Friday, March 21, 2014

4 Years Old!

Penny turned four a few weeks ago! Watching this little girl grow older has been an adventure indeed. Not a day goes by without Pen surprising me with her wit and hilariousness. Here are a few things about Penny at 4 years old.

-She loves anything to do with learning. Preschool is the highlight of her week. We do a coop with three other kids her age. When she isn't at preschool is wants me to play pretend school, and asks me to print out worksheets for her to do.

-She can write her name very well by now. I don't actually recall teaching her to do this, so I guess she just learned by observation.

-What an amazing helper Penny is! She hardly ever argues when I ask her to help with the dishes, clears her own place at dinner every night, and often volunteers to clean the bathroom.

-This girl LOVES her little brother. She just gushes over him, squishing his cheeks and kissing him constantly. She's a pro at changing diapers and is so great to have around for fetching diapers or burp cloths. She plays mommy with her own dolly, and is quite serious about its well-being.

-I always appreciate my very well behaved girl. When I get frustrated with her, I need to remind myself that most people would laugh at the things I get upset about.

-Favorite activities/outings: We go out somewhere nearly everyday. We frequent Target, IKEA every Tuesday (they know us by name), Chick-Fil-a, dance class, the thrift store, the library, several parks, Aldi, Costco, etc.  Her favorite is dance class. It's my favorite too, seeing her in the adorable little uniform :)

-Pen still takes a 2-3 hour nap every afternoon. This is 50% for her, 50% for my sanity. She may protest some days, but usually falls asleep eventually. Her bedtime is around 8, and still thinks she needs to ask permission to get out of bed in the morning (which isn't a rule at all... we wish she would just get OUT instead of yelling for us!).

-Randomly throughout the day, Pen will exclaim "Mommy! I LOVE YOU!" (or daddy). And when we sit down for dinner, without fail she says, "Thank you mom for this delicious dinner!"

-This girl finds friends every where we go. She only likes to go to parks of play places if there are other kids there. I'm afraid she is a little aggressive sometimes, and scares some kids off. We need to work on her approach, I suppose.

-At home, our favorite activities include spontaneous dance parties, photoshop drawing lessons (this girl WILL be a graphic designer), yoga, dress-ups, doll house, marble works, and playing pretend ANYTHING. Mostly puppies or mommies these days. Everything has to have a mommy, daddy, and a baby. The other day she picked out some whales from the dollar store for the plane, and I told her she could only get two. She said, "But, then they won't have a daddy!! I guess the baby can just be adopted..." Don't worry, we found a daddy whale at Nana's house :)

-Penny loves her long "Rapunzel" hair, and worries constantly that it is turning brown and loosing her blondness. She wants to keep growing it out even longer! It took a lot of convincing to get her even to trim it!

-Pen is very curious and receptive about God. She is so in tune with the Spirit already, and is such an example to us. Just the other day when I was having a weak moment, she reminded me about how Heavenly Father forgives and loves everyone, including me. Such a sweet little girl.

And now a few more pictures of this cute girl.

 I think this one ^ is my favorite :)

Saturday, March 01, 2014

New blog header!

Due to new additions and other changes, a blog header was in need of a change.

And for posterity's sake, here's the old one.

Penny's Super Secret Spy Party!

Penny is turning 4!!!  Her real birthday is on the third, but we had her party a little early to catch everyone on a Saturday. She has really been into watching Spy Kids lately, and we recently visited the International Spy Museum downtown, so we felt a Spy party was a fitting theme. I nixed the princess theme she originally came up with as we were having boys over too, and wanted something more inclusive of their interests.

First we sent out invitations, calling our best agents to action:

When they arrived we had them check in and get their ID badges.

While we waited for everyone to arrive, we played around with the game we made of making lots of disguises for Penny, the most wanted spy in the WORLD!

 (This picture was taken the day before. Here you can see all the pieces that Penny helped me design and print out.)

Next, we had fun creating our own disguises! Because all the best spies are experts when it comes to changing their appearance.

We played "don't drop the bomb" for a little bit.

 Then I informed my agents that there was a secret prize hidden somewhere in the house, and we had to find all the clues to find it!

First we started by going through the laser field. Super hit with the kids, and it took me all of 5 minutes and $1 to set it up.

At the end of the laser course was a secret code we had to break. It was a box of Fruit Loops and string, and they all had to make necklaces with the pattern. (We also did this for Penny's art party last year. It is a good, time consuming activity to calm everything down for a little bit.)

After they assembled the secret code necklace, we had access to the next clue! It was a QR code (try it out for yourself!)

that I made that when scanned on my phone brought up this picture, showing the location of the secret prize!!!

The prize was a wrapped present that had toy cameras and candy inside. We played hot potato with it, and the last person left got to open it up. Much safer than a pinata, eh? If I had more time, and a better behaved infant I probably would have made a much more extensive scavenger hunt. But alas.

Let me take a minute to talk about the cake. My very talented friend Hilary volunteered to make the cake for Pen, and she did NOT disappoint! It turned out incredible. The detail on the fingerprint, the footprints, the exact font used on the invitation, a million times more awesome that the bakery mass produced cake that I would have settled for (cakes are NOT my forte...).

Plus, the inside looked like this! So cool!

We had some snacks. I kind of dropped the ball on this and didn't do much. But again, fussy newborn.

I had a veggie tray, a few little candies, chips, and Goldfish, and I had seen on several blogs these little bomb-donuts. I also had Gogurts, a pretty clean, silverware-free snack. Easy-peasy. You can also see the goodie bags in the background there. I tried to not have much candy in there since that can be annoying to other moms, so I found a series of cool toys to put in there for our little spies.
 Included: Fake money and international checks, 2 finger flashlights (a 40 pk on amazon for only $6), a tiny composition notebook and pencil, magnifying glass, disguise, glowstick, and not pictured was the pop-rocks and chocolate coins. These spies were SET for their next mission! (It took everything in me to not write "For British Eyes Only")

 We then opened presents. Thanks to Kira for this very appropriate shirt! So cuuute. And what better way to sharpen our powers of observation than Guess Who!
 Lots of other awesome presents from our friends. Thanks everyone so much!
 And our little spy is now equipped with some Walkie-Talkies.
So, that was our party! We just played until the rest of the parents came and picked everyone up. Most kids seemed to have an awesome time (hopefully!) and Penny had a blast. Happy 4th, little girl!

As an added bonus, this little guy decided to cooperate for the first time in his life. Hardly a peep from him the whole time! Thanks Link!

Now, off to take a much deserved rest :)