Sydney :: 6


Sydney turned six last week on Saturday.  So while Ingrid napped we went outside to take some photos.  She picked out her outfit which always makes me happy when she chooses something I made! Especially since that sweater took so long to knit. 🙂


Such a big girl now.  Crazy to think  how tiny and helpless she was just 6 years ago!  They grow and learn so fast.


Since her party was on Sunday, I couldn’t help but make her a little cake on her actual birthday so we could celebrate here as a family. Nothing crazy, just a boxed cake with pre-made icing… she helped make it of course so that is what made it special.


For her party Sunday she invited some of her neighborhood friends and her old friends from pre-school over to the house. There was 10 kids in total and I think she had fun running around and playing with her friends.


Syd is a sweet thing, a great big sister but she is still very hesitant, mopey and often lacks confidence.  She is my sensitive child and can get very mad if she (thinks) she can’t do something or you don’t pay attention to her and often limits herself and requires a lot of attention so its a dicey game she plays which always leaves me guessing as to if I should help or let her figure it out on her own and risk being scorned for not paying attention.  Oy!  Kids!


Thankfully she seems to save all these traits for us (how lucky!), as her teacher said outside of some shyness early on Syd is asking questions and participating in class and often helps other students once she has completed her assignments.  Little trickster.  Alas even though she pushes our buttons I’m glad to see when we are not around she is confident and put-together.


We’ve been going through a phase of separation anxiety for the past few months too.  Bad enough that she will wail and not let go when we leave for a date night.  It’s rather awful, I’m not sure what it stems from but it is rather cute whether little sister comes over and holds her hand to tell her it will ‘be ok’ when mommy and daddy leave.


For her birthday my little brainiac asked for a dictionary and math games. So that is exactly what she got!  She sits and reads her dictionary in the mornings while I sip coffee.  The math game we got her helps with spatial and pattern recognition and is rather fun and we all can play and be challenged.


It’s been a fun 6th year… they each keep getting better and better as we transition from baby to toddler to kid!

Syndey :: 5


Syd turned 5 waaayyy back in November when life was chaos.  I had grand plans of throwing her requested “fall princess” party, complete with a fully yellow and orange tu-tu for her and leaf crowns for her guests.


then Mama got a new job and was in NJ for a week, and the day of her birthday Mom was at an all day conference in DC…and then time just got away from everyone and stress levels were high so the party was cancelled.  Instead my dear friend Andrea invited us over for supper and she made Syd cupcakes and we sang “Happy Birthday” among our group of close friends.

#5. Hosted and attended by my #sisterwives who keep me afloat when chaos cancels a birthday party. @thehickman5 @ashleysiers

Since her party was cancelled Royce and I made it up to her by letting her chose where to go OUT for a birthday supper on Saturday night. She chose spaghetti, so we all got dressed up and went to our local Italian place down the road.  Of course a busy over stressed mom is also likely to forget to cancel the birthday cake order at the local bakery so we still had a cake to eat on Sunday but I couldn’t find candles except the numbers I’ve been saving to use for Ingrid so she turned 23 instead (2+3=5 right??).

When Mom forgets to cancel your birthday cake order and doesn't have a #5 candle on suddenly turn 23. (2+3=5 you are with me right?)

Even though there was no ‘official party’, I’m hopeful she still felt special over her weekend of celebration cause she deserves it.

Syd is a genuine little thing. No faking comes from her, if you ask her something it is likely you will get an honest to the core answer. She can be a very needy, pouty and sensitive and we are both still figuring out how to navigate her emotions.


When she is in a good mood and all is aligned though she can be sweet as sugar. She loves her swim class and is doing well at kicking and jumping in without assistance. Its nice to see how she has grown and progressed over the year. Ballet started up this past summer and she also enjoys that activity and is learning a lot. We’ve tried other team organized activities but Syd is shy and doesn’t do well in that environment yet not to mention its still a bit young to expect a kid to play soccer with any meaningfulness.  At least the ballet classes are teaching her to listen and other things about balance, movement, use of space, slow vs. fast, etc.  You really notice the value between educated teachers (her swim class and ballet teachers) vs parent led activities (soccer) at moments like this so for now we will stick with the programs that have a solid instructional base to them.

Although I'm away I have amazing friends who take my Syd to #ballet and send me photos #sisterwives @thehickman5.

Sydney enjoys her pre-K class, writing her name and coloring. Our house is covered in paper with princesses and her name. She confesses she loves ‘math’ (sorting, counting). Dressing up (e.g., making capes from old swaddle blankets) and playing with her princesses, building towers for them and overall general imaginative play is also a common activity here.

Princess swaddle blanket watches a movie.

Over time she has gotten better with independent play but she still needs assistance or attention a lot of the time. And if you don’t give it to her she pouts…ahhh the balance of parenting. Often her pouting is her way to get attention so we are working on how her words can hurt others and she should only say negative things if she *truly* means them, not to just get attention. Mind games at 5…who knew?

Why you save an entire childhood loot of crayons and colored pencils. #berolprismacolor

She can sit down and watch a movie now though so when I need to get things done that is sometimes my go-to move on the weekends in the afternoon. Her and Ingrid play together pretty well too, mostly it is Syd bossing Ingrid around but generally it is actually eaiser to have them both at home because they entertain each other.

Proof that they watch intently and catch on quickly.

This next year will be a big year for her as she starts school!  It will be interesting to see how she does with the transition!

I’d post updated stats for her now but to be honest we haven’t even scheduled her appointment…right now its a race to see if she or Charlie gets in for their annual well-visit first.  Such is life!

UPDATE:  Syd had her 5-year visit on Jan 27th (a mere 2 months late but who is counting?).  Syd was 38 lbs (32%) and 43.5 inches (62%). Since her 3-year stats update she has gained 5 lbs and grew 3.5 inches. She is a been pole…good thing she still likes dresses b/c pants have never fit her well!

Sydney :: 4


Syd is 4 and turning into more into a girl every day.  Even in her pictures she looks so grown up. All that baby-fat is gone.  She impresses me every day with her intelligence, inquisitiveness and kindness.


I think my favorite thing about this past year was watching her learn to play independently.  I find her putting puzzles together, coloring or just goofing off with her princess figurines.  She prances around the house carting her princesses and ponies from one room to the other mumbling enchanted tales to herself. I have no idea what those princesses are up to but they can be quite busy some days.

Passport photo out takes

Sydney LOVES to write.  She will sit at the kitchen table and write her name, and everyone’s name in the family. Sometimes I have to write it out for her to copy but she can ramble off all our names and spell them correctly (letters being the correct direction aside). Although she has always enjoyed drawing pictures of the family I noticed recently some of her stick figures are starting to get clothes and sometimes even designs on their clothes made with different colors.  Her princesses that she draws are getting more elaborate with crowns and longer gowns.  It has been fun to see her drawing progress.  For her birthday each kid in her class drew her a picture and some were quite good (lots of rainbows and stick figures with a few random kids who still scribble scrable), but Syd’s was definitely the best. She must be channeling some of her mothers artistic doodling capabilities.  Her teachers say she loves to draw and write at school. We come home with a LOT of paper each day.

All by herself.

Syd is still rather shy. It takes her a while to warm up to a room and a situation. I can tell immediately when she doesn’t feel comfortable as she crooks her head to the side and mumbles into her shoulder. As a relatively assertive woman this kinda drives me batty especially when she can’t even return simple a simple “hello” or a “thank you” when someone compliments her. Even basic social etiquette tends to fail her and I get a bit jealous when kids younger than her confidently approach me for something and bound away with an assertive “thank you Miss Julie!”. This combined with her relatively sensitive and dower emotions have always been a challenge for me. I’m reading up a bit on emotional intelligence in kids so I can better understand how to deal with some of this as my current coping mechanism doesn’t usually work well if at all.


Thankfully she goes along with the crowd pretty easily. She happily participates in ballet class (and I don’t have to anymore!! 45 mins of blissful time to knit!) and does as the teacher says but clams up if the teacher asks her a specific question. And although the first few minutes of any encounter can be quietly painful til she gets her bearings, she almost always warms up to the situation and then we can barely drag her away.


She still loves to read, and will flip through books on her own. We have moved on to a few chapter books recently which have been fun to read. She gets a little antsy when there are not many pictures so I really have to drum up the entertainment factor with the voice-overs which can be hard when you are bone-tired at 8 PM. She is girly and loves princesses and My Little Pony but also loves using her Mega Blocks to build them towers and other structures.


At her 4-year visit (which was on December 4th) Syd was 33 lbs (31%) and 40 inches (52%). Since her 3-year stats update she has gained 5 lbs and grew 3.5 inches. Her wardrobe still mostly is made up of dresses and leggings. She doesn’t fit well in pants even when they are cinched up in the waist.  And I was recently told that “dresses are prettier than pants”…so there you have it.

Syndey’s 4th Birthday Party

Very late in posting this…

Syd had two parties this year. One for school early in the month and another more low-key one here at home. The one for school was combined with two of her classmates who also have November Birthdays and was mostly limited to her classmates (from our end at least some of the other kids invited others).


This keeps us from having to fill all of the November weekends with separate parties which seems to be all the rage (but we usually do not attend because I have my limits with over-scheduling ourselves).  The school combo-party was held at a local place called “JumpZone” which was filled with a bunch of bounce-house like devices. The kids bounced giddily for hours. Then they crammed us in this tiny room for pizza and cake. By the time all was said and done Royce and I needed about 2 martini’s each to unwind.


The party we had here at home was the day after Syd’s birthday and we incorporated into our ‘Suppers of Chaos’. After the Friday night summer pool-party let down we decided to start SoC.  Each Friday night one of 4 families hosts and they do all the cooking (we have a few rules but mostly its up to the host) and we just descend upon them with you guessed it…. chaos (and wine). Sometimes all of us attend, other times only some of us can make it. Regardless it does make Friday nights, which can be so very hard with kids in the cold boring winter, more fun and well chaotic!


No themes this year…just pizza, cake and friends.  But when you host 8 adults and 10 kids its always good to keep things simple.


Ingrid was rather fond of the cake.  It wasn’t anything fancy; just simple boxed cake mix with homemade icing and as requested  — sprinkles.  I’m not sure what she is scowling at in this picture but it makes me crack up.  Don’t mess with Ingy’s cake!!


Sydney had a blast, we did too. So grateful for our neighborhood friends who can help us celebrate these yearly milestones in fun fashion!!


Princess party

On Sunday we had a 3rd birthday party for Sydney here at the house.  I asked Sydney if she wanted a Dora party or a Princess party and she chose princess. I chose to avoid a commercialized princess (since I really didn’t know which one she preferred; but I’m aware now that it is Ariel) and just did a girl theme.


It was fun. She had a good time all her friends.  We had seven girls from school and the neighborhood over.  I borrowed my friend Amy’s bounce house and the little princesses didn’t care that it was 45 degrees out and bounced all morning!
I made little princess tiara and wand favors for all the girls. I didn’t get a photo of all of them in their vase which is sad but the models below sure do a good job of giving you an idea of what they looked like. I used this tutorial online.


There are a bunch of photos on Flickr from the mini celebration/present opening we had on her actual birthday and the one we had with her friends.

3 years

Three years ago I became a mom for the very first time. Some days it seems longer than that, and others it seems like it happened yesterday. So much happens so fast these first few years. It’s strange to see Ingrid struggling to sit up and to know that in 3-years she will be as animated and amazing as Sydney is today.


I won’t sugar coat it, this year has been a struggle. Sydney wasn’t what I consider to be all that terrible when it came to the “terrible 2’s” and tantrums. But I also expected them, understood them, and tried as much as possible to avoid situations that cause them. Instead the second year revolved a lot around poop. The last 9-months were atrocious.  There were a few decent days sprinkled in throughout, but when the day was bad…it was bad. I really shut down. We stopped going out to family dinners with friends, we didn’t have many people over.  We didn’t take any classes with her on the weekends. Our lives sadly revolved around poop.


I am so very thankful to say that all of that is over with though, and on a time frame that was much shorter than I had ever imagined. She is now wearing her big girl panties to school and is so proud when she wears them. It’s funny how things can take a complete 180. 

This year we learned a lot about each other. I know she does better if I set limits with her, I know how to keep her focused, that time-outs work, that talking too much doesn’t. I know that in a group situation it can take Sydney a very long time to come out of her shell. And sometimes it is just best to sit on the floor and read until you pass out.


I learn new things about her personality and imagination each and every day. She is a cautious, observant, gentle child who is not overly rambunctious or cruel. She is so lovely to her little sister that I just know she can’t wait for her to be old enough to play! We are slowly working on identifying our alphabet letters and numbers. Also working on phonics and rhyming. She has picked up a bit of Spanish from school (and Dora) and can count to 10 in Spanish and use simple Spanish phrases.


Her favorite color is purple. She loves to be outside. She is starting to get into princesses and other girly stuff which is cute. She loves to rattle off the names of all her friends. If you are willing to take orders, she loves to tell you what to do and where to put her dolls and how to cover them up ‘just so’. She even does a pretty decent job of ‘reading’ books by paraphrasing the story that goes along with the pictures of some of her favorite books.

I’ll update this post on Friday with her growth stats from her 3-year well visit.

I am so grateful we can end this year on a up-swing and am looking forward to a few good months with my big 3-year old! Tonight we celebrated with just family.  Sydney requested a chocolate cake with purple icing so that is exactly what we had.  We will be having a small birthday party here at the house with some of her school girlfriends and her neighborhood girlfriends this Sunday. She is already looking forward to it as you can imagine!

Status update: 3-year doctor visit and Sydney holding strong at being below average for all her measurements.  Since her 2-year visit she has grown 3 inches (36.5 inches; 35.5%), and gained 4 lbs  (28 lbs; 20%).  She is still in 2T clothes but her pants are getting a bit short.  She swims in 3T pants so her wardrobe this winter has been mostly dresses and cotton leggings which seems acceptable since they are so easy to move in!  Thankfully 3T dresses fit her so I have been buying some new things for her — but really I’m getting tired of her wardrobe so I hope she grows into more 3T stuff soon!

Catching up

For those of you not on Facebook our ‘announcement’  of offspring #2 came out earlier this week.  I’ve been blogging, albeit privately, for a few entries and those have now been set as public so feel free to go back and catch up!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks around here.  We had a trip to Iowa in early November to watch the Iowa Hawkeyes with a bunch of close friends who we miss and adore.  The game was a blast.  I’m so glad we were able to finally join in on the fun for once and I hope hope HOPE we can make it back again next year to see everyone again!

The Gang

Royce’s Mom also threw Sydney an early 2nd birthday party and we had Royce’s sisters, lots of the Stuber family (Royce’s Moms side) and my Mom and Sister come to Des Moines for the event.  More photos can be found by clicking on Syd.


Fun with birthday balloons

Albert and Katie with their children even stopped by on their way home from Iowa City to Kansas City, and I think Sydney and Jake (they are 6 months apart) had fun eating cake and playing outside in the leaves together!


eating cake with a friend

Sadly Syd was sick for most of this trip. On the flight in she had a raging fever and uncharacteristically of her; she slept through both flights.  Things progressively got worse as the trip ensued as she got more fussy and started waking up in the middle of the night. We thought she was teething because there was a lot of crying and pointing at her mouth when she would eat or drink but by about day 2 I realized it was probably a sore throat.  We made an appointment with the pediatrician upon landing back here in DC on Monday and they concluded that she had a virus which was causing the sore throat, and she also had another ear infection.  Thankfully it wasn’t strep!  I stayed home with her on Tuesday and she seemed to be feeling MUCH better and we spent a lot of the day outside — it was a beautiful sunny warm fall day.  It was very relaxing to be home with my happy kid on the mend!

Since our return we all have been busy at work and trying to keep everyone healthy and rested.  I can’t believe Sydney turns TWO on Monday!  We have a small party with friends at a park on Sunday for her and before I know it Thanksgiving will be here! Where does all the time go??!!!

Happy 1st Birthday Sydney!

I wish I could post that Sydney’s first birthday was magical and filled with joy and messy cake fun but it wasn’t.  Syd was sick…probably the sickest I’ve seen her this year and to top it off she was teething too.  She was home from day-care a bit the week prior to her birthday, and on the day of her birthday she took an Olympic length nap in the morning and when she woke up she had a 101.8 degree fever and wasn’t happy.  I promptly called/texted all our birthday party attendees to warn them of the potential germ situation since many of them had children as well.  Most didn’t come, some dropped off presents, but a select few fantastic friends (and one kid) came over to celebrate with our sick little Syd.  Not quite the party I had imagined but fun none-the-less.  I am always so thankful for my supportive friends that I have out here.  Sometimes they are what keep me afloat.

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