September 30, 2013

Where Have We Been?

I didn't anticipate how busy we would be when fall hit.  Between all of the ministries for the church starting up (including some new ones) and the kids starting school we have been slammed.  There is no such thing as "free" time, and I have been so exhausted that any of the nights we don't have something going on, I'm guaranteed to fall asleep on the couch (sometimes in the middle of working on something) before 9:30 pm...

Even worse, I have forgotten to take my camera with me on all adventures - those of the special and everyday variety.  Thanks to my phone, I have a little to show you from these weeks away.

Twice a week, the twins have preschool in the morning and Lucas has class in the afternoon.  Since both are in the same town half an hour away, we decided to try to save on gas and all go for the entire day.  Lucas sets up in the library in the morning and the kids and I find something to fill our afternoon.  Since it has been nice, we have spent a lot of our time at local parks.
They LOVE these "rocket" towers with slides.
But climbing to the top level is a bit scary and they tend to freeze halfway.
 "We made it to the top!"
 Being Silly
 We are joined by a friend on Thursdays, and he has quickly become the brother the twins never had.
This rocket is even taller (at least 2 1/2 stories high), and I totally climbed to the top to check all of those bars and make sure they were safe.  I snapped this picture on the way back down.  
There is also a bike trail so we have taken our bikes and gone for a ride together.
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The County Fair also came to town and we spent 3 days hanging out, riding rides, eating fair treats, and visiting the animals.
They can ride the rides all alone this year!

My phone wasn't fast enough to get decent pictures, so I switched to video.
Their favorite was the roller coaster.  They are in the front car.
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This year there was a giant obstacle course where they climbed and walked across rope bridges and finally slid down a huge tunnels slide.  It was their favorite.  They went through at least 12 times!
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Maybe sometime I will remember my camera and get better pictures...or at least find the time to post more often...

September 12, 2013

Carnival

Once again, our church had their annual carnival.  This year was probably the first year that the twins really remembered things from the year before, so they could hardly stand the anticipation and excitedly scheduled out the things they were most excited to try.
She was surprisingly good at Ladder Ball
 Sadly, I got very few pictures.  It rained during the first part of the carnival (I know, we just have the worst luck with the weather...) and I put my camera away to protect it...and then forgot to get it out until much later.
He didn't make a single shot, but he was determined not to use the "baby" basketball hoop!
Nana & Poppy and the cousins came down and joined us.  But I didn't get a single picture of anyone except for this one with Allie & H.  They loved the face/arm painting tent if you can't tell.
You don't even know how many pictures I have to take before she stops making that face and smiles.  For some reason, this is her new "picture" face...
Their favorite thing this year was something that has been there every year, but that I always thought they were too young to try - the fire truck simulator.  Realistically, they were probably still a little young this year, but they loved it.  It is a setup very similar to the one when they are trying to teach Sheldon to drive, but it is also on a platform that rumbles and moves based on the driving simulation.  It feels very real.  Ryan loved it and actually did a pretty good job.  Allie managed to send the firetruck airborn and then roll it her first time out and thought it was so hilarious that she sought to do the same every time she was behind the wheel.  I'm not sure I will ever trust her behind the wheel now...
Ryan and his friend from preschool operating the fire truck together...because they are small someone had to operate the pedals while the other drove!
 The absolute favorite new thing - hands down - was the "dunk tank."  Honestly, there was no dunking involved, but I don't know what else to call it.  But (as you can see in the pictures) when you hit the target with the ball, a pole with a giant needle would swing and hit the (gigantic) water balloon and break it all over the volunteer beneath.  The twins heard about it and talked for days about getting daddy.  They were first in line, and the volunteer running it kindly let them throw until they succeeded.  Sadly, I didn't get any pictures of the water actually exploding all over daddy, but it was as awesome as they imagined!

Such a fun day!  We can't wait until next year :)

September 09, 2013

First Day of School

It finally happened...the first day of school!

 Due to the Inspection process (the preschool built a new building at a new location that was finished JUST in time for the start of the school year...the Inspector wasn't as on board with the start date as everyone else, however), their first day ended up being 3 days later than it was supposed to be originally.
Trying to get Allie to smile nicely
Because of the drawn out build up, they were exceptionally excited.  Beyond excited.  There was so much pent up excitement in their little bodies that they could barely sit still.
A nice picture.
 The night before we had a special "Night Before School" dinner at the restaurant of their choice.  Then we cam home for ice cream out of special dishes.  They picked their outfits from underwear to accessories.  They packed their backpacks and set them near the door.  And Lucas made them special pancakes.  Basically, we treated it like a holiday and celebrated this new phase!
Ry-guy's first picture.
 Somehow we ended up being ready and on the road early.  Way early.  So we decided to drive around a little to kill the time.  The kids were going crazy in the backseat.  "We have to get there!"  "We don't want to be late!"  "You need to take us there right now!"  Lucas and I joked that they sound just like us.  Finally, it was drop-off time so we parked in the lot and walked in.
All his pictures were so similar.
 I wanted to get a picture of them in front of the school, but they wouldn't stop.  They walked in the door, shook hands with their teacher, and headed into their classroom without a pause.  Their teacher asked if they wanted to say goodbye to their mom, and all I got was a quick "Goodbye!" with a backward wave as they hurried to find their coat hooks.
It took a while to work down the cheese-factor in their pictures together...
 It was only an orientation day (just a little over an hour long), so Lucas and I took the time to go out to breakfast.  When we picked them up, they skipped out to us excited to tell us about their day.  They wanted to go back the next day, every day, and be there always.  Sadly, the next day was Saturday and they only will go 3 half-days.  But it was good to know they were so excited! 
So excited.  So sweet.
  Some of our favorite quotes of the day:

Allie: And (the teacher) built a big pink tower and then SHE BROKE THE RULES!
Me: What rule did she break?
Allie: Mommy, I don't know.  I've never been in school before, so I don't know all the rules.

Lucas: Did you make any new friends?
Ryan:  Yes!  There was another boy and we played together and he is my friend!
Lucas: Great!  What was his name?
Ryan: I don't know.
With their backpacks.  Always best friends.
Everyone keeps asking me how I'm doing.  Honestly, I'm fine.  It is a bit strange considering how sentimental I get about EVERYTHING.  But I knew how much fun they were going to have and how amazing their teachers are and how many great things they are going to learn.  And they have been SO excited.  There just wasn't any room for sadness.  But I will probably shed some sentimental tears at some point...that's just how I am...

September 03, 2013

The Mama & the Slippers: A Story of Love & Temporary Insanity

Once Upon A Time...there was a Mama who had a sweet Little Girl...
 ...and a sweet Little Boy.
It was just about time for them to start preschool and The Mama was trying to get everything ready for them.  One thing they needed was slippers.  Thinking it would be easy to get some slippers, they set out on their quest.  They searched high and low.  They searched in stores and online.  But every slipper was too small, or too big, or too furry, or not comfy looking, or "if I wear them all the kids will laugh."  Finally, the Little Boy announced that what he really wanted was dinosaur slippers, but not just any dinosaur slippers.  After searching high and low, the only dinosaur slippers he wanted were the ones Made by Rae (which were technically dragons, but he thought they were stegosaurus slippers, and that was okay).  
The Mama said, "But you can't buy those.  I would have to make them."  
The Little Boy said, "Okay."  
The Little Girl said, "Can mine be purple and pink?"

And even though the Mama knew this would be a bigger project than she wanted to undertake, when her children looked at her with their sweet smiles and their loving blue eyes convinced that she was the only person in the world who could make exactly what they wanted, temporary insanity took over and she said,
"Okay."

They set out on another quest to the fabric store to pick out the perfect colors of fabric and trim for their dinosaurs.  While they were looking, the Little Girl spotted a lovely owl flannel.
 She picked it up and held it to her heart and said, "Oh, Mama, I love this so, So, SO much!  Couldn't you please make me ballet slippers out of THIS?"

And even though the Mama knew that she didn't even have a tutorial of how to make a pattern for owl ballet slippers (which would make the project much more difficult), when the Little Girl looked at her with pleading eyes convinced her Mama could make her dreams come true, temporary insanity took over and she said, 
"Okay."

The Mama got home,and did some research, and made her patterns based on Rae's expert advice (yes, Rae's instructions informed the ballet slippers), and then she started to trace and cut and piece together and sew.  Then the sewing machine broke and after fixing it a couple times only to have it break again, she pulled out her backup sewing machine to give it a go.  Even though she had never used it before and it was a completely different machine than she was used to and she was having to read the manual as she went, temporary insanity took over and she said, 
"I will finish these slippers."  

And then the slippers took much longer than she planned and even though she was trying her hardest to get them finished before the Open House, time was escaping her.  As she watched the clock and it drew closer and closer to the time she needed to leave...and then the time she needed to be there, and she knew that she was going to be flustered and late temporary insanity took over and she said, 
"I WILL finish these slippers."

After her husband dragged her away to the Open House, and she apologized profusely for not having any slippers for her children, she returned home re-energized and ready to tackle the slippers.  Before long she had one dinosaur finished, but when she tried it on her Little Boy she discovered that the way she made it wouldn't work and it was too big and it would fall off.  And even though she knew she had still had time to throw in the towel and buy some Lightning McQueen and Princess slippers off Amazon, temporary insanity had taken full hold and she said, 
"I WILL FINISH these slippers!"

Then she started on the Little Girl's slipper and made many mistakes and had to pull out many seams.  And the whole time she knew no matter what she did she might not have slippers at the end because she was making the whole slipper pattern up as she went along (and she really had no clue what she was doing), and she probably needed sleep to make everything work, temporary insanity had completely taken over.  So she stayed up late into the night furiously sewing and screaming,
"I WILL FINISH THESE SLIPPERS!!!"

Finally, the next day - after spending some time away from the project - she sat down and added the final touches that brought it all together.  And as the completion of the project pushed the temporary insanity farther and farther away, she sat down and triumphantly sighed,
"I finished the slippers!"
The Little Boy's stegosaurus slippers.

The Little Girl's Owl Ballet Slippers.

  The Little Boy and Little Girl were especially happy because they had picked every single thing on their slippers - from the fabric, to the style, to the buttons that made eyes or just pretty decorations.
 And they put their slippers on and tried a little dancing...
 ...and provided the soundtrack to a stegosaurus slipper conversation...
 ...and stood around just looking cool...
...and they were SO happy.
And despite the crazy amount of effort...and the problems...and the temporary insanity, when it was all done, The Mama felt like it had been worth it all.  Because sometimes a big part of making your kid's dreams and wishes come true is showing them how much they are really, truly loved.  However, just in case the Little Boy and Little Girl didn't realize how much the effort and insanity proved their Mama's love, The Mama added a small, special touch that would be with them to remind them of her love whenever they wore the slippers.

And just like the stegosaurus slippers, The Mama, the Little Girl, and the Little Boy looked ahead at the year of preschool and knew that no matter what craziness the year might hold they would live
Happily Ever After
because they were loved.
The End