Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Break , Part One and a Half

So these are my two "crazy" bears, playing together outdoors.  And there wasn't any fighting or pushing, they were just having a blast.  Clara was quite pleased they were playing a "game" together - I think it might be the first time they have really been able to do that! 

I'm not sure you can see it, but John Michael has a litltle plastic dog in his hand.  (And don't you just love his "necklace?"  That's Gracie's - it's actually the leftover chain from our ceiling fan pull and she's turned it into a necklace & just loves to wear it - just love that, right?).

So here is how the game starts - you race to climb into the slide (clearly Clara goes over the top and JM goes the more traditional route).

Step 2 - "Drop the Dog"  (that's the game title, I think).  JM is in charge of positioning the little fellow over one of the little holes in the top surface of the slide and letting him plummet to the ground below. 
See - he's just about to drop it.  And I didn't get a good picture of the next step - but I think it's called shriek, scramble and search.  And as they race to get down off the slide, Clara goes over the top, JM propels himself off the platform over the ladder (why would you want to actually go down the slide???) and they run to go underneath and find the plastic dog.  Over and over and over.  Apparently, it's a blast to play.  Unfortunately, they haven't played it again since that day becasue the poor little puppy never made it inside.  Hopefully, it didn't make it into Coco's belly ...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Break - Part 1

Well, we're trying to get back into the swing of things after a week off, but it's been a little bit of a struggle. Probably I shouldn't turn off my alarm in the morning and we should probably all be out of bed before 7:45 since Gracie is tardy at 8:15am. And today was picture day, too! Oh well, she actually made it there right at 8:15. I'm so thankful the school is so close.

Spring break was pretty fun this year. Gracie kept telling me she was going to sleep in, but she was out of bed by 7:30 every day (and some days earlier). She got an extra long spring break since kindergarten conferences were Thursday & Friday. So the break started off with me getting to hear that she's been doing well in school. You think everything is fine & she's doing well, but it's always nice to hear from someone else.

Then on Saturday I did something I had long promised the girls we would do - I took them roller skating! We found a great rink in Arlington (the Skatium) that offers skating classes on Saturday morning (all levels - beginner through advanced. (Sue, I was having flashbacks to the Skate Place!)) and after the lessons the kids can skate free at the session. And I get to skate for free (and the girls did too, since it was their first time to go).

It was a little bit of a rough beginning for us all (why don't your legs seem to remember how to skate after only, hmmm... 20 years?), but then the kids went to the class and the teachers really helped them out. Gracie seemed to really catch on pretty quickly and surprisingly, Clara was the one that had a harder time (it's usually the reverse with things that require balance and coordination). But they both stuck with it through the lesson.

Then we had a snack at the snack bar (ring pop and starburst) and then I headed with them out onto the rink floor. We made it around a few more times (Gracie skated on ahead and Clara and I took our time) and that was plenty for them. We were there about an hour and a half and Clara counted 3.5 times around the rink for her. Gracie probably made it a few more times, but she wasn't counting.

So we went again this past Saturday and I actually brought the camera! They had a blast and Clara finally really got the hang of things right at the end of her lesson. She just reminded me that she made it around the rink *13* times! She really kept after it. Gracie and I had already gotten off the floor & she decided to go around one more time. Gracie was busy working on trying backwards skating and doing a little hop (they work with them on that in the class).

So here are some pictures - it's not actually that dark, I think my flash wasn't strong enough since the batteries were giving out.

And they're off. I'm sure we'll keep going. We're even thinking about taking JM.... definitely will have to get some pictures of that if we do - I think he would love it!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Reality Check!

Clara and John Michael were both playing outside the other day. Clara was on the driveway and John Michael was playing on the driveway until then a truck drove up to our neighbor's house. So he took off across the front yard. Now even though our whole yard is fenced (chain link fence) and the dogs are always out with the kids, I don't really like the idea of JM standing at the far corner of our property near a truck that had a man standing outside it talking to someone inside (and I didn't recognize the truck or the man . . . but it did turn out to be the meter reader for our water company).

So I started calling to John Michael, telling him not to go so far away. I kept hoping he would listen to me and come back, lose interest in the truck, whatever, because I knew he would pitch a big fit if I went over and carried him back across the yard. So after no luck with my calling to him, I asked Clara to try and call him to see if he would come back for her, and I kept calling to him as well, saying don't go so far away.

Finally, clearly exasperated with me, Clara piped up with "Mom, it's not like he's going to Chicago!"

Thank you dearest for the reality check - what *was* I thinking? And how do you know where Chicago is anyhow?


Mike took Clara & JM off on a surprise adventure and got rid of all of our recycling and our branches and came home with the best thing ever ... GRAVEL!

Most of it was efficiently unloaded by the two workers you see here, of course with the help of the dump truck.

So in addition to making a better transition between our concrete driveway and the dirt (mud?), it's been lots of hours of fun for the kids. There were only a few upsets about the trouble it causes when trying to ride your bike through it, and once the girls discovered the fun of making tracks in it with the bikes that was resolved. JM's method was just to "ride" (push with his feet) the trike full speed at it and get stalled out by it.

It has been a great $30 "surprise."

My "B" Bears!

Brownie Bear

Bunny Bear

Berry Bear

More to come soon, I promise. I found the card reader, so it's much easier to blog now that I have pictures on the computer to remind me of what we have been doing for the past month!