Monday, December 28, 2015

A Decade of Ezra

Ten days ago our oldest turned a decade!  I enjoy having his birthday be during the Christmas season for many reasons--but it does make things rather hectic.  I don't ever want to him to think his birthday is an after thought and thankfully he is very easy going as to how we celebrate. 

 Here he is first thing on the morning of December 18th.  Birthday snuggles with his baby brother.
 And Daddy took the day off work, so he got some Daddy snuggles before school as well.

 Ezra has grown into a very hardworking young man.  He is always thinking up some new business and handing out fliers around the neighborhood--like pet sitting/dog walking and car washing and detailing.  He can be counted on to complete some of the more annoying tasks around here--such as cleaning out the fish tank or washing windows.  And his little brother is quite often his shadow.  We all enjoy watching him in his various sporting activities--each of which he plays for pure love of the game.  We are so very thankful to the Lord for giving us this fun loving, energetic boy as ours.

 The evening of his birthday he got to have a little celebration with presents and cake and his bestie.  He had just opened the sport jacket--thus the tags.  His only request for cake this year was that there be lemon filling and lemon frosting.  It felt a little strange not to be decorating it with some sort of a shape or theme--but it sure was easier :) 

 And he got his heart's desire from his (mostly) Dad and Mom--an RC car on steroids. 

 It's pretty fun to watch.  I haven't driven it yet--it goes 30 mph so when it crashes it has the potential to be really damaged.  We've already made two trips to the hobby shop for replacement parts.

 Crepe breakfast the next morning.  And how--he is officially ten!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Things That Make Me Smile on a Monday Morning!

 These brothers.  They make me smile.  Henry is such a repeat of Ezra at this age.  The crazed energy and noise.  My daily humbling.  The engaging smile.  The infectious giggle.  The constant chatter.  So much the same.  The problem is that I'm in my mid-thirties instead of my mid-twenties and the difference is just tremendous :)   
 These boys really do adore one another.  Henry hero-worships Ezra.
 Pretty pumpkins make me smile.  And since they weren't carved they should last until Thanksgiving instead of rotting by tomorrow.  I had a lot of fun with these easy pumpkin crafts.  Sitting on the porch all together they do look quite pretty.

 Grandpa and Grandma Idaho time brought lots of smile from all!  We got a visit from these Grands last weekend.  It was a little preview of us going to them for Thanksgiving.  Henry is especially happy to be read to.
 And Nora basks in all the one-on-one attention.  There was a lot of game playing going on.
And that's what's keeping me smiling on a rainy Monday morning.  What about you?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Fall Sports Blast

What a neglectful blogger I've been.  I'd like to think it's because I'm "living in the moment".  Which mostly means I'm busy sweeping up broken glass, changing diapers and stopping fights all day.  But I'm also trying to get outside during the few daylight hours and play with my kids more.  And I'm realizing it benefits me even more than it does them.  They say you're only as old as you let yourself be...and it's hard to feel too old when you're out having bike races with your 9, 8, 5 and 2 year old!
Speaking of outdoors...the kids have been very busy with fall sports.  As of tomorrow all those sports will be officially over and then we can move on to indoor activities (phew--warmth!).   Here's a few shots of the kids in action.

We were able to hold Ezra off of American football one more (probably last) year.  He dreams of playing football.  But he does enjoy his soccer coach and teammates and we love how much exercise it gets him.  They had a winning season and went out on a high note--beating two teams they had lost to during the first half of the season.  

 Nora played soccer for the first time.  We were so happy to see her conquer her fear of all things new and different.  This little girl is teaching us so much about a shy spirit.  It's been a balancing act figuring out how to gently push her without building her fears into an even bigger animal.  Once she decides to go for something there is no stopping her.  She loves to sprint down the field and score goals and she got her first score just a couple minutes into the first game.  Her shy smile showed how happy she was.

 Ezra and Caroline both ran cross country this year.  They each enjoy it and I so enjoy seeing them compete in a sport that was "mine".  Here they are after the first race

Caroline learned to push herself and keep running even when she didn't really feel like it.  She had a great kick and often passed half a dozen runners or more in the last 100 yards.  She kept a happy smile on her face most of the time.  I just adore her post-race rosy cheeks.

Ezra runs just as intensely as he competes in all his other sports.  He sprints to the front of the pack from the get-go and usually stays there.  He got first in the first race fairly easily.  The second race brought a tight group of three sprinting to the finish line.  All of their faces said "I WANT this!".   Ezra pushed on the gas one last time and surged ahead just at the finish.  The third week he was quite perplexed to come in 7th place.  He was especially disappointed because it was on his home course and Daddy had come home early to watch.  But he does a good job of shrugging off losses and moving on with life.   Caroline had a good race that day and ended up in 10th--which had been her goal for the day!  That night at midnight Ezra woke up and covered his bathroom in vomit.  And I do mean covered.  There wasn't a square inch of floor that didn't have vomit on it.  He hit everything except the inside of the toilet.  Projectile.  He even hit the heater vent (that one made me start crying).  It took Tadd and I half an hour to clean it up.  Poor kid.  Perhaps the stomach flu had a little bit to do with his bad race. 
Here are a few shots of them after the "finals".  Ezra took third and Caroline got 21st.  The course where the finals are held has a particularly grueling hill.  It's loooooong and steep.  They call it heartbreak hill.  Both kids were happy to have heartbreak hill behind them.

A week after cross country finals our local high school hosted their annual Pumpkin Run.  All kids grades K-6 are invited to come run a cross country race at the high school. Everyone gets candy and ribbons and the first 5 places in each grade/sex get a decorated pumpkin.  The high school cross country team did a fabulous job with this event.  They led the kids in warm ups, got them amped at the start line, had rabbit runners to lead the races, cheered them along the way and congratulated them at the end.  They were also all dressed up as cute little animals to get the younger kids excited.  There were so many kids there but the high schoolers kept it all organized.  I was really impressed.  Nora decided she wanted to run--another victory in conquering fears.  She led the race with ease most of the way but didn't realize she needed to kick it into high gear at the end.  Just a step before the finish line another little girl passed her up.  Nora didn't seem to mind too terribly much.  She had such fun.  And she got a darling pumpkin that was covered in pink boas and feathers--just her style. 

 Caroline enjoyed her race and stayed in a pack with many of the runners from her own school.  She was sad not to get a pumpkin but kept a good attitude and was excited for her siblings.

 Ezra ran with his usual determination and ended up taking the top of the podium.  It was another very close finish--so exciting.  The full moon that night was intoxicating.
 Ezra's pumpkin had a cute Sonic the Hedgehog painted on it.  He looks so pensive up there at the top.  But I think he was really just still trying to catch his breath.
 And so ends the fall sports season.  Well, Nora has one last game tomorrow, but then we'll  be officially done.  Sometimes it seems very hectic having the kids in athletic activities.  But when we look back at how much it has taught them it is so worth it.  Learning to love being active is so important.  And what better time to do it than when they are young and have a need to use up energy!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Same street, same gorgeous trees, same time of year, same bike....different kid.

Now Henry is the one on the little purple bike with training wheels.  Mighty hard to believe--but it's true!

Going back a few years--here is the last one on the purple bike--Nora.  I believe this is 2012.

And clear back in 2011 we have Caroline.  Somehow I neglected to get her under the trees on the purple bike back in 2010.  Shame on me! 

We have now enjoyed our lovely cul de sac with the to-die-for fall coloring for five years!  Seems strange to have stayed in one place for so long after all the clustered moving.  However, as the pictures testify--while our location has stayed the same there has still been much change!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Scene at the Fair

Does the fair really need words?