31 March 2010

day 99

Reagan loves pretty things. Most girls do, I suppose. Her older sister certainly does and I do, but her enjoyment of pretty things is on a whole other level from Addi's and mine. She's been so excited about wearing her Easter dress this year. She had planned on wearing it to preschool tomorrow, but I just couldn't let her. That girl is messy! There's rarely a day she doesn't walk out of her classroom covered in some sort of food, marker and/or paint stain. Don't get me wrong, I love that she's being a kid at preschool! But, I just couldn't send her in her new Easter dress. Instead I pulled out Addi's Easter dress she wore when she was 4. I love that dress and would've had Libby wear it this year, but I had trouble coming up with an option for Levi. I just don't think I could've put him in lavender. (Bryan might have put his foot down :) I originally saved it thinking Libby would wear it and now she will. Of course, she can wear it to church also...just not on Easter. So, here are some scanned pictures of my girls from April 2007. I love them because I'm reminded how scared Libs was of the bunnies. She attacked the bunnies the year before, so that's totally what I expected. Instead she shook with fright!


30 March 2010

day 98

I spent way too much time today prepping bribing begging coaxing Levi to perform for the video camera. After all that investment, I couldn't let the vidoes sit on my camera until later in the week, so I spent even more time uploading them to the computer and them embedding them into this post. I mean a really absurd amount of time. I should be embarrassed. Instead, I'll just spend a little more time explaining the videos. :)

I'd noticed Levi could count to 3. Not super-impressive since he's 2 and all, but last week I thought I'd teach him to count to 5. I said, "Let's count, Levi. One..." He followed my lead and said, "Two..." I got to 5 and he said, "Six..." We got all the way to 10! I was impressed with that since I'd worked on counting with him exactly one time, including that time. So, I did what anyone would. I called Bryan at work and had our son perform. I then had him do it again when Libby got home from preschool and then again when Addi got home from school. Partly because I was proud and partly because it was just so darn cute! Bryan mentioned getting it on video and that's what I set out to do today.

However, Levi was done performing. We tried about 20 times. I even promised him a pop-pop (lollipop) even though he'd already had one two earlier at the store. (I know! I never, ever would've have given one of the girls candy to keep them busy in a store. I'm so ashamed I just admitted it! Does it make it any better that they're organic??)

He never counted. While the tape was rolling, that is. Every time I stopped recording he begged to see and then he answered every question I asked. Every question he'd refused to answer while being recorded. But, what I got was good enough and then I thought I'd share one of the less frustrating other attempts. Enjoy!

Note: For some reason there are 3 videos here with the first 2 being the same. I have tried deleting one. I'm not spending anymore time on it. Sorry!

http://vimeo.com/10565721 from ginny parker on Vimeo.

leviouttakes from ginny parker on Vimeo.


28 March 2010

day 97

Think of this as a Before

and After, if you will.
Bryan strategically packs for trips. He will spend hours loading the van just right the day before we leave for vacation. We're only allowed to use certain bags for clothing because they've passed his test for optimal conformity in our luggage carrier.
Normally I pack and am finishing with packing while he loads. However, we decided to leave a day early from our camping trip to avoid the impending snow. We decided earlier in the afternoon, but didn't really start packing up until early evening. We'd been warned rain was in the forecast for the evening, so, naturally we wanted to be in the car before it began. I decided I'd help Bryan load up the van since he tends to take a while. I'm all for order, but when it's time to go home, I really just want to throw the stuff in the van, slam the door and hit the road.
In the first picture I tried. Really, I did. I just couldn't make myself stand and stare at the back of the van for 15 minutes mentally rearranging our sleeping bags and mats and quilts. Needless to say, Bryan started all over and came up with the better solution seen in the second photo. :) As soon as I finished, I stood back and began to laugh. I knew nothing would last with my way. Then I grabbed the camera. Because I know my husband and I knew he would produce order pretty enough for a picture.

And, that's one of the many reasons I love him so much. :)


26 March 2010

day 96

These are photos of our second hiking trip. We decided the kids did so well the day before, we'd challenge ourselves a little more on this day. It started out pretty easy. In fact, we began with one of the girls leading us on a little trail. The weather was beautiful, just a little warmer than we thought, so we stopped to shed a few layers and drink a some water.

Of course, with just a little prompting (mainly from Bryan) the girls led us off the path

and into....


a forest of low, thorny branches and cacti. (I tried telling Libby that's plural for cactus and she just couldn't keep it straight. For her, one is cacti and more than one is cactuses!) After a few wacks in the face from branches, Levi was ready to get off Bryan's shoulders and into my arms. Whew! (Almost) 30 pounds in my arms while trying to navigate down a mountain is heavy! We made it through most of the branches when Libby started screaming while swatting her leg. I reached down and was immediately stung. I yelled that she was covered in fire ants before I realized she was covered in cactus needles (pins? razor blades?). They were stuck in my hands, her legs, her pants, her hands, and Bryan's hands. We picked them out of her pants for what seemed like an eternity, but, in the end had to roll up her pant leg and hope none were up higher than her knee. That was really the only drama of the trip. She's had fun telling everyone about it. :)
We were ready for a hamburger when we finally made it back to the van. Fortunately we had some snacks in the car that made the hour and 40 minute wait possible. Levi took a nap in the car with me while Bryan and the girls ate apples in line. It was all for me. I was the only one who really cared about eating in Meers. My less-than-patient husband waited in that line for me. I'm a lucky woman! I'm sure you're wondering if it was worth it. I was so worried they wouldn't be as good as I remembered, but the burger and peach cobbler with homemade ice cream did not disappoint. My mouth is watering just thinking about that meal. :)
I might have one more day of camping memories and then I'll move on to something else. I promise!


23 March 2010

photo 94

Last week was Spring Break for us. We ended the week with a camping trip to Oklahoma, or Hokihoma as Libby says. Addi was thrilled to finally see her birth city. We moved when she was 1 and hadn't been back since last week.

The wildlife refuge in the Wichita Mountains is pretty neat. Bryan and I hiked and camped there before we had children. Soon after arriving we saw a herd of wild longhorn cattle.

Then we saw some buffalo

and cute prairie dogs.

Levi slept great. He took a good nap in the big tent and slept well in his little tent (inside our big tent) at night.

The kids got dirty collecting rocks and digging holes.

Bryan climbed a tree to free a hanging limb and then almost didn't get back down. :)

Addi got creative with sticks.

We read,

watched deer,

climbed the "rocky" mountains,

and admired the views.

The girls enjoyed climbing in this little space.

Then all 3 posed in front of it on the way back down.

Addi took lots of goofy pictures.

I won't share them all. :)

We made it to the top of Little Baldy! Day 2's hike was a little more eventful. Those pics coming later this week.


photo 93

Loaded up and ready to go!


19 March 2010

photo 92

March 2004
She wasn't even two yet, but Addison Grace has always loved Zoe. The same is true for the reverse. A few days home from the hospital with my first wee one, I was sitting on the floor with my back propped against the couch. I'm not sure why I was down there, especially since I was holding baby Addi. But, Zoe came over to sit near me (meaning, her body pressed up against any part of me, almost on top of me) and when she turned to get just so, she tucked in that torturous-if-it-whacks-you tail. She'd never done that before and I'm not sure she's ever done it since. I already knew she was a great dog, but that kind, small act of gentleness around a new baby (the baby that had taken her place no less) made my heart swell with love for our dog.


18 March 2010

photo 91

This is the best part of baking to the kids! They licked everything clean. :)


15 March 2010

photo 88+

We celebrated Levi's 2nd birthday on Saturday. I cooked lunch: brisket, potatoes, and beans. Kroger baked and decorated cupcakes. Bryan provided the most obnoxious Elmo balloon ever created. It's bigger than Levi and plays Elmo singing Happy Birthday to You every time it's touched. By lunchtime on Sunday, Libby, who has quite a tolerance for all things obnoxious, requested the balloon be taken away from the table because she was sick of hearing that song. And, just in case I was thinking of leaving the balloon, she said, "Sick of means I don't want to hear that balloon singing anymore!" Local family members shared in our celebration and brought more boy toys to compete with all our girl toys. Levi enjoyed opening all the gifts, but had trouble moving on to each new gift.

Addi and Libby both had jobs during the present opening. Libby brought the gifts in from the other room and Addi recorded all the presents with the corresponding givers. After a combined 12 kids' birthday parties I've hosted, I finally figured out to do this for the 13th party. Now, I won't have to worry that I'm writing "Thank you so much for the fire truck" when the recipient of the note really gave a football. Somehow presents and cards get all mixed up at a childs' party. Why didn't I think of it sooner?!

You know what unnaturally green icing does to poop? You don't want to know!

This is the one picture I got of Levi with someone. I had such plans since I wanted to make him a Snapfish flipbook of him with everyone who loves him and realized I didn't have one single picture of him with certain key people. The good news is I was able to get a shot of him with his Aunt Lisa. The bad news is that wasn't a picture I was missing. :)
Maybe for the 14th kids' party I host I'll hire a photographer to capture it. Hmmmm...not a bad idea.