Friday, February 15, 2019

Valentine's Day 2019 Recap

FULL DISCLOSURE: We don't "do" Valentine's Day. It's a Hallmark holiday and one that I don't put much weight behind. In recently heard a radio segment that talked about how much people (on average) spend on Valentine's Day gifts. I almost crashed my car at the shock of how much people (again, on average) spend and from laughing at the whole (expensive) ordeal.

That said, Eric and I exchange cards (just like we do on our anniversary) and wish each other a happy Valentine's Day. We also give the kids cards to wish them a good day and to have a fun avenue for reminding them of our love for them. Easy ... done. As an added bonus, the kids got heart glasses with their cards (thanks, dollar store!) Who has two thumbs and is a fun mom? THIS gal!!!

The reason I really like Valentine's Day is the cookies. I LOVE making Valentine's Day cookies. This year, I was in a state of panic not knowing if the kids' class parties would actually occur (thanks to Snowmagedden 2019) but they did! Woo hoo! I baked the cookies Tuesday night and decorated them Wednesday night (but that point, we had gotten word that the kids would haves school on the 14th.) So, I pulled out my decorating supplies and went to work!

The kids decorated a few cookies, too, and are really getting a hang of some decorating techniques! Both kids made rather advanced decorating choices (especially considering Conor's age and Annika's full-arm cast!), including hearts, wreaths of hearts, and multi-color hearts. Way to go, kiddos!

These are four of my favorites from this year

5th grade's cookies platter

3rd grade's cookie platter

My monster Valentine's Day craft was this rag heart. I made it for my mom's door at her care facility. (The benefit of being snowed in... there was plenty of time to tie about a million knots to make this wreath!) Again, due to the snow, I wasn't sure if it would get to her on time, but due to her unexpected fall and ER trip on Wednesday, I got it to her on time. I think we'll leave it up even after the Valentine's Day decorations come down ... she loves the color red and it looks darn cute on her door!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Annika's new cast

On Monday, aka mid-Snowmagedden, Annika and I ventured out into the cold, snowy world for her scheduled appointment at Children's. Fortunately, Eric worked from home that day, so we took his car  to the appointment (all wheel drive for the win). Driving was a piece of cake (mmmm.... cake!) because we were able to stick to the plowed roads used by the buses on their emergency routes.

Annika could hardly wait to get the cast swapped out... the original one was a plaster cast under a fiberglass cast. So bulky! So heavy! (And, let's face it .... so smelly!)

Annika giggled through the removal process and was fascinated by the various layers of the cast. (I love how inquisitive our girls is!) The clinician gave Annika's arm a nice sponge bath using baby wipes to help remove some of the dead skin and ripeness, shall we say.

Annika picked a green cast for her second go-around, which she was thrilled to report gave her more finger freedom and was MUCH lighter. (This newfound freedom left her feeling more sore than she'd been in a few weeks... not a surprise, but still a good reminder that she's still healing and needs to be careful.)

We don't have to go back for four weeks. (WOO HOO!) That upcoming appointment *should* be when she can get out of a cast and into a brace. Fingers crossed!

Goodbye, old cast

Ready for the saw

It tickles!

New cast ready for signatures!

Snowmageddon 2019

Rarely do I adopt the media trend of naming storms/weather events with catchy names. This time, I have to admit, that it really fits the situation to call our recent set of snow storms (4 in a week!) a true snowmagedden.

It all started about a week and a half ago with the first storm that left us with 4-ish inches of snow on the ground. Pretty. Easy. Snow day. No biggie. Fast forward over the next week, we got enough snow over the next few days to break the snow record for February... and then we got 3 more inches of snow! We are such overachievers here!!!! We wound up with 14" of snow on our deck. Hello!!!

The kids, being typical "the snow doesn't stay long in Seattle" kids wanted to take full advantage of every moment in the snow. We had to practically bribe them to come inside when all of this started. By the end of it, they barely noticed the piles of snow outside because it had become old hat.

Last week, they either had no school. late starts, or early dismissal due to the weather. This week, they haven't had any school until today (Thursday) and tomorrow was supposed to be a teacher in-service day, but the school will have classes instead to help get another day in the books. Eric and I were really mean parents who made them read and accomplish something each day ... we are such meanies!

One of the multi-day projects for the kids was their snow fort on our deck. It kept them busy for hours upon hours and they worked together really well. Once our snow shovel arrived (before that, they were using my little gardening spades), their progress went into high gear!  By the end, it reminded me more of Mt. St. Helens after it blew and Eric decided it was Crater Lake.

Falling snow

Our rhodies kept getting weighed down by the snow

Snowy deck

Our deck steps ... incognito 

Snow kids


Conor making a snow angel

Starting their fort project

Fort progress

Conor and his snow man

Snow total before the last storm brought in 3" more

Hello, my pretty!

Catching snowflakes on her tongue

More fort progress

Cold smiles

Big tools for big jobs

We are now officially in the sloppy thawing phase. When the snow arrived, we watched our neighbor's roof slowly disappear under the snow; now we're watching its slow reappearing act. At night, we're still dropping below freezing, so there's lots of ice to contend with, but less each day. We, unlike many people in the area, never lost power, which we are very grateful for. It flickered a few times, but that was the extent of it. I can't help but wonder if my tulips that started to peek their noses out of the dirt before the snow arrived will be stunted by all of this craziness .... only time will tell!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

February Snow

I've said a few times this winter that I doubted we'd get any snow. If we don't see a single flake by the end of January, we typically don't see snow. I was SO confident in this theory that I planted pansies in our front yard last week. Oh what a fool I was!

See my pretty flowers? So springy!!
Last weekend, we got hit with a snow storm that dropped about 4 1/2 inches of snow in our yard and covered my pretty pansies so there was nothing to see by white mounts. The temps plummeted, causing icy road conditions and the snow to remain. We also got some decent winds that brought down tree branches and limbs.

School was cancelled on Monday and Tuesday, so the kids were basically over the moon. (Annika's enthusiasm was diminished when she came to the realization ... with our "mean parent" help ... that playing in the snow at the neighbor's house with a broken arm wasn't the best idea. She wound up being invited to her friend Maddy's house Monday afternoon to watch a movie and drink hot cocoa, so all was right again with the world. Conor spent a few hours at the neighbor's house bopping between playing in the snow and playing Monopoly inside. He loved having Valeria to himself and it sounds like they had a fabulous time together.)

Eric and I worked from home on Monday. I worked from home on Tuesday, too, while he braved the roads to show his face at the office; fortunately, he made it back and forth without incident (whew!).

The kids had a 2-hour delay Wed and Thur.... the question is what will Friday bring? If you as a weather forecaster, MORE SNOW! If the forecasts are right, we're in for a real doozy of a storm. (And if the lines at the grocery store last night were any indication, people were paying attention to the predictions.) Stay tuned!

Throwback Thursday: 60s Style

Last month during Catholic Schools Week, each day consisted of a different dress-up opportunity. The Thursday of CSW was "throwback day" and the kids could pick an outfit based on a specific decade. I "helped" the kids pick the 60s knowing it would be easy (duh!) and convenient to work Annika's cast into her outfit.

We had tie dye coming out of our ears with this one, but I think everyone will agree that they looked pretty darned adorable! Groooooovy, man!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

School Talent Show 2019

Yesterday, the kids' school had its annual talent show, which is part of Catholic Schools Week, and what a show it was! The show is always on Student Appreciation Day, which this year, was their "crazy clothes day", too. Mix and match those patterns, my loves! MIX AND MATCH!

As you may recall, dear readers, that for past shows, our children have demonstrated such talents as singing while doing a headstand, whistling, making banana bread, and doing a stand-up comedy routine with a puppet. This year, Conor opted to demonstrated how to make a few balloon sculptures and Annika (pre-broken arm) planned to do a little Irish dancing). Once we got word that Annika would be able to avoid surgery on her arm (wooo hooo!!!), we recruited her to be Conor's assistant for his routine. Ta da!!

Conor (with a little guidance from home and with OK from his principal) opted to make a balloon heart and two different swords. He practiced very hard on his creations (the hills of balloon corpses left scattered around our home is a testament to his practice!) and what he could say during his act. 

When it came time for them to take the stage, the kids were amazing!! Conor adeptly created the heart and amazed all of the kids in the audience. (His deadpan instructions were probably the piece de resistance of the routine, if I'm being 100% honest.!! Without trying to, Conor embodied the comedian Steven Wright to a T.) Conor then moved on to the more difficult of the two swords (the trident sword) and really showed how much poise he has ... and Annika provided a great deal of moral support. We prepped way more balloons than we thought he'd need, but he wound up needing every one of those balloons because more than ever before popped during the sculpting process. Much to Conor's credit, the popping balloons didn't phase him or ruffle his feathers. He simply tossed the popped balloons aside and started over. Meanwhile, Annika would lean in to the mic to explain that "even if a balloon pops, that's ok! Just try again. It just gives you more practice!"

After quite a few attempts, Conor conquered his trident sword and (out of a sense of generosity?) opted to throw it to the audience, which basically created a mob that surged for the stage. As the the teachers jumped in and got the crowd back to their seats, the kids were still on stage with Conor at the mic saying "No! No! I'm not done yet!" (By this point, I was shaking with laughter... tears streaming down my face!)

He finished his next sword and, apparently not learning from the first time, also threw it into the crowd .... creating another balloon-focused mob rush toward the stage. The teacher, once again, jumped into defensive mode and got the kids wrangled and back under control. I'm pretty sure my laughter subsided around 10 minutes later after the last acts wrapped up. (Best ab workout ever!)

We are incredibly proud of our kids for having the courage to stand on stage in front of their entire school. They had poise, charisma, humor, and a great rapport. 

To our sweet performers, you two did a fantastic job!! We love you and are impressed by your bravery and love your creativity!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Conor, a Future Titan

A new show called "Titan Games" started on NBC a few weeks ago. It is hosted by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and it is basically an obstacle course competition for some seriously amazing athletes. We've watched similar shows as a family, and we appreciate the lack of drama as well as the physical prowess displayed by the competitors. Honestly, these people are agile, strong, and determined beyond belief. 

For some reason, this show has inspired Conor to start working out. I don't know what clicked for him, but something did. He watches the show with weights in hand and now works out 4-5 days per week with Eric's small weights and my workout bands. Last night, we watched the latest episode of "Titan Games" and there was Conor with Eric's weights... doing curls. What really got me was his teddy bear sitting there next to him. It made my mama heart absolutely melt. 

Tough boy with his weights .... and his teddy.