Thursday, July 31, 2008

the best $9.50 i've spent in a long time

With our homeschool curriculum order I ordered a 16' jump rope. I used to love jumping rope as a kid and thought Clara might too. The rope came this week and the kids have been jumping rope daily. They really love it. We've had to google jump rope rhymes because apparently I've forgotten all of the ones I knew as a kid. Right now we're working on mastering Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear.

Yesterday we went out looking for a park that had a fence I could tie one end of the rope to that was in the shade. We found this patch of shade but I totally wasn't thinking that with shade comes tree limbs.... so after whacking the lower limbs of this tree with the rope a couple of times, we moved to the edge of the shady patch. Thankfully there was a sprinkler running right behind us so the kids would run through the edge of it in order to cool off.

Now... my kids aren't that great at jumping rope yet... but they're better than these photos imply. These are the result of Alex or Clara turning the rope and lets just say that they need more work on the rope turning... sigh. :-)

Here's Clara expressing her dismay with Alex's rope turning...
and Alex's expression after being whacked in the face with the rope as he tried to jump in...
no explanation necessary...
this is how Clara tries to run into a turning rope... my goodness... I think we'll bring her helmet next time...

Seriously, this is probably the best toy for under $10 that I've found in long time!

Off to start my day! My friend and her girls are coming over for another playdate this afternoon so we should probably be out of our pj's by the time they get here! :-)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

road to wrigley

*** warning..... lots of photos ***

Last night we took the kids to Wrigley Field for the Road to Wrigley game...
The first minor league game played at Wrigley Field. It was between the Peoria Chiefs and the Kane County Cougars.

We managed to get there early, in spite of the fact that their art class went longer than scheduled.
We watched some baseball...

...but the best part for the kids was what went on between innings.

Here's their reactions when the zooperstars came out...

Clara LOVED them and kept yelling over and over that she had seen them on America's Got Talent.... it was too funny.

Here's Clammy Sosa...
... Clara was in hysterics watching him.

Another thing that made the night fun was that the Cubs were playing Milwaukee at the same time, in Milwaukee... so everyone was cheering for the Cubs as they scored along with cheering for the game going on at Wrigley.
Alex dancing to YMCA (with a little help from Jeff)....
Another favorite with the kids was Birdzerk...
Here Harry Canary helps sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the 7th inning stretch...
more zooperstars....
The highlight of the game was that the kids would get to run the bases after the game. I mean, how many chances does a kid get the chance to run the bases at Wrigley Field??? Seriously, how cool is that? They made the announcement during the 8th inning so Jeff and the kids went down to line up under the bleachers. Apparently it was incredibly hot down there and jammed packed with kids and parents. Jeff kept texting me for game updates since the game was tied at this point. Halfway through the 9th inning, with the score still tied, this happened....
The tarp came out...
and with the rain, thunder and lightening... they called the game and canceled the running of the bases.

Jeff and the kids returned to our seats (since they were under the upper level and dry) and we sat for a while waiting for the rain to die down just a bit before we headed to the L to go home.

It was a great night! Even without running the bases (which they announced that they would make up.... that's pretty cool). We didn't get home until after 11 so our kids were late risers this morning. Thankfully I don't think we have anything much on our schedule today!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

tuesday already?

This is how the kids decided to dress today. I like it when they match... it always means a photo! :-)

Yesterday was a really nice day. I love it when playdates work out for both kids. This one wasn't your typical arrangement but it works very well. Clara has a friend from dance who is actually Alex's age. Their relationship isn't so much a friendship as it is a mentor/student type relationship... no... that doesn't sound right does it? The friend is a very talented dancer who Clara very much looks up to and knowing that, the friend has taken Clara under her wing to help her along the way through dance. Its very sweet to watch.

Now, this friend has a younger brother who is a grade younger than Clara. The little brother and Alex spent a lot of time hanging out in the hall together while their sisters were in dance. This is where they discovered a mutual love of Legos.

So, yesterday was a very nice afternoon of Clara playing Polly Pockets and Littlest Pet Shop with the older sister and Alex playing Legos and Hot Wheels with the younger brother. It went so well that we're planning another playdate soon. It was also nice that the mom and I got to hang out and chat as well.

Gymnastics went well. We really like it at the new place. Alex is really loving it. I just have to figure out what we're doing for fall now since I picked up the new schedule last night and the classes they've been taking on Mondays do not exist at the same time and day on new schedule. My little rough outline for fall was counting on them continuing on the same day... sigh.

Today we went to the park so Alex could practice some of gymnastic strength stuff on the monkey bars. He's finally found something, sports-wise, that he, on his own, wants to work on outside of class. He worked on the bars today until he wore a blister on his palm, so now we're home nursing that wound.

This afternoon the kids start an art class. I'm hoping it turns out as advertised. It is supposed to be an actual art class, not crafts, if you know what I mean. We do crafts at home and other places, but I can't "do art" with them. So, I'm hoping this is good exposure for them. We'll see!

Well... it's lunch time and I'm hungry.... time to figure out what to fix!!

I'll leave you with the same photo as above but in black and white... I think I want this one on my wall at home. Not a great technical photo... but I really do like it!

We have another fun outing tonight after art class so I should have more photos tomorrow!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

weekend report


what did we do? well, perhaps I will start with what we didn't do.... the craft store did not open for business this weekend (thank goodness). My friend Natalie and her daughter came over for dinner Friday night so they had to clean up all of their merchandise. Then, once out of site, out of mind. Whew!

Saturday was low key. Just a nice little stroll to Blockbuster for our family movie night pick. Jeff and I got to pick this week and we chose The Karate Kid. Alex enjoyed it, Clara fell asleep. Earlier in the day we tried to sort out, as a family, which classes/activities the kids will do in the fall. I think we have it pared down to a manageable schedule... but we'll see once everyone gets their fall schedules out.

Today was church and after lunch Jeff headed to the 'burbs with the kids to swim at a friend's house. I had the afternoon alone... which means I accomplished basically nothing. I did go back over to the used bookstore and acquired new books (Tracy... I'll email you, but I got your book). I love used book stores! But, they're dangerous for me to go into very often. I'm in the process of purging old homeschool books so I have room for the new additions. I should have been purging this afternoon and I should have been working on my new assignment from Memory Makers.... but no, I was on the phone or buying books. :-)

I didn't take a single photo this weekend, but I shoved our point and shoot into Jeff's hand as he headed out the door this afternoon, so here are a few, courtesy of Jeff :-)

We have a big, busy week ahead of us... full of activities, outings and playdates, so hopefully I'll have more photos to share!


Friday, July 25, 2008

I knew it was a bad idea...

... but I let her buy this...
American Girl Craft Sale Kit

... anyway. We went to the used bookstore after their dentist appointments on Wednesday. The bookstore is usually safe because it's nothing but books.... usually. But on occasion, in the children's section, there will be kits. Clara zeroed in on this one. I tried talking her out of it, I really did, but she insisted, even using her own money to buy it... sigh.

They schemed all Wednesday afternoon. They had it all planned out. They were coming up with craft ideas, customer service procedures ("we'll be sure to say 'can we help you' when they come into the store and 'thank you' when they buy something) and some gimmicks to bring in business (Alex was going to do magic tricks). I pushed it out as long as I could because my friend and her daughters were coming over yesterday for a playdate. They had a great time and didn't want their friends to leave BUT as soon as they did the dreaded kit came out.

Last night they were busy with business set-up. They made their business cards (The Alex and Clara Co.). Then they started on the merchandise. Clara decided to write story scrolls and priced them at the bargain price of $3.65 each! Who wouldn't want to pay nearly $4 for a colored piece of paper covered in crayon drawings by a 6 year old?? They'll be lining up down the block!

Here are my little crafting elves, busy in their workshop this morning...
Alex even has his toolbox out...
Oooooohhhh..... a door hanger...
creative chaos...
a goldfish in a bowl and it's "NEW"....
pipe cleaner candy canes...
bead, jewels and naked dolls....
They've been busy crafting away. They've even been making origami Fortune Cookies from Activity TV from On Demand (comcast cable).

Sadly, for me, they've decided that they have plenty of crafts and are ready to open their store. They want to set up on our front little patch of grass and they would like to do it now. I did manage to put them off by telling them that our folding table is in the storage locker and we'd have to wait until Jeff gets home to get it out.

This should be interesting!

Happy Friday!

Monday, July 21, 2008

the kid post

I promised a kid related post earlier in the day... so here it is....

notice anything missing?
Clara finally pulled out her other big front top tooth. It was just dangling there when she got home yesterday.... I almost couldn't look at it. This morning she woke up determined to pull it out and she succeeded.

Nothing else to report.... I'm tired and heading to the couch!


back to normal?

whew! what a crazy fun week last week was!!! I love CHA time... although I'm very sad to hear that it will not be in Chicago again next summer. :-(

I had great fun hanging out with deann for nearly a week. On Wednesday I met her at the "L" stop in Evanston to get her and her big giant suitcase to my house. I had managed to catch the purple line there, but the way home involved three different trains. We did good though. We had a nice lunch and then did something that afternoon but at the moment I have no clue what it was! Oh! Now I remember! We decided to check out one of the scrapbook stores here in the city. We looked up their website, figured out how we were going to get there and hopped on the L. However, when we got there, it wasn't there any longer... it had closed on June 30th. It wasn't mentioned anywhere on their homepage... just a post to their blog.

We decided to walk through the neighborhood around there looking at houses.... and then ended up at Minnies for a snack. What a cute, cute place! I had been by it a million times and heard people talking about it, but I had never been there myself. We ordered ourselves three little sandwiches to share (chicken salad, cucumber dill and melted brie and apricot... yum). We ended up sitting there chatting with the wait staff for over an hour. It was really nice.

Thursday we thought we were going to go out on a little photo safari so we packed up our cameras and headed out. However, it was hot... so after a trip through the conservatory, we parked ourselves on a bench in the zoo by the camels and people-watched our afternoon away. By the way... we never got our cameras out. From there we stopped by Windy City Scrapbooking for a quick chat with the reps from My Minds Eye before heading out to dinner in Rosemont with Beth and Beth. That dinner was just too much fun!

Friday was the first day of the show. It was overwhelming at times but it was great to catch up with people that I only see once or twice a year at CHA. That night we went out to dinner with this crowd.... so much fun!

Saturday Jeff took deann and I out to the convention (which was a nice switch from taking the L there). It was another great day. I got to have a great chat over lunch with Amy Peterman. But not long after lunch deann and I began to run out of steam and spent a nice time chatting and laughing with Pattie and Lynn in one of the snack areas. It was a really, really good time.

Yesterday Jeff headed out to meet his parents to get the kids leaving deann and I here with no real agenda. We had decided not to go back to CHA so we had a late breakfast and then decided to go on my neighborhood's garden walk. It was such a beautiful afternoon and I just love being able to peek at the backyard gardens that, from the street, you have no clue that they exist.

Oh... and we did actually get out our cameras...

loved finding this gnome, hiding in the corner... apparently the gnome belongs to the wife and her husband had her hide the gnome for the garden walk because he's not a big fan of the little guy...
and a photo to prove that deann actually took photos...

not a great photo... but can you believe this waterfall??? gorgeous...

such a fun backyard... not only was there a train but they use cocoa mulch, so the whole garden smells like chocolate...

Not long after we got back, Jeff arrived with the kids so after deann got to meet the kids and hear a bit about their trip to their grandparents' house, we hailed a cab for her and said our good-byes! sniff... sniff... it was such a fun week!

Okay.... I have some kid news but this post is entirely too long already. I'll write a kid only post later!

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

i'm alone...

... all alone... well, except for the dog. We're back from Michigan, after driving there this weekend to leave the kids with Jeff's parents for the week. Our kids are now very happily spending their time as fish at the lake. My goodness they seriously cannot get enough of the water.

We got to Jeff's parents' house Saturday evening and as soon as dinner was over they wanted to go out and swim. Sadly, so did the dog and if you took your eye off of her for a second she would be inching her way down to the stairs so she could go in. However, she's 11 and the water was up higher this year so she could no longer touch... it was more stress than I needed. I was so afraid that she was going to drown!

Here's a few photos of the kids from that night...

You know, we wondered if it was worth it to buy our own masks and snorkels for our Hawaii trip... apparently it was since they used them non-stop while swimming in the lake.

The next day Jeff's brother, his wife, their 3 year old and their brand new baby girl came over for the day.

Have you ever seen an eight-year-old boy MORE in love with a baby???

My goodness.... cousin Brynn is only a month old and already has a stalker! :-)

And then one last photo...
... Clara's back splash dive thing. :-)

I really don't know what to do with time by myself. Today I got a pedicure and went out to lunch. It was nice to just sit and read a book. Then when I got home, another box of homeschool books had been delivered and I can't help but to sit there and read them all.

Well... this has got to be short since I'm meeting my friend, Tracy, for dinner in less than an hour. Sidenote... it highly amuses me to have a friend with the same name. Every time we call each other we get started giggling after saying "Hi Tracy/Tracie, this is Tracie/Tracy". Is that sad?

Okay... I'm off! Tomorrow Deann arrives at my house so the adventure begins!