Parker Turns Seven

img_5057I feel like Parker has grown tremendously in the last year. He’s started a new sport-soccer, developed a love of running, he completed his first chapter book, and he became an active tiger cub in Boys Scouts.  He’s also a great big brother and helper at home, with generally a positive attitude and an optimistic outlook on life. Parker also loves the outdoors and spends a lot of his outside time in the woods behind our home making “forts” and pretend campsites with his brother, Mason.

He makes Dan and I so proud. When I think about all the things that I had hoped for in a kid when he was just a little baby, he’s been everything we’d hoped he’d be and more!

With all that to say, it’s really crazy to see how fast the time has flownimg_5042by. When I look back at his milestone photos, it’s so fun to see how much he’s change over the years. He’s growing into such a fine handsome boy. In a blink, he’s now seven.

I asked these questions to Parker when he turned four, and thought it would be fun to see how the answers have changed now that he’s seven.

1. Who’s your favorite super hero? Spiderman

2. What is your favorite color? Red

3. What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a Dad, and work on a computer like Daddy at Splunk

4. Where do you want to live when you get older? Pennsylvania

5. What’s your favorite TV show? Spiderman

6. What’s your favorite book? Magic Treehouse

7. What’s your favorite toy? Action Figures (Spiderman, Army men, etc.)

8. Who’s your best friend? Mason, Logan C., Logan H.,  and Coal

9. What’s your favorite song? Star Wars Theme song and One Call Away by Charlie Puth

10. What’s your favorite food? PB&J, carrots, and apples

img_4839The morning of his party day, we had a low-key morning. He enjoyed opening his gifts (all spiderman themed) in our room and we chatted on the front porch together while I drank my morning coffee. I love our little moments we get to have together.

I tell myself every year that I’m not going to go crazy with party planning, but each year I end up doing something fun anyway. I just love parties, really. I can’t help myself. Parker went to a party at Stars and Strikes last year for a friend, and loved it. He asked for a Spiderman party, so I obliged and added capes and face masks to the party guests to bring home as a party favor. It ended up being a lot of fun to have them on during laser tag, bowling and bumper cars. All the kids had a blast!

Parker told me as we were walking over to the bumper cars that this was the best party ever, and thanked me. I just love how thoughtful he is.

img_4849We finished the night with a slumber party in Parker’s room. Mason slept in Parker’s bed with him, and Sienna got to sleep in her sleeping bag on the floor. They loved it.

The morning of his actual birthday, I made him pancakes before school, and we sang to him at breakfast. I surprised him by coming to visit him at school for lunch and he enjoyed cupcakes with his classmates. I’m pretty sure he felt special for his birthday!

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First Day of School 2016-17

All three kids have been enjoying getting into the school routine. I am very fortunate that all three really enjoy school!

Parker, our extrovert has really loved getting to see his buddies again. He loves his teacher, and he has been able to reconnect with his friends from last year on the playground, and he has a few kids he knows from his Kindergarten class. We are also lucky to have quite a few great kids in our neighborhood that he enjoys playing with.

Parker was a great big brother to Mason at school, showing him the ropes and walking Mason to class.  Parker enjoys math, science, and has started reading the Magic Tree House series to us at home. He’s also very active and has enjoyed soccer, running, and playing in the woods when he gets home from school. Homework has been MUCH better this year. He enjoys most of it, and quite a bit of it he does on his iPad. Times have changed!

Mason loves school, but had a bit of a hard time transitioning into Kindergarten. I get it, it’s a big leap from preschool! He’s also more sensitive to change and unfamiliar environments. He’s a bit of an extrovert as well, but definitely has to warm up to you first or it has to be on his terms. He loved that he already knew his teacher- which was the same teacher that Parker had last year. He sits with Parker on the bus, which has helped ease his fears quite a bit. Mason does very well in school. He’s a great listener and he follows directions very well. He’s really been enjoying all things creative lately. At home, he’s been doing quite a bit of painting, crafting with paper and popsicle sticks,  you name it! Of course he still loves legos, but it’s been fun to see him use his creativity in other ways, too.

Sienna’s preschool started a few weeks after Parker and Mason’s school. She is just going 2 days, but man… she sure wishes it was more. Almost daily she asks if its a school day. So, all that to say, she pretty much loves school. Every bit of it! She’s our super social extrovert that really gets her energy by interacting with other people. She is still learning her letters and numbers. She knows her colors and shapes. Quite honestly, she could care less about all of the “school” things she should learn. She’s there to see how many people she can interact with and play with. That has been her main focus right now.  I’m okay with that. The learning of her letters and numbers will come later, I’m sure of it. I’m just thankful for her positive and encouraging attitude towards life and I’ve loved having time with her the days she’s not in school.

Parker’s Field Day and Last Days of school

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Parker had a fantastic last week of school. He had an absolute blast at field day, and he had a super cute performance with his classmates that included singing songs about each month of the school year, and a bit of what they learned that month. It was simply adorable! Parker’s part was the in the month of May, and he and his friend was dressed as “surfer dudes”. So incredibly cute! It was a wonderful way to end a successful first school year Daves Creek!


Parker’s Ninja 6th Birthday Party

This weekend we celebrated Parker’s sixth birthday! Wohoo! He’s growing so fast, and I just love watching him year by year learn and grow. This year, he has really been into Ninjago, a lego ninja series that has lego sets, and a cartoon show, as well as books. So, we thought he would enjoy a ninja party at a local Karate center, and let a pro teach him and his buddies the ways of the ninja!

In addition to learning Karate moves, they learned about stranger danger, how to block moves, and Parker got to break a board, as well as cut his cake with a sword! As if that wasn’t enough, all the kids got to take a swing at Lord Garmadon Piñata, which they all loved!

We enjoyed every minute of celebrating Parker. He is SO worth celebrating. He brings us all so much joy. He has such a happy spirit, and positive attitude, and I am so thankful he’s apart of our family.


My oldest started KINDERGARTEN!

This back to school season was a big one for us because Parker started Kindergarten! Parker was super excited to go, but I was a mess. A. MESS! It’s yet another reminder how fast he is growing and how our time is so precious while they’re young. He’s so ready, with him approaching six, he waited as long as possible with the cut-off date being August first (thank goodness!) he had to wait one more year before starting.

So, with me having more jitters that Parker did about him starting this new endeavor, we thought it would be fun to make bracelets together so that he could remember me while he was at school, and so that I would feel comforted when I started feeling sad about him taking such a step in going to big kid school!

Parker's First Day of School

It also helped that he has lots of friends that joined him on the bus, too. I don’t think I would’ve been so accepting of doing the bus if it wasn’t for the fact that there were so many people we knew riding. Also, I heard that it was strongly encouraged because of the super long carpool line during drop-off. It was still really hard for me realizing the fact that I had to just let go of control and trust the driver of the bus, and his teachers and know that God was watching over him through all of it. I wasn’t so sure about the bus on the first day because the windows were so tinted on the new bus models, that I couldn’t even see where Parker went, much less wave to him as they drove away. Not exactly what I had envisioned. I called the bus driver mid-day (I know… I was THAT Mom) but it really helped calm my fears to talk through some of the things that made me nervous (no bus numbers, not seeing my son in the first few rows like he promised, no adult “helper” on the bus to help get the kids seated, etc.).

So far, Parker has loved school and has made lots of friends. That part usually comes easy for him! Maybe a little too easy, actually. There is a neighbor friend that is in his class that he didn’t know well, but they quickly became good buddies. The two of them had to be separated for excessive talking and goofing off in class. It doesn’t surprise me a bit because Parker may be the goofiest out of all the kids and he doesn’t miss an opportunity to make someone laugh or be silly! It’s almost to his detriment. While I love his enthusiasm and positivity, he lacks the self control at this age to harness it and only use during appropriate times like recess, PE or lunch. He’s working on it though, and I am confident that his positive attitude will serve him well as he grows and matures. So, the first few weeks we got a few frowny faces on his behavior chart, but we have since worked through these issues, and I am super proud of his recent efforts of self control and focus in the classroom!

I’m coming to terms with the fact that my boy is growing up. He’s going to be six in a few weeks, and he’s becoming more responsible and his sweet personality shining through. He’s a great helper in the kitchen and he’s doing great learning how to keep up with his chores and duties around the home. I honestly couldn’t be more proud of who my sweet boy, my first born baby is becoming!

 

 

Schools Out!

We had a great time celebrating Parker graduating Pre-k and Mason finishing up his 3 year old class. This year has been a bit more demanding with all the activities, class requirements, request for volunteering, etc. We are so excited about diving into the summer and all it’s glory! Here’s some sweet pictures from the end-of year program that Parker and Mason were apart of at Parkway. It’s hard to believe that Parker is a preschool graduate and won’t be joining his brother next year for preschool and that Sienna will be going to school two days in two year old preschool! The days are long, but the years are short for sure! I’m doing all I can to savor these precious years before they’re off to school all day long and get embarrassed by me calling out their name and giving them big kisses!

 

Daniel Parker Christiansen- Preschool Graduate 2015

Spring Photos!

I’m still learning about photography, and one of my favorite subjects to practice on is my three sweet kiddos! Here are some recent photos that I took with my Cannon 70D 28mm lens. I had the F stop at about 2.2. The F stop goes to 1.8 but I seem to get a lot of motion blur if I’m not focused enough and when I’m dealing with wiggly kiddos! My ISO is set low at about 100. I’m still learning about shutter speed, so I’m not exactly sure what that was set on. I’ve recently been “practicing” with Manual although I’m more comforable in AV mode simply because I feel I don’t know enough about shutter speed to know what I want to set it at in relation to lighting.

Nevertheless, I had a great time capturing my sweet three in their Easter attire a few days before Easter!

Parker, 5
Mason, 4
Sienna, 2

Placemat Learning

We bought some placemats from Amazon for the kids called painless learning and they’ve worked out so great! It has given them something to do while waiting for their food and everyone is learnings! Sienna still needs more teaching and direction, but she’ll get there! Parker has learned several more site words since this video was taken and he has really enjoyed sounding them out. Once he gets all the site words well, I add a few new ones for him to practice. I try to have him understand the phonics involved instead of him just memorizing the word itself. Mason has really enjoyed learning the states, and he too knows more (mostly western) states now. It’s worked out great in our family and I certainly recommend them! They have quite a few on amazon; Counting, anatomy, science, astronomy, ect. So fun!


Bike Rides and Tball Hits!

We decided to sign Parker up for Tball this year.  We’re not exactly a sports family.  What I mean by that is that nobody watches sports or talks about sports, and neither Dan or I went to a college that played a specific sport. Neither one of us or grew up playing sports. Well, Dan played soccer, gymnastics and karate as a kid so I guess those count.  Dan went to Drexel U. a technology college and I went to an art school for college, so neither one of us jumped on the college football wagon or have an aligance to a particular team or sport. So sadly, Parker is at a disadvantage for any kind of sport in our house since he’s never even seen baseball on TV!

I knew Parker would love it though because he has such a positive attitude and an incredible drive and energy. He’s always so positive and loves to play and compete at anything.  Of course, since he’s never played he’s not that great at it.  He doesn’t let it get him down though.  He’s hit a few balls off the T, and last two games hit a piched ball!  He still needs to work on his throw and his outfield behavior (he was throwing his hat in the air and trying to catch it with his head last game), but overall we are proud of him. Who knew being a Mom of a little boy was so much fun?  We’re certainly having fun with this kid and I can’t wait to see how much he grows in this sport.  He’s already asked if he can play in the spring too!  The other day he got up from his nap and asked if he could watch baseball online, and see them drink Gatorade. Ha! He’s so funny!

On Parker’s birthday, I told him that he’s five now, and that I thought we should try riding his bike without training wheels. We’ve tried once before on his big bike, and he was just WAY too unstable. So this time, we decided to take off the training wheels on Mason’s bike since it is smaller and lower to the ground. I worked with him on Sunday a little bit while Dan had a friend over and they were watching a movie and the two youngest were napping. I was EXHUASTED. Parker kept leaning and putting all his weight on me, and I was hunched over trying to keep him upright. He kept wanting to try, even though he kept falling. We probably got a balance of one bike length without him falling, but that was the extent of it. I was a little annoyed because he wasn’t really taking the whole bike riding thing seriously. He would laugh and laugh, and smile and then laugh. In hindsight I guess it’s better than him crying and giving up, but I just kept asking him to BE SERIOUS which is totally NOT Parker’s personality.

I was talking to my neighbor Jenn about advice since she taught her son to ride his bike and the next day was a gorgeous afternoon, and the kids were all playing outside. Jenn and I took turns helping Parker start, and asked him to ride to the other person and JUST LIKE THAT. That was what he needed. A cheering person in front of AND behind him! He started going the longest distance that night, and two days later was riding down the street on his big bike! Such a proud Mama! Dan was impressed too, of course. My boy is growing up!

My first born is FIVE!

This weekend was a great weekend. We celebrated our oldest boy turning five years old! It’s hard to believe that he’s such a big kid now.

I stole these questions from Parker’s Four year old blog post last year. The answers are all different!
1. Who’s your favorite action figure? Darth Vader and Luke Sywalker

2. What is your favorite color? Red

3. What do you want to be when you grow up? Construction Worker or Firefighter

4. Where are you going to work? At work (with his hands gestured upwards as if to say “duh”)

5. What’s your favorite TV show? Lego Star Wars

6. What’s your favorite book? The books from the library about baseball

7. What’s your favorite toy? Millinium Falcon

8. Who’s your best friend? Walker and Sawyer, Gavin and Mason and Baily (a girl at school who Parker says is SO BEAUTIFUL) and Logan, and Campen

9. What’s your favorite song? Darth Vader March

10. What’s your favorite food? Sandwiches and cinnamon raisen bagels

The weekend started off great with Parker celebrating his birthday at school on Friday and getting to bring home “Lambie” the class mascot. Parker loved that and really had a great time bringing Lambie everywhere he went all weekend.

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Saturday, party time! The friends arrived on Saturday morning. My brother and nephew Gavin got in the evening before. Gavin is almost eleven, but Parker just ADORES him! Gavin is such a good sport too with all the little kids! I made super easy Star Wars Jedi robes inspired from this post I saw on Pinterest:http://www.birthdayinabox.com/activity-guides/star-wars-party-craft-make-a-jedi-robe.html word to the wise though. Just measure your child for the Jedi/padawan robe before buying the fabric. I went by the 6×2 measurement and it was WAY too big, and had a TON of fabric left over. Super easy and no sew, which was great! I also made little pool noodle light sabers inspired by the taped up noodles on this blog:http://www.cleanandscentsible.com/2013/05/star-wars-party-ideas.html The kids LOVED them, and they had their own personalized noodles with their initials on the bottom to keep track of them.

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This year we had the parents drop off the kids. We did it this way for several reasons. First of all, they’re old enough. They’re all around five, almost five, or older. They really don’t need their parents at a party. Last year when we had Parker’s Super hero party, there were several parents mingling and not watching their kids. No fault of theirs… that’s just what happens at a party, but I just found it harder to keep tabs on the kids with more adults believe it or not. Another reason was that we would be watching a Lego Star Wars movie in the theater room, and it would just get too crowded with all the adults there. The party was a bit long with the movie, games, and lunch so I thought it would be more convenient for the parents not to have to tie up half their Saturday at a birthday party. It ended up working out great with just the kids there. Dan and my brother were both a big help with getting the food ready and setting up the games, as well as helping watch the kids, so that made it easier. Nine little boys and one 2 year old little girl made for a busy morning!

So, it was a big hit! As the kids arrived, we played outside for a little bit (practicing their Jedi light saber skills) and each kid got their jedi/padawan robe. Shortly there after, we went down to the basement with popcorn and drinks in tow and watched Lego Star Wars and a short clip of young Anakin Skywalker flying a little ship in a race. The kids LOVED it.IMG_9960

After that, we went upstairs to the playroom where I had decked the room out in balloons hanging from streamers. I told the kids that it was a “jedi training course” and they just loved it! They waited for the music to come on, which was the Star Wars opening song and the Darth Vader march. Not one kid was shy during this. The were all laughing and hitting balloons. It didn’t take long before they were all knocked down, and then they started hitting the balloons on the floor. Lots of fun with soft materials so no one can get hurt!

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Then we took the cardboard cut-out of Darth Vader outside where everyone got to practice their batting skills by hitting a balloon with their light saber to hit Darth Vader. Super fun! It was a little windy though, so I needed a helper to hold Darth Vader up so he didn’t fall down.

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Dan was busy cooking hotdogs on the grill while we were playing outside. The weather was perfect and the kids had a lot of fun, and ran off a lot of energy! They all came in shortly afterwards and enjoyed a nice hotdog lunch, and then of course there was cake and ice-cream, and singing to my five year old big boy! The cake was from a local bakery called The Crafty Cakery. They did a fantastic job and it was exactly what Parker wanted for the party. Parker loved it! It tasted really good as well, which made everyone happy.  This was a different place than where we got Dan’s cake because the Baker’s man is further away, and admittedly the cake wasn’t as great the last time we had it. We liked trying a new place, and will certainly go with them again!fivebirthday05

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fivebirthday04Afterwards, the kids played some more and the parents trickled in to pick up their kids. They each left with a Jedi Knight Certificate that I found and printed off from here: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/264093965624328053/ the boys really enjoyed having a certificate for the “Jedi training” they did! So much fun!  Parker got a badge that said Jedi Master on it, and he just LOVED it!

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Every year I say I’m not going to overdo it for parties, but I seem to get carried away with making sure my kids have a great birthday experience. This year was no different, but I also felt like it was a big age. Five is huge! An official kid! Plus, the party decor and ideas for a Star Wars party is just too fun to pass up! I had a great time putting on this party for him, and Parker had a blast having his best buddies over to celebrate with him!

That evening we went on a little mother-son date to dinner and  a movie. We had a great time, and it was a great way to end the day of celebrating our big boy! IMG_9977