Saturday, March 30, 2013

Staycation Day 2

Today the girls wanted to go play at the teeny-tiny play area inside the mall, but we talked them into going to the gym instead.  It was packed at the gym, but we still had a nice time, minus the fussing/talking-to incident when they learned they had to share the trampoline with everyone.  Megan only likes to bounce on the trampoline when she has it to herself, I think because she can't keep her balance when other kids are bouncing.  She had it to herself for a couple minutes today:

Ben helped the girls hang upside and do flips on the bar:

Amelia was able to walk the tall balance beam all by herself!  Oh, and she tried to hula hoop, but what she actually did was spin around while managing to keep the hula hoop up for about 10 seconds (which is about 9 second longer than I could!)

Megan invented a new way to make a basket, which makes is a lot easier for a short uncoordinated two year old to actually get the ball in the basket!  Amelia is demonstrating here:

Ben came up with a new game for the bounce house, where he would push against the side wall and make Amelia go flying.  She thought that was a riot!

We also played with the jump ropes, although neither girl could actually figure out how to jump rope the right way.

I thought this action shot of Amelia doing a forward roll down an incline was funny:

Today I took Amelia out to lunch; she suggested McDonald's initially, but when I started listing other places, she quickly changed her mind to Panera.  She had a cinnamon crunch bagel and half of a shortbread cookie for lunch.  Very well balanced.  I tried the pesto sacchetini, with a BBQ chicken salad, and both were delicious!  It was so nice to have lunch just with her, especially because I've been a little worried about her being more sad than normal lately.  Hopefully it is just the winter doldrums and she'll be back to normal when it is finally spring and we can go outside again.

Amelia really savored her cookie, she enjoyed taking teeny tiny little nibbles from the side of the cookie to make it last as long as possible.  It reminded me of me when I was little.  

Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring Break Staycation - girls' choice

Since we didn't get to go anywhere for spring break this year, and Ben had to take vacation days to use up carryover days from last year, we decided to have a three day long staycation to explore places around Madison.  On Wednesday, we told the girls that they could do anything they wanted, and they chose to go to the pet store for storytime (free!) and look at all the animals.  The girls each picked two beanie babies to snuggle with during storytime; Amelia chose bunnies, and Megan chose a guinea pig and a rat. 

The theme for the week was bunnies, and so they got to pet a gray rabbit at the end of story time.  They said he was very soft.  Megan liked his twitching little nose.

Then we had to look at all the animals in cages.  This time, Megan seemed very interested in the rat ("just like Ratatouille, Mommy!") and Amelia liked the hairless rat ("It looks so soft!")  I was pretty disturbed by both of those animals, and much preferred looking at the fish or the snakes.

Then I took Megan out for lunch (she chose Red Robin because she wanted a balloon) and Ben took Amelia out (she chose Culver's because she wanted ice cream).  Ben tried to convince Amelia to go somewhere else, like Red Robin, by telling her that she could still go to Culver's for ice cream afterwards, but I think she was worried that he would forget or change his mind, so she was adamant about Culvers.  Megan and I had a lovely time at Red Robin; we colored some fish on the placecmat, she ate all her chicken fingers and apple slices, and she even got a red helium balloon to take home.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Preschool Beach Party

I got to go to preschool last Friday to be snack helper for Amelia's class, and in celebration of spring break, it was beach party day.  All the kids wore beach appropriate clothing (with winter coats and snow boots outside, of course, since it was only in the twenties).  Amelia's hawaiian dress from last summer still fit her, and so did her sandals, surprisingly.  We accessorized with lots of leis.  The art area had glue and multicolored sand, so Amelia and I made a few sand pictures.

Then we did the limbo (the 4 year old way) and played beach volleyball in large motor.

We brought whole wheat mini bagels with blue tinted cream cheese and mini goldfish for snacktime, so that the kids could make their own little oceans.  It was really cute, but 4 and 5 year olds are NOT very good at spreading cream cheese, so it took a while.  Amelia likes to be snack helper so that she can make sure she gets to sit by her best friend Lexi.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

If Megan had Freckles...

We went to Olbrich today to see the spring garden show; the weather was quite a change from last year.  As we were driving, Megan guessed that we were going to see flowers inside, but Amelia was sure we were going to see flowers outside.  I asked her what she could see outside and she said "Snow.  Hmm, maybe the flowers will be inside."  Amelia liked to identify the flowers again; her favorites were the purple primroses.

Megan's favorite things were the water features - the fountain and the pond.  I caught her trying to climb onto the rocks bordering the fountain a few times.

When we got home, it was sunny and not too far below freezing, so we played outside for a little bit.  The girls colored the snow with their squirt bottles:

until Megan accidentally squirted herself in the face and we had to come inside.  So this is what she'd look like if she had red freckles:

Except for the fact that this is the face we've been seeing on Megan most often lately:

She has been a huge cranky pants lately and screams and fusses about just about everything - putting on her shoes, leaving to pick Amelia up from preschool, getting the wrong color plate, washing her hands.  Everything!  I offer her choices like "Do you want to wash your hands yourself, or do you want me to help you?" and all she'll say is "Any choice" which means no choice.  I hope that things will get better when the weather warms up and we can get outside to play, because I have just about had it.  Today was a particularly challenging day - she went to drop Amelia off at preschool wearing only her short sleeve Jessie nightgown and her pink glittery shoes.  She refused to get dressed or wear her coat, and she only had the shoes on because I forced them onto her feet while she was screaming.  Oh, and it was 9 degrees outside.

But back to our day....  We had to take a bath to get all the food coloring off Megan, and I apparently dumped A LOT of bubble bath in the tub:

 But on the plus side, both girls ate leftover pizza (with sauce!) for dinner!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Goose-Goose Jammies

This is the outfit that Ben bought for Amelia when he was in Hong Kong three years ago.  We call them her Hong Kong pajamas.  Megan, however, calls them her goose-goose jammies.  Do you know why?

Ben figured it out, it's because geese say "honk honk", and that's what she hears when we say "Hong Kong".

Megan likes to take pictures with my camera now.  Here's one she took of Amelia today:

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Amelia's Recyclable Sculptures

Amelia's favorite center at preschool is the art area that has recyclable products and duct tape.  I thought I'd share some of her favorite creations so you can see what she's been working on.  This is a birthday cake with pink frosting, sprinkles (the lines and holes poked in the playdough) and lots of candles:

She worked on this one for two or three days; it's called "Downtown".  Can you see the tall buildings?  She also included a swimming pool, and a jar full of flowers.

This is a tree house for her toy mouse named Squeaker:

She and Ben made this boat when he was snack helper at preschool last month.  Here's what she said about it:  "This is a house.  We put a flag in the refrigerator to make it stand up.  I put some hearts on the flag.  There's a shade for the person who sleeps in the bed.  I put some carrots in the fridge."

One day she made a vase and a flower out of a milk jug and a partially deflated air pack:

Amelia tells me that this is the story of the Three Little Pigs.  From left to right, she made the big bad wolf, the first little pig's flattened house, the second little pig's house, and the third little pig's house with a chimney and three little fabric pigs inside.  She worked on this one for a few days, too.  She and Megan just love the story of the Three Little Pigs!

Amelia's teacher has decided they need to take a break from the recyclable art center, and Amelia is pretty sad about it.  We are still saving all kinds of interesting containers in the hopes that they will be allowed to build again in the spring.  At the grocery store the other day, Amelia talked me into buying an interesting grape tomato container because she said it would be fun to build with, although she refused to eat the tomatoes!

Friday, March 8, 2013

And still more snow....

... but hopefully this was the last major snowstorm of the season.  We got about 8" on Tuesday, for a total on the ground of anywhere between 0 and 24".  It's windy here, so we get a lot of drifting.  Our neighbor walked by as we were playing outside and told us that we got 22" of snow above normal this winter.  I'm surprised it wasn't more!

There was a huge drift in front of our patio steps, so the girls had fun trying to get up it and then either sliding or jumping down.

We built a very skinny snowman - the snow was wet, but didn't roll well, so we had to pack it all by hand.  Megan loved to help pack the snow on the snowman, but she could only manage to get maybe a tablespoon on at a time with her tiny little mittens.

Oh, excuse me, Amelia tells me this is actually a snow GIRL!  A leaning snowgirl...

We took a walk over to our neighbor's house, and Megan mowed the sidewalk while Amelia clambered up the tall snow banks:

It was above freezing, sunny, and not at all windy, so it was actually quite pleasant to play outside in the snow.  We were bundled up so well that we were starting to get warm, and the girls didn't even request hot chocolate when we got back inside!  Since the snow was melting, the girls found a nice puddle to jump in:

 And on the walk back, Amelia discovered pretty ice sculptures left by the melting snow:

Here both girls are looking for the lacy ice:

Megan had a hard time getting up on the top of the snow bank by herself, but she managed!

And here they are taking advantage of their height to throw snow balls at me.  Don't worry, they missed!

And here's the snow bank that the snow plows pushed up over our sidewalk, over our grass, and into our poor little tree:

Amelia thought it was cool that she could touch the tree branches, though.