Wednesday, January 29, 2014

News Day

Okay. I confess. My Christmas tree is still up. I blame my New Year's resolutions.  I have been doing well at spending time with each member of my little clan every day and a number of other things on my resolutions -- but I think I should have added "Take down Christmas by mid-January." Maybe by the weekend!

We have had a weird start to the second half of school. It's so chopped up anyway with holidays and then we've had two "bad weather" days already -- and it's still January.  I predict at least one more in February because that is our traditional ice storm month. The kids have loved it though and it did my heart good to see my whole family just playing, sleeping and having a deep breath yesterday. Pepper went to the grocery store for me since the roads weren't passable in the morning and I came home to see her immersed in our planned-for baked ziti; what a joy!

Pepper finished her second quarter with her second set of straight As. The boys also had promising school reports, with The Captain showing amazing progress.  The Blitz continues to concern me with his notable lack of motor skills so we are seeing the pediatrician this week.  At almost five, he can't form letters at all and still runs "funny." He is smart as a whip and has amazing auditory processing. That fine-motor set is just still far behind. It will be interesting to see what the pediatrician thinks. He was a 27 week preemie so there may be some lingering issue. I just don't know!

In other news, Pepper received her acceptance letter from Stephen F Austin; we've requested her housing, all her transcripts and tests are in. Her scholarship application goes in today and now all that's left is orientation in July. Life is good.

Sunshine registered for ball last week and both boys, as well. I'd better start planning some portable meals because we are going to be living at the ballpark. Tinker thinks she wants to play ball too but I think she really wants to dance so I am trying to find her a dance or tumbling class this spring and then next year we will try to get her in dance as a part of her after-care program.

That's the news from the frosty southwest. Global warming is nowhere in sight around here! Happy Wednesday.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Little Camping Trip

After what was (for us) a pretty long cold spell, the forecast was sunny and fine and the Bigs were gone for the weekend to DCYC, so we decided to take the Littles on a quick camp-out. We've never done anything of significance with just the three of them so it seemed like a really good opportunity for some good old fashioned fun.

I had to work Saturday so we picked Emma Long Metropolitan Park. It's close! We had a blast, but honestly, I won't go there again. It's expensive for the horrid bathrooms and broken down tables. A state park is cheaper and ten times better. But you know what, the Littles loved it.

They spent almost all their time collecting rocks and sticks to throw in the water. This was hilarious fun. They also spent a goodly amount of time just contemplating the water in the luxurious sun. Beautiful.

Of course I took advantage of the opportunity to try out some Pinterest ideas I've collected. For supper we went old school -- hot dogs and coleslaw. We had kielbasa, chicken dogs, and regular dogs. They gobbled up the coleslaw; they so love the purple cabbage.  The kids were ravenous. We spiral cut the dogs and grilled them. We will spiral cut from now on --- it gives you all these nooks for relish, etc.  For dessert we tried a new take on s'mores: bananas, marshmallows and chocolate chips in a sugar cone. (I forgot the called-for peanut butter!) You wrap them in foil and grilled them. They were so good; we may never make the other kind again. Oh and the toasty bananas took the cake! (Here's an pic without a flash of Dear Hubby standing guard over the grill)

It was a cold night but we fared okay with our cobbled together heat sources. We warmed up with warm cider while Dear Hubby started the coals for breakfast. Yes I forgot my hairbrush. It's my camping head.

We made orange cup muffins for breakfast. We took a can of pumpkin, a spice cake mix, and a little juice from the oranges. I filled them 2/3 full; half full would have worked better. Then we replaced the cap, wrapped them in foil and set them in warm coals. In 30 minutes they were done. Too bad I didn't think to snap the pix until I was halfway through mine. These were amazing. They had a slight orangey taste, a wonderful smoky taste. Oh. My. Goodness.  We served with last night's smoky meats sliced up and a salad of the orange insides and a banana. It was sublime.

Then Daddy had to take off to Waco to deliver kids home and the Littles and I had some more fun in the sun. They spent quite a bit of time collecting tiny shells and arranging and counting them. We eventually tore ourselves away from the sunshine and fresh air and headed for Rosie Pho's to round up our Little time away. I do adore these little guys and all that fresh air makes them hungry. They take forever but we didn't care because we were so busy loving each other.

We'll camp again soon -- even though the nights are chilly -- because it's so good for us all. Maybe Perdenales Falls for some clambering around on the rocks next time. We'll just have to plan ahead for that golden free weekend, maybe President's Day. It's something to look forward to.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Report Cards, Marches and Other News

The Captain lost another tooth (not pictured). That's three for him. It was pretty funny because Sunshine was spending the night at a friend's and he really wanted her to come home and pull it for him; it was interfering with his apple eating.  I told him he could wait, or do it himself. He went to the bathroom and came back with it in his hand! My kind of boy.

He's having a great week. He came home with a report card stating he is on grade level in every subject. This is a true blessing but also a testament to his doggedness. No matter how hard the task, he does not give up. We are so proud of him!

Tinker's school is having an MLK March on Thursday. Dad and the kids will go because I will be working. They are really looking forward to it because after the holiday program, we have a whole new idea of what is possible with creative leadership and kids. That program was hysterical. It is truly the best use of my time in years. They let the kids be kids so, for instance, if the group wanted to dance, they let them -- free style. It was adorable. We can't wait to see what they come up with for this march. By the way, it was news to Tink that she is also part African American. Pretty sure she still doesn't believe me.

The Blitz had a good report card too; he's behind in fine motor skills, which we knew. I have some concerns about his skills and his general health so guess a visit to the pediatrician is in order. He's such a nut it's easy to overlook his lack of prowess in physical tasks. In addition we are in trouble with his school because he has already had 12 absences. I only keep him home in the event of actual fever, so I do not know how we are going to overcome this. More to talk with the ped about.

Pepper's report card hasn't arrived but we are pretty sure she has straight A's again. Sunshine is also on top of things with homeschool and really anxious to get back to ball playing. They are in training mode now which she likes, but the games are the fun part.

That's all the news from here. It's cold, I'm cold, cold, cold, cold. In spite of it all we're taking the Littles camping this weekend while the Bigs are at DCYC. Fun in the forecast for everyone!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Christmas Snapshots

Okay, I admit it; I lost the battery charger for the camera. Until I find it, all my photos have to be taken on my ipod. They are not the best photos! But it beats nothing, right?  Here are a couple of photos of our Christmas.  These first two lovely shots were taken by our friend Gina Baehl after Christmas Eve Mass.

I admit it, these photos made me cry thinking about how near I came to not being in them. If you ever want to appreciate your family, just imagine yourself out of the photos!

The kids were SO good on Christmas Eve - and it was a long service. We had fish and polenta afterward, our traditional Italian Christmas Eve.

We've enjoyed our fireplace more than ever this year; I guess that is about all I good I have to say about this cold weather!

Daddy wearing both the boys ties. Me thinks he haveth too much egg nog!

Impromptu card game!