Thursday, July 9, 2015 celebrate #4

...on her 6th birthday

The little lady who completed our family turned six today.  I guess that means we officially have only big kids now.

There aren't too many things she can't do for herself anymore...

She can get herself dressed.
She can brush her own teeth.
She sleeps through the night.
She buckles herself up in the car.
If Mark and I are really tired in the evenings, she can read herself a bedtime story.
She can make her own breakfast.
She can reach her own snacks.
She can pour her own milk.
She made her own lunches the entire Kindergarten school year.
She can even clean her own bathroom.

Wow.  I think she has nearly mastered all the important things to make herself successful for a lifetime.

Perhaps I should add laundry and grocery shopping to the list of things to teach her when she is 6?

If it's true, that she is now a big kid, at what point do we stop referring to her and Abbey as: 'the little girls"?

Will she always be one of 'the little girls'?

I was talking to 'the little girls' last night about how I was just a little sad they weren't babies anymore...

Audrey proclaimed she was going to live with me forever.  I think my heart swelled and skipped a beat.  Until: She continued by explaining that she would live with me always, and I could take care of the babies that she was going to have.

Oh.  Goody.

Perhaps I should start focusing a little more on the positives of them growing older.  Full stop.

We get to sleep in on Saturday mornings.
We get to drink coffee together...generally uninterrupted.
Chores that I don't particularly want to do...I can pass along to the kids!  (Empty the dishwasher!)

While I am sad and I do reminisce a bit about the baby, toddler, and preschool years....I do love watching her (and the other three) grow into the persons they are growing to be.

The Wish.
This 6-year-old little lady is strong, and fierce.  She is wicked smart.  She loves without reservation almost as much as she can sting when she is upset.  She is independent and creative.  She is true.

I can't wait to be part of year seven.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015 enjoy the zoo

...with my little ladies

I have had big plans for our summer.  Museums, zoos, and parks...oh my.  While our days have been busy we haven't even begun to touch my summer bucket list.  The big kids have been occupied with band camp, and cyber-safety camp, and I have been busy schlepping them back and forth to these activities.

But today, today ended up being a 'free' day.  So the little girls and I decided to have a date.

I imagined a leisurely stroll through the gates.
I imagined gazing at giraffes and lions and cheetahs.
I imagined the excitement on my girls' faces.


I have read way too many novels.

We parked no less than a mile from the gate.
It was 85 degrees and humid.
We were hungry.
And it was super crowded.

When we walked through the gate the girls excitedly grabbed their maps and began perusing them...not for the quickest way to make it to the cheetahs but for the short cuts to the snack kiosks.

I think it has been way too long since I have been to a real city zoo.  We have been spoiled by zoos such as the Bear Mountain Zoo near West Point, New York and the Watertown Zoo in Watertown, NY.   These zoos were havens for rescued animals native to the areas they were located.

The Toledo Zoo, upon entering the gates, looks a little more like a toy store or a circus than it does an animal sanctuary.

My initial conversation with the girls upon entering the zoo went something like this:

Abbey:  Can we get our face painted?
Me:  No.
Audrey:  Can we get some Dippin' Dots?
Me:  No.
Abbey:  Can we ride the train?
Me:  No
Audrey:  Can we ride the carousel?
Me:  No.
Abbey:  Can we get a tattoo?
Me:  No.

Audrey:  You just don't want us to have any fun.

Excuse me?  Say what?

At nearly that exact moment my daughter was saved.  She was saved from me lecturing her.  Audrey was saved by some poor little boy who was being screamed at by his mother for not standing with his siblings to take a photo.

My girls couldn't help staring.

I like to think they were being reminded of just how lucky they are.  I am not sure if that is really what they were thinking.   But...

Audrey's response to this situation was this:  I know the way to the giraffes.  I think we just need to go past the picnic tables and straight there.

Let's go.

In spite of our initials issues, our day ended up being just fine.  We saw a few animals, enjoyed our picnic lunch, and watched a bird show (most definitely, the highlight).

Even though they know it means no face painting, no tattoos, no train ride and no carousel ride...

The girls even want to go back again.

Monday, June 29, 2015 use up the stone fruits

...and create a warm dessert

We have had a ton of fruit flies around the kitchen this week.  In order to rid ourselves of these pesky creatures I decided I needed to get rid of the fruit we had sitting out.

How does one use up a dozen peaches, nectarines, and plums that are slightly overripe?

sticky countertop

Why...I cook them up with some cinnamon and sugar and add a little oatmeal crumble.  Besides, the weather has been cool and a warm dessert sounded delicious.

little sticky fingers

Stone Crisp
About a dozen stone fruits peeled and sliced
Sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar to taste
Add a crumble mixture of about 1/4 cup soft butter, 1/2 cup oatmeal, and 1/2 cup brown sugar
Bake at 350 (about 15 minutes) till you can poke a fork easily through the plums. 

Serve it up warm.

Sunday, June 28, 2015 take a moment to reflect

....on all the photos I have taken since the last time I have sat down to blog.

My biggest fan (Isabella) asked me today when I was going to start blogging again today and another fan (who knew I had two fans? Thanks, Aunt Patty!) also mentioned her disappointment that my last entry had been June 9th.

In honor of my two fans, I decided to share two photos...the first and last photos that were on my memory card. 

This photo is important for several reasons:

1.  It shows how great Abbey is doing physically!  She continues to amaze us with how great she is doing.  She is nearly back to her old self.

2.  It also shows just how long it's been since I sat down to download photos...this photo was taken on fun day.  At least a week before the kids were finished with school.  Oye.

3.  It shows just how wild-and-crazy I am...I allowed my 7-year-old to go to fun day in white shorts.  That's me.  An out-of-the-box thinker.

The last photo:

We enjoyed the company of our large extended family today to celebrate the life of Mark's cousin.  This was the last photo on my camera.  

Four darling cousins enjoying each other's company.  

Fitting I think.

Finally I thought I might share two photos that I found particularly amusing.

1.  Forget the four kids on their last day of about that adorable dog?  How cute is he?!?

2.  Does this photo need any words?  

I think this horse has a lot to say...

Tuesday, June 9, 2015 plan, prepare, attend...

...the end of year activities.

While life here on the blog has been quiet...I can assure you life at the Crow house has not been.

The end-of-school-year activity fairies have been busy creating activities, field trips, class picnics, field days, outdoor fun days (not to be confused with field days), and sporting banquets for us to participate in.

Multiply those things times four.

Meanwhile, I have been day-dreaming about the start of summer vacation.  I have been creating chore-lists, activity lists, and project lists.  It's going to be so lovely and relaxing...drinking coffee, catching up, and my house is going to be so tidy.

I also have visions of preparing farm fresh veggies and fruits for dinner al fresco, riding our bikes to the local pool, picnics at the park, perusing at the Art Fair....

In the meantime, the kids are in school thru the 12th and I am in school thru the 18th.  We'll muster through the last of the homework, bring popsicles to the picnics, attend Will's 5th grade graduation ceremony, and try to fit in playdates, playground fun, and softball and baseball practices.

And I'll try to share a few Kodak moments when I get the opportunity to sit and reflect.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015 enjoy the beginnings

...of the end-of-the-year madness

One of the benefits that I have had working part-time this year is that I can swap my work days to do special activities with the kids.

Today I had the opportunity to go on a walking tour of Ann Arbor fields with Will's class.

We walked 7.5 miles.  All over the city.

We went to:

The Farmer's Market via
Nickel's Arcade

Our chaos through Nickel's Arcade
A science presentation

A photo from the beginning of a wonderful science presentation
The Business School
The Law Quad
The Art Museum
swinging on a sculpture at the Art Museum
Next was a soccer scrimmage.

There are two, first grade soccer teams at Burns Park.  I am the coach of one of the teams and many of Abbey's friends are on the other team.  We decided we would host a 'friendly' scrimmage in lieu of our last practice.

I was worried about this event...because Abbey was worried about this event.  The girls on my team have come a really long way.  They run after the ball.  They are more aggressive.  They take chances.  They play hard.  I try to be diligent about making sure every girls gets to play nearly every position each game.  They are awesome in my eyes.  I love watching them improve each game.  But they haven't won very many.  

And her friends' team hadn't lost a soccer game yet.  Eek.

Our team played one of their best games yet this evening.  They took chances.  Passed the ball a few times.  Ran hard.  Our goalies had several saves.  The other team played well too.  At the end of the third quarter...the score was tied.  It was shortly after 5:00, the time when our practices were supposed to be over.  So...we called the game.  

It was a tie.


I think all the girls were pretty pleased.

I can't think of a better ending for a 'friendly' scrimmage.

Except of course to finish off with a pizza party to celebrate the season.

I think she was pretty happy.

Saturday, May 30, 2015 watch them play, soccer, soccer, and baseball.

Our weekend was full of activities and it was the first time in a long time that I had to try to juggle the madness on my own.

Here in AA, much like in our former Army communities, neighbors and friends are always willing to pitch in.  Audrey attended her game with her friend Clara and then was invited to stay for a playdate until I returned from the other two girls' games.

I wasn't able to take very many photos of the activities this weekend...

Abbey was watching Isabella play in one of the rare moments this weekend when the sun was shining...

Isabella enjoyed her last soccer game of the season and played in spite of not feeling very well again the few days previous to her game.   But these two coaches were the kind of coaches you WANT to play for.  They were kind, well-spoken, demanding, and they really cared for the team.

Isabella enjoyed playing for the Strikers...

And they were a really nice group of girls.

It takes a special person to coach middle school girls...and these two guys did a stand-up job.

Not only did they send out a team Mother's Day photo earlier in the season but they also handed out personalized medals to each of the girls.  AND they baked chocolate chip cookies for the shapes of each of the girls' initials.  

AND at the beginning of the season they bought the girls their soccer socks with their team name on it.

We were so pleased to hear they are going to coach again in the spite of the fact that the head coach's daughter is moving up to high school.  Isabella reported she "is definitely playing in the fall". I am so glad that I 'highly encouraged' her to play this season.  Turns out:


The rest of the day I watched Will play two baseball games between the rainstorms.  

You can't tell from the photo, but it was a downpour at this moment.

Bernie enjoyed the day of darting between games...he didn't seem to mind the mud and rain either.

one wet pup
Thanks to my darling cousin and her husband, I didn't even have to entertain the girls.  The tournament wasn't too far from their home and they brought the girls back to their house to play and hang out.  I was able actually to watch both games; uninterrupted too.  Too bad they didn't win either of their games.  

Bernie didn't care if they won or lost...He was just happy to be included.