Monday, April 27, 2009

Moles & Mud

What happens when you have moles in your yard and then lots of rain?

The Catch

Got a big one tonight!

3pm at our house


Working on *two* dinners - I don't normally do this, but I was making Cowboy Stew and it's pretty spicy (even for me). So the girls (and JM) got pasta with meatballs.

The girls:

Needless to say - we're catching up on our rain. This is what the yard looked like after just one morning of rain! We woke up to lots of thunder, lightning and rain this morning. Gracie said, "I think school will be delayed because of the thunder and lightning." Hmmmm, has it been dry here for awhile or what?


So sacked out that I was even able to use the flash. And what's up with those legs? Gracie used to do that, too. Mike & I have always said how fun it would be to have a video monitor and see what they are doing in their cribs before they settle down to sleep.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Hallelujah Hop!

The Pre-K4 classes and the Kindergarten classes at Holy Cross have put on the Hallelujah Hop for the past 10 years. This year, the show was on April 7th at a local church in the evening. Since the performance didn't start until 7:30, John Michael and Clara got to stay at home with the babysitter (plus, they had been to numerous performances over the last 2 weeks and were going the next day to the performance at a nursing home). So it was a rare night out alone with Mommy & Daddy for Gracie.

Here she is at home, all dressed and ready to go and loving her outfit for the show:

(Yes, I survived the making of the poodle skirt. I'll be prepared for next year when I have to do two!)

Then it was on to the show. They have the kids come early so they can take pictures. We weren't quite as "on-time" as everyone else (who knew that you should really be there an hour early if you didn't want to sit pretty much in the back!). But we got aisle seats and I was able to take a few good shots during the performance.

Here are a few shots before the show, with the excited performer:

This is Gracie's class (morning pre-k4). Sitting next to Gracie is one of her good friends, Presley (with the glasses) and on the other side is William, another friend and the boy she dances with in the show.

Finally, all the pictures were done and the show began. Even though I had been watching rehearsals of it (and listening to the CD in the car and at home), it was still really neat to see all the kids up on stage in their costumes performing. Gracie wasn't nervous at all & really enjoyed it! She's not use to staying up much past 8:30 though, so by the end, she was pretty tired!

Here she is doin' the twist!

And this is her doing her part (as a dancer) with William. All the kids had a special "part" in the performance. It was really nice the way they did it. The kids all got a chance to show off their talents without being overwhelmed.

William giving Gracie a twirl - which was very funny, because Gracie is taller than William!

A happy girl after the show, skipping through the parking lot with Daddy.

One last treat for the night - ice cream at Dairy Queen!

And they all had to get up and do it again the next day at the nursing home. Clara was thrilled to go and watch and John Michael was pretty good about it, too. Then we all got to go to the malt shop for the "cast party" and some lunch!

A loving and patient sis, who knew the Hallelujah Hop almost as well as her Big Sis at this point!

Favorite Phrases & Milestones

"I'm a genius!" (said sarcastically)

"You crack me up, Mommy"
"I can't wait until I grow up and have a baby and then I can join Weight Watchers, too."

John Michael:
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday nights - slept all night (waking up at 5:45am counts as all night, right?)
Wednesday - 1st taste of neon green playdoh (reaction: yuck!)
Thursday - 1st step (but only one)
Friday - 1st taste of dog food (reaction: yuck!)
Friday - 1st step again & again (but only one at a time - he just did it twice in one evening)
Saturday - 1st step again (I think he's just teasing us)

He's One!

April 5th seemed to come around surprisingly fast. At least over these last couple of months. It's hard to believe that John Michael is already one!

Conveniently, the 5th was a Sunday this year, so JM got to have one of his aunts and one set of grandparents at his party. My party planner helped get everything lined up for the celebration (although I had to convince her to hold off on the party games until maybe the 2nd birthday), and Clara was busy helping as well. Mike was working that weekend, so we took advantage of JM's morning nap to get his "cake" finished.

My eager helpers!

The "Lion - ba-Bion" Cake (modeled after his stuffed animal that Aunt Mary Jo got him last year in Colorado)

It was a gorgeous spring day, so the kiddos went out for some sunshine and fun with "Da!"

Then it was time for the guests and the party. Aunt C arrived and then Mimi & Pap.

John Michael even decided to hold still long enough for Pap to hold him on his lap.

I don't have any pictures of Mimi because I think the girls whisked her away to their bedroom. C was helping me finish the cooking. So, first order of business (thanks to a suggestion from the older girls - and I don't mean Aunt Carolyn!) - presents!

The madness starts:

And on it goes ... Clara & Gracie went at it & everything was open in 5 minutes!

I think this was the only piece of wrapping paper John Michael got hold of!

The aftermath.

But I don't think John Michael minded all the help - he loved his presents! Here he is with his drum and xylophone (from us):

No instructions (nor any undoing from their boxes) needed for those toys - he went at them right away.

With his new Cowboys hat on - playing that xylophone again.

And how many people does it take to open a 1-year old's presents?

After recovering from the massive present opening, it was time for dinner.

Guess what JM was ready for after that?

Can you say where's the cake???

I think he was sure he blew that candle out himself!

He really enjoyed his party. Gracie & Clara had gone in his room in the morning and sung Happy Birthday to him, then he got another round of it when we called "Da" at work during breakfast (the girls decided to sing it again), and I'm sure we got it in at least one more time before the "official" singing at cake time.

I don't think I let either Gracie or Clara eat any birthday cake when they were one (I know, I'm so mean!), but John Michael got to have a mini cupcake, icing and all. He gobbled it all up.

After cake, Gracie & Clara thought they would sneak off and play with some of the new toys ...

But John Michael wasn't having any of that - as Mimi pointed out, he knows which toys are his!

Time for good-byes - Thanks for coming to the party Aunt C!

And Mimi & Pap escaped without a good-bye picture, but we were happy they were able to make it over for the little man's 1st birthday party as well!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

See - I'm going to catch up.

This was just a busy week and Wednesday was no exception. We took Gracie off to school then met with a friend at the doughnut store so we could talk about Vacation Bible School (did I mention that I agreed to direct it at our church with my friend Julie?). We hung out there for a while (John Michael tried sprinkles off his sister's doughnut - that wasn't my plan, but he was faster than me. I'm happy to report he didn't like them) and then went up to the church to take care of a few things there. Then it was time to head back to Holy Cross to pick up Gracie from school. We headed home for a little R&R and then it was off to ...

Strawberry Pickin'

Those girls were good strawberry pickers - we came home with 14lbs of strawberries! JM did his work on the consumption side - not strawberries though (maybe in a few more months) - he just ate crackers!

We went to the farm with the Mom's Club group, so here is our attempt to get a picture of all the kids! Can you tell how windy it was??

Normally a day we can stay at home & catch up on things (laundry, rest, laundry, housecleaning, laundry). Not this week! Gracie's big performance for school is next week, so there were extra rehearsals this week on Thursday and Friday to allow for the morning and afternoon PreK to be there at the same time. Oh - and for some reason I thought this would be a good week to start working out again in the mornings with my trainer. So we had to rush and be at the gym by 8:15 and then rush over to Holy Cross. But it was great fun to see Gracie and the other kids practicing. John Michael and Clara were mesmerized - too bad I couldn't get a picture of them!

Here's the hopping part of the Hallelujah Hop (Gracie is at the close end of the front row)

Wish I could have gotten a picture from the front - the girls are all supposed to be looking sweet and singing "oooohhh." Gracie looks so sweet doing this! Maybe the night of the performance I will get a better shot! It's a very fun, upbeat 50's performance. Gracie is having fun doing it, so I'm glad about that. She seems to love to be up on stage and the dancing, singing and motions are right up her alley!

This was also the day that Gracie and Clara played their own version of Blue's Clues (a kid's show) in the afternoon. Clara & her (blue) stuffed animal were Blue and left clues; Gracie was Steve and used her notebook to draw all the clues and then try to figure out what "Blue" wanted to do. That part was a little confusing, because I'm not even sure that Clara knew exactly what her clues were supposed to mean.

Oh -and a last exciting thing. When I was unpacking artwork from Kids Klub (the gym nursery), I discovered that Gracie has moved on to the next level of people drawing. Check out this guy in her picture below - arms, legs and feet (and they're not all sticks!). Pretty cool!

A little less hectic today. Holy Cross for rehearsal. Church for a quick meeting with Father Mel about VBS. A quick run through the church garage sale (we were there anyhow, right?). And a few dollars later we were back home. Where we stayed the rest of the day, thank heavens!

Here is what I think our best buy (50 cents) was at the garage sale:

Yes - it's Parcheesi! I wondered if maybe I was a little crazy to try and have a 5 & 3-year old playing Parcheesi, but it worked out very well. We only played with 2 men apiece, but I didn't modify the rules other than that. I wasn't planning on including burning and doubles rules, but I mentioned the burning and they wanted to do that! Of course, Gracie referred to it several times as wanting to "fire" my man or Clara's. I chose to make some less than wise moves, so Clara got to burn me twice (she was quite excited to learn that she got to move 20 places!) and Gracie once. Clara was the big winner and Gracie came in a close second (I think just one roll behind). I think I still had one man at my home base...

Clara amazed me with her patience and I was impressed with Gracie's ability to know all the numbers on the dice and to do quick adding of the two. I love playing board games, so I'm very happy to know my girls enjoy them, too!!

Last - here's the little man. He was just so darn cute and so good, entertaining himself and letting us finish our game.

The rest of the weekend

Well, in addition to planting the garden last weekend, we did manage to accomplish a few more things.

A big accomplishment - Mike off on his new bike for longer than a 10 mile ride. When he came back, he said he had gone faster at a certain point on the route than he ever had in previous rides. Wow - the difference a new bike can make, I thought. Turns out there was a big tail wind at that part of the ride! But I think he really did enjoy his new bike & I'm sure it has to be faster!!

Okay - this next thing seems a little out of season, but you've got to get your firewood when you have the chance! We've burned our way through the 8 or 9 trees that we cut down a few years ago, so we actually had to *buy* firewood! Mike did the tough job of driving to Joshua with the trailer and getting the wood loaded up. You can see the unloading and stacking crew below!

Clara must be the hardest working 3-year old I know! She really helped me out. She was carrying logs over and putting them on the rack, climbing onto the pile of firewood to find a piece to carry, standing in the trailer and throwing logs off (hmmm, sisters, does anything about this seem familiar if you substitute rocks for logs?). And once all of the logs were off the trailer, she swept it off and got it really clean. Amazing! I think she was out there working hard for an hour with me (and it was cold and windy).

Yes - we've got a little more than a cord of wood stacked and ready for next winter now!

And finally, to round off the weekend on Sunday night, we made one of our favorites for dinner, but with a new twist. MYOP night - Make Your Own Pizza night, but this night we made mini pizzas (or mini, mini, mini pizzas if your name is Gracie!).

I don't normally put pictures of our dinner on our blog (am I that hard up for subject matter?), but there is a point to this. Here are the pizzas that I made:

I thought they looked pretty good.

But then I checked out my daughters' pizzas:

Check out the fancy decorations (faces, flowers, etc).

Best of all, they were delicious! A good end to the weekend.