Monday, April 22, 2013

Suvi's Spectacular 5th Birthday (a Fancy Nancy event to remember!)

On April 20th my baby girl turned 5 yrs old. How can it be that she will start kindergarten this fall? I saw the notice for kinder round-up, the day we sign up our kids for kindergarten next fall, and tears welled up in my eyes. But, before all that sappiness, we sure did celebrate this weekend in a very spectacular manner!

Suvi and I discovered Fancy Nancy books about a year ago. I think they are pretty amazing and Suvi likes them too. For Christmas she got the book "Fancy Nancy Tea Parties" and it literally gives a step by step tutorial on how to have tea parties. From buffet style to al fresco style and even doll tea has them all. So we decided it would be fun to have a Fancy Nancy Party ourselves. It all started with the book (which honestly had pretty simple ideas on how to have a terrific tea party) and then my mother found Pinterest has loads of ideas about Fancy Nancy parties and then it got a little scary! We had pages of ideas for our decorations and food and drinks too! After a trip or two to the local fabric and hobby stores, we did decide to curtail a few things--like an absolutely beautiful table skirt made out of tulle...But the end product was still pretty amazing!

So first and foremost, we need to thank Mummo Frederick for really helping pull this whole idea together. Without her, I may have given up and only had a halfway splendiferous party!

We started of course by reading the book and picking our favorite parts: how to decorate and what to serve. Suvi helped by writing out most of our list of idea, which I used throughout the planning to make sure we had it all. I wrote some things when she got tired, as she does not know how to spell yet, so I had to spell each word for her, then she wrote them down. It took an entire Kai nap (2 hours) but it sure was a good way to spend the time!
Here is her list

Then we went shopping and bought our supplies. We used purple poster board to make our butterfly placemats. See Suvi gluing on the bling after I cut out the shape!
Then Suvi was out stand in model when we were placing the decorations...doesn't she do a great job?
This was her second outfit of the day on party day...

The end result looked like this:
The picture is dark but we had tissue paper flowers and tulle draped on the pillars with more tissue paper flowers on the light. There was a bouquet of flowers, cupcakes and a pot full of jelly beans with lollipop flowers inside. The purple butterfly placemats of course and then the napkins were made into a fan shape and tied with the silverware in more tissue paper flowers that then became a corsage for each guest.
 I was so busy with the party I really did not take enough pictures and am pretty upset about that! so I will just explain it with words. We had a separate table for food. We served fuchsia lemonade and lemon water to drink. We had a fruit platter with yummy yogurt dip, veggie plate with ranch dipping sauce, yummy brownie bites with frosting and a raspberry on top, and then strawberries with whip cream and pink sugar! And of course the cupcakes.

Each girl came dressed in the fanciest outfits, but most decided to play switch-er-roo and changed into either Suvi's dress up clothes or another girls discarded outfit. They came downstairs and we had a photo shoot with each girl and Suvi to help commemorate the day.
Here is the beautiful birthday girl in her final outfit of the day. Her wedding dress...

Here is a sample of the photo shoot, Suvi with my good friend Wendy's daughter. We got the flowers from the Boerne garden where my mother volunteers as a master gardener. Suvi decided she looked her best in her wedding dress complete with veil AND tiara.
Here are all  the party guests being serious...
And here they are being goofy!

We played "Posh, Posh, Puppy" (basically duck duck goose with Fancy Nancy terminology). We also played follow the hostess (follow the leader) but honestly those pictures were action shots and unfortunately came out blurry.

Of course we then had our magnificent tea party with all our yummy delights!
Happy Birthday dear Suvi!

And then we opened presents, of course one of the birthday girls favorite parts!
It was such a wonderful (and a little bit hectic) day. I am really glad we did it and think it turned out grand. Each girl went home with a Fancy Nancy book, a tiara, a wand my mother made and can be seen in the picture above where they are eating, a necklace and an activity book that my mother put together that has official Fancy Nancy coloring sheets, mazes, connect the dots and even a paper doll cut-out-and of course their corsage. Every went home happy I think.
We of course had another celebration on her actual birthday. Heikki had to miss her Fancy Nancy party but considering it was all little girls squealing with delight and pink and purple everything...I think he was ok missing out on that fun. Her birthday was spent around the house, doing fun things together as a family. We even took a family walk  that went a little long. Suvi got tired so Heikki had to carry her...

 Before they got so tired, they decided to add in some calisthenics to the mix: here are the kids dropping and doing push-ups in someones driveway!
Of course we had her favorite dinner: spaghetti noodles with butter and cheese and garlic bread (and Heikki snuck in a pizza too!) and the cake and ice cream that is a birthday must have!

She even got a Fancy Nancy book ;)

Look at how excited she is to open her presents. This one is from Markku and Kai-an Ariel Princess figurine.

Aunt Jenn and Uncle Dan got her this magnificent official Fancy Nancy dress! This was actually her first outfit of the day on her birthday party.

 We also had her class party this past week as well (three celebrations!!!! Oh my!)  Suvi was a doll and helped me bake her frosted cookies with pink icing and sprinkles.

Don't they look yummy too?
What a fun week it was for Suvi.
Now of course, I do have two other children who really were not forgotten this week! They had some fun eating cake and ice cream and cookies...  Kai was insistent it really was his birthday, not Suvi's. "My birthday" he said over and over. He is really talking so much more these days. I caught him singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider tonight at the park and it was so cute. He also sings the theme song to his favorite video series, Mighty Machines! That is adorable as well. 
He loves to play pretend. He will cook in the play kitchen and take care of his baby doll. Tonight he even undressed one of Suvi's dolls, brushed her teeth, put her to bed (in Markku's lower bunk), and read her a story. I do not remember either of my other two kids doing this type of play at this age. He will also play, "I am an animal" (remember the dinosaur I mentioned last week?). His newest animal is either "Shampoo (ie shamoo the killer whale) in the bath tub, or an octopus. He is really really smart. He has even started counting recently, although only to 3 so far. Sometimes only to 2.
Kai is also starting to blame others for things. If anything breaks, he blames Markku. Even if Markku had nothing to do with it. (Poor Markku) He will grab some food from the fridge or cupboard and if I tell him he cannot have it, he hides it behind his back and says "All gone". I think I will be in big trouble with this one!
Kai hugging Mummo. Trouble?! He looks so sweet...
Markku is also constantly pretending to be things: either an animal he has recently googled on the Internet or a Pok√©mon character. He loves to hear stories about when he was little. His favorite one recently is when he was really young, probably 20 months old or so,and he started to learn his letters. We had the foam letters in the bathtub and he just started calling them out one day. He did not learn his actual ABCs in order until much later, but could identify each letter on their own. Even on street signs. He did not like numbers though. If I put the numbers into the tub, he would throw them out. I was telling my sister about this one day, explaining that he did not know his numbers, but did know the ABCs. She corrected me and said He DOES know his numbers if he throws them out of the tub! He just doesn't like them. Luckily he does now and is really good at math! 
Speaking of school, we get this calendar sent home each night from school. A happy face means a good day, an unhappy face means he got in trouble for something. I think he only has 2 unhappy faces, so those days are rare. But recently, his teacher let HIM write how he did: 

On Thursday the 11th he wrote a smiley face and then wrote: : "Markku was exslnte". Meaning of course: Markku was excellent. ( By the way, if I hit spell check on his word exslnte, it comes up with interesting) What a funny kid!
As I am winding up Suvi's birthday, we now have Markku's coming up in 3 weeks. I cannot believe where time is going. I am still so exhausted from Suvi's big day, but know we have lots more fun coming up.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Baseball, campouts and monsters

Markku started baseball this week. We are going through the Y again. Considering he has never played, not even T-ball, he did fantastic! He hit the ball twice when pitched (they have the coaches pitch the ball in this league) and was catching balls thrown to him like a pro! The kids really do not seem to get or understand the game at this point, but they sure had fun. The rules are not clear to me either-they do not have outs, you try as many times as you need to in order to hit the ball, and you are never out. Of course they do not keep score, as what would be the point? Every kids gets to run in to home! What has this game come to when parents can't let there be rules? I guess for the older kids they do follow more traditional rules, but I would have thought that 6-7 yr olds could handle more rules as well. It was fun though.

Here he is, in the green, standing on third base.
 Suvi is continuing to love her soccer as well. She is in the grey shirt this time around, still wearing the pink shin guards of course!

Playing defense
Markku and Heikki had an adventure packed weekend on a Cub scout campout this week as well. It was just in Austin, at Camp Mabry ( our local army base) but they did sleep in a tent with sleeping bags. Markku said it was cool, but he was freezing. Thank goodness it was only down to 50 degrees...
These are photos I was sent via text or copied from Facebook, so the quality is not quite as good...  I guess they did all sorts of challenges like building a raft that a GI Joe doll had to float on, building a shelter, learning how to start a fire and even first aid. It sounded really awesome. Heikki was also exhausted as sleeping in a tent and running around all day with young boys is exhausting. He then had to get up super early and catch a flight to Chicago to work. 
This is Markku partaking in opening ceremony.

This is Markku in his team's hand built shelter.

Here  he was learning how to use a sling shot! They had an ex Army Ranger who taught them this, as well as all the safety rules.
Much to Kai's disappointment, he did not get to go with Heikki and Markku. He was very sad to see them leave, and told me all weekend that Markku was gone. Instead he got to hang out with me and Suvi at the soccer game, around the house and at the neighborhood park. It was weird only having two kids and I was amazed at how "easy" it seemed! He loves to play monster and dinosaur. He runs up to you roaring, and says "I dinosaur" or "I monster, roar!" The first time he did this, he ran right up to me, "I dinosaur, roar! Roar!" and proceeded to bite my leg! Wow did that hurt...I think my scream scared him enough and stopped him from biting anyone else. I hope so, as he was running up to everyone at the park yelling, " Roar! I monster!".  I don't think he bit anyone though.

Here is Kai painting. He was so happy to sit and paint.
Speaking of monsters, Suvi has been complaining of bad dreams. She came to my room last night upset and wanted to snuggle. Then tonight she did not want to go to sleep by herself in her room. She was hysterically crying and said that she has had the same bad dream for the past 3 nights! Even with a light on, she was just so upset. I have not experienced this with any of my kids, so I was not sure what to do. She is finally asleep, and after many Fancy Nancy books, leaving lights on, trying to get her to think about her birthday in 2 weeks. I sure hope this is not the start to something.

Suvi was really enjoying herself playing with some girls she met at the park. But Kai had a poopy diaper we had to go and change it. I promised we could go right back to the park and play, which we did, but the girls had left. She was so sad, saying she never has any play dates. Now that is true, we have only had a handful. But previously they have ended with tears and not playing with the invited guest and not wanting to share her toys. So, I admit I have not had too many more. But I promised we would try it again and did today. We had Suvi's friend Marli and her older brother Josh (2 yrs older than Markku) come over for a few hours. What good kids they were-it was such a great day! We managed no fights and the only tears came when we had to say good bye. Hopefully this is a start to more fun play dates.

This evening Markku and Suvi were playing some crazy game with the white board. I never really understood the rules but I thought they sure looked cute standing and drawing together though.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter 2013, First swim day of 2013, school plays!!

Happy Easter, 1 day late! We had a great visit with my family for Easter. Heikki had to work, so unfortunately he missed another holiday! We actually had not been to my mom's since Christmas, so it was long overdue to spend some time there. The kids just love it there-they have toys, a large sandbox, hiking, swimming, Mummo to spoil them and of course Ukki records tons of shows and movies for them to watch when they come on his DVR (we are old fashioned and do not have a DVR!). 
We did color some Easter eggs. My mom blows out the insides and then they can be saved for years, pending any major disasters like dogs eating the eggs...only happened twice but those eggs are gone! Here Kai is excited to draw his race car on his egg. Markku is also diligently working on his eggs.

Suvi was busy with coloring the eggs, and she made them especially for her brothers!
Here are what last years eggs and some from 2008 look like.
The Easter Bunny also brought some fun bubbles to play with.

Look at Suvi hiking in her Easter dress with her Easter basket. She let us know that if we got lost, we could survive on her candy!

The boys discovered the culverts and Kai had to walk in each and everyone!

Yay Easter egg hunt!

They were busy trying to find all the eggs the Easter Bunny had hidden for them.

We figured we had better let Kai start first as he would probably need more time and more help. As it turns out, he didn't need his handicap and ended up with the most eggs of them all! He did have help from his Ukki though.

Here is the bunny Suvi found in her basket.  In addition to hiding eggs, the Easter bunny also hides their Easter baskets. They have to look for them first thing in the morning! Suvi was our champion as she found every body's basket this year!

Here is Suvi and Markku feeding food scraps to Mummo's worms she has for composting.

Kai was thrilled to meet Vermi, mummo's pet composting worm.

Mummo was showing them the worms and how they eat all the food and paper she gives them.
We did have another egg hunt on Saturday in our Plum Creek neighborhood. It was 30 seconds of pure joy. But boy oh boy were those eggs snatched up fast.

Kai was not happy being told to wait until the official start of the egg hunt.

And believe it or not, it is hot enough to swim. The kids all went in the pool this past weekend as well. Markku was the only one to dive in and swim around. His Finnish roots are strong! Well, it was 85 degrees and sunny, so maybe not exactly an ice hole in the middle of winter in Finland. But still, it was too cold for me to venture in!

Kai and Suvi mostly played on the steps.

But here is proof that Markku was in for real.

Suvi got to wear an apron that used to be Mummo's when she was a child. It allowed Suvi to help bake and make ice cream with Mummo and not get her pretty Easter dress all dirty!
We also had Markku's first grade play, Mother Goose Rhymes. It was really just songs that each class sang. But, they were fun renditions of classic rhymes we all know from childhood. Markku had Rock a bye baby and was wearing a tree on his head. He much preferred a song another class did-it was all in Spanish! Pio Pio Pio or something like that! We do not have a talented singer, but he sure does like to try!