Monday, February 9, 2015

Amazing feats of strength and endurance!

Our Ruby is a climber... always has been.  She climbed up onto our dining table before she was a year old.  Anyhow, she has been taking a real rock-climbing class for the past eight months or so.  She loves it.  It is fun and challenging.
So I took Ruby to the rock wall at the gym on Saturday.  And she decided to climb laps.  Climbing laps means climbing up the wall, then climbing back down (instead of letting go and gliding down with the belay system) and when you get to the bottom, that is one lap, and then, without touching the ground or taking a break, you climb up again, and so on.  It takes a lot of strength and stamina.  Ruby beat her previous record of 6 laps.  Then she made it to 10.  Wow!  But she kept going... for almost an hour... and she climbed 35 laps!
The wall is 35 feet high.  So she climbed 1225 feet up... and 1225 feet down... continuously without a break.
She ended up with two blisters.  And she was "slightly sore" the next day.  
Already she is planning to break this personal record.
Here is a little clip of her climbing a post at a soccer game.  She grips the beam and uses 1/2 inch bolts/nuts as toe holds.

My best is 4 laps... gotta work on that.

Friday, January 9, 2015

And so it begins... 2015!

Cora started the new year with tooth #3 and taking steps!  Slow down kiddo!  

She loves taking baths.  Here she is after a particularly messy dinner...
She also loves to crawl away at top speed mid-diaper-change... giggling the whole time!

June just turned 6!  She has the honor of having the first birthday of the year.
 June recently started reading really well.  It is fun to watch her catch on and find a love for books like her big sisters.  June got a baking set for Christmas, so she has taken an interest in the kitchen.  She made jello for her birthday dinner... she requested chicken nuggets and fries for her special dinner... and jello.

Alli is almost 11.  She is excited to be "almost a teenager."  She sang a solo in the school choir concert and she joined the archery club at school.  Alli continues to be a voracious reader.  
 Alli is starting a babysitting class.  (I am pretty excited about that!)  

 Ruby has been taking a rock climbing class this year... it is her thing.  At the gym where she climbs, there is an "around the world" challenge where climbers go around the entire room by climbing along the walls without touching the floor. It is really tricky.  It takes lots of skill, strength, stamina, and problem solving to make it through.  She has been working on this for over six months, and she finally got it!!!
 Oh happy day!  Here she is adding her name to the list of those who have conquered the around the world challenge.  She was the first to complete it in 2015.
Ask Ruby to flex her muscles for you sometime... wow.
So you can see we are diving into 2015 full speed ahead!  This will be a great year!

What happened in December...

Goodness!  Is it really 2015?!
December flew by in a blink... our December was packed with life!
Here are a few highlights caught on camera...

Cora got a bike-like thing.  She loves it.  Her first words (besides mama and dada... which she is really good at) were "Go! Go! Go!" while sitting on her bike.

Cookies!  We made lots of really great cookies in December... and they are all gone.  Hmmm?

 Check out these beauties that Alli made.  Yes, that is a nativity scene made out of sprinkles!

 Christmas morning photo on the stairs.  Just let us open presents!!!

June got a Santa beard for daddy.  Cora had mixed feelings about it.

After presents...

Okay.  That wasn't all that happened.  
It was a really busy month.  In fact, I haven't sent out Christmas cards yet... hopefully we can get it together for a Valentine card???  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Halloween Twenty-fourteen!

Every October, I look forward to the Halloween costume choices of my children.  Because they choose awesome stuff.

Drum roll please...
 Alli chose Abraham Lincoln.  Did you know she memorized the Gettysburg address (for fun!)?!  We used the glue gun to attach bushy eyebrows to her glasses.  The beard was also attached to her glasses frames.

And Ruby and June both wanted to be ninjas!  This pictures cracks me up because June wore her coat under her costume for trick-or-treat and she somehow managed to create a double chin in this picture (if you know June, you know she is a bean pole).  I also love the dramatic action in this picture.

Our blue-eyed brunette was Wonder Woman, of course.

We had two candy nights this year... trunk-or-treat at church and the neighborhood trick-or-treat.
This is after the church party...

Not very cooperative for pictures...

 Yep.  I dress up for Halloween.  I was a Day of the Dead lady.

 This is a view of the candy sorting/trading/binge after the neighborhood trick-or-treat.
 (Yes, there are a few extra kids in there... Alli's friends.)

Cora absorbing sugar through costume and wrappers... aaaahhhh... feelings exactly.  Happy Halloween!

Warning: Cuteness overload!

Our darling Cora is eight months old now.  She is crawling all over and pulling herself up on furniture.  She likes to feed herself... and she loves baths (those two go hand in hand).

The older girls love to play with Cora... sometimes they sort of play with her like a doll...

"She looks just like a Cabbage Patch Kid!"  I hear this frequently.  What do you think?  Twins?

 Daddy has lots of fun with Cora too.

 I have fun with her too...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Our little garden fairy

On Sunday, Alli asked if she could take Cora outside.
A few minutes later, she came back in and said, "Come look at what we did to Cora!"
And here is what I found...

The girls made a crown for Cora out of a chive, lavender and flowers.

Clearly Cora is okay with all her sisters do to her.  The crown didn't bother her one bit.

Or maybe it did?
Ha!  Love this face!  I hope Cora is always patient with her sisters.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Life. And all we know about caterpillars.

This story begins with Bob.
Bob is a black swallowtail butterfly caterpillar, and we found him in the garden munching on dill.
We potted a dill plant and brought it in the house... along with Bob.  Bob ate and ate and ate.  When he wasn't stuffing his face with dill, he rested until he was ready to eat some more.
He grew very quickly.  His wrinkles filled in, and then out!  He got pretty chubby until one day, he spun some silk and started on his chrysalis.
Here is the sad part... Bob died.  He started the chrysalis phase, but he didn't progress past the picture above... and then he turned kindof squishy and brownish and stinky... and then we knew Bob would not be a butterfly.

But then there was a happy twist...
On the dill plant we brought into our house, there were three tiny butterfly eggs.   So tiny we didn't really notice them until there were three tiny caterpillars munching away on the dill!

These caterpillars were names Stoneteller, Hailstar, and Brambleberry.
Just like Bob, they ate and grew and ate and grew and rested and ate and ate and ate and grew!
They were so big and plump!
Then one day we found Stoneteller running (as only a caterpillar can) across the kitchen floor.  We picked him up and put him back on the plant.
An hour later, he was gone.

And then Hailstar disappeared.
And then I put Brambleberry in a jar!
The next day there was a beautiful green chrysalis in the jar...

I spent about two weeks looking around our house for chrysalises.  And then one day after school, there was a butterfly by the back door!
 Stoneteller was a boy (you can tell by the prominenty yellow bands on the back of his wings).  We were delighted that Stoneteller made it to the butterfly stage (and was found at last!!!).  We let him out and he flew away.

We did find his empty chrysalis on the side of our little plant table in the kitchen.

Here is a better look at the empty chrysalis...

The next morning, we noticed that Brambleberry's chrysalis was darker than normal.  And while we were looking, it wiggled and split open!  
I ran to grab the camera!  
By the time I got back, Brambleberry had wiggled out and was lying on the bottom of the jar.  Look at those tiny wings!  (And that big bottom!)
The kids were already off to school... which was sad.

I got her out of the jar...

And I put her on a plant near the window.  It didn't take long for her wings to unfurl.

She gently flapped her wrinkled wings and they smoothed out and grew and grew.

Her body seemed to slim down too.

Here is Brambleberry's empty chrysalis...

Before long, she was all stretched out and ready to go!  Brambleberry is a female.  You can tell by the prominent blue on the bottom of her wings.

It was a very rainy day, so Brambleberry stayed inside until the girls came home from school.  She just rested on the plants by the windows.
 The girls got a good look at her and then we opened the door, and she flew right outside and fluttered away.
They grow up so quickly.

If you have been keeping track of the numbers, yes, there is still one missing.  Hailstar is likely somewhere in our house.  Hopefully he/she will appear very soon.

 To see some of our previous caterpillar adventures, click here, and here, and here, and here.  Yes, we do this often (yearly or so).  Black swallowtail butterflies lay their eggs on dill, parsley and fennel.  We plant those things in our garden to attract the butterflies.  And every summer we find caterpillars!  Watching tiny caterpillars grow and change and become butterflies never gets old!  It is magic every single time.