Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"She spins and weaves and cuts with full authority."

A couple of weeks ago, Squirrel had her first ballet recital. She was such a crack up because at the rehearsal, she was just a busy bee. She was turned around, looking every which way, and falling behind on her steps. (This itself is hard to distinguish if you haven't attended her ballet class every week for the past 9 months like me, since it's like a watching a platoon of drunken cats spin to music, but I digress...) 

Then, the actual performance came, and she was like a different kid! She was probably the only one who was actually on count, she didn't goof around before the music, and she knew the whole things from start to end. She busted it out for an audience, I guess. 

Anyway, these are a little late in coming, but here are a few photos of her in her costume. She got to wear makeup (the teacher requests blue eyeshadow, red lips and pink cheeks...I swear I don't usually do her up like a pageant show nightmare). Which she was exceedingly excited about, and which led to a whole HOST of other battles, which I will not delve into now. So, here ya go! Enjoy some serious glitz and glam! 

{There she is in the middle, looking all professional while the rest 
of these ladies wonder what they are doing on stage!} 


Monday, June 27, 2011

"...a small part of the glorious picture..."

We had such a great week last week! My sister and her family came up to visit us in small town Idaho! I am sure they enjoyed escaping the heat (it was supposed to be 113* in Phoenix while they were up here enjoying our 60 and 70 degree weather!) and we enjoyed having them.

We played and played for five days straight and all the kids had such a blast. Her youngest two are just months apart in age of my two, and Squirrel and Rexamus have been best friends since they were itty-bitty.

Here are a few highlights of the trip:

Zoo : : : Feeding the goats and playing in the children's area.



Bathtime : : :  Fun x 4!  

 Dinners out in the courtyard! {This kid knows how to chow!}

Centennial Carousel!

{Is it any wonder these two goofballs love each other so much?} 

Alas, it was eventually time to say goodbye, but not without trying to get a snapshot of all the kiddos in their tie-dye shirts they made during the visit! It took a few tries from first to last, but we finally managed to get one that mostly worked!

Here's to family and a few more weeks of glorious summer days!



Thursday, June 23, 2011

{Fixin' Stuff}

I meant to post this on Father's Day, but I failed.

Rob has been spending a lot of time fixing up the beater of a Harley he traded out his four wheeler for, which means that Little Bird also has spent a lot of time fixing his "motorcycle". {It is so funny to me how just a few weeks ago, his little trike was just a "bike," but now it is a "motorcycle" 100% of the time!}

So, in just about the cutest pictures ever, which totally speak for themselves, you can see my boys being boys and soupin' up their super cool rides:


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Handmade Birthday!

What do you get when you combine an hour of time, some of the ugliest most fabulous costume fabrics, and a mother's fierce desire to give her daughter at least one handmade birthday present?

A pretty spectacular princess gown.

I had intended to make Squirrel a princess dress for her birthday for a while, but like so many things, kept procrastinating for any number of reasons (mostly that I couldn't find a pattern I really wanted to use). Finally, on her birthday while she was at preschool, I sat down and went to town with a whole host of crazy fabrics, courtesy of my mom. (Did you know she owned and operated a custom dance wear business all through my youth? I have access to some pretty spectacular fabric choices as a result!)

What I came up with was a quick and dirty, but oh-so-frilly princess dress for my pink/princess/fashion obsessed four year old. She loves it (pictured here with her new/matching Sleeping Beauty doll). What do you think?


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Just like riding a bike...or not.

You know that old saying, "It's just like riding a bike"?

Well, sometimes it isn't.

I've been wishing for a bike for a while. I really can't even remember the last time I rode a bike, but long to enjoy our short summer pulling the bike trailer, the kids loaded up and slurping snow cones. Not having a bike makes that less likely.

Lately, I was at a certain large retailer which shall remain nameless, but which has been associated with some other excitement in our lives. I saw a great little bike, and it's bigger sister, both of which were the same price and surprisingly affordable.

Tonight, we had to be there for something else, so I showed Rob the bikes. He told me to hop on one, so I tried the little one first. I was a little wobbly on it and he laughed at me, but admittedly, it is a little hard to ride a bike when you only have about 15 feet in an already over-crowded aisle.

I decided to try the larger bike, assuming the small one was just cramping me a little, and throwing off my balance. I backed up further, gave myself lots of room, and took off.

And I crashed.

Friends, I crashed in the truest sense of the word: slow-motion, see it coming, face-plant-into-metal, absolute-loss-of-control CRASHED.

I got myself going, and right there in the middle of large-rural-retailer, I lost my balance and steered myself directly into the ceiling-high rack of bicycles. Trying to stop myself and failing miserably, I caused a raucous that brought employees running. All the while, Rob stood there, eyes wide, asking, "Are you KIDDING ME? Did you SERIOUSLY just crash a BICYCLE?" instead of helping me.

And when I finally lifted my bruised body off the tangled mayhem I had created, I looked down, only to find my ego still laying in a heap, curled in the fetal position.

At which point I began to laugh, and laugh, and laugh. I laughed until tears ran down and snorts came out my face. And I told my ego to get off the floor and suck it up....because we had to get out of there, and how.

For the record, Rob is now considerably more skeptical of this bicycle wish I have. Apparently, some of us DO forget how to ride a bicycle.

I do wish I had caught my own bike crash on video, but I will have to settle for this one. 
 Here is one of the best ever (and proof that the Gospel must be true, since these are the missionaries that are managing to work miracles...
and come home alive after 2 years in a far away place!): 
If that wasn't enough, try {this one} and {this one}


Monday, June 20, 2011

More summer sewing

This year, I wanted to sew some of my kiddos' summer wardrobes. I made Squirrel a couple of skirts {you can see the tutorials here and here}, and made Little Bird some shorts.

Here he is rockin' out a pair {photo on my iPod with Hipstamatic app}:

And running around in his "pirate pants":

I used New Look pattern 6932. I like that pattern because it: A) was inexpensive; B) has a large range of sizes (6 months to size 8); and C) has a raglan sleeve, which is just a bit more fun than a regular old tee. The directions were also super quick and easy {though most elastic pants and raglan tee patterns will be}.

The only problem with the pattern is that it is HUGE. In fact, Little Bird is wearing a 24 month or 2T size in most of his pants, but I ended up making these for him in the 6 month size because it runs so big. This is the same pattern I used for their Christmas jammies. It runs very wide and short. Any other items I have made for them, I have gone down several sizes in width, and up in length. {Of course, I have skinny, long bodied babies, so keep that in mind if you try the pattern out.} However, overall, for the price and effectiveness, this is a great workhorse pattern to use and adjust as you need.

What do you think? Are you doing any summer sewing?

And, as an aside, do you take issue with little boys wearing skulls or pirate clothing? Is it too grown up or are the connotations too negative?


Friday, June 17, 2011

Old Scratch

Has it really been nigh on a month since I posted? For shame...I have a good excuse...well, I have a good excuse for part of that. Our computer had to go to the hospital. It suddenly wouldn't start up and I thought all was lost (and was suddenly even more grateful I'd been keeping a blog, because at least those memories would have been kept safe)! Luckily, it was a wire that came loose between the hard drive and the...well...I don't know what. But a wire DID come loose, and one end of it was to the harddrive, and it made our computer not turn on, which required a lengthy stay at the Computer Medical Center (real name) to have surgery and get better. But it's back now, so I can finally upload some pictures and updates. :)

Totally unrelated to any of that, I would now like to introduce you to someone. He doesn't really have a name, though after our most recent encounter, I have started calling him Old Scratch...as in the Devil. That's right, I'm pretty sure this guy is Lucifer himself...

{Look at that EVIL...}

What? You don't believe me? Allow me to elaborate. This squirrel, Old Scratch, is probably the fattest, most well-fed, and BRAZEN squirrel in the lower 48. He lives in our garbage room of the dorm. Which means that he feeds off the scraps of 120 college girls with kitchens. {READ::::BAKED GOODS}

Not only does he have a constant smorgasbord from the garbage rooms at the dorm, he defends that territory as though the girls are going to go digging through the bins to reclaim their discarded goods and reduce his feast. More than once, I have passed by the garbage room and nearly been given a heart attack as this little demon shoots out the door and stares me down, just waiting for a sign of weakness so he can eat my eyeballs out of their sockets. 

Even worse, he has also taken to begging for scraps. 

Now that the weather is nice, many of the dorm girls are spending time eating out on the lawn in the courtyard: "Oh look!" they cry innocently as the serpent approaches. He cautiously comes over, batting his false eyelashes at them and pawing his tiny claws in the air. "Awwwww...he's hungry," I hear. There is usually a pause at this point, as the girls offer him a little snack....and then, the screaming begins. It begins because once you give Satan a foothold, he is there to stay, and as soon as you toss this heathen beast a crust, he leaps onto your lunch and makes off with it! 

The picnics are becoming less frequent. As such, the monster is escalating his attacks... 

Yesterday, on my way back from the laundry room with my arms full, I walked past the open kitchen window and heard a little scritch-scratch. My immediate instinct was to wonder what sort of trouble my children were getting into. Instead, as I pushed open the door, I saw Lucifer himself dart across my path, leap onto the recliner and climb up the back so that he stood at nearly eye level with me. He opened his beady eyes wide, stood on his hind legs and pawed the air as if to say, "Out of here woman! There is nothing to see! Go on your way!" 

I, however, did what I had to. In the face of evil, one has only a single option. And that is to scream like a sissy-girl, drop the laundry and run right back out the door....

He apparently knew he was defeated and that I would NOT be tempted to join his legion of darkness. He grabbed himself a pink cupcake and darted out the door. And this, my friends, is where he really played dirty. Did he run back to his garbage room to eat my cupcake? Hide his sins in darkness? NO. He hopped out the door, and climbed up three of the stairs that are immediately outside of it, and used his tiny little demon-paws to eat that cupcake in plain view, as if to further taunt me. In fact, he even ate the wrapper (hedonistic glutton!), which he is finishing in the above picture. 

What Old Scratch doesn't know is that I have the number to animal control on speed dial, in case he ever tries to make his way in again. 

Get thee hence, Satan....


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Happy Birthday, Squirrel!

To my dear, sweet Squirrely-girl:

You are FINALLY four! I say finally because you have been looking forward to this day for a VERY long time. In fact, since the day after your third birthday, you have been telling people, when asked your age, that you are "almost four." Already, you are beginning to inquire when you will be five. This characteristic, though funny in itself, is also pretty indicative of your personality as a whole. Since you were tiny, you have always focused on doing the next thing, whether it be rolling over at days old, standing up in my lap at weeks old, crawling at 5 months, walking at seven months, etc, you have always had your eyes on "the next big thing." Even now, you have started asking when you can go to college, have a boyfriend, or get married. (You are obviously already trying to tear my mommy-heart to pieces.) We said before your birthday that you were 3 going on 13, and now I suppose you are 4 going on 14.

You are, as you always have been, full of silliness and wiggles. I sometimes lament to you your inability to stand still as I attempt to wipe your face or comb your hair, but really I do love that inexhaustible fire inside you. It seems that there is some sort of engine in your body that keeps you wiggling and moving, laughing and squeaking--too much energy being created that must come out in combustible bursts of positively insane laughter, bird-like squawks, and full-body wiggles. For the most part, you are still only when you sleep (which you still fight like a ninja...). We signed you up for ballet this past year in hopes that it would help to channel some of that energy. Mostly, you just acted like yourself in ballet class, relishing in the moments you could "freestyle" and dance to your own beat in class. At home, it added a few moves to your repertoire. At your recent ballet recital, I giggled through your dress rehearsal as you watched the other girls and spun your own circles, but was amazed at the way you transformed for the actual performance. You knew your moves and danced from memory--I saw then that the performer in you may perhaps be more real than I had thought. You like to stand up on "stage" and sing and dance, or hold a circus or talent shows, but not until then did I really see you "turn it on."

You ask a great many questions about everything from heaven to earth and in between. You are sensitive, asking questions about others, worrying when you see other kids cry. One of my favorite things you have started doing over the past year is talking out and wishing for things in abstract. Sometimes, usually when we are riding in the car and you have to sit still for more than a few seconds, those gears start to turn, and you let me know what is going on in that head of yours. Things like, "I wish that all my stuffed animals would come alive and play with me!" or "Mom, wouldn't it be great if I could have a unicorn and he could ride me up on a rainbow where we could play and slide?" (And yes, those are actual thoughts you have shared.)

You are a glamour-puss. You love clothes and shoes and purses and jewelry, and your favorite color is pink (and purple...and if it were a color, also sparkly). You are endlessly addicted to sweets. When asked your favorite food so I could cook it for your birthday, you replied, "Candy, Mom. Of COURSE." (Of course. Really, it was silly of me to ask in the first place.) Your imagination is superlative; you have a barrage of imaginary friends, along with their assorted family members. I regularly hear you conversing with them, playing the part of yourself and numerous others all at once. You have started making "real" friends too. Aside from the dorm girls (whom you adore and who adore you in return), you also love to play with other kids your age. You are at times shy, but I can see your desire to overcome this and make friends.

Your favorite books are from the Pinkalicious and Fancy Nancy series. I am sure this is because you relate so well to their characters! Your favorite movies are Cinderella and Bambi, and when you are actually playing with toys, it almost always involves princess dolls. Since the weather has warmed, you will happily spend every minute possible out of doors. In fact, I think you'd do this even in the dead of Idaho winter if I would let you. You love to create and make art; in fact, you are a world-class mess maker when it comes to anything art related, as you love paint, tape, markers, crayons, and any type of paper you can get your hands on.

You are delighted so easily by the smallest things, that it sometimes makes me question where my own wonder went to. Puddles, dandelions, bugs, clothing racks, clouds--all these things provide endless amusement for you and give me the much-needed reminder to slow down, to stop, and to marvel at you.

Your brother is at times your best friend and at others, your worst enemy. I absolutely relish the times that you play nice together, the nights I peek in to see you curled up together in the same bed, the times I catch you teaching him, working out sneaky plans together, dressing him up, or encouraging him. Those are the times that make me realize how grateful I am that you two will have each other after Dad and I are gone. There are other moments, less associated with lifelong love, and more associated with having a toddler and a preschooler: you fight, you taunt, you push, you hit, you steal, you scream and cry. But I try to teach you in those moments. I know I am not always perfect, but I hope that some of it sticks and as you two grow older you will also grow closer.

You are your daddy's joy. Since you were born, you had that man twisted around your finger and you still do. You have his rambunctiousness, that little streak of devilish mischief, his expressions, and his heart. There are times I see a heaviness in his eyes because of the love and responsibility he feels for you. He wants nothing more than to protect you from this big scary world, and he works so hard to teach you right from wrong, how to make choices, and how to be kind.  You are everything to him. And you adore him in return. No one, not a soul, can make you laugh in the way your Daddy can. No one holds your attention like he does when he takes quiet moments to teach you. He is a superhero in your eyes, and you have said as much.

When it comes to you and me, I am grateful everyday for you, my first gift of motherhood. There is a lot of me in your personality. And luckily (unlike your father and brother's shared traits), those are the pieces that go well together; we don't often butt heads and just genuinely enjoy each others' company. Sometimes, you make my heart absolutely soar with proclamations like, "Mommy, you're my best friend," (oh, I hope I always am) and "You're the best mommy EVER!" (I sure try) I could spend the whole day observing you just being you--watching your silliness, your performances, your wonder. I think I will always love watching you, no matter how old you get or what your activities turn into. I love our conversations (which in the past year have actually become that), the questions you ask, the jokes you tell me. (Recently, someone must have taught you about knock-knock jokes...which you love even though the punchline often evades you. Example: Knock Knock | | | | Who's there? | | | | Banana! | | | | Banana Who? | | | | BICYCLE!!! | | | Hysterical laughter.) You never run out of surprises for me. Some days, it might be something you know that I didn't realize you had learned; other days I am astounded by your capacity for love, your understanding of the world around you or the suddenly more sophisticated sense of humor. I think so often that you were sent here to teach me, and worry I am not doing as good a job at teaching you. I cherish the moments between the two of us, the time we have to laugh and play, snuggle, or simply lay and watch the clouds. I am so grateful each and every day to have you as my daughter. I love you. Happy Birthday.

All my love,