Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ballerina Beans

Who would have ever thought that a pan of old beans could be this much fun?!

It was one of those -"I may actually be a good, creative mom" moments.

This year we switched dance studios.  We have been extremely happy with the new studio.  This week they had their class performances to end the semester.  Kirsten did a duet with Gracie, a girl in her class (Kirsten is 6, the rest of her class is 9).  Their teacher danced with them since they have only been working on it for two weeks.  I am amazed at the progress she is making with her new teacher.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fun Weekend

Katie is becoming such little ham.  She has so much personality bundled up in her little body.  We figured out that she will let me fix her hair as long as we do it in front of the mirror where she can see what we are doing.  She is also becoming a poser.  Anytime I pull out the camera, she does this....
 I mean seriously, can it get any cuter?!

We also managed to finally get our tree and Christmas decorations up.  It took two tries to get the star on top!

 You may notice that it is really only decorated from the waist up....
Maybe next year we will be able to decorate the whole tree!

Yesterday morning I got up early to take my Girl Scout Troop to march in the Plano Christmas Parade.  It was Kirsten's first parade to be in, Katie's first parade to watch, and my first time to be in a parade not involving a marching band.  The morning was one of those "hurry up and wait" times, but the girls were thrilled that we got to see Santa while we waited.
 We met up with the other Girl Scouts and spent two hours eating donuts, drinking hot chocolate, coloring pictures and playing games.
 Once the parade started, they had more fun  passing out candy than anything else.
 I was secretly thrilled when they ran out of candy so that it was easier to keep an eye on them, and we could actually catch up with the rest of the parade!
 Kirsten spent the afternoon at a birthday party, and Jeremy headed to his parents to build some Christmas gifts in his dad's workshop.

After dinner we headed to the park for our neighborhood Winterfest.  The kids got to make cards and roast marshmallows, while we enjoyed carolers and hot cider.
 Katie and Rebecca trying to stay warm!
 The choir from Ogle Elementary came and sang a few songs followed by the tree lighting.  They planted a huge pine tree in the park a few years ago and every year decorate it for Christmas.  It is fun to turn into the neighborhood and see it each day.
 And of course, as always, we had a ton of fun with the Lendermans.
 The kids even got to see Santa.  Kirsten was thrilled, but Katie not so much.
It looks vaguely similar to this picture of Kirsten at the same age
We had such a fun weekend celebrating the Christmas Season.  I love this time of year.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year.  Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday of the year.  It seems to have somehow avoided becoming overly commercialized and is just about being with family, eating good food, and being thankful for all that God has blessed us with. I love it!

We were able to spend Thanksgiving with Jeremy's family this year.  I somehow managed to not bring my camera - sorry.  It was wonderful though.  Alison took our family pictures for us (pictured at the top of the blog)  and did an absolutely amazing job!  We loved spending the day with Jeremy's family and eating way too much good food!

On Friday we headed up to Oklahoma to my Grandma and Grandpa Adams' farm.  My mom and step dad came down from Kansas and met us there.  We had a second Thanksgiving on Friday with family there.  We were especially lucky to meet my new cousin, Bryce.  He is 8 years old and was just adopted by my Aunt Iva and Uncle Cole.  Kirsten and him hit it off immediately.  He has been in foster care his whole life and said that he could hardly believe that he had a real cousin!  They spent most of the day together.  

On Saturday we headed up to the Oklahoma Science Museum.  It was seriously the best museum I have ever been in.  We spent five hours there and hardly did half of the museum.  I am dying to go back.

Kirsten and Bryce waiting in line
 Katie had a great time too!   There was a huge kids area that was sectioned off where she could just run around and play.  It was great until she found the water tables an got soaked!

 With all of the things we did, I think the highlight was riding the Segway.  We all got to do it, and wanted to do it again!  Kirsten went first.
She was so brave and had so much fun!


 There was no way to keep Jeremy off.  He has wanted to do one of these for years!
 I went too.  We are definitely going to have to try a Segway tour on our next vacation.
 They had great space exhibits.  I think she is looking for the moon...
 Kirsten and Bryce even got to go on a simulated space shuttle ride.  It was great watching their faces on the monitors.
 My brave little astronaut.
 Katie went on a moon ride too, this one was more her speed.
 I seriously cannot say enough good things about this museum.  It is worth the trip up to OKC to go.

Before we came home Saturday night, Kirsten and my mom built and decorated a gingerbread house.  Kirsten was ecstatic, she has been begging to do one for weeks.  Would you believe that it even survived the four hour car ride home?!
 And Katie was of course spoiled by her Grandpa Starnes who almost never put her down. Of course that could have been due to fear over what she might break....
We had such a wonderful Thanksgiving and are so happy to have been able to kick off the holiday season.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Videos of Kirsten

Kirsten has been learning so much lately.  She has had three spelling tests so far and gotten a 105 on each of them because she has also gotten the challenge words right.  They include words such as subtraction, addition, number sentence, graph, liquid - all vocabulary words from their science and math. It is amazing to me that she is learning to spell these words in first grade!

About two months ago, Jeremy took the training wheels off of her bike.  She is doing great and getting more confident.  I took a video, but it turned out really dark, so I will have to try again.  She really only gets to try on Saturdays because it is dark by the time Jeremy gets home from work every night.

Kirsten is also learning to play the violin and piano.  She is doing so well at both.  She finished the first level of piano books in two months and is in level 2 now.  I can hardly go two days without her asking for another lesson.  She gets home from school, has a snack and then proceeds to practice 15 minutes of violin and 15 minutes of piano, practices her spelling words and then reads a half hour, all without me even having to tell her to.  I do not know where this determination came from, but I hope that it continues!

So these two videos are about a month old (from before I lost my camera) so she is much better than this now, but she is pretending to be shy and won't let me do new videos.  I hope that you enjoy!

I love listening to my budding musician!


So I have a confession to make - I HATE doing laundry.  Like, really, really, really hate it more than anything else in the world.  If I could pay someone to do it for me, I would. A few years ago I decided that instead of constantly having to think about it and do a little bit every day, I would just ruin every Monday (we don't like Mondays anyway, right?) and just get it all done.  This works great for me.  I do one day, and then for six days I do not even have to think about it.

The problem is that about a month ago, the dryer broke.  Of course I did not figure this out until I had a week's worth of dirty clothes and two wet loads.  So I hung the clothes up outside on the clothes line I use for diapers, and called Jeremy sobbing.  My wonderful hubby came to the rescue!  He figured out quite easily that it was the heating element.  Great!  That should be easy to fix.  The next day we went to Sears, because it is a Kenmore, but they do not carry any parts.  We could order it for $60 plus tax, and shipping, and wait three weeks because it was back ordered.  No thank you.  So I figured, we will just try Home Depot or Lowe's and they surely will have something compatible.  Nope.  It turns out that no one carries dryer parts anymore.  They all want to sell you a new set - "and we have great financing options available...."  So we called a repair man, $150, no way.  Finally we found the part at the one appliance part store in the area, 45 minutes away.  It was ours for the taking for only $88 plus tax.  No thank you.  We finally found one on Amazon for $20.  That was more like it, but it took a week and a half to get in.

Now I tried to do what I could during that time - mainly socks, underware and Jeremy's and my work clothes, but it takes twice as long to do laundry when they have to air dry and then you have to iron every single article of clothing.  Then it turned cold and rainy and nothing was going to dry.  I was getting desperate when there was a knock at the door - the UPS man, my best friend!  Jeremy fixed it that night.  Only by now, I had three weeks of laundry piled up.  It took 2 weeks for me to catch up.  Not an experience I want to have again.  I am grateful that Jeremy was able to fix it for $20 though.  I am considering ordering another just to have on hand for the future.

On a related note, during yesterday's laundry adventure, I washed 56 pairs of socks.  That is PAIRS, not individuals.  That was for just one week with a family of four, averaging 14 pairs of socks each.  Now I admit that I go through 2 pairs of socks most days, one for the gym and one for the rest of the day, but what is everyone else's excuse?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Lost and Found

"I once was lost, but now am found...."
                       ~ Camera

About three weeks ago my camera disappeared.  I mean, really, really gone.  This was terrible for two reasons.  There were pictures and videos on it that I had not yet downloaded, and I did not have a camera to take pictures of all the wonderful and exciting things we were doing.  My solution, no more blogging.  What's a blog without pictures?!

So after three weeks of searching everywhere and then finally researching cameras, we decided to buy a new one on Wednesday.  Right before Jeremy got home and we were headed  out to get one, Kirsten comes running in and exclaims -"Mom!  I found your camera!"  That is great Kirsten! Where was it?  "It was in my purse in my closet.  I have NO idea how it got there."  Seriously?  Well, at least I have my camera back.  Kirsten informed Jeremy today that "Mommy is always loosing the camera and I am always finding it."  Really?  I wonder how that happens.

So here is one really long post of what we have been up to for the past month.  Some of the pictures are old, and some are really bad ones taken with my cell phone.  So get ready for picture overload!

We continued our Pre-Halloween celebrations with a Trunk-or-Treat party at church.  Jeremy was really excited to decorate the car this year.  It is actually the first time we have ever done it.
 Maybe next year Jeremy and I will actually dress up, but probably not.
 Kirsten with Zachary, Maddison and Abigail.
 Kirsten and Michael (we have a lot of these)
 Katie with HER baby Rebecca.  She is seriously obsessed with this little one and goes completely crazy everytime she sees her.

 The next morning we got up and headed to the pumpkin patch.  Katie loved chasing Kirsten around the Hay Maze.
 We went on a hayride too.  It was fun, and way windy.
The best part of this pumpkin patch is that they have pumpkin launching.  It was ridiculously fun.
 My pretty little girls with the pumpkin they picked out.
 They both also wanted a little pumpkin of their own.
 That night we had another Trunk-or-Treat for our neighborhood mom's group, complete with a costume parade and a potluck dinner.  It was kind of surreal to get there and realize that I was in charge.  Katie had gotten her Belle costume pretty dirty the night before, so we had to use Kirsten's old ladybug costume instead.  She was still completely adorable though.
 All the kiddos lined up and ready for the parade.
So in the midst of all of this, I got really tired of my ankle hurting and finally went to the doctor.  It turns out that I have a torn tendon.  So no 5K for me that weekend, and I came home with this souvenir.
 It has been almost three weeks now, and I hate it just as much as that first day.  I really hope that this works.

The following Friday, my in-laws invited us to their ward's trunk-or-treat party.  They had dinner and a ton of games inside, followed by trick-or-treating outside.  The girls loved hanging out with their cousins.
Their Aunt Megan
And of course, Grandma and Grandpa Alleman
Finally, the actual day of Halloween arrived.  I took Kirsten to dance and she was the only one who showed up in her class.  Her teacher was wonderful and gave her an hour private lesson.  As soon as we got home, I grabbed Katie and Jeremy and we headed out trick-or-treating.  We had been to about half a block when we ran into the Lendermans, Sauters, Renkers, Christensens, Lendermans, and the Looslis, all from church.  So we decided to hit the neighborhood together.  The kids had a blast trick-or-treating with their friends.
So that about sums up Halloween around here.  Personally, I think that it went on way too long.  The positive side is that at least we got out money's worth out of the kids costumes.

In the midst of all this, we did some other things too.  
Katie, Luke and Owen - snack time!
Katie refuses to sit in her highchair anymore, even when it is pulled up to the table.  She gets so excited when it is meal time and she gets to sit in a big chair!
I have been staying busy with my girl scout troop as well.  I have the greatest Co-Leader this year, Stacey.  She even lets us have the meetings at her house.  I really do love this group of girls.
They are so fun, and were dying to show off their silly side!
And finally, my cutie, Katie.  She gets bigger everyday.  She never ceases to amaze me with the things she learns and picks up on.  I had to share this picture.  She insisted on the boots.  I think she looks like a true Texas baby here!
Now, hopefully I can hold onto my camera better from now on, or at least remember to check Kirsten's purse if I loose it!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Craig Ranch Fall Festival

Last night we officially kicked off a month of Halloween activities at the Craig Ranch Fall Festival.  It was really quite incredible for an HOA Halloween Party.  We had hamburgers and chips for dinner, 2 bounce houses, ice cream, raffles, a costume contest, face painting, balloon animals, a rock climbing wall, 3 bungee trampolines, a bounce house maze, a petting zoo, lizard exhibit, pony rides, a train, a dunk tank, and a ton of other little games.  We had such a good time as a family and spending time with friends.

This year Kirsten wanted to be a Witch - she specified that it had to be a cute one, and Katie was Belle.  At least I still have one little princess in the house!
The girls loved the train ride, it was Katie's first!
Kirsten loved the giant blow up maze.  Only one kid could go up at a time, so she and her friends started waiting for each other at the bottom of the slide so they could do the rest together.  They are so funny at this age, and try so hard to be social!
She finally made her way out the other end.
Katie loved running around chasing her friends.
Kirsten got a chance to actually be in the dunk tank!  She loved it and went four times.  She was the only little girl in a long line of boys waiting for their turn.   She was so brave!

The best part was that Katie and Jeremy were the ones to dunk her.  Katie thought it was hilarious!
After the neighborhood party, we headed over to the Lenderman's for cupcakes and to let the kiddos play.  We had a great night and are excited about the next few weeks full of more Halloween activities!