Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Many Faces of Embry

Embry and I were being silly with the camera. She wanted to show me all of her different faces.

Here is her "fake happy" face:

Here is her sad face:

Here is her scary face:

I don't remember exactly what this one was, but I think it had something to do with a scorpion?

No idea what this one is, but it's funny.

End of July Update

Around the House: The house is quiet and empty now that our houseguests are gone. We are slowly getting back into a normal routine. It feels like the summer is winding down already, even though we have another month before school starts. We have been spending a little less time outside, since it seems like mother nature has turned on us. J is just now getting over a severe case of poison ivy that he contracted almost a month ago! He actually ended up having to see the doctor for a round of steroids to clear it up. Also, the wasp and yellowjacket population in our yard has gotten a little out of control and I was stung twice the other day. I'm so grateful that Matthew or Embry were not stung instead.

In the Kitchen: The kitchen has been a lot less busy this week. The last of the cookies are gone and it is time to get back to some cheap and easy meals. I made black beans and rice on Sunday, Mexican lasagne on Wednesday, and I'm making chicken potpie tomorrow. Comfort food, yum.

New with Embry: I took Embry to pick out a new backpack and a lunchbox, in an attempt to get her enthused about school starting. I found some really cute ones at Children's Place. They have small backpacks for her age with matching lunchboxes in real cute patterns. I'll try to get a photo up soon of her new stuff.

New with Matthew: He's still growing like a weed and every inch taller that he gets, there are more things in the house that he can get into. Last week, he almost reached up onto the stove when there was a pot of water boiling. It just reminds me of how I have to watch him every second.

I am Grateful For: The super-fun time that we spent over the last couple of weeks with the cousins. I was so pleased with how well the kids got along, and I hope they had as good a time as we did.

The Weather Outside: This has got to be the mildest July that I remember. Usually, I dread the summers with how miserably hot and humid it gets. But this year has been beautiful! (So, far. One more hot month to go.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

City Museum Pictures

Here are some pictures from the family's recent visit to the City Museum where Embry was finally brave enough to go down some of the slides, and the awesome rooftop was now open. All of the pictures from high up are from the roof of the building that the museum is in. 8 stories up, I believe.

As I have said multiple times on this blog... this museum is one of the coolest I have ever been to!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Purina Farms

I mentioned last week that we visited Purina Farms, a museum/petting zoo/dog show run by the pet food company. Here are some of the pictures from our trip...

Here is Embry and Grandma taking a closer look at some horses...

And some pigs, and a chicken, and a rabbit.

Here is a section in the barn where there are tables filled with dried corn and a few John Deere tractors to play with. The kids spent nearly an hour total here. Matthew just liked to feel it in his hands over and over again. Who knew dried corn was so much fun?

This part was also in the barn. Small rooms filled with bales of hay and a rope to swing into them. I love this photo of her where she looks like a flying ninja...

And this was Embry's favorite part. First a dog was brought out and ran through an obstacle course like in the competitions we watch on tv. Then another dog performed a bunch of frisbee tricks. Finally they brought two dogs over to the pool and had them showcase the jumping competition by throwing a frisbee over the water and letting the dogs run and jump out over it. Very fun to watch, Embry was so excited. Matthew, of course, wouldn't sit still, so he and I watched from the grassy area behind the bleachers.

This place was so much fun and everything was free! There was also a museum where they showed how dog food was made (no one was much interested in that), a racetrack with pedal powered tractors the size of tricycles, and lots of dogs, cats, and birds around to pet and play with. A great place for little kids.

1, 2, 3, 4 Kids?!

Yes, that's right. Starting tonight, I will be taking care of 4 kids for a few days. 2 of my own and, 2 of their cousins visiting from CA. We have had almost a week to get used to each other, since they came up with Grandma last Tuesday.

We went to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on opening night. Aside from the film being out of focus half of the time, a crying baby in the row behind us, and a gentleman in front of me who hadn't bathed in several days...the movie was great. I suppose that's what I deserve for having to see it on Wednesday night. If I wanted a quiet, empty theater, I could have waited a couple of weeks and went to a Sunday afternoon showing. And I have to say that this was the first of the series that I have seen since reading all of the books and it was quite a different experience. I can totally understand why people who read the books before seeing any of the films didn't enjoy the movies. But, I am totally attached to the actors' characters, it's almost as if the books and the movies are a completely separate things to me. I love them all.

We went to J's Mom's family reunion on Saturday, and it could not have been a more beautiful day. Sunny and 70 degrees. We made BBQ pulled pork, broccoli slaw, and chocolate chip cookie dough brownies to take with us. There was tons of good food and even more good desserts, yum! We had a good time and the kids got to run around outside all afternoon.

The older kids, J, and Grandma are at the City Museum today. I opted to stay home with Matthew since he is not quite big (actually I should say old) enough to enjoy most of the stuff there. We decided that it was not worth it to spend money for someone to go and just chase Matthew around the lobby for a few hours. Also, the older kids can stay longer without having to rush home for naptime. The good thing is that J gets to go this time. It will be his first visit. I hope he loves it as much as Embry and I do.

So, Grandma returns home to work for a couple of days, leaving the kids here. Thankfully she will also be leaving her van in case I dare to venture out of the house with all 4 kids. I've got some meals planned, and they are all good eaters. Also, the weather is supposed to continue to be amazing, so we can spend lots of time outside. The kids get along great, so we should be okay for a few days. But, I bet everyone will be happy to see Grandma when she gets back on Wednesday! Wish me good luck!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday Update

Around the House: I really should be calling this one "Monthly Update," right? Well, we've been busy. My niece and nephew arrived from CA last week. They'll be staying with their grandma for a while, but will come visit us soon.

We had a pretty uneventful 4th due to the rain that started at around 5 am and continued through most of the day. The local parade was canceled and since the kids went to bed early we stayed home from the fireworks. Fortunately, our next door neighbors shot off some impressive ones right over our houses, so I got to see some fireworks after all. Unfortunately, they kept shooting them off until almost midnight and Embry woke up scared and ended up sleeping on the floor in our bedroom.

I did have a good b-day though with an awesome cake made by my aunt (who has been making my birthday cakes since I was born). It was white and chocolate marble cake with vanilla icing (only the stars were fondant). And the stars on the firecracker were candles, so we got to light them instead of digging up 31 (yikes!) regular candles and blowing all those out. I also got to spend the weekend with my Mom who drove down on Saturday. We watched the best Wimbledon Final ever on Sunday, played and had a picnic at the park, and went shopping and visited Purina Farms. (More on that later.)

In the Kitchen: For the 4th we grilled some pork ribs and vegetables, made homemade rolls and German potato salad. Perfect Independence Day picnic food, only we ate it inside since it was still raining on and off. I also tried a new recipe for sour cream coffee cake with blueberries that tuned out great. I finally broke down and bought a bundt cake pan for the occasion. I can't believe I have been baking for so long without one. For Mom's last night here we fixed one of our favorite dinners; crusty bread, 3 different kinds of cheese, grapes, strawberries, dates, and wine. No cooking and very little clean-up, my favorite kind of meal.

New with Embry: Grandma brought the kids a radio flyer wagon this weekend. The kids love it, but what Embry spent most of the next few days playing with was the box. She kept getting inside and asking us to shut the flaps and pretend that she was a birthday present for Mama. Then she would lean it up against the couch to make a slide and pretend like she couldn't get out. She would yell, "Help! Help!" and then slide back down into the box. She played in it so much that it started to fall apart and after several tape applications, I gave up and snuck it outside to the trash when she wasn't in the room. She noticed a few hours later, but only whined a little bit instead the huge fit I was expecting.

New with Matthew: I think that Matthew has been swimming since the last time I posted. We brought him and J along a couple of weeks ago to Embry's school's pool. They have a shallow baby pool there, but he was tired of that after about 5 minutes and ready to jump in the big pool. J and I just carried him around in the water for a hour and a half and he loved it. The only problem was that he kept putting his face in the water and trying to drink the pool water, yuk!

I'm Grateful For: Another birthday and a long fun weekend with family.

The Weather Outside: A couple of weeks ago we were given a violent shove into summer with a whole week of temps near 100 degrees. It was an especially long week, since it was too hot to do anything outside. Embry and I would have to wait until 7 pm just to go out and water the flowers. And even then it was still miserable. But, thankfully, it seems back to normal now; still hot around noon, but cool enough in the morning and early evening to play outside. And the kids aren't so crabby from being stuck inside all day.

I'm Obsessed With: Since I've finished with the old episodes of Lost I need something else to do during naptime. Luckily, my Mom gave me a sewing machine for my birthday! So my new obsession is teaching myself how to use it.