February Little Things

February was a month packed with lots of fun.

We kicked it off with some Superbowl fun.  Jake made a Superbowl Bingo game for the kids they filled out with Starbursts.  Any time they got a Bingo, they were able to get a load of candy to eat.

This was our very unhealthy spread...

Which this girl was totally jazzed about!

Laina had a sleepover with at her friend's and I got this text from my friend about the girls' afternoon:
She said one of the neighbors is an elderly gentleman who they've never seen smile or be incredibly warm.  My friend was a little hesitant to have the girls stop at his place, but she said he smiled hugely and was so touched by their thoughtfulness.  These girls are world changers, I tell you.  We ended up taking Sophia with us to watch Cole play basketball that morning.  I love how they always hold hands anywhere they go.

Hayden spent a lot of time making origami butterflies and decorating them beautifully to hang above her bed.

I check on the kids each night still before I head to bed myself, and this particular night, my breath was taken away by this guy.  I see this amazing young man he's becoming and my baby boy who made me a mama all at once.

We watched that amazing kid play a lot of basketball this month with an amazing coach and team.  This is one sport I can never tire of watching, and Cole's season did not disappoint.

We did a special Valentine's hairstyle for school...

And that face of that little love bug makes me smile so much!

This one does too, all dressed in her red for the day!

The weather has been unseasonably warm for Wisconsin winters....well, unseasonably warm for anything that contains the word winter!  We got up to the 70s and these kids were so grateful to get to be outside on the trampoline sans jackets!

The weather had us outside a ton, and we all LOVED getting that fresh air.  Maurah is thinking about playing softball this spring, so she was all about playing catch.

Our friends have been watching the kids after school on Tuesdays and I got a text saying they were just taking their babies for a walk.  I love how Maurah is crazy and Brooks looks like he is wondering what's going on!  ;)

We went back to our daily charts which helps us get ourselves organized around here.  I get away from doing these so often, but am always so glad when we get back on track.  The kids don't typically mind doing their jobs when it's laid out like this and it helps us keep up with all things house and home.

The kids have to do 30 minutes of reading to mark off of their charts, and I love hearing this little lady read with all of her inflections.

Hayden helped me make cheesy bread for dinner one night...it's so fun to have the kids getting older and able to truly help more, making the work more fun for us all!

Maurah has been working hard at ballet and I LOVE that this experience has reunited her with a great friend who started at a new school this year.

Cole had a friend over and the boys went to town with their bball skills.

This guy is just the sweetest and I'm so thankful for his friendship to Cole.

Maurah and Hayden had a friend over too and the girls set away promptly getting their nails beautified.

The kids made personal pizzas which is what I did almost all of the time that I spent the night at my best friend's house growing up.  These guys were amazing little chefs!


Laina still amazes me with the things she comes up with to create.  This was her little mural she made for her friend who had been away from school for a few days:

We went costume shopping for the kids' musical (posted HERE) and Cole proceeded to scare the bejeebers out of me with this:

This was during Laina's sleepover so it ended up being a really fun date with these older three.  After all of our running errands, a visit for froyo was a must!

This was definitely a great way to wrap up this month!

January Little Things

January is always the month where I fall behind on record keeping.  I'm not sure if it's because the fall months are so busy with all of the holidays and January brings a "hush" that we're all ready for, but it's definitely quiet on this side of my camera as well.  Still, we had some fun things happen that I want to be sure to remember.

Laina has grown very attached to the babydoll I grew up with.  This is big for us because our girls never really played "house" as of yet.  However, they're really getting into this imaginative play this year.  My parents got Laina a stroller as one of her gifts for Christmas and she pushes it around like the proud little mama she is!  :)

We've been doing a lot of bird-watching because these guys are the most colorful thing we've had this month!  We love cardinals and talk about my grandma all of the time as we watch them because they've always been her absolute favorite.  This cardinal is the one who has stolen the show this year though - we noticed that one side is red like a typical male, but the other side of the cardinal is brown, just like a female.  Thanks to Google, we found out that these birds are called Gyandromorphs - something happens to the egg that makes the bird equally male and female!

You can more easily see the color distinction here:

We learned that gyandromorphs have a call, but no other birds respond to it, which made us very sad.  We decided this bird must be lonely, so we make sure to fill our feeders to the brim to keep it coming back!  We found out they're incredibly rare, so we think it quite special that this beauty chooses to come to our little feeder!

We headed back to the pediatric opthalmalogist to check Laina's eyes.  This is the third surgeon we've seen and we're still not done.  She's already had two surgeries on her eyes and there may be another in the near future.  The fear is that her eyes still aren't working together and now it's causing problems for her at school.  If her eyes continue to work separately, one eye could lose its vision.  The activity she's doing here focuses on her depth perception where she points to a butterfly's position with her 3-D glasses.  This was the first appointment she struggled to do this, saying "I don't know" for many of the pictures.

From this appointment, we were referred to "the best" surgeon in Madison where she will be evaluated.  He is incredibly difficult to get an appointment with, so we were initially scheduled for an appointment in the late fall of this year.  However, after reviewing her file, the office called and she has an appointment in April.  I am so grateful we are getting her in and can hopefully get the answers we need sooner rather than later.  She is such a trooper.

These guys were troopers this day too.  Short is never a word to describe Laina's eye appointments!  This was the first appointment I had all of the kids with me, but they kept themselves busy with knitting, coloring and "capping" a marker.

 Maurah and I played around with new hairstyles...

While Laina added some new selfies to my phone...

We started Cole's basketball season at the YMCA with his incredible coach and team...

Maurah and Hayden learned how to play chess and pulled out our board any free moment they had...

The girls received a "bride's" dress from my parents.  The headpiece I wore from my wedding was out, so Laina was excited to put the full outfit together...

Winter means snuggly movie nights in this family...

 Cole had his first band concert.  The kids did great!

Check out this handsome trumpet player...

We celebrated after with custard...

I have a leadership class this semester and one of our assignments included listing struggles that school leaders are saying they are facing.  The list is really quite overwhelming and I'm sure it doesn't cover everything...

However, we walked into another class that afternoon and this quote was the first thing we were faced with.  It definitely gave us fuel to be the ones who make some changes to that overwhelming list above.  It reminded me that I have more power than I think, and that can be wielded in my classroom in some pretty meaningful ways:

Finally, Laina had an epic last week of January with her book club...

And with losing her tooth!  She always writes the Tooth Fairy letters and that fairy is the sweetest and writes Laina back!  I loved this interaction between the two of them:

And for January - that's a wrap!

A New Spark

June also brought with it a somewhat new adventure for Maurah.  She joined MainStage Academy of Dance in the winter and showcased her work t...