Thursday, June 30, 2016

Larkyn turns TWO!

Throughout the day today, I have been reminiscing about this day two years ago.  I had no idea that Larkyn was going to be born the next day, two weeks before her due date!  As I write this post, I think about how two years and four hours ago I would wake up, realize my water had broken, and begin the exciting journey of having three kids.

Whenever I think of Larkyn, the first word that comes to mind is BLESSING.  From her happy, contented, easygoing nature as a newborn, to her easy smiles as a baby, to her contagious smiles as a toddler, and now her exuberant personality that makes her siblings laugh - she has brought smiles to our family since the day she was born.  I am so grateful God chose to give us Larkyn Emery as our third little blessing.

As she is about to turn TWO, I note that she is an extremely talkative little girl.  Strangers comment about her, as although she young (and tiny!), she speaks clearly enough for strangers to understand her, in sentences, and with the expressions and inflections of her older brother and sister.  She will talk to anyone and answer their questions about her name, and how she is ("good") and offer further information about who else is with her, what she is doing, and any other information she feels like sharing.  I love to hear her singing in the backseat of the car, chatting with her siblings, and making them laugh!  She intentionally will do silly faces, actions, or phrases to get a reaction or a laugh out of her siblings and it works.  She especially gets huge belly laughs out of her big brother Colton! Colton sweetly shares his toys with her and will be the first to run to get Larkyn her favorite blankie whenever she asks for it.  Larkyn looks up to Summer and will ask Summer to play doll house with her, read her books, and to sit on her lap.  Summer, in turn, loves her big sister role with Larkyn and enjoys sweetly mothering her :).  Paul nicknamed Larkyn "Lark-i-nut Coconut" after our favorite parrot at the zoo and Larkyn just LOVES it when Paul calls her that, and will ask for it over and over!  I love her little lingo, such as calling all bugs "buzzy bees" and when asked if she needs help will always reply, "I'm good" or "I got it".  She makes me smile all the time!

Larkyn is very independent and wants to buckle her own seat belt, put on her own clothing/shoes (as much as she is able).  She is very stubborn at times about going potty, and strongly dislikes public toilets.  She will hold her potty for hours, choosing not to go on toilets she doesn't like, and then go as soon as we get home on the potty at our house.  While she does still have accidents, she is mostly potty trained during the day, and wakes up from most naps dry, although we still diaper her for nightime sleep.  She loves jewelry, having a bow in her hair, and having her nails painted.  She loves books, dollhouse, playing in the toy kitchen, and doing anything outside.  She is doing very well in swimming lessons and has been the easiest kid of my three to adjust to getting her eyes wet (without any tears!).  She generally does a great job of sharing toys with her siblings.  Her battles often come with eating, if she doesn't want to finish the food in front of her before getting more, however she has improved dramatically in the last two months in this area and has not had to take a "bumbo-timeout" during dinner in quite a while!  She sleeps with her doggie, ellie, puppy, and blankie each night and will cry if something that isn't "supposed" to be in her bed is found in there (things need to go back where they are supposed to go!).  For the most part (if she is not in a testing mood!) does a great job cleaning her room or the living room when asked.  She has enjoyed the word NO a lot lately, but again, has been improving so much in this area as well, and despite being in a period of testing, is actually quite obedient for an almost two year old (granted, she has crossed the line and not appreciated the consequences, and that has generated a quick learning curve!). 

Presents are wrapped, decorations are out, and we are so excited to celebrate our youngest tomorrow!  It was fun to let her pick her paper goods (Princess Sofia) and frosting color (purple) and see what she would choose!  We plan to make some of her favorite foods for a big celebration breakfast tomorrow (french toast, eggs, bacon, and strawberries), open presents, and then hit the road to be at my parents' cabin for the 4th of July.  She chose corn on the cob and watermelon ("not cut"/big kid style) to have with her cupcakes tomorrow evening at the cabin, where we will sing to her.  We will also have hotdogs and macaroni and cheese, two other favorite foods of hers.  She has been talking about her birthday and how she will blow the candles out, and I am really excited to watch her enjoy her day after she intently watched Colton celebrate his birthday in April.   Two is such a fun age!  Larkyn's celebration will continue in the coming weeks as we have her kids party next Friday (the 8th) at the splash pad and her "Sisters" extended family birthday celebration with Summer on August 4th.  There will be lots of celebrating coming up, and I will update the blog with pictures/video after we return home from our 4th of July celebrating :).

My prayer for Larkyn this next year is that she would trust Jesus as her Savior at an early age, that she would learn to love his Word that we read daily together before nap, that she would learn to walk in His ways, and that she would be a light to the world, bringing glory to HIS name and others into his kingdom.  I also pray for godly friends, teachers, and someday a spouse to encourage her to walk in His ways.  And WHENEVER I pray for this little girl I can't help but end with a huge THANK YOU to the Lord for the incredible blessing Larkyn is to me and to our family.   I am smitten by our little Larky-Loo.  We love you sweetheart!

End of Soccer

Tonight was our last soccer game.  For me, it was bittersweet, as it was such a fun season and I loved having our whole family involved.  Games were fun and it was great to be outside!  On the flip side, it will be nice to have relaxed evenings with family dinners again on Tuesdays and Thursdays, especially as we start ramping up our weekend traveling for various family reunions/get-to-gethers :).  It was a great season!

Each kid received a trophy and went to shake Coach Shawn and Coach Paul's hand.

I was so proud of Colton this season.  He held his own on a team of kids that were all 2-3 years older than he was.  He was fearless and competative with kids much bigger than him, yet he never grew frustrated if he didn't score as much as others.  He had such a positive attitude and I can honestly say he LOVED every minute of soccer this season.  I saw him grow in confidence, proactiveness, strategy, and understanding of the game.  Colton can't wait to play again!
Summer had a good season, but said her favorite part of soccer was the snacks her teammates brought and shared!  She wasn't as competitive as I had imagined she would be with her brother on her team and I was so proud to see her encouraging him and truly being teammates instead of the competitors they are in backyard soccer.  At times neither of them would go for the ball as they both waited for the other to get it! 

While she did score twice and did help her team, she was generally more of a happy and encouraging observer on the field rather than a proactive aggressive player.  She mentioned that if given the choice between the two, she would prefer to dance than play soccer ;). 
This week's Tuesday game had more superfans!  We are abundantly blessed with such supportive family for our kids' activities!

Although this picture's posing is awkward ;), I couldn't resist posting a picture that had all 5 of us in it :)
After the kids last soccer game, the Blue Cheetah's went out to DQ for ice cream together!  Pictured on this bench is Bri (Summer's pink sock twin) and Emiliano (Colton's superhero whom he talks about often and wants to be able to do E's moves!) What a fun way to end the year!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Kids Kan Act - Summer Theater Camp

Summer absolutely loves the stage and is often putting on shows at our house.  When I saw a 2-day Community Ed class for young actors I knew it was the perfect class for Summer!  On Monday afternoon for two hours, the kids read for parts, got assigned parts, started learning their scripts, and painted props.  On Wednesday afternoon, they continued to practice, including staging and lines.  At the end of Wednesdays class, family and friends were invited to come to watch the performances.  The class put on two Dr. Seuss inspired plays: The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham.  Summer was cast as a toy in the first skit and the "Ham" in the second.  We all laughed that Summer was "a ham" in her first play, as she definitely hammed it up with her expressions and actions.  I didn't include the full video of the first play as she didn't have any speaking lines, but I will say she was a VERY exuberant toy :).  I will include the full video of the second play, Green Eggs and Ham, at the end of the blog post.  It is by no means a "polished" play, but was nevertheless fun for parents to watch their kids act and fun for the kids to have an audience :).  I am grateful for Community Education and the many fun opportunities to introduce kids to many different things!  Summer now understands quite a bit more, in a small way, what goes into putting together a real play and got to experience it firsthand!

Green Eggs and Ham Full Play Video:

Swimming Lessons

Swimming lessons are on Wednesday mornings this summer.  This is Larkyn's first session (she is in the Mommy/Baby class) and Summer and Colton are in their own classes.  All three kids are enjoying them and talk about the fun they had, which is a first!  Usually at least one kid has a fear or dislike they have to overcome, so I am thrilled that (thus far) the season is a positive one!  It is especially fun to chat with Larkyn as she mentions each thing she does and the song we sing with it :).  We are in week three of lessons, and my mom came today to watch and she took some pictures and videos of the kids.  Because I am in the pool with Larkyn, I am not able to take pictures of any of the kids during their lesson, so I am especially grateful she took a few and passed them along!

Here is one video compiling the videos my mom took of each of the kiddos:

Thanks, mom, for sharing your pictures and video! :)

Horse Riding!

It's a packed week this week with Theater Camp (more in next post), soccer, swimming lessons, dance, riding horses, play dates, Bible studies, checking out books, playing outside, and more!  It has been so fun already!  I have some fun pictures to share, so I will post them in the next few posts. 

We went to my high school friend and college roommate Megan's house on Tuesday.  I had fun catching up with her and my friend Julia and the kids had fun taking care of and riding her horse Donna!  Here are a few pictures:

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Larkyn's 2 year pictures

Larkyn was a total doll posing for her 2 year pictures!  She did everything the photographer said, and posed perfectly!  Here are a few of her pictures:

Vacation Bible School

Last week was VBS week at our church.  It was the first time Colton was old enough to go.  Our church does SUCH an amazing job with VBS.  The crafts the kids brought home were super cute and they loved the snacks and games! 

Both kids said they had SO. MUCH. FUN!  They both wished it wasn't done.  I am so happy they had such a great week!  Highlights for me were listening to Colton SO clearly explain his Bible story EACH day (whoever did preschool Bible stories must have did an awesome job!) and watching Summer's age group learn the amazing truth filled songs with really fun beats/tunes!).   Larkyn and I had a great week together.  We helped out at the beginning and end of VBS with registration/check-in and checkout, and then had a good 2.5 hours each day to spend just the two of us!  I loved my one-on-one time with her full of conversation.  So fun to talk with just her and get to know her better!  I love that little munchkin!  We ran errands Monday, went hiking Tuesday,

 had a park playdate and swimming lessons on Wednesday,

went shopping with Auntie Kristin and Grandma K on Thursday,

(Summer and Colton joined us for lunch after VBS)
and took Larkyn's 2 year pictures on Friday (pictures in the next post).

On Friday, the kids had a short program where they sang songs and recited scripture.  It was very well done and fun to watch.  I took a bunch of clips and combined them into one video.  I didn't take the time to edit it, so its just a bunch of raw clips, but it is a fun memory for us :)

Here are a few pictures from their program:

Colton is in the front row in a red shirt and khaki shorts

Summer is in the front row in a long pink sundress

The church had an awesome tech volunteer crew that made a daily video each day of what the kids were up to.  They are fun to watch!  Here are the links to the daily videos:

Day 1 Video
Day 2 Video
Day 3 Video
Day 4 Video

Thank you Chapel Hill Church for an awesome week!  My kids loved it and learned so much about Jesus!