Thursday, April 19, 2012

March 2012: In Pictures

Yeah - March.  It's now more than half-way through April and I have yet to blog about March.


Thankfully I'm actually making an effort to photograph most major (and minor) events and happenings - even if I'm woefully behind in posting in our "Photo A Day" blog.  I do hope to get somewhat with that and not abandon the project totally ... someday ...

So, without further ado - March with the Party:

St. Patrick's Day Morning - it's not St. Patrick's Day without an appropriate amount of green foods, including green pancakes and green milk for breakfast.  I thought it was fun.  The kids were scared.  James actually cut into his pancake and was surprised to see it was actually green all the way through.  Oh, the fun of green food coloring...

And of course, that naughty leprechaun made another appearance this year - leaving shamrocks and gold (chocolate coins) all over the house in a trail to reach his pot of gold.  He also played a host of little tricks on the kids (turned their toys upside-down, built houses out of books, that sort of thing...)  James was VERY excited for the leprechaun this year.  He asked every day if the leprechaun had come to his house yet in the week leading up to the big day.

And what is St. Patrick's Day in Columbia without the annual St. Patty's Day Parade?  It's a hoot - I think literally anyone can join in the parade - all you have to do is pay a fee and sign up - meaning there were all sorts of characters taking part in the Irish festivities.  We attended this year with a bunch of good friends and their children.   (Isn't Isabella beautiful? pictured below - despite wearing Deonne's foam hat - a relic of years past?)

 The kids will tell you the best part is the candy.  This year I got smart and brought paper bags for the kids to gather their loot in - much easier than being handed oodles of random pieces of plastic junk and tootsie rolls, lollipops and business flyers.

It was a fun St. Patty's Day - complete with our annual dinner of corned beef and cabbage and Ina Garten's recipe for Irish Soda Bread.  Yum.  I often wonder why I only make that meal one day out of the year.  It couldn't be easier to make (boil meat and vegetables) and the kids lap it up.  I may have to rethink that - and get some corned beef packages when they go on sale to stash in the freezer...

And later in March, the start of the Egg Hunts began... when I was a child, I remember going to maybe one egg hunt a year (if we were lucky).  Typically we hunted eggs in our own home on Easter morning.  And these weren't the plastic eggs full of candy and treats - no, they were the real hard-boiled eggs we had dyed the day before and left out on the hearth in a basket for the Easter Bunny.  And we had to hunt them inside the house because in Eastern Washington state (where I grew up) the weather was always freezing cold on Easter morning.

Anyway, our kids go to so many egg hunts that it is borderline ridiculous.  But fun.  All at the same time.  This year's egg hunting started off with our friend's annual Egg-Stravaganza.  They recently moved into this awesome historic home with an amazing garden and loads of room to roam and play.  Check out all of these kids in their Easter finery - just itching to get at those eggs full of candy!

My little Easter bunnies.  I've been all into sewing again these days, and am proud to say that I made Anna's dress and the boys' bow ties out of the same material.  They look pretty darn cute all spiffed up - if I do say so myself!  And so big.  While it is adorable to see my boys dressed like little men in khakis and bow ties, it's sad to not see them in smocked outfits and jon jons.  That may sound simple and perhaps superficial - but it is a rite of passage round these parts - when the era of smocked clothing passes...  sigh...

Jack and his buddy from school, red-haired J, are best friends and partners in crime.  Rain came into the mix towards the end of the egg hunt, meaning the well-planned outdoor event moved inside.  Thankfully our friends house is plenty big - but it did get quite loud and chaotic with all of the kiddos running around and screaming and playing on their sugar highs.

It did quiet down though, as families started to say their goodbyes and the girls headed upstairs to play dolls or Barbies or whatever it is they do.  And then we realized it was too quiet ... and discovered these two... Jack helping himself to too many chocolate eggs to count.  J-bird licking the icing off the top of a pile of mini-cupcakes, neatly replacing them after he'd removed all icing.

And later still in March ... Anna's artwork was displayed at an area student art show.  This time a pastel piece she'd created of the solar system.  Her art continues to amaze me.  I realize I'm biased as her mother - but look at it - does that look like the work of a typical 1st grade child?

I also had the pleasure of chaperoning a field trip to the local children's hospital with Anna's class.  It was fun to ride the bumpy bus, to spend time with my girl, and to see the kids reactions to the hospital setting.

Here she is with her best pals at school, Abby, and Emma.  Three peas in a pod.

Here they were being given a demonstration on emergency procedures by a local EMT...

complete with a trip inside the ambulance.

Following the field trip - I managed to snag a photo of Anna with her solar system art piece (didn't get to the art show in time to photograph the two together.

But back to the egg hunts - James' school egg hunt was held at a local neighborhood park.  The parents prepare the food/treat table and hide the eggs, and the children arrive via the school buses.

I hadn't told James I would be at the egg hunt - wanted it to be a surprise.  I think it was - he was so excited to see Anna and I!
Thankfully James' egg hunt was in the afternoon after Anna got out of school, so I was able to take her with me.  (Jack was still napping at daycare ... thus he's not in attendance.)

Ready and waiting for the signal to hunt those elusive eggs...

... and then counting his eggs and checking out his loot!

Also in March, Anna decided to get her hair cut.  Hard to see in this photograph, but she had a significant amount cut off - both in length and in 'layers.'  She is so proud.  She tells everyone who sees her 'I had my hair cut in LAYERS.'

And that leads me to egg hunt number three for the Party kids - the one sponsored by our church at the Episcopal home for elderly.  It's really neat - we go and hide eggs and bring treats - and the elderly are brought out of their rooms to sit on that historic porch and watch the frenzy.  Some are church members who are no longer able to attend services, some are related family to church members, and some just want to come out and see a bunch of kids hunt eggs.

Jack was really sweet - and had the time of his life.  He nearly got into an argument with one of his girl-pal's Millie over who found that particular egg - but he quickly conceded - and gave her the egg.  Good boy.

My handsome boy!

And again, I made the matching dress/bow ties - they're super fast and easy to make - can't go wrong with a simple pillowcase dress and the bow ties truly are easy.

Following the St. Johns egg hunt - it was time to go home and color our own eggs.  We'd originally planned to attend another egg hunt at a dear friend's house, but alas, things got off to a late start at Still Hopes, so we didn't make it in time.  We were all sad we had to miss - and soothed our souls in vinegar, paas, and a lot of stickers.

This was the first year the kids could do the egg dyeing without close supervision.  (Well, almost, Jack needed a bit of guidance as he thought the best part was to dunk the eggs so quickly into the cups that they splashed.)  It also helped that we did this activity outside - where it really didn't matter that the dyed water got all over the table and floor.

Target had the coolest egg decorating kits this year - the kids had a great time creating different bugs and animals and reptiles.  I particularly like James' bunny and turtle - especially the turtle's nose and mouth he drew on.  So cute.

There were some other big happenings in late February/early March that I didn't manage to get pictures of, including Anna's school musical 'Seussical, Jr.' where she was cast as a Who - and looked stinking adorable in her little Who Hat, seeing our buddies perform in the youth production of Peter Pan, ongoing soccer games for James, Deonne and I attending a great (and adult) oyster roast with our church pals, and a bit of a health scare for me (that will be the topic of another post.)

So finally - some fun photos Deonne snapped with his phone (he's trying to encourage me to keep up our 365 project).  Too bad I don't seem to find the time to do it!

The Long Fireman - who had been racing around our house one morning before school - putting out fires all over the living room, dining room, den, hall, etc...

Anna isn't the only artist in our family - James' class read/studied the classic 'Where the Wild Things Are' book during 'book week' at school.  One of the projects was to draw their own 'wild thing' that the teachers put together on a big poster.  I love his Wild Thing.  It looks remarkably like one of the creatures pictured on the cover of the book - so cool!

And I'll end this marathon post with a snap of the two most important superheros in my life - my two Supermen!

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