Thursday, April 27, 2006

Egyptian Princess

Gloria had fun dressing up as an Egyptian princess on Tuesday night. It was her "special time" when she got to stay up an hour past bedtime. She wanted to play dress up, but her dress up clothes were in Danya's room, were Danya was sleeping.

When I suggested she dress up in MY clothes and costume jewelry, she was ecstatic! She's wearing one of my nightgowns, headband, and some old jewelry that was passed down from my Dad's side of the family. I used to play dress up with my sister with the same jewelry when we were little. Gloria was so cute dancing around the house and posing for pictures! I have the feeling this may become a favorite request for "special time".

Monumentally Fun

This past week while reading about Egypt and the Pharaoh's, we learned about Ramses II, who had statues of himself built all over Egypt.

Working on that idea, Danya and Gloria each made a statue out of white playdough. Last Christmas we stocked up on playdough, getting about 4 cans of each basic color (red, blue, yellow, green, white). We give them only one color to use at a time. That way they don't mix the colors together creating a dark swirly lump of no particular color. We got the idea from our church nursery.

Anyway, they had fun experimenting to figure out how to get the statues to stand up, and how long the arms could be before they fell over or fell off. I think they both did pretty good.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Hail Storm!

Yesterday was a wild day. Daniel was working overtime during the day. Since he got a ride to work, the girls and I had the van. So we went to McAlister's for lunch. Before heading out I checked weatherbug and it said it would be warm but extremely windy. When we stepped outside there wasn't a breath of wind, though. While we were in the restaurant we saw the wind pick up and start bending the trees outside the big windows. Then we watched a wall of dark clouds move in. We hurried up and left and the sky rolled blackness above our heads like a blanket covering us up as we got into the van. The wind was so strong it yanked the driver's door out of my hands. We got home just as a fierce storm hit. It was 2pm but looked like night outside. It was all over in about an hour.

Later that day we picked Daniel up from work and hurried home. Our neighbor stopped by to tell us that the weatherman was predicting a bad storm. So we turned on the news and watched the predictions for tornadoes all around our area. The storm shook the house and scared the girls with the loud thunder. We all snuggled in bed and watched footage of a tornado that had touched down in OKC tearing up an airplane hanger. Then when we heard what sounded like bullets hitting our house we looked out onto the back patio and saw quarter sized hail falling all over the backyard and bouncing off the patio stones. The girls were relieved that the storm passed over us right before bedtime, so they felt safe enough to go to sleep.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Double Park-ing!

Daniel and the girls surprised me today. Daniel got home an hour early, and didn't wake me up. Instead, he and the girls got all their homeschooling done for the day by the time I woke up at 9 a.m.!!

So I got ready quickly, and we drove to Tulsa. We stopped at several garage sales on our way to a scrapbook store. I got some pretty new dresses for the girls for $3 total! While I looked around in Scrapbooks Galore N' More Daniel took the girls over to a little art shop next door. They brought me over to take a look, because the girls were pretty excited about it. They offer art classes for kids, including special classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays just for homeschoolers! The classes are $10 per kid for an hour and a half. We've been looking for an art class for Danya for some time now, and this one would let Gloria participate, too!

They also offer a week long summer camp. We've been considering a $200 two week drawing class at the Philbrook Museum for just Danya. This one is half the cost, and both girls can go! They would paint self portraits, make masks and pottery from clay on a real potter's wheel, paint a landscape with water colors, and more! It's from 1 to 4:30 pm, and it starts the week before Danya's birthday. She said, "I could show my cousins what I made when they come for my birthday party!" How can we argue with that?

After we left the art shop we had lunch and took the girls to LaFortune Park. Then later today, for dinner, the girls and I had a pizza and Pepsi picnic at a local park. The girls thought it was great that they got to go to two parks in one day!

She's Thinking...

What am I doing? It's over 90 degrees out here, and I'm wearing a black checked shirt and blue jeans. I'm sweltering!! At around 7 months pregnant, I should be at home with the air conditioner on, sipping something cold and looking at the new "scrapbooking babies" magazines Daniel bought me today.

He seriously wants to take a picture of me right now? When I'm dripping sweat, my hair is wind blown, and I don't particularly like my outfit? Doesn't he realize we only have a few minutes to play with the girls here? If he were asleep at this very moment he would still only get a little under 7 hours of sleep before going to work tonight. And we still have a 20 minute drive back home! It's all his fault. He's the one that promised them we'd go to a park today.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Teddy Bear Day

We had Teddy Bear Day at the Millers on Thursday. The girls each brought a teddy bear and they weighed and measured their bears. Then they compared the measurements to see who had the longest, shortest, heaviest, lightest, etc. The girls got to color pictures of a teddy bear and cut them out, too. Megan absolutely loved using the "knifes" as she called them (scissors). She must have cut that teddy bear picture into a hundred tiny shreds!

We also sat outside and solved teddy bear math problems with teddy grahams, interspersed with doing the teddy bear song/dance:

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the ground,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, reach up high
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, wink one eye
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, slap your knees
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, sit down please.

After they were done, they all jumped on the trampoline. I even jumped on it gently with Gloria for a few minutes, but I was making Betsy worried so I climbed out.

Kevin's Crib

Wednesday night we pulled the crib out of the garage. It was disgusting! When looking at the bed you want to put your sweet newborn into, you do NOT want to see cobwebs and spider egg sacs hanging off of it!!!

So Daniel washed it off and we used some cleaners on it, and then he spent the night assembling it. He pretty much had to guess how it all went back together because of course we lost the directions two babies ago, but I think he did a good job.

We also moved some more furniture in, like the bookshelf at the foot of Gloria's bed in this picture, and we hung up the Dr. Suess poster that Jennie sent us. It's starting to look like we are ready for a baby to get here! Before he comes, we still need to put a changing pad on top of the blue desk, and buy a new diaper genie. The old one got broken in our garage somehow.

Home Sweet...Birdhouse?

This is the corner of our garage. This is the bird that is building a nest under the broken trim along the top of our garage.

We can't actually see inside there, but sometimes strange things fall out of the hole and we can hear fluttering inside. We can see the bird going in and out. Two days ago we found a cigarette pack wrapper hanging out of the hole. Apparently they like crunchy noises in their nest.

Neither of us has the heart to try and kick the bird out, even though it may be doing some sort of damage in there. We've been thinking about having siding put on the upper half of our house (the lower half is brick), but maybe the birds will be done using the garage before we get around to that. In the meantime we'll just keep our ears open for baby bird sounds above our heads.

Contrary Nature

We mow less than anyone in the neighborhood, and yet our grass insists on staying beautiful and green while other better cared for lawns look parched and neglected.

We mow down every year the tulips the previous owners planted 5 years ago, and yet they multiply and continue to bloom.

We neglect and mistreat the poor Mother-in-Law plant that our friend Claire gave us 10 years ago, but if we give it the slightest bit of water when it is yellowish brown and almost completely dead, it perks right back up.

I let the rose bushes get overgrown until they start ripping the screens in our windows, and then I butcher them with pruning sheers until there is hardly a stick remaining...and they suddenly bloom beautifully.

Nature at our house insists on surviving despite our indifference, inability, and general black thumb. I think there is a spiritual message in there somewhere.

7 Months and Growing

Kevin is growing just fine. He continues to kick me like he's trying to learn every dance there is. I wonder when he'll run out of room? I remember the doctor saying when I was pregnant with Gloria that towards the end of pregnancy they don't seem to move as much because they are getting too big for such cramped quarters. I wonder how my belly decides it's expanded far enough and should stop?

My stomach certainly thinks it's running out of room! I thought that pregnant women were supposed to eat voraciously, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Instead, I feel full after only a small amount of food. I can't finish a whole sandwich or a whole bowl of soup. I'm getting back into the habit of needing to eat every 3 hours like I did at the beginning of this pregnancy.

Besides having to pee about every 15 minutes, I'd have to say the weirdest thing about pregnancy is the dreams. I've always had dreams that are like watching a movie with an interesting plot line. Since I've been pregnant though, they come every night. And they are always either a horror flick or something that seems to require bad music, shag carpeting, and a lava lamp....enough said. Last night I had a terrible dream about fighting an evil villain on a small yacht in Venice. He kept attacking me with hooks that looked like croquet wickets. What would Freud say? Hmmm... Luckily, whenever I wake up in the middle of the night, I can call Daniel at work and ask him how his night is going. Within minutes I'm falling asleep on the phone, lol.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Movie Deprivation

Since we moved the t.v. out of the house about a week and a half ago, Daniel and I haven't missed it all that much. Once the carpet installation was done we decided not to move the entertainment center back in. The girls are feeling deprived.

We finally moved the t.v. in, but put it in Daniel's and my room. Since most days he sleeps in there, the girls and I can't watch t.v. or movies (which of course is part of our nefarious plot).

We hadn't actually been using it since it moved in, but last night that changed. We were going to go to a drive-in movie, but changed our minds because it started so late and we didn't want the kids up that far past their bedtime. So instead they got to rent a Strawberry Shortcake video and snuggle in bed with Daddy to watch it. I enjoyed the opportunity to have uninterrupted scrapbooking time to work on Kevin's baby album. We just got all my scrapbook stuff moved in yesterday afternoon.

I think making t.v./movie watching a special once-in-a-while treat is working out well. We get alot more accomplished during the day and I don't feel like my girls are becoming t.v. junkies.

Paint like an Egyptian!

This week we are learning about Egypt. It's a topic we've brushed in passing before, but this time we are devoting the week to studying it because it's part of our "What Your First Grader Needs to Know" textbook which we are using as a spring board for lesson planning. Monday we learned about the fertile Nile and the girls painted pictures of it.

Today we read about prideful Pharaohs and heiroglyphs. Then the girls made their own stories using only pictures. We also found a website that is an online sticker book game about Egypt. The girls liked that alot!

Danya is a little bit scared of the idea of mummies, so I thought I'd cover that topic tomorrow in a not-very-detailed way. We might wrap a doll in toilet paper or something, but not get into the nitty gritty about the process. We also might sculpt some statues out of playdough.

Easter Hunt Pals

Gloria has been Jason's special girl since she was born. He's always loved being older than her, and is always happy to see her. Their relationship seems to be going strong still. On Easter they held hands and helped each other find eggs all around Grandma Nancy's back yard.

It was a little gross that the boiled eggs had ants on them and the plastic eggs' chocolate was starting to melt a bit by the time they were all found, but the kids didn't seem to mind. After the hunt the kids swapped eggs so that everyone got some with jelly beans in them and had sandwiches and home made strawberry shortcake for dessert.

That morning before church the girls woke up at our house and discovered plastic eggs full of candy hidden all over the living room. They also helped Daniel the next day to shell the boiled decorated eggs and make egg salad sandwiches (which they thought tasted terrible, but Daniel and I liked them).

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Our Loving Family

We've been collecting these dolls and furniture since Danya turned one. For fun tonight, the girls and I divided up their many many dolls into individual families and then took a family photo for each of them. The girls picked out furniture and pets for the families and arranged them on Danya's bookshelf.

This particular group they put together and said it was our family. When Danya was little the girl in the pink shirt was her "Danya doll". Now that girl is Gloria and the bigger doll is Danya. They said the little boy on "my" lap is Kevin. Grandma and Grandpa Elliott are behind the couch. We may print these out and make a little mini album for them. We have Granny Jo to thank for starting this collection, since she was the one who gave Danya the dollhouse for her first birthday that sparked the whole obsession.

Painting the Furniture

Danya and Gloria painted all over our furniture!! Oh wait, we told them they could. I have an old desk and bookshelf that I painted with my mom years ago and they were looking pretty beat up.

So we let Gloria paint the desk to match the walls in her and Kevin's room. When he gets here we'll put a changing pad on the top and some diapers in the drawers. Gloria found out that while it's fun to paint, it's also alot of work. She really liked sitting underneath the desk and painting the hard to reach parts.

Danya got to paint the little bookshelf to match her room. She painted most of it purple, and the shelves pink. I told her that if I can find some cute Disney princess rub-ons we'll eventually add those to the sides. We also ordered pizza and had it delivered so we could sit outside and eat it while we were painting. Despite the bugs and the wind, the girls had a lot of fun painting on the furniture. I was just happy that we didn't get any paint on the driveway! It really improved the look of those two old pieces of furniture.

Gloria's Desk and Danya's Bookshelf
The finished master pieces!
Kevin's crib will eventually go where the big bear is right now.

Carpet and Crud

The carpet guys came Tuesday morning and ripped out our nasty old blue carpet. Underneath it was stuck to the concrete in places from the ancient dog poo and pee from the previous owners' pets. The carpet itself was so old that it had partially disintegrated into a tan colored powder.

The carpet guy said that it was the original carpet and padding that had been installed with the house. He said that when building new housing additions, builders use the absolute cheapest carpet pad possible with an ugly color of carpet in the hope that the eventual owners will hate it and put something better in. Clearly we, and the previous owners, were too lazy to do that until now. So we scraped up the chunks, swept away the dirt with huge clouds of it flying through the air, and then sat back to watch the new thick padding and pretty tan carpet get installed. It completely transformed the look of our home! In the process, however, we did discover that there is a big crack running through our foundation. It doesn't seem to have affected the house, so I'll hope that it doesn't become a problem in the future.

Painting and Preparing for Baby

While we were painting the kids' rooms on Monday Daniel and I realized that we had never actually decorated a nursery for any of our kids before. We had decided to paint on the spur of the moment the day before. The new carpet was going to be installed on Tuesday and all our friends at church were telling us that we should hurry up and paint because we wouldn't have to worry about messing up the old carpet.

We've never painted any of our homes before. Mainly because this is our first real home that we actually own. So Monday morning we went out and bought the paint that everyone recommended. It's called Kilz paint and it goes on with just one coat, doesn't have noxious fumes, and dries quickly. Kevin's room got two shades of blue, which it already had but it was old and scuffed up. Danya's room got light purple and pink with a Disney princess border.

We did the living room in "white chocolate". But by the time we were ready to start on the living room it was 7pm and we hadn't even eaten dinner yet. So we called our friend, Mike Miller, and begged him to come help us. He came over and helped us get most of it done by around 10pm. Daniel was finishing the edges and corners until almost midnight, though. Then he had to wash out all the painting equipment and we wound up not getting to bed until around one. We were exhausted when the carpet installers arrived the next morning. It was all worth it, though, because the house looks amazing.

Playing with the Elliotts

We drove down to visit Daniel's parents on Sunday afternoon. We had a pizza picnic at the park. (Say that 5 times fast! lol) His folks had kindly agreed to let the girls stay with them for a few days while we finished moving furniture, painting the house, and having carpet installed.

It was very hot outside, but the girls really enjoyed playing at Strickland park. Daniel and Gloria climbed up opposite sides of this rock wall and gave each other a kiss at the top. When Danya made it to the top I reached up and shook her hand from the other side. Both girls were so proud of themselves for getting up there all by themselves. Daniel was pretty proud of himself too, maybe because this time last year he may have been too out of shape to make it up there so fast.

It really was a beautiful day. The girls stayed Sunday night through Wednesday afternoon with their grandparents. They made marble paintings, took walks, played on the tire swing, and made crafts. They are really looking forward to going back to Grandma's house this coming Sunday for an Easter egg hunt with the Maxwell cousins.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

BOK and PAC visit

We had ALOT of change after last weekend's garage sale. So we brought the entire box of coins to Tulsa to the downtown branch of our bank, located in the BOK tower. That tower is connected to the building that Daniel works in.

The girls enjoyed the revolving doors, riding the escalators, tossing pennies into the fountain, and getting their hands stamped and free suckers at the bank. They took our coins and sent them to the underground vault where they would be counted and then the total would be credited to our checking account. It wound up being about $35 in change.

We also walked out across the bridge that connects the second floor of the tower to the parking garage across the street. The top of the garage has been turned into a little park that butts up against the Performing Arts Center (PAC). We walked around the park and took this picture of Gloria under a giant statue of a ballerina. Last of all, we went to a Borders book store and got each of us a new book. Altogether it was a fun little outing!

Extreme Bear Makeover!

Gloria was in tears Thursday night because her favorite bear, Brownie, was coming apart at the seams. Brownie belonged to Daniel's dad when he was little. He's getting pretty old and threadbare. So we did some repair work on him this weekend.

I stitched his ear back on, since it was hanging by a thread. Then, since he only had one button eye left, I removed it and put new matching button eyes on that Gloria got to choose herself. We decided to leave his nose for now until we find a good replacement.

In an odd coincidence, when we were cleaning out the garage on Tuesday we came across a box of Daniel's chilhood photos including an old postcard that has a picture of a bear that looks identical to Brownie on it (minus the clothes, since those were added by Daniel's mom years ago). Hopefully we can keep Brownie holding together so that one day he can be passed on to one of our grandkids.

Hiding the Baby

Do I look 6 1/2 months pregnant in this picture? I tried to stand in such a way as to hide my pregnancy a little when we would get onto rides so that they wouldn't kick me off. Since every ride including the little kid rides had those signs that suggest you don't ride if you're pregnant, I decided that it was mostly to prevent law suits.

So I rode the giant boat that swings back and forth about 5 times because the girls liked it so much and also the Wild Cat roller coaster twice since it's fairly tame and didn't hurt my belly at all. The one mistake I made was wearing a sleeveless maternity shirt. I went home with a mildly painful sunburn on my shoulders and chest. Thankfully, the girls didn't get burned at all.

One of the highlights of the day was when Daniel got chosen to assist in the magic show! He had to verify the restraints and the female assistant were all real. I think the best thing of all though, was that the girls had grown just enough that they could both ride some of the bigger rides. We bought the souvenir photo of the girls riding on a real grown-up size roller coaster with us for the first time ever. They loved it so much they immediately said, "Let's go again!"

Yard Sale and Frontier City!

We had a garage sale last weekend that went extraordinarily well. Over the course of two days we made about $350! Most of that was from selling kid's clothing and scrapbook supplies. We sold all but a couple of items for just a quarter a piece.

Saturday night Danya asked if we had made enough money to go to Frontier City. We had planned earlier this year to try to go to Disney World..but that didn't happen. Then we thought maybe Frontier City, but decided to use the money to replace our carpet and tile instead. Friday night Daniel's work informed him that his schedule has changed and he suddenly had Sunday off. So we decided to go on the spur of the moment.

We didn't realize it was opening weekend, but it worked out fine. There were almost no lines at all and we got to ride everything we wanted to except the swings which were temporarily closed. We all had a great weekend!

The Cleaning Crew

We recently hired a wonderful new cleaning crew to scrub down the play structure in our back yard. They swept and washed every inch of it from the slides, to the rock walls, to the stools and other accessories.

They don't do windows, but fortunately the only actual window in the structure is the plastic sky light.

Both girls were very professional and even dressed in matching "uniforms" before beginning work. The best part was that the entire cleaning job was their idea in the first place!

The play structure looked great for about a week before a bad storm blew it over and it got covered in mud and bugs. I guess we'll just have to see if they are available to come clean it again for us on the next sunny day!

The Apprentice

Danya got to help Grandpa Wayne and Daniel lay the new tiles in the entry hall and the kitchen. She was fascinated by all the different tools they used. The tools were on loan courtesy of our friendly neighborhood supply store...A.K.A. our neighbor, Shane.

Wayne has laid a lot of tile over the years since he is the head of maintenance at my old high school. He was installing those tiles so fast, it was a thing of beauty to watch! He made it look so easy. But then Daniel, attempting to lay tile for the first time ever, showed how hard it really is if you aren't experienced at it. Together, though, they made a good team. I'm glad that the girls got to participate, since it's not a typical "girl job". I want them to feel confident and capable at any task.

Memory Makers

Grandma Nancy helped Danya make her memory box as part of the projects required to complete her workbook from church. In the box she is supposed to put little things like a letter to herself saying what becoming a Christian means to her and a photo of her getting baptized. She's also memorizing scripture and basically getting prepared to make that big decision. She's been saying that she wants to ask Jesus into her heart and get baptized for a long time now, and this is our way of making sure she fully understands how important the decision is before she makes it. She really got a kick out of having Grandma there to help her make her memory box.