Wednesday, April 23, 2014

She Rides!

Earlier this month I posted some pictures of some fun playdates that Kaitlynn has had with her longtime best friend, Anais. Anais's mom, Keri, shared with us during one of our visits that Anais had recently learned how to ride her bike without training wheels. Wow, such an accomplishment considering that Connor only learned recently at age 7, ha! Keri told me that they used a neat trick to get Anais ready for her bike. They started with a small bike (12") and removed the pedals, teaching Anais to ride it by pushing and gliding. Using that method, it's much easier to learn the skill of balancing which seems to be the hardest part after removing training wheels. After Anais practiced balancing on the small bike, they put the pedals back on and within days Anais was off riding on her own.

Well, that's all it took for Kaitlynn. The peer pressure was officially ON, ha! Kaitlynn began begging to learn how to ride her bike without training wheels and wanted to use Anais's little bike without pedals. Anais then made sure we knew the steps to learn how to ride her bike. Step 1: remove the pedals, step 2: push and glide, step 3: balance, step 4: ride!, and finally step 5: put the pedals back on! Kaitlynn had those steps memorized and was more than ready to learn!

We took Anais's little bike home one weekend and waited for a good weather day to start practicing. When we had a good day, Jeff removed the pedals from the 12" bike and took Kaitlynn out in the street to start practicing. They practiced for quite a while on and off throughout the day. We were quite impressed with Kaitlynn's persistance; she just kept trying and trying! By the next morning, Jeff felt like she'd be ready to try riding with the pedals back on and without training wheels.

Sure enough, Kaitlynn hopped on the bike and would you believe, in no time she was off and riding! Without training wheels! At age 4!!!!

(Can you tell we're a bit surprised and so proud??)

Look at that smile! So proud of herself, as she should be!

She just took off on that little bike and immediately had the hang of it! Jeff and I were so shocked! The no-pedal trick really seemed to be the key to help learn to balance. After some time riding on the little bike, Kaitlynn was ready to move up to her regular (16") bike.

Moving up from the 12" bike to her regular 16" bike. Sweet Daddy is such a great teacher!

Here goes nothing.

Off she goes with Daddy chasing close behind.

Success! She never once had a problem with her balance on the bigger bike.

I joked with Jeff that he really had this bike-training thing down after 4 kids. We still can't believe Kaitlynn learned how to ride without training wheels almost 3 full years before Connor. It just goes to show, when she puts her mind to something there is NO stopping her!

Another big smile for mastering the big bike.

Kaitlynn has been begging to ride her bike everyday now. Our favorite times are riding with Connor on the way to/from school. We have had many neighbors stop us and exclaim their surprise when they see Kaitlynn riding without her training wheels. She has come a long way since riding her Big Wheel at the beginning of the school year!

Riding with Connor (and one of her babies) to school.

My two bike-riders!

Love that these two will be able to bike to school together!

Look at that girl! So proud of her!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fun Family Birthday Weekend

Every year when I ask Jeff what he wants for his birthday, his answer is always the same: family time! He is such a great Dad and just never gets enough time with his kiddos, especially now that Collin and Kevin live away at college. So for Jeff's birthday weekend, we asked the older boys to come spend the weekend with us and we planned a fun family weekend in honor of Dad.

First up, Kaitlynn's weekly soccer game. We all got up early to cheer on Little Sister in her pigtails and soccer cleats. She was so excited to show off her skills to her older brothers!

Collin's girlfriend Martha took this family shot of us before the soccer game. Love this!!

Kaitlynn's peeps on the soccer sideline.

Kaitlynn decided that the soccer field was the place to practice her ballet moves.

Coach Kyle gives Kaitlynn some pointers for throwing the ball to her teammates.

Kaitlynn proudly runs to the sideline for a hug from Martha. She loved having everyone there to watch her!

Uh-oh, Kaitlynn made a great "header" move with the ball. Not on purpose!

End of the game lineup, and Kaitlynn is still trying to get over her soccer injury. Love the dramatic gesture, ha!

She gets a hug from brother Kevie to comfort her.

After the soccer game, we all loaded back up and made the drive south to the Kemah Boardwalk. We've spent Jeff's birthday weekend here in years past with such great success, and this year was more of the same. I've decided that April birthdays are the way to go -- such great weather for outdoor fun! We had a wonderful lunch on the boardwalk, enjoyed lots of fun amusement park rides, and just had a great time together as a family to celebrate Jeff's birthday on a beautiful day outdoors.

Collin and Martha during lunch.

Smiles with the birthday boy at lunch on the Boardwalk.

All smiles before deciding which ride to go on first.

Connor and Kaitlynn pose in front of the carousel.

Connor and Kevin rode this spinning ride, which would later come back to haunt Connor. Ha!

Weeee, no hands!

Jeff and Connor in line for another ride.

Kaitlynn and Jeff on the infamous airplane ride. You know, the one where Jeff's airplane never quite makes it up as high as the other ones. ;-)

Martha and Collin rode this one where they were WAY up high swinging in circles. (No thank you!)

A family selfie on the Kemah train.

Another train pic with her Sweet Daddy.

Connor had to sit out with Mom to recover after feeling queasy from one of the spinning rides, ha!

The last Kemah stop was one final train ride, this time with the entire family. The train takes you around the entire Boardwalk, through tunnels and around all of the attractions. The conductor gave us a little Kemah and Galveston history along the way, to which Connor sarcastically responded under his breath, "I am NOT here to learn!" Ha!

Waiting in line for the train. Kaitlynn LOVES her big brothers.

One last train selfie, this time all 7 of us were in there!

We had such a wonderful day of family time in Kemah! What a fun semi-tradition that all of us enjoy in celebration of Jeff's special day. On the way home, I think 4 of the 5 kids passed out from exhaustion. Definitely a sign of a successful day!

Back home, it was time for birthday cake and presents. Jeff's favorite: cookies and cream ice cream cake! Yum!! And the cake had a very special message for Jeff this year:

Kaitlynn and the birthday boy, her Sweet Daddy.

Not sure Jeff will ever lose that nickname given by his beloved little girl. Probably just the way he wants it! Happy Birthday, Sweet Daddy!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Lost Photos

I was going through my photo log the other day and found several "lost photos" that never managed to make it to the blog. If it's a picture I enjoy, I definitely try to make sure it gets posted here so that it doesn't end up lost among thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of photos on my hard drive.

The Morgan Brothers! My Aunt Tina took this photo of my Dad (far left) and his 3 brothers last Thanksgiving. MawMaw would love this!

These next few pictures were taken during Christmas break. We were busy and cold, hence the pics of sleeping and bundled up kiddos.

Precious napper!

And this one, all bundled up and passed out in front of the fireplace. Can't remember the last time he fell asleep like this!!

After Christmas, we really got into the Rainbow Loom trend. So much fun making all kinds of bracelet patterns.

Connor and his buddy Reid even set up a Rainbow Loom stand outside the house. They made one sale to a neighbor :-)

Another passed out kiddo, this time on my shoulder. I wonder how many more times I'll get to experience this with my kids?

Enjoying some iPad time with her baby.

Her new winter trend: wearing this knit cap around the house and even to bed, like Edith from Despicable Me.

Connor in his snowman PJs crossing his fingers for a Snow Day. It worked -- we got 2 of them this year!

Ice cream with a fork on an icy cold day. But of course!

Last lost photo. Had to post this. What wife wouldn't enjoy seeing this from her sweet hubby?? ;-)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fun Fridays with Momma's Girl

Kaitlynn attends preschool 4 days a week, Monday thru Thursday. That leaves most Fridays with some extra time we can share together, just us girls. I sure love hanging with my girl!

Love her!! Look at that sweet face!

Getting a manicure with Mom.

I wrote recently about Kaitlynn's choices and how we were struggling to make good ones at school. Since then, Kaitlynn has made HUGE strides in her school behavior. I think it was largely a matter of her testing the boundaries and then figuring out the rules. We are SO proud of her progress!

Reward for awesome school behavior: U-Swirl yogurt treat!

Proud of her coloring.

Kaitlynn says, "Let me take a selfie."

Maybe we've been listening to Top 40 music too much??

Our absolute favorite Friday activity is meeting up with Anais at reading class. We have had such a busy spring that we don't always get to attend the same class, but it sure is a special treat when it works out.

On this day, they both showed up to reading class in Hello Kitty outfits.

And an even bigger treat is when we are able to meet Anais before reading class for a playdate. Recently we have been enjoying the gorgeous spring weather, so some playtime and a picnic at the park was the perfect fun Friday activity before reading class!

Ms. Keri brought the girls some bubbles, so fun!

Enjoying their picnic on a gorgeous spring day.

Lots to chat about over lunch.

Their favorite activity of the morning was this big rope structure to climb.

Anais easily made it all the way to the top!

Look at how high she was! She was about to give me a heart attack!

Kaitlynn gave it a shot but didn't quite make it as high, ha!

Sweet smiles.

Two very special friends.

I'm trying to treasure these special Fun Fridays with Kaitlynn while I can. They will very soon be coming to an end!!