Wednesday, March 31, 2010
"When the summer comes there will be curtains and fountains of roses! ...Now the Spring has begun - perhaps, perhaps..."
Mary Lennox, The Secret Garden
The Spring really has begun here in Houston. We did lose several trees and plants - the cherry tree, three palms, the hibiscus... I need to start searching for what we will replace them with. But, the roses survived and they are absolutely lovely. The irises also survived and should start blooming in the next couple of weeks. I adore gardening!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Dressing up - it's not just for special occasions. Today when I was making dinner, the kids were playing in their playroom. When I called them down Bradley announced, "Here comes her royal hieney - Princess Chloe!" And, just as he said, there was Chloe all decked out in her royal regalia. I think her ladies-in-waiting need to invest in an iron, though!
Monday, March 29, 2010
We dropped some berries off at my sister's house this evening and we heard a familiar knocking. Woody (our local woodpecker) is back in action ready for Spring! This telephone pole is right in front of my sister's house and you can hear Woody pecking away at it from all over the neighborhood. He must have a lady bird near by, as they are monogamous. He is a Pileated Woodpecker and must be working on a new nest. The kids enjoy watching him work and do his drumming on the poles. It's really nice to live in an area so filled with wildlife.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Today for their Daisy meeting, our girl scouts got to dye eggs and have an egg hunt together. We talked about all the different uses for crushed egg shells (fertilizer, snail and slug deterrent, garbage disposal cleaner, you can even make chalk with them). They had a great time and are really in the mood for Easter!
Saturday, March 27, 2010
This morning we all got up early to go strawberry picking! The haul was fantastic and I've got strawberry crisp in the oven as I type this. We pick blueberries every June, so we were expecting a lot of hot, sweaty work. But this was completely easy - the farm is extremely ordering and neat (two of my favorite qualities in a working farm, you know) and the picking is simple. The kids had just a few rules: stay next to mommy and daddy, don't pick the green ones, and don't pick the blooms.
They did great and we finished so quickly that they didn't have time to get bored. The farm also has a lovely little market with locally grown produce (and oh my gosh - AMAZING pickles!). They also have the most delectable fruit pies you have ever tasted - hot out of the oven.
Next door is a little store that processes meat and sells smoked sausage and such. The kids shared a sausage on a stick and couldn't wait to get home and eat some berries.
I think we'll go again in a couple of weeks!
Friday, March 26, 2010
Can you believe this puppy isn't even 9-months old yet? (He'll be 9-months on April 1st.) He weighs 90 pounds and is still growing. He's up to 3.5 cups of food in the morning and again in the evening. We split it 1/2 puppy, 1/2 adult and he gobbles down every last crumb. I don't remember Barrett eating that much!! I'll be glad when the weather is nice enough to take him out to the dog park so he can play with some dogs his size.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
This was at the door today. Mike was like, "Do you have something you need to tell me?" Um, heck no! No clue why I would get this in the mail, but I'm going to bring it to someone at the kids' dance studio who just had a baby! Mercy - what is the mailman thinking?!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Chloe decided that the walls needed more Easter cheer, so she set to making a slew of decorations. This one is my favorite, though. Isn't the bunny adorable? She loves raiding my craft room for her supplies, so it's a good thing I always have a ton of card stock available. I like having all those things on hand - from glue and glitter to buttons and bows. The kids also have a large collection of markers, crayons, and colored pencils. Lately Chloe has been wanting to cut everything else, but I keep the scissors out of reach since I still haven't quite gotten over when she cut her own hair a couple of years ago!
We are starting to feel better, and I'm glad I don't have class tonight or I would be miserable. Somehow Bradley is still perfectly healthy (praise God!) and the rest of us are on the mend. Let's hope we stay that way!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Wow. That's just about all I can say. Wow.
Chloe, Mike, and I all have strep. We started feeling a bit run down yesterday (and Chloe ran a fever) - but overnight we were smacked with misery. We all tested positive today, so it looks like we'll have to shield Bradley from the cooties. I need to go back to bed now. What a great way to start the first week back to work after Spring Break. Ugh.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Nothing beats capturing the bad dinosaurs and making them clean up their room, huh? Bradley really started getting interested in dinos this summer and we are growing quite a collection of toys and books related to them. We've always like the books in the "How does your Dinosaur..." series and our dinos always seem to do all those very bad things. So, we keep putting them in jail. No wonder they are extinct!
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Today we went to a bridal shower for my sister's husband's brother's future bride. She'll be Lexi's new Aunt, and Erin helped host the shower. Lexi looked so precious in her springy new outfit. I cannot believe how she is changing recently - looking more like a young lady and less like a little girl. It kills me! She'll be in middle school next year, which is just mind-boggling. I don't know how the years went by so darn quickly! Today she was wearing heels and walking just fine in them and as I watched her I recalled pictures of her trying to toddle around in dress-up shoes. (Those hard plastic pink shoes that every little girl wants, but struggles to walk in.) Here she is looking tweenish, but still just as sweet. Such a blessed girl who brought so much change to her mama. Lexi was the unexpected miracle who really set my sister's life on the right track. We are completely blessed to have this child in our family. I know she will do incredible things as she gets older. I just don't want her doing them so soon!
Friday, March 19, 2010
Today Katie came over to do a homework project for her photography class (imagine that!) and needed to use Chloe as her model. She was quite willing to comply. Is it cheating that I didn't take this picture? It WAS taken with my camera, though, so it's not really cheating. Let's stick with that, okay?
In this photo she was playing with depth of field and I think she did a good job - except for the tree that looks like it's coming out of Chloe's head! Hopefully she'll get a good grade because she had to do a lot of work!! I always wanted to take a photography class - maybe some day I'll take a continuing ed class at the junior college. Like, some day when I'm not coaching, teaching, in grad school, chasing a puppy, and wrangling a 4 and 5 year old. Yeah, then.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I mentioned that we took Zeke to the vet yesterday because he needed a vaccine and a general check up. Turns out our little guy weighs 86 pounds. Crazy, huh? He is looking great - his heart sounds fine and he's growing at a good pace so he's not straining his bones. The vet said he probably won't be done growing until he's almost 3 years old. He's only 8 months old, folks. That's a lot of growing left to do! The vet also said we could feed him 1/2 puppy food and 1/2 adult food. He gets 4 cups in the morning and 4 in the evening and still acts like he's hungry. How much do you think he'll eat by the time he's full grown? Perhaps we should buy stock in our dog food company?
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I don't know what it is about little birdie stamps, but I just love them. I'm really partial to owls, but these little quails are just darling, aren't they? The inside is decorated, too, for a challenge I entered. The patterned paper is by SU! (of course), but it was only the one color, so I added the teal and green to brighten it up a bit.
Materials (all SU! unless otherwise mentioned)
Card stock: Close to Cocoa, Pumpkin Pie, Tempting Turquoise, Whisper White, Old Olive
Designer Paper: More Mustard Patterned Paper
Stamps: Happy Together
Ink: Chocolate Chip
Other: Scallop Circle Punch, 1 1/4 Circle Punch, 1 3/8 Circle Punch, Small Oval Punch, Top Note Die, Perfect Polka Dots Embossing Folder, Chocolate Chip Grosgrain Ribbon, Sponge, Mini Glue Dots, Snail Adhesive, SU! Markers, Blender Pen, Paper Trimmer
Today was crazy busy. First, I took my kids to the dentist to have their teeth cleaned. (After a multi-day battle with the insurance that probably gave me an ulcer.) They both behaved exceptionally well and sat still for both x-rays and cleanings. Chloe, apparently, has something called a "cross-bite" and will definitely need braces once she has all of her permanent teeth. Bradley is looking good, so far. Neither have any cavities and we are doing great with their brushing and flossing. W00t! We go back in six months instead of a year this time.
After we were done at the dentist's office, we stopped by Target for a snack and some quick shopping because we needed to get Lexi and Alec so they could go with us to take Zeke to the vet (for fun). After that, we took Zeke back home, packed a picnic dinner, and headed to a local park. We spent about 3 hours just hanging out at the park. The kids had a fantastic time, and they got to burn a whole lot of energy. Mike met us there after he got off of work so he could watch them play for a while and then went for a long walk with us.
Before we left the kids just had to roll down the big ol' hill. They rolled down several times, and were covered in grass stains, stray weeds, pollen, and dirt by the time they were done. But, it was completely worth it because they were just so darn happy. When we got home they showered, read a couple of books, and crashed for the night. I can't believe this week is over half way over!
Happy St. Patrick's Day! (Which, by the way, Bradley thinks is "Patrick's birthday." Patrick from Sponge Bob. )
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Ever since Saturday night, Bradley has been playing with the shopping bag from my sister's birthday present. He is wearing it as a backpack and has little treasures and such in it. I hope he doesn't decide he needs a designer backpack - although this one is rather nice. But, the reason he says he loves it is "all the great letters all over it." So perhaps he is more of a Signature style kind of guy? Lord help us!
Monday, March 15, 2010
Yeah for not having to go to work this week! Just one of the many reasons I love being a teacher. We get to spend quality time together and get a taste of what our summer break will be like. Today the kids helped make their own fruit salad for lunch. They use their own little safety knives (you can get yours HERE from my fabulous Pampered Chef consultant), which they love. We compared the sizes of the seeds in the various fruits and talked about the different weights and shapes of each one. We weighed them with our kitchen scale to see if our guesses about which weighed more were right. I think that cooking with your kids provides one of the best ways to teach math - they have fun and don't even realize how much they are learning (and, of course, you can't eat worksheets!). Just look how proud they are! I think I'll let them help make dinner, too.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Had to get a couple of things from Wal-mart this afternoon so I brought the kids with me but boy was Chloe ever in a bad mood. Just one of those moments where she was not following directions, was making poor choices, and knew it - so she was being rude to her brother and to me.
I used to like taking pictures of the kids when they were crying as babies, not because I'm cruel, but because those big fat tears and huge mouths are just part of growing up. I don't ever want to relive the hell of colic, but I want the kids to see pictures of themselves even when they weren't prepped and prettied for photos. This picture is kind of like that. So when Chloe is dealing with her own hellion daughter, I can just pull this out and smile.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
My sister's birthday was Thursday, so we got together today to celebrate. Lexi, Chloe, and I went shopping together this morning and bought her a new Coach bag (large signature Brooke in black/silver) and treated ourselves to some new things, too. (New Easter clothes for me, Bradley, and Mike - Chloe got an adorable dress from one of my friends so she is already set.)
Everyone came to our house for dinner and the kids ran around and had a great time together, as usual. We adults kept ourselves busy trying to rule on Rock Band, which (of course) we did. Well, sometimes. Then, after all the kids were in bed Erin, Lexi, and I watched Mama Mia! because I had never seen it and it's Erin's favorite movie.
Another spectacular day with the family. I was going to add "and no one got hurt," but that's not true. Chloe was holding a toy in her mouth (obviously against the rules), as captured accidentally in the photo below.
Then, Alec went to grab the toy and when he pulled it out, well, there was much blood. Chloe's very looose tooth became an extremely loose and dangling tooth. Note the look of fear in her eyes in the photo below.
After she rinsed her mouth out for a while, my sister covered the tooth with a tissue and simply twisted it right on out of there. Gross, yes. But, no more icky tooth ready to fall out any moment.
Let's hope the Tooth Fairy remembers to come tonight! (Yes, her teeth are coming in all kinds of crooked - the kids go to the dentist on Wednesday, so we'll find out then what she thinks.)
Friday, March 12, 2010
Today is Friday and the start of our Spring Break! We don't go back to school until March 22nd, so I hope we get a lot done and have a fantastic time off. This evening we had a picnic outside on the patio since it was so nice out (a bit chilly, but still pleasant) and Mike was working late. The kids each found a shape in their popcorn (like finding cloud animals, only edible).
Chloe was first - she found her Moose and made a big scene of marching the moose to his demise as he was gobbled up by the "moose-eating monster from Not Texas." (That's a scary place, you know.) Bradley really wanted to find an animal shape, too, but was not having much success. Then, he found this one and proclaimed that it was an Octopus - but I realized that he was only partially right. It's totally an Octorok! I bet you've never found an Octorok before, huh? (And no, I didn't know it's name but I knew it was that crazy little rock spitting thing from Zelda. Mike told me the name right away, though, when he saw the picture.)
I think our break is off to a great start!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Today was the Spring Open House at the kids' school and many of the 5th graders were selected to be Living History Statues - they each had a character to play and had to deliver a speech when their "button" was pressed. Lexi was Louisa May Alcott and she did a great job!
I got to tour Chloe's classroom (and the set-up was too cute), but I didn't get ANY pictures of it. I feel really bad, but I was also chasing Bradley around and trying to keep Chloe from over-exploring her room. I still don't have a single picture of her with her teacher - I have got to get that done before the school year is over!
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The trees are still looking good - but what about my grass? Is it going to get back to it's normal, lush state? Look at this picture of my yard from last summer. Please tell me I can save my grass. What should I do? I fertilized in the fall and again in January. Help!
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
After dinner Mike and I were doing the dishes and the kids were running around playing. I turned and saw poor Bradley lunge forward and completely forget to put out his arms to stop his fall. His head hit the tile floor with a sickening "thud." I got to him in half a second and swooped him up to the couch while Mike got ice. We left the ice on for 15 minutes, let him rest for 5 minutes and put it back on for 15 minutes. This is what it looked like even after all that ice. He's got a fat knot and it's starting to bruise. He's pretty tough, though. He only cried for a couple of minutes and then he was still - watching Gabba while I held the ice on the bump. Poor little man, he says he has a headache and I don't doubt it! Hopefully it won't be so bad tomorrow. He said I could call him "Rhino Boy," so I guess he's comfortable with the new addition to his features.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
My kids sing this song ALL the time and I didn't know where it was from, but today Mike told me it was from one of the shows he lets them watch on Nick Jr. and he showed me the video from Wow Wow Wubbzy: HERE, from YouTube, and HERE, from Yahoo Video.
Today kicks off the Girl Scout Birthday Week and to celebrate our Daisy Troop had a sweet little tea party. The mom who hosted did an AMAZING job with the set up - she used real china place settings and beautiful cloth napkins. The girls had tea, lemonade, weency tea sandwiches, fruit, and cupcakes.
It was just precious. They were all dressed up in their Sunday best and they used their very best manners. It was funny because we could tell how hard it was for them to restrain themselves! Hopefully we can make this an annual tradition because it was a lot of fun for the moms and the girls.
Happy Birthday, Girl Scouts of the USA!
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Our neighbor's grandson, who is Chloe's age, moved in with her a few months ago, but the kids haven't really seen him because it's been too darn cold to go outside. He has pretty severe autism, and she keeps him close to her at all times. When Chloe was playing with Zeke she heard him talking and she climbed the fence to see who it was. He saw her and ran over to the fence. He does quite a bit of echolalia and usually sing-songs to himself. But, when he saw Chloe he said, "Hi, Girl," very clearly. She climbed down and went to peak through a knot hole in the fence He stuck his finger through and she did the same. They linked their fingers and giggled for a while before he went off to play with his ball again like nothing had ever happened. I'm going to have to set up play dates for them this summer because I think he really needs to be around my kids. God had a plan when He sent him to live next door to us, I think. I can't wait to see how their friendship grows.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Mike mopped the floor on Saturday, so this really isn't too bad, right? Chloe LOVES this dumb, dumb dog. She will roll around with him and cuddle him no matter how much he stinks or drools on her. Bradley is more apt to stick him in his house and walk away than to love on him like this. Chloe still says that some day he'll be a "REALLY Great Dane!" I hope so, too, because right now he's kind of a Not-so-great Dane. It's just the constant whining. He wants to be within 2 feet of us at all times and it's just not feasible. He'll grow out of it, won't he?
Thursday, March 4, 2010
My grandmother has been staying with my mom since early November and it's been incredibly hard for everyone. Tata (for abuelita) is not an easy person to get along with and she is mean more often than not. I know that part of it is her age and decline, but part of it really is that she is not a very happy person. Chloe asked, "Why is Tata always grumpy?" Poor thing! I feel badly that I didn't get too many pictures of my kids with her because she would just refuse. Since she is leaving for California tomorrow I ran by my mom's house on the way to dance class with the kids. I made her sit with them for a couple of pictures so they would have something to remember her time with them. I'm not sure if they'll get to see her again...
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
My kids LOVE when I record them and then play it back for them. They crack up and ask to see themselves over and over. I hope I'm promoting good self-esteem and not narcissism! Classes started again tonight, so I was lucky to get home in time to tuck them into bed. It makes me sad when I miss our evening rituals of books, prayer, and snuggles. I wonder if it affects them - in 20 years they'll talk about how I wasn't there ONE NIGHT a week. Just like I harp on the time my mom gave my favorite Holly Hobby tea set and Raggedy Ann kitchen set away. I'll forgive her someday. Maybe.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Look at this cutie boy. When do you think I'm going to have to cut his hair? I just can't bear to cut it yet! I love all those soft, precious curls. I took this picture as he was telling me a story he made up about Zooming Cars in a dark cave filled with sharks. Scary stuff, huh? He definitely has a great imagination!
Monday, March 1, 2010
The kids have finally been able to play in the back yard now that it's not miserable out. I tried to get Bradley in this picture, too, but he doesn't stay still long enough for me to catch him when he's outside. He's going to be doing soccer soon and so he's been chasing that ball around as much as he can. Chloe has really taken to climbing things - the fence, trees, walls... I just hope she doesn't break something! Look at those bare toes. She's a country girl at heart and there isn't a single bug that scares her.