Wednesday, January 27, 2010

3 down, 3 to go

Nikolas is the latest in a string of Hawleys to reach the 16th birthday!! We are half way there!! What did Nik do on his birthday? Well, he woke up early to go to the local middle school and recruit kids to join Civil Air Patrol. His squadron has recently made some positive changes and Nik feels like it's something other kids would really like. He has taken it upon himself to spend several of his days off school recruiting. Yea, Nik! I really am not worried about what this kid does when he's not at home!
Allison and I made a Hawley favorite for Nik's birthday - Dump Cake. Found the recipe in a "Toddler Busy Book". We all love it and it earned Runner Up in a dessert contest. I can't understand that because it has no frosting. But Nik loves it.
And we love Nik. He is a crazy good kid who's biggest problem in life is trying to do too many things super well. Oh yeah, he can get a little wild with his siblings, he of course likes to torture and tease the little ones (a rite of passage, I guess), but he's our 'go to guy'. We can always count on him. Turning 16, he is now eligible for his Learner's Permit, and dating. Fortunately, he has declared that he hasn't met anyone he's overly interested in. For now, we get to concentrate on his Eagle Scout project and more CAP (and try to avoid the DMV). Happy mama!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby! Allison is 3!!

My sweet little baby isn't a baby any longer - she is a full blown preschooler! Although she tells me "Beeb (Melanie) is big; I am little." What a wonderful little girl we've been given.
This is a Hawley tradition dating back a few years - squirting whipped cream straight out of the bottle into little mouths. Allison's head jerks back in surprise every time but she keeps asking for more! (Sorry for the blurry picture; it's an action sport.)

Allison got paint for her birthday, which was probably her favorite gift. Our birthday celebration immediately turned into a painting party and a lot of beautiful finger painting commenced.

Allison seemed thrilled at the feel of the paint (she is so texture oriented), and the fact that I would let her get so messy.

What a wonderful day. At 6am, Allison came into our room (as usual) and when we said, "Happy Birthday!!" she said, "The Goodsons are coming over?" I said yes, and then she said we had to go downstairs and clean the house for the Goodsons. That family room was perfectly tidy by 6:30am, waiting for those Goodsons who weren't coming over until 7pm. Allison's version of cleaning meant shoving everything that was in the family room into the dining room, which was fine since we had a couple of hours to fill until the party started.

Allison's birthday consisted of going to Ikea to play and going swimming at the YMCA, with pizza for dinner.

My favorite things about Allison right now:
She says prayers all by herself, and always includes her list of friends: Minta, Reese, Kyler and Caleb. Every night in her prayers, she says, "Please bless Daddy can get a job so Beeb and I can get a pretzel at the Y, and Mommy can drive us there."

She loves to be held. And every time I come home from activity, she says, "Hi Mom! How was your exercise class (or wherever I was)?" And then, "Were your friends there?"

She loves textures, loves to explore through touch. One day we were driving by City Hall and there is a big fountain outside with water flowing down it. She said, "Ooooooo, I want to *taste* it!"

She knows how to say things like, "Melanie and I" when it's appropriate. She knows the letters of the alphabet. She knows how to count (finally!) by pointing at each object and giving it only one number. She still gets stuck after 11, counting like this: "...8, 9, 10, 11, 8, 9, 10!"

When we got a new and fuzzy rug in the family room, she fell to the floor and just rolled and rolled on the carpet, rubbing her face and any exposed skin on it. She does the same thing in the sand at the beach.

She is tremendous at expressing her big feelings - a huge wonderful smile, loud raucous laughter, and big loud screams. Recently at preschool there was a yelling contest (not at my house, of course) and the mom was surprised at how loud Allison was. I wasn't, but I'm glad that she reserves that for home.

Allison is a great big spirit in a little tiny body, and it will be exciting to witness her growing up. I'm so lucky!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pennsylvania in May '09

This is one of my all-time favorite trees. Actually, it's not just a tree - it's a tree and a vine; each alone is beautiful, together magnificent. Dogwood and wisteria - the image is much more powerful than the names. I was just driving down the street on the way to the grocery store, such a mundane task, when I looked out my car window and saw this, so extraordinary. We are abundantly blessed to have such lush beauty surrounding us in the Spring. Such vibrant colors.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Julia!!!

Julia turned 13 this year, at the beach! What a lucky girl to celebrate her favorite day in one of her favorite places!! Again, couldn't get all the Hawleys together - the boys are visiting friends and relatives in AZ.
Happy girl!

13 things I love about Juicy:
1) That smile! She has one of the biggest and most genuinely happy smiles - ever since she was a little thing! A smile that stays with you long after you can't see it anymore.
2) She likes to sit on my lap (even now) and run her fingers across my knees until I can't stand the tickles any more. This makes her smile.
3) She *loves* kids, all shapes and sizes. She is a favorite babysitter among many of my friends' kids and I love that she enjoys making them smile so much.
4) She loves the beach! (me too!)
5) She is dedicated to helping. One day at the beach, Melanie lost her flippers in the surf and we figured they were gone. Julia combed up and down in the water, just like an official CAP Search and Rescue mission, until she found them.
6) She will clean up the basement all on her own, without being asked! She *loves* to be helpful.
7) She loves to sing! One day, I was upstairs and she and Nik were in the basement - Nik played "Let It Be" on his keyboard, and Julia sang that song at the top of her voice, with wild abandon. I love that she can give up her inhibitions like that.
8) She always (almost) does a good job at her chores. I can count on her to get them done every week. So consistent.
9) She splattered painted her room with her friends, then had the idea to paint their hands and put handprints in the middle of the splatters. Frankly, it looks awesome. I love her room b/c it is such a great expression of her colorful and sometimes scattered personality (scattered in a fun and good-natured way, of course!)
10) She talks to me about problems with her friends. She really thinks about and tries to solve problems and be a good friend (to me and her peers! Lucky me!).
11) She loves to read! (me too!) We read a lot of the same books!
12) She loves to help anyone at any time. Sometimes, she jumps in and helps without finding out if the person wants help, which doesn't usually produce the results she's hoping for, but she's always willing!
13) Her testimony - her testimony of the importance of loving others and connecting with them is so strong, she is a great example to us all!

Birthday Catch-up

Chris' 17th birthday, and possibly the last one he'll celebrate in our house for at least the next few years, so a very important birthday!We have a hard time getting all the Hawleys together at one time. My guess is that Nik was at marching band practice (where he spent the entire fall, after spending a huge part of his summer there). But we love to celebrate with whomever we've got, and it's not so bad to be a 17 year old boy surrounded by such beauty!
Nothing says "Happy Birthday" like a smiling monkey cake! Chris loves cupcakes, so I formed a rough monkey shape with them, and then piled on the frosting!

A little about Chris, since I slack off at Christmas and didn't get a letter out:
Chris wants to attend either the Air Force Academy (1st choice) or West Point. He has had a lot of training in military protocol, advancement and duties during his 5 years in the Civil Air Patrol - any moms and dads who haven't checked out this wonderful program should look into it. Great opportunities to develop leadership skills, learn practical skills - like actually flying planes, earning an FCC communications degree and interning at a radio station, etc etc. - and gain maturity. Chris has learned a ton of things, in many different areas, not the least of which are his search and rescue practical skills. He has amazing knowledge of things like survival skills - what plants are edible and which ones are poisonous, shelter making, in some ways like Boy Scouts on steroids.

This is an excerpt from a college application he's writing: As a member of the Hawk Mountain Ranger School cadet staff cadre I regularly lead squadrons of cadets varying in size from 10 to 40 cadets on search and rescue exercises and training sorties in a woodland environment.

Wow - Chris can really *do* that? Yep, he's good, even though he chooses when to turn it on and when to turn it off, he's that good. And that's why I think college will do so much for him. He has the skills and there I think he'll learn how to incorporate that maturity into everyday life.

Chris loves to sing, participating in the highest level of choir at his school. He has participated in plays and musicals there; you should have seen him in "Crazy For You" last Spring. All those years of goofing around with his brother, speaking in a British accent and parading around the neighborhood in a Pith helmet finally paid off, as he was selected for the part of Mr. Fodor - he was wonderful! Currently he's practicing for the musical "All Shook Up". He loves to play lacrosse, pick on his siblings, and teach me about all kinds of hip things that I'd have no idea about if it weren't the kindness of our kids 'cluing me in'.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

October continues

Word Girl! Continuing with our October pictures, we spotted Word Girl at a local elementary school parade! Quite exciting as we watch her on TV almost daily. She has a vocabulary a mile wide and is from the planet Lexicon, so we're lucky to have spotted her.
I realize this little picture of Pooh is of poor quality, but still irresistible!! We have a similar picture of Melanie; they could be twins!
This is the entire Trick-or-Treating crew: Minnie Mouse (a little punked out), Word Girl, a lion and a zebra friend we lassoed along the way. It was wet, literally raining a good part of the time, and there was a Phillies World Series game on that night (Allison didn't last long, only about 8 houses; then she came home and answered the door with me, yelling "Go Phillies!" to everyone.). There were not many kids out, but our crew made the usual rounds, and ended up with about.... 6 lbs each. Crazy nuts.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Stripling Warrior-ette (from Oct 09)

Going back in time again to capture highlights of aught nine, this is Melanie, our Stripling Warrior-ette, fighting for truth, justice and self-defense (although in sparring, it looks like the best defense is a good offense). This is during her test for her Advanced Yellow belt (yeah, she really is going for a kick to the head; she can kick short adults in the head and can kick her dad in the shoulder - yikes).After successfully, completing her test, this is Melanie's karate master tying her new belt on her. She's a toughie - true dat!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The end

These are the last of the beach pictures. Gotta end on a good note, and these are the best! Is this an awesome smush of people or what?
Melanie is 7.
Julia is 13 (almost, two days from the picture is her birthday).

And Ally-baby is 2! A terrific, wonderful, energetic, challenging, laugh every minute, two!And this is why we go to Oak Island. Because we have a million of these smiley, fun, playful, sometimes crazy moments every day when we are there. The sun is bright, the sand is soft, the water is warm, and it is the natural and preferred habitat of the Hawleys.

Pioneers at the beach?

I had no idea what a beach pioneer looked like until Allison donned this costume. I think the pioneers would have liked the bright colors.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Remarkable things at the beach

Remarkable thing #1: can you believe that Julia can do a handstand on the beach? Can you believe that she can hold herself up at this angle?Remarkable thing #2: These two people are just remarkable!
Remarkable thing #3: the sand castle is still standing with a toddler so close! Not many castles last this long (and you might be able to see that this is a super cool drip castle).
Remarkable thing #4: This is *ocean*, not a lake as you might guess from the lack of waves.
And finally, Remarkable thing #5: Boundless optimism. That's what I call this picture. What other reason would there be for sitting on a surfboard in this flat water?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Time out for celebrating

I have officially posted as many blog updates *this* year, as I did *last* year. Yippeee!! This year, I plan not to wait as long in between posts as I did last year, although it is way fun to look at all these beach pictures in the middle of winter. I have hope that I'll be warm again!!


Kayaking through the Davis Canal on Oak Island NC. This is one of our favorite activities at the beach. Okay, we *love* the beach; we love to spend all day on the beach. That's our most favorite thing about our vacation, but we do a couple of extra things each year, and kayaking is one of them. This year Andrea graciously agreed to babysit Allison (because Allison was napping) while the rest of us went kayaking. Most of the Hawleys love to get out and paddle, see cool wildlife and have fun races. I am just amazed at how beautiful all the colors are! Everything is perfect.
Is this one of the cutest kayakers you've seen? And don't be fooled - she can paddle furiously and for a long long time. More than one of us have been exhausted trying to outrun her. Chuck frequently sits back with the paddle up and just coasts while Melanie pulls him along.The old man and the sea ("The old man and the canal" just doesn't sound as good.). I personally like the beard but more than one friend has directly said, "Lose it - it makes you look old!"
And this is another one of the cutest kayakers EV-er. She is always game for paddling, is strong AND looks good. Those boys on Oak Island don't know what to do with themselves when Julia's around.


We were so lucky to meet some great people at the branch in Southport NC, near my mom's beach house. One guy took us out on his boat, named "Come Follow Me" (cute, huh?). This memory does NOT make me warm as it was raining and chilly the entire time we were out. Rain drops were pelting our faces as we sat in the boat, cruising around the lake, but wakeboarding was so much fun, it was worth it. Chuck gets air - same story when Chuck is playing with any of his toys.Andrea surprised us with her ease of getting up and riding back and forth across the wake. She looks like a pro!
I was just lucky to haul my big butt out of the water for a few seconds before busting, big time.
The younger ones had a great time skimming around on the tube. This is Julia and Melanie. Melanie got airborne a few times on turns and we thought we might lose her but she held on tight to the handles and always landed in the tube.

Beach bloggin', part deux

Aren't these pictures just delicious?? Did you ever see a kid so in love with her Buster Bar? (Did you ever read the 'Nutrition Facts' on a Buster Bar? Yikes!) I *love* the little pink beach face, the beach hair, the drips on the belly.... ooo, delicious!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Bed for Allison!!

The new year is already bringing changes to our house. Allison got a big girl bed and for the first time last night, she went to bed not in a little baby crib, but in her big girl bed. Staying in bed however.... was not in her plan. I heard her get up 4 times, which wasn't too bad, I thought. I have watched Super Nanny enough to at least have a plan of how to handle kids getting out of bed. So I implemented. And then after 4 times, Melanie and I finally settled into a card game uninterupted.
Then Melanie went to bed and promptly came back down to report that Allison had not fallen asleep in her bed as we originally thought. She found Allison asleep in the hallway outside their door. Evidently, she fell alseep mid-party with two dogs, and right on top of her little green plate.


Today I need something to warm me up! It's freezing here in Drexel Hill! Actually, not even freezing - it's somewhere in the 20's. Julia and I are looking at beach pictures to help us remember the sunshine and warm sand! This is one of my favorite days from our beach trip. We were in Wrightsville Beach, just outside of Wilmington NC. The water is clear enough to see your toes, the waves are big and fun, there are little pools of water near the edge where kids (big and little) can play. And some of my most favorite pictures came from that day. Here's the start and end of that day:I couldn't upload all the pictures to this post, so more in the next batch!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Stuffed animals (cluster blogging, part 3)

I was cleaning up stuffed animals with Allison and I turned around to pitch a few into the bin, and saw THIS! Bet I could get a bundle for that one on eBay!
The weekend before Christmas, we got so much snow, it was up to Snoopy's shoulders! Many of you know that we rarely get snow before Christmas. It was great fun with lots of great sledding.

This guy's just so good lookin', I had to include this picture.Nik made an awesome snow cave from the driveway shoveling pile. It was a great respite from the neighborhood snowball fight.

One of my snow babies!

Doesn't it just look like so much fun fun fun??

The other kids weren't interested in the snow. Allison spent about 5 minutes outside eating snow, took off her mittens because they were in her way, and then realized why mittens are a good idea. Her hands turned bright red with cold, and she quickly went inside to spend some quality time with Curious George and her other PBS friends. Julia was out early shoveling, but then decided to join Allison, and Chris slept through it! What a great last day of Fall!!

December in review (cluster blogging)

A few Christmas pictures. Dr. Mommy checks out Allison's new baby.
Nik got a cricket bat from Santa.Games are a big part of our lives. Are we a bit competitive maybe? Nik got a new one called "Ligretto" that is fast and fun and hyper competitive. Everyone loves it. This is the first game of the day and Andrea is explaining the rules to Melanie who prides herself on being able to compete at grown-up games. Usually she is easily as good as the rest of us at games like "Settlers of Catan" and the Train game, but Ligretto requires a lot of coordination and keeping track of many things at one time, moves really fast, and she's going up against people who have played a lot. A seven-year-old doesn't stand a chance in this crowd. No mercy at card games.
Melanie's new portable chair. It's the most used item from Christmas, fo' sho'.

We are a bit crowded, with Santa's loot for 6 kids in a twin house, but 'togetherness' is a way of life for these PA raised kids - it was a merry Christmas full of fun and smiles and laughter!!