Saturday, March 31, 2012


My sister's fiancee and his kids were in town today.  I knew the kids when they were little, but have not been around them in years.  It was fun to get to know them again.  I was reminded of what great kids they are. 

We went out for lunch at Brandon's favorite restaurant.  Then we went to Granny and Poppy's.  Eymber turns 14 this week, so we celebrated her birthday with carrot cake and presents.
My parents had taken Eymber to an art store earlier this week and let her stock up on pens and pencils and sketchbooks.  She spent the whole afternoon drawing.  She is an amazing artist and draws constantly - even on her straw wrapper at lunch!

Granny had plans for all the soon-to-be-cousins to get to know one another.  Granny has long been known as the Bubble Lady and she discovered a fun new way to play with bubbles.
Cut off a plastic bottle and secure a washcloth over the bottom with a rubber band.  Dip in bubble solution and blow.  Such fun!
The bubbles come out in long tubes.
Orion was the first to realize that these bubbles could be a great beard.
At 12, he is in that awkward place between child and teen.  Today, he was happy to just be a kid.  Rachel followed him around and charmed him into playing with her.  She kept running over to me and announcing "I like Orion!"
Anthem used his bubbles to make sculptures.
Granny and Robie got in on the bubble fun, too.
The kids played together all afternoon.  Rachel kept Orion occupied.  Katherine and Anthem ran around, flitting in occasionally to ask unusual questions like "Why is 11 called 11?"
It was a fun day.  And I'm looking forward to more cousin time in the future.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sucker Time

One of my students gave me a couple of the world's cutest suckers for Valentine's Day.  The girls finally got around to eating them this week.  Did they ever have fun!

Monday, March 26, 2012

More Mad Science

We went to Mad Science Monday at the library again.  Today's project was to make a bridge with straws and tape and then to see how many pennies the bridge would support.  Katherine could not wait to start.
Our friend Charlie, who was in charge, came over to admire her work and give advice.
Rachel just liked playing with tape!
Her bridge consisted of two straws and didn't support a single penny, but she was proud!
Katherine happily worked on her bridge while the two other girls in the group built theirs. 

But the instructions were to work as a team to build ONE bridge.  Katherine finally took the initiative and convinced her team mates to put all of their bridges together.

Soon all three girls were working together.
Then the penny counting began.
They counted 127 pennies and the bridge still held.
Some of the other groups had also made strong bridges, but they had also had adult help.  Katherine's group had worked entirely on their own.  Charlie was impressed and came over to investigate.  He asked the girls all sorts of questions about how they had built their bridge.  Then he brought over a whole jar of pennies.
We didn't count, but the jar was filled to the 900 penny mark - and it held!  And three little engineers just beamed.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Spring is most certainly here.  Everything is blooming, many of them much earlier than usual.  But we're not complaining.  It's just too gorgeous out! 
People ooh and ahh over Washington D.C.'s cherry blossoms, but I think the redbuds here are just as beautiful (and they're native).
The girls and I made a trip to the park last night.  They climbed and slid and monkey-barred and then just enjoyed the grass.  And the dandelions.
Katherine taught Rachel a silly square dance she'd learned at school.  Swing your partner...
The dancing somehow turned into impromptu sister jumping.
Then it was time to go home.  Welcome Spring!  We love you!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Snack Art

We played with our food for the girls' bedtime snack.  Fat-free cream cheese with food coloring and pretzels was too much fun!
Snack?  Or art?

Friday, March 23, 2012

What We Did Over Spring Break

We have had fun this Spring Break - celebrating my birthday, Girls' Weekend, a quick trip to visit Steve's parents, quiet days at home.  But the weather has been less than accomodating.  After several weeks of gorgeous, sunny, spring weather we have had four long days of cold and rain.  All day, every day.  For four days. 
The girls have continued to go out and play, despite the weather.  (And yes, Rachel can blow bubbles in the rain!)  It was 52 degrees when this picture was taken and the girls were drenched.  I chose to not worry about that.

We are all going to be happy to see the sun again.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Girls' Weekend

After my birthday dinner, the girls, my sister, Mom, and I headed off for our Girls' Weekend.  We spent the night at Robie's house, which is always a highly anticipated event for the girls.  We sleep in beds, just like at home, but Robie's house is WAY more exciting!

We spent most of Saturday shopping.  Clothes for the girls, clothes for the adults, assorted odds and ends.  We had Vietnamese food for lunch, because all of us love it and "the boys" don't.  (Personally, I will never understand how you could not love noodle bowls.)

By late afternoon, the girls were fed up with shopping.  So we ventured off to a very nice (and free!) nature  center.  We toured the little natural history museum and then hiked off to feed the turtles in the pond.  Oh, and to pose for pictures.
We tried a top-your-own-frozen-yogurt place (which the girls adored), made one last shopping stop and had dinner.  Then it was time for the most exciting part of the trip:  checking into a motel WITH a pool!  My sister joked about the ridiculousness of staying in a hotel in the same town she lives in, but the girls LOVE hotels.  And they really love to swim.
Katherine, who was once afraid of the water, jumped right in and started practicing floating.  She worked the whole time we were in the pool.
Rachel, of course, was crazy.  I have lots of pictures from the pool, and in all of them Rae is just a blur.  She jumps and splashes and flings herself through the water.  She is also swimming on her own, face in the water, for as long as her breath will last.  She kept announcing "I'm a mermaid!"  I believe her!
We had two rooms in the hotel and Granny graciously volunteered to sleep with the girls.  So Robie and I happily lay in bed and talked until late.  We have always enjoyed doing that! 

After breakfast the next morning, we all headed home.  Girls' Weekend was over.  But it sure was fun!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

I turned 40 on Friday.  This really didn't bother me.  I have always been something of an old soul and when I look back at my younger days, I don't feel the grief of lost youth.  Mostly, I feel relief that those days are over!  I don't have many regrets about how I've lived my life.  And I am happier now than I ever was at 20 or 30.  So I was all for celebrating 40.

My birthday started with gifts and cards from Steve and the girls.  The cards from the girls were perfect!  Katherine's read:  Happy Birthday, Mom from "the good one." Sorry more of my good influence didn't rub off on "you know who".  [Kate knew exactly why this was funny and Rae, thankfully, was oblivious.]  Rachel's card had a picture of a queen on the front and said "Mom, you deserve the royal treatment on your birthday."  It had a punch-out crown inside that Rachel could not wait for me to wear!  Too funny!  They insisted on a picture, and all took a turn with the camera, but this awful shot was the only one to include all of my head.
My co-workers wanted to celebrate, too.  They are always happy to have an excuse to eat cake.  I didn't have students that day, so we gorged on tres leches cake and homemade seafoam candy.  They also made me this lovely sign.  I'm not sure why it's on the bathroom door...  Maybe because pretty much every other vertical surface is covered with kid art.
My mom had suggested we eat at a Japanese steakhouse for dinner and that sounded like great fun.  So we went.  The girls had never been to such a place and were wide-eyed about it all.  We told Rachel that there would be fire, but I don't think she realized exactly what that meant!
As always, our cook was wildly entertaining.  Here he is putting out an onion volcano fire by having his little boy squirt bottle pee on it.  Never underestimate the appeal of potty humor.
We laughed a lot that meal.
It was a lot of fun.
Katherine gave Steve chopstick lessons.
And the food was fabulous.
We all left stuffed and happy.
My mom, the girls, and I headed for Robie's house and the beginning of our annual Girls' Weekend.  More about that later...  I can honestly say that the first day of 40 was terrific!

I love birthdays!

the ladybug cake

The Ladybug Sisters


Jie Jie and Mei Mei

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Peeking through the windows

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Katherine and her toothless smile

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
The little one leads the way