Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas 2015

The time is flying by and I have been so bad about posting to this blog.  We had an amazing Christmas.  Sara is super easy and had only asked for American Girl things.  Evan is a bit more difficult and wanted a few video games, a Lego, and football cards.  Well in addition to their gifts we had purchases an American Doll and a Jim Kelly autographed football at the school auction in April.  Needless to say the kids had a very exciting Christmas. 

We had planned to go to Mass at 4pm on Christmas Eve, unfortunately that means arriving at 3pm to be guaranteed a seat.  Well Evan had issues all day long he complained his neck itched and refused to wear a shirt.  Well trying to get dressed for mass was a nightmare filled with tears.  Finally we decided to go at 5:30 instead.  Well the drama ensued and Marc and Evan returned home and we joined my mom for mass.  In hindsight it worked out very well.  The church was very empty at 5:30 and Marc finished cooking dinner while we were gone.  Marc has never really practiced any religion.  While the kids attend a Catholic school and I have always attended church he doesn't and I don't push it. 

Christmas morning Evan woke up at 3:45 and I heard him talking at 4am, I told him to come into bed with me and he did not return to sleep.  Well at 4:45 Sara woke up so our day began.  By 10am Marc and I were exhausted and still in pajamas.  I returned to bed for a nap and slept for a little bit.  My Aunt showed up at noon with gifts for the kids.  She likes to give them more gifts than my brothers kids so always stops by prior to going to my Mom's.  We went to my Mom's at 1pm and fought stay awake for most of the day. 

We did a few returns and cleaning the past few days and the kids are missing the snow.  I am loving the lack of cold weather and snow.  Today after gymnastics there was a snowy icy mix and the kids were ecstatic and I am happy it will all melt again tomorrow. 

On another note the kids have been having a great year in school.  Evans teacher told me his is the role model for the class and asked if she could challenge and push  him harder.  She keeps telling me how bright he is.  We are currently studying for the national spelling bee.  He amazes me he can see a word once or twice and be able to memorize it.  Sara worked with a reading specialist for two months and now is doing very well.  She struggled for a bit but once she started there is no stopping her.  Sara was chosen for the student of the month for Determination and Evan for Discernment.  They both love school and have great teachers.  Sara has had the same best friend for two years and Evan has made a new friend this year. 

Evan loves to play video games, read, play football and talk football.  Sara loves to do crafts, play with her dolls, watch family fun packs on youtube, go to gymnastics and dancing.  Our family room is constant handstands and headstands.  Sara loves to be outside and even asked today when it was 26 degrees if she could go on her swing set.  She is such a little companion.  We often shop or run errands together.  Yesterday we had the rare opportunity to go out to lunch together.  The boys stay home and watch football and Sara and I get some girl time.  I will be sad  next week when our season ends and we loose this time.  Evan is slowly discovering that football in Buffalo is very disappointing year after year.  Last week the quarterback was supposed to be at a local restaurant for a tv show and autographs. Well I gave Evan a jersey as an early Christmas gift and his special autograph football and sent Marc, Evan and a neighbor.  Evan was so excited until they arrived and it was cancelled.   The poor kid was super disappointed and I wanted to cry for him!



Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer Fun

I love summer vacation and we try to do something each day.  So far we had our Florida Vacation, many trips to the village pool, trips to the Gallagher Beach playground, weekends at the cottage, lots of ice cream, reading at the playground with our school, the Minion movie. We have had many playdates too.   This summer the kids are so easy they are completely on their own in the pool.  I am still watching with a close eye but they both go off the diving board and are confident enough to swim everywhere. 

In Florida we caught Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer.  In this movie Judy create a point system and if they reach 100 it is will not be a boring summer.  Well Evan is very motivated by this.  So far he has earned points for learning to dive, going off the diving board, scoring goals in soccer, going down the pool slide, trying some new food.  He is playing flag football and soccer.  I told him he can earn 25 points for learning to ride his bike. 

He has the same coach for each of them and loves him.  They are very small groups and the coach is very positive with the kids.  So last week he scored two goals in the mini soccer game.  He has never scored in a game before.  Sara was bummed that she didn't score, maybe this week. 

Evan is the youngest playing football but has lots of fun.  The downside is it has been very rainy so the past two weeks we have been in a very hot gym for an hour and a half each week.  Tomorrow he heads to the orthodontist to see what we will need to do for his open bite. 

Saturday I thought we would go to the cottage but Marc wanted to do some things around the house.  I had picked up 2 gallons of paint at Sherwin Williams and planned to paint our morning room.  Well I decided to tape it off (I tape everything when I paint I used an entire roll!).  Marc still wasn't done with his projects so I started painting.  Sunday morning I finished the room.  We have a high peak in the middle and its around 20 feet tall.  So we have this mammoth ladder and I really couldn't do it during the week without being stuck with a ladder in the house all week.  So it feels really good to have it completed.  I think I will paint the spare bedroom next.  The only rooms unpainted so far will be our bedroom and master bath, the living room, and the front foyer and upstairs hall.  The front  foyer has ridiculously high ceilings and I think we will need to hire someone. 

I still need to complete some summer projects, doing a major cleanout of the upstairs bathrooms drawers, cupboards etc.   Finish the mulch outside, clean the storage portion of the basement, wash  and clean out the kitchen cupboards, and tag everything for the next mothertime marketplace sale.  I usually procrastinate until the last week of summer and then go nuts but I have been doing pretty well doing a few projects each week.  Hopefully I can stay on this pace. 

We need to complete some more summer fun too, a trip to the beach, canalside, the zoo, the fair, Darien Lake, Maid of the Mist, the Canandian side of Niagara Falls, a trip to Letchworth. 

We are almost done with our summer packets although we could spend more time reading.  Evan is fantastic Sara needs more work.  She is very stubborn and the only thing she lacks confidence in is reading.  I am hoping it clicks in the fall.  Evan had  a slow start and then he exploded and became way above grade level.  Hopefully Sara will follow suit.  I do need to keep in mind that she is 10 months younger than he was at that age. 

A funny Sara story the other morning I hear her yelling Mom it was almost 5am, I asked her what was wrong and she told me "I am all out of sleep", well I carried her to our bed and within a few minutes she went back to sleep until around 7:30.  I don't think I am ever all out of sleep!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Kindergarten Graduate!!

Wow I can't believe both of my kids are past kindergarten.   My decision to send Sara to kindergarten was not a mistake.  She has blossomed.  She is full of confidence, she is reading.  She is so excited to go to First Grade that she came home today and read a 34 page book about going to First Grade. 

We had the most adorable graduation ceremony today.  The kids came in individually saying "Read all about it"  and handed someone in the audience a paper.  The paper was the kindergarten news.  The teachers had each student tell what they liked about Kindergarten and what they expect first grade to be like and then turned it into a paper.  Well the first article was "I Love Mrs. Craig" said Sara.  We also loved her teacher and having her for both kids was wonderful. 



video

Monday, April 13, 2015

Double swimming

Today we started a 6 week session at a local middle school.  The kids said the pool was cold.  The natatorium was so hot.  We will also have 3 more weeks of Michael Phelps swim school which the kids told me they prefer.  Today the kids each swam about 15 feet without assistance and then grabbed the instructor for a moment and returned to the wall of the pool.  Sara swims underwater and comes up for a breath when needed.  Evan took his goggles off before his test and swam doggie paddle for the entire length.  He if funny because he is like a sinking ship his head is barely above water.  Half way through the lesson Evan had to go the bathroom ( I forgot to remind them before we left the house).  The poor kid couldn't get the door to the locker room open.  He went in and came out a few minutes later with a look of complete panic.  Well I came  down from the balcony and took him in the women's locker room.  Well it was like a maze.  The shower room, locker room and the toilets hidden in the corner.  Poor kid has never been in a school locker room!  When we came out Sara was sobbing hysterically I figured it was because she thought we left her.  Well she refused to tell me and wouldn't calm down enough to return to the pool.  She later told me it was something about thinking the lesson was done and going to get her towel, but she wouldn't finish the story.  Evan even jumped off the diving blocks in the deep end.  He is not my adventurous kid but over the past few weeks he has surprised me over and over again. 

When we went into swimming it was 78 degrees, we haven't had temperatures that high since October.  When we came out a storm came through and it was 53... brrr.  To make matters worse I forgot Evan and Sara's underwear and Evans shorts!!  Luckily I keep a spare change of clothes for each of them in my trunk.  They begged for ice cream.  This is the first year they have both enjoyed it so we have been buying it much to frequently.  My best friend from grammar and high school and matron of honor at my wedding owns a ice cream shop and we stopped there.  Last week she was generous and treated them and tonight she wasn't there but her employees did a great job!  The kids love her ice cream it is much creamier than dairy queens.  She told me hers has a much higher fat content (Exactly what Evan needs!!) 

Last week we were off and didn't do a lot.  A few shopping trips, lunches out, a trip to Bounce Magic, and the outlets in Niagara Falls.  My big accomplishments were cleaning the fridge and our master closet.  Our closet is huge and you could probably fit a bed and dresser in it and still have room.  When Sara was born we moved our filing cabinets into it and it has become the catch all room.  Well somewhere I heard the best way to clean it was to remove everything. I started this technique and was amazed at the dust on the baseboards and the corners of the closet.  I spent almost 6 hours cleaning!  I cleared out a few garbage bags of clothes, suits, shoes, belts, and garbage!  It feels so good to have it so clean.  I think its the cleanest part of our house right now!  I also cleaned the linen closet (that is way to small)  and put most of the winter gear away.  Marc pressure washed the garage and cleaned and waxed my car. 

I had planned to do some painting but it didn't happen.  We have white baseboards and they are starting to look banged up.  Sara is the fingerprint queen and loves to touch the walls.  Evan can't stand having dirty hands so he has always been the easy child! 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Eating habits, sunshine and misery

Well finally it seems like we are making baby steps in the picky eating habits.  Evan is finally asking to try new foods.  This week he asked to have a taco and said he liked the meat a little, he had a few bites of the meat and ate the hard shell.  He then asked for an additional shell. He tried some lettuce but wasn't a fan of it and told me he would like the meat better without the sauce (taco seasoning).  Tonight he ate pork chops without saying a word.  Now if I could only increase the vegetables, get him to eat cheese, eggs  and a sandwich I would be thrilled. 

He finally is eating ice cream.  This is big because our goal with him is to have him put some weight on.  He is very slim 42lbs and nothing fits.  We finally had to change to zip up, adjustable waist pants and no matter how I adjust them they fall down for his lack of a butt!  Wish I had the same problem.  He has been letting me add butter to his waffles.  We still drink whole milk because he needs the calories.  He isn't a sweet eater and will eat some nutella every day on a wpop (Wegmans rice like cracker).  He rarely asks for candy or cookies.  Although we always have these in the house and I don't restrict them he could care less about them.  He isn't a big chip/snack eater either.  This kid is never hungry.  His favorite vice is lemonade and I buy a gallon of it each week.  All of our friends are very strict with sweets but its not an issue at our house. 

Tonight I attempted a lamb cake in my Grandmothers pan.  I figured it would flop and it didn't so I put a light frosting on it and put it in the freezer.  Hopefully it will be ok if I take it out Saturday and finish decorating it.  Evan loves the homemade frosting I make so he asked for two spoonful's of it. 

Sara has been my tricky eater lately.  She wants to graze all day and then not eat at meal times.  She eats apples, grapes, vegetables as snacks and then doesn't want them at dinner time.  On Friday she didn't snack at all after school and then had 2 grilled cheeses sandwiches and some spaghetti!  If only I could get that to be a habit. 

On Friday I went took the am off and went to the kids school to help with the Catholic Charities carnival.  The aide from last year approached me and told me how much she loves my kids and how they couldn't be more different from one another.  She said she remembered last year when Evan was putting on his boots, coats, and hat and he looked at her and said this is just miserable just absolutely miserable.  She said he always shocked her with his vocabularies and seriousness.  Although two minutes later he was back to a happy kid.  Sara is just a ray of sunshine and has everyone at the school wrapped around her finger.  She blows kisses to her dance teacher who also teaches 2nd grade.  Everyone knows her, I feel like I have a kindergarten politician when I walk in.  She is a happy child even when she is sick she smiles and tells me she loves me after throwing up.  She defiantly has her moments and can have lots of attitude but she is so dramatic and her facial expressions and eyes light up when she is excited. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Swimmers

We enrolled in the Michael Phelps swim school at the beginning of March.  It is a 40 minute drive from our house but when I read that the pool was 90 degrees it was an easy sale.  Well to make it better Evan and Sara are alone with a teacher.  The class sizes are usually 4 students per teacher but no one else signed up for the time we did.  So Thursdays are tough I get out of school at 3:20 on a normal day and twice a month at 4:20 ( I will sneak out a bit early) so my mom has the kids fed and in their swimsuits ready to go.  The drive up is long and Sara is good if Evan keeps her occupied but once she gets bored I hear I am carsick. 

So the swim lessons are great they have progressed so quickly with only half hour lessons.  We will have 9 weeks of lessons. The kids have had 3 lessons so far and Evan was attempting to swim using strokes last week.  Sara was successfully floating on her back and stomach


.  They can both swim under water but haven't mastered swimming above water yet.  So at this rate I am confident we will have mastered it by the end of the lessons.  After all of the complaining about the car ride.  The kids smile and laugh the entire time in the pool.  We have learned to take our showers there and make a stop for ice cream on the way home.  Last week I said lets stop for lemon ice.  So I introduced the kids to Anderson's my favorite place for lemon ice.  They instantly fell in love with it and asked to go each week.  After both having lemon ice they asked for something to eat.  By then it was 6:30 so I bought them fries and chicken fingers to share.  They asked if we could come back every week.  Its tough to feed them before and leave by 4:15 and not return home until around 6:30 (we usually eat around 5:00-5:15).  So I think this will be our weekly treat.

I recently pulled up my shopper card information at Wegmans and it allows you to see how much you spend each month/year and it was shocking.  So I have really been trying to cut back on how much I purchase and trying to go to Aldi's, Save-a-lot when time permits. Hopefully I can try to be more diligent with this.  I have been trying to cut back the amount we eat out.  Sometimes when its just the kids and I we do it as part of a day out.  We usually have pizza every 1-2 weeks, the kids sometimes split a happy meal with extra fries, and sometimes I pick up chicken fingers at Wegmans.  Occasionally we go out as a family during the weekends.  Marc and I used to go out every weekend with other couples prior to having kids.  Now that happens 2-3 times a year!

This weekend we helped to host a gift gathering party for the school auction.  6 families hosted the party at the school gym.  We had appetizers, drinks, and desserts and invited 90 families.  The party was a complete flop there were only 30 people who came including those who hosted it.  The auction is held every two years and I think the parties were not well organized and many parents were invited to multiple parties.  So I created a bow basket as a donation with school uniform bows and holiday bows and I figure the costs of the party were my other donation.  We also will be attending the auction and that is not inexpensive. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February Break

I am not a fan of having a week of in February.  This week has been frigid.  We started with a cold day last Friday the wind chills in the AM were 20-35  below zero.  It really hasn't warmed up enough to do anything outside. 

I took the kids for lunch to Red Robin, Evan had a free meal from his birthday.  We were planning on going to Jim Kelly's Hunters Day of Hope on Saturday and it was cancelled.  We went to Outback with Marc's dad and my mom on Sunday.  Monday we didn't even leave the house.  Tuesday the kids wanted to spend some gift cards and it was a balmy 12 degrees.  I took Evan to the Ralph to go to the Bills Store.  He told me he wanted to live there.  It really is a beautiful store but we were the only customers in it.  He purchases a mini Lego Fred Jackson figure.  From there we went to Toys R Us since they had buy 1 get 40% off a Lego.  We needed to pick up a birthday gift.  Sara bought a diaper bag for her doll and Evan picked up a Lego Movie set.  They both used gift cards but I was disappointed we weren't able to combine it with some coupons we received for their birthdays.  They have recently added lots of exclusions to the coupons.  Lego's are usually cheaper on Amazon or Target and I don't buy them as Toys R Us unless there is a deal.  I treated the kids to McDonalds.  I am able to buy a Mighty Kids meal and an extra fry and they will each eat 3 McNuggets and be filled up.  Fortunately they are no longer interested in the prize. 

Today my best friend growing up came over .  She was recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  So we caught up for a bit and then Sara and I had hair appointments.  We  both had trims and I had toner put on to combat some of the brassiness that occurs from the highlights. 

Evan my non-eater came home and asked for two waffles, and then two more.  This was around 3:30.  I figured the kids wouldn't really want dinner since Sara joined him and ate 2 pancakes.  Around 5:15 Evan said he was hungry again.  So I made him spaghetti and Sara cheese and crackers.  Although some days he is eating much more he still isn't gaining weight.  He never sits still.  He loves to play Madden on his xbox.  He doesn't sit still though he jumps and runs around the entire time.  At his well visit last week he weighed in at 42 lbs clothed (1%) and 47.5 inches  ( I didn't ask what that was but when I checked the charts it looked to be around 45%).  Our pediatrician has no concerns he is just so slender.  We still struggle with pants that fit.  He hates adjustable waist pants.  This week he is going to have to wear his slim uniform pants.  I had elastic waist pants that he had worn for 2 years.  The were size 4 but they are finally way to short.  The size 5's are huge on him.  So he will be wearing 5slim's this week and it will not go smoothly.  Evan does not do well making changes.  He has always worn pull on pants so changing to zipper pants will be a struggle for the first few days and then he will accept it. 

I had the chance to run around a bit without the kids yesterday.  I went to Marshalls, TJ Max, Sears, Target, and JC Penny's.  I picked up some new shoes for me ( I am not a shoe girl the more comfortable the better.  Earlier in the year I splurged on a black pair of Coach loafer's I found at TJ Max and love the.  I found a brown pair on clearance at Marshalls unfortunately clearance is what I would expect to pay for 2-3 pairs of shoes.  Well I bought them and will be happy!  I picked up new play dough for Sara, a few short sleeve shirts for Evan and a shirt for Marc. 

We are headed to Niagara falls tomorrow. It is supposed to be -4, with a wind-chill of -35 .  I highly doubt we will leave the hotel.  It has a Keg restaurant ( a really good Canadian Chain steakhouse), a big pool, and views of the falls.  We also received vouchers for a Family Fun center that may be fun to do when we check out on Friday.  Although Niagara Falls is less than an hour away we have only taken the kids to the American side once.  It is so hectic with tourists.  Hopefully this summer I will take them for a day trip. 

When Marc and I were dating we would go to Clifton Hill each fall to go to the haunted houses, for drinks, and walk around. It was never that busy.   Once the casinos came the entire atmosphere changed.  It is not crazy all year long.  On the other hand the American side is dead.  Government bureaucracy has prohibited positive growth!