Friday, July 31, 2009

Bathroom Redo

I think I might have mentioned it in some past posts, but we are now actually in the middle (I hope) of the actual bathroom reconstruction. Mike has been working tirelessly over the last month or so to get all of the old master bathroom demoed and also getting some things done for the new bathroom that we didn't want to trust to the "professionals." He did an awesome job on the demo and we'll have some extra nice touches in both bathrooms thanks to him!

I think we forgot to take any real before pictures (and I can't imagine why would otherwise have any pictures of our bathroom!!), but here's the closest we've got - the night before the reconstruction begins.

This is looking into our master bathroom from the front bathroom. Mike took out the linen closet that was in the front bathroom to make room for our new, bigger shower. So for a short while we had connecting bathrooms!

And here's another view from the front bathroom. Those are our old bathroom fixtures. The new shower will be on the adjacent wall so the spray won't hit the door - yeah!!

Our sink area, with the new drywall (in green) replacing our white tile that was there. The half wall is new, too!

Yikes - that just looks wrong - a big pile of dirt in our new shower area! But that's what it looked like for a day or two. All the old cast iron piping got replaced with PVC. And just how did they get all that concrete out you might be wondering? Well, they jackhammered it out. A noise which the kids and I did not enjoy very much!! It was quite a loud day. We kept thinking it was all finished and then we would get another surprise. First Gracie was in the front bathroom and got scared "half to death" when they started up again and then later that afternoon, JM wandered into the front bathroom and then they started up again & he got quite upset. Even the workmen came out to see what was the matter he was so loud!! After that, they would come and tell us there was going to be a loud noise, even if was just the quick pop of an air gun!

And there's our front bathroom, with connecting feature gone!! And yes, we're hoping to wallpaper that new piece of drywall and have it blend right in with the rest of the bath. We're hoping to tackle that this weekend. Keep an eye out for the pictures.

And they've completed quite a bit more in the master bathroom, but I'll save that for another post. Oh and I might want to wait until after Monday, when they get to rip up the new floor tile they just put down and then redo it the right way . . .

Getting ready for school

So we (just the girls & I) went shopping at Target the other day & had to look through the school supply section. We don't actually need to buy school supplies since the school provides everything (for a fee, of course!), but it is always fun to look!

I told the girls they could each pick one thing to buy. Gracie picked a small purple calculator (and I do mean small - it fits completely in John Michael's hand) that she just loves. I keep hearing about how six plus six equals twelve and all sorts of similar sums. I was trying to teach her how to use the subtraction key today - of course we were driving to Ft. Worth in the van so that made it a little challenging!

Clara picked the 15 pack of pencil cap erasers for her treat. I'm not sure why she loves them so much, but she does. She and Gracie had a blast matching them to their pencils. Clara has always liked using pencils. She will often use a pencil to color in a picture - not the colored pencils, but just a regular no. 2 pencil.

And not to fear, JM wasn't left out of the fun. There were two small round cap erasers and John Michael was just sure they should be pulled off of the pencils and bounced on the floor. He kept laughing and laughing as I would put them back on the pencils and he would pull them off again and toss them across the floor.

But the best part of Target (for Clara at least), was getting a new backpack. Clara already has a small Dora one, but it won't hold a school folder. Last year, we found that a folder was really handy for Gracie to have in her backpack for papers going to school and coming home from school. We didn't actually plan on buying one that day, but thank heavens we did. Here she is enjoying her purchase:

Front view

Back view - yes it's Tinkerbell. She also got a Tinkerbell folder to match.

Anyhow, she spent most of the rest of that day carrying it around. But it was really the next morning that I found out how much she loved her backpack . . .

Yes - that is what you think it is. I kept telling her to get dressed that morning, so she went and got her clothes, put them in her backpack and then felt the need to take off her pj's so they could be transported via backpack as well! Classic Clara!!

A few hours later, this is what she looked like as we were heading out the door to a friend's house for a MOMS Club recipe exchange (lunch and playing!).

And just today, the backpack had to be used to carry provisions into Costco. (Provisions, why would you take provisions into a warehouse store??? Okay, if you are asking that question, you clearly haven't shopped at a large warehouse store with a 5 year-old, 3 year-old and 1 year-old. Food, more food, toys and wipes.)

So, I have a feeling the backpack will be quite broken in by the time we start school in just 25 short days!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Growth according to Clara

So - we might have to work on our idea of how the whole growth process goes.

The other night Clara declared (after bathtime & brushing teeth, of course), that she was hungry and needed to eat. I told her that she needed to eat more at dinner so she wouldn't be hungry right before bedtime. And no more food tonight. So then she informed me that if she didn't eat she would start to shrink and get smaller, and smaller, and smaller, until she was back to baby size.

At dinner tonight we got her updated views. Gracie brought up that I had mentioned in Colorado that men can eat more than women (I don't remember this, but I'm sure I did say it!). So I was trying to explain why that was and after my oh-so illuminating explanation, Clara said, but girls have to eat a lot, too. If they don't they will shrink and get smaller and smaller. And she held up her hands for a visual. Apparently if you don't eat, you will shrink to four inches tall! So we all chuckled and moved on. Or so I thought. A few minutes later when I was reminding her to eat her hamburger, she told us that "the more you eat, the more birthdays you have."

So there you have it, growing by an almost four year-old (but don't dare to call her that to her face!!! I learned my lesson the other day when I tried. "MOMMY - I'M THREEEEEEEE!")

p.s. Lesson of the Day: Always remove your 15 month old's shoes after he has been in the sandbox. Seems obvious, but becomes even more obvious when you go to change a diaper and all the sand dribbles out once you are in the middle of the changing process. Oh - and your water in the house should be shut off at the same time, just so it's not possible to get all that sand off except with lots and lots of wipees.

Monday, July 27, 2009

What a 16 month old (boy) does . . .

Recycle himself (this is the basket where we keep our paper recycling) - it was a favorite spot for a few weeks in June.

Forget the doll - take your watering can for a stroll if you don't want to be too girlie (and of course, try to get in the stroller yourself)


Eat ... (Daddy - you aren't supposed to give him the popsicle on the wooden stick by himself yet. Tssk, Tssk, the things you discover when you review the pictures on the camera)

and Eat!! (these are the current favorite snacks - granola bars and whole apples)

Why I shop at Costco

It's not really for convenience or to save money, is it? That would be so boring!!

Notice that JM is providing music for the show (that's a slide whistle dangling from his mouth!)

Finally - we get the original task accomplished!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Daddy & Clara visit Amarillo

Last weekend, Clara got the chance (for really the first time) to experience what life as an only child/grandchild might be like - at least for a few days!

Mike was going up to visit his parents and I was still recovering from my bout with stomach flu, so we decided to send a smaller contingency to the panhandle. Clara and Gracie were both excited about the plan. No complaints at all when I told them about it. I think it has been an awful lot of togetherness for them this summer - we are counting the days until school starts!!

I don't know much about the trip or the weekend (maybe Mike will have a few comments to add??), but I know they made it up to Amarillo in about 6 hours which is a great time! Before Clara had left, she mentioned that she wanted to get something from the ice cream truck. Last summer, we had just pulled into Joe & Virginia's driveway, when we heard the ice cream truck. So the girls got to have their first experience with that & Clara definitely remembered! I told her she would have to see if they were at the house when the ice cream truck went by.
Well, she is one lucky girl:

Mike said this was the exact same thing (Daffy Duck on a stick) that she got last time. You can see how pleased she is!!

They also got to see Grandma's two kittens. Aren't they cute?

And again, I don't know much about the weekend, but I'm assuming either Clara got the camera or ... maybe there were some extra refreshing beverages being consumed by the camera operator???

So the crew got in around 9:30 on Sunday night. Of course Clara probably should have gone straight to bed, but she was sure she needed more of her pasta (leftover from the dinner stop). Mike said he had never seen her eat so much spaghetti and so quickly as she did at dinner that night. And she ate quite a bit that evening at home, too. Then she had to show me some of her treasures from the weekend. Most importantly, her new coloring book (from the TXDOT Travel Plaza) and her new box of crayons from Grandma. She has informed her big sis and little brother multiple times this week that they are HER crayons. She is very proud of them.

She finally headed to bed that night, but Monday morning came all too quickly for some of us (okay . . . for me). First thing (before breakfast), Clara had to show off her new (Daddy's old) Hot Wheels track. The girls had some complicated idea about taping it to the easel, etc. But I didn't think that would stand up to John Michael's "inspections." In a burst of ingenuity (or so it seemed at 7am), I told the girls to put the track under the sofa cushion to make a ramp. So here's Clara racing those cars down it. I guess I was sleepier than I remember because I thought for sure I had taken several more pictures when all three of them were playing with it. Oh well ...

After breakfast, Clara had to get out her coloring book. I didn't manage to get pictures that day, but you can see what they were busy doing on Tuesday morning as well...

I love the serious look on her face. And she is very serious when she is working on that book!

She was working on mixing colors to see what the outcome was and also making her picture "multi-color" one of her favorite "colors!"

Gracie pulled out one of her TXDOT coloring books to work on, too.

And of course, JM didn't want to be left out. What a goofy look - he has started saying "cheeez" when you are trying to take his picture, which results in this funny look!!

And finally, a very happy Clara. Thank you Grandma & Grandpa - she certainly had a fun weekend and enjoyed her special vanilla cake & all her treasures she brought home!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

June 17th - some fun firsts

Yes - I'm still catching up on things I wanted to blog about!

This is the day John Michael finally succeeded in getting up on the recliner in his bedroom by himself. But could he just sit & rock like my girls had done? No, no. Check out all this action. (and yes, that's a marker in his hand!)

I'm up!

ooooooo - what's down there???

Hey, if I stand up, I can make this thing rock better!

Push the book off, now me ... wait, maybe I should go backwards (and yes, he usually does!)

And of course, I didn't capture the first few seconds of this activity. But JM did put all those rings on himself. Watching him was so funny, he knew something was wrong, that's why he kept taking off that orange ring. But he just couldn't figure it out! This was the first time I've seen him actually put the rings on the spindle. (And I haven't seen him do it since!)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The VBS Picture I forgot ...

I think this picture sums up John Michael's take on the week at VBS!

While we were having our crazy closing assembly (130 kids, plus volunteers & parents in a parish hall with *bad* acoustics) & the girls were busy singing their songs they learned during the week, this was what JM was doing:

And that's about how I felt, too!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Madness!

Okay - I haven't made it to the end of our Colorado trip yet (in my blog), but I just had to put this video up. This is on the drive home - I think from Amarillo to Fort Worth, so the second day in the car.

Gracie was asking about her new letter workbook, JM was doing one of his favorite things - playing peek-a-boo and Clara was . . . well, Clara was being Clara!

Pajama Party

You probably didn't get an invitation, but tonight was Clara's big pajama party.

Planned at about 4:30pm this afternoon, I don't really know what put the idea in her head. But we all were told that we were invited to the pajama party this evening. The requirements were that you took a bath, went potty and put on pajamas (grown-ups included). Thankfully, the requirements were waived once it was decided that two girls were clean enough to skip bath (one of their favorite "treats"). Even the pj requirement was waived, but just for grown-ups. And nakey was okay for a baby (although he did get dressed during the "party" in his pjs).

The festivities were kicked off with an impromptu "song" with the girls holding their hula hoops and chanting a welcome for us. Then it was time for singing and music (provided by the pre-recorded songs on our lovely keyboard that Santa brought (from Wal-Mart) several years ago that will probably last until the kids are in their 20's). Next it was time for drum playing - turn over several large plastic containers from Costco and you have a great drum set. And in case you missed it the first several times it was announced, Clara is the teacher and Gracie is the helper. But Gracie doesn't have a clue what we are doing because Clara is in charge (this was a very important concept to her ... hard to relinquish that big sis power). Then Gracie left to go set up the next activity - resting. The rest of us (Clara, JM and me) got to sample the rest of the musical instruments (xylophone, slide whistle, drum, maraca) - of course John Michael loved this part. And in fact, we left him there with the instruments while we headed off for our resting time.

In the playroom and found nap mats and couch cushions laid out for everyone. I flopped down on the floor immediately and pretended to sleep. Clara and Gracie followed suit and then John Michael showed up and thought resting would be a good idea, too. He was pretty cute - he was sharing Gracie's nap mat and was lying on the bottom half of it, but would sit up and crawl on her a little and then settle back down. Then Mike came in and read JM's bedtime story to us all. Of course, John Michael had to walk around a little, flop on top of Clara (who loved it, of course) and also play with the doll house for a minute. But he was quickly frustrated with that when the Daddy Doll wouldn't fit in the chair - he just flung him out of the doll house. And unfortunately into Gracie's head. But miraculously, Gracie didn't get too upset and Mike just continued reading on (I think he missed seeing all of this).

The party was almost over (right?? - I thought it just had to be!). John Michael headed off to bed and I (un)wisely stayed behind to finish the party with the girls. They informed me that exercises were next and Gracie would be the teacher. Our first "exercise" required doing a nee-hah jump twice, spinning around and then a forward roll. I had to get my nerve up (and put an extra blanket down on our cork floor) but I actually did the forward roll... I think I should either practice those more or plan on not doing them anymore. Anyhow, when my head stopped hurting, we were on to the second "exercise." Walking the balance beam (my yoga mat rolled up lengthwise) and then tossing and dribbling the ball. After that, teacher Gracie informed us that the last "excercise" was really playing doctor, nurse and patient.

Well, I won't bore you with all the details of that but even as I'm typing this I'm thinking, "why did I let this go on so long?" Oh - and then there was a board game that followed this to end the party. Needless to say, it was a rough bedtime for Clara. Mike was great and took over after the game, I think I was all partied out.

So - a fun night, but too much, too late. And one of those things you look back on and think, what was I thinking?

But tomorrow is a new day - with opportunities for lots more fun, and of course, lots more lapses in judgment! (and maybe some new pictures on the blog!!)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Colorado - Treasure Hunting

So one of the things we like to do for fun (in Colorado or not) is go look for geocaches. If you don't know what this is, you get to go look it up on Google! We call it treasure hunting for the kids and we actually have our own treasure box that we maintain in Burleson.

Anyhow, there are some good geocaches in Colorado and we looked up some of them on a couple of different days.

The first day, we all tried to go, but by the time we got to the top of Bachelor (a road & a mountain in Creede), JM was asleep so I stayed with him while the others went looking.

Okay - I did go check out the treasure box once they found the one in sight of the van! (it was hidden in one of the tree stumps).

Clara picked a clear blue piece of glass for her "treasure."

This was Clara's favorite part of the that day's trip. As she put it,
"The burnt down cabin 'cause they didn't paint." Mike said that he always loved to come and see it when he was younger, too.

On the drive down, we saw lots of deer.

Aunt Mary Jo went with the girls & Mike for the next treasure hunt. I think they went back to Bachelor to find some different caches that we didn't have time for on the first day.

Here they are, heading into the forest...

Success, treasure located!

Happy girls with their treasure. Gracie got marbles and a compass. Clara chose tattoos. And I think Aunt Mary Jo got a magnet and maybe a geocoin(you move these from cache to cache & log on to a website so the owners can follow their movements - we have something similar to this in our treasure box!) Gracie loves her compass & has been guiding us with it in the van since she got it. I was informed just yesterday that I had parked "east."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Getting There - Colorado

Okay - Colorado. So we went back in May and now it's ... July. Hmmm. Well, here's how we made it up to Colorado with 3 small children:

Rest stop on the way to Amarillo. This one is our favorite - it has lots of slides, rings, ladders, etc. The girls love it & John Michael even had fun crawling around on the slides. It would be perfect if they would put a canopy over it. We were lucky and it was only in the 70s and overcast that day. During the peak of the summer you can't touch any parts of it - way too hot!

And what did we do when we got to Amarillo? Went to the park after dinner to see if the kids might be able to sleep better & handle being in the car all of the next day. It sort of worked ...

A stroll in the park in Amarillo.

And last, our big stop (although not our only!) in Raton on the way to Creede, CO from Amarillo.
There's a nice park there & we usually pack a lunch or buy Subway sandwiches, eat and let the kids play for awhile. This was Gracie's idea for this time:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

VBS Photos

Alright - I'm finally getting around to pictures! Many things have happened to my good intentions, not the least of which was stomach flu for 2.5/5 of the household (JM & I are the only ones who seemed to have completely escaped!). Anyhow, here are just a few pictures from the week. You wouldn't think you could do so much in three hours, but the kids went to opening assembly, crafts, music, bible stories, snack & recreation, discovery and closing assembly. My kids were wiped out by the time we headed home (and that wasn't until around 2pm on most days). On Wednesday, JM summed up his point by doing the unthinkable:

Can you believe it? I don't think he's ever fallen asleep in my lap recently. But the next day, he actually fell asleep as I was carrying him around and trying to finish things up for the day. It was a tough week for him, but he was a trooper! And I think he had a blast in the nursery:

Here are pictures of Gracie's class & Clara's class. They were in our smaller classes. We had grouped the older grades (2nd & 3rd and 4th&5th) because we were told those were smaller groups in previous years. Ooops - not this year. We had almost 50 kids in the 2/3 class and35 in the 4/5.

The VBS kids also raised almost $240 in a week (in change) for a local charity that supports local kids with school supplies. We were amazed it came to that much! So here are the rest of the shots from the week (at least the ones that include my kiddos!). Enjoy.

Foot washing at the Last Supper

Taking a break in the shade for Duck, Duck, Goose. It was a very hot week! I think it was 100 degrees every day.

Craft time (making binoculars)

Singing at closing assembly. The VBS kids all got a chance to sing one of the songs they learned during the week on Sunday at mass (after communion). They had a blast & got a big round of applause from the congregation.