Our new family adventure... and look who learned to ride his big boy bike! Another week in our everyday lives!
My husband and I used to love to ride our bikes together before we had kids, actually I have always loved to ride my bike. When I became pregnant with Ethan, our first born, I quit riding my bike. We got a really nice stroller and we used that all of the time instead of riding bikes. I have great memories with the stroller, but I always missed riding my bike. In the meantime, the bikes sat in our garage... for almost ten years! How did that happen? How did I give up something I loved to do so much for almost a whole decade? Last year around this time, I bought these awesome child seats that I saw at Wal-Mart that attach to the front of the bike instead of the back. I never thought the ones in the back of you looked very safe, and the bike trailers? Forget it, they looked so big and awkward to maneuver. But sadly, they sat in our garage for another whole year collecting dust. So this past spring, for Father's Day, I decided to take our bikes, which now had flat tires and needed to be checked over to the Newton Bike Shop and get them fixed up. They even picked up the bikes and took them to the shop for free! That is partly why it had taken me so long to fix them because I could never fit the bikes and the kids in our van at the same time so I just never got around to it. They were very fast at fixing them (within a few days I think) and they also attached the kid seats on for us.
This is a picture of me in my parent's back yard the day I rode it (and walked my husband's bike because it was too tall for me) over to their house. I rode around the block a few times and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to ride with Nora in the seat. We often had family bike rides after that all summer, (unfortunately most of these are pics from my phone, so they are terrible quality but it is not very practical to take my big camera around with me so these were as good as we got.) I have a love/hate relationship with my iphone camera.
If you have young kids, I highly recommend skipping the tricycles all together, and moving straight to a balance bike as soon as they can fit one! I bought the one below on Craigslist a few years back for Ethan and all of the kids have used it. You can get similar ones online for a pretty reasonable price. When it came time for him to learn to ride a real bike, it took him less than 15 minutes.
This is Kien on his balance bike this past spring.
Ethan taught Kaia to ride her bike last year at his Grandma's house when she was watching them one day...
And a few months ago... HE TAUGHT KIEN TO RIDE! Kien just turned four in March and is the youngest so far of all of our kids to ride on their own thanks to his big brother. (I think the others could have done it earlier but we just never tried that soon.)
He was a little wobbly at first, but as soon as he got the hang of it...
He LOVED it! You can just see the pride and happiness in his face when he rides... and whenever he is in a bad mood, it is immediately lifted when we go on a bike ride!
Now that the older kids are back in school, Kien, Nora and I ride by ourselves sometimes... Nora was so relaxed the other day that she fell asleep! I had to ride very carefully the rest of the way home. I had Kien take this picture of us so we could have the whole bike in the picture. He did a pretty good job! Sometimes the kids can't make it as far as me, so I will ride to my parents, hang out a while, and then have my Mom watch them while I ride back home and I can go much faster and get more exercise than when I ride with them. Although, Ethan can pretty much hold his own with me. ;)
Here is a close up of the child seat. Nora and Kien both love to ride in them!
The other day, my husband took Ethan to go play tennis about 3 miles away on the bike path, so we decided to ride our bikes to go meet them! I can't believe they made it, but they did! He then drove them home and Kien rode on my bike and we went another 3 miles back home. It is the longest I have went in a long, long time and I felt like my legs might fall off, but it felt so good afterwards! Maybe I will finally lose the rest of my post baby weight now that my baby isn't a baby anymore! Ha! I love that our kids will have memories of us doing something we all love together, and I finally found a way to get some exercise in again. I'm so glad I finally decided to Just do it! :)
Last weekend, my Dad came over to install the new countertop he made for our kitchen. He is a true "Master Builder" in my opinion. Ever since I was little I have admired and been in awe of all the beautiful cabinets he has made throughout the years. He is a Supervisor at a cabinet making shop in town and has been my whole life because it is a dependable job and he always put his family first, but his true calling is to be a carpenter. And let me tell you, he is an AWESOME one. My parent's house is filled with cabinets that he has made throughout the years and slowly my siblings houses and my house are starting to get his handmade touch put throughout ours as well. Which we LOVE. I felt so blessed when he offered to make new cabinets for our kitchen, which allowed us to be able to do our remodel. When we talked about doing butcher block countertops, at first he said no, because he didn't think wood countertops would withstand all of the water and moisture by the sink. So we compromised and he said we could do white laminate countertops on that side, but we could do butcher block on the other side where the kids would eat and we would have a prepping/baking area.
He even used some of his prized walnut for the project. Walnut is one of my favorite types of wood and he has a huge stack of it that has been sitting there for years that he got a good deal on and has never been used. I feel very honored that he let us have some of it for our new kitchen. He probably would have let us use it for our cabinets, but I really wanted white cabinets so it would brighten up the space. Walnut accents, however, go perfectly with the beautiful white cabinets and give a nice contrast to the room.
When I was a little girl, I always remember my Dad in his workshop and the smell of freshly cut wood will always be a memory of my childhood. There is no better smell in the world. I have seen countless episodes of "This Old House" and "The Woodwright Shop" sitting next to him on the couch when I was Kaia's age on Saturday mornings. They were not necessarily my favorite shows, but they were interesting, and I got to spend time with my Dad who worked so hard all week and also in the evenings at home he made galley rail and wood moldings and trims that he sold to his workplace for extra money so I didn't see him as much as I would have liked, but I knew that Saturday mornings he would always be home watching these shows and that I could spend time with him then. :)
So when he came over that day and Kaia was sitting in the kitchen watching him start to install the base for the counter, she never dreamed that he would ask her to help drill the screws! She was THRILLED! Usually her older brother was the one that got to help Papa with projects that we did around our house. Kien and Nora were sleeping and Ethan wasn't feeling well and was busy in his room playing, so she got Papa all to herself!
She was giggling with delight and sticking out her tongue like this, it was so funny to watch!
He showed her how to put in the drill bit, and then he showed her how to drill a hole!
The drill was a bit heavy for her so he helped her with the first few.
Then we suggested she climb up on the countertop... She was shocked! Climbing on the new countertops are a big no no in our house with the new kitchen. She double checked that it was really okay and climbed on up!
It was much easier for her to hold the drill this way.
After they finished putting down the base for the counter, he brought in the jewel of the kitchen!
Isn't it BEAUTIFUL? I am in love.
As always, he had to measure twice, cut once to make sure everything was perfectly lined up. ;)
We debated weather to put an oil rub or a poly finish on it but decided to do the poly because it will be more durable with our 4 kiddos! Once he gets finished putting the protective coat on they will be done! I can't wait! It is so fun to watch this kitchen project come together now that it is almost finished. Thank you Dad for all of your help with our new kitchen and making your Grandchildren feel especially loved by letting them help you! We are truly blessed and honored to have you in our lives!
Last week I made appointments for me and Kaia and Nora to get haircuts.
I was trying to grow Nora's hair out, but was getting frustrated with it because it always looked like this! :) She hated it when I would try to put it up and would run away screaming... if I did manage to get it put up, it would look cute for about 20 minutes tops and she would either pull the pony tail holder out or run around playing and it would halfway come out and she would just look crazy.
Since I was planning on taking her 2 year birthday pictures the next evening, I decided to just get it cut. Her hair curls under naturally so a bob seemed to be the perfect cut for her hair type.
She had always came along to my appointments and the other kids so she knew the drill. She had her hair cut only one time before this but both times she did extremely well and just sat there. It helped that she knew Michele and it was not a strange new person cutting her hair or I don't know if she would have done it or not. She had a very sober look on her face the entire time. It was so cute!
Originally I planned on dropping the 2 boys off at my parent's house, but this little guy decided he wanted to be nowhere else but with his Mommy that day, even if it meant hanging out at the salon.
He made himself right at home on the becnch... :)
Nora's cute little feet that could bearly touch... I remember when Kaia's did that. Now her legs dangle down most of the way. She is getting big way too fast and I am sure before I know it Nora's little legs will dangle and get big on me too.
Michele turned her around to see herself in the mirror. So adorable! I am glad I got it cut now. She can always grow it out when she is older but for now this is so much easier!
Afterwards, they know they get candy. She was finding it challenging to open her lollipop while still holding on to her doll.
Next it was Kaia's turn... she was only getting a bang trim for school because she wants to grow the rest of her hair long. This is the longest her hair has ever been. Her older brother and her both cut her hair several times when she was little. It's nice that she cares what it looks like now and doesn't chop big hunks out of it all of the time!
She always looks so happy when she is getting her bangs trimmed... sometimes she says she wants to be a hair stylist when she grows up.
So the girl's day out was a success, and our little tag-a-long was pretty well behaved too!
So I need this sign... and chances are if you have kids, you do too! I found it on pinterest as a free printable! So you can print it too. Because you know you need one. And I know I am not the only one who has a messy house because of kids, right?! At least I hope I'm not. I dream of the beautiful magazine pictures and pinterest pages where everything is put away and sparkly clean and looks amazing. Believe me, I want it that way, but the truth is, it is just not our reality right now. Don't get me wrong, we do clean... constantly, and we are starting chore charts and so on, but it is kind of like shoveling snow when it is still snowing. :)
So when I moved out of the downtown studio, (I decided it was too much and I could do most of my shooting outside, and who needs a studio to shoot a wedding?) I needed somewhere to put all of my lighting and props. The attic playroom ended up becoming the storage place for those things and then we had no playroom anymore. We tried just putting the toys in the kids room but that was a disaster too... literally. 4 kids sharing a room with 4 kids toys and 4 kids clothes. It was too much!
We actually live in a decent sized house, but it is a fixer upper... and we knew that when we bought it. There were 3 layers of wallpaper in EVERY room when we moved in. One from the 40's, one from the 60's and one from the 80's. My husband and I and my Mom scraped every single bit of it off. It took FOREVER.
It is now slowly emerging into a home and not just a house for us after over 7 and 1/2 years of living here... there is a light at the end of the remodeling tunnel for now. That is, until we start the upstairs project. There is no heating or air conditioning upstairs, but it has plenty of space for a master suite with a office or sitting room. But for now, our kids share a room and they are okay with that, and actually prefer it because they hate sleeping alone. We plan on tackling the upstairs project in the next few years because we know they cannot share a room forever. We remodeled the main floor bathroom a few years ago when Kien was a baby,painted every single room, (that sadly after 7 years needs to be repainted again) replaced every single light fixture and re-wired half of the house and now we finally tackled the kitchen... it is so close to being done, (the downstairs at least) and I am soooo excited! I will be sure to do a post when it is finished. Maybe after we get every thing back in order it will be easier to keep up. At least that is what I tell myself. :)
So a few weeks ago, I asked my husband if we could use the dining room as the playroom for now. He agreed and I went to work moving furniture around and decorating. If you know me at all I love to decorate. So here is a glimpse of what it looks like now. We do make the kids clean it up every night, but I obviously took this picture during the day.
I saw some tents on pinterest that reminded me of one I had as a child. So I used some fabric that I already had, and went and got some boards and drilled my first ever holes with a drill! (Very ironic, since my Dad is a carpenter and makes beautiful wood cabinets, and I have never even been taught to use a drill!) Sadly, it wasn't very sturdy because I tried to make it too tall, so I ordered a pattern off of etsy. They also had a few on sale, and since Nora is turning two next week, I decided to order one for her birthday. That way I had an actual one to look off of and use to make more, along with the pattern. If I ever figure out how to make a good one, I will make some for Christmas presents because I have a ton of fabric I need to finally put to use upstairs.
The first one is a picture of the one I made, and the second is the one I bought from etsy. I have it hidden upstairs for her birthday but I might have to break it out early for her 2 year photo shoot.
So, this house has been filled lately with lots of messes, lots of naps, lots of baking and lots of book reading, lego building, painting, imagining... but most of all, hopefully happy kids.
I am hoping as much as I will remember the messes, they will remember the memories... because all too soon, there won't be little people to make messes in this house and they will turn into big people.