Monday, January 30, 2017

Silly Soren

Soren is at the age where almost everything he says is hilarious for one reason or another.
 Here are a few of the latest funnies:
We went through a phase about a month ago where Soren's reply to everything I said was, "Mom, serious?" complete with an "Are you kidding me?" face attached.
"Soren, where you going?" "Mom, serious? I'm going to my class!" 
"Soren, why do you want for lunch?" "Mom, serious? I want a jam sandwich!"
"Soren, why are you wearing those glasses?" "Mom, serious? They are my BUILDING glasses!"
 He's since stopped doing it. Shame.
Yesterday, I subbed in Soren's primary class. At one (particularly chaotic) point, I asked all the children to get to their seats and CHILL already. Soren did this:

When asked just what he was doing, Soren replied, "I'm MEDITATING." Of course you are. Except for a few weeks ago when you were striking this same pose (complete with an open-then-closed mouth saying, "Ommmm") and when I asked what you were doing, you said, "Mom, serious? I'm just trying to catch bugs with my mouth."
Speaking of church, Sunday mornings not Soren's favorite. He usually doesn't want to go to church (he doesn't ever want to come home from church either), and will argue his cause in different ways. One morning, while lying in bed, he said this: 
"I can't go to church." 
"Why not, love?" 
"I'm too eshausted (spelling error on purpose to hear his little voice in there)."
 "Oh yeah, why are you exhausted?" 
BIG sigh. 
"I'm too eshausted from all this sleeping."
Other mornings, Soren is usually the first one up and ready for action. He'll come bounding into our bed, wondering if it's morning time yet. He'll say, "Hmm, let's check the weather" then he'll go on the weather app and see if it has the moon and clouds (before 7am) or sunshine. If it's still the moon, he'll give a disappointed "Aahh," then snuggle in with us and count the long seconds until "morning." Sometimes, though, he gets too restless. One of this favorite things to say is, "Uh-oh, I think my hand is hungry for TICKLES!!!" Then he'll attack his popsy and giggle, oh how he will giggle. I will giggle too, because it's funny to watch B get woken up and not be able to be grumpy about it. 
Some of you may have heard our football team did pretty well this year. One Saturday a few weeks ago, we were trying to deliver baked potatoes to Zane's swim meet (across from the stadium) and we happened to run into 50,000 other people, going to some kind of parade and ceremony. Soren said, "All this noise hurts my brain!" He also says this about my singing most days!
Soren is a ninja more often than not. This day, the ninja fought the Yogurt.....and lost. 
This last one's not as funny as it is just kind of adorable. One night, Annie and Soren made rockets out of boxes. (Thank you, PBS kids!) They were very creative in their helmets and Soren insisted on a selfie or two.
That's it for now! Just come over, you'll leave tickled (literally and figuratively).

Friday, January 27, 2017

Youth America Grand Prix

Annie had a special life experience yesterday. After many, many months of practice, she performed a ballet solo onstage at the Ferst Center of the Arts (Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta) as a participant in the Youth America Grand Prix. Wow, what a mouthful! Annie and her sweet friend both prepared the Cupid variation from the ballet, Don Quixote. This was a new experience for them both, and I was happy they had each other. But I'm getting ahead of myself on the pictures.
We had been asked to arrive up to two hours earlier than registration time to allow for traffic/long lines/who knows what, etc. We did as we were advised.......and we were the first ones there. Early enough that they didn't quite know what to do with us, in fact. In a word or two, they told us to come back ready in about two hours. So we went to the student center next door and waited.
I included the above pic so you could begin to see the transition from 3rd grader into ballerina. First, hair and makeup. It's cool that I forgot the brush (no it isn't! but Annie is patient with her curly-haired, never use a brush mother). Also, after she was all done up, she said, "I think I look even prettier than you now!" Ha! Don't know if that is a compliment or not, but it's cool! We met up with her friend soon after. Or almost an hour after the first pic, if you're watching that clock. They still wouldn't perform for about 90 minutes.
Then (after some more waiting, oh and also more waiting. ugh, the waiting!) it was time for costumes and warm-ups back stage. The girls had 15 minutes to get comfortable and try out a few moves. Both were quite taken aback I think at the sheer number of participants (perhaps about 60), all battling for a little corner on stage to practice. They made do, Annie calm as a cucumber throughout.
 (Two of our favorite moments above--look at that skirt fly! And those arms, hands, and fingers, swoon!)
 And then finally finally FINALLY, the program began. Annie was 6th to perform,  and after she finished we waited and watched her friend who was 9th, and then we were OUT OF THERE! I think we were all a bit over it by that point, to tell the truth. But Annie did a wonderful job and was pleased with her own first real solo performance, which made us very relieved as her mama and pops. Here we are as we exited the theatre, all of us proud of our Anniegirl.
We then proceeded  to a yummy pizza place in downtown Atlanta (Max's), a perfect end-of-the-day  prize for everything that went in to making the day and solo happen (not to mention all the WAITING). 
 And although we couldn't take video inside the performance, I do have Annie's "dress rehearsal" from last week at her home dance studio. Each and every step in this has been learned with care, patience, practice, and hard hard work. Ballet, it isn't for the weak, is it? Tenacious two (and three, and four)-year old Annie is now exquisite ballerina Annie, and we sure love her to pieces. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

New Year's Eve Happiness + First Snow day of 2017

Happy New Year! 
We started the year off right, with dear friends and GREAT food. 
(And of course, my too-brown-for-pictures walls.)
Lots of outside play, but no snow, unfortunately.
Still, games, spa treatments from the ladies above, breakfasts to die for, desserts!!!, octopus and rabbit in one weekend, mashed potatoes that lasted for days after, sigh. Wonderful stuff, all of it.

Then, just a week after they all went home, the snow decided to show. It started on a Friday evening and we were pretty sure we would have sledding weather when we woke up; instead, we woke up to a dusting--JUST enough to even call it snow. So we threw on our garden boots (Z and A) (Soren got to wear some amazing snow boots left over from Z in Idaho that KEEP FITTING year to year--miracle of the snow boots) and played in our yard instead. 
The snow was heavy and cumbersome, so the kids got out shovels and rakes to help. I prefer the camera!
There were also lots of snowballs thrown, from the very start. 
Look at this poor branch in our driveway. It got a little too much of that happy, heavy white stuff. 
 Annie got invited over to a friend's house, so Z walked her over there while Pops, Soren, and I enjoyed more winter activities at home.

 For some reason, He knew this was a thing and plopped right down in the snow at one point:
 He also enjoyed getting pulled through the semi-snow, thank you Pops! (Look at all those funny little grasses poking up! Semi-snow indeed!)
 What did Soren do to show his thanks for the sleigh ride? Beaned Brandon multiple times with snowballs, no less! I would have stopped him but it was so funny how they kept sticking.
Walking in a winter wonderland... 
 Next, around back for more fun. 
Wall climbing is a little tricky, for both boys big and small (especially with mom's slippery GREEN garden boots, good sporting, Z).
 Then Soren spotted me and snowball attack 2.0 was ON. Little stinker.
Finally, a way to get mom and her pesky camera to retreat! I ran for the hills aka hot chocolate in the warm house. 
Happy snow day, everyone! 

Christmas 2016

I'm already writing Christmas 2017 in my title! Not so fast!
Christmas 2016 was spent at home, with our loves. Christmas Eve morning was GORGEOUS outside, so we did what you'd expect us to do on a special occasion--we did yard work! But only after we'd listened to the Nine Lessons and Carols program with the Choir of King's College in Cambridge and prepared pineapples to be taken around to friends later that day (Brandon oil painted for his graduating phDs). Thank you NPR!
After yard work and pineapples, we came home and got out our good china. Second time we used it, first time for the glasses. Kids looked at it like it was all from another planet! What did we eat that night, let's see, can't remember. But we were together and it was lovely.
After all went to bed, Santa arrived (family gifts below under the tree, Santa gifts to the right by the chairs). That nice Santa, he knows we're kinda minimalists when it comes to all things from-him. Well, when it comes to all things, actually.
 Christmas morning was happy as expected! Kids had presents organized and stacked by the time we got up around 8am.
 Present opening was especially fun with this little one, who got magnets from one grandparent set and ninja gear from the other--what more could a 4 year old want?
 Stuffies (including Duke who went missing after our Utah trip last summer!), Tsums Tsums, and magnets, oh my!
Zane's favorite part of the morning: sausage and egg biscuits. Soren was thrilled because I managed to make him a T-Rex biscuit (molded accidentally with leftover biscuit dough strewn around cut-out muffins--Christmas miracle if I've ever known it)
This Christmas was extra special because we also got to head to church and participate in our ward's Christmas program. Zane played "O Come O Come Emmanuel" on the bells to start us off and Annie's primary class sang, "When Joseph Went to Bethlehem." Being in charge of the whole dang thing, I was just relieved everyone showed up who was on the program AND the meeting only lasted 56 minutes total. Two more Christmas miracles! 
We came home to sunshine and naps (parents) and bow-and-arrows (Z) and lots of happy playing together (A+S). 
Low key schedule and warm weather, happy hearts and sleepy eyes. And most important of all, Jesus. So thankful to be able to celebrate his birth with others through scripture and song on Christmas Day this year.
Merry Christmas everyone.

Seasons' change

These are more from last fall. Oh how I'd love to have those yellow gingko trees leaves back! But not if it would mean going back before all the holiday chaos. I couldn't do all that again, thank you very much! 
I love how nature has the power to stop you in your tracks. This day was a multiple stop-and-"gasp!" day. Autumn was undeniable: "I am AUTUMN! HEAR ME ROAR!" 
January's roar: not quite as charming. There are 2-hour school delays in January though (two of them this week, even though all traces of snow had vanished the day prior). If I can't have yellow leaves, at least I can have a few more moments of shuteye in the mornings.
Spring, you anywhere close?

Zoo Day in November

Right before Thanksgiving, the kids and I found ourselves with a free Monday off when we really should have been a school (thank you Pickens County Schools) so we actually went and did something out of the ordinary.
I know, crazy, right?
First we went to Costco. We sampled and purchased and pizza-ed and churro-ed and my sweet Zane said, "You know mom, even if we didn't make it to the zoo, we could call this a great outing!" He gets me. But no, we drove 10 more minutes into Greenville proper and found a nearly empty zoo parking lot (my favorite kind). We paid our money, got our adventure maps, and were OFF.
Guess what, we had a GREAT time!
This little zoo was just the right size for about and hour's worth of exploring, housed just enough exotic animals (see the leopard above? cheetah? I'm hopeless.) to feel like we'd stepped into a different world, and I found myself feeling relaxed and happy throughout our afternoon visit there. Perhaps I should have climbed up onto the bear myself, eh?
 The weather was really nice (and all the leaves hadn't fallen, a perk I'm missing now that it's mid-January) and near the end of our visit, we found ourselves in this little play garden with a pull-wagon for the little and a xylophone for my budding percussionist. (Jon, this is also the moment I learned Tina was going to get you a KITTY after all these years! It just felt right to be among the animals in that moment!) 

I'm so thankful to call these monkeys (oh we loved the monkeys) mine. Great day at the zoo!