Sunday, April 24, 2011

Basket hunt

After church, I had a scavenger hunt planned to help the kids find their Easter baskets. Caroline had no clue what this was all about, but Rylan was excited as we helped him figure out each clue. Finally he found the big prize, hidden in the dryer! My parents usually had scavenger hunts for us and it was another of my best memories of Easter.
I bought new Easter "buckets" for the kids this year because they had outgrown the baskets we used for them as babies. I found the plain blue bucket for Rylan at Hobby Lobby and ordered the vinyl decals from a great store on Etsy. Rylan is crazy about frogs right now. I couldn't find the same bucket in a girl color, so I just had to order Caroline's whole bucket from another store on Etsy. I thought they both turned out really cute and were definitely roomy enough to store their Easter treasures.

Charlton and Rylan reading the clue to determine their next step.

Caroline has a mouth full of Hershey kisses and is a happy girl with her movies and Rapunzel doll.

Rylan tore himself away from his Ironman transformer to humor me with this picture.

Thanks to Grammy for the kids' wonderful Easter gifts. They were a huge hit!

He Is Risen!

We woke up Easter morning to a blanket of fresh, wet snow covering the ground. I always think of new spring growth being a wonderful illustration of Jesus' resurrection on Easter. However, the snow is a great reminder, too, that Jesus has washed our sins as white as snow!

I love the contrast between the bright colors and the snow.

I hope my tulips were insulated enough by the snow to survive the cold. I would love to be taking Mother's Day pics in front of red blooms in a few weeks. Notice Caroline's snow boots. We had to trade her sandals for something more practical. Snow boots and Easter dresses are quite fashionable for little Colorado girls.

Caroline doesn't seem to excited about this kiss from brother.

Some cheesy grins.

The best shot of both kids, I think.

Caroline models by the fireplace.

Sweet kiddos. We had a nice relaxed morning getting dressed, eating a light breakfast, taking pictures, and even made it to early service on time. It was wonderful!

Journey to Jerusalem and Egg Hunt

On Saturday our church fellowship hall was transformed into a Jerusalem marketplace. They did such a great job with decorations and making all the tents filled with interesting things for kids to do. I enjoy all the Easter egg hunts and candy, but I also want my kids to know the most important meaning of Easter. This was such a fun way make the time of Jesus' life come alive.

Rylan enjoyed trying out the interesting musical instruments.

The guys created a clay pot at the pottery station. There was even a women demostrating the pottery wheel. So fascinating!

Caroline loves play-doh, but wasn't too interested in making a pot. She was kind of shy and clingy to me the whole time, except when she saw some of her favorite teachers from MOPS and Sunday school. Then she came alive waving and shouting to them! It was funny to see her excitment at recognizing someone in the crowds of strangers.

Caroline loves this sheep that is usually on display in the child classroom areas.

Several women were making traditional unleavened bread. The kids received a ball of dough to press on the olive oil covered mold, and then sprinkle with seeds on the pan. They even were baking that bread in the church kitchen nearby. We could smell the wonderful aroma and even taste the fresh hot bread.

Finally, the Easter egg hunt. It didn't start until 12:30, so we were all hungry, tired, and cold.
But, we just couldn't miss it, especially with our new Easter pails to try out.

We have been having practice egg hunts all month, so Caroline was all business.

It was painfully cold, as you can tell from Rylan's face, but he was proud of his "haul."

Egg Dyeing

We dyed eggs last week.

I though a blanket on the kitchen floor would be a good idea until the cup with the pink dye spilled completely. It cleaned off the vinyl floor surprisingly well.

Caroline turned her fingertips black from the combination of all the colors! Rylan did that too, when he was her age. This year, he figured out how to use the spoon.

All the eggs ended up with cracks from minor accidents, but they turned out pretty and we had fun! I hope my kids have good memories of dyeing eggs just like I did growing up.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mom's Visit

We had a wonderful time when my mom flew in for a visit during her Spring Break a few weeks ago. I wish I had taken more pictures, but I found myself just enjoying all the moments and forgot to grab the camera. Now we will just have to visit her this summer to catch more photo ops. I did get a few great shots, but unfortunately all my pictures from April are missing in action after my husband revamped my computer. :-( I am holding my breath and hoping we can find them hiding in some folder somewhere.
We fed giraffes at the zoo, splashed in the creek at Fox Run Park, tumbled at the Little Gym, played and ate lunch at Chick-Fil-A, did a little shopping, movie watching, and playing on Nana's super fun Ipod. On Thursday, we even had a girls afternoon out, with a delicious lunch and dessert at Marigold's and some shopping in Old Colorado City. It was a fun-packed week! I am so thankful for the time to spend with my mom and for the kids to get to know their Nana better.
Praying for my pictures to return and hopefully I can add them later.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Another big girl milestone...

Guess what we have been doing in our house this past week?

Yep, Caroline is potty-training! Isn't she adorable? I just decided to bite the bullet and do it on Monday morning. I knew if I thought about it too much, I would talk myself out of it and we would keep procrastinating, so I just took the plunge. It hasn't really been a great week to start, we have a lot of places to go and other things to do, but this girl is doing amazingly well. I am so proud of her. So far I am much less stressed than I was with Rylan and she is way more interested. Girls really are so different. In fact, yesterday, I actually had to put the little potty up for a while, because she was doing #1 about every 10 minutes just so she could get an M&M or sticker.
Sunday update: Caroline is still doing great at potty-training. She took herself to the potty and did #2 last night all by herself for the first time. She also stayed dry at church today, and I think just had one pee accident all day! I guess this is common, but Caroline would not keep her underwear on at first. Hence the bare bottoms in the earlier post. I think I am finally starting to win that war and she is getting the hang of pulling the underwear back up after she goes to the bathroom.

I am exhausted, feeling like I am checking underwear, wiping, putting underwear on, scrubbing the carpet, emptying the potty, washing hands, etc.. almost non-stop for 14 hours a day. Thankfully, I know each week will be easier, but I am just falling into bed each night with no energy left for anything else. I am glad I don't have much going on this week except dyeing eggs with the kids and planning our family Easter meal.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Daddy weight lifting

Charlton was able to swing by the Little Gym near the end of Caroline's class last week. To say the kids were excited to see him would be an understatement. They both started screaming and raced across the gym. They certainly love their daddy and thankfully he is very strong to be able to hold both of them like this!

Water balloons

Rylan is wearing another pair of mismatched pajamas as his "armor" today. Caroline? Well, I'll explain more about that later, but as you can see, she is just half-dressed. Her little bare bottom looked awfully cute covered in different pastel shades of sidewalk chalk!
Rylan earned these water balloons as a prize for behaving while his toenails were being cut. He is very good about fingernails, but cutting the toenails is a huge battle every few weeks. I know he is completely overreacting and just needs to learn some self-control, but this past time, I thought I would try to reward him for controlling himself and sitting still. The promise of a small prize worked, and thankfully he was thrilled with these $1 water balloons we found at the grocery store. Caroline enjoyed them too, another bonus.

Gardening with Mrs. Yvonne

You know spring is getting closer when our neighbor and Rylan's "3rd grandma", Mrs. Yvonne, starts working on the beautiful garden in her backyard. Rylan was so excited to be invited over to "help" water the new flowers. Are you guessing this is early in the morning by looking at Rylan's clothing? Actually it is lunch time and Rylan is not still in his pajamas. I did dress him that morning and he is already on his 2nd or 3rd clothing change of the day. Lately, his Buzz Lightyear pajamas are his favorite "armor" (his name for his clothing) to wear. I had to use some diplomatic skill on laundry day to get him to finally let me wash them. I am not crazy about having several pairs of clothing strewn all over his room from all the costume changes, but I know this stage won't last forever, and I am glad to see him getting so much practice getting dressed. This was a skill that he was reluctant to learn and brought a lot of frustration for both of us, so I just try to look at it in that perspective.

Rylan looks like he is getting excited discussing some of the finer points of horticulture with Mrs Yvonne.

Maybe a little costume adjustment needed?

Sunbathing, Colorado style

As you will see in many subsequent posts, I am having trouble keeping proper clothing on my children these days. This is just one example. Ahh,the simple pleasures of life, basking almost naked in the sunlight shining through the window.

Karate men

The Clarke men have been busy training together. Rylan is enjoying karate and although he gets nervous right before leaving, Charlton says he has a great time once he arrives at class.