One thing about Lela is that she makes me be a better mother. The way she does this is by being smarter than her age, growing faster than her age, going through preteen changes before she is a preteen and above all else being a lot like me. By the time Piper is ready to go through some change I have had time to figure things out and I am a little more prepared
Well after what might have been the most wonderful December on record we are back to “school.” The new year brought some exciting new opportunities for us including ice skating lessons and a homeschool coop.
First of all, ice skating lessons. The girls really love ice skating at the Princess Hotel in Scottsdale. I mean who wouldn’t, skating outside to lively music in the Arizona sun followed by hot cider. I mean even I love it:) Enter Santa and his gift of ice skating. We are taking lessons at the Ice Den in Chandler, AZ and let me tell you it is like Antartica in that place, freaking brrrrrr. I am not sure if it is the extreme cold or what but the love of ice skating is waning, lol! Not a bad thing in my opinion:) Anyway we have six weeks of lessons and Lela is really taken with it, the others not as much. Phoebe is doing great though and really getting the hang of it. If nothing else they will be more confident next year for our ice skating adventures and ice skating is always something we will be able to pull out of the activity box in the hot Arizona summers.
Today was our first day at the homeschool coop. This is pretty cool, set up by a group of moms to provide one day a week of school like activities. They don’t focus on the math, science etc. but more on the extracurricular and social aspects that school provides. Lela is taking a portraits class where she is learning to draw the face, as well as chess. Piper and Landis are taking an American Girl book club class and a lego class. Phoebe is in a class called Young Adventurers where they do role playing and crafts geared towards 4-6 year olds. Again in this scenario Lela fared the best taking two classes with very mild mannered and quiet children (something all of mine can identify with). Piper and Landis enjoyed the book club but the Lego club was a little out of their comfort zone. Phoebe did okay the first hour but the second hour was a bit of a stretch for her. I am volunteering in the Young Adventurers the first hour and in the Chess class the second hour. It is good for us all to get out of our comfort zones. It was a little loud and rowdy at some points but overall it was pretty cool.
I’m pretty sure I start every post by saying, “I can’t believe it, but…” This one is no different… I can’t believe it, but Piper and Lela are 10!! These little girls:
are 10 years old! (This picture is from 2008 and their grandparents’ home in Schertz, TX). We, of course, had a great time celebrating their birthday… we visited both sets of grandparents and in between had an awesome scavenger hunt that involved a custom-made iOS app on the iPad that ultimately led the girls to their acceptance letters from Hogwarts academy in May, 2015. That means we’re gearing up for a trip to Orlando to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
All that aside, though, back to the picture. I love this picture for a ton of reasons… one, of course, being that the girls just look so darn cute and happy in it. But here are some other things that strike me:
- Piper is holding Reba, who is still with us today and her bed-buddy every night
- Lela has a mosquito bite right in the middle of her forehead. Mosquitos still love her to death, and it just reminds me of Texas
- You can barely see it but Piper has a bandaid on her thumb. I forget exactly what happened, but for some reason it triggers memories of her an her little scrapes and bumps and how she seems to have had bandaids on her fairly often (since they have magical healing powers for children)
- Lela’s in the background, but has a sly look on her face like she’s up to something. Something clever and sneaky… that look continues to this very day
- Piper is excited about something… not sure what, but she is darn happy and it shows. What a happy little face she has and her hair is so cute (and possibly short for a reason — I can’t remember if this is the trip where some gum got in her hair?)
- Lela’s hair is all-Texas’d out. Crazy hair just barely kept from going total crazy by a single barrette.
I also love this picture because I remember taking it (and a ton of others) and just having a great time exploring that backyard with them.
Once again, I feel incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful family.
Happy Birthday, Piper.
Happy Birthday, Lela.
Love you both and can’t wait to see what comes next.
Everyone knows I have a major bookworm. She will read me out of books faster than I can buy them and send me to the poor house in the process. So we do a lot of library trips, borrowing from friends and bargain shopping. If I am in a different part of town I will hit up Savers or Goodwill and pick through their books and I get some sweet deals. Today I was on such a quest. I found myself around Indian School and 16th street and took Landis and Phoebe with me to Goodwill after dropping Lela and Piper at science class.
We looked through the books and didn’t find anything and then Phoebe wanted to look at the adult women’s shoes so we just trolled around the store a bit and headed to the door empty handed. There was a police officer at the door that I didn’t pay any attention to, there are always more police around this part of town and I figured they were looking for someone. On the way out the door Landis looks up at her with her big brown eyes and waves. We left and there were more police outside and a big red van. Again I assume they are looking for someone and we keep walking. Then next thing I know that same police officer from inside strolls up behind us and asks the girls if they want a toy. I play nice and say to the girls excitedly, “wow, isn’t that cool!” Thinking we are about to get a police sticker or key chain (there is a fireman who is always in our Starbucks handing out trinkets to the kids, which was my frame of reference). Next thing I know she opens her trunk and it is filled with toys, real toys like Barbies, stuffed animals, trucks etc. She gives Landis this 3 foot tall black teddy bear and Phoebe gets a 3 foot tall stuffed monkey. I say, “wow that is so cool (again!)” to the girls and encourage them to say thank you.
By now there is a crowd, someone taking photographs and a bunch of people in Santa hats around us. Awkward! So I thank the officers and the girls are hugging their stuffed animals and this guy walks up to me in a red shirt and a santa hat and tells me that he wants these precious little girls to have a Merry Christmas. I assure him that they will indeed have a Merry Christmas and then he tries to hand me MONEY! I say no please no, no thank you. But he keeps insisting and there are all these people and photographers and it is so SURREAL! So I take the money and I am kidding you not this guy gives me two 100 dollar bills! OMFG! I felt so horrible for taking the money (even though I did my damnedest to give it back several times). I thanked them all profusely and towed my little cherubs with their 3 foot stuffed animals to my minivan. I was freaking out. I could not believe it and I felt so guilty because someone more deserving should have gotten that money.
Now we are big pay it forward people and doing random good people so we do our share of random giving. We talked about it the other day and how we feel like the more you do for others the more that comes back to you. But seriously this was ridiculous!
I called Jason and he talked me off the ledge after laughing hysterically for 5 minutes, we were both floored. That $200 is going directly to the Policeman’s fund via the donation site with GoDaddy who will match the $200. So we are turning the $200 to $400 and in the end the police can help more folks so I feel okay about that. Landis and I were sure to do extra good deeds all day whenever the opportunity arose. She was happy to be handing out money to all the homeless people we saw through her window.
We had a super busy Saturday, not my favorite type of day! In an unusual turn of events we had Winter Faire, a gymnastics recital and a friends choir concert all on the same day. It was a fun day but too busy for my taste;)
First off Winter Faire
The girls had fun shopping for presents, riding horses, making candles and visiting friends.
Then we had some lunch and headed home to get ready for the gymnastics recital. I was proud that the girls decided to participate in the recital but they were all anxious. In the end they had fun and did great. Piper and Phoebe gave it two thumbs up, Landis gave only a half thumbs up.
After the recital we came home and ate dinner and the big girls and I headed out to see their friend in her choir concert.
I was glad to get home and in bed! The big girls are in the other room right now singing carols and wrapping their packages. Here is to a restful Sunday.
Okay so I may be exaggerating a touch but it was a darn fine day!! I got up and worked out and hen came home and roused the troops. We headed out with the dogs for a bike ride and walk that included some time at the park.
When we got home Jason and I enjoyed a coffee in the front porch while the girls played. Then I bathed the children and got them all spit shined for dinner. We enjoyed the private dining room at Maravilla (where Grandpa Jack and Grammie Kathie live) complete with wine, a buffet and delicious desserts.
We digested our food while spending time back with family. We came home and managed not to fall asleep in the way. The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing and reading. Pretty freakin’ awesome!
Our pediatrician always asks about sibling rivalry, this visit Piper actually said, “what’s that?” Haha! I think the girls are so different and used to being together that we don’t suffer from rivalry too much.
Lela is totally affected by how well Piper shoots, Piper is equally unaffected by how Lela is shooting. This should be interesting;)
It is interesting how learning happens with Landis. She is an inquisitive little soul. When she was 3 and asking lots of questions I worried that she was trying to grow up too fast. Now that she is 7 and still asking tons of questions I am realizing that is her nature. Piper also has an inquisitive mind but she is more introverted choosing to pour over national geographic books to find her facts and figures.
The other day we were driving in the car (where a lot of learning happens) and someone asked about molecules and if they were alive. It spurred a long conversation about molecules and atoms and what was made up of what and what determined if things were alive or not. I admit I had to bust out my phone and do some wikipedia research to answer these questions but we had fun figuring it out. The conversation went off and on all day and ended up with us discussing atoms and molecules with their dad when he got home. Pretty cool, huh?
The big girls did their first archery competition this weekend. It was a pretty informal event with about 15 people participating at their archery academy. Lela was gung ho all for it from the get go but Piper was definitely not. During the class the girls shoot from 10m (meters) and for the competition they would be shooting from 20m so we decided to have one private lesson before the event.
Lela has a big fear of failure, this is also what drives her to fly under the radar at school, quietly figuring things out rather than ask a question or appear to not know something. Piper has a humungous fear of speaking in front of people, especially when asked a direct question (otherwise she is pretty darn social). Anyhoo, Lela’s fear of embarrassment translated to archery, she was afraid of the bow, she was afraid she couldn’t do it, she was afraid Piper was better, she was afraid she would get hurt. All those fears came out about halfway through the lesson, she broke down. Piper was on fire just blazing through with no fear of the bow, she had moved up to a bow taller than she was and pretty heavy (compared to the initial bow she was using).
The instructor was AMAZING in dealing with Lela, he said “no pressure, do what you want” and let it go. Then he excused himself and went to the restroom and stayed just a little long so that she could compose herself. During that time we did some positive self talk and she went out there and used that big bow and shot it like a champ. She used the rest of the lesson to get comfortable with the bow and the distance. I was so proud of her that she fought through that fear and I could see her confidence level boost in her ability, it was awesome. This is probably the first ever test of her esteem that she has faced and she did great. No flying under the radar in a private lesson!! Another note is that Lela only tries things she is good at, this eliminates failure from her life, she doesn’t do gymnastics for this very reason and she knows it. So far I am loving archery!!
On to the competition, Lela and Piper did great. They fit right in on the line and did their thing. They learned to score and did pretty good. Piper ended up getting one bullseye and that edged out Lela’s score. I could tell that Lela was getting upset that Piper was doing better, interesting because this is the first time they have gone up against each other and Piper was better, Lela’s competitive spirit was kicking in. Piper just goes and does and doesn’t think about anyone else so it doesn’t phase her in the least. In the end Piper took first and Lela second. Once Lela realized she was getting a ribbon too she was over the moon, her love language is gifts so the ribbon was a big deal. When Lela got home and got ready for bed she actually pinned her ribbon on her shirt, another sign of how important it was to her. After the competition on the ride home the bigs chatted and laughed about the competition, they really had fun.