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Crew is Seven.

It’s official — seven is it. It’s when you stop being little and are a full. blown. KID.

You have matured in all kinds of ways this year – physically, emotionally, socially, academically, I could go on and on. You’ve had a lot of growth opportunities as you’ve left kindergarten for the big leagues of first grade, and the expectations have been a great challenge you’ve (mostly) risen to. 😉 You are excelling in school, continue to be a fantastic reader, but your love of math has taken over. You love that there’s a single concrete answer and constantly ask to be quizzed on math facts, and you’re highly motivated by the idea of doing something other first graders “aren’t doing yet”– which has propelled you into learning multiplication and division concepts. Competition and the idea of being first will be the key to your success, I believe 😉

You have a passion for soccer and while you prefer Dad, you’ll beg either of us to practice on evenings it’s warm enough, and you play every day at recess as well. You participated in both spring and fall rec leagues and are in the middle of your second year of indoor winter training. Soccer, too, comes with all the lessons and growth opportunities, but the joy and determination we see rises above everything else. When you’re truly motivated by something, you have a dedication and a work ethic that can’t be denied.

Honorable mentions in the “favorites” category also include Dad and hot tubbing. 🙂

The remainder of your school year as a kindergartner still had its interruptions — you were exposed at a lunch table and I got the call to come pick you up and quarantine for the following week. I can’t share this story without noting your amazing teacher — after 1/3 of her class was suddenly whisked home, she did an incredible job of keeping you all in the loop from home as she continued to teach in the classroom.

We got that last Covid related school interruption out of the way and took a bit of a Hail Mary vacation to Arizona. It was the first time in months we’d been able to go do activities without masks and the warm temps and sunshine were just what we needed after a lonnnnng winter. One of my favorite quotes of yours this past year was on our last day. “Guys! We have to come back but visit new places, too. There is so much life to see!” All the motivation we need to keep making adventures happen.

You wrapped up kindergarten and we could not have been more proud of you, your teacher, and your peers for completing such a crazy year with tenacity and enthusiasm. (It felt more than fitting that you won the classroom award for biggest vocabulary!) The school year coincided with the rollout of vaccines for adults, warmer weather/more outside time, and consequently dropping case numbers which led to the removal of the mask requirement in your final days of the school year. We looked forward eagerly to a NORMAL summer.

We probably overcommitted in our excitement, but you participated in numerous camps and sports that kept us going all June, July, and August. I regret nothing about our go-go-go summer…it was pure bliss to have so many great experiences after a year-plus of not much going on! Per usual, I subjected you to your annual half birthday shoot — this was a particularly fun memory of the two of us exploring around downtown and you coming up with all kinds of poses 😉

One little lady in particular loved having you around more during those warm months. 🙂 It’s so fun to watch your bond continue to grow and while there are times you can all but ignore her, you are also fiercely protective and you always manage to have your eye on her when it counts.

And just like that, it was on to the next school year, one that was blissfully free of most of the previous year’s rules around distancing and masks. Unlike the previous year, all of the same grade classrooms are allowed to intermingle this year, so it’s been fun to watch your friend circle grow significantly.

The fall seemed to fly and, fueled by a movie marathon with Dad, and a correlating love of magic, you opted to be Harry Potter for Halloween.

We rolled into the magic of the holiday season and another year of elf shenanigans was one of the highlights. You finally, FINALLY, were able to join your many friends who’d lost some teeth, shedding two just before Christmas.

We welcomed the new year and pivoted to birthday time. We celebrated with a PAR-TAY. You wanted boys and girls on your invite list, and thoughtfully chose magic as your theme because you decided that was something everyone would like. We opened gifts and sang with Papa and Mimi at home, then they hung back with Greer so we could go bounce and party at SkyZone with nine of your school friends. It happened to be the last day of winter break, so it was especially fun for you to all see each other after the time off, and burn some energy after several single digit temperature days at home!

(This shirt was too perfect for your theme this year!)

(And even Greer got in on the “magic” with a sparkly dress!)

It was so fun to celebrate you in a big way this year. And, despite some nerves, you treated your friends to a live magic trick 😉

Happy birthday, seven-year-old. You are kind, funny, emotionally intelligent beyond your years, and I couldn’t ask for anything better of you. I can’t wait to see what *magic* you have in store for us this coming year. <3

Greer Age One: First Quarter

Year two, quarter one is in the books. The last month has been one endless miserable cold, but if we look past that, you are doing so much growing up! Babbling all day long, reading all the books (in our laps or on your own), and finding all the writing utensils in the house although miraculously you will search for a piece of paper to doodle on. We are amazed that you can already hold a pencil the “correct” way – we’ve skipped right over any toddler palm crayons for real art supplies!

In the same theme, you already show a love of doing art on yourself — you have discovered what nail polish and makeup is and you. are. fascinated.

You have a handful of words and a few signs (most notably waving, “all done” and “more”), and you are finally starting to open up a bit at weekly daycare days which you are attending for the summer. You enthusiastically bob your head up and down to music you like. It’s a running (accurate) joke that if you’re upset putting on anything by Lizzo makes you happy, but nothing comes close to the obsession that is your blankie.

You are SO close to walking, can get from a squat to standing in the middle of the room and balance without so much as a wobble…you just don’t want to move those feet! You LOVE having your brother home for the summer — we’ve been adventuring to all of the parks and hitting the pool regularly. You spend a lot of time at your water table and you love to CLIMB on any and everything!

We have given up on headbands but moved on to bow training, you’re off all bottles, down to one pretty epic nap (3-4 hours lately) and finally, post endless cold and ear infections, you are back to sleeping through the night. You are sassy, naughty, snuggly, and do. not. want. to. be. left. out. It’s been amazing to see you open up as the world has done the same. You are definitely more sensitive than your brother at this age, but you’re also a quick study and sure of yourself and what you want!

This has been such a fantastic quarter in terms of life starting to feel much more “normal” for the first time in over a year — we’ve gotten out to restaurants, sent you to some daycare, and been back into the hustle and bustle of outings and activities. It’s been so much fun to show you more of the world right as you’re really starting to soak it all up!

OMGreer She’s One Whole Year!

There was no big blowout first birthday party, but even better — we celebrated at home the four of us, and then with Papa and Mimi the following weekend. The theme was clementines and oranges and the puns ran rampant 🙂 Orange you cute?! Our CUTIE is one! Oh My Darlin’…we could just SQUEEZE you! 🙂

I made your vanilla cake and added some orange ombre to the vanilla frosting, topping it with sweet little felt orange slice toppers and a name banner I made.

Even with a small gathering, we hung allllll the balloons in pinks and oranges, and strung up your monthly flower photos for a total of twelve. Thanks to Mimi, you had the most perfect orange jammies to start your party morning in!

We made it into a double celebration of Greer + Papa, so his favorite, carrot cake, appropriately fit the color scheme as well!

You LOVED being sung to, and were especially animated about your sparkler candle. You dug into your cupcake and left very little for cleanup! 🙂

Happy first birthday to our Greer Girl! We can’t wait to see what’s in store for you this next trip around the sun!

Greer: Year One, Fourth Quarter

Ten months:

You eat anything we give you, have popped three teeth, love to clap and bounce to music, and you’ve clocked in at just shy of twenty pounds of goodness. This month included your first flights, first (toe) dip in the ocean, and crawling!

Eleven months:

You are starting to pull up on things, have several teeth, are obsessed with books and your brothers toys and spend your days crawling laps and laps around the house looking for things you shouldn’t be doing like eating toilet paper or chewing on cords. You have been saying mama, dada, and baba for a while but recently added ball, all done, and sometimes hi to your vocabulary. If music is on, you dance and “sing” babble along, and when something makes you especially happy you smile and scrunch your nose audibly snorting, pop your thumb in your mouth and give whatever is making you happy your full attention. You had your first tummy bug this month but also your first rides in your pink car outside because *spring*!! We can and can’t wait to ring in the big ONE with you in just a month!

You are ONE. You have opinions and personality and love to laugh. You will yell your way into any conversation you feel you are being left out of and have FOMO about everything. Your twelfth month brought a second vacation, a third head cold, pulling up and cruising on everything, taking a couple steps here and there with something to hold onto, and climbing a flight of stairs. You love most foods including your birthday cake, ducks and reading books. It’s been quite a first year on this planet for you. I’m confident this second one only gets better.

We celebrated at home just the four of us on your actual birthday, then enjoyed celebrating a Greer + Papa double birthday the following weekend. It was quiet and simple, but we loved getting to celebrate with all the orange-themed puns about our “cutie”! Orange you cute?!

Watching you grow has been such a bright spot in the past year! Happy first birthday to our sweet Greer Girl! <3

Easter Baskets 2021 (6yo boy / 1yo girl)

I may not be blogging regularly this year, but I was NOT going to miss sharing our baskets! Playing bunny is an absolute favorite thing about parenting for me, and while Greer was technically born about 45 minutes before Easter last year, and she DID have a basket (see them here!) I am more or less considering this her first actual Easter.

I stole these gold baskets from our office for the second year in a row and attached their wooden name plaques (purchased here) for the occasion. The large plastic bunnies and small carrot eggs came from the dollar store a couple years ago, and I added their monograms to them with my Cricut.

Starting with 6 year old Crew’s basket… this kid loves his sugar, but is very picky about it, so some made its way into his basket, but I focused more on activities (lately, reading is a big one!) and some instant gratification stuff to DO right away. (Linking what I can – some may be affiliate links.)

Reflex soccer ball
The Good Egg
Don’t Throw it to Mo!
Water Works card game
Mario Lego figures
Scented putty eggs
Nerf finger football egg
100 dollar bill wallet
Various candy, Icees (his new fave!), bubbles

Greer is about to turn ONE and while I still have a handful of baby and toddler toys to pass down, she already has her own set of interests and always needs clothes 🙂 Links below!

Pop up toy
Where’s the Chick? felt flap book (someone tears paper flaps!)
Fabric activity book
Mini Spinny
Oranges print dress (Old Navy, no longer available online)
Little People
Sandals (no longer available)
Various cheerios/snacks, bubbles

As for our egg hunt, we are doing a light up egg hunt (knowingly set up by Mom and Dad!) on Saturday night, filled with candy. The Sunday morning bunny eggs also have some treats inside, along with these finger puppets in Greer’s eggs and these desert animals in Crew’s (inspired by our upcoming Arizona vacation). Happy basket planning!!!

Greer: Year One, Third Quarter

Seven months:

You are sitting, still toothless, sleeping closer to twelve hours straight versus ten-ish at night (woo hoo!) LOVE Christmas lights, prefer yogurt to fruits and veggies, and want to YANK anything that dangles in your view. You are happy, happy, happy!

Eight months:

You shriek loudly (happily) about everything (all day long) chatter, blow raspberries, giggle, shake your head dramatically, and occasionally clap when prompted. You love music, your pink blankie, yogurt, feeding yourself, and being allowed to drink from a regular cup (no interest in a sippy). You are sporting a single tooth and get on your belly but just shake side to side and don’t move forward at all ha! That strawberry blonde hair is just barely trying to come in!

Nine months:

We celebrated nine months with a vacation! You loved the change of pace and scenery and surprised us all with how easily you napped and slept in a new place, as long as you had total darkness, your blankie, and a sound machine cranked.

You can get from a sit to a roll but can only army crawl backwards at this point. You love bites of what we are eating, and drinking water from a cup is your new favorite pastime. We hit a nine month separation / sleep regression but it seems to be on the way out!

Crew is Six.

SIX years with you. You’re kind, funny, an amazing reader, a loving big brother, and a sweet soul who makes us oh-so-proud.

The year began as we got ready to welcome your sister and you and I squeezed in a few last adventures just the two of us. I’m eternally grateful for this push I felt, because as we would soon find out, it would be the last time for quite a while that we’d do “normal” things like walk around and photograph at the botanical center or play with the hands on exhibits at the science center.

This year has been your most formative year – in every sense of the word. Of course, it was 2020 which meant we began the year not only rocking your world with a baby sister, but asked you to adapt to it all without anyone else around, the normalcy of routines and school, or even playgrounds at first.

Talk about weird times, but ever the family guy you rose to the challenge and oddly thrived in your extra close family quarters. In a lot of ways, I think the extra (EXTRA) family time made the transition to welcoming a sister that much more smooth.

We watched you move SEAMLESSLY into the role of big brother and even when Greer had her extra spicy newborn days, you loved on her and patiently waited for her to return the favor. 🙂 You’ve cheered on her every milestone with the pure joy and enthusiasm of a coach sending someone to the Olympics – we joke that you might absolutely stroke out when she finally walks ha! She thinks YOU are the greatest thing ever and it’s been fun to watch your bond, even with a five year span, grow exponentially this year.

We said goodbye to our preschool family since age 1 with your graduation from Pre-K. We were one of the lucky ones to actually get to send you BACK to finish some preschool and even experience a half way normal (albeit masked and outdoors!) graduation. I’m not sure we would have normally been so into this minor milestone but in a year where everything has been upside down, we CELEBRATE these bits of normal.

Eager to do something fresh after all our stay-home time, we upgraded your toddler garbage truck themed room to a new passion: Minecraft. Your dad and I swapped out the details and surprised you after your last day at preschool. You were so genuinely grateful and excited. Big kid room for a big kid growing by the day.

Before we knew it, you were on to Kindergarten and while it was nothing like what I’d always imagined (we literally watched case numbers day to day the week before school started to learn if our county met the criteria for school to ACTUALLY start the next week!) you, like always, took it in stride. We did our best to make it feel normal – we school supply shopped, went to get new shoes and a first day outfit, and at the last minute we got a fire drill of an open house to at least get to SEE the building you’d spend kindergarten in. We met your teacher over zoom, you wore a mask, but again, one of the lucky ones — you attended full time in person….at least to begin!

One of the ironic benefits to climbing cases was that when school shut down, and you embarked on a month-plus of kindergarten virtually from home, I got a front row seat to the curriculum, your awesome teacher at work, and most notably how wildly capable you are. I might never have had an opportunity to see just HOW much you could handle – how many apps and logins you can manage, how you can follow along with timers and clocks (remember, these are 5 year olds who can’t tell time LOL!) and yet you stayed remarkably on task and were incredibly responsible, largely in part to a teacher who prepared you SO well from day one for this likely scenario of going remote. It was an adventure, I’m glad it didn’t last longer than it did, and it was certainly tricky for ME to stay available and also keep a busy baby from distracting you (and your classmates), but it was a unique glimpse I would have otherwise never had the gift of seeing.

The school year has additional breaks to go remote, but I’m grateful for all the 90% normalcy of memories you made in person and the friendships you grew as a result.

I’m keenly aware that we had much more time with you this year that we otherwise might have. It’s been that much more of a window into how quickly you are growing up and away from little boy. One of my very favorite memories of your sixth year is from New Years Eve. We were saying peace out to 2020 and Greer and I randomly dressed up for a night in. You wanted in on the fancy pants action and we pulled together a look from odds in your closet and anything that (somewhat) fit. Love myself a party guy.

Of course there were no gatherings or open venues this year, so Papa and Mimi brought the party and I did my best to make your Mario obsession into a theme.

We had a tower of krispy kremes in lieu of a cake and in place of friends and party games, I set up gold coin boxes all over the house to find like a sort of egg hunt – for one. 🙂 Of course there was a lot of Mario Kart played with the guys and you got a major kick out of blindfolding us all to play pin the mustache on Luigi.

For one final celebration, we went to Wellman’s the night of your actual birthday. It doesn’t sound like much now but it was a BIG deal to go to a restaurant – it had been months since you’d been in one and it felt novel even to us, taking you. It felt so normal and like the best breath of fresh air to kick off your seventh year. Here’s to a fantastic next year for our main man!

Greer: Year One, Second Quarter

Four Months

You are a constant chatterbox, love your hands and THUMB the most, are still working on growing some hair, starting to roll both directions, and have a dark sense of humor (you only laugh when we pretend to hurt ourselves!). But your greatest accomplishment yet is sleeping twelve hour nights for over a week (knocking on all the wood). You are 14.6 pounds of joy — Smooching these cheeks is what gets us through 2020!!

Five Months

You are not lacking in personality! You SHRIEK all day long – excited, annoyed, we can’t tell the difference. You are either indifferent or 1000% percent into something, there is zero in between. Mom has gotten into the habit of calling you Greerie, Crew tends to call you smushy, fluffy, or some variation of the two.

You love music, your thumb, your brother’s “comedy” routines (that typically involve jig-type dancing and pretend self-inflicted pain), stroking Dad’s beard, and snuggling with Mom at bedtime.

This month you met your uncle for the first time, had your first official playdate with a friend (FINALLY!), tried first solids (meh…we’ll hold off for a bit), and helped send your brother off to kindergarten. You throws your arm dramatically over your face to take a bottle, would prefer to be sitting up at all times – working on it – and in the last couple of days, all signs point to a first tooth. Looking forward to this next season in which we can continue to get out a little more and introduce you to some of our favorite fall traditions (you KNOW we’re already working on the costume)!

Six Months

And just like that, you’re halfway to one! Like every other month, we celebrate our 2020 ray of sunshine who is 17.2 pounds of chunky goodness. You love to roll to your tummy the second you’re set down, you’re trying desperately to sit on your own (balance is still a work in progress), love scratching every surface and texture with your nails with great interest, and sucking your thumb whenever you’re not busy shrieking and chatting, and looking at yourself in the mirror. You are happy ALL the time except for melting down at a loud noise, or if someone in sunglasses so much as looks in your direction. It’s been the fastest month yet with our girl. We can’t wait to see what’s next!