Friday, October 30, 2015

Pumpkin Carving Party

Our neighbors have a play street permit, so every Thursday the street can be closed off for our own personal block party.  Tonight it was shut down for a pumpkin carving party.  We love our neighbors -- we feel like we have found our people and love our community.

This is the first year that Maeve really invested in the pumpkin carving... she also drew the faces on the pumpkins.  I appreciated the classic approach :-)

The final product.. 

The requisite Maeve and pumpkin photo.

Maeve is super excited about Halloween.  Six is a fantastic age -- the energy and excitement around everything is infectious.  Bring it.


I just love all these pictures -- they just tell a bit of the story of who Maeve is.  It shows her personality and her sense of style.  Though she blatantly ignores me half the time (I swear I am Charlie Brown's teacher to her), she is so much fun and funny.  Ha.  I love watching her with her friends --as she is in her element and is often dancing, or shaking her hips... she is always excited about a plan and loves being part of a posse.

I hope she always finds joy in life and is her own person...

Kitty Waxing..

Its hard to be Ollie sometimes...

Hair (and Fashion)

We booked another appointment for a haircut and style a few weeks ago.  Hair is often difficult -- neither of our best comes out during some hair sessions, and I've decided I just need to bring Maeve to get her hair done more often.  She has a really tender head and complains a lot if she has tangles or gets her hair pulled, so to straighten her hair from root to tip by the hair dryer brush really hurts, despite all the time I spend in preparation for the appointment making sure her hair is detangled.  

The last time we came to the salon was in December and we were in the chair 3-4 hours.  This session Maeve was crying again and the salon owner decided that it was a bit too much and ended our session after the haircut.  I know Maeve has a tender head, but I think she has some anxiety about going, which amps things up.  We just need to go more often so that she gets used to it.  So, we have two more sessions booked for November and December.  We'll see.

Here are pictures of her at the salon with all her hair.  She has such beautiful hair and it hurt my heart to hear her say that she didn't want her hair because it hurt :-(.  On the flip side, so many people compliment her hair that I know that she is proud at the same time.  Hopefully the pride will continue to outweigh the hard things that come with maintaining her beautiful hair.

Poor girl was so exhausted that she just flopped over on the drive home 

When you have big beautiful hair, you need to go out and take pictures, right?

Even though that day was hard and I wanted to cry when they ended our session, the positive was that we managed to cut 5 inches off Maeve's hair.  She has a TON of hair, and it has been getting harder and harder to manage.  Her hair would just tangle instantaneously.  With her shorter hair we decided to put "magic puffs" in (mostly because neither of us had the energy to endure any major hair style that day).  Typically she dreads almost right away, but not now, thankfully.  Happily we just do a major detangle every week and she keeps requesting magic puffs.  We're both pretty happy about it.  Rock your big beautiful hair, Maeve.  Clearly she is a rockstar :-).

Tooth Fairy

Mark the date -- September 19, 2015, Maeve lost her first tooth.  Ewww... this whole phase of wobbly teeth and crazy mouths with wonky teeth is not my favorite.  I guess I better get over it... there are a lot more teeth departing that mouth in the near future.

So, after a soccer game, the kids were all wrestling -- Maeve said that her friend was doing the "Tickle Monster" and then her tooth just came out.  She was SO excited.  I'm not sure that correctly represents her feelings though... elated, overjoyed, gleeful?  Take your pick.  She finally joined the club that she was so desperate to join all year long.  I get a status update all the time of her friends who are losing teeth, how many teeth they have lost, and how they have lost them.  

Showing off her loot that she got from the Tooth Fairy

Now I realize now that I should have had Maeve wash her face before I took this picture, but it shows that she has shark teeth now -- her baby tooth in front while her adult tooth grows in behind.  Gross.

Sleepover Party!

So, we celebrated the return to school with a bit of a sleepover party.  Maeve is a sleepover junkie.  Asks for sleepovers all the time.  Loves to go to sleepovers.  Thinks there should be a sleepover every weekend.  So, since we're not sleepover rookies we just started inviting kid after kid.  These girls hang out at school all the time and all of them, except one, go to the same after-school care.  How hard could it be?

Well... it wasn't really hard, except getting only 2-3 kids asleep is different than getting 5 kids to sleep.  What I normally do at the hard line is just go in Maeve's room, tell them to go to sleep, and lay down for a minute with them and it works every time.  They just need to stop their bodies.  Well, with 5 kids there was fake snoring, and fake log rolls, arms flopping around, and giggling that would set the crew off again.  10pm they all fell asleep.  5:30am I heard a couple of kids awake.  Ummm, hell no.  I bolt out of bed, give them the look and told them it was not time to wake up.  That earned me 45 mins extra quiet and they were all up at 6:15am getting out all the musical instruments ready for a morning parade.  


Well, we all survived and the request for sleepovers continues as strong as ever...

Grade 1

Because there was a teacher strike at the start of the school year, all the parents were scrambling to figure out child care for their kids.  Maeve spent one day at work with me, but then split her time at day camp and then Gran came to the rescue -- Gran Camp.  It was great and really, we were spared a longer strike then I think I was dreading.  Go teachers - I'm glad they finally paid you.  We all survived 6 days.

Maeve at work with me.  I wish she would learn how to relax -- she's so uptight all the time.  Ha

Woot Woot... here's to another great year! 

Maeve and I are both thrilled by what teacher she was assigned this year.  Maeve talks about him all the time and he really inspires her learning.  Happy child.  Happy mom. 

It also helps that Maeve has several good friends in her class too 

Maeve loves to hug.  Can you tell?  How lucky that Maeve has so many great friends at her school.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Another fall, another season of soccer.  It is night and day this year from last.  Now, I'm not saying that Maeve is being scouted and a top player, but you know what -- she's in there, kicking the ball and actively involved.  Last year she pretty much avoided the soccer ball.  She does have one area that needs improving is whenever the other team gets the ball, she immediately turns her back and books it for the net... trying to protect it, instead of trying to get the ball away from them.  Ha ha.  I don't care.  The rule is that she needs to try hard and have fun.  I'd say that was achieved this year.  Of course it helps that she knew many of the players and coaches from last year, and two of her really good friends were on her team too.  There were some reminders that hugging was not appropriate during games.  Ha.


Girl power... representing 

Buds on and off the soccer field 

Obviously early in the season with the nice weather -- heading to the brewery post game was necessary :-) 

And we did manage an absolutely soggy game day.  It was super fun, despite water running down my back (while holding an umbrella).  

Go Red Hot Tigers... tomorrow is the last game.  It was a great season.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Marathon Post...

Its hard to remember all the tidbits that make a time frame its own, but here are some of the things that we did during the Spring and Summer that we haven't managed to capture yet.  If you're interested in reading it, you may want to find yourself a refreshing drink and a comfortable place to sit.

Easter.  We were at Todd and Stacy's this year for Easter, and therefore we did all the egg dying and Easter egg hunts there with Taryn and Kate.  To say Maeve loves her cousins is an understatement.  How lucky is she that they spend real time with her.  It was also pretty awesome to see the 16 year old and 14 year old be ruthless in the Easter egg hunt and the 5 year old just try and keep up.  Ha.

T-ball.  Its funny how your own kid keeps surprising you in a way you don't expect.  And, I don't know why I'm surprised because its not like Maeve's reaction to a new thing has altered from previous experiences.  So, when we showed up for T-ball on the first practice, Maeve was having none of it.  No way was she going to participate.  Thankfully the coaches recognized a little person that needed to be coaxed, and just took her aside and worked with her 1:1 for a bit until she realized that she liked T-ball.  Maeve is such a social kid and once she buys into something, she's all in... which is why I am shocked every time she turns into a clingy, stubborn (well, that's not entirely new) child with the unknown.  Long story short, it took one practice and she was in.  She followed another little girl around and they were BFF's for the rest of the season.  Maeve claimed that she was 'awesome' at T-ball and realized this sport was totally her speed.  She didn't have to run all the time, unlike soccer, and she was able to pick flowers every now and then in the outfield.  ha ha.  It was great to watch her be confident in this newfound sport, and loving it throughout its season.

The Arts.  Maeve loved choir all last year.  She's always singing and dancing at home.  She's not necessarily a solo performer -- she gets shy at the thought of all eyes on her, but she definitely enjoys the ensemble performances.  Here are some moments getting to the event,  and and then performing at the spring concert.

And moving onto the piano.  Strangely, Maeve is okay with participating in piano recitals.  Here was the Spring recital. I was so proud of her.  I just want Maeve to enjoy playing the piano as she's pretty musical, and I think we're succeeding... mostly.  We do have our frustrating practice moments where there's some complaining and flopping down on the bench.  But, once she perseveres and works out a difficult spot, she's proud.

Good buddies post recital...

And, then Maeve was able to participate in this multi-weekend musical kids class.  Maeve had her first part with lines, and then they had singing and choreography also.  It was cute.

There's "Glub Glub, the evil fish"  She looks intimidating, doesn't she?

Biking.  It was bike to school month in May.  That was going to the be the month that she
would learn to ride on two wheels and ditch those training wheels for good.  Well, we made a valiant effort to no avail.  She was simply too nervous to commit to riding faster than 1 MPH, which makes it difficult to get the momentum you need to actually stay upright.  But, we did bike or balance bike to school most days in May, which collectively had her riding her bike more and more. And, slowly, but surely, we were building that confidence up.  Let me tell you.. my best did not come out trying to teach Maeve, and in turn, Maeve's best didn't come out in trying to learn.  Someone doesn't enjoy feeling frustrated.  I get it.  But, I see how life may be like in about 8 years.  Ha.

Methow/Rock Climbing.  We spent an amazing weekend away at the Methow with Kathleen's family.  I had agreed to be a part of their relay race (weakest link... for sure), which was only sort of fun, but the scenery was amazing, so that helped.  Ha  Their property was a kid haven.  Endless exploring, zip line, and tree fort.  We even managed to do some bonafide rock climbing.  I was proud of Maeve for trying... she didn't climb too far as she was a bit nervous about it all, but she did it.  Step one.  And, she looked awfully cute doing it.

Smile, Maeve. 

Jungle Gym.  Maeve has never been the adventurous dare devil on the playground.  She plays just fine, but doesn't necessarily take risks.  Its been fun to watch her expand her skills on the playground and bar.  Now, I say this with a healthy amount of realization that there are some kids doing crazy things on the playground, and killing it at the monkey bars... I'm just happy that Maeve is giving things a try and keeps at it.  She is jump roping now, flipping around... not really sure how those monkey bars are -- I mean, that's a lot of hard work and upper body strength.  Ha.

Last day of Kindergarten.  I kid you not, the fastest year ever.  It seemed that September to June went twice as fast as its ever gone before.  Maeve did so great this year.  She has learned so much, and made some great friends.  She had a great teacher and she remained excited to go to school all year.  Summer was great, but lasted a very long time.  I can't believe that I was saying by end of August that I was ready for school to start back up, but I was.

Ontario.  This was the first summer I had to deal with summer holidays and figure out what to do with the wee one.  Maeve was kindly invited to join Todd and Stacy and the girls on their annual holiday to Ontario to meet up with their friends and stay in cabins on a lake.  How perfect.  This is what I think of for summer holidays -- roaming about with the freedom to play.  I felt badly that she had to go to so many camps throughout the summer, so I jumped at the opportunity to say 'yes'.  They took Maeve for 10 nights -- Maeve was a bit nervous about going so long, even though she wanted to play with her cousins.  Thank goodness for FaceTime as we just got into a nightly ritual that I would chat with her right before bed and she seemed to do okay.  She had great days and then would just be sad at night sometimes.

She was able to celebrate Canada Day in true fashion with the gang and roamed about with the pack of kids.  Maeve was the youngest child there, but was always wanting to be a part of everything, I was told.  She did come back acting more like a sixteen year old, but that comes naturally to her anyway -- hard to blame the cousins, but I'll go ahead and do that anyway.  Ha.

She learned some valuable things on this trip.  Don't disrespect your older cousin otherwise you get thrown in the lake.  Life lesson.  She also was a maniac tuber and kept up with all the big kids and belly laughing the whole way.  She learned how to water ski on this trip!  Proud mommy moment.  Leath so kindly spend time with all the kids helping them learn to water ski -- and Melanie and Stacy were in the water with her and helped get her up.  She was pretty proud of herself, but was walking around acting like it was no big deal, apparently.  Ha.

East Lake/Sun River, OR.  We managed to escape for a week with our great friends down to Oregon.  We spent 3 nights camping at East Lake near Bend and then spent 3 nights at Sun River.  One thing I failed to research was the altitude we'd be camping.  The days were warm and the lake was beautiful.  The nights were a bit chilly hanging out at 6400 feet.  I may have failed to really bring any warm clothes... and our sleeping bags have lost a few down feathers over the years.  We survived, but I think I've learned my lesson.  Ha.  The area was beautiful and we explored the volcanoes and hikes nearby. The kids got along great and only started bickering on the last night -- so a perfectly planned trip.  CJ, Lance, Pax, and Beck are extremely easy to travel with and I'm so glad the trip went as well as it did.

Summer Highlights.  Maeve spent 8/13.5 weeks (there was a teacher's strike at the start of the year, extending our summer by 6 school days) in summer camps.  I am so fortunate to have a job now that provides me the flexibility that I want, and a boss and team that support me in having a quality family life.  As a result, I would drop Maeve at day camp at 9am, work, and then pick her up at 3pm.  We would play until bedtime (which seemed to get later and later as the summer wore on), and then I would work 2-3 hours at night from home.  I can tell you that I lost stamina by the end of the summer and was exhausted by working every night, but I won't complain since it is exactly what I wanted...  I am, however, thrilled that school is back on.  The most fantastic thing about this schedule was how much time I was able to spend with Maeve.  It was great.  Here are some of the random things that happened over the course of the summer:
We went to a Mariners game -- it was actually super fun since Maeve generally knew what was going on from playing T-ball.

It was Field Day at school, which equaled, 'crazy hair day' (one of my least favorite spirit days), games, and face paint at school, to end the year. 

Todd, Stacy, and the girls came down for a weekend, and we decided to all kayak around Lake Union on a beautiful summer day. 

Make work summer fun -- washing the car 

We've made great friends with our neighbors one street away... so we spend many evenings in the front lawn having our happy hour drinks and often pulling out the BBQ. 

 Spending time at our local beach and doing stomp rockets

Being a tourist in our own city -- heading to the top of the Space Needle 

 Summer treats

 Why wouldn't you wear your pj bottoms on your head and shirt on your bottom?  

Spray park -- it was a hot summer 

Girls night out 

Mini golf 

Birthday Happy hour with my co-workers 

 Vancouver fireworks - Visiting Dad, Lynn and Auntie Doreen

Gymnastics Camp 

 A weekend on Herron Island -- it was so fun

Our annual Fundango weekend in Bellingham with great friends (and more tubing). 

Evening boat rides and swimming on Lake Union and Lake Washington.

Island Hopping.  Our last week of summer (or at least it was supposed to be without the teacher strike) we ventured over to Vancouver Island for Ethiopian Heritage Camp, Qualicum Beach to visit my mom and Jamie, and then onto Crane Island in the San Juan Islands for a girls weekend.  It was amazing.

We got up early in the morning and caught the Ferry to Sidney to participate in E-Camp for the weekend.  I just happened to stumble upon this Ethiopian Heritage Camp as I was looking for something that we could potential attend next summer.  Well, to my happy surprise, I found one close to home on the week that we were already planning on being on Vancouver Island.  It was meant to be, and we even convinced some of our friends to attend too.

It was amazing.  I just felt so happy watching Maeve be proud to be Ethiopian.  She easily got into the swing of things and was roaming freely with the kids in the camp.  It was a safe setting, so a lot of the time the kids played and the adults gathered to chat amongst ourselves.  There was lots of free time, games, Ethiopian food each night, a cultural night with talent show.  It was just really really fun and relaxing.  We definitely plan on returning again next year.

The next part of our journey was making our way to Qualicum Beach, where my mom and Jamie just moved.  It was sort of rainy and stormy much of the time, but it was kind of a nice change of pace for the end of a hot summer.  We ended up hanging out lots, playing games, and generally vegging.  Toddy, Stacy, and the girls came over also. 

The big exciting event of the summer took place while we were at Qualicum Beach -- Maeve learned how to ride her bike without training wheels!  Woot woot!  My mom and Jamie live on the perfect street -- wide and flat, and then they had a adjacent street that had just the slightest hill.  We were practicing just coasting down and then Taryn told her to put her feet on the pedals, and she just took off riding.  Miracles do exist.  Of course Maeve gives all the credit to Taryn for teaching her how to ride a bike.  Fine.  Whatever.  At least she's riding.

All summer long Maeve's been promised ice cream for when she learned how to ride her bike.  We had ice cream! 

And then on to our final island adventure.  We took the ferry from Sidney to Anacortes, ditched our car and walked onto the Orcas Island ferry.  Waiting for us on the other side was Erin in her whaler to whisk us away to their place on Crane Island.  It was absolutely spectacular.  We had a girls weekend -- we have a special friendship with Erin and Sela, plus Anna and Lucy.  All three girls were born within 2 months of each other in Ethiopia, and we are all single mom's who only live 5 miles away from each other.  The girls love each other and I'm so thankful we have formed this friendship.

We lived it up this weekend eating crab, crab, and more crab.  We went crabbing every day, explored the island, hung out with their neighbors, and the kids got driving lessons.  We were out on the water a lot and I love it when I am reminded what a beautiful place we live in.  We are lucky.

And, I am going to end it here for now...  Phew.