Monday, May 2, 2016

Late April Happenings


We are back to our normal routines now, which don't seem at all as fun as having Gigi and Gramps here. Soren was pretty bitter about NOT being able to JOIN them on the airplane that day, in fact. But there have been a few events and quotes I wanted to try and remember.
First of all, boyfriend. is. potty trained. Finally. Some kids take one weekend. When they're two. Soren took eight months. And he's almost four. Oh, potty training, the bane of my existence. I'm pretty sure it's more painful than child birth. But anyway. Hooray Soren, we can be friends again!
Soren has also taken an interest in all friends of Annie. Mostly those who invite her to their parties. So he's VERY upset when the invitation only says "for Annie." But this last weekend, friend Brian invited Annie + siblings (and mom) to a party in his backyard. A party where there was an 18 foot inflatable slide. Um, jackpot! Zane chose mountain biking with Pops instead, but Soren was ALL IN.  And every time he went down, after yelling, "AAAAAHHHHH!!!" he'd get to the bottom, raise his hands in the air, and say, "I want to go AGAIN mom!" Thank you, Brian's parents!

Speaking of Zane's mountain biking adventures, here's the text I received from him that afternoon while watching Soren plummet down this thing one hundred times:

"Hi Mom. This is Zane. I had a bit of a 😠🚵🏻 and crashed epically when going off a jump. Now I am safe and we are going to get 🍧 from cookout."

So basically, mountain biking is lots of fun and lots of injuries? Heaven help me! At least there's ice cream at the end!

Okay, that's all I can think of. We are holding on tight to the steam engine that is MAY around here. I'm sure everyone feels that way this time of year. Lots to look forward to this month and the summer following it!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Happy Parents' visit

My dear, dear folks came to visit this past week. They are such wonderful people. We were all very much in need of their love and attention. And did they ever deliver! Let me count the ways. Let's see, there was the yard work, and the reading to children, and the garden expansion, and the game playing, and the exterior clean-up, and the concert going, and the food prepping, and the scripture reading, and the movie going, and the frame finding/hanging, and the secret bed making, and the shed cleaning out, and the basketball shooting, and the happy chatting, and the yummy restaurant eatings, and the joke telling, and the compliment giving, and the choir attending, and the flower planting, and on and on and on. These guys came and gave everything to us, day after day. The only thing we could give in return was our wonderful springtime weather and our smiles and hugs and thanks. Not sure it was balanced, but they didn't seem to care. Here are some pictures of the fun:
 We've had this sandbox for at least six months now, but making the push to buy the sand and put it under the play place was apparently too much for us. Until now! And it's a gift that keeps on giving; the two littles are at this exact moment in the same positions you see them below, while I type blissfully nearby:
 (Annie wanted to remember her sand castle creation. She's been learning lots from those cake shows on Netflix.)
Our garden produced some wonderful greens during the visit. We had enough homegrown happiness for four or five family salads, made up of kale, spinach, and romaine lettuce. Annie's garden for the win!
Speaking of gardens, ours is thriving! So much so that we got the courage to double it in size by removing some nearby bushes. And by "got the courage" I mean I told my dad I was thinking about doing it and 12 minutes later, the bushes were out and the garden was huge! He was like my fairy godfather---bippity boppity boo!
With our newfound spaces, we (Gramps and Annie) planted pole beans, tomato plants, cucumbers, bush beans, and a basil plant. Bring on the summer veggies!
 The rest of us looked on and helped when needed/blew bubbles/shot basketballs that night. Soren also had his adorable new binoculars from Sunbeams handy, just in case.
Gardening by osmosis (aka watching while other people get their fingers dirty) is my favorite kind of gardening!
We asked Zane to take a couple pictures that same night. Soren would NOT cooperate until we offered him some MarioKart time (another highlight--getting batteries after needing them for many, many months--I'm telling you, things other than food for the table and toilet paper are just outside my usual purchasing radar). And even then, his best attempts were a little subpar. As my mom noted, it's hard to get both. sides. of. the. smile. up at the same time sometimes! Silly boy.
 
Hydrangeas started to pop during the visit! Can't wait for more to come.
 Here's another fun activity, this time inside the house. This is our beloved Golden Books Go Fish game, in which you might be asked, "Do you have the Saggy Baggy Elephant?" or "Do you have the Pokey Little Puppy?" When Soren sat down across from my dad, he said outloud, "I'm going to crush the competition!" And he did.
 (Lucky you, there's the Saggy Baggy Elephant down in front!)

 One thing that was very cool this trip was that both my parents got to take a grandchild on a date to a performance at the Brooks Center on campus. My mom and Zane went to something called Cirque Mechanics Pedal Punk and my dad got to take Annie to the CU Symphony Orchestra where some of her older ballet friends performed with one of the numbers. We don't have a picture of the Gigi/Zane night, only funny stories about missing the turn and almost going all the way to the church in the next town instead, but we do have a picture of Annie all dressed up with Gramps. As you can see, they were quite a pair throughout the visit.
And speaking of the Botanical Gardens! :) What, we weren't speaking of that? Well we are now, and let me tell you, I've figured out the way to get Zane pumped about the Botanical Gardens. Simply allow him to skip school AND supply him with a Slurpee and you're golden. Brilliant! It only took Gigi and Gramps to figure it out!
 
 We basically walked around and soaked in the beauty of spring and our love for each other that morning. And when it got too hot, we left. Easy peasy.
 
 
 (It was such a nice change to see a smile on that Zane's face! Love these boys of mine!)
***
Here's one more shot from my front yard. Happy girls, beautiful azaleas:
I am so grateful for my parents. They swooped in and gave us a wonderful and memorable week. Brandon was here for the first half, but he got out of pictures by going out of town for a conference before I got my camera out. And when he left, though we missed him, his void was filled by these two loving helpers. Easiest out-of-town-conference endurance ever.
On top of everything, my parents make me feel like a super hero. Much like Soren below. Mom and dad, thanks for making me feel like I have huge muscles, inside and out! Love you guys!  

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Tarentella take Two

Look at this beautiful girl with a tree coming out of her head! That's what happens when your mom wants you to pose in front of the hydrangeas so everyone can see their progress since the last talked-about post!
Annie had a second opportunity to wear this beautiful costume and dance her Tarentella last night on Clemson campus. Her dance troupe took part in the Association for India's Development presentation of "World of Dances 2016." 
Annie is the dancer closest to the camera this time. If you are a watcher of our videos, you will recognize the music and dance here. But if you are a watcher of our videos, I already know you won't mind seeing it again.
***
Annie's also taken to writing this last month or so (this picture is a little more towards last month!). She writes in a journal, she creates chapter books, she sends texts, and she writes letters then delivers them to our pillows. Her first letter to me was an apology. It started with, "I'm sorry you've had to see the DARK side of Annie lately." After I wrote back with a "No biggie gal! Families are here to help each other!" she replied with, "Thanks for the inceraging note!" When asked by her dad who her favorite conference speaker was, she texted, "I liked Elder Ook. Dorfe's talk." 
We hope her accuracy never improves.
***
Life marches forward! I all-too-often forget to write down moments right when they happen like I used to (example: when Zane told me he prefers to be alone in his room while doing legos so his thoughts are free to fly around the room) (or when I buzzed Soren's hair last week and when he looked in the mirror, he did a double take, then gave a grossed out look and asked, "Mom, please you put my hair back now?) and they're gone, just like that. But the moments remembered become moments cherished, so I will keep trying my best to retain at least a few of our everydaynesses. Thanks for coming along with me (even through all the tarentella videos).

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Egg Hunt at Home

Bad weather kept us from our tradition of going to Savannah for Easter. Big bummer! But we were able to stay home and chill (aka do lots of yard work on Saturday and attend church-but-no-choir-practice Sunday) and on Monday night, we tromped around in our (little bit more cleaned up) yard on an egg hunt.  Z hid for the littles in the back, Annie for Z in the front. The back had prettier flowers, so that's where the camera and I went first.
Hello white Azaleas! I actually took pictures of these the other day, let's have a look at those:
Annie LOVED this activity. She would gasp and yell, "An egg!" And Soren would follow right behind her, parroting all the while. Z did a perfect job hiding those things.
 Annie also did a great job hiding Zane's eggs. So good, in fact, that when I went to the front yard to see how Z was doing, he had only found 3 of the 12. 3!
So then we had to ask Annie to come help, so then she thought she did something wrong, so then she cried, so then some things never change. It's cool. At least there were more Azaleas to be photographed.
(Here's the best camera phone picture of the year, credit to Brandon. Behold the burning bush!)
As a family, we retrieved 11 of the 12 eggs and called it good. Next time, she won't bury them in leaf piles and stick piles and who knows where else, never to be found again.
Peace out, egg hunt 2016! Hope you're back in Savannah next year!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hmm...

Last Friday night, the elementary school had a bingo night. To advertise, they wrote "We {heart} Bingo" in the carline drive-by fence with big plastic cups.
My turkey pants family went to play at the fields the next morning. They came home giggling.
"Oh no," I said. "What did you do this time?"
They then showed me this picture.
There are certain things only your Pops will do with you.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

HB from AZ

We had a dear friend visit last week. 
We knew and loved HB in FL, we've seen her since in TN and UT, but this was her first visit to see us in SC.
We took her to our usual places (the botanical gardens, the elementary school, piano lessons, ballet) all the while talking her ears off and eating delicious food every chance we got. (Smokin' Pig!)
We actually also did a little sewing which was totally fun for me, and HB was a good sport about all my "tutoring." She had a book showing a simple way to make Dresden Plates and voila! My dreams came true (what, you don't have Dresden Plate dreams?):
(One for each of us, a mini-quilt version to practice and take home for her, an easy finish for me):
Like my frame, do you?
On her last morning here, HB took charge of breakfast and it was DELICIOUS. Homemade biscuits AND gravy, sausage, I did the eggs with spinach out of Annie's garden, and strawberries with REAL whipped cream. Goodness gracious.
There's a line at the end of "Mulan" that comes to mind when I think of HB visiting. Someone says to Mulan's captain/suitor, "Can you stay for dinner?" and the grama croaks out, "Can you stay FOREVER?"
HB, I'm the grama. Thanks for a great visit!