Friday, May 31, 2013

Strawberry Festival Fun--Summer Here We Come!

     We recently went to a Strawberry Festival.  It was a beautiful day outside signalling that Summer is on the way.  We enjoyed strawberry themed foods and the Sugar Snaps experienced theme park style rides for the first time.

 We loved the strawberry crepes and strawberry slushies.

Ryder loved riding the carousel.

Capri was anxious in the car ride and Ryder loved it so much that he cried when it was over.

The whole family rode in a giant strawberry in the Berry Go Round.

Xayden loved to steer the wheel while Grayson was not so sure about it.

     We were excited to try out rides at a festival before taking them to a big theme park.  It was nice to give them some exposure and to let us know how they may react to a bigger park.  I was impressed that they were all willing experience it.  We could not ask for any more.  How old were your children (nieces, nephews or grandchildren) when they first tried theme park style rides? How did they react? I would love to read your stories in the comments or feel free to leave links to your theme park or festival posts.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Spending time with our Surrogate

     If you read my recent post with photos of the two pregnancies, you know that Griselda was our surrogate and that Griselda, Peter and their children will always be part of our family.  We had a wonderful time when they recently joined us at our house for a get together. They played with the Sugar Snaps.  Our children played together and we had lunch on this wonderful afternoon.

The Sugar Snaps enjoyed the generous gifts of a colorful tunnel and balls.

Darla opened up her sidewalk chalk and slushy maker.

Capri was in awe of the beautiful dresses from Griselda's family.

Their daughter Darla is a delight

and their son Noah is so sweet and a joy to be around.

The Sugar Snaps posed with Peter, Griselda, Darla and Noah for a group photo.

     We feel so lucky to have an ongoing relationship with Griselda, Peter and their children.  They are truly wonderful people.  During the pregnancy, when we were told that we might lose baby C (Ryder), it was Peter who had confidence that his prayers would be answered and knew that Ryder was going to be all right.  Griselda nurtured our boys every day of her pregnancy and provided breast milk for six months so that their immune systems would have an extra boost. We will never be able to express our gratitude as strongly as we feel it.  Do you have relationships in your life for which you feel a deep level of gratitude?  I'd love to read your stories.  Feel free to share your stories in the comments or leave links to your posts about gratitude or meaningful relationships.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memory Lane--Pictures from the Beginning of Capri + 3

      If you've read our story, you know that there were two pregnancies that resulted in our four children born in November of 2010.  Our surrogate, Griselda, and her family will always be part of our family.  They are amazing, warm and wonderful people.  We feel so privileged to have them in our lives.   We get together every now and then and cherish that time. The Sugar Snaps are too young to understand this special connection, but some day they will.  We saw Griselda and Peter again earlier this month (photos to follow in another post) and it made me reminisce about our pregnancies and the journey to Capri + 3.  These photos were taken by Little Room Studios in September of 2010, about two months before the Sugar Snaps were born. 

Me and Greg

Peter and Griselda

Two bellies...four babies

Me and Capri

Griselda and the boys

Touching a miracle...

     We feel so incredibly blessed to have the Sugar Snaps.  It would not have been possible without Griselda, Peter and their children.  There are not many people who would carry three children all at once so that someone else could have a family. Griselda and Peter have a genuine warmth that radiates from them and we always feel better after seeing them than we did before.  If you have any pregnancy or family stories you would like to share, I'd love to read them.  Feel free to leave links to your pregnancy or family posts.  As always, comments are welcome.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Visit to the Dentist

     We took the Sugar Snaps to the dentist who also happens to be their uncle. We have found that they do better with outings if we prepare them by talking about it for a few days beforehand. I played a game with the Sugar Snaps, telling them, "we are going to see Uncle David and he's going to look at your armpits." They all responded, "no!" Then, I would make the same statement using another body part, such as their feet. They eventually corrected me indignantly and told me that he would be looking at their teeth. We went through this routine each morning for a few days before their appointment so when they saw him, they were not at all surprised that he wanted to examine their teeth.

Capri had fun peeking out of the top window of the playhouse at the dentist's office

while Grayson hung out of the window on the bottom floor.
Ryder was very cooperative while Uncle David examined his teeth.

Xayden cuddled with the jungle animals
before his teeth were examined.

     Overall, they did very well on their second trip to the dentist.  If you missed their first trip, you can check it out here.  I typically brush their teeth three times a day and then floss while I sing, "did you ever see a Lassie go this way and that way" to remind myself to go around each tooth in a 'C' shape both ways.  Luckily, the regular brushing and flossing paid off with no cavities and only a tiny bit of tartar on Xayden's teeth.

       Xayden sucks his thumb when he sleeps and we found out this has caused a problem by pushing his top teeth out of shape.  Uncle David could tell which thumb he sucks just by looking at his upper teeth.  Xayden will need to wear an apparatus in about six months which will correct the problem and prevent him from sucking his thumb any more (because the metal would poke him if he tried).  I am glad it can be fixed but I am not looking forward to Xayden's reaction to this apparatus. I will let you know how it goes.  His thumb is his friend, complete with a callous of devotion.   How have our family trips to the dentist gone? I would love to read your stories (or posts if you have them).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Family Fun at the Gardens

     We spent some time with Aunt Leanne, Uncle Eric and Cousin Emma at lunch and then stopped by a beautiful botanical garden.

Grayson, Aunt Leanne, Capri and Emma explored the gardens.

     What you don't see in this photo is that Ryder and Uncle Eric are also there while Greg is off to the side and I walked several steps behind with Xayden.  Leanne is visibly pregnant and a passerby assumed that all the children were hers except for Xayden.  It appeared that she had triplets, plus Emma and was expecting a fifth. After passing them, the man pointedly asked his wife, "Did you see that lady?" I am guessing he thought that she must be having children at a rapid rate.  

Xayden and Grayson peered into the  pond

and admired the colorful Koi swimming gracefully below.

Aunt Leanne and Emma stood by the waterfall.

Then, Emma and the Sugar Snaps watched as the water splashed over the rocks.

I paused to appreciate this inviting rose.

Capri was so enamored with her cousin Emma. 

      Usually surrounded by her three brothers, she was excited to spend time with another girl.  The Sugar Snaps talked about their Aunt, Uncle and cousin until they fell asleep on the car ride home.  They are learning their letters and proudly announce that Emma starts with E.  Have you visited you local gardens or been on other family outings lately?  I would love to hear from you.  As always, comments are welcome.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Celebration of Books

    We recently took the Sugar Snaps to a local book festival so that they could see some of the characters in their books come to life.  We were excited to meet the authors and who signed books for the Sugar Snaps.  They do not understand now, but later they may be interested to know that authors are real people who create amazing stories.

The Sugar Snaps had the chance to meet Llama Llama in his Red Pajamas.

I was excited when David Kirk a signed copy of Oh So Tiny Bunny for us.

I was also thrilled when Mark Teague signed our copy of How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night.

The Sugar Snaps were ready to get their wiggles out after the signings.

Xayden was atracted to a colorful sign

and Grayson also had the urge to explore it.

     I had been meaning to go to this festival for years and was finally able to experience it.  It is such a wonderful idea to have a festival devoted to reading, authors and literacy.  I hope we can continue to enjoy it in future years when the Sugar Snaps are old enough to understand it and pick the authors they would like to meet.  I hope it inspires them to write down stories from their imaginations.  Have you been to any festivals lately with your family?  What activities or events do you recommend?  Feel free to leave links to your posts or event page.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dora and the Truck Book

      When I was in college, we were told about a study on gender messages children receive. They put babies in a room with girls decked out in blue and boys clad in pink. Volunteers were asked to play with the babies and their interactions were filmed. The girls in blue were tossed in the air and handed trucks as men and women played with them in rough and tumble manner. the boys in pink were given dolls as volunteers spoke softly to them and played with them gently. This really left an impression on me and now that we have our own children, I try not to behave like the volunteers in the study.

Ryder was the Cowboy hair stylist.

     I make a conscious effort to make sure that all of the Sugar Snaps have access to trucks or dolls. I would like our children to grow up to be warm and nurturing people and role play with dolls is helpful practice. I bought a Dora the Explorer doll from a community sale and made sure that each of the Sugar Snaps had time to play with her individually. I set the timer. It was interesting that they all seemed to enjoy combing her hair and spending time with her pretty equally.

Grayson played peek-a-boo with Dora.

Xayden chatted with her while he fixed her hair

and Capri gave Dora a warm hug.

     My Mom gave the Sugar Snaps a truck book which was at first coveted by Ryder who loves trucks and cars. Then, it organically became the prized book for everyone to have in the car. So, now we take turns and when we go to and from a location, one of the Sugar Snaps gets the truck book each direction. Capri enjoys her turn with the truck book just as much as her brothers. While I try my best to present toys in a gender balanced way, I also love to dress Capri as a "girly girl." I think it is OK for them to know there are differences in the way boys and girls dress. At the same time, I want to encourage them to be gentle, nurturing, adventurous and bold.

You can tell by the edges that the truck book is loved.

     What are your thoughts about toys for boys and girls? Do your kids (students or grand kids) have equal amounts of dolls and trucks or more of one category? 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Paper Flowers for Mother's Day

     With Mother's Day approaching, it is fun to have children make crafts that they can proudly give to their Mama's.  This is a quick and easy project your child can make with very few supplies.

Paper Flowers for Mother's Day

You will need:

  • Construction paper in flower color of choice (two sheets per flower)
  • Green tissue paper
  • Stapler
  • If a sturdier flower is desired, additional construction paper, dowel or tree branch to use underneath tissue paper stem

     When I was in college and graduate school, I was a recreation director and did a children's art program every Saturday.  We had lots of construction paper, tissue paper, glue and other basic supplies which I needed to find new uses for each week because I had the same neighborhood children hungry for art each weekend.  One thing the children enjoyed making was construction paper and tissue paper flowers.  Here is one variety that children who know how to use scissors can make and toddlers can help with the process.  Take one sheet of construction paper and fold it in half horizontally (in a gentle way so that you do not have too many creases).   Have your child (or help your toddler) cut strips all the way across without cutting all the way through the paper as pictured.  If you have younger children who are newer to scissors, you may wish to draw lines on the paper to show them where to cut.  Do this with two sheets.

     Have your child reverse the fold by taking one uncut end and meeting it up with the other uncut end so that the petals of the flower are open (rather than flat).  Do this with both sheets.  Then take  both sheets and lay them on top of one another (uncut ends together) so that there are two rows of petals.  Have your child (or help your toddler) to roll the uncut ends of the paper to make a flower shape (as shown in the first picture.)  Use a stapler to hold the flower together.  Next, if you would like a sturdier stem, have your child fashion one out of construction paper (or attach flower to a wooden dowel or branch).  Staple or tape to the flower to the base and then wrap the tissue paper around it and attach with the stapler. Younger children can help push the stapler to help staple.   If desired, have your child tear the tissue paper to shape a leaf and twist it onto the stem.  Then, staple it down.   If a sturdy stem is not needed, skip this step and simply shape the stem  and leaf out of tissue paper. The Sugar Snaps love this step of squeezing and crunching the tissue paper.  We recycled green tissue paper from a gift bag.  Toddlers (with some assistance) or older children can also squeeze and arrange the petals of the flower.   Place in a vase if desired, or simply hand it to Mama with a note or card.
     The Sugar Snaps are never bored by art projects.  They love to crinkle paper, glue and paint. They are also practicing with scissors.  Have you done any projects for Mother's Day this year?  For the Mamas out there, what do you have planned?  I hope you get lots of R & R and a little pampering this year. 
I have a favor to ask.  The top 25 Multiples Blogs contest ends May 8th at 4 p.m. PST.  Please stop by and vote for Capri + 3 (once every 24 hours) in this tight race. Just scroll down until you find Capri + 3 and click 'vote.'  Thank you for your help!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cowboy Festival Fun

     We took the Sugar Snaps to a local Cowboy Festival in the blazing heat with plenty of sunscreen.  The shuttle bus which took us to the festival was their first time on the bus. There were lots of people dressed to the hilt in cowboy and cowgirl attire.  Ever since we went to the festival, Ryder says, "cowboys, bus" when he plays with the bus toys at home.  I think they now associate cowboys and buses and may be pretty surprised when they don't see any on their next bus ride. 

The Sugar Snaps loved exploring the old stagecoach.

Xayden enjoyed being encircled by the lasso.

Capri also got in on the fun.

Ryder enjoyed the cowboy crafts table.

A cowboy peeked out from behind the colorful parasols ready to lasso someone. 

Our little cowboys and cowgirl were pretty thirsty after their Western adventures.

     The Cowboy Festival was a fun experience.  It was nice to see the community come together and get into the Western spirit.  Have you been to any festivals lately?  I would love to hear from you.  As always, comments are welcome.


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