luckily, my friend Niki had already thrown one for one of her daughters, so she shared her decor. We hired a local company, Seattle Princesses, and Rapunzel herself came out to read, paint Ellie’s face and play with the kiddos. We also did a lantern decoration station since Rapunzel’s parents and townspeople sent them off every year on her birthday in Tangled.

Photos are below and if you’re interested in doing the lantern decoration station or making your own Rapunzel party hats for your Rapunzel party, I’ve listed the items I bought from Amazon below the photos.

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And here are the goods from Amazon:

Lantern decorations:

I used fishing line to string through the led light and tied it to the inside of the lantern.

Rapunzel hats:

I made braids with the yellow yarn and tied them off at the top and the bottom with the clear rubber bands. Then Brian stapled the braid to the inside back of the hats.

Photos of the Girls

The girls’ former teacher Ruoyun reached out to see if any families were interested in getting a free photoshoot with a photographer who wanted to expand her portfolio. I couldn’t help but take her up on it and I am so glad I did. Here is a link to the photographer’s Facebook page and below are the images – some are edited and some are raw.

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Thanksgiving

Eek, I know it’s December 7th, but I really wanted to post about Thanksgiving this year, so I thought “better late than never, right?”

This year, Thanksgiving weekend was truly one for the books. It was a five day weekend for the girls, so the fun really started on Wednesday. Wednesday we made quite a few of the dishes for Turkey Day and for the first time in my life I made homemade gyros for dinner. I followed this recipe, which I found on Pinterest. Don’t believe it when they say they take 20 minutes, but they were pretty delicious. Our friends Heras and Parris brought their adorable little six month babe Weston over and once the kids went down to bed we had a good old time with some Cards Against Humanity.

After that night, I couldn’t believe we made it up and out the door to run our traditional Issaquah Turkey Trot 5k. It was super freezing cold, but Grandy hung out with the girls and they cheered us on at the finish line.

After the 5k, we got back to the house, where we made Bloody Mary’s, Brian got to playing the Annual Four Lakes flag football game, and the rest of us cooked. The Kochevar’s joined us for the fun and the girls had a ball playing with their cousins.

After that we got to the food. Grandy and Tutu brought 5 dozen oysters and 6 bottles of Champagne (don’t worry, we didn’t get to them all) and the Kochevar’s brought smoked salmon. Drool. When it came to dinner, we had quite a few options: shaved brusselsprouts, cheesy sweet potatoes, turkey, cranberry sauce with blood oranges, homemade rolls, etc. This was the first Thanksgiving where I can honestly say there wasn’t anything on the table I didn’t care for. It was all scrumptious. I do have to call out my personal faves:

  • The B to the Tizzle nailed the turkey – it was epic!
  • My mom made this stuffing and it was to die for.
  • This green bean casserole is by far the most amazing I think I’ve ever had. I will definitely do that again!

And of course, Thanksgiving would not have been complete without a very large bottle of wine:

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Thankfully Friday  morning was super chill. My mom and I shopped online for a couple of hours while the kiddos played and we saved up enough energy for night three of wild and crazy fun. Friday night was Four Lakes Friendsgiving and it set the bar very high for future Friendsgivings. Our friends Niki and George hosted the meal at their house, where everyone contributed their T-Day leftovers. Then we all walked over to our house, where we had two amazing babysitters (Piper’s teachers) to watch and put to bed all the kiddos while us parents danced our tails off in our garage to a very cool band, The Social Animals, who our friends the Ricchio’s booked. And this is where I think to myself “being a parent does not mean we have to be lame, eh?”

Needless to say we were pretty exhausted by the time Saturday came around, but there is no rest for the wicked. We carted Piper to swim, spent the day cleaning, & spent the evening at The Doman’s. It was a stellar relaxing night with Grandpa Peter and Grandma Maureen. Sunday was our day to relax and relax we did. Breathe.

School Progress Reports

Two months ago I started this post after I received the girls’ progress reports from school. I never finished it and this summer was so busy, I’ve been away from writing for awhile. I wanted to be sure to document it though, mostly for the girls when they’re older, so here goes:

The girls just finished their school year, which makes me chuckle a little because I’m still not used to the concept of kids that young going to school. When I go and see what they learn though and what they spend their time doing, I absolutely do believe it should be called a school, not just a daycare.

At the end of the school year, the teachers do progress reports and believe it or not they are quite extensive. I don’t expect everyone to read these, but I’m putting them here so the girls can see them when they get older. Piper seems to have mastered the outdoors and Ellie mastered the days of the week. School starts again in a week and I’m excited to see their next set to see how it compares. Piper’s is a mere 4 pages, while Ellie’s primary classroom has 7 pages of evaluation!

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Father’s Day and my Broken Nose

Father’s Day weekend was so much fun, right up until the very end. I took Friday off work and got a bunch of stuff done around the house. Saturday my dad came over and we hung out around the house all day, which was so nice and relaxing. We made some lunch and the girls played with the water table Grandpa Peter brought over. After that we drove up to the beer festival at Marrymore Park and had a few beer tastings. The girls ran around and got really tired, came home and passed out.

The next day I was really excited because my friend Liz and I rented a boat on Lake Washington for the dads. We packed all our stuff, brought sandwich fixings and off to the boat we went. It was a really pretty 28 foot Cobalt, so we were definitely in heaven. The boys were happy, the kiddos were happy, it couldn’t have been more perfect.  The only thing is it didn’t end on a particularly great note. As we were docking the boat, I did a dumb thing in standing up on the side of the boat to push off another one to avoid hitting it. As the boats drifted closer to each other, my head got stuck between the stationary hull anchor on the other boat and the canopy arm on our boat. My sunglasses crunched, cutting up my face and I broke my nose and had a minor head injury. I feel incredibly lucky and like it could have been so much worse! Brian told me later he thought in the moment it was going to be a lot worse. When my mom took me home from the ER she reminded me of the most important boating rule her dad always taught her: never put your body between two boats. Lesson learned. The hard way.