Saturday, March 31, 2012

Easter Party, Preschool Style

 Eli and I went to Andy's preschool for an Easter party on Thursday. The kids had to wait patiently and the parents attempted to mingle around the food until it was time for the egg hunt. There were about 15 kids and at least as many parents, grandparents and younger siblings crammed in the classroom. We said lots of "sorry", "excuse me", "no, don't touch that" as we tried not to step on each other or our children. Andy threw back some sugar and tried to pass the time with a good book. Eli is fascinated with toy kitchens and the pretend food so he was delighted to find plenty of both. At last it they were instructed to line up with their baskets and head out to the playground.
 Capturing a picture of a child darting all over the place in search of plastic eggs is a tall order. I had to be content with a picture of the loot, instead. Andy begged us to stuff the eggs we donated with cars, of course. We refused and went with candy. Lucky for him one of his friends stuffed their eggs with the much coveted toy car. Andy was quite anxious about acquiring an egg with a car. It was his prized possession until this afternoon when it was replaced with a green lantern happy meal toy. But I digress...
 I don't think Eli was really supposed to participate but there was no holding him back. He figured out what this was all about in a matter of seconds. He was so sweet, brought the eggs he found right to Andy. I think he would have stayed there all day, gathering plastic eggs and giving them to the other kids.
Back inside, each child calmly sat in a circle and sorted out all of their candy, stickers and toy cars. 
Eli went back to gathering plastic food and I finally had a chance to enjoy the food in relative peace. That's a preschool Easter party for you: controlled chaos with a heap of sugar and a healthy dose of enthusiasm. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Back to Our Roots

 We gathered in eastern Pennsylvania last weekend to celebrate my grandmother Edna's wonderful 89 years on this earth. It's a funny thing taking children to a foreign land and telling them it's where their grandparents and great grandparents and even great great grandparents lived and worked and loved. I don't think they quite understood but they listened patiently. Of course, there was also time for fun and this twisty slide at a park near our hotel brought a lot of laughter to a somewhat sad time.
 Allie schooled us all in the ways of the hula hoop. You rock, sister! 
 My mother's cousin Sue and her family invited us to her home on Sunday afternoon. The beautiful girls on the left are 2 of her grandchildren and this is a fun totem pole they built in their back yard.
 Table at the church with pictures of my grandmother at various stages in her life. The funeral was a nice celebration of an ordinary woman who loved her family extraordinarily well, worked hard and kept us laughing with her grand sense of humor. We miss her already.
 A good picture of my parents.
 Cousin Sue and her family also fixed lunch for us after the funeral. This is her family's church in Finland, PA.
We took a brief field trip to check out the 'roots' on the other side of the family. This is Amy, Eli and Emily standing on just about the only thing left of Windy Hill farm, my father's family's farm where he grew up. We had pictures with us of how it used to look and this might be the house foundation. The developments are encroaching and the trees are overgrown, it doesn't resemble a farm at all. But Papa could still share his memories and his stories and I'm glad we had the chance to go and see a slice of family history.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bribery. It's What's For Dinner.

 There are some among us who prefer not to eat their dinner. Even if it is a dinner of their choosing (chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs). Even if his mother refused to give him a snack at 4pm. He still chooses to sit at the table and ignore his plate full of food, chattering away about every possible topic under the sun. I think he is waiting for his parents to come unglued. It's probably fun to watch our heads spin around. In an attempt to modify his behavior, said parents went with the controversial dessert bribe. What 5 year old can resist strawberries and cool whip dribbled over a still-warm-from-the-oven biscuit?
This 5 year old can. The good news is that he ate his dinner. But he wouldn't go near the dessert. He did, however, pause to stretch his hamstrings. I like his technique. I prefer to stretch a little before tackling my dessert. I guess the whole situation is a win-win but I am still completely baffled as to why eating is such a contentious issue. Sigh. It is so difficult to parent a smaller version of oneself.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring Forward

 I simply cannot believe it is spring. Instead of losing an hour, I feel like I have lost a couple of weeks! Wasn't it just Christmas? I have heard it said that the days are long but the years are short when raising children. I'm not exactly sure how we have filled our days, but here are a few of the highlights. We spent a quick 24 hours in Charlotte visiting Steve's family and sang happy birthday to our eldest niece.
 I feel like I live at the pediatric dentist. Everybody needed to go to the dentist. They went in petrified and came out smiling. Andy spent the next several hours reminding me that he needed to 'flosp'. I hate 'flosping' but maybe his enthusiasm will rub off on me.
 As the weather has improved we have enjoyed several sunny afternoons playing outside. This sand and water table is quite possibly the best $2 we ever spent. Every year I think it is on it's last legs and then the boys fall in love all over again and it survives another season.
 Like his brothers before him, Eli is fascinated with cars. Since we have about 500, there is a wide variety to choose from. He has battled repeat double ear infections and in a moment of weakness I let him bring his pacifier and his buddy out of his crib one day. Now he carries his buddy, his pacifier, and about 4 cars with him everywhere he goes. Oy.
On a sad note, my grandmother passed away last week and we are making preparations to celebrate her life. This picture is almost 10 years old, taken at our rehearsal dinner the night before our wedding. It is one of my favorites.