Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekend at the Fair

The weekend of the County Fair echos back so many fun and wonderful memories from my own and Luke's own childhood that we both have wanted our children to have that same experience.
The whole carnival atmosphere and the transformation of a normally empty field into a kaleidoscope of flashing lights and the sounds of squeals and screams from carnival riders always sent a happy thrill through my body.
I loved the story Charlotte's Web and I can remember each fall looking in the animal pens for the spider webs and secretly hoping that I'd see Charlotte dangling from her beautiful web. I also looked for Templeton the rat. I hate mice and rats, but any rat that could be as interesting as Templeton could not be all that bad.

My kids look as much forward to the petting zoo as the rides. Each year these adorable baby animals are led to the children's penned-in area to be the next victims of some small overly-zelous grabbing hands. As an adult, I have visions of a happy little horror house for the poor tiny victims of too tight hugs. A fuzzy little slaughter house comes somewhat sadistically to mind.

The older ones understand that you cannot grab and hug and I'm sure the little chicks appreciate that fact.

Then.....they meet the younger ones who squeal in delight and grab at the the rapidly escaping little fuzz balls. Luke and I had a good laugh when we saw them. Good laugh as in "hehe, the poor little creatures know that the only way to survive is to run and hide from 'happy little hands'."

This year there was something new to interact with...a huge life-sized plastic milking cow that was missing 2 udders. Having experienced the joys of a jumpy goat, our children were delighted to give it a go at a cow that couldn't nip or kick them.

No technique needed here folks. Just grab and squeeze! Grab and Squeeze! She doesn't even try to knock over the bucket!

Good Lookin' was pretty darn proud of himself when he discovered that he could also aim the fake udders at unsuspecting victims that surrounded him.

Last but not least, you gotta have the farm equipment to climb all over. It was a hot and merry weekend folks and we are already early looking forward to next year.
We might even have an animal or two of our own to show!

What are little boys made of?

What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails and puppy dog tails
That's what little boys are made of.

I would also have to add to that poem dirt! Our dear dog has dug a LARGE hole in the yard in the center of our playhouse. I got home this morning after dropping off the older 2 at school and these two little cohorts immediately went for the LARGE pile of dirt that we had discovered after I had lugged the playhouse to the other side of the yard.
No, the picture is not fuzzy or blurry. That's how dirty they got after being in there less than 5 minutes!!

Then Good Lookin' got the idea to turn our slide into a water slide (more like a mud slide after they had gone down). Nater Mater thought that was the best thing since sliced peaches and he pulled himself up the ladder and plopped his pudgy diaper onto the slippery slide. After the first shot down (and I do mean he shot down), momma decided that he needed a little assistance.

Good Lookin' was the "water slide man." I just had to keep my hands on Nater Mater to keep Good Lookin' from knocking him off the side of the slide in his zeal!

Then the snot began to flow and it was rather slimy and swimming in the dirt.
You know, after letting them play for a good hour and then bringing them into the house and scrubbing them off in the bathtub, Nater Mater was still blowing lovely brown snot just before his nap. I also noticed that the inside of his ears still looked somewhat suspiciously darker colored than his very pinkie white skin normally looks. I think another bath will be in order before bedtime tonight.
Happy Playing!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Day of School

Trying to capture a photo with all four is an impossible task. So here you have what I took.

The kittens kept rubbing around their legs so of course Good Lookin' and Nater Mater had to pick them up. (Wash hands later Mater!)

Precious Jewel and Mr. Smiles are both in the same school building this year. Yeah!!! One drop off and one pick up only!!!!!

Precious Jewel is in 2nd Grade and Mr. Smiles is in 1st. Both are in a one-gender only class. It's a trial year and we'll just see how that goes.
I love the first day of school. Sniff! Sniff!

Family Reunion

A couple of weeks ago Luke and the kids and I drove several hours north to see my side of the family for a weekend. Two years ago, the 17 of us cousins decided we wanted to hold a family reunion so that we could all see each other. We all grew up spending just about every holiday together and even though we were all getting married and having our own children were/are still quite close.
Last summer it took place over the 4th of July. That didn't work this summer so we all agreed upon a date at the beginning of August. I must say that coordinating that many people and 3 separate countries is not small task!
My cousin Julie also planned her wedding for that weekend, so that many of us could be involved.

Here is Luke with just a smidgen of us. Is that even a word? Even though many of us hadn't seen each other since last year, we picked up where we'd left off--awwing at new babies and exclaiming how much every one's kids had grown.

Precious Jewel and her cousin Elisha. They are just 3 months apart and like two peas in a pod. Now you all can help me out on this one. Elisha's dad and I are first cousins. Does that make Elisha my second cousin and make her Precious Jewel's third cousin or a cousin once removed. I need some help here.

Next comes Nater Mater and another cousin's daughter Jayme. I may have spelled it wrong but I'll be forgiven. These two were a bundle of trouble together. I think they are only about 6 months apart and they were a quiet but mischievous duo.

Grandpa and Grandma Estelle just sitting back and enjoying all the grand kids.

Funny little story here. Dear little Good Lookin' did not quite understand that my parents had not yet made it up to the States and were not in attendance at the family reunion. He was convinced that my Aunt Sandra was in reality "Grammi" and could not be convinced otherwise. He followed her around like a little shadow and kept saying things like, "I'll help you with that Grammi!" "Let me carry that! I'm strong!" and so on. He is not an affectionate child if he doesn't know you. In fact, I have to keep a close eye on him in a crowd of strangers (which much of my family is to him) because he is liable to spit in some one's face on punch them or declare that they are ugly (no joke).
I am beginning to see that it's his way of getting people to stay away from him because he gets so uptight in a crowd. We are working on politer ways of removing ourselves from uncomfortable situations.
So the fact that he followed my aunt around and bestowed upon her all the affection his little heart could muster was precious. No one minded that he was a tad confused. We gently explained that this was his great aunt and not "Grammi," but after the half dozen or so times we pointed this out we gave up. He'd figure it out soon enough. For the weekend, my aunt had an adopted grandchild.

One thing we all like to do when we get together is talk. Of course, who wouldn't. My aunts, cousins and cousin-in-laws can spend hours talking together. (at least the girls) On several occasions my dear husband walked through the room and stated the rather obvious..."you guys are still here talking!?!" Ummmm yeah, welcome to my family dear. This could go on for hours if little ones weren't involved.

Not only do we like to talk, but we like to play games, laugh and make general fools of ourselves. It's great! The longer we go, the sillier it gets (as you can see). I love it!!!!! There is no agenda. There is just us and being together and catching up on each other's lives.

We also go to spend time with Nathan and Sandy whom we hadn't seen in 3 years. They were fresh back from China and more than a little exhausted. Good Lookin and Gracie are only about a week apart in age and by the last day were following each other around. They are so much alike in personality it's uncanny. I wish we could be closer.

I just had to throw in a picture of my adorable little niece. The last time we saw her she and Good Lookin' were only a year old! She graciously (haha) let me snag a picture of her.

Precious Jewel was so excited to see her cousin Anna. We hadn't seen her since she was Precious Jewel's age. Anna patiently put up with seven year old silliness and gained a loyal follower.
It was a great weekend!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sensory Time

Another blog that I love called Living Creatively had a post about Sensory Bowls.

She had filled some simple plastic bowls with buttons and other small objects and buried them in rice. She gave them to her boys for sensory play and I thought I'd try it with my youngest two. Her youngest are a little bit older than my two youngest1 and I wasn't so sure of the mess it would create, but it was worth it.

We've been stuck at home a lot this summer due to illness and it's been hovering around 100-105 degrees for the last week. It's just too hot to even do our normal outdoor play that's kept them occupied all summer.

The pictures loaded in reverse, so you'll have to scroll to the bottom to see how it all started (calmly). Good Lookin' joined Nater Mater in the play and proceeded to dump the entire bowl on the floor and swish it around after Nater Mater had already been playing quietly (by himself) for half an hour.

Nater Mater was just as fascinated with scooping the rice and buttons back and forth between the bowls. He (even though he is the youngest) made the least mess. Go figure.

It only took me half an hour to vacuum up the grains of rice that they'd traced into and throughout the living room. Next time I think I'll have them play on the front porch.

First Tooth

YES! The FIRST TOOTH has been lost. My little Mr. Smiles has crossed another growing up milestone in the tooth arena.
He has been excitedly wiggling it for a couple of weeks now and Monday night daddy pulled it out for him.
Mr. Smiles insisted on putting it in a plastic baggie with a note inside for the Tooth Fairy. He dictated the note as this:
Dear Tooth Fairy,
Can you please leave me my first tooth and still leave the money? I want to keep it. Thank you!
He went to bed right away because we told him the tooth fairy couldn't come unless he was asleep and if he stayed away, then the tooth fairy might have other appointments to keep for little children who did go to bed.
I don't think he honestly believes in the tooth fairy, but we had just watched the Tooth Fairy movie and he was all excited. He's still my cute little guy.