Jul 24, 2011

Special Visitors

We were so happy to bring back Melody with us to Texas. The morning after we got back, she went with us to a crafty playdate with the kids where we made visors : )

On Thursday, we visited the library for awhile and she took a few neat pictures.

Thursday night, we headed out for the long awaited Harry Potter midnight showing! The theater we love to go to is attached to a large mall, so Melody and I shopped around for a bit. Of course we couldn't resist this. A dad with 2 kids nearby volunteered to take our picture once he saw us goofing around. Then we met everyone at Applebees for a late night bite. Megan and Scott came. And Dax had just picked up our good friends (his from high school and college) Matt and Ken from the airport. It was so great to see the three of them hang out. Unfortunately I only got the picture below of all of them.

At the theater- ready to find our seats!

There was lots of screaming as always, and someone yelling, "It ends tonight!" haha. So we took our own excited picture. The movie was great and it was a really fun night. So sad to know it's all over.

Wow, this got boring quick, right? Actually, on Friday, I was excited to take Melody to Ikea! Because who doesn't like that place? I discovered they had a cut your own material section, so I brought home this material to make curtains for Colin's room. We got loads of cinnamon rolls and some soft serve before leaving with a few fun things.

On Saturday, Hannah attended her first "big girl only" birthday party at Busy Beads. It's a neat little jewelry shop on the town square, and in the back they have a party room. The girls each picked out their own bead pack and got instruction on how to make a pattern. It's so fun to watch Hannah be independent in doing these activities. I like to watch her think : ) She did really well with establishing a pattern...

And then saw her neighbor's beads of completely different style and color were another way and she scooped all her beads off the pattern to start again! At least she goes for it!

Her finished result. She picked out a little fairy charm for the center : ) She was actually more excited about this shirt than she was the party. Grandma bought it for her to start preschool, but once Hannah saw it, she was in love. She asked to wear it to the party, and Saturday morning she ran to my bedside saying, "I'm ready for the party, I have my shirt on!"

After some rounds of Bingo, everyone headed over to the ice cream shop. What a neat party.

In the meantime, Melody perused some local antique shops and book stores and discovered this beauty. Now you know someone somewhere is need of a Planet of the Apes type bust, but they have no idea where to start looking.

We took Melody to my favorite sandwich shop, Jimmy Johns, and had a girls lunch.
Dax, Matt, and Ken took the other kids to Dickeys barbeque and had their own fun. In the evenings, we enjoyed dinner, and just hanging out watching tv. One night we went to Anna's for a spaghetti dinner and had a nice time over there.

Matt brought his super nice camera and got some great shots of the kids. Melody got some really neat ones, too. Matt's pictures are the last 5.

Of course- one of my favorites.

Chloe is turning out to be a big jokester. She loves to do or say things in the wrong way and then grin at you and giggle. And she has such a sweet disposition (when she's not being a two year old : ) We were at a country club arranging for a church dinner, and she overheard us saying it was the same place of the wedding in which Hannah was the flower girl. I took Chloe to the potty on the way out, and she announced upon finishing, "Okay, I'm ready! I'm ready to get married!" (Imagine those 'r's as 'w's) I said," Oh you have to be a big person to get married. You're not getting married today." She said, " I am ready to get married. But I have to find my flowers first."

As for videos, we've got one of Hannah playing kickball and doing a relay race, an example of Colin learning to mess up his sister's puzzles, a great representation of his relationship with Chloe, and finally, a few solid steps and cheers from his family. : )

Jul 19, 2011

Most of July

One of Colin's new camera faces.

Blue-eyed beauties- with lunch on their faces.

This is Colin saying "Cheese!" He actually says "Chzzzzez."

Happy Independence Day! Dax and I played a patriotic concert
together this year.

He sat right behind me and poked me with his slide.

I got to play with Nancy. We used to get to play together nonstop but
it's been pretty rare over the last few years.

When it was my turn to host a summer playdate, I decided to make it more complicated than meeting somewhere to play- typical me. My house is way too small for the 20 or so people, so Jessica graciously offered up her house and Megan graciously accepted planning a musical playdate for the kids. At first I was pretty anxious because so many people were canceling at the last moment, but we ended up having a nice time. Megan started the kids with several songs and body movements. She must have the touch! See how every child and adult are looking right at her? : ) Next we tried different styles of music. We marched to a march, walked like elephants, and improvised on toy instruments to jazz. Then we read an animal orchestra counting book and talked about instrument families with recordings to listen to. Finally, I played a few PBS and Nick Jr. show "excerpts" for the kids to guess. Then they tried the horn themselves!

Most kids actually formed sort of an embouchure (after trying to swallow the mouthpiece) and got out a sound or two, some easier than 11 yr. old beginners I've had.

The moms gave it a shot, too.

The next day, we were off to Tennessee! We made it there without much stress this time.

The first thing they always head for...

On Friday, we hung out at the house, Grandma took the kids for walks, and Dax and I got an evening to ourselves. Saturday, we all headed out to my parents' new house in Dyersburg and met the rest of the family there. Chloe is pretty much potty trained right now, but we went with the safety diaper for all these trips. At one point, she had to go in the middle of nowhere, so we stopped and tried the tall grass. I didn't figure she would be up for it, but it at least gave her an option. Of course, right after that we came to an intersection full of places to stop. In general, she did really, really well for all the potty breaks, so we're very proud of her.

Enjoying the new playroom. Every night, the girls pray for Kayla and Preston on their list of family members, and every single time we say their names, they both start a chorus of "I want to see them!!!" So at long last (since last Thanksgiving), they got to play together.

Surrounding Papaw on the back deck facing the lake.

So good to see everyone.

Gettin' old- haha.

Colin playing chase around 1 or 2 chairs they have moved into the house so far : )

The pizza line-up. Eating tasty pizza and drinking a Mt. Dew with my family with a view of the lake was definitely a moment to enjoy.

Then we did birthdays!

For Grandma and Papaw's birthday, we took the kids to get their portraits made. Soon, I'll scan the photo for a better look. I'm sure Grandma will have more to do on her actual birthday with the rest of the family, but that's a little piece that includes me.

Back in Collierville, we ran around in the field across from my parent's house, soon to be developed, I'm sure.

The "end of movie" shot. This wasn't choreographed or anything : )

The kids loved seeing what Papaw had in store for them.

On Sunday, we visited St. Seraphim Orthodox Church in Memphis. After church, the kids made a chair train, with Father Mark's wife bringing in the caboose.

With their godbrother Aaron and godsister Sarah.

It just happened that the Lush family (the kids' godparents) were in town for a wedding on the same weekend. Since they live in Chicago, it was amazing to actually get to spend time with them.

Do you ever watch the Food Network show, Chopped? Since we don't have cable and my parents do, we spend most of our tv time watching HGTV and the Food Network. Saturday night we watched chopped and came up with the fun idea that Melody and I should compete in similar fashion! My mom picked 4 random ingredients and we each had to come up with an appetizer, entree, and dessert. Fun! She even put them in a fancy picnic-like box like they do on the show. Little did I know I had found that box of food in the laundry room earlier and wondered what the heck a bunch of microwave bacon was doing in a bejeweled box? Haha.

So the ingredients were: Microwave bacon, glazed donut sticks, fruit cocktail, and dill pickle spears.

If you haven't seen the show, whatever the contestants find in their boxes, they have to use, and use in a way that it's edible and can be tasted within the dish. So Melody and I took 30 minutes to decide on our meals and look up ideas on the internet. (We aren't so skilled we can come up with it on the fly). Then we headed to the grocery store for the remaining ingredients. On the way, we decided team effort was okay and shared our ideas. Oh no! We had both decided on fried pickles!! Haha.

Hard at work in the competition kitchen. My mom came over with a Lego microphone a couple of times to interview us Iron Chef style. : )

Uh oh! Strike 1!! Hahahaa- this makes me laugh every time I see it. All I can say is...
it wasn't me! Sorry, Melody- haha.

And...back away from the plate! Time's up! Yes, we are goofy.

My dishes revealed: Pickle cream cheese spread on Italian loaf, Fruity Chicken with Parsley Garnish, and Bacon-Donut-Chocolate Chip cookies.

Melody fried up those pickles and whipped up a creamy dip.
She also made a fruit salad and ice cream garnished with donut and
smothered in homemade chocolate sauce : )

What will the results be?

The panel tastes...and loves it! Seriously, every single thing we made was delicious. We need to host our own show. There were too many differing opinions as to favorites so we considered it a draw and a huge success. It took us hours to do this by the way, not so much the 1 hour the show gets, but of course they have editing.

On Monday, we took the kids to the local water park to cool off.


I looove when people try to duck out of pictures but they are still very much in the picture.
Makes it even cuter : )

Colin had several firsts in Tennessee! He took his first steps, found his belly button, and played peek-a-boo. Then my mom treated me to a few new clothes from Kohls for my birthday and we met everyone else at our favorite restaurant, O'Charley's for dinner.

A wonderful trip!! We'll see everyone when we make our big swoop of Tennessee this Christmas! In the meantime, we brought a souvenir back with us...Melody!! Those pictures to come.