Sunday, January 24, 2016

10 Years of my Little Bear

My Kara Bear is 10 years old today. We got home late last night, and I was sooo ready for bed. But I realized I hadn't wrapped her gifts, so I stayed up to get those done. On the way to bed I had heard the girls wondering if I would put streamers or balloons in the hallway. Ben said Evie was asking about it earlier in the day as well, so I thought I'd better stay up and do something. I fell asleep on the couch, and woke at 2:30 with a balloon still in my mouth, all drooly, and another in my hand. I'm glad I woke up though, so I could finish blowing up 10 balloons, and decorate her door. I've been using the same crepe paper streamers for several years now, and finally reached the end of the rolls. So there weren't as much streamers as I'd have liked, so I just tried to put them about at her height.
Around 7:30, I heard a little voice exclaim, "What the heck!" She was not expecting to have been streamered into her bedroom. I jumped out of bed and grabbed the camera in time to see her just as she was running through the barrier. The camera took a second to adjust for the light, so the picture I got was just after she broke free.
Kiersten and Evie sure got a kick out of it, and wanted to wrap her up with the streamers.

They know where to find the birthday gifts! They didn't even want to eat breakfast before getting these opened, but I made them at least wait for Daddy to wake up.

Marvel super hero tsum tsums! Couldn't have planned a more perfect combo for this girl. She got Spiderman, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. This was her gift from Kiersten.
The gift Evie had ordered for her ended up getting canceled on us, so I let her give Kara a shopkins puzzle that I found on clearance right after Christmas. She's sort of over shopkins, but she loves puzzles, and this is one you get to color.

Kiersten and Evie got cute new robes a few weeks ago. Kara was sad that they didn't have her size. She's been bringing it up ever since, because the robe she's been wearing is a size 6, so the arms were pretty short. She was very glad to open this Minion robe. She wanted to change into it right away.

Ben and I couldn't agree on what we wanted her big gift from us to be. So we each got her something separate. Ben got her a huge K'nex set. It's actually meant to be used in a school classroom. There are so many little pieces, but lots of cool things she's going to be able to build. Right now she's working on making a working fishing rod. I think she will need a little help from Ben. 
I really wanted to get her a pet. She loves animals, and being around them brings out a very sweet side of her that's hard to get out sometimes. Since I couldn't get Ben to agree to a cat, I talked him into a hamster. We told her that we needed to run a few errands, which she grudgingly agreed to. The first store we were going to stop at wasn't open yet, so we said, "let's run into Petsmart to look at a possible new fish tank for Evie's fish". The girls were excitedly looking at birds, gerbils, hamsters, and a cat that looked EXACTLY like our late pet, Daisy. It was a little hard for me to walk away from her. Ben walked up to the register with Kara and asked for his preordered items. The cashier started handing over a hamster cage, hamster ball, bedding, and food. It didn't take her but a minute to figure out she was getting a little pet for her birthday. She was almost afraid to believe it at first, since we keep saying no pets. It took her a while to pick out the perfect one, but she found a sweet new friend. There was a really cute, furry, white one, but she was a biter, so she made the smart decision to take home the calmer one.
The names she's already gone through were as follows: Harry Potter, Nibbles, Sasha, Nibbles again, Chocolate Chip (CC), Almond, and finally, Sprinkles. I think Sprinkles is the final name, since she made an adoption certificate and taped it onto her cage.
Our house was full of squeals today.
She's a pretty cute hamster, and at least double the size I was imagining. She's a Syrian Longhair.
Evie is just thrilled with her. She keeps calling her "our hamster", which Kara is quick to correct her on. She prefers we call her "Kara's hamster".
All 3 of them spent most of the day just watching her and laughing. She does some pretty funny stuff. I was surprised when she knocked her food bowl over. I reached in and turned it back over. She then dug through the bedding and picked up every single piece of food and placed it back into the bowl with her mouth. I was not expecting that. Kara put some of the bedding up in the top "house" area, and she brought all of it back down through the tube piece by piece. I guess she prefers to keep that space bedding free.
Since she'll be having special cupcakes at her party next week, I only wanted to make her a small cake today. She chose the cupcake pan. Ben actually broke it in half trying to flip it over, but I just iced right over the split, and you couldn't tell. The girls wouldn't have cared anyway. I was sloppier than usual with the decorating, so I quickly made some chocolate suckers to make it look cuter. It turned out okay, if a little sloppy.
For her birthday dinner she wanted chocolate pancakes and bacon. So that was easy enough. I tried to make a huge hamster shaped pancake, but it broke apart when I tried to flip it. So I just used the round ones and made smiley face plates.
My birthday girl! She was just thrilled when she asked if she's a "tween" now, and my answer was, "well... I guess so."
Quite a lot of sugar was had with pancakes for dinner and then birthday cake. I don't think anyone was able to completely finish their cake, let alone eat the chocolate suckers.
She was enamored with these candles that have colored flames. I myself, was impressed.
Thinking of a wish...
Hopefully it will come true!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2015 summary

2015 was sure good to us. We did some fun things, and it really did fly right by.
This year Kara was involved in lots of fun things. She continued on swim team, and improved a lot. She achieved her green belt with a black stripe in Tae Kwon Do, and really enjoys that class. She ran with Girls on the Run, and improved her 5K time by 15 minutes. It was a much more pleasant experience this year. Her team got to be on Fox news to talk about the program and demonstrate a lesson. That was very exciting for her and all of the girls. One of her favorite classes that she took after school this year was chess. She thinks she's gotten pretty good at it. She graduated from brownie scouts, and is now a junior girl scout. She has enjoyed earning all of her badges so far this year. She attended a basketball camp over the summer, and is playing again with the school district league. She has gotten pretty good, especially defensively. Now that Daddy bought her some LeBron James shoes, she feels like she can run harder and turn faster. She has some growing to do, being one of the shortest girls on the court every week, but she's hoping to catch up soon. Kara has become very interested with the scratch computer program, and enjoys creating video games on that. She has also gotten really into Minecraft, and likes to spend as much time playing that as we'll allow. She participated in 2 different math competitions this year. In November, she qualified for the first round at the district level, though she was one of the younger kids. She is hoping to make it there again next year, and get even farther. Kara auditioned for special chorus this year and made it. I enjoyed watching her sing in the Veteran's day assembly, and am looking forward to her concert at the end of the month. Kara got glasses and then braces this year, and she pulls them both off in the cutest way possible. If we could all be so lucky... She is taking a photoshop class through CCL, and her current goal is to become proficient in that. She admires Raina Telgemeier because she is a funny writer. She has hopes of becoming a veterinarian. Kara is 57" tall and weighs 64.2lbs. 
Her updated list of favorite things is as follows:

Favorite color- hot pink
Favorite animal- cat
Favorite food- mac n cheese
Favorite song- "Hello" by Adele
Favorite game: Tsum Tsum
Favorite movie- Pirates of the Caribbean #4
Favorite TV show- The Amazing World of Gumball
Favorite friend- Addison
Favorite playtime activity- video games
Favorite toy- beado studio
Favorite non-playtime activity- Art
Person she would like to see right now- Adam Sandler
Favorite outdoor activity- football
Favorite outfit- Jeans and "chocolate makes me happy" shirt
Favorite thing to do with Mom- paint
Favorite thing to do with Dad- play video games
Food she doesn't like- tomatoes
One thing she doesn't like- racism

Kiersten was also involved in lots of things this year. In the spring she played softball, and really liked that. She had some fears to overcome at first. but she always faces challenges head on. She joined a new soccer team, and really shined as the goal keeper. She played a few times in other positions, but really excelled at stopping those goals. She also swam with the crocodiles this summer, and became a much stronger swimmer. She was able to compete in all 4 strokes, and even swam a no breather at practice one morning. She received the most improved award for her age group at the end of the season. Kiersten decided to go back to dance this year, but instead of ballet, she wanted to try out jazz/pom. So far she is really liking it, and is excited about the recital coming up in June. Kiersten was proud to star in the 1st grade play at school this past spring. They put on "Pete the cat and the new guy", and Kiersten did a wonderful job of playing the new guy. She really liked being on stage, and having everyone watching and listening to her. She completed the second level in magic class, and really enjoys showing us her tricks. Whenever anyone tries to do a magic trick for her, she calls them out if she knows it, or can figure out what they did. I've tried to get her to stop doing that. At girl scout day camp, she did it to the lady that had a booth set up from the magic school she attended. I had to tell her to stop spoiling the tricks. Kiersten graduated from Daisy scouts, and is now a happy little brownie. We have done some fun activities and field trips with her troop this year, and have a lot more fun things planned. She completed her nature unit at CCL and is extremely excited to be starting a robotics class and an astronomy class. One of Kiersten's dreams came true this year at a Chiefs game. Her hero, Dustin Colquitt saw her wearing his jersey, and came over to sign it for her. She was just in heaven over that lucky interaction! Kiersten's current goal is to receive her accelerated reader medallion at school. She's actually pretty close. At the beginning of the year, I gave Kara a goal for A.R., and Kiersten took it upon herself to crush that goal, and surpass it. The person she admires is her friend Calvin because he is cute, has cool glasses, and is funny. Everyone likes him. She hopes to be a rock star when she grows up. Kiersten is now 53" tall and weighs in at 52.4lbs.
Here are her current faves:

Favorite color- pink
Favorite animal- panda
Favorite food- tortellini
Favorite song- "Black Magic" by Little Mix
Favorite game- Fill or Bust
Favorite movie- The Little Mermaid
Favorite TV show- The Amazing World of Gumball
Best friend- Eva
Favorite play time activity- jump rope
Favorite toy- walking Kitty
Favorite non play time activity- reading at school
Person she would like to see right now- Papa and Grams
Favorite outdoor activity- softball
Favorite outfit- Blue "Tres Cute" dress she wore for picture day
Favorite thing to do with Mom- cuddle
Favorite thing to do with Dad- Go to Chiefs games
Food she doesn't like- corn (???WHA???)
One thing she doesn't like- running the turkey trot at school (could have fooled me!)

This year Evie graduated from preschool. She started attending when she was 2, so it was a strange feeling to leave on the last day knowing we'd probably never be back. She has been able to keep in touch with a few friends, and some even go to school with her now. She started kindergarten, and all my worries about her being ready were for naught. She is doing very well. Her teacher called me at 7:30pm last Friday to tell me what a good reader Evie is, and how happy she is to be teaching her. Isn't that sweet? Evie just adores her teacher and loves the fact that we sometimes run into her at Kara's Tae Kwon Do school. Her teacher just placed her in the accelerated reader program which normally doesn't start til first grade. I've got my hands full with these 3 smarties! Evie played T-ball this spring, and though it was a hilarious comedy of errors for the parents to watch, she loved playing. If she decides not to do that again, we will probably let her try soccer. I think she could use any running around she can get. She has more energy than she can ever expel, and somehow just keeps going and going all the time. The one problem she's had at school is talking. This does not surprise me. One of her very best friends is in her class, and they can both be loud, especially when they start talking over each other. She has gotten a few "yellow cards" sent home as a warning that she was talking too much. Kara and Kiersten have never had a yellow card between the two of them. So we have to have talks with her sometimes to remind her to listen at school. When she is home she doesn't stop talking unless she's asleep or sulking. Even when she's playing alone in her room or the toy room, I hear a constant rambling from her. This summer was Evie's first year on the swim team. I was worried she wouldn't make it, mostly because we were on vacation for the first week of practice. But she kept trying and pushing herself, and made the cut. The first few meets were pretty tough for her, and we had some DQs, but overall she enjoyed it, and is currently in swim lessons to train for the upcoming summer. Evie falls in love on a daily basis with people, animals, or objects. She is always talking about her new "boyfriend" which usually switches between 2 boys she knows, but sometimes, it is an animal she sees at the zoo, one of her toys, or other things. She particularly likes the male mannequins at Kohl's, which is kinda weird, as they don't have heads. She also says she loves men in magazine ads, TV commercials, etc. She always keeps us laughing and guessing. Her current crush is Travis Kelce of the KC Cheifs. At the last game we attended, she tapped my shoulder and asked, "Do you like Kelce?" I said yes, and then she said, "Well, he hates you"  while narrowing her eyes at me menacingly. I got a good laugh out of that. Evie joined the girl scouts and is happy and excited to be a Daisy this year. She is also taking dance with Kiersten, and is having a great time. For the first time in her life, Evie made it through an entire year without a single trip to the ER! We are looking forward to an accident free 2016 as well. Right now, Evie's goal is to write straight on the line on her school work. She can be pretty sloppy. The person she said she admires is Daddy, surprise, surprise... She admires him because he's fun, cool, good at football, and has muscles. When she is grown, she would like to be a...wait for it... financial planner! Every 5 year old's dream, right? Evie has grown to a staggering 46", and weighs 46.2lbs. She grows like a weed, and I think she's trying to overtake her sisters!
Here are her favorite things:

Favorite color- red
Favorite animal- monkey
Favorite food- rice
Favorite song- "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"
Favorite game- headbandz
Favorite movie- Cinderella
Favorite TV show- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Best friend- Lydia
Favorite play time activity- taking care of her horse, Thunder
Favorite toy- Cinderella doll
Favorite non play time activity- going to school
Person she would like to see right now- Papa
Favorite outdoor activity- swimming
Favorite outfit- red Snow White dress
Favorite thing to do with Mom- lay down
Favorite thing to do with Dad- snuggle
Food she doesn't like- brussels sprouts
One thing she doesn't like- when Kara says Kiersten is a bad singer

That sums things up, I guess. My year was fun. I think Ben's year was fun. I hope your year was fun, and that the one coming up will be even better. My highlights were swimming with Salvador the dolphin in the Bahamas, going to Cozumel, and watching the girls play sports. Oh, and of course, lounging by the pool, as I've been known to do. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Girls and their gifts

The girls got to open their Christmas gifts on the 28th when we got back to a rainy and flooding St Louis. I was exhausted, and thought we might wait for the next morning, but they were just so excited. 
It was a fun way to end a long day of travel. 

Papa and Grams sent $ for the girls. Kara chose to use hers in Mexico. She got a set of drums because making music reminds her of Papa. I apparently don't have a photo of them. 
Evie and Kiersten preferred to have me use their money for a gift they could open and be surprised. Evie got a rock star kit and car for her Journey girl doll. The guitar actually works surprisingly well.
Kiersten got some chubby puppies. She loves those things! She also got one from Aunt Katie, so she's had a lot of fun with them.
Kiersten was very excited to give Evie this sweater. 
Kara gave both of her sisters tsum tsums, and received on from Kiersten. It's surprising to me how much they love these. 

They have just been dying to know what's in their big gift from us. 
We gave Evie a horse for her journey girl doll. We also got her the horse barn for it. She was not expecting this, and was over-joyed. She named her horse "Thunder".

Kiersten has been a little concerned that her gift was not physically large. I keep reminding her that sometimes exciting things come in a smaller box. I love the look on Kara's face off to the side. She was a slight bit jealous.
We got her Disney Infinity 2 and 3 for Wii U. All of the girls have spent hours playing it already. They both came with some characters, and we also bought several extra characters for them. I think the 2 little girls each got 4 more, and Kara got 3, since her gift cost a bit more. 
Kara had a pretty big box to open. She has been guessing for weeks on what it was. She was convinced that it was a ping pong table. Last year she actually guessed her gift from us, and I said she was wrong. So this year, she told me, "mom, it's okay if you say it isn't a ping pong table. I know that's what it is". She was wrong. It was a basketball hoop. I was nervous that we got all of them gifts they hadn't asked for, but we knew they would love them. They were all very happy and excited with their gifts from us. 
We only gave them a few gifts this year because of the cruise. I liked that they had fewer things to fit into their lives, so I might keep to that again next year. They still had lots of gifts to open from family and friends to keep things exciting!
Kiersten had such a happy day. She wasn't sure which things she wanted to open first. 
Evie has had a pretty fun couple of weeks with her cool gifts. She was eager for me to clear space in her room for the horse barn.
While I made dinner, they had a great time with Kiersten's chubby puppies. It was great to be home and hear their happy squeals and laughter from the other room.