Time on your own

Annika started Pre-K in September which means she attends school two mornings a week. This is just a small introduction to school but a nice way to get ready for the next school year when she will go three full days a week. School has been great for Eliza (2) as well. At first she would say ” Pick Annika up?” after Annika had been gone for an hour. Her best friend had left her and she wasn’t sure what to do. It’s been fun to watch her lately though, as she plays happily with all her “babies” on her own. She doesn’t need her older sister to suggest to her what they should play. I overhear her talking to her dolls, and watch her trotting back and forth with blankets and play food, setting up her pretend home in the living room.

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Children benefit from time away from their siblings. It gives them a chance to develop their own skills, their own imaginative play. I see a different side of my children when they are on their own, especially when they are young and learning how to play.  It also gives them a chance to interact exclusively with you.  I’ve been enjoying my two mornings a week with Eliza.  It reminds me to make a bigger effort to spend individual time with all my kids.

~ Lora

Posted in child's play, family, kids, play, relationships | 4 Comments

Snow

Finally winter has arrived in NJ. We were all excited to see the first snow of the season on Saturday, after a really long fall. We had sixteen inches of snow, which was plenty, especially when it comes to cleaning up the walks and driveway! I thought I had better share the excitement before it all melts. We have warm temps right now and the piles are shrinking before our eyes!

Sunday dawned with a view that was a wonder of weird sculptures and drifts.

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There is nothing like blue sky and sunshine after a storm.

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Snow means all kinds of new fun to be had.

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I’m so glad we had a least one big snowfall this winter.  Here’s hoping for a little more!

~ Lora

Posted in child's play, nature, outdoor fun, play, seasons | 1 Comment

Return

How do you start again when you’ve neglected something for so long? And not I’m not talking about exercising! Ha… that never began so I can’t start that over.
Of course I’m talking about this blog. I’ve neglected it terribly. It’s been four months since I posted anything… that is the longest time off I’ve ever taken. This wasn’t planned, just life (aka three kids in soccer, new school year, and then Christmas) interrupted. Well, I want to get back into blogging. I’ve had lots of thoughts about a myriad of topics rattling around my brain. SO… Here’s hoping 2016 brings a little more commitment to this little blog of mine.

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Our five kids, growing up so quickly! Front to back, Eliza, Annika, Katrina, Taylor, Jeremy

~ Lora

Posted in family, seasons, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Sunrise

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Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a naturally early riser. Which makes it even more impressive that I was able to capture some beautiful pictures of a sunrise on our vacation in Northern Ontario. It was the last day of our vacation and I got up at the shockingly early hour of 6 am. When I went outside, I saw the sun beginning to peak out over the lake so I quickly grabbed my camera and now I share that beauty with you – unedited and unfiltered.

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Sorry for the overload of pictures! I couldn’t decide which one I like the best.  Which one do you like?  I numbered the pictures… leave me a comment and tell me which one you like the best. :)

~ Lora

Posted in nature, photography, vacation | 8 Comments

Sunshine after the storm

Last evening a quick storm blew through breaking the stifling, muggy heat. It was before sundown and once it passed by the sun broke through the dark clouds and shone so warm and dazzling, I grabbed the camera, slipped on my gardening crocs and dashed outside to take some pictures. In ten minutes I raced around our yard trying to capture and freeze into memory the awesome beauty of the moment.  Little moments like these need to be appreciated, don’t you think?  What gives you a thrill to see?

So here is an unplanned wet tour of our yard as it was last night.

In the front of our house:

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And less dramatic, swinging around along the side of our house:

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Walking past the perennial garden:

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To the woods:

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And back to the patio:

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Hope you enjoyed the impromptu tour.  :)

~ Lora

Posted in garden, happiness, nature, plants, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Eliza

Here’s our Eliza…  She has captured all of our hearts.  She’s a cute stinker who is learning something new everyday.  She’s eighteen months in these May pics and feeling mighty tempted by those tulips.

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~ Lora

Posted in child's play, family, kids, plants | 1 Comment

Birthday philosophizing

Jeremy turned 9 in May. It was fun celebrating with a family party, and then a gang of ten boys a few days later. Someone at school once said to me, “You are so good about having all these kids over for birthday parties.” Like I deserve sainthood or something. Ha! Well, I can’t say that I look forward to the experience… I just hope to survive it. I figure I can deal with a few hours a few days in the year that are super busy and slightly crazy.

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Jeremy at his family birthday party.

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Jeremy’s cake for his class party. It’s supposed to be a lego minifigure head for my lego obsessed boy.

Here’s my philosophy about birthdays.  Birthdays are super exciting for kids.  Having friends over is doubly so.  So don’t worry about your neat house.  Why not inconvenience yourself and let the hoards come over for a couple hours.  You don’t need to clean the house – just tidy it and be a little organized and prepared.  And have your husband at home if you can. It is a chance to get to know the other kids in your child’s class, and also meet parents when they come to pick their kids up.  We usually end up chatting in the front yard as the kids run circles around us on scooters.

Here’s how we work the birthday thing in our home. Every other year till they are about thirteen, they can have all the boys or girls in their class for their birthday party. This is usually held on a Friday, after school till 7 pm or so.  The other year they can invite a few friends over for their birthday.  This way I will not have three big parties within one month.  We also have a family party when I usually have my mother and father-in-law, sister Nicolette and family, Scott’s sister Kathy over and any Canadian family that happen to be down. Family parties are easy affairs…. cake and coffee. Once in awhile (like last year for Katrina’s 13th) I invite the whole family clan for a birthday party.

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Kids birthdays are not too fancy.  We usually have the party at home. Taylor and friend Chris were a great help with Jeremy’s party, planning out a treasure hunt for two teams the day before, and then running the hunt the day of the party. This year we had different stations the kids rotated through.  Basketball, trampoline soccer, air hockey etc.  Taylor and Chris organized this as  well.  (Hurray for older helpers!) Soccer is always fun, splitting the boys into teams. Since three of my kids birthdays are in late spring, our pool, slip and slide and sprinklers have often played big parts in their parties.

I decorate with what I have at home – usually balloons, and some streamers, maybe matching, maybe not.  I always make a cake which I ice and decorate, but I never go all out.  I have never made a choo choo train cake although I have admired them from afar :)  Winnie the Pooh from a special cake pan was my biggest stretch.   My kids are happy if they have two colors of icing on their cake.  The cake is always spice cake (basically like a carrot cake minus the carrots and raisins etc., with a cream cheese icing).  Goody bags consist of candy, maybe a glow stick, lego minifigure or hotwheel car.  Girl parties are easier because they aren’t so physically intense (running after hyper boys) but harder because there is more of an expectation to do a cool craft etc. of which I am not that type.  However, since Katrina is so creative, she usually comes up with her own fun involving putting on plays with lots of dressing up and video recording.

I have noticed that people often have big birthdays for their really little kids (say four and under) and then it fizzles out when they are in grade one or two.  I think little kids don’t care about all the fuss… they just like to eat some icing off their cake and open a few presents.  Older kids really enjoy birthdays, and the older they get, the easier their parties get.  So save your energy moms, for the years that really count.  Your kids will remember fondly the birthday parties you were willing to have.  I remember that my mom (mother of 10 kids) regularly let us have (non-fancy) birthday parties, even into high school.  If she could do it, I have no excuse!

~ Lora

Posted in celebrations, child's play, decorating, family, kids, outdoor fun | Tagged , , | 3 Comments