Recent/Significant Posts:

We often refer friends to our post(s) on our experiences with Ben's Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, as of yet these are:
--- Our introduction to this disease and basic timeline February 2012 through July 26, 2013.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ben's first Month

Little Ben was born in the middle of May and I still haven't put together and sent a birth announcement... Anyway, here is a little album of Benjamin's first month:

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Off to Grandma's!

All summer the kids have been looking forward to one thing above all others: Going out to Grandma and Grandpa's house. We finally headed out August 3rd and were able to stay for almost 2 weeks this year. I was a bit more random than usual with photo taking, but I've put together a couple collages and a "scrapbook" with some of the pics I did get...

Having Fun with Grandma and Grandpa Haroldsen
    We always have a great time visiting Jen's parents. As well as making a few "excursions", we played at a couple nearby playgrounds, visited the library, and had "Early Christmas". (Early Cmas lets Grandma & Grandpa watch the kids unwrap their presents and also lets the kids enjoy summer-related gifts, like the girls' tent).

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Exploring the Carnegie Science Center and Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
     Carnegie Science Center is always a great place to visit --- for Matt as well as the kids! This year was our first time checking out the Children's Museum, though. We teamed up with (Jen's sister) Lisa and her boys for the day, and had a great time.

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Enjoying the Lake at Raccoon State Park (PA)
     On the Friday the 12th, we went out to the lake at Raccoon State Park with Lisa and her family. We had been there last year and really enjoyed it; this year the weather was not as warm, but we still had a great time. (The kids missed having Uncle Joe & Aunt Mary along this year, though --- Joe was always the one up for taking them out in the "deep" water....)

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We're so glad we got to go out to Pittsburgh this year! It's a bit of a drive (10 hours + potty stops, etc) but always totally "worth it"!

Monday, June 27, 2011

School Review

Just for fun, I had Mike, Em, and Nat help me put together some "smilebox" scrapbooks with pictures from the school year. Results follow...
(**Note: if pages are going by too fast/slow, there are generally control buttons towards the bottom of each presentation that will let you pause,go back, etc.)

Natalie's 1st Year of School

Natalie went to half-day 4-yr-old kindergarten this year and Loved it! (Her teacher, "Mr. K" is legendary at Hoover) Be sure to check out the video clips of her singing after the first day of school and the class dancing/singing on their last day....

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A Snapshot of Mike's School Year

Mike had a great year in first grade. I think he/we pulled off a particularly cool set of show-and-tell's by bringing a cocoon in the fall and the resulting "polyphemus" moth in the spring! (We thought the little dude had perished over the winter but were pleasantly surprised!)

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Great Fun for Emily

Emily had a wonderful time this year, too. There were only about 6 girls in her class, so the teacher really encouraged them to "stick together" and be good friends to each other....

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Mom's 2 Cents Worth

I continue to be very pleased with our local school, Hoover Elementary (West Allis - West Milwaukee school district). The kids' teachers have all been excellent and the principal is great, too. I'm really enjoying being a "PTA mom", too. (I co-chaired the Reading Carnival committee and ended up mostly doing prize ordering/organization since the carnival was scheduled 4 days before I was due to have Ben!)

Needless to say, we are ALL looking forward to 2011-2012!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Grandma Higgins!

Our Smilebox for Grandma Higgins:

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As always, it takes a few tries to get our video "messages" to everyone's liking.... One of these days I'll have to make an out-takes "reel"... (Today's favorite is when baby Benjamin sneezed during Esther's song, and her comments on it)

Hope you have a good day, Mom!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Grandma Haroldsen!

Just a little "smilebox" we made for my mom's birthday:

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The kids had a great time singing for Grandma, but Mike had to do his joke quite a few times because Esther kept interrupting... We'd think we had her interested in something in the other room, but she'd come running back in when she heard him start talking again... Ah, well, it all worked out eventually!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Natalie's Birthday (including Castle pinata)

Natalie wanted a "Super Why" themed birthday party again this year, but with the specific focus being the story of "Jack and the Beanstalk". We decided it would be the most fun just to focus on the adventure of getting to the castle in the clouds (not the whole angry giant and stolen goods aspects of the story!). To that end, we painted a bunch of oatmeal canisters green to be our "beanstalk" and we also made a castle pinata. Poking around the web, I came up with some ideas on how to make it a pull-string pinata so it would be reusable (and safe to do inside!).

I made a mini-album on FaceBook showing/describing how I made the pinata, hopefully this link will take you there:

We played several games with the kids:
"Catch the Cows" (blind man's bluff with everyone on their knees moo-ing);
"Magic Bean" Bingo;
"Cloud Hop" (jumping across the living room from shape to shape, each time across one "cloud" disappearing --- kind of like a non-competetive cake-walk);
and "Don't Wake the Guard Dog" (which is like red-light-green-light).

After each game we added some pieces to the beanstalk. Here are Natalie and most of her guests (one was being too shy for the group shot) in front of the cabinet where we built the beanstalk up to the castle...

With no sticks involved, Daddy (Matt) was quite willing to hold the pinata for us:

After the games and pinata, we moved on to presents and then cake. Having spent quite a lot of time on the pinata, I was fortunate to persuade Natalie that a simple cake would be fine... I'd seen little plastic "Super Why" cake topper character on the web, but we made our own by printing out the characters onto cardstock and mounting them on handles from plastic forks. Yummy chocolate cake (of course!), a few Cool Whip "clouds", and there ya go:

After cake & ice cream, we just let the kids play with Natalie's new stuff until their parents collected them...

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's A Boy!

Well, the verdict is in --- Higglet #5 is most definitely a boy. The ultrasound left no doubt --- in fact we had to be careful which pictures to send in for show-and-tell...

Here's the latest preview:

Needless to say, Mike is particularly delighted -- he is already talking about how he and "brother" will share a room and such... Natalie's excited, too, and Emily's only regret is that this means we can't name the baby "Lily." (Esther, of course, remains completely clueless about the upcoming changes in family dynamics....)

Well, see you in another 20 weeks little guy!