Monday, March 24, 2014

Frozen, like you've never seen it before.

So like every other girl in America, Ellie and Mckayla are obsessed with the movie Frozen.  Our girls can recognize the first few notes of the song "Let it go" at at least 500 yards.

Whenever a song from Frozen comes on, everything stops and our girls engage in some very active listening.  So for your enjoyment we present Ellie and Mckayla performing (emphasis on PERFORMING) "Let it Go" for your viewing pleasure.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

My New Hobby

I have no idea why, but I suddenly got interested in how to do a curving braid in Ellie's hair.  So, I used the power of youtube.  However, I'm not very good at it yet, so every day is a new adventure and ends up with my doing her hair in new and slightly different ways.  These are just a few of the many hairstyles I have played with on Ellie lately.  There are even more hairstyles, but these are just a few of the pictures I've taken on my phone to document my learning process - and pride that I may eventually be a mom whose daughters have cute hairstyles!  I know it's not really an important thing, but it's another way I feel like I'm learning - slowly - to be a better mom of our girls.

Probably the most elaborate one I've tried, this was Ellie's Valentine's hairdo.  Post to come on that.

This last one was my latest youtube adventure in making a braided headband that goes all the way across the front.  I still need work to get faster and neater.  Thank goodness for morning cartoons while I do her hair each day!

But there you go, my adventures in learning to be more feminine.  I have to admit, the whole thing is kind of entertaining since I still don't even own a curling iron or do much more than put ponytails in my own hair....

Snow Days!

The beginning of February brought A LOT of snow to our area.  Tri-Cities is a desert.  It's rare for us to get any snow that sticks to the ground for more than a few hours.  In our 5 winters in the area, this is our second that has had significant snow, and for the first time I regretted that the girls have no snow gear.  That's because our desert suddenly had 8 inches of snow on the ground.  For days!

So, February 7th found Ellie and I playing in the snow.  We didn't last long in the 20 degree weather, but we enjoyed making little snow castles and drawing letters with our footprints and sticks.  We also enjoyed our warm hot chocolate after our snow time was done.

 A few days later Ellie finally got more snow time, which she'd been asking for in the couple too cold and too busy days in between.  She got to enjoy new snow with Daddy this time.  He does better with the cold than Mommy does...
 This is the much bigger snow castle they made together
 Right before Ellie decided she was hilarious if she leveled it.
 Our happy little snow girl.
In the future we may have to keep some snow gear around.  Ellie loved the snow, and our only regret was that our fluff was all so dry that we couldn't build any snowmen or anything more complex than our "castles".  Ellie still enjoyed her winter adventure though!

Daddy-Daughter Science

I just wanted to document how amazing Steve is as a father.  I know we've mentioned before that Ellie has ridiculous science understanding for a three year old, but both our girls also benefit from almost weekly hands-on adventures in science with their Dad.

Steve does a great job of coming up with kid-friendly experiments, and the girls love learning form Daddy.  Here are just a few of our recent adventures in science from the past couple of months.

This first picture is of a homemade lava lamp Steve made for the girls.  It was really neat to watch, and Mckayla loved saying "Bubbles!" over and over.
 Science makes these girls happy.

These next pictures are of an experiment where you place salt on different ice forms and then add colored water to paint the pockmarks and crevasses that form from the ice melting where the salt is.  Mckayla hammed it up for the camera while watching Daddy and Sister.  This girl gets more and more personality every day!
 I love Steve's expression of satisfaction in his girl's joy from science.
Some of Ellie's ice art.
 Our cute little scientist.
 On a total tangent here, everyone says our girls look like their Dad.  However, this picture looked familiar to me, so I looked up a picture of me around the same age.  Yeah, this girl is definitely mine...

 Back to the science, here are a couple pictures of "dancing raisins."

 The girls have also enjoyed fun with dry ice and bubbles, and most recently Ellie learned about osmosis by soaking gummy bears in water.  Yeah, our kids' teachers will probably hate us....

Just so I can say that I contribute in the least, Ellie is also getting really good at identifying first letters and sounds in words, knows fourteen 2D shapes and is starting on 3D shapes, and is now starting to really understand AB patterns and rhyming.  I can't take credit for everything, since Ellie has learned a lot from preschool this year, including months of the year, days of the week, etc.  Once again, her teachers are DEFINITELY going to hate us.

Christmas Break

So you'll have to forgive me, but I have started taking fewer and fewer pictures lately.  Part of this is due to the fact that I am trying not to interrupt moments and enjoy them at times.  Part of this is also due to the fact that it's almost impossible to take pictures of a 1 and 3 year old when you are busy keeping them out of trouble, especially at big events or in public.  This means that although we took pictures of a few events, I am once again indebted to grandparents who are better about taking pictures than I am.

I did document our Christmas tree at home, as well as the easel we gave the girls as their big present from Mom and Dad this year, which we weren't willing to haul across two states to give them.

Christmas break was not as busy as normal for us in Preston this year as we all got the virus Mckayla got croup from.  It totally tanked us and zapped our energy, so we didn't do much adventuring.  Instead we stayed home with Grandma and Grandpa at home much more and had a relaxing break.  The girls enjoyed time playing with the local farm cat that loves abuse from Grandpa.

Then we hit every family house for the holidays.  We spent Christmas Eve with Steve's sister Sheri and her kids for a great soup dinner and the traditional Bennett pinata.

 We then headed to Steve's sister Kathy and her family's house for Christmas Eve night and opened presents there with the girls Christmas morning.  The girls' loot from Santa and us (minus their easel).
The girls did well.  For once they actually loved and play daily with all of their gifts!

We then headed to Steve's last sister Lori and her family's house for family gifts and dinner Christmas afternoon and evening.  (Mckayla sporting her new hat her cousin Erin made her, and Steve and I opening our fabulous picnic kit from Lori and Curtis.)
 These are the girls' Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls Grandma made them for Christmas this year.  So cute!
It was busy, but it was fun!  Especially as it may be a last hoorah for us as the girls get older and we think about spending more holidays at home.

Later in the week our niece watched the kids so all the adults could go watch the second installment of The Hobbit in theaters.  Then on the 30th everyone was at least fairly healthy, so we took the girls to a place called Hardware Ranch in Hyrum, Utah.  These were just a few of the MANY turkeys we saw on the road.
The ranch is an open area where they feed the elk and they come and go as they please.  They take small groups on sleighs out to see the elk up close though.  This was us keeping the girls busy in line for our turn.
The girls really enjoyed seeing the elk, and we enjoyed seeing them up close as the dorky biology teacher and his increasingly dorky wife.
 It was fun seeing a few fawns that still had spots, were nursing, and crying to their moms.
 Mckayla really liked the great big work horses that pulled the sleighs.  Ellie talked about them for days after by name, but now I can't remember what their names were, only that they were a mother daughter team.
 It was BEAUTIFUL out there!

Yeah, and this was a slow visit for us!  We had a lot of fun, as always, and we always miss Preston and being so near to family whenever we leave.

But, New Years Eve we headed out and arrived in Spokane the day after Mckayla conked her noggin.  On New Years Day we got together and Grandma Sun and Papa Rose's house to open gifts.  This was Ellie waiting for stockings, and I love/hate this picture because Ellie is so cute, but looks so big to me here!
 All four cousins lined up and opening stockings.  I love that Mckayla saw a clip-clop princess in the top of her stocking and decided she was good and that Aubrey made a good spot to pile her stocking.
 Yeah, she may eventually give Ellie a run for her money when it comes to who likes princesses more.
 This was Ellie's favorite part of her stocking.  Anything owl gets called her "O the owl ______" thanks to Daniel Tiger, and she loves this hat.
Wyatt and Ellie were both excited about the girls' new train set.
 Our girls are just cute.
 Mckayla opened these soft new jammies and fell in love.  As she opened gifts, played with toys, walked around.... she never dropped these the rest of the morning.
 Juls and Jen.
 Steve and I.

The next day we also met up with Grandma Moon and went to Red Robin for lunch.  It was great to see so much family over the holidays, even if we ended up spending the last few days of break with Mckayla sick or in the ER in Spokane.  We always look forward to the holidays and how much time we get to spend with family that we just don't see often enough!