Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Sleeping Beauty Tea Party

I read in a parent's guide to birthday party book recently that five year old's like as much as say as possible for their birthday parties.  The anticipation and planning is often most of the fun for them.  Needless to say, our five year old had definite ideas about what this party should look like.  We did our best to accommodate.
Presenting...Princess Amalia, age 5.  Sleeping Beauty Dress compliments of Grandpa Gregg & Grandma Sandy.  Coordinating shoes by Grandma Deni.  They aim to please.
Everyone had to wear crowns


The tea party was up first.  We included wardrobe changes for the princesses as needed.

Grandma Deni was also the interior designer of the tea party.

It was kids only in there.  Thankfully, the one boy involved was easy-going about the whole thing.

Grown-ups were allowed to observe.  In crowns.

The royalty

Wonderful presents of books and dresses and mroe.  (Note Brin's outfit change)

Finally..the Sleeping Beauty cake.  Soon after that it turned into a water party.  The Sleeping Beauty Warter Play Tea Party. Fun for all.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Reading Log #1

I still have Mali's Sleeping Beauty/Tea Party pictures to post, but before I forgot, I wanted to blog about our current reading adventures.  Both Mali and Brinn had grown tired of phonics lessons, so we decided to take a break from those for the summer.  We still do regular workbook sessions and read on our normal schedule, but I wanted to challenge their comprehension a little more.  We agreed that I would choose a longer-than-normal chapter book for them every week or two for all of us to work through. They would then be responsible for rating it--one, two, or three stars.  (I had lots more ideas of extensions to do with these books, but honestly, with our summer schedule, it just won't happen). I love everything they are absorbing through the Magic Tree House Collection, but even Jack & Annie need a break sometimes.  Not to mention Junie B. Jones.

Our first choice was Stuart Little.  I hardly remembered it from my childhood, and wanted to expose the girls to older vocabulary.  Brinnly struggled at times with the chapter length, but Mali really enjoyed it after the first chapter.  All of us were a little disappointed with the number of "loose ends" left at the end.  The verdict:  2 stars from Brinnly, 19 from Mali.  Not bad, Stuart.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Five years ago today a brown-haired, blue-eyed beauty made us parents.  She had stretched my belly for 41+ weeks and stretched our patience for 12+ hours in labor but it was all worth it.  For some reason (my size, maybe?) we thought she was a boy. But the minute we pulled back her swaddling blankets and declared "GIRL!" to all of Allegheny General Hospital, we knew we had exactly what we wanted.

She entered the world happy, bold, and strong.  For the most part, those word still describe her.  We often comment on her fearlessness.  Her smiles are accompanied quite often with hands on her hips and a "determined" tone in her voice, but really, she just wants to be in charge of at least a few things in her life.  Namely, her choice of outfits. I can't imagine that will get any easier anytime soon, but at least she's content in most other areas.

This hasn't been the easiest year for Amalia.  Our move was a big change for her.  She missed her school and her Michigan friends and family.  This time, she was old enough to understand exactly what moving away meant.  But she coped well.  She's grown closer sisters in many ways (when she's not bossing them around) and we all learned a lot through reading and cuddling together.  She loves her Pittsburgh friends and being back at the church where she was baptized.   And Kindergarten is only a few months away!

The princess trend hit us hard here this spring and Mali can still be found most days in some form of a princess-fairy-ballerina costume.  After a long run with orange, pink is now the color of choice.  Nothing interferes with her afternoon "screen" time and she's also a big fan of baking, dancing, art, science, and just plain exploring. She'll probably always be a daddy's girl but she and her mama have enough in common in their personalities to keep us close.  

We love you, Amalia June Ward for the precious gift from God that you are to us.  Thanks for training us a parents! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grandpa's Girls go Fishing

Trying out the princess-themed fishing pole

Mali caught the first fish!

Brinn's got a pretty good cast herself

A bass!

Proud Girls.  Proud Grandpa

Friday, June 17, 2011

Water Girls

Memorial Day weekend finally brought some warmer weather around here.  Good thing, since we had a party to thorow and houseguests (Aunt Kara & Uncle Josh) to impress.  We showed them the super-cool fountain by PNC Park.  Needless to say, it was a hit.  We ended that weekend with our first visit to our neighborhood pool for a potluck.  We enjoyed it so much that we coughed up the membership fee so we have access to it all summer long.
One of the many perks:  cheap swim lessons for the older girls.  They are becoming so comfortable in the water.  I love it!

We also love the grills and tables there which make picnic dinners easy as pie.

 Carrigan's not quite old enough for lessons yet.  So she puts on her suit, grabs all of the pool toys, and plays in the kiddie pool with her daddy.  When she woke up from her nap the other day, she asked to call him to say "Daddy!  Swimming!  Water!"

Speaking of water, we also spent a lovely weekend at the Ryan family's lake house in West Virginia so far this summer.  Lots of good pictures of that here. Kellie and I went for a morning run, leaving behind the dads and fully dressed, dry kid near the beach.  I came back to this showcase of wet pink pants. Supposedly Carrigan led the crew in tumbling in. I should have known water was going to be a theme for the summer.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

First Glimpse

We had an ultrasound on Friday to find out a little more info on Baby Ward #4.  At my first appointment the week before, the midwife thought I was measuring big so she wanted to determine the exact due date.  Not to mention, rule out the possibility of twins!  (Two of our friends in Michigan had twins for babies #4 & 5 so it's always been in the back of our mind).  But the scan showed one healthy baby, due right around December 23 as expected.  It was actually difficult for the tech to take a measurement since the baby was wiggling around so much--perfect for us to see.  We're all thrilled.  Mali wants a girl, Brinnly wants a boy.  Carrigan just wants someone to partner with when the big girls leave her out.  They were also pretty excited to open bins of maternity clothes today--those three can turn anything into a fashion show.

Any suggestions for names starting with D?

Friday, June 03, 2011

One thing is missing from this picture...

It's Baby Ward #4!  We are looking forward to meeting him or her right around Christmas!  Praise God from whom all blessings flow.