August 19, 2010

Sophia's 5th Birthday

Sophia has been telling me probably since her 4th birthday that she would be 5 soon.  No joke.  So it's not exactly as if this birthday sneaked up on me.  I think there might have been a 364 day countdown.  This does not, in any way, shape, or form, mean that I was in anyway at all prepared for this birthday.  Emotionally, that is.  I don't think I can count for you the number of times I was teary eyed just thinking about it.  5 is so old!  I'm just not ready to have a 5 year old.  5 moves Sophia out of the preschool category and into the elementary age group.  I'm so not ready for that.  I'm not old enough.  And I'm not ready to let go and admit that my first born is that big.  Already.

It takes me back to when my littlest brother was just a kid and every year on his birthday I would tell him that he wasn't allowed to have any more birthdays.  I remember telling him that every year for as long as I could remember.  He never did listen to me, though.  Now he's married and turns 25 next week.  This year, I managed to refrain from being the bossy older sister trying to prevent him from growing up.

Instead, I rechanneled my efforts and told Sophia that she is absolutely, positively not allowed to have one more birthday.  5 is it.  I'm done celebrating her birthdays.  Forever.

That being the case, I took a few pictures to memorialize this last birthday celebration.  Sadly, they aren't nearly the caliber I would hope for for a last birthday tribute.  (But the disclaimer is that one of our really good friends has been at everyone of Sophia's birthday parties and she usually plays photographer so that I can focus on the party, and she was absentee this time around.  I always knew I appreciated her talents, but now I know even more so how much.)

Sophia's 5th birthday was all about horses.  She has now proclaimed that she wants to be a "back horse rider" when she grows up.  Every year we struggle to find a gender neutral theme.  (Let's be real; we all know she'd LOVE a princess tea party.  But she always wants to invite just as many boys as girls, and somehow I think they would be less thrilled than Noah about fancy dresses, lacy gloves and very fragile teacups.)  So this year, when she suggested the horse theme, we ran with it!  We started off the party with everyone creating their own stick horse.  It was a pretty intensive, hands-on activity for the parents in attendance, but fun none the less.  Too bad I missed photographs of any of the Kentucky Derby races that ensued in our front yard to end the party.

Needle in the Haystack Game.
Never mind that they were actually pennies and plastic horses instead of needles.  And straw instead of hay.  And that Tim and I failed to communicate that for the sake of the small people involved, the game should not be as difficult as it's metaphorical namesake and hence used the entire bale of straw.
There's my cowgirl digging for treasures in the straw.
And my cowboy.

Horseshoe Toss.  Never mind that they were actually plastic rings rather than real horseshoes.  Those that came expecting the aforementioned princess tea party were not as excited about Straw and Horseshoes.

Horsie cupcakes.

This was her actual birthday.  Ensemble courtesy of Oma (minus the sunglasses, which were actually a birthday gift from Phoebe).  All to ensure that she has something to go with the cowgirl boots.
Oh, and what about the dinosaur pin she's sporting, you might ask?  That was actually for Noah's birthday, left for him specially by the birthday fairy.  Grandma actually sent one to Sophia for her birthday last year.  But it was pink.  And had sparkles.  Sophia didn't care for it.  It's been in our playroom ever since.  The morning of her 5th birthday, first thing in the morning, I can't get her to come up for breakfast.  She's wandering the playroom.  Looking for the long-forgotten (by me, anyway) birthday pin from last year.  Obviously, no luck.  So we substituted Noah's.  I'm pretty sure she wore it to church that day.

Doing what she loves best.  She's a self-proclaimed "little fishy in that water."  Every year since she was two, we have ventured to our smaller, local water park Pirate's Cove for her birthday.  We briefly tried suggesting somewhere else this year, just to change things up, but she was sold, and I guess if you have a good thing going, there's no need for change.

And, lastly, just because I can't resist sharing this photo, here's a glimpse of what she loves to do these days.  All day long, "Mama, can I hold Phoebe?"  Phoebe, on the other hand, isn't always quite as excited about this form of sisterly bonding.  Is there really any wonder why?  :)  After all, who really needs two Mamas?

And there you have it.  The chronicling of Sophia's last birthday.  Ever.

August 17, 2010

Wet Feet

I've stated-several times-that I am on a new mission to write more.  I'm trying.  And failing.  Somewhat.  That's all beside the point.  I've also spent a lot of time getting my feet wet in the world of blogging lately.  And I've learned somethings.  (Just a few, mind you.  I have a LONG way to go.)  And as a result, I've been challenged to define my purpose in blogging.

In thinking through why I write, I've realized that I've been trying to use this blog to serve two purposes.  And that bothers me.  So, I've come up with a new solution.  I'm going to complicate my life by attempting to keep up with two blogs.

I was telling my mom this tonight, and she was grumbling that as a result, I was going to complicate her life because now she would have two blogs to keep up with.  But she might be the only one who cares!  :)  So... I'll risk it.

From this point forward, I plan to take this blog back to it's original purpose.  It will be solely for the sake of posting pictures and news on our family and the kids.  For all you far away family members who aren't on Facebook and want to see how our kids are growing and changing, stay tuned here!

For all of you who are just dying to read my ramblings and happen to think I am a fabulous word wizard, stay tuned!  I am in the process of creating a second blog-simply for the purpose of recording my rants and fulfilling my writing desires.  If you want to support the wannabe writer within me, follow me on that blog!  I'll give you the details soon.  (I'm still under construction at this time.  Ironic that the first thing you need to start a blog is a blog name, when I happen to think that's the hardest and most difficult part!  I hate titling things!)

There you have it!  At the risk of over-blogging, I am headed home right now (I'm at a local coffee shop that's eager to kick me out.  I think they've turned off the AC in an attempt to sweat me outta here) to do exactly as I said I would and to find some less than stellar pictures of Sophia's fifth birthday to share.

The Water Bottle Solution want to know what happened, right?  Well, here it is.  It didn't quite work out the way I planned, but I am not sure what I should have done differently.  (Besides go back for the water bottle in the first place, because the more I have thought about it, the more I think maybe I should have.)

Anyway, I liked all your answers.  Thanks for the feedback.  I really liked the idea of selling a toy to come up with the money.  I think that would have been the best solution to teach Sophia the cost.  I think her having to part with something would have left more of an impact.  The problem is that I don't think she has many toys that are worth $15 used.  We would have had to sell several things for a few dollars here and there.  And to be honest, I just wasn't willing to go through the work and the wait of posting them on Craig's List, hoping that someone would want her used babies to teach her a lesson.  If I could have thought of anything she owned that would have been worth the right amount in one shot, I think I would have done it.

So instead, I made her pay me back every penny.  I was determined to do it, no matter how long it took.  I loaned her the money so that I didn't have to wait four months for a new water bottle, but then we taped the receipt right next to her payday chart, and subtracted amounts every time she was able to pay me.  All of her savings and spending money were coming back to me until she could pay off her debt.

What I didn't take into account when I decided on this solution was that she had a birthday coming up.  Duh.  Which wouldn't normally factor in too much, because my kids generally don't really get money for gifts.  Until this year.  Guess how much she got for her birthday?  You got it, $15!!!  Come on, Mom, you could have just bought me a new water bottle!  :)

Not really sure that the lesson was driven home the way I intended, but what else can I do.  Lesson learned.  For both of us.  Or at least me!

Thanks for the input!

August 5, 2010

The Last Leg of the Journey

Let's be real.  These posts are mostly for those of you loved ones who want to see the pictures, so I'll do my best to cut to the chase and give you what you long for!

We spent the last few days of our 3 weeks of traveling in South Dakota.  It was the first time most of the Nielson clan got to meet Phoebe, and our opportunity to see Tim's grandparents before they head south for the winter.  We happened to be there on our newest niece Naomi's birthday, so we got to celebrate with a day at the water park- of which I have not one single picture.  (Might be able to use the puking kid excuse for that one.)  But we spent lots of time riding tractors, swinging, loving kitties beyond their wildest dreams (desires), and hanging out with the fam!

Sophia and her cousin Leona.  Sophia got cowgirl boots to match Leona's as an early birthday present from her cousins.  (Sam and Gabe were so concerned that she wouldn't be matching that they actually opted to return the gift they had already gotten for her to get the boots to match Leona and Naomi!  And Leona, who has two brothers, is only too happy to finally have a girl to match!)  She loves the boots, and I frequently have to try to rationalize why wearing the boots to the pool when it's 100 degrees might not be the best choice!

Sophia and Naomi going for a ride.  

The farm is all about rides!  Here, Tim is giving his sister, Sophonise, and niece Naomi a ride on the four wheeler.

Phoebe meets Great Grandpa Walt and Great Grandma Leona.

All the Nielson grandkids.  Noah (3), Sam (5), Naomi (1), Leona (5), Sophia (almost 5), Phoebe (4 months), and Gabe (5).

The matching cousins: Sophia, Naomi, and Leona.

August 4, 2010

What would you do?

Now, I don't pretend to be one of those super-bloggers, of the professional nature who have thousands upon thousands of people caring to read what I write.  But I know there are a few other mom readers out there, and so it is for you that I pose this question:  What would you do?

Let me tell you about the "water bottle incident" and I would love to hear your feedback.  In typical summer fashion, we all ventured out to a park yesterday to meet a friend for lunch and outdoor play (ie: fun for the kids AND mom, since I get to chat and catch up with a good friend).  During the course of the outing, I offered Sophia a drink from my water bottle.  Somehow, without my realizing it, she took off to swing with my water bottle (yes, exactly like the one pictured above).  I discovered this, you guessed it, once we had gotten home.  It probably took me a full minute of internal debate to talk myself out of loading all three kids back in the car to go in search of the missing water bottle.

Needless to say, the water bottle incident left me a little perplexed and frustrated.  Partially at myself for not realizing that Sophia had carried it off.  (If you know me, you may realize that I am kind of anally good at keeping track of my things.)  But also at Sophia for leaving it behind.  Now, I know I need to cut her slack; she is, after all, only 4.  At the same time, though, I do desire to teach her a lesson about remembering things and their value.  

I realize in the scheme of life that a $15.00 water bottle is minimal, but on our simple budget, I will not be replacing very many $15 water bottles.  We have recently started "pay days" for the kids when they get paid for the chores they do.  They each have a spend, save, and give envelope.  The grand total in Sophia's spend and save envelopes?  83 cents.  Gonna take her awhile to pay for that water bottle.  And several months before I can replace it.  

So, there you have the water bottle incident.  Which brings me to the question- What would you do?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

August 3, 2010

Conversations to Remember

Last week, on one of my cherished nights "Off Duty," I spent some time exploring the world of blogging.  I have just become aware of how deep and vast that world is, and it kinda scares me.  I love it, but I am overwhelmed by how much time it can seem to take.  You could spend forever reading from one blog to the next.  I'm all about learning great mom tips and tricks, but man alive, it could consume a person if you let it.

Anyway, as I am just beginning to get my feet wet into this new world, I frequently find myself musing about how these moms find time to do it all.  Clean house, well-behaved kids, families on the go, organization beyond my wildest dreams, all the while blogging about all of it.

So I made a goal to attempt to blog every day for two weeks and see what that would look like in my life.  HOW on earth to fit it all in?  I fairly recently started a list of writing topics I would love to explore "when I have time."  (Yeah, right, what was I thinking?)  But all of those things will take far more time than I have right now.  So, to make good on my goal for today, I leave you with some insights in our house over the past week.

A Conversation with Sophia:
In a public restroom at a park.  For the 5th time that day.  By 12:00.  Noon.

Me: "You have to go to the bathroom ALL the time!  Always!"
Sophia: "Yeah.  Because my brain is so small isn't it, Mommy?"
Me:  "I think you mean bladder, Sweetie!"

A Morning with Noah:
Who was recently stung by a bee for the first time.  Who is now VERY aware of bees.  Real and fake.  Photos and drawings.  Who asks lots of questions about bees' stingers.

Noah (while running around the house after Sophia):  "Ah.  It's my stinger!  I will sting you!"
Tim: "You are NOT a bee.  Pull your pants up and put that thing back in there."
Noah: "But it's my stinger!"

And there you have it folks.  A day in the life of a Nielson...
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