Saturday, July 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Ashley!

Since she did such a good job blogging about it, I'll just link to Kelly's blog instead of reinventing the wheel. We had a great time swimming at Ashley's 9th birthday party. It felt so good in this hot weather that I didn't want to get out! The kids both had fun, using all their skills from swim class. Tessa went off the diving board about 10 times.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Christmas in July

When you're a little bored cause the weather's got you down, there's nothing like a good switch-aroo to liven up the monotony. We did this in February with our 'pool party' and today was Christmas in July

I didn't want to dig too far into the Christmas boxes so I just grabbed a couple things that were right on top...our mini silver tree, and the Little People Nativity. Hobby Lobby also unbelievably had Christmas stuff out last week, which helped with our art projects. Add a little music, movies, and stories from the toddler bible and voila, it's Christmas!

I have a stash of toys that were given as gifts but have never been opened or played with. Why?...just such an occasion. Charley got a counting cookie jar, and Tessa finally got her doll Ergo carrier.

Tessa played with the nativity most of the day, and didn't want to share with Charley

It's hard to tell but that's french toast shaped as a tree, heart and boot. Oh well, I tried. Not nearly as good at food crafts as my friend Brittani.

We watched Emmit Otter and Elf

Tessa and I made Christmas cookies....

.....while Charley practiced spreading icing

.....and also worked on his abstract photography

Both kids painted some Christmas cards

And at the end of the day we read the story of Jesus' birth

Monday, July 26, 2010

Babies Babies!

If you like babies but aren't exactly ready to have another one of your own (I'm not saying never, just saying 'not right now')...get your friends to have more babies! Then go over to their house and hold them, smell them and return them to their owners...I mean parents.

That's what we did last week when we visited my friend Allison (who's big sister Olivia is a blog regular) and new baby Colin. Joining us was nurse Erin and baby Aviana, now 4 months.

Look at these beautiful girls

Doesn't Charley look like a monster in comparison to baby Colin?

Begging for the camera, then expressing himself with some more abstract photography

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lessons Went Swimmingly

Well our 8 days of swim lessons officially ended yesterday and on a high note. After many days of crying Charley finally decided earlier this week that the pool is not so terrifying. There were moments where I would say he even enjoyed himself.

Both kids prefer jumping off the side to the actual swimming part, and both of them were willingly going all the way under the water. Thanks to Mom's assistance this week as my other parent in the pool, Tessa was even floating on her back and kicking. That's what you get for having a former lifeguard for a Mamaw.

On the last day the little kids got to don life jackets and try the water slide and diving board. Tessa remembered that she did the diving board last year and every day she talked about it. When it came time she was a little timid and instead of doing a big jump, was dropped in by a helpful mom.

Needless to stay Charley and I stayed in the pool and watched.
Tessa shooting down the water slide

with the help of the life jacket she even 'swam' by herself
All in all a swimming success! Anyone want to join the petition for a pool in our backyard? :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Amazing Recycling Plant

We have a ton of house plants, probably around 20. There's just something about bringing the outdoors in that make a house feel alive. Okay that kinda sounds like a greeting card, anyway...

Alot of our plants are little mini-me version of two viney guys we have. I call them viney guys cause I still don't know what they are actually called. They're the cheapo hanging variety you find everywhere. You can pick one up at Home Depot for like $7.

Trim a long piece off and put it in water. Find a nice bookshelf or something to set it on until it grows a good set of roots (this is a great way to use old vases and glasses too...anything will work really). Here's one with lots of roots.

Put those roots in some dirt and find a home for your new plant. Like the green pot? Last week it was white and I decided to paint and distress it in an effort to be artsy.

Find one of the two 'mother' viney guys that needs to be trimmed. Like this one that can be reached by little destructive boy hands. Cut some long pieces of vine with leaves on it. This is healthy for the plant too, when the vines are too long they are malnourished and get all lanky looking.

Wash out the vase from before, and put newly cut vine piece in some fresh water and take back to it's home on the bookshelf.

Wait a couple a month or two, rinse and repeat.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Let the Swimming Begin!

Today was the first day of swim lessons for the kids. We'll go daily this week and next. Since they are both younger than 4, they each require a parent in the pool with them during class. Jeremy's able to go with me this week, and Mom's coming to swim with us next week (as well as hang out, shop, play and drink wine)

The tot class basically just gets them used to water. This is the class Tessa took last summer. She was hesitant at first today but I reminded her how she had to do all the classes and learn how to swim if she wanted to jump off the diving board on the last day. That motivated her a little and she showed the teacher how she could kick and blow bubbles.

Not surprisingly Charley mostly hated it. It's not accurate to say he cried the WHOLE time but he did a lot of crying. He's just not a water lover, but we're going to stick with lessons. I'll be interested to see if he's still crying at the end of next week.

Down south, Mom took Mark and Bob to their first day of swimming class too. 'Tis the time of year for swimming!
That's Mark on the slide, Ashley sitting on the edge of the pool

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bathing Summer Style

I figure when it's this hot out, why not make the baby pool into our daily bath? And when you have toddlers, what's the point of a swimsuit anyway? (especially when you have a privacy fence). So the kids have been enjoying the occasional backyard nakey time.

This was taken during our bath time the other morning at about 9:30 both kids (and Mommy) were already sweaty so we went inside. It's convenient to get that outdoor play over with early in the day!

And if you're wondering, do they get covered in dirt and grass clippings?....why yes of course. We just rinse and repeat.

Photography by Charley

What a boy....he would do anything to get a hold of a remote, camera, keyboard, cell phone. Something, ANYTHING that has buttons or beeps. The other day I just gave up and handed him the camera, pick your battles rights?

Little did I know all he wanted was to do some abstract photography.

Workin on the Dollhouse

It's been a long time since Jeremy and Tessa worked on the renovation of the dollhouse, but Tessa was excited today to install some stairs. The old stairs had been broken off so Jer got some new ones.

Olive green was apparently the $2 sample sale today at Home Depot, so that's what they went with. There's enough left to do the shutters and door later on.

That place is shaping up, little by little.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Can SuperMom Wear a Backbrace?

I know, I know...I'm way too smart to buy into the idea that there is such a thing as supermom or that I should aspire to be one. Still the temptation is there to do the most activities, dress your kids in the cutest clothes, have the most original art projects. It's much like the temptation to in high school to be the prettiest and coolest with the cutest boyfriend, even though there's a tiny voice in the back of your head reminding you that's not who you really are. Sometimes, I'll admit my desire to be supermom.

Then my back goes out.

I can brag all day about how healthy my family is. We rarely get sick, my kids enjoy a very healthy diet, I drag the kids to the exercise class with me three times a week. But there are two realities I can't escape....I'm fat and I have a bad back (which according to my chiro are not really related).

Over the weekend at the lake I aspired to be supermom. Because Jeremy was drugged up (following oral surgery) I drove the whole way and unloaded our suitcases up the stairs. I also tossed the kids around, bouncing them on my shoulders and playing soccer in the yard. I went swimming and had to jump off the boat and help drag the pontoon into the dock after it stalled (while Jeremy tried to keep the engine from flooding), then ended my days sleeping on a 30 year old mattress.

And the next day I couldn't walk.

How can I be this decrepit? I see moms all the time rolling around with their kids and squatting down to their eye level. Since my back injury in April, I very rarely even get down on the floor to play with the kids.

So I must question...if I can't squat down, if I can't play on the floor and stop a boat with my bare hands, can I be super mom?

Probably yes. I mean definitely yes. There's no perfect way to do this parenting thing, this I know. And God never calls anyone to be perfect, not once.

I just have to learn to accept my reality, or at least as it is for the moment. My chiro was a little irked with my behavior after all the good work we've done and I can't blame him. I'll never heal if I keep injuring myself.

And now to go hang upside down and contemplate parenthood.

Quick and Easy Kiddo Carbonara

If you kids love pasta and you're looking for an easy meal, try this!

(I say kids but it could be for everyone- I'm just watching my diet so it takes alot of willpower not to stick my face in a bowl of this)

Take some of this

Boil it together with a handful of these (or frozen if you prefer)

Drain and toss with a dollop of
and several shakes of

(this is the powder in a shaker by the way, not dressing)

Happy 4th of July

Every year we pack up the kids, dogs, fireworks, etc and head to the family lake cottage for the 4th. We started doing this maybe 5 years ago and when Jeremy figured out how much fun he can have with fireworks, we were hooked.

It's small in terms of lakes and not crowded, so it's just the perfect place to relax. In fact it's mostly deserted until the weekenders show up for the holiday. We boat, swim, nap, eat, boat and eat some more.

There are about 6-8 cabins on the water that go nuts with fireworks, Jeremy being one of them. The house directly across the lake actually has a professional license and their show is in perfect view for us. Along with a couple of neighbor guys, our side of the lake tries not to be outdone (but we usually are).

I didn't get any firework pictures but have a few to show. Can you believe these were taken with Jeremy's phone? It's new and fancy and better than our actual camera, go figure.

Rosie napped with Tessa on the way there

Charley loved driving the boat and pushing buttons, a little too much at times.

boat captains

and boat passengers

Tessa and I anxiously awaiting the fireworks
Here's the pyro and his setup. A few years back he built a little launchpad for optimal shooting.

We put on a little junior show for Tessa of small stuff and fountains, and then put her to bed. The real fireworks didn't start until well after 10pm because it was still light. She LOVED her little show and is still talking about it. She slept fine with all the noise but did wake up a couple of times to tell me it was storming outside.

Hayden napped with Tessa on the way back.