Sloane is 6!

Going into the her birthday, I was concerned she would be disappointed- not having a party, not having a day at school with her classmates, and not seeing friends. And with the whirlwind that is Thanksgiving into Christmas prep, I hadn’t planned much. But somehow it all fell into to place and she was so happy.

We started with a walk to see Christmas lights with the Lembos on the Saturday prior to her birthday. They have a new pupper (named Archer, but Sloane calls Archered!) and Sloane get so excited about going on walks with them. Our neighborhood has some houses that are decked out!

On her birthday, she woke up to find a scavenger hunt to find where her presents were hidden. She is very clever and figured them all out. We let her open her presents before breakfast. Then a breakfast of her favorite cottage cheese pancakes and zoom PE class. It was fun to watch her through all these things- she was happy and smiling, but after a while she would get so excited to recall what happened and be so animated and excited.

We had video chats, walks, and visits from friends for distanced/masked birthday wishes. With a Burgerville dinner and another walk with friends to see Christmas lights, she was elated. We had a little flub with cupcakes made with 6 eggs instead of 6 eggs whites, but the kids still ate them up. Soren does prefer to just eat the frosting like me.

Petunia, her new doll from G and Pa

Sloane is doing so well with her writing and reading. She got a set of BOB reading books from Nini and Papa2 and she is tearing through them. I strongly remember my dread of phonics but Sloane is doing so well sounding out the words. She also writes her calendar dates out. We were missing a month from her teacher and Sloane went ahead to draw her own.

She read the names of the colors and did this all on her own

Sloane continues to love stories- writing them, reading them, and now illustrating them. My parents have been writing one page chapters once a week for the kids since April. Now Sloane has dictated 3 chapters to me and illustrated them to send to my parents. My dad says his favorite drawing is Sloane’s double decker bus. My favorite is her drawing of one of her dolls, Diva.

Reading G and Pa’s chapters to Soren, he crawled up into her lap
Diva the doll

Sloane continues to be very compassionate, even though 90% of her time is spent with her family. Even with yelling and battles at times, she loves her brother. He asks her to sit close to him whenever they watch a show. She likes to pick him up and will read him stories. She loves singing and making up songs. It feels at time like she is narrating the musical of my life. She is also quick with her humor. We’ve talked about kitty eyes, something Ellie, Max, and Zander mastered. Instead of batting her eyes and looking up, she narrowed her eyes looking through her knitted eye brows. When I showed her the right way, she said those were Murdoc kitty eyes (our nice cat) and she was making Mia kitty eyes (our not so nice cat).

Two of the sides of Sloane
Cuddles to watch a show on the Kindle

Christmas 2020

And again- with the pandemic restrictions in WA state, we celebrated Christmas at our house with the four of us. It was suppose to be the year we went to NH to celebrate but it was yet another canceled trip in the pandemic. Fingers crossed for Christmas in July or August instead.

On Christmas Eve, we did a video chat with the NH crew. As our NH tradition, Pa read Twas the Night Before Christmas to us all. We said goodnight and wished everyone a happy day. The kids had a sleep over in Soren’s room and we were crossing our fingers that they would sleep until at least 6 am!

Christmas morning (after 6 am!) we all went out to see the presents under the tree and find the stockings. Santa fills the stockings and we luckily got to borrow the ones from G and Pa to use at our house. We have been at our own place once for Christmas morning since we had kids and that was when Sloane was 8 days old! We did my family’s old tradition of opening the stockings on the parent’s bed. Sloane and Soren got Honeysuckle Hallow animal families- dalmatians for Soren and bears for Sloane.

Then we spend most of the day in our jammies; opening presents, eating yummy food (Adam made homemade bagels for lox), and playing. Plus, as chiropractors we had family adjusting time!

Soren got race cars from Nini and Papa. Both kids got bathrobes made by G. Sloane got some new clothes for her American Girl dolls. Adam got a Powered by Gluten shirt because he has made all our bread since March. And we got some Christmas mugs from Jesse, Cam, and Lida. We also gave Adam a frame that included a self portrait of Sloane.

Happy 2021 to all!

Pre Christmas 2020

We wanted to be as festive as possible this year, getting the Christmas decorations down the weekend after Thanksgiving. Then we got our Christmas tree early and decorating it together.

We made looks of cookies- gingerbread, peanut butter krinkles, and triple ginger. Sloane and Soren both helpful in cutting out the gingerbread cookies. I was amazed at their concentration with decorating.

We used our cookie cutters for the first time in years. One set was woodland creatures. I kept calling this one a whale though! Turns out whales don’t live in the forest and it was a snail.

My usually tradition of tying wreaths with Rach at her parent’s house couldn’t happen, again WA restrictions. So Sloaney was my helper and we set up a station in the driveway with our sawhorses (thanks, Dad!). We had a great time listening to Christmas music and saying hi to neighbors walking by. Plus Rach stopped by and dropped off some of the pretty trimmings from her mom’s garden for me to jazz up my wreaths. I was pretty happy with them.

We went to the Portland International Raceway for the Festival of Lights. They did a great job making it COVID-19 friendly. We pre bought our tickets online, plus then we just drove around in our car with the four of us! Adam made pizza for us and we brought it in the car to eat while we were waiting to get in. We let the kids sit in our laps for the slow drive around the track. Both Sloane and Soren wanted to drive around again, but sadly that is no allowed.

Oh, and I got us matching pajamas!

Thanksgiving 2020

This fall we would occasionally pick up the lunches provided at the school. They had a turkey coloring page for Thanksgiving that you could bring in for a prize. Sloane and Soren were excited about the prizes and colored the turkeys. The prizes were candies (of course), of which they both got banana flavored Laffy Taffy. I am sorry to say that they both liked them.

With the governor’s restrictions on social gatherings, we had Thanksgiving with just the 4 of us at our house. This included a turkey smoked on the grill, homemade rolls, stuffing with sausage and apples, and 3 pies! The kids were very excited about using Adam’s great aunt Amelia’s china and fancy blue glasses. Plus 3 types of pie for dessert!

We went for a brisk walk with Nini and Papa2 in the afternoon. We missed spending the day with them cooking and eating. But we are thankful for everyone’s health!

Our neighbors started putting up their Christmas lights right after Thanksgiving and the kids enjoyed the show. Plus they are darn cute together sometimes.

It was really nice to have a long weekend at home together. With our current schedules, Adam and I have Sundays off together on a regular week. So Wednesday afternoon to Sunday evening was so nice! Soren and I got some cuddles in. And Sloane and Soren got to run around and Soren kept his leaf blower backpack on for it!

Halloween

We asked Sloane and Soren to pick out their Halloween costumes in early October. Luckily they both wanted to dress up using things we mostly had around the house.

But this wasn’t Sloane’s-

Or this

Or these for both kids

Or this tiger for Soren

These were the final costumes- a pink princess cat and a monkey. Though Soren insisted on being called Peter Panda because we had just read Berenstain Bears and the New Neighbors.

We went on a little parade around the block that a neighbor set up. It was fun to be in costumes early in the day, though masks meant no face paint this year.

Our neighbors’ grand kids, Tovah and Olin
Our neighbor Vivi with Sloane

Adam had brought the kids to the pumpkin patch in mid October and it was actually a pretty slow day. They were able to ride the tractor and climb the hay bale pyramid. They picked out our pumpkins.

I have decided Halloween should always be on a Saturday. We had a the whole day off together and it was relaxing. We carved our pumpkins during the day. When we were carving, I told Sloane to draw a face with triangles, squares, and circles and I would transfer onto her pumpkin. The result was a pretty amazing mouth. We have a set of tools for carving pumpkins and Soren was obsessed with the serrated knife. Soren told us he wanted a dog carved into his pumpkin. Adam and I attempted a few sketches on paper and Soren declared they were all not dogs. I finally convinced him that a spider was a good idea.

Our next door neighbors gave the kids little treat bags that included veggies chips. Sloane was a fan!

One neighbor told us that they would be handing out candy off a table so we decided to do one trick or treat stop. The full moon was so incredible that being out was an adventure! We stopped at one other house that was wearing masks and gloves to give out candy. Adam made some chocolate chip cookies for us to have at home. It made the kids super happy and mostly forget about candy.

Lost tooth

Sloane lost her first tooth! It went from the tiniest bit wiggly to super loose in a couple days. She was so excited. We have heard of a few friends who had lost teeth already and she was ready for her turn.

Sloane asked if the tooth fairy could bring her one of each type of money, meaning coins. $0.41 seemed a bit small for the first tooth, so the tooth fairy added in a silver dollar as well. Sloane refers to the gift as ‘five monies.’ Loose tooth number two- here we come!

And she loves to try to pick up Murdoc and this is picture makes me so happy!

That darn smoke

For 9 days in September, we had toxic air quality in Vancouver due to the wild fire smoke. Our home was not in an area that was under threat of evacuation and we were lucky for that. Adam put a new air filter in our whole house fan right before the air got bad and the ran the fan 24/7. We also read an advisory to strap an air filter to a box fan for living space. I wasn’t sure either was doing much, but I was wrong!

So we basically spent 9 days inside. I decided it was the worse stretch of time since the pandemic started. I would take snow, freezing temperatures, or rain over hazardous air quality again. No being able to go outside was incredible hard with kids Sloane and Soren’s ages. On top of that, we were doing online school (this was before in person days) and we had moved Soren to a real bed. He was not getting tired out during the day, so we tried to skip nap. That lead to him just falling asleep a couple times at 4 pm.

So we let the kids do things like jump on the crib mattress in the living room floor in their bathing suits. Sloane pretended she was the trainer and Soren was a dolphin. And finding all my childhood dolls for Sloane (and Soren if she ever lets him) to play with. Hurdling over the hot pink Dolly the Dolphin tube. Looking at my baby photos. Also, Soren was obsessed with wearing Sloane’s Frozen 2 night gown.

We also watched Mary Poppins. I had to force the kids at first. I told them they had to give it 5 mins. 45 minutes later they had not made a peep. Since then we’ve been singing the songs and dancing around. Sloane even likes to do the accents!

Once the air quality dropped below 100, the kids and I took a walk around the block. They were crazy excited! It was also suddenly fall.

In person Kinder

Our school district was able to start in person kindergarten with small groups. We decided to have Sloane participate because the protocols seemed acceptable and it seemed like a good start for Sloane to ease into the demands of school, including wearing a mask for longer periods of time and being away from us.

On the first day, she was so VERY excited and kept saying ‘I am going to real live kindergarten’. Soren was a little jealous and kept saying to Sloane ‘You no going to kindergarten. I going to kindergarten. You a big kid and I am going to school.’ Soren insisted that he needed his backpack too and has worn it every day since. Soren and I walked Sloane to school on her first day. They have dots 6 feet apart to stand on while we wait for her teacher to come get them. Sloane’s group is 4 students including her. Mrs. Morrison came out, said hello, asked if they were ready, and away they marched. I had to ask Sloane if she wanted a hug- she was just ready to go!

Soren lost it after she left. He was missing Adam that day already and Sloane leaving was devastating. He kept saying he wanted Daddy. And then I had to carry him home. At just under a mile, it is too far to have to carry a three year old! About 3/4 of the way, he finally let me put him on my shoulders. It was very strange to just have one kid around! At first I kept looking for Sloane. But it is just a little over 2 hours of school on Mondays and Tuesdays so it flies by.

This is Sloane’s 4th week. We have really been enjoying it because it eliminates all live class time. She has a handful of assignments to do each week on her Chrome book and she can mostly do them without help. It is impressive how she has learned the icons and buttons to complete her assignments.

Soren is 3!

This little one is so adorable. He started to love playing pretend recently. He does an incredible gorilla, chest beating and walking on his knuckles. Here is a video where he pretends to be a flamingo.

Soren has a unique fashion sense. He loves his hand-me-down pink raincoat, sparkly red pants, pink helmet, Doc McStuffins sunglasses, and kitty shirt. Then he thinks outside the box like wearing a hat he found at Nini and Papa 2’s for dinners and naps; or a life jacket for playing on the porch.

We got a real bed with a trundle for Soren in early September. One night in his crib, he had asked me why his bed at a cage on it, so I started looking for a bed. At first he didn’t want it, but once we told him he could help us with the screwdriver to take the crib apart and with moving the pieces out, he was in. He has been sleeping in the bed since and had his first fall out of it after a month! The trundle rolls out and pops up so Sloane and Soren can have sleep overs in his room on weekends. It worked on the third attempt because Sloane rubbed his back and hummed to him.

For his birthday, we went to the zoo. They require reservations and masks. The experience with reservation was actually really nice because it meant less people and more consideration with moving to see the animals. The kids loved running around and see the animals. Nini and Papa 2 came along for the fun. We had a family dinner (because what else do you to celebrate during a pandemic on a rainy day with a 3 year old). Soren was most excited about his cupcakes. We asked if he wanted us to sing to him and he ask if he could sing too. Then we did the whole candle and singing with cupcakes again the next two nights! We gave him an umbrella, a magnifying glass, and a mirror- they were big hits!

He got a tee ball set from Nini and Papa2, an extension of his train set and velcro catch game from G and Pa, a cute stuffy from the Montana crew, and a bowling set from Cam, Jesse, and Lida. They are all big hits. He’s been loving the new physical games to play and he has been sleeping with his new stuffy.

Soren is crazy physically active. We finally decided we could play on play structures with extra hand sanitizing. He can climb to the top of the ladder that is higher than my head. I was spotting him and after he made it to the top, Sloane told me I did a good job, which was nice to hear.

In addition to running around like a crazy person and talking super loud, he is a cuddly sweetie. He insists on kissing us on both cheeks and being kissed on both his cheeks at bed time. Soren will throw in a nose kiss often too. He has a soft touch and will rub your shoulder if you seem sad or hurt. Then occasionally he bites his sister.

It was a year ago that he was diagnosed with TEC. He has been doing great since that resolved. He has been growing so much since then! He is now 37 inches and 34.25 lbs. And thriving even in the crazy mess of 2020.

Smoothie sharing

For the past few months, Soren has been helping me make my smoothies. About a year ago, he and Sloane would both help me and it was the opposite of help- spilling spinach all over the floor, arguing about who does what, basically taking a LONG time while I was hungry.

Now, just Soren helps me and he’s great at it. And he has added a final step- getting two straws out so he can share it with me. Like we are on a date at an old timey soda shop. I am going to soak it up before he won’t fit in my lap anymore.