Sunday, March 28, 2010

The "not so" Great Train Expo

For weeks the newspaper and tv have advertised a Great Train Expo that was free for kids, had ride on trains, and train tables and activities for kids. There were also to be model trains to watch. Chad decided he would take the three kids by himself to go to it. I was excited for him to take them, too. He got the kiddos all dressed and ready and headed over to the fairgrounds. He paid for parking and the adult entry fee, all totaling $10. Not too bad for all those exciting things for the kids. But the marketing department for the expo exaggerated a little bit in their description of events. Chad was a little let down, but the kids had a great time with their Daddy, even if the train rides weren't actually train rides and cost $4 a person. And even if there were only 3 activities that did not include looking at $200 model trains to purchase. The kids just enjoyed their special time with their dad. And he loved being with them and managed to turn it into a fun adventure anyways. (And what did I get to do? I was out shopping for a little black dress for prom. By myself. With no kids. No nursing in the dressing room because Molly decided she was hungry because I was changing clothes. No having to stop for potty breaks every 20 minutes. I didn't find a dress, but I seriously enjoyed searching).

Up, Up and Away -Molly 11 months

I was loading the dishwasher on Tuesday and heard Molly crying in the other room. I asked Andrew to go and check on her. He came back and said, "I think she is fine, she stopped crying." "What was she doing?" I asked. He didn't know. I heard her start crying again, so I sent him back to look for her. He found her at the top of the stairs!!! I had no baby gate up because she had not ever even climbed one step before. Somehow she managed to make it to the top. Then she didn't know what to do so she cried for help. She is pretty cautious about the stairs still and really only goes up when we coax her now. It is almost as if she is saying, "Been there done that." I am not complaining. I can't stand jumping over the baby gate!

Molly also went to the zoo this week and had a fun time on a Daddy Date with her brothers at the train expo. In addition to climbing and outings, Molly seems to be cutting two teeth finally. But you can't see them. They are her side teeth. I can see the white under her gums. Just like her brothers' first teeth.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


We had a great time at the zoo with 2 of our cousins and Grandma Mary today.

I loved this pic of Masen and Andrew reading the signs about the animals together. Too cute!

Andrew's favorites were still the zoo train and climbing the rocks. He also said he liked the lion. (which was asleep and you couldn't really see him). I was pretty impressed with his ability to scale up this tall rock. He saw some bigger boys make it up there and he was determined to do it too!

Ryan really enjoyed eating snacks and lunch and said he was hungry most of the time we were there. He told me his favorite thing at the zoo were the "chimPAPzees." They were pretty cool. We actually saw a mom chimp come over to her baby with a blanket, cover his head, and nurse him! Amazing!

Ryan was really proud of himself for getting up on this chimp statue all by himself.

And in a "surprising" turn of events, Molly smiled all day long and happily sat in her stroller and in the ergo the whole day with no tears. I think her favorite was the squirrel we saw while we ate our picnic. She kept clapping for him.

Here are some fun pics of Masen and Madylen. I didn't ride home with them, so I am not sure what their favorite things or animals were at the zoo. But I sure enjoyed them.

What does a 5 year old buy with his own money?

Andrew began to receive an allowance in January. It is a very small amount, just enough that he can learn a little about saving and tithing. He has been saving up for something big, something special. He wasn't quite sure what that was, but he decided that it was finally time to spend some of it. He took some of his money out of his bank and placed it in a ziploc baggie and brought it with him to a little church consignment sale. He carefully picked up each item on the toy table and assessed them with eagle eyes. He passed over pirates, super heroes, and trains. He proudly gave the cashiers his coins.

And brought home this car ramp. His choice surprised me, but he was thrilled with his choice and enjoyed playing with it all afternoon. He was also quite possessive of it and told Ryan that he would not be ready to share his new toy for at least "20 years."

The 20 year time limit was quickly lifted though, when he realized playing alone with his toy wasn't too much fun. Then the three of them had a great time with the toy together. I think Molly was the one most pleased with his choice. I love this video clip of her hands waving in the air in excitement. (I do not love that the angle that the video was shot caught the boxes of clothes I was sorting through for the winter/spring change over. Embarrassing, but Molly's giggles are too cute not to share).

Bacon Explosion and Game Night

Chad had a few guys over to play games and to eat this creation that a couple of the guys made. I escaped as soon as I took this pic of them. I didn't want to be here when they finished eating it. If you want the recipe, I am sure you could google it, but its ingredients are pretty much sausage wrapped in bacon.

Visiting Nana's School

We got to visit Nana at her school where she works as a pre-k teaching assistant. The kids loved playing in centers and on the playground. At least Andrew did. It was fun to see him interact in a school environment. He interacted with the kids and tried to lead everyone in a Jedi battle out on the playground. It was a neat preview, and made me a little less nervous about the fall.

Ryan really enjoyed playing this matching clover game with the fishing pole.

So much so that when it was time to clean up, he melted down. In a way I had never seen him melt down before. I will spare him the embarrassment of full disclosure, but the tantrum included a failed attempt to throw over a filing cabinet. Luckily the pre-k kids were outside and missed it. Thanks for letting us come visit you Nana!

I know it looks like my kids are miserable, but they had a great time. They just didn't want to pose for me because it was time to go.

Molly Celebrates St. Patricks Day-47 Weeks

Daddy traveled out of town this week. We visited Nana and Papa at Ft. Bragg and Nana at her school. We went to Pinehurst and spent time with Grandma Mary and Aunt Emily and cousins. Grandma Mary made you this cute dress and Aunt Emily made this adorable hair bow. You were as easygoing on the road as you are at home. You are really cruising around on the furniture and letting go and standing by yourself, until you realize how awesome you are, applaud for yourself, and land on your bum. That makes you laugh.

Grandpa Bud Visits -Molly 46 Weeks

Molly was so excited to see her Grandpa Bud. AND she was very excited to eat french fries for the first time. I didn't think her smiles could get any bigger, but I was wrong!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Andrew's First Play

Anyone who has met Andrew, knows how much he enjoys the limelight. How outgoing he is, what an incredible memory he has, and what a huge personality. So we decided to enroll him in an 8 week drama class this winter, thinking he would be in heaven. They were going to act out a different fairy tale each week and then at the last class, perform a compilation of parts of all the fairy tales. I couldn't imagine anything more perfect for my star performer.

I picked him up after the first class. He very matter of factly informed me that he would not be returning, that he had sat out of most of the games and that he missed me and he did not want to go to "make believe" school anymore. He told me that he kept asking his teacher when I was coming back. I was baffled. I spoke with his teachers at the next class and they were very sweet and told me that it was normal for 5 year olds to be shy, that he was well behaved and caused no problem, so there was no reason for me to be concerned. He just didn't want to perform. REALLY???? He didn't want to perform? He was shy? It came as a huge shock to me! I told them how outgoing Andrew is, how he performed for an audience from the stage at church when he was barely 3, how he participated in a talent contest in front of strangers when he was 2 singing the ABCs, how he memorizes long speeches and gives them at church in front of 50 kids and parents. Now it was their turn to be shocked. I am not sure they really believed that we were talking about the same kid.

When I got home and had time to think about it, I realized that Andrew had never gone to class without me present. I was there where he could still see me at soccer, gymnastics, and swimming. He knows lots of the grown-ups at church, and he knew the moms when we did preschool. This was really his first time being in a place where he knew no one. And he shut down. It took him 4 weeks of classes to feel secure. He still did not choose to participate every time, but eventually he was eager to go to class with his friends and he came home happy. His teachers both really liked him and he liked them. It was a great growing opportunity for Andrew (and me).

With that background, I wasn't sure what to expect at Tuesday's performance. But his whole family was there, so he got up there and said his part loud enough for everyone to hear and he was happy. Here is a video clip of his performance. And yes, that is Molly's voice in the background. And yes all of the kids got to choose their part and Andrew chose to be a troll. (All of the boys chose to be bad guys and the girls were all horses or princesses)!

The play was a cute mix up of several different fairy tales. We tried to condense it down to only show the parts that Andrew was in. We didn't think anyone who reads our blog would care about the rest.

Helpful Molly - 45 weeks

Molly is very helpful these days. She likes to help empty the laundry basket (while we fold it), she likes to help take out toys (as we clean up the playroom), and she likes to help unload the dishwasher (while we load it).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Truckin' Along - 44 Weeks

I realized this week that Molly doesn't really have any "girl" toys, other than a baby doll. Not that it is a problem, she has plenty of her brothers toys to choose from. She loves their trucks, balls, and trains. I spent many hours sitting in child development classes learning that kids should not be steered towards gender specific toys. But perhaps for her birthday we should find her a couple of girly toys so that she has some options. Not that she could enjoy herself anymore than she did with this dump truck. Maybe it comes in pink?