Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Potty Train

Choo choo.  We are officially on the potty train.
And sometimes we even play the guitar while riding.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Family First: Camping

We decided to take the plunge and try our first EVER family camping trip.

And it was a huge success!

Here's why.

The weather was PERFECT.
 High in the 80's, low in the 50's.
Plus, it's early enough in the year that there were no mosquitos.

 We had three happy kids who were up for an adventure.

We found a little creek where they could throw rocks.
And pick wild onions,
because what kid doesn't want to do THAT?
The even tied them to end of sticks to go "fishing."
(Grandpa G and Uncle Mark really need to come visit.)

Caroline thought she was big stuff,
walking across this log.
She thought she could do it all by herself,
but she finally let daddy help her.

 Set up not one, but TWO tents.
Brandon got the little blue one all to himself.

The boys got the fire going for us.

 The girls dug for worms.
And found a "cute" little one that they 
kept as a pet for a few minutes.

 We roasted hot dogs.
(I packed myself a PB&J.)

 And marshmallows.
(Love this pic!)


The big kids thought it was way cool
to smash this rotting log with a mallet.

Everyone slept great.  Except me.
The girls even let us put them to bed and then we hung out
around the campfire with B-train.
I was such a light sleeper and woke up about sixteen times.  Boo.

We had donuts, fruit, and chocolate milk for breakfast in the morning.
No wonder the kids had fun.
They've never had this much junk food in two days!

It was a very fun adventure.
Despite the face Brandon's making in this picture.

Lessons learned:
*Next time, I want to stay two nights, because it is a whole lotta work for just one.
*Andrew warned me to bring extra socks, which was very smart.  But, I learned that you also need to bring extra shoes.  Because when two of your three kids step in the creek, you don't want to put those nice dry socks into yucky wet shoes.

Any other tips for us rookie campers? 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lessons in Art

Now that basketball and cheerleading are over, it was Whitney's turn to choose an activity.  I found a local artist who teaches art classes in her home.  W was pumped!  There's nothing like art supplies to get that girl excited. 

Here she is with her teacher, Ms. Bettini.  
It looks like they coordinated outfits!

Once a week, Whit gets to join a few other kids in Ms. Bettini's studio for lessons.  They choose items from her shelves which are full of knick-knacks and toys.  Then the students choose what medium they want to use:  colored pencils, oil pastels, watercolors.  And they get to work.  Ms. Bettini takes turns working with each student, giving pointers and teaching techniques.  It is a little slice of heaven for Whit and she giddily looks forward to every Wednesday.

When we picked her up from her first class, I was surprised to see the objects she chose for her painting:
(click to enlarge)
A dalmatian puppy (very normal),
a plastic bunch of grapes (semi-normal),
and a skull.  (What????)
Even though the content was interesting,
I thought her finished product was really good!

And here she was, set up for her second work of art:
Teapot, apple, teacup.
Much more typical for a six-year-old girl.

And check out the finished product:
I love it!
I especially like the shadows.

I'm so happy we found Ms. Bettini and Whitney can enjoy this time developing her talent.  Can't wait to see what other masterpieces she creates. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Step Back in Time

We love the history here in NC and have made several visits to Battleground Park, but this was the first year we had the chance to get immersed (at least for a couple of hours) in the Revolutionary War battle that took place there.

Each year in mid-March, they hold a reenactment.  It is awesome.
Hundreds of men (and a few women) get dressed up in period clothing,

wield their muskets


or cannons...

load 'em up

and shoot at each other.
Very educational.
We learned:
*That there were no medics for wars at this time.
You just waited until the battle was over and then
gathered your wounded soldiers.

*That the cavalry from both sides wore green.
How did you know which one was your enemy?
The one that was attacking you.

*This super nice reenactor showed Brandon
and Whitney how his musket works.
This was B's favorite part.

*The soldiers lived in tent cities like this.

They slept on hay and must have been much shorter
because I think Brandon would barely fit in there.

This nice woman taught Whitney all about the life 
of a six-year-old girl in the 18th century.
Basically, she would be a little adult, helping me out
with all of my duties:  cooking, cleaning, taking care of the baby.
She will never complain about unloading the dishwasher again.

One of their favorite parts was getting to play with
old-fashioned toys.  Especially Jacob's ladder.
I know what they're getting for next Christmas!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

[Almost] Forgotten February Fun

I was a bit of a blog slacker in Feb, but didn't want to let these memories go undocumented.  So here is a random collection of updates.

*Puzzle queen.  Caroline has become obsessed with puzzles.  She spends the majority of her free time putting them together.  That means she's going to be good at math, right?  There's my prediction.

This is a girl who can concentrate.
And she is not easily frustrated.
At least not by puzzles.

She did all of these herself.
And check out that sassy look she's giving me.

Well, shut my mouth.
It gets even sassier.

*Caroline's haircut.  Care Bear has reached the stage where she HATES having her hair combed.  It had become a nightmare for both of us each morning.  So, we both decided it was time to cut it.  

This is my attempt to show how long it was before.

 Here are her little curls that have fallen on the bathroom floor.

And here's the length after her chop.
We took off a couple of inches.
I was nervous.
I cut Brandon's hair.  And Andrew's hair.
I don't cut little girl hair.
But she didn't want to go to a salon,
so I figured I'd give it a try.

She looks happy with the results!
And the trim has *helped* but not 
resolved the morning tangle battle.
Maybe we'll take off more?

*School Valentine's Dance--Every year, the kids' school holds a parent/child Valentine's dance.  They have the younger grades in the early evening and the older grades party way into the nine o'clock hour.  So, Andrew and Whitney got dressed up in their fanciest dance attire and headed to the school gym.  Andrew told her he would dance with her as much as she wanted and she could dance with her friends if that's what she wanted to do. 
Well, this is one Daddy's girl who wasn't about to let him off the hook.  The dance lasted an hour and a half, and I think she let him rest for three songs.  I got comments from several moms in the following days about how cute the two of them were and what a good sport Andrew was.  Wish I could've been there with my camera, but Andrew's probably relieved I was home with Care Bear and B.

As soon as they got home from tearing up the dance floor, Brandon and I took off for our turn.
Usually we dress up, but this year he requested that we go with casual clothes.  I wasn't about to argue with that.  We had a very different experience than Drew and Whit.  B's best friend was waiting for us when we got there and I hardly saw him for the rest of the dance.  I did get to jump in two line dances with them, but other than, he spent his time running and jumping around with his friends.  While I chatted with other moms on the sidelines.  We each had fun, but it wasn't much of a date.  I think B's favorite part was when a member of the PTA told him to go get seconds and thirds on treats because they had LOTS of leftovers. 

*Lamest Valentine's Day Ever--Good thing we had fun at the school dance, because the night of the 14th was not the funnest night.  Poor Andrew was sick.  Really sick.  With the flu.  Yuck.

When he was writhing on the couch with chills, our cute kids collected every blanket they could find in the house and piled them on him.  It helped, but he was stuck at home feeling yucky.  So, the rest of us went out to dinner at Wendy's.  Yippee?  And, of course, stopped at Chuck E. Cheese's.

The kids had a blast.
I missed Drew.
Then we couldn't find a babysitter for the rest
of the month to make up for the failed holiday.  Boo.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ugly Sweater Party

My friends, Lori and Patti, threw an ugly sweater party a couple of weeks ago.  It was so much fun.

Shelley and I hit Goodwill.
And we got the ugliest sweaters we could find.
But apparently not all thrift stores are created equal.
Because there were some REALLY ugly sweaters out there.

 When everyone arrived, we had an ugly pageant.  We had to walk the runway, tell a little about ourselves, and answer a question for the judges.
 Patti working it.

Notice the sleeves.  Oops.  It shrunk a bit when I washed it.
Lori is stylin in a blue floral motif.

All the lovely ladies in our not-so-pretty winter wear.

The top three winners.
They totally deserved it.

Deborah's sweater was easily my favorite.
I'm trying to picture who really wore this at some point.
And I can't.