Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Prep and Replanning

We started out the week making some yummy snacks to take to the Easter Egg Hunt for our Moms Club.  
 Though this week was nice and spring-like, Monday morning didn't get the notice so we started out our egg hunt in snowpants and mittens.  Though Catherine was loathe to take them off (after an entire season of fighting she finally gets it) she decided eggs were far more important than warm hands.
 Matthew checking out his loot:
 By then end of the hunt the sun had come out and winter clothes were being strewn all around the park.  By that afternoon, we were down to just fleece vests and more of Catherine helping push Matthew:
Catherine has one of the saddest of sad faces.  She had just bonked her head playing on the stairs and decided Daddy hugs were the best:
 But a few bounces on Daddy's lap later:
 And she was ready to go!

 The next day we dropped brother off at preschool, headed to the library and then Catherine got her first haircut.  I've been hemming and hawing about bangs for a while but as I'd gotten tired of not ever seeing her eyes I went for it (and by I, I mean I paid someone a disproportionate amount to snip off her bangs because I was afraid to do it.)  Catherine did okay with the haircut itself but was not pleased with the combing and brushing of whatever breakfast food was stuck in her hair that I had neglectfully forgotten to take care of before we left the house.
 She would not give us a smile:
 But at least I got her to look at the camera eventually:

 I wasn't in love with them when she first got them but they are starting to grow on me.   Then it was off to the playground where little Ms. Fearless decided to try and rock the tightrope.  The influence of an older brother is amazing.
 We also dyed our Easter eggs this week.   Matthew was being squirrelly about pictures:
 And Catherine was hamming it up:

 Her tongue-out-I'm-concentrating-really-hard face:
 Out of 18 eggs we only cracked 3 and we didn't spill any dye cups this year so all in all I'd say it was a win!
 And the finished products.  Matthew made sure each egg was dyed at least twice.  *Coming up is a longer than necessary rant* Many years ago our family discovered that the eggs came out brighter if we put two dye tablets in each cup.  Basically you'd just buy 2 boxes and then match up the little tablets.  I'm still annoyed that PAAS gives you 12 colors now but this does not necessarily mean the 6 traditional colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple in my mind) plus extra or two of each color.  Even after wetting each tablet I still have no idea what color some of them were, nor did they match up well or at all.  Our eggs turned out nice but is it too much to ask for 6 normal tablets?
Anyway, since the weather was so gorgeous this weekend we got out for a hike with friends.  The kids entertained themselves with the cattails:
 And the airplanes up above:
 And some fence climbing and snacking:

We spent the rest of the week hanging out at parks, riding trikes and allowing for general spring fun.
Unfortunately right after this picture Thursday night it all changed.  James has been working late on Thursdays to build up some excess vacation time so it's just me and the kiddos.  Now that the sun is shining in the evenings we tend to stay out and up a little too late.  We ended up doing this and the kiddos kinda lost it before bedtime.  As I was rushing to get them into PJs and bed before we all lost our minds I noticed Catherine sounded hoarse.  I didn't think much of it until after I'd put her to bed and then the word croup crept into my brain.  I told James my suspicions sprinkled with lots of "but I'm sure I'm just being crazy" but by the time we went to bed Catherine had her first of many croupy, gaspy episodes.  She had it last fall so I knew that even though it's crazy scary it's also not super serious and improves pretty quickly.  However, one night of worrying about whether or not your child is getting enough oxygen is enough for anyone so we made sure to get to the doctor early for the steroid treatment.  This helped her symptoms immensely, but she was still contagious and the Dr. recommended she keep her germs to herself and we not share them with the elderly or babies, which meant no trip to grandma's this weekend :(

Matthew has been quite distraught about the whole thing and it definitely put me in a bit of a funk as I was super excited to go.  Growing up, Easter was always at grandma's and even though it's now small and different, it's a great place to celebrate and we all can't wait to see grandma soon.  Croup (or Catherine's version) is really tough because she acts very normal during the day, even when she's up wheezing all night, so it's hard to remember she's sick (or at least contagious).  We also picked up a fun Easter flower arrangement for grandma that's now sitting here and the bicycle the Easter Bunny was going to bring Matthew (we wanted to get him one earlier than his birthday so the Easter Bunny chipped in) is at her house.  We are keeping our fingers crossed we can stay healthy enough to go next weekend.

In the meantime we are making lemonade out of lemons and Matthew and I had a very nice mother-son day.  We headed out to the Museum for their egg hunt again.  Matthew was ecstatic to run into one of his friends (combined with his new, dorky "cheese" face that he uses even when he has not been asked to smile):
 Concentrating really hard on the eggs:
 More cheese face and his basket.  It's definitely a very appropriate basket for the Museum!
 Once inside, Matthew headed straight for the prehistoric sealife exhibits (his new "favorite") and then to the Rainforest for more time on the spider web:
 Meanwhile, back at home, Matthew and I had hidden some eggs outside for Catherine to find while we were gone:

We ended up heading across the street to another big egg hunt put on by a local church.  While we had no intention of making the egg hunt (which we missed by about 3 minutes), we ran into a lot of friends both attending and helping with the hunt.  Matthew got his face painted with a football by one his favorite babysitters (and found some chocolate to eat of course!)
 On our way back to the car Matthew wanted to head back to the Museum.  It was so nice to spend some one on one time with him I agreed.  When I'm not teaching preschool Catherine and I get some one-on-one time but I rarely get it with Matthew so it was really nice to spend most of the day with just the little dude (and without the requisite sibling rivalry over anything and everything).  Days like today are such a strong reminder of how much he is growing up and adopting many grown-up mannerisms and opinions.

We managed to make it back to the Museum just in time for a Big Bird planetarium show.  They recently overhauled our planetarium and we had never been so it seemed like a good time.  Matthew really enjoyed it!
 Then it was off to a special lunch with Mommy (complete with special drink!), some grocery shopping where Matthew could push the cart the whole way (without Catherine kicking him in the face) and then back home.
 For reasons that are still not clear to me (though I fully believe James when he describes that this was "what Catherine wanted to do"), James and Catherine were having a hot cocoa and snack party in his parked car when we returned.  She seemed to be having an awesome time:

We ended the day with our first burgers on the grill for the season and preparing the house for the Easter Bunny's arrival.   Catherine is still coughing a lot at night but the medicine keeps her from gasping and (mostly) from waking up which makes her (and me) more pleasant to be around.  Now if we can avoid the probable ear infection on the heels of all this goopiness we will be golden!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Home Away from Home Repair

After our big cabin getaway the other weekend, I got bit by the camping bug.  Since we had gathered all our gear up, I figured we'd pop open the camper and organize a bit.  I also did a bit more research into winter camping.  We put some insulation under the beds of the camper, picked up a little propane heater and finally got Catherine a real sleeping bag.  We even had our first backyard s'mores of the season:

The forecast for the next weekend was showing lows right around freezing for the night and 55 degree days.   Since this has pretty much killed any of the xc skiing close to home I got excited about switching into camping season.   Long story short, as we were packing up the camper we discovered that the seals on our roof seams were shot and the camper had taken on a lot of water in the foam and wood in the roof.  On top of that both kiddos picked up colds.

Soooo, we've spent the last 2 weekends at home working on the camper.  Unfortunately this has also meant that 80% of the photos I've taken recently are of rotted wood, screw holes and other various angles of the camper to help guide us through our reconstruction.  We are hoping to have the roof mostly put back together by the end of this week.  On the days when it's nice out, the kiddos ride up and down the sidewalk on their trikes and tractors while we work in the garage (or Matthew convinces Catherine to push him!).  Even with their colds I have been trying to get them outside at least an hour a day, partially to force myself to get some yardwork/garage work done but mostly for my sanity as they sleep better, eat better and are generally better behaved with lots of outdoor time.

 Or we've gotten a bit of spring fever and have been headed out to our favorite parks, or walking to the grocery store with a park stop thrown in:

On the days when the weather has been less than nice we have either put the kids to work:

 Or they drive us batty.  On the not-so-nice days they run figure 8s in the garage (generally fussing about the other one touching something) while James and I try not to get tetenus from the camper edges that we are squeezing around.  We are at a stage with lots of gluing and painting where we need to keep as much heat in the garage as possible so things work and flow.  Hopefully the weatherman is right when he predicts nicer weather coming this week.

During our nice weeks we've been spending a lot of time outside as the kids ride up and down the sidewalk, chase the cats or move rocks and dirt from one location to another.  This whole change in seasons is quite exhausting!
We celebrated St. Patrick's Day with some dancing:
And kisses from Elmo:
We headed out to the museum to check out the new rainforest exhibit:
And helped put on a craft day with jell-o, popsicle painting:
Followed by a much needed bath:
At some point in one of our moves I downsized from 5 or so potato peelers to 1.  I have since realized one should have at least 1 per child in the house, which may explain why grandma Jennie had at least 4 in hers.  Until we up our peeler numbers, Matthew's a pretty good dicer:
But mostly he really likes tossing them in the water:
Meanwhile Catherine's language is in the process of exploding as she experiments with more and more words everyday.  You can tell what we've been preoccupied with the camper/camping as some of her clearest words are "flashlight" and "hot cocoa please".  Another favorite is "Sky NO!" as he is just the right height to steal snacks from her hand.
And Matthew playing with his new Vet get-up from Amma and Papa.  He's pretty serious about taking care of the stuffed animals in the house.

Five on Friday

1.  Look at these winter white legs out enjoying the sunshine at the dino park.  Spring has FINALLY sprung! These boys went from winter di...