Thursday, June 20, 2013

Father's Day, Tball, summer fun!

I had kids going through the sick bug rotation the first 2 weeks of summer break, which was a bummer!  They'd been healthy for several months coming out of winter, but they went down like domino's, and took their time coming back up.  It was made even more frustrating by the fact that the weather was FINALLY fantastic.  We went outside briefly each day, to get some fresh air, enjoy the sunshine, and a homemade juice popsicle, but if we were out for very long, they'd start coughing and getting runny noses (even worse than normal).  We did our best to enjoy the sunshine and still get healthy.
 As soon as they started feeling better, we busted out the sprinkler, water balloons, and kiddie pool.  So much summer fun!  Hooray!!

 Father's Day rolled around.  This year I went easy on breakfast since we have early church, I bought some muffins, turn overs, and doughnut balls from the store (because I knew there was no way I was getting up early enough to cook), had an array of berries and fresh fruit and whipped up some scrambled cheesy eggs.  All quick stuff that can be ready in just a few minutes.  We got it ready, set out the presents and woke up Daddy (he got to sleep in until 7).

  This year each of the girls picked out a grilling tool to work with our little portable camping grill (because we had no grilling utensils), they had cheap ones for $1 each, so it worked out perfectly.

 Since we are poor students I decided to do a craft out of stuff we had at the house already.
Here is my completely unsolicited advice on doing framed crafts for cheap.  I have a pad of watercolor paper, I picked it up, several months ago,  at JoAnn's or Hobby Lobby (I can't remember which) on sale for about 4 bucks.  It has 200, 11x15 sheets.  So, 4 bucks for 200 paintings/projects is a pretty good buy.  If you have a 40 or 50 percent off coupon, you can get any quality/size of a paper pad for really cheap.  I have a whole stock of paints, so that for me didn't cost anything (recently at least), I've bought up a couple colors for various project over the years, so now I have pretty much all the colors.  I recommend getting the big bottles of acrylic craft paint.  Get white, black, brown and the primary colors to start with, then you can mix your own colors, but it doesn't cost much to build up a pretty good stock.  We use these paints for lots of our projects (like painting pumpkins for Halloween, painting on wood, Lettering for the kids rooms, etc).  As far as frames go, here is what I do,  DON'T buy them new!  (Unless of course you need a matching set of frames, or are framing something expensive, that you need something particular for).  But I always buy them used for fun projects/kids art/my art.  Go to a DI/Goodwill/Thrift Store and look at their framed art.  There is usually a whole section of framed art, with frames in decent condition, glass intact.  Usually the art is pretty bad, but that's not important.  I buy frames for the mat, or because I like the size/shape.  The frame I used was a great size, but it was old wood, not in great shape.  It has a framed picture with a good mat.  I am sure I will reuse the mat on another project.  So for $1.99 (it unfortunately wasn't a 50% off day) I got a 12x16 sturdy wood frame, with decent glass and a great mat.  Not bad!  Because I buy up frames whenever there's something I like, I already had this at home.  I simply took out the mat, a GREAT thing is that LOTS of generic framed art comes with a mat and also a plain white piece of sturdy cardstock behind it.  In this case, I painted the edge of the white cardstock orange and used it as my "mat".  Then, I just put the original mat behind it to store the mat safely until I find a use for it. Here is the back of the finished product. Someday, I'll need a blue mat, and I'll have this one just ready to go :)
Anyway, I painted the frame with black acrylic, stuck in the art work, and in and hour had a nice little Father's Day gift made with stuff that we already had on hand.
That night we had a great Father's Day feast!  We had rolls, mashed potatoes, cooked carrots, and we used our new grill utensils to grill chicken, steak, hot dogs, asparagus, and squash.  It all turned out really, really, good.  I only wish that there had been more leftovers.  They went pretty fast!
 Summer time is finally in full swing, and I love it!  However, my hair does NOT.  We usually seem to have at least 80% humidity, and my hair gets SO frizzy and unmanageable.  My only solution is to put a lot of product in and BRAID.  So, it's some kind of braid for me almost every single day.  Otherwise I get a little halo of flyaway hair that sticks straight out all around my head.  It's super attractive.  Anyway, I have started getting more creative and looking for new, fun, adult looking braids.  Below is an example, if you every come across a cool way to braid, email me, tag me, whatever.  Just show it to me.  My hair (and my vanity) will thank you!
 Speaking of summer time, last night Lily had her first ever Tball game!  It actually started last week, but she was still sick so we missed it.  It made me feel, once again, that I am getting old as a parent.  And it made me feel like she is getting so big!  As I French braided her hair and saw her grab her glove and get ready to go, I was overwhelmed with how fast she's growing up.  A few weeks ago, she had never used a glove, and had no idea about running bases, or really how Tball worked at all.  Over the past 2 weeks, we've practiced throwing, catching, batting, and running.  She has worked hard, had fun, and gotten so much better!  Because it's just a summer rec league and not a real, fancy (read expensive) league, they just practice for 20 minutes before the game, play against another team, for a certain amount of time, and don't keep score.  So I've just worked with her at home here and there, and she has caught on so fast and I am so proud of her.  She loved it, and she did a really great job.

 Kate was a great cheerleader, complete with yelling "Go Lily!" clapping, jumping up and down, and doing some pretty sweet cheerleader moves that I still have no idea where she picked up.

 Getting her first hit!
 Isabel wanted to play (she can next year!), but was such a good sport about watching, and cheering, and staying put for the hour we were there.
 Here is Lily about to catch this pop up that came right to her while she was playing in the pitcher's position.
 Then she threw it just where she was supposed to (she's actually not the only lefty on her team, there's another left handed girl as well), GO LILY!

 As soon as Lily started walking over, Kate ran to hug her.  She was so proud of Lily and really did enjoy watching and cheering.  I was the first base coach while Lily's team batted and Kate really wanted to go out there with me, she was a good sport about staying with Daddy though.

 She had so much fun and was so happy after the game.
 Here are her sisters telling her, "Good Job!!"

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Suumer TIme!!!

I should've taken a picture when we went to the movies for Kate's FIRST TIME EVER and Lily and Izzie's second time.  The movie theater closest to our house has a great thing they do, every Saturday morning they show a FREE kids movie.  So we finally decided to check it out and it was FANTASTIC!  It was totally free, in fact they had a guy in a dragon suit passing out little suckers to the kids so it was free plus a little treat, and all the girls sat so quietly and really loved the movie.  It was How to Train Your Dragon and it was all of our first time seeing it.  It was a fun family outing and we will definitely  go again!
The last week of school Isabel had an adorable end of the school year program.  She has LOVED being in Headstart so much, and it has been so great for her!

 All of us girls came to support her!
 Afterward, she got to show us around her classroom.  She loved showing us all her of favorite things!

Lily's teacher did a really cute thing where all the kids got to sign a beach ball for each student, it says "I had a BALL in Kindergarten 2012-2013", and all her class mates signed it, so cute!
The girl's last day of school was the same day.  They came home around the same time and were so excited to get to spend all day everyday together over summer break! Woohoo!!  Let the summer time party begin!
 Beginning of school/End of school comparison
The last day of school was a big day at our house.  It was the last day for both Iz and Lily and it was also the last full day that my mom would be here.  My mom has been staying with us for a while, helping me/taking care of me and the girls while I've been under the weather.  It was a big sacrifice on her part to be so far from home and her other responsibilities for 2.5 months, but it was SUCH a huge blessing for me and my family.  I am pretty terrible at saying, "I need help", luckily I have good mom who was willing to come out and stay until she was satisfied that I'd be OK without her.  We all enjoyed having her here.  The girls all adore her, and so do Matt and I.  Katie and her have especially wrapped each other around their fingers and she is feeling "BlaBla"s absence the most, although it's been quite an adjustment for all of us.  I would try to express my gratitude for her, but I feel like anything I say doesn't even begin to cover it.  She's served me in a way that I needed.  It's humbling, and makes me want to cry, so let me just clear my throat and move on.
The last day of school also marked the 4 year anniversary of my Grandpa passing away.  Other than my husband, my Grandpa is my favorite person ever.  Matt knew when he married me that he would always be in competition with my Grandpapa for the #1 place in my heart.  I suppose it's probably similar to how most little girls feel about their dads.  He and my GG are such a huge part of who I am.  I think about him all the time, wear at least part of one of his perfectly worn in sweat suits every week, and feel his presence in my heart.  I think of songs he'd love, books he'd read, what he'd say about the state of my lawn, or the level of my service, and more than anything else, jokes he'd love/wise cracks he's make if he were here.  Growing up my Grandpa made me feel like I was special, smart, talented, and had so much potential.  He gave me more confidence in who I was than anyone else ever has.  It's still my ambition to make him proud of me.  This day I called my beloved GG and talked to her, as I often do, and as I always do when the anniversary of my Grandpa's death rolls around.  In fact, over the past 3 years I have always coordinated a visit home with this day, so that I could bring flowers and share my love with her.  As I talked with her on the phone this year, I realized how especially hard this year was for her, and my heart hurt that there wasn't more I could do.  It was the first day since we've been here that I really ached to be home.  I miss my Grandma, and I miss my grandpa.  AACCHHHHEMM.  Clear my throat one more time.  GEEZ!  I swear I must be trying to get myself to cry here!
To avoid getting anymore emotional, I'll cheat and copy my Facebook status from that night.
To celebrate Grandma being here one more night and the end of the school year, I made a cake, and to honor my beloved Grandpa I made it a lemon cake with lemon sauce. I thought I was doing OK, but I will admit that some tears might have made their way into the batter, as I smelled the lemon and was overwhelmed by the gratitude and love I feel towards my Grandparents. It's been an emotional day, and I can't even think about how I'll feel after putting my mom on a plane tomorrow!
On to less emotional things.
Kate is my first child to REALLY be into the princess thing.  She wants to be 'pretty' and wear a dress every single day.  She insists on wearing a dress and says, "Me little princess!"  She also loves dress up high heel shoes and anything pink or sparkly.  I have to convince her that any regular shoes are 'special princess shoes', or a 'special princess shirt' in order to get her to wear them.  She is WAY more opinionated about what bow goes in her hair, which shoes she wears, etc than either of my other girls were at this age.  She is super confident and loves being a girly girl.  Everything is one big party for her and we are all just her guests.

 This particular Sunday morning we had a near 40 minute (screaming, crying) battle of wills when I 'forced' her to wear a dress from her closet and refused to let her wear the dress that Lily was already wearing (and was 4 sizes too big).  She definitely thinks she should always be the boss, most of the time she is a hilarious delight, but every so often the law has to be laid down and mommy has to assert the fact that "Princess Katie" as she calls herself, doesn't actually rule over our kingdom.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I do not put up with screaming temper tantrums.  I will sit in a room by myself with a screaming kid on my lap all day until they are willing to have a good attitude, if I have to.  The harder they push, the more determined I become.  All kids, especially 2 and 3 year olds try it out, some with more determination and gusto than others, but my real pet peeve is when I see parents give in to their kid's fits in order to take the easy road or appease them or keep the peace.  I realize that all parents, especially in certain situations, do what they can to avoid a total meltdown, but I am a firm believer in leaving the store mid-shopping trip, missing that fun outing, going home mid-party, type of serious consequences for kids who think that fit throwing is an acceptable tool of communication/manipulation.  Sorry, rant over.  I just see so many kids get away with rotten behavior while their parents shrug their shoulders and say "what can you do?" without taking the time to teach them how to communicate and what is acceptable behavior.  Not only is it annoying, but I think it's setting those kids up to have a harder time making friends and having successful relationships.  OK, now my rant really is over.  Of course at the end of the day she wanted to sleep in her pretty "Cinderella dress" and didn't want to take it off.  (BIG SIGH)  I have a feeling that there will never be a dull moment with this girl.
We got our little container garden going, and we have lots of little plants growing more and more every day!  It's fun to watch and the girls love to check and see how much they've grown every day.
 If I took these garden pictures today (instead of over a week ago) you'd see LOTS of little sprouts!
 We enjoyed having everybody home for about half a day and then the end of the school year germs hit us.  Izzie came down with a nasty cough and sore throat first, Lily followed suit 2 days later, and last night Kate went down.  So we are celebrating our first week of summer vacation this week by staying in our jammies and watching movies, playing games, and laying under the couch fort.  Not exactly off to a bang up start, but I am still excited for summer!
Some of my favorite summer stuff: SUNSHINE!, fresh juicy peaches, pears, berries, and melons, watching our garden grow, popsicles, smoothies, anything cooked on a grill, sprinklers, kiddie pools, water balloons, drawing on the sidewalk with chalk, summer squash, corn on the cob, evening walks, lemonade, flip flops, kids home all day, day trips, and the general consensus that it's OK to spend a day doing nothing productive as long as you have lots of FUN!
What are you favorite things about summer?