Looking Back at Elliott Rose (2017-2018)

817_1520653573211.jpg

Ellie is still the self-proclaimed, resident cat lady and veterinarian of the Vanderwall household. She commonly expresses her emotions as a “purr” or a “hiss.” Her love for all animals continues to grow and we have observed a special connection all of the pups to chickens that she comes in contact with.

She also continues to be one of extremes. She is our happiest girl when she is happy but flip a switch and Ellies-goes-boom! We find the same is true for her activities. She is moving from the moment she wakes but come 7pm and she is o-u-t. She is by-far the best sleeper of the bunch; thank you, Ellie!

Ellie finds the most joy in playing with her hippity-hop, swinging, hanging out in the chicken run and swimming. She also loves to color rainbows and draw kitties.

Here’s a look at Elliott Rose’s fourth year…

 

Ellie at four years…

Ellie at three years…

Ellie at two years…

If you really want to turn back the clock, check out Ellie’s First Year…

Advertisements

Looking Back at Kali Mae (2017-2018)

324175755_2017_11_5

Kali Mae is our drama-mama. She is the most expressive, thoughtful and emotional of the V5. Like Bella, she has also heard the calling to become a princess. She will not come down to breakfast without a dress, her crown and a pair of mama’s high heels. In all honesty, she wears and walks in those heels better than I ever have… perhaps practice makes perfect?

Kali also loves to draw pigs, pups and cats, as well as, color. She is a deep reader and still the champion at Hidden Pictures and Seek and Find books. Like her brother and daddy, we believe she has a photographic memory.

Surprisingly her love for art and royalty do not trump her dreams of one day owning a farm. She loves to help out in the yard, in the garden and care for our chickens. She’s a hard-worker and always finishes the job she starts.

Now, let’s look back at Kali over the last year…

Kali at four years…

Kali at three years…

Kali at two years…

If you really want to turn back the clock, check out Kali’s First Year…

Looking Back at Lily (2017-2018)

324175751_2017_11_5

Lillian Grace remains the most laid back of the quints. Her easy-going personality is refreshing. She loves hard and let’s go easy and is ever-so forgiving.

Lily is also very loyal and the queen of routine; if we did it once a certain way, it can be assumed that it must be done that way every time. Luckily, type B Lily can be swayed as long as you have a reason.

Lily is also an animal lover. She loves Papa Ron’s Holly girl and aspires to one day live nearby so she can care for Holly while Papa is on trips. This is just one example of Lily’s consideration. She loves to help and her intuitive nature brings her to your side before you even know you need a hand.

Join us as we watch Lily over the last year…

Lily at four years…

Lily at three years…

Lily at two years…

If you really want to turn back the clock, check out Lily’s First Year…

Looking Back at Bella (2017-2018)

324175754_2017_11_5

Miss Bella is still the princess in the bunch and definitely is passionate about the arts. She loves to sing, dance, draw, color and create. She takes great enjoyment from building extravagant scenes with her toys and stuffed animals.

Isabella’s obsession with fuzzies and anything soft remains. Her collection of fuzzy items has nearly taken over her bookshelf. Unfortunately, a soft, sudden wind sends them flying like a dried dandelion.

The charm is also strong with this one. She has a way of negotiating with sweet subtlety. She’s a tricky one but oh, so sweet.

Looking Back at Bella this last year…

 

Bella at four years…

Bella at three years…

Bella at two years…

If you really want to turn back the clock, check out Bella’s First Year…

Looking back at Theo (2017-2018)

324175752_2017_11_5

Our little boy is starting to look not so little. His patience, charm and inquisitive nature are amazing. Mr. Theo loves to investigate how things work. It is not uncommon to catch him examining a lamp, taking a part our noise machine or peering inside of something. He finds such joy in figuring it out; a budding engineer, perhaps.

He is also my side-kick in the kitchen and loves to help plan and prepare healthful meals and snacks (always pairing energy with a protein 🙂 and is my most adventurous eater. I can’t name a food he doesn’t enjoy… well, there’s kombucha; he can’t get passed the smell.

Theo is fascinated by dinosaurs, space and airplanes… not atypical for a boy. He also loves his boy-time where he’ll excuse himself from the pack to go play with Daddy’s LEGOs or his trains. The girls are still learning to respect this time.

Our big brother has truly set an example for the whole family.

Here’s a look back at Theo over the last year…

Theo at Four Years…

Theo at Three Years…

Theo at Two Years…

If you really want to turn back the clock, check out Theo’s First Year…

A Season of Firsts

mvimg_20180706_112603

We have finally reached the age that everyone has been telling us about. The age of wonder with the ability to articulate curiosities, joys and fears. The age where memories are made by the minute. The age of near-self-sufficiency and ability to help… truly help. The age where messes are made but also cleaned up in a fraction of the time. The age where feelings are felt and are now being able to be navigated, understood and managed. Four- going on -five is an amazing age. This is partially why this summer has been so much fun. The other part is the opportunities that we have been blessed with to explore. Here are a few of our most memorable firsts this summer…

First Parade. The V5 represented Kicks Unlimited’s Little Ninjas class in the Flags of Freedom Parade.

IMG_20180630_133447

First Time Riding a School Bus. The kiddos are enrolled in the Kick-off to Kindergarten program this summer which include a bus-ride to and from school. They have been doing great! No fear.

FB_IMG_1529378051387IMG_20180618_074406-ANIMATION37140937_10109889103364400_7093450462883479552_n.jpg

First Firework Show. Talk about awe and wonder! It’s difficult to explain fireworks to a child. While not everyone was fond of the sound, they all loved the show. They also enjoyed the entertainment at WaunBoom!

First Tragedy. The Sun Prairie community was literally rocked this last week with the tragic explosion downtown leading to the sudden loss of a hometown hero. We couldn’t have hid this from our children, if we wanted to. Instead, we chose to embrace it and use it as an opportunity to explain what happened, how it happened and how to respond. Service and social responsibility are very important to me and being able to serve alongside my children was very memorable. The V5 willingly headed to the store to make care packages for displaced kids and brought them to the Red Cross shelter at the high school. 

Red Cross Efforts

First Trip to Michigan. This first was inclusive of the first 4+ hour car ride (7 hours one way) with only 2 bathroom break (total victory). During our time in Michigan, they experienced their first: trip to the beach, sandcastle, sand dunes, boat ride, and hike. On the way home, we had the opportunity to ride the Ferry- another first! Many, many thanks to Uncle Jeff and Aunt Sue for their hospitality and these memories!

 

37155735_10109889103184760_7877061615336554496_n

 

 

 

And Then There Were None

Maker:S,Date:2017-10-12,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Over the last week, the V5 kissed their last nap goodbye. While it was bittersweet, after 7 days of being nap-free, we believe we did the right thing. The transition went surprisingly well so, I had to share the success.

How did we know it was time?

Most sleep consultants and specialists agree that most preschool-aged children between the ages of 3-5 years need 10-13 hours of sleep every day. For us, this was from 8pm at night to 6am and a nap from 12:30-2:30. In the last few months, we had more and more mutinies during nap time and surprisingly the munchkins that didn’t nap made it past dinner better than those who did. We also noted that they were having trouble falling asleep and winding down at night when they did nap. This Mama turns into a pumpkin before 9pm so the staying up until 9:30-10p had to go. The V5 have always been early birds but even the worms were still sleeping at 4:30am. So, all of these signs pointed to the need to transition.

How to Transition

Like most childhood transitions, whether it be starting solids, potty training or decreasing daily naps, it is best to let the child lead the way. Therefore, be sure not to disregard naps too soon. Those brain breaks are essential for emotional and physical resets during the day.

When it is time to transition, consider a slow fade where you decrease the nap by 15-20 minutes each day. While we didn’t technically follow this suggestion, I believe the kiddos did. In retrospect, their 2-hour nap had dwindled over time.

Maker:S,Date:2017-10-12,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Practice quiet time. This is an invaluable practice that can follow them into adulthood. This gives our crew time alone to look at books, do puzzles, sing, color or draw. While it is tricky to keep them separated, it pays dividends in the afternoon.

It is important to note that quiet time isn’t equivalent to screen time. While a 30-minute episode of their favorite show may provide the adult with some quiet time, it is not going to provide rest that their mind is seeking but rather will stimulate the brain.

This last suggestion may be obvious, but one must also move bedtime earlier. Our home now becomes meltdown-city around 6:30p. Therefore, we moved the dinner hour 30-minutes earlier to have be able to head upstairs by 6:30p and those sleepy eyes are shut now by 7p.

Benefits of Being Nap-Free

If you would’ve asked me a month or two ago about the benefits of being nap-free, I may have struggled but now I am relishing in the freedom to schedule fun day-time activities without restrictions. It also has permitted more hours in the day to have fun family time as evidenced by the Springtime fun featured below. The best benefit of all may be that they are now sleeping through the night with greater consistency and the bed-time battles have also decreased. This means more time for Nana to recoup and more time for Dad and Mom to be husband and wife.

Park Time

Pool Time

Zoo Time