Sorry it has been so long since I posted last. It has been a very busy week, but busy seems to be the norm for our house! We had some beautiful warm weather and tried to get outside and enjoy it every day while it lasted. Another cold front is blowing through tonight and returning us to winter.
Here is a synopsis of an especially eventful week in the life of the Clarkes:
Saturday night: Rylan sorted through and sampled much of his Halloween candy and promptly rejected anything "crunchy" or with nuts. Only plain M&M's and chocolate hershey bars passed his test. (Mom and dad were glad to take care of the rejected candy.) Brave Charlton decided to have a guy camp-out in the living room. I couldn't imagine taking advantage of the extra hour of sleep anywhere but my warm, cozy bed. Turns out, the kids woke up with the sun an hour early, nobody slept very well, and we heathens ended up skipping church and going to the park instead. Trick-or-treating and then playing hooky for church, oh my!
Monday: I worked the night before and slept for half the day, then woke up to do four loads of laundry, vacuuming, and preparing for Charlton to come home in the evening with the do-it-yourself carpet cleaner. We cleaned the carpets last May... just before Caroline learned to roll across the floor happily spitting-up all the way, Rylan had multiple "accidents" while potty-training, and Caroline perfected her habit of tossing half of each meal onto the floor. Needless to say, the Resolve just couldn't keep up with all our spots and we were way overdue for a deep cleaning. I was really exhausted at the end of the day, but the carpets look beatiful again, except for the area by the kitchen where Caroline likes to sit and pull it apart.
Tuesday: MOPS play group at Focus on the Family. I'll explain more about that later with the pictures. Rylan had fun running around with his friends Jimmy and Dain, and stealing Jimmy's chicken nuggets at lunch when no one was looking. Caroline was still a small baby last time we visited, so she enjoyed being able to crawl and climb over the obstacles in the baby area for the first time. Before going home, I took a quick trip to Victoria's Secret to redeem a birthday coupon, and frantically looked for my size on the sale rack while trying to keep Rylan from dismantalling racks of undergarments and bins of lipstick.
Wednesday: More fun with Jimmy and Dain at play group at our house. We raked leaves in the backyard and the boys jumped in the piles in between arguments over sharing toys and whose turn it was to hide under the plastic swimming pool.
Thursday: Story time at the library. Rylan behaved very well until the very end when he and another boy both lay claim to the same giant stuffed animal and had a shouting tug-of-war match. The librarian was so disgusted she confiscated all the stuffed animals and hid them away in a closet. Rylan has been re-telling the sad story of the "puppets" being taken away every day. Charlton met us at the park, then we ate lunch at one of our new favorite restaurants, Jack-in-the-Box. I am happy to say Rylan did not steal anyone else's chicken nuggets. After nap we went to the grocery and only had to make one mad dash across the store to the potty.
Friday: We went to the zoo with Daddy in the morning, had our eardrums blasted by the howler monkeys, narrowly avoided some uncomfortable questions about the bear's obscene behavior, and only handled about a half-dozen temper tantrums. One of the highlights of our trip was seeing some wild deer up close in a wooded area in the zoo. We celebrated my birthday a few days early with my favorite pizza from Old Chicago's and Charlton and I enjoyed a rare relaxing evening at home, together. Charlton also surprised me with a dozen, beautiful red roses. Thanks, honey!
Saturday: Charlton went to his karate class in the morning and as soon as he arrived home, I dashed out to get a quick hair cut. The kids and I scarfed our lunch and then went to celebrate our friend Izzy's first birthday party. Her party was in the clubhouse of the condo complex, and we were amazingly one of the first guests to arrive. Some family members were putting the finishing touches on the delicious food and charming decorations. An impressive bouquet of colorful balloons formed the centerpiece of the room. Rylan, and his accomplice, Buzz Lightyear, just couldn't resist a little balloon combat. Fearing disaster after the second blow, and with Izzy's family members watching with baited breath, I decided to halt the attack. Too late. Turns out the helium balloons weren't really firmly attached to the cute miniature gift bag that looked like a weighted tether. Gradually the entire cluster broke loose and gently drifted towards the ceiling,.... one with exposed beams and bolt ends sticking out. POP, POP, POP went the balloons, one after the other as I frantically tried to grab the strings and pull them to safety. In the end only three balloons met a tragic end, just the prettiest pink ones that actually had the "Happy Birthday" writing on them. One thoughtful family member even ran to his car for a pocket knife to remove the shredded remains before the birthday girl arrived. It was all I could do not to hang my head, grab my children and run for the door, before the party had even started. We managed to behave ourselves for a whole hour before I caught Rylan "helping" Izzy open her presents and decided enough was enough. Besides, we had to get home and prepare for Charlton's "fight night" party with the Training Ground guys. Fifteen hungry guys, plus three MMA fights on TV, plus thirty grilled brats, three hasbrown casseroles, three bags of chips, one pan of brownies, a dozen cupcakes, and five 2-liters of soda equaled a great time for everyone.
Sunday: My actual birthday was really a very ordinary day. We went to church, I opened my presents, took a lovely long nap and went to work in the evening.
Whew! What a week. No wonder I am tired. Maybe next week will be calmer... :-)
Happy Birthday to me! Thanks everyone for all my great gifts.
Caroline and her friend Izzy go for a canoe ride at Focus on the Family. Izzy's first birthday was November 6. Her mom Bekka and I were in a MOPS care group last fall and bonded through being pregnant at the same time.
Caroline looking oh so adorable on Sunday morning all ready for church. She has gotten very good at taking her shoes off. I think I popped them back on three times before we walked out the door and when I picked her up from nursery she was only wearing one.
Caroline's birthday cupcake shirt. I thought it turned out pretty cute and you can't really tell the cupcke ended up being a little crooked. She wore this to our "birthday" celebration at our MOPS play group on Tuesday. We had to fudge a little because Focus on the Family won't let you reserve a play room unless it is for a child's birthday. So, we gave them the names of Caroline and Izzy, our November babies, brought sprinkle cupcakes to share, and Caroline wore this shirt to enhance our credibility.