Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Very Frozen 3rd Birthday

Here's a peak at how we celebrated R's 3rd birthday

M didn't feel great so this is how I found her when we walked in from swim class!

I think the cake turned out great! I found only later that R really did not like her cake - maybe it was the raspberry filing? 

As for the other food, we had pulled pork, a tray of Chick-Fil-A nuggets (which I thought was going to be too much but then there were 6 left!), slaw, pretzels, carrots, grapes and popcorn. I was bound and determined not to run out of food.

Hues of the cake!

R working on her Frozen puzzle

Chicken nuggets  = happy kids

R was so excited over "big boxes" and wanted to move on once she has just unwrapped the boxes but we convinced her to open the box first : ) 

Frozen dress up! E was OBSESSED with trying on the Elsa dress which I would not let her do until after cake and until after R got the first chance

3 is such a fun age for unwrapping presents

Best card reaction EVER

R freaked out when she saw Olaf on the card!

And had to run and show her Olaf the card

Olaf nearly took a nose dive into the cake 

R was alittle bashful when we sang to her

But she perked up to blow out the candle

Stop everything and take a family pic!

Giving the Elsa costume a whirl! Which was good because E has lived in it ever since!

The girls making Grammy proud practicing ballet - she's given them each a ballerina outfit and bag for their third birthdays and they've been having afternoon practice sessions ever since. Looks like ballet might be in our future : ) 

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

7QTs - Great and Holy Lent is Upon Us

Good old Lent... I am quite happy it is that time of year again

--- 1 ---

Lent for me is a time of penance, sacrificing, and reflecting. It is a time when I really try to decrease so that He may increase. Jesus fasted and prayed in the desert for 40 days once if not twice that is recorded in the Bible. He overcame the temptations of the evil one because of His fasting and praying.

People have written some excellent posts on how they are celebrating Lent with their families - driving the point home for smaller children can be a lot more challenging. If you asked our kids what was involved with Lent you'd probably get - praying the Rosary (we do this on the ride to school), going to Presanctified Liturgy (my first Byzantine / Eastern Catholic experience - very moving), Fish Fries and Stations of the Cross (because well, we like our local Roman Catholic church alot too : )

--- 2 ---

Monday came along and it was a day off from school so no Rosary - Byzantine Lent begins at sundown on Cheesefare/Forgiveness Sunday so the first full day of Lent is Monday; no Ashes on Wednesday here : ) So no Rosary on Monday because I was out of my zone and figured we could catch up later in the week. But then the snow came and we weren't in school for a week!

The first week of Lent was turning out to be a you-can-only-go-up-from-here kinda week. Friday I buckled down and had us say the first decade during our morning prayer time. (and we said the second decade on the way to Stations so three more left before Monday) 

When I got home from work I gave E and R their candles and we did our first 'Hide-and-Pray' (which I had been meaning to also start on Monday). Why electric tea-lights? I have no idea. It gives them something to hold and to look at and if they choose a hiding spot in a closet then they can still see. 

I guess my hope for Hide-and-Pray is that the girls will learn to stop and take a few (we are starting at 2 minutes now) and talk to God and thank Him for their days and pray for anyone who needs it. E has reported to me on several occasion that 'she doesn't know how to pray' and I just tell her to talk to God. R is not too terribly into Hide-and-Pray other than the hiding part of our 2 minutes but its a start. It is my hope that we can continue Hide-and-Pray once Lent is over - getting it started is the hardest part of creating a new habit, you know? 

I'm going to try and prayer The Angelus during our 2 minutes. 

--- 3 ---

Speaking of praying... If you could spare a prayer for Lindsay and her baby that would be awesome.

--- 4 ---

This isn't terribly Lenten centered but it did happen the first week of Lent so whatever... 

The girls set up some form of a church service for their animals while we were at home all week...

After some singing they gave them communion in the form of puzzle pieces and all I kept hearing was "R you have the HOLY CHALICE"

I cannot say I was overly surprised because we know a priest with 6 daughters and he has found them recreating parts of Liturgy. So... I guess they are daughters after their Papa's heart. 

--- 5 ---

We did not make it to Presanctified this week because of the snow but we were able to go to the Fish Fry on Friday... We got one of the last plates BECAUSE THEY ALWAYS RUN OUT THE FIRST WEEK... ALWAYS

R kept saying that we were going to a Fren Fry and that she wanted to go to McDonalds and play on the playground. E and I tried to convince her that it was a FISH FRY and that the playground would be too cold - thank you 20 degree freezing-ness. We got to church and R said - "Where are we?" 

I never grew up going to Fish Fries - or at least I don't remember going to any but maybe my memory is not serving me well. Definitely meatless Fridays during Lent growing up though. Anyhow, we've been going to Fish Fry and Stations of the Cross starting our third year now and I really enjoy this tradition the girls have come to expect. Food + (usually time to play) + church = excellent. The ONLY complaint I have with our Friday night activities in that Stations starts at 7 which is passed M's bedtime and nearing the big girls bedtime. So when we roll into the garage at 8:15 and everyone is out of sorts and screaming and loud and everything... take a deep breathe and put them on a crash course to bed : ) 

--- 6 ---

So we headed to Stations after the Fish Fry (of course we HAD to use the bathroom in the basement first). It is easy to forgot how loud a small person's voice can be in a quiet church with high ceilings. We got into our whisper mode and made our camp in our normal spot - last pew on the right. Our church does not have pews (they are not traditional in Byzantine churches) so seats without separation and kneelers are quite the novelty at first. 

For some reason E did not want to sit by herself this time - which was probably better because sometime she needs a little refresher on behavior and I need to be close. So I was placing bets with myself on how long we'd last. 3 yr old + 15 month (past bedtime) = doomed, right? Wrong. Fortunately this generous mother sent her daughter over to our pew. Older girl for E and R to look up to. Check. Someone creating a divider between E and R. Check. Someone to hold book open so I could pray as I rangled the cling-on-child M. YES. Seriously, seriously. Possibly one of the best Stations experiences we've had. 

And if you've wondering where Papa was during all this... You know when the priest barely has a voice because he's sick - guess who is called to action for leading Stations. Yep. You guessed. He is always with the group leading Stations anyways so it is always me and the girls so nothing out of the ordinary I suppose. Oh to be a deacon's wife : ) 

Though I will say I have high hopes for R to improve. She lounged around on the pew (which is not great). I think once E gets back into things then HOPEFULLY R will take the cue and maybe we'll have more visitors our pew too. 

--- 7 ---

Now I probably should have made this one first...

You cannot going into Fasting and Pray mode without a party before hand right? 

Several weeks ago my parents hosted their annual Marti Gras party - not actually on Fat Tuesday. I think it was several Saturdays before actually

Burying the baby

Last year E got the baby in her piece of cake so you get the bebe, you bring the cake next year. 

Heart in the middle of the King Cake : ) 

All decorated for the party : ) 

I'll have to do a post with some Marti Gras pics but we had a fun time and we're not bringing the cake next year!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

5 Favs - Thoughts on Being Snowed In..

Well actually we are iced in... What does that actually mean? Monday the girls were off for school - thank you Presidents Day - and Tuesday was the icing day and yesterday was icey roads day, today is all the shady spots did not melt at all day, and tomorrow will be arctic blast day. So five days. At home. With the kids.

Last year when it seemed we were perpetually snowed in every other week for 8 weeks I kinda got stir crazy and wasn't loving life because kids off school = no bueno for my schedule. This time I'm seeing these days off in a slightly different light. Basically, next year if we homeschool being at home all the time will be my reality - though in my grandest dreams the littles will still go to preschool so that I can focus the morning on getting school done.

Anyhow, I digress..


The sleet and ice that snowed us in didn't actually completely cover all the grassy spots : ) 

We went sledding...

It loads of fun I promise!

That would be the sled I got for Christmas 15+ years ago : ) 

Normally when it is less than 60 degrees I veto going outside because I cannot stand being cold. But when there's snow on the ground I get overridden. The girls piled up ice and snow at the bottom of the slide to get alittle bit longer ride. 

Then we went on a walk down the street and I convinced them to sit down and ride the (really small) hill sitting down. They probably could have done that for several hours. They thought it was hilarious. 

# 2

I definitely have learned that once the playing gets out of control regrouping for some workbook/coloring time is good to break things up. And of course snack. However trying to get E to focus on a page is super difficult when R is calling for snack or E is trying to manage what R is coloring. 

# 3

We've done lots of puzzles... 

# 4 

We've done lots Legos 


There have been many tents built

Thursday, February 12, 2015

And Someone Turned 3

We had a birthday in our house the other day... 

In accordance with our normal birthday tradition it was pancakes or waffles for breakfast...

You choose pancakes

Big sister commadeered the birthday balloon but you being you didn't mind too much. 

3 pankcakes all around... 

I should have known something was up with these but the griddle was acting weird and not heating.. maybe because I did not have have it plugged in all the way. 

And breakfast pretty much went down hill from there. I was cutting up your pancake and it tasted super weird but I didn't say anything and then E said something about how they tasted funny so and Lee said they tasted 'fishy' Soooooo... we scraped the pancakes and gave you a raincheck until dinner time. At that time I will use baking POWDER and not baking soda. I promise I triple checked the recipe and I still grabbed the wrong thing. So good thing you are super laid back because we switched to the standard 'pillows' aka frosted mini wheats and we were good. Though I did feel REALLY bad...

Being that you are 3 cheeseballs were on the docket for snack at school plus juice boxes and chocolate Teddy Grahams. For some crazy reason you passed over the Oreos for the Teddy Grahams - Hey it was your birthday so I was not going to argue : ) 

I dressed M first today and you picked out a dress to match her even though I kinda wished you had picked something non-matching on your special day - again not going to argue with the birthday girl...

It was FREEZING cold and rainy so I put the juice boxes in your bookbag which probably tripled the normal weight and you insisted on proudly carrying your bert-day snacks around school. We dropped E off at her class and E screamed "TODAY IS R'S BIRTHDAY" as she walked into her room - it was awesome : ) 

On the way to your class you were running and fell and thought it was hilarious and then you couldn't get back up because the juice boxes were weighing you down. 

You had been BEGGING for hot dogs for weeks and I finally found some on sale last night so you were excited about lunch! Then it was off to rest without too much of a fight : ) 


Familiar scene from oh 9 hours before....

My helper extraordinaire... slash what do you do with a baby who is crying and wants to be held... give them a paper towel of course!

Things appearing that I did not have a #momfail. And I didn't. I totally delivered on round two of birthday pancakes and everyone got seconds and I had some to freeze for a raining day. I don't feel totally redeemed from the morning but whatever...

After dinner it was present time. We got you a dress which in a 3 yr old's world is not overly exciting but we saved the best for last. E and M got you on Olaf and you love it. Not that we need ANOTHER STUFFED ANIMAL in the house but when E and I saw it we knew it had your name on it. 

Then right before Papa had to scoot out for Bible Study we sang Happy Birthday and Many Happy Returns and had two massive cupcakes from the HT. Your party is in a few days but we couldn't not have some candles for you to blow out on your birthday. 

The cupcakes were well received for sure : ) 

I moved poor Olaf to a high perch so that he would not be covered in blue frosting because both you and E couldn't wait to get your hands on him after dessert. After so thorough washing and soaping and rewashing I think we got most of the blue off your hands and face  : ) 

And that's how the birthday 'actual day' went down