Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mud Puddles

The girls had been begging to be able to jump in puddles and play in the rain.  I put them off on Monday because it was pretty chilly out.  But I told them Tuesday was supposed to be rainy and warm (70s).  So, they were ready.  The problem with Tuesday is they are already very busy with preschool and swim lessons, so we had a very limited span of time to fit this in.  The morning was rainy with good puddles, but still cool.  Then, an unexpected thing happened; the sun came out and the wind picked up.  Then, it was a beautiful evening – dry, sunny, and warm.  By the time swim lessons were over at 5pm, there were no puddles for jumping….

Except for one, which was my fear.  It is a large puddle at the end of our neighbors’ gravel/dirt driveway.  Which means, the puddle is not pure rain water, puddle jumping material.  It is a mud hole.  I sucked it up, found their oldest clothes, and sent them in.

Ellie was hesitant at first, while Madison was ready for action.

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Soon Ellie got the hang of it, and then they never stopped.

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They ran.

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They posed.

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They splashed.

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They jumped.

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And jumped.

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And jumped.

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Needless to say, they went straight up to the bathtub and their clothes went straight into the washer – both came out looking pretty clean!  It was well worth the mess.

Weekend happenings

This past weekend, Jeremy went on a backpacking trip with three other guys (two of them being my younger brothers).  He was loaded down, as were they all.  Friday, it rained and rained.  I, being a fair weather camper/hiker, would have been tempted to call it off, but these guys were troopers and went anyway.  Apparently, it was soggy and very dark that night since the fire went out early.  The next two days were comfortable and good for hiking.  It sounds like they all had a good time, and all were a little wore out from all the hiking. 

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While he was gone, the girls and I found ways to entertain ourselves.  On Friday, we went to my parents’ house along with Steph, Sam, Lilli, Steph, Cale, and Landen.  The cousins had a ball playing together – house, babies, office, forts, wild animals, games, etc.  The adults enjoyed the fact that they weren’t the sole entertainment that night.  Saturday, I loaded up the girls and headed to the Home and Garden Show at the fairgrounds.  I am not really a “home and garden” person.  I hardly know anything about keeping a plant alive (almost killed a cactus once!), but they had some activities for children and it was free.  I figured, even if it wasn’t awesome, it was free and it took up a morning together, so let’s go.  It was actually a lot of fun.  We started by going to the bookmobile; they had a craft for kids.  There were white ceramic tiles for the kids to print on using cut vegetables and paint.  Then, before we left, we picked them up. 

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From there, we headed to the children’s area.  They played games to win “prizes” (candy, bracelet, and gum… which you can see Madison working on chewing in a few of these pictures), planted a flower,

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petted an alpaca (well, Madison did),

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and looked at the bug zoo (some dead and some alive).

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We capped our time off with a picnic lunch and some homemade ice cream.

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Afterwards, we headed to Grandma’s garage sale.  Madison and I went garage saleing as well.  She found a pink dress up hat with a flower for tea parties, a pearl necklace, and a bib for her baby… all for 30 cents!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Yesterday the weather started rainy and relatively warm then turned a little sunnier, but windy and cool.  We were busy from the beginning of the day til about 5pm.  Madison had preschool – a field trip to the library!  Ellie and I had swimming lessons while Madison was at preschool.  Then, we came home for lunch and naps.  I had to wake them both up for Madison’s swim lessons. 

When we got home, Madison wanted to go for a quick trike ride.  I was rebelling.  I have no idea why.  I just was not in a mood to go meandering down the sidewalk on a windy day.  I wasn’t really enjoying my kids, even though there was nothing to not enjoy.  I was in a funk.  I prayed for patience and love to overflow.  Sometimes, I think I should start praying for those things before I ever need them, then I’ll be ready when I do need them!  We piled back in the house.  I made supper – pancakes, which they like.

Then, they started up again… Can we go outside and swing?  Can we go fly a kite? Can we go for another walk?  Can we…?  Can we..? Can we…?  And I felt like screaming NO, you can just sit in here and do whatever it is you can do all by yourself

But instead, I dragged my sorry self off the kitchen chair. I told them we could go outside once the inside things (dolls, dishes, books, blocks, etc) were picked up.  Madison willingly complied; Ellie was still in play mode.  I grabbed the coats and the kite and headed out the door.  I had no idea if Madison and I could get the kite up; Jeremy and I had had trouble getting it in the air last time we tried.  But I put her downwind and headed down the hill with Ellie and the string.  And you know what?  That kite went in the air at the first tug.  It whipped around in the crisp air.  Madison took a turn holding the string; Ellie even took a turn.  There is something about flying a kite that lifts your spirits.  Maybe it is just a quick rush of accomplishment.  Or maybe it is the feeling of being a kid without any responsibilities.  Whatever, I needed it that night. 

I ran in to get the camera.  Somehow in those brief 2 minutes, Ellie started crying about something, and the spell was broken.  She continued to cry/whine while Madison and I tried to get the kite going again.  We managed to get it up a few times, but it didn’t last as long as our first attempt.  (I know the second picture is crooked… I was holding a crying kid while attempting to capture the fun another was having.)

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We headed inside to grab hats (yep, snow hats!) so that we could swing for 5 minutes.  It was Ellie’s request, and since she had stopped crying, I granted it to her. It was pretty cold.  They wanted hot chocolate when they came in.  So, I whipped a batch of ovaltine – yep, the old people drink I give my kids because it has some extra vitamins and stuff.  (One day, I’ll make the real stuff for them, I promise.) 

We ended the night in the chair in our pajamas reading stories and drinking hot chocolate.  A good, cozy end to a mixed up day.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter

imageEaster arrived on Sunday.  The girls had, as I said, done a number of egg hunts, but we had also been talking about the real reason we celebrate Easter.  It must be totally incomprehensible to kids why someone died because they loved us – and then what it means that He rose from the dead.  I hardly understand it myself because it is so irrational to our human minds.  All I know is that I am grateful to know a God that loved me so much that he gave his only Son.  I am also glad the story doesn’t end with the death, but that we end with a victory over death and hope for tomorrow.  God is good.

Church was incredible.  The worship coordinators, musicians, and all those involved made it powerful and meaningful.  Madison was coloring during the service today.  As she listened to the message and to children’s story, she must have been taking it in.  At one point, she showed me the cross with Jesus on it that she drew (see left).  It is the first cross that I have ever seen her draw and for sure the first representation of this image.  It was funny because as she tapped my arm to tell me, I started to say, “Madison, Mommy is trying to worship and listen to the music.”  because at that moment there was a beautiful song being sung (“All Rise”).  I am so glad that I didn’t shut her off because I realized that she was worshipping, too, just in a different way. 

We went to my parents’ house first for Easter lunch.  We held the kids off from changing so we could get a few pictures.  It was not an easy task, and the fact that it was one of the most beautiful days we have had, was not helping!  We managed to get them together for a picture or two.  Next year, we need to arrange them a little more carefully so that all their faces are seen better.  You get what you get, right?  And none of them were throwing a fit!  Here are a few from my camera….

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We tried to get a few of our small family as well.  The best one on my camera is not one of me looking at the camera, but that’s okay.  The girls were never quite together in their picture moment, but I think it was cute anyway.

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Then, there was the egg hunt.  The first wave of littles had buddies.  I don’t know that they really need buddies anymore, but the older girls are sweet to do it.  The second wave was for the older ones.  They had to actually hunt for the eggs.  I didn’t hear a final verdict, but I think we found them all this year.

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The kids played, the adults looked at pictures, talked, and played basketball.  We had dessert – angel food cake and chocolate lasagna (new pinterest find).  Then, those that had another destination headed out, while the others stayed to play more. 

We headed to Mooreland to David and Marianne’s to catch the tail-end of the Easter gathering.  It was good to see people and catch up here too.  There was “duck hunting,” egg hunting, eating, and playing here. 

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Greg and his girlfriend, Maggie, did an exceptional job entertaining the girls.  At one point, Ellie came over to me at the table and said, “Me being brave with big Greg.”  It was pretty cute.  (For the record, “big Greg” is not a really big guy.  It is just that we found his doppelganger in the form of a Ken doll who has become known as little Greg; hence, big Greg for Greg.)  We stayed until about 8pm.  The girls came home tired, but happy.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Geocaching

On Saturday, it was so beautiful, and we had no plans.  I was trying to think of something fun to do with the girls after naps.  I thought I bike ride would be nice, but then I remembered that I had no bike … or I had to be the one to pull the trailer of kids.  It wasn’t quite warm enough for the sand box, and we had been in the yard a lot that day anyway.  Jeremy suggested we see if there were any geocaches around.  (If you don’t know what geocaching is, click here.)I am pretty sure that we hadn’t geocached since Colorado (like 4 years ago!).  He went online and found a few in this area.  So, we took off for one near MCC Connections.  Madison on her trike, Ellie in her stroller.  We discovered it just as the clue said on the light pole.  The girls picked their first “treasures” from the container – a paintbrush for Madison and a plastic shark for Ellie.  We thought we would try to find a second on in the park, but Jeremy’s battery died on his phone before we located it.  And Ellie was really antsy to slide!  So, we will have to try for that one another day.

I am thinking this could be a family hobby. The girls are (almost) old enough – Madison was really excited and stuck with it; Ellie was excited for the first one and then lost interest.  I think there are quite a few close, so I’ll keep you updated. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Happy Birthday, to me!

I celebrated my birthday this week – really, the whole week was birthday week, which I am not going to complain about!  On Tuesday, my parents took us out to eat at Ming Hing for the lunch buffet.  I don’t know if I have ever been there.  It was a decent buffet for a decent lunch price.  Then, on Wednesday, the Yohs took the girls for the day.  I picked up Steph for a girls day out.  We went shopping for our kids, mostly, but did hit up a store to find a dress for me for Easter.  Surprisingly, we found one at the one store we stopped at (Thanks, Sears!) at a 50% off price (Thanks, again, Sears!).  We had lunch at Ruby Tuesday.  Not only did we enjoy tasty food, but very good conversation.  It is not often I spend one-on-one time with my sisters-in-law.  I should do it more often, or more intentionally.  I think it would be good for us, and it would be a good break from mothering duties.  I made it home by about 3:30.  Jeremy had been out getting angel food cake, strawberries, and ice cream in honor of my birthday.  We ordered pizza (so I didn’t have to cook!) and invited his parents to stay and join us for the party.  The girls were all concerned my party wasn’t extravagant enough – where is your happy birthday banner?  where are all the people?  where are your presents? I assured them that I was happy with things just as they were.  Madison helped me blow out my candles and put the birthday tiara on me, so I, too, could be a birthday princess. 

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I received some replacement cups, new “pizza pans” for the girls to bake in (Ellie broke the other one she used), beautiful cards well decorated, birthday cash, and nice words in a card from Jeremy.  I have one more birthday date with just Jeremy and me.  And one more angel food cake – with spoon dip this time – to eat.  Then, my week is officially over.  If you ask me how old I am, I will probably have to do some math in my head.  I never really remember.  And honestly, I don’t know if it is a sign of age, or that I really don’t care.  I figure I am just thankful for the years God has given me, and while each year is different than the last, they all work together to make me, me.  So, I am as old as I am.

Easter Egg Hunting

Last Saturday, our community held their Easter Egg Hunt.  I didn’t go last year because my dad was in the hospital.  So, although Jeremy and the girls were veterans, I was unfamiliar with the layout.  It was a lot of fun.  They had an area in the grass for the 1-3 year olds to just walk around and spot eggs for their baskets.  The 4-6 year olds had to look a little harder in and around the playground.  Then the 7-10 year olds had to search among the trees.  That way all the kids could hunt at the same time, but the older ones weren’t taking the easy ones from the little kids.  My mom came along for the search, too.  So, she and Ellie hunted, and Jeremy and Madison hunted, and I ran back and forth trying to take a few pictures.  It was a quick event, but there were enough eggs for everyone to get what they could find.  Afterwards, there was even pizza and some chips and drinks.  We had just eaten lunch though, so we went home without indulging.  The Easter Bunny was there, too.  Madison loved it; Ellie wanted nothing to do with it.  In the middle picture, I just want to note that the girl walking with my family is not me although I do know her.

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Today we went to a birthday party for all three kids of friends at church.  Their kids were 3, 6, and 8, but Madison and Ellie had been over to play, and they had so much fun, they included them in the party.  I guess the youngest one kinda fit in with the Madison and Ellie age-wise.  At any rate, they girls were very excited about going.  It was a beautiful day for being outside and playing.  The kids had an Easter egg hunt as their party game.  They both had fun trying to find the eggs hidden in the yard.  Following this, the kids opened their gifts en masse. It was so cute because Sam sat beside Ellie; she was very excited to be beside her “Sam buddy” as she calls him (see top right picture).  We had pizza and veggies for lunch.  Then, everyone played more on the trampoline, the slide, and in the sand.  We ended with an ice cream cake and or dirt pudding.  It was enjoyable.

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