Friday, November 13, 2015

Two Can Toucan If You Can

We continue to be so impressed with Levin's school.  Early this fall, the kiddos created bug collections, took pictures with disposable cameras at the zoo, grew vegetables, and helped care for some chickens and rabbits.  They submitted all of their work to the county fair, and were excited to spend a morning playing there.  

When we pick up Lev from school at the end of the day, he doesn't want to come with us and he is usually covered in dirt.  Proof he is exactly where he needs to be.

The older Lev gets, the more his personality develops.  He is a passionate little guy who feels deeply and responds with gusto.   We are working to channel some of that fervor into appropriate actions, but also appreciate who he is.  The more his words tumble out in hysterical strings of thought, the more we learn about what makes Lev tick.  Like Ava, he enjoys routine.  On the way home he always requests to, " just one Curious George, have water with no ice, and eat some snack fruit."  He offers to "hold you" when he's nervous or scared or just needs some love.  We definitely have our frustrating moments (holy restaurants with a 2-year-old, Batman) but work really hard to remind each other of the everything wonderful we see in our Levy Bear.

Ava is growing, too —just look at those legs if you need proof.  This school year she is trying out musical theater and dance.  I'm so thankful we live in a town that is big enough to offer lots of opportunities for our kids to explore different interests.  She is also taking an art class on Thursday afternoons.  Ava loves school, reading late into the night, and finding moments alone with Josh and me.  I know this is something we'll have to continue to be intentional about as we add another little dumpling to the crew.  We talk a lot about how family time is together time too, while working to carve out quality time alone with Ava.

See?  We love each other.

Josh and I switch out nights putting the kiddos to bed.  (If he's reading with Lev, I'm tucking in Ava.  The next night we switch.)  But some nights, only sister will do for bedtime stories.  How are we going to manage this when we're outnumbered?  I have no idea.  Maybe Hugo will go to sleep early?  Maybe he'll be our little bedtime apprentice?  Either way, I'm determined to keep myself in the bedtime rotation.  It's so important to me to begin and end their days with love, and to stay plugged into the daily routines we've established.

The Crawfords came to visit us at the beginning of October, and we had a blast.  From simple bedtime snuggles to exploring the Orr Family Farm, the kiddos loved being together (and so did the grownups).

Fun on the hay bales with Uncle Brandon!

I never dreamed that Sarah and I would be responsible for four boys in a row.  Four!  Ready or not, Baba and Pops.  It sure helps that they're cute as pie.

Speaking of four in a row, here's a recent bump picture of little Hugo.  We are about eight weeks from his arrival!  He is looking great and healthy.  I'm crossing my fingers the early January weather cooperates.  I am not the Raines sister who has her babies at home, and I hope God and the crazy Oklahoma weather remember that!

Pumpkin carving.  You always think it's going to be chock full of fall magic.  Then pumpkin guts happen.  I love this shot because it so perfectly depicts each one of them.
Josh: deeply focused with his headband and pumpkin game face
Ava: carefully watching his every move
Lev:  still traumatized because a tiny piece of pumpkin goo touched him

My favorite dogpile ever

Fall checkups for these two healthy pumpkins.  They're perfect!

This girl.
Over the summer, while vacationing with grandparents, she tried to convince them to let her zip line across Royal Gorge in Colorado.  They couldn't reach Josh or me on the phone for permission, so she couldn't do it.  (Phew, dodged that bullet.)  But when she saw the zip line at the local pumpkin patch, you know, one that didn't go 1,200 feet above a rocky canyon and river, we were happy to oblige her dare devil side.  I really want to be Ava when I grow up.

Just a boy and his pumpkin and his beloved Tag Tag.  Melt.

This Halloween we broke away from the sibling matchy costumes.  Here's a look back at the last two years.

2013 Charlotte the Spider and Wilbur the Pig

2014 Cruella Deville and a Dalmation

 This year they each had their own costume ideas.
Levin was Curious George and Ava was Mal from the Disney Channel Original Movie, Descendants.
I love their little personalities shining through these costumes!

Even though I miss having a bitty girl to dress up in fluffy church clothes, dapper little boy church ensembles are growing on me.  No matter what fresh hell a Sunday hurry-up-get-ready-all-four-out-the-door-oops-I-forgot-the-guitar-drive-faster-no-time-for-breakfast morning brings, Lev pulls it together for all of us.

This year my Chicago work trip fell on the weekend that splits our birthdays, so we decided to make a little babymoon birthday celebration out of it.  It was chilly, and we ate great food, and explored the city together without having to cut anyone's food or push a stroller.  It was divine.  Of course, we were more than eager to get home to the kiddos, and spent a good chunk of our time in the city trying to pick out the perfect souvenir for each of them.  (A super cool race car and shirt from the Descendants and some Garrett's popcorn won out.)


Ava tried out for the Toucan part in the 3rd grade musical,  flexing some of her developing theater skills.  She got it!  We were so proud of her for putting herself out there and then absolutely killing it during the performance.

Lev was pretty star-struck by his sister and her friends.  He was excited to get a picture with our star after the show.

It's our favorite time of year!  Josh's birthday kicks off a series of Lockett family celebrations.  From November 2 to March 22, we all have birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  We look forward to soaking up every minute of the holiday season together, and welcoming another reason to cheer in early January.  Stay tuned!