Saturday, June 30, 2012

Flick Park Pool

The public pool in Glenview has toddler hours in the summer, where the shallow pool is open in the morning for a small fee to kids ages 6 and under.  I really wish there was a pool in Madison that had hours like that.  The girls and I went on Wednesday morning, and had a wonderful time!  Amelia's favorite thing at the pool was the frog slide.  Megan was afraid of it the first time, and wanted to climb back down the stairs, but I gave her a push and she ended up enjoying it so much that she did it again and again.

When I asked Megan what her favorite thing was, she said "fishy" which meant when she was walking on her hands in the water with her body floating behind her, which my girls call "swimming like a fishy".

Megan especially likes when she can follow Amelia around the pool like this, and when Amelia plays with her by bumping into her and laughing.

Megan occasionally got into water that was a little too deep for her, and got water in her mouth, but she'd come up coughing for a few minutes, then go back and do it again.  She is definitely braver in the water than Amelia.  But, Amelia has become a lot more brave in the water since she started swimming lessons this summer.  At this pool, she blew bubbles, got at least part of her head in the water, and practiced laying down in the pool (all things she had been afraid to do earlier in the summer).

They also enjoyed playing in the fountains and splashing on the side of the pool:

Amelia just told me that her real favorite thing at the pool was when she got to wear a life jacket and practice swimming.  I am so glad that she liked this!  The pool had preschool sized life jackets, and when she had one on, she could float on her tummy, kick with her legs, and paddle with her arms, just like she was really swimming.  Keep in  mind, the water was only 1' 6" deep, so if she kicked too hard, her feet would hit the bottom of the pool.  But I'm so proud of her for even trying this, given how afraid she can be of the water.

The girls LOVE their new Tinkerbell swim suits that I found at a garage sale for $0.50 a piece.  We had been playing in the water so frequently, that I thought they each could use another swim suit.  When I found these, I knew they would be perfect.  The girls are going through a Tinkerbell and fairy stage right now, and Megan even says "BELL".

Friday, June 29, 2012

Picking Berries in Glenview

One of the highlights of our trip to Grandma and Grandpa's house was getting to pick raspberries and blueberries.  The weather this summer has been so strange that both crops were ready to pick at the same time, which was perfect for my girls.  When Grandpa asked if anyone was ready to help pick blueberries, Amelia immediately went to put on her farmer clothes and her farmer hat.  Then she grabbed her own plastic bowl, ducked under the low hanging blueberry branches, and started picking blueberries in the back corner of the patch.  This time she told me she was going to pick some blueberries for her bowl, not just eat them all, but she did eat a fair few!  It was nice to have somebody small to get back in the corner, and while she needed a few reminders to pick all the ripe berries that she could find, she did a great job.

I forgot to pack farmer clothes for Megan, but when we said we were going to pick berries, she chimed in with "TOO, TOO!" which is her way of saying "Me, too!" so she got her very own bowl to pick into.  Grandma helped Megan pick some berries, too, but no berries ended up in Megan's bowl!

I wanted to get a picture of everybody smiling with their blueberry harvest, but instead, I ended up with a photo of my girls eating even more blueberries!

Then we moved on to picking raspberries.  Both girls were pretty good at picking only the ripe berries.

Of course, they had to take turns feeding raspberries to Grandpa:

And Megan couldn't resist eating a few more berries out of my bowl:

We got to pick blueberries and raspberries on Sunday evening, Tuesday morning before Grandma's surgery, and again on Thursday morning, and my girls loved it each time.  We brought a few blueberries home with us, but they didn't last long - we ate them all up for breakfast this morning.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Learning to Ride a Bike

Amelia tried out her new bicycle for the first time on Father's Day.  The bike has built in training wheels, of course, but I was still surprised when she hopped on and started pedaling away all by herself.  Her legs got tired of pedaling pretty quickly - it must be harder to pedal a bike than a tricycle - so Ben had to give her a few pushes to get started again.  And I think the bike might be a little bit big for her, even though Ben lowered the seat as far as it would go.  But she's been eating like a horse lately, so I expect she's going through a growth spurt, and it won't be long before the bike is just the right size.

She rode up and down the sidewalk once, and then decided to get back on her scooter.  I think the scooter is always going to be more popular than the bike.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dairy Month Celebration at Sassy Cow

Did you know that June is National Dairy Month?  Sassy Cow Creamery in Columbus hosted a Dairy Month Celebration yesterday, complete with bratwurst, cheese curds, ice cream and cows.  I love Wisconsin!

They had a very small calf that kids could pet, but neither one of my girls wanted anything to do with it.  The calf was laying on the ground looking very sleepy, and I thought Megan at least would be interested in petting it, but she screamed to get away and then said she was scared.  However, the girls loved feeding the baby goat!  We pulled up some dandelion leaves, which the baby goat loved, and Megan just laughed and laughed and laughed.

We ate bratwurst, cheese curds and ice cream, which were all delicious.  They fried the cheese curds in front of us, and boy howdy, fresh fried cheese curds are fantastic.  Ben and I shared a cherry chocolate and a dark chocolate orange ice cream (the orange was especially yummy!) and the girls shared a raspberry lemonade ice cream.

Ben and Amelia played bean bags, isn't the cheese shaped board cute?  Amelia and Megan really like playing beanbags.

Then we took a tour of the creamery, which was so small and cute.  They have a tiny little ice cream freezer that can make 25 quarts of ice cream at a time, and each batch takes about 20 minutes to make.  They primarily pasteurize, separate and fill plain milk, but they also make chocolate milk and string cheese.  Here's their 3400 lb cheese vat: 

Next we waited in line to take a school bus to the farm to see the cows.  We were lucky that they had just started milking when we were there, so we got to peek in at the milking parlor in operation.  There were a lot of cows waiting in the barn to be milked; Amelia liked the black and white cows the best, but this brown cow kept staring at us:

Amelia thought the number on her ear tag indicated how old she is.  :)  When the cows approached the fence, the girls got pretty freaked out.  We explained that cows are friendly, but that didn't help when they saw how big the cows are in person.  Megan didn't even want to look at the cows when she got scared:

These cows approached the fence while we were waiting for the bus back, and Amelia was having fun imitating them.  The cow in front kept shaking her head to scare flies away, and Amelia would shake her head, too:

The girls also got to climb up in a giant tractor.  It was really high off the ground, and they had a great time pretending to drive:

Saturday, June 23, 2012

What Not to Wear - Preschool Edition

I thought Becky's post was so funny that I completely copied it.  I could probably post a hundred pictures of Amelia in clashing outfits, but this one from today really makes me smile.

She is wearing black dressy shoes, white tights with bright pink, green, and blue snowflakes on them, a brown dress with polka dots in various shades of pink, a sea foam green ballet outfit, pink fairy wings, and a red and white Valentine's headband.  None of the pinks are the same color.


But on the plus side, she got dressed entirely by herself, and all her clothes are on right side out and front side forward.  And she's happy.  :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happy Father's Day to Ben!

On Saturday, Amelia had asked Ben all kinds of questions about himself, including what his favorite vegetable was (corn on the cob), what his favorite fruit was (watermelon), and what his favorite kind of cupcake was from my fancy cupcake cookbook (chocolate moose).  That made it really easy to decide what to have for his special Father's Day dinner!  We had filet mignon and NY strip steak, tater tots, corn on the cob, biscuits with jelly, and chocolate moose cupcakes.

The cupcakes were made by sticking part of a twinkie onto the top of a cupcake, then dipping the cupcake in microwaved chocolate frosting to get that smooth coat of frosting.  The antlers were made from melted chocolate chips piped onto waxed paper in an antler shape.  They actually weren't too hard to make.

Here's Ben with his two girls.  I told them they had to smile nicely if they wanted to eat a cupcake.  This was the best they could do.  :)

Because the cupcakes ended up being kind of big, I made Amelia and Megan share a cupcake.  They did a very nice job sharing:

When I look at these pictures, I'm struck by how their hair is almost the same color now.  Amelia's has a little bit of curl in the ends, although she likes to tell me that her hair is really really curly.  Megan's is stick-straight, but I think hers is thicker than Amelia's at the same age, and grows faster.

Amelia colored this picture for Ben from her new huge coloring book (Dollar Tree, yay!).  It took her a few days to color it, and she did a great job of staying inside the lines.  She colored the fairy's face orange, she told me, because she didn't have a beige crayon, and orange was the closest to beige.  She doesn't seem to have a sense yet of what colors make the most sense where (note the blue arms and green hair) so I thought it was interesting that she told me about the orange face.

She also wrote everybody's names on the envelope for the Father's Day card that she picked out herself (it has a jiggly bear on it).  She spelled Amelia, Daddy and Mommy herself, but she told me that she had to look at Megan's birth announcement picture in Megan's room to figure out how to write Megan.  As far as I know, this is the first time she's written Megan's name. 

She also colored a picture for Ben to take to work, but since he already took it to work, I didn't get a picture of it.  It looked a lot like this one, but this one is of Amelia (in the rainbow shirt) and me (in the blue shirt with black pants).  Amelia says we are wearing rainbow barrettes on our heads, and there are a lot of rainbows in the sky.  We both have blue eyes and red mouths, but I don't know why our bodies are half purple and half red.  Amelia didn't know why either.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Farmer's Market

The girls and I went to the Madison farmer's market today for the first time this season.  We bought lettuce, sugar snap peas, strawberries, cheese bread, popcorn, maple syrup and spinach (for our upcoming Marcie, David and Sometimes Becky's Weekly Food Challenge, hereafter known as MDaSBWFC).  I could not find daikon (also for MDaSBWFC), maybe it isn't daikon season?  Or maybe no one in Wisconsin eats it?

Along with the sugar snap peas and strawberries that we munched on, we shared a cinnamon apricot scone as a special treat:

And the girls ran around on the capital lawn and played hide and seek around a great big tree.  They have so much fun playing together now!

Their favorite part of the farmer's market today was seeing the people on stilts who were handing out flyers for the Madison Historical Museum:

Amelia and Megan were so entranced by them that we had to follow them around a quarter of the square so we could keep watching them walk.  It started drizzling as we were leaving, so I let the girls hold my little umbrella.  They both wanted to hold it, so I told them they had to share:

Friday, June 15, 2012

Whitewater Lake Beach

The girls and I met Becky, Natalie and Noah at Whitewater Lake Beach in South Kettle Moraine State Park this morning.  It's almost exactly halfway between our houses (although it took Becky longer because Rte 12 is under construction).  The beach was decent but rocky, so we wore our sandals in the water.  I think that might be why Megan wasn't a huge fan of the water, because she didn't want to wear her shoes.  She did wade in eventually to fill her bucket with water, but either Becky or I had to hold her if we wanted her to go in the deeper end.

The rest of the kids liked walking and splashing in the shallow water, and they especially liked looking at the little fish that were swimming around.  We tried to catch them with our buckets, but the fish were too fast.  As I was sitting in the water with Megan, a fish nibbled on my leg.  I thought the kids would find that interesting, but it seemed to freak Natalie out a little.  Here are Natalie and Noah splashing through the water like sea monsters:

 The kids really liked wearing their inner tubes and water wings, and Natalie even swam in the deeper water from Becky to me with her floatation devices.  Amelia claimed her favorite part of the beach was swimming in the deeper water, but she never got deep enough that she couldn't stand.  She did float and kick by herself (with her inner tube) in the shallower water, so that's progress I guess.

Megan said her favorite part of the beach was Noah.  So cute!

We built a sand castle with a moat and a river, and the kids ran back and forth to the lake to bring water for the moat.  Nobody was interested in getting buried in the sand.  Too bad.

We had a picnic lunch in the shade just before we left, and I asked all the kids to show me what a sea monster face looked like.  Here they are:

I didn't ask Megan to make a face, but I thought this was her way of telling me what sea monsters like.... MORE JELLY:

Yes, there she is cramming a quarter of a peanut butter and JELLY sandwich into her mouth all at once. 

The girls and I stopped at Frosty Freeze in Fort Atkinson on our way back for a special treat.  I got two kiddy cones and one root beer float for $2.80!  Good deal!  This was Megan's first time eating a cone, and I don't think she's quite ready for it.  She liked to lick the ice cream, of course, but when it started melting and dripping on her hand (and her shorts, and the bench, and my shorts) she got too worried about cleaning up the drips and couldn't enjoy her ice cream.  So I had to feed her the rest with a spoon.