Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Belated Happy 12th (how is that possible?) Birthday to Ashlyn & Lexie!


Lexie and Ashlyn turned TWELVE! on Sabbath!! I'm really not sure how that's possible . . . They are most definitely not little girls anymore, sigh . . . 

The evidences of them not being little girls started the night before, when Lexie explained to Little Bit that, "on your birthday, you got to wake up, and wake us up, whenever YOU wanted . . . on MY birthday, I'm going to sleep in! You can't wake me up tomorrow morning." 

Little Bit grudgingly agreed . . . And came downstairs Sabbath morning wanting to do something to surprise her sisters. I humored her and got out some window markers I picked up on sale awhile back. She had a BLAST decorating the windows for them. And, being the good big sisters they are, they were properly surprised and appreciative :) 
They also humored me with the pictures, and Rainbow Bridge story and even wore the crocheted bead tiaras I'd made, though they were happy when I pointed out that they could later be worn as headbands, necklaces or bracelets. BUT the second I got the camera out they ran back upstairs to get dressed . . . no pictures till we look good :) 



Little Bit was happy to help with presents, and she gathered up all the playsilk wrappings when we were done :) 


After presents, we had a special birthday breakfast of crepes with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, YUM!!!

Beyond that, their birthday wasn't very . . . birthday-ish. My grandmother passed away the week before and the memorial service was Saturday afternoon. So the rest of our day was spent getting ready for, and driving to, and attending her memorial.

The girls have always loved hearing stories about people, and the memorial included a wide variety of stories, including some that made Lexie and I realize, for the first time, that Lexie has alot of her Great Grandmother in her :-)

When we got to my parents' house that evening, we discovered that my cousin and his wife, upon hearing that all 3 girls' birthdays were so close, had gotten them birthday presents, so that was a nice ending to their day.

We've talked about possibly having a "Lexie day" and, separately an "Ashlyn day" sometime in the next few weeks since their birthday, in addition to being shared, wasn't very much about them, but we shall see . . . April is shaping up to be pretty jam-packed already.

We ARE still having a birthday celebration with all the grandparents on Sunday, so we still have that to look forward to, as my babies begin their thirteenth year, sob!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Happy 6th Birthday Little Bit!!!


Yesterday was Little Bit's 6th Birthday!!! It's mind boggling to me that she's already as big as her sisters were when she was born!

She had a very busy schedule planned. In fact, so busy that it spilled over into the day before.

Normally Thursday is music lesson day but she didn't want to have to spend her birthday going grocery shopping and playing quietly while we waited for sisters SO our ever-accommodating music teacher agreed to let us switch music lessons to Wednesday this week.

After music lessons we were planning to meet friends at the "dragon playground" (a playground near our old house), but it was cold and rainy so we went to the friends' house instead. Little Bit had a great afternoon playing with K & T, and having blueberry muffin/cupcakes for snack.

Yesterday was all about Little Bit.

She woke up to a trail of pink hearts leading her downstairs, where more pink hearts decorate our big front windows. The table was decorated with a pink cloth, pink balloon, her presents and . . . because I still haven't forked over the money to buy a birthday ring, and I couldn't find any of our modeling clay to make one out of clay like I've done in the past, I made it out of tinfoil this year. Not ideal, but it worked . . . which reminds me, I need to find the clay TODAY or we'll be using the tinfoil again tomorrow morning for Lexie and Ashlyn. We read her "rainbow bridge story" (you can read last year's story here, for this year I added "When she was five years old she learned to write and draw and make scrambled eggs. . . . And now Little Bit is SIX years old! She loves giraffes and Frozen and playing with friends. . . ") and she blew out the candles. Then, for my sweetie whose love language is, without a doubt, "gifts", it was time for presents!!!!!

We continued the tradition of getting a tea cup each year.


She was very excited to get the Elsa doll she's been drooling over every time we go to Target (well, she's been drooling over the bigger dolls too, but Mommy has a limit on what she'll spend on silly, trendy, we'll be tired of it a month from now, toys), and she was happy with the little one.


When all the presents were done, she was pretty happy with her new Frozen stuff :)

At her request, we had ice cream for breakfast . . . then, also at her request, we went bowling.  But before we went bowling, she had to "put on makeup". When we were at K & T's house on Wednesday, they were playing dress-up and K had some of her mom's old makeup that she can use for play, so Little Bit got to try it out and now she's hooked LOL. We talked about how normally makeup is just for dress-up, but agreed that, for her birthday, she could wear some eye shadow (conveniently, of the colors I have, she wanted pink, which doesn't really show) and lip gloss.

I found it absurd that, in a practically empty bowling alley (being 11am on a Thursday), they put us sharing seating and ball return with someone else GRRR . . . they were in lane 1, we were given lane 2, the next lane in use was lane TEN, so I don't know why in the WORLD they didn't give us, oh, say . . . lane 5 (or 3 or 4 or 6 or 7 . . . ) Thankfully, after they finished the game they were in the middle of the boy wanted bumpers for their second game and for whatever reason lane 1 doesn't have bumpers so they moved to a different lane. It wasn't a huge deal, they ignored us, we ignored them, but struck me as odd. . . combined with the fact that she also spelled 2 of my daughters' names wrong DESPITE having them spelled to her as she was typing them (oddly enough, Ashlyn, who is typically spelled wrong (second n) or changed to Ashley, was the one she got right).

Little Bit had a few minutes of whining because she isn't as good as her sisters and daddy (which she noticed more this time, because, much to Ashlyn's excitement, she beat DADDY both games! (and Lexie tied him one of those games). So there was more focus on score then there had been when we went bowling for E's birthday last week. But a fun time was had by all.

A quick lunch out and we headed home, where Lexie attempted cake pops (they need some work, I love that she's all about experimenting in the kitchen! And keeps health in mind, even when making "treats") for the "tea party" that Little Bit had requested for snack time.

We had limeade (because Little Bit doesn't actually like tea) and cookies for tea, and I somehow didn't manage to get any pictures of that, grrrr . . . Little Bit was all decked out in her Anna costume too!

The rain stopped and it was WARM for the first time in forever so the kids rode scooters and worked on the garden and generally soaked up spring in the late afternoon/evening, before coming in for a quick supper before bedtime.

As we were doing bedtime stories, Little Bit asked "why was my birthday so much shorter than other days?" so we talked about how the time seems to go faster when we're having fun . . . I'll take that as a sign that it was most definitely a success :) And now she's SIX!!!!! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!?!?! And how did turning six make her suddenly look so BIG GIRL instead of my sweet cute LITTLE GIRL?


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wrapping Up Last Week


Whew! Where DID this week go?

It feels like forever ago, but . . . let's talk about LAST week.

We started our week with a fun birthday party for Little Bit's friend, E.  Bowling and pizza with friends, what more can you ask for!

Monday was a busy day of getting ready for our trip to Pittsburgh, and, if memory serves, the girls all soaked up some spring-like weather that day.

Tuesday we headed to Pittsburgh.

We spent all day Wednesday at Carnegie Science Center.

Thursday the girls and I stayed in the hotel all day. We did some school, and lots of swimming.

Awhile back, I'd found organic spaghetti-o's at Aldi, and, while being organic doesn't change junky convenience food into healthy whole foods, I figured that at least meant no GMOs and such, and our options are limited when we're in a hotel room with just a microwave and mini fridge (for longer trips I often take our crockpot to increase our options, but that means lugging more STUFF . . . so it's all trade-offs). And, I had some packets of instant potatoes that had been in our emergency bag, but were near/at expiration date so I'd rotated them out. So, that was our lunch . . . much to my amusement, my kids were NOT AT ALL impressed with either! I think the spaghetti-os amused me the most. They have never had anything remotely like them before. I haven't had them since I was a kid, and didn't remember them being so sweet, but the flavor did have a familiarity to them so I don't think these were noticably sweeter than the non-organic "name brand" variety I had as a kid. But all 3 girls could NOT figure out why ANYONE would make spaghetti SO SWEET.  Even my sweet tooth, would eat sugary stuff all day long, Little Bit, didn't like sweet spaghetti. She wouldn't eat it at all, the other girls ate it because it was what was available, but the vote was unanimous to NOT do that again. The instant potatoes were supposed to be a "cheese" flavor but were really just EXTREMELY salty, again, even my salt-loving Ashlyn declared them way too salty. Little Bit wouldn't eat them at all (we had other "snacks" in the room like applesauce packets and such so she didn't starve) and the big girls only ate it because of the limited options. So, while our overall diet is far from perfect, I was gratified to find that I was doing SOMETHING right if my kids so strongly disliked some of the "staples" of the standard american diet :)

Friday we dropped Rodney off at his class, went to Starbucks to waste time until the Children's Museum opened, and then spent a fun day there.  Our original plan was to check out of the hotel Fri morning and then, as soon as Rodney was out of class, head for home. BUT the weather report was rather strongly predicting snow, not out in Pittsburgh, but at home, and we decided on "better safe than sorry" especially with planning to travel late into the evening, and not risk bad roads. So we waited and drove home on Saturday.

It made for a more relaxed day on Friday, with more time at the pool for the kiddos.

Sabbath was also a relaxed day. The roads were fine but we definitely saw ever-increasing snow on the grass and trees as we traveled home. Sabbath's warmer temperatures meant that even our driveway had melted by the time we got home, just leaving the pretty of snow on the grass.

So that was our busy week! I was happy to find that Little Bit has still not outgrown her love of "sparkly tunnels" (the way the lights in the tunnels reflect off the white tile walls) :) As we were driving out there, I had, as always, packed a bag of small toys and snacks to give to her as "surprises" every half hour or so to keep the trip from dragging. When we drove through the first tunnel she got excited, as always and exclaimed "Mommy, is this one of my surprises?!?!?!" And in that instant, it became one of her surprises LOL.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Field Trips Galore: Children's Museum of Pittsburgh


On our last day in Pittsburgh we spent the day at the Children's Museum. It happened to be a free day (note to self, ALWAYS check for such things, and avoid if possible, although, I'm not sure how we'd have scheduled our week differently in this case) so it was definitely the most crowded we've ever seen it, mostly really little kids, since it was a week day. 

As we noticed with the science museum, Little Bit is finally old enough to really enjoy the experience instead of just getting dragged (drug?) along on her sisters' adventures. In this case, though, the older girls are starting to outgrow this museum, so we've reversed things at this museum . . . now the big girls get to tag along on Little Bit's adventures :) 

I think they did enjoy "helping" Little Bit and introducing her to their old favorites :) 

Little Bit really enjoyed the electricity exhibit. All kinds of little switches and lights and things, and then battery packs and wires to hook them all together and close the circuit so the switches, buzzers and lights would work. I told my dad they're all ready to help him with his next wiring project, hee hee.

Another favorite was a temporary exhibit that was just a big inflated tunnel the kids could run through.  I honestly don't understand how it was so exciting, but Little Bit it over, and over, and over . . . 

A long-time favorite is the art studio. All kinds of open-ended art, free for the making! This was the room where it's MUCH more fun when it's not so crowded, Ashlyn didn't even bother painting, she said the paint at all the easels was shades of brown because of so many little kids putting brushes in the wrong colors. Little Bit did make a rather autumn-looking sunset with the shades of brown LOL. And all 3 girls enjoyed the "comic art" part.  I was so tempted to take a picture of a random kid, but refrained. It was soo cute though . . . near the comic art station there was a carpeted area with big floor pillows and picture books. A little kid (probably 3 or 4) was snuggled up on the pillows fast asleep! Soooo sweet :) 

Little Bit and Ashlyn also had fun dropping parachutes and such in the "garage" and Little Bit was pretty fascinated with the optical illusion room that always gives me a headache :) 

Field Trips Galore . . . Carnegie Science Center!

We had a busy week, so I'm going to share some highlights before doing a wrap-up of the rest of the week, so you'll have to be patient :)


Last week my husband had classes in Pittsburgh so we tagged along.

Wednesday the girls and I spent all day at Carnegie Science Center. The best part, Little Bit's old enough to really enjoy the whole museum, instead of just the "little kid" area now!

As always, our first stop was the Sportsworks building. It's a separate building full of trampolines, rock climbing, etc. Conveniently, during the school year, it's generally pretty deserted, especially early in the day, and Lexie and Ashlyn LOVE it.  During previous visits, Little Bit found very little to do there, so we had to balance needs, this time, not only was she tall enough and heavy enough for most things, but she was willing to try them as well!

We headed to the trampoline first, because if there's ANYBODY else there, the line gets long fast.  It's a big trampoline with a harness thing so that you can do flips and such. . .  I think the big girls discovered that height can have it's disadvantages, they seemed to have a harder time flipping than they used to. Little Bit was too nervous to flip, but she DID jump, so it's a start. And she had fun, because she went back later to do it again :)

There's a "Body Zone" thing where you go on a simulated journey through the body. Unfortunately, when they tried it, the video wasn't working, and I guess bouncing around in a dark box with sounds, but no video was kind of freaky, so she wasn't willing to try it again until later. My big girls are brilliant, however. In the main museum there was a display that taught about surgery, Little Bit was enjoying it (her favorite, "zapping" wet spots in a diabetic's eye with the laser), and her sisters pointed out that, if she'd go on the body zone ride she could SEE the parts of the body that the surgery exhibits were talking about.

The human yo-yo's always a hit, even when she was little she liked it.

All three girls took turns racing against each other on the sprint track. Although crocs aren't great running shoes and they said the floor was rough so it hurt to run barefoot.

And then the rock climbing . . . THIS one, being taller definitely helped, the big girls looked much more effortless as they climbed this time. . . and, after watching for awhile, Little Bit decided to try as well. She didn't try to go all the way to the top, but she tried . . . it's a start :)



After our fun at Sportsworks we headed to the main museum. Again, there was a real difference in how much Little Bit got into things. She would have happily spent most of the day building mountains of sand for the water to run between (it WAS fascinating . . . just a table of sand with a special light over top of it, but somehow the light could sense and make it "rain" and all the water (just blue light) would run down the hills/mountains into the valleys, and if it "rained" enough the hills turned green . . . it was cool!)

The big girls took another turn with the astronaut exhibit, but said the harnesses really hurt their legs, so they didn't spend very long with that.  There was also a space exhibit where you sat or lay on a wheeled thing and had to pull yourself along the side of the "space station" and hook and unhook things. The big girls did well with that, Little Bit was still too small for the laying down one, but had fun with the sitting one.


As already mentioned, the surgery exhibit was a hit too. Little Bit liked the eye surgery, and brain surgery. The big girls were most challenged by the endoscope exhibit.

There was a building thing that all the girls played with for awhile, bit blue foam blocks. . . and then we headed into the little kid area for a little while.

Finally we headed back to Sportsworks to re-visit the exhibits there before we had to leave. Little Bit did go in the Bodyzone thing that time, and liked it.

AND this time there was somebody at the Unicycle thing. The big girls have eyed it longingly for the 5 or so years that we've been visiting this museum. It's a unicycle on a track way up high over everything. Counterbalanced so it can't fall . . . you ride it out and back, but you have to be tall enough to sit on the seat and reach the pedals and last time they were just a tad to short (the "test" is a seat mounted to the floor that you have to be able to straddle and have feet flat on the floor). This time they were tall enough, but when we were there first thing, nobody was there to let them ride it.  The verdict after riding it, Lexie's complaint was that it didn't go fast enough, Ashlyn found it kind of scary.



A busy, but fun day! Still definitely one of our favorite museums, and awesome that now all the girls enjoy the same exhibits!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Finally Wrapping Up Last Week


Whew! All of a sudden life got BUSY! And, just to make life more exciting, just as it got super busy . . . I finally succumbed to the cold that everyone else in my family had the last couple of weeks, sigh . . .

We had agreed to bring a pie to a Sabbath School meeting/supper on Sabbath, and Lexie had found a recipe for French Silk Pie and decided to make that, so I suggested that she make a trial run of it early in the week to make sure it would turn out ok. So she spent the better part of Sunday playing in the kitchen, making pie and it seems like other things too, but I don't remember what. She attempted a whole wheat pie crust, and the recipe was, apparently, not clear on the need to roll pie crust THINLY so that combination made for a not ideal crust, but the pie itself turned out well, and it's easy enough to buy a refrigerated crust, much as it pained her to do so LOL.

I feel like Monday was busy too, but I have zero recollection of what we did . . . how sad is that . . . and my internet connection is running slow so I'm not even going to attempt to download the past week's pictures and see if they jog my memory . . . (if there are some amazing pictures in there you'll get a separate "pictures" post once the internet is behaving better).

 By Tuesday I was coming down with the cold, and desperately needing to NOT be sick, so I took it super easy on Tuesday in hopes of kicking it before it got hold . . . I did manage to keep it LESS though I definitely wasn't feeling great.

Wednesday we had Bible Study group and, more importantly, the girls had plans to teach the little kids the play on Gideon that they had written, so they could all perform it, not only for our Bible study group, but also in church on Sabbath. . .

And so . . . we went to Bible Study. And the kids had a blast, and performed their play to delight us all, so it was well worth it :)

Thursday was music lessons and errands and Lexie had a busy afternoon making the pie for Sabbath, and also doing any other possible ahead-of-time food prep, knowing we'd be gone all day Friday and all day Sabbath. . .

Friday we finally made it to Grandmom's house to celebrate Christmas. She was sick most of the winter, and just as she was feeling better, the kids, and then Rodney, had colds and we didn't want to spread germs.

Sabbath was our truly busy day. The kids performed their play in church. Lexie got abit of a panic when, just before they were supposed to do the play, K & T said they were too nervous to do it. Their grandpa talked them into it, but they decided they didn't want to do costumes, so Lexie went with it.  I video'd it, but haven't downloaded it to see how it turned out, so I may post it at some point if they agree :)

After church was "Jeans Sabbath". We're reviving a ministry of playing games and doing crafts at the girls and boys club downtown, so, since it was raining, we helped with that instead of passing out lunches, etc. downtown like we usually do. L&A enjoyed helping the kids do crafts. The only downside I saw was that it wasn't really an "outreach" for Little Bit, she just played in the gym. So we shall see, I think we'll mostly lean more toward taking things downtown since the big girls enjoy both outreaches and that one also allows Little Bit to feel like she's a part of "helping", but this is another great ministry.

The rain let up and some people were taking lunches downtown after our time at the boys & girls' club, but we couldn't stay for that because we needed to get home in time to go to the Sabbath School Teachers' meeting.

We got home, got Lexie's pie, and headed over. Since Saturday was the pi day of the century (3/14/15), and our host is a math guy, we had a "pi" theme with round pizzas and round pies :) The dads and kids made the pizza while the moms/teachers talked about next quarter's Sabbath School schedule and programs. We had a fun evening visiting and eating yummy food, and I think Ashlyn even snuck in a math lesson from Jeff while I was busy in the teachers' meeting :) As a bonus, one of the teachers mentioned that she has a bunch of props she still needs to make, so next week the girls get to help her paint props and such. My craft-loving kids are thrilled :)

And that's the end of last week . . . so far things have been equally busy this week, but you'll have to wait till next week to hear about that :)  Needless to say, the week was rather light on "school" but since we're well past 180 days, I can stress even less than usual about such things :) Plus, while we may not have had much of our normal school stuff, things like helping kids learn a play, or helping toddlers and preschoolers "make pizza" are all great learning experiences too :)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Wrapping Up the First Week of MarchI


I am officially SICK AND TIRED of winter! Just sayin . . . 

I feel like our entire week was involved in trying to plan around ice storms and snow storms, sigh . . . we fit school in as we could. 

Lexie and Ashlyn are creating a play to teach Little Bit and her friends, and perform together in church next week, so they put a bunch of time into that this week. They were hoping to have their first "rehearsal" on Wed night at Bible study, but the potential icy roads lead to cancelling Bible study that night. Lexie and Little Bit did get the "clay pots" ready (the story is Gideon and his army). By painting paper cups brown. 
I have to admit, Wednesday night, I was starting to think the predictions were, once again, wrong . . . the weather reports seemed to indicate that Wednesday's rain would switch to snow by midnight or so and we'd get lots of snow during the night and a little more on Thursday. But I went to bed to above freezing temperatures, and rain . . . and when the cats woke me up around 3am it was STILL raining . . . I figured we'd gotten most of our precipitation as rain instead of snow and the snow would be a non-event. . . I was WRONG!!! 

It started snowing sometime after the cats woke me up and by morning everything was white again. It continued to snow ALL DAY. It's hard to figure out how much we got, when there was already snow on the ground most places, but considering what I had to shovel and clear off the cars, we got a good 6+ inches. 
After breakfast I suggested that Lexie put a bowl out to catch snow, on the off chance that we'd get enough for snow ice cream.  A few hours later, she brought it back in, not only full, but rounded over! Needless to say, PLENTY for snow ice cream, YUM!
Since Thursday's music lessons had, obviously, not happened due to snow, we did music lessons on Friday. Even so . . . we left for lessons on snow-covered roads, but found the roads clear as soon as we got out on well-traveled roads . . . only to find that the roads were much worse near the music teacher's house. Enough so, that I decided not to risk continuing in on to the farm where we get milk & eggs (about 20 min beyond music lessons, normally I go while the girls have lessons). By the time we left lessons, things had melted quite a bit, despite the super cold temperatures (it was sunny, just really cold), so I did make it to the farm for the week's milk and eggs before heading home.

Little Bit enjoyed having Daddy around more than usual this week (he was fighting a cold AND all the bad roads meant he worked from home more than usual), and took advantage of it to con Daddy into playing dress-up. Isn't he an awesome Daddy to humor her so!!! 
Don't forget to check out my online Jamberry Party. This is the last week it's open. Such a fun way to have pretty spring nails!!! Lexie especially liked having her fingers match her dress so perfectly for church this week :)