Friday, February 20, 2015

February Vacation

Even though the kids need time off from school like they need a hole in the head, it was vacation week this week. And though the snow is a pain in everyone's butt, we still needed to get out of the house. It's just crucial to dress the kids in bright colors so they don't get lost in the drifts!



On Tuesday we had a bowling date with some friends.







We had some good pizza afterwards and Maddy finally got to have her "Minion" cupcakes.



On Wednesday I took the kids to the movies to see Paddington. When we bought the tickets only the front row was available but we made do with the fully reclining seats. I doubt they will see a movie any other way from now on.



On Thursday we went to the MFA.



We saw a really cool demonstration of African drumming and dancing. And afterwards, when they asked for volunteers Audrey hopped right up to get a drum lesson from an expert.



And then she joined right into the free-for-all dance and drum mosh pit.



Our friends Amaia and Kai were there too. Audrey and Kai look like they may have some stolen art in their pockets.



Before leaving, Audrey got some drawing in.



And I made them take the obligatory look-how-deep-the-snow-is photo.



On Friday we concluded vacation week with a trip to the Museum of Science with Audrey's friend Daniela.





It was a busy week! I need a vacation from vacation week!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Birthday Weekend #2

Another birthday to celebrate, another blizzard to prepare for....

At least the timing of this weekend's blizzard didn't cause any problems for Maddy's favorite event of the Girl Scout year: the cookie booth sale!



All the girls did a great job.



And Maddy did a great job as Chief Financial Officer of the cookie booth!



After Maddy's shift at the cookie booth we had enough time to squeeze in a birthday lunch at our favorite Mexican place. Audrey enjoyed wearing the sombrero very much!



After lunch, we got back into hunker mode as the snow was starting to fall by then. Even though the kids' birthday party had to be canceled, Audrey didn't want to miss out on her Elmo cake and she even could help this year.






Sunday was a lazy day, just watching the snow fall, playing a little "Don't Break the Ice"...



...before having a birthday party via FaceTime.



On Sunday night we let Maddy stay up a little while to see the SNL40 special. She got to see a lot of her favorites...Clark Grizwald, Peter Venkman, Gilda Radner, Buddy the Elf (playing the Jeopardy host.) I think we blew Maddy's mind a little bit!



Luckily Monday was a holiday anyway, because the roads were not great and the subway was not running. Another great day for snuggling in bed with some "friends" and some books.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Four

Happy Fourth Birthday Audrey!



You've grown up so fast over the last year, you are breaking my heart. Slow it down, please! Every day for the last two weeks the first thing you ask me every morning is "Am I four yet?" I'm afraid that for you, having a big sister that seems SO cool makes being "yittle" simply intolerable.



You have a very strong will and tend to go your own way. I love your stubborn streak even when you won't believe me when I tell you that we actually speak English and that the Johnny Depp Willy Wonka is NOT a girl (I know, on that one I can't really blame you!) You know what kind of music you like (Camper van Beethoven) and what you want more than anything in the world (a doggie named Buster). In every way, you're girl who knows what she wants, and I think that's awesome.



When I think that in just a year and a half you'll be trotting off to kindergarten, I can't believe it. But I know you'll be ready. Last fall you started preschool two morning a week and you love it! One day last month I volunteered in your classroom and it was so much fun seeing your school life. You are a great student! And your teachers tell me the same thing. You take your projects very seriously! You're a great listener but you're also not afraid to speak up and have your voice heard. I admire that about you and hope you never lose that quality as you grow up.



All that learning has made you wicked smart (or "smaht" depending on who's saying it.) Lately you're really interested in expanding your vocabulary. You like to define words for me like "considerate" when you are actually being considerate. Did I mention that you also don't like your good deeds so go unnoticed! Lately you've become really interested in finding out how to spell various words and what sounds different letters make. It's so exciting seeing you take these first steps toward reading. And by the way, I'm done playing memory with you. There's only so much humiliation a person can take!



One major way that you are different from your sister is your love of art and craft projects. If Maddy's teacher had requested fifteen Valentines, I would have driven us to Target posthaste and picked out a box, probably ones with temporary tattoos since those are super-classy! I never would have dreamed of making them at home. However, when I asked you what we should do, you immediately wanted to make them yourself. And being that we're on our 73rd snow day, I thought, "What the heck, what else are we doing?!" You take lots of pride in your work and I'm so proud that you can write your name with a little bit of guidance.



Your teachers tell me you are a great friend to your preschool buddies. But still, your number one partner in crime is your sister. I love all the games you guys come up with.



And like your sister, you are pretty hilarious. You guys are into knock-knock jokes and any other kind of corny humor. But you have actually patented your own joke. It goes like this:

"What did the two bananas say to the penguin?"
"Nothing. Bananas don't talk."

Now I'll grant you that's pretty funny, but you didn't stop there. You have a whole line of "Nothing...so-and-so doesn't talk!" jokes where you tell the joke using whatever items are within eyeshot. It shouldn't be funny the 1000th time, but somehow you keep it fresh.



And this winter requires that we keep a sense of humor, or go nuts! The crazy weather has been very challenging for me. But for you, not so much. Every snow bank is a mountain to be climbed, every walk to school is a good reason for a snowball fight. I should find this annoying, but your exuberant attitude is actually making me hate winter less. But only slightly less. I'd love to see this winter through your eyes (snowbanks taller than you, narrow snow tunnels everywhere) for just a little while. Then I want it to go away.



Seeing the world through your eyes is a beautiful thing! Happy Birthday Audrey!

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Birthday Weekend #1

Things are still pretty challenging around here. Heaps and heaps of snow are everywhere and even more is falling tonight. Maddy has another snow day tomorrow (I would assume it was a secret birthday wish of hers, but even she is sick of snow days!)

On the upside, all that snow makes a nice barrier between us and the traffic. This is helpful for the hike to are car as we'll probably not be able to park near our house until June!



On Saturday morning we had to divide and conquer. Bob had to go on a Girl Scout Cookie mission while Maddy and I took the subway to her swim lesson. Maddy never misses an opportunity to reenact her favorite scene from the movie Elf.



In the afternoon, we had a little time to organize our cookies before shipping the kids off on their first sleepover...



...at Auntie Tricia and Uncle Kenny's house. Grandma and Grandfather had to postpone their trip here due to the weather, and since we still needed a sitter for Bob's office party, we thought this would be a great time to break in our new Auntie.



They had a great time watching movies and having ice cream sundaes.



Half of the kids acted reasonable at bedtime. The other half shall remain nameless, Audrey Lynn.



For breakfast, there were 'birthday pancakes' with sprinkles and whipped cream. I didn't think they'd ever want to come home again!



We ran some errands in the snowy and slushy Harvard Square before the birthday girl got to pick a restaurant for lunch. Maddy picked our new favorite place, JW's!



After lunch, all we had to do was hunker down (again), wait for the next 18-24 inches of snow and bake a birthday cake!

Eight

Happy Eighth Birthday Maddy!

It's been a great year. I know I am biased, but you are a delightful human being in pretty much every way. I love this age. You are interesting to talk with and yet you don't think your dad and I are total losers (yet). I wish this age could last forever.

Aside from the fact that you always seem to be in a good mood, I think the first thing that people comment about you is your sense of humor. You've always been funny, but humor with a second-grader's enthusiasm is just hilarious.



Funny accents, fart humor, knock-knock jokes, you name it and you're doing it. Why simply walk when you can have a silly walk contest?

That's not to say you're never serious. You still love school and I'm so proud of how well you are doing! I think the thing that is so awesome is your curiosity. No matter what you are learning about it is the most interesting thing ever! You'd go to the Museum of Science every weekend if we'd let you.




I love doing cooking projects with you, though it is curious how whenever you get involved chocolate chips become mandatory.



It's my goal to help you do some cooking projects on your own this year, and we started with making cookies on one of your (MANY!) snow days. It wasn't easy, but between the two of us we can figure out a way for you to do anything you need to do.



Speaking of snow days, this winter has been a challenge! I mean, you guys drink three different kinds of milk and every weather forecast has me running to the grocery store. This state of high alert is exhausting! Still, your spirits are pretty high.



With all this snow, there's been lots of time for your very favorite thing in the world….snuggling with your "friends" and reading books. While all the parents I know are complaining about all the snow days, I keep quiet about the fact that you just entertain yourself pretty much all day. And this year, your reading skills have gotten so good that you like to read non-fiction too. Pompeii, Sacajawea, Milton Hershey….you love to read just about anything! Over breakfast everyday, you sit with your 5000 Amazing Fact book and tell me all sorts of interesting things.



This year you became a lot more open to new things. For example, I was really nervous about how you'd handle being a flower girl in Uncle Kenny's wedding. Walking down the aisle, (briefly) being the center of attention, getting your hair done, wearing new shoes and an itchy dress...all these things I could imagine adding up to to a terrible day for you. But instead, you rolled with the punches, enjoyed the day and made us so proud!



And while you've always been a notoriously picky eater, this year you've let us push you out of your comfort zone a bit. You new favorite food is chicken cordon bleu. And you even let your dad talk you in to trying sushi recently. Clearly, you were not impressed! But you tried it, and that was awesome!



It's such a joy to watch you grow and learn! Your enthusiasm and perpetual bright-side-seeking personality inspire us to look on the bright side too (even when when get even more snow on top of the three plus feet we already have!)



Happy Birthday Maddy! We can't wait to see all the things you'll teach us next year!