Show Week for Casey

It’s Show Week at the Little Gym.  Today was the last week of the semester and friends and family were invited to come watch the kids play.  For me, it meant that I brought my camera and took lots of pictures of Casey while she was playing and showing off today.

All summer long, Casey said, “I’m going to Little Gym after summer!”  She was so excited about starting class and being a Super Beast.  Since she started her class I hear, “Is it Little Gym day?” almost every day.  Every class is exciting for her and she has so much fun.  It is a parent/child class and it’s been fun for me to go in and share this with her every week.  Plus, I have all the Little Gym songs memorized which is great, especially when they get stuck in your head on other days of the week.  Some days I’ve just “got those veggie blues”.

Next week we start a new semester and Casey is going to be a Jazzy Bug and learn some dancing along with the gymnastics.  And she’s going all by herself.  I get to sit out in the lobby and watch.

This is how excited she was to run around the big red mat.

This is actually four different jumps…and each time I caught her at a different point.  She was happy to keep jumping for me as I tried to catch her mid-air.

Time for a little break.

Best Day Ever

For some reason, Jack proclaimed today as “the best day I ever had.”  I’m not sure how it beats other days but I guess it was pretty good in his book.

We went to church early this morning.  Jack solemnly told Auntie, “When we get there Auntie, Casey and I leave and go to a classroom and we stay there for a long time.  So we won’t stay with you.”  After the children’s liturgy, Jack and Casey came back with cutouts of doves.  Jack had stickers on his and some extra stickers and Casey didn’t have any stickers on her dove and no extras.  I couldn’t get any details as to why this happened.  When I asked Jack what kind of bird he had, he said, “It’s a space bird.”

We hung out at home and whined for a while after church.  That evolved into some serious Lego playing  (we were able to attach a ladder to a house and the workerman got to work) and the whining subsided.

While Casey was napping, I asked Jack if he wanted to watch a movie.  “Max and Ruby??” he wanted to know.  But instead I told him we could watch Star Wars and he thought that was much better.  So we sat on the couch and watched it.  Jack asked approximately 532 questions that usually weren’t related to the plot and didn’t want me to read the scrolling words from the beginning.  “What are the names of the Storm Troopers? — What kind of animal [alien] is that? — What color are the good guys wearing?”  He really just wanted to get to the fight in the desert.  I don’t even know if it’s in Star Wars or one of the other movies or how he even knows about a fight in the desert.  Then our fabulous DVD player started skipping and pausing and I had to postpone the rest of the viewing.

After naptime, we headed to the mall and the kids got to play in the playland, also known as germland.  I normally don’t worry much about germs, but last time we left there I think the kids instantly had a runny nose.  But the kids like it and it burns off energy on a cold day.  And Jenn got to go look at Vera Bradley purses.

For dinner, we went to the Greene Turtle.  Both Jack & Casey were excited to go there.  It was when we got our food and Jack started munching on his apples that he said it was the best day ever.  It must have been the super special and oh-so-rare treat of sliced apples that tipped the scale and made this the best day.  And just to make it better, I let them have the 2 leftover candy canes on our way home.

Church, Legos, Star Wars, Playland at the mall and apples for dinner – best day ever, right?

Poor Pluto

On the way to the Little Gym tonight, Jack was looking out the window for “a red light” in the sky.  He said he was looking for Jupiter and Mars because they were red lights in the sky.  We talked a little bit about how far away they were and how it was hard to see them (especially when it’s cloudy and you can’t even see the moon).  Then he wanted to know if the big storm on Jupiter could come to Earth.  I told him it wouldn’t come here because it would stay in Jupiter’s atmosphere.  Then I asked him if there was anything living on any of the other planets.  And he replied, “Well, I know that there are Martians on Mars because the Backyardigans were the first to discover them.”  All the scientists can do all their research and send probes, but the Backyardigans actually take trips there (and it’s documented in a tv show) so that’s obviously the real truth.

Interestingly, we got our first book about the planets that does not include Pluto as a planet.  Jack is a little confused because all the other books are older and predate the demotion of Pluto.  I found a book at the library written by the guy who demoted Pluto and apparently discovered another planet that I’m planning to read…and then I’ll be able to better explain that to Jack.  
On another topic…Jack noticed that the new toilet paper in the bathroom had hearts on it.  He said, “Mommy, I don’t think you need to buy toilet paper for Valentine’s Day and other holidays because you’re just going to use it to wipe my bum.”    

My Pretty Girl

I went to the fabric store with Casey last week to stock up on some fabric that was on sale.  The corduroy was also on sale and I wanted to try to make Casey a jumper so I let her pick some fabric.  I didn’t really love any of the corduroy selection but she found a pink one with blue and pink dogs on it that she loved and she was happy.  She was also adorable as we waited for the kind but slow lady to cut all our fabric.  Casey wanted to hold on to her fabric and kept telling everyone that I was going to make a pretty dress for her.  She also kept touching all the pink and purple fabrics and saying “Dis is bootiful, Mommy.”

It only took a couple hours (over the course of a couple days) and I made this “pretty dress” for Casey.  I used this tutorial from a blog called ikatbag.  She wore it for two days and then I convinced her that it needed to be washed.

We’ve also reached a big milestone in Casey’s life.  After over a year (seriously) of whining and expressing her frustration, she can finally reach the light above her seat in the car!  She would be so upset when Jack could click his light on and off and she couldn’t reach hers.  I noticed her light was on one day last week but I didn’t think she could reach it yet so I didn’t ask her to try to turn it off else she would get frustrated.  But all of a sudden she reached up and said, “I turned my light off!” I’m not sure who was happier, her or me.

Casey is also on a funny name kick.  She keeps repeatedly asking me, “What’s your name again?”  She knows the answer but she asks it so genuinely, like she has just met me but forgot my name.  The best is when she says, “What’s your name again, Jack?”  Then she makes up names for Legos or dolls or imaginary friends and they are all called Kaya, Naya or Saya (the first a is a long a).  It’s pretty funny to watch her play with her toys right now.  She and Jack have been playing very nicely with their Legos.  I’m so glad I bought her a box of her own pink Legos for Christmas.

A Christmas Party in January

Jack’s preschool Christmas party was scheduled for the last day of school before Christmas break.  Unfortunately a little snow fell on Wednesday night and school was cancelled both Thursday and Friday.  I was really looking forward to going to it and I think I might have been more disappointed than Jack was about the snow day.  And truth be told, I was really excited about going to the party and having no planning responsibilities!  I might have gone a little crazy if I had been planning it and it got cancelled.

Anyway, the party was rescheduled and they held it on Friday.  The 4 and 5 year old students were all on the big stage when I got there, getting ready for their show.  They sang a really cute medley of Christmas songs and shook their bells.  It was all very sweet.  I struggled with trying to get pictures with my regular camera, trying to take some video, making sure Casey could see what was going on and trying to just enjoy the show.  I didn’t put it all on video because they were too far away and overall I’m pretty sure it was a bad video, but I wanted Pat to get a little taste of it.  And I thought I took some good pictures with my zoom lens but it appears that all the children have been possessed…

I tried to fix the red eye but they aren’t actually red, so it wasn’t doing much for me.  I love that Jack was so into this program and sang along with everyone else.  Last year at his preschool he wasn’t comfortable enough to do any of the singing when they had the end of year program.  But you can see that he was shaking away with his jingle bells and singing along this time.  Every once in a while in December I would hear him singing some song that he was practicing for the show.  When I sang “Joy to the World” one night for a bedtime song, he was shocked that I knew it.  “How do you know that song Mommy?  We’re singing it at school.”

After the concert we went back to his classroom for snacks and crafts.  This is where Casey eats all of Jack’s cheese and crackers and Jack just waits for the cake which he later claimed was his lunch.  They all decorated crowns with stickers and markers and had a great time.  And I feel that maybe I put a little too much effort into my Thanksgiving party…but the paper bag turkey was still awesome.

 

Quilting in 2010

Back in May of last year, I made a quilt for my sister-in-law as a Mother’s Day/Baby Shower gift for my niece Charlotte.  And then I made one for my other sister-in-law and then I made a few more and by the end of 2010, I had finished 9 quilts and a table runner.  The last three I made in December for Christmas presents.  I started another blog with more details about the quilts, so if you want to know more about them, you can go www.quiltingspot.blogspot.com.  This is what I was doing when I wasn’t blogging quite so often…especially in November and December!  It feels good to see them all in one place.
My first quilt
Baby quilt for Nicky’s baby girl, Bryn

Front of quilt for my sister-in-law and Brady

Back of Brady’s quilt

Baby quilt for a friend’s baby girl, Zoe

Casey’s zig zag quilt

Jack’s Zoo quilt that I designed myself

Pinwheel quilt for my sister for Christmas

Box in box quilt for my mother-in-law for Christmas

Table runner for Jack’s teacher for Christmas

Patchwork for my mom for Christmas

Picking Out a Book (4 yr old Edition)

Almost two years ago, I wrote a post called Picking Out a Book about how Jack picks out books for story time.  He liked a book called 100 First Words that wasn’t really a story and was driving me a little crazy.  It’s hard to believe that was only 2 years ago.  He was only 2.  I know the math is pretty simple, but the difference in two years is amazing.

His taste in books has changed a bit.  This week when I asked him what books he wanted from the library he said, “Books about space and books about the ocean and all the things in the ocean.  And do you think you could find me one about that red spot on Jupiter?  I want to know more about that red spot.  It’s a big storm and I want to know more about it.”  No hesitation there.

When I brought the books home, he inspected them all to make sure that I got everything that he asked for.  These are all from the non-fiction section of the children’s library.  I also brought some Curious George books and a Dinosaur Train book but he said, “I don’t like Dinosaur Train anymore.  Casey can have it.  I don’t like Curious George either.”  I think he has since changed his mind about George though because tonight George got curious at a chocolate factory.

I don’t remember learning about the solar system and the planets until somewhere around 4th grade.  I made a paper mache sun and learned a lot about the sun at one point but I’ve forgotten it.  I’m now relearning it all with Jack.  Who’s 4.  Crazy.  I didn’t know (or recall) that Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune were gas planets.  And space seems more vast and unfathomable to me now than it did at age 9.

 

My Little Decorator

After the dump truck of toys stopped by over Christmas, Pat and I were throwing around the idea of turning our front room into more of an official playroom.  There have always been toys in it but it’s not exclusively for toys.  After deciding that I didn’t want to do that, I couldn’t sleep last night and kept rearranging furniture in my head.  I’m trying not to be afraid of changing things and moving furniture because all I have to do is move it back if I don’t like it.  It’s funny that I shouldn’t naturally think that considering the number of times I moved my furniture in my bedroom growing up.  Anyway, by the time I went to sleep last night I had come up with some good furniture arrangements and thought I might just go for it.

This morning I didn’t really think about playrooms all that much given that we actually had to get up, get dressed and leave the house today to get Jack to school.  I think I could have used another week of vacation.  The kids weren’t even getting on my nerves yet.  Sometimes a big infusion of toys is all they need to get along a little better.

While Casey was napping this afternoon, I was trying to get some things done on the computer, like reading other blogs and looking at great projects other people have done and thinking, ‘I should do that someday.’  I paid some bills too.  Jack decided that it would be a great time to bring a Lego creation over to disassemble, placing the pieces strategically around the mouse.  And that was my inspiration to do a little reorganizing.  I ran upstairs and dug our 2nd coffee table out of the upstairs toy closet and brought it downstairs.  Before I go any further, there are no pictures of this process yet because it’s still a bit of a disaster.  It had to get worse before it could get better and it’s just now making the turn.  Pat has asked me twice already if I plan to keep a 6 foot tall bookcase in the middle of the living room.    

I brought the coffee table downstairs and moved Jack’s pile of Legos to the table.  He went and got himself a Buzz Lightyear chair and happily sat creating a new airplane for his aircraft carrier.  I was able to get back to blogland without a pile of Legos and child under my elbow.  I wondered why I hadn’t thought to bring the table down months ago.  When Jack was a baby we baby-proofed this table and stuck the spongy rubber stuff around the sides so he wouldn’t bump his head on the sharp edges.  We’re a little past the baby proofing stage around here now but I decided that rubber stuff is staying on.  It’s primary purpose now is to keep Legos and puzzle pieces on the table.  Brilliant.

From the coffee table to moving a 6 foot bookshelf to moving a bunch of toys around, the room is now more of a playroom but I didn’t move any major furniture beside that bookshelf.  (And a small kitchen.)  In the midst of this Jack thought he would help me.  He just started pulling things out of cupboards and shelves and saying, “I’ll put this here and this here and this here.  See how I’m fixing it Mommy?”  When I took some old frames and knick knacks out of a cupboard he asked where they were going.  I was planning to put them back in a different cupboard but I asked him where he thought they should go.  And boy, did he have some opinions.  More like steadfast confidence in his decorating ability.  He knew exactly where things needed to go and how to do it.  I’ve already signed him up for the next season of Design Star on HGTV.

“Mommy, what rocks do you want to put in this jar?” he asked as he pulled out a bag of rocks and a clear vase.  It was obvious that he didn’t even need me to answer that because rocks were already going into the jar.  He was very serious about his tasking and his end table was decorated in no time.  I’m afraid to move things now.

The Christmas Quilts, Part 1

I made three quilts and one table runner between Thanksgiving and December 17th!  I didn’t really intend to be up against the Christmas deadline so frantically, but I was.  I’m so glad I finished them, especially the one I lamented about in my last post.

The first one I finished was for my mother-in-law.  She just bought a beach house and when I saw Moda’s Pure fabric line by Sweetwater, I knew it would go perfectly in her beach house.  I also knew that I wanted to do a square in square quilt so the planning for this one was pretty easy…it just took a bit of time to piece it.

I finished the hand sewing the binding the first weekend in December.  We were at our very own brand new beach condo for the first time which is a few buildings down from my in-laws’ place.  After I finished sewing the binding on, I snuggled under it for a bit…just had to make sure it was going to work well for a beach house!  

After I washed and dried it, it hung on my stair railing for a few days.  I still get a little shiver of pride when I see what I’ve created, so it was fun to walk by it every time I went up and down the stairs.

I used a layer cake to make the square in squares and I added a 5″ border around it to make it a little bigger.  I quilted straight lines on both sides of the blocks, horizontally & vertically.  I used a sheet for the backing which was a first for me.  It was a Wamsutta sheet that I got at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  I loved the feel of it after I had washed and dried it.  I bought a chocolate colored binding at the fabric store.  I think it might be my last store bought binding (unless I’m in a bind – ha ha) because the combination of it and the sheet on the back made it difficult to hand sew the binding.  It just required a little more effort and time because the needle didn’t slip through the fabrics as easily.

Christmas 2010

My first resolution of 2011 is to finish this Christmas post…the long overdue Christmas post.  Just when I was going to write it, that stomach bug got me and I still don’t feel quite right.

On Christmas Eve, I had a strange worry that maybe Santa had slacked this year.  There were no big toys like the kitchen from last year.  After having spent the last couple days trying to find homes for the new toys, I don’t think that’s a problem.  In fact, if you judge the success of Christmas on how much square footage of the living room floor is covered in toys, then it was definitely a success.

But it was so much more than the toys and we had a really great Christmas.  My parents flew in on the 23rd to celebrate with us.  When Pat asked me what we were having for dinner when my parents got here, he was devastated when I said, “Soup!”  I made a really nice French onion soup anyway and Pat went out and got Chinese for everyone too.  That’s probably the beginning of a tradition right there.

On Christmas Eve we got all our cooking done early in the morning – meatballs, lasagna and cookies for Santa and then we went ice skating, which has become a tradition – 3 years in a row.  I think my favorite part of skating was not the skating but all the things Jack said he was going to do when he got on the ice.  He was pretty sure he was going to skate on one foot all around the rink.  And Casey said that she was going to spin around and around.  There was  no spinning or skating on one leg, but they definitely improved over last year and we spent more time there than last year.  Casey didn’t really say much while we were there, but she didn’t want to stop skating when it was time to leave.  We also got to see the Zamboni come out and Jack kept asking when it was coming again.

My goal for church this year was for all of us to get seats so I set a departure time of 3pm for 4pm mass.  Of course this was the day I had to wake Casey from a nap.  We got seats even though they were in the narthax.  The kids were great during church.  The priest had the children come up to the front for the sermon and he read them a story.  Jack had been clinging to Pat the whole time so I didn’t think he would want to go up there.  But all of a sudden, Jack was down and heading towards the front.  He was practically running the last time I saw him.  Then Pat took Casey up closer and she just kept saying, “I can’t see he.  I can’t see he.” because she couldn’t see Jack.

I forgot to put the lasagna in the oven for time bake for church so we had to wait a bit before it was ready.  I fed the kids some pasta and then made a little frosting for the cookies.  They had a great time decorating their trays of cookies.  A little frosting, some spoons, some crazy food coloring and some dinosaur and fish sprinkles = perfectly decorated cookies for Santa in the eyes of the 2 to 4 year old crowd.

Since there were no big toys to assemble, the Christmas eve cursing was kept to a minimum.  It was actually me who had the toughest time with a toy.  I got Jack some toy that flings plastic helicopters into the air.  I couldn’t get it to work for the life of me and I was worried that he would be frustrated with it in the morning.  Pat got it on the first try though and Jack has had no problems with it, so the only thing I can figure is that it had an anti-girl mechanism installed in it.

Christmas morning was great!  The kids loved all their toys and got excited about all of them.  Wrapping paper all over the floors, boxes ripped open, ignoring any gift that might be clothes (even though Legos were hiding underneath)…I’d say it was a typical Christmas morning with a 2 and 4 year old.

Casey got everything she could possibly need to take care of her babies – bunk beds, a swing, a high chair and a stroller.  She’s been taking very good care of them.  She also got a camera and within a day had snapped 200 pictures already.  She has no idea what she’s taking pictures of but she looks really cute when she does it.

Jack got an aircraft carrier, a marble run, Evil Dr. Porkchop and a tool bench.  He’s so happy with his toys that he’s been coming downstairs when he wakes up to play with them instead of coming into the bedroom to wake me up.

 We eventually got out of pajamas (some of us anyway) and had a great dinner straight out of the pages of Southern Living.  The Christmas fun was just beginning as big fat snowflakes started falling out of the sky and made for a white Christmas around here.  The kids were already in bed but it snowed all day on the 26th and they had a great time playing it.