Abigail’s 5 1/2 Year Old Update

It kind of seems like I just wrote Abby’s 5 year old blog.  I realize I probably somewhat overdo it with the child updates, but I honestly really enjoy it and it helps me stay somewhat organized with my photos, etc.  It’s also good motivation to take photos, because it’s getting harder to make time to whip out the camera. haha  Anyway, I have been thinking I might go down to a once a year update for the kids once they hit 6, so this may be Abby’s last mid year update. *sniffle*  I figure the first years have so much more constant change and then they sort of slow down (ha) somewhat.  I’ve been planning to drop down to one yearly update at some point, so this is my warning (or breath of relief) post that it may just become a thing once the kids hit 6.

Yes, it’s true, my little Abby Joy is probably considered the terrifyingly old sounding, “school age” now.  What even happened?!  She was just my only little baby a blink or two ago! ❤

My big girl weighs 38 lb and is 3 feet 8 inches tall.  She gained 2 pounds and 2 1/2 inches since she turned 5!  I don’t know if that is actually a lot or not, but it sounds like it.

Bigs is still an avid biker.  She loves to act like I never let them get their bikes out when in reality they typically ride them every single day.  Girls add drama to life to keep it exciting I guess.  Biking is definitely a skill I’m glad our kids learn early because it provides SO much fun!

I sure do love this biker babe. ❤

Scootering is pretty fun sometimes too!

Abigail grew her bangs out, as you can see, but she claims she wants them back.  I’m having her think about it for a little while first though.  I mean…. they are FINALLY grown out now and you want me to cut them again and start over?? haha  Side note, but she’s got some of the hair highlights too.  They’re harder to notice on her darker hair sometimes, but when I braided it the other day I thought it showed up more.

Abby Joy continues to love her gaming.  Especially when Daddy plays with her! ❤

I asked her what her current favorites are and she responded with this barrage of words as per her style. haha

“I like a lot of games, but the game I winned that was super hard – Daddy loosed and I winned – when you were gone I fink and I played somefing with Daddy and I winned.  I don’t remember what it was called.  It was somefing like King.  Not Kingdomino……”  “Kingdom Builder?”  “Ya!!  And I winned it, but we didn’t do the horses jumping stuff or we didn’t do the boats.  We just didn’t want to do all that.  I winned actually.  He didn’t get any mountains.  I was getting the better stuff than he was getting.” (complete with her classic hand waving) etc. etc. etc., but I stopped writing it down because this entire blog would be her response. ha

I wish I had gotten a picture of Abs swinging, because one of her favorite outside activities this spring has been finding and pumping on any and every swing she can!  She is dying for us to get her a swing set!

Smirky Abs after she got herself all dolled up.

I had a weird desire (pregnancy) for mozzarella sticks a while back and let the kids each try one after the cheapo frozen kind I bought was pretty much terrible.  Ya…. I really needed me some Applebees. Booo…..  Normally we go there once every time I’m pregnant, but I guess there’s still hope for that to happen.  The kids thought they were amazing though.  Trust me, they looked a lot better here than they actually were.

Goony pictures have been this girl’s favorite lately.  Which is fine, except when she’s the oldest one and not smiling for a sibling pic.  Grrrr……

Photobombing is also her favorite.  That kind of goes for all our kids though.  They don’t want to be in the picture until I want them out of it.  Then they’re all about getting in it.  Really, guys?

Abs hasn’t done as much artwork, etc. lately since we spend about 90% of our day time hours outside now, so most of these are from a little while ago.  They are gems in my book though, so I’m putting them here to lovingly laugh at for years to come. ❤  These are a sample of her horse drawings.  Oh my word.  I can honestly hardly admire them to her without busting up.  They’re so hilariously cute.  Also, HOW did she come up with the creepy hollow circle eyes her Dad does on his drawings?!?!  Seriously!

This was one of our favorites from months ago.  We tried to get her explaining it on video, but Cabz accidentally bombed it and didn’t hit record. haha  She had written her first ever story.  It was about our chickens and a raccoon who was trying to get them or something.  We were super impressed she spelled raccoon so well on her own!  You can spell it either, “raccoon” or “racoon” actually. haha  You can also see she was writing about our 5 hens.  Funny.

Inspiration:

Nearing Elly’s birthday, Abby was making these adorable kitten birthday cards for her, since Elly wanted a kitty birthday.  We just had our own real kittens (Nipsy, Oreo, and Stripey) and you can pick out a couple of their names in there.  It’s always kind of fun trying to find words. haha  It’s like a word search/unscramble/decipher all in one kind of game.

I loved this one.  Abby had made me a birthday card and hidden it.  I kept teasing her, saying I was going to find it before my birthday!!  She was having a terrible time not just telling me where it was.  Actually, she did once and then had to quickly rehide it. ha!  But, my teasing inspired this gem of a clue.  Your card is either “downstairs or upstairs”!!  WHAT!?  No way!!!  Who’da thought?? hahaha

Here was my birthday card when I finally got it.  I think the top had a maze (she was super into those for a while).  It was a really hard one, according to her and trust me.  It was.  Completely unsolvable I’m convinced.

I just liked her little swing picture she made.  Cute.

She drew me and her under our deck (“the littler one is me and the bigger one is you”).

Here’s some eerily hyena-like dogs. haha

Abby is always full of creativity.  Here’s a “kite” she made.  Too bad it was so cold out, so we never got a chance to try it out….. I’m sure it would have flown great.

Okay, here we go!  This one is a little more recent.  I think it was from about a month ago and it’s one of my all time favs.  I was trying to do a Friday afternoon science lesson on whatever animal the girls picked out because Abby is incessantly interested in every animal ever and I figured that would be a good outlet.  I would have kept this up, but our printer won’t print my lined pages I whipped up and I didn’t have the motivation to trace writing lines every single Friday…… soooo as soon as that’s fixed I will get it going again.  Anyway, they picked giraffes the first Friday and AHHH!!!  LOOK at her giraffe!!  It’s SO funny and cute and hilarious all in one!!!  Check out it’s big tongue eating the thorny bush!!!  haha!!!  I could stare at this for way too long….

As far as school goes, we mostly worked with Abby on her reading from her birthday until about a month ago.  She’s been reading really well and loves it too (which always helps).  If there’s an audience, reading is that much better!

The pictures I have of her reading are all her Dick and Jane books, which she is way past now, but she enjoyed them for a while.  Lately she has been reading level 3 books as well as some that aren’t leveled but are more early reader type chapter books.  I found her a few fun ones from garage sales this spring.  One of her favorites is an old book called, “Terry and the Caterpillars” by Millicent E. Selsam.  She LOVES it and I was so excited to find it because it screamed Abby.  It’s about a little girl who find a bunch of caterpillars and raises them to be moths, learning all about them in the process.  Hello.  Who wrote a book about my child? haha  Abby has started to love reading independently and is often found enjoying a good read.

Reading to siblings has been a fun activity too, and one I’ll gladly encourage!

Working diligently on her letters.

We bought Abby and Evie a couple summer school activity books that I’ve been doing each day with them.  Abby has an all inclusive as well as a math only (because we knew we had been slacking a bit with her math knowledge) and Evie just has one all inclusive.  It’s been great for both of them!  As Abby was learning to read and write better over the winter, she began to love copying words down on paper from her various books.  She was SO into that for the longest time. ❤

This is how all the cool (nerdy) kids do it, with a pencil behind their ear.  “See, Mama?  I stuck it behind my ear.  I saw it in a book and fought it would be a funny idea!”

Speaking of nerdy….. here’s my last “kid wearing my old glasses” picture I have to share.  Yes, we can finally move on now.  It almost makes me wish one of my kids needed glasses. hahaha

Bugs are still this girl’s life.  She is SO fascinated by them and wants to learn everything about every bug ever.  Of course, I was telling Cabz that there is actually nothing that doesn’t interest her.  Seriously.  I have never brought up a topic that she hasn’t had an endless supply of questions about.  Anything from how toilets flush to what inch worms like to eat is all fascinating to her.  You’d think SOMEthing would bore her, but I have yet to find it.  Anyways…… bugs.  She loves them.  Although she continued to find (and make pets of) bugs in our house over the winter, this was her first outdoor find of the year.  Fuzzy caterpillar for the win!  She was giddy.

She has been on a major monarch roll lately.  We have milkweed all over our ditch, which is their stomping grounds.  For a while, we were finding tons of caterpillars, but lately (I think with the wet weather) they have slowed up quite a bit.  We raised two to butterflies (Sampson and Rosie), we found two caterpillars for church friends to raise, and she raised another to a chrysalis and gave it to some other church friends.  They didn’t have milkweed available, but still wanted to see the fun transformation!  She still needs to find two more for church peeps, so we’ll see if we can find them soon!  She’s been checking at least once a day. haha  I love seeing her in her element. ❤

Sorry this next one is blurry.  Still need our new camera’s focus set up.  Still cute though.  Showing her Daddy. ❤

My little nature lover has been enjoying weeding around our little lilac sprouts too.  She often will say things like, “It’s not so fun to do this alone, but it’s fun to do it together, isn’t it Mama?  It’s kind of like a Mama Time!”  ❤

Finding soybeans!  This was right after she told me, “I can’t smile for the picture, Mama!  I’m trying to focus!”

Abigail loves hiking and exploring, which is one of the reasons I love taking the kids camping.  It’s fun to see them enjoy it so much.  This picture was just from one of our winter mile walks.  A glimpse of what our “normal” walks look like. hahaha

She loves tree climbing!  Good thing we have a fun one right in our front yard! 🙂

Although I wasn’t as ambitious as normal with getting the kids outside every split second this winter (morning sickness, guys), we did make it out a decent amount.  Abby was always whining to go outside and play in the snow.  She soaked up every minute of it!

Our 3 little kittens have been a continual hit ever since they were born.  Once they were old enough that I started letting the kids hold them, it was even more exciting!  Abby named “hers,” Nipsy.  This was her first time holding one.

Pony rides with Emmy!  After this, Abby decided that her kayak fund was maybe for a kayak or maybe for a pony.  A pony would be more fun, but a kayak would be more practical for her fishing plan.  It’s just a tough call really.

What’s more fun than playing in a giant puddle?  It started out all cute and innocent like this, but by the time they were done I had to scrape mud off everyone and carry them one by one in to the tub.  Disaster. haha

Water is really pretty great.  Abby loves swimming pool days.  This was one of our first pool days of the year and you could see she was a little excited.

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Baths are fun, but don’t quite compare….

These two are always up to something (usually trouble! haha!).  They play together really well for the most part, although there is still daily spit spatting.  I know when things aren’t going well because I’ll hear Evie’s piercing screams as Abby is “being a bo-wee!” (bully)  Why did I ever introduce that word into their vocabulary…….. *sigh*

My little spider hunters, taking care of the pesky spiders on their park.

It’s so fun when they get to the age of playing imaginative games for decent periods of time.  Her and Evie usually do pretty well over Quiet Time with their little dollies, etc.  It’s GREAT!

Lately, Evie and Abby like to fight over who gets to have Obie as their kid in games.  Mostly because it’s so fun to drag him around by the hand and he tends to be more obliging than independent Elly.  He has been picking up on Elly’s attitude though and getting a little more feisty.

Abs loves playing big sister role and helping me take care of Babykins whenever possible.  She can be pretty helpful, which is nice!

Although Elly is often very resistant towards older sisters and their help, she will perk up to their attention at times.

Jammy Fun!

Eating out for my birthday (a major rarity for us) was a big hit as far as Abs was concerned.  She was downing the complimentary chips and salsa like there was no tomorrow and chattering about how great it was.  Best part was her going on and on about the friendly man who kept checking in on us (yup, our waiter hahahaha).  Seriously.  She couldn’t believe how friendly he was, etc. etc.  We didn’t have the heart to tell her he was paid to be nice to us. ha!

Some Abigail Quotes I actually remembered and wrote down:

-I told Abby once that I go in to check on them all before I go to bed and she assumes that is at midnight.  Not quite, although with my body’s lack of sleep ability I probably could/have.

-Evie, “I’m gonna be a mom soon. I’m taller than Elly.” Abby, “You are taller than Elly, but you’re not gonna be a mom soon. Mom’s are past 10 and 11. Are you 10? No. You have to be 11 first.”  She’s always been the voice of reason in our household.  I should just let her take it from here…..

-“sue-ol” (school, it’s 2 syllables with her haha)

-Constant cry is, “Can I read you a book??  Will you read me a book?”

-“you” (zoo)

-As I mentioned above, she was on a roll with constantly copying words down from books.  One day she was practicing writing words on her own and said, “I’m trying to think of words that aren’t in my books that I can spell because that’s good for me!”  She was busy writing ‘November’ and ‘January’ and was really close! haha

-“I probably won’t get married unless God gives me a man.” (that’s one of my favs hahaha)

-Abby, “I wish I had texting so I could text whenever I want.” Me, “Who would you text?” (Yes, I already knew where this was going….)  Abby, “Lots of people.”  Me, “Uh huh…. Like who?”  Abby, “People from church.”  Me, “Uh huh….. which people from church?”  Abby, “People….”  Me, “Like who?”  Abby, “Like Cowie.” (Callie)  Truth is out.  She still responds with “Cowie” when I ask her who she enjoys spending time with the most from church.  (This is my adult friend, guys.  And this is totally not surprising from my 5 year old either.)

-One “winter” day that should have been spring, I was waking the kids up and said, “Look outside, it’s a winter wonderland!”  I was trying to stay positive, guys.  Abby, “Awwww, I was hoping for a spring land.”  (ya, me too)

I always know what I’ve been saying lately based on what my kids start saying.  These next two definitely came from my unintentional modeling….

-“News flash!  Evie was going to the bathroom and didn’t have the light on!”

-“For one, it’s raining out.  And for two, we wanted to play inside anyway.”  The best is when she starts with “First of all” and follows it up with, “And for two….”

Abigail Joy, you can be such a helpful oldest at times and make me laugh at your overly mature mannerisms.  Your goofiness and chatter remind me of myself, but your insatiable thirst for knowledge is definitely your dad.  I love when you sweetly help your little siblings.  It’s so exciting to listen to you read and see you growing up!  Praying God will turn your heart to Him and give you a love for Him unlike any other, and that you will become a selfless, godly woman.  We love you! ❤

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A very Buggy Birthday!!!!! And a special “Mama Time”

Last night with my 4 year old!!!!  Still can’t believe she’s FIVE now.  Where does life even go?!

Peanut was feeling left out and needed in on the action. haha ❤

Soooooo, it’s Abigail.  She was set on a bug birthday, but toyed around with what she wanted the cake and focus to be.  For a while she was determined to have a stink bug birthday cake, but thankfully she switched that up.  Ugh.  Finally, she decided to dress up as a Ladybug Girl and have a bug cake with a praying mantis.  Whew.  The requests I get, I tell ya.  Here is your cute little Ladybug Girl! ❤

Alright, here are the cake pics you’ve all been dying to see.  Take a few deep breaths and remember this was fairly challenging for me. haha  All angles, folks.  Get ready.

Check out that praying mantis!

And the Oreo dirt sides with worms.

I considered it a success because the birthday girl approved after all.

Abby Joy had one major birthday request.  She wanted to invite “her” (my kids even steal my friends) friend, Callie (pretty sure my kids all actually call her “Cowie”) over for her birthday.  She had been dreaming of this for weeks (Abby, not Callie – clarification), so Callie got to come over and we had an extra special “Mama & Callie Time” with both of the big girls!

The fun started with some necklace making.  Abby loves flower/nature stuff and creating things with them.  She had been drooling over the fake flowers at Wal-mart for practically forever, so I let her and Evie each pick a batch out for the big day.  Pretty sure this scene below made one of Abby’s top 10 moments of her entire life.

This is Abby’s contained excitement, yes, I’m loving this face. haha

Finished products!  They wore these for days.

After necklaces, we fit in a little bug fun.  Create your own bug(s)!  Evie went with the blue theme, because she likes the color blue obviously, guys.  So, she picked out a blue paper and glued on a blue bug with blue eyes, a blue nose, and blue feet.  Yup.  She then proceeded to rip it off and reglue it like fifty times until it shredded. #3yearoldlife

Abby worked diligently, perhaps modeling a few ideas from Callie….

Mine was kind of a distracted one this time and didn’t turn out quite like I was hoping.  It kinda looked more like a bird than a bug.  Bummer.  Maybe next time.  I did really like my polka dot background though.  That kinda spiced it up.

I think Callie won the best job award this time.  Her alien bug was pretty cute and that distinguished caterpillar with the black mustache…. I mean, come on.

Abby got some bug finding and observing materials for her bday, which she was 100% thrilled over and immediately put to use.  Yes, apparently there were some boxelder bugs and stink bugs still lurking in our house this time of year.  Really!!

Birthday banner?  Reused from Evie’s, because leaves totally work with a bug theme too and we were in the middle of trying to buy a house and WHO HAS TIME FOR A NEW BIRTHDAY BANNER!?? haha

Oh, also?  Totally didn’t get the birthday invites done or mailed out, but here they are in all their glory.  At least the internet can enjoy them.

Pretty nifty, eh?  In addition to the buggy cake, I made some praying mantis and ladybug cookies.  I thought the praying mantis ones looked more like vipers, but Cabz reminded me that praying mantis heads really do like kinda viper-like up close.

And of course we had to have some ants on a log.  We also had chili, but that hopefully didn’t have any bugs in it. lol

We got to have a special guest for Abby’s part, Great Grandpa D.!!  He happened to be visiting right over party time!  We enjoyed getting to show him our house – it was our last chance before moving!  We all enjoyed his company. ❤

This is a little blurry, but us with our new 5 year old!!!!! ❤

Abigail is Five!!!!!

We have a 5 year old in the house!!!!!  I can hardly believe it!  That’s the age when everyone starts asking when they’re going to school and kind of the growing up age.  Five year olds are basically way too big.

Abby Joy weighs 36 lb and is 3′ 5 1/2″ tall now.

She currently is growing her bangs out, but for the life of me I can’t make up my mind which way I like her hair best!  I think I like both, which is the problem.  I’ve had more people vote yes to her bangs than not, but the pictures I have of her bangs were typically good bang days and you don’t always have those!  This is one of my favorite recent pictures of her.  It can be difficult to get authentic smiles from my big girl, but this was one time I got it! ❤

Abigail enjoys so many things, but she has a very noticeable fascination with bugs and nature related things.  She is our little entomologist.  As I was going through pictures of her, I was amazed at how many were along those lines.  I guess the only thing to do is dedicate the next large portion of her update to that part of her.  This was a grass headband my sister, Liz, made for Abby.  Abs loved it!  This look suits her personality amazingly well!

I love Abigail’s desire to learn and her ability to remember so many facts (thanks, Daddy) about things around her.  She loves to know everything about everything!  When I was little, there were certain things I was really interested in and a lot of things I really didn’t want to bother knowing about.  I’ve never found a topic Abby isn’t interested in knowing ALL ABOUT.

We all had SUCH a fun time raising Monarch caterpillars over the summer!  The ditch along Emmy & Papa’s house is typically loaded, so we gathered a few caterpillars there.  We learned a lot from it too!  Our first batch we got consisted of one full grown caterpillar and one teensy, tiny guy.  We took all sorts of pictures of our big one, expecting it to make its chrysalis any day.

As time went by, we became concerned about our big caterpillar (Big John, as Evie named him – he was “hers”).  He ate maybe one hole a day on the milkweed and ultimately didn’t seem too interested in eating.  He would hang around on the top of the cage and acted like he wanted out.  Meanwhile, the little caterpillar, Abby’s “Susan,” munched and munched and grew and grew.  One day they were about the same size and we made a startling observation.  They didn’t look the same.  Big John had decidedly different markings than the noticeably monarch coloring of Susan.  We freaked out, thought Big John was a tomato worm, put him outside, and were ready to squish him.  Thankfully Daddy saved the day for Big John.  He looked him up and it turns out we had a Black Swallowtail caterpillar!  With newfound anticipation, and regret/worry for starving Big John so long, we recaptured him in a new cage and Daddy ran to the store for some parsley.  Turns out Swallowtail caterpillars like celery, fennel, parsley, and dill.  Big John did eat a little and then the next day made a chrysalis.

Abs continued faithfully running outside each morning to pick a fresh milkweed leaf for Susan.  We have a couple stalks of milkweed that come up in our little “garden” plot each summer.  Abby was always in a semi-panic until I let her out the door to feed her pet.

Eventually, Susan made a chrysalis, and in due time she emerged.  Abby was in her happy place getting to hold Susan while she dried off her wings.

Evie enjoyed watching, but didn’t like actually holding Susan.  It freaked her out when Susan crawled around with her spindly legs. haha

After Susan, we raised another little monarch, Patty.  We got to set her free in our tree where Abby climbed up and was able to watch her drying her wings for quite a while.  The rest of the summer, whenever we would see a monarch in our yard, the girls would freak out, “LOOK!!!  Patty’s here!!  Patty came back!  Look!” haha

Once we had decided to be done raising monarchs for the year, Abby was totally thrilled to find an American Dagger Moth caterpillar.  We set him up in a jar and he made his cocoon that evening.  We couldn’t find a lot of information on raising them (apparently they’re not as popular as the 2 ish week phase of monarchs), but it seemed that they could take around a year to change and emerge.  I figured we could save the jar for now, but we’re not holding our breath on the ending.

Finding robin egg shells is always exciting!

Once we found a nest that had fallen out of the tree.  The eggs were laying around in the grass.  The girls were sad the baby robins wouldn’t hatch, but were thrilled at the chance to hold the real deal.  Shortly after this picture, Evie squeezed hers a little too hard and that was the end of that “fun.”

After a big rain, Abby got Evie on board to “Save all the worms!!”  Saving the world one worm at a time over here guys.  No big deal.  Carry on….

Abby was a huge fan of cicada season.  I went through a phase when I was little where I enjoyed finding the (empty!!) shells and even hanging them on my clothes, or some unsuspecting passerby, but I never enjoyed picking up the live bugs. *gag!*  Abby loved finding them and would pick them right up.  I was fine with it, as long as she didn’t get too close to me. ha

On really good days, Abby would find one working on emerging from its previous shell.  Talk about lucky!  This is why we don’t even have a t.v., guys!!  Who wants to stare at a moving picture box when you can watch a cicada molting?!  For real….

I think Abby’s favorite bug day all summer was the day I spotted a praying mantis on our deck.  It was during Quiet Time and I called her out of her room to see.  She was completely enthralled and I told her we could try to catch it and keep it as a pet for a while.  She helped me snag it in a jar and then transfer it to our prepared bug house.  The rest of Quiet Time was spent like this:

Abby promptly named her pet, Sunflower.  What name could possibly match an “adorable,” “sunny,” (creepy) praying mantis better than that?!

Sunflower provided us with all sorts of impromptu science lessons.  I think we overfed her a bit too.  By trial and error, we found out she enjoyed stinkbugs, house flies, hover flies, grasshoppers, and cicadas.  Abby caught a grasshopper on our walk once (towards the beginning of our mile of course) and was determined to get it back to Sunflower.  The thing peed on her, puked up some nasty stuff on her, escaped when she got jittery (like 4 or so times due to the excreting fluids all over her hands *barf*), but was finally delivered to Sunflower.  There were times I almost though I could describe Sunflower as “cute.”  This was not one of them.  She always started eating bugs by gnawing their heads off.  Normally, we had given her smaller bugs and this happened at least relatively quickly.  But the grasshopper took her fooooooooorever.  And yes, the grasshopper wriggled and writhed almost the whole time.  And then to top things off, when she finally finished off the head, the grasshopper literally exploded and these nasty orange guts curled up and out of it and smeared all down the side of the cage (I had to clean it off eventually.  I was gagging and almost died actually).  Sorry to get so gory with detail…. guess I didn’t want to suffer alone. ha  The cicada eating was fairly nasty too.  It buzzed for like an hour while Sunflower gnawed on it.  Then, she was overfed, so she took a long break before finishing the job.  Abby’s concerned face to fit the mood:

In spite of all this, she was Abby’s beloved pet.  We kept her for quite a while, before deciding we needed to release her.  We didn’t want to let her go when it was too cold out.  It was a tad bittersweet letting her go.  It helped Abby cheer up that she got to hold Sunflower for a while first (with thin gloves as they can sometimes bite, if they think your finger is a bug).  These were some “almost cute” moments for Sunflower, in my opinion.  I almost wanted to take her back inside, but I brought the grasshopper episode to mind and I was able to remain strong ’till the end.

Can you spot Sunflower?

Aside from her enjoyment of bugs, Bigs really enjoys gathering, sorting, picking apart, and creating things with nature.  She finds all sorts of “treasures” every time we go outside.  She’s always making fun little decorations for me to beautify our house with. 🙂

This was a hanging decoration she made with my little sister, Liz.  She was pretty proud of it!

Poor Abs was always trying to plant seeds from her food and get something to grow all summer.  Our yard is fairly shady and there really isn’t a good place to get it done, other than the middle of the grass where it would just get mowed off.  Here the girls were planting and watering their apple seeds.  After a few days of desperately trying to water all over the general area, Abby gave up, telling me she just couldn’t remember where she planted it.  Bummer.

Walks are Abby’s favorite!  Especially when we go on “the park loop” because that’s where I let them let go of the stroller and find all the treasures they can stand.

This girl.  This big, firstborn of mine.  She is such a blessing to us in so many ways!  She generally has such a desire to help me around the house, which I should appreciate more if anything!  Some of the tasks she often helps me with include: taking diapers out to the trash, taking out recycling, changing the bathroom garbage, helping Evie wipe up after a number 1, putting some laundry away, sweeping up under the kid table following meals, washing dishes, watching 1 or 2 of the kids while I accomplish something, bringing out pajamas and diapers for little ones at bedtime, bringing out hair ties and a brush for morning hair fixes (and brushing out her hair), tidying up toys and books, buckling kids in (she’s sill working on her thumb power to be able to unbuckle Evie, which would be a huge help!), carrying in and putting away groceries, and probably a lot of other things I’m forgetting.

She wants to help a lot more, and I hope she will be able to do more cooking this year.  That’s my goal for her.  Her constant cry is, “Can I help you with anything, Mama??”

She does sometimes struggle with consistency.  She’d rather help with something new and exciting than do the same old, “tiresome” tasks.  Washing dishes is a favorite of hers.

Especially when Daddy helps!

Big eyein’! haha

Abby and Evie both dream of the day we get our very own puppy.

And goats!  They are excited for goats too of course. 🙂

Bike riding continue to be one of Abigail’s favorite activities.  She dreams of moving to a house where she can ride her bike all over, without waiting for walks.

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a million times…. why do we even have toys?!  I think we would have a cleaner, happier house if we just gave them all away.  Honestly!

This girl has her entire future planned out.  She’s saving up all her money to buy a double-seater kayak and become a fisher woman with Evie.  Abby is planning to do most of the fishing, while Evie paddles.  They’re going to buy their kayak at Wal-mart or “Dominaes” (aka Dunhams).  Abby is always on the look out at stores and on walks, finding and saving pennies like her life depends on it.

Thankfully, they’ve had some birthday money gifted to them, so they have more than a few cents. haha  Abby also made quite the haul at our garage sale this past summer.  I helped her make some brownies to sell, which was a major success.  Even Daddy bought a brownie from her!  Maybe I should have just hired her to have a bake sale for me.  Anyway, she made off like a bandit with all sorts of tips and sales.  With all of the girls’ saving, they might get their dream boat before too long!  They were originally planning to also purchase a car with a top that could go down (convertible), but plans have since gone a more frugal route and they’re just going to use our big van.

Abby’s told me that eventually I won’t have to buy so many groceries, because her and Evie will be hauling home the fish.  So, we can just have fish every day.  We can have fish everything, fish and eggs, fish pancakes, etc.  Wow, honey!  That sounds…. delicious?  She’s our little planner. ❤

She also has assured me multiple times that she is going to live with me forever.  By her own mouth, although her and Evie would like to have children, they are not going to because they would have to leave home and get married in order to do that.

This girl is our constantly half deaf child.  Almost every single time she gets a cold, an ear infection develops.  The antibiotics never work, but good ol’ garlic on cotton in the ears overnight always does.  I just have to do it a few nights in a row and it licks it.  Even her doctor has me just do that since she knows the medicine never works on Abs and it just gives her other issues on top of it.  Anyways, after her ear infections, she is basically deaf for a while as her ears get massively clogged with ear wax.  Initially, it will be terrible.  I’ll say something and she’ll go, “What??”  I’ll repeat it, “What??”  I’ll yell it.  She’ll get part of it.  It’s terrible, but it always resolves.  My least favorite is when she calls out, “What?!” and I didn’t even say anything to her.  “Nothing, Abs!”  “What?  You want me to find Elly?”  “NO, ABS!  NOTHING!”  One time, on the tail end of the clogging fun, the tornado siren was going off.  Abby asked, “What’s that noise?”  I replied, “A tornado siren.  They test them sometimes on Tuesdays.”  Abby wondered back, “A tomato siren?”

We were walking by a random house and Abby’s commentary on the people who lived there was, “We don’t know their names, but they do!  God knows though.  Only God knows.”

One time she was recounting a notable moment in her life to me, “The other day I was runnin’ cuz I fought someone was chasing me in the grass, but it was just my feet clompin’.”  hahahahha  This made me laugh so hard.  She is such a goof.  Abby is eternally my fearful, over the top careful, just don’t do anything dangerous!!!! child.  But this was just downright hilarious.  She was running away from…. herself! haha  I love her.

I said this once and lived to regret it.  Now, every time I declare something (for example, “this sock is dirty”) Abby responds with, “Are you sure about that?”

It’s no joke I barely let my kids touch desserts and sweets.  We were in Wally World a while ago and Abby snagged these off the shelf with the comforting comment, “Mama!!  When I grow up, I’m gonna buy the candy bagels!!”  Those are called donuts, babe.

Abs has never been a daredevil like Evie.  She likes to be cautious and know what to expect.  Example:  This is about as far as Abby made it up before she declared herself to be done and heading back down.  Evie would have scaled the top if Daddy didn’t force her to stop. ha!

The other day, I was showing Abby an old blog post of her and we came across a picture where she was making a goofy face.  She said kind of quietly, “I should have tried to look cute instead of looking like a goof!”  Regrets of a 5 year old…..  (it doesn’t seem to have had any lasting affect on her)

Abigail loved all the swimming and water fun all summer!  She couldn’t get enough.

We did the spray parks a little more faithfully in the beginning of summer.  Towards the end, Elly was just so mobile (and untrustworthy) that it became a little too difficult to oversee everyone.

The pool at Emmy’s house was pretty fun too though!

The girls’ squirters were probably the best summer purchase we made.

They were even multi-purpose!

Spray bottles and buckets were always a big part of pool time too.

And never underestimate how fun a neighbor friend can be.  Don’t worry, we did let her in through the gate. haha

Sweetcorn was another summer special.  We didn’t make it this year to help with my family’s freezing days, but we at least had it with our supper a few times.

Abby continued to enjoy tree climbing.  She’s getting fairly decent at it now, but she’s still a bit lacking in the strength department.

Parks are good for climbing too!  We made it to our parks quite frequently, as usual.  Gotta do something to get out of the ol’ house!

Now if you asked me to describe my eldest daughter in 3 words, I might just use “natural athletic talent.”  (or not)  She did enjoy learning a few basics for a little ball with her Daddy though. 🙂

Of course, if it’s an activity with Daddy it’s always fun!

One of Abby’s favorite things to do with Daddy lately is reading practice.

Also, she continues to love playing board games with him.  Her favorite lately has been Kingdomino. although “Evie usually wins with all the water pieces.  She takes those ‘cuz she likes blue.”

We made it to the John Deere Pavilion earlier this year.  The big equipment is always exciting to climb on.

You can’t leave without taking the classic “in the tire” picture.

Abby’s used to all the big tractors from Papa’s farm.

The kids always love their combine ride.  Uncle Tim gave them a soybean ride this time around.

Looking at these next photos, has me hoping Chick-fil-A does another free food day soon!  This was back from their dress like a cow and eat free day they do annually in July.  Abby didn’t want the fun to end at bedtime.

This picture was from one of our walks post Halloween.  We don’t take the kids trick or treating for many reasons, but Abby was beyond thrilled about the candy littering our walks for days afterwards.  Unbelievable. haha

Couch cleaning days are the best!

First harp lesson by Mrs. Bolkema. 🙂

Abby loves outdoor adventures!  She would hike and explore through creeks all day long if she could.  Those are some of my favorite things too.  Enjoying it together is the best! ❤

We don’t always get to do cool hikes, but we do have fun with our daily walks – even if they are in town. haha  When we’re lucky, we get to see our pony friend on the park loop trail.

Being outside!  Yes, yes, and more yes!!

Just building houses with Duplos.

Cutes. ❤

Abby does a lot of drawing during her Quiet Time.  She drew some people for me to post on her blog. haha  I don’t know why, but I really love her quirky little people.  She told me she sometimes doesn’t draw hands because she doesn’t really know how to do those.  She drew, in order, a person with a hat (I think this is my favorite!), a little girl with ratty hair (I think it’s her ha! This could also be my fav…), and a lady in a dress.

I haven’t worked with Abs on writing letters, or her name, in way too long.  Tonight, she really wanted to practice it though.  She did pretty good for no effort in so long I thought!  I made a line for her and asked her to try and write on it.

When Mama tells you to pose with the pumpkins and you do some really weird leg work while you’re trying to remember what it means to cross your legs.  Oh Abs. haha  She is all that is beauty and grace.  Just kidding.  She is hands down our little clutz.  But she sure is cute as she splats left and right. ❤

Little sister, Elly, rotates through phases where she refuses all helpful efforts from Abby and then will gladly accept help from her.  Right now, she is in a will generally accept help stage.  Abs loves nothing more than being a mom figure to the little ones, so these two have a pretty good relationship going on at the moment. ❤

Elly wanted to hold Big Sister’s hand every walk for a short span of time.  That ended of course, but it was the cutest while it was happening!

It always makes me smile when I see my girls holding hands though.  It’s kind of adorable.

Abby let’s Elly have some special “big sister time” with her after the middle two are in their quiet time spots and before Elly lays down (about 10-20 min depending on the day).  Elly loves it and definitely thinks she is hot stuff getting to play little Legos or read stories with Abby!

Abby and Evie have great fun together too!  They are always coming up with funny, new games.  One of my favorite hobbies is listening in to whatever they’re playing.  No shame.

They’re hilarious in their “Laura bonnets” more than anything.  They’re sort of goofy looking, but the girls have such fun with them and think they’re the cutest.

I thought it was cute that after going to the Laura Days in Pepin, WI (on our vacation), Abby was busy threshing her flax out in the yard. haha  We had seen a demonstration of that while we were there.

Everything is more fun when we’re together!

These three. ❤ ❤ ❤

Our baby girl is sure growing up on us lately!  I hope she really does live with us forever, because I’m not sure what I’d do without her! (neither does Daddy!) ❤

 

Abby’s Mama Time Take 3

Abby, Abby, bo babby, babby – ABBY!

Abby Joy really wanted to make a snack with me today.  I gave her some choices and she picked these healthy gems.  First she spread some vanilla yogurt in a pan lined with parchment paper.

Next she dropped some strawberry pieces around on top.  I had cut those up because she told me using a knife was just too tricky for her.  Maybe when she’s 5.

We stuck the pan in the freezer and spent the rest of our time with some artwork.  First, we used the coveted markers to do a little drawing.  I was feelin’ a fall theme with all the leaf changing going on.  Abby was still on a creek kick from our vacation, so she went that route.

Next was Abby’s favorite part!  Getting to cut and glue!  We decided to make pictures using little square shapes of paper glued all over.  Abby drew a little girl with a sunflower dress.  She has a kitten in her pocket, but just his head is peeking out.  She drew a creek all around that the girl was exploring.  Of course it was a beautiful sunny day!

Here’s my fall flavored picture.  The girls thought it was nice enough that it needed to be displayed on the fridge. haha

Here is Abby’s finished product.  The blue squares were part of her creek and the red and pink (and maybe yellow too?) were little pebbles in the creek.

The frozen treats weren’t quite ready for an afternoon snack, so we tested them after supper.  I broke the sheet up into “yogurt bark” and served it up.  Everyone (including Daddy!) pronounced it a success!  Abby was especially excited about her treat and was anxiously wondering when we would make it again!  Love you, Big Sis! ❤

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Abby’s Mama Time Take 2

Abby Joy was anticipating her Mama Time every day since Evie had her 2nd turn. haha  FINALLY, it was her turn again and she was ready!!

We started our time by making an afternoon snack for her and Evie.  Abby got to use some leftover frosting in the fridge to frost some graham crackers (Graham crackers aren’t too amazing, but add some frosting on them and don’t underestimate!).  Then she used a random selection of sprinkles and mini chocolate chips to decorate the tops!

It was amazing how often she managed to “accidentally” get frosting on her fingers….  When she got to the point of basically licking it out of the container I had to tone her down a bit. hahaha

She was pretty proud of the finished product!  Both of the girls gave them a big thumbs up when they got to scarf them down later for snack. ha

Ever since Abby heard about Evie getting to have play-dough fun, she had it on her must do list, so we spent most of the rest of her time with that.  We made some silly people.  Mine is actually borderline creepy.  Abby’s has a hat on and she purposely made one eye bigger than the other for a goofy look. haha!  I love it!

We ran out of time to finish these together, but we started making scratch paper.  Abby finished hers during her Quiet Time the following day.  This is one of mine before coating it with black paint.

I had a wonderful time with my favorite 4 year old. ❤  Love you, Bigs! ❤

Abby’s First Mama Time!

Abigail Joy got her much anticipated first “Mama Time” today!  She was on such an emotional high over it that when I took longer than she anticipated to call her out of her room, she broke down in tears thinking it wasn’t going to happen after all.  After consoling her, the fun began.  (Thankfully, Evie decided to make this a nap day.)

To start our time, I was gifted with a beaded necklace Abby had made for me.  Drop dead gorgeous, guys.

Abs had wanted to help me prepare afternoon snack, so I gave her a few options to choose from.  She was quick to pick the popsicles!  Wise choice for an extremely hot and humid day like today.  I think this was the hottest day this summer actually!  First, Abby washed some strawberries and attempted to cut them up with “a sharp knife!”  It was a little tricky for her, so she wanted me to finish.  She told me, “I’m still a yittle too yittle to do this part, so you better do it!”

While I finished the strawberries, Abby peeled and mushed up a couple bananas.

I think her favorite part of the process was spooning the mushed and cut up fruit into the popsicle molds.  She took it very seriously and was trying to make sure they were all nice and even.  I thought it was sweet how she kept chatting about how excited Evie was going to be when she woke up. ❤

I poured a tiny bit of 100% fruit juice (I think it was Strawberry Kiwi) into each section, Abs poked the handles in, and we popped them in the freezer for later!

After snack prep, it was craft time!  Abby was excited to do some q-tip paintings.  The idea is to use dots to make a picture but, as you can see, Abigail got a bit excited about just painting with them and her art went wild from there! haha  She was really excited about making a painting with a lot of blue (Evie’s favorite color) for Evelyn, but I’m not sure if she ever did end up giving it to her or not.

My non artsy self attempted to make a sunrise (or sunset, whatever really….) picture with mountains and Bear Lake where Caleb and I spent part of our honeymoon.  Oh ya.  Four kids later and the romance is still not dead over this way, people. ❤

I had a great time with my oldest daughter. ❤  Love spending time with her!!

Oh, also, in case you were wondering….. the popsicles were a decided hit all ’round!  Even Daddy had one when he got home from work and gave it a thumbs up! 🙂

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Abigail’s 4 1/2 Year Old Update

Abigail Joy is 4 1/2!  She wears 4 and 5T shirts and mostly 4T pants (very few of which actually stay up on her poor hiney).  Her favorite colors are pink, purple, blue, and “golden” (aka yellow).  She likes those because they are princess colors of course.

Our little miss is extremely thoughtful and careful.  She is ever observant and loves to learn.  She wants to know everything about everything!!  “What kind of tree is this?”  “After spring comes summer and after summer comes fall and after fall comes winter, right?!”  “Why do the leaves on our branches crinkle up and fall off?”  “How do people make clothes?”  “Why is it getting dark outside?”

Quotes from our big girl (the first few are imitated from me):

“It is what it is!”

“You get what you get and you don’t get uh-set!” – upset

“But it’s her choice.  It’s not my choice.  It’s her choice.  She can do whatever she wants to.  Either way.  Doesn’t matter.”

Your choice!  It’s your choice if you want to eat your food or leave it.  It’s not Mama’s choice” (She’s not trying to be disrespectful, but will use this if she knows it’s something I’m leaving up to them haha).

“Evie can do the top part of the buckle herself now, Mama!  Just so you are aware.”

“Look, Mama!  I have a twirl-twirl on!”

“Yittle” – Little

“That kind is gooder than the other ones.”

Caleb was going to make us eggs and Abby exclaimed, “Our daughters really like them, don’t they Daddy??!”

Hymns at church, “He will hold me past!” (fast) “All underground is sinking sand!” (other ground)  “I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but Holy God is Jesus’ name!” (but wholly lean on Jesus’ name)

Abigail has always been my personal quoter.  If I say it (EVER), she is sure to repeat it later.  She almost always will use phrases with perfect context, although humorous.  I have often calmed Abby down over a broken toy (usually done by Evie or friends) by reminding her, “Toys aren’t the most important thing.  You can’t take toys with you when you die.”  We’ve been looking for a house for quite a long time now.  We really have outgrown our rental and it would be nice to have a final place of our own.  However, I know I am prone to desiring this too much, and in many ways it has been good for me not to have it.  One day, I was out for a walk with the kids and I was talking excitedly about going to look at a house later.  Abs gave a quick shrug and didn’t miss a beat, “It’s fine if we do buy it and it’s fine if we don’t.  You can’t take it to heaven with you!”  I had to nod and smile.  I need to listen more when I speak…

I asked her if she’d like a chicken sandwich with cheese or without.  She goes, “I want my chicken on the side with cheese, so I can dip my bread in the apple dip.”  *pause*  “That’s what I would prefer.”  I think she added the last little part to sound more polite.  Plus it was hilarious as her first time using the word “prefer.” ha  Also…. who dips their bread in apple dip?!  Ew.

Baby Boy is physically quite slow, to put it nicely.  He is finally starting to figure out crawling, but is far from being able to get down the stairs independently/safely.  Every time we head out for anything, I have to cart him down the two short flights of steps.  I was in the process of lugging him and other necessary items down the stairs the other day and Abby cheerfully piped, “You get what you get!  We got a baby that can walk and a baby that can’t, but it doesn’t matter.  You get what you get!”  I couldn’t help laughing.

All of our kids enjoy books at times, but our Abby Joy has been an avid book lover forever.  This is such a typical scene to walk into when she’s back in her bedroom.  Books are the best!

Abs started really figuring out reading a few months back, but has been more and more excited about it as time goes on.  We’re borrowing a McGuffy reader from my mom and she is obsessed with it.  She is always begging us to help her read another story.  She has learned so many words with it and will proudly offer to read any story she knows to any visitors.  She will scour the pages in her other books and excitedly call out when she sees a word she knows.  It’s the cutest. 🙂 There is such excitement with learning to read!

Our tot learned to ride her “big girl bike” (no training wheels, and pedals!) at 3 1/2 years.  Since then, she has been working on outgrowing that bike.  When we were at my parents a few weeks ago, she figured out she could ride one of the girls’ old bikes and this was the smug expression that produced.  She has been unstoppable ever since! ha!

Biggin’ still has her love of bug collecting/observing.  She will spend tons of time with her bucket and her bugs, studying them and trying to provide good environments for them.   While it is definitely cute to watch her enjoy this hobby, I like to think it springs from her lack of an actual fun pet. haha  I still can’t wait until we can get a puppy! 😀  I also decided a while back that a sugar glider would be the perfect pet for our Abby.  Everything about them sounds like it would be her perfect fit.  So, if anyone wants to give us a friendly one for free….. we’re available.

Aside from bugs, Abigail and Evelyn both enjoy gathering”treasures” for their buckets.  Abs is always so excited when she finds a flower she can pick (our landladies spray our yard, so there aren’t usually too many available).  She is such a careful little body and flower picking has always fit her personality so perfectly.  She would be more than happy to spend a long afternoon in a field of wildflowers!

Feeling drop dead gorgeous in the grass jewelry her auntie Liz made for her.

I finally gave Abby her first haircut a few months back.  It was a long time coming, but I just couldn’t bear to cut it since it would curl so beautifully in the summer.  Her hair was just so uneven though and really needed it.

Abigail grew her bangs out quite a while ago.  A few months ago, she was thinking about wanting them back.  Then, I got bangs.  That was a little startling to the children and when I asked her, “Do you want to get bangs too, like I did?” she looked at me and then said, “Uh…. no thanks.  I don’t want bangs anymore.” hahahahah

After the initial shock wore off, she decided she did actually want bangs back, so being the professional hair cutter I am (FALSE!  Just cheap… haha!!) I gave her back some bangs.  The good news is, I’ve heard she looks much younger with them.  The first two are what I typically get when I ask Abs to smile cute for a picture…. *sigh* haha

I have to say, she was looking WAY too grown up with no bangs.

This girl has such a creative mind.  It’s so much fun to see what she will come up with next.  That is one thing about her that reminds me of myself as a child.  She makes all sorts of creations with her pipe cleaners and beads at Quiet Time.  That is often her favorite time to make stuff.  She has made horse halters/leashes, jewelry for her babies, jewelry for her sisters/me/herself, headbands (as pictured), and probably other things I can’t remember.

For a while, Abs was on a kick using her clothespins and notebook papers to make hats and other accessories for her dolls.  It was pretty sadly adorable because they were so hideous and impractical.  Awww. haha!  I love her so much.  Speaking of hats, she also had a hat business going for quite a while.

She was getting orders left and right from the relatives and could hardly keep up! haha!  Here she is showing off her Christmas model.

Legos are another perfect outlet for our creative little daughter.  She is always building interesting, unique creations.  One of my favorites was her Lego candy store she made.  She was wishing she was a Lego so she could pay her store a visit!  I kind of was too!

Drawing phases happen off and on around here.  We’re currently in a bit of a lull with it, but this snowman she drew this past winter is still one of my favorites.  It’s just too cute, although the eyes are pretty frightening.  Funny comment, but Caleb totally still makes all his drawing characters/animals with creepy eyes like that!!  Why?!

Abby is ever our constant chatterbox.  The girl never runs out of things to say.  You’d think she would, considering I am with her every waking second, every day, but nope!  If she’s slow on material, she just rewords things and says it again on the off chance I didn’t quite catch it the first (or second, or third, or fourth…) time around.  Gotta love it.

As our shy, super quiet girl in public, people always quizzically believe the previous paragraph.  She can’t even answer my question, “How old are you?” and you’re telling me she talks nonstop at home?  Yes, yes she really truly does!  I have videos to prove it!  Abby is very shy.  She continues to thrive on knowing (and talking out) everything possible before we do it.  She really likes to know what is coming so she can mentally prep herself beforehand.  The more familiar she is with people, the faster she is to loosen up around them.

Abigail can easily get emotional when she is stressed out.  She has known how to buckle herself for a while, but oh my goodness!  If she has a dress on or a bulkier jacket and she can’t get it, BWAAAAAH!!  The tears start rolling fast and furious as she goes into panic mode.  A missing piece from one of her Lego sets?  NOT okay!  If a visiting friend takes a toy from her or *gasp* breaks one of our toys that she is always so careful with, tears and sobs will occur.  Not optional.  “Will you throw it away?!”  Lately, she has been better about quickly tuning into the positives, “*Sniff!* Toys don’t matter anyways. *sob*”  Oh my little Abbins.

This can be kind of annoyingly funny when it follows a loss of privilege/toy consequence.  “Well, at least I can still have this one!  And that’s pretty good!  I don’t really mind too much!”

Someone was incredibly proud of the gingerbread house she helped make last winter.  My older brother made the mistake of teasing he was going to eat it and she about died.  I told her we would have to eat it at some point, but we could take a picture first to remember it.  That was key.

Winter in general was a pretty fun time.  Abby enjoyed being out in the snow more than the other tots.  Evie was okay with it sometimes, but was still at that “I can barely walk in all this stuff you bundled me in out in this slippery white crud and I keep slipping and getting stuck!” stage.

Abs really enjoyed building her snowman.  This was a much anticipated activity!

I got a kick out of this next picture…..  Her snowman had started melting and its eyes, nose, and arms fell off.  Abby fixed them herself.  It’s a little tricky with those big, chunky gloves on. haha!!

While Abby and Evie play together much more now, there’s something Abs loves about her independent play during Quiet Time.  It’s always good for her to take some time to quiet down and have a little space.  She usually comes out very refreshed and cheerful again.  She will often cycle between books, Legos, little rubber dollies, her baby dolls, and some kind of beads/buttons/paper crafting.  Her “Baby Rose” (gifted to her when Evie was born) is always her special favorite.  She made Baby Rose’s headband. 🙂

Daddy keeps his gamer girl gaming!  Playing a little Long Shot.  She always enjoys a game night with her Dad. ❤

My girl still likes a good puzzle too!  Here she is working on her 100 piece candy puzzle.  It’s a tricky one!

The girls enjoy playing “picnic” together.  It’s pretty cute when all three are playing together without fighting (rare).

These two can be such nutheads!

What is more fun that playing in the rain with umbrellas?!  These two have been dreaming of this for a long time and finally got their warm summer rain without lightning.  Hurray!

When Abby is in a pleasant mood, she can be the sweetest big sis!  I love listening to and watching her interact with her little sisters.

She was so thrilled when she realized she could pick Elly up and carry her around.  Elly went with it for a while and then decided she was way too big for that foolishness.

Abbins can be such a gentle helper with the other kids.

This is her, “Awww, look at little Toby (cousin) wanting to help me.  Isn’t that cute?” face.

These close ups are kinda funny, but this girl’s eyes!!  So big and beautiful! ❤

Free cone day at Dairy Queen!  Need I say more??

We always have lots of fun at the park!  While there is a park with swings we can walk to, it’s a little further away than our most frequented park.  Abby wishes we could go there more often though as she is really wanting to learn how to pump.  I know she’d get it if we ever spent consistent time near swings, but oh well.  It is what it is! 🙂

Swimming pool days are her fav.

These make me laugh so much and love my little girl to pieces. haha  She can be so awkward sometimes.  This is what I got when I asked her to smile cute for the camera and she was actually trying.  Awwww! haha!!

This is normally what I get when I ask for a cute picture…..  Intentional goofball followed by her laughing at herself.

Apples and Abby.  An apple a day!

Abby is inquisitive CONTINUALLY.  I hope you gathered all the emphasis I tried to place on “continually.”  I not only underlined it, but capitalized it, made it bold, and italicized it.  haha!  Seriously though…..  this girl loves to learn and loves to ask questions.  She genuinely wants to know about everything.  As an example, she already knows more driving rules than I did going into drivers ed.  I mean, it’s not even a contest.  She’ll talk them all through too as I’m driving around running errands.  “Why’d you have to stop on a green light, Mama?  Oh, it’s because it was red and then it turned green and so cars were already stopped in front of you.”  “Why can you go even when the light is red?  Oh, that’s because you were turning right.  So you have to stop and check and then you can go, right, Mama??”  If there’s ever something new that pops up, she is quick to ask for an explanation of what is going on.  The latest was, “Why did you turn left even on a red light?”  In case that confuses you, I was already committed.  Committing to the intersection is basically my bff in driving.  I’m not missing that light!

Bigs has two moods.  Super helpful, kind, obliging, sweet with the others, and teasing, lying, looking for trouble at every turn, sassy (this has just started happening.  I’ll tell her something to do and will be met with a snarky, “No!” or “I don’t want to!” if she thinks it was somehow optional), disobedient, and doing things halfheartedly.  We all like the first mood better.  When she’s in her super chipper mood, Caleb and I get a kick out of asking her to do things because she will respond with a super obedient, “Yes, Mommy!  Yes, Daddy!” as she races off eagerly to get it done.  It’s really not funny as it’s the epitome of self righteousness at work, but at the same time it kind of is.

I don’t know if you’ve ever read Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss, but Daddy has been getting that quoted to him quite a bit lately (probably as a result of us quoting it to her haha).  “Daddy!  Why didn’t you put cashews on top of your Chinese??”  “Well…. I don’t think it’s my favorite really….”  “Put some on, Daddy!  Try them, try them and you may!  Try them and you may, I say!”  I get such a kick out of this.  He actually feels slightly guilty when she does this and has even tried a few new things. hahaha

The blank stare….  (aka, too many pics, Mama)

There were three in the tub! 🙂 🙂 🙂

My little goose.

This kid has always been the best sleeper.  She’s out like a light at bedtime and sleeps through till morning every time, unless she’s sick.  So grateful for this.  When she gets really sick, (usually with an ear infection – poor kid has had at least 30 in her lifetime) she will sometimes pass out on the couch.  Or, an even more rare occurrence, in my arms.  Although sick kids are tough, I kind of treasured that moment because there are so few chances I get to hold and rock my 4 year old “baby.”

The kids all had the actual barf flu for the first time this past winter.  It definitely made me thankful it had waited this long to strike!

I can’t even remember the last time Abs got to sit her hiney in a stroller, but trust me…. it has been a LONG time.  The kids all had the flu for days and we HAD to get out of the house, so we made it happen.  Daddy with a carrier and Abby in the umbrella stroller, me with the double stroller holding Bud and Evelyn.  It was a sight, but then again, we always are. haha!

Legos were our go-to when everyone started having enough energy to play for a few minutes at a time.

Abigail is a lover of fun, new adventures!  Especially with those she knows and loves well.  There is nothing she likes more than something new with her family all there to enjoy it with her. ❤  We took the girls paddle boating for the first time a couple weekends ago and her and I were in our element!  Water, outdoors, family, ahhhhhhhhh.

Posing in a cave we found while exploring Wildcat Den State Park!

Being outside is Abby’s favorite.

Getting the farm work done!

Although our girl learned how to ride her bike at a super young age, she isn’t exactly an all around athlete by nature.  This is one of her “tricks” that she thinks requires incredible talent.  It is exactly what it appears.  She puts her hands on the ground and lifts one leg in the air.  Watch out.  Future Olympic gymnast in the making, folks!

Usually, the rule at meal times is “Eat it or leave it.”  I got really sick of fighting with the kids to take “this” many bites before they were done.  Here’s the truth with my kids.  Some days they are growing like weeds and lick their plates clean, asking for seconds every meal!  Other days, they just don’t want or need it.  They eat a few bites and you wonder what they’re running on all day.  Once in a while, I’ll have a “You Choose” day.  This basically means, they get a choice. haha  Sometimes this will mean if we’re having spaghetti they can choose if they want sauce or no sauce, and cheese or no cheese.  Other times I’ll give them an entire meal choice.  Alfredo or pb & j?  “You Choose” days are Abby’s favorites. haha

I love what a helper this girl can be.  She is always excited to learn a new task or “help” me with any and everything I’m doing.  Her company makes life sweeter. ❤

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This picture sadly turned out blurry, because the girls were all moving almost nonstop (unlike it appears).  But I have to share it anyway because it’s still one of my favorites! ❤  I love these people so much!

I love all these girls of ours!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

I’m a sentimental mom soooo, here is a side by side of Abby just about 3 years ago and now (in the same hat of course).  Can you tell it’s the same girl?  She hasn’t grown up that much, has she?  It’s okay to say no!!

Oh, this girl!  My beautiful, sweet, sneaky, LOUD, talkative, quiet, creative, helpful, troublesome, bookworm, bug collecting, observant, smart, careful, adventurous, tree climbing, water loving, bike riding, thoughtful, oldest, big girl Abigail Joy.  How I love you, Sweets!  Even when you drive me crazy.  We are so thankful for what a blessing you are in our lives. ❤

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