Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Life Lately

It is time to do another life lately post to catch up on all the things we have been up to.  Things have been busy, even though when I look at my pictures from the last week it doesn't seem like we have done a whole lot.

Hannah looks so grown up and mature in her riding gear
We straightened her a little bit one day and it makes her look like a teenager
Hannah had the great idea of going to get a pedicure last weekend, so Scott stayed with Evan and Nora while we enjoyed some pampering.  It was some nice one on one time with my oldest.  We had some pretty deep conversations.
Say Cheese.  This little goofball gets funnier every day.
She loves to wear her doll Ergo and puts all kinds of things in it, not just baby dolls.  She is such a little pack rat and wants to bring a billion different things with her every time we go somewhere
We have been playing "Birthday Party" a lot lately.  We make food and cupcakes in our play kitchen, eat the food, wrap a gift and sing happy birthday. Then we switch and its somebody else's birthday.  We have been going through some rolls of wrapping paper.
Evan was exited to get a remote control car for his pretend birthday party
I love their imagination even though my brain is not wired that way.  I am way too realistic to play a lot of their pretend games (I can do the birthday party, but some of the other ones are way out there)

Nora is starting to like puzzles as well
She is still by far our best eater.  Here she is eating a bowl of spinach with dressing.  She loves to eat brussel sprouts and asparagus as well……
Evan's fashion choices have been a little questionable lately…..
Princess dress, coat and Hannah's boots
PJ bottoms, a jacket as a shirt and Hannah's little heels…..
Evan is such a chatter box and talks constantly.  He makes up lots of stories and its quite funny.  We were driving in the car and he was talking to Scott about KU basketball.  He said "KU was playing the Steelers and daddy you wouldn't like this, but the Steelers won"

Evan got some golf clubs for his birthday and we have gone out into the yard a few times to practice.  
Patience is key here.  I am excited that he wants to learn and I think he will do well once he gets some lessons in the Spring.
Then Hannah wanted a turn and she still had her roller skates on……she actually hit it pretty well.
The kids had the great idea to make some gingerbread houses last week……it was cold out and we didn't have much going on, so we made some frosting (that was like glue) and made some houses out of a few graham crackers we had left and some leftover candies from Halloween.
When Nora woke up from her nap she wanted to participate, but we didn't have anymore graham crackers, so we used some Club crackers to build her a little house :)

Hannah is finishing up Girls Scout cookie sales.  She set a goal of selling 150 boxes and she is getting pretty close.  She has done a great job of doing this herself with only a little help from us.  She has quite the sales pitch down now.  She tells everybody "if you don't want all those cookies in your house you can still help me out by donating some boxes".  She has become so much more confident doing this.  
We made her a little cookie crown to wear while selling cookies…..haha!
Last week was the 6 months anniversary of my dads death.  I am always surprised how time can fly by and stand still all at the same time.  How has it already been 6 months, but on the other hand it feels like  it was just yesterday and the grief is still fresh.  Since we spread his ashes in the North Sea my mom went to the Rhine river last week and dropped some flowers in the river,  which will lead to the North Sea.  It is still so hard to believe that he is gone.  I still catch myself wondering if it is real or of I call my parents house I expect him to answer the phone.  There will forever be a whole in our lives. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

3 Things

We just got back from a fun weekend in Kansas City at Great Wolf Lodge celebrating Evan's fourth birthday.  He did not want a party, but wanted to spend a night at Great Wolf Lodge instead.  Done!
We went up Friday afternoon and spent one night on the Plaza.  The kids always love staying in a hotel room.  The next morning we got to go to cousin George's birthday party before heading to Great Wolf Lodge and hit the waterpark for the rest of the day.  I did not get any pictures of our trip, so instead I will be writing 3 thing about each kid.  I did this last year and thought it was a great way for me to recap the stage of life we are in.

First up Hannah Banana

Hannah is in second grade and is liking school much better this year.  It is still a struggle to get her out of bed in the morning, but I don't hear "I don't want to go to school or I don't like school" nearly as often.  She loves her teacher and is doing great.

Hannah is still quite busy with activities.  She is still in gymnastics, horseback riding and Girls Scouts.  It is currently Girls Scout cookie selling season and she has her sales pitch down.  She is quite the sales person!  Hannah will also be starting softball again soon.

We recently introduced an allowance and Hannah has to complete all her chores before getting the allowance.  Still working on doing these chores consistently, but Hannah has a toy she really wants and is saving up her money for that.  It is amazing to see though what she thinks is a chore……haha!  No, putting your shoes in your cubby is not a chore, that is expected.

Next up is the little man

Evan still loves anything related to firefighters and firetrucks.  Every time he sees a firetruck on the road he gets very excited.  He also loves to play board games and do puzzles.  I am quite surprised by the patience he has for games.  He will sit for a long time to play games such as memory, sequence, pop a pig and card games.  
I don't remember if I wrote on here that Evan learned to ride a bike without training wheels back in October.  He is doing so good and loves to ride his big bike.

Evan has become a really sweet little boy.  He is still all boy and wild and crazy, but is also a very tender hearted little boy who takes good care of his sisters. He likes to hold doors open for others and help me in the kitchen.  He is always willing to come up with a compromise when he is fighting with his sisters.  He is in his second year of pre-school and likes it a lot.  Drop-offs are not always the easiest, but I know he is having a great time once he is there.

We also introduced an allowance for him if he does his chores.  The other day he chose not to do his chores, because he said he already got a $1 last week.  That was not what I expected :).  His favorite chore is to go feed the chickens and check for eggs.
Evan's health has been good.  He continues to be on Blood pressure medicine, but with this medicine his blood pressure is under control.  We are still in a wait and see period to determine next steps.  One of his kidneys is shrinking and does not have any function, but as long as the blood pressure is under control with medicine there is no reason to do anything about it.  The hope is that the kidney will continue to shrink and the body will eventually absorb it.  

Last but not least is tornado Nora

Nora is a very independent little girl.  I know all kids go through the phase of wanting to do everything themselves, but I feel like she is taking it to another level.  Here is an example:  Nora wanted to walk up the stairs at a restaurant all by herself, which is great, but she was going really slow and there were a bunch of people lined up behind us.  So I grabbed her and carried her up the last 4 steps.  She then threw a fit and said "Me do it" and looked at me and walked back down to the exact same step I picked her up from , just so she can walk up the last 4 steps by herself.  This kind of stuff happens several times a day.  

Nora loves to play with baby dolls.  She constantly has at least 1-2 babies with her.  It is really cute when she bounces them or tells us to be quiet, because her babies are sleeping.  She also always wants to take at least 1-2 babies, a carrier, a bag, a stroller ect with her wherever we go.  

Nora goes to preschool twice a week as well and she likes it a lot.  She does great at drop offs and has a wonderful time.  She is talking so much nowadays and some of the stuff she says is pretty funny.  She loves to say "two minutes".  When you ask her to come or do something she hold up her finger and says "two minutes".  She also says "I love you two minutes".  
One night she was already in bed and kept saying "sour cream my butt".  It took us a long time to figure out that she wanted diaper cream on her bottom, because it was a little red.

She has gotten so big and is definitely not a baby anymore.  We moved her from the crib to a full size bed last week.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Dear Evan

Dear Evan,
Just like most parents, I find myself wondering where time has gone.  It seems like yesterday that you were born and entered our lives.  And as much as I would like it to, time does not stand still.  You are most definitely not a baby anymore, but you will always be one of my babies.  You are a strong, independent, outgoing, fearless, adventurous and loving little boy.  We love to watch you grow into YOU each and every day.
When I think back on the day you were born and the joy that overcame us followed by so much fear, I get very emotional, but also so very happy and proud.  You have been a fighter from day one and I think it shows in your strong personality.
Your birthday was three days ago and today 4 years ago was the day you were airlifted to Little Rock.  I will never forget those days and the pain I felt and I am so happy that I can look at you today and feel love and joy.  Of course we have our challenging moments every day, you are 4 and strong willed, but I do remind myself many times just how lucky we are to have you.  Enough of the emotional stuff, lets move on to the things that make you YOU.
You are a fantastic middle brother :).  I know being a middle child is not always easy, but I believe you have made it the perfect spot for you in our family.  You love your big sister and look up to her.  You two fight quite a bit, but at the end of the day you would do anything for her.  You are usually the one that comes up with compromises or gives in to make her happy (she would probably tell you that you always get your way, but from an outside perspective I can tell you that you are very fair and try to make things work).  You always say "It's ok Hannah we can do that instead".
You adore your little sister and are a great protector for her.  You watch out for her and are her best buddy.  You two get along really well and don't fight much.  You play well together and get into trouble well together too.  You are two peas in a pod.
You love to be a helper around the house.  You love to learn how everything works, you love tools and fixing things.  You love firetrucks, fireworks , santa blowers (that's what you call those christmas inflatables) and the color pink.  You love to help me cook and bake.  You are in the kitchen with me every night and you would bake muffins every day if you could (you will only eat one when they are right out of the oven and then you won't eat them again, so we have a freezer full of zucchini muffins).  We are considering signing you up for a cooking class.  I think you would love it and I know your Opa would be so happy to see you learn how to cook.  You also love to play with other kids and are very social.  You will go up to any kid big or small at the playground and ask them if they want to play with you and you don't get discouraged or sad if they say no.
You love to play games.  We have played countless rounds of memory, Pop the Pig, Old Maid, Go Fish and various other games.  You also love to do puzzles.  You have a lot of patience for games and are a quick learner.  Your favorite show on TV is still Paw Patrol.
You are a very funny kid.  You always tell us "how hard is it?"  when we are playing a game or looking for something ect and you don't know that you sound kind of rude when you say this, so it makes it funny to us.  Last week you were concerned that your clothes won't fit you anymore when you wake up on your 4th birthday.  When you are in trouble or don't want to answer a question you just say "I love you".  You tell us a lot that you love us and you always want to snuggle at bedtime (you don't have much time for snuggles during the day though).
Evan, there are no words to explain how much I love you.  You made me a mom for the second time. I am a better person and I have you to thank for that.  I am proud of the person you are and the one you are becoming.  Parenting is hard and I always worry about doing things right for you and your sisters.  Just know that I am always doing my best, just like we ask you to do.
We love you to McDonald's and the ice cream shop and back (apparently in your eyes that would be much better than to the moon and back, because this is what you have told us before).

Your birthday table
The birthday boy
This is still the face we get when we ask you to smile for a picture
Of course the sisters wanted in on the picture
You got a new santa blower for your birthday and we had to try it out right away.  This nutcracker is 16ft tall.  You will be able to see this from the town square next Christmas.  Evan was an excited little boy.
Evan also got his first set of golf clubs and he is ready to learn and play with daddy and grandpa Irv.
Evan chose a weekend with the family in Kansas City to go to Great Wolf Lodge instead of a party.  So, we will be heading there soon.

We did have a birthday ice cream cake to celebrate our little man.
Happy birthday little man

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Christmas Break Adventures

When we originally planned our trip to Germany for Christmas we talked about going down to the Black Forest for a few days, but we ended up deciding against that and do a few day trips instead.  We were just not ready to get back into the car after our long trip and doing London for a few days.

 Ashley came from London to spend Christmas with us, so she joined us for our adventures.  Going anywhere with the Clubine Party of 5 is always an adventure.  First it takes us forever to get anywhere and we have lots of meltdowns along the way (and we have very stubborn kids, so these meltdowns can take a while).

The day after Christmas we went to Limburg, just to explore and look around.  
Nora kept walking up to this nativity scene and saying "Hi baby Jesus".
Limburg is a cute picturesque little town.  Everything was still closed for the Christmas holidays, so we didn't get to do a whole lot.  We had lunch at a very cute little pub, but I didn't get any pictures of that.
Hannah was jumping up and down to get into this picture
Unfortunately the Christmas market behind us was closed as well
The sun came out and the lighting was pretty cool
Apparently it was a day for lots of selfless.
The next day we decided to go ice skating in Cologne.  One of the Christmas markets still had an ice skating rink set up.
Before the ice skating Hannah needed to fuel up with this…..yummy
Evan wanted to ice skate as well, so I pretty much pushed him around the entire time.  He did not get tired of it……me on the other hand got pretty tired and my back was killing me:)
This ice sating rink was really big and set up kind of fun.  These long straight stretches connected two round rinks and there was a bridge to watch from.  All in the middle of the city with great views.

These kids did not want to stop and we skated for two hours…..poor Scott had to walk around with Nora for that long and keep her entertained.
Taking just a little break
Ashley captured this picture of my favorite German city
Our next adventure took us to Moersdorf to cross the Geierlay suspension bridge.  This bridge was pretty awesome and worth a visit.  It was quite nerve wracking crossing it with three kid and it was super busy that day.  I am sure this would be even more breathtaking in the Spring or Fall and when it is not so busy.
The bridge is 360m long and 100m high.
I had to hold on the entire time.  It was definitely a little scary.
These pictures just don't do it justice.
The frost on the trees was so pretty
Almost across
We made it across…..now we just had to make it back
Going back across the bridge did not go so smooth for us.  Remember when I mentioned our kids having meltdowns.  Well this was one of those times……on a suspension bridge up high in the air.  The frost made the first part of the bridge really slick and we were just sliding down.  Nora wanted to walk all by herself (just like a two year old always wants to do) and didn't want to hold my hand, which was impossible and way too dangerous.  So, she decided to have a meltdown on this bridge.  I was sweating trying to calm her down and carry her across this bridge.  Once Nora finally calmed down Evan started to cry.  I can't even remember why he cried, but I am sure it was completely justified.  Haha!
Then we had to walk another 1.2miles back to the car and Evan kept throwing a fit, because he wanted to be carried.  We were pushing an empty stroller, because Nora was walking, so we refused to carry him.  He refused to sit in the stroller the entire time and kept crying…..it made for a loooong 1.2mile walk back.

Scott had booked a night at the Cologne Hilton and the kids were supposed to stay with my mom.  I was not feeling well that day, so our plans changed and Scott took Hannah and Evan on an overnight date in the city
The kids always love a hotel stay and going out to eat.
This is the dessert they ordered
My mom was letting Nora make her own hot chocolate for breakfast.  My mom got distracted for a few moments and left Nora by herself.  These are the results.
Her chocolate milk was more like chocolate pudding
Of course she was happy as could be…..messy hair don't care

The next day was New Years Eve and we went on another day trip.  We visited a Nature park/path.  This place was really nice, but would also be much better in the Spring or Summer when you can see more animals.  The kids still had a great time.  We climbed this tower and had fantastic views.  
After that we walked on a path above the tree line through the woods.  You have a completely different perspective from there.  They had several interactive stations along this path to learn about animals and the environment.  Then we played on the nature playground until our fingers and toes were completely frozen.

We spent New Years Eve at my parents house and did a taco bar, played lots of games and watched "Dinner for One" (its a German tradition).  This was Hannah's first time watching it and she thought it was quite funny.  All of the kids made it up until midnight and we went outside to watch the fireworks. Everybody shoots of fireworks on New Years in Germany.  Nora did not like the fireworks and Hannah is not a huge fan.  Scott took Nora back inside and Oma followed with Hannah a little while later.  Evan on the other hand was fascinated by the fireworks and loved them.  He did not know what direction to look, because they were everywhere.  Me and Evan walked down to the river to get a good view of all the fireworks.  We stayed outside until almost 1am to watch.  The grin on his face and his excitement was priceless.  It was a wonderful way for me to ring in the New Year.

On our last day in Germany we had a little bit of snow and the kids took this opportunity to make a snowman.