Friday, November 3, 2017

Happy Halloween!

Halloween has never felt like such a blur before! But with both kids in school, having parties, a parade AND the main event of trick or treating that night, it was a VERY full day!

Cassidy was excited to dress up as Belle in a REAL Belle dress. Thank you Beema, for Cassidy's REAL Belle dress. It was absolute perfection!

The dress went on first thing in the morning and didn't come off all day.

First up was the preschool class party. No duplicate costumes and a whole lot of cuteness!

Cassidy "talked to" me on the way to school as she knew I was coming in for the party and she instructed me "not to sing, not to dance, not to clap" at song time. What?! I'm already embarassing you, kid? When song time came, I stood there and chatted with some other moms. Cassidy took that moment to REMIND ME in front of the whole class that I was not to sing or clap or dance. We discussed that later. #TooFarGirly

Overall, it was so fun to see Cassidy in her school routine! She's very obedient and listens to directions well!

She loves projects! A LOT!

And has been talking about this doll house for several weeks. She showed it to me before I left!

After a couple hour break from fun, we went over to Troy's school, brought him his costume and watched him in the Storybook Parade outside his school. Part of me leading up to this event was like "WHY do we have another thing to add to the Halloween frenzy!?" And then once it actually began, I melted into a pile of Mommy and fell in love with my kid and this town even more. Sigh. Such is life. 

Afterwards, we returned to the classroom for Troy's class party. Cass, as always, was delighted to be included in the snack and crafts.

Fast forward a couple of hours and through my Body Pump class, and we were back home to trick or treat. We had this giraffe head passed along to us from my brother and well, let's just say it added a whole new layer of fun to Halloween AKA Mike's new favorite holiday.

We trick or treated around the neighborhood with neighbor Josh before Troy met up with friends Nick and Cal. 

Not knowing what was happening back at our house, we arrived to this creepy scene. Giraffe on porch with candy. Poor kids of the neighborhood LOL. I couldn't stop laughing.

Troy wrote this during a writing exercise on Halloween at school. "I like my Halloween costume. I will wear a T Rex costume. It is scary."

And he is journaling on his own quite a bit before bed these days, too. This is what he wrote while I put Cass to bed that night. "Today I got candy. LOTS of it. It was Halloween."

First Fire

The plan was to have a fire OUTSIDE over the weekend. But, alas, it was practically arctic out there. So we opted for an inside fire instead. I LOVE our fireplace. And I predict it will get lots of use this year :) 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Troy is Baptized

Troy has been asking to be baptized for about two years now. Every time it comes up at church, he asks when he can get baptized. We kept waiting a little bit to make sure he was old enough to really understand it, and when it came up this fall, we realized he absolutely was wanting to do it for the right reasons. So proud of this guy and the life he lives for Jesus!

He wasn't phased at all by sharing his testimony in front of 1000+ people. Here he is:

He chose our friend and pastor, Leah (who oversaw the Mahomet Vineyard the last couple years before we moved back to Urbana) and Daddy to baptize him. Cassidy and I, Gramma and Grampa and several other friends including our neighbors Bonnie, Jack and Haken joined us, too. 

Video from the Vineyard is below. Look for Troy's testimony around the 4:00 mark and baptism around 11:45.

Afterwards, we went out to Cracker Barrel. Troy's choice. Because "they have toys, they have games while you wait, and there's something for EVERYONE!" Troy said. 

And then we enjoyed a few hours back at the house with Gramma and Grampa afterwards!

Haunted Hayrack Ride

Mike asked earlier this fall how long until he and Troy could go to a haunted house. I had no idea, but I said I wished we had something like the "haunted forest" we had near our home in Chicago growing up. I remembered it being a little scary, but not too scary for this scaredy-cat (who never went to a "real" haunted house.... haunts just aren't my thing!)

Then, I fell upon this haunted hayrack ride at a campsite fifteen minutes outside of Mahomet! It sounded like a good fit for my boys so off they went on a freezing cold night for October! It got a two thumbs up from Troy as he said, "I didn't pee my pants mom!" Well thank goodness.

Parent Teacher Conferences

Now over two months into the school year, we had our first parent teacher conference of first grade. The 20 minute session included Troy's teacher, Mrs. Snow, just gushing over how much she loves having him in her class. Not sure when I'll go to a parent teacher conference that doesn't make my eyes well up with tears as I listen to what the teacher says about my child :)

One of the things she showed us was this project. A picture of Troy on the school playground (that really captures his personality well), his self portrait of himself (he looks like a superhero to me!) and two short sentences. The second was supposed to be about one thing he likes. He wrote his sister. #ComeOn #MommyMelt

Preschool Photo

Cassidy's preschool photo came home and I'm in love with it!

Goodbye, Transform

When I became a group fitness instructor two years ago, I had exactly no plan at all for what I would do with the certification *if* I actually passed (which I lacked confidence in believing actually was going to happen). When I received my Body Pump certification in my email inbox, it was time to figure out a plan! We had just moved out to Mahomet and I knew we had a studio in town that offered Body Pump, so I reached out to the owner and introduced myself. She warmly invited me in to team teach with her and offered me a spot on her schedule alternating with another new instructor (also named Aimee).

Before long, there was an opening in the early morning schedule and, despite my reservations on how I would work it logistically, I began teaching that class once a week. I *fell in love* with early morning classes at Transform, and this group of women is truly the best. God always provided a sub for me when I wasn't able to make it due to Mike traveling and I was so blessed by my time with the members and other instructors at Transform. Not only that, but that simple email to the studio owner was the beginning of a special friendship I cherish now just two years later.

My time at Transform was an absolute blessing. It's where I grew in my confidence as an instructor. And even though the studio is closed now, I know that we'll continue to see the impact of what happened at that studio in my own life and the lives of many others!

Below, a huddle with the early morning crew following my last regular Body Pump class with them in the final week of the studio.

Me, opening the studio at 5am on the day of my last class.

I had the pleasure of introducing this group to my new favorite workout, POUND, two weeks before closing. They packed the place and I had so much fun with them.

The final workout of the studio was a mash-up with several instructors on a Saturday morning. Followed by mimosas. Because #yes. I will miss this group so!

Cassidy writes her name

Much to Daddy's excitement, Cassidy was working on thank you cards for her birthday with me and after having some help a few cards in a row, she produced this with her own hands. Can't wait for our next visit to Ink 180, coming soon!

Bulldog Basketball

Bulldog Basketball came and went too quickly! Troy really wanted to keep playing. See you in basketball season, Troy! And in the meantime, how awesome that he has his own ball to practice with at home from Grampa. You can bet we'll be using it!

Cassidy thoroughly enjoyed her evenings running the field house and playing with friends while Troy played basketball. I thoroughly enjoyed two kids burning off their last bits of energy before putting them to bed each Monday!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Cassidy is Four Years Old

Here's a bit of an update on things Cassidy is up to these days for the records! Check out what she was doing a year ago by clicking here.

Personality! Cassidy is FULL of personality. Anyone who meets her will quickly realize that. I have just so much fun with her during our days at home or on the go. She's very chatty and as I remarked to Mike the other day, if you were to word count what we say back and forth all day, it would probably number even higher than any of us realize. We Oh my.

Lover of sparkles and all things colorful, Cassidy just likes the THINGS. Here she is while I'm drying my hair, just lining up all my nail polishes, just in case :) It's not that she even wanted to paint nails, she just wants to SEE them all.

She loves her brother and she LOVES working in the kitchen with me. Here we are letting Troy have a turn stirring because "you get to help me stir EVERY day, all day, Cass!"

Cassidy heard me talking about going to the grocery store one weekend morning and requested chicken noodle soup. She then "made" it and carefully watched it in the big red pot, stirring nearly constantly (yes, with a spatula, her choice LOL) after I combined it all together. She is a legitimate help in the kitchen and is VERY careful. I'm pretty sure I said the same thing last year. And the year before. Really.

Her favorite things to eat are mac and cheese, fruit (ANY fruit except blackberries or raspberries really), and string cheese. She eats *most* food I make and usually will try anything as long as Troy hasn't voiced an "eww" of disapproval before she digs in. She's pretty easy to please.

Can we have a moment to admire this girl's muscles for a second? I mean, wow Cass. She's a strong little person.

Cassidy loves watching iPad and we get a glimpse into the future of teenage Cassidy when she's in iPad mode. Like here below.

Cassidy stopped napping this past spring. BUT this fall she has been crashing multiple afternoons a week, whether it be while watching a show, snuggling with me or in the car to go get Troy from after school or something. She gets the sleep she needs when she needs it apparently.

Cassidy typically sleeps from 7pm to 630am. She will go to sleep even earlier if I take her up there early. She really prefers that I lay with her while she falls asleep because "I am so happy when you snuggle me, Mommy." She also can play for a long time if I do NOT snuggle her to sleep and put herself to bed when she's ready. She falls asleep for other people fine when I'm not there, too. I'll take the snuggles kid. Bonus when you clutch my hand while you fall asleep.

She does a great job of keeping herself busy. I joke that the "90 minute rule" is in play for Cassidy. She normally does an activity for about 90 minutes at a time, which is pretty impressive I think. If she escapes up to her room to play with toys, she's up there over an hour. If she goes into "project mode" (like with these stickers), she's normally at it for over an hour. It makes the day fly by and she's pretty easy to get along with in that regard. Don't get me wrong. Like any young kid, there is whining, there is protesting when it comes to certain things, etc. But for the bulk of most days, things move along fairly smoothly.

Cassidy is very tall for her age! Her last check-up she was definitely above the 95th percentile for height for her age. It might have been even higher. She wears size 5 or even 6 in clothes sometimes.

Cassidy is full of life! She loves her people fiercely and does everything with great gusto. Seriously. She cares about her family and friends and is very into calling people by name. When she hops out of the car at preschool, she insists on walking herself in and she normally runs up ahead to the child getting out of the car in front of her and greets them with a "hi (insert name here!" She remembers people's names well and remembers details too. Her memory is IMPRESSIVE. She is learning a lot these days (can recognize probably about half the letters of the alphabet and can count up to 29 before she gets a little lost). I can't wait to see what the coming months bring for her!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Cassidy's Four Year Old Interview

Our girl was not a huge fan of being video recorded for her "interview" this year so I just asked her the questions and jotted the answers down. Click here for Cassidy's three year old interview, and just for fun, click here for Troy's four year old interview.

What's your favorite color? Pink, purple and green
What's your favorite toy? Elsa and Anna dolls
What's your favorite thing to watch? Frozen
What's your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Corn

What's your favorite thing to wear? A dress
What's your favorite thing to play? Putting on Anna and Elsa dresses
What's your favorite project to make? Snowman

What's your favorite animal? Piggy 
What's your favorite thing to do outside? Catch butterflies
Who is your best friend? Gracie

What is your favorite thing to drink? Orange juice
What is your favorite holiday? Building a snowman
What is your favorite thing to take to bed? Lamby 
What do you want to be when you grow up? A princess
What is your favorite thing about Troy? He plays with dinosaurs
What do you love about yourself? My dresses
What do you pray about? About Jesus 
What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy? Eat ice cream
What is your favorite thing to do with Mommy? Go to the store 

Cassidy's Fourth Birthday Party

This year, Cassidy got to have her first party with friends! When asked, she listed out friends she'd like to invite to her party.. and ALL of them lived right on our block :) I love that her best buds live right out our front door.

I was NOT super prepared for this party. Nor did I come up with a super creative cake. Cass wanted a cake that "said" sparkles. Easy peasy. Sparkly sugar for the win.

Again. Not my most creative but it tasted yummy and the birthday girl was happy with it!

Belle is the favorite princess as of late and so Cass proudly wore a new Belle shirt for her party day.

Always balancing/contorting/climbing somehow!

Clearly she didn't want a pre-party posed picture in front of the cake. Clearly.

Friends began arriving! And she opened their gifts as soon as they walked in. As 3, 4 and 5 year olds tend to spill the beans with what they brought as soon as they walk in anyways. #adorable

The girls scurried upstairs with Cassidy's new toys.

And that was able to *mostly* entertain everyone until the pizza arrived one hour later than scheduled.

Some post-pizza, pre-cake running in the field out back.

And NOTHING gets a perfectly posed picture of children like the promise of cake. Left to right - Josh, Gracie, Troy, Cass, Kinley, Kaden.

Well that won't be blown up and framed. LOL.

Thanks to all Cassidy's friends who came by for the party! She was very excited all evening long and put her birthday bling (tattoos) to good use right away. It was a very fun day!