Still Catching Up...

I wish I could devote more time to blogging these days, but the best I can do is to post when I can.

Stay tuned...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Carving Treasures

It is finally spring & the kids are excited about going letterboxing again. We took our first trip of the season afterschool on a nice afternoon, and the kids have been asking about it since. Unfortunately, our schedule and the weather haven't lined up properly, so we have begun doing some indoor letterboxing preparation.

In a couple weeks we will be introducing the Tumbleweed's Daisy Girl Scout troop to letterboxing so we decided to prepare a new stamp to hide for our trip. I have only carved a couple of stamps myself, but since the Tumbleweed was so eager to try I let her help me carve the "Daisy Learning Petals" stamp. She did a great job :)

We have picked up stamp pads in each of the colors of the Daisy Girl Scout learning petals for the girls to use on our hike. They look great with the stamp :) I will be heading out to hide the new letterbox before the event in a temporary location, then afterward we will move it to a permanent location. I am participating in a letterboxing challenge to plant 100 Girl Scout themed letterboxes in Connecticut before the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts next year, so the box will eventually find a home in northeastern Connecticut.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's About Time

Some projects tend to get pushed aside. What seemed like a pressing thing at one point in time gradually gets put off and practically forgotten. That is what happened to my kitchen chairs.

Notice how they chair fabric doesn't match the curtains or floor? Well I noticed that too. In the summer of 2006 when we moved into our house.

I picked out the blue and yellow chair fabric in 2000. I didn't have a kitchen yet, but in my dream world it would match my future kitchen. And it did match our townhouse kitchen from 2001-2004. And it worked fine in our apartment from 2004-2006. But when we purchased our house I knew it was time to go, so I bought some fabric. And that is as far as I got...

Some days I didn't mind the old fabric. Those were the days when the kids were spilling chocolate milk on them. Some days I would look at them and think, "I really need to get to that project!"

Well, almost 5 years after I bought the fabric I have finally recovered the chairs. Tada!

Chair Close-up

The finished kitchen!

Thanks to my sister for the blog post of her refinished kitchen table that reminded me that my kitchen need a little facelift too. Thanks to the Eagle for taking the kids on a little overnight so I could get out the staple gun. And thank you to my organizer, who told me I should get rid of the fabric if I was never going to use it, which reminded me I should move the project up on my to do list!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Breakfast Elves

Yesterday morning, much to my surprise, I walked into the kitchen to find this:

the Dandelion making his own breakfast, and his sister's!

How cool is that? Do you know what is cooler? He did it again this morning with no help. And while he did that, the Tumbleweed made my breakfast (cereal & milk). The Tumbleweed is working on an activity for Girl Scouts where she does nice things for other people and leave a little paper behind that says "A Girl Scout was here". External motivation or not, I could really get used to this!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

First Race of 2011

The Tumbleweed kicked off the 2011 race season this week, participating in a 1 mine fun run at her school. The race was a fundraiser for a group running in the Boston Marathon in a couple weeks and it was the perfect way to start the year, except for the fact that it was at the same time as the Tumbleweed's gymnastics practice.

Initially, I said no. She already had a commitment and there would be other races to run. Which was the truth. Having already read the notice that came home from school about the race, she was really upset and asked why we couldn't skip gymnastics just this once. Parenting dilemma - is this the time to discuss "commitment" or is this a time to say "okay, if it means that much to you we'll change our plan"?

Since she has been at every gymnastics practice all year except one (strep throat in October), I decided to compromise. She could run the race, but we couldn't stay for the whole event, we would leave when she finished and head straight to gymnastics for the second half of practice. A stressful plan for me, but she was thrilled.

She was even more thrilled with how she finished the race. She won 3rd place in the 6-7 age group! Having just celebrated her birthday, she was probably one of the youngest in that group too. She got a 3rd place award sticker, which she refused to stick to her shirt so she could save it "forever".

We made to gymnastics a little later than I would have liked, but better late than never.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gallery Wall

My mom and my sister got me thinking about wall photo galleries with their recent blog posts. If you have been to my house, you've probably seen my wall gallery in the family room.

A combination of matted professional photos from the kids' first birthdays and Photoshop collages of them as babies, it is our own little time capsule.

*See this blog post on The Inspired Room Gallery Wall link party.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Family Workout Time

aka Mommy Gets to Sleep In Time

Yesterday the Eagle decided to try taking the kids down to his workout space in the basement while he got a training ride in. He put the TV on Nick Jr and set them up with some chairs and breakfast. Before long, the kids were asking to exercise too. And "Family Workout Time" was started.

This morning, despite the fact that they had already woken me up, they asked the Eagle if they could do it again. So off they went to put on sneakers and I got to see what they did yesterday...

The Tumbleweed showed me her chin-up practice with the TRX bungees:

The Dandelion walked on the treadmill while he watched TV, under the control panel!

Then the Tumbleweed got on the treadmill and cranked up the speed to a run

Amazingly, they don't seem tired after an hour of "treadmilling" (the Dandelion's term).

Friday, April 1, 2011

Progress Report

The kids have each gotten good reports from their teachers recently. The Tumbleweed was selected to receive the "Excellent Effort" award for her class based on the improvement she has made on her handwriting recently.

The Dandelion and I went to a special award's ceremony where we got to see her receive her certificate from the school principal.

Since the beginning of the school year, one thing that the Tumbleweed has been working on is her handwriting. It was something that her teachers did not focus on enough last year, leaving her a little behind the others in her class this year. While she was able to effectively communicate her message, she didn't always use capitals and lowercases correctly and hadn't learned to leave spaces between words. She also has a tendency to rush through her work.

But after some concentrated effort, she has been producing school work like this:

The Dandelion has also made progress by leaps & bounds at school over the past month. Recently, I wrote about how he doesn't like to write anything. Well, apparently my reverse psychology (which he did not even know about) worked.

The last two Thursdays I have picked him up from school and the teacher has said that he had a "fantastic day!" I could tell she meant it because she went out of her way to tell me about his day and all the things he had tried. Usually, I try to catch one of the teachers and ask "how is he doing?" from time to time, and I get a simple answer. But not over the past two weeks. She told me that he had participated in all of the stations, had made every craft, and even tried writing his name.

Here is one paper he came home with, the first one where I have seen him write more than the "C" in his name:

We are so proud of both of them!