July 11, 2016

thea - eleven months

written July 1st

I can't believe it.  I can't believe Thea is already 11 months old.  The months and years really fly by, but my word I still feel like we just brought her home, that we just moved, it all still feels very new.  And yet here we are, less than three weeks from Thea's first birthday, we've lived in our home for just over a year, and Ryann has already completed kindergarten.  I'm baffled.

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Look at that sweet girl.  Can't I keep her a baby forever?!?! She truly is such a sweetheart and so much fun.  Of course she has her moments and she can be a total pain in the butt.  However as the baby of the family and that silly little smile she can get away with pretty much anything. I think the only thing that really gets me frustrated is her standing in the tub. That I just never really find funny. But whatever, it's fine.  She's adorable.

I don't have a clue how long she is or how much she weighs.  If I had to guess weight I'd say right about 19 pounds?  I'm definitely curious.  She still seems to be growing, but for the most part 12-18 month clothes are huge and 6-12 month still fit fine.  Chris accidentally tried to put her in a 9 month sleeper the other night and she 'fit', but I don't think she could straighten her legs.  We pretty much don't wear shoes so I don't have a clue there, and she is still in a size 3 diaper.  And still has yet to cut another tooth, holding strong at six.  Recently she starting drooling a lot more, so maybe one or two are thinking of making an appearance.

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Sleep is ALL over the place.  Nothing horrible, but she just isn't predictable at all.  Bedtime is between 7:30-8:30pm.  Depending on her naps.  Some nights she sleeps until the 4:00 hour and then goes back to sleep, sometimes she sleeps until 5:45am and then won't go back to sleep.  Sometimes she is up by 7:00 even if she goes back to sleep and sometimes she doesn't get up until 9am.  She usually takes two 1.5-2 hour naps a day, but a few times I've only had her take one nap if she has slept until 9.  I don't think she is ready to really drop to one nap, but I think we're getting there.

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Thea pretty much won't tolerate being spoon fed purees at all anymore.  She'll eat stuff off a spoon or fork if it is clearly not baby food.  Such as, you know, ice cream or a sno cone.  Whoops.  Yeah, so much for making her wait until her first birthday for sweets.  She is picky about vegetables and some fruits, but don't you dare eat in front of her without offering her a bite anymore.  She loves chicken, cheese, avocado, plums, bananas, deli meat, cheerios, yogurt melts and puffs.  Oh and noodles, especially mac n cheese.  If she doesn't like what is on her tray, or she is full, she just throws everything on the floor.  We're working on signing more and all done, but usually if she wants more she just points and yells, and if she is all done she just yells and chucks food and tries to squirm out of her seat.

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Which reminds me she points now.  A lot of times I don't have a clue why she is pointing at something or if she is trying to tell me something, but she points often.  In general I just try to tell her what the various things are that she is pointing at.  She can point out a few objects, such as lights or a ceiling fan, her crib, and her book shelves.  But other than that she doesn't really point if I ask her to find something.  Thea gives hi fives and occasionally kisses and hugs.  She also tries to put on glasses and hats and things of that nature.  Actually she tries to put almost everything on her head, but that is my fault.  I have a tendency to stick stuff on her head for my own entertainment.  Whoops.

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I'm thinking maybe, just maybe, Thea will be walking by her first birthday.  She has gotten really good at walking with just one hand, and I think if she was a touch braver she could take some steps.  She is such a good climber.  If she realizes she could maybe get up on something, she is going to get up on it.  Or if she thinks she can get IN something, she is going to try that too.  Drawers, cabinets, tupperwear, etc.  Just gotta test to see if she fits!  Thank goodness nearly all our furniture is secured to the wall.  She has also figured out how to more or less safely get down from places.  Not that I'd leave her up on a chair or our bed, but I spotted her while she got from our bed to the bench by our bed, and then slid feet first to the ground.  She loves to practice going up the stairs and then immediately back down.

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Thea has yet to clearly say any words.  I know that is pretty normal, but it's slightly tough to swallow looking back on Ryann and Elsie's 11 month posts.  Granted Ryann was a freak of nature in the language department, but hey (my post mentions that one of her words was waffle, WTH?!?).  Thankfully Thea is starting to show an interest in books so hopefully reading some stories will help.  Her favorite is Moo Baa La la la.  She loves hearing me make animal sounds.  She tries to bark like a dog and moo like a cow, I can't discern any other sounds.  She'll hold a play phone up to her ear and say something that sounds like hello, but it just isn't clear.  I've also said to her that the fans go 'round and round', so now she'll wave her little finger in a circle at the fan and make a noise that might sound like 'round and round'.  Who knows.  I'm sure language will take off at some point.  For now she's too busy climbing crap.

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Baby dolls are still a big hit.  She gives them hugs and kisses, and pats their little backs.  I love it.  She has also been enjoying the pool.  Sometimes it isn't her favorite, but for the most part she has a good time, and regularly sticks her own face in the water.  She doesn't seem too phased if she gets splashed either.  I need to do a little research on teaching infants/toddlers to hold their breath.  Maybe we'll have one kiddo who isn't scared of the water!  This month Thea made her second trip to Georgia, and she LOVED the ocean.  Truly.  She'd hold someone's hands and keep trying to go further and further into the waves.  She only tried to eat sand once, and that was enough misery for her!  Haha.

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Thea is still a mama's girl through and through.  She is fine with other people such as Chris, my mom and dad and a few others, as long as I'm not standing right there.  If I'm there she pouts and whines until I'm holding her again.  Same for if I'm gone and come back.  She was a perfect angel for whoever had her, but the second she sees me she cries until I pick her up.  Overall she really is such an easy baby in terms of personality, aside from the extreme attachment to me.  And the fact that I still nurse her before naps keeps me attached to her for most of the day.  That will change soon though, I'm hoping to wean her for at least most of the day shortly after her first birthday.  As soon as we've got her drinking milk and going down for naps by herself, you better believe I am disappearing for an entire day!

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Thea girl, I love you.  Will you please stay my baby forever?  I can't believe you're almost one.

July 9, 2016

ryann's art party

It only took me three months to post these photos...

This year we went round and round on what to do for Ryann's birthday party.  There was talk of inviting her whole class to somewhere not our house, having a few friends at our house, not having a party and having a whole special day for Ryann, a puppy party, another unicorn party, etc.  Both her and I were having a hard time settling on a location, a guest list, and a theme.  Ultimately we ended up inviting the girls from her class to an art party at our house, and I think it turned out great.

We lucked out with warm weather, so we were able to set up some art activities in our garage, as well as let the girls play outside.  We did invite them in for snacks and sweets, but otherwise the majority of the party was outdoors.  I tried my best to remember that five and six-year-olds don't really care about the decorations.  Ryann is used to me going big for a party, so I still wanted it to be exciting for her, but we managed to get some big bang for our buck with a pack of brightly colored paper and splatter painting some cheap table linens.

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We held the party at 1:00pm, so we focused on snacks and sweets.  Ryann requested summer sausage, pirates booty and pretzels, as well as some of Jenny's cake pops.  We added in cheese and crackers, chocolate covered strawberries, and cookies.

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For favors the girls made out pretty well.  They got to take home a mini paint can full of sixlets (I love sixlets.  Like a lot.  I don't know why.), their projects (a canvas painting and a washi tape covered frame) and a personalized apron.  I bought the aprons at Hobby Lobby and used my silhouette to cut out each girl's name.  I bought my heat transfer glitter from this etsy shop.  The shipping is pretty quick and they have a very wide selection! The easel that the paint cans are on came from Ikea.

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Ryann had fun, I think the girls had fun, and despite having nine kids under the age of seven in my house, it was surprisingly relaxed!

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June 5, 2016

thea - ten months

Clearly slacking in the blogging department.  Seeing as my last update was also a monthly post.  But hey, at least I'm not totally failing with those!  And for the love my blog design is what, 4.5 years old?  Sad story.  Oh well.  Thea is ten freaking months old and I think I'm going to feel all the feelings and cry big fat tears when she turns one.

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I've had to resort to all methods of bribery and distraction to take pictures of this kid.  Puffs, lights, songs, siblings, etc.  You name it, I tried it.  Photographing babies is hard freaking work!

I made zero attempts to measure the little miss.  At Thea's last check-up their computer system was down, so I didn't have her percentages.  They were mailed to me a few days later and she had dropped to the 28th percentile in weight.  For a girl who was once in the 90th I was pretty surprised.  We also were persuaded to get labs drawn because the pediatrician doesn't think too highly of me not giving Thea baby cereals (therefore not getting a lot of extra iron).  I was hesitant because I didn't do cereals with the other two and they seemed to have turned out just fine, but I complied. Her numbers fell just below the normal range (normal is 10.5-13 I believe, her levels were 10.2), so they prescribed an iron supplement.  However they wrote a script for 300% of an infants daily iron needs.  Sounds a bit nuts to me for a child who barely missed the mark, not to mention she wasn't eating a ton a table foods yet, so we're doing our own thing.  We're supposed to have her levels rechecked in a couple of weeks so we'll see.

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Clothes are still 6-12 month or 12 months.  There are some 9 month items that still fit, but for the most part they are too small.  She can wear size three shoes, and the ones I just bought at Old Navy are 12-18 month.  Still fitting in the size three diapers.  The teeth count is still holding strong at six.  I swore I could see some more coming in on top, but nothing has popped through yet.

Thea has started eating fair amount more of table foods.  Ham, cheese, black beans and avocado seem to be the favorites.  Actually yogurt melts are her jam, she goes nuts for those things, along with puffs.  She will also eat sweet potato, corn, peas, banana, bread, occasionally asparagus and green beans.  Honestly she might eat a wider variety if we offered, but we haven't been cooking a ton lately.  I fed her some grilled chicken legs we had the other night and she was loving it.  Blueberries still seem to the absolute most hated food in the universe.  Why she hates them so much I have no idea, but she HATES them.  She is still nursing the same amount, about 5-6 times a day.  And she has figured out, for the most part, how to use the playtex straw cups.

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I'm happy to report that Thea has occasionally started sleeping through the night.  Granted through the night is 7:45am-5:45am and that is totally killing my morning run and shower routine, but I am more consistently getting long stretches of sleep and it is glorious.  I've tried feeding her and putting her back in her crib, but everyone in our house is getting up around then (6:15 or so, early birds) and the sun is coming up and it just hasn't worked.  Sometimes she wakes up in the middle of the night, but if I feed her she'll go back to sleep.  She generally takes two naps a day, each about two hours long.  I more or less nurse her to sleep all the time.  She CAN fall asleep on her own, but she is still just so pathetic about it, and that kid has me wrapped around her finger sooo...

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Thea is starting to cruise more effectively, and girlfriend loves to use anything and everything she can as a walker.  If she pulls up on something and it slides a bit she immediately has to test it to see if she can push it across the room.  Stools, end tables, the pouf ottoman in her room, laundry baskets, they all regularly go cruising throughout the house.  Thea has also taken a big interest in holding our hands and walking.  For a bit there she would just plop down if we tried, preferring to just crawl to her desired location, but now she'll seek out your hands and try to steer you where she wants to go.  She can walk holding on with just one hand, but the second she starts to stumble a bit, she reaches out with her other hand.

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No words yet, but Thea is by no means a quiet baby.  Right now she seems to say 'yay yay yay' or 'day day day' and occaionally 'da da da' on repeat.  Yay yay yay is my favorite.  She'll say ma ma ma and throw a few other sounds in there as well, but for the most part she sticks with the previously mentioned ones.  You can tell that she is understanding more and more.  She'll shake something if we say shake, or smack stuff together if we say bam bam.  She claps when we say yay, and will sometimes wave when we say hi.  If I ask her where her baby doll's eyes are, she looks to it's face.  And she is starting to follow along when I sing 'If You're Happy And You Know It.'  I can't wait until we hear some words.  The girls are so curious to know what her first real word will be.  Ryann of course is pulling for 'Ry Ry.'  I can't remember what Elsie picked, but it is something absurd that will never happen.

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Thea really is just such a happy baby.  She is pretty quick to smile, and while she prefers Mommy, Daddy or Grammy to hold her, she is happy to flirt with anyone and everyone.  She is adorable out in public.  Only recently have I started taking her places more often, before I tried to run errands or do things when someone else could watch her, because she got tired quickly and doesn't like being confined when she is tired.  Now she can stay awake for longer stretches without turning into a maniac.  And she is so interested and curious about everything going on around her.  My mom and I took her down the toy aisle at Target and I think her head about damn near exploded.  So many things to see and touch and oh my gosh!  It is the cutest.

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Thea, watching you grow is so much fun, but some days I wish I could keep you my baby forever!  Love you so much.

May 5, 2016

thea - nine months

OMG NINE MONTHS.  I feel like nine months is really getting up there.  We're now just under three months until she is one and if we don't have any more babies that means I won't ever have another little baby and for the love I'm going to go in a corner and cry now, mmmkay?
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Anyway!  Miss Thea continues to grow and grow in so many ways.  Today she weighed in at 17lbs 12 oz and measure 28 inches long.  I was definitely expecting her to be a little bigger!  She is starting to wear the 12 month size from Carters, though 9 month stuff still works too.  She's in 6-12 from Gap and Old Navy.  She still seems just fine in a size 3 diaper and also wears a size 3 shoe.

We continue to be treading the teething hell waters.  She cut another two teeth up top this month, bringing her total to six.  More than both Ryann and Elsie had at this age.  And the way she chews the heck out of anything she can get her hands on, I think there are still more coming close behind.  The thing that Thea seems to have less of than the other two did, is hair!  None of the girls have had a ton of hair before they were one or anything, but Thea definitely has the least.  I can't wait to find out what kind of hair she is going to have!

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Eating is still going pretty well across the board (not that anyone would ever look at her and think she is underfed!).  I'd say Thea nurses 5-6 times in a 24 hour period.  We relatively consitently offer her 'lunch' and 'dinner', and depending on when she is awake or when we're eating, breakfast too.  Bascially if she is crabby or it is convienent to have her strapped in we give her some food.  She loves purees and she LOVES puffs.  She is getting better at picking up small pieces of food and putting them in her mouth, she just isn't the greatest at mashing everything up yet.  She'll just keep it in her cheeks like a squirrel for a while.  So far the only thing I'd venture to say she doesn't like is blueberries.  I don't know why.  The first time I fed her an actual piece of a blueberry, she cried.  A lot.  It was comical.  She likes cheese, sweet potatoes, little pieces of ham, and anything else she manages to shove in her mouth.  She also loves when we put fruit in the mesh feeder.  She has done great with avocado in there as well.

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As far as a sippy cup goes, Thea is pretty meh with it.  However, one day last week she boycotted nursing for like 12 hours.  I have no idea why.  It isn't as if a let down happened and the taste was different or she just snacked.  She plain old turned up her nose at my chest and wouldn't latch.  No interest whatsoever.  At the same time, she was SO fussy, I knew she was hungry.  We fed her purees and stuff.  She wasn't constipated.  Definitely hungry.  Finally around 5pm I pumped and put some milk in her sippy.  She managed to drink down maybe 3 ounces?  I was surprised.  Thankfully before bedtime she nursed as usual.  The middle of the night was also fine.  The next day I had one instance where she didn't want to, but other than that she has been fine.  I don't have a clue what her deal was.

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Sleep remains about the same.  For the most part, lately, she has been going to bed between 7:30 & 8pm, waking up to nurse around 4am, then sleep until 7-7:30am.  Not perfect but I don't hate it.  Naps happen more or less at 9:30am & 2:30pm.  She sleeps for 1.5-2 hours.  It works.  I pretty much just nurse her to sleep during the day.  I haven't ever tried just setting her in the crib and walking away.  I spent a good six weeks making sure she wasn't falling asleep nursing before I set her down, just letting her get drowsy, and she cried for almost every nap in those six weeks.  I just felt so bad.  So whatever.  She gets a decent amount of sleep now and I don't mind too much.  It's working well enough, despite the pediatrician basically telling me I need to quit nursing her to sleep and stop feeding her at night cold turkey.  Psh, woman, I do what I want.  Yes I'd love for her to sleep through the night, but no, I don't really want to listen to her scream right now.  Elsie eventually grew out of it, I'm sure she will too.

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Thea's mobility seems to increase daily.  Still trying to climb everything, getting pretty good at cruising, I've caught her transfer furniture pieces a couple times.  And on maybe three occasions she has stood unassisted for a few seconds.  She has also gained a lot of control getting down from objects after she pulls up on them.  I can't say the same for getting down from something she has climbed up on to, such as a Pottery Barn anywhere chair.  When she decides she is done up there she just dives out head first.  Real smart kiddo, real smart.

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This little girl is LOUD.  Maybe this is some kind of third child syndrome?  Ha.  She is constantly just yelling and making noise, surely just to hear herself or get some attention.  Still a lot of da and ma noises.  'Na na na na' has also been pretty popular this month.  Sometimes I think she is starting to associate da da with Christopher, or di da.  But for the most part I think she just likes to make noise.  Almost any time I ask her to say mama she gets a huge smirk on her face and responds with 'da da da da'.  Punk.

Thea definitely waves now.  I love it so much.  So do the girls.  It is just so fun to wave at her or tell her hi and have her actually respond.  Last week she waved at the school bus after Ryann got on and I yelled bye.  I about died of the cuteness right then.  No clapping, no pointing, but waving for sure.  She doesn't give as many kisses as she used to, but she will still do that as well.

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Baby dolls are still very much a favorite.  I did go ahead and get Thea one much like the purple one we already have that her and Elsie fight over.  They still fight over it.  Naturally.  But she puts up with the other baby dolls, we've given Elsie full claim to the purple doll.  Thea also seems to really enjoy playing with books, but has little interest in letting us read them.  She is much too excited about trying to rip it out of your hands.  She has started understanding the touch and feel books, and it is so cute to watch her carefully use a finger to feel the little section.  I love it.  She also enjoys knocking over anything I try to build, and has discovered the joys of flipping the light switch.  :o)  She giggles as she pulls my hair every chance she gets, and will 'attack' with a giant smile on her face if she catches me laying on the floor.

As most babies do, Thea HATES getting her diaper changed, or having her clothes changed, having her finger nails clipped, laying still for pictures... Basically anything that requires her to be the slightest bit still or contained.  Yet she does pretty darn good when we are out and about and I have to hold her for an extended period of time.  I get lots of comments about what a good baby she is, and really she is.  She is my little side kick, she goes every where with me, and while it isn't always puppies and rainbows she manages to win over all the strangers with her shy smile and those big blue eyes.

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Miss Thea, I love you to pieces.  Don't grow up so fast.

April 28, 2016

ryann is six!

My list of things I wanted to write about but haven't gotten to is ever growing.  Baby products, Valentine's Day, Easter... But it has been a month since Ryann turned six and I'll be damned if I completely miss an 'age update' for one of my children.  Some day I'll stop doing this and it won't be an issue, right?  Right.  Anyway...

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Ryann turned six on March 29th.  SIX!  If I've got a six-year-old I think I should feel more like an adult.  Does that ever happen?  When do you truly feel like an adult?  Not the point.  Back to my big (but still very much little right?) six-year-old.  Describing Ryann at this age is so incredibly difficult.  She is of course absolutely amazing.  Learning things at an unbelievable rate, becoming more and more and more independent.  Gravitating more towards the tween end of things than the toddler side.  She is strong willed 100%, and she also feels every emotion 100%.  When she is happy she can't contain herself, the energy coursing through every last inch of her body.  But when she is mad, my word, you better watch your back.  She is also quite sensitive, she gets embarrassed easily and that feeling is rather suffocating for her.  It is hard for her to take criticism or make mistakes.

But I think her kindergarten teacher described her best at our first parent-teacher conference.  Ryann is just downright kooky.  She is silly, bubbly, and says the most ridiculous things.  She absolutely loves to make people laugh and enjoys being crazy.  She loves unicorns and glitter as much as she loves bugs and getting dirty.

Speaking of school, Ryann is killing it in the reading department.  I can't believe how far she has come since the beginning of the year.  As far as I can tell, she is reading at a third grade level, and with little trouble.  I think she could maybe possibly read harder books, but her interest and attention span just isn't there yet.  She tells me chapter books are too long with not enough pictures.  She seems to be grasping all of her math concepts well, and loves to tell me about different artists she has learned about through art class.

Miss Ryann is still an incredibly picky eater.  We are trying so hard to get her at least willing to try other foods, but dinner is a battle almost every night.  Her favorite things to eat remain chicken nuggets, pizza, mac & cheese and peanut butter & jelly.  She also loves summer sausage and pepperonis.  Her favorite fruits are pears, strawberries, cantaloupe and plums.  She won't eat blueberries, bananas or mango.  The only vegetables she'll willingly eat are raw baby carrots and raw bell pepper.  Every other vegetable pretty much has to be forced on her.  She'll choose salty and sour over sweet 90% of the time.  She doesn't really like cake or cupcakes, but brownies and ice cream get two thumbs up.

Her favorite activity is gymnastics.  She looks forward to it every week.  She is killing my dreams and doesn't like dance, and can't wait for the recital to be over so she can quit.  Looks like I'm going to have to persuade Elsie and Thea to keep that dream alive.  Ryann also enjoys Girl Scouts, but I think mostly for the crafts and snacks, naturally.  However I think she has had some really great experiences with Girl Scouts and if there is a troop for her next year I think she'd like to continue.  This summer we're going to give soccer a try, though I can't imagine her enjoying running too much.  We shall see!  At home Ryann's favorite thing to do, besides torment her sisters, is draw.  And color.  With the right guidance that girl is going to be an outstanding artist.  I could definitely see her illustrating children's books one day.  Or who knows what else, but she is WAY better than I am at drawing things.

And let's throw in a little recap of her actual birthday... Ryann requested pancake muffins for breakfast like Elsie had.  With a candle.  I think she would have enjoyed regular pancakes or donuts or something, but she seems to prefer that things are the same with her and Elsie, so I just went with it.  We had also blown up a bunch of balloons and put them in the hallway to her room.  We let her open one gift before she left for school, some Littlest Pet Shop toys.

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Ryann has pretty much been asking me to bring her McDonalds for lunch since the beginning of the year, but I haven't ever done it.  So Christopher took the day off work so we could surprise her.  We put her lunch box in her back pack as usual, but it was empty.  When we got to the school we waited out in the hallway while they were finishing up some activities, then her teacher had them go line up and grab their lunch if they had one.  The sweet girl, I wish I had recorded her desperate little voice as she exclaimed "My daddy forgot to pack my lunch!"  Her teacher asked her to check the hallway and she found us.  And immediately proclaimed "BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!"  I'm so glad we were both able to go have lunch with her.  She was giddy and you could tell she felt so special to get to sit with us at a separate table with her McDonalds.

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Since Chris was home for the day, he picked Ryann up after school instead of having her ride the bus.  Then we let her open the rest of her presents.  A journal, some craft kits, a couple of board games and a scooter.  My parents also gave her a gift, a couple of gymnastics mats and a floor beam.  Elsie has probably gotten more use out of them than Ry has, but they are being well loved nonetheless!  Then Ryann was off to dance.

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Chris wrapped one of her presents in an oatmeal box :)

When she got back home we had her favorite, cheese pizza, waiting for her.  My parents joined us for the little pizza party.  We had intended to take her out for ice cream after we put the other two to bed, but lets just say all of my little friends were making the evening a touch difficult, and it just didn't seem like a good idea.  We had some leftover chocolate cake from Easter, combined it with some ice cream and toppings, and we had a happy girl on our hands.

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Miss Ryann, I can't believe you're six.  Love you lots, more than you'll ever know.