Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Some of my favorites

Here are a few of the phrases the kids have been using lately that always make me laugh:

From John Michael: "I'll be riiiiiiiight back ... (picture the backside of him running away, toddle, toddle, from side to side)." And in the we're still learning our consonant sounds category: pire engine, water pountain, pire man, ...
Finally, the funny story from last night - Mike was telling me that they just announced no raises for government employees for the next two years.  Not good news for us, but not much we can do about it.  We know there are plenty of people that work for the government that don't really do much work, but my husband doesn't happen to be one of them, so it's a shame they can't figure out how to reward those that actually do work.  Anyhow, Mike was saying that he heard the commentators on the radio talking about the no raise issue and the "lazy bums" that work for the government.  Well, JM picked up on that phrase and just ran with it.  We couldn't understand the first few sentences he said, but they definitely had "lazy bums" in them.  Then he went on to say "I put the lazy bums in a cage... so they won't scare you Daddy."  Watch out you lazy bums! JM will get you!

Clara gave us a good laugh on our drive home from Amarillo.  We were trying to find a place to eat dinner when she moaned from the back seat, "when are we going to eat?  I'm about to starve to death!"  Needless to say, she made it to dinner, although it barely resuscitated her.  She was almost asleep by the time she polished off her rice and bean burrito. 

Sadly, as Gracie gets older, there are fewer funnies from her.  Plus, as I get older, the chances of me remembering them gets worse.  What a bad combination!  But she did write a neat acrostic poem (they learned about them before Thanksgiving) the other day:

When I asked her when she had done that, she just said "in my spare time."   I was impressed! 

Here's another project that the younger sister did in her spare time.  It's a school and school bus.  Cool, huh?  Those blocks have been really fun and have been transformed into many, many different things.  The school and the school bus are new, though!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Over the river and through the woods ...

To Grandmother's house we go! We headed up to Amarillo to have a pre-Thanksgiving visit.

John Michael was very excited about going to Grandma's house.  When I woke him up this morning, he was sneezing.  I asked, "do you want a Kleenex?" "No...there's a Kleenex box at Granma's house."  Then he went on to talk about playing with the tea set in the bathtub.  It's been awhile since he's been over to Grandma's and Grandpa's, but he remembered a lot about it.

Once we were here and unpacking, he claimed the back bedroom as "his."  Never mind that Gracie and I would be sleeping in there as well.  His light, his clock, his big table (the nightstand), and his Kleenex box (!) all made him very happy!

JM started out sleeping in his pack and play the first night, but after a night of listening to random cries of "let me out" throughout the night, I decided to rethink the sleeping situation.  For the second night he ended up on a cot between the bed and the wall.  It was much more restful, and except for the fact that he woke up at 5am and decided that I had his pillow? and that he had to get it back, I got a much better night's sleep.  So, as Virginia put it, we'll have one less thing to pack for the next trip. 
One of the things we did on this trip was take the kids to the Alibates Flint Quarry.  It's actually a National Monument that's a little bit northeast of Amarillo (about a 45 minute drive from Mike's parent's house).  It's a guided tour, so we hiked about a mile to the top of a mesa (and almost got blown away in the process) and got to see the Alibates flint that the Plains Indians used for arrowheads, knives, etc.  It was really pretty amazing.  I guess this type of flint isn't found anywhere else in the U.S.
 Listening?? at one of the shelters to the guide talking about ... something ... (I was concentrating on the kids not blowing away and not confiscating/rearranging all the rocks on the mesa)

 Sitting at the first shelter, on a rock that had some Alibates flint in it. 
 Daddy carried him down, I carried him up.
 The girls were troopers.  Clara was about to give out when we were on the top, but she went lickety split down the hill!
The goal!  Looking at one of the flint quarries at  the top of the mesa.
I don't know how much the kids took in, but I think it would be neat to go back in five or so years and see what they remember.  Since it is a national monument, any rocks or anything (the flint type rock was all over as we got close to the top of the mesa) you see can't be taken with you and is supposed to be left where it is.  If you pick something up to get a closer look, it's supposed to go back to approximately the same place.  So, with a 2 year old boy, I'm sure you can imagine that we had a few challenges with that rule!  Mainly he wanted to stack lots of the rocks together, especially on the benches at the little shelters we stopped at on the way up.  But surprisingly, it was Clara that had the hardest time about the rules.  She had found a pretty sizable piece of the flint that she really loved.  I think she found it at the last shelter we stopped at.  I thought she knew she had to leave it there.  But about ten minutes later when we were at the top of the mesa looking at the quarries, I saw Mike carrying her and that piece of flint was snuggled up between her and Daddy (I'm sure he appreciated the extra weight! plus, it's a very sharp type of rock).  Mike finally convinced her to leave it, and when we got back to Amarillo, Grandpa saved the day by letting Clara have his flint rock to take home.  And I think it was even bigger than the one she found at Alibates.

And to make sure that no one got cheated on the rock front, we went to McBride Canyon before we headed home.  It's just a few minutes from Alibates, and Mike remembers picnicing there and picking up rocks from the creek bed when he was growing up.  Of course, it's deer season, so there were lots of campers aruond in there day-glo orange hats.  That made me a little nervous, but once we got to the creek bed (which was lots smaller, according to Mike), I forgot all about it.  Apparently, we were all a little rock crazy that day.  I filled my hands full, Clara had a Subway lunch bag that was fulllll, Gracie had her hands full, and JM was thrilled that I had dressed him in cargo pants that morning.  I'm surprised his pants didn't fall off on the way back to the car!

 The kids had fun (as always) hanging out with Grandma, Grandpa, Daisy and kitten.  Many trips were made to the basement to retrieve and exchange toys, and I have to say, Joe & Virginia have a lot of tolerance for noise and mess.  Because there was a lot of both for a few days!

Clara proudly showing off her almost perfect report card to Grandpa (she only missed counting to 100 correctly).   Gracie's had several almost perfect report cards as well (all A's in conduct and 98,99 and 100s for grades!!).  She didn't have hers on this trip though because the "graders" (as Gracie always called them last year) get their report cards every 6 weeks, and Clara will only get 3 report cards for the whole year. 

Riding scooters was a big hit this trip.  I didn't get any pictures of it, but they all rode their scooters (JM included) out on the driveway and of course, Clara had to ride downhill through the grass and then JM did that too.  I went back into the house at that point.  Mike told me later that Grampa got JM to give hi
m some scooter lessons!  The kids also wanted to scooter (and play) at the park, so we did that on Monday morning.

And of course we got to see Aunt Susie, Uncle Dave, Sarah & Katie.  But JM and the girls didn't get nearly enough time to play with their cousins.  And even though I tried to convince Aunt Susie that the girls should stay home from school, they did have to go to school on Monday (our kids had the whole Thanksgiving week off).  So they didn't get to be in our good-bye picture!

Then it was time to leave.  Poor JM had a little too much excitement over the weekend and could barely keep his eyes open.  If we hadn't needed to get on the road, I'm sure he would have fallen asleep in Grandma's lap:

And I thought this picture summed up the whole weekend for the kids - big smiles and happiness (and a little tired)!

Can you keep a secret?

So I found out last Thursday that John Michael can keep a secret, especially when it is in his best interest. 

It was almost noon and time to make our second trip up to the school, to drop Clara off for kindergarten.  JM really didn't want to go (I can't blame him, we spend lots of time in the car going back and forth to school!), so I told him I had a secret to tell him but that he couldn't tell Clara.  I told him the secret and he was ready to run to the car and get Clara to school.

We got Clara to school, walked her in, took a quick peek at the giant paper maiche cornucopia that the kindergarten class had made for the food from the canned food drive, and then headed back to the car.  As soon as I had loaded JM in his car seat, he was done keeping that secret...

"We go Mimi-Pap's!!!!"

And yes, I didn't tell my oldest two, but John Michael and I snuck away to Dallas to visit with my parents for the afternoon and evening.  I heard from Mike that those girls were mad when they found out where I had gone and that their little brother had gotten to go without them!! It's not fair, they said. 

Thursday is the day that the girls go to the afterschool program, so Mike always picks them up on his way home.  So that left JM & me free to go to Dallas for a reasonably long visit.  I didn't feel too guilty about not taking the girls because they always tell me that Thursday is their favorite school day because they love going to afterschool.  They have a Craft club and a Sports club on Thursday that the kids participate in and Clara's done both, but Gracie is sticking with (and loving) Craft Club. 

But back to our Dallas visit, John Michael really was happy about going and eager (apparently) to do anything I told him.  Once we were on our way and on the highway, I told him he should shut his eyes and try to take a nap so he would have more energy to play with Mimi .... so he did!! As soon as I asked him.  Amazing.

And yes, he had lots of energy to play with his beloved Mimi:

Pap wasn't feeling the best when we were there, but JM did get to play with him later in the visit.  We visited Pap in the bedroom, so JM tried out the bed for jumping, explored the bathroom (he liked the biiiig sink (=jacuzzi tub)), and played with the end table drawers and the little extensions that slide out to put drinks on (J, S and C, you will know what I mean!!).  He and Pap had a bit of a tickling match and then it was time for dinner.

The afternoon/evening seemed to fly by, and it was soon time for Mimi & Pap to head out for Pap's choir rehearsal.  But I got in a last picture.  JM doesn't look too happy, but he knew his fun time was about to end!

And don't tell his sisters, but JM & Mimi invented a fun new game.  Here they are in action, I think on round four or five: