Tuesday, September 30, 2008

show and tell

Alli drew this picture yesterday and had Andy help her scan it this morning to display on the blog.  I came downstairs to, "Mom!  My picture is all ready for the blog!"  It won't be long until Alli has her own blog... probably much more interesting than mine.
Anyhow, this is an illustration of Ruby and Alli playing soccer with Alli's coach Dan in the middle (with a whistle).  I love Ruby's curly hair and tongue sticking out... very lifelike. 
Alli said, "The thing that looks like a rock is really a soccer ball."

This is the B side of the drawing.  This is Elijah's mom Bettina with a very cool outfit and swanky earrings.
I love the details Alli is including in her drawings now: teeth, fingers, patterns on clothes, nostrils, etc.  Alli loves to write by sounding out words (or asking for the spelling for long words.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

potty mouth

We have been working on potty training with Ruby a little bit.  Today as she sat on the potty, she farted.  Then, very thoughtfully, she said, "It sounded like wind in the potty."


Ruby's success rate in the potty has been about 50% today... though she did poop in the potty (bonus points!).  She was very pleased with herself and talked about her poop quite a lot.  "Look!  It's a brown poop!"  Very exciting stuff here this rainy day.

Ruby's reward for potty success is chocolate... and she likes... very much.

I would sleep on a chocolate pillow too, if only it didn't melt.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Highlights from the Block Party

Last Saturday was the party on our block.  The street was barricaded from traffic, the giant grill was set up, the fire department came to show off their shiny red truck, there was a bike parade, face painting, a scavenger hunt, pinata...
food, neighbors, perfect weather... all in all a wonderful afternoon!
The party kicked off with the visit from our local fire department.  In her excitement before the party, Alli drew a picture for the firemen.  She presented it to them with a shy smile while clinging to my leg.  The kids got to check out the truck and the firefighters opened up the hydrant so the kids could play in the water to cool off.  Kids were running and biking through the spray and splashing in the ample puddles. 
And just when you think you can't top that...
The kids decorated their bikes and had a bike parade down our block!  Dozens of delighted children zoomed up and down the street with streamers waving.
I painted faces.  A scavenger hunt was organized.  There was chalk to draw on the street.  A pinata was bashed... that is what prompted Ruby's tears.  She didn't understand why the kids were hitting the pretty rainbow thing and she was very upset.  She got over it when the candy fell out.
The food was great... of course nothing beats grilled hamburgers and hot dogs on a summery day!  There was a beautiful spread of pot luck dishes and a giant flag cake made of fresh, ripe berries.  It was all so festive and fun and delicious!
The kids wrapped the evening up with sparklers.  Alli and Ruby were fascinated with the tiny fireworks at their fingertips.  When the sparklers ran out, Alli and Elijah serenaded the block with their rendition of "Leaving on a Jet Plane" (which mostly consisted of the chorus).
This was one of the most fun Chicago afternoons we have ever had.  There is no fun like the good-old-fashioned kind... especially on a warm autumn day!

I am a soccer mom

Our Saturday mornings just got a little more exciting!  Alli is on a soccer team! 

The games are pretty fun... hilarious too.  Lots of cheering and giggling at the cute kids running in all directions.

Alli's best friend is on the team.  So most of the game is spent like this...

And this is what we do while we watch...

Of course, there was that one time when the whistles on the next field over distracted me, and I turned around only to discover Ruby standing in the middle of another soccer game.  Um, I thought Andy was watching her.

This isn't a great picture, but a good shot of the belly.

This picture came out pretty glamorous.   Mind you, this is early Saturday morning, no makeup, damp hair.  The only explanation...

HUGE SUNGLASSES!  And a talented photographer... thanks Andy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

project: BATHROOM

The bathroom is pretty much done.  We started the project at the beginning of April... so it is about time, eh?

I love it!  We have so much more storage... and style!  There are hooks for towels!  And a real orchid!  By the way, the orchid is not plugged in, there is a shaver hiding behind it that is plugged in.  I love clean white towels!  I love a clutter-free counter!  The stool used to be purple, but I decoupaged some beautiful aqua and gold shimmery paper to the stool (it is hard to see in the picture).  The stool cover is removable and washable (woo hoo!).

We need to finish the shower.  And hang some more artwork. 

The dust is still settling... and we are envisioning the next project already.  Yikes.

Just for reference, here is the bathroom when we bought the house.  Original 1970's everything!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Melissa wins!

Melissa is the big winner of the Nie Nie auction hair bow set! Congratulations Missy and thanks for donating to a good cause!!!

Please keep the Nielsens in your prayers!

PS- My girls loved the peacock bow so much I had to make a copy for them... and Alli wore it to school today.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

this exciting week

Do I really need to tell you the story on this one?

Actually, it didn't happen like you are probably imagining it.  The girls rode their bikes to the park.  They had a great time.

When we got home Ruby walked along the top of the planter retaining wall, as is her tradition, to our door.  Here is the wall...

I was: 1) opening the door with my foot, 2) trying to get a bike into our house with my left hand, 3) scooping Ruby off of the wall with my right hand.  I set Ruby down on the sidewalk, but I didn't realize she didn't quite have her balance, and I let go.  She fell forward into the wall.
Then there was the unmistakable cry of pain... bad mom.
Blood was dripping within three seconds.  I rushed Ruby into the house, fumbling around for tissues to sop up the blood.  And fumbling for the phone to call Andy.  No answer.  Work number.  No answer.  Call, call, call... no answer.  Ruby calmed down quickly, and the bleeding slowed down quickly, but the cut was obviously deep and open.  The Children's hospital ER is only one block away... faster to walk than drive.  I got the stroller ready.  Andy walked in the door.  Woo hoo!
We were supposed to meet some friends at Oz Park in just a few minutes.  One of the friends who would be there is a doctor, even better a dermatologist who stitches lots of faces.  We decided that since Ruby was happy and not bleeding (much) we would go to the park and get the opinion of our doctor friend... and eat dinner.
Doctor said she could use a few stitches, and he offered to stitch her up at his house... after playing at the park.
We had a great time at the park.  Dinner was good.  Alli took a few pictures of our friends.

It got dark.  Kids got tired. (Andy took some pictures too... it almost looks like there is a reflection pool at Oz Park, but no, it is just a shiny utility box he set the camera on for a long exposure... brilliant.)

We got the girls ready for bed and packed them up in the car for a trip downtown.  The whole stitching process only took 15 minutes (we didn't even have to pay for parking!).  Alli watched Sleeping Beauty.  Ruby was brave.  She cried for the numbing shot and she cried for the stitches, but we didn't have to hold her down.  She got a bag of fruit snacks when it was over.  And she was asleep before we got home.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Nie Nie auction!

The internet is a funny thing. Better than reality TV, we can observe the lives of others via blogs and comment on it. We bond with friends and friends-of-friends, and friendly "lurkers" who de-lurk now and then.

I have a list of blog-friends that I read-up on regularly. Some I have never met.

One of the blogs I have been reading for a while is C-jane. She has a sister Nie Nie, who keeps a blog as well. I have been reading that one for a while too. Both women are inspiring mothers, sisters, friends, wives... I just love them.

Nie Nie was recently involved in an airplane crash. She and her husband were badly burned, the flight instructor onboard died.

Nie Nie, her real name is Stephanie Nielsen, and her husband Christian have four young children (age 6 and under). Stephanie and Christian are in an Arizona hospital burn unit, where they are in for a long recovery. Their children are being cared for by family in Utah.

Ever since the accident, I haven't been able to get them out of my thoughts. Every day I check for updates. I have never met Stephanie and Christian, but I feel like they are good friends.

The family of Stephanie and Christian is remarkable. They have shown so much hope and faith through this ordeal. Their words and actions are inspiring.

The blogging community is pretty amazing. There is a network of good people who read these blogs. They have reached out to the family in a massive effort to raise money to help pay for medical bills, the family's expenses, etc. The New York Times had an article about it. They will be on the Today Show tomorrow (Tuesday).

Hundreds of people have auctioned items (many homemade goodies) to benefit our beloved Nie Nie. I am a bit slow, but I want to help too. I am auctioning a set of five funky, handmade hairbows. They are made of felt, flowers, buttons, ribbon, fabric, gems, feathers, beads... all the stuff that girls are made of. They have felt-covered metal clips (to grip fine baby hair). They are sure to dazzle any little girl. Very fancy and fun. If you don't have a girl... this makes a great gift.

100% of the proceeds will go to the Nielsen Family Recovery Fund. To bid, leave a comment with your email address. Bid in increments of at least $1. This auction will close Sunday, September 14th at midnight. I will notify the winner who will pay the amount to the paypal account for the recovery fund and forward the receipt email to me... and then I will ship the prize. It will come all wrapped up cutesy-style. You will be delighted... possibly even tickled pink.

If you aren't interested in bidding, that's okay, but please pray for the Nielsen family!

Do I hear $1?

rain, hot chocolate, cookies and pigtails

The rain started after lunch today, and continued while Ruby and I picked up Alli from school. We all arrived back home cold and wet (despite umbrellas and rain jackets)... I guess puddle-stomping isn't conducive to dryness. Anyhow, I whipped up some hot chocolate with marshmallows and served it with chocolate chip cookies to warm us up... in our fancy tea-party dishes! The chocolate mustaches made me giggle. So did Ruby's curly pigtails.

PS- This is the recipe we made Sunday night to take to some friends in the neighborhood. It is our favorite classic cookie recipe.

I am officially a soccer mom

Alli started soccer last Saturday. She is on a team with her friend Elijah. The league started right off with a game... no practice. It was fun watching twenty kids who had little or no clue what to do chase the ball around. Alli spent most of the game watching the kids and the ball go back and forth. She wasn't quite sure what to do. One boy managed to dribble the ball close to the goal and then he ran a complete circle around the ball before deciding on a spot to kick from. So cute.

Towards the end of the game she noticed that Ruby was eating a snack on the sideline. Alli asked me for a snack too, and I told her she could have one after the game (she was on the field). She burst into tears. Coach called her over to the sidelines where Elijah gave her a big hug. Poor thing.

Andy had a great time being Soccer Dad. He cheered for all the kids and coached from the sideline.

Yes, Alli wore pink sparkly shoes.

Friday, September 5, 2008

it's the little things... that are so hard to pick up

Up until now, I thought "terrible twos" was a gross exaggeration. Alli was great as a two-year-old (except that week-long run-away-from-mom phase). And then there was Ruby.

The sewing kit got reorganized this week. She removed every needle from its package and... eh, I don't want to think about it anymore. It was ugly. Alli's hair was painted blue with one foul swoop of Ruby's brush. We have twice-folded laundry (not as savory as twice-baked potatoes). Alli has a bite-shaped bruise on her arm. Also reorganized: a container of googly eyes, a bag of pom-poms, my box o' ribbons, a box of nails and screws, about 200 sheets of paper (actually, I haven't gotten to that mess yet).
I walked into the kitchen and discovered Ruby doing this:

She said, "Look Mom! I make footprints!" Indeed. Footprints on the mirror is a fresh new look in our home.
Later I heard Ruby say, "I'm touching the ceiling!" I ran into the living room only to discover Ruby had climbed up the banister to the ceiling. Alli was standing below with arms outstretched saying, "Jump down Ruby! I'll catch you!"

I snapped this picture as she was coming down (thankfully not jumping into Alli's arms).
It's a good thing she is cute.

Most of the time Ruby is sweet as pie... and I love this little bug to pieces. It's just that she has the personality of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde right now... so wonderful one minute and then insanely spreading little things all over the floor... and laughing. The terrible twos will end... right??? (Oh yeah, then they get big and want to drive and stuff.)
It has been a bit of a rough week of picking up lots of tiny little things... so here are a few things that made me smile.

Hooray for PBS Kids! Alli and Ruby didn't even notice the flash go off when I took the picture. I love quiet time. We made a batch of homemade muffins... with zucchini, yellow squash and carrots. Yum. My washer and dryer always make me smile (ignore the unfolded clean clothes). I love the little song they play when a load of laundry is done. Music to my ears. I finished six little paintings for the bathroom... and hung them up. Mmm. White peaches are beyond delicious.