Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ben's big weekend

The festivities of the weekend started Friday night with dinner out in celebration of Grandpa Lee's 70th birthday!! You read that right, 7-0! The girls and I made him his favorite cake in the whole world, pineapple upside down cake. The best part of this cake is he doesn't have to share much since the kiddies turn their nose up at it. 

Joel and Charlie were flying down from Portland for Ben's big baptism weekend and we all made the most of their visit and hung out all weekend long. On Friday night Lily insisted in sleeping over and Grandma's in anticipation of their arrival, even though they would not get in until well after she was asleep. On Saturday morning the girls went to crafts with Goppy at the senior center. Lily gets to go once a month and was so happy to have Charlie join them. When they were finished with that (and breakfast of champions at Coco's) we all went to a food truck festival at the park. While us grown ups ate food the kiddies went on every bouncy contraption known to man. Charlie braved the inflatable rock wall! Lily was in tears of course because everything Charlie did, she had to do. There was no way she was getting up this rock wall.
 After they bounced their hearts out at the park we had to come back to our house to bounce some more. We even busted out the sprinkler for some water bouncing. It was awesome. The girls were crazy.
 Gemma jumped so hard she lost her board shorts!
 We were all cold just watching them so we made the girls dry off and keep their feet on the ground. Mostly. Charlie and Alex kept moving.
 Grandpa Lee had found a treasure at an estate sale, a "vintage" easy bake oven! He even scraped together some pans and trudged to toys r us for the baking mix. Lily and Gemma were all over it!
They opted for the "chocolate whoopie pies" which ended up being chocolate strawberry cake with white icing on top. Not sure it would win any baking competition but they ate every last drop.
The real big event happened Sunday morning at Acension Lutheran Thousand Oaks. It was so neat to watch Ben have his baptism at the same place Lily and Gemma had theirs. Godmother Stephanie did an awesome job holding "big boy."
 He smiled and enjoyed every last minute of it. Not a peep out of him.
 He had quite the audience, this is just a small portion of his cheering section.
 Then on to Uncle E and Auntie Rach's for a party! Ben got some play time with his BFF's. He is the youngest and biggest of the crowd.
 Everyone watches Auntie Rach open the cards and gifts.
Charlie entertains us with some silly stache business.
We closed down the party and headed back to our house for some after party action. It mostly consisted of the trampoline show and pizza. By the end of the weekend Charlie had managed to perfect her flip and landing. Nobody was ready for the fun to be over. It did take Lily a couple of days to recover from the fun. She has not mastered sleep-overs and too much excitement. She had many a melt down and the epic one when Charlie had to leave.  Charlie was awesome and allowed Lily to be her little chatter bug shadow all weekend long. We just love our cousins so much!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Princess Potty

There is no time, like potty time! Since we didn't have big plans for spring break I decided to make it potty break. Not very fun at all, but it was time for Gemma to become a big girl and let us stop buying diapers for the first time in 4 1/2 years. We spent most of the week at home. B-O-R-I-N-G!

We started getting a little prize when we went pee pee on the potty! First up was a bubble set. How fun is this?
A few prizes later we learned that now we would not be getting a prize again until it was poo poo. Lily also learned that it was really, really not fun to be the older sister on spring break lock down and not get prizes.
 Lucky for us all, a special easter package came from Charlie! We enjoyed our chocolate eggs and doing our craft. Phew! Relief from boredom and feeling left out.
 She likes her egg too, she just likes to make really silly faces all the time.
 Yes, I declare her princess of the potty.
My first decree as princess of the potty is no more diapers. 
Five days, countless goldfish crackers, jelly beans, sippy drinks, and several loads of laundry later and we are all still alive....just barely. We have success which is really most important so Gemma can start preschool next Fall. Amen to that!

Hit the mats

Lily took a gymnastics class last year at the community center and has been asking to do it again. When we saw a deal at the actual gymnastics center for the month of April how could I say no? They even have a tiny girls class so Gemma could try it this time.

Gemma's class is first and she was so eager! She wasn't afraid at all and did everything the teacher said. Her two other classmates cried most of the class so it was lucky they didn't spook Gemma.

First you stretch on the mat.
Then it is jumping on the trampoline and off to the obstacle course. There is only one teacher, those are the other girls moms trying to keep their girls from crying.
Her favorite part of the day was jumping in the foam pit! It was just like the pool, she jumped over and over!
Lily's class was up next and was packed!! I guess her age group knows how to snatch up a bargain. They did pretty much the same routine.
Everyone has to wait their turn which is so hard when there are ten kids. She loves to play obstacle course at home so now we are gathering more ideas for our own courses!
She was quite exceptional on the trampoline, you know, all the practice she gets at home.
Now we just need to get advanced enough to be like the girl in the background here. The parallel bars.
I am pretty sure we are not going to get there on our $20 one month session! Maybe some day. They are begging to take dance as well so we need to keep our eyes out for a deal on that next.

One fish, two fish

We have been taking Lily to swim lessons for over two years now. That means Gemma has been watching Lily swim for her entire life. Sure, Gemma gets to swim in the summer, but how fun can it be to watch your sister get lessons all the time? Well, now that Gemma is 2 1/2 she can join in the fun!! 

She started her first session of tiny tot seals and how fun that cousin Reese is in her class too! The first day she had a bit of a  hard time sitting and listening. 
She was really good at the actual swimming part. She just didn't get the whole waiting around at the steps when it isn't your turn part. The life guard stayed close and we all made sure she kept her hands on the side of the pool and not off in the deep end. 
Little did her teachers know, what a great "diver" she is too!
After her fantastic diving exhibition she got assigned her very own life guard to keep her from just jumping in all the time. 
By lesson two she had it all figured out. We had spent a lot of time talking about listening to your teacher and waiting your turn. These girls were whipped into shape by lesson two. It is so fun to watch Gemma and Reese have so much fun in class together.
Don't worry, big sis is still at it too. She is in the otters class with teacher Cody this time.
She is doing great. It is a tough level, the otters, so I think we will be in this class for a while.
Teacher Natalie took the girls for a ride on the floaty turtle which was a huge hit!
Gemma really and truly thinks she can swim and so I am sure she is wondering why this lady is holding on to her.
Back floats are a breeze too! I am thinking we will be moving up the swim class levels pretty quick with this one. So proud that she is having so much fun and is doing so well listening to her teacher and following instructions.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Easter 2013

Holidays are a pretty big deal around here, in case you couldn't tell? The girls are at an age where they really "get it" now and look forward to all the traditions. We did our egg coloring the weekend before Easter. Lily was all over it and Gemma sat for about three seconds. 
We also made and decorated a bunny cake. It was really simple using two round cakes you cut to make a bunny face. I am pretty sure the frosting and jelly beans were the highlight.
We got a surprise delivery of bonnets and purses for our Easter attire.
Didn't I tell you jelly beans were a huge hit this year? We love playing guess the flavor. Buttered popcorn was not a hit. Poor Lily found out the hard way her beloved red color was sometimes "spicy cinnamon"! Gemma inhales by the handful and Lily carefully inspects each one before eating.
The day before Easter we went to Goppy's church for a kids event. They had a special Easter message and then an egg hunt!!! It was more like an egg and treat pick up, no hunting necessary. Lily was filling her basket like mad.
Gemma got a few eggs and treats and then told Goppy, "that's enough, no more".
No room for more in here!
I think we have enough for ten girls! What a haul.
They even had the Easter Bunny on hand. We are pretty sure this wasn't the "real" Easter bunny since we have seen the Easter bunny in our yard for a few weeks. Lily also pointed out she could see someone's eyes inside this Easter bunny.
They even had bouncy houses!
You would think we didn't have a trampoline that does the same thing in our own yard. Guess it is more fun with twenty other kids inside.
We all went to lunch after to refuel. All the beautiful flowers are in bloom and the weather is just perfect.
Easter morning finally arrived. Lily was up at 5:30 with her flashlight searching the dark house. She came to wake us at 6:30 and Gemma woke as well so we headed to hunt for our baskets. The were behind the living room curtains!
Lily got an outfit for her American girl doll and Gemma got some bunny shaped noodles and the Peter Pan movie. The each got a dark chocolate bunny of course, and a few other bits and pieces.
We peaked out the curtains and managed to catch a glimpse of the real Easter bunny! He was nibbling the broccoli leaves Lily left for him in a "trap".
Since it was still pretty much zero dark thirty we had breakfast of champions (wheetabix)  before getting ready for church.
We looked in Gemma's closet for an Easter dress and found a sweet white eyelet dress I wore when I was little. It fit just right!
Lily got this pretty purple number from costco and it was just right too. We had gotten matching spring sandals a few weeks ago that went just right. Lily loved wearing her bonnet. Gemma, not so much.
At church we managed to make it just in time....to not get a seat.  We had to stand in the back but that was ok. After church they did a butterfly release. They came in these little paper triangles. Much instruction to not pinch the paper was given before we could finally open our packet. 

Benji had this thing covered.
We all headed back to our place after church for brunch. It was delicious and Gemma ate her weight in ham. 

Benji ate his weight in carrots. He would have inhaled some ham if we let him.

Then the grandma bunnies handed our more little treats for all the kiddies!
After a brief interlude to have more mimosas and let our food settle we moved into the living room for some egg hunting. The weather was a bit drizzly and we didn't want damp eggs or muddy feet. Again Gemma finds one or two eggs and declares herself done.
Lily had to look low and high to find some of the tricky eggs that Uncle E hid.
Even Ben managed to find one tricky egg. Next year watch out! He is going to be all over it!
He wants those treats in his mouth NOW! The eggs had goldfish crackers in them and I am pretty sure he can manage one soon.
Gemma LOVES her some salty goldfish. This is her new silly face. I just love it. She has some great facial expressions. Look at that Aunt Tonya hair color. I keep crossing my fingers it will stay that color!
They each got a sleeping bag set for their American Girl dolls and they were a big hit. Now the dolls can camp right next to their bed.
Phew! Lucky we have spring break this week to recover from all the fun.