Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Day, Hooray!

Today was Ezra's first day of kindergarten. We've already discussed my sad feelings on the matter, so let's leave that behind and focus on the through the roof feelings of excitement in this house today. He's been waiting for August 31 for a looooong time, folks!

We don't have bus service to our house since we live .7 miles from the school. Today we walked to school to drop him off. Walked back home. Then walked back to school to pick him up, and back home with him. That was enough walking to convince me that maybe we don't need to do that every day. That and the fact that I was dumb enough to start a new Jillian Michaels workout video this morning. Quite frankly, I was real worried that I might burn more calories than I consumed for once in my life. To fix that little problem, Caroline and I made cookies this afternoon. Special cookies with a lot of butter, a lot of cocoa, a lot of sugar and a lot of Reece's pieces. I'm pretty sure I didn't lose any weight today. On second thought, maybe we really should walk both times every day!The above photos were actually from yesterday just before we went to the Open House to meet his teacher and see his classroom.
This photo was today just before we left for class. The book he is holding--The First Day of School--was mine as a little girl. My mom has a picture of me holding it on my first day of kindergarten. She has the same picture of at least one of my brothers as well. And when I taught first grade, I would read that book to my students on the first day.
Lined up and ready to go. This is where my eyes were watering a bit. But there were other parents with the same problem. I wanted to let loose and sob my eyes out. But I didn't want to scare Ezra...or the girls.
And he's gone. Disappeared into 13 years of formal education in the public school system.
This is how we found him at the end of the day.
After we got home from school I did a little first day interview with Ezra. Here's what we got:
Mommy: Did you have fun today at your first day of kindergarten?
Ezra: Yeah.
M: What's your teacher's name?
E: Mrs. Thomson
M: Do you like her?
E: Yeah, I had a fun time.
M: What was your favorite thing today?
E: I had fun at recess.
Caroline: Did anybody hurt you?
E: No, I didn't get hurt today.
Caroline: Did anybody in your class get hurt?
E: No, not today?
E: But you want to know something sad? There was a boy in my class who was born without a leg. So he had a metal leg!
M: Awesome! And he can run around on it?
E: Yeah, it's pretty cool.
E: There was a pretty big rug. I had a fun time.
M: Did you make any new friends?
E: Yeah. I can't remember a lot of names though. There was Diesel. And Gavin.
M: What did you like about your new teacher?
E: She's pretty nice.
E: There was a boy in my class who just cried and cried and didn't want to be there.
E: I was so happy to be there and it was super fun. I thought I would be embarrassed and shy, but I wasn't.
M: You excited to go back tomorrow?
E: Yeah!
Seems like just yesterday that Ezra was the size Nora is now! Good thing he has afternoon kindergarten so that Nora can still snuggle with her brother in the mornings.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Camping For a Wedding

What? Yep, you read that correctly. Mid-August we headed up to the San Juans for a dear friend of mine to get married. She had kindly asked me to stand up with her as one of her bridesmaids, meaning that we needed to be there for both the wedding and the rehearsal. As we looked into prices of hotels on San Juan during peak season we realized that camping might be the best option. We decided to head up a night early and make a little vacation out of it.

Now, I enjoy camping. And I enjoy weddings. And both activities are fantastic separate from one another. However, my advice to you is this: don't combine them if you can avoid it.

Things started out great with us catching just the right ferry and having a gorgeous sunny ride up to the islands. We took a bunch of fun pictures inside and out of the boat. We managed to offload and find our campground just fine. And then the fun begins.
Let me provide you with a mini-camping-dictionary:
tent: devise to make grown men want to swear.
tent directions: words written in an order specifically to confuse grown man who wants to swear.
hammer: tool most often forgotten by infrequent campers.
hatchet: tool second most often forgotten by said infrequent campers.
camp ground: place where people go when they want hundreds of other people to hear their children misbehave, throw tantrums and beat each other up.
blow up mattress: sound system for inside of tent.
fishing pole: something your son will use to try to hook one of your daughters every morning while you try to cook breakfast over a Coleman stove.
dirt: an item of clothing for 18 month old girls.
You get the picture.

Now, all of this can be shrugged off and laughed at and dealt with when you are just camping. But when you have to look civilized and even attempt to look cute for a rehearsal dinner. Oih! We managed an embarrassing family shower in the campground bathrooms where we tossed shampoo over the shower stalls, shouted at kids not to bump up against the nasty shower curtains, hopped up and down to keep dirt off our "clean" feet and struggled to put shower tokens into the machine before the hot water turned off. Phew! When that was all done we quickly donned dress clothes inside our tent and ran to the van to drive around the island until it was time for rehearsal.

Doing dishes outside is sort of relaxing.

Friday morning we rented a row boat and (Daddy) rowed us around the little lake we camped next to. Ezra brought his fishing pole along and drowned some worms. After we returned the boat he spent most of the rest of the day drowning more worms from shore while we tried to catch some of the sleep we had lost the night before.
The kids crashed hard in the car on the way to Roche Harbour for rehearsal.
Looking up into Canada.

This dragonfly flew right into Caroline's hot cocoa. We fished him out and tried to dry him off. Alas, his wing was injured beyond repair and he um, got squashed to save him some suffering. Anyone knows how much Tadd loves his coffee can really appreciate this photo.
The next day we upped the stress level a bit. Mommy had to do her hair and nails and don a bridesmaid dress. Daddy had to kill time with the kids and manage to shower them (and himself) and get everyone into wedding finery. Mommy ended up taking Baby to the house where the Bride was getting ready. Said Bride is very patient, very sweet, very beautiful and happens to love my kids. Well, we managed to get it all done with a few sweaty moments.
Tadd and the kids walked around the docks of Roche before the wedding. Lots of money represented in lots of ways on those docks.
I'm afraid that I don't have many pictures of the wedding because one parent was busy walking down the aisle and the other was busy keeping three kids quiet during the wedding. Bless his ever lovin' heart, he did manage to snap a few shots with one hand while he held a sleeping (praise the Lord!) Nora with the other.
The ceremony was held in the gorgeous gardens.

The lovely bride and her doctor husband
The cake made by the bride's little brother. Isn't it pretty? And her two Grandmothers made those table cloths for all the tables. I just loved them.
Ezra had the camera much of the night. He took a lot of close ups of the cake. He took pictures of the other folks seated at our table, but he only got from their chins down, so I'll spare you. They were the nicest folks. Two gals (and one of their husbands) who had been in the residency program at Children's Hospital with the groom. He seated them by us on purpose, obviously. Only children of the wedding party were invited, so other than the groom's 5 nieces and nephews, ours were the only kids. We were so thankful to have kid lovers at the table with us for the delicious meal!

And after our final night in our tent we loaded up the van and headed into Friday Harbor to kill three hours while we waited in line for the ferry.

And that is how you camp for a wedding. Next time we go to a wedding I'd like to stay in a house or hotel. And next time we go camping I'd like to stay in a hotel, er, I mean, I'd like to not be going to a wedding.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Partying it Up For Caroline

Miss Caroline had a coupla birthday parties last month and if I don't post about them now...they'll forever be ancient history.

First off--this little girl stayed adamant all summer long that the one thing she really, really, really wanted for her birthday was a "deck chair". She had dreams of sitting out in the sun with mommy and lounging on the deck at night and watching the stars with daddy. Her Grandpa and Grandma Idaho granted her wish and got her this darling chair. Thank you, Grandpa and Grandma Idaho. Now you need to come visit so you can sit out on the deck with her : )
Caroline requested a pony cake for her birthday. I showed her several online and she picked the most elaborate one (of course). It involved rolled fondant and I was determined to try making my own instead of buying it. However, finding glycerin involves more stops at more specialty stores than I had time to make and in the end I went the butter cream route.
I simply used a pony that Caroline already had. I followed the general idea of the cake picture she had chosen. Since I wasn't using rolled fondant, I couldn't create the flowers and then stick them on the cake. I had to pipe them with frosting tips. And I am not very good at that. So, after piping away and not being happy with the results, I went out to the yard and picked a whole bunch of edible flowers to add to the cake. Real flowers fix anything, in my mind. Taste matters more than appearance to me so I made the cake chocolate with a lemon filling between the layers and then flavored the frosting with orange instead of vanilla. It was rather tasty.
Making the fence around the cake was actually kind of fun. Since I had only made orange flavored butter cream frosting and did not want to whip up another batch of chocolate just for the fence, I improvised. I have a Costco sized jar of Nutella in the cupboard and I used that. The consistency was perfect for piping. And it had kind of a shiny finish that made it stand out against the butter cream. Plus, who doesn't like the taste of Nutella???
We had a few little giggling Gerties over to enjoy lunch, cake and games together. They had such fun. And so did all of us mommies.
They did some coloring and painting and necklace making. And then they headed out for some pin the tail on the pony and gunny sack races.
Is there anything cuter???

Ezra didn't complain too much about being the only thorn at a table full of roses.
A couple days after Miss Kine's actual birthday, we met up with several family members at a park for a birthday bbq. Now that Grandma Idaho's baby sister and her family live in our area our family parties have grown--it's super fun.

Uncle Heffay and Uncle Brettskis went shopping for the birthday girl this year, so very sweet of them.

I did not have the energy to recreate yet another pony cake. We stuck with simple polka dots.

Back when Ezra turned three, he got a trip to "Build a Bear" with Grandpa and Grandma Tractor. Caroline decided she wanted a trip to "Build a Bear" as off we all went to watch her build her bear with Grandpa and Grandma.
We tried mighty hard to talk her out of the pink fluffy bear. But it was her first choice and she clung to it. Never mind the cute soft brown bear. Or the nice neutral tan bear. She wanted pink!

Here everyone is rubbing the hearts that they put into Caroline's bear. It was fuuuullll of love (or something), let me tell you! We even got a couple of strays joining our group at this point.

Build a Bear Workshop goes all out. The new "mommy" gets to bathe her bear just like a real newborn. Don't worry, water doesn't actually come out and soak the poor stuffed animal.
I'll spare you all the painful clothing choices we went through. She passed up a lot of cute classy clothes and went straight for (more) pink and yellow. The blingy shoes are my favorite, though. And the sunglasses. At Build a Bear, the new owner creates a birth certificate for their stuffed animal, complete with a name. Caroline chose to name her bear Mella. Mella is getting along quite well with Petunia (Ezra's bear) here at home. Unfortunately for Mella, Nora decided the sunglasses look better on her and stole them.
Thanks for Mella, Grandpa and Grandma Tractor!