Friday, February 27, 2009

The New Favorite Evening Activity

First Time Out:

These are a couple of bikes my friend Amy gave to us after her girls outgrew them. They came without training wheels, and Gracie & Clara have been very patient for the last couple of weeks until Mike had time to get the bikes ready. Gracie's was ready first, and then Clara was super good about waiting even longer while Mike made sure her bike was safe & ready to ride, too.

Oh - Clara did have something to entertain her while she waited. One of the car seats was out of the van, so Gracie & Clara played rocket ship. You can see who the asgronaut is here (strapped in tight, of course).

They both did a great job on the bikes. Unfortunately, Gracie fell after about 15 minutes of riding. She slammed the handlebars into her mouth on the way down and it must have hurt quite a bit, but she was okay after a little break and it hasn't deterred her from riding (she's got to keep up with Clara, right?).

And not to leave JM out of all the excitement - he got to play in his saucer and watch for a little while.

The next day - after waiting all afternoon for Daddy to get home so they could ride (we're trying to keep a closer eye on them these first few weeks, so they have to wait until Daddy gets home so we can keep an eye on JM as well!), they got out and rode as long as they could. These are some pictures from that day:

Lining up for the race (their idea)

Hmmm, I haven't said go yet - who do you think wins?

And of course, everyone was out again this afternoon. Gracie took all of these pictures - she really likes her camera & is getting pretty good at taking pictures and videos. I'll have to share some of the videos at a later date, they are funny.

This is Clara taking Moose Peacock on his first bike ride! She was very excited for him.

JM wonders, could I escape from this silly saucer and head out on the scooter?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Growing Pains

Gracie complained the other day about her knee hurting. She hadn't done anything to injure herself, so I took a line I remember from my Mom (do you remember saying this, Mom?) -
"It's just growing pains." She thought about that and said okay and moved on with whatever she was doing at the time.

Tonight, she came running in from the front yard where she had been playing. "Mommy, I had another one of those growing pains." So I asked, "where did you have it?"

"I was playing in the front yard with my hula hoop, by the clover."

"And where on your body did it hurt?"

"Same place, in my knee."

So I reminded her that it just meant that she was growing - and I added that she was probably getting taller.

She took off running toward her room hollering "I'm going to go measure myself!"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Be careful what you say ...

In the van on the way home from Ash Wednesday service, Gracie started talking about what she was going to give up for Lent. We had talked a little about it the night before and she had announced that she was going to give up a "toy" for Lent and decided it would be her sewing/beading kit. But on the way home from church, Gracie wasn't sure if she should maybe give up a different toy.

"I'm having a hard time deciding what I want to give up." Then this led to her asking Clara, "What do you want to give up?"

Oh my - that was not the right thing to ask Clara. She said "I've already given some things away and I'm not giving anything else away" (we had pried a few toys away from the girls back in October and over the past week, Clara has taken to asking for various things back).

So Gracie kept trying to explain to Clara that she would get the toy back at Easter. But this didn't help. Clara started going on and on about a favorite toy and describing what it did (I actually had no idea what she was talking about). Finally, I realized I should maybe act like a parent and intervene before Clara got too hysterical (it's amazing how you can listen to all of the discussion, but not really be tuned in).

First, I assured Clara that she did not have to give anything up for Lent. That of course, got Gracie all upset. Then I reminded Gracie that she was 5 and Clara was only 3. And I went on to try and explain how hard it is for Clara to understand the concept of giving something up for a little while and getting it back later because she was younger than Gracie and that she was still little.

So that mostly resolved the problem in the van.

About an hour later we were finishing up lunch. Clara announced that she was done and was going outside. I had already asked her several times to clear her lunch plate from the table, but she hadn't done it. So I told her that she had to clear her plate before going outside. This is the response I got: "But I'm little, that's too hard for me to do."

Such a Clara moment! I already warned Mike that he might be prey to this ploy over the next few days...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Love my sister, love her organization

Okay, I so need my Big Sis to come and organize my house.
Check out her shoes! Those are pictures that she took of her shoes and taped to the outside of the clear shoebox. Too cool!
I'm so impressed with her shoe system - and that the shoes are actually in the boxes. Mine always end up all over the floor of the closet!

Houston - We Have Ignition

So we arrived around 4:30 on Saturday. Pretty good for not leaving the house until around 10:30 and making a few stops (including the doll hospital to get some old dolls restored for the kids).

The kids were off to a roaring start. Here is a picture of just one of the scenes we were treated to that night. I call this one the Dynamic Duo:

Lots of giggling, screaming (happy screams, mostly), running and playing later, the kids took a bath in the big tub (as J pointed out, only a few more years for that to be okay!) and then decided to all sleep together on the air mattress in Alex's room. We weren't sure how that would go, but we decided to give it a try. There were several ups & downs (Alex & Gracie - Clara was trapped in the middle), but they finally drifted off exhausted. It was very sweet to see them all sleeping together.

The next day was b-day! At least for the party at the Little Gym. The kiddos got in plenty of playing prior to the party though. There were some undecipherable "superhero" games going on (those are capes in the picture below).

Then there was sausage roll making (snacks for the party). Spidey made another appearance! I gather he is very popular at the Double J Ranch!

Then it was outside to burn off some more energy so we could hopefully get in lunch and a rest before the party! Well, Clara didn't actually want to go out right away. I think maybe she had enough togetherness at this point and she chose to hang out with Daddy in Alex's playroom. Her favorite toy of the weekend was a plane that you put together and take apart using a drill. I'm glad she and Dada could figure it out. I tried to help once and had to call in reinforcements.

But once Clara got outside, the trio had fun with all the different riding equipment. Apparently, there was also a fire emergency. Looks like the engine might be a little worse for the wear after our visit (sorry about that!). Also, notice Alex on his new bike! He was always moving so fast that I didn't manage to get a good picture of him with the bike.

Two of the firefighters having their snack:

Then it was off to the Little Gym for the big party! The girls had a blast. They loved the balance beam, rings and all the games they played. And you could tell Alex was in his element, too. He was so good at all the different activities. He was hanging on the lower uneven bar by his legs. Most kids couldn't get their feet up to the bar!

Alex looks like quite the ladies man here!

The party was lots of fun - you could tell the kids were excited to be at Alex's party and they all seemed to have a good time. There were no major meltdowns, which is always great, too.
John Michael was pretty excited by the party as well, even when he was just watching from the outside (at first - he got to go in the gym and play on the mats later).

And of course, the party concluded with snacks, cake and ice cream.

The cute dino cake:

The even cuter Birthday Boy!

After the party, we headed back to the Double J Ranch and tried to convince the kids to rest a little! At first, they were still pretty revved up, but eventually they settled down. Gracie & Clara sort of watching a movie and Alex playing with some of his new dino toys from the party. But the picture of Clara sums up how I think we all were feeling:

Yes, she is sleeping sitting up. And, while her proclaimed favorite movie (Cars - which she insists on calling Cartoons) was playing. There must be something about that movie. I know she has never seen the whole thing!

One more evening and morning left in Houston. I'll leave those for another post. Coming soon, I promise!

What's Going on Here?

The Culprit:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Asgronaut Update

The other day in the car, Clara was using her fingers to show me how old she was. She had three fingers up & was correctly stating that she was 3. Next, she went on to put up four fingers and tell me that she would be 4 on her next birthday, then 5, then 6, (all the while holding up the right number of fingers), all the way up to ten. At ten, she announced "Then I get to be an Asgronaut!"

Today, she is here with me while I am blogging (I think hoping to get a turn on the computer herself). This is what she had to say about asgronauts:

"You have to be strapped in tight, you have to have an air pack on your back, you have to do exercises (on the ship) and you have to eat your lunch on the ship. It goes really fast. If you drop your lunch you can't get off the ship to get it. You will fall. (I asked, where will you fall?) To the ground. You won't be able to get it and then you will be hungry. "

And finally, "it's too long to wait to be an asgronaut..."

Can you tell it's rest time?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Best Moments of the Houston trip

We headed down to Houston this past weekend to visit the Double J ranch & go to Alex's Birthday party. We had a great time & I'll post some pictures soon. But for now, here are some of the favorite things I remember:

Looking in at the 3 cousins sleeping on one air mattress. Clara & Alex were even holding hands.

John Michael trying to scream "Alex" as he was trapped in his high chair and listening to the other three playing hide-and-seek.

A sweet kiss on the head for John Michael from Alex. Alex was amazed at some of the "new" things JM could do - stand, "walk" (only with a hand on something), "talk" - Alex declared that JM told him "yes!"

During the long drive, I guess JM got bored. The only person he can see is Clara, so he decided to initiate a game of Peek-a-Boo with his blanket. It was so funny to see him & he thought he was just too funny!

Several times in the car on the drive home, John Michael would start giggling at Clara. I guess she is more amusing to him when he knows he isn't in danger of being over-enthusiastically hugged!

Watching the kids run around at the Little Gym - so proud of walking on the balance beam or swinging on the rings.

Alex sharing his new bike with the girls & letting them each ride it multiple times!

Having a delicious breakfast with everyone on Sunday morning (okay and Monday morning, too - if I just hadn't slept in later than everyone).

Getting to chat lots & lots with my Big Sis and not having to be on the phone to do it!

I know there are more, but unfortunately, John Michael has started to cry. I guess he doesn't think I should blog anymore tonight! Pictures coming soon...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Birthday Boy!

No - it's not yet time for JM's 1st birthday. This is a belated birthday post for Mikey!

So it will mostly be pictures since we seem to have a lot of them.

1st party - on actual birthday 1/22 (I'll be nice and exclude the year)

Good thing the party planner (Gigi) was in the house.

I was on the second or third day of running a fever and not in good shape for birthday celebrating. When I finally dragged myself out of bed on the birthday morn, the birthday banner was up, the cups and plates had been unwrapped & party hats were on. Gracie announced that they were in the midst of birthday games & did I want to play? So I joined in for a few rounds of hide and seek. Then they moved on to a new game. Check out the video below.

So I don't really know what happened after games - I went back to bed. I'm sure Gracie, Clara and John Michael kept the birthday boy busy with something. Later that afternoon, I summoned up some more energy and rounded up what presents we had (thank goodness I had done some shopping a little early) . Then after watching the girls wrap everything up, we threw together a cherry pie. The girls did a good job, but I'm not sure I had a lot of patience and my whole goal was to get the pie in the oven. The cherries probably needed a little something more (they just got dumped from can to pie crust) and the crust was a little thick. But Mike was kind enough not to complain!

Clara worked hard to get that crust into the pie pan.

I guess birthday day was also the day JM really discovered the pantry. He was quite pleased with himself. I think Mike thought it was alright for him to play there ... at least until he found an applesauce container and a rice krispie treat with bites in them!

So we got through the day and managed to have some presents for Mike that night and then pie & ice cream. Here he is with his kiddos:

Clara was pretty sad about her Tootsie Roll...

Well, about a week ago, I got a chance to redeem myself for the lack of a birthday celebration for Mike (although looking back I think Gracie & Clara did a stellar job). I hadn't been able to take the girls birthday shopping earlier, so we did that. Then we came home and decided to have an impromptu party & surprise Mike. We decided to make snickerdoodles (thought they would be easy and quick!) wrap the presents and put out the party hats (you know who had that idea). It turned into a pretty good second celebration and Mike definitely was surprised!

One in charge of measuring, the other in charge of the mixer

Everybody had to help at present time!

Daddy & Miss Rose

Okay, and the last installment of the birthday celebration (this is starting to rival Uncle Todd's birthday jubilee, hmmmm) came tonight. Mike finally got his last birthday present - a new bicycle! He had ridden his old one for 10 years, so I was happy he was finally ready to splurge and get himself a new one. We picked it up this afternoon & rolled it into the house this afternoon so the kids could see it.

The boys inspecting the new bike

John Michael approves - what more do you need?


This is what my girls did yesterday afternoon. The weather was great and they really had a good time!

Gracie was inspired by Curious George. Do you know what this object is?

And Clara practiced doing one of her favorite things these days. If I'm around, she acts like she needs me to tell her the next letter or trace dots for her. But here is proof she needs neither. I was busy cleaning out the van when this was completed!

Then, it was on to "windows" and bear feet:

And last, one of the most fun things you can create with chalk - a hopscotch!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

This is what happens...

if you leave the house to go workout (Zumba!) in the evening. And leave two nutty girls with their Daddy and a ten month-old alone for dinner and bathtime. Oh, and right after valentines have been given out at school. You know, it's not just candy that you get from your friends anymore!

Yes, that's his first tatoo on his back! Kung Fu Panda.

Lucky for Daddy, most of it wore off today and the rest came off in bath tonight. Clara is being very careful of her spider on her arm - she wants it to last as long as possible!

Aunt Sue & Mimi's Birthday

It was a double celebration last Saturday. We got to see Aunt Sue (it had been over a year since I had seen her and even longer since Mike & the girls had!) and we had a belated birthday celebration for Mimi.

Mike was a great guy and let me run off to try Bikram Yoga ("hot" yoga) with Sue as soon as we pulled up in Dallas. I just jumped out of the van and into Sue's car and we headed out. Thank you, Mikey! So as Sue & I were dripping stretching and sweating, this is what the girls & JM were up to:

I tried to minimize the icing on the top since I know Mimi's not a big fan of frosting. Plus, I knew the girls would want to decorate. Apparently, they each took half the cake & decorated their halves.

Breakfast for JM with Mimi (and some bopping with the birthday balloon)

After semi-recovering from the yoga (which was fun, but very intense) with a great brunch, we hung out with the kiddos for the rest of the afternoon. Aunt Sue was a very good aunt - she played games, snuggled, allowed herself to be bopped with the birthday balloon, posed for endless pictures from our budding photographer, carried John Michael around, the list could go on...

Here are a few shots from the day:

Can you see the family resemblance?

That's our Clara - ready to give a good wallop with that balloon!

For Mimi's party, the girls had picked flipping frogs for party "favors." I didn't really want to buy these, thinking they wouldn't be a lot of fun. Okay - I was completely wrong. Everyone had fun making them fling across the table (especially Gracie & Clara) and Mimi & Clara played with the frogs for almost an hour, with Clara making up various games and different ways to arrange the frogs. There were endless variations of things to do with the frogs. I think Pap might win the prize for the most unusual.

Clara perfecting the launch

Pap keeping an eye on Clara and those frogs!

Sorting and making patterns

Yes, check out the top of the head...

As a great finish to a fun day, we sang Happy Birthday to Mimi & had some yummy spice cake.