Friday, April 25, 2014

A light at the end of the tunnel

As I sit here watching the pouring rain I think “at least it’s not snowing!”.  This winter seemed longer than others.  I’m sure it was no different but I wasn’t the only one in this family eager for the end.  Even the kids moaned over the last snow storm.  They weren’t moaning all the days the snow got them out of school, but they are eagerly anticipating some warmth.

Last weekend we hit 70 degrees.  What better way to celebrate than running through the sprinklers while the grass is still recovering from snow mold!

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It seems to have become a tradition around here.  The first nice day above 65 and Rob turns on the outside water and the kids all get their suits on.  Actually, the first day above 60 and they were asking if we could set out our pool!

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Sometimes we wonder what they neighbors think of us, but then we don’t really care.  And some of their kids join us so they must not think we’re too crazy.  Austin joined in on the fun too but he was running around with a squirt gun so we didn’t capture his bony white body running around.

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I could get used to using sunscreen in April.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Piano Recital

Earlier this month, 2 weeks ago actually, the kids had their piano recital.  Kerry is super awesome and lets my kids play in her recital even though they don’t take lessons from her.  She even goes so far as to pick out their music for them!  Ellie, being an ol’ pro now, was excited.  Performing in front of a crowd doesn’t phase her a bit.  Austin, having taken for less than a year, and having never played in front of anyone but me, was not as excited.  He wasn’t against it, he just wasn’t sure what to expect. 

Not being a real piano teacher, I’m never sure if I’m handling their lessons the right way.  Should they only practice their recital pieces?  Or should they still practice other pieces along with them?  When should they start practicing their pieces in relation to when the recital actually is?  I’m afraid I messed up a bit this year with this.  The kids probably peaked on their pieces about a week or so before the recital.  What happens then (or at least this is what sometimes happened to me as a kid) is that they start making more mistakes because they know it “too well” and don’t pay as much attention to the music.  The day before the recital I was probably more nervous than the kids because both of them couldn’t get through their pieces without numerous mistakes….like they didn’t practice enough.

But, they pulled through!  I was very proud of both of them!  Ellie did get to sing one of her pieces, so she was quite excited about that.  You can’t really hear her in my recording.  Must be her perfect pitch!  (just kidding!).  I only recorded one of each of their two songs, my favorites.

And me and my students:

kids recital

I should note that Jake also wowed the crowd with his mad piano skillz!  Maddie would have done the same but she snapped her collarbone in half while skiing (or I should say falling) the week before.  As my sister said “some kids will do anything to get out of practicing!” 

And a big thanks to Kerry for all her help!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring Break(s)

For the last year ever, my children had different spring breaks.  Riley’s preschool goes by the Prior Lake school district schedule, and Austin and Ellie use Shakopee’s school district. For this reason, we have always had different spring breaks.  Unfortunately, Riley spent the first half of her spring break just hanging out at home because on Monday Ellie was diagnosed with pneumonia and on Tuesday Austin came home from school with the stomach flu, which also kept him home on Wednesday.  So, come Thursday, I owed Riley one fun spring break!  Actually, before Austin came home sick on Tuesday we did sneak in some fun and took her friend, Ava, to the zoo for the afternoon:

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It was a bit chilly so we didn’t head out to many outside exhibits.  On Thursday we met Rob at Smashburger for lunch.

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And on Friday Austin and Ellie had a day off for the end of the quarter so Rob took the day off from work and we had one giant family day!  First up was the circus!

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It was a bit longer than I was expecting.  But otherwise, it was about what I had in mind.  From an adult perspective, it was kind of “sad” but the kids can now say they have seen the circus.  Riley was probably the most excited about it all and she is still telling her friends about it.

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I guess I was impressed that it seemed to be only about 30 (maybe less) people that do all the different activities/stunts. 

Once the circus was over we stopped for lunch and then headed over to the Childrens Museum.  I wasn’t sure if the kids would still enjoy this place since they are a bit older now and a lot of what the museum has to offer seems for the younger kids (younger than mine) but I was completely wrong.  The kids loved it!  It didn’t hurt that they had a dinosaur exhibit going on right now. 

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If you can, zoom into the above picture and look at the shear terror in Ellie’s eyes!  She was losing her grip and was going to fall (all of 1.5 feet) and was freaking out.  Hee hee….does that make me a bad mom for laughing?  Anyway, back to the museum, the other thing I don’t like about this place is that it is always crazy crowded, but we lucked out that day.  Or maybe the rest of MN was spring breaking someplace warm.  We capped off the day with a pizza party and movie.

The following week Austin and Ellie had spring break but Riley did not.  She didn’t mind going to school on Monday because she got to show Austin and Ellie all around her classroom for a bit.  Too bad that novelty didn’t last all week.  On Tuesday I drove the kids to some shady comic book/game store so they could all flip through a book of Pokemon cards and pick out some to buy.  The place was musty and gross and a place I hope to not visit again. On Wednesday we got Riley to preschool again without much trouble because Austin and Ellie agreed to read books to her classroom.

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Afterwards Austin and Ellie stuck around to do some art projects with her.  So, Riley only had to suffer through about 1.5 hours without them.

On Thursday we took the fun to an Indoor Trampoline park with our friends, the Priebe’s.  I had never been to one of these places but it was awesome!

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We ended up playing a lot of dodge ball.  Unfortunately, Ellie ended up falling on her own foot and sat out for a good chunk of our time there but I still think she’d try again some day.  Everyone loved it.

We capped off spring break #2 with Riley skipping school on Friday (really my own poor time management and only a little bit because she was whining) and Austin going to a friends house for most of one day and having a friend to our house for most of Saturday.  The girls all played outside with the other girls in the neighborhood and everyone had a sleepover in the family room on Saturday night.  By Sunday, everyone was thoroughly exhausted!

I look forward to just one week of spring break next year!