Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Double Digits!!! Happy 10th Birthday, Lexie!

Well, it happened. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't slow down time. At 4:16 PM, my sweet Alexandria hit double digits! 

DSC_0684

10th Birthdays are a big milestone. I mean, two whole hands old. An entire decade! I can hardly believe it. It seems like I was just reaching out to hold her for the first time, while weeping tears of joy over the chorus of "It's a GIRL!" that filled the room.

Joy is the perfect word to use to describe Lexie. She is incredibly loyal, kind, compassionate, accepting and loving.  She is mature well beyond her years and makes me proud every single day. I can't even feel sad about Lexie turning 10, because I am so proud of the beautiful human being she is becoming, and I am honored to watch her grow and call her my own. Today, I wept tears of joy again, because I adore her and I am unbelievably grateful for the gift of her love.  

To kick off her 10th year, here are a few pictures from her birthday photoshoot today, her answers to the yearly birthday interview questions and a look at how she celebrated her first double digit birthday! 


ALEXANDRIA ELIZABETH
 "Lexie" 
Age: 10
Stats: 58 lbs and 46 inches


DSC_0676

1. FAVORITE COLOR? Yellow.
2. FAVORITE TOY? American Girl Dolls and Shopkins Happy Places.
3. FAVORITE CHARACTER? Spongebob Squarepants!
4. FAVORITE SUPERHERO? Spiderman???
5. FAVORITE FRUIT? Blueberries.
6. FAVORITE VEGETABLE?  Peas and Beans. Anything green, honestly. Except broccoli. Ewww.
7. FAVORITE BREAKFAST?  Cereal.
8. FAVORITE CEREAL? Mini Wheats, Fruity Pebbles, Lucky Charms and Corn Pops. I can't pick one, but I THINK my favorite has to be Lucky Charms.
9. FAVORITE LUNCH?  Build your own pizza lunchables.
10. FAVORITE DINNER? Of course tacos. And poppyseed chicken casserole. And mashed potatoes and gravy.
11. FAVORITE DRINK? Coca Cola and water, but I like water better, because water is healthy.12. FAVORITE SNACK? Snack cakes or Pringles. I just can't pick!13. FAVORITE RESTAURANT? Either Taco Bell or Applebees.
14. FAVORITE TV SHOW?  Spongebob, Full House AND Fuller House. 15. FAVORITE MOVIE? Spongebob movies and the new Ghostbusters movie. 16. FAVORITE ACTOR/ACTRESS? The lady who plays Stephanie from Fuller House.17. FAVORITE SONG?  House of Gold by Twenty One Pilots.18. FAVORITE SINGER/BAND? Fifth Harmony.19. FAVORITE BOOK? Mercy Watson. It's about a pig. It's really cool. It's like a first grader book, but I still really like it.
20. FAVORITE BOOK SERIES? Babysitters.
21. FAVORITE OUTFIT? A tee shirt with my jeans.
22. FAVORITE GAME? Uno and Pie Face.23. FAVORITE SPORT? I like soccer and I like dancing.
24. FAVORITE ANIMAL?  Bunny! I like any rodent, but not guinea pigs.25. FAVORITE PLACE TO GO? Any restaurant. I just want food all day long. 26. FAVORITE THINGS TO DO? Eat, sleep, and watch YouTube.27. FAVORITE SUBJECT? Science.28. FAVORITE STUFFED ANIMAL?  BunBun. And Blankie. And Meep. (An alpaca dog toy.)29. FAVORITE DAY OF THE WEEK? Tuesday, Friday and Saturday!30. FAVORITE MONTH? February, July and December.
31. FAVORITE SEASON? Summer and Winter!32. FAVORITE HOLIDAY?  Christmas and my birthday. (Me: That's not a holiday.) Yes it is. 33. WHO IS YOUR BEST FRIEND? Sukie! And Aubrey.
34. WHO DO YOU LIKE TO PLAY WITH?  Sukie, Aubrey and Lily!35. WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?  Food and family.36. WHAT SCARES YOU?  Dylan's terrifying girl shrieks, spiders and clowns.37. WHAT MAKES YOU SAD? When I don't have food. And death.38. WHAT DO YOU WISH FOR? Mmmmm....I don't know. Actually, a hoverboard.39. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY?  When I got my hatchimal and when I got Bernie the bunny.40. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?   A scientist, a teacher, a blogger or a country singer.41. DISLIKES?  When Dylan doesn't play with me.
42. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR BIRTHDAY? Getting all my presents and seeing family.
43. WHAT WAS THE BEST PART OF BEING 9? Getting Bernie and getting my hatchimal.
44. WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO WHILE YOU'RE 10? Seeing what our baby bunnies look like when they are older.

DSC_0717

Some of her answers this year made me laugh! Some things haven't changed much, and she's certainly indecisive. And obviously the kid loves to eat!

Birthdays are always a big deal in our home! We have a ton of birthday traditions that only add to the magic of childhood. Grant and I know from experience that birthdays aren't as exciting during adulthood, so we try to make them extra special while we can!


Lexie had an amazing 10th birthday! Here's a quick peek at her very first double digit birthday!

10th

Birthday traditions start the night before! I always sit out our special Happy Birthday plate and a new candle, and hang up our Happy Birthday banner.  A small, wrapped gift is left next to the plate so they can start their day with a present! I fill their bed with balloons and hang up a brand new outfit for them to wear on their birthday. I think it all helps to make the day extra special!

Birthday Traditions

It was a school day so we were up early this year. I recently gave Dylan the option to skip school on his birthday, but Lexie is a goody two shoes and loves school! She opted to go, despite her free pass! As soon as she woke up, she started her day with the traditional Happy Birthday donut breakfast.

10th Birthday Traditions

After that, she opened her first gift of the day. Lexie only had a few inexpensive items on her birthday wish list and one of them was silicone water tube toys. She was (strangely) thrilled!

Birthday Traditions for Kids

Lexie put on her new outfit, got on the bus, and spent the next 9 hours at school and after school choir. She got to unwrap another small gift that was in her lunchbox, which is a tradition we recently started. This was the first year I wasn't with her at the moment of her birth. I was a bit bummed about that! It's a sign of just how quickly she's growing up!

On the way back from choir, we stopped at one of our favorite photo locations for a mini birthday photoshoot. We had to be quick because we had places to be!

DSC_0738

Finally, it was time for Lexie's birthday dinner! We let our kids choose the restaurant on their birthdays, and it's always interesting to see what they choose. This year, Lexie decided McDonald's was the birthday spot! She almost chose Applebees, but she really wanted fries and a milkshake!

DSC_0761

After dinner, we headed home for a mini birthday party with our immediate family! (Pardon the not so clear pictures. Liam apparently changed my camera settings and touched my lens with his sticky fingers while I was grabbing all the gifts! I didn't realize this until AFTER I went through the photos!)

DSC_0767

First up were the gifts from her siblings! Liam gave her more water tubes, Lily gave her a stuffed Elsa Tsum Tsum, and Dylan gave her a Shopkins Happy Places set. She loved everything!

Siblings

After opening gifts from grandparents, it was time to give her our gifts. Lexie's wish list was very small this year. She only asked for water tubes, Tsum Tsum toys to collect, and Shopkins Happy Places toys. She isn't into toys as much, and I have a feeling this may be the last year she even asks for toys. We wanted to give her an extra special gift this year. Perhaps the last hurrah before she becomes a full blown tween who is too cool for toys...

Lexie still loves her American Girl Dolls, so we surprised her with something that wasn't on her list: An American Girl Doll diner! She was SO excited and it was definitely a huge hit!

10th Birthday Gifts

Lexie's 10th Birthday celebration ended with cake. My mom bakes them a cake every year, and this year she filled Lexie's favorite vanilla cake with ice cream! Lexie looked so happy when we sang Happy Birthday!

DSC_0806

Lexie's first year in the double digits is off to a great start. She was still smiling when she went to bed!

Happy 10th Birthday, Alexandria! You are incredibly special, absolutely stunning inside and out, and you are SO loved! 


DSC_0663

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

They Multiply Like Rabbits {Tuesday Talk}

If there's one lesson I learned from parenthood, it's that things NEVER go as planned. Teaching yourself to just expect the unexpected is key. This lesson seems to apply to all aspects of life. 


There's a point (a very hilarious and ironic one) to sharing that important lesson! I just need to share a bit of our story first...

Growing up, my family had lots of animals. You name it, we most likely had it! Cats, dogs, rodents, geese, ferrets, rabbits, goats, birds big and small, and even a horse. Thanks to my childhood, I have plenty of experience with animals of all kinds, so we tend to be a bit unconventional and more open minded when it comes to owning pets.

When I was a teenager, I had a pet rabbit named Buster who lived indoors, was litter box trained, roamed freely through our house, and pretty much hated everyone but me and one of our cats. They were best friends and could always be found side by side.

Lexie had been begging for a pet rabbit since she was a young toddler. We always said no because we had a huge Great Dane, but since she passed away, we had been dog free for over a year. When she asked again, we had no reason to say no. Even my husband agreed, so at the beginning of September, my dad took Lexie and Dylan to a nearby farm to bring home a pet rabbit.

Of course, one rabbit turned into two. I even made the joke that they were multiplying like rabbits, but considering they were coming from a farm who raised them for food, we couldn't say no to two rescued babies! And they sure were adorable and sweet.

040

Sure enough, Arctic and Fluffy turned out to be great indoor pets! They are super sweet and friendly, and they love to play with toys. Taking care of them is simple and inexpensive. Yes, they need to be supervised because they do like to chew when they get bored, but we do allow them to hop through our home for a few hours each day. They are both house trained, and they return to their cage to go to the bathroom, then hop back out to play. They really act similar to dogs. My kids adore them!

230
008
016
024 copy

Even though I embrace the unconventional, it's still amusing to walk into a room and see a bunny curled up under a chair or asleep on the couch! But I really am glad we got them. They bring a lot of fun (and excitement...read on) into our home!


Here's where things get funny!


I originally made the joke that they multiplied like rabbits, but the joke was on me...

When we got the bunnies, our ONLY stipulation was that they both had to be the same gender. They were checked by a professional, and my husband and I double-and triple-checked. Two girls!

Or so we thought...

Apparently, it's very common for male, ahem, parts, to not show up immediately. This causes male bunnies to look JUST like female bunnies. And sure enough, one day Lexie spotted some questionable parts on her beloved bunny. A bunny that is now named Bernie.

We immediately separated our bunnies, until we could get the male fixed, but it was too late. And last Sunday, my kids got a very visual lesson in the incredibly bloody miracle of birth. And suddenly our two bunnies became ten bunnies. BOOM. They definitely multiplied. A LOT.

16649292_10212200239830904_7114527982659497548_n

Grant and I suddenly had a lot on our plate. We don't have the space to keep ten 10-12 pound pet bunnies, or the money to get all the males fixed (when their parts become visible). However, we don't want to send them back to the farm where their fate is inevitable.

After much discussion, we decided to keep one for Lily who had been asking for one of her own for the past few months. Bernie will be neutered next week, and the babies will remain with Arctic for the next 6 weeks. We will find homes for the other babies, and Lily's bunny will move into a separate cage until we know FOR SURE what gender it is, and then get neutered if it's a male. After that, it will move into the cage with its parents.

We already found definite homes for two of the bunnies, and we have potential homes for four others. And, unfortunately, one of the babies passed away. We were told it wasn't unusual to lose one or two, but I sure wasn't prepared when I only spotted 7 babies in the cage over the weekend. My heart immediately sunk, and I'm not going to lie: I almost cried when I found one of the babies buried in the bedding. Even my husband looked bummed as he buried it. The babies were thriving so I'm not sure what happened. The vet said it was probably accidentally crushed or suffocated. I know we're not keeping them, but we quickly got attached. My girls were so upset when we told them!

It was definitely a sad moment, but the remaining seven babies are thriving! My kids think it's so cool to be able to watch them grow, and I agree. This will be their only chance to watch every stage of bunny growth. They also get to play a part in raising them by getting them used to (gently) being handled, so they are friendly when they go to their new homes.

When the bunnies were first born, they were tiny, pink, and completely hairless. By day 3, they were covered in a fine layer of white fuzz (picture above).  Now, at just over a week old, they have longer hair, their ears are getting bigger, and they are getting chubby. Their eyes haven't opened yet, but that moment is close! And they are REALLY cute!

DSC_0589 
DSC_0599
DSC_0607
DSC_0613
16831891_10212234536728305_4330229401694038625_n
DSC_0558
DSC_0891

I admit that my immediate reaction was "WHY is this happening?!?" but after four kids, I learned to roll with the punches. Everything always ends up working out, and this will be no different. We just have to focus on the positive, and, well, the cuteness of those baby rabbits!

It's true that nothing goes as planned. But just like every other curveball thrown our way in life, we figure it out. This time, we're having fun learning in the process! We learned an important lesson in rabbit ownership, and we won't let them multiply again!


DSC_0867


Join us for Tuesday Talk! Grab the button and link up any post below! 



Lexie Loo, Lily, Liam & Dylan Too


2017_02 Tuesday Talk 13 Hosts Image Names

Crystal at Hall Around Texas | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram 
Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Becky at BYBMG | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Whitney at Polka-Dotty Place | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram






Friday, February 17, 2017

Pinktastic White Chocolate Chip Cookies & Really Raspberry Punch {A Year of Color}

Happy Friday! Welcome to another monthly edition of A Year of Color!

YearOfColor

On the third Friday of each month,  I co-host a monthly linkup called A Year of Color with Little Dove, Macke Monologues, and Work It Mommy. Each month focuses on one color and you can link up any post that revolves around that particular color: Fashion, Recipes, Activities for Kids, Crafts...ANYTHING is welcome! The link will be open for a month, so you can link up any time. We hope you will join us!

The color for the month of February is...


YearOfColor_February_Pink (2)

For this month, I decided to share a family favorite cookie recipe, updated with a touch of pink, and a delicious (and easy) punch recipe!


DSC_0367

PINKTASTIC WHITE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Pinktastic White Chocolate Chip Cookies.jpg

I can't stop eating these!  They are sugar cookies full of white chocolate chips, and they are the perfect blend of sugar cookie and chocolate. SO good!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick of butter (softened)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • (OR skip the above ingredients and buy a sugar cookie mix-great in a pinch!)
  • 1 bag of white chocolate chips
  • pink food coloring

DSC_0326

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Mix the ingredients together to make your dough.
  3. Mix in drops of food coloring. The dough should be dark pink.
  4. Mix in 1 bag of white chocolate chips.
  5. Drop dough by the spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 7-9 minutes.

DSC_0351

Bet you can't just eat one!!!


REALLY RASPBERRY PUNCH


Really Raspberry Punch

This is such an easy punch recipe! My kids love this "fancy" drink. It's typically made with 7-Up or Ginger Ale, but we love to amp up the raspberry flavor by using raspberry flavored ginger ale!

Ingredients:

  • Raspberry Sherbet
  • Raspberry Ginger Ale

DSC_0333

Directions:

  1. Fill punch bowl 3/4 of the way full with raspberry ginger ale.
  2. Drop in scoops of raspberry sherbet.

DSC_0338

In my home, one full punch bowl usually lasts about, oh, 10 minutes!

And when we combine these two pink-alicious recipes? I end up with REALLY happy kids!


DSC_0408
DSC_0381
DSC_0401
DSC_0420

Link up your pink-themed posts all month long! Just grab the button, add it to your post, and leave your link on the widget below!


Join us next month, on St. Patrick's Day, for the next Year of Color linkup! The color is:

YearOfColor_March_Green




Tuesday, February 14, 2017

DIY Aqua Sand {Tuesday Talk}

Happy Valentine's Day, my friends!

Since today is all about love, I'm going to share a simple DIY activity that all of my kids adore! They just might be doing a Valentine's Day version of it today. I already have the red and pink sand ready to go!


When aqua sand first arrived in the stores, my kids begged for it. I was skeptical, and I never ended up buying it. I did, however, discover that you can easily make it yourself for much cheaper!

I originally shared an adapted version of our DIY Aqua Sand in one of my Camp Mom posts over the Summer. My kids immediately loved it, and it quickly became a new favorite. It's so much fun that I thought it deserved its own feature!

DIY Aqua Sand

Supplies:

  •  Sand (I bought colored sand from Dollar Tree)
  • Large Container
  • Scotch Guard Fabric Protector
  • Cups
  • Foil and large freezer bags
  • Funnel
 



Aqua Sand



Directions:

  1.  Put individual sheets of aluminum foil down on a large piece of cardboard. 
  2. Dump each color of sand into large freezer bags.
  3. In a very well-ventilated area, with your nose and mouth covered, spray the Scotch Guard into the freezer bag until the sand is saturated.  Zip the bag shut and shake to disperse.
  4. Sprinkle the sand into a thin layer on one sheet of foil and allow to dry overnight. 
  5. After it dries, dump the sand into small cups. 
  6. Fill a large container with warm water.
  7. Hold a funnel over the top of the container, and pour each color of sand through the funnel and into the container. 
  8. Continue with each color, making designs along the way!


Aqua Sand
Aqua Sand
Aqua Sand
Aqua Sand

Not only is this a fun activity, but it's a great science experiment, too! Scotch Guard repels water, so the Scotch Guard coated sand immediately repels the water upon entering the container, and forms solid, tube-like spirals. It is very cool to watch!

Aqua Sand

The best thing about DIY Aqua sand is that you can use it over and over again! When you're finished playing, simply drain the water out of the container, and store the sand in a separate container or Ziploc bag. Obviously, if you use multiple colors, they do get mixed. No worries! Watching the colors mixing together the next time it's used is very neat, too!

When the DIY Aqua Sand stops repelling water, repeat steps 1-4, and it will be as good as new!

We do this activity often, but my kids are mesmerized every single time!


Aqua Sand


Join us for Tuesday Talk! Grab the button and link up any post below! 


Lexie Loo, Lily, Liam & Dylan Too

 

Tuesday Talk