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Donovan’s Birthday Update!

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

DZ in April. This is our favorite tree in the neighborhood greenbelt.

My sweet Donovan is six years old!!!  He is such a joy to be around.  He is a peacemaker, always trying to make others feel happy.  Even today he gave away his first pick of Happy Meal toy and then proceeded to have a ton of fun with the one that wasn’t his original choice, and the whole family had fun the rest of the afternoon.  He is silly and funny, and his laugh just lights up your heart.  He still loves to cuddle in the rocking chair with me and has said he is best friends with his sisters.  I am so lucky to be his mama!

Totally Awesome Costume January 2017

When you think about Donovan’s favorite things, the first thing that comes to mind is GAMES.  He loves games of all kinds, and is truly his father’s son.  He plays board games with complicated strategies and really figures them out, like Legendary, Forbidden Desert, Mice and Mystics, and Above and Below.  He loved reading chess strategy books when his sister joined chess club.  He can even play reading games now, like Epic Duels.  A lot of it is memorization, but he is determined to play!  He is really good at 7 Wonders too.  He decides on a strategy and can follow it through.  He can also do surprisingly complicated math if it has to do with figuring out his score. =)

Epic Duels!

He also loves computer style games like Skylanders on the X-box or Animal Jam on the computer.  He has great focus.  On the ipad, he loves Angry Birds 2, Toca Boca Stable, and building games like Gardenscapes.

Ipads and Snuggles are a big deal in this house =)

He says his favorite toy are his roller skates =)  He also uses his scooter a lot.  He loves doing Legos too!  They are always first on his wishlist for birthdays and Christmas.  He did a couple of really big sets this year, like the Emperor’s Throne Room and the Battle on Tanodaka.

Angry Bird lego!

Lego Ninjago with his cousin Barrett =) I love his tongue sticking out when he’s working!

Legos!

Since Legos are one of DZ’s favorite things, for our winter class party at our house I planned a lego party! All the kids got penguins and I put out all the white and blue legos so they could make penguin habitats. There were other stem activites too, like building a zipline car and racing lego vehicles.

Donovan joined a baseball team!  It was called T-Rex.  He really enjoyed himself, and improved so much!  At the beginning, he was a little scared of the ball, but by the end he was having actual warm ups before the game where he and his partner caught about 25% of the balls.  He could hit pretty often off the coach pitch, and he loved playing shortstop best.  My favorite part was that he was always the first kid out of the dugout with his glove on, ready to get his outfield assignment from his Daddy.  Eric was a big help as Assistant Coach.

Go T-Rex!!!

March 2017

He says his favorite show is Umizoomi, and he also watched a lot of Paw Patrol this year.  All of them enjoy the same shows, which is convenient.

Donovan loves superheroes!  He always begs for the boxed sets of I Can Read Batman, Avengers, and other superhero books and probably read more of those than any other books that he read on his own this year.  He also loves to be read 5 minute Avengers and 5 Minute Superhero stories.

Building all these superhero figures at Lowes was a big event for us last summer. DZ loves superheroes!

Donovan climbing rocks on a fun hike in Cali

Donovan loves mini golf, and he’s a good sport!

DZ still enjoys dress up, especially with his sisters =)

Chocolate Ice Cream. Sour Worms. Happy DZ.

Working on Christmas legos with sis. The reindeer jammies are one of my favorite things ever!

DZ loved working on this gallery wall with me. It has shelves for lego minifigs, especially the little ones from his Advent Calendar, and pics of his last two Halloween costumes. =) So fun!

DZ loves getting new clothes, and he loves that he gets so many from his cousins. He always asks in amazement, “Carson GAVE me this? Barrett gave this to me?!? ” Like he can’t believe his cousins love him this much =) He picked this shirt out of the newest batch of cousin hand me downs to wear first.

DZ is the Perler Bead King =)

Donovan Month by Month Pics:

Donovan in June

Donovan in July =) Sopapillas are delicious! He is my Mexican Food buddy, he is always up for burritos from Ted’s!

DZ in August. Getting ready for school!

DZ in September Lego Duplos are still fun too =)

Donovan LOVES playing Pokemon Go so much, he wanted to be a Pokemon for Halloween. He was Vaporeon. So fun!

Donovan in October. This butterfly landed right on his face. So funny!

DZ’s School Pic, September 2016

Haircut day! November

Showing me his favorite playground moves. November 2016

December 2016 DZ has an impressive pajama collection, and these Star Wars Christmas jammies that match his Daddy are a favorite! He also has the matching reindeer jammies, tigers, Darth Vader, wolves… So many cute ones!

Hugging Boxy the Snowman =)

December, dressed up for the Winter Concert

January 2017, Christmas Tea

Totally Awesome Costume January 2017

February 2017, Showing off the daffodils in his fox mask.

March 2017

DZ in April. This is our favorite tree in the neighborhood greenbelt.

Emoji Eggs! April 2017

DZ in May. At Creative Producers showing off his school work.

A little fancy for the last day of school. May 2017

Dressed as Maui for Serenity’s Moana Party

Donovan decided he wanted taking out recycling to be his chore. I didn’t realize until today that he can’t actually reach the lid on the big trash can, so this was his solution. 😍

Ready for his Skylander 6th Birthday. June 2017

Today was DZ’s actual birthday! So he got the fun of planning what we did. We had donuts for breakfast, some Forbidden Desert, a little time at the pool, a visit to the library, Ted’s with Grandma for lunch, and happy meals for dinner. Plus plenty of playtime with Serenity and Maia =) He even put Maia to bed. =)thda

May! Mostly end of school fun =)

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

Donovan picked such a cute outfit for the last day =) His shirt from Mexico.

Donovan in May

End of school fun!  Donovan’s teachers in EP had a wonderful little last day program for us.  They had every kid stand up and say something they learned in school.  Donovan told us how he learned that Rhode Island is the smallest state =)  Adorable!  Then we got to play on the playground with bubbles the teachers gave the kids.  Such a perfect end to the year!  We also got to see some of his work on display during creative producers.  They studied honeybees, and Donovan was a guard bee in the Early Primary “Hive.”  We also got to see work they drew like Michelangelo, working lying down drawing on a table above them.  Such fun!

Donovan’s baseball team improved SO much! Eric told me with a great deal of pride that Donovan was warming up with a friend and they actually caught like 25% of the throws, it was like an actual warm-up!  They are learning the rules, where the play is each time, and it’s really exciting.  Donovan is talking still about doing baseball again in the fall!  They even got to play in a little tournament, and they won a couple games.

 

His Thinking Cap

Donovan was so cute in the Preschool Concert =) I love his tambourine moves =)

 

Serenity in May:

Serenity in May

The end of school is always busy with end of the year activities.  This year Serenity’s class made state boxes for Creative Producers.  Serenity chose Alaska, and she had a great time designing the box and decorating it using her best cursive handwriting.  Her cursive is really pretty!

All dressed up for the last day!

I asked Serenity why all her clothes were on the floor, and she showed me her “hanger mobile.” =)

We also got a group picture at the last chess club meeting.  Eric had a great time running chess club for the second graders!  Serenity loves the theory of chess, solving puzzles and figuring out moves.  Competing, she’s not such a big fan of.  So we’ll see if she chooses to continue next year.

Eric planned another fun learning day for Serenity’s class!  This year, he taught statistics and a little bit of geography.  For the first hour, he divided the kids into three groups.  He worked with some kids on a dice game, having them roll the dice and record the rolls so they could learn about probability and bell curves.  The group I worked with was the shoe group.  Everyone in the room took off one shoe (which seriously bothered some of the kids).  The point was for them to work as a group to categorize the shoes, and graph them, and then draw some conclusions based on the data.  Some groups graphed by laced shoes versus slip-ons, some by brand, some by color.  They used the data to advise a shoe store owner what kinds of shoes to carry in their shop.  They also theorized how the data would be different for a group of younger kids (less laces if you can’t tie them) and older people (more fancy shoes.)  Also in winter, or summer, or if they lived in Alaska or Hawaii, there would probably have been a different assortment of shoes.  It was really interesting!  The third group stacked Oreos.  Which was fun and delicious.  They counted how many cookies they were able to stack, and recorded their records on the white board.  Then they discussed the average, mode, mean and range of their data points.  They were all so excited and engaged!  It was a blast!  The second hour of the morning, half the kids stayed inside with Eric playing a card game that taught more about probability.  I went outside with the rest to play geography frisbee golf.  He’d set up a course of orange cones labeled with different state capitals.  The goal was to throw the frisbee from one state capital to a capital in an adjacent state, and to travel from Olympia to Oklahoma City.  They could take the northern route or the southern one.  It was a blast!

Since weather interrupted our plan to go to the Richards one weekend, and Donovan had baseball games on Saturday, Serenity and I took a little girls trip to Oklahoma City for the weekend.  It was so much fun!  She started reading Percy Jackson, and we loved talking and giggling about it, as it is hilarious.  Abbey, Maggie, Serenity and I went shopping at Michael’s for craft supplies, and ended up making some really fun jewelry.  We also enjoyed high tea!  It was delicious!  The girls got adorable little tea cups that they got to keep, and the food was beautiful and yummy.  I especially liked the scone with lemon curd.  Mmmmm.

I bought two necklaces! It’s been a while since I accessorized, because babies were always pulling on jewelry.

We also had a couple of Girl Scout events, working on the First Aid badge and Brownie Hiking.  The girls practiced wrapping bandages using toilet paper, which was hilarious and fun.  Ashley taught them about poison ivy, and lots of other introductory first aid things.  For Brownie Hiking, I was prepared for a nice hike on Turkey Mountain.  At least I thought I was prepared.  Then we got there, and MUD.  We were very messy by the end but we made it =)  And Maggie came with us!

Brownie hiking day! Maggie came with us, so fun!

Ready for hiking

 

Maia in May:

Maia in May:
Maia loves puzzles these days.  She puts together the Paw Patrol wooden puzzles really fast!

She still loves reading.  She can make it through a lot of the early reader books all by herself.  And she recognizes words that will surprise you, long words like chocolate, even without picture clues.  It’s so fun!!!  She’s really reading her summer reading program books.

She’s getting so big!  I pulled out all the 4t clothes for her already, including my favorite little cherry shirt outfit.  She is SO cute!!!

This may be my favorite outfit ever =)

Super Maia

While we were in OKC, the rest of the family made a puzzle gallery =)

 

More pictures!  Even some of the grown ups! =)

We needed a picture before haircuts =) I love his hair and beard!!!!!

Eric won his destiny tournament! Now he’s “Internet Famous”

I got my hair cut! A lot!

Mermaid Lake

Teacher appreciation party =) I got to play with flowers. Doing it in the new room was so fun!

Neighborhood clean up day! The Richards were in town for a swim meet but Maggie and Everett came with us to help clean up in our neighborhood.

We are working on the multiplication tables this summer. Winky got involved in the fun…

Visits from Aunt Tina are the best!!! She took the kids to the park and creek a lot while I worked on party stuff =)

Doris came and I FINALLY got to meet her kids! I love that they stayed at my house.

 

Aunt Tina came for a visit.  It had been so long since she had seen Maia, she wasn’t sure how she would react, but Maia ran right too her with a big hug around the leg and a kiss.  So sweet!  She and Tina played legos and some board games, and they loved going to the park.
My friend Doris came for a visit too!  I FINALLY got to meet her kids!  Colin is just the same age as Maia, and they played well in the sandbox and with trains!  Yay!  They came to town for a Memorial Day party hosted by Aisha’s Mom, and at the party we heard a story by one couple who knew each other since they were babies.  Which got us thinking…. =)  Too funny.

April 2017: Electronics Free Month

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

April was electronics free again!  We are all skeptical about it the first few days, but by the end of the first week we really enjoy having some time without electronics.  This year, we spent a lot of it playing Mice and Mystics!  It’s a really fun dungeons and dragon style game geared towards kids.  Serenity, Donovan, Eric and I each got to play different Mice characters as they fought their way through a castle trying to save the king from an evil shape changer.  We fought roaches and spiders and rats.  They LOVED it.  They begged for it nearly every night.  It’s set up like a book, in chapters, as you play through the story.  It was fun for all of us!   The big kids also did a LOT of origami.  They hung out on the top bunk in DZ’s room making dozens of cool things.

Mice and Mystics

Origami!

I moved the dollhouse and it got a lot more interesting =) We still keep the Calico Critters in it instead of dolls though.

They love group hugs =)

Serenity and Donovan especially loved finding Easter Eggs in challenging hiding places.  Eric and I both hid eggs for them in the yard, and they didn’t even care if there were treats inside.  I put tiny Pokemon figures in most of them since we didn’t really eat all the candy last year before it was time for Halloween candy.  Maia loved the Easter baskets and carried them around the house until I was done picking up the eggs for the year and hid them in the closet.

This is the tree Serenity gave me for my birthday last year. It bloomed beautifully! And it’s a good place to hide eggs =)

Charizard hiding in the Easter Egg =)

Finding the last Easter Egg. Eric can really hide them =)

Our bunny hunt went really well!  Each of the kids had clues that led them to the next bunny.  Serenity and Donovan had cypher codes to figure out, and Maia read her own clues this year(They led to Blue’s Clues style pawprints, which sent all three kids to their baskets)!  So fun!  They led to the Easter Baskets, which were mostly empty this year.  They each got a book or two and an egg with Skittles or M&Ms, a couple fruit snacks.  The rest of their present didn’t fit in the baskets… they got skates!  I found these fun skates that are adjustable, that you wear with your own shoes.  So they will last awhile.  These turned out to be the most fun thing of electronics free month!  Serenity especially spent hours riding around our living room in her skates!  She’s getting really good.  DZ had a hard time at first but he can get around now too.  Maia wanted to use hers as well, but she mostly needs hands to hold, or the couch.  She can kind of crawl around on her skates, or use them on the carpet.  But she is fiercely determined!  Eric was holding her on the bed while she was wearing her skates, and she stood up on the bed and said “Here I go!” And she skated right off the bed!!! And landed on her feet!!!!  We all heard him yell “WHOA!” from clear across the house.  =)

I’d say the skates were a success if she’s even reading while skating =)

We decorated some eggs!  I found this Emoji Egg kit, and it was hilarious!  After we colored the eggs, each of the kids added stickers to their eggs to make them into Emojis.  Then Serenity and Donovan came up with the idea of taking pictures making faces matching the Emoji Eggs.  SO FUNNY!  I love them =)  Everyone had fun dyeing the eggs.  We don’t hide those eggs, but Eric ate them all =)

Easter activities this year included a neighborhood Easter egg hunt and petting zoo, hiding eggs in challenging places in the backyard, our traditional bunny hunt, and a new nesting egg game that focuses on the actual story of Easter.  The nesting egg has a picture on each egg as you read through the story of Easter.  We ended up reading it all in one day as they were interested to find out what would be inside each egg, but the kids played with it the rest of the month too.

The hat stayed on for about a minute before it blew away but he’s too cute =)

 

Serenity in April:

Birthday treats!

Girl Scouts: Our April Meeting for Girl Scouts was the Pets badge!  The girls had been begging me all year to work on this badge, but I thought it was a good idea to wait for warmer weather so we could maybe have actual animals.  And we did!  We first made fleece toys to give to dogs and cats.  The dogs got braided chew toys, and cats got little sticks with colorful strips of fleece to chase.  The girls loved making it, and everyone made a few toys for their pets or to give away.  Serenity gave hers to Grandma’s dogs and Forrest, and she was so happy when they played with them!  The girls also made budgets for imaginary pets to learn about what it costs to have a pet.  Molly brought Wren’s pet bunnies, so the girls got to love on them, feed them, and learn about being calm and gently with pets.  They were very protective of the bunnies and made sure no one was too loud or crazy with them when other kids came by.  It was a fun meeting!  Serenity had to do a little extra work to earn her badge.  All the other girls already had a pet they were responsible for feeding at home, but since we don’t have pets, she visited Papa’s cat Friendly and fed him, and visited Grandma’s menagerie and helped to feed them as well.

EOYB: For the end of the year party for Girl Scouts this year, the girls wanted to finish up some badges.  So we did the Outdoor Adventurer badge!  I found an idea for a compass game to teach them to use a compass, and Eric made it a reality!  He and Donovan measured went to the greenbelt and placed golf tees at intervals, and wrote compass directions like “Take ten steps North, then 50 steps Southwest.”  They all ended at our favorite tree on the greenbelt for a group picture.  It was SO much fun!

We made four different kinds of bird feeders that we tied into a garland for the birds.  It was pretty and the birds enjoyed it at my house all month!  Each of the girls took some home as well.  We used sunbutter on pinecones rolled in birdseed, and cut up oranges and hollowed them out to hold birdseed.  We also used cookie cutters to cut out suet cakes and hang them on the line.  I also cut out apple slices that they strung, and orange slices in little metal spirals to attract birds or butterflies.  Fun!

They practiced rolling up sleeping bags.  It’s harder than it looks.  Slippery little suckers.

We also did some splatter painting to finish up the Brownie Painting badge.  Serenity and several of the other girls went to the Brownie Painting event offered by council, where they did 4 of the 5 steps, so we did the least one, painting without brushes.  I’d seen a pin about painting with hammers, and it was just as messy and fun as I thought it would be.

 

Field Trip to Earth Day

I got to go with Serenity’s class to the Earth Day event at T.U.  Raegan had a booth with her Earth Matters club!  So cool!  Donovan’s class went to, but I’d already volunteered with Serenity’s class by the time I knew that.  They got enough parents though, with groups of just two kids per adult.  But it was fun seeing Donovan with his friend Jack there too!

So last week, Serenity wore this Jean skirt I got her four days in a row. I told her she had to wash it before she could wear it again and I was thinking, kids are funny.

Then last night I washed this Carly so I could wear it two days running 😂

The favored jean skirt =)


Maia in April:

Maia was very confused by electronics free month for the first day or two.  I finally just kept telling her the television was broken, and since we’d hidden all the ipads, she stopped asking.  It took less time than I thought for her to adjust though.  We played a couple things a LOT this month.  First, Play-doh.  I picked up a play-doh pizza set for something new, and we played it every single day until all the colors were brown and they started to dry out.  Then we got some sparkly play-doh that quickly turned from a rainbow of colors to a medium blue.  It’s still sparkly and soft so we hear a lot of “oooooh pretty!” When she’s working with it.

Playing Chef:  Since we had so much fun with the play-doh pizza, I pulled out the play food tub.  This was a huge hit!  I guess Maia had never really played with it before, and she LOVED her chef’s hat and the apron.  She wore it for more than a week and kept going back for it even after that.  She loved filling the pots with all the felt treats I’d made over the years.  Yay!  I love it when things get used!

Maia is seriously improving on the bike.  Both in ability and attitude.  The first few times we went, she needed a lot of help.  Then she still needed help, but she would say “nonononono” and “I can do it myself!”  Which made the very short ride to the park take a long time!  Now, she is much better at doing it herself, and if she goes off into the grass she asks us to help her straighten it out so it’s a lot more fun for everyone =)
DZ in April:

Donovan’s baseball skills are really improving!  And he loves it!  He begged for a new baseball tee so he could practice hitting the ball at home.  We were a bit skeptical but he has used it a lot!  And now he can catch balls in the glove, and stop them on the ground when they come his way.  The thing I like best about his baseball playing is his enthusiasm though.  He really RUNS for every ball, and he’s the first kid out of the dugout with his glove, ready to get his outfield assignment from Eric.  He really enjoys it and talks about playing again next season.  Well, the fall season as we are skipping summer for sure.  Too hot!

 

Greenbelt:  We spend a lot of time in April in the greenbelt!  The weather is pretty, and we like it when it rains and there are extra puddles to splash in!

I got to play with flowers for the Gala for Uschool

DZ working on his Star Student Poster

Maia loves the big girl legos! She doesn’t build them exactly, but she plays with the people and the buildings a lot! She is just beginning to put them together.

Lots of Game Night Fun in April!