Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Snow Day. Again...

We are home on our 4th Snow Day in a row.  Between teacher work days, President's Day off, funeral leave, and four snow days from two different storms, Rachel has not been to school since Valentine's Day!  (Kate and I haven't been since the day after that.)  Snow Days are lovely, but by this point we are bored.  REALLY bored... 

We are tired of reading.  We are tired of naps.  (Actually some of us are always tired of naps!)  We are tired of games.  We are tired of all forms of indoor entertainment.  We are tired of playing in the snow.  We are tired of shoveling snow.  We are tired of each other.

But this morning at Granny and Poppy's there was a flurry of snowman making.  And it was fun!  (Yes, I know Katherine is not wearing a coat.  I did not want to pick that battle today.)
After the snowman experience, it was back to sitting in the house with nothing interesting to do.  So we called in the reinforcements and met some friends for lunch.  At least it was a chance to socialize and gave two families' worth of kids someone new to fight with!

It's afternoon now and the snowmen are falling apart, there is a nonstop shower of melt water running off the roof, and the street is serving as a creek.  There HAS to be school tomorrow!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Weaver

Last year, a retired friend donated her children's old toys to my classroom.  Among the items was a loom - really cool, but not exactly a preschool level toy.  I took the loom to my mom, thinking she'd find a use for it someday.

Katherine came home from school last week and mentioned that they were weaving in art class, using yarn and bits of cardboard for looms.  So Granny dug out the cool kids' loom, strung it with warp threads, and turned Kate loose in her yarn stash.  Katherine has been weaving ever since.
She understands the whole process.  How to thread yarn on to the spindle.  How to shift the warp threads.  How to change colors.  How to tie off the finished piece.
And she's really quite good!  Her weaving is tight and even and her color choices go well together.
Granny helped her make more little cardboard looms for the trip West last week and Kate made coaster sized weavings.  Grandma donated all the leftover odds and ends of yarn from her knitting projects.  Katherine was thrilled!
Kate has mastered another "old fashioned" skill and she couldn't be happier!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Snow Plans

We drove to Western Kansas Monday afternoon to spend a day with Steve's parents before Great Grandma's funeral.  The weather report then said there was a good chance for rain on Wednesday.  By that evening, the reports had changed to a good chance for snow.  By Tuesday, every meterologist in the state was sending out warnings of a massive storm hitting and dumping large amounts of snow.  The weather reports were right...

It started snowing before dawn on Wednesday and didn't stop for a day and a half.  Some relatives stayed home for the funeral and others braved snow packed roads to come.  By the time we drove to the cemetary for the graveside service, the snow was falling in huge clumps and the wind was blowing so hard it was difficult to stand!  The girls and I opted to stay in the car, but I took pictures to document just how nasty it was outside!
We had planned on driving home after the funeral, but decided not to risk it.  (Everyone else did, though.)  We were warm and safe at Steve's parents' and, as it ended up, school had let out early that day at home and was cancelled for the next day.

We woke up Thursday morning to a snow covered world.  Everything was reduced to black and white and it was beautiful.  It didn't matter that we were not at our house, it was a Snow Day!
We, of course, had not packed boots or other snow gear so we had to make do.  Rachel came in after playing with snow packed in her mittens, socks, and underwear!  There was a foot of snow on the ground, with drifts considerably higher.  This was more snow than either of my girls have ever seen!

Steve ventured out to buy the girls a sled.  After everyone's shoes had dried and their jeans had been through the dryer, we headed to a park to go sledding.
We all straggled home tired and wet.  Poor Rachel was more worn out than the rest of us, as she was slogging through snow to her waist! 

This week was not at all as we had imagined it would be.  We had planned to be gone 2 days and ended up away for 4.  We all missed an entire week of school!  We prepared for a funeral and ended up with two Snow Days.  It was just life - grief and joy all mixed together and nothing going according to plan.  But the gift of unexpected time with people we love?  That was priceless...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Remembering Great Grandma

Steve's grandma Annabelle died yesterday morning.  She was 96 years old and ready to go "home", but we still mourn her loss. 

Grandma greeted me with hugs the first time I ever met her and always treated me as if I were another of her grandchildren.  The last of my grandparents died a few years after Steve and I were married, so it felt good to have another "grandma" in my life.  And Grandma was a character!  She grew up in the Oklahoma panhandle during the Depression in circumstances that had to have been dire, but she had fond memories of her childhood.  She lived frugally all her life and was either very independent or very stubborn, depending on whom you asked.  Grandma loved sports, especially Royals baseball and KU basketball, and had an opinion on just about everything.  She was a good cook and her chocolate cakes were amazing.  For years, she baked a chocolate cake for each grandchild for Christmas - the grandkids had to supply the cake carrier. She also put up endless jars of apricot preserves from her huge apricot tree.  I remember arriving at her house once to find 87 year old Grandma barefoot and six foot off the ground in the apricot tree!  Grandma was funny and feisty and I always looked forward to seeing her. 

When Steve and I began the adoption process, we worried about how Grandma would accept our future children.  Adoption was something of a foreign concept to her and her ideas on race were those of her Depression era upbringing.  What was she going to think about a Chinese great granddaughter?  We needn't have worried!  Grandma and Katherine adored each other from the first time they set eyes on one another.  Grandma loved talking to Katherine and singing K-K-K-Katie to her.  Katherine loved visiting Great Grandma's house and playing with the box of 40 year old toys stored in the front bedroom.  By the time Rachel came home, Grandma's health was beginning to fail and she had moved into an assisted living facility.  But she still loved seeing my girls.  Steve's parents would print off my blog and take it to Grandma, so she could see the pictures and hear the stories.  I always took pictures of the girls with their Great Grandma, because I knew their time with her would be short.  I am so glad that I did!
I am so glad that my girls had Great Grandma in their lives.  I'm grateful that they got to experience four generations of family and the love shared among them.  They may not remeber much about their Great Grandma, but I will.  She was a special lady...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Making Messes

Granny heard of a new messy slime/dough to try and invited the girls to come and play.  She mixed corn stach and shaving cream and turned them loose.  Granny is always ready to make a mess! 
It was a glorious mess and the girls had a fabulous time playing in it.  (The table and floor were easily cleaned with a wet cloth and a broom.)  Not every kid has a Granny who loves to make messes.  I'm glad mine do!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Reader To Be

I am proud to say that I am raising a couple of book worms.  We love books at our house.  Lots of books.  There are books pretty much everywhere.  They are my addiction and now they are the girls', too.  And despite the shelves and bags and piles of books at home, we are avid users of the public library.  We live by the philosophy that you can never have too many books, even if they're just borrowed.

Rachel was 3 when she began insisting on checking out "chapter books" from the library.  Everyone else in the family read long, pictureless books so she wanted some, too.  She did not want anyone to read these books to her.  No way.  They were for her to read by herself, 'cause she was Big.  She has contined checking out "chapter books" every single library visit.  She knows the location of the Magic Treehouse, Rainbow Fairy, and Junie B. Jones series.  She frequently dismisses books because she has already "read" them.  She carefully watches what Katherine checks out and then checks the same book out for herself later.  She has recently branched out into new sections of the library because she wants "fatter" books.  She is trying to convince Kate to follow her lead on this.  She was especially pleased with today's pick - it's fat AND it has a sparkly horse on the cover.  She knows Kate likes horses and she's just sure that her sister will be jealous!
Rachel has been carrying around her "chapter books" for two years now.  She hauls them from room to room and packs them for trips in the car.  She flips through the pages.  She sits with a book on her lap and stares at the grand mystery of print and imagines.
Over the past couple of weeks, Rachel's passion for chapter books has deepened.  She pores over pages looking for words she knows, like "Mom" and "Dad" and "love".  The Rainbow Fairy series has a main character named Rachel, so Rae searches every page in a Where's Waldo search for her name.  Sometimes I hear her spelling out words, letter by letter.  She announces which chapter she's on.  Now that she's moved to "fatter" books, she has become obsessed with finding page 100 in every book she sees. You can practically see her longing to really and truly READ.
I can't wait to see her unlock the magic of all of those words.  It won't be long...

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