Annie is 5

I'm not sure how it happened but all of the sudden Annie is 5 years old.

It's been a fast 5 years and although it's cliche, it literally seems like just a few months ago we were bringing her home and starting our journey into parenthood.

Four was a year of transition for Annie.  She had to adjust to sharing attention, time, and life in general with a sibling but as she has done with all of the new experiences she's been handed - she accepted it and flourished.  Her caring nature does not allow her to be upset with her at-times pesky little brother for very long and she is his biggest fan.

Every day it's harder to believe how mature she is along with the things she realizes, questions, and can do on her own.  Watching her grow in all facets of life is one of the greatest privileges of parenting.  We've had some challenges as she discovers more about the world around us and questions why but luckily she gives us grace as we fumble to find answers to soften some of the harsh realities that she's begun to encounter.

She really hit the jackpot on her birthday this year - she started out the day by getting a new bike, it was pajama day at school, I came and did a presentation for her class, and she got to leave early.
The night before her birthday she made a funfetti cake that she could decorate to enjoy on her birthday.  (Thursdays are running club at school hence the marked lines on her arm - each lap they do they get a mark.)  Nothing says a birthday like bright pink artificial frosting and sprinkles that will survive long after the zombie apocalypse.
She was pleased with the end result though and that's all that matters when it comes to birthday magic.
She then opened some gifts and Denver was happy to return the favor of helping her out...
The thing about Friday birthdays with a Saturday party is that essentially you party for days.  Hence the breakfast in bed to welcome the weekend (yes, that is indeed a recycled candle).
Elsa and Anna along with Olaf were some of the famous guests in attendance at the party to go along with our theme.  Denver enjoyed mingling with them, probably because it was finally someone he could tote around instead of being the one man-handled.
The party couldn't start quick enough for these two girls....

We partied at one of Annie's favorite places in town, the Youth Fitness Zone. It's a great place because the kiddos get to run, jump, tumble, and climb which is the perfect compliment to the cake and sugary drinks they consume while there.


The party had lots of Frozen, friends, and fun which in turn resulted in fatigue and a good time being had by all. 

Happy birthday to our (per-her-midterm-report from her teacher) "sweet, inquisitive, kind little girl."  You keep us on our toes and make parenting a pleasure.


Holy Halloween Batman!

Just so you know, Annie decided October 31st, 2013 what she'd be for Halloween this year and she did not waver so Batgirl she was (Holy Memory Bank Batman!).

Our Hallow's Eve celebrations (Holy Halloween Batman!) started with trunk-or-treat and the fall festival at church on Sunday night.

Batgirl needed her trusty sidekick Robin and Denver was more than happy to oblige (Holy Cliche Batman!).

Trunk or treat had games,

costumes, candy, and what our crime fighters enjoyed the most...

a bounce house (Holy Trampoline Batman!).

 You can rest assured (Holy Relief Batman!)

the blow up jump jump was possibly the most secured place in Stillwater from the hour of 6-7 PM that Sunday night due to the amount of super heroes protecting it.

At one point in time there was Batman, Batgirl, and Robin, in there (Holy Triple Threat Batman!) and then Spiderman joined in on the fun.

While there was lots of candy to be treated, games to be played, and a hayride to go on, one of our Gotham natives spent the majority of her time jumping; while Robin spent most of his time walking around as fast as he could to get his cape to fly behind him - which was pretty hilarious (Holy Crack Up Batman!).

On Halloween day Annie had "dress as your favorite book character" day at school which most parents were smart enough to read between the lines and identify it as "yes, you can use your kid's costume just say it's a book character so it doesn't look like we are dressing up for Halloween day" but unfortunately Annie's mom was not that clever (Holy Cryptology Batman!).

Instead her mother was up until late in the night making wings because Annie had decided earlier in the week she was going to be Pinkalicious and even showed me what she could wear to be that character.  However, Thursday night it was brought to my attention that (Holy Catastrophe Batman!) Pinkalicious had fairy wings and while at one point in time our house had two or more sets of fairy wings they were no where to be found at 9PM when we started looking. 

In all honesty we don't even own a Pinkalicious book and Annie's only exposure to her had been at school and the occasional random sighting at Hastings but being Pinkalicious meant Annie could wear the dress she loves and add a tiara and wand as accessories so for that day Pinkalicious was her favorite book character.

Notice anything missing from this picture I snapped right before she went out the door? Yes, the aforementioned wings I, her mother, created in the night were not worn because "I don't want to have them on my back all day."  (Holy Fate-Worse-Than-Death Batman!) Eye yi yi.  I'm pretty sure I can crack the code on that one being: these wings will not do, I'm better off without... ;)

The next morning we get to school and (Holy Happenstance Batman!) another classmate had dressed as Pinkalicious's brother, Peter, which totally completed the characterization in her mind.  Not that I would've known who he was if I hadn't been told because as I have already clarified in this post I was pretty Pinkaliscious-naive prior to this week. How am I already this out of touch and she's only in Pre-K?

Anyway, her Halloween party was loads of fun and even included a cake walk where she got one of my favorite treats as a kid - a Little Debbie zebra cake.

We then came home and much to the kiddos delight made our house "spooky" (i.e. we hung up a Halloween curtain in the front doorway), which increased their enthusiasm ten-fold and occupied them for the better part of two hours.

Then the caped crusaders made another appearance.

They did a few practice runs of trick-or-treating at our house since we apparently started too early as no one was out on our initial attempt (Holy Shucks Batman!).

We ended up trick-or-treating in our neighborhood which essentially looked like me begging for candy since Batgirl, being true to the Batman character, took the strong silent stance (in other words, she was all of the sudden shy) when it came to ringing doorbells and at this point Robin's enunciation is just not up to par (Holy Grammar Batman!).

After hitting a few houses we went back to the bat cave because Annie enjoys handing out candy and kept seeing kids and saying "they are missing our house!" 

So as soon as we got there she took her position and manned her post by the door for the next two hours (Holy Giveaways Batman!)

  while Denver checked out some of the loot (Holy Jackpot Batman!).

In summary - Holy Smokes Batman - we had a great Halloween!


America's hottest homecoming

OSU Homecoming was a couple of weeks ago and there are reports that it is one of the largest and most well-attended homecomings across the nation, hence it being called America's Greatest Homecoming in folklore.  I'd agree simply by the sea of people that we waded through on Friday night when we went to walk-around to see the house decorations.

Brynn came to town with her folks to join in on the fun.

Having three kiddos to keep an eye on takes all four sets of adults because of the sheer mass numbers of humans just walking around checking everything out, visiting with friends, and enjoying the festivities.  Luckily we can still pack Denver on the chest or back of one of us.  He liked the view from his elevated position but clearly it was his rookie year...

Saturday brought the game and an early arrival on campus.

We meandered around for a bit...

Denver got great joy out of walking through the bike racks.

Being that it was nearly the end of October one would have predicted pleasant fall weather.

That one would be wrong.  It was 90 + degrees.

As you can see from the look on Annie's face, this was not one of the game day highlights.  A 90+ degree ballgame is expected at the first of September or even through September in Oklahoma, but come October, we're expecting closer to 80 degree weather for our games and outdoor activities.

To make matters worse we'd been teased with a few days of cooler temperatures so the heat that we probably wouldn't have even thought about earlier in the season became a beast to be reckoned with throughout the day.

It was all we could do to keep Denver out of the fountain.

He knows what's up - water equals cooling off and at that point in time that was everyone's goal.

We pushed through though and watched the spirit walk, picnic-ed on BBQ sandwiches and went to a tailgate.

It was then game time and even before we walked in the stadium and to our seats Philip and I knew we were sitting in a section that would consist of us broiling the whole game through with no relief from the sun at any point in time.

Annie and I took a bathroom break first and I wish I had a picture of the scene when we arrived to our seats.  I'll paint the picture in words here and hope that in years to come I can visualize it - Philip was standing and clapping for the arrival of the team and had positioned Denver behind him on the bleacher to keep him in his shadow of shade.  At the mere age of 1 he was able to manage all his toddling energy and was staying seated swaying side to side clapping and cheering because he knows how to play it cool - literally.

A few minutes later we took the above picture and it is telling.  Annie and I felt like we were on the surface of the sun so we managed to stay through about 4 plays until we went under the stadium for Dippin' Dots and the sweet relief of shade.  

Needless to say, we didn't make it through the whole game (and sadly neither did the Cowboys football skills).  Jenny and I ended up taking the kids home a little before the half.  The day was completed by eating pizza, the kids playing, all of us appreciating air conditioning while we were ironically watching Catching Fire.


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I'm blessed with fun days, happy moments, & precious memories...this is where I store some of them.