Dayla’s 6th Birthday Party

I have contemplated more than once not doing the over the top, crazy, elaborate, birthday parties, but the truth is I love it. I learned when Dayla turned 5 that if I gave Dayla less say and I just surprised her with all the details, it was way more fun for both of us. It is a wonderful creative outlet for me to escape the construction paper world that I work in these days.

For Dayla’s 6th birthday she asked for a mermaid theme.

I have to say, I am pretty proud of how it turned out. Here it is:

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Trying to come up with mermaid/ocean food was a fun challenge:
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The craft was making paper plate fish for the ocean…
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Of course the best part of any party is always the friends…
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[Left to right, Top to bottom:]
Kaitlyn, Maya, Tabitha, Ella,
Ellie, Dayla, Katelynn

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Dayla said it was the best birthday party she had yet!

Happy 6th Birthday sweet Dayla!

Cooking with Sebastian

This little man takes after his daddy. He LOVES to cook. From helping me out in the kitchen when I bake to the hours he can spend in his little red pretend kitchen. Here are some pictures of when he was helping me shred zucchini and another day where he spent all morning in his red kitchen “cooking” up treats.

Helping Mom:
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“Cooking” all by himself:

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At the Park

The other day Daniel celebrated his birthday by having a poker night with the guys. That meant the kids and I got out of the house for dinner. We went to the park, ate a picnic dinner, and stopped on the way home to watch the sunset for a bit. It wasn’t anything more than ordinary, but there were clouds in the sky which made the lighting really great for pictures.

I like capturing our “normal” days too.

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Winds of Change. First Day of Kindergarten and First Salon Haircut

Over the years I have had many many times where I looked at your kids happy pictures as they went back to school, or rode amusement park rides for the first time, or got a new haircut, or met a new friend, or got a new outfit. I have seen many of your happy moments and wondered what that felt like to have a kid who smiled and loved these new things. I always wondered what it would be like to have a professional (teacher, hair stylist, etc) say to me, “Wow, (s)he did so well!”

From a very young age transition has never been easy for my girl and “new” has never been equated with excitement.

Well my friends, I tell you all of this…so you can picture the claw marks on my arm, tears, and deafening screams that happened on the first day of school last year and every year before that. So you can get a small sense of what it is like to have the kid who has always had to get peeled off of you while all the other parents stare…even when you are just going to an indoor play place for FUN. This has been the norm for us. And I can’t say I am used to the stares…I don’t know if you ever do get used to them. I have to tell you all this because if you don’t get a sense of what that is like…you will never truly appreciate why I am GLOWING right now.

This Monday Dayla turned 6. She enjoyed her birthday party like she never has before. Not one meltdown, not one moment of disappearing because she was overwhelmed by the crowd or noise. No, she just had a blast…smiling the whole time and being a happy birthday girl! (another post soon to come on that!)

Wednesday Dayla had her first day of Kindergarten. I prayed all day Tuesday. We were both nervous and scared…and it was showing.

Wednesday morning came and we got to school early. Dayla said “hi” to her last year’s teacher Mrs. Gosen, and skipped around the playground trying to find friends (instead of clinging to my leg). THEN…THEN…when her new teacher, Mrs. Pon, opened the door for the kids to come in, to my surprise, Dayla RAN. She was the 3rd kid in! She paused briefly to turn and wave a goodbye with a smile on her face. A SMILE.

When Mrs. Pon invited the parents to come in, I was scared…would this be the moment that it all turned? She sat on the carpet, and turned to a girl who she had never seen before, introduced herself, and again turned to me with a smile and a wave. THEN…get this…she ASKED ME TO LEAVE. “You can go now mom.” I had to hold back tears, but this time it was not tears of squished pride or tears of sadness… this time it is tears of joy. I am GLOWING. Miracles. Small, but very real miracles.

First Day of Kindergarten
First Day of Kindergarten

Glowing. I feel like this has been so long awaited….and I can’t tell you how sweet it is. I have gotten choked up to tears several times this week….tears of joy and pride beyond what measly words could express. She has come SO FAR. I can’t believe it. I truly never knew that we would have this day….I hoped…but never expected it. Here we are. Miracles.

Today had to be the icing on the cake. God is smiling down on me this week, I am sure of it.

Today I told Dayla that we needed to take Sebastian to his first haircut. Mama had tried and failed miserably, so time to call in the professionals.

We walked into a kids salon called “Chole’s Carousel” and had to wait a bit since we didn’t have an appointment. The place was awesome; they had games and books and toys and a slide all in the lobby, making the 45 minute wait feel like a breeze. As the minutes went by, Dayla saw one girl after another come out of the salon with braids, flowers, and sparkles.

“Do you think they would have a spot for me to cut my hair today mom?” “Are you sure?” I responded with the caution that 6 years of meltdowns gives a mom. “Well, if they have a spot, I could try it?” “Sure, let’s ask. How about you watch Sebastian get his hair cut, then if you still think you want to do it, I will ask.” “Okay, good idea.”

Sebastian got his first haircut. A total champ. Not even one sound or squirm.

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So we watched. She was confident and excited. YES EXCITED. I had never seen her like this….ever. So I asked.

And would you believe it? Sue had an opening right after Sebastian. One spot. God smiling on me? Yes, I think so.

So we went for it.

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Dayla picked out a Barbie movie to watch for distraction and then it was ON. She sat so patiently while Sue brushed out her tangles with more gentleness and care then I have ever seen (she later told me she had 3 girls..so she knew about tangles!). Then a quick cut job (3 inches to get all those dead ends off)…

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As I saw the haircut come to an end…the Sue started to do something that I had NEVER done before (EVER)…I held my breath….

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(Topped off with glitter…)

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Again, you must know that Dayla has never let me braid her hair. EVER. We have done a few ponytails and a few buns…but so rare and it never stays in for more than an hour. But she was distracted and Sue went for it. When Sue was done Dayla said,

“Well that didn’t hurt at all! I love this mom!”

*AGAIN I AM GLOWING*

Two kids both have their first haircut and NOT ONE TEAR. Sue commented how good both my kids were…”Amazingly good for their first time!” Again I hold back tears. Thank you God. I am feeling your smiles on me….THANK YOU.

And here is the finale:

Mr. Sebastian
Mr. Sebastian
Ms. Dayla
Ms. Dayla

[And for those of you wondering….Dayla kept her hair like that ALL DAY. We even went out to Souplantation for dinner to celebrate all our firsts. Then she asked if she could sleep with it in. “Of course baby, of course.”]

What a week…what a week.

Friends

Some friends come and go, but some stay for a lifetime and when you get together it feels like time hasn’t passed at all. The Higgins family will always be the latter for us, I am sure of it.

Just one snap of the girls at the beach during a short visit from Beth.
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(Left to Right: Beth, Kristy, Sarita)

10 Years of Marriage

I can’t believe it has been 10 years. I want to write about today so that 10 years from now I can remember how I am feeling today…
 

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I still remember the way I felt on our wedding day. Giddy. LUCKY. Blessed. In awe that God would have brought such a man into my life and given him to me to have and to hold for eternity.

It hasn’t always been easy; I will quickly admit to my unmarried and married friends alike that I think marriage is HARD. But today, 10 years later, when I think about our marriage, I still feel each and every one of those things I felt on our wedding day.

Except more.

Yes more. I can’t believe it myself sometimes, but it is true.

Today, 10 years in, I know more about love and forgiveness then I did on that first day. I know more about serving selflessly. I know what it is like to feel incredibly angry and incredibly scared and incredibly in love with you all at the same time. I know the pride of holding a brand new baby on my chest and knowing that baby has a little bit of each of us. I know now what it is like to go through hard things with you, and how we process them differently, but also support each other beautifully. 10 years have brought growth and a deeper level of love than I ever knew was possible. I am blessed, lucky, thankful and giddy….still.

Daniel, I love you. I am so thankful for our years and the knowledge, wisdom, joy and deeper love and appreciation of you that they have brought me. The man you were then was inspiring to me, but the man you are today is…well…the most incredible man I have ever met. You balance kindness and compassion with humor and joy. You put people and relationships above all else. You are a man faith and integrity. People on Facebook see the things that you build, but I have the joy of seeing the family that you are building with even more care, love, work, patience, and strength then you have ever put into any of your garden or your wood projects. And Daniel, that is the building that I admire and respect the most. You are building the most beautiful home and family here with me…a family that is truly better than I ever dreamed I could have. Even on the hard days, the days when I am crying, when the kids have shredded every last bit of my patience, I know how blessed I am. I cherish the fact that I know you will always put your family first in the line of priorities…and that you always make us FEEL like priorities to you. Thank you. I could never express how much I love you, respect you, admire you, and cherish you. I am so thankful that we are not perfect, so thankful that our marriage is real enough that we fight, and so thankful that at the end of it all…we love each other.

When I think of my blessings in this life, Daniel Sundin you are always the first on my list. I love you and I am so proud to be your wife. Here is to another wonderful 10 years.

Ballet

Dayla loves to dance…and she LOVES to pretend to be a ballerina (she would tell you that she IS a ballerina).

I always thought having a girl would mean ballet classes, but since our girl doesn’t ever want her hair to be up (a pre-requisite for every ballet class we have looked into) we have decided to just appreciate all the money we are saving on ballet classes and feel lucky that we are the only ones who get to see her preform.

One of my favorite thing about not having her in ballet class is that her creativity shines through when she dances. I will put on classical music and she will dance her heart out.

Recently she has started asking me what the name of the song is and then forms a whole story around the title of the composition (for example, if it is called “Winter’s Eve” she will be a snowflake falling and then melting, etc.)

On this particular day she didn’t seem to mind that I was taking pictures of her performance (not a normal day I assure you!) The song that she is dancing to here was about seasons, so Dayla told me that she was flower…through the seasons. I think it was my favorite show yet.

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