Monday, February 22, 2010

Pennsylvania Trip 2010: Highlights so far

As  is the case with most visits of which Owen is involved, he is one of the highlights. The boy is as charming as ever now that he can speak in words that we can (sometimes) understand. And for some reason he loves his Aunt "Eggy." And he loves for Aunt Eggy to take "Owen picture." So I did. And I shot some video, too.
(Owen decided Aunt Eggy needed to see his Yo Gabba Gabba Brobee underwear)
Allen and Owen are getting along much better than their last visit together, though there has still been some clashing and competition. They have been virtually inseparable since our arrival. It's really very very sweet.

Yesterday afternoon was Stephanie's surprise baby shower (yes, we did surprise her). She got lots of nice stuff, and so did Owen and Elijah (and even Allen).

Friday, February 19, 2010

Weekend wanderings and snowy adventures

What are you all up to this weekend, my friends? The 3rd Annual Habersham Chili Cook-off is tomorrow, and mom and dad are entering the "Shopgirls Chili" in the competition. I'm excited to hear how they do in the competition and to hear all about how busy we were at the shop.

I'll have to hear about it because Brian, Allen, and I are off on a snowy adventure ... up to Pennsylvania to visit family and friends. While no snow storms are forecast, there is a 30% chance of snow for five of the seven days we are going to be there.

Brian is very excited about Allen seeing the snow. He plans on taking him sledding and playing in the snow with him. I plan on watching from inside while sipping hot coffee or tea. I think it's beautiful to look at, but I'm not much for the cold weather.

I'll be taking lots of pictures while I'm there (I love watching Allen with his cousins), and I should be able to post while I'm gone, so stay tuned for snowy adventure posts.


I miss

Allen has been telling me, "I miss you," a lot. So much that I've realized that he doesn't actually understand what the word "miss" means. I think he thinks it's interchangeable with "love." So what, you're probably saying. Well, it helps to know this when I tell you the following story.

Lately, Allen's been wanting to "answer in the microphone" at meetings. But he doesn't want to answer what we prepare for him. He wants to answer something else. Last night, he wanted to say "I miss Jehovah ... and H and O and P."(well, he said their entire names, not the letters). He was whimpering about answering, so I let him raise his hand, and hoped he would say what I wanted him to ...

He raised his hand .... Papa (who was conducting the Congregation Bible Study) called on him ... the microphone was brought to his little mouth ... and he said ... nothing. Not a word. Then he whispered to me, "I want to say something else."

At least he didn't say what he told me he wanted to say, right? But then, the poor guy cried in the back for 10 minutes. I felt so bad for him. I didn't know what to do ... I know he wants to answer, but he can't just say anything ....

So I'm reaching out to my friend P ... how did you help H learn how to answer at the meetings? Did he struggle with wanting to say random things? Anyone else have any advice for me?


Little Opera Aficianados

So yesterday was the big day -- the day I visited Allen's class and told them all about Italian Opera and La Traviata. I was so nervous. Almost more nervous than giving a talk at the Hall. I couldn't believe that 26 little faces could make me so nervous, but they did. What if they asked me a question I couldn't answer? What if they hated the story? What if they were bored?

Right away I got them involved. Two little girls passed out the puppets -- Alfredo for the boys and Violetta for the girls. We practiced saying Opera Seria and Opera Buffa. We all said the characters' names and the name of the opera.

They LOVED the music, and had a blast holding up their puppets as they heard Alfredo and Violetta sing. They laughed and danced their puppets around. They all said "Ewwww" when I told them that Alfredo and Violetta fell in love; and one adorable little boy wanted to know if they kissed.

The children were so well behaved and polite. They all participated when I asked them to repeat certain words; they all told me "grazie mille" for coming in to share opera with them.

And of course, watching Allen participate was the highlight for me. He was able to sit next to me on the floor (I was in a little chair), and throughout my presentation he would lean over and hug my leg at various times. Once, he whispered, "I love you, Mommy." He was so excited that I was there.

Overall, I think it was a success, and Miss Avril was very kind to me. In fact, she had some of the older kids draw pictures of Alfredo and Violetta, and all the kids signed a thank you card that they made for me. It's beautiful, and I'm touched.

Do you like opera? If so, which is your favorite??

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow, Singing, and Cupcakes

We awoke to a gorgeous morning with the snow already melting. So sadly, we had no chance to play in it. But we did get a picture of it before it was all gone ...

Since we slept in this morning, we lazed around the house in our pajamas for awhile before getting ready for our day ... Allen serenaded us  with some of his made-up songs, and I was able to catch one on video .... (which isn't uploading, so I'll have to try later).

As planned, we ran errands, but first we ate a delicious lunch at a new place called Shoofly Kitchen. I had the fruit and nut wrap and it was scrumptious. They have a cute little boxed lunch for kids that includes multi-colored goldfish. Allen was thrilled.

Allen has outgrown his dress shoes, so we went to the local shoe store -- Lipsitz -- to purchase a new pair for him (I'm all about supporting local shops ... have you heard of the 3/50 Project?). I love the owner of the shop because he really knows what he's doing, and he takes time to make sure the shoes fit well. And he interacted beautifully with Allen.

Anyway, I was able to get all my supplies for my Italian opera project that I'm working on for Allen's school. Allen's class is learning all about Italy this month, and one of the things being introduced to them is Italian opera. I will be visiting the class this week to tell them about opera and then to tell them the story of an Italian opera. I decided I should show up with visual aids, since we're dealing with 3-5-year-olds.

Now, I'm not sure how familiar you are with Italian operas, but they're pretty much all focused on sex and death. So I've had quite a time trying to find one that I could make appropriate for this age group. Originally, I'd planned on The Marriage of Figaro (sounds innocent enough, right), but it was so inappropriate that I couldn't find anything redeeming in it. So now I've settled on La Traviata -- a love story about a Courtesan who dies of Tuberculosis. I know I know ... what am I thinking, right? But at least I can tell it as a love story and end it before she dies. And we won't mention her occupation.

Back to my visuals ... I'm not finished yet, but I have made my little figures of the main characters of the opera. Aren't they cute?

I'll show the completed project once I get it finished.

Finally, Allen got "pupcakes" at the grocery store today. What are they, you ask? I didn't know either. Dad had to translate for me .... Cupcakes (how did I not know that). I think he really enjoyed it, don't you?
Then he sat next to me on the couch. I called to Brian in the kitchen, "Could you please bring me some water, babe?" And then Allen says, "Can you get me some chocolate milk, honey?"

I think that's all for tonight. Hope you're having a wonderful weekend, my loves!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Tool Fixer & Snow

Allen decided to get his tools out this afternoon. He played for hours with them. He has the Handy Manny Workbench toy, so we built a boat, a robot, and a birdhouse together. Then he walked around with his tool belt on (and tools in it), wielding a variety of tools in his hand, saying "I'm a tool fixer." He was very cute. Sadly I have no pictures of Allen the "tool fixer" to share.

As we were getting Allen ready for bed, it started to snow. It's still snowing out there. "The Girls" were so excited they went for a walk in it, and stopped at our house. O and Brian threw some snow at each other. Then they all came in to warm themselves for a few minutes by the fire.

Wanna see some pictures?

Isn't it pretty? Of course, I'm not too thrilled with it, given that Brian's driving in it right now (on his way to pick up Papa at the airport). I'm not worried about his ability ... just the road conditions ... it hasn't snowed here in 10 years.

I think some romping in the snow will be called for tomorrow morning, don't you? Then I have to work on my Italian Opera project (I'll share more once it's completed). Tomorrow night, we'll head to Maggie's Pub to sample their new menu (I may have to try the Beef Curry). And we'll be going in service Sunday after the meeting. 

What are you up to this weekend, my friends?


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Darling Boy

Allen is displaying is boyish-ness lately. Potty humor -- check. Running around like a crazy person -- check. Sticking his fingers up his nose -- check. 

And in spite of our best efforts to tame him, he still finds it hilarious to talk about pee-pee and poopy and to chase Murphy around the house and to shove his fingers up his nose like there's candy up there.

So the other night we're in the midst of our bedtime routine. Allen is in his pajamas and on my lap, and we're getting ready to say a prayer. But the finger is up his nose. Again. 

"Get your finger out of your nose," I say.

He takes it out.... And then he wipes it on my cheek.

My jaw drops, shocked at such behavior. Brian falls over laughing.

How do I respond to that? 

Tell me, friends, do you have experience with "boy" behavior? How do you handle potty humor? How about fingers up the nose? Please, share your suggestions!


P.S. He cried tonight at the meeting because he didn't get to "answer into the microphone." He also told me he wanted to say "dinosaurs" and "I like to eat candy" for his answers.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Super Bowl Highlights

Some photographic highlights of our Super Bowl party ....
Allen and Cai chilling out (can you believe how big he's gotten?).
Allen and two of his favorite girls working on his Eric Carle puzzle.
Allen's other favorite girl (love this picture).
Tasha, Cai, and me (it's an awful picture of me, but cute of Tasha).
Allen and Cai crawling around on the floor.
Renee and Lili (the girls' Mom).
The men watching the game.
All us girls chatting in the dining room.
Tasha and her nephew.
The boys up to mischief of one kind or another.


PS All pictures taken by "the girls."

Making Meatballs

Nana made her famous Sweet and Sour Meatballs for the Super Bowl Party. Allen helped ...

After he finished helping with the meatballs, he sat down to work on his Eric Carle puzzle. Here it is after he put it together all by himself.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Funky Dance Moves

Three short clips of the kid dancing to Yo Gabba Gabba ... the strangest, yet most entertaining kids' show ever ...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Toilet Thoughts

As Allen sat on the toilet tonight, he called me in to him:

"Mommy, I want you."
"Yes baby," I said, walking into the bathroom.
"I missed you," he said, looking up at me with those blue eyes.
Laughing, I replied, "I missed you too."
He smiled. Then he said, "Are you my friend?"
"Yes!" I replied.
Another smile. "Good." 
After another few minutes, he called to us again from the toilet ...
"What is Jehovah doing up in heaven?" he wondered, pointing up to the ceiling. "Is he playing games?"
The mind of a 3-year-old ....