Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pump It Up!

I love party planning, especially for our kids.  What ends up happening though, is it consumes a lot more time than it should because I tend to go a little overboard with the details.  Since both of our kids' birthdays are in October, it makes for a very busy month for the Isaac household.  After last year's parties, Jason asked me to consider doing a joint birthday party for this year.  I gave in because the reality is, our lives are so incredibly hectic during this time of year.  We gave the kids some options for joint birthday party ideas and they chose to have it at Pump it Up.  They each got to invite 7 friends.
Pump it Up took care of all the details- they had supervision for the inflatables, they set up the party room, put together the favors, ordered and served the pizza and drinks.  It felt a little weird to stand around and not do anything. 
 The girls' table
 The boys' table

The only thing that I actually got to do was make the cupcakes. I made a special "soccer" cupcake for Jeremy, and a "baseball" cupcake for Grace.

 As much as I was relieved to have a "simpler" party this year, in my opinion, it just didn't feel as "special" as I would've liked.  Jason reminded me that as long as the kids had fun and got to spend time with their friends, that's all that matters.  They both said they loved their party!  We are so glad and thankful for the friends that are in our kids' lives who regularly make them feel important and special.       
Happy Birthday to my kiddos!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Happy 8th Birthday, Grace!

Every Friday, we have "Movie Night."  The funny thing is, even though the kids get to choose what movie we watch, they always (always) choose for us to watch Cake Boss on Netflix.  There are tons of baking shows that I wish I could watch instead, but we don't have cable.  We do have Netflix, so unless it's on there, we don't watch it.  Anyway, this past Friday, we watched an episode in which Buddy and his wife welcome the birth of their 4th child.  The kids ended up watching Lisa in labor, ending with the birth of their son.  It wasn't anything "inappropriate," but it stirred up a lot of interest and questions from both kids.  (Grace: "What does it mean that she's at a 4?" Jeremy: "Where did that baby come out of?")  Anyway, as I was watching this, I was suddenly transported back 8 years to Grace's birth.  I was very emotional as I reflected on the day that God brought Grace into our lives.   
To think that she is now 8 years old!  WOW!!!  We would describe Grace as thoughtful, sweet, loving, beautiful, sensitive, intelligent, caring, shy, reserved and helpful.  I had her share about some of her current loves so I could document this time in her life.

Grace shows love for everyone around her- her family and friends.  She is our animal lover, always gravitating to animals (we won't let her have anything other than our cat).  She loves to read, draw, and write.  Lately, she's been walking around with her diary and writing about all sorts of things.  She's been reading and doing research about sharks and dolphins because she plans to write some stories about them.  Last year, she wrote a "series" about a bobcat named Diamond.  She called it her "Diamond Series."  I can't wait to see what she comes up with in this next series! She likes to play with legos, Littlest Pet Shops, and she says her favorite play buddy is her brother.  She loves to do arts and crafts. One of her favorite things to do as of late is listen to the radio.  She sings along and says she loves to dance in her room (in private).  It's been interesting to see Grace come out of her shell, a little bit more as she gains confidence in herself.  She still gets very nervous about the thought of doing things in front of people, but more and more, she's becoming comfortable letting others truly see who she is.  Her favorites to watch on t.v. are Phineas and Ferb and Cake Boss.  Grace really loves school this year, and in particular, her teacher.  She especially enjoys learning math and writing.    It took some time but she's finally adjusted to being at a new school!  It has been great to hear her talking about her circle of friends- Morgan, Bella, and Sasha.  These past few months, she's been on a swimming team, and next up, she wants to try judo.  She surprised Jason and I when she shared with us about trying out for her school's cross country team.  She came in 18th during tryouts, and only the top 10 made it.  She was discouraged and sad, but shocked us by insisting that she would try again next year, training earlier to increase her chances of making the team. It was the first time that she went out for something on her own initiative. 
Grace also chose for her special dinner to be at Old Spaghetti Factory.  She always has the Spaghetti with White Clam Sauce and her plate is cleaned every time.  Our waitress didn't catch on that it was her birthday, but of course I had a candle and lighter from home in my purse.  We sang to her and she blew out her candle before the waitress realized what was going on.  As we were paying the bill, she and the other staffers brought over another serving of ice cream.
We are so very proud of Grace!!!  She brings us so much joy and we feel blessed every day that she is our daughter.  Our love for her overflows and we are thankful for such a precious daughter. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Happy 5th Birthday, Jeremy!

Time has really flown by... I still can't get over the fact that Jeremy is 5 years old!!!!!! Let's take a trip down memory lane...
Who's this baby? I don't even think he looks like Jeremy!  This picture was taken the day we left the hospital.

Fast forward 5 years...  Words that come to mind when we think of our Jeremy?  He is GOOFY, funny, sweet, loving, thoughtful, intelligent, cute, inquisitive, energetic, responsible, active, and helpful...  For two years now, he has said he wants to be a firefighter when he grows up.  This past year, he has become a "typical" big boy, completely fascinated by superheroes and Star Wars.  His favorite shows to watch are the Backyardigans and Phineas and Ferb.  This kid can down a lot of pizza and cherry tomatoes!  He says that soccer is his favorite sport.  Kids just naturally gravitate to him, and he is a great friend to others.  His teachers adore him and often tell us that they wish they could clone him.  He could spend hours playing with his legos and cars.  I am so glad that he still loves his books. I use "responsible" to describe him because he willingly makes his own lunch every night before heading to bed and consistently does things we ask of him, like putting his shoes and lunch bag where they belong when he walks in the door (but it's still a chore to get him to clean his room!). 

On his actual birthday, he requested to have dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory.  In previous years, I brought a candle and lighter to use for when our family sang happy birthday to him.  This year, he proudly wore his birthday crown from school and the staff knew it was his special day.  He soaked up all the attention he got from strangers who wished him a happy birthday.  When dessert came out, the staff actually came over and sang to him, which is the first time that's ever happened.
After dinner, Jeremy got to open up some presents from our family.  Later this month, our kids will be having a joint birthday party to celebrate with their friends. 
 Grace gave him some new legos and Hot Wheels.
 And we got him a skateboard (with a Storm Trooper design), something he's wanted since Easter.

We are truly, truly thankful that God entrusted us with this amazing little person- we love him immensely and he brings us so much joy.  Happy 5th birthday to our Bear, Jeremy!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fresno Dolphins Swim Team

This year, we have been really blessed to have a community of people to help us watch Grace after school.  Since the first week of the school year, Grace has been taking the bus home with Isaac, Audrey, and CJ, and between the Macks, Bergens, and Wiens families, we can always be assured that she's in a great place.  Last month, Audrey and Violet decided to join the Fresno Dolphins swim team.  Since Grace had been hanging out with these girls after school, she too decided she wanted to try it out.  Every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, Jamie drives the 3 girls to practice.  It has been such a wonderful learning experience for Grace.  We've seen her become a much more confident swimmer and her strokes continue to improve.  She has entered 2 swim meets this season- one in Selma and one in Oakhurst.  Her first swim meet was in Selma and boy, did we learn a lot about swim meets in just that one day!
1)  Make sure to have your goggles (Grace didn't realize she had forgotten her goggles as her heat was getting into the blocks).  
2)  Don't let Jeremy bring legos to the pool (he almost dropped some in the water while we were being warned by an official to stay away from the edge of the pool)
3)  Get into the right lane (with the stress of Grace not having her goggles, she got into someone else's blocks and the official had to announce her name- Grace Isaac, LANE 8!)
4)  Have friends/husband come with you (thank goodness for Jamie and Jason!) to help you watch your kids
5)  When it's triple digits outside and you are at a swim meet with 400 swimmers, it's a good idea to bring plenty of sunblock, a shade structure, things to do while you're waiting, plenty of snacks/food/water!

In the end, Grace ended up only swimming in one event- 100 m freestyle.  She came in 6th in her heat, and 16th overall.  Her next event was one of the last events of the day and since it was so miserably hot, we decided to just skip it.  She was so happy to get out of swimming the backstroke, her least favorite!

Last weekend, Grace attended her 2nd swim meet.  It was held in Oakhurst, and since Jason's mom lives not too far from this mountain town, we asked to spend the night so it wouldn't be too far to drive early in the morning.  Since it was held here, Grace had a great cheering section!
She swam in three events- the 50 m freestyle, the 100 m breast stroke (her favorite), and the 50 m backstroke.
During her warm up, Auntie Jen was able to work with Grace for a while and gave her some great swimming tips
Grace getting settled at the start
 In the end, Coach Suzanne told Grace that her best event was the backstroke! We were really impressed with how well she did in that particular race.  We are very proud of her for stepping out of her comfort zone and trying something new.
Grace has gained so much confidence in swimming that it has been such a worthwhile experience.  She didn't place or win any awards at her meets, but it was evident she was trying her best and has improved a lot.    Thank you so much, Jamie, for all your help with Grace so she could participate on the swim team this year!