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Thursday, February 4, 2016

January Re-Cap (maybe I'll think of a more clever title later)

Part of Maggie's Christmas gift this year (using funds from Grandmama and Papa and Mommaw and Poppaw) was to go see the circus for the first time! Riley decided he would rather do a LegoFest museum type activity for his "experience" gift, so he and Chris are going to that in February. Plus they got to go together last year and this was the girls' year to check out "The Greatest Show on Earth." Mags and I had a great time. We made it in time for the preshow festivities and got to try on some clown costumes. Then we settled in our seats for an action-packed 2 hour show. Maggie loved the girl who was shot out of the canon and the fireworks that went off. She also got a kick out of the acrobats that were bouncing and "skydiving" from swinging bars. We had an up-close view of the tightwalkers and the 4 person pyramid. I think this is the last year the elephants will be in the circus. In addition to those gentle giants we also go to see 16 tigers, 4 horses, 8 camels, and about 10 different-sized black and white poodles. I think one of Maggie's other highlights was getting to eat a huge bowl of popcorn and sip on a Sprite. It was a lot of fun to get to have this special day with my gal! She may not always remember it, but it'll definitely be a memory I treasure for years to come!

 I got inspired by some great ideas online to create a month-long unit to teach the kids more about the meaning of love and service. Playing off the pun "Secret Service", each week focuses on ways that we can learn more about God's great love for us and then extend it to others by doing different kinds of actions. Things like this make me excited about teaching my kiddos (more so than just reading than a Bible story each day...which while important, I don't think always translates over into everyday activities. Anyway, it's been a good start and I'll post more details next month.

 School was cancelled on Friday, January 22nd due to a snow day. We mostly just got sleet and freezing rain that day mixed with a few flurries. We got a tiny bit more accumulation on Saturday and decided it was enough to try out our new blue sled (that we bought back in October because last year we waited too late and they were all sold out during our great blizzards). :) The kids were a little too heavy to ride in it together and get any speed, but this made for a cute picture!

 I did some Snow Day activities with the munchkins that weekend that included painting snow with watercolors, growing our own snowflake made out of a pipecleaner and some Borax solution left out in the cold overnight, eating snowflake cinnamon sugar tortillas, trying to make glitter slime, drinking "warm" chocolate (it can't be hot or they won't drink it at all),  and working on Riley's 100th Day of School poster project. It was a fabulous weekend. I got caught up on housework, gathered documents for our taxes, worked on the above Secret Service unit, and even got to participate in Charlotte Restaurant Week on a surprise date with my honey. We originally had plans to get a sitter and go to Couples' Bunco downtown, but the event was cancelled. Chris felt like the roads were in decent enough condition that we could venture out safely and since our babysitter lived in the neighborhood, traveling for her was relatively easy as well. We decided to go to Waldhorn German restaurant in Pineville and partake of their 3-course meal offering. Chris got a plate full of 3 different kinds of sausage for his entree, while I went for the sampler platter that gave me some bites of beef, pork, and sausage all prepared in tasty ways. We both had a salad and an adult beverage, but I think we'd both agree that dessert was the best course of all--a type of apple cobbler topped with vanilla icecream. Yummy!

Mix a couple of great kids, some fluffy white stuff, and a 3 day weekend and, it's SNOW wonder we had a blast!!

For the months of January and February, we signed Riley up for the 4 and 5 year olds Basketball Clinic at the YMCA. Each Tuesday from 6 to 7, our tall tyke gets to try his hand at all kinds of drills. He's learning defense strategies and holds, how to dribble with both hands, ways to move around obstacles, and gaining more confidence with shooting baskets. Chris and I take turns taking him (after our first family outing was kind of a bust with Maggie being a little too hard to keep entertained) and the other person gets to spend some time with Maggie. She likes going to playplaces.Chris took her to Chick-fil-A one week and I took her to the mall one another time. We're trying to figure out a gymnastics class that she can sign up for in March and that way each child will have had a special spring activity to try out. We're trying to be careful not to overbook ourselves and are focusing on just one event at a time to make our weekly schedule a little less hectic. So far, it seems to be working out okay. Not sure what will happen in the years to come though!

Check out the "rocketship" that Riley and Maggie created together. I love all the buttons and dials and the cut out foil shapes. One ended up looking like a dragon and another took on a remarkable resemblance to a giraffe. This is the best kind of play!!! Love when these two work together and use their imaginations! It's a total win!

 Speaking of a win, the Winthrop Eagles are having a great season and we've been lucky to have attended 3 of their games recently. It all began when both Riley and Maggie were invited to Blake's basketball party at the Coliseum on December 22nd. Both kids had a great time! As a party favor, Alice gave us free tickets to come back to any game in January. We chose to go to one on January 16th which ended up being a "Frozen" and prince-themed event complete with Elsa and Anna leading a "Let It Go" sing-a-long at halftime and receiving free icecream as we walked in the door. What a special day and to top it off we went over to the Casons' later that evening for some Dixie Pig BBQ and got to have some grown-up time with them and Dennis and Grace while the kids had a sleepover upstairs. Then we went just last weekend (Jan. 30th) for the Back The Pack event where folks donated crackers, snacks, and juice boxes to send home with hungry kiddos. Their was a friendly competition between elementary schools to see who could have the most families in attendance. Richmond Drive won and earned a $1000 to go towards feeding the hungry.

 One of the things I'm really going to miss when I go back to full-time teaching this fall is "Maggie and Mommy Time." After lunch and a few quick household chores, I get the luxury of spending about half an hour with my sweet girl.Sometimes we do learning activities from the purple notebook that Aunt Melissa gave us. Other days we do puzzles, play with toys, color, or paint. And every so often we do our nails! Here's a picture or two from one of those recent moments. She asked for 4 different colors, lots of glitter, and stickers on quite a few accent nails! I was happy to oblige since I know that one day she'll be doing her own nails and won't need Mommy's help any longer.

 And now for the much anticipated funny sayings and antics monthly edition. I believe age 3 is when I really started blogging because this is the stage where Riley was learning and confusing so many language terms and words. And now it's Maggie's time to shine:

  • During the National Championship Clemson game, Maggie kept asking me for the "password." I didn't understand what she meant until she said, "You know, Mom, all those letters. I can't say all those letters you're going too fast." She was referring to the "C-L-E-M-S-O-N T-I-G-E-RRRR-S, Fight Tigers, Fight Tigers, Fight, Fight, Fight" cheer that we did every time Clemson scored a touchdown. 
  • Maggie was trying to persuade Chris to let her do something (I forget what exactly..maybe watch another show, have some more popcorn for snack, go outside and play, etc.). And her winning argument was hilarious. She turned to him and said as serious as she could be, "APPARENTLY you can say 'Yes.'" 
  • We were talking about the possible snow storm that might be coming and Maggie got super excited and added, "Yeah, that's when Frozen Elsa is going to to come and bring ice." And she would pose and show us how Elsa was going to freeze everything outside. I guess it kind of worked (at least for 24 hours). 
  • Chris was explaining how Maggie has to obey him while she is still a child. This doesn't ever sit well with Maggie these days. She doesn't like anybody "bossing" her. So she decided to come up with a solution. "Dad, you'll be 'growed down' into a kid again and then I'll be 'growed up' and you can't boss me."
  • Tonight as we were eating supper, Maggie (who has A LOT of difficulty finishing her supper in a timely fashion) made the remark that she just loved these "Russel scrouts" (Brussel sprouts). We couldn't believe it! She managed to eat 3 of the 4 things off her plate (leaving the meat for last as typically is the case with her).
  • The other day Maggie told me this: "Mom, if I drink up all my milk like this (shows me how she lifts the cup up) then it might get me throwed up or choked up." Where does she get this stuff? And how did she become so skilled at making up excuses for everything she dislikes doing!
  • My little songbird loves to listen to her CDs every spare second we have together in the car. She'll say, "Mom, can I have my song please?" (instead of whatever radio station or song I'm listening to at the moment. We caught her singing the "B-L-B-L-E" song not too long ago (she forgets to say the letter I and that's what makes it so endearing.
Now for a few Riley stories:
  • Chris came downstairs recently and noted that the room kind of smelled. Riley, without missing a beat, quipped back, "Oh yeah, that's me. I tooted." I guess something can be said for honesty, but definitely not manners. 
  • Riley most used phrases are "certainly", "perhaps" and "always". He likes to make wide generalizations, especially when he is upset. For instance, he has difficulty losing at games these days so he'll pout and say "You ALWAYS win. It's not fair." Oh well, he's learning some tough lessons in life that there will "certainly" be times when "perhaps" things don't go his way and he will "always" have to make a choice about how he is going to handle his disappointment.
  • Tonight at supper we said "The Lord's Prayer" together holding hands and Riley was repeating us. He accidentally changed one phrase and prayed, "My kingdom come, my will be done." I guess it's true that he doesn't hear the word thy used in everyday speech and my  is a lot more common! 
  • Both kids had my heart bursting last week. Chris came and got me to listen to a song that the two of them had put together in the bathtub complete with 2 drum sets and an official "1, 2, 3 and a 1, 2, 3!" countdown. Riley was the official lyricist : "God made the earth and He sent his Son to die for us. He made the earth and He made us one at a time. He made the whole thing. God and Jesus. God and Jesus. God and Jesus. We love You. We thank You for all You've done." Isn't that just the best song ever?! I'm pretty sure there were some angels in heaven singing backup!

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