April 14, 2018

elsie jo is five

Really she turned five two months ago, but who is counting, right?  Miss Elsie Jo is now a whole hand old.  Suddenly she is so grown up and getting ready for kindergarten!  Her emotions still get the best of her at times (so do mine, let's be honest), but she can be so sweet with her sisters.  She gets lots of praise from her teachers at school for being an excellent friend and always willing to learn.  She has started reading a bit here and there, loves to try and do math, and still really loves to draw, craft and create.

Elsie participates in dance, soccer and gymnastics.  She never can seem to pick a favorite, and she does a great job at each one.  I think she really likes dance and soccer, because she gets to do both with several of her friends.  Not that she has a problem making friends.  Sometimes she is shy, but for the most part Elsie just loves to have other kiddos to play with and is happy to befriend whoever is around.

To celebrate Elsie's birthday we started off with donuts, opened some presents, took a trip to Kansas City to visit the doll hair salon at American Girl, ate some Panda Express in the food court, opened more presents, had a gymnastics class, and got some Chilis To-Go for dinner (because we had a three week old at the time and we always have a Thea, so public is... fun...).  I think she had a great day!


Elsie really is a character, and loves to make people laugh. And her genuine laugh is one of my favorites.  She is constantly setting up toys in a big circle to play with.  She'll get out all the Playmobil structures we have (castles, barn, etc) and put them all around her.  And then the Playmobils, her Hatchimals, LOL Dolls, etc, will play amongst them.  When she gets going she can entertain herself for over an hour just playing.  She doesn't like if I'm around while she is playing on her own.  I guess it embarrasses her?  At first I thought she was trying to sneak some sweets by me, but it wasn't the case.  She just doesn't want me around when she is pretending.  If only she could learn to pick up her massive set up of toys when she is done playing.  That sure would be something.

One thing I really love about Elsie, is that she doesn't give up too easily.  Sure she can get frustrated trying new things, but she really has held tight to the concept that if she tries her best she can do hard things.  The way she phrases things to herself makes me believe that they do a great job instilling that at her preschool, but I'm sure part of it is just her nature.  She isn't as near as much of a perfectionist as Ryann is.

For some reason she can never remember her middle name.  Her favorites include tacos, ice cream, watching dumb toy videos on YouTube, all the colors of the rainbow (but mostly red), dates with Daddy on Thursdays and doing 'work' with Papa.  Unikittys are her jam, and Target about blew her mind when the dollar section included mermaid unikittys.  Elsie also love love LOVES her baby Arden.  She tells me a million times a day how cute Arden is, she absolutely loves when she gets her to smile, and overall she is just so sweet with Arden.  A complete 180 from when Thea was born and Elsie didn't care about her one bit.  Girl is growing up on me!

Elsie girl, I can't wait to see how you change over the next year.  I love you so much!

April 8, 2018

elsie's fifth birthday fiesta

Just before Miss Elsie Jo turned five we hosted a little fiesta themed birthday party at our home to celebrate.  Which really just meant chips, queso, tacos and sweets.  Plus sombrerros.  But hey.  I had a three week old and it was snowing.  You do what you can.  Ha.


Originally Elsie asked me for a 'unikitty hatchimal taco party'.  I wasn't exactly sure how to pull that off, so I nudged her towards her love of tacos and we settled on a fiesta.  I ordered some random fiesta decor off Amazon, my mom picked up some cacti from Home Depot, and we rolled with it.

Our taco meal consisted of your average beef with store bought taco seasoning, along with some slow cooker cilantro lime chicken we made following this recipe. Chris made a giant batch of guacamole that naturally we forgot was in the fridge until over halfway through the party.  Chips, queso and a couple kinds of salsa as well as some fresh cut fruit and veggies rounded out the meal.  The sweets included cookies made by the oh so talented Jenny, churro cupcakes my mom made, and a chocolate cake by Hyvee for good measure.

With Elsie's birthday being in February, it has always been tough to come up with activities for a bunch of kiddos in our home.  Next year we might try to do the party elsewhere (because families keep expanding and I think we had upwards of 16 children plus adults even after some couldn't make it!), but this year I stupidly got brave and decided to let the kids paint pots to go along with the cacti we got as favors.  Thankfully all of my mom friends are champs and helped out and somehow the only children who ended up with paint on them were mine.  Figures.  But the kids did a great job and the pots turned out pretty cute!  Sending them home with a live cactus that actually hurts when you touch it might have been a jerk move, but it just seemed so fitting.

Elsie loved having all her friends over to play, and was genuinely excited but each one of the gifts she received.  That girl my still have a short fuse, but she loves hard and adores all her little friends.  Thanks to everyone who came to help celebrate her birthday, she had a blast!