Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmastime in Madison

Ben took a few days off last week, so we had a chance to go to Olbrich Botanic Gardens on Thursday afternoon to see the Christmas train display.  It wasn't as huge or elaborate as the trains at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, but the kids loved seeing this display, too.  The theme was Legos.  Nathaniel was too busy looking at all the Legos to pose for a photo:

 Ben made him turn around so that we could get his face in the photo, but he wasn't happy about it!

Our favorite scene was the Lego town street, where we took turns spying all the funny minifigs that were there. 

The girls liked seeing Wild Style, Emmett, and Unikitty from the Lego movie,

They thought the chicken man going camping was pretty funny:

They also thought it was terrible that the pirates were making a girl walk the plank.  But what you can't see in this photo is that Santa and an elf are waiting in a rowboat so that they can rescue the girl.

And Megan, of course, liked spying the Tyrannosaurus peeking out from the building.  He is going to eat a chicken drumstick held up by a minifig just out of view.

Ben liked seeing Spiderman and his web:

The Star Wars scene was very elaborate, and the castle towers were very tall:

Nathaniel liked watching the trains.  They were almost close enough to touch, which got Megan into a little bit of trouble (she didn't touch them, but it sure looked like she was going to.)

 On Saturday, we went to lunch at the Great Dane near the Capitol.  Ben ordered a very Wisconsonian burger; it was topped with a bratwurst patty, bacon, and cheese.  He said it was delicious!

Then we walked over to the Capitol building to see the gigantic Christmas tree.  It was over 30 feet tall, and decorated with ornaments made by schoolchildren in Wisconsin.  The theme this year was honoring Wisconsin's veterans.  Amelia and Megan especially liked the Snowman of Liberty:

There was a large model train going around the base of the tree, and Nathaniel really liked watching that:

The balcony around the dome was open, so we walked up the stairs and went outside for a minute.  It was cold and snowy, though, so we didn't have a very nice view.  But we discovered the trumpeter's balcony where we could look down on the Christmas tree, which looked very small from such a height.

A very nice docent showed us a picture of the gold statue on top of the capitol dome.  Her name is Wisconsin, but her nickname is Ms. Freedom.  She is wearing a badger, two ears of corn, and two cornucopias on top of her head.  The girls thought that was pretty silly.

And a few random photos....  I made Amelia take a shower after swimming lessons at the Y, and she liked it so much that she didn't want to get out.  So she has started taking showers at home, too.  Here's how she does it:

Apparently Nathaniel thinks we don't feed him enough, because he has started licking his plate clean after dinner.  What a silly boy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ginger's Shenanigans

The girls caught our elf, Ginger, again this year.

After we got back from Thanksgiving, Ben helped them make a fall away floor trap, which Amelia decorated with a Christmas tree, presents, a cozy bed, and disco balls.  I thought her sign enticing Ginger into the trap was pretty funny:

The girls forgot to leave the trap open the next day, so poor Ginger had to spend another day hanging out at the Elf Party, but they remembered to leave it open the following day.  Some days Ginger is clearly pretty tired from monitoring all the not-listening behavior we have been battling, and she simply finds a new place to hide.  But when she is energetic, then she likes to cause mischief.

So far this year, she has gone on a fishing trip in the girls' bathtub:

rolled down the stairs in a toilet paper tube (which the girls thought was hilarious):

and barricaded the girls' door with a block wall (Amelia thought this was funny, but Megan did NOT):

They knocked over the eastern most section of the wall so they could squeeze in and out without disturbing Ginger.  The mischievous elf also TPd our Christmas tree, and made herself a pair of angel wings and a tinsel halo to try to be the angel on top of our tree, but the girls took the toilet paper down before I could get a photo because they were indignant about toilet paper on our tree.  The next day, we still had not decorated our tree, so she hung the girls' underpants on the tree.  They thought that was hilarious!

Then she used a dry erase marker to draw on the photographs hanging in our hallway.  Last year, the girls were indignant that Ginger had messed with their photos, but this year, they thought it was funny. 

Here are the girls' reactions to seeing Ginger's drawings:

She drew on quite a few of the collage photos hanging in our hallway also. Mostly, she drew funny mustaches, but she also wrote her name on the girls' foreheads and gave them freckles and glasses. They really liked the polka dots that Ginger drew on top of their flower girl picture:

They especially liked that Ginger had drawn herself into their photo.

On Friday last week, the girls found Ginger in the refrigerator wearing a doll coat and hat and holding Amelia's lunch bag.  When Amelia opened her bag at lunchtime, she discovered that Ginger had wrapped all of the items in her lunch.  Amelia told me that it took her a while to open her lunch, and it was a little annoying, but that all the friends at her table thought it was hilarious.  She did have time to finish eating everything.  :)

 Two days ago, she poked her head through the Rice Krispie box in place of the Crackle elf, and she was watching Elsa, Santa and a stuffed cat eat bowls of Rice Krispies for breakfast.

Yesterday she made the girls elf donuts for breakfast (cheerios spread with peanut butter then dipped in sprinkles).  The girls thought they were cute, but they said it wasn't nearly enough to eat for breakfast.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December Miscellany

I told the girls they could wear whatever they wanted on Saturday; this is what they chose to put on.

Amelia is very proud that she has figured out how to cross her eyes.  And here's how her hair looks when she wakes up in the morning.

Nathaniel was not amused when I spiked his hair after bathtime.  But he was happy to smile while snuggling on the couch with me one cold morning.  And here's how he eats - very enthusiastically!  If it's a food he likes, he'll grab a huge handful and try to cram it all in his mouth at once.

I got to be snack helper at Megan's preschool again last week.  She wanted to bring string cheese, dried blueberries, Craisins and milk for snack.

We spent most of the morning playing with her friend Ainsley, coloring pictures, playing "take a nap" and using the new cameras to take pictures.

Megan wrote the morning message all by herself, with Ms. Bottomley making all the letter sounds.  I can't believe I didn't get a photo of the completed message; Megan did such a good job!  It said "HEllO FRENDS AGNEM IS OUR SNAC HELPR TODAY" because Ms. Bottomley likes to misspell the kid's name so that they have to correct it while they are reading the morning message.  Translated, it said "Hello friends, Megan is our snack helper today."

 Megan is really starting to show interest in letters, reading and writing.  When we read Christmas books, she wants to read the words "yes", "HO HO HO", and "dog".  Plus, she gets Amelia to help her write messages.  Does she write things like "I love cats"?  No, this is what Megan wants to write:

The Girl Scouts went on a field trip to the ice arena on Sunday, and so Ben brought Megan along so that she could try skating, too.  Both girls loved it and want to go back again soon (like Tuesday, for whatever reason).  Amelia went around with a friend's dad the first time, but then went around the rest of the time on her own.  She liked skating in the middle instead of around the edge of the rink.  I have completely forgotten how to ice skate, plus I had terrible skates, so Amelia went around the rink with me once, and then decided she didn't want to skate with me anymore because she was worried I would slow her down or make her fall down.  :)

Megan went around with Ben.  She mostly used a walker type thing that she could hold onto to help her balance, but she also skated a little just holding Ben's hand.  She didn't last as long as Amelia before she got tired, which was fine because Ben had to get home for the babysitter anyway.

After he woke up from his nap this morning, Nathaniel decided that he was hungry.  Apparently he was so hungry that he couldn't wait for me to feed him lunch, so he pulled a box of Crispix out of the pantry, upended it onto the floor, and proceeded to shove entire handfuls into his mouth.