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The 4-6 Weeks Project (Week One)

I did this project the last time I was pregnant, too. The idea is to take a daily photo in the 4-6 weeks before the new baby comes, celebrating our time together as a family of four, and eventually I’ll turn the series into a keepsake book for Eleanor and August. Last time I started 4 weeks from my due date, thinking I might go to 42 weeks like I did with Eleanor, but then August came a few days early. This time I’ve started 6 weeks out, and hopefully baby number three won’t turn this into The 8 Weeks Project!

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August 15

Six weeks from your new little brother’s due date. Six or so weeks from becoming a family of five. Eleanor, you talk about the baby constantly, offering to share your bed & getting excited about how we’ll have so much to do because we’ll get to teach him everything. August, you mostly just like to bonk into mama’s big belly!

August 16

You both had fun making these paper kitties before bed tonight, & then you tried to have a sleepover in August’s room (as we have been doing a lot lately while working on the hallway). It ended in tears with Eleanor back in her room after August told her she was “fired from making paper cats EVER EVER AGAIN.”

August 17

Eleanor, you carried a rock with you to meet Sir Topham Hatt at our first “Day Out with Thomas” two years ago. This year, you made it into what must now be a tradition, and August, you got in on it too. You guys rock.

August 18

After a Thomas-filled day yesterday, you both had renewed interest in your toy trains. We made a huge track on the floor of the newly opened-up hallway, adding bridges and making everything connect. It was so cute to hear the stories you make up for the different engines! Pretty sure there was a wedding involved at one point.

August 19

We have a desk in the playroom, but you both gravitate toward spreading everything out on the floor instead. Mama’s happy to oblige, even if it is getting harder for her to sit down there with you as her tummy grows!

August 20

When mama started this photo project, she hoped to get at least a few pictures with both of you in them. She thought it might not be easy, but really, you two are together more often than not. Eleanor and August: siblings and best buddies. And soon you’ll have another pal to play with!

August 21

August, ever since you were little, you’ve been into cars and trucks — basically, anything with wheels. Monster trucks have been a big hit for a long time now, and your love for them doesn’t seem to be waning anytime soon. I wonder if your little brother will be the same way.

Another Day Out with Thomas

We first met up with Thomas, the cheeky blue engine, two years ago. We missed it last year because we spent the summer up in Wisconsin while we waited to move into our new house, but we went again this weekend. I don’t know if you know this, but carrying a big rock to meet Sir Topham Hatt? It’s a thing.

Meeting Sir Topham Hatt

Thomas travels around North America through the spring and summer, and the event is held near Chicago each year at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, IL. It’s a cool place, with an impressive collection of “rolling stock” (locomotives and cars). Eleanor and August are still afraid of the biggest engines, but the smaller, friendlier ones are much less imposing.

Horse-Drawn Railroad Car
Old Railway Signs
Checking Out the Old Trains
IL Railway Museum

The kids got temporary tattoos, played with train tables, and climbed on a giant sand mound. Not sure how that last one was train-related, but they enjoyed it.

Thomas Activities
Sandy Sand

And of course, there was the obligatory Thomas train ride.

Thomas Ride

The kids waved at him and thanked him for the ride every time we saw him puff by. My goofy little cuties.

Rockin' Out!

Eleanor’s Fifth Birthday Party

We had two birthday parties on Sunday. The first was for Eleanor’s friends, and the second, later in the day, was for our family and also celebrated Brandon’s birthday. We tried this last year, thinking that it was a good way to separate the events but still have everyone involved, and it went well. This year? It felt kind of bananas. But it went well too, so yay? (We were tired that night!)

Happy Birthday Sign on the Fireplace

We had a dozen five-year-olds in the house, and the party was fast and fun. I snapped most of these photos after they had left, but before our family came by.

Paper Lanterns and Horse Lights

Birthday Party, Dining Room

Hey look, a sneak preview of the books on the shelves! With a weird, giant horse balloon.

Horse Balloon

And more use of those giant balloons… There were three in all, and the kids loved carrying them around the house. (Brandon had them filled at the grocery store for $2/each with heart-shaped weights. The party store quoted $7/balloon with just string.)

Silly Baby Photo

That photo of E from when she was six months old still cracks me up!

The kids at the party spent most of their time up in the playroom, playing with Play Doh, using the toy kitchen, and trying on dress-up clothes. We didn’t want to interrupt them and steer them toward activities (like Pin the Tail on the Pony) that they might not really enjoy when they were already having fun, so we went with the play that was happening naturally. At one point, Eleanor and some of the other kids formed a marching band and they went through the house making a jolly racket, and my favorite getup was the girl who paired leopard-print kitty ears with black glasses and bongos. I like your style, young lady.

Pin the Tail on the Pony

(Eleanor was kind of bummed about not playing the pony tail game with her friends, but we did do it later when our family came over. The adults were all pretty sure the older kids cheated, because their tails were all right on top of each other in just the right spot.)

We put down a plastic tablecloth and rounded all the kids up when the pizzas we ordered had arrived. To keep them busy in their seats while we got the food ready, we had markers and pre-cut circles of paper that fit my button making machine. The kids ate while Brandon made their designs into magnets, which they took home at the end of the party along with their goody bags.

Kid-Made Magnets, and Goody Bags

After pizza came the birthday cake. I didn’t get a great shot of it because Brandon and I were both busy keeping up with all of the kids, but the cake looked similar to the one in my post on horse birthday party inspiration. Instead of bunting, I made some big paper hearts to go behind a toy horse.

But oh! The look on Eleanor’s face, and her friend’s hand on her arm. Love this shot.

Birthday Cake

And thus went our birthday celebration weekend. I don’t know if we’ll divide the parties up the same way next time though — we were all exhausted! I’m curious… do you combine the kids and the family into one party? Have them on separate days? Just do one or the other? We might need to rethink our approach.

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