DisneyWorld, Kate, Lexi, William

DisneyWorld—Epcot (Day 4)

Lexi, Badgie and Katie,

You went to 3 DisneyParks in 1 Day. Not to shabby for three kids under 7. We started our last Disney day at Epcot, spent an hour or so in Animal Kingdom before wrapping the night up at Magic Kingdom for extra magic hours.

One of the reasons we made the switch to the Wilderness Lodge hotel was of how convenient it was supposed to be with transportation. Well it didn’t work out so well for us.

Similar to the other days, the plan was to get up early and get to the park just as it was opening. Since Epcot has tiered FastPasses, I had a FastPass to Frozen, but not TestTrack, so I was planning to go straight to TestTrack and ride before the line got too long.

We left around 8:15, about 15 min later than I was hoping. First, we took a boat from the lodge to the Magic Kingdom area, where we then took a monarail to the transportation center, making a pit stop at the Contemporary as the express wasn’t running. Once we were at the Transportation center, our plan was to jump on another monarail to go to Epcot. Well that monarail wasn’t running either, so we had to get on a bus. All this took much longer than expected so instead of getting there at 9, when it opened, it was closer to 10, which meant the line for Test Track was much longer.

Additionally, when we arrived we discovered we had a broken stroller, Test Track, was down and Frozen was down so we went to stand in the hour line to meet Anna and Elsa. It was by far the longest time we waited for anything, close to an hour. But the girls were thrilled to meet the princesses. Daddy and Wiliam worked on fixing the stroller and William even scored some fast passes for being such a good helper to Daddy.

By the time we got through the line to meet Anna and Elsa, the Frozen ride was back up and running and we used our 11:00 FastPass to jump through the lines. This ride is super cute and low key and I loved that our whole family could sit in one row of the boat. When we were done with the frozen ride at about 11:30, and the world showcase was starting to open so we began our journey to very quickly skim the world. You kids did not have the patience for mom and dad to fully enjoy it. It also happened to be the first day of the Flower and Garden Festival so we spent time looking at all the amazing topiaries, which I adored. They smelled amazing and it was fascinating to see how they created characters from different kinds of flowers.

About half-way around, we stopped to meet Jasmine, which was a princess we hadn’t met before. Similar to meeting Daisy, these pictures are brought to you by a dum-dum sucker bribe for Kate.

By the time we were done seeing the showcase, the crowds were really starting to build and our fast pass for mission space was about to run out so Daddy took William and Lexi on that. You guys went on the Orange mission space ride, which Daddy said was pretty scary for both him and Lexi–but William seemed to think it was pretty cool. Go figure? In the meantime, I took Kate over to check out the aquarium and the Finding Nemo ride. Of course Kate feel asleep on the way over there so I explored the aquarium, the Journey to Imagination and ImageWorks by myself with a sleeping baby.

Test Track was back up and running by the time you were done with Mission Space, so Daddy, Lexi and William headed over to ride it. Unfortunately, the ride broke which extended the wait time, but they got it up and running again quickly. You guys went all the way through building your car and were about to test your car and it broke and they shut it down again for the 3rd time that day. We did get some extra fastpasses out of the deal to use at any park on any ride (with the exception of the big rides–Flight of passage, Slinky Dog, StarWars, Seven Dwarfs).

It was about 2:00 at this point, everyone was hungry and the heat was starting to take a toll. We decided to head back to the hotel for a swim instead of exploring any more of Epcot. We stopped at the gift shop on our way out and you each picked out your souvenir. Lexi and Kate picked out Anna and Elsa doll toys and William got a real Buz Lightyear. 

One the way back to the Wilderness, we debated our next steps and the roller coaster junkie was begging to ride Everest at Animal Kingdom. So we booked a FastPass for 7:00 and one for the Dinosaur ride at 6:10 and were going to use our bonus FastPass and the Navi’s River, which always has a long line and one we didn’t get to ride last year.

It was about 4:00 by the time we arrived back at Wilderness. We quickly ate some food and Mom and the kids went swimming while Daddy napped. They had a super cute mini waterpark for little kids with a few slides and then had a bigger waterslide in the big pool. Lexi and William loved the big-kid slide and just kept going down it over and over again while Kate enjoyed watching them and kicking and splashing in the pool with me. After a quick 45 minute swim, we headed back up to get changed and head over to Animal Kingdom,

We waited over 45 min for a bus so instead of getting to the park at 6:00 like we thought, we got there at 7:15, 45 min before it was supposed to close. We took a quick family pic in front of the tree of life, lite up at night and then high-tailed it to Everest.

We got to Everest just as River of Lights was ending. Daddy and Lexi used their FastPass and then Mommy and Lexi went. Lexi was just beaming and loves this ride so much. She was so proud to have ridden it at night in the dark.

We had to skip the dinosaur ride since it took so long to get there and Bill thought we should skip the Navai’i River as there was no way we could make it from Everest to Pandora in 9 minutes. Challenge accepted. I turned on my good old speed walking pace and we arrived there at 7:55. We were the second to last people they let on the ride. The Navi’s River is a super mellow ride through a little river–what makes it cools is the entire ride is dark but glows with black lights. The whole land of Pandora is just amazing. I wish we hadn’t been in such a rush and could have enjoyed it a bit more–especially at night. They have black lights everywhere and the sidewalks and trees are lite up to create this super cool environment.

By 8:30, we were on a bus to Magic Kingdom to soak up our last few hours with Extra Magic hours.You kids were starting to get tired, so I gave you a few suckers to give you a little sugar kick and keep you awake.

Daddy and Lexi headed over to Space Mountain while Mommy, Kate and William went on Winnie the Pooh–another favorite ride. After the ride was over, I knew we had pushed as far as we could with the two littles. They were tired and crabby. We grabbed some ice cream as we walked over to space mountain to wait for Daddy and Lexi. We did a quick rider switch and Lexi got to go on Space Mountain again with Mommy. Although the ride was pretty fun. I was fairly nervous for my Lexi. We were going pretty fast, couldn’t see anything and I was worried about her head bobbling around to much and getting some whip lash.

At was just about 11:00 as we walked off the ride. Lexi climbed into the stroller and was sleeping in less than 5 minutes.

What a day! What a trip! What an experience. Daddy and I took our time walking down main street and just enjoying the beautiful way everything is lit up, listening to the chatter of people reminiscing their days and the smell of the home-made chocolate as we walked down Main Street.

Although we only had 3 days in the parks, we filled them to the brim. We are exhausted and looking forward to the second part of our trip, which should be much more relaxing. But our hearts and our memories are so full. It really was the experience of a lifetime. We have every intention of going back when Kate is older and can go on almost all of the rides and it will be magical then too. There is just this different level of magic, to watch your kids experience this for the first time, the awe from giving characters a hug or having them go on their first roller coaster. It is something I hope to never forget and am so grateful to be able to experience this.

Love,

Mama

Lexi

Lexi’s First Day of 1st Grade

Lexi,

It is amazing how different one can feel about relatively the same experience a year apart. This time last year, everyone was a ball of emotions: excited, nervous, emotional. This year, it felt like we have been through this a bazillion times already.

We tried to keep plans on Sunday and Monday pretty minimal so we could get the house back in order and start the year off on a good and organized note. My to-do list is always longer than what is reasonable but we did get many things done.

On Monday evening, we continued our tradition of ‘last day of summer ice cream’ at the ice cream factory. Over the summer you have branched out a bit and explored some new flavors: Lexi–Birthday Cake, William–After Dinner Mint, Kate–Watermelon Sherbet.

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We took baths, read books and were all in bed by 8:30, which is pretty remarkable considering your summer bedtime was often 10:00. Daddy made you a super awesome sign describing all things Lexi 🙂

The morning went fairly smooth. Lexi requested cinnamon rolls for breakfast and ate 3 and was requesting more!

After a few quick pics, we hopped into the Van, headed over to school to get there just as the bell was ringing.

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Lexi, you are going to have an amazing year. I’m so excited to watch your grow, learn and continue to mature into a smart 7-year-old/2nd grader over these next few years.

Love,

Mom

Chirstmas, Kate, Lexi, William

Christmas 2018

Merry Christmas Lexi William and Kate!

We were busy, but in an enjoyable sort of way throughout the entire Christmas season. This year, Christmas feel on a Tuesday. I took the Monday, Christmas Eve off from work and we started the morning with homemade buttermilk pancakes, homemade whipped cream and bacon. They were the best pancakes I have ever made and this will be a tradition moving forward.

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Most of the morning was pretty low key. Lexi and William were giddy-excited that Santa was coming tonight. Lexi exclaimed,’Ahh tomorrow is the day I get my Barbie Dreamhouse!’ I had to remind her that just because you ask for something doesn’t mean you get it. You two were so excited, you were pretending it was Christmas morning and opening gifts and acting surprised. William goes, ‘I got a Mickey!!! Lexi shrieks ‘I got a tablet!!’ LOL!! I died! Where do you come up with these crazy ideas?!?!

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I started getting ready at like 10:30, because it takes a long time to get myself and 3 other kiddos ready 🙂

Kate took an early nap and we were out the door around 2:45 to head to Church. We met Grammy & Papa, Grandma Terri, Grandpa Bill, Great Grandma and Auntie T there.

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After, we headed over to Uncle Pats for Christmas Eve with the Tansey’s. It was a fun celebration as all of the cousins were there, so you kids had a blast running around with all the other kids. Santa made a surprise appearance and brought each of you an early gift. William and Lexi were in disbelief and Kate was terrified. Santa brought William a Paw Patrol set, Lexi a LOL surprise Pearl set and Kate a Minnie Mouse purse and cell phone.

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We headed home around 9:30 and since Pat’s is so close to home, nobody fell asleep. Both Lexi and Kate went right up to bed and were out in a couple of minutes. William helped set out cookies and milk for santa and some carrots for the reindeer. Daddy was also outside flooding the ice rink and William wanted to make sure he had the Grinch dust (green glitter). He says, ‘Dad, the grinch isn’t real–he’s just a character.’ Dad responds, ‘I know, but we’ll spread it around just in case’. William yells through the crack in the door, ‘Ok, Don’t forget to get the roof! You are so sweet buddy!

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Christmas morning, I was Shocked that you all slept in past 8:30, especially considering how excited you were. You came into our room and Daddy got the camera set up before we headed downstairs! William b-lined for his Heatwave and transformer trailer for Santa and Lexi was excited about her new table and desk chair and her Barbie’s and Hatchamals that Santa brought her. Lexi bounced around she was so excited and wanted to just rip through everything that had her name on it. However, she was very pumped to give everyone the gifts that she had picked out for them. She searched through the piles to find the items for her and requested that everyone open the gifts from her first. William was much more methodical and wanted to open and play with everything before moving onto the next. Kate was in the kitchen most of the morning eating, while everyone else was opening gifts. Girls gotta eat! She did come in every once in a while and loved her new Minnie Mouse doll, stroller and Unicorn Fingerling. Lexi’s was over-the-moon excited about the Lego hospital kit she received.

IMG_2570-COLLAGEWe spent a good 2 hours opening gifts before eating breakfast, cinnamon rolls and fresh fruit. Then we spent the next several hours putting together Lego kits (Lego hospital and the fire truck) cleaning up and getting ready before heading over to Grammy and Papa’s house around 4.

There we visited, ate some meat pies and enjoyed the next round of gifts.

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Then, on the 26th we were hosting the Sampson’s at our house for our Christmas celebration so we started cleaning the house and getting ready for Christmas celebration #4!

All-in-all it was a jam-packed couple of days, but filled with so much love, gratitude and so much to be thankful for.

Love,

Mama

Chirstmas, Kate, Lexi, William

Christmas Activities 2018

Dear Kiddos,

Christmas was no shortage of magic. The anticipation of the season is so exciting to me and I love everything about it. I love the lights on the houses, I love the decorations, (and actually decorating) the baking, the shopping, the music, the process of thinking about gifts and finding good deals, going to church, coordinating adorable outfits, wrapping gifts–everything about it is magic and I hope that you feel the magic and enjoy it as much as I do.

This year, we hosted Thanksgiving so I resisted and didn’t put the Christmas tree up until after Lexi’s birthday party, but the rest of the decorations came out on the evening of Black Friday.

I didn’t haul all the bins out until you were sleeping but then popped my earbuds in and listened to Christmas music (Jim Brinkman’s Piano Instrumental–my fav) and had the house twinkling in delight when you woke up the next morning.

The following Sunday, we headed over to Ivy and Claire’s house to do some cooking baking. We made sugar cookies and some peppermint cookies. You all had a great time, but honestly probably had more fun just playing with your cousins.

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IMG_2187-COLLAGEThe following weekend, the whole family went over to Grammy and Papa’s house for breakfast and Christmas Jammies. Grammy created a scavenger hunt for each of the kids that took them around the house and ultimately led them to their Christmas Jammies.

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The following weekend, we set up the Christmas tree. I usually like to do this by myself as it is a process to put the lights on and then the ribbon and then the ornaments, but figured I would give it a go with you awake and let you enjoy some of the fun too. Lexi was into it for about 5 minutes, but William helped the entire time and loved every moment of picking up the ornaments and finding a spot for it on the tree.

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In the past our elf, Sparkle Minnie has arrived on December 1st, but this year she was sick and didn’t arrive until about December 10th, and she brought a friend, Sparkle Mickey, to keep an eye out on you guys. She also brought you a book, the Giving Tree and asked for your to do a Good Deed everyday as a reminder that the Christmas season is about more than getting gifts, but being thoughtful and considerate towards other people. Lexi definitely understood the concept and we would talk each night about what good deed she did throughout the day. Some days it was sharing her magenta marker with a friend at school or playing with someone who was feeling sad. Other days it was doing William’s chore of unloading the dishwasher, or throwing away Kate’s diapers for mommy and daddy. It was so encouraging to hear how you were being intentional each day about how you can be thoughtful towards others.

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December 8th, we went to Breakfast with Santa at Lexi’s school. Uncle Dustin, Kenzie and Grammy and Papa joined us for some pancakes and crafts. Kate hated Santa, but William asked for a Heat Wave transformer and Lexi asked for a Barbie Dreamhouse.

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We also baked cookies a couple of times and decorated a gingerbread house. We made pretzel hugs, spritz and molasses cookies.

IMG_2380-COLLAGELexi and William both helped pick out gifts to give each other and loved helping wrap them up. Lexi picked up a green lego car kit for William and William picked out a Barbie car for Lexi. We also listened to a lot of Christmas music and would sing Silent Night and Away in a Manger each night before bed.

William had his first Christmas program at Preschool. You looked so handsome and I was proud you actually sang a little bit.

IMG_2396-COLLAGELexi had her annual Dance program. So fun to watch you dance–this is the first time that I’ve seen you smile while you were dancing. In the past, you have always been very focused on the moves and the teacher, you haven’t been able to smile so it was fun to see you ‘perform’

IMG_2453-COLLAGEThen, Lexi had two program’s at school. The first one was just for kindergarteners and you had a little saying you had to memorize and say during the program, ‘B is for Bethlehem, crowded and old, birthplace for Jesus, prophet foretold. Then, there was another one in the afternoon with the entire school where you sang a couple of songs. You also had an advent party in your class and I was able to volunteer for it. There were 4 stations that groups traveled to and I ran a game: pin the nose on the snowman.

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Whew! Lot’s of activities, but so much fun! I’ll create another post for Christmas itself.

Love,

Mama

Lexi

Lexi is 6

Dear Lexi,

One of our family’s favorite books is The Hungry Caterpillar. We love to read it and watch the caterpillar explore all the different foods, build a cocoon and morph into this beautiful butterfly. That book is a perfect metaphor for you over this last year.

Your shy, scared and reserved personality diminishes a little bit every month and you’re blossoming into this brave, friendly and adventurous little girl. It is so fun to help guide and encourage you through these milestones and watch you transform before my eyes.

In October, you were Star of the Week at School, and you colored this amazing poster, all about you, and I think it is pretty accurate.

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Your big heart and nurturing personality couldn’t be any clearer in your relationship with your brother and sister. You adore them and they look up to you the way a mom could only dream about.

You are gentle and kind with Kate. You love to give her hugs and read books to her, make her laugh and generally make her happy. You beg to go see her the moment you hear her rustling in her crib.

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William is your BEST friend. The two of you play together for hours everyday and are pretty much attached at the hip all day long. Rarely do you two argue. You have figured out how to play with each other and integrate each of your toys into whatever you are playing. You will be playing with your Hatchamals and he will be playing with his Transformers, but you’re always playing in the same scene or house (doll house, Micky garage, magnatiles creation) and each of your toys interact with each other.

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While playing, you are definitely the ring leader and suggest where you are playing or what your characters are doing and 90% of the time William just follows your lead.

One thing we are working on is including your brother when others are around. When other kids are around, you have a tendency to ditch him for others or even play games where ‘he is the bad guy’ or just run away from him. I don’t think it is intentional and you’re not doing it to make him feel bad, I think you have such a strong desire to be liked and fit in, you’re willing to leave him out so others will like you. We spend a lot of time talking about what it feels like when others are running away from you or other friends leave you out and how that must feel to William when you do that to him. So far it hasn’t really sunk in yet as it happens a lot, but hopefully as you continue to grow and mature you’ll get it and start to stick up for him–or for other kids at school who may be getting picked on. This is by far my biggest worry for you as you get older. I worry that this desire to fit in is going to lead you down a bad path or get in the way of making decisions that are going to emphasize your strengths and get in the way of your happiness. I pray that Daddy and I and will be blessed with the right words and stories to help guide you on a path that is the best for you.

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Another fairly surprising characteristic to emerge this year is your competitiveness. It feels like everything is a competition with you. ‘Want to race up the stairs?’ ‘Who can do it faster?’ and, when we complement William on something, you always follow-up with ‘Well I did XYZ?’ or ‘What about me?’

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You are also quite the talker and can be bossy from time-to-time. It is rarely quite when you are around as you are always always talking about something (I blame your daddy on that one).

Activities

Last winter, you got a pair of ice skates for Christmas and spent a good chunk of time skating on the rink in the backyard.

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Last winter and spring you took Swimming lessons and can legitimately swim. You love to swim underwater, but still have a hard time making it down to the bottom of the pool to reach diving sticks or rings

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You completed your 2nd year of recreation dance and performed in another recital

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This summer, you played on your first soccer team and really seemed to like it. You even scored a goal (1 of 3 kids on your team)

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You also took gymnastics classes during the summer as you were begging to learn how to do a cart-wheel

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School

You participated in your first Christmas program at pre-school.

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Went on field trips to the Children’s museum and Como Zoo

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Graduated from preschool

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Then in September, you started kindergarten at St. Vincent’s. You made friends quickly, are learning to read and complain about how you don’t like Math. When you found out your teacher’s name, Mrs. Burke–you weren’t thrilled. You automatically envisioned her to be old, grouchy, with black hair and wrinkly hands (like Grandma T–as you described). She is the complete opposite and you adore her and she adores you too.

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Trips

We took our first family vacation to Florida to visit Grammy and Papa. You were giddy with excitement to ride on an airplane for the first time. You loved seeing the ocean (or the Gulf) and splashing around in the waves and swimming everyday.

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We went to camping to storybook island in South Dakota and you had so much fun exploring all of the different nursery rhymes

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Of course there were several trips to the Bothwell cabin which you just adore and a week spent with the Sampson’s up north.

lexi-sampson-cabinThen the big trip of a the year was a surprise trip to Disneyland in October. We had the BEST time and you loved the rides and meeting the princesses and characters and relished the magic that Disney brings.

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Favorites:

  • Reading & writing
  • Anything arts and crafts related
  • Legos–specifically Lego Friends (the toys, the books, the show)lexi-and-william-legos
  • Hatchimals
  • Dit-Dat (your giraffe)
  • Pajamas
  • Sweets/treats
  • Rice, chicken wild rice soup, Avacado
  • Watching YouTube
  • Swimming, riding your bike, playing with other kids
  • Being loud
  • Doc McStuffins

Lexi, you are growing into this thoughtful, helpful heart-led little girl. You are imaginative, animated, nurturing, smart and beautiful in every way imaginable. I am so proud of you and honored to be your mom.

Happy 6 sweet girl!

Love,

Mama

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family vacations, Lexi, William

Disneyland-Getting here

Lexi and William,

I was scheduled to go out to LA for a TV shoot and had suggested that Grammy and Papa fly out with Daddy and you three kids to meet me and do a quick visit to Disneyland. After Grandma T passed away, Grammy and Papa had to cancel their big trip they had planned so I thought this would be something fun to look forward to and lift spirits a bit. They decided to pass, but wanted to watch Kate and encouraged the four of us to go.

The whole trip was a surprise. So I left on my trip (with all of our stuff packed in my bag!) On Thursday, Daddy brought both of you to school like any other day. He picked up William and then surprised Lexi around noon and headed over to Grammy and Papas to drop off Kate. When asked where you were going, Daddy just responded, ‘to see mom’ You ate a quick lunch and then Papa brought you three to the airport.

As you were leaving, Kate went to get her jacket and shoes and was the saddest little puppy when she found out she wasn’t going.

Once at the airport, papa dropped the three of you off and Lexi goes, ‘Where is he going?’ she thought I was coming off the airplane and you were just going to pick me up. Daddy stuck with his story, ‘We’re going to see mommy.’

You bummed around the airport and then it was time to board. Again, you two were confused as you thought you were waiting for me to come off of a plane. After boarding , you thought you were taking a plane to pick me up. LOL!

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You landed in LA around 5:00 and this is where the adventure really begins. Apparently, the car rental company I booked through wasn’t the one the airport shuttles to AND it was closed. So Daddy ended up renting a car for twice of what we planned.

Around 6:30 or 7, you were finally on the road to Disneyland, about a 45 min drive.  Unfortunately, there was a car crash on the freeway causing a 20 min delay and just lots of traffic resulting in lots of start stop and jerking. Additionally, you kiddos hadn’t eaten anything but candy in the last 9 hours or so, which didn’t help the situation.

About 3 miles from the hotel, William threw up all over himself and the car seat.

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Daddy stopped at a 7-Eleven, took you out of his clothes (thankfully, I had packed another set in the airplane bag in case something happened. I had all of their other clothes with me) and did his best to clean the carseat and finally to our hotel around 9:15 PST (11 CST). Both of you were passed out.

We transferred you to the stroller, and put you to bed.  Lexi woke up, went to the bathroom ate some Panera, played a couple games on the iPad and then feel asleep.

Thankfully, the hotel had washer/dryers so I was able to wash all of William’s clothes, the car seat liner any anything else that had gotten dirty. I had also purchased some 409 and a roll of paper towels to clean out the carseat and the car.

Finally around 12:30-1:00, I was able to get some rest.

Crossing our fingers and sending lots of prayers that William was carsick and not coming down with the flu.

Love,

Mama

Lexi

Happy 5th Birthday Lexi

My sweet little Lexi,

While swimming with Papa in the pool in Florida, you lean over to him and ask ‘Papa, can I be friends with that girl over there?’ And you swam over to her, introduced yourself and played for a little. The girl was so sweet to you considering she was 12. She played awhile before going and doing things for kids a little bit bigger.

Although this event technically happened a couple months after you turned 5, I feel like it is the perfect example of the little girl you are becoming. Long gone are the days where you were shy and would cling to my leg and not make eye contact with people. You are social and LOVE to play with anyone you meet. You are confident and silly and love to laugh and make others laugh.

So many amazing things happened this year for you, but my favorite, by far, was watching you grow and develop relationships with your siblings. Kate was born when you were 4.5 and there was an instant bond between you two. The love you have for her is fierce. You sing her songs when she is crying, you read her books, you feed her bottles, and you love to play with her and make her laugh. Nobody can make her laugh more than you. And her feelings are reciprocated right back. The moment she sees you, her eyes twinkle and a huge smile appears on her face.

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Lexi Kate 1Lexi Kate 2 One morning I went to wake you up for school and you asked if Beetle was awake yet and I said no, and you just rolled over and said, well I’m too sleepy then, come get me when she is awake. I pray every night that this bond only continues to grow stronger each day.

Another day, Kate had been crying while napping and you quietly opened her door, walked to her crib, sang her a couple of songs, put her paci back into her mouth and tip-toed out. You proudly came downstairs and announced that Kate had woke up from her nap, but don’t worry, I put her back to sleep.

Then, there is your best friend, Badger, aka William. The two of you are the best of pals 90% of the time. You two play together for hours on end. You love to play legos, dollhouse, squinkies/shopkins/hatchamals, Mickey Mouse, Barbies Frozen, the list goes on and on. You have your ‘girl versions’ of all of these toys, and Badge has the dad or the brother or the Dog or spiderman and you two have imaginative play wherever you are. I love to sit back and listen to you two play. You’ll often be playing and asking ‘Mom, do this’ and if I respond, you’ll say, ‘Not you, I meant the Mom I’m playing with’. There were many days this summer that I would suggest we go to the park or ask if someone wanted to run to the store with me and you two will often decline and say you just want to stay home and play with your toys.

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Last spring, you performed in your first dance recital. I was worried you would get nervous up there with the lights and all the people watching you but you ROCKED it and were one of the best performers in your class. That evening as I was putting you to bed, you cried because you had so much fun and were sad that you needed to wait another whole year before you could perform again.

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Outside of dance class, you also love to dance at home. Whenever music comes on, you stop what you’re doing and just bust a move. I can tell, you feel the music and you cant help but boogie. Your moves are quite entertaining and I’m still working on catching them on video so you can laugh at yourself later.

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This past year, you learned how to ride a two-wheeler bike, had your tonsils removed, had your last day of daycare, and your first day of preschool. You are only half way through and are learning so much. I’m amazed at how much they pack into 3.5 hours! You love going each day and are proud to tell me what you learned each day. You have done a great job of making friends and Mrs. Hanson and Mrs. Magner were shocked when I told them how shy you used to be as they have never seen a glimpse of you being shy. You’re learning how to write upper and lowercase letters, learn all of the sounds they make, identify and write numbers, working on addition and subtraction. You have an excellent memory and are learning all sorts of sight words, recognizing and creating patterns and your fine motor skills are advanced. You do a really really good job of staying in the lines while coloring.

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You share many of the characteristics of other first-born children. You are a rule-follower and I never have to worry about you running out of my sight and announce whenever anyone breaks a rule (yourself included). You can not get enough attention from mommy, Daddy or your grandparents. If we tell William he did a good job, you say, ‘well I did XYZ too’ or ask ‘are you proud of me too?’ You are an excellent helper, particularly with Kate. When we’re getting ready to leave the house, you’re running around the house filling up the diaper bag to make sure we’ve got food, toys, diapers, extra clothes and paci’s for Kate.

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You also love to talk. Like non-stop. Whether you are playing or just hanging out or we are driving, the questions are non-stop or just announcing what is going on around you. Your daddy is a talker so I think this trait comes from him.

This past spring, you started sharing a bedroom with William. You sleep on the top bunk and Badge sleeps on the bottom and you both love it! It has also simplified bedtime. We read stories together and you no longer need us to be with you until you fall asleep as you have William there to keep you company. Initially, you chatted a lot before bed, but now you fall asleep within 5 minutes of use leaving.

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You are a great little swimmer. You have taken 3 rounds of lessons and love to swim underwater and are learning your front crawl. This summer you also did a T-ball and soccer combo class for the first time and it went OK but you didn’t love it. Hoping that next year you’ll be open to trying them again and going into a program that is a little more structured.

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You really love all of your toys and like to constantly switch things up. You love to play with the dollhouse, squinkies/shopkins, little people, barbies, Legos, your Chelsea doll, barbie dreamhouse, puzzles (100+ pieces!), coloring, games on the iPad (including YouTube–you love to watch other people play with toys or open them, I think it is weird, but you love it) and any kind of craft there is.

Lexi is 5 2

You tend to be a bit of a follower, you want to eat whatever everyone else is eating, even if you like a different option better. Or I’ll ask you if you want to ride your bike and you’ll say, no, but then see a neighbor kid doing it and you’ll suddenly want to ride. We’re working on doing things that you like to do and not being influenced by others, which includes me not bribing you to do something because thats what someone else is doing. #badmomhabit

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Lexi, you are amazingly talented, have a ridiculous memory, a heart as big as a rainbow, an imagination to the depths mermaids swim and make me so proud and grateful to be your mom. I see so much of myself in you and I pray that God will continue to give me the strength and wisdom to help grow and blossom you into a wonderful little girl that you are becoming. Mommy and Daddy love you so much. Thank you for being everything a little Lexi Bug is supposed to be.

Love,

Mama

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lexi

Lexi’s First Day of Preschool

Little Bug!

Today was your First day of preschool! (Technically, you have been in preschool for two years already as you were in preschool classes at daycare and learning tons of stuff, but for simplification purposes, we’ll call this your first day.)

17-09-11 Lexis First Day of PreK-3

Last week, we went to your school (Bright Beginnings) for a little open house and you met your teachers, Mrs. Magner and Mrs. Hanson who seem so sweet and lovely–everything you would want for a preschool teacher. You were able to see the room and play with the toys and it was a good way to get all the nervs out before today.

I was a little nervous how the morning would go as it was also my first day back to work after having Baby Kate so mama was feeling all the feels there were to feel, but it was a pretty smooth morning. Daddy created an awesome little sign for you on the chalkboard, I put a headband braid princess hair in, there were no arguments about clothes and you generally seemed pretty excited.

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Daddy stayed home with William and Kate and Mommy took you in before heading into work. You were a little shy walking in and I started to get a little emotional, but as soon as you went into your classroom and found your name on your fish name tag, you were pretty excited. You found some playdough to play with gave me a hug and that was it! I was a little surprised at how well you did but so proud at how much you have grown over the past two years from when I dropped you at daycare for the first time.

Lexis 1st day of preschool

Daddy picked you up at 11:30 and told him all about your day! I have a feeling it is going to be a great year and am so excited to see all that you learn about.

Way to go Lexi!

Love,

Mama

(Side Note: When I asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, you were a little puzzles, so I listed things off like a teacher or a doctor or a nurse or a dancer. And you asked, what I did, and I said I’m in marketing, I make commercials. And you sat there for a minute and said, I want to be a lap girl with lots of excitement. Recently, you’ve been riding the mini bike around the yard with daddy, and you love to stand on the swing set with his phone and time how fast he can do the mini course he has made up)

Lexi

Lexi’s Tonsils Removed

Dear Lexi,

You have officially joined the ‘no more tonsils’ club, along with your Papa, Grammy, Uncle Joe, Auntie Sheila, Grandma Sampson and Auntie Beca!

The whole process started about 2.5 years ago. I noticed you asking us to repeat things a lot to you or not reacting when I was talking to you from a distance, more so than what I felt was normal for the average 3-year-old. So the Dr. checked your hearing at a well child visit. You failed in your left ear, specifically for low tones. They suggested that we wait and test it again as sometimes the office is too noisy or young kids aren’t able to follow the directions.

It was tested again at 4 and same exact results and received a referral to an ENT. In between the well-child and the ENT, you were also tested at the early childhood screening with the same results.

So off to the ENT we went and they tested your hearing in a sound proof box and asked you to repeat words instead of raising your hand. Again we had similar results. You can hear great out of your right ear and high and mid-range noises in your left, but low tones are very gargly–similar to what things sound like underwater. To be sure you didn’t have any hearing loss, they checked the nerves in your ear to make sure they were reacting–pretty cool they can do that! All was good there, so we went to go meet with the Dr.

When the Dr. went to check out your ears he couldn’t see a darn thing in either one of them as they were full of wax. Sorry sister, looks like you got that one from your dad. Then he went to check your throat and chuckled and said, ‘you have some dangerously large tonsils’ and continued to ask if you snore (check) and joked he wondered how you could even swallow with those monsters. (Side note: your Dentist also commented on how large they were every time we went and even had said they would struggle to get a tube down your throat if they needed to do an emergency surgery for anything–which we had also brought up with the pediatrician)

Next we went into a little procedure room and they cleaned all that wax out of your ears (you were so brave!). Maybe a little TMI, but there were some pretty big chunks in there! After they were clear of wax, the Dr. peaked inside and sure enough your left ear was full of fluid, which to me kind of looked like a tiny mirror or aluminum foil in there, and your right ear was nice and pink. He proceeded to explain that you likely had an untreated ear infection and fluid never drained because your tonsils and potentially adenoids were blocking the tube in your ear. He suggested we remove those tonsils not only to help with the ear, but also the size of them wasn’t ideal and also suggested we put a tube in your left ear to help the drainage.  He also explained how this is a very routine and simple procedure, but the recovery is a BEAST! It is a good solid 10 days of recovery with little to no appetite or activity. Given that I was 7 months pregnant with Baby Kate at the time, I asked if this was something we could do while I was on maternity leave. He said it was, but he wouldn’t recommend it as the recovery is tough and she’ll need a lot of attention and it might be challenging to also care for a newborn.

So that put a little wrench in our plans as we were trying to figure out when to schedule this with vacations and weddings and how we would use vacation time. Ultimately, we decided that Daddy would transition to contracting earlier than we thought and we would schedule the surgery on June 20th, 3 weeks before the Kate was born, so you wouldn’t have to go back to daycare and would be fully recovered by the time Kate arrived.

Driving home from the Dr., you asked me, ‘Mom, am I going to get my tonsils out?’ You had no idea what that meant, but you could sense that it was scary and you didn’t like it. We talked about why we were doing it and how it would make you feel better and hear better and how you would get to eat lots of ice cream and Popsicles. We even talked about all your aunts and uncles and grandparents that had their tonsils taken out. But you weren’t buying any of it. You cried on the way home and told me you didn’t want to have them taken out. You were pretty emotional about it for a good 2 weeks and would even wake in the middle of the night crying telling me you didn’t want them out. Finally, I told you that Daddy and I needed to talk about it and we might go see another Dr. and see what the recommend to help ease your worried little mind.

Little Kate decided to mess up my plans and I was diagnosed to Cholestasis and the Dr. wanted to induce me on June 20th, the day of your surgery. As soon as we learned this, we tried to see if there was any possibility to squeeze this surgery in before Kate arrived, but decided that we needed to wait until after she was born to do the surgery. Not ideal, but it was also too risky to do it before.

Once Baby Kate arrived and everyone was home and healthy, I scheduled your surgery for August 1st. It was right after Soccer/T-ball finished so you wouldn’t miss any of those, also after the 1st cabin trip and  far enough ahead of the 2nd cabin trip so it wouldn’t be impacted.

Leading up to the big surgery, we bought a book called Goodbye Tonsils. It was a really fantastic book that walked through the different steps leading up to the surgery to help you understand what to expect and make it less scary. After reading the book, you seemed much more comfortable with everything and almost started bragging to people how you were going to get your tonsils out.

Before the big day, you and I made a special trip to the grocery story and you picked out two different kinds of ice cream (chocolate and mint chocolate chip), crayon Popsicles, fudgsicles and ice cream sandwiches. I also got you some special presents: clothes for your american girl doll, Tsum Tsums and new pajamas! Grammy also slept over as she was going to stay with the little kids while Mom and Dad took you to the surgery.

You surgery was scheduled for 7:45 that morning and we were asked to arrive at 6:30. Once we arrived, we filled out some paper work and then were brought back to a little pre-op/recovery room.

Lexi Tonsils 2 You took off your jammies and put on the little blue gown they had, and some fuzzy socks that had a smiley face on them. We talked to a couple of nurses as they confirmed some details with us. The anesthesiologist came by to explain how you would go under and then the ENT Dr. stopped by to talk about the ear tube, tonsils and a little about the recovery. Thankfully, they had a little TV in our room and you watched PJ Masks and the beginning of a Mickey and the Roadster Racers to keep your mind occupied.

When it was time to head back, Mommy put on some scrubs and held your hand as we walked to the operating room together. They even let you keep Giraffee with you so you wouldn’t be scared. We arrived in the room and I picked you up and put you on the table. Immediately, the anesthesiologist started asking you questions about who your pal was and if you had any brothers or sisters. You chose to have some strawberry scented stuff in your sleepy mask. They put it over your face and you took a couple of breaths and you were out and then Mommy left and went back to wait with Daddy.

You were so brave and didn’t cry and tell me you were scared at all, but Mom was. I even cried a little bit as I was walking out of the room. Of course I was worrying about so many things going wrong, but mostly about how you would react to anesthesia as I have never been under so I don’t know if there is any weird reaction I have to it. Fortunately, your Dad is pretty funny and kept my mind off things.

About 30 to 45 minutes later, the Dr came back to us to tell us you were out of surgery and in the recovery room. Everything went well. You adenoids looked good so they didn’t take them out, but he did say it was a really good thing they removed the tonsils because they were infected. They were hard and lumpy opposed to healthy tonsils that are soft and squishy. We talked a lot about your recovery and the importance of keeping you hydrated. He also suggested to medicate with children’s Advil or Motrin before using the prescription as it causes upset stomach, constipation and vomiting.

A few minutes later, you started to wake up and the nurses wheeled you back to Mom and Dad. You were pretty out of it, but had your giraffee with you to help you be brave. When you arrived in our room, you said you felt like you might throw up, but I really think that is because they kept asking you. In general, you were pretty sleepy and just cuddled against my arm and dozed in and out. You ate a couple spoonfuls of ice chips and a freezie and then asked to go home.

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You asked to sit on my lap in the wheelchair on the way down to the car, and I sat in the back seat with you on the way home and you complained about it hurting and wanting to sleep and see Grandma.  When you got home, you fell asleep for about 30 min, took some medicine and within 15 min, said you felt all better. You were up, walking around and talking.

You ate a couple Popsiclea, bowls of ice cream and ice cream sandwich and complained about how you wanted to eat pizza with the rest of us. Throughout the day, you played lots of Tsum Tsum’s with Daddy (you got 3 new packs) and watched a lot of YouTube on the iPad. Although you took your first round of meds good, each subsequent round was more challenging. We were giving you Motrin every 8 hours and Tylenol in the 4 hour gaps between. We tried mixing it with water and apple juice and jello and you sort of bought into this as you would take it, but there was lots of complaining and procrastinating throughout the process.

That evening, you slept on the couch with Daddy. There was lots of moaning throughout the night but for the most part it went well. Daddy woke you up to take your meds and you took them, but complained about it.

Day 2 was pretty similar to Day 1 with the medicine battle becoming more and more challenging. At one point, I was so desperate for you to take the meds, I promised to get you a Splashling (your new favorite toy learned from YouTube). You played lots of Tsum Tsums, watched YouTube and just hung low. When you did talk, you had modified your voice to sound like a baby as you said it hurt less to talk like that and even mentioned that your voice was playing tricks on you sometimes. On this day, a fairly normal appetite returned as you ate a jelly sandwich, more ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, Popsicles, noodles, starburst and Tootsie rolls.

Day 3 you straight up refused any medicine. We tried to syringe it into your mouth but you spit it out everywhere so we quit trying and just let you go. On this day, you ate soft pretzels, more noodles and also took a nap for the first time since daycare ended.

Day 4 you started to complain about ears and throat hurting. Daddy blended up a freezie for you with the immersion blender and mixed some medicine to help give you some relief and you really seemed to like that! As long as you were medicated, you were pretty good. I could tell when the medicine was starting to wear off as you would get really clingy and just want lots of hugs. Although you were taking medicine through the slushies, it was challenging to get you to finish the whole thing. You only wanted to take a couple of sips and then be done so we had to sit there with you and bribe you to drink it all.

Day 5 was supposed to be the worst day, but you seemed to be doing well as long as you were medicated so all five of us headed out to Mitch and Teresa’s for a day on the lake. You floated around on some floaties and went for some kayak rides with Daddy and were very content with not wanting to go swimming like the other kids. However, that night was rough. You woke up several times crying in agony, even though you were medicated.

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Day 6 & 7 were pretty similar. You had low energy and didn’t eat much.  You complained a lot about your ears hurting but refused to chew gum like the Dr recommended. The only thing you would do was put ice packs on them. Apparently, this is normal for your ears to hurt as the nerves in your ear are interconnected to your tonsils and they swell during the surgery causing the pain. The next few nights, I let you sleep in my bed as those were the hardest points of the day. You would wake up crying and request slushies and ice packs. Poor thing. There were a couple of times that you said, ‘I’m scared mommy’ because it hurt so bad and my heart just broke for you. While giving a slushy, you insisted on watching YouTube to help keep yourself distracted, and always wanted to watch a show about people opening up these little toys called Splashlings. (You’re going to laugh at this one day when you’re older because it is as ridiculous as it sounds to watch videos of other people opening toys, but no joke, it is one of your favorite things to do).

Day 8 – You only took 1 round of medicine in the slushy but still had pretty low energy and complained about your ears hurting a lot. I can’t remember what day(s) it was, but you did eat Fritos, which is pretty remarkable considering they are crunchy and have TONS of salt on them, but seemed to do just fine eating them as long as you were medicated. During the night-time, you only woke up once and were able to go back to sleep with just a couple of snuggles.

Day 9 & 10-You were pretty much back to normal, occasionally complaining about your ears. You knack for the dramatics kicked in and you would pretend things hurt so you didn’t have to eat what we were eating or just get attention. You even admitted to doing this my super honest little babe 🙂

And that is it my sweet little girl. You (we) made it through this and I am so proud of you. I read from other people that during those tough days, it feels like glass is in your throat and is very painful–and you were one tough cookie.  Bonus: you no longer snore when you sleep and hopefully your hearing is all good now too (although, there are still several times where you ask ‘what’ 3 times and tell me you can’t hear.)We head back to get the hearing checked in early September so we will find out then.

Love,

Mama

Lexi, William

Last Day of Daycare

Lexi And William,

You just finished your last day of daycare and your hormonal mom is a tid bit emotional, very similar to your first day, but for very different reasons.

Growing up, I always had a negative connotation of daycare. Most of my cousins and my friends grew up with stay at home moms and the kids that did go to daycare weren’t always the most well-behaved. I’m sure there were other reasons for this, but I had always made the connection that it was because they went to daycare (I know, not very logical!)

So when the time came for you to both go to daycare I really struggled. Lexi was 2.5 and very shy, timid and reserved and I was so worried about her feeling abandoned and lost and not being able to make friends. William was 4 months and was just sad he wasn’t going to get to bond with Daddy in the same way Lexi did.

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My fears about Lexi were spot on. She experienced all of those things and would scream and cry every morning before leaving. There was bribery and me trying to distract her on the ride there (airplanes in the sky, the tunnel, trains, and lots of listening to twinkle twinkle) to help make the situation better. I set up playdates outside of school so she could become more comfortable with friends in her class. After many talks with the teachers, we figured out she really struggled in the transition moments–going from group time to activity time or to lunch time and pinned it down to her not knowing what to do in those moments and probably feeling lost and confused. As a result, every night we reviewed our day from the beloved daily connect app to look at all the fun she had and review what her schedule looked like each day. We also talked about it every morning on the ride in to help her learn what to expect at each moment throughout the day. In general, I felt like it was a pretty tough transition and took several months.

However, after that transition, some amazing things started to happen. Lexi started to recognize her name and then she could spell it and then she could write it. She started to make friends on her own and discovered her love for art projects. Her confidence grew, she learned how to tell stories, participated in group time, talked to people she didn’t know and learned about complex things for a 4-year-old like symmetry, ecosystems and the world’s wonders.

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And William, your time spent there was different, but it will impact you in different ways. You know how to stand up for yourself and don’t let other kids push your around. You’re independent and insist on doing everything yourself as that is really what the teachers encourage. You can put your pants/shorts/shoes on and off by yourself, do really really well drinking from cups and using adult silverware and kicking and throwing balls.

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Not only did you both thrive, I loved having you be so close to me throughout the day. Being able to nurse William instead of pump was a Godsend. I loved the lunch dates I had with Lexi. As maddening as it was some days, majority of the time, I loved spending 2 extra hours with you in our car rides. You would tell me about your days, what made you happy and sad, what you learned about or the books you read and would often play games like ‘I spy’ and ‘Is this a truth or a lie?’

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The teachers you had were so amazing and dedicated. They did such a great job of pairing up personalities to have one teacher that is a little more firm and lays the law down with another who is a little more affectionate to play to the different things you need throughout the day.

Overall, I’ve realized that daycare can be an amazing thing and you have both learned and developed in ways that you never would have at home and am so grateful for the wonderful experience we all had.

Onto out next phase which I’m sure will bring equally amazing opportunities

Love,

Mama