Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More Snow Pics

Well, it's Wednesday and we are still sitting at home. No school tomorrow. I think we can write-off this week. Our street is clear because another neighbor and I actually shoveled the road yesterday. Things had started to soften up and we grabbed our chance, scraping off one clear lane up our hill. The kids are loving it, of course, and we haven't gotten on each other's nerves anymore than we typically do! Here are a few more snow pics for Grandma Helen!

Jingle is quite large by Boston Terrier standards. She was up to her chest and hopping around the yard. She seems to really enjoy the snow!

Brooke LOVES to throw snowballs. She is not shy at all about getting close enough to make sure she hits her target (me). Notice her little red elf nose.

After getting a good chill outside, the girls took every pillow in the house (no exaggeration, since I discovered even our sleeping pillows in there) and made a "nest" in the sunroom for their afternoon nap (which, of course, they never actually took).

We made cupcakes in the afternoon. Olivia was supposed to be decorating, but I caught her eating the goods!

Olivia likes to decorate for a little while, but her attention soon wanders. Brooke, on the other hand, can be quite focused and meticulous. She made most of these, entirely on her own - no interference from momma. There was as much decoration on the counter and floor as on the cupcakes, but it was worth it. She had such fun!

Back out right before sunset for some sledding in the front yard (hill). (Notice the slant of our driveway? That's what Mark slid down sideways in his quest to get to work during the last ice storm.)

Olivia loved yanking up hunks of ice (crust) to throw and shatter. I've posted a video at the end of this entry which shows her sledding.

Playing in the snow, no nap, making cupcakes, and more playing in the snow makes for one tired little girl. After dinner she crashed in Daddy's recliner.

The next day (Tuesday)? Yup - more playing in the snow. They pulled out their sand toys and played safely in the yard while I shoveled the street, making it go easy and fast. After a delicious lunch of the fresh, homemade chicken noodle soup Daddy left for us, more sledding and playing with the neighbor kids! Olivia had her first official snowball fight!

I love this picture!!!! After this, we all went inside and had the traditional snack of hot cocoa and cupcakes.

Today (Wednesday) we stayed in and thawed out. The girls made art projects with some of their Christmas gift kits and mommy washed the hardwood floors (whoo-hoo.) The big excitement was when Daddy came home!!!!!! He's been at the brewey since Sunday night, so the girls were very excited to see him again. Brooke ran around screaming, "Now we can wrassle!!!!!" Poor Daddy did his best, but he was pooped from his time at work. He was relieved to sit and snuggle after a nice hot dinner of Shepherd's Pie.

Here is a video of Olivia sledding down the yard that first day (Monday). I don't know why it is so blurry, but it shows how fast and how far Olivia got using the neighbor's sled. She shoots down the yard, across the street and across the neighbor's driveway. Her little saucer just wouldn't travel as far.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wow, Did It Snow!!!!

Welcome to Mugsy, Aunt Debbi's pug! He fits right in with the rest of the pups! (And yes, our tree is still up...)

The weathermen said we'd get snow! And they were right!! When I put the girls to bed, there was nothing going on. But when I looked out the window and hour later, I was astounded to see about 2 inches had fallen and it was coming down fast and heavy!!

The first round of playing in the snow!

And here's what it's done to our deck canopy... oops...

This is for Aunt Debbi and Uncle Duff as they while away their time for a few days in Florida at their new house. Their little guy has been the perfect house guest and even comes out in the snow with the girls!

More later! The clothes are in the dryer getting ready for sledding down the front yard...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Catching Up II

Some more old photos...

The girls love the whirlpool bath in the master bedroom. We don't use it often because it takes SO much water. But it makes a nice treat. Olivia alwasys gets scared when I turn on the jets, so she has to jump out and then jump back in after they've gotten started. Brooke couldn't care less!

Sisterly love at the Chinese restaurant!

Brooke posing for Olivia. What a cutie!

Here's the paint in the sunroom. The sunroom had been white for the last 14 years. Then, when I went to China to get Brooke, Mark painted it this soft, pretty green. Then we got the new brown carpet...

So, just a little over 12 months since he painted it - he re-painted it to go with the new carpet. We like it even better this color.

Our school district has a "Bus Driver Appreciation Day", which I think is great. They have a TOUGH job! Here is the card Olivia made for her bus driver, who is a GREAT and sweet lady:

Brooke mugging for the camera at Cracker Barrel. Loved the glasses, but not the price. We were taking Mark home from his very first colonoscopy and he was hungry! He passed with flying colors and doesn't have to go back for 10 years!

Here's the kind of work Olivia is doing in her new art class. It's a motorcycle rider on the highway. Her teacher helps her, but Olivia does the main work.

Our church had a Fall Festival in October and Olivia performed with the Kids' Choir. She cried all the way on the walk to the church (it's across the street from our subdivision). She didn't want to go! She was scared! She even tripped and skinned her knee and we had to scrounge for a bandaid in the church. She BAWLED.
Here's how she did...

She blossoms in front of an audience...
Her teacher, Ms. Burleson, is also a member of our church. She performed with her choir, too, so I had to get a picture of them together. Olivia ADORES, ADORES, ADORES Ms. Burleson. She's a great lady and has a great sense of humor. She gets a kick out of Olivia. Mark claims it's because they have a "Lutheran Connection". Ha!

The girls got their faces painted and their nails done!

And here's Aunt Debbi! Rotten Aunt Debbi! She has betrayed us!
She's gone and bought a house in Florida, which she plans to move to next August when her hubby retires. Phooey!

Pumpkin carving time!! This year I was smart and just put a tarp in the backyard!

Here's the decorated yard in the sunshine. Ghosts, tombstones, big cat!

And here's our lights at night! The neighbors have come to expect us to have the best decorations on the street! Next year we'll host the cul-de-sac get-together. It used to be that on Halloween all the neighbors on our street got together in the cul-de-sac and talked, ate and drank while the kids trick-or-treated. All the bowls of candy sat on the candy-table with the parents. But we've lost that tradition with everyone's busy schedule. So, we'll host next year and try to revive the tradition.

Carved and lighted pumpkins! The girls designed their own faces. Olivia was scary and Brooke was happy.

The completed genie costumes. No more sewing.

More sisterly love!!!!! I hope they stay this way!

The weather was really great and we were able to go without coats this year. Which was really handy considering the girls' costumes. Olivia didn't break down and use her jacket until we'd finished trick or treating. Here they are taking a break and checking out their Halloween booty. We still have candy left and it's Jan. 8th... Maybe they'll finish in time for Valentines Day...

Wow! I'm doing pretty good with updating! There's more to do, so hopefully I'll get it done soon.

Catching Up Again!

OK, so I'm playing catch-up again. At the last moment, I realized I needed to download the pictures off the little card in my camera or I wasn't going to have room for any Christmas photos. In looking at all the pictures, I realized that Grandma Helen had missed out on alot of the girls over the last few months. So I'm going to do a quick flashback - all the way back to September. Ha!
Olivia had a break from school in mid-September. We headed to Stone Mountain on the other side of Atlanta. We really love the park and it's not so busy after Labor Day. The focal point of the park is the HUGE mountain of granite in the center. You can take a cable car up to the top and walk around, seeing as far as the eye can see all around you - nothing to get in your way. Here are the girls at the tippy top.

I thought the tree was funny. How on earth a tree can grow in the tiny little soil deposits on top of a solid rock mountain is beyond me. But we were grateful for the shade. It was a hot and sunny day!

There are all kinds of things to do at the park, but the girls' favorite is The Barn. It is a barn that's 4 stories tall. They have regular stairs in the back for old timers like me, but they also have tubes and woven ramps for the kids to climb up. One area is like a trampoline. It's a little creepy at first because you can see right thru to the floors below you, but that's part of the fun. The girls love to bounce there. On all the floors you'll find soft little nerf balls. You collect them in sacks that are provided and then fire them from guns that are scattered about on all the floors. The center area of each floor/level is cut away, so you have to keep to the sides. The guns all point to the center, so you can shoot at whoever is below you or across from you. It's pretty much pandemonium from the moment you enter until the moment you leave. The energy level is off the charts.

Next to the train station is putt-putt golf. Olivia was game to try that this year, but (as usual) she is TERRIBLE at taking direction from her parents. Mark did his best, but I'm afraid she's just not going to be a golf-phenom. That's ok, as none of us play. (And no matter what I did, Blogger kept loading the picture sideways.)

The chugga-chugga of the train put both our babies to sleep.

They woke up rested and ready for more fun.

Moving along, it was daddy's 29th birthday (again) at the end of September. The girls decorated his cake with evey sprinkle they found in the cabinet. The cake crunched when we ate it.

And then we did the thing that changed my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We got new carpet in the family room and the sun room!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes!!!!!!!!!!! The old berber carpet had been great, but it was 15 years old. Plus, it used to be white. Daddy chose it when he built the house and was still a bachelor with no pets. Silly man!! Needless to say it wasn't white anymore and it was to the point where I was embarrassed to have anyone visit the house. It was AWFUL. A photo cannot fully capture it's ickyness.

What do we have now???? Brown berber that will never show the dirt!!!! Yeah!!!!!!!!!! Plus, we got it at a great deal, so what more can you ask for??? Plus, it makes the area feel more warm and friendly.

Brooke is going to be a little cook. She loves to help in the kitchen. Here she is hard at work mixing peanut butter cookies. They turned out tasty as usual. (Mom gets all the ingredients together.)

Then it was time to start decorating for Halloween. This is the cat we got on sale the year before. We love him!! Olivia is doing a good job of looking terrified, but you'll notice the orange cat next to him doesn't seem concerned in the least. More about Halloween later.

Brooke attended her pre-school's Fall Festival. Here she's showing off her popcorn hand and her mini-pumpkin. She had a ball at the festival. They had refreshments, bouncies and games for all the kids to play. And you got prizes for the games even if you didn't do good, so there were smiles all around.

She chose the traditional ladybug for her face painting, and had her hand stamped with a black cat.

Broke's little foster brother from China, Meng Meng, sent a belated birthday gift to the girls. Brooke got a beautiful ballerina shirt (she now refers to the shirt as her "Meng shirt"), and Olivia got a cool book about things that originated in China!

And now it's the dogs' turn...
Here are Jingle and Lucy taking a nap on Jingle's stuffed dog. Aunt Carol originally gave it to Olivia. It's big and flat, and kids can lay on the floor on it. But as soon as we got Jingle, she adopted it as her own. She nurses on it! When she gets up in the morning, it's the first thing she looks for. Or, if we've been gone and they've been locked in their crate, it's the first thing she goes for when she gets out. She never tears or bites it. She uses her front paws to gather it into a blob and then gets a mouthfiul and just sucks. She'll lay still for several minutes with it in her mouth. Sometimes she even falls asleep that way. She does no harm, so we let her have it. The other dogs are usually not allowed on it (they don't nurse on anything), but this day she was willing to share with Lucy.

Sometimes Smoochy will sneak in and sleep with the girls after we put them to bed. This time he chose to slip in with Brooke. When we come to get him at bedtime, he tries to lay still so we don't notice him. He hasn't figured out yet that that just doesn't work. Brooke is holding her pillow-lovey.

The dogs knew that daddy had sneaked the bag of deli-turkey out to his recliner. Did he really think they wouldn't smell it???

Well - that's all for now. I'll get some more photos posted soon. They are calling for 4" of snow (turning to ice) in a couple days, so we may be snowed in! The last time we had ice was right before Christmas. It came right at rushhour. I woke Mark and told him to call the brewery and tell them he was staying home from work (he was working midnight shift). But what did Mark say?? He said he could make it in anyway! He grew up in Indiana and has lived in Michigan and Colorado, so he could handle the ice! And he hopped out of bed, slid down the driveway sideways (litrerally!), and was off! The only problem was that when he got to the interstate, there had just been a wreck further north, but one knew about it yet. He got stuck in traffic, like a parking lot, and sat on the interstate for EIGHT hours, from 8pm until 4am. (Two full tankers had collided on the ice and the big tow rigs couldn't tow them out because they were slipping on the ice, too.)Next time? I won't wake him up until we're completely covered with ice and he has no choice but to stay home!