Monday, April 26, 2010

Grandma Alice

Monday, April 19 was Kevin's birthday. He is lucky enough to share his birthday with his mom.

This year, celebration turned to sorrow when we lost Grandma Alice.

She passed away surrounded by her beloved family. We were so lucky to be a part of her 93 years here on Earth.

Grandma had 3 children, 11 grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren, and one great great granddaughter. That is quite a legacy.

This amazing, talented woman made a quilt for each of her 26 great grandchildren. Nora and Dana have spent a lot of time this past week snuggled up under Great Grandma's love.

Nora's blankie is patchwork flannel, hand tied. Great Grandma made this when she was 86 years young.

This is Dana's blankie. The top is quilting cotton and the back is soft flannel, also hand tied. Great Grandma was 88 when she made this.

Kevin's lovely cousin Dannette made a gorgeous quilt for Grandma Alice a couple of years ago. Dannette thought that, after making 26 quilts for other people, Grandma deserved one of her own. It covered her casket at her funeral and brought tears to many eyes.

Cousin Allan said it best in the eulogy when he said that everyone was Grandma's favorite. It's so true. I was just lucky enough to marry into this family, into her heart, and I always thought of her as MY grandma, not Kevin's grandma. It's because she always treated me as her own granddaughter. She had a knack for making everyone feel special.

Grandma always had a smile on her face and laughter in her heart. We miss her so much already.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Easter 2010

I have bad news.

There was no Easter wrestling.

I know you were so looking forward to wrestling photos, too. Maybe twelve non-wrestling photos will help cheer you up.

Starting with these lovely tulips!

The favorite holiday by far at our house is Easter. The joys of hunting for eggs and baskets, coloring eggs, eating eggs, eating candy-they make the holiday a winner.

The Easter Bunny hid 37 eggs this year. Fifteen were outside! Those ones were especially fun to find, considering it was raining. The dampness didn't slow anybody down, that's for sure.

That face-I just want to plant a big smoochie on it!

Heaven help me-this face, too!

Don't let this photo fool you-in addition to books, crayons (the 64-pack with the built in sharpener!), markers, Easter jammies, glittery bouncy balls and tiny terra cotta pots with flower seeds, there was plenty of candy in the baskets.

And the baskets were clearly marked for each girl.

Told ya there was candy. Is it OK to eat chocolate before breakfast?

The girls spent a long time re-hiding eggs for each other to find. And then they moved on to dying real eggs!

I love those colorful little Nora fingers juxtaposed against the white egg shell.

And I love how some yellow dye rubbed off of Dana's fingers onto her egg.

Pretty orange egg.

Eventually, we ate dinner with our family. And then we had delicious strawberry shortcake for dessert. And we all went to bed early, since some of us were up at 6am.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Water Park

Earlier this week, our favorite cousins, Jan and Ross, surprised us with a room at the water park. And even though it's just a few miles from our house, it felt like we were on vacation!

First, we had to check out the deck.

It was warm out, and we got to watch two ships pass by as we sat on the deck.

The girls are ready to go in the pool!

Here, the girls enjoy the vortex pool, which they have lovingly coined "the toilet". The water in this pool churns around and around, pulling you with it. It's pretty fun, despite reminding us of a toilet.

This was a favorite. Both girls love monkey bars, so imagine how thrilled they were with over-water monkey bars!

This photo was taken exactly one second too soon. Do you see all that water in the background? There's a 300-gallon bucket that dumps every few minutes. It just dumped, and Nora is about to get completely soaked. And she knows it.

And here's Nora enjoying the lazy river. We spent a lot of time on this.

Both girls enjoyed the water slide, too, but there was no way to get photos of that.

As we were packing to come home, the girls were discussing how they would like to just move to the water park. They were completely worn out from all the fun, and are already trying to plan our next visit.

Thank you so very much for the great fun, Jan and Ross!

Dana Turns 5

Dana turned 5 on March 26!

This lucky kid got to celebrate 4 times in one week!

Kevin had to be out of town March 25-27, so we started the festivities off on Wednesday night, March 24.

We had cake, which I bought.

Then she opened her gift from us: a puppet stage. Here she is putting on a little show. Do you see the tiny couch and armchair? She made her own audience using the finger puppets that Nora gave her.

On Friday, Dana's actual birthday, we went to pick Nora up from school so we could get right to the partying. Dana dressed herself. Please note the plastic saw and the blue vampire teeth on the floor near her feet. Also note the fairy wings. Dana really loves Nora's principal, so she ran into her office to tell her it was her birthday. The principal sang "Happy Birthday" to her and held out a basket of Tootsie Rolls so she could choose one. Dana chose six of them, which the principal thought was really funny. Then she gave Dana a Happy Birthday pencil. She took a good look at Dana and began to comment on her ensemble. It went a little like this:
Principal: "Wow-look at those beautiful wings! Are you a fairy or a butterfly?"
Dana: "Those wings are just pretend. I'm just a kid."
Principal: "And look at those teeth! Are you a vampire?"
Dana: "These aren't my real teeth. They're just pretend."
Principal: "Is that a saw you're carrying?"
Dana: "It's not a real saw. It's just pretend."

The principal and I were cracking up at her. It was pretty sweet that she felt she had to clarify that everything was pretend.

Party #2 was at Great Grandma's house. Here, Dana is waiting for Grandpa to open the garage and reveal her birthday gift...

...a big girl bike! She was over the moon! We love to ride bikes, and with the 12" wheels on her old bike, it took an entire lifetime to ride the 1.5 miles around the block. This is going to change our lives!

Of course, we went inside for cake and ice cream. And then Grandma and Grandpa took us out for dinner.

Even the rain all weekend couldn't stop Dana from breaking in her new wheels.

I don't know what to call this invention, other than "awesome". It's sort of like a vacuum that doesn't actually pick up dirt. Hmmmm.....

Here's the cake for birthday #3. Dana invited her cousins and our close family friends to celebrate with her. She selected this cake, which is the same cake I made for Nora's first birthday. While not my best work, it was still pretty cute.

At least, it was cute, until we put the candles in. Then it looked "fweaky."

A bit of sisterly affection while waiting for friends to arrive.

Finally, party #4. Grandma and Grandpa got her a stroller and a high chair for her Bitty Baby, Dizzy. These have seen a ton of use by both girls already.

Phew! Birthday Week was a crazy time around here!

Kindergarten Round Up

Way, way back on March 17, Dana had Kindergarten Round Up.

While I brought the camera, we were so busy that I only got to take two photos, both on the little bus ride.

Each child at kindergarten round up was allowed to choose a book and a stuffed animal to take home. This is Dana holding her new monkey, who she named Baby Ooh Ooh Aah Aah.

Here, Dana and Baby Ooh Ooh Aah Aah are enjoying the bus ride. It took way longer to load everyone onto the bus than it did to take the actual ride. In fact, the ride just took us out one end of the driveway, around the front of school, and in the other end of the driveway. Really, though, with a little school out in the sticks, it would have taken way too long to go around the block. "The block" is probably a 5-mile loop.

The school mascot, the lynx, was posing for photos with the kids. Unfortunately, Dana didn't realize that the lynx was really just a fifth grader in a costume. She was scared to get near him and chose to have a close-up photo of me and her instead. As I was looking through photos tonight, I found this one. Dana actually took a photo of our photo. I really love that!

There are two kindergartens at our school, and we don't know which one she will be assigned to. One teacher has an awesome puppet stage and a great dollhouse, and the other teacher has a pet guinea pig. These are the main topics of kindergarten conversation for her.

Nora came home from school that day with this on her face. Her teacher painted it on her for St. Patrick's Day.

It's hard to believe my baby will be starting school in the fall! Nora's so excited to show Dana the ropes.