Thursday, May 31, 2012

If You Can't Be at the Zoo...

...then you may as well be playing trains - especially if you make the train track cover the whole floor.
There is almost always some form of train track built on the floor.  Anytime I mention that it is time to clean up downstairs, Peter announces, "But not my trains, right Mom?"  He loves his trains and plays with them everyday.  (After first asking if we can go to the zoo that day, of course.)
Today was a pretty special day because he got the huge track, and someone to play with him.  It doesn't get much better than that.  (Unless you also throw in a trip to the zoo.)  Next year is going to be a bit of an adjustment for us when Duffy goes to school all day and doesn't get to stay home to play with Peter in the morning.
But today, at least, he is a pretty happy camper.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Visited a Book Store Lately?

There is something about summer that gets me (even more) excited about reading.  I always go back to those lazy summer days of my childhood when I could spend days on end lost in whatever books I was reading.  One of my favorite things to do when I travel has always been to wander around in the little local bookstores.  I love bookstores.  Always have. Always will.  A couple of weeks ago, MacEvoy posted this list of the 20 most beautiful bookstores. They are really worth a look!

 They are all so cool.  I could plan my next 20 vacations around visiting these bookstores. Hmm.  Now there's an idea.  Anyone want to join me?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

OK, technically, it was Sunday evening and not actually Memorial Day, but the visit to the cemetery was for Memorial Day so I guess it still counts.  Thankfully, the weekend rain had stopped and the sun had come out.  We met Grandma Cathy at the cemetery to visit some family.
Grandma Cathy brought flowers and all the supplies for cleaning up the headstones.  Everyone was put to work.

Once Peter was done "helping", he found other things to occupy his time.  I'm not sure it was entirely appropriate for him to plunk down on this gravestone to make the pinwheel spin, but he was having a good time.
I love the puffed cheeks in this one.
Another one of my favorites.  Peter loves just hanging out with his older siblings.
Duffy showing off the "roly poly" bug she found.
Amelia tried to rescue this flower that fell off.

After visiting the Cunningham relatives, we stopped in to see my Grandma Backman as well.  We're going to have to plan for some more visits to catch the rest of the relatives, but it's something that we all enjoy doing.  There is something so beautiful about the cemetery especially covered with flowers as far as the eye can see.  Happy Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May Madness

I was just looking at recent photos and realized that I am missing several spring events.  I'm hoping to find them on Shawn's phone and add them.
Since late April, we have had ballet recitals, a harp recital, 3 weekends of waterpolo state championship tournaments, (and several regular games leading up to them), a band concert, 2 orchestra concerts, multiple large, end-of-year school projects, school dance performances and Art Night, training for Little Red Riding Hood bike ride, training for a Half Iron Man (Shawn, not me) and Ragnar training, started swim team workouts, plus started kids on piano lessons again.  It's no wonder that May rivals only December in it's busy-ness (and I'm not entirely sure that December wins out.)  Maybe this explains why I haven't found time to blog.

On May 10, William Penn had their Art Night.  All of the kids had art displayed around the school, each class danced, and the kids got punch cards to be able to participate in different activities.

The kindergartners were first for performing.  They did the Mexican Hat Dance.

A little bit later, we watched Amelia perform with the second graders.  Hers was a dutch dance or something that I couldn't even pronounce, let alone remember the name of.

Samantha danced, too, but I think at that point I had had to give Peter my phone to get him to sit still and be quiet, so I didn't have a chance to take pictures.  (Sorry Manthie.)

The little girls couldn't wait to get their faces painted even though the wait in line was at least 45 minutes!
Duffy was one of the last ones before they sent everyone away.  We lucked out on that or there could have been tears all night.
And now we are definitely in the countdown.  Only 4 school days left and 9 days total!!!
There have been lots of field trips for the girls, locker clean-outs, bringing home gym clothes, and returning all textbooks for Jonas. (I keep wondering what they are going to be doing everyday.)  And slowly, we are being buried by all of the papers and things that have been hiding in lockers and desks all year that now need to find a new home.  Not my favorite part of the end of year madness, but if it means summer is almost here, I'll take it!
I can't wait !

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

As a general rule, Mother's Day has never been my favorite holiday.  This year, I somehow managed to let go of my frustrations with my mothering skills (or lack thereof) and let go of any expectations I had for how my Mother's Day should be.  (You know, I always dream of a blissful day with no children arguing and everyone jumping up to help at every chance, but I'm a realist, and I know Sunday mornings - even when Shawn does get to stay home from meetings, are not the most restful and relaxing times of the week.)
Amazingly, when I let go of all of the above, I found that I could really enjoy Mother's Day.  I loved opening all of the homemade gifts from my kids, loved the snuggles and hugs and the "I Love You's".
I enjoyed a delicious breakfast in bed.  Beignets and fruit  - a real treat.  (Since we missed our conference Sunday beignets, I guess they decided we needed to make up for the loss.)
Everyone joined me on the bed and helped me eat them.  

(And there was only a little bit of powdered sugar all over my bedspread after we were all done.)

We tried for a hurrried Mom and kids photo right before church, and of course, there was at least one sad face - missing scriptures or lost shoes or something.  (I just can't seem to win on the nice photo of everybody thing.)
Just so you know, Jonas is not actually taller than I am - YET.  I was standing in a little bit of a hole.  But I'm pretty sure this will be my last Mother's Day where that is the case.  In fact, I'm guessing that before the year is out, my little boy will surpass me in height.  (Oh that's painful to admit. But at least I am still stronger than he is! ;))
Duffy and Amelia made this little banner for me.  Pictures of me with both of them.
One day I will miss these little grammatical errors.

It was a very nice Mother's Day.  We ended the day by making a visit to see Grandma Judy - forgetting the camera, of course.  We were also able to chat briefly with both of my brothers who live out of state while we were there. (Grandma Cathy was out of town.) Then back home to put everybody to bed and enjoy a few minutes of quiet.
Happy Mother's Day to all of my favorite Mother's out there!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Best Mom Award - Again

You would think after taking Peter on a special trip to the zoo, that I would be feeling good about my mothering today, but you know, sometimes things happen that totally shift the momentum of the day.  Like for instance, maybe it is time to take your daughter to her harp lesson and your little 3 year old is crying and begging to go with you, which of course, you know isn't going to work out because he will be a bit of a distraction at the lesson if he goes.
So, you call into your 13 year old that you need an intervention, and you hear him respond so you know he heard you, and you head on your way to said harp lesson, leaving your sobbing 3 year old behind in the usually capable hands of your 13 year old.
Only, it turns out that the 13 year old, upon hearing the 3 year old close the door, assumes he has come inside and gone downstairs to play with his sisters, (because of course, he can hear them down there) and doesn't realize that in fact, the 3 year old has closed the door while remaining outside on the porch.
(There has been some discussion as to why the 13 year old did not actually check to see that the 3 year old made it inside.)
Unfortunately, the 3 year old is not always able to re-open the front door from the outside once it has been closed, and so usually knock or calls for someone inside to open it for him.  So maybe, if the 13 year old is already occupied in something on the computer, and thinks his little brother is inside, he may not really hear (or pay attention to) the knocking or calling or crying that was taking place.  (Once again this has been a topic of discussion for us.)
So when you return from the harp lesson 45 minutes later, and you are walking up to the house, you maybe squint and think to yourself, "What is that on the front porch?" 
And as you get closer you just about burst into tears when you realize it is the same little 3 year old that you left sobbing on the porch, and you see that he has cried himself to sleep on the doormat.
And it breaks your heart a little bit, and all you can think to do is go in and have a discussion with the usually capable 13 year old that you left in charge, while acknowledging once again, that you still don't always have this mothering thing figured out, and hoping that none of the neighbors saw this and called child protective services.
Ah well, I guess I can always try for that Best Mom Award again tomorrow.

A Day at the Zoo with Peter

As many of you know, Peter would rather be at the zoo than just about anywhere else.  Today was one of those rare days where it was clear that we would both be happier if we got out of the house and did something different.  Fortunately, the calendar was open, so we headed to the zoo.

Lots of fun to see the baby geese.

This little monkey was fascinated with Peter (I think the feeling was mutual,) and was right up at the window like that the whole time we were there.
Somehow, we showed up when lots of the animals were being fed.  The baby elephant is always a favorite destination.
 Who knew that elephants loved strawberries and clementines so much?  Of course, they eat them peels, stems and all.  Yum.

We got an up close and personal view of several of the animals this time.
It just so happened that Megan was doing her kindergarten report on ostriches, so  we had to stop and get a picture of them for her.
In addition to riding both the train and the carousel (he is so spoiled!),

the zoo trip isn't complete without throwing a coin into the fountain.  This was one happy kid.