Today

You may call it Tuesday, we will call it the big THREE for our littlest nugget. Happy birthday, Annabel! We love you so much and much and much.

IMG_5543

IMG_5733

Below is Mama’s favorite photo of baby Annabel . . . That face! Those lips! A perfect, squishy little baby.

IMG_1179

IMG_1431

This photo (below) is insane. Over the weekend, we watched a handful of videos recorded around the same time. Eli was just a BABY! Those two “big” kids sure did (and do) love their baby sister. Also, it’s a miracle we survived with so many little people.

IMG_1613

IMG_6397

IMG_1711

This was Miss Lady over the weekend, dying Easter eggs with Eli, Piper, and Grandma Sue. She’s a bundle of curly blonde attitude, this one.

easterbel 2014

We knocked out two birds with one stone over the weekend, celebrating Easter and Annabel’s birthday together. Tonight, we’ll head out for the dinner she has chosen – mac and cheese at Red Robin!

“What color do you want your birthday cupcakes to be, Annabel?”
“Blue, like my eyes!”

easterbel cake 2014

The big lady

Until a couple weeks ago, Annabel was our BABY. She’s almost three and she’s not an infant, yes, but she’s our baby! Then we learned that the daycare we’d relied on for nearly seven years was closing. In two weeks. The obvious option was “find a new daycare,” but when we mentioned what was going on to the folks at our preschool (Eli’s school), they said, “Annabel can come here!” We told them that she’s in diapers, and they said, “No problem!” So we began a rushed week of potty training and crossed our fingers that sending a diaper-loving kid to preschool wouldn’t be a massive (and messy) disaster.

Here’s our littlest girl last Sunday afternoon, passed out in her sister’s sleeping bag, in the middle of the living room floor. (She’s not sleeping in a bedroom, in a bed, because she insisted she wasn’t tired.)

sleepy bel 1

sleepy bel 2

So how did the big switch go on Monday? Beautifully. Annabel was SO EXCITED to go to the big-kid school with Eli. Getting out the door in the morning was super easy, and we were lucky to get her to slow down for photos. She wanted to get to school! She loves her new Minnie Mouse lunch box, and she has her own pack-pack (backpack) too.

It’s purple. With sparkles.

first day 1

Eli has been pretty excited this week as well. He’s relishing this opportunity to be THE OLDEST KID, to look out for someone smaller who really needs him. (He insisted on being photographed with Annabel. The day felt special to him too! Piper missed the photo op because she was already on the bus to school.) Feeling responsible for his little sister has made Eli the easiest boy to put to bed this week; he’s exhausted at the end of the day.

When we picked Annabel up from her first day, one of her teachers announced, “She had a great day. And no accidents!” She’s ready to be big.

first day 3

first day 2ed

Speed racers

Last weekend was another fun run for our little racers. This one was indoors on the track of our local Big Ten college. So fancy! Kids were divided up by age, each runner got a medal at the end, and because we preregistered it was suuuuuper cheap ($10/kid!). Win, win, win.

tckids14 1

tckids14 2

tckids14 3

Parents were encouraged to run with their preschoolers, so Eli and Annabel were pretty excited. Annabel made it 1/4 mile (being carried by Mama for part of that), Eli ran the full 1/2 mile. He wanted to run with Annabel and Mama, but they couldn’t keep up! He’d run as fast as he could, then stop and turn around, waiting for them to catch up. Finally Mama said, “Just go!” And he did. He also saw one of his best friends from preschool at the race, which was pretty cool.

Piper was NOT EXCITED about this event. As soon as she heard Eli and Annabel got to run with a grownup and she’d be running ALONE, she was done. We registered her anyway, just in case. Leading up to race day, we tried to talk it up. “It’s going to be so much fun! You get to run as fast as you can! It’s only two times around the big circle! You get prizes!!” (We even had to trick her into pinning her number on. “That’s how the grownups know which kids are allowed to be here.”)

Come race day, we realized this indoor track was, um, tiny. Half a mile is FOUR laps, not two. Oops. “Oh! You get to run around four times! Yay!” Seconds before the first graders started running? “Oh! Look! You get to run around eight times, not four. It’s going to be so fun!” Kids in first grade and up were running a MILE.

Well, she did it. She tried something she didn’t want to do and made it all eight laps around the track. Most of the kids took little walking breaks on the far side of the track (away from the spectators), then ran ran ran as they went past the crowd and their parents. As they were running, kids stood a little taller and ran a little faster when they heard their names being yelled. “Go, Piper, go! You’re doing so great!” Piper tends to like activities that she knows she can do and usually rejects everything else. It was so cool to see her really TRY and surprise herself. We were so, so proud of her. She did an AWESOME job!

tckids14 4

After race snacks. Each kid got a bottle of water at the finish line (as well as a medal and a pair of socks), we brought some pretzels. Annabel put pretzels in her water.

tckids14 5

And this was our best “YOU HAVE TO SIT TOGETHER FOR ONE PICTURE” photo with the medals on. (Piper’s also wearing her medal from the race last October.)

tckids14 6

The group that organized this event has another big kids run (outside!) in the spring.
We’ll┬áprobably be there . . .

tckids14 7

The big phone

It’s not a phone, it’s a Kindle Fire, but it works just like the kids’ game phone (an old iPhone). Yesterday was the THIRD day our schools closed for cold weather in the past two weeks. THREE DAYS. Eli goes to a little private school where all parents drive and pick up (no walking or waiting at bus stops), so he went to school this time while the girls spent the day at home.

If he had been home, he would have looked like this for a chunk of the day . . .bigphone1

bigphone2

He loves loves loves to play “mad birds” (Angry Birds) and Bad Piggies. And sometimes he’ll watch the videos available in the game apps and run up to us announcing, “Want to know about a really cool animal? It’s a DOLPHIN.” (Piper gave us a really accurate speech on pressure as it relates to being underwater recently; they’re actually learning things from their shows! ha!)

Now if someone could please tell us how to limit his time on the big phone without setting off massive Eli tantrums, that would be awesome. One day last weekend, when his time on the big phone was up, he announced to Mama, “I’m going to have Daddy call the police to take you to jail because YOU’RE BEING SO MEAN.”

Other popular threats include, “If you don’t let me use the big phone, I’LL BREAK EVERYTHING YOU HAVE,” and, “I’LL NEVER MAKE A SURPRISE WITH YOU EVER!” Poor guy. Being four and following rules you don’t make is the pits, we know.

P.S. When you have important relatives who live out of town, you need to be better about blogging to share stories and photos. Hello, Ohio! We’re working on it!

Look what we can do!

Our littlest kids are becoming big kids overnight! One day (recently), Annabel was drawing scribbles and covering the walls and furniture with marker. And then? A family portrait!

She’s not quite sure how to control the straight lines she draws. A lot of her mouths end up looking frowny and she’ll say, “Oh! He’s sad.” And if it happens to come out looking like a smile, “He’s happy!”

drawing

drawing2

And this came home from school with Eli a couple weeks ago. Coloring within the lines! Writing like a big kid! He also knows how to spell his first name, and Piper’s.

writing