Thursday, October 29, 2015

Lottie turns five! Queen Elsa arrives! Happy birthday Princess Lottie!

Princess Charlotte Marie Flegal
is five years old!!

Lottie woke up so excited to open her presents.
She actually saw her frozen bike boxed up on the porch the day before.
See her hilarious account of that experience in this video.

After opening her presents,
the kids had doughnuts for her birthday breakfast
(her request, stop judging).
Lottie's birthday fell on a Sunday this year. Daddy and Henry were out of town still;
so the rest of the family went to two nursing homes
to sing with some primary friends and then went to our own church.

It was heartwarming to watch the kids sing,
"I am a child of God." Forrest stood with Lottie and Eliza and mouthed/sang
most of the song. It was kind of a miracle to watch as he still has a speech delay.
 Lottie smiled big as the children sang her a Happy Birthday song.
Little Lamb followed her around all day. 

That night, we drove to Salt Lake to celebrate with Nanna Teresa.
Those two are birthday twins, you know!

(Nanna made these incredible snowflake cupcakes for her party!)

We had a Halloween/Birthday party with the Flegals
and were reunited with Daddy and Henry.

A week later, we had your first ever friend birthday party! 
Queen Elsa, an incredibly special guest, also came!
Queen Elsa held a special coronation as she officially crowned you a Princess. 
She read you her story, played games with you and painted your princess faces! 
It was incredibly selfish (and awesome) of me to invite Elsa because 
we had a house full of adorable kids who believed she was the real deal. 
Their excitement was wonderful to behold. 
I only took a zillion photos of you.

(This might be my favorite)

Elsa thought our train was pretty cool. 
Get it... "cool" ??

Here's a video (boring for most)
of your birthday with Elsa.

And finally, my sappy love letter. 
(the letter was written first)

Dear Lottie,

My darling child, I love you. For the past few minutes, I've been staring at my fingers as they lay motionless on the keyboard. They've been reluctant to type because my brain is having a difficult time finding the words that would adequately describe how your Daddy and I feel about you. As always, I worry that my tendency to be over dramatic and sentimental will take away from the praise and adoration you deserve. Having acknowledged my awkward personality, let me proceed by sharing some of the reasons why I love you.

You are a wonderful sister. When you have Eliza's attention, you shine with excitement. I'm so pleased that you two are in a phase where you enjoy playing Barbies together. I loved playing Barbies growing up. To see my girls play together is a childhood wish come true. I fear this phase won't last too long, so for now I will forgive the constant Barbie mess. You love to dress up. You love to wear dresses during the week. Eliza loves to create. A great partnership has bloomed as Eliza schemes, plans and then uses you like a doll. You happily perform for us as you take in her instruction, bringing her vision to life. Whether it's video star productions or a runway show of her design, you two get on well. 
Your bond with Henry may be the most special. Sharing a room with him might be the reason why. He's your security blanket at night. Let's be honest, he's also your personal butler as I often see him doing you little favors. The two of you have navigated how to play together and not fight over space. You argue most when it comes time to clean and one of you (usually Henry) feels like the other person isn't contributing as much as they should. I know you two can't be roommates forever, but like the messy Barbie scene that exists upstairs, I want to make this bedroom situation last awhile longer. You two giggle at night, he reads you stories and are there for each other in the morning. You play well and care a lot about each other. 

As a big sister, you dote on Forrest. You are generous with your patience as he learns to share and understand his own feelings. You give up things on his behalf, usually, and are there to comfort him when Mom's scolding him for hurting you! You are content to spend your mornings with him when you're home. I often tell my friends that "spring babies" are the best because of how beautiful that time of year is. Not to mention, you have a few months to grow your baby before cold and flu season arrives. However, this year I'm realizing what a treasure it is having an October baby (you). I LOVE that Forrest and I get this extra year with you before Kindergarten begins. It feels like a present to me. 

Daddy and I love how affectionate you are. Of all my children, you hug and snuggle me out of the blue more than anyone. We love your smile, your laugh and your sass. I think your sweetness comes through easily in these photos but your personality is what endears you so much to your Daddy. You are witty, observant and self aware. You know how to charm and what to say to make Mama melt. More than anyone, you tell me that I'm beautiful. You also keep it real. The other day, at lunch you asked,

"Mom does so many steps. She steps and steps and steps. So how come she just keeps getting bigger, bigger and bigger?" It was more hilarious than hurtful. It still hurt. But you said it in a way that made Daddy and I laugh. (For the record, I've lost 11 pounds in the past 14 days on a clean eating challenge! Go Ali, go!)

You love spending time with friends. If the older kids have play date, you are quick to call out the injustice! It's a struggle to make you understand that life can't be perfectly fair everyday. Sometimes it's your turn to go to a birthday party, sometimes it's Eliza's. It evens out as time passes. Still, if it were up to you, play dates would happen daily. Some of your best friends right now are your soccer friends, cousins Ellie and Sara, Millie, Hadlee and Jada. 

You love preschool, tap dance and tumbling. You are thriving and it makes my heart swell with gratitude. I love your big brown eyes, your beautiful smile and your princess curls. You have our heart. We cherish and love you so much.

Happy birthday!


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Black Island Farms and the Dinosaur Park 2015

Black Island Farms 2015

Over UEA weekend, Andrew took Henry on his first ever hunting trip!  The details of their adventure deserve a post of their own; or, in other words, I was not there and don't have much to offer on their behalf. We'll see if I can round up some photos and a story or two soon.

While they were away, I kept busy at home with my other Fleglets: Eliza, Lottie and Forrest. And while neither of the girls were left at home, pining for a hunting adventure of their own, I still felt it was my responsibility to ensure that they likewise had a fun and memorable fall break.
Thursday, I nearly failed as the majority of our day was spent packing up Henry and running miscellaneous errands in preparation for their trip. Fortunately for my other kids, a friend invited us to join them at the dinosaur park for a night of trick-or-treating and carnival games. Having no expectations, I was pleasantly surprised to find the experience worthwhile. It's been along time since Lottie's been to the Dinosaur park. We used to have a season's pass, so she's actually been a handful of times, but she didn't remember it. It was fun watch both Forrest and Lottie experience the park for what seemed to them to be the "first time." I was impressed by all of the spooky lights that glittered throughout the park. The kids favorite, I think, was the carnival games that included candy prizes for participating. Sharing the experience with the Whitakers made the night that much better.
The following morning we made the drive out to Black Island Farms. We discovered this gem last year and I've been looking forward to a return trip since. Black Island Farms offers several activities that appeal to our entire family. I wish I could say the admission fee was likewise family friendly. That is the one drawback. It's quite expensive when you have a family the size of ours. Thankfully, a generous friend hooked us up with some sweet coupons that made the price feel like less of a crime. ;)

Also, so you don't get the false impression that we over indulge our children (too late, Ali), we spent two hours meandering around Walmart on Friday night because I had a sudden need (impression) to get new tires on my car. I'm glad I followed through with that decision. Two days later, I would be driving home from Salt Lake, at night, in the most horrible rainstorm, accompanied by a deep fog, in recent memory. My new tires didn't do much to improve my visibility, but they did provide a little more peace of mind as my white knuckles and I drove us home. Sitting in Walmart's tire center's waiting room was a real treat. Forrest through magazines into the trash that he wasn't supposed to, while Eliza tried to take a nap on the cheap, wicker furniture set to try to cure herself of boredom. I didn't take any pictures while we are there. I apologize for your feelings of disappointment. ;)

Returning to our visit to Black Island Farms, if you want an even closer play by play, I uploaded a video to youtube.
The video isn't anything to shout about. But I can guarantee that future Ali Flegal will be so pleased that I spent the time documenting my babies this way. As for the pictures:

Lottie's birthday was fast approaching, so when she asked to have her face painted, I couldn't help but say yes!

The weather was spot on.
We expected a large crowd, but it was minimal.
The tractor ride was a real treat; especially for Forrest.
Like his Pa, he has a thing for engines.
It was a real treat (and help) to have my Mom with us.
When making memories like this, it's fun to have another grown up to 
"Ooh and Ahhh" and laugh at the moments with you.
After picking our pumpkins, we went to the courtyard where the kids enjoyed:
SLIDES, train rides, a box of corn, bounce houses and our new favorite:
pig races. 
Until Next Year!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

As Fall Flies By

Before turning my attention to the random pictures below, I want to quickly share what happened five minutes ago. At bedtime, Lottie was complaining of pain in her knee. Of all my children, she has been the most sensitive to growing pains. Every once in awhile it bothers her at nighttime. In the morning she feels fine again. When she was younger, I gave her ibprofen on a few occassions to help her sleep through them, but they haven't been that severe for a long time.

Anyway, just now she was crying in her room. I'd already tucked the children in, so she called me back. She wanted me to come rub her knee for awhile. It took me a minute to get to her, as I was downstairs. When I finally did arrive back to her room, I saw Henry kneeling at her bedside. He was rubbing her knee.

"I didn't want her to be in any pain while she waited for you." My eyes filled with tears. I hugged Henry and thanked him for his kindness.

"That's what big brothers are here for," I said to Lottie, "to take care of us."

"And sisters!" Lottie added. It was such a great moment.
(Lottie is a very good big sister; for the record)

My children are so good to me and to each other. This isn't always true. Believe me. But I often feel that I don't deserve such happiness.

On to the miscellaneous nature of today's post.

I'm trying to be better about arranging play dates for my kids. Forrest's schedule used to be somewhat of a hindrance; but he's growing up so fast that it doesn't seem to be an issue anymore. Lucky for my kids, play dates are happening more frequently. And I feel thankful they are choosing such great ones.
This cutie pie is Millie. 
She is Lottie's friend from preschool. 
They adore each other. 
When I went on a field trip with Lottie's class, Millie was Lottie's special buddy. 

We went to the fire station. 
Forrest was THRILLED that he got to tag along.
You can't tell by his expression,
but this was so so so exciting for him.
There's Lottie and Millie holding hands. 
It was so cute when she turned to find me.
I'm glad my camera was ready for that. 

Lottie was the shepherd a few weekends ago.
It was her job to take care of her class lamb. 
We took pictures of their time together and printed them out for Little Lamb's book.
The most fun thing we did with Little Lamb was watching
spooky Halloween movies outside after dark with friends. 
The Barrett's invites us over to enjoy Kripsy Kreme donuts.
They have an outside movie screen that made the experience so neat!

Here's handsome Henry. 
He came home from soccer with a head of crazy hair 
and the rosiest of cheeks.
The picture doesn't show just how rosy they were. 
But it was pretty dang cute. 
Henry has a good friend who lives across the street. 
For his birthday, a group of their friends walked home from school together. 
I was able to catch this cute crew in action as they raced to Spencer's house. 
It made my heart happy to see them.
I love where we live. 
We've had a lovely fall and have enjoyed being outside. 
The day I took this photo, I was sitting under a tree, reading the book,
"I am Malala"
The book was inspiring, horrifying and important.
Please read it. 
Here's a funny (kind of) story. 
Andrew told Eliza if she scored a soccer goal, he'd pay her $20.00.
Please remember that Andrew is insanely frugal. 
No one was more surprised by his offer than me. 
 Eliza scored TWO goals that game.
And has been scoring goals each game, since.
(We only paid her twenty dollars the one time.)
For the record, that twenty dollar bill came from my wallet.
Not his. 
This was taken the morning of General Conference. 
Obviously, this adorable scene didn't last long. 
There's so many things I could say about how I felt as I listened to each session. 
I feel that the words they shared are true.
I feel the Holy Ghost when I listen and think about what's being said.
I can not deny that beautiful feeling. 
That same weekend we drove up Farmington Canyon as a family. 
It's a scary drive, to be honest. 
There aren't rails along the road. 
It's steep and curvy. 

But the view was amazing.

I'm so behind on my blog, it makes me sad.
This post is choppy and all over the place but it feels good to have it written. 
Until next time....
Lottie would like YOU to be a good American.