Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Could you be...the most beautiful girl in the world?

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that Prince song! I think it may be my favorite of his - top ten anyway!
As far as it pertains to you, I am sure that some people would say that I am biased because I am your Mommy.

That might be true, but you are most definitely the most beautiful girl in MY world!

These photos were taken before I decided to trim your hair. I am just going to apologize outright and publicly for that.
No matter what your hair looks like, the camera LOVES you! And so does your Momma!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

It is all about the accessories!

It is sometimes still so bizarre to me that I have a little girl.

Today while I was getting ready to go to a birthday party, Hailey walked into the room as I was putting on my earrings and bracelet. She furrowed her brow and asked me in a demanding yet disappointed voice "Where my pretties?"

So we went into her room to find her some pretties to wear. Boy did we ever! She wasn't really feelin' the "less is more" concept. She wanted to wear every necklace, bracelet, ring and earring that she owned.

She paraded around our house in all her "pretty" finest for a half and hour or so while I tried to get the boys presentable. Luckily she was so excited to go to the party, before we left I was able to convince her that she should only wear one necklace in case the others got lost. She thought that was a pretty good idea.

It is a good thing that Hailey didn't grow up in the eighties. I think the "Material Girl" herself would have been her idol. Who knows, the way things come back in style, by the time Hailey is in her teens the layered beads and rubber bracelets up the arm will probably be the rage once again. Since I think I still have some of my originals...I can only hope!

Photo note: I know it is not the greatest look, but I seriously LOVE the first photo in this post. I LOVE the tack sharpness of her eyes with the catchlights and I love how the image just fades ever so slighty from that point.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The boys of summer...

Evan played in his last game of t-ball today.  Little by little our schedule of "extra curriculars" is dwindling down to nil.   I am ready for nil.  

They added a new intense warm up regimen to t-ball this year.  It literally took about 15 minutes of the 45 minute game.  It was kind of annoying because it seemed like every game Evan's team only got to bat once because they ran out of time.  Everyone knows that baseball is all about the hit and running the bases.  Forget all the stretching!  Four and five year old kids are limber enough already.  

Evan enjoyed playing.  He takes the game a bit more serious than Spencer and is a little more intense about it.   He still has his weed picking moments though.  

He was thrilled to show off his trophy to his big brother.   Though I bet he would have traded the trophy for the popsicle if he had to.  What is it about kids and popsicles?

I figured that since I was doing a post on baseball I should add some photos of Spencer's season that I never got around to blogging. 

His season was crazy intense this year.  It was like real baseball, where I was expecting it to be more like last year's instructional league.  They played out six innings.  The coaches pitched through the first half of the season, then the kids pitched alternating innings with the coaches the second half. They usually had two games a week.  And the game lasted about two hours each.  Intense. 

It may have seemed more intense to me than to others, because Spencer really does not seem to have the knack for baseball.  (I know, hard to believe by his intimidating lip purse and angry eyes in the above photo.)  He enjoyed chatting up his buddies on the bench and leading cheers of "Go Giants Go!", so he had fun.  He loved running the bases - he just never really afforded himself that opportunity very often.  One thing that I noticed about their team and really loved about it was how much the kids supported each other.  I don't know if the coaches had instilled in them to be that way or if they are all just super nice kids, but they would encourage the batter on the way up to the pitch and cheer for his hit - or if he struck out would pat him on the back and tell him "you'll get 'em next time".   It was teamwork that I have had yet to see in any of the sports "arenas" my boys have already dipped their toes in. 

Spencer miraculously got a hit the day I had my camera with me.  He was so pumped!  I just laugh at this photo with his arms in the air.  Double fist pump!

Ready to run to second after his hit.  He still had his smile plastered on his face. 

He looks fairly into the game in this out fielding shot.  I think his arm is raising up so he can bite his nails.  (I wonder where that habit came from?)  Most of his outfield time was spent in daydreams as he would watch the ball go by. 

I think this will be Spencer's last baseball trophy.  The other night at dinner when we were talking about Evan's t-ball game, Spencer announced that he didn't want to play baseball again. I told him that was OK and asked him if there was something that he would enjoy playing more that we could sign him up for.  He wanted me to give him some suggestions so I did.  Tennis?  No.  Golf?  No.  Soccer?  No.  I said that maybe sports were not really his thing and maybe he would want to spend more time in his theatre classes.  He asked me what day they would be on. (I have no idea why it would matter except for the fact that he probably saw some episode of Spongebob advertised to air on a certain day and wouldn't want to miss it with acting class!)  Then without really thinking about it I told him he could always take singing lessons.  His head sprang up and he repeated "Singing lessons?  You can take singing lessons?"  I told him that I am sure somewhere around here someone offers singing lessons.  To which he replied "Yeah - I want to take singing lessons!" 

I should also add that a week or so ago he told me that he wanted to tell me a secret that I couldn't tell Daddy or Evan.  The secret was that he was very good at singing and dancing.  I asked him if someone had told him that and he said no.  I asked him how he knew then and he said that he just knew it in his brain.  OK then.  

Then there is what I now refer to as the "High School Musical Incident" HSMI for short. Weeks ago on a Friday Spencer was in the living room watching HSM 1 and 2.  Evan and Dad were outside on the deck roasting marshmallows and I was probably wasting time doing something that was not updating my blog.  I happened to walk by the living room as the HSMers were doing one of their big musical numbers.  Spencer was dancing around in our living room like he was on FIRE.  The boy had moves going on that I have never seen before.  Jumping around.  Throwing himself on the floor.  Not what someone would call particularly good dancing, but quite a form of self expression none the less.  I grabbed the video camera and taped him without him seeing me.  Then he caught me out of the corner of his eye - I was ready for him to be embarrassed, but he just kept on dancing.  My greatest wish right now is that I could post that video to this blog.  Since I can't you will just have to hope for the encore at some point in the future.  

So I leave you with the words of Martin Crane from Fraiser :  "Catcher's mitts or oven mitts - they're still our little champions!"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Raising butterflies and growing vegetables...

My blog is suffering from a serious case of neglect.

I can't believe that it has been two weeks since I posted anything. I can't believe that it is the middle of July. I can't believe that I walked into Hobby Lobby today and had to look at Christmas decorations. Seriously....I thought the back to school sales advertised on every Sunday paper insert were bad. 

Even Spencer who I had with me on my shopping trip first noticed the fall decor that was filling the shelves. He looked at me quizzically and asked "Why is fall stuff out already?" Because my dear boy, we will seemingly blink our eyes and feel that familiar chill in the air. Summer...you just got here! Please hang out for a while!

Our days have been jam packed. Tennis lessons. T-ball games. Playing at the park. Beach. Geocaching (more on that later). Slip n' slide. Trips up North. Painting. More painting. Did I mention painting? We painted our kids bathroom and the "new" closet mudroom. The mudroom is awaiting the locker system that I designed and Trent is building. The bathroom is finished. Well, not completely. I have decided that I have to find and hang a couple of towel bars and am waiting for the poster frame sale at Hobby Lobby so I can frame and hang the artwork in there. Both paint jobs just breathe new life into those spaces that were previously so dull.

In other news around our house. Our garden is starting to show the fruits (and vegetables) of our labor. I picked and cooked our first zucchini today. The kids were so excited and actually ate a ton of it at dinner. I found a teeny tiny green pepper on one of the other plants today, so I am pretty excited about that. I didn't know how the peppers would fare because the deer munched on some of the blossoms for a tasty midnight snack. Our cherry tomato plant is still going strong despite the fact that Hailey enjoys picking off the tomatoes whether they are ripe or not. She does not discriminate.

When we were at the cabin for Father's Day, Evan and I were walking along the road and found three caterpillars right next to each other. We searched other milkweeds but those three were the only ones we found. They were almost full grown so we brought them home in a jar and the next day they crawled to the top of the cage and started to "j" up. It was the ultimate lazy butterfly growing experience because we didn't even have to walk to collect milkweed everyday for them. They were like instant chrysalises.
A week or so later while Hailey and I were on a walk, we went by the milkweed patch and found another almost full grown caterpillar. We brought him home and added him to the cage with the three chrysalises. The first three butterflies emerged right around the fourth of July. Two on the third and one on the fifth. We let them walk on our arms and clothes and watched as they flew away.
Only one chrysalis remained. The milkweed in the bottom of the cage was getting old and kind of moldy (we have never had it get moldy before - I don't know why it did this time). I was getting a bit tired of the cage sitting in our kitchen, so today when our final butterfly finally emerged I was so happy to clean the cage and get the thing outta here! We took the cage and butterfly out to the deck to let him free. Spencer the ever inquisitive boy was looking at the cage in disgust and asking about the "fluffy" stuff inside. It was then he shouted out "There is another baby caterpillar in here!" Sure enough - crawling along on one of the dead, dried up, moldy leaves was a little caterpillar less than a centimeter big. Upon further inspection we found another one as well - this one even smaller than the one Spencer spotted.
Those little critters owe Spencer their lives because if it weren't for him they would have been in the trash can with the moldy leaves. Apparently some of the milkweed we picked must have had eggs on them. When we cleaned all the "icky" out of the cage we also found another itty bitty that didn't make it. Poor thing.
So the cage is not leaving my kitchen. And we are going to have to gather fresh milkweed for them everyday - these little guys are nowhere near full grown. The best laid plans....

She was trying to be so brave and then they just started to really freak her out!

I am going to try to be a better blogger in the next couple days. I am not making any promises since we just decided to head to the Wisconsin Dells to visit my sister and family and to celebrate some big guy turning eight years old! Since we will most likely be gone on his "real" birthday, he decided he wanted to have a party with his school buddies next week. In fact that is why we were shopping today. We were BUYING invitations for his birthday party. You cannot imagine how much it hurts me to type that. This is the first time I have ever bought invitations for one of my kids parties. Not that there is anything wrong with buying them. Birthdays are just my thing. I am all about the organizing and the theme. I LOVE it. I LIVE for it. He wants to go to Craig's Cruisers for the party and he picked out Pirates of the Caribbean invitations. The depths of my soul were screaming at his choices. Every fiber of my being wanted to take him home and just get the stuff myself. I offered suggestions like "What about a golf theme, since you will be mini-golfing. Or even video games?" For the love of God - please, something to tie this all together! He wanted the Pirates AND the Go-Karts. It is HIS birthday. I will get over it. Maybe not without some serious therapy though.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

We made it out without an Elephant Ear!

It is the first day of July. Do you notice what we are wearing in these photos? Fifty nine degrees is not an acceptable temperature for the middle of the day this time of year. Mother Nature? It is time to step it up a bit!

We took the kids down to dollar ride day at the midway today. We warned them ahead of time that they could not go on EVERY ride and they could not play EVERY game that they saw and that they could not have EVERY treat that beckoned from the colorful stands of goodness.

The experience could not have gone better. They were wonderful. We stayed for about two hours - which seems to be a perfect amount of midway time for their ages. They rode a bunch of rides and each played a couple of games for two bucks a try and were rewarded with "treasures" that probably cost about thirty cents and are probably broken as I type this and even got to enjoy some caramel corn and cotton candy. Of course they asked for another game or one more ride on something, but when we told them "no" they accepted our decision without a hint of tantrum or whinyness. What more could a parent ask for? All in all a perfect day with the Carnies.

This is probably Spencer's last year on the "little" train!

The boys on the roller coaster. I have a whole series of these shots and every one of them makes me smile. They were so happy on that thing!

The boys inherited their father's ability to run into someone he knows EVERYWHERE he goes. At the midway they ran into our neighbor boy who is one of their best buds.

Mommy and Hailey on the elephant ride. Our little girl is a daredevil! She kept telling me to make the elephant go UP!

Hailey playing the fishing game. It took her a LONG time to pick her prize. I don't really think she understood the concept. She could see the merry - go - round and just wanted to go for a ride on that.

Eventually she picked this rose and got her ride on the merry -go -round as well. Here she is practicing her tango look.

I think the boys love these bungee jumpers more than anything. Maybe it reminds them of their days in the doorway bouncer?

Our whole family went up on the ferris wheel. It was cold and windy up there! July!
Anyone who grew up in this town would be flooded with memories by looking at this next photo. I can remember riding the Himalaya as a preteen and thinking how cool it would be to be at the carnival with my future boyfriend. My young mind just thought that was the ultimate date and this ride was the ultimate date ride. (It really is because you totally get smushed into the side of the person you are riding with.)

My dream of dates at the midway and riding the Himalaya with boyfriends eventually came true. But none of those memories will be able to hold a candle to the one of my little boys face and expressions and sheer joy and laughter the first time he rode this ride. I was watching him and laughing my head off. It was a great moment. (I made Trent ride with him because I honestly don't know if I can handle that ride anymore. Growing up just bites!)

This photo is just so "end of day at carnival". Two boys fake fighting with blow up swords and little sister just standing there holding her prize rose. What a great day!