Thursday, May 21, 2015

Soccer Practice

It is hard to keep Megan and Nathaniel occupied during Amelia's soccer practice, but this week the dandelions were perfect for blowing:

Nathaniel doesn't know how to blow dandelions yet, and every time he tried, he ended up with fluff in him mouth.  Instead, he loved to pull all the fluff off the dandelions and then try to break the stems in pieces.  I tried to take a photo of him, but this is the look I got:

It's pretty clear that he's saying "C'mon, Mom, I want to go run!"  I always bring a soccer ball along to practice because the kids love to kick the soccer ball around.  Sometimes Megan will agree to play soccer with Nathaniel, and sometimes Nathaniel will just walk around kicking the ball as he walks (it's so cute!)

Megan's favorite thing yesterday, though, was picking up maple seeds and throwing great big handfuls of them into the air.  I don't think she's ever had the opportunity to do this before, and she was delighted by it.  We spent a long time picking up the tiny pinkish maple seeds from among the clover and dandelions.

It's possible that Amelia likes soccer practice even more than the games because they usually play a game called steal the ball from the coach, and she loves the challenge.  Yesterday they were practicing dribbling the ball down the field and then passing to another player.  Amelia does this very well when she doesn't have an opposing team charging her.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Fun with Grandma and Grandpa

This past weekend with Jeff and Jane didn't go quite as planned, since Megan came down with strep throat on Thursday afternoon, and was feeling under the weather almost the entire time they were here.  She had a fever of 102.6 even with constant dosing of ibuprofen and tylenol, and then the antibiotic was causing intestinal distress.  But she had an hour or two on Saturday when she felt well enough to play, and what she wanted to do was wash Ben's car:

She even ate a piece of watermelon for dinner, since she's been asking for months if we could have sliced watermelon on the rind and this is the first time I've cut it that way this year.  But sadly I didn't get a picture of Megan enjoying her watermelon, since she chose to eat hers while sitting on the swing.  I did get photos of these two cuties, though:

The rain held off long enough on Sunday for us to go to Olbrich Botanical Gardens for a little while.  Megan spent a fair amount of time riding in the stroller but she did hop out to jump on the rocks across the stream.

Amelia and Grandma explored the paths in the rock garden:

Everybody enjoyed looking over the bridge into the pond to see the turtle sunning himself on a log.  Isn't the redbud beautiful?

And every time we go to Olbrich, we have to go to the Thai garden so that the kids can see the elephant statue.  Nathaniel really wanted to get up on the elephant, too, and once he was up, he tried to push Megan off.  Good thing he's too little to do any damage (I don't think Megan even noticed he was pushing her.)

Surprisingly, Nathaniel didn't want to walk, he wanted to get back in the stroller, and he was mad that Megan got to ride in his stroller.  So Ben and I gave him a few power assists, which he loved!  I think it's the first time we've ever done that with him.

Everyone liked looking at the pools in the Thai garden:

Nathaniel's favorite thing in the Botanic Garden was the fountain in the rose garden.  He loved trying to catch the water, and he didn't mind getting all wet.  The girls always love to play with this fountain, too.

We tried to get a nice photo of Amelia with Grandma and Grandpa, and were partially successful.  I suggested that Amelia pick a place to take only one photo (sometimes the girls get excited about picking their favorite spot and I get natural smiles), and she picked the purple garden, of course!

I don't have pictures of anything else that we did over the weekend, but I know Amelia and Nathaniel had a really fun time with Grandma and Grandpa.  Jeff and Jane went to Amelia's school to be mystery reader on Friday afternoon; Jeff and Amelia read Amelia's new favorite book Who's On First?.  Amelia's teacher had to jump in part way through the book to explain the concept to the kids.  And then Jeff and Jane told a few little stories about Amelia, including how Amelia used to call Grandpa "Guppy" and how.  Amelia convinced them to play school for a few hours on Saturday morning - she made assignment sheets and writing projects and even planned a recess.  Nathaniel warmed up to Grandma really quickly, and even wanted Grandma to read him books before bedtime and naptime the last few days - he's never done that before!

And Megan was feeling well enough to go to preschool on Monday, although she was still coughing a bit.  But I'd arranged for her to trade snack helper days with a friend, so Jeff and Jane could go to her class to be snack helper today.  She said she had a very fun time; she got to pick the song for the day, and she picked "All Around the Kitchen Cock-a-doodle-doodle-do".  They celebrated her birthday, and she passed out tootsie pops to her friends.  She even ate her snack of applesauce and a Nutrigrain bar. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Governor Nelson State Park

I am on a quest to discover new hiking trails near Madison, and I couldn't believe that we had never been to Governor Nelson State Park before.  It's only 15 - 20 minutes away from our house, on the shores of Lake Mendota.  So I dragged everyone out after naptime last Saturday to go exploring.  The girls are much more likely to enjoy a walk if I call it exploring.  They think they are being like Lewis & Clark.  We chose the forest trail, which was about 1.2 miles and went past some Native American mounds.  The mounds were much smaller than those I remember seeing as a child, and very overgrown with grass, trees, and wildflowers.  One was in the shape of a mountain lion, and then there were three conical mounds.  The informational boards indicated that they had no idea why the mounds had been built.  The girls were not very impressed by them (very much like me as a child).  Here is Amelia in front of a conical mound.

I tried to get a photo of them together, but these are the faces I got:

Amelia was MAD that I took a photo of her grumpy face, and she wanted me to delete it and replace it with a photo of her smiling face, but of course I kept them both.

Megan walked next to me and pointed out every single spot that she thought would be a good place for a fairy to live.  There were fallen down rotting logs, tree stumps, and big leaves all over, so it took us quite a while to walk the mile long trail.  Typically Megan and I would fall behind Amelia and Ben, and Megan would take off running to catch up:

About halfway through, Megan started getting tired and whiny, so I gave her my phone and told her she was the official exploration photographer and she should pay special attention to any new kinds of flower she spied.  All of the following photos were taken by Megan:

They especially liked finding the jack-in-the-pulpit flowers, and they always wanted to lift up the top leaf (petal?) to look inside.

Of course Megan had to take a photo of poop, with my foot beside it for a size reference.

And here are some places that she thought fairies would like to live:

After we got done with our hike, we went over to the beach.  It was a little cool, but the girls stuck their feet in the water anyway.

Then they started drawing in the sand.  Amelia started off by writing math problems:

And then she switched to writing nice messages to me.  What a lovely early Mother's Day present!  In the first photo, the heart on the left was drawn by Megan.

I wanted to get a photo of me with all the kids, but of course that didn't happen. However, I did get a few cute ones!