Saturday, March 28, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dana!

Dana turned FOUR on Thursday, March 26!

I can't believe that my tiny baby is starting preschool in just a few months. How did time go that fast?

On Thursday, we went to Great Grandma Gloria's house for pizza, cake and ice cream.

Before we could enjoy our food, though, we had to open gifts. Dana is absolutely thrilled with the keyboard she got from Grandma Bev and Grandpa Jerry. She loves to make music and sing songs. Mama, Daddy and Nora got her a swimming doll, something Dana had been asking for for months. It is incredibly creepy. It looks like a normal doll, but when you put it in water, it automatically does the front crawl, including turning its head to "breathe." Dana, of course, thinks it is fantastic! Great Grandma got her three puzzles, which have been a lot of fun, as well as "tickets" (also known as money).

Blowing out candles proved to be tricky. They were not trick candles-I swear! Dana just could not blow them out! It took her several tries, and she finally blew them out, one at a time, in a decidedly juicy fashion. Poor Grandpa was showered throughout this event.

I am not sure what to say about this. On Thursday morning, Dana and I pulled out my entire collection of cake pans. People, I have about a billion of them, so this took a while. After sifting through hearts, flowers, stars and the like, my little princess selected this beautiful skull pan. I am pretty sure she chose it because it reminds her of Scooby Doo. I thought it was particularly amusing because she told me the pumpkin pan was "too Halloweenie", yet the skull apparently was not. I have to admit I kind of love that she picked this.

Tomorrow morning, Dana's cousins and little friends are coming over for cake and ice cream. I was wandering around on the World Wide Web and found this. I showed it to Dana and she got so excited! I have attempted to recreate it for her friend party. I realize it is not as cute as the professional one, but I think it came out OK. Plus, none of the guests have seen my inspiration, so they will think I had this wonderful idea all on my own.

We will be celebrating a third time tomorrow evening at Grandma Inese and Grandpa Don's house. I am already exhausted from all of the partying!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sweet Dreams!

Last night, when I went up to read, this is what I found in my bed.

I can't say it looks very comfy, but it sure is sweet!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Things Heard Around Our House

Sometimes kids say funny things and you want to share that with people. So here are some things that have been said in our house in the past week:

Daddy: Nora, how was school today?
Nora: Why do you ask?
Daddy: I'm just curious.
Nora: Don't be a curious monkey!

Dana: Can we go to the seahorse place? (She means the Great Lakes Aquarium.)
Daddy (as he drives past the GLA): They aren't open right now, Dana.
Dana: Well, me and my monkey will see about that!

The girls asked Great Grandma Gloria if they could take this snowman home. Grandma Bev knit it years ago. We sent it on a trip through the washing machine after he got a little dirty on the car ride home.

Dana (upon seeing the snowman after it was washed): Oh, no! What happened to his mouth?
Daddy: It washed off in the washing machine. Don't worry-Mama can sew on a new one.
Dana (with a look of complete scorn on her face): But Dad, she can't because the snowman isn't made out of sew!

As you can see, the problem was remedied with a red marker.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Playing in the Snow

Spring is almost here! It has been warm out, and the snow has been melting and melting. As it melts, it is finally sticky enough to make things out of. Which is fun!

On Monday, Dana and I went outside to play. While we were working on a snow caterpillar, I had the great idea to mix up some food coloring in spray bottles so our creation wouldn't be so bland.

I know-the purple and green don't even really show up. And Dana was decidedly unimpressed with the whole thing. She thought it was more fun to fill up her little watering can with water from the hose spigot and dump it on the caterpillar, watching him melt before her very eyes. Which truly was sort of fun.

I particularly loved this Monday afternoon activity. It was 57 degrees in the shade, which is plenty warm to be out on the swings in your unders. I am just glad she put her snow boots on. I know some people are shaking their heads at my parenting skills right now, but let me just say this: I knew she would come in for her pants as soon as she got too cold. And she did. Isn't that called a logical consequence or something like that?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Poor Nora :(

There has been quite the lack of posting on Alevin and Company this week.

This is because of the icky germs living in our house.

Dana started sneezing on Thursday (last week). I thought it was allergies or something. Friday morning, I started sneezing, and by Friday night Dana and I were a sad lot. Saturday I was pretty much useless because my head hurt so terribly bad. I felt very sorry for myself, even though Kevin was very kind and let me sleep as much as I wanted. And then he got sick on Sunday. Which was all OK, because the three of us each spent one day feeling awful and one more day feeling half okay, and then we were well. And then came Monday.

Nora tried to tell us she had a headache. Unfortunately, it was about 3:30am and we were trying to recover from our own sickness, so we didn't really get it. Too tired. When I wrastled her out of bed to get ready for school at 8:00, she told me about the headache. And I knew it was her turn because my own head had hurt so badly, and besides-what 6 year-old has ever once complained of a headache before? She spent some time on the couch with her eyes closed and the lights off. She tried to watch a movie but the light and the noise were too much. She just sprawled herself on the couch, covered herself with a warm blankie and moaned. It was very sad.

People, she was like this for three days! I kept the Tylenol in her system and that helped a lot, but she got her teeny butt kicked by this bug. Her temp hovered around 101 as a variety of symptoms worked their way through her body.

Does this not make your heart ache?

I was kind enough to pick up her spelling list and her reading book from school on Tuesday morning, and her teacher said six kids were absent. On Wednesday, she said three were absent and she sent three more home throughout the day. Today Nora felt well enough to go to school, but (hold your breath for emphasis) NINE kids were out sick! Teacher said they have spent a lot of time washing desktops and hands, trying to get this bad boy out of the school. I am just glad it is out of my house at last. Nora has a froggy voice and is tired, but other than that she is healthy again. What a relief!

And now I need to apologize to anyone we came in contact with in the last week, when we didn't really know what this was all about. I sincerely hope we did not contaminate any of your households. Had I known this was such an ugly bug making its way through our township, I would have quarantined us. Next time someone sneezes, I will not be so quick to label it "allergies." Believe you me!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Still 6 1/2

Remember when Nora turned 6 1/2? Well, it keeps happening, day after day. She puts the crown on when she gets home from school and parades around in it. I SO underestimated what this half birthday celebration at school meant to her.

Oh, how I love this little girl!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Will this half birthday never end?!

Today was the day they celebrated Nora's half birthday at school. We got a note home on Monday telling us that Wednesday was the day.

Nora brought Oreos to share with her friends. You can't bring anything homemade, and there is a little boy who is allergic to milk in her class, and apparently Oreos have no dairy in them. And they were easy for a 6 1/2 year-old to transport on her own.

Nora came home with a half birthday crown, a pencil and a bookmark from her teacher. I know the pain of a summer birthday first hand, so as much as this may have stretched along, this half birthday, I know how good it felt for her to be the birthday girl at school.

Doesn't that face say it all?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Squeaky Clean

So after we got home from the sliding hill, I made a super fast dinner because it was already after 6pm (green spaghetti, aka pasta with pesto) and then we jumped right into homework. Nora was cheerful but distracted, so homework took longer than usual. It is hard to continually refocus a 6 year-old onto her spelling when there is so much other fun stuff to do!

See, earlier in the day, Dana and I went on 100 errands. At the grocery store, she was a most excellent helper, which (TRUST ME) is so very rare that I allowed her to put a package of balloons into the cart. I never buy balloons. I am almost phobic about them popping-the sound of a popping balloon makes my stomach lurch and my heart stop. I am all kinds of fun, no?

So anyhow, while we were working on spelling, reading and a worksheet, Dana sort of meandered upstairs with a couple of balloons. I could hear her tiny voice the whole time so I wasn't really worried about it. I mean, if it had been silent I would have known something was up. But it was not silent, so I thought things were A-OK. Let's just say I was wrong.

Apparently Dana had come back downstairs at some point to retrieve the box of markers. She then took it into Mommy and Daddy's bedroom, where she proceeded to draw all over the balloons. If you are old enough to read this post, you are old enough to know that Crayola marker + latex balloon=MESS. Marker WILL NOT dry on a balloon-it just beads up and gets on everything that looks at it askance. "Luckily" Dana figured this out. So she did what any well intentioned 3 year-old would: She got out a bucket, some hand soap and her toothbrush and went to work!

And heck-if one bucket of soap water is good, TWO buckets are great! She had so much fun scrubbing the ink off of the balloons that she just kept going and going, scrubbing the walls, the bathtub, the mirror, the sink, and on and on. Too bad she missed her own face. I'm not sure you can see it in the photo, but there was blue marker all over that little face.

The floor was a lot like a lake. She was at least kind enough to take the hand towel to mop up what she could of the water. It never occurred to me that she was playing in the bathroom because I didn't hear running water. I mean, I heard it for a minute, as she was covertly filling her buckets, but I assumed she was washing her hands. Since the tap wasn't running for more than a minute I figured she had moved into her bedroom to play with Barbies.

She was just incredibly proud of herself. She felt she had done a fantastic job of scrubbing things and was bragging up her cleaning abilities to anyone who would listen. So I just gently told her that marker belongs on paper, not on balloons, and I threw her into a nice, warm tub while I cleaned up from her cleaning up. And found her a new toothbrush in the closet. I tried to remind her that soap is not a toy, but she was all, "But I wasn't playing with it, Mommy. I was SCRUBBING." Duh, Mom.

Now, if she had done this all in the morning I may have been more grateful. But I am on the AR side of things when it comes to cleaning. I have my little routine, and Monday is the day I change bedding and scrub the bathroom. So I had already put in half an hour and two tons of elbow grease earlier in the day. I was under the impression that the bathroom was already clean. Apparently it was not up to her standards. And yeah, I didn't use a toothbrush. I just used a sponge and some cleanser. At least she didn't get to the toilet. Toothbrush in toilet: the idea of it makes me break out in a cold sweat!

Sliding Race

Friday was an early release day at Nora's school. They have an early release once a month so teachers can do staff development. So on Friday, rather than coming home a couple of hours early, Nora went on a field trip with her Brownie troupe. They went on a sleigh ride and had a blast! When I got to the school at 5:45 to pick Nora up, the troupe leader had the kids busy sliding down the hill on their butts. It's a pretty neat hill-there is actually one of those tube slides that goes down the hill, and a stairway to easy the trip back up. The winter picnic was a couple of weeks ago at school, and a group of parents spent an evening sculpting this fantastic snow hill for one of the activities. Nora was too scared to go down it on a sled because sleds kept flipping over and throwing kids off. Most kids seemed happy with this outcome, but not Nora. However, after sliding down it on her butt that evening, she hasn't been able to talk about much else. She has been begging and begging to go back to school to slide down the hill. They aren't allowed to at recess because it isn't RIGHT on the playground and the monitors can't be in two places at once.

So anyhow, we went yesterday after school and a lovely time was had by all. Please enjoy the seconds-long race between Kevin and Nora. Kevin had a fun night of ibuprofen and pain in strange places but reports that he is feeling better today.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy Half Birthday, Nora!

We don't actually celebrate half birthdays around here. At least, we didn't. I'm not even sure the girls knew what a half birthday was until Nora started school. Apparently, the school principal passes out small gifts on your birthday (I think a pencil and a Tootsie Roll). If your birthday is in the summer, you win on your half birthday instead. Well, yesterday was Nora's half birthday. Sort of. Nora's birthday is August 29, which means her half birthday is February 29, which only happens on Leap Year. On non-Leap Years, March 1 is her half day. And since we had Sunday dinner next door yesterday and I had to bring something to contribute, I figured a nice half birthday cake would do just fine. I will admit that I had been craving chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for a few days.

I haven't used my Tupperware cake tote for a long time. It is very handy to have! I own about 100 cake pans in various shapes and sizes. While searching for my 9" rounds, I came across the heart pans. Rather than searching all day and making a ginormous mess, I decided half birthdays deserve heart cakes. Wasn't that convenient? In my defense, Nora does love hearts, and I had forgotten I had these pans. That is how many I have.

I made a little mistake in my head though. I whipped up a batch of French Silk Frosting from my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook because I think it is delicious. Unfortunately, you can't exactly decorate with it. It is too soft to pipe. Nora was disappointed, but she soon cheered up when she realized she could throw some plastic Easter eggs on top. Isn't is lovely? I think it is pretty cool that she came up with a plan on her own.

Despite the fact that we don't really celebrate half birthdays, Nora found a new nightie on her bed after she hopped out of the tub. I had gone to Target with my mom earlier in the day and I grabbed this while I was there. See, Dana and I were at Target on Thursday and we bought this nightie for her. She didn't have a single nightie and Nora has a few, which caused much angst at bedtime. In fact, Dana would often sleep in a dress and call it a nightie. Anyhow, when Nora saw Dana's nightie she was oh so green with envy. We thought the Easter Bunny might bring her one, but her mom came through instead. The look on that little girl's face when she saw her very own chick nightie was worth way more than $14.99.

Doesn't she look so grown up? She's officially 6 1/2 now! And DYING to have a loose tooth. I love her tiny baby teeth and hope she keeps them for a while yet. Time seems to be flying by so fast lately! Then again, I have two living, breathing time markers walking around my house in green chick nighties. I am so lucky!