Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Patience is not our strongest virtue...

This is how Evan bakes cookies:
Patience is not his strongest virtue. (I am also noticing the front of my oven is in dire need of scrubbing--please ignore the fingerprints.)

I am also going to be in big trouble with Brad for posting this, but it just cracks me up (pun intended):

Poor little guy. Since we made the move to big boy underwear, he just can't keep his pants up. I just love this little guy and all his little boy cuteness.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Happy Birthday, Shelby!

Shelby has the big whole hand birthday tomorrow, and we celebrated in style yesterday! Her family hosted by far the best kid birthday party I have ever attended, and the girls had a blast. They held the party at a friend's hair salon, which was perfect for a Tangled themed party!

There was crafting to be done:
Issa was in her element beading necklaces, crafting crowns, and decorating her own goody bag. I loved helping with the crafting, too!

The girls had their hair braided, and then two big girls helped polish nails and do make-up. The birthday girl looked every bit the princess:

And our little princess was in all her glory:

Shelby's daddy made the hair bows for each girl.

Issa chose a very bright pink for her nails:

And matching eye shadow and lip gloss:

Each girl brought home her gloss, and it will be a miracle if Issa lets her lips go dry over the next few days. I thought her lips were going to stick to me this morning when she gave me a kiss.

The salon had a sound system, so we enjoyed an afternoon of Taylor, Justin, Hannah, Selena, and a certain set of brothers. I don't know how I feel that I caught myself singing along often.

This might have been the highlight of the afternoon for me:

These girls played so well together all afternoon. Many of them had just met, but they all left fast friends. There was no fussing...just a lot of fun. The party was a perfect mix of structure and girls being girls--following whatever creative whim struck them. It was wonderful.

Happy birthday Shelby-roo. We love you!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Kitten Again

One of the perks of moving the family room furniture:
Nuzzle has made more appearances! Nuz is my baby. Brad and I adopted her our very first Christmas, so she's not exactly a spring chicken anymore. She's also a cat in every sense of the word: fickle, particular, and snugly when she wants to be. Since we moved the furniture, she's been spending more time downstairs. She can walk up the couch to the ledge and watch Bubble/Bow. I don't think the fish is as excited, but I'm loving seeing her out and about a bit more. She even plays with toys in the big open space. Who knew we would find this hidden benefit?

Friday, February 24, 2012

A New Look

Brad has had the itch to move furniture in our family room for a long time now, but I've been dragging my feet. After all, it's been the same way for nearly eight years. Why mess with a good thing? But, we were in need of more floor space, and the spring weather gave me the nudge to let more than the literal fresh air in. So, Wednesday night after the kids went to bed, our family room exploded:
As usual, I forgot to take the before picture, but there are plenty of pics here on the blog if you really want to flip through. But, this prompted me to get my camera:

That is a pencil actually stuck to the wall. It was behind the buffet, and who knows how long it had been there. Yikes. (I guess this confirms I don't actually move the furniture to sweep. I do stick the wand underneath to sweep, though.)

We really love the final result:

Same furniture, way more room. The kids were hysterical when they came downstairs, and having lived with it for a day everyone has proclaimed it better.

Evan is particularly thrilled that the books have moved to the window seat:

It is apparently the perfect seat for our little Ringo:

Here's to a breath of fresh air!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Only in NC

Only in North Carolina. I took these on Monday morning:
See that snowball? See Evan throwing snowballs at me:

We woke up to about an inch and a half. The kids were out playing in it, and I had a dryer full of snow clothes by 8:30. I also ended up teaching that afternoon because all the snow was gone by lunch.

See these pictures:

That's Miss Thing dancing on her stage...hot in long sleeves.

A quick pose to show off the 70 degree weather:

A boy surveying his spring kingdom:

It's insane. Snow to 70 in three days. I sat in the sun yesterday and did some grading, breathing in the spring. Someone please remind me of this bliss when I'm melting in July.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On Coins

The US Mint is trying to kill me. I'm sure it's nothing personal, but they are out to get me. Clearly. Anyone who spent an hour at the kitchen table with Issa and I could see it.

Issa innocently wanted to count her saved money yesterday. Sure! In the past, she dumps it out and counts the dollars while I count the change. We both decided she was big enough to start counting all of it herself with some help. Wrong-o!

Do you realize how insane our coin system is? First, try sorting the coins. I told Issa to sort all of the matching coins into piles because they are worth different amounts. I looked over and she had about twenty piles going. Of course she did...there are fifty freaking different quarters! I know she had some vague knowledge of this before, but for some reason she really noticed it yesterday and it was enough to make her crazy.Try explaining that although they don't look the same they are the same. Why? We wanted to recognize each state. So you can only use quarters in one state? No, you can use them anywhere they just have different pictures. Why? I have no idea. The US Mint is trying to kill me.

We finally got them all sorted, but the confusion did not end. The sizes make no sense. Please explain why a dime, worth ten cents, is smaller than a penny worth one cent? I told her how many of each coin she needed to make a dollar, and she dutifully made piles. She also looked at me like I must be crazy because this whole system makes no sense. She's right.

We finally got it all counted and I added it up for her on an index card, totally each type of coin and then the grand total. Then, bless her sweet heart, she very carefully got a ziplock for each kind of coin, transferred the amount from the index card onto the bag, and then sealed the bags before putting them back in her jar.

"If Evan opens these bags, I will scream. Just so you know Mom."

Honey, I don't blame you.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Merry Christmas, Little Wolves!

We spent this weekend at Great Wolf Lodge. It has become a Christmas tradition, and it's a great get away for our little family.

We stayed in a Wolf Den again, and each child chose a favorite animal. Issa loved this spunky little wolf:
I think they are kindred spirits.

Evan fell in love with this little mouse:

Any spare moments in the room were spent patting his little mouse friend. Too funny.

Violet was the star of the weekend:

Although Wiley was a close second:

Our trip began in earnest at the water park:

I was struck by how much the kids have grown in a year. Issa still loved the mushroom:

But Evan was far more adventurous this year:

He loved splashing and trying to catch the water. Both kids were more independent. Issa spent most of her time in a float in the tide pool. Brad or I stayed close, but she didn't need a hand on the raft this year. Evan climbed the little slides by himself. I could breathe a little easier.

Once we were sufficiently pruney, we headed back to the room to get ready for other forms of fun. Please notice Evan's sense of style:

Socks and sandals. I tried to change his mind, but he was very happy in his socks and sandals.

We had big fun in the arcade:

We didn't leave with quite as big of a haul, but there were plenty of candies and plastic toys to make two small children happy.

Then we were off to craft. Evan chose to make a knotted fleece pillow:

I think you can see who did the knotting. He did the stuffing, though, and then he watched frogs and played dump trucks. The Cub Club is the coolest place.

Issa opted to color a pillowcase:

That thing is so loud I have no idea how she sleeps on it. We were very proud that the lines were just suggestions. She added her own scene behind the wolf--that's my girl!

After lunch and a whole family nap, we headed out to stuff some animals. As usual, Issa was all about it:

This is how Evan stuffed his:

He hid behind Dad while Issa did the stuffing.

Issa made Violet:

And Evan made Wiley:

With our animal friends in tow, we started our adventure in Magiquest.

King Roar was hysterical:

He was more interested in using his wand as a light saber and shouting, "My a jedi!" than playing the game. If something lit up--bonus!

Princess Ballerina, however, is now a Master Magi:

It only took us three years, but we found all the ruins! Next time, we will be ready to start the adventure to slay the dragon! We need a little more bravery. Currently, Princess Ballerina is afraid of the dragon. She was so excited to finish the quests, and she's getting better at playing the game. We girls spent some time playing without the boys, and Issa dubbed me Queen Emily. I have no idea where that came from, but I'll take it.

We had a blast doing so many things, but this is what is was about:

The four of us...together...making memories. We laughed until we cried, we came home exhausted, and I wouldn't trade a single moment.

Friday, February 17, 2012

He's Lucky He's Alive...

Poor Daddy. He almost killed a five year old yesterday, and it wasn't even ours.

He picked Issa up from school yesterday, and Issa's teacher said one of the little boys might want to talk to Brad. It seems Issa received her first marriage proposal yesterday, and the little boy wanted to talk with her daddy.

I wish I could have seen Brad's face. As it turns out, Issa turned him down flat, although he's a persistent little guy and continues to ask. Brad also turned him down flat; I'm just glad he didn't flatten him.

And so it begins...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It's Funny Now...

So...on Monday, I spent most of my day it a bit of a state. It's funny now, so I can actually write about it.

After the kids went to school, I went into Evan's room to make his bed. I checked on the frogs, like I do every morning, and panic set in. I could only find one. I looked everywhere. Under the rocks. In the plants. In the filter (heaven forbid). No Papa. I looked around the tank in case he had jumped out. No Papa. I called Brad at work and left a message asking if he had scooped Papa. Brad had the nerve not to answer. I waited almost patiently. I texted. He had not scooped Papa. I came to the only logical conclusion: Nana had eaten Papa.

How was I going to explain this one? Evan would be devastated by the loss and we couldn't even have a funeral. (You can stop laughing now. I was really upset.)

I taught class, and came home to look one more time. I found Papa...in the heater's suction cup. It had pulled away from the tank,and I just knew he was dead...and probably stuck. I called Brad at work again. This time he answered, and not so patiently suggested I pull him out and move on with my life. I braced myself and set to the task.

When I moved the heater, Papa fell out. I was so glad I wouldn't have to dig him out. Then the little bugger had the nerve to hop. He was fine. I cursed Papa for making me worry. Apparently, he was just snug as a bug in the suction cup.

Needless to say the suction cup is now securely attached to the glass, and Brad has almost let me live this one down...almost.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

True Love

Our Valentine celebration lasted into the evening last night. The family requested Tuscan Mac and Cheese and an apple pie. It was an off combination, but I had some happy campers. Issa helped me make the pie after school:
She even cut hearts instead of slits in the top:

But...the highlight of my day was watching my two little Valentines demonstrate true love:

Issa's school doesn't really do parties. They were allowed to bring cards (but no candy), but they just dropped them in each others bags at the end of the day. That was it. No special treat--not even a chance to look at the cards at school. She was disappointed.

Which is totally understandable because her old school, Evan's current school, parties. They made boxes and had special treats and played games and exchanged cards. It was a full day event.

Poor Issa was left holding a pitiful paper bag and her brother had a school box full of Valentine's loot. Evan looked at his very pitiful Issa, and love happened. On his own, he opened his box and dumped it on the floor. Then, he took Issa's bag and dumped it with his and mixed it around in one big pile. Issa's face lit up, and I got teary. The two sat together with their collective pile and ate more candy than I would normally allow while Issa read Evan all the cards. That, my friends, is true love.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

I once read that one of our roles as parents is to write our children's storybooks. It's a fun way to look at the experiences we provide our children, and if I'm writing it, it's going to be a fairy tale, baby. Bring it. And holidays, well, they make me want to bring it a little bit more. We had our big celebration this weekend, but I couldn't let the day go by unnoticed. So...the kids woke up to this:
It's amazing how magical a little crepe paper is when you're two and five. The kids were thrilled. They ran in and out of their door frames, and I think they felt a little extra loved on this Valentine's Day. Brad gives me a hard time about trying to create a life that is all unicorns and rainbows, but he was smiling a little bigger this morning, too. I hope this is a page in their storybooks they remember.

They were also very excited about school parties today. We could have put their cards and teacher gifts in grocery bags, but Valentine's bags made it all the more fun:

Evan's bag had juice boxes for the class, too, but he was determined to carry it all by himself.

And Issa was more than happy to pose in her Valentine's splendour:

And because I couldn't pick just one of my eldest:

My two little Valentines:

Happy Valentine's Day, all. I hope you add a page to your storybook.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day Celebration

Our family had our big Valentine's Day Celebration this weekend. The highlight for the kiddos was our annual trip to Build-a-Bear. Issa chose a penguin and Evan chose--you guessed it--a dog:
This little face sums up Evan's experience:

He loves Brownie, but he is not as in love with the whole experience aspect. I had just asked him if his dog needed an outfit. It's a dog; it does not need clothes.

Issa, however, loves the whole experience:

From the stuffing to the bathing to the dressing, she is all about it!

The finished products: Captain and Brownie:

Issa was very pleased with herself. She found pajamas for Captain that have a penguin on the front. Evan did decide Brownie needed a leash...and then he tried to "walk" him through the mall. I laughed until I cried over the whole event, and the kids played with their friends all weekend.

Saturday night, I headed out to dinner with my biggest and first Valentine. This will be our tenth married Valentine's Day, and we decided to go back to where we celebrated our first. The name has changed, but it's in the same complex as our first apartment. Nostalgia overwhealmeth. It was a wonderful evening--with wonderful food and wine.

And as everyone knows, no celebration is complete at or house without a cake. So, yesterday we made Valentine's cupcakes:

Dark chocolate cupcakes with dark chocolate ganache and mini-marshmallow hearts. Yum. It was a fabulous celebratory weekend...and I have a few tricks up my sleeve for tomorrow, too!