Four is big girl status, not that Hattie didn’t seem to hit that ages ago, and this year she actually got a real live party. She celebrated on birthday eve at Wendy’s gymnastics (again, because having a zillion kids in the house only four months ago for Leva’s birthday still has us in PTSD) and, literally, invited every child that she knows. This time around, we thought, why not? It’s not in our house. But hilariously the kids just kept coming – some that didn’t RSVP, some we’re not even sure we invited – 23 in all. They tore up the place and had a blast.

Warming up – that’s Hattie in the purple leotard. Excuse me, GYMNASTICS SUIT, that she wears every time she goes to her lesson

Doing some beam

Swinging from ropes

Leva enjoying the pit

Geert trying out the “vault”

Aaaand, the group shot. With a cranky Hattie plugging her ears because it was too loud. Then she didn’t want anyone to touch her. Then she didn’t want to sit in the middle. I took six pictures. This is the best one. I think that sums it up.

The next day we thought she would enjoy tubing at Mad River Mtn with Leva and Geert’s school sponsored trip. No, she did not. We got her up to the top of the hill for the first run and she was already screaming. I dumped her in a tube, turned around to get in mine (while B, L, and G held on to us), only to turn around and see her screaming and crawling out of it like a cat out of a bathtub. I dumped her back in again because we had no other way down the hill and she howled the whole way. We spent the rest of the morning at the slopes like this:

While the other kids did this:

Then we hit up Baba and Gummy’s house for another party, had a great dinner, cake, and more presents.


Hattie Roo, you’re our favoritest girl in the whole wide world. We love your spunk and your singing and your ability to love everyone and make sure they know it. You brighten a room like no one I’ve ever met and make new friends for us all of the time. We love you!

Every morning at breakfast, while I’m whipping around trying to get all of the kids fed:

From the potty, usually when we’re in the middle of doing something:

Or she just hums and sings random songs that she makes up.
Darling girl.

Found some bananas in there…


Where does the time go?? I can’t help but remember that when Leva turned this age, Geert was one, Hattie was on the way, and we all got laid out with the swine flu. Not to take away from Hattie, but her birthday was much less “exciting”. She requested palmiers for breakfast, Baba came in for an easy lunch, Leva talked her into asking to go bowling for her fun activity (which was really fun), we had her favorite chocolate chip cookie cake with ice cream for dinner, and then played until bedtime. Next year it will be time for parties and friends and sharing the celebration, so we relished this last year of having her to ourselves. Happy Birthday, Hendrika, we adore you!

Baba’s Tinkerbell book gift

So excited to bowl!!

Anyone order a tall glass of water? (seriously, when did she grow up and get to be so tall??)

At first, Hattie insisted on rolling her own balls. They blazed down the lane at a clocked 1.1 mph, barely making it to the pins and when they did, sloggishly pushing a pin or two over. She later graduated to the ramp, while continuing to insist on placing her own balls. I have a great video of her barely getting a heavy ball to the ramp, dropping it and almost losing a foot, but i sort of filmed it sideways and so can’t post it. Ugh.

I’m FWEE!!!

Put on red Christmas Disney Princess jammies, let her do the buttons
Brush teeth and go potty with siblings
Read a book, or not
Ask her to climb into bed, which she does by grabbing the comforter and pulling herself up the side
Watch her try to get under the covers, and ultimately, help her

Then the sweet angel puts her head on her pillow, cozies under her blanket, closes her eyes and ignores you. Sometimes I can get a half turned, whispered, eyes closed “I wuv you too, mom”. Sometimes nothing. No arguments, no requests for more kisses or hugs or closing closet doors or drinks of water. Nothing. And when I go back to check on her an hour or so later, she hasn’t moved. Good day, bad day, doesn’t matter. Sweet sweet punkin.

When Brad went to pick Hattie up from school today, Mrs Gilliam said “We had a fire drill today” and pointing to Hattie with a smile: “Not a fan.”

In Hattie’s words (which she, obviously completely traumatized, repeated to me at least three times at lunch): “We had a fiah dwiw today. It so woud! I cwy and cwy and cwy and Mrs Giwwiam put me on her wap and howd me.”

Miss Hendrika is now officially a preschooler! This is funny to us, because she’s been telling everyone all year that she already goes. “You come to pweschool wif me? You come to pway on my pwaygwound at my school wif me? I go to school!” But now, because of a last minute class addition, she’s actually going! At the tender age of not-quite-three, just like her big sister. Hattie’s first day was very different from Leva’s, though. She marched into the school, headed right to her classroom, said hello to Mrs. Amato on the way (the school’s director, whom she already knows), and was practically giving high-fives on the way. Once inside, she picked her nametag out on the first try (”My name Hattie! H-A-T-T-I-E!), gave Mrs Gilliam a hug, and headed over to the toys.



Then she pouted because it was *not* time to play with toys, it was time for carpet time. Mrs Gilliam scooped her up and set her on her lap and we ran.


Grandview has an Ox Roast every fall. I’m not sure when the tradition started, or when it turned from Ox to pulled beef sandwiches, but as long as we’ve lived here, there’s been an Ox Roast. I think the first year that we went was when Leva was a baby, but she couldn’t ride any rides and the “Ox” wasn’t really that tasty and we had no reason to support the schools by winning goldfish or big plastic owls that we didn’t want, so we didn’t go back. Until this year. This year, when Mr. Scranton started talking about how great it was and the kids started jumping up and down screaming “we want to go to the ox roast! we want to go to the ox roast!” without having a clue what it was. What the heck, let’s go!

We get there, and Megan Stanley, nursing a tired Luke (who we find out the next day had just been diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever – whoa) says, “Get the wrist band.” It was, in retrospect, fantastic advice, and advice we would have not appreciated until after we had spent $2 on every silly 10 second ride and run out of money had we not heeded said advice. I’m so glad we got the wrist bands. The kids started on the airplane sharks – a dumb ride that goes around in circles while kids ride around in old bombers with very convincing bullet holes in them. Then the circling bathtubs, which made Hattie make a sad face and then look down at her lap until the man stopped the ride and let her out. So far, not so exciting. But then! Then we found the bounce house and Geert and Hattie were allowed to bounce and jump and flip as long as they wanted. And Leva found the tall slide with the burlap sacks and went down 150 times. Then she found the swings and Geert found the slide and he went another 150 times. Then Geert disappeared and Brad and I had small heart attacks searching for him – telling the carnies and anyone we knew to look for him, only to find him riding non-chalantly and alone in a bathtub (which again, wasn’t even a good ride). And this whole time we were rather watching Leva and Geert go on these rides while holding a squirmy Hattie, when one of the carnies (every single one of whom was missing at least one tooth and smoking reds) said she could put hattie on the swings with a seat belt. Then it was on – Hattie rode the swings, first with a frozen, white knuckled look on her face (bless their hearts, they even kept it slow for her), then cautious attention, and then freedom as she’d gaze ahead, wind blowing through her hair. Over and over and over, until she had her fill and decided to tackle the giant slide. She’s TWO! Leva carried her sack for her and she’d slowly slowly go up the stairs, traffic jam behind her, then the nice man at the top would help her with her sack and make sure she got on without tumbling down the slide, and off she’d go! Frozen face, cautious attention, freedom. She’s two. And she went on the swings and the slide by herself. I’m so so glad we got the wrist bands.








Hattie’s teeth are already coming together – by more than 50%. And she only gave up the nookle (well, we only just forced her to give up the nookle) just over a month ago. I’m amazed. And happy. And while she is adjusting well, she will occasionally, out of the blue, ask me “you have nookle in you pocket?”. Especially if she’s really tired, or cranky, or sad. Oh Hattie.

Leva loved nookles (pacifiers). Geert is a thumb man. Hattie loves nookles. But while Leva and Hattie both had as strong an affinity for the things, Hattie has a messed up bite. I don’t know the real term for it, but her front teeth don’t meet, while her back teeth do, making it impossible for her to bite things. Especially crunchy things, like carrot sticks. Or apples. And the kid can’t take a bite of pizza. Over the last year, she’s learned to bite with her molars and doesn’t seem to complain, but after discussing with the dentist and finding that the prolongation of her “messed up bite” was likely due to the addictive nookle, we decided to ditch it. cold turkey. Yesterday, she did really well – took a good nap, slept at night, and didn’t seem to miss it too much. Tonight she’s wailing. Poor punkin. I know she’ll get used to it, but oh, poor punkin.


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