I love handmade valentine's. I knew that we would be making valentines for all of Ariana's friends instead of getting the store bought kind with characters on them. I also knew I didn't want to go too fancy. Pinterest can get a little crazy this time of year with mamas overdoing what should be a simple fun project for the kids. Don't get me wrong there are a lot of cute ideas out there, but some of them took too much parent involvement and I wanted something she could do as a weekend craft that would be cute and have a handmade touch.
We decided on something pretty simple. I had lots of different valentine patterned paper in my paper stash so I pulled out all the ones I could find and gave her a heart hole puncher and she went to town.
We cut some pink and white card stock (pink for the girls, white for the boys) into about 4x5 size and I rounded the corners. I helped her draw a heart in the center of her paper and she stamped "Happy Valentine's Day" in the center. Then we randomly glued on all those confetti hearts that she had cut out and finished off the whole thing with some red or gold glitter glue trim.
There are only 8 kids in her class, including her, so it wasn't too many to make. But she ended up making some for her teachers and us too, it was sweet. Making these valentines kept her entertained for a long time and we actually did it over the course of 2 days because gluing the hearts ended up being pretty time consuming.
On the back she stamped "love" (she loves stamps) and then wrote her name. Each valentine was personalized with the child's name on the front too.
I'm a little behind on posting the adventures we've been having. With a new baby and a kindergartener, being a room mom for school, and working part time for The Shopping Mama on top of regular mom/military wife duties I was starting to feel stretched too thin. By the start of Christmas break I was struggling to keep up. I wasn't finding a good balance and it was wearing me out.
Once Ariana was out of school for Christmas, I basically shut down and spent more time focusing on me and us. I spent a lot of time just grounding myself at home with my kids and husband. Finding the right balance is still a struggle but I'm hoping to "catch up" on a few things on the blog. I like this place to keep a record of our life. Not only for our family back in USA but also for me to look back on.
In December we took an overnight trip to Tübingen to the Chocolate Festival. It was a much needed little getaway. It was a 3 hour drive away, and we stayed at a local military base hotel but sleeping somewhere new, tasting lots of chocolates and just getting some space from our day to day routine was exactly what we needed. Because Richard still had to work we only went for one night. We had such a good time and tried some new foods too!
Here is a collection of photos from our trip.
Lights on the houses make them look a little bit like gingerbread houses.
Decorating with chocolate.
Seriously THE BEST cup of hot chocolate I have EVER tasted in my life.
More lit up houses.
Chocolate covered fruit.
Chocolate on homemade potato chips. Salty and sweet, oh my!! Perfection!
Judah on his first overnight away from home. Milk drunk in the morning on our bed while we were packing. 3 Months old!
Lola our Elf came to visit us in the hotel and brought Ariana a little chocolate bear.
We woke up the next morning and went back to the chocolate festival to see more.
This was an interesting concoction of noodles, sauerkraut and ham? First bite was interesting but the taste grew on you.
Sauerkraut noodles, hot chocolate and chocolate beer!
All kinds of chocolate treats for sale! We had a few different items from different booths. There were vendors from all over the world!
This chocolate with the orange slices was delicious and one of our favorites!
More of the best hot chocolate. Pretty much melted chocolate in a cup!
Eating a brat, and proof that Judah was there all bundled up!
If you're stationed in Germany I would recommend taking a day trip or overnight trip to the "World Famous Chocolate Festival" although I admit I'd never heard about it until this year.
You are 2 months old and you have changed so much. You (we) have had a busy month. It feels like you have always been a part of our family, it's amazing.
I love how much your sister loves you. I think you already love her as much as she loves you because you light up when she's around. All she has to do is say hi to you and you smile at her! Yes, you've started smiling. Like really smiling. You gave us your first real grins at 5 weeks It's been hard to capture on camera because my camera is huge and whenever I get it out it's all in your face and you get all serious and study it, and then I can't get you to smile.
It was Halloween this past month. You got a sweet lion costume from Aunt Sarah and Grammy and Ariana was Elphaba. You turned 7 weeks old exactly on Halloween and were smiling up a storm for me in the car while Daddy and Ariana were running errands and we were nursing. You slept through you first time trick or treating as I toted you around the neighborhood on base.
You also got your passport and you were very proud of it. That means we can go out of the country of Germany with you now. We were so anxious to get it and yet we still haven't gone anywhere. We got the passport when you were 7 weeks old too! What a lucky boy you're going to be. World traveler and you won't even remember it. Lucky for you I'll document it all in photos. Even though you probably won't smile because of the big in your face camera and all.
We love our Ergo but needed something smaller and cozier while you are so small and cozy. We decided on the Baby K'Tan which is a sling and you love it. After Mommy got the hang of how to put you in it it's your favorite snuggle spot. All close to me and I can kiss your little head and fold clothes at the same time! Hurray for 2 free hands!
We've gotten out your activity mat a few times for you but I think you get overwhelmed quickly by it because there is so much to do/look at and Ariana is always trying to show you everything. But slowly but surely you've been enjoying it a little more each time.
You still love storytime but you like it more when we read short stories to you before bedtime. Ariana loves reading to you of course and we try to include her as much as we can. She's like your second mama!
We really really have been loving our baby k'tan. We wear it around the house, the bx, and out and about other places. It's so simple and keeps us close just like we like it.
Tummy time gets forgotten sometimes but you are getting the hang of it and gaining strength. As well as stregnth you are also gaining weight like a champ. Even with our nursing bumps in the road you've been eating well and growing. You're already 12 lbs (our lactation consultant weighed you at 8 weeks) and you're in size 1 diapers and size 3 month clothes. But don't worry you still do that precious thing where you curl up your legs when we pick you up from sleeping.
Things I've noticed about you at 2 months:
- You smile now!
- You watch what is going on around you.
- Sometimes all I have to do is get in your field of vision and you stop fussing and smile.
- You rub your face when you're tired (something Ariana never did)
- You smiled at Sophie your giraffe for the first time the other day.
- You are watching your hands and trying to learn to use them. I've watched you watching your hands as you've been grasping at a blanket nearby.
- You always look like you have something to say when you are alert, but so far you're pretty quiet.
- You still get the hiccups daily and you don't like them one bit. Sometimes it sounds like you say "ow" after a few hiccups.
- You curl your toes around my top lip when I kiss those sweet baby feet.
Yep, you're a keeper!
Even if you seem to mix up your days and nights sometimes (I'm writing this on 4 hours of scattered sleep.)
Ariana turned 5 on November 6th. Her birthday fell on a school day. I made her orange rolls for breakfast and put balloons on her chair in the morning. I put stickers and a note in her lunch and we celebrated by taking cupcakes (pink cupcakes with purple frosting and rainbow sprinkles just like she wanted) and small goodie bags to her friends in her class. That night we had one of her favorite dinners (chicken nuggets with ketchup, broccoli and cucumber with ranch) She made a wish and blew out her #5 candle and opened her presents from family. We finished off the night with one of our birthday traditions and read Happy Birthday to You by Dr. Seuss.
We are having a joint birthday party with one of her friends later this month!
Just like two years ago on the night before her birthday I had a birthday interview with her. Here is how our conversation went this year. Mommy: Do you know what tomorrow is? Ariana: Wednesday Mommy: Yes, it's Wednesday, but is it a special day. Ariana: Yes momma Mommy: What day is it? Ariana: MY birthday Mommy: And how old are you going to be? Ariana: Five Mommy: How do you feel about turning five? Ariana: VERY special (smiling) Mommy: How special is it to be turning five? Ariana: So special! So much that I feel so special 100 and 99 much. Mommy: That's a lot! Mommy: What is your favorite food? Ariana: My fav food is spaghetto's Mommy: Not somethng that mommy makes? Ariana: That is what you make Mommy: (laughing) Yes, but I mean something that mommy cooks like I cooked dinner tonight, not something in a can. Ariana: Umm, I like what you just made tonight (chicken and dumplings) Mommy: Ok. So what's your favorite color? Ariana: Pink, purple, yellow and blue Mommy: What about red? That used to be your favorite color. Ariana: Yellow took red's place. Mommy: So yellow is your favorite color now? Ariana: Yes... and pink and purple and blue Mommy: What's your fav toy? Ariana: Everything Mommy: What do you want for your birthday? Ariana: A toy umm ummm ummmmmmmmm I want a cinderella doll, I mean barbie toy. A cinderella prince that's a barbie Mommy: Cinderella prince, that's a boy? You want a Prince Charming? Ariana: Yes, Prince Charming is the boy that goes with Cinderella right? Mommy: Yes Ariana: Yes Ariana: What else do you want to ask me? Mommy: What's your favorite thing to do? Ariana: My favorite thing to do is be in the library. Mommy: The library on base or the library at school? Ariana: The library at school. Mommy: What's your favorite thing to learn at school. Ariana: ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm (giggling watching me typing) ummmmmmmmmmmmmm ummm reading bob books
Mommy: What year were you born? Do you remember? Ariana: 2015 Mommy: That can't be right Ariana: 2013 Mommy: No, that's this year Ariana: 2014 Mommy: You have to go backwards. What is 13 minus 5? (we counted backwards from 13) Ariana: 2008! Mommy: Good job! Ok that's all the questions. Ariana: I want some more questions. Mommy: Well, is there anything else you want to tell me about yourself. Ariana: ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm what I love about me is I'm so sweet and I have pretty hair.
Happy 5th Birthday Ariana!