Thursday, August 28, 2008

good night... sleep tight

Tonight was a good night... well, it was good after dinner was served, the hour leading up to dinner is the Ugly Hour. No peace in our house. No volume control. So many demands, and only one me... anyhow... somehow dinner was made (okay, it was definitely because the TV held the Wild Things in a motionless stupor for 20 minutes).
I made chicken Parmesan and bow tie pasta and salad. Yum. They ate it up. Not the salad.
Then they needed a bath. Oh, how they love bath time! Alli added too much bubble bath and I had to rinse out teary little eyes. Ruby splashed nearly a tubful of water onto the bathroom floor. It got clean, I guess. After the bath I put Ruby on the potty and asked her to pee. She told me she already peed in the bath. Oops.
Pajama selection is always an exciting part of the night. Alli opted for the silky floral set and Ruby picked the velour Elmo gown. No fighting. Woo hoo.
Choosing jammies got Alli into the groove, and she laid out her outfit for tomorrow too. She sets everything on the floor as if it were on a sleeping life-sized paper doll. Everything exactly where it should be. Hat. Shirt. Skirt. Sparkly shoes. Handbag (with cell phone, etch-a-sketch, and stuffed dog).
Stories. Read mine first. No mine! Just one more. PLEEEEASE!
Prayers... always so sweet.
Tonight the girls went down without a fight. Victory for me! The long day is melting away and I am looking forward to tomorrow.

Monday, August 25, 2008

back to school!

Today is Alli's first day of preschool! She was so excited to use her new backpack and wear her school uniform. She dressed up her uniform with a stunning hat and orange socks.
Alli had no hesitations going to school. She barely turned to say goodbye.

Ruby said "I feel sad" as we walked home. But when we got home she changed her mind and said, "I don't feel sad anymore."

Currently, Ruby is happily playing with Alli's toys... without having to share or fight.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

a rare olympic moment

This is my first and probably my only Olympics post. I'll keep it short.

I love watching Olympic competitions. And I love seeing athletes live up to the Olympic motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius. Faster, Higher, Stronger. Records are being is thrilling to witness history in the making.

The track races are especially fun to watch. Years of preparation (plus excellent genetics) yield amazing athletes who lay it all on the track in the few seconds duration of their races. But for all the talent and physical training, have you noticed that many of the winning runners seem to be a bit cocky? Many of the track athletes, after racing for mere seconds, run around the track for minutes, prancing and displaying their self-proclaimed greatness. Okay, maybe more than a bit cocky.

Tonight Melaine Walker of Jamaica ran the 400m hurdles race and won... by a lot... she set a new world record. It was fantastic. Just after Melaine crossed the finish line, she dropped to her knees. At first I thought, oh no, she is going to puke. She bowed her head, ignoring the deafening crowd. But she didn't look sick. She looked peaceful. Then I realized Melaine Walker was kneeling to pray after her victory. She took her time and silently, humbly prayed on her knees... in the middle of a screaming stadium... with hundreds, maybe thousands, of cameras aimed at her... in China. After that, she took a victory lap and tastefully relished her golden moment.

Hooray Melaine! You are truly great.

Drumroll please...

This morning was the ultrasound. THE ultrasound.

Last night I didn't sleep well... like a kid on Christmas Eve. I was very anxious for a peek into my belly. I couldn't wait to find out the gender of this baby. The ultrasound technician checked all the parts and left the gender part for last.

Let me just say we are committed to pink! It is a girl! We are very excited for another little lady to join our family in about 20 more weeks.

*an interesting sidenote (if the word placenta makes you squeamish, stop here)... my placenta is on the anterior (belly) side which is why finding the heartbeat has been such a trick over and over again. I haven't felt as much action as the other pregnancies... which made me worry a bit. The placenta is cushioning the kicks and movements so it is harder for me to feel at this stage. All is well, it is just a different experience having the placenta in front of my tummy.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

the wildlife on our patio

If you were around last year and this spring, you might remember the caterpillars and subsequent butterflies we observed on our little urban-oasis-patio.
We planted parsley again this year. Black swallow-tail butterflies lay their eggs on parsley because the caterpillars LOVE it. (And fresh parsley is so yummy to cook with... a must have in any culinary herb garden.)
Anyhow, while washing some fresh-picked parsley this week, I discovered a tiny yellow egg on the bottom of one leaf (I wish I would have taken a photo of it). I set that leaf aside in a container to see if it would produce a caterpillar. We didn't have to wait long. A tiny caterpillar emerged from the egg and it is devouring parsley and growing as quickly as it can. Here it is, one day old, note the penny just below:Stay tuned.

Also, check out my other blog to see the creative project of the weekend.

thunder in the skies!

Every year for the past 50, Chicago has held an air & water show on the lakefront. The main stage of the event is located directly east of us, less than a mile away. So every year at this time we get to have the Blue Angels zooming overhead, setting off all the car alarms on the street. The thundering of jets has sent Ruby scurrying for my leg to grab onto several times this week.

Despite the anxiety of my kids, I love the air & water show weekend. I love feeling the jets speed by... and thinking about how much fuel they are burning. The brave/crazy/talented pilots have made my jaw drop a few times. They do some amazing maneuvers just over our rooftop.

I am glad it is only once a year, otherwise it wouldn't be such a treat.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

It must have been a full moon...

It wasn't like Alli at all.
We were leaving the park yesterday, against her wishes. A little whining is not uncommon, but yesterday Alli was having something more like a tantrum. She was sassy and stubborn and immovable. In frustration, she turned her back to me and pulled her pants and undies down revealing her little bare bottom! She paused a moment and then casually pulled her pants up and turned back to me with a little smirk... like, "Ha! Take that!"
Oooooooooo girl!
Part of me thought it was funny. Her little four-year-old butt is pretty cute. If only it had been someone else's kid it would have been hilarious. And she probably didn't really know fully what she was doing or what it meant. On the other hand, that was super-naughty and I thought about spanking that bottom (I didn't)!
There were consequences. I don't think she will do it again... when I am around.

But where did THAT come from?!!!?!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Learning from the Master

This kid amazes me... and cracks me up. Last night Alli gave the lesson in Family Home Evening. She prepared the lesson by herself, complete with visual aides, an object lesson, and some fantastic analogies. She chose relevant songs to go with her lesson. Andy and I kept looking at each other with expressions of "Did you help her with this?!" Alli was an impressive teacher.

A special thanks to all the people who have inspired and taught Alli over the years (4.5 years)... I know it isn't all us.

PS- Andy captured this picture of Alli... and I love it... haircut and all.

More Cousins!

My brother Will and his family took a car-less vacation to visit us in Chicago last week. They took the train from Toledo, and in Chicago we relied on public transportation (always more interesting and memorable). We filled every day of their visit with the best Chicago has to offer! We were all wiped out every night. Unfortunately, I didn't get very many pictures, but here is a shot of Elydia and Alli playing in the water at the zoo.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cousins Camp

Last week was Cousins Camp in Ohio with all the Mars cousins. All 20+ (I lost count) of them. Whew.
Some of the highlights: a hayride on a farm, swimming, ceramic crafts, rocket building and launching, a trip to the zoo, light sabers from Grandpa, a service project for Great Grandma, tractor rides, mosquito bites, archery and skeet shooting (for the older kids), rides in Dan's Jeep (the official fun car of Cousins Camp), frogs, Dutch oven cooking, camping out, farm animals, cold showers, playing with cousins...