Friday, February 17, 2012

Lulu-Belle of the Ball

The long-awaited Daddy-Daughter Dance was tonight, and Lorelei squeezed into the same gorgeous red velvet dress for the third year in a row (it was our flower girl's dress). She always adds the wings for a bit of fluff, and pulls of a perfect Valentine's angel.
 Mommy attacked the car for the second time this week, turning it into the Pumpkin Coach for our sweet Cinderella.

Gryffy had to get in on the pictures.  While Lorelei and Daddy were at the ball, he had a special play date/make-your-own-pizza-dinner with friends Adria and Isaac (which meant Mommy had some friend time, too).
 Aren't they a stunning couple?! Lulu-Belle of the Ball.
 Time to go to Red Robin for dinner, then a stop over at Target to pick up a crown (Daddy's idea). "C'mon, Daddy!" Even from behind, you can see L's excitement.  She rubs her nose like a squirrel when she's hyped.
 They went to the dance through Blue Valley Rec this year, because their usual dance at Lifetime Fitness was on Saturday night, and Daddy had a gig. This one cost twice as much, and wasn't half as nice, Mark said. But Lorelei came home beaming ear to ear, so she must not have noticed. Mark said she spent most of the night drawing pictures on the song request forms.  That's SO Lorelei :o)
 Isn't she lovely?  This girl is such a joy to me--we totally "get" each other, and I love that!  I love my sweet girl so much!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Funny Valentines

This year, Mark and I have made dating the priority that it should be, so I planned a few (six) date nights ahead of time, complete with gift cards. Mark loved the gift, which thrilled me because "gifts" just isn't my love language. Score. (He treated me to a full day at the spa, which was simply divine. O, I do love Valentine's Day!) 
 The kids had no problem bolting out of bed this morning after our Bible story for their Valentine's treats. I've started gathering them into my bed after Mark leaves in the morning, and waking them up to a story. It makes the morning run so much smoother (waking up has become a real battle of the whines lately).
 Of course, Valentine's Day simply isn't complete without a heart attack--the walls are smothered in heart doilies we made a couple weeks ago.
 And someone forgot to park in a hidden location last night, and suffered for it this morning. He should know better by now...
 Lorelei's class party.

 I love you a whole bunch too, Lulu-B!
 Gryffy's class party.
 Good lord, does that boy ever steal my heart!
After G's party we had lunch at Chick-Fil-A with Grammy, then speech and a trip to the library. As soon as we got home, the kids tore into their Valentine's gifts and began painting. These kids are crazy about art projects--sure, they make large messes virtually everywhere they go, but they are so creative and entertain themselves for hours.  Hours.  And they usually clean up their messes (with a bit of nagging).

And I just had to tuck in this photo, too, because G usually doesn't nap, but will bring a pillow downstairs every once in awhile and fall asleep in the middle of the kitchen floor. That kid can't stand the thought of missing out on anything!
 And notice my red coat tucked around him?  Big sister did that when I wasn't looking.  She sure loves her little brother, and he sure loves her back.
Funny Valentines. We're so blessed with love on this Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pampering & Puppets

Our family night lesson this week is based on a story I've found several places centering on manners. I've renamed it "Princess Polite and a Rainbow of Rudeness." 
 We've been dealing with a lot of rudeness lately--pouting, tattling, the works.  I was so fed up yesterday with the incessant whines (mind you, the kids were sick) that I seriously was ready to book a hotel and bolt for a weekend of solitude!! Fortunately, my sweet hubby surprised me this morning with a full day of pampering--75 minute Swedish massage, 60 minute facial treatment, lunch, manicure, spa pedicure, etc.--just in time!  (He's so wonderful to me!)
Back to the puppets, though.  To go with the Princess Polite story, we made sock puppets for each of the story characters.  The kids had so much fun helping me (and making their own puppets on the side--they both possess unlimited creativity).  We're going to use these puppets for our Kindness theme at Princess Power Training in April, and all the girls are going to make sock puppets of Princess Polite. Lorelei's already called dibs on the socks and hair that she wants for her project :o)
 Here's the story:

This is GREEDY GREEN.  He always wants the most, and the best, and to be first.  When there is just one cookie, he wants it.  When the kids play baseball, he wants to bat first.  GREEDY GREEN never thanks anyone or thinks about what others like.  He only thinks about himself.  I hope he doesn’t live at YOUR house!

Now, I want you to meet RUDEY REDRUDEY RED is a good friend of GREEDY GREEN, because she also thinks only about herself.  She doesn’t like to take time to say “please” or “thank you.”  She stands right in front of the TV when people are trying to watch and makes lots of noise when people are trying to talk or to rest.  She is so rude that she whispers and rattles her papers when everyone else is quiet.  I’m sure RUDEY RED doesn’t live at YOUR house!

Next, is TAN TATTLE.  Her favorite thing to do is tattling.  She tattles if someone makes a face at her.  She’s always whining that somebody hit her or that the other kids won’t play with her.  By nighttime, she’s all worn out from running back and forth tattling and her friends and family are worn out for listening to her!  Does she live at YOUR house?

Oh, here is BOSSY BLUE.  She spends her time bossing everyone around.  She always has to be in charge and she always must be first.  She bosses others around telling them what to do, how to do it and when to do it.  She always chooses the very best for herself.  It is very sad that she hasn’t learned how much fun it is to share.  I hope she doesn’t live at YOUR house.

And we can’t overlook YELLING YELLOW.  When she’s around, you can’t even hear anyone else.  She’s always yelling and running and making a big racket.  At the dinner table, she talks louder and longer than anyone else.  In a crowd it is easy to find her – just listen for the loudest voice. Even at church you can see her running and yelling during story time. Let’s hope YELLING YELLOW doesn’t live at YOUR house.

Now, I want you to meet POUTY PURPLE.  Poor POUTY PURPLE uses her weak and whiny voice to always complain that she has to do more jobs than her brother, and that she never gets a turn to say anything when he wants to talk.  POUTY PURPLE is always feeling sorry for herself that she can’t do things as well as everybody else.  POUTY PURPLE never has any fun – she is too busy pouting.  Does POUTY PURPLE live at YOUR house?

Here is BUTT IN BROWN. I’d better hurry and tell you about her, or she will butt in and I won’t get a chance. Whenever someone starts to talk, BUTT IN BROWN interrupts and talks louder. If a friend tries to tell about somewhere he went, BUTT IN BROWN butts in and starts telling where she went. When someone in class tries to answer a question, BUTT IN BROWN hollers out the answer. People wish BUTT IN BROWN would butt out! I hope she doesn’t live at YOUR house!

Ooooops! We almost forgot POKEY PINK.  She ALWAYS comes in late, because she pokes around until the last minute and then can’t catch up in time.  Her mom  has to call and call to get her up every morning.  POKEY PINK pokes around and plays until time to leave for school, and then makes everyone else late because she can’t find her shoe.  Of course, she never finishes her homework on time and usually ends up handing it in late.  She pokes around with her work until her playtime is over.  Poor POKEY PINK.  She almost poked along too late to get in this story.  Have you ever seen a POKEY PINK?  Not at YOUR house, I hope!

Last of all, I want you to meet PRINCESS POLITE. You will like getting to know her. She makes others happy by being polite. She isn’t selfish like GREEDY GREEN and never rude like RUDEY RED. PRINCESS POLITE doesn’t enjoy tattling like TAN TATTLE and isn’t bossy like BOSSY BLUE. You won’t hear her running inside and hollering like YELLING YELLOW, or see her with a long grumpy face like POUTY PURPLE

PRINCESS POLITE is very careful not to butt in like BUTT IN BROWN and never comes in late with POKEY PINK.  PRINCESS POLITE always tries to think of others, and because of this, she has lots of friends. PRINCESS POLITE is a model of kindness: she is Loyal to the Royal within herself and others! I hope she lives at YOUR HOUSE!

 They play constantly with their new puppet friends and put them to bed tonight.  See the cute little slumber party on Lulu-B's floor?  So fun!
Let's just pray Princess Polite pays a visit to our home soon, and decides to move back in.  We've sure missed her smiling face!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Flu bug

January/February have been very mild months this year, and we've enjoyed going on walks to the park, getting muddy and washing up in our home "pool" (baths in swimsuits--Gryffy and Mommy just got out of the tub before nap time, in fact!), and riding bikes in the cul de sac.
 Lorelei is a very (VERY!) cautious child.  We have to work with her a lot to overcome her fears and "be brave," especially with riding a bike.  She felt so unsteady on training wheels, and it seemed like we were just getting nowhere because she'd always ditch her bike for Gryffy's to be closer to the ground (and her legs are way too long for little brother's bike). So I did some research, and found out that many bike experts recommend parting with training wheels and pedals altogether, and working on nothing but balance.  I could just see Lorelei's confidence blossoming immediately, so much so that the next day, she wanted us to replace the pedals again.
What's that I see? Could it be a smile???

We had a few spills, but always got back up.
And for a few brief seconds here and there, Lorelei would ride freely up the street, Mommy or Daddy close behind her.
And my heart went all aflutter when she actually got excited about going outdoors for "bike lessons."
Sadly, just as we began to make progress, Lorelei and Gryffy both caught a nasty flu bug. We spent a lot of time piled on the floor with pillows and blankets for movies, reading, iPad games and 60-piece puzzles (G is the puzzle master). Fortunately for Gryffy, his fever passed in a day, but Lorelei has been fighting this thing for six days now, and had to miss her annual violin concert (again)! She's doing better, but it's taken a real toll on her appetite, and meal time is a constant battle.  It hasn't been fun, and I've been on my knees more than once praying for God to give me patience and wisdom to help her readjust to food! We just had a horrible visit to her favorite restaurant, Olive Garden, today--she whined and panicked when I'd try to get her to eat more than three bites.  She's especially bothered by texture this week, and doesn't even like smoothies anymore!  Let's just say I cried on the car ride home. She, meanwhile, fell asleep.
And she's still sleeping, which is about all she's done this week.  Poor girl.
Other things we've been up to:
1. Mark and I have been having regular date nights every week and have really enjoyed the time together. Sometimes it's dinner and a movie, or tapas and a book we're working through together, or a visit to the hot tub at the gym to unwind.  It's been seriously nice.  I appreciate so much that I married such a good man who loves me and our kids so much, and that we have a fabulous babysitter living right across the street who is so gracious with her time (and who the kids adore).
2. Apples of Gold!  I can't say enough about how much I've been enjoying Apples of Gold, a once-weekly meet up of women my age and older mentors who treat us to superb, candlelit meals as we focus on Titus 2:3-5: "Train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be sensible, chaste, domestic, kind, and submissive to their husbands, that the word of God may not be discredited." Each week we study and discuss a different topic: Kindness, Loving Your Husband, Loving Your Children, Submission, Hospitality, Purity.  I've been so inspired and blessed that I have begun to plan for a similar study for young girls and their mothers.  I call it:
3. "Princess Power Training."  You'll hear more about this on the blog in the near future, but two amazing women and I are working hard on creating a curriculum to teach confidence to our "Princesses" using a biblical model--our theme is "Be Loyal to the Royal Within."  We're covering loads of stuff and have corresponding activities and projects for each enchanted evening, to tie in with the six themes that God put on my heart: Be-YOU-ty, Obedience, Kindness, Confidence, Courage, Radiance.  I know Lorelei will love this and I hope that it blesses a lot of other girls this spring!  We'll begin piloting this at the end of March through our church, probably limiting it to a group of 8-12 mother/daughter pairs, so 16-24 people (haven't decided on exact numbers yet, but it's been amazing to see the enthusiasm building already).
If you're wondering why I haven't been blogging much lately, between all of these fun things (and more that I haven't mentioned--Deep Dives class, walking), the flu, and a few articles in the pipeline, I've been spinning plates!