Democratic Convention

Wow! This is a hard post to write now! But I am going back through all my old pictures and trying to make sure I blog about all the big events of our last year so I don’t forget anything and this certainly was a big event for us.

This summer Ben and his boss were invited to attend the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia (Ben’s boss was a delegate for California). Since Ben had a hotel room and Philly is a fairly short drive from DC, we decided to make a family trip out of it!

Ben was working most of the time but the kids and I entertained ourselves at the hotel’s indoor pool, walking around downtown and visiting some fun Philly spots. We got a babysitter a couple of nights so I could also go down to the convention floor and so we could go to some of the great parties and concerts.

It was a really fun trip. If only the final outcome had been better…

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My night at the convention. I got to use a delegate pass to get right on the floor and heard Obama and Biden speak.

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We all were very fortunate to attend a Women’s Leadership event hosted by Nancy Pelosi, one my personal heroes. Definitely the highlight of the event for Campbell was getting to hear Idina Menzel sing “Let it Go!” There were almost no kids at the event so they were even invited up onto the stage!! It was amazing to hear Idina Menzel–her voice was even more beautiful in person. I was also pretty excited to see Tony Goldwyn ūüėČ

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The kids and I love the Please Touch Museum!

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We had a fun time just hanging around the hotel too. We went to the pool every day. One day as we were riding the elevator down in our bathing suits, a man asked me where the pool was. I turned around to answer him and saw that it was Danny Glover! So cool. The kids also enjoyed going to the hotel bar and enjoying Shirley Temples. We even treated them to room service one night. They were so spoiled and have been talking about Philadelphia ever since.

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Williamsburg 2016

Last summer we had our annual Miller family vacation in Williamsburg. We go on a summer trip every year with Ben’s parents and sister, normally to the beach. This year we decided to mix it up and went to Williamsburg.

We stayed at the Kingsmill Resort which was fantastic. They had a multiple pools, one with a water slide, sand, and a lazy river. Sam went down the water slide approximately 1,000 times. Our room had a beautiful view of the river. There were lots of restaurants and cool places to explore, including a marina and walking paths.

We spent two days at Colonial Williamsburg, which I would highly recommend! There was so much for the kids to see and learn (and the adults too). Our favorites were the brick making station (you get to stomp in the mud), Cristiana Campbell’s Tavern (one of GW’s favorite restaurants!), and a palace tour (especially the palace kitchen).

We were there over the 4th which was pretty special. Unfortunately it was unseasonably cold while we were there–I actually wished I had a sweatshirt! But overall the trip was a huge success and we’re all looking forward to going again this summer.

 

Kingsmill Resort:

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Colonial Williamsburg:

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Sam at 7

I cannot believe I have been a mom to this sweet boy for SEVEN years! Sam just turned 7 in early October and it has been a little hard to wrap my head around the fact that we now have a 7 year old. He has really grown up this past year and we are so proud of him. He makes us laugh, drives us crazy, and fills our hearts every single day.

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Weight: 54lbs (63rd%)

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Height: 51″ (91st%)

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Favorite Foods: apples (every day for snack), pretzels (still called prenzels), macaroni and cheese, “tea sandwiches” (egg salad), smoothies, fruit of any kind, “special drinks” (kids’ cocktails by Ben).

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Sleeping patterns: 8-7:30. Still a good sleeper!

 

Favorite activities: video games (team fortress, boom beach, clash of clans), jumping on the trampoline, legos, playdates with Max, riding his bike, creating elaborate games and challenges to play with dinosaurs and army men, playing and noisemaking on the piano, reading (will truly read ANYTHING in front of him), pretending to be Custard the dog. He is fiercely competitive but hasn’t learned to channel that in a productive way yet!

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Relationship with Campbell: They get along great! Of course they still fight but they are really good friends and have a lot of fun playing together. It is so nice!

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Behavior: Great! 6 and 7 have been great years. Sam is kind and obedient most of the time and is pretty quick to apologize when he gets in trouble. Embarrassment seems to be his least favorite emotion and is often the cause of bad behavior (e.g. embarrassed by something Campbell says so he yells or hits her). He also is SUCH a homebody and we really have to work to get him out of the house on weekends. However he usually is happy once we are out on an activity.

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School: He has been doing great in school. He is an excellent reader and has good comprehension. He also seems to be great at math. His handwriting has come a long way but fine motor skills are still a struggle. We hear that he is a good listener and helper, and never has behavior problems at school (phew!).

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Happy belated birthday to our big first grader! We love you!

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Ten Years!

This spring, Ben and I celebrated our TEN YEAR anniversary! I was just looking at our five year anniversary blog post and reminiscing about our first¬†five years.¬†At the end of that post I wondered what the next five years would bring ¬†(highlights: having a second child/first daughter, buying a new house/selling our old house, leaving the baby stage and entering the preschool/elementary school years).¬†It has been a fantastic ten years. I truly can’t imagine spending my life with anyone else.

To celebrate we took a weekend trip to Charlottesville in January and stayed at a wonderful resort! We lucked out and the weather was unseasonably warm on Saturday and then there was a light snow shower on Sunday–the best of both worlds! It was such a fun and relaxing weekend. Thank you, Grandma Judi, for watching the kids while we were away!

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Beautiful grounds–great for long walks on a pretty day!

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Beautiful view from the hotel restaurant, which was delicious!

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That big building in the background is the hotel! 

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It was almost warm enough to go swimming on Saturday. But not on Sunday!!

We were in California visiting Ben’s family on our actual anniversary so we decided to go ahead and have another celebratory trip! Ben’s parents booked us a hotel in Palm Springs and watched the kids overnight. It was so fun and HOT! Just what we were looking for since winter in VA lasted all the way until June!

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Ben surprised me by having flowers delivered!

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Awesome pool views

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Dinner at Chi Chi for our anniversary. There was a wedding at the hotel where the restaurant was, which was very fun!

Gymnastics

Campbell started gymnastics this year. At first she loved it, but somewhere a long the way she started saying she hated it! So a few different times I told her we could drop out at the end of the session but then when it was time to sign up for a new session she would decide she liked it again! Arggg! Next year I think we will go back to ballet/dance classes. But I am glad she got to do it for a year and maybe she will want to do it again at some point in the future.

First day of gymnastics–full of enthusiasm!

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Campbell and Violet–gymnastics partners in crime!

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Campbell at 4

I can’t believe our baby is already 4! She is still such a sweet and silly girl and this has been a really fun age!

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Height: 42.5″ (93%)

Weight: 38 lbs (72%)

Vision: 20/20L 20/20R

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Food: Campbell is a sweets lover. She would have dessert after every meal (or for every meal) if we let her. But she is also pretty into vegetables. She likes cucumbers and will often want that over a piece of fruit. But her very favorite vegetable is asparagus. She gets giddy when she sees a stack at the store. We roast them with olive oil, salt, and pepper and Campbell could easily eat a whole tray full.

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Reading and Writing: Campbell loves books and being read to. She knows all of her letters and letter sounds (not all of the vowels) and she has Concept of Word (she can point along accurately to text she has memorized). I have a feeling she will be reading in the next year!

Campbell loves making cards and writing stories. She can usually correctly write the first and last letters of words, but most of the time she prefers to draw squiggles or nonsense letters when she is writing. She can write her whole name–which is a long one!

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Health: Campbell is generally healthy but we have really noticed this year that she basically gets a fever every time she gets sick. She and Sam will get the same mild cold and Sam will stay fever free but she gets a fever without fail. I guess it’s¬†good because it helps her fight off the bug and it is normally over in 24 hours or less. (The pic below is from one of the few times she got actually sick)

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Sleep: Campbell is a morning person. She isn’t allowed to get out of bed until we come downstairs in the morning (or until Sam wakes her up on the weekends) but she always pops right out of bed, full of energy. She goes to bed every night at about 7:30 and is usually asleep very quickly. She doesn’t nap at all anymore, unless she is sick.

Pets: Sam and Campbell call their stuffed animals and dolls their “pets” and boy does Campbell love her pets. Who gets to sleep on her bed changes from night to night but she always has quite a posse with her. For Christmas this year, we gave her my old Samantha doll which she was so excited about. Any stuffed animal or doll is always a great gift in her mind!

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Wardrobe: Campbell really likes to get herself dressed these days and often insists on picking out her own clothes. She makes some interesting choices so I have had to learn to be a little less uptight about that! And I have definitely had to hide certain items of clothing that weren’t weather appropriate or the right size because she can be very insistent! One of the saddest parts of her getting older is that she can’t wear bubbles anymore. We got one last bubble in last summer!

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Silly: Campbell is always making us laugh. It seems like she is almost constantly trying to get a laugh out of Sam and can get crazy silly! One of her go to moves is sticking her butt out and talking in a silly voice. It sure is fun to have her around!

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Ned: This really deserves it’s own post but I can’t talk about Campbell’s 4th year of life without mentioning her buddy Ned. Ned was our neighbor at our old house and I don’t think any of us realized how close the two were until we moved away and they couldn’t see each other every day. Ned’s mom, Catherine, and I have done our best to get these two love birds together as much as we can.IMG_20160310_112054009_HDR

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Sibling dynamics: As I mentioned in Sam’s post, the two of them have been getting along really well. Campbell clearly adores Sam and gets so excited to greet him at the bus stop each day. They mostly play together nicely although Campbell relies a little too heavily on loud exaggerated sobs to help her get her way! They are really funny together because Sam is so serious and she is so silly. A lot of the time I can just see him thinking “who is this crazy girl” but ¬†that just makes her act that much crazier. It is also clear that they love each other very much.

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Camera shy?: Campbell goes back and forth between loving to pose for photos and straight out refusing to be photographed. I have a million photos of her making this angry face but then I also have a ton of her hamming it up! And she has a hard time turning down a selfie!

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Snuggler: She is still very affectionate and loves to snuggle and give us kisses! Such a fun personality trait!

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Helper: Campbell is very into helping right now and especially loves to help me cook. But she gives up pretty easily on “boring” tasks and getting her to clean up a mess she made is like pulling teeth!

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Campbell, you are our sweet little bean! We love you so much! I am so glad I get to be your mommy! Here are a few more pics I had to include:

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Campbell’s 4th birthday party

This year Campbell had a Princesses and Knights themed birthday party. She originally wanted a Princess theme but added the “knights” aspect on Sam’s recommendation to make it more gender neutral! Ha ha. We hired Elsa to come to the party which was a huge hit! She was an amazing Elsa and was so sweet and patient. She read books and talked about life in Arendelle with all of the girls while the boys hid behind a couch shooting invisible lasers at her. I didn’t get a lot of photos but we had a great time! The party was in the evening so we had a nice dinner spread: caprese pasta salad, tea sandwiches, potato chips, veggies, and dip. And of course cupcakes. The mom of one¬†of my students is an amazing baker and made cookies for party favors (she has made them for the kids’ last couple parties). Overall I would say the party was a success!

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Sam at SIX (and a half!)

I didn’t quite get this written on time but I am just going to go ahead and talk about what Sam is up to at age 6.5!

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The end of 5 and the start of 6 were a little rough. It was disappointing because I felt like Sam had gotten to be easier and calmer at age 5 so I had high hopes that 6 would be even better. However I think the fact that his schedule and daily routine changed so dramatically ¬†with the start of Kindergarten, took it’s toll on his mood. But six and a half has been great! He’s less moody and really fun to talk to. I feel like we can have little inside jokes and actual conversations. So much fun!

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Weight and Height: I cannot seem to find the form that the doctor filled out at Sam’s 6 year appointment but I remember that he was 52″ tall and 52lbs, which is very tall and about average for weight.

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Behavior: As I mentioned, 6 started out rough but 6.5 has been great. Most of the times he gets in trouble it is because he is overly excited and needs to calm down. He has been hitting SO much less and when he does hit Campbell it is usually on accident, due to him being a little too wild or rough. His behavior at school is seemingly perfect. He saves the good stuff for us!

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School: Sam loves Kindergarten. It has been really fun, and a little bittersweet, to see him grow into an elementary school kid. He comes home with some of the same rhymes and jokes that I remember from when I was in school! Academically he seems to be performing very well. He is reading at around a 3rd grade level and seems to have a very strong understanding of math concepts. His fine motor skills have always been weak but they have REALLY improved this year. When he actually takes his time, his writing is totally legible. He loves Writers Workshop. For the first half of the year he would consistently say it was the best part of his day. Now he always says recess!

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Sleep: We put both kids to bed at 7:30 and they usually fall asleep pretty quickly although we have nights when Sam comes out of his room over and over again to tell us some random fact, ask for water, go to the bathroom, etc. In the last month or so he started waking up earlier than usual–between 6:46 and 7:15. He has a watch so we made a new rule that he couldn’t come out of his room until 7:30 and that has been working well.

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Food: Sam is still a pretty good eater but he has gotten a little “pickier” in his old age. He has developed some of the typical kid aversions to green vegetables although he likes salad, tomatoes, and peas. He has long had a dislike of cheese (particularly¬†uncooked) but has been getting better and better about it. He even ate a cheese stick at lunch the other day! He has a smoothie every morning for breakfast. His favorite lunch is an egg salad sandwich, and his favorite dinner is macaroni and cheese (Grandma Katie’s recipe). He also loves Mexican food, which of course makes his parents very proud.

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Sibling Relationships: This is one of the best things about Sam at 6.5–he and Campbell have never gotten a long better. Interestingly, around his 6th birthday their relationship was at an all time low. They fought all the time or Sam just ignored her. I honestly felt heartbroken and incredibly frustrated. Then, right at about the 6.5 mark, a flip switched.¬†Nowadays they can’t wait to play together after school. When Sam has friends over he always includes Campbell. They are soooo silly together. It really warms my heart.

 

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Tech: We have found it best to limit shows and video games with Sam. For awhile Sam wasn’t allowed any shows during the week at all but now that he is 6 he is allowed to watch one show every week day (on the weekends we usually let them watch a few). He is only allowed to play video games on the weekend and he doesn’t do it every weekend. (Campbell just gets the same rules because it is easier–she doesn’t get as wrapped up with shows and games but still seems like a good idea to limit.)

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Sports: This year Sam has played two seasons of soccer and one season of t-ball. He does so much better with sports now than when he was younger. He really likes to play and tries his best! Big improvement over whining on the sidelines that he wants to go home (aka sports for years 2-5)

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Chores: Sam now gets an allowance of $1 per week and in return he has to feed Henry weekday mornings, make his bed every weekday morning, clear his plate after every meal, and clean up his toys when asked. He generally does pretty well although complains occasionally about feeding Henry!
IMG_20150920_073611498Sam, we love you so much! You bring so much joy to our lives and we are very proud of the boy you are growing up to be!
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Sam’s 6th Birthday Party

Sam is MR. LEGO these days so naturally, his 6th birthday party was Lego themed! It was also our first time having a drop off party! Yikes! Who knew 6 six year old boys could be so wild? Oh right. Literally everyone knows that!

But they boys had a ton of fun together and I had fun putting together all the cute Lego party decorations!

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First Day of Kindergarten and Preschool 3/4s

This was a big first day of school for us! Sam went off to his very first year of elementary school. (And now his Kindergarten year is almost done! How is that possible!?). Sam was pretty nervous for the first day (mommy was too) but he did great and was excited to go the next day. He was also a little worried about riding the bus but ended up loving that part! We are so lucky that he has such nice teachers. What a great year of Kindergarten!

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And Campbell had her first day of school just a few weeks after Sam’s! She is in the older threes/young fours class this year and loves it! She has never seemed to get nervous about school ever! She has two great teachers this year too.

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