Thursday, October 12, 2017

Golden Girl.

Annalee turned four on October 4th. Her golden birthday. We have been planning her golden bash for almost a year, slowly gathering up good deals of golden. And her friend party was spectacular, full of excessive golden details I can't contain. Her family party was at Grandmas and delicious and laid back and fun and just enough golden to round out her week of celebrations. Plus both sets of her grandparents were there so that was specialness all in its own.

Some stories and tidbits to remember her in this stage...

  • Annalee is a darling. Sweet and goofy and quiet and smart and really delightful. 
  • The other day after picking up Eli from school, I was holding Evan and the Annalee and Eli were walking to the van. A lady rolled down her window to mention to us "That is the cutest kid I have ever seen. And I have three kids!" Annalee is consistently commented on when we are out. She's adorable and the hair just tops it all off. She seems to take it all in stride but of course I worry it's going to make her a bit full of herself!
  • She's responsible. A few weeks ago I looked over and here she was, emptying the trash bin from their room that was overflowing into the larger trash in the kitchen. I didn't ask her to do it, she's never done this chore before. It was something she saw needed to be done and did it! WHAT!!?? She's often cleaning their room and tidying up a bit and oh that makes this mama heart soar!
  • She spent lots of her friend birthday in the corner at the small table with Daddy, or in a room with just one of the friends. She will take a small group over a large one most any day. 
  • She started preschool two mornings a week last month and has done fantastic. She walked right past all the screaming kids and started playing. She will have a hard time actually talking to anyone but she does just fine independently playing. And of course, she's been writing her name for a year and will have no problem learning letters and listening to the teachers. Her first day I got a full report on everything they did (including lining up multiple times), waaaay more than I ever heard from Eli! 
  • Annalee is not one to say words to people she doesn't know. To have her say thank you to a clerk or neighbor, I usually have to settle for a wave. She is shy and hesitant. But if she knows you, then she's alright to talk, mostly. At her well check Monday, she would not talk to the doctor (who's kid goes to her preschool so she knows her somewhat). She points OFTEN instead of using words. And she still breaks out baby talk occasionally. 
  • 1.79% for height. Yep. 
  • This girl loves to sing and talk and teach and dream in front of the bathroom mirror, as she stands there on the stool looking at herself. She goes to the bathroom then washes her hands and that takes a good 20 minutes because of the aforementioned distractions. It's become a thing and I do enjoy hearing her. Plus I usually know where she is. Also LET IT GO. Oi.
  • Coloring and crafts and projects are this girl's dream. She adores getting to do anything creative. I just gave her new markers and a piece of paper and she forgot all about whining to watch Daniel Tiger. 
  • She has started to have an opinion on her clothes. She loves a good A-line or shirt that flips out at the end... giving just enough poof to be dress-like. And if it's too dark or not her jam (like a sweatshirt, hates those) she may just have a meltdown if I try to get her to wear it. 
  • Annalee is a sister to two brothers and she's a great one. Different from Eli in personality but enough so that they get along more often than not. And she tolerates the little boy well, except when he chews her blankie. 
There's more but I better get this posted or it may not happen. LIFE. Just know I'm so amazingly grateful for the gift of a daughter on earth, raising her is a special joy and I'm thrilled. 

-Annalee's mom

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Eli is Going to School.

Eli starts first grade on Thursday. I love back to school season but I don't think he's embraced it like I had. He's just going with the flow. Decently excited for school but not overly so, but that also means he's not anxious. He's going to have a big class and I'm hopeful he'll manage all that well, ideally making some solid friends.

He often says the number 155 when coming up with some random scenario. "What if 155 flies came..."

He still smooshes Evan every morning and multiple times a day, getting into his space, calling him goo or a host of other non-name nicknames.

He has grown this summer. The pants that were a tash too big at the end of winter are now perfect.

He likes baseball but would like just being really good without practicing. He also likes running but I'm afraid he may have a bit of exercise induced asthma to contend with down the road. So far very minimal.

He's playing so well with his sister. They are good friends and occasionally enemies. He is her protector and her entertainment and her tormentor. Sharing is hard but good and they like to play together until one of them decides they want "alone time".

He likes legos, especially the dudes, and he is imaginative with scenes for them.

He likes reading and I LOVE TO HEAR HIM READ RANDOM SIGNS and peek in on him reading a book to Annalee or himself out loud.

He listens and remembers. This is mostly good, like how he remembers even obscure Bible stories we tell him and lessons he learns at church. But sometimes his remembering isn't ideal for me!

He's content with home life. He doesn't need to be going and going and going. He likes to be entertained by a screen but I limit that decently well.

He goes to the bathroom without assistance (most times), he brushes his teeth on his own (with our occasional help to make sure he's doing a decent job), often remembers to put his dishes by the sink, and is starting to help out more. I CAN SEE THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT for us!

Yet HE STILL LOOOOOVES quality time with his parents. He loves to snuggle with me and he's a sappy little boy with his mama. He loves any time he gets with Greg doing the little things they love (watching Dude Perfect or legos, or playing monster or reading). He still thinks we are cool and wants to be seen with us.

He is sheltered. He doesn't know about swear words or sex or all the shitty things happening in the world around us. We tell him about the bad, or a lightened version, but he's got no frame of reference for so much of it. We tell him God is in control of everything so hopefully when he begins learning about the bad stuff, he will be able to see it from the worldview and perspective we are teaching him.

He's all about the star wars, though we try tone it down so it's not all consuming his little six year old mind.

He is still the snack monster and is well aware when 10 and 3 hit and he can indulge in yogurt or crackers or fruit or toast or cookies or if I'm feeling it, fruit snacks.

Eli Joe, I love you. You are a joy, a sweet spirited son. I'm amazed I get to be your mom!


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Yellow and Blue and White together works.

For my mom's birthday this year we got her a photo shoot! We were planning a Memorial Weekend in Fargo, a sort of meet in the middle deal, and this came together too. Never perfect but we have a handful of images together that are forever special. Plus Evan can be represented on Grammy's wall!


He's always making us laugh. Always cracking jokes. LOVE HIM. 

Isn't this fun? So North Dakotan. 

All redheads, these adorable kids. 
Happy Birthday Grammy! So glad this worked out and the yellow+blue+white+gray thing turned out well!


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Evan Bevin is ONE!

Happy Birthday baby boy! You surprised us and continue to bless us as the baby in the family. You are starting to grow out of baby status right into being a toddler! You are healthy, minus some nighttime congestion and a few colds this past year, we have been grateful not to deal with tiny-baby-is-sick. You are way attached to your mom, most likely because she doesn't leave you to go to work more than three hours this whole year! You like your dad second best and of course, you are a fan of your big siblings. You like to eat. And when you are hungry, you are not happy. Your favorites are carbs (just like big bro), and fruit and I know you would eat watermelon until you exploded. You are a mediocre sleeper. You stand on your own for bursts of time but minus one tiny step, you have not decided walking is cool. You crawl crazy fast, especially with this "flat tire" crawl where you sort of carry-drag your right leg. You are pulling up on most everything and peeking over, trying to see what you can grab. You recently began hating diaper changes and wanting to flip over but I'm being crazy stubborn and basically using my body weight so you can't and by golly, I think you are learning to stay put while I wipe your bumper. You poop lots every day so I know your digestive system is sure working. You like to wake up and eat around 4/5am but I think you are less into nursing during the day so I'm hoping we will be weaning soon. Problem is you have yet to master a cup, though you do like straws. This week you are super into your tongue and it's sticking out often. You like to say mama and daaa and maybe you say more and night night and bye but very much still baby versions of those that probably only parents swoon over. "He just said Dad!" Isn't that so cute???!" You are in 18 month size clothes but your pants 9-12 month because your legs are quite short and super chunky and for now, it's crazy cute. You are sure growing though! You keep us on our toes because you eat everything. I have fished way way too many items out of your mouth. You have eaten a good bit of crayon. So far you haven't ever choked - praise be to God! You also started chucking items off your high chair if you don't want them. Today I thought you were eating the blueberries but you tossed over half of them behind your head, down your back. I call you "little stinker" often. Also Bubs, Bubba, Boo, Evan Bevin, Baby Boy, Elkie, Bubbee and your siblings are really into Goo, Goobs, Goobee. I think Dad just calls you Evan.

I could/should try write more and make more than one looooong paragraph but mama needs to get stuff cleaned up from your birthday party. Okay? I know you'll understand. I love you, my sweetie.

And your siblings, they adore you too!


Monday, June 12, 2017

Party Round Up.

We celebrated Evan yesterday! A few days early 'cause Wednesday is a hard day for a party! Awhile back I decided we would do a "circle" party theme because he loves balls and I already had everything! It turned out quite adorable! We focused more on inviting family and many couldn't make it but we had Grandma and Grandpa K, the Browns, the Greats (Great Grandparents who came from Buffalo just for the party - how sweet!), and our neighbors Bruce, Jodi and their son Michael, and our further down the street neighbors/friends, Sam and the kids.
The invitation - he cooperated well for our photo shoot. 
My slippers from my costume box and Dad's socks fit the theme.
The birthday boy (with his circle "e" shirt I whipped up an hour before his party thanks to stitch witchery!) and his parents

I found these glasses in my costume box - awesomeness!
Grandma and Grandpa Kasowski AND The Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Kasowski!

Month-by-Month sticker ties (a serious Mom win that I kept that up each month) made such a cute display.
Bouncy balls, bubble rings, and pom-pom crafts for favors

Greg took a pic of some of the food! circle/balls only!
Pea pods = find the circle inside!

Greg took this photo and I think this is how the kids will remember me so I'm including it.
The crown lasted two seconds. Check out the reused "i am 1" from sister!
Much fun!

Our next door Wisconsin neighbors who will watch our kids for us occasionally and we do love them so!
These girls just cared more about playing in the dirt out back!

Opening presents, check out the tongue, a new thing he does!


He REALLY enjoyed smooshing his cupcake in his hands. It took him awhile to taste it, then he was quite thrilled and yelped loudly!
We sure love Great Grandmooother - isn't she a beauty?
Love these generations of Kasowski men.
Cousin Alexia is sure a fun one!
Evan, you are our baby and we have loved having you in our lives this last year. You are a joy, sweet boy.

 -ELK's mama

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Glad in the Yuck.

Eli had one sick day for kindergarten. And it was only a four-hour Wednesday night sickness. That's amazing! He finished school Friday! FIRST grade next fall!

And we had a weekend with the Lipperts and my parents in Fargo. We had family photos taken Sunday morning (on Grammy's birthday, a pretty great gift I think!). We arrived home Monday afternoon.

Tuesday morning Eli threw up and Annalee followed suit and all day today much misery from them, poor kiddos. But how awesome that it happened 1. after school is done 2. after our family weekend 3. in the morning instead of the middle of the night!!!

And so far just those two. Whew! Not the best way to start summer but it really is the "ideal" time to be sick.

I have hopes to create a summer bucket list for us. We had a fun kick off in Fargo... but our kids do not love travelling. Eli on drive whining "my brain isn't thinking what I want it to think" - what?!

Evan is clinging to mommy and daddy very much so. Separation anxiety more than the big siblings ever had. He is hard to understand and keeps us guessing but he's sure precious. Excited for his birthday coming up!

Glad he's healthy today!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Evan Bevin Eleven.

I've taken his photo every day on the 14th, amazingily so! Mother's Day around 6pm I realized it was his day! Thankfully I got 'er done! Only one more on his actual birthday and I can put this all down as a mom win. And he's gosh darn cute, this boy! 11 months of him with us and part of our lives.

He's been a bit fuss fussy this last week. Not sure what's up. A great sleeper, he is not. Yet. He loves to feed himself food (crackers, cheese, cereal, bread, avocados, etc). He puts so many things in his mouth that he shouldn't, thankfully he has only swallowed paper and we've been able to fish other items out. Uffda. He's got four teeth up top and three below, his left lateral incisor is being slow to the party. He is crawling super fast and pulling up, but not standing solo or attempting walking solo yet. He enjoys smooshing his face into his blanket whenever he can. He enjoys dancing to music and he has a sweet giggle that can melt even the hardest of hearts.

Love him! Planning his first birthday to happen in less than a month!

-Evan's Mom


Not sure if I've recorded this or not but each of us has a song or two. Made up by us, we all have a tune, a jingle, a diddly to our name.

Greg's is stinkin' awesome. "DADDY!! Daddy is a rockstar!" followed by a hardcore little doo-da. Mine is much less so. "mommm. mommmm." in a low, monotone drowl followed by random rhyming. Really quite depressing. The kids made up our songs. Eli's is from his baby outfit that Greg sang to "Eli the elephant loves to play, and munch on peanuts everyday.... doo doo do do do do do doo do do do do do do do." Annalee has two "A N N A L E E spells An-na-lee!" and "Annalee, An-na-lee-hehe, you are such, such a cute cutie, Annalee An-na-lee-hehe, you are such a cute cutie. Taco Johns!" "Evan, Evan debevin, Evan, Evan debevin" (he needs a new one).

Yesterday I overheard Annalee singing "Daddy drums! Mommy cleans! Annalee plays! Eli plays! Evan plays!" and versions of those same word combos. I'd like to think that my kids recognize my lack of musical talent but choose something I am good at to sing about. ;)


Thursday, May 4, 2017

May the Fourth...


Man alive, I was not a Star Wars fan before Greg. I knew nothing. Nothing except probably the logo and that it was about space. Now... now I know some stuff. No expert but I did plan a hellagood party for my six year old last week!

And so how fitting to post some of the details on Star Wars Day!

Here I go all OVER THE TOP AGAIN. In my defense, I have no job to use my creative juices, SW is all the rage now, and we own an insane amount of Star Wars stuff! Decor cost was almost nothing. Plus since I didn't choose any colors, pretty much anything went with one of the movies and/or characters. We had a few star balloons out front, and a Chewie mask on the front door and a few odds and ends around along with some of this excessive decorating:

We (or Grandma) owns all this stuff! CUPCAKE fail here... all my good red food coloring dried out so I was stuck with using the "red" that's really just pink. Too late to change. Blue vs Redish light sabers. They were still yummy. Buttercream is the best.

Didn't want the kids playing with the plastic ones so used them for decor (borrowed half from Grandma).
EVERYTHING SW: soap and Kleenex, even Mac-n-Cheese!
Our box of prizes for all the games... so much SW

Eli wanted this theme and his invite turned out crazy cute (and I got to break out some Photoshop skills, but really this only took me an hour start to finish):

No room for the other Far without creating a new line. Whatevs, Uncle Chris.
We invited all the boys from his class along with two girls he is close with. Sorry to the rest of the ladies! Add in a handful of other friends and family and we were a full house.

We had tacos because that's what Eli requested. Again. His favorite food he'd have everyday if he could. I had to up the theme with other snacks, of course.

TACOS! Luke Skywater, Jedi Juice, Trooper Scoopers, Dark Side Chips, and Obi-Wan Kabobies!

Admiral Ackbar Snackbar!
Hans Rolos, Wookie Cookies/Chewie Cookies, Edible Ewoks, Tie Fighters (my fave), Yoda ears, R2D2 Popcorn (puffcorn plus almond bark and sprinkles), Light Sabers, Cheeze-it and Honey Maids already done for me! SW baggies

YES. Silver forks in a clearanced Easter Yoda basket. SW napkins from Target.

Some kids dressed up, others didn't and I WILL BE FOREVER BUMMED I DIDN'T GET A GROUP PHOTO!! Bollocks!
Lilli was the BEST Rey!
Pool Noodle Light Sabers - duct tape and electrical tape! I know there are no white light sabers, btw. Their favors included a SW Phonics book (or bubbles for the ones that don't like SW), SW fruit snacks, light saber pencil, and an Easter egg shaped like a SW guy with SW candy in it (90% off Target win). 

MC as Han and Amy sporting crazy cool Darth socks. 


Chewie and a Jedi and an R2D2 bubble maker. 

Freeing Han
Chewie and baby!
Awesome grandparents! And SW magnets on my microwave. Seriously had SW guys all over the place. 

I had made Leia buns but SHE's NOT WEARING THEM IN ANY OF THE PHOTOS. Plus she got tacos all over the white later and so I don't know if I'll ever get THE photo I'm looking for.

This is after all the balloons mooshed together but they were quite cool before. I drew stormtroopers on some of them. The kids were alllll about wacking these. A good portion of the party here! You can't see the SW sheets I hung for an awesome photo backdrop (that I didn't use, arg) that also covered my pantry!

CRAZY fun! Why you have unfinished basements, y'all! WAIT! I see the Leia buns! FTW!

I made a DEATH STAR pinata out of layers of toys/snacks and tin foil. AND I FORGOT ABOUT IT until 5 minutes before the party ended and many kids were gone! Oh shucks. We were outside by then bc the weather was awesome!
We also had SW bingo but it was a little too detailed for our crew...

What Jedi arrived??
Yoda hat onto it's third baby! And daddy's SW blanket from when he was a boy.
And what a sweet birthday boy, Eli is six years old!!
You're welcome, son, for this fun and detailedness. I love you!

 -party planning mama extraordinaire