Mar 29, 2011

Daily Goings-On

As soon as we returned from spring break, our great friend Mike stayed a few nights with us.
He was in town to perform and celebrate his old professor's retirement at UNT. Even though it had been several years since we saw him, and it's only been 3 or 4 times we've spoken, it was if he'd never left. We had a great time saying our old one-liners and sharing memories. Mike met the girls, who liked him immediately. One morning he read them books while I made breakfast.

I guess I'm not the only one whose instrument offends little ears. : )

Once Mike headed back home, I decided it was time to improve the girls' eating habits!
It's the constant challenge for a lot of moms, I understand. We certainly offer them healthy options, and all the "books" say as long as you are offering, you've done your part. But they still aren't eating it! So focusing on the fact that Hannah is usually the instigator in the "eww, yucky!"
chants we get...and on the fact that she is a very logical girl, I decided on a new approach. Teach them about the food groups, and they might have better appreciation for what's on the plate.
I googled all sort of different foods, reminded myself of the order in the food pyramid, and we glued one together! It was a very sweet project. The girls were excited to learn about grains, fruit, meat, and all that, but the chart was hard to see in black/white/kid-colored marker.

Ahh! Color printers are much better (we didnt' have ink at home originally).
So now, the girls remind me to explain their food at each meal. They ask questions, point to the chart, and refer to their plates....and with much less fuss than before...AND THEY EAT IT!! I wonder how long this will last? Oh, and I was explaining how raisins are simply grapes dried in the sun, and Hannah thought about this and said, "I know! If you pour yogurt in the raisin box and leave it in the sun, you'll still have raisins!"

Getting in on that weekly photo again!

Colin thinks he's drawing, too.

Ahh, the life.

One of our activities on the way to Memphis was to make night-shirts. We wrote their extended names. And they scribbled pictures. "Hannah Banana Chiquita Chiuahua Elizabeth Stokes Goose-Goose" "Chloe Balogna Spamoni Macaroni Rebecca Stokes Chick-Chick" (Hannah is opposed to the macaroni for some reason) "Colin Wolin Bolin Jolin Anthony Stokes Bump-Bump" Don't hold me to the spellings on that one.

He's entertained by them more every day, and he's learning how to make them laugh now, too.

In dollhouse news, we painted it Pineapple Upside Down Cake yellow. I had a free can from Glidden based on a promotion they had awhile back- how handy! Note Hannah's non-use of a brush.

After all that painting, I caught Chloe doing this at lunch when I left the room for a minute.
I guess she needed to get it out of her system.

Unhappy with my reprimand.

Colin is army crawling all over the place. He even crawls right out of his pants! That's what's left back there on the rug. That frustrating stage is close when he just reaches the room he wants and everyone leaves!

We met some friends at the park whom we've always wanted to get together with, but it's never worked out. We got there a little early and took some photos.

They hog the whole swing set! : )

And the slides!

My favorite picture of them so far.

Yesterday, we got out the paint-your-own- tea set.

Deciding on her next artistic move.

My contributions. The cute bee plate was soon confiscated and painted a muddy brown.

Hannah went for an impressionistic style.

While Chloe tried modern/minimalistic.

We've had a great need for some organization over here. I'm constantly cleaning out, donating, you name it, but some things are still not efficient at this house! We figured out we really needed some storage solutions so I headed to Ikea and Target on Saturday! I've been eyeing these little buckets forever, so now the girls can get their art supplies by themselves. I'm really trying to limit the things they need help with. It's too much!

Hmmm- a few too many dolls and animals for our little house. Really, all of these ended up staying, but I found a drawer they could live in and rearranged some other things. The kids rooms are all cleaned out and organized, but the proof would be if they are easy to keep picked up during the day. I woke up today, and although they had been playing, their room was almost spotless! It worked! We also put the dollhouse in there since Colin was starting to get into it.
Now for a few other spots in the house and the monster project called the garage and things should be more smoothly run over here.

So I've been debating on whether 9 months was enough time to step away from playing horn.
Yes, I did play a brass quintet concert a couple of months ago, but admittedly, we had that gig set up a year in advance, so it was a given I would do that for sure, but wouldn't be committed to anything else. So I e-mailed the "guy in charge" of the Lone Star Wind Orchestra and asked about participating in the upcoming recording session this summer. I was going to play a musical (also schedule awhile back) anyway around that time. And if the group is going to put out a second CD, I want to have a part in it! Anyway, it ended up they needed someone for this concert round, rehearsals beginning right away. I decided to go for it, but didn't ask who else was playing in the section. I've really enjoyed the regular members, but sometimes it seems there are lots of subs in and out, too, so I didn't want to be moping the loss of friends before I even got there. When I arrived, I was greeted right away by a percussionist and founder of the group with open arms and smiles! He said, "You're friends are all here!" And across the room were all my horn playing pals waving excitedly! We were all so happy to play together again. I hugged the conductor, too, and the rehearsal was a lot of fun. I was surprised I was able to keep up okay, but my endurance definitely needs work. We just received world renowned conductor Leonard Slatkin will be conducting us in a public rehearsal with interview following, so that's exciting, too. I happen to be first part on that piece, so I'll have to fit in a little more practice for that, too
: )

Dax has been busy with his own musical groups. The male choir at our church "Chantus Maximus" sings here at Sts. Constantine and Helen Antiochan (Lebanese) Orthodox Church in Dallas for a Pan-Orthodox Vespers (an evening service combining all local Orthodox churches including Russian, Greek, etc.) Chantus Maximus is looking into creating their own CD soon, too!

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