October always holds Fire Truck Day at the girls' preschool, and while Bryn spent most of this year's event snuggling up to her crush (see yesterday's post for photographic proof), they did still manage to take in the big red truck in all its glory.
Preschool cuties--look at them all well-behaved in that straight line: Shay and friend Christopher: Class portrait with the brave firefighters:
I'd better enjoy doing posts like this while I can, because it won't be too many more years (or maybe just months) before Bryn will likely forbid me from doing so. But for the time being, she considers her crushes to be conversation for all, so I feel safe in doing the same.
Anyway, check out this cuteness. I got some adorable pictures of the class on Fire Truck Day (to be posted next) and couldn't resist taking a few of Bryn and her (perhaps unknowing) beau as well. There's some definite cuddling going on there.
And yeah, she's wayyyy closer to Billy than to the kid on her other side. Preschool love connection?
Ben says I shouldn't even entertain thoughts like this. I don't think he understands little girls. :)
So, so much to catch up on. Time seems to be slipping by so quickly these days. Perhaps it's my two grad courses sucking up all my time. Or maybe it's the three weeks I just spent grading SAT essays online. Or maybe it's my three children under the age of five (although not for much longer!). Whatever it is, I'm running behind (as usual).
To begin--fall is officially here. The unseasonably warm days are now behind us, and the leaves are changing color and falling off the trees. The girls love to hear the leaves crunch under their feet, but even more than that, they love to throw heaping armloads of leaves onto each other. Thankfully, they both greet this trick with peals of happy laughter--although I do have to keep reminding them that not all of their friends feel the same way. Our new-construction neighborhood has basically no leaves, so they think that the leaves on the lawn of their school are the greatest. And oh boy, you'd have thought they'd died and gone to heaven when we took them to Eagle Creek Park last weekend!
Here's the girls and their friend Christopher, rolling around one day after preschool, unable to contain their joy at the miracle of fall:
One final note about our trip to Peoria before moving on to the rest of our (last) week. While we were there, my mom took us out to lunch at The Spotted Cow, this great little restaurant that also happens to feature awesome ice cream. Given the promise of being able to choose any flavor ice cream they wanted, the girls obediently devoured their lunches, which is a pretty impressive feat for my picky little eaters.
My mom took Shay up the counter and started reading her the names of the flavors..... and next thing we knew, Shay had a heaping cone full of bright blue ice cream! Apparently the years between "mom" and "grandma" created a little forgetfulness in Mom's understanding of a child's psyche, because she insists that all she did was read the names of the flavors. To which I reply, yes, but saying, "Ooooh, look at that blue one.... it's called Blue Moon..." is more temptation than a 2-year-old can handle. LOL!!
Photographic evidence that Grammy was totally responsible for the ice cream mess -
Shay was over the moon with delight at her Blue Moon ice cream -
Bryn opted for a more traditonal strawberry -
Seriously, though.... We love you, Mom. Thanks for a great weekend (and for putting up with our good-natured teasing). :)
Last weekend, we went to Peoria to visit my family. This was kind of a red-letter event, as it was actually our first trip to Peoria since Liam was born.... 7 months ago. It's not that we're squeamish about traveling with a baby; Bryn traveled for her first Thanksgiving when she was 3 weeks old. It's more that the mechanics of travel have gotten much harder now that the kids outnumber the parents in our family. Furthermore, Shay stopped sleeping in a crib around the same time that Liam was born, and unlike Bryn, Shay is a bit of a nighttime wanderer. Basically, Shay needs constant supervision while traveling, and the lucky parent who supervises her doesn't end up getting much sleep. Then we also need someone who can get up with Liam in the night, since he still does that occassionally. And ideally, those two someones should not be the same parent, so Shay and Liam don't wake each other. And most places that we would travel to don't have enough space for us to spread out enough to separate each kid into a different room to allow them all to sleep, thus our utter lack of overnight travel over the last seven months.
But I digress. The point is, we finally made a trip to Peoria, and it went just fine. We isolated Shay in my sister Kristin's old room, and while she did utterly trash the room (sorry, Sissy) and I did have one panicked moment where the video monitor revealed that she was attempting to climb out the window (which was thankfully closed and locked, so she failed), everyone else got good sleep. We also had a great visit with my mom, as well as short side visits with my dad and stepmom, two sets of my aunts and uncles, and some old friends from my church growing up.
The absolute greatest thing to do in Peoria in the fall is to go to Tanner's Orchard. I'm sure that everyone else who grew up in Peoria will back me up on this.... after Tanner's, pretty much every other apple orchard in the world is a huge letdown. So I was especially excited that even though we haven't been to Peoria in a while, we were able to work a visit to Tanner's into this trip. Oh, and did I mention that it was 85 degrees and sunny? Here's some of our highlight reel:
Bryn and Shay driving their tractors -
Froggie teeter-totter... so handy to have a sister as a built-in partner! -
Grammy Tina watched Liam while the rest of us checked out the "dirt bikes"..... don't worry, it's all pedal power -
Shay and Bryn both found their way out of the corn maze all on their own -
Tanner's actually has dozens of gourd-headed scarecrows done up in the guises of all kinds of famous characters, but the girls liked Minnie and Mickey the best -
My favorite part was coming home with a trunk full of apple cider, apple fritters, carmel apple pie sprinkled with nuts, apple cider doughnuts, and apple butter, not to mention the apple cider slushie I got to sip on the way home. YUM!! Apparently my family agrees, because Ben has already demolished the entire carton of apple fritters (I didn't get to eat a single one!), and Bryn liked the apple cider doughnuts so much that when we ran out (in record time!), she insisted that I call Grammy (while she was listening) and ask her to bring more the next time she comes to visit. Yep, Tanner's is always a hit!
Each year, the kids' preschool has a "class pet." This year, it's Sunny (aka Sunshine Bear) because the theme for the year is sunshines. Each kid in the class gets a turn taking Sunny home for the weekend and recording Sunny's adventures in the class book. This year we are extra lucky because Sunny will get to come to our house twice! Here are some of the fun things that Sunny did on Shay's weekend:
Played in Shay's "house" on the school playground - Got to eat a delicious bowl full of dirt - Got to play in our yard with Shay on an ujnseasonably warm day - And got to go out to lunch at McDonald's with Lilly, Christopher, Bryn, and Shay (all of whom are in our preschool class, and also the MOPS group that we go to on Fridays) -
My friend Kristin read this post from a blog that I really enjoy as our devotion this morning at MOPS. The title is "I Don't Want My Children To Be Happy." I was really touched by it. These really are the values that we should strive to raise our children with.
(Of course, it also enforces my desires to run out and adopt millions of babies as well).
2. Read at least one pleasure reading book per month.In September, I read Baby Proof by Emily Giffin for my book club. I liked it, but not as much as other books I've read by her. I can't decide if I'm just getting sick of her or if I was just frustrated with this particular book. In either case, Something Blue remains my favorite by her. I also just finished up Mockingjay, the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I thought it while it was good, it was still the weakest of the trilogy.
3. Join some kind of musical group and perform with them.I performed my first concert with the Zville Concert Band on September 11. We actually had another concert today, so now I can check this goal off twice!!
4. Blog daily.I haven't managed daily, but I'm doing what I've got time for.
5. Get back down to (at least) my pre-pregnancy weight.
Last month I mentioned that I was interested to see if my winter wardrobe would fit, since I'm holding steady at 20 pounds lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight. This month I had to actually break into the winter wardrobe and subsequently learned that no, in fact, it does not fit. Good thing I have some belts. And good thing that Kohl's constatly runs sales.
6. Get involved in some kind of theatre group and help out with at least one production.This goal is officially on hold. I'm far too busy as it is.
7. Teach Bryn to read.She's learned a few more short words and enjoys practicing. She LOVES being back in preschool this fall and gives me a full report of what she learns each day. She loves to do her homework and turn it in each day!
8. Potty-train Shay.She's doing really well. She even goes at school! I actually thought she was ready to be in underwear instead of Pull-Ups, but when we prototyped this the other day, I realized that she's leaking more than I had previously thought. Back to the Pull-Ups, but she does go on the potty nearly every time.
9. Frame our portraits.All family portraits have been framed. Next job is to put together our "Year Six" anniversary frame.
10. Finish up some of my murals.
Still working on Noah's Ark.
11. Paint the kids' bathroom.This project is officially on hold.
12. Get Shay into her big girl room.Achieved in January.
13. Breastfeed Liam.More than halfway to the one-year goal! Liam is also now eat rice and oatmeal cereal, bananas, apples, pears, green beans, and vanilla yogurt. With the exception of the cereals, we haven't bought any baby food this time around; we're doing the whole homemade thing. Far easier than I had expected!