Sunday, November 21, 2010

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

We have been having some Thanksgiving fun the past couple of weeks! I feel like every store has completely skipped over this holiday, and I haven't seen any crafts, decorations, etc. for Thanksgiving; it's Christmas everywhere already. But, I like to make a point of celebrating Thanksgiving before we move on to the Christmas season. Thanksgiving is such a great holiday, not at all about presents or candy, just about being thankful and spending time with family and friends. Earlier in the month, I pulled a branch off of a tree and throughout the past few weeks, we have been adding leaves to our "thankfulness tree". Of course, the girls often name the same things over and over, which is why our tree doesn't have quite as many leaves as it should, but it's a great opportunity to talk to them about being grateful for everything we are blessed to have and to talk about how we can help those who are in need.

Elle in her Thanksgiving shirt, which I thought was perfect for her!

In addition to the "thankfulness tree", Elle and I found some really fun turkey-themed activities online, and we decided to have a couple of her friends over for a playdate. We didn't get to do all the activities we had planned, so I'm sure we will do some more this week, but the girls had a great time, especially since one of the games included a treasure hunt (basically, I took pictures of different things in the house, and they would find the spot in the picture to get their next clue) that ended with a scented chapstick for each girl. I didn't take pictures of everything we did at the playdate and this week, but we did some turkey math activities (inspiration for lots of great turkey activities found here), colored turkey pictures, made apple-turkeys (inspiration found here):

Lauren, holding her baby while making her turkey--this girl LOVES her baby dolls!

Elle told me she was making a porcupine with hers.

And played pin the feather on the turkey (printables for all the signs and this game found here):

And finally, a picture of Elle before Parents' Day Out on Thursday (they had a lunch date with their dads, hence the shirt, even though it's a little small, and she was soo excited. Elle loved having her daddy all to herself at lunch time, and when I asked her what it was like, she simply said "I gave daddy lots of kisses and hugs."):

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A conversation today...

We were in Michael's getting some craft supplies today, and I was looking for something on an aisle when Elle started screaming and crying. I told her to calm down and tell me what happened to make her so upset, and I finally determined that Lauren had bit Elle's finger....

Elle, still crying, yells, "Lauren bit me! She bit me with her teeth! Lauren's a dinosaur, Mommy! She's a dinosaur!"
And then turning to Lauren, "I'm not a snack! I am NOT a snack, Lauren! You can't eat me! No! I'm not dinosaur food!"

She rambled some other stuff off too and huffed off and stomped her feet, but I couldn't understand it all, and I was laughing too much as this point to pay attention. If Elle doesn't have some sort of future in drama, I'll certainly be surprised!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Snapshots of our Day

Here are a few pictures from our day yesterday....

We started by playing post office. The girls each decorated their own mailboxes and made cards for each other that we placed into envelopes. We added addresses and stamps and then set up our post office. They took turns being the customer and dropping the letters off and paying for the postage with real money (their favorite part!) and being the postal worker and stamping the mail, putting it in the mailbag and then delivering it to the mailboxes. We used all random craft things I had on hand and it only took a few minutes to set up, but the girls loved it and each took a few turns as customer and postal worker. They are both very into pretend play so they love anything like this and I love watching their little minds work, especially Elle who, as the first-born, is a big rule follower. If I show them how to do something once, she will do it exactly that way every time, and if Lauren tries to do something differently when it is her turn, Elle will certainly let her know about it!

Dropping letters off to be mailed

I love Lauren's look of concentration as she counts out her money.

Delivering the mail

We got a bouncy house as a hand-me-down from one of my sisters and it has been a favorite activity recently. It's especially nice on days when we can't go outside and allows to girls to get some of their energy out. It had gotten a little colder and drier here, and the other night when Lauren got in the bouncy, she started crying and I asked her what was wrong, "My hair, Mommy! My hair!" She asked me to "fix it" because the bouncy was causing her hair to stand out because of all the static. I think she's gotten over it though now, as you can see in these pictures:

And here are some pictures of Ava just because she's adorable and still the best baby. She loves to talk still and has started laughing more, which is just about the cutest thing ever. Kyle took a quick video the other night, so I'll have to post it once he downloads it. She hasn't been rolling over much, but I think it's because she's so rarely on the ground because I'm worried her sisters will squash her!

Hanging out in her sister's chair

A little smile

Checking out her feet

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Family Fun Night--Pajama Party

The girls were soo excited about having a pajama party for family fun night. They couldn't wait to get their pjs on and for daddy to come home. We colored some pictures of moons and stars and set up the living room like a big bed with tons of pillows and all of their dolls and stuffed animals. Elle kept running around the house and singing, and telling me stories because she was too excited to sit still. We had breakfast for dinner, complete with pancakes with chocolate chips and whipped cream for dessert.

Loving their living room "bed"

Coloring their moon pictures

And Lauren decided to not nap yesterday, so she
spent the beginningof the night like this--fun times!

Elle was in a much better mood. Side note...since Ava was born, we've been having some issues with Elle, mostly her having a bad attitude and not being obedient, but the past few days, she's been really great. She's started having daily chores, and she does those and cleans up after herself pretty well. She's been a much better listener and just the really sweet Elle we remember. (As we have been going through this phase, Kyle would continually say, "Where's my nice Elle? What happened to nice Elle?" when she would have a bad attitude, and so one day, when I got frustrated with her, she said, "Where's my nice mommy? What happened to the nice mommy?" Nothing like kids being a big mirror to remind you what you need to work on!

We played a game of musical chairs with pillows, and the girls loved it! We played music and danced around the pillows until the music stopped and then each jumped on a pillow.
By the end, even Lauren got the concept and would dive for the pillow as fast as she could!

Then we had an old fashioned pillow fight, and the girls were in heaven, and of course, they did not want to stop for bed time! We ended the night with bed time stories by flashlight. The girls wanted to sleep on the floor in the living room, but we convinced them that the bed is much more comfortable, and then by Elle's request, we walked them to their rooms by flashlight too. Such a fun night, and I'm sure we'll be getting requests for another pajama party soon!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Some pictures from today...

I especially like the one of Lauren showing me her "move"!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Week

In anticipation of Halloween, we did some pumpkin-themed activities throughout the week. Last year, I had found a tutorial online to make pumpkin-decorating kits like the ones from Pottery Barn kids (can't remember where I found it though!), and we never got the chance to use it. So, Elle and I pulled them out this year and made pirate and kitty-cat pumpkins, which Elle loved! We did some other fun learning activities, including counting practice with candy corn. Then, on family night, Kyle helped the girls carve a pumpkin, while we at pumpkin risotto and had pumpkin ice cream for dessert, which ended up all over Lauren's hair; she is such a mess!. Then we played a few games with our "pumpkin" balloons, including getting them into the basket without using our hands, racing our balloons across the room using our noses to push them, and doing a balloon waddle race. The girls loved this and did not want to go to bed. Amazing how much entertainment balloons can provide!

On Friday morning, we had our annual playgroup Halloween party, and I forgot my camera, so this is the only picture I have, but the kids did a craft and played a few fun games, including being wrapped up like mummies:

On Friday afternoon, we headed to Lexington to visit some good friends. Elle was in heaven because we got to see her best friend, Coral. Coral and her family are moving back near Seattle in December, and we will miss them, but Elle especially will be so sad to not see Coral very often. We went to an orchard with the kids after we got to Lexington, and every time we would get in the car, Elle would start talking about how Coral was her best friend ever ever ever. I again didn't have my camera, so hopefully, my friend Amy will send some pictures soon, but the girls got to go down a big slide on burlap sacks, and Elle loved it! She would try and push herself faster and faster, and it was so cute to watch her and Coral sliding together. Elle borrowed one of her friend's costumes, so here she is as Rapunzel:

The girls woke up Halloween morning asking to go trick-or-treating right away, so they were very excited by the evening. They loved being princesses and it was so cute to hear Lauren tell everyone who asked us that day that she was going to be Snow White. I had a bunny-hooded jacket for Ava, but she was a asleep most of the trick-or-treating time, so I'll have to get a picture of her some time this week. We went to a friend's house for pizza and then trick-or-treating, and the girls loved having friends to run from house to house with. I had a talk with Elle earlier in the day, and explained to her that there would be pretend scary things at the houses we would go to and that she had to be brave and walk like a big girl if she wanted to trick-or-treat, since she tends to be scared of pretty much everything. It seemed that almost every house had a dog, which is one of her biggest fears, so she did scream a few times, but overall, she did really well loved getting all the candy. Amazingly enough, none of the kids ate any candy while we were trick-or-treating, so when we got back to our friends' house, we let the girls pick out 2 pieces of candy to eat, and Elle, of course, chose the whole Twix bar (some of the house were handing out actual whole candy bars!), and Lauren ate the pieces we had given her and then walked around getting other adults to give her more candy. All in all a very fun Halloween!
The whole group

Lauren and her friend, Claire

Princess Cinderella


Tired Snow White

Celebrating that she went up by herself

Very happy about all the candy in their pumpkins!