Friday, July 18, 2014

That's What They Said: Honesty

(While putting together one of Bryson's old castle Lego sets ...)
Baylor:  (stops and looks at Bryson)  Wow!  You are covered in freckles!

(While driving past an enormous cemetery ...)
Baylor:  What is that?
Me:  It is a cemetery.
Amalia:  I bet it is where you try to get as many flags as you can.  And the one who has the most wins.
Bryson:  Actually, a cemetery is a place where ... okay, when someone passes away, we bury them in a cemetery.
Baylor:  That is gross.

Amalia:  Mommy, who does Anna sing "Love is an Open Door" with?  (from the movie Frozen)
Me:  She sings it with Hans.
Amalia:  Ohhh, that's right.  And it goes like ... (hums a little bit of it while thinking) ... I can't remember.
Me:  That's okay.
Amalia:  And Anna, she sings it really well.  (smiles)
Me:  Yes, she does.
Amalia:  But Hans, he does not.  He interrupts her.  That is not good.  He needs to have a talk with her parents.  (waits a moment)  But they are dead.

Me:  So, Baylor, do you think I should wear my hair straight or wavy today?
Baylor:  Straight.
Me:  Straight?  Okay.  Do you not like it wavy?
Baylor:  (matter-of-factly)  Nope.
Me:  (unable to hide my disappointment)  Oh.
Baylor:  (concerned)  I mean, I only don't like it on Fridays.  You should have straight hair on Fridays.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

May 2014 Happenings

May was full of all sorts of fun.  We celebrated my mom's birthday twice, once with my dad on the weekend and once on her actual birthday.  Mollie grabbed my camera while we were enjoying dessert and snapped a couple pictures for me.

Then Aunt Christine turned the tables and snapped a picture of Mollie with my mom and me.

My sister made these delicious mini bundt cakes for the occasion, and we all enjoyed them thoroughly.

With the weather warming up, Mollie and I were actually able to get outside a bit while Baylor was at school.  One day in particular, Mollie wanted to take her sleepytime pals for a bike ride.  So each one, and there are three of them, got their own ride around our neighborhood.  Needless to say, she was pretty tuckered out that afternoon.

May also included Mother's Day, and with Baylor being in school I had a sneaking suspicion that I might get a school-made gift.  And I was right.  My little man wrote me a poem entitled "My Mom" and brought me a cup with a sunflower seed planted inside.  It was so sweet!  He couldn't even wait to give it to me on Mother's Day, though, and yanked it out of its paper bag wrapping on our way home from school.

We celebrated Mother's Day with my mom the day before the actual holiday, but first Mollie had her swim lesson in the morning.  Baylor kept himself busy with an activity book while his sister swam her heart out.

Afterwards, we went to my parents' house to celebrate.  Mollie chatted with her Aunt Christine, and watching them reminded me just how alike they are.

Then Mollie got a special treat; to let me have a little "down" time, Bryson got to be the one to play Barbies with the little lady!  I think he was a bit disturbed that Aladdin was going to be marrying all these ladies, but the numbers are really skewed in Aladdin's favor so it shouldn't have been a surprise.

Christine, amazing baker that she is, made a cheesecake for the occasion.  It was beyond delicious!

Then it was time to open cards and presents.

Once the kids' cards to Oma were opened they predictably lost interest in what was going on, so Dad kept Baylor busy by helping him make some sort of contraption.

We had a great time celebrating with my parents and sister, but it was weird to not see my mom on Mother's Day.  With that said, I did have a nice Mother's Day the next day.  The kids were quiet in the morning and kept themselves occupied.  Baylor even read to Mollie, something he ordinarily doesn't like to do.

Then I got my cards from the kids.  Baylor made me an ... interesting card.  That's me on the front saying, "PU!" because inside ...

... he's spraying a fart gun at me.  (That's what the green blob is ... a giant fart.)  Then he had me fill in the blanks on the card with it eventually reading, "Hope your Mother's Day isn't stinky.  Baylor".  I'll give him credit, it was a cute card with a cohesive message.  And I was glad to see that, though we looked like giant snowmen, it actually had pictures of people on it.

Then he gave me a brief activity sheet with math problems on it.  I didn't have the heart to tell him I despise math (and guns), so I worked my way through the problems and thanked him for his efforts.

Mollie made me a more artsy card with a convoluted maze on the front, which I was not intended to solve.

On the back she wrote out names she knew how to spell without help, "Amalia", "Mom", and "Oma".

Then on the inside she drew pictures of all of us, except "Daddy because he was at work".  I'm the one farthest to the right with the gigantic smile that goes several inches beyond my head in both directions.

We saw my in-laws later in the day on Mother's Day, and overall it was a really good day.

Every year since we've been "grown up", my sister and I have gotten my mom hanging baskets for her Mother's Day gift, part of the gift being that we go with her to help pick them out.  The kids have gotten to join in the fun since they came along, and this year was no exception.  We went to a few greenhouses this year, and the kids had a lot of fun at Koetsiers' in particular.

It helped that the store had a kids play area with a gigantic play house!  Oh, and lots of chalk!

Mollie must have been moved by the spring spirit because, days later, she jumped at the chance to help Bryson spread mulch.  Well, the spring spirit and her intense desire to use her gardening gloves for the first time.

Baylor didn't want to help with the mulch, but he did pick me some flowers!

What a little sweetheart!

Springtime is just perfect for blowing bubbles, and the kids were happy to finally be outside making all sorts of bubbles in the breeze.

My dad bought a bubble blower for the kids to try out, and Baylor loved it.

The next day we spontaneously took in a local baseball game.  The weather was perfect, not too hot, not too cold, and wonderfully sunny.  We got lawn seats, a first for me and the kids, and it worked out really well as Mollie is in a squirmy sort of stage.

I brought tons of activities for the kids to do in case they realized baseball can be a bit boring to watch at times - and they realized this quickly - and they enjoyed coloring and writing in the spring sunshine.

The kids got a free hot dog meal, including chips and a fountain drink, and at first I thought they wouldn't eat it because they had JUST eaten lunch before we left.  But I was wrong.  They scarfed it down like little champs.

Baylor even ate the chips, a big deal as he usually hates chips with a passion because of their natural crunchiness.  I was mostly thrilled to see him branching out his "likes", but I was a little bummed because I thought those chips were going to be mine.  I was a smidge on the hungry side of things, I guess.

After lunch it was back to the activities.

Then Mollie found out her cousins were also at the game sitting on the outfield deck, so she spent a bit of time looking for them.

After the game, Mollie ran the bases with her cousins and uncle and rolled down the hill with the kids a bit before it was time to leave.  All that fun really tuckered her out, though, and she fell asleep in the car not long after we were out of the stadium parking lot.

Baylor didn't fall asleep, but by the looks of his face I could tell he'd gotten a bit warm at the game.

The weather eventually warmed up to the point that the kids wanted to go swimming in my parents' pool, so we slathered them with sunscreen and sent them in with Grandpa E who was willing to brave the not-so-warm water for them.

Mollie even let Grandpa E throw her around a little bit like he used to do to my sister and I when we were kids.  Just look at that form!

Once the swimming was over, Mollie's hair needed to be brushed, but she wasn't too keen on that, so Aunt Christine proposed a compromise that Mollie was okay with.

For a few days during the latter part of May, Mollie decided that she needed to up her style game, so she wore nearly every piece of jewelry she owns everywhere she went.  It was awesome, but occasionally she would want to shed all the jewelry and it was up to me not to lose a single piece of it.  Finally I started requesting that she bring one of her small purses with her in case she needed a place to store her many jewels, and that ended up working pretty well.

The month ended with a sweet surprise in my parents' backyard.  The kids and I were over having lunch with my mom and sister one day when someone noticed a deer way out in the weeds.  A few seconds later, we realized she wasn't alone.

Her little fawns were so little, so new, in fact, that they still hadn't quite figured out how to walk yet.  Their little legs were wobbly and she seemed very protective of them, and we guessed that they had just been born either that morning or the day before.

It was a wonder to witness and a great way to end the month.

That's What They Said: Understand?

(after entering Amalia's room to see what she and Baylor were up to ...)
Amalia:  Mommy, this room is not made for disco.
Me:  (nodding in earnest)  Okay.
Amalia:  Here is my disco light.  (hands me an imaginary disco light)  Could you please put that with my toys?
Me:  Sure.

(in the middle of the night in Florida, Amalia got up to pee and tripped on her way there ...)
Amalia:  Owwwww!!  Mommmyyyyyy!  Mommy.  Mommy.  Mommy.  Mommy!
Me:  (getting there with drowsy speed)  What is it, sweetie?
Amalia:  I hurt my toe!  I hurt my TOE!
Me:  Okay, sweetie, sit down and let's take a look.  Which toe is it?
Amalia:  The thumb toe.
Me:  (smiling)  The thumb toe.  Okay.  Usually we call that "the big toe" or "Sergeant Hulka".

(after Amalia had been screaming and yelling at me through the house - like she was mortally wounded - while I was using the restroom only to find out that she couldn't figure out where a Lego went ...)
Me:  Amalia, I am very upset, angry, and frustrated at you screaming for me over this tiny piece.  I didn't know if you were dying or hurt very badly.  How will I know if you are really hurt if I also know that you'll cry endlessly over not being able to figure out where a Lego steering wheel goes?
Amalia:  (shrugs shoulders and looks a little ... disinterested and remarkably calm)
Me:  Next time, I want you to ...
Baylor:  (interrupting uncharacteristically)  Um, I am not a part of all this (gestures at the air between Mollie and me), so I am not going to be a part of this talk, okay?

(as we were watching a video about Yellowstone National Park and the volcano underneath it - it is fascinating, if not a little terrifying, you really should watch it sometime)
Narrator:  ... and blasted by the biggest volcanic eruptions ever known on the planet.
Amalia:  (light a light bulb went off in her head)  Oh, well that explains it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Spring Break Doings: 2014 Edition

I was hoping not to squander spring break this year, as I am apt to do with all "time off", so with Bryson being on vacation too, we did as much as we could with the time we had.

We started spring break off on the right foot by heading over to the Grand Rapids Public Museum to check out the fun exhibits they had going on there at the time and to take in a show at the planetarium.  Apparently everyone had the idea to do that on the first day of spring break, though, and we started off the day in a huge line.  Good times!  But the kids were troopers, and we walked away from the giant line with a year membership to the museum so that's something, right?

Once we were inside, I first ran into my high school geometry teacher and his family, and then we ran into this guy, an animatronic dilophosaurus!  Mollie braved a picture with him, but Baylor wasn't having any of it.

On our way to the dinosaur exhibit, Bryson stopped to explain how this contraption works.  Baylor was very interested, Mollie ... not so much.

So, you know how Baylor was freaked out by the animatronic dinosaur just one picture ago?  Yeah, the whole exhibit was full of animatronic dinosaurs ... who made "dinosaur noises".  It was all I could do to get him into the exhibit, let alone walk through it of his own accord.  But, brave boy that he is, he started realizing that they were, in fact, fake dinosaurs and did really well overall.

Baylor got even more comfortable when we found more activities for them to do, as the kids are definitely at a I-want-to-DO-things-not-just-SEE-things stage.  He attempted to draw an apatosaurus and did a great job of it.

Then he and Mollie found 3-D dinosaur puzzles and put those together ...

... and tried their hand at uncovering dinosaur bones just like real paleontologists.

After a quick lunch, we went to the planetarium and saw a program called "Dynamic Earth".  The kids enjoyed it for the most part and were thrilled to find out afterward that it had been narrated by Liam Neeson, otherwise known to them as Good Cop/Bad Cop from the Lego Movie.

Speaking of Legos, we took a look at the Dream It, Build It Lego exhibit after the planetarium program.  There were lots of awesome buildings created and a neat little city to look at, but the germaphobe in me wouldn't let them play with the Legos available for kids to play with.  I would have felt bad, but I really didn't want spring break to be one giant runny nose fest.

Once we were done in the Lego section, Mollie and Bryson went to ride the carousel and Baylor and I browsed around a little bit and waited for them.

It was a great first visit to the museum, and with our membership I have no doubt we'll enjoy it many more times in the near future.

Though the museum was the one big outing we had over spring break, we did plenty more things to keep busy, like walking to the library and back ...

... or riding bikes through the neighborhood.

Baylor created elaborate games on our driveway in chalk.

And Mollie attempted to shoot hoops at my parents' house.

Yes, this one hit her square on the head.  She was okay, though, as it was a playground ball instead of a basketball.

The spring flowers finally started to come up!

And the weather was warm enough for all sorts of outdoor fun.

We even figured out how to "erase" sidewalk chalk when you make a mistake ... a little water and a thorough sweep with a broom does a decent job.

The week was topped off with chocolate milkshakes made by Grandpa E.

It was a great week, and I think we all really enjoyed getting to spend some free time together.  I can see how special these breaks are going to be once the kids are in school more and more, and I hope we can continue to make the most of times like these.