Friday, November 25, 2011

2011 Week 47

Lots and lots going on this week (most of which I didn't take photos during). On Saturday I left the kids at home and managed to get some shopping done for Tyler's birthday and a small start on Christmas (finally! phew!). On Sunday we decided it was time to do something fun with the family so we took the kids to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham. It's kind of a combination between a normal science museum, a children's museum (lots of learning activities/things for the kids to touch, do and climb on) and a zoo. A big part of the museum was outside and we completely wore ourselves out exploring. Tyler was the most excited to see the dinosaur statues. Kaitlyn's favorite thing was the butterfly garden. She and I spent a lot of time trying to get one to land on her hand (and a little success on that front, much to her delight). Another big favorite for both kids was the wind section, especially the remote control sailboats.
By the time we went inside to explore we were all getting tired and hungry and after spending some time building things we rushed through the rest of it. It will be good to go back through that one another time.

The rest of the week was just chuck full of stuff - school, dance lessons, errands, working on crafts, getting ready for Tyler's birthday and Thanksgiving, celebrating a friend's birthday (that was almost an all-day thing - fun!)...

...all jammed into a short week for everyone due to the holiday. Wednesday was half-day at school for both kids and Kaitlyn participated in the Turkey Trot (mile long race, winner in each age got a turkey). She had been looking forward to the race and even got her dad to help her "practice" a couple times. And she did great! Especially since all 100+ kids started the race in a big group and she ended up starting near the back. But Kate had better stamina than most of the kids and finished somewhere in the top 15, with only 2-3 girls faster than her. We're so proud! Sam had an early day too and stopped on his way home to pick up a giant candy bar for her for a "prize." (Ty got one too)

Thursday was, of course, Thanksgiving. We decided to spend it at home, just the four of us, keeping it really low key. Sam smoked a turkey, Kaitlyn helped me make pies (Wed afternoon), etc. Kaitlyn loves to make cards and do surprises for any event and first thing in the morning she gave Sam and I a card she had made on her own and been saving for a week. Such a sweetie. While the turkey was cooking we took the time to play a game with the kids and taught Kaitlyn how to play Phase 10 (the little monkey caught on quick and almost won!). Kaitlyn loved the turkey dinner (except for the turkey - I think she talked herself out of liking it this year) and our picky Ty had chicken nuggets and rolls (sigh). TV, hanging out, pie and egg nog... yeah it was a good Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 18, 2011

2011 Week 46

Veteran's Day was Friday. Kaitlyn was really into the "holiday" - not just because she got a day off but because she thinks her dad being a veteran is pretty cool. The night before she and Tyler got together and made Sam a card (it said "special veteran dad" on the front and "we love our veteran" inside) and put together a gift for him (paper flower bouquet - Kaitlyn had made one at school the week before so they just added more flowers and a heart to it), including finding a bag to wrap it in. Very independant, these kids of mine.

It was all very sweet.

Again - Tyler and his "friends." He does a lot with them, including having them sleep in his bed with him (there's practically no room for Ty) and bringing them downstairs with him first thing.

My neighbor was nice enough to let me take photos of her brand new (totally adorable!) baby girl wearing some of the hats and hairbows I've been making to sell online. It was also a great chance to practice my photo skills and I have to say, I think I'm definitely improving.

Report cards came home at the end of last week. Kaitlyn is doing very very well. They changed the grading system so now all they get is letters of the alphabet that make absolutely no sense, so I won't share her exact grades. Her teacher's comments read: "Kaitlyn is a leader and a positive role model for other students. She is working well at this level." That's our Kate!
The awards assembly was on Thursday. Kaitlyn received the Terrific Kid award (wish I had a better understanding of how they pick them. I do know that only 2 children per class are chosen), bookworm award (for reading more than ___ books), and perfect attendance. All the Terrific Kids get a Tshirt and bumper sticker, which Kaitlyn is not enthused about. There is one other award that is a medal (some sort of Character award) and THAT is the one she had her heart set on. Maybe next time!

Friday, November 11, 2011

2011 Week 45

Finally getting back to a somewhat-normal routine this week. Just the regular round of school, homework, dance class, grocery shopping, etc. I volunteered at the school a few days, to help with the book fair.

During a lot of his time playing at home, Tyler has been hanging out with his "buddies", horsey (the rocking horse), Bigfoot (the monkey), Mater, and elephant-y. Whatever he is doing, the whole gang of them is doing - laying on the couch, reading a book, going to bed, playing with cars... He even set up an elaborate blanket tent in the playroom with special places for all of them and more.

Kaitlyn was really excited about the book fair. Planner that she is, she knew exactly which books she wanted and came home with her list then raided her bank for the money. She had picked out one for Tyler and promptly told him to bring her $5 so she could buy it for him. She also insisted that she just couldn't wait to buy the books on a day when I would be there and handled the transaction all by herself, just as promised. I can't believe how big and independant my little girl is!

We've been having some beautiful fall weather around here. Cold enough to turn the heater on, but pleasant to be out in the sun on most days. And the colored leaves on all the trees (the many many trees that are in NC) as just beautiful. We took advantage of all this and went up to Raven Rock state park to grab some self-timer family shots (I'm thinking of using them for the Christmas card, so I'm not sharing them here) then on a quick hike to the river on a trail we hadn't used before. For once, the kids were pretty cooperative with the photos, thanks to many bribes and threats (ha!) then they had a blast on the hike. Both of the kids really enjoy nature and exploring.

Kaitlyn picked up a handful of acorns and kept looking around for squirrels to feed them to. She also enjoyed reading all the information posted on the signs along the way. Tyler found a stick that he happily carried with him as we walked. Until he lost it when he put it down to throw more sticks in the river and couldn't find it again. It was a very sad event.

Also on the agenda this week was the fall festival at Kaitlyn's school last night. Each teacher had set up a game of some sort in each of their rooms and the kids went from one to another with their tickets. I think the biggest hit of the night was the face painting. Kaitlyn had not trouble deciding on a rainbow for her face. Tyler was dead set on having Optimus painted on his but the poor girl doing the face painting didn't have a clue how to do that. Or a robot. Or a semi truck. Her suggestions of football logos and other such nonsense earned her a blank look from Tyler. Finally I just told her to go ahead and do anything with wheels and he'd be
happy. Thank goodness I was right. We had to skips baths last night so the kids could enjoy their painted faces just a while longer.

Friday, November 4, 2011

2011 Week 44

The big even of the week was Halloween, obviously. On the weekend we ran errands (including picking out candy for the trick or treaters!) and carved pumpkins. Sam really doesn't like the whole carving thing (I think it's the pumpkin guts??) but the kids love it. And I decided last year that if we're gonna do it, we may as well go big. So part of our process now is finding templates online and trying to make something really fun. Tyler wanted Optimus Prime (Transformers) but is too young to carve so I printed out a coloring page for him to paint, along with his pumpkin. Somewhere along the line he decided he had "messed up" the pumpkin and the picture, threw the picture away and has been trying to hide his pumpkin ever since. I've rescued it from behind the truck and under the rain gutter.
Kaitlyn picked a Hello Kitty template (are we surprised?) and decided that this year she was going to try the carving herself. She really did a good job through the whole process, scooping out most of the gross stuff, transfering the template to the pumpkin and cutting out some of the larger pieces. Sam finally did join in the process and helped Kaitlyn with some of her carving and finished up the smaller pieces.
We had picked up 2 large pumpkins before Ty got the little one on a school field trip, so I spent my time carving that one - a Minnie (kinda looks like Mickey though) Mouse witch with a cauldron.

Halloween fell on a Monday this year (which Kaitlyn thought was unfair that they didn't take school off for the holiday) so as soon as Kaitlyn got home we did dinner and got dressed up in costumes. The kids were so excited and looked so cute! Tyler was a Monster Truck Driver and Kaitlyn had requested that she and I be "twin witches." We hadn't put any thought into Sam's costume so we decided that since we had the accessories handy, he could go as a construction worker.

I was a rainy, nasty night but that doesn't stop the fun on Halloween. We went out as early as we could (5:30), as did most of the neighborhood. That made it fun to see people we knew, not only as we rang the doorbells, but all the kids' costumes as they walked around too. We only hit the few occupied houses in the neighborhood, which turned out to be plenty for all of us. By the time we hit the 2nd street Tyler was cold and wet (because he didn't use the umbrella after the first few minutes and we mistakenly hadn't put on another layer under his costume) and ready to go home and that was just fine with us. Kaitlyn and Sam hit the final handful of houses on the 3rd street without us.

Despite only being out for less than 45 minutes, and hitting less than 20 houses the kids had tons and tons of candy!

They changed into pjs and we made hot chocolate and warm cider and the kids happily spent the rest of the evening watching a Halloween show on TV and answering the door.

As soon as Halloween is over, what ends up on our minds? Christmas! We have started getting those big toy ad catalogs in the mail this week and Tyler claims them for his own and spends hours and hours pouring over them, circling everything that strikes his fancy. I think if we put them all on a list it just might be a mile long!