Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spring: The Busiest Time of the Year

Some folks may think the holidays are the busiest, but personally, I feel it's spring. Perhaps it's that my unpaid work with nonprofits always seems busiest then. Lots of meetings and deadlines. Usually, we have a few fundraiser events, three birthdays (plus assorted extended family), I'm trying to figure out the summer schedule, and I'm trying to get outside and whip the yard/garden into shape. Maybe it's just that we've been huddling inside for the past 5 months trying to stay warm.... The lack of activity during the winter makes the flurry of spring seem busier. Pick a theory.

We've been enjoying the nice weather. The girls want to go outside nearly every afternoon and I feel like this may be the year E learns to bicycle. C has a renewed appreciation for the baby seat on my bike and E has been pulling out the scooter and Stryder bike on her own initiative.

P is in Amsterdam this week and it's been nice. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have him here, but no one is sick, I don't have to worry about snow removal, no animals have needed emergency care, and I've been able to stick to my normal routine and talk to enough adults that I don't feel deprived. So, it's been pretty relaxed and I'm not stressing, which is a wonderful way to be.

Ellie has quit gymnastics for the time being. I suspect we'll be back for Cali in a year or so, but E has expressed interest in ballet. And, since she has been taking it at school, I'm inclined to let her play this one out. She's really been enjoying our impromptu dance parties and now claims that she's a really good dancer. They do little dance parties for birthday celebrations at school and at the beginning of the school year she had no self confidence and would just stand and watch. Now, she's in the thick of it and brags about her cool dance moves when she comes home. So, I need to look into that. And swimming lessons. And, figure out if we're going to do a sitter for summer childcare, or do half days at school. I'm running out of time to decide and I can see pros and cons to both sides.

Cali is still a year or so away from organized anything. I think we'll skip swimming lessons until she's old enough to do them without a parent (next summer). I've been through that class about 7 times already and I'm done. Her emphasis will be potty training this summer. Wish us luck. She's a much different child than her sister.

An owl Ellie drew in Drawing Class

Cali has a sixth sense about the camera and is always ready to say cheese.

All dressed up for the OE Gala.

P MCing the Gala.

Mom's salted caramel chocolate cake. It was the best one yet. I'd better get scrambling for P's cake!

Ellie had this surprise ready one day after Quiet Time. "J" and "K" were MIA, but she did pretty well. She's doing word building in school and should be ready to read before we know it.

Cali LOVES to paint. She really gets into it.

Cheeky pirate. Must be working on her advanced rudery homework.

Snack in the sunshine.

Apparently fancy Elsa hair requires every barrette a girl can find.

Cali holding the flag for the Pledge of Allegiance.

P posing with others for the Chefs Around the Table event (October 1).

Safari Tinkerbelle and her wizard friend Ellie the First.

Best. Face. Ever.

Coloring Easter goodies.

Taking the Stryder for a walk.

And then this happened. Gonna have to keep an eye on her.

Dad and Ellie at Read Across America Day. She dressed as her favorite book character (ahem), Toothless.

Cali is Two

It's official, the baby is two. She walks and talks and sings. She may not be the most graceful and she's a bit hard to understand at times. But, her no and yes are very clear. And, if that doesn't get the job done, tears and smiles are her universal language. We're having a bit of a rough patch with our independent miss. She is not keen on picking up, coming when she's called, or pretty much doing anything except on her own schedule. She has learned that a sparkly smile will excuse much and I've been excusing a lot of things due to her age that she probably is old enough to understand. I vaguely remember a similar phase with her sister, but the dynamics are different.

At present, we're getting ready to transition to a big girl bed. She's growing used to the idea of laying down and getting herself to sleep. I've been designing her Big Girl Room for about a year, so I've collected a few things. Grandma is cued up to make the curtains, and I've just got to pull some serious magic in a matter of hours once we deem her sufficiently able to stay in her bed. With luck, it'll be a short trip from there to the point where she wakes up and plays happily in bed instead of screaming for rescue.

We pulled a bit of a scam on Cali this year. Her birthday actually fell on a Monday, but that's a busy afternoon, so we pretended it was Sunday, had over family, opened presents, and presented the cake. We left her flowers and balloons out for a week, but there was no second celebration. Luckily, she's two, so unless she sifts through this blog at a later date, we're probably good. She received a circus train set, a baby doll, her own set of dragon wings (scaled down and sewn by Grandma), books and clothes from her grandparents, and a few other toys. However, I think we're getting the hang of things. There wasn't an obscene amount of toy carnage. We should be able to absorb the new additions with minimal fuss.

We went with a loose Minnie Mouse theme. Instead of a crown or hat, she wore mouse ears. The cake was a nice Depression chocolate cake with chocolate frosting (both made with dutch processed cocoa for extra richness). Since we neglected to take a photo, it had star sprinkles on top. In what has become a bit of a tradition, I bought a boatload of flowers and arranged them. As a nod to the birthday girl's tastes (via a recent trip to Costco), I bought neon colored daisies (supplemented with hot pink spider mums and a few roses), which have actually lasted quite well.