May 31, 2010

Last Hurrahs

I've seen this on some of my friends' blogs and knew the girls would love it. They saw me spraying water in it from their seats at the breakfast table and when I came back in they were cheering excitedly. They ran out immediately and Chloe's first order of business was to scoop up a bucket of water and dump it on her stomach. Can you see how Hannah's side of the deck is dry compared to Chloe's side? : )

They busied themselves with it, playing as the toy was intended but soon discovered they could water all the potted plants by transporting water from the table. That's what they do with it every time now.

For our final evening with friends for awhile, we had John and Olivia over to cook out steaks and bratwursts. Dax made a delicious meal and we had fun chatting with adults! Discussing "Lost" and other such things. : ) Wish I had pictures.

Before Chloe was born, Hannah and I took a little outing to the lake (which I'll post a picture of at the end of the post for reminiscence) and now before she gets a little brother, I took her on another special outing last Friday.

First, she chose to have chicken nuggets for dinner. In her Happy Meal, she got a plastic cat that purred. She was pretty happy with that. She played with some kids on the indoor playground too. She couldn't quite get up the courage to climb very high so she kept calling the older boys, "Come on, guys! Come down here!" And what do you know- they did every time.

Next we went to see "Once Upon a Mattress" (the princess and the pea story) at DeGolyer Elementary in Dallas, where Megan teaches music. She put on another great musical this year. Hannah loved watching all the big kids sing and dance, wear fun costumes, the works. She was also very enthusiastic in her applause.

The kids did a great job and I expect to see one or two of them on Broadway someday.
They were definitely little actors and actresses!

On Saturday we went to Lillian and Mikey's 4th and 2nd birthday party. The theme of the party was "B" so breakfast foods were served, there were bounce houses, and everyone wore blue....except for myself who can only fit into 2 or 3 shirts now. Jessica knows how to plan them. Even the present opening was organized as mom helped daughter open and father helped son.

Hannah in her favorite place. They also turned the bounce slide into a water slide and she had a great time sitting at the top a little too afraid to slide down but happy with escorting the other kids past her. Finally I had to ask Sage to give her a little push : )

Right after the party, we went to Thomas Jackson's infant baptism at church. It's one of my favorite services- except when it's your own child being dunked under water- well even then. Thomas did great and I wish I had pictures of that too!

We were busy again on Sunday. After church we had an impromptu brunch at Rick and Raina's house. We were served homemade banana nut bread, blackberry pie, herby cheesy eggs, bacon, etc. All delicious! Dax took the girls to the church's Memorial Day picnic. I planned on joining them shortly but ended up sleeping all afternoon. I'm just getting so worn out now from the simplest tasks and the last few days we've been going non-stop.

Today we were able to spend time with Megan's family. Again we were served a delicious meal! Spicy beans and rice, quesadillas, and fresh guacamole. How come everyone can cook but us?
Well we can, but we can never seem to make it a high priority.

The two youngest find new treasures in the toy box. I also want to take Chloe out somewhere special before she becomes a big sister in 9 days. Maybe I'll take her out to the lake one evening and let her explore.

May 25, 2010

2 Weeks and Counting

I had a baby shower 2 Saturdays ago and we had a great time. Anna made some delicious food. I think I went back for 4ths for every single thing! I also loved the turquoise and brown theme.

Someone actually had to point it out before I saw it, but Colin is spelled in cupcakes! Also the most delicious cupcakes I've tasted that I can remember.

Colin got lots of sweet clothes and gifts. This one says "Dad's BBQ Buddy" spelled out in ketchup and mustard. : ) Except for some house cleaning and a few errands, I think we are ready to go!
I know my sore body is - that's for sure. Although I know I'll look back on these last weeks and realize how good I actually felt. But that's how it goes : )

I looked up at breakfast yesterday and saw this. Hannah and I laughed and tried to point it out to her,but her little hands couldn't find it. I finally went over and took it off her head only to have the source of the sticky Cheerio revealed.

Yes, this is how she likes to finish the last few bites. Am I supposed to teach them table manners too?

So the following result was inevitable!

This morning we headed out to the store and noticed a beautiful butterfly on our doorstep. It was sitting right next to an open cacoon I never even noticed was there. It was slowly trying out its wings and I don't think it had even taken it's first flight yet. This was neat for Hannah because she likes the Crunchy Munchy Caterpillar book. She wanted it to be gone when we got back from the store, though and it was. Chloe was not a fan in general. Little girls afraid of butterflies? Yep, those are mine. They'll get over it when Colin grows up up and puts worms in their face.

For those of you who know I used to love sharks, at the store I couldn't resist this for $6 total!

May 14, 2010

Missions Accomplished

Tada! "What?" you ask. Well, the backyard is not a weedy wasteland any longer! It's a lovely little park-like place that only needs mowing every once in awhile- just what I always wanted.

The flower beds you see were not even visible before, due to the overgrowth. Around Chloe's birthday (in October) I had some nice plants in there. I can finally smile when I look back here now. If only the moles would find some other place to go. I read up on them, though. Even if you get rid of them, which is near impossible, they still leave an empty homestead for another mole family to easily move into. Well, as long as they stay out of sight- and since I don't go out there at night that shouldn't be a problem.

There is even a little designated parking lot for the rolling toys. The girls usually just dig in the dirt and pick dandelions when they play out here, but in case they have the inclination, it's all organized for them.

Chloe is pleased! I'm also happy to say it will stay nice out here for awhile, even if the flowers die. I finally used mulch- a recycled tire mulch, in fact, that will last several years.

This is Hannah's favorite spot. She is always to be found on the little side stairs on the playhouse. She likes to stand tall and say, "Super Why to the Rescue!" - from one of her favorite shows. She says so many clever and funny things now, it's hard to remember them all. Tonight at the dinner table she said, "I love you guys." Then after seeing me take some Tylenol for my aching joints, she tried to convince me she didn't "feel very good" and just needed to "take a little medicine." On the way home from the store the other say, she got to chattering. "Hey mommy! I hit my chin on the fireplace. And then I brushed my teeth. And then I ate some crackers. I felt better. Then I jumped....etc. etc.." The chin incident happened a couple of months ago, but it got put in line with other daily happenings. Finally, yesterday we got out the little toy hamsters my dad got them for Christmas. Hannah was really excited to play with them, which meant Chloe was too- she squeals about anything Hannah makes seem exciting. "Yay Hamsters!!" shouted Hannah. "And we can play with my hamster lipsticks, too!!" Wait a minute- hamster lipsticks? She kept mentioning them and I kept denying the existence of such things. I finally had to say I just didn't know where those were so we couldn't play with them. She sighed and said, "Oh, alright." They keep us laughing!

In efforts to make transitions easier for the girls when baby Colin arrives, I've spent hte last couple of weeks making adjustments. Chloe moved from her high chair to a booster seat so we could have more room in the kitchen. Now she's in her first couple of days of a toddler bed since we'll need her pack n' play for the baby. Hannah is getting more independent. My mom suggested she get used to starting books on CD for herself. I tried this, but she still needs help with the cd player and doesn't seem to even like listening! Maybe later. Anyway, she can now get a few of her own snacks herself. Can almost do the whole potty routine alone- with the exception of washing her hands since our faucets are hard to use fixtures from the 80's. Most importantly, she's learning to clean up more. The girls are usually great about putting things back where they belong as long as you remind them, but cleaning up their room is another story. I've usually ended up doing it by myself just to save time and get them into bed, but I won't be able to crawl around their floor, bending this way and that to reach for tiny toys under the beds, etc. So I made this chart!! Yes, I'm finally explaining the photo. The sun signifies the day, when their toys are out. The star is night time. Once she's picked up all the books, she can slide the book magnet over to night time saying the chore is complete. Next come dolls/animals, then toy food (they have tons), then general toys. Silly me gave her this chart one night before Dax and I would be gone for several nights in a row during their bedtime so I guess we'll get consistent later. Same with Chloe's toddler bed. But it seems there is so much to do before the baby comes, not everything will be perfectly timed.

YAAAAAAY!!! Chloe does a happy dance when she is finally allowed into the newly completed office/playroom!!! We've been waiting sooooooo long for this to be complete. I don't even have before pictures because the space was so depressing we were never in there. It all started when the air conditioner leaked into that room months ago and ruined the carpet. We tore that out and were stuck with nail tacking all around the room- not very safe. Well, carpet is expensive! And I've always wanted to repaint the room to make it brighter- it was very navy blue. Well, you saw the progress on the closet and the paint. The carpet has finally arrived and I love it! We plan to replace the carpet in the other 2 bedrooms whenever that is possible. Maybe a Christmas present to ourselves. Anyway, I love this room now. It's so bright and clean and it makes me happy just to look at it. We'll never live in a fancy mansion where rooms are just bright and clean to begin with. We have to work for it, so it makes it all the more worthwhile.

They danced around in here for awhile and then we got their picture.

With stuff in it! It's not going to be officially decorated for awhile, but it's serving its purpose. We wanted half of it to be an office and half of it to be a little library/play area for the girls. I found the comfy animal chairs at a yard sale. Even Colin has a place to sit already.

It's in use! I also love to play in here with the girls because the toys are so easy to clean up. Little pieces don't get stuffed in couch cushions, hidden under rugs, rolled under furniture.

I'm hoping to use this fabric in here for either the bottom of some white curtains, or on the wall, floor pillows- who knows? Our next step is to replace the dirty broken blinds.

Now we have some clean white storage for the desk. No more piles of paper, pencils, receipts.
Just a pretty white rose : )

A second attempt is made at the cd player idea. In their own storage box will be their kiddo cds. Hannah's response? "I don't want that thing in here!" Well, she'll get used to it.

We had a fun time twirling in the office chair today- just because we could. Gee, can you tell I'm excited about the office?? And excited to add another sweet face to the collection we have going here. The girls are more and more fun to watch and be with every day. "We love you guys, too!"

May 3, 2010

The Great Outdoors

Big news! Chloe has finally agreed to wear sandals without socks.

One of the great things about staying home with the girls is that we don't often actually have to "stay at home." The weather has been beautiful so we've been invited on a few outings. Several moms met at the Elm Fork Nature Preserve in Carrolton last Wednesday. Chloe's one of the big kids now. At least we are trying to help her in that direction. As much as I feel like she is my baby, it won't be that way for long. Plus, she's starting to really love being included in whatever the bigger girls are doing.

The kids are a little unsure of each other...

and then they get excited!

I attempt having our picture taken.

5 moms and 10 kids! We're off. We go on about a 30 minute? hike in the woods. Boy, I was aching! Chloe actually walked most of the way with me. Most everyone's strollers were used more as luggage carts.

We made it to a clearing for lunch, which was pretty brief considering there was a gigantic bright orange playground in sight.

Just hanging out.

On Friday, we celebrated a late Earth Day with some our library friends. Our new friend, Krista,
has two little girls. Her family lives on a beautiful piece of land in a picturesque red barn- very far from town! We headed out there for some activities. Here the kids paint empty soup cans (recycling for the planet!).

They jump and jump- Hannah's favorite activity.

Krista shows the kids the vegetable garden. All sorts of things are planted- watermelons, squash, you name it!

She shows them how their compost collection works. They all get to turn the wheel.

Everybody takes a turn on the Barbie mobile! I was nervous at first about letting the girls ride it- as I am most things I admit- but Hannah did a great job driving her sister around! I had to help with a bit of the steering. At one point, I turned around and Chloe was in the driver's seat and they were riding along. There was no way her foot could reach the pedal, but when I trotted over to investigate, Hannah was stretching her own to make it go : )

I foresaw the teenage years at this moment. There they go! See ya, mom and dad.

After lunch, Krista brought out her dirt and worm desserts. I've seen these in magazines before and always wanted to try it. Chocolate pudding, crushed oreos, and gummy worms!

Some of the little ones relax on the porch.

Finally, the kids' cans have dried and they plant flowers and herbs!

In the meantime, my painting is finally done! The green walls are nice, happy, and fresh feeling. After discovering the dingy beige trim and baseboards were oil based, I found out I had sanding, priming, and painting ahead of me, but that's done, too. A nice, clean contrast to the green. Eventually the whole house will have white trim, but that's far into the future I'm afraid. Hopefully the carpet order will come in at the end of the week and after 1 year, the room will be useable again. I plan on sewing a couple of large floor pillows for the girls, covering a simple frame or two with the same material, and moving their book corner into this room. This will make room for the soon-to-be-needed baby swing in the den.

The green keeps changing depending on the light, but here is one more view. Now I've been working on the backyard. I've spent hours just standing in it, imagining all its potential. The last time it looked nice was for Chloe's birthday back in November. It's turned into a crazy, weedy mess since then. Anytime Dax was actually able to mow, it rained! Now, it is mowed, weed-eated, bushes are trimmed, and I'm completing the flower beds as we speak. I didn't realize there was a red mulch made of recycled tires- it's supposed to last longer and of course, you're recycling! It looks really nice, and finally the yard is coming together. Still need some rearranging of items back there and some general clean-up before I take any pictures.

I also finished my last big concert for a long while. Lone Star played our Angels of Light concert last Sunday. Our guest conductor/composer was Frank Ticheli- one of the most famous names in wind music! He's actually an alum of the high school in Richardson (where we rehearse) and came to conduct a couple of his pieces. We shared the stage with the Lone Star Youth Orchestra and there were some really great moments. He wrote a beautiful piece called Angels in the Architecture. We also played Chaos, an electric guitar concerto, Bernstein's Mass, and Aurora Awakes by John Mackey, who also came to the concert. It was truly a great last concert.
Dax and I begin rehearsals for Dirty, Rotten, Scoundrels this weekend!