Monday, April 28, 2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Guess who's a birthday girl!? ( Originally to be posted on Saturday, 26)

That's right. I'm shamelessly soliciting birthday wishes. Anyone? I've had a day of special treatment and hanging out with my family. This morning Lincoln and the kids brought me breakfast in bed. They made me a fabulous yogurt, berry and granola parfait, cinnamon rolls, a bagel with cream cheese and a glass of cranberry juice. Renie got breakfast in bed as well because she had climbed in with me this morning so she slept in with me. She had "rice kissamees". After breakfast I took Devon to his last soccer practice and ran 2 miles on the treadmill. (OK, maybe more like 1 1/2 miles jogging and the rest walking. My leg was not quite up to jogging the whole 2 miles today. (It's hit or miss- I never know for sure until I'm 1/2 a mile into it.) And yes, I know 2 miles sounds pretty pathetic, but I'm dang proud of it. Especially since a year ago I couldn't walk. It really makes you grateful and puts things into perspective, y' know? So after soccer we ran home and got the rest of the family and went back to Lands End for Julia's final dance class and recital. (I'll post pictures and video from today tomorrow. I'm too lazy tonight.) Then we drove to Platteville to shop for my birthday present. I'm getting a new bike. I'm really really excited about it. I've never had a good bike. I've actually only owned one bike. My Mom built me one when I was 7, I think. We had a heap of dead bikes in the cellar and Mom, being the amazing woman that she is, would build bikes for us from the pieces she could find in the heap. I remember mine being a deep fuschia purpley color and being pretty darn nice. So I tried a couple out and found one that I like, but we needed to order a larger size frame for me. (You know me, legs that go on forever. Oh wait, you DO know me and so i can't fool you into believing that.) Anyway, once it comes in I'll go down and take it for a test drive to see if it's as perfect as we're anticipating. On the way home from Platteville we stopped in Belmont at the Mound. Mounds are ridiculously high steep hills jutting up from the prairie. I believe they were actually built by Native Americans. It was unbelievably windy and chilly. Julia didn't want to climb it and I was looking for an excuse not to so I stayed in the car with her and Jesse.

So this evening Lincoln made dinner- a yummy salad- and then we had my birthday cake. Angel food cake with strawberries and cool whip. YUM.

I didn't have to change a single diaper today or cook a single meal. I didn't have to do any cleanup or even get the kids ready for bed. It was a good day.

A note from today, April 28th

Despite the stinking cold, I must admit that spring snow is beautiful. Clean white snow is quite striking against a vibrant green background.

My yellow flowers that were loving the sun a few days ago

are now pulled closed in an attempt to preserve body heat. And perhaps I would not be feeling so optimistic if i wasn't HEADING TO THE BEACH in a couple days.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Jesse and Kennedy- Hut hut hut hut hut....

A slice of our lives...

For anyone who might care about my sanity- and the retention of it- you'll be happy to know that last time I checked, the weather forecast had changed and there are no longer SNOW SHOWERS anticipated on Monday and Tuesday. So with any luck at all, this will be the final threat of such inclement weather for the season. You'd think by now we'd be in the clear. In fact, when I first saw the snow forecast I said, "Hey kids! Guess what! It's going to snow next week! Isn't that exciting?!" Kennedy's incredulous reply, "What? SNOW in the middle of SUMMER?!" Yes my dear. Welcome to the great white north! But actually, spring snowfalls aside, I've been enjoying these last few April showery days. I enjoy rain, especially this time of spring. Dark gray thunderheads are spectacular against spring-green grass. Yesterday morning it was stormy and raining, yet the eastern sky was bright, casting a warm golden glow under the gray clouds.

In the afternoon Devon and Renie went out to tramp around in the rain and slog in any mud they could find.

Kennedy and Julia ventured out a couple times to inspect abnormally large worms. I'm telling you, this has got to be the healthiest soil on the planet- there are giant worms everywhere. I was planting bulbs a week or two ago and every scoop of dirt I removed unearthed at least one worm. Kennedy, although impressed by the monstrously large worms, is disgusted by them. Disgusted to the point of being reduced to tears when she and Lincoln were playing basketball and when she caught the ball her hand was on a worm that had stuck to it when it bounced in the driveway. Poor kid. I've got to say, I wouldn't be too happy about that myself.

In brief other news, I'm posting a video of Kennedy and Jesse that I took last night. It doesn't really need my explaining, it's just him trying to copy her being silly. Maybe it will have to be a separate post.

Kennedy has been studying rainforests in class this quarter. She had to build a diarama of a rainforest and write a report on a rainforest dweller- her animal was the keel-billed toucan, for anyone interested in knowing. Here's a shot Kennedy and her diarama.

And one last thing-
I caught Renie today just after she had written on the girls' bunkbed. She heard me coming and quickly hid the writing implement and pasted on her just-sittin'-here-being-a-cute-obedient-child-who-would-never-in-a-million-years-think-of-writing-on-anything-but-paper look. I saw what she had done and I said, "What did you use to do this?" She pointed to where she had stashed it and Devon said, "It's a magical marker, Mom." Funny.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Midwest living...

As soon as my children get home from school they want to be outside. Despite the challenge this presents to getting homework done in a focused, timely matter, I'm all for it. The weather has been sunny and warm the last few days, with temperatures in the upper 60's to low 70's. The grass is emerald green and gardens throughout the neighborhood are speckled with nodding daffodils. Buds are swelling on the trees with the occasional early bloomer already unfolding tiny leaves. There has begun to be a warm meaty scent carried on the air at dinnertime as at least one family each evening determines it's perfect cookout weather. I can finally hear birds again as they flit around gathering worms from the dark, fertile soil. Our little neighborhood is alive with the sound of children laughing and shrieking with joy. Midwestern folks are not big on fences, so most of the yards converge into a big open area not unlike a park.
Yesterday Kennedy came to the house to ask if it was ok for them to go play kickball in her friend Katie's yard. Having been a kickball star in my youth I was all for this. (Seriously, I was awesome. I ruled the playground. I know it was a result of playing kickball in the back yard with my older brothers. We used a dead basketball which weighed a ton. Kicking those playground balls at recess was nothing compared to that brick!) Kennedy changed her shoes and raced off to join Katie. I can't begin to describe the overwhelming feeling of contentment I felt as I watched the two of them run from yard to yard gathering a crew for a game of kickball. I knew from her flushed cheeks and bright eyes that she was at that moment creating her own warm, nostalgic childhood memories. I've recently come to the realization that I've been desperately trying to find a way to recreate MY childhood for my children. Just the other day when I lost my post, I had been writing about the fact that it's not WHERE my children spend their childhood that will make the difference. It's HOW. They will have the same feelings about it as I had about my own if they are provided security and love. If they have opportunities to be kids, to be carefree. Which leads me to the other parenting point I've been thinking about of late. I like for them to be involved in activities, but I really want to avoid getting them involved in EVERYTHING. I want them to just be kids- no deadlines, no stress inducing events, no confinement in the house on lovely days while they spend what feels like countless hours practicing instruments. I don't want them to spend a rainy day inside practicing dance when they could be stomping in puddles and floating boats. I think there are valuable lessons to be learned from organizing a pickup kickball game. There was no adult present to gather kids, pick teams, lay out the rules, officiate, or coach. They had to work that all out on their own. There is infinite worth to developing those skills. It's something not easily taught, something better figured out in the back yard. I stood on the deck yesterday and watched them from a distance. I watched Renie and Devon playing on the swingset with the neighbor kids. I felt the sun on my face and I felt the happiness of being in a good place, both emotionally and physically. And so, my recent realization about my children and the memories they will have has been confirmed by a simple kickball game. And once again my heart is full.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Header Picture- this one's legit!

Our first blossom in our flower bed. I use the term BED loosely. What it amounts to is some poorly placed bulbs and a lot of pine bark. But we're just starting- it'll get better!

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Drought Continues...

Ok, I'm gonna cry. I just spent a good portion of my morning writing a post I felt pretty good about and I just LOST IT! Arghhhh! The whole stinking thing except the title. What is the point of automatically saving my blog every 3 seconds if it still can disappear so easily? Where the heck is it saved?! Curse you blogger!

Friday, April 18, 2008

What a fun week!

Contest winner, Karen, was here this week collecting her prizes. The weather was not the best, (we woke up Saturday to a winter wonderland), but everything else was fantastic. There was definately a potential for chaos with 9 kids in the house all week, but they were all great and just enjoyed being together. Besides the children's museum, which I already posted about, we played football in the yard, went to a park, played at the Lands End fitness facility, shopped at the company store, and the highlight of the week, went to the Wisconsin Dells. So here are a bajillion pictures.

Not the most effective tackle.

Making a game plan.

The planning paid off- it's better when they ALL do it.

Who's pulling who?

Go long!

Gabriel on the slide

The Three Musketeers

Gabriel and Darrien going up the slide

Super Orion

Alexis soaring above me

I told you it was a bajillion. What can I say, so many cute kids, so much fun stuff.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Karen is here!

We went Saturday to The Children's Museum in Madison. The weather was miserable- a snow, rain, sleet mix- so we ruled out any outdoor activities and decided to cough up the cash to go there. (It's actually pretty affordable and worth every penny if your kids are the right age). We definately made the right decision and all the kids had a great time!