Sunday, October 31, 2010

Just For the Record

If you include this post in the count, we posted on our blog twenty times this month. I'm pretty impressed with us.

Whirlwind Halloween Week

Once I start something, I like to plow through until I finish. I think that I learned this from my mother.
So here I am starting on my seventh post for today. Almost finished journaling our exciting and busy week. We partied hard on every day except the actual day of Halloween which we spent recovering.

On Monday, a kind friend watched the munchkin so that Benjamin and I could attend a convocation/forum at the college. It was interesting and fun. We learned about sociocognitive embedment in literature. It sounds complicated but it really was just a huge scientific word to describe simple things that authors do while writing and that readers do while reading.  We also got to go the school cafe and bookstore to have some old fashioned sodas and a rich piece of Snickers pie.

Let me introduce our little Bee to everyone. It took some coaxing and a few weeks of practicing, but now she loves her costume and asks to wear it. I purchased it last year at a post Halloween sale. It said 2T but I tried it on her then and it was tight. I still managed to get it on her at least fifteen times this October, but the skirt is really short. Thanks to Aunt Jenny for sending the dressup bee skirt that fit perfectly underneath her 'bee fairy" costume. I loved the wings although I am convinced that I got the wrong set. These have elastics and are sized to go with a much bigger costume, however they worked perfectly here after I adjusted the elastic.

Lately she's really been into dancing. She has me play the demo songs off of our clavinova and she spins in circles until she falls down. She laughs and giggles as she does so. She makes me dance with her and we have a grand old time laughing, dancing, and smiling. In this video not only is she dancing, she is simultaneously giggling and screaming in Nana's ear. I took the video so that Nana could see what Bee was doing while she was on the phone. Hopefully it all makes a little more sense now.

I love how she slows down a little when the song changes to one with a slower tempo. Notice how she slows down and says 'lento' (slow). Also notice how she refuses to share the phone with me and says "My turn." She uses this phrase a lot now a days. Any hints on how to teach sharing are welcome.

Dance Of the Bumblebee
video

The Library

TUESDAY

Today was super busy! Crazy! We had story time, a fun visit from my visiting teachers, and the missionaries, the Anderson's, and a Centre college student for dinner. I made my mom's (grandma's) famous chicken dumpling soup which was a hit. I made seven quarts of the stuff and we ended up with only two servings left over. I also made a double recipe of bread sticks. These were a hit. We didn't have ANY left over.

I had called my mom for the recipe and she gave it to me from memory. I must admit that I did add some extra ingredients which she didn't approve of. I added celery, peas, and carrots. Apparently I wasn't to be trusted with the family recipe. Then I mentioned that I wanted to make some rolls to go with it. She asked why I didn't just make my bread stick recipe. I didn't know that I had one. She reminded me that I had posted about them on my blog once. Really? I didn't even remember that. So funny. My mom had to tell me about what was on my blog. I'm still chuckling about that one.

The library story time was extra special because the children were invited to come in their costumes if they wanted to. The librarian also brought cookies for all of the little ones. We saw lots of fun outfits. Bee's wings tended to get a little in the way, but she loved everything about it.Here she is arranging the pillows. She always rearranges them and moves them around to where she thinks that they should go. Every time.








They have an amazing I Spy display that they change every month. This month the case is full of American Girl doll items. Older children are provided with a list of things to look for in the case. Bee always stops to look and she will recognize and point to a lot of the different objects.
We love having a library so close. It's only two blocks away and we walk there most days. We also love that this is a beautiful library with lots of resources and with dedicated children's librarians.

Party Like You're Two

WEDNESDAY

The church across the street from our house sent us an invitation in the mail to their Fall Festival and we decided to go. We love this church even though we aren't members of it. It is directly across the street from our house and we walk along it's sidewalks often. Bee loves to climb up and down their stairs and we have spent hours balancing as she walks along the brick walls that surround the landscaping. They also have a small playground that they use for the preschool. The play structures and swings here are the perfect size for Bee and she could probably walk there by herself we've been so many times.

They put on a great festival and had lots of fun games. Bee 'earned' lots of candy which she dutifully placed in her bucket. They also provided a burger and hot dog dinner for everyone that attended. Bee's favorite activity was the cakewalk. She loved dancing in a circle trying to step on the Halloween placemats. I think she was a little sad when she finally won a prize and had to stop dancing.
We dressed her in her Care Bear outfit that Grandma made for Dad when he was a baby from last year since it actually fit her this year.



She almost never missed at corn hole because she strategically placed herself close to the holes.

College Kindness

THURSDAY
The sororities and fraternities of Dad's college put on an awesome fall festival. Each group had a table with activities from painting pumpkins, to playing with bean bags, to playing softball or golf, to making crafts with food and lots and lots of frosting. Some tables had face painting while others had crafts and ALL had lots of candy. Bee was semi interested although a little overwhelmed. She liked the candy. She just wanted to eat it, she didn't want to ask for more.

Her favorite part: meeting Frankenstein


and seeing her best friend.

Trick-or-treating

Our town decided that Halloween would be celebrated officially on Saturday this year. We were happy about that and headed down to enjoy the festivities.
Bee went trick-or-treating this year but she wasn't super into it. I felt like I was prodding her along, forcing her to put candy into her basket. After she received her first piece of candy, a sucker, she was done. She just wanted to eat it. However, we were out of the house and with friends, so we persevered. I pushed her along.


Our town had a fun event sponsored by the main street businesses. Lots of people with their children lined up and we followed each other like sheep going from one candy stand to the next. This was an efficient way to get a lot of candy but it was also slow and I felt a little claustrophobic. Bee wasn't too interested and I had to drag her up to the kind people offering candy. I think she was a little stunned by all the people and by the huge variety of Halloween costumes. There were a few monster masks that really scared her.

Then we went to a few houses and met some nice people. It was fun to see that the tradition here is that if you have candy to offer you sit out on your porch and offer it there. Nothing like the leave your porch light on if you want people to knock. It was a friendly atmosphere and we saw lots of fun costumes. The tiny babies in soft furry costumes killed me. Too cute.

I never really got a good picture of her because I was always DRAGGING her up to the houses. She would only whisper a quiet thank you if I really pressed her and never said trick-or-treat loud enough for anyone to hear. I started joking that she was a 'lazy bum' ble bee.


This picture shows perfectly how she was always in motion playing and running. Gotta love that little Bee. Next year I’ll probably lament that all she cares about is the candy. At least this year she was just in it for the fun.

Halloween Week Randomness

We've had such a fun and busy week. We've really enjoyed all the major events, but here I want to highlight the minor ones. Bee is always exploring our home and finding new ways to entertain herself. She makes me laugh everyday with the things she says and the things she plays with. We are so enjoying learning more about her every day as she develops and grows.
The kitchen sink bought mom an hour so that she could make dinner. Bee dumped and poured and soaked herself through. Pure delight.


On this day she found the bag of potatoes. Move aside Mr. Potato head, the real things are just as entertaining. She lined them up, danced with them on her head, and shrilled with delight for over an hour. Also, she asked to be dressed in this “princensa” skirt. She refers to every dress or skirt as a princess outfit.



Here she is stomping around in daddy’s shoes. She likes to practice leaving. She always says goodbye and see ya later. Then she will give a hug and kiss and walk away. Sometimes she tells me that she is going to Centre college ‘para trabajar’ (to work). Sometimes she will go to 'the store' and take her stuffed animals with her.

Last night she asked to sleep in her Ariel bed ‘cama de Ariel.’ I laid her down, gave her the comfort items, turned off the light, closed the door and she slept there the entire night. I’m not quite ready to give up the crib, but it was fun. Tonight she put Elmo to bed in it. She made sure to give him a pillow, a blankie, a blanket, and a pacifier. So cute.
 Dad was working on his computer in her room while she played. She told him not to put the computer on the floor and then she brought a book and put it in between dad and his beloved computer. He quickly put it down and sat with her in the chair for some daddy daughter bonding.

Pumpkin Painting and Carving.

In our week of Halloween festivities we painted pumpkins not once, but three times. Mom was so enamored with the idea and Bee was so excited to paint that we just kept doing it. Once was at home with three little pumpkins that we got for a dollar at the orchard.


The second was at the Fall festival sponsored by the college fraternities and sororities. The third time was when the rest of us were carving. She enjoyed it everytime and only ate a little bit of the paint. I taught her to paint her hand and then tried to teach her to make handprints, which she proceeded to call 'blue's clues.' Too much TV?

Here it looks like she might be eating the paint. She is. She kept forgetting how bad it tasted.
If you look closely you will also see a tiny pumpkin drenched in paint on the plate. This is the pumpkin from the college fair that she repainted here.

Dad nevers allows me to take a casual picture of him. He always looks up just at the right time to smile his smile. So handsome.
The pumpkin artists at work.
The final products. Mom carved the Jack-o-lantern face because Bee talks about jackalantas all the time. Dad carved the Blue's Clues one for her. It's funny how every aspect of our lives is influenced when we have children. Now everything revolves around her and making her happy.

Online discussion of 2010 midterm elections

Tuesday is Election Day! I will be hosting a 45-minute online discussion of the 2010 midterm elections on Centre College’s website at 2:30 PM Eastern time (1:30 Central, 12:30 Mountain, 11:30 Pacific). Feel free to drop in and ask a question via the online chat feature. The link to the website and promotional text is below:

http://www.centre.edu/live/ - tune in Tuesday, 2:30 PM EST.

Predicting the Results of the 2010 Midterm Elections

Tuesday might be a very bad day for Democrats. It is widely expected that they will lose control of the House of Representatives and maybe even the Senate. Are bailouts, healthcare overhauls, and Tea Parties to blame? Or will the results of the election depend on more fundamental factors like the economy and presidential approval ratings? Come join our online discussion as we try to make sense of how things will shake out this election year. Be sure to bring your questions – there will many opportunities for audience input. See you then!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Freezer Paper Tutorial

I've only painted this way once. It was on the shirt that she wore to the orchard. I'm pretty sure it was Carla that asked how it was done. I haven't done it much so I can't really get much credit for the idea and i do not have enough pictures to create a tutorial. Luckily I found a detailed one today on one of my favorite blogs. Hope it helps. It is super easy and fun too, especially for someone who is willing to patiently take the time to cut small patterns of paper with an xacto knife.

Make it and Love It

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Free Family Weekend

We've been wanting some time to ourselves for a long time. Ben had been hoping for a nice week long family vacation, or even better couples only vacation. However, our schedules, our finances, and our lack of babysitters nearby have prevented us from fulfilling this dream. Last month we decided that we would try to do something fun on the 23rd of October. We originally considered visiting Cincinnati, OH or Nashville, TN for a few days but I was concerned about the cost of the trip. I always tend to be the homebody of the group and often dash Benjamin's hopes of getting out and doing things. This time I tried to support him by suggesting an alternate plan. What about camping? I said. So that's what we decided to do. We didn't ever finalize our plans and on Thursday night we still hadn't decided what to do. Ben put me in charge, which usually means that we stay home and relax. This time, however, I surprised him. I researched campgrounds, packed the car myself, and prepared all the food. I picked him up from school around 4p.m. and told him that we were going. He was happy. I also decided that we were going to spend as little money as possible on this trip. That meant no trips to the store, not one. When I realized that we were out of something, we would just have to do without. I prepared tinfoil dinners with chicken and potatoes and I made oatmeal breakfast cookies to eat the next morning. These had mashed banana, oats, grated apple, dried cranberries, and chocolate chips in them. They were tasty.


No s'mores for this trip. We didn't have any marshmallows and I wouldn't allow myself to go to the store. We used our gas rewards card to pay for the gas that it took us to drive there. Our only expense was going to be the firewood. I didn't know where to get firewood so I called up a friend in the ward who is always helpful and she told us we could have some of theirs. Really, wow!

So we did it. We went and thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and we didn't spend any extra money doing it. The campground was so remote that it was free, the windy roads to get there made us all a little car sick. The campground itself had few amenities, there were outhouses and fire pits, but that was about it. I packed in our own water, etc. A bonus was that we were the ONLY campers there. We had the entire place to ourselves.

Bee enjoyed playing in the leaves and walking through the trees. She helped daddy collect leaves to put on the fire. We enjoyed watching the leaves burn so quickly and make the fire immediately hot. This was one of the easiest fires I’ve ever started. The wood and the kindling were so dry that they lit right away. There was very little wind and the fire burned nice and hot. Somehow we managed to avoid any fire injuries as we constantly kept the little one from going close to the fire.


The weather was gorgeous! The trees were beautiful and full of color. The ground was covered with a light dusting of dry leaves and we enjoyed crunching and kicking through them.

Bee had her first real experience with a flashlight. She loves shining it directly into her eye. After it was dark we went on a short flashlight walk and she slowly moved along as she stopped to examine something new every few seconds. It is so fun to look at the world through a child’s eye.

She loved the tent or “house” as she called it. She played and played and played in it. It was hard to get her to sleep in it, although she eventually did and we all slept in until 8 a.m. The morning wasn’t near as cold as I had expected and we enjoyed our warm cookie breakfast after I toasted them over the morning fire.








The roads were windy and we often felt lost in the middle of the woods. We had to stop to ask for directions several times, but luckily we were still headed in the right direction. We saw lots of houses and mobile homes along the route. I can't imagine living that far from a grocery store or a library, but maybe the solitude is worth it. We really did enjoy the trip. We'll definitely go back sometime for a longer trip and maybe we'll try out the 269 mile trail connected to the campsite.
A free weekend trip. I was so proud until.... we woke up this morning to realize that our left front tire is flat. While changing it to the spare Ben noticed that there was a small nail stuck in the tire. I guess we'll have to spring for a repair. This is a picture of the spare. It looks flat to me too.
UPDATE: Good news, the tire repair company repaired the flat for free. They said that it was their welcome gift to us in Danville. Perfect ending to a perfect trip. :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More Fall



We didn't have sand, so we improvised. Bee wasn't too excited about it at first, but mom sucessfully talked her into it.

Here I tried to get a shot of us laying in the pile of leaves.

Dancing in the leaf (and debris) pile.


New trike. This was a find at a local consignment shop and was an early birthday gift from Nana and Poppa.
Thanks much!!!!
 Notice the puppy in the background and the batting from her torn apart pillow all over the backyard. This dog barks ALL the time and is cute, but a huge annoyance.

She is so proud of herself for standing on the bike.