Friday, February 27, 2015

5 Things...

 5 Things I love about my 5 year old

1. His laugh is infectious.
Sawyer loves to laugh- even asking to be tickled
He is quick to laugh- you should hear some of his "jokes"

2. His love for his siblings.
Nora is his best friend and while they fight at times, most days they are inseparable
Kolter is his buddy and he is very protective of his "evil twin." Sawyer is the only one who can get Kolter to belly laugh. Sawyer just has to be silly and Kolter will giggle.

3. His sense of play.
Sawyer is always up for a game- running, board games, puzzles, a made up on the spot game, football (with kids of any age), it doesn't matter he will always be up for joining in

4. His insatiable urge to learn.
From a very young age his ability to pick-up on concepts astounded me. He knew his alphabet and could identify all of his letters by age 2. He knew all of his letter sounds by age 3. I never taught sat down with him to learn any of these things. He just picked them up through Sesame Street, reading books, etc. In recent days he is sounding out words and making up his own math problems. He doesn't need to be coerced to learn. He innately wants to learn and he soaks up his environment.

5. His sense of adventure.
Sawyer could live outside. He loves to explore. He loves to use his tools and figure out how things work. He loves to ride his bike, run around, play soccer, climb anything and everything, jump, tackle, wrestle, etc.

6. And one more too grow on…he loves to snuggle! He is a rough and tumble boy, but he requests a snuggling session at least once a day. And I'm always guaranteed a good squeeze and kiss each morning.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lamby Love

Nora has a lamby that she adores. She sleeps with it every night and nap. It is her security animal and she loves it dearly. Several weeks ago she started asking for a little lamb for lamby. She thought lamby needed a child. She was very specific about what lamby would look like. She must be white and pink with a hear nose. 

Me being the good, crafty mom kept putting her off, hoping her requests would cease. Finally after several weeks of asking I started to search for a little lamby pattern. There were several options available, but they all cost money and I wasn't willing to spend $10 on a pattern when I could buy her a mini lamby for less than $10.

Finally I found a picture of a lamb I liked and thought I could re-create. Then I found a free fox pattern so I adapted it to work for the little lamb (decreased the size to 50%, lengthened the arms and legs, and made my own pattern for the scalloped hair and ears).

Nora chose the fabrics from my stash and here is the final result...

She is not perfect, but I think she turned out cute and more importantly Nora LOVES her!

This sweet girl loves her animals well!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Nora News

I've been doing lots of posts about the boys because 1 is a baby and 1 just had a birthday. So, I thought it was time for a little Nora update. Nora has a big personality…for better or worse ;)

She can be so sweet and loving one minute and then super angry the next.

She has a wonderful imagination. Several times a day she tells me the title of her new song and proceeds to perform her very random ballads. She has also created an imaginary ballet school that rivals Sawyer's preschool…in all things. If Sawyer tells a story from school she will repeat the same story changing the characters to fit the names of people at her "pink ballet school."

She loves all things pink and sparkly, but her favorite toy is still Buzz Lightyear.

She loves to read.

She makes up stories for her stuffed animals and always has one in tow.

Lately she has been into naming everything.

She adores flowers. She wants to pick them. She wants to grow them. She wants to smell them. She wants the snow to melt so the flowers will bloom. She is obsessed.

She LOVES the men in her life…daddy, papa (all of them) and her brothers.

She loves to color and craft.

One of her love languages is most certainly gifts. She loves to receive gifts. If you give her a gift (even just a scribbled on piece of paper) she will cherish it forever. She is always asking who gave her what. A new shirt…who bought it for me? Who gave me these shoes? Mema gave us jelly at Christmas and Nora wanted to know who gave it to us. I told her Mema and she just thought that was the best gift ever and immediately wanted to call her and thank her. She is always asking me to make her things.

On the flip side when someone doesn't make something for her she becomes distraught. For example, if Sawyer colors Daddy and picture, but not Nora…that is sure to induce water works.

This girl has spunk! And she gives us so much joy!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Handmade Ornaments {Kids Krafts}

I promise this will be the final post about last year ;) Truth be told I just finished their Christmas ornaments this past weekend.

Each year I make the kids an ornament for the Christmas tree. I try to make an ornament that represents the past year. This year I had the ornament design picked out and the felt cut before Christmas, but then the progress stalled…until this past weekend.

So without further ado:

a Lego head for Sawyer: he received his 1st Lego set for his birthday in January 2014 (4th birthday) and he has been obsessed ever since. He plays with them daily during rest time. He can follow the directions to any set, no matter the age specifications. He always follows the directions the first few times he assembles a set, but then he lets his creativity shine as he designs his own creations.

Lamby for Nora: Nora received a Doc McStuffins kit for Christmas 2013 and she carried it everywhere throughout the year. When I was pregnant with Kolter last winter she would accompany to the doctor's office and she always brought along her doctors kit to give the nurses a check-up. She even brought it to football games and the nice people in the crowd would let her inspect them. Also, her love for stuffed animals deepened and she lamby became her attachment animal. She cannot fall asleep without her safely in her arms.

a personalized onesie for Kolter: this ornament commemorates Kolter's 1st Christmas and matches his sibling's ornaments.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Valentine's Love

There was lots of love this Valentine's Day! We started the morning off with a few treats for our little ones. They had heart shaped pancakes and eggs. Kolter received new gloves and a zippy cup. Nora got a new cup, jump rope and Stuffy (best $1 clearance purchase ever). And Daddy also got her a flower (which is totally her love language…every time she sees him she thanks him for her BEAUTIFUL flowers :) Sawyer received a set of pens, new scissors and a dry erase board. I think he felt a little short changed but can you tell we are trying to encourage his fine motor skills?

After breakfast we had some family snuggle time

Then I took a picture with all my loves! This never happens so it was to get in a few shots.

Earlier in the week Kyle told me we were going out for V-day. I was kind of incredulous because we never go out on Valentine's and I didn't really want to battle the crowds. But I let it go and Saturday afternoon we got ready for a night on the town. According to Kyle the babysitter was supposed to arrive at 4 pm, but 4 pm came and went and the babysitter never came. Kyle set up the child care and it was a new person I had never met. Kyle was getting upset with her tardiness. I promptly thought we would never use her again. Kyle seemed to be getting pretty angry, but finally at 4:45 a van pulls into our driveway. I look outside to see a group of my friends! Obviously Kyle had been fibbing about our plans.

I don't know if I've mentioned it on the blog but over the past 6 months I've become good friends with a wonderful group of ladies. We get together at least monthly for a girls night and we stay out to all hours of the night talking. It's good for this momma's soul.

Anyway back to Valentine's Day. A few of them arrive at my doorstep with a clue. Apparently the husbands had set up a scavenger hunt and a date night for the ladies. We searched for the clue in the house and found gourmet cupcakes for our dinner then the ladies whisked me away to pick up a few more girls.

Once all the girls were together our final clue included a mixed CD to listen too and an assignment to find the largest image of our 2 "favorite" celebrities: Lebron James and Jimmy Fallon. I think this was a stall tactic to allow the boys to get the dinner fixed :) We're always up for a challenge though. We decided to tackle Lebron first since we live in NE Ohio we knew it wouldn't be difficult to a large image. We hit up Dick Sporting Goods and they didn't disappoint. We quickly found a Lebron beach towel along with a plethora of other Lebron apparel. We asked a random stranger to take a picture and that part of the assignment was complete.

Next up, Jimmy Fallon. We didn't really know where to go, so on a whim we decided to check the nearby Target. We went to the electronics section to see if we could find an SNL DVD or magazine. We wanted to somehow project him on the TV wall, but really had no way to accomplish this wish. The TV's were all displaying the Target channel and we couldn't find an associate. As we were lamenting about the poor prospects of finding a large image of Jimmy Fallon all of the TV's on the wall turned to a Jimmy Fallon commercial. We all ran to the wall screaming and snapping pictures. Everyone was staring at us (we might have been making a scene), so we called a woman over (we made her hustle) to snap of picture of all of us. It was literally a Valentine's Day miracle!

After the scavenger hunt we headed to one of their houses for a delicious meal. Most of the husbands served as kitchen help while one of the husbands demonstrated his excellent culinary skills. We had a pear salad and choice of beef or chicken served on top of risotto. Then we capped it off with a cupcake. It was all so delicious!

the beautiful table setting
After dinner the men cleaned up while the girls chatted. Then we played the Newlywed Game and learned a lot more about each other ;) I am so thankful for this great group of friends!

The guys planned the whole thing from the dinner to the scavenger hunt clues. They did a fantastic job and it was a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Traditionally on Valentines Day we do a family fondue night. Since we weren't home on V-Day we moved it Sunday.

Fondue is always a hit! Nora and I love anything in chocolate. Sawyer had a few bits of chocolate covered strawberry and then declared he just wanted the strawberries…what? And Kolter had the pleasure of tasting his 1st strawberry…he liked it a LOT!

Monday, February 16, 2015

iPhone Unload {3rd & 4th Quarter 2014}

Last year I started doing a quarterly iPhone picture dump, but after 6 months I lost the motivation. They are kind of time consuming, so I dropped the ball. It has been on my to-do list forever, so I finally bit the bullet.

Plus it was kind of fun to see how much they have grown and remember the warm weather.

July (top to bottom, L to R): Sawyer holding Kolter; Nora holding Kolter (he is a little terrified); Kolter x3; smiling Nora; sleeping Nora; "I'm a penguin, I'm a penguin"…original composition by Sawyer; chimney repair; Kolter in his baby car seat; early morning snuggles with Sawyer and Kolter; another home project complete after 4 years…stair trim; Nora's new dollhouse; Kolter in his shades and not very happy, Hope and a sand angel; Nora swimming in WI; Nora and Natalie; Kyle and Kolter at the pool; Natalie and a fountain; Sawyer at the pool; Kolter chilling in the shade; fun restaurant in Madison, WI; Sawyer and Nora eating ice cream; a family of Crocs; Nora and Sawyer at our summer photo shoot in WI; a little girl and her wagon; Mommy and Sawyer selfie; packing up from our vacation; lunch at a train restaurant in WI; Nora being innovative using her new bear as a neck pillow; Kolter at 4 months old and gaining more baby chub everyday; Nolan, Gracie, Sawyer and Nora playing in the soccer field in Chicago; Nolan and Kolter; Gracie and Kolter; Nora Sylvan Lake; Trinity's stadium; Gracie, Sawyer and Nora at Sylvan Lake; Nora, Sawyer and Gracie snuggling on the couch; cousins eating an indoor picnic; poor baby is feeling under the weather as evidenced by his ability to fall asleep in a Bumbo; Nora modeling her new Doc McStuffins shirt; Kolter; best bros; family selfie at the HOF parade x2; baby blues; Nora new; my 3 boys; my little minions at movie in the park; smilie Kolter at movie in the park; Kyle and Sawyer splishing and splashing through our vacation WI; Nora on the sidelines; Tache going down the slide in the Dells

Kolter in his car seat; Kolter eating his hand; this big brother adores his little brother (evidenced by the fact the boy who never wants to take a picture asked me to take a picture) #brotherlylove; swimming at a friends pool; Kolter rocking the bucket hat; happy baby; 2 peas in a pod; pretty happy about turning 5 months old; baby feet; Adam and Rachel Chase's wedding reception x4; morning brother snuggles; nursing Kolter; Sawyer wrapped up in a towel; happy brothers; first day of football season 2014 and my little pioneers are wearing their Malone gear to support their favorite team; Kolter found his feet; Nora and a funny face; Nora playing with Kolter in the activity gym; a boy and his Bumbo; 2 kids very happy to see Daddy during football camp; Daddy helping Sawyer with his Legos; poppin' the collar #chubbycheeks; the range of emotions in this little lady is astounding…happy and smiling one moment, pouty and sad the next #ohthedrama; happy baby; Sawyer thinking hard; "look Mom! I stuck Kolter in a cage!" #3rdchild; Mommy and Sawyer; 3 little kiddos; Nora as Buzz Lightyear; Nora hug; someone struck again…baby in a tutu #3rdchild; brothers; sweet Nora; Nora buried in the blocks; baby wearing Kolter; he's not always happy; Nora in her towel at the beach; Sawyer in his towel at the beach; morning wake-up call; Kolter's 1st attempt with the sippy cup #practicemakesperfect; he tried to eat it; he advanced quite quickly from a sippy cup to a regular cup…or I left my cup close enough to grasp; Sawyer at Pump It Up; Kolter checking out Pump It Up; Kolter napping at Pump It Up; they were really into educational worksheets this morning, so I left the room to do some housework and this is what I came back to…they were turning themselves into superheroes; Kolter and his dimple; executing his revenge; 3rd child; Sawyer being Handy Manny at school, early morning snuggles with all my kids

Sawyer and Mommy in glasses; Nora breaking an egg while helping Mommy bake; my little big man; her favorite toy may be Buzz Lightyear, but there is some girlyness in her. Tonight she rocked a Target date wearing ALL of her jewelry! #sheglammeditupwithstickers; baby Kolter; Fro yo for lunch? Yes, please! Celebrating Sawyer's day of 4's preschool #toobigtoofast; this kid and those eyes; Nora being Kolter's Mommy; play time with Daddy; Kolter and tummy time; Nora's mini manicure; Nora and Mommy on an ice cream date; what the family/play room usually looks like…just keeping it real; Kolter and his cheeks; Harley Davidson Kolter; oh the drama of a 3 year old; smiling Kolter; Kolter practicing his push-ups #checkoutthoserolls; Nora showing off the scarf she insisted Mommy make her; Sawyer and Nora; tummy time or wrestling match? #3rd child; makes my heart happy #blessed; mom fashion, Sawyer showing off his black eye; Nora pretending she has a black eye; we are what we wear; brotherly love; Sawyer and his 2 wheel bike; Kolter and his Sophie; Kolter the contortionist; sleeping babe, Mommy selfie with her boys; Sawyer thinking; Sawyer's 1st selfie; Sawyer's 2nd selfie (he held the camera/phone, titled his head and moved the phone to get just the right angle) #selfieinstinct; Kolter eating; Kolter bathing; Kolter napping; baby feet are the best; when did he get big enough to do this? #toobigtoofast; Nora and Sawyer built a tower so Nora could climb up to the top bunk; my 3rd baby; my 2nd baby; Kolter chilling at the zoo; looking for the bears at the zoo with the Penners; Sawyer going down the otter slide; Ella and Nora going down the otter slide; Kolter being cute at the zoo…this happy, chubby, blue eyed, dimple faced boy is 6 months old

Kolter exacting his revenge on Nora (pulling her hair); Nora making a silly face; Kolter playing like a big boy; Nora snuggles; love Kolter in navy stripes…can't get enough; Nora chowing down on corn on the cob; Daddy too; No daddy don't leave; Sawyer's 1st drawing of a person; Kolter's 1st time sitting in a shopping cart; new business cards for Fresh Regard; Kolter's 1st experience on the grass #borntoplay #footballpracticeisfun; Sawyer photo bomb, Kolter in his hoodie; all 3 kids in the cart at Target; cheap gas; do you think these two could be related? Kyle 7 and Sawyer 4 #likefatherlikeson; Kolter the lumberjack; the bigs waiting in line; Kolter being cute at Daddy's football game; he is officially on the move and already creating mischief #hefoundthetrashcan; Daddy and Sawyer tickle time; Kolter on all 4's; Sawyer and Nora showing off their purchases made with their 1st chore money; miss sassy; Daddy's girl; this girl loves to read; sleeping babe; my 1st trip to Connecticut for work, only picture I got; trick-or-treating at the mall; my little football; the cheerleader; my football player; chubby cheeks; Mommy with Nora and Sawyer; ready for a football game; Nora cheering on the team, she really got into character; trick-or-treating in the neighborhood with Daddy; smiley Kolter; Sawyer hiding in the laundry basket; riding the laundry basket; baby snuggles

Nana and Kolter in IN; Tache and Kolter in IN; Kolter learns to climb the stairs #timetogetoutthegate; while he may be growing quickly he still falls asleep on his mama #babysnuggles; Nora's cuteness; Sawyer the nerd…cutest nerd I've ever seen; Daddy and Kolter play time; twins in attire, not in attitude #matchingboysisfun; where's my Nora among the stacks; 3rd child; Nora can't wait to play in the 1st snow of the year; snowman; Kolter attacking Daddy's nose; And we're off…1 bag, 5 coats and lots of prayer #flyingwith3kids4andunder; seated on the airplane; Kolter's 1st airplane ride; my seasoned travelers; Sawyer and Nora riding the train; Me and Sawyer on Thanksgiving; Kolter and his neck rolls; all the Rush cousins eating together; Nathaniel at the dinosaur museum; Nora giving Nathaniel some love; cute Kolter; the Lord has blessed us richly! I am especially thankful for this smiley babe who is 8 months old on this Thanksgiving day; Kolter fell asleep at the table his 1st Thanksgiving #tryptophanwinsagain; annual Rush Thanksgiving walk; Noah and Sawyer; playing at the park; Sawyer ready to head home; Nora waiting for the plane looking like a teenager; morning snuggles with my 3 kiddos; Friendsgiving complete with pilgrim hats and Indian headdresses; Nora in the car; cute Nora; princess Kolter eating his glass slipper #3rdchild

Nightly Advent time; Sawyer baking Christmas cookies; Nora baking Christmas cookies; PKS cookie exchange; Kolter eating his 1st Cheerios; What do you do with a fussy infant while trying to get 3 small children out the door and gulp down your own breakfast? Why of course you set him down on the floor amidst a pile of day old spilled Cheerios #workedlikeacharm; Kolter trying to get Sawyer's hat; a horse disguised as Spiderman giving Miss Butterfly a ride; someone else has an affinity for fabric #pinksparklesforthewin; Nora wrapping Sawyer's gift; pajamas+hot chocolate+Christmas lights=a fun family tradition; Advent devotional time; sleeping babe; a cheerleader or the next choir boy? #3rdchild; smiley babe even in the wee hours of the night; documentation of 10:11 12/13/14; Malone's gym; Nora playing in the gym; Kolter playing in the gym; reupholstering chairs requires lots of staple removal; Nora as Laura for the evening; Mom fashion; Sawyer dancing with Nora in his classroom; Kolter riding a horse; Kolter nursing; Kolter getting into the cabinets; happy baby; Nora eating the Jesus birthday cake; Kolter and Sawyer playing; Nora asleep on the LONG drive to KS; my dimple boy on Christmas day; the Schenk girls liven' the fancy life in SC

Friday, February 13, 2015

Sharing the Love

In honor of Valentine's Day I thought I would document the love between Kolter and his older siblings. 

Sawyer adores his baby brother and Kolter shares in his affection. If Sawyer is in the room Kolter is following his every move. If Kolter is crying Sawyer will sing "Jesus Loves Me" to calm him. Most days the boys have some play time while Nora is still napping and they enjoy playing peek-a-boo and wrestling together.
Can you feel the love?

Nora and Kolter's relationship is a bit more hot and cold. She is certainly his mini-mommy for better or worse. He doesn't always enjoy the bossy tone, but she is always concerned about his well being. She ensures he is safe (i.e. keeping him away from the stairs). She showers him with hugs and kisses. She ensures he always has a toy to keep him occupied. She does not appreciate him messing up her creations, but she loves to pick him up and move him around. No doubt she is a very protective big sister!