Friday, November 21, 2008

Avery's Fall Preschool Program

Last night Avery's preschool, Pilgrim Lutheran Church, held their annual fall program and art show. This is something that I have been looking forward to because I was really curious how Avery would participate in singing a song when she barely talks.

Avery and her classmates were asked to dress in their Sunday clothes and show up to their classroom at 5:45 p.m. Michael was not able to get home in time to go with us (he did meet us there) so went through the common everyday ruckus of me trying to get three small children dressed, pottied and out the door and on time.

Here is a picture of the girls ready to go for the evening and eating a little snack since I knew we wouldn't have time for dinner until after the program. Avery in particular can turn into quite a little beast when she is hungry. Not something I wanted all of the Pilgrim preschool parents to witness first hand.

Avery wore her new ADORABLE dress that her Aunt Kassi and Uncle J.T. gave her for her birthday. I believe, but not yet confirmed, that Kassi made the dress herself and I am so impressed. I purchased a sewing machine about three or four years ago determined to learn how to make fabulous things such as this. Alas, I really did not have the patience to try and figure out how to thread the thing and gave up. It now lives in our walk-in attic and hasn't been seen in years.

Anyway, perfect strangers made a point to stop me and point out how cute Avery looked and how much they liked her dress. I don't know about you, but I smell a home business project cooking! She could make some serious cash selling those things. I would buy a few!

Back to the fall program...We got to the church and I ran Avery into her classroom to drop her off knowing the kid was going to freak out. It was dark outside and she knew something was up. It just isn't a normal thing for me to take her to preschool at night, so of course, she started crying when I handed her over to her teacher. I was so nervous that she wouldn't settle down and would ruin the show for all of the other kids in her class! But we sat down inside the church and waited for the program to begin.

It was so cute! Avery's class comes walking in single file. I seriously almost fell over from shock! I had no idea that child would conform so well. I am totally holding her to higher standards from this point forward.

They all sat down nicely on the bleachers, didn't cry, and entertained the crowd in their little way. They sang "If You're Thankful and You Know It" which is a twist on "If You're Happy and You Know It." There weren't many singers, so Avery wasn't alone. She kept looking behind her at the other children to see what they were doing.

I tried my best to get a picture of them up front together. I know it is hard to see but if you click on the picture itself and look on the far left of the bottom row, you can make out Avery sitting down with the orange bow in her hair.

I did get this picture of her class walking by as they exited the church after performing. I didn't want to call attention to myself to get an actual good picture of her since I knew she'd start crying and refuse to go back to her classroom with the rest of her classmates.

After each class had sang their Thanksgiving-themed songs, everyone was invited to the gym to look at the students artwork and partake in cookies and juice. Avery's class decorated turkeys and made a pumpkin collage using their hand prints. We stayed long enough for my kids to raid the cookie table (remember they still haven't had dinner yet) and then made our way home.

One more close-up of Avery's turkey. He looks like he got hit on the head or something!

I'll have more Thanksgiving updates coming. Ryan's school is celebrating pilgrim and Indian style with a full Thanksgiving feast that Avery and I will be attending on Monday and then Emma's class will be serving "blessing soup" to all parents for lunch on Tuesday. At this rate, we'll be all "Thanksgivinged" out by next Thursday. Who am I fooling - I am soooo looking forward to roasted turkey and our famous family stuffing at my parent's house!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy 2nd Birthday Avery Claire!

Avery turned two last Friday, November 7th but we waited and celebrated with a little party on Saturday. My parents drove up from the Bluffton area to make it an extra special day. It was a gorgeous day out, definitely short-sleeve weather so we spent a majority of time relaxing on the screened porch out back.

No party is a good party without food, so we fixed up a lunch menu fitting for fall. The table was set with roasted pumpkin seeds, Chex mix, chicken bog (Southern chicken and rice dish that makes enough food and leftovers for several large families) ...

A mixed greens tossed salad...

and of course, the birthday dessert...cupcakes!

I hit up Target and Walmart's Halloween/Thanksgiving bargain bins since it's all about Christmas now, and got many different fall themed sprinkles to decorate the cupcakes with. I even picked up a large container of Halloween themed sprinkles (purple, orange, black and green) to save for next year's festivities. I am so excited! See, it doesn't take much nowadays!

Avery opened her many gifts out back on the porch and received lots and lots of goodies including bath toys, a new pink tricycle just her size (and obviously just Emma's size too since she is quick to claim the new bike anytime she can get away with it!), a beautiful dress and shirt, a new "big girl" handbag with lots of matching hair accessories, play-dough, dress-up clothes and the Sock Monkey.

The Sock Monkey is already rather popular since it travels with us a good bit in the car now and it even has it's own theme song that Emma sings, "Sock funky monkey...Sock funky monkey!"

Emma and Ryan were right on hand to help their little sister open all presents. They are just naturally sweet...jealous...I mean, sweet.

Grandma helped the girls get set up outside with the new Play-dough that they thoroughly enjoyed playing with, although most of it is stuck to our wooden floor boards now. (I keep meaning to clean it up, I swear!)

Then it was time to whip out the candles and sing "Happy Birthday" with NO cha-cha-cha's, as demanded and requested by Ryan. The cha-cha-cha's are just plain lame I guess. He's real popular in his first grade class!

The kids have been enjoying the continued overload of sugar products in our house. Someones got to eat the darn things so better them than me is what I think!

Avery had a terrific second birthday. I am still stunned that my little baby is now two but that's how it goes. A big thank you to Grandma and Grandpa O'Brien for their visit! We missed you Papa and Nana and look forward to seeing you soon.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Trick-or-Treat Ya'll

I will admit I have not been on top of things this past week. Thanksgiving is peaking around the corner and I am finally getting my Halloween photos posted! Avery's 2nd birthday was celebrated over the past weekend, the girls have been sick off and on the past few weeks, and I feel like I have been running from one thing to another lately.

We had an enjoyable Friday night of trick-or-treating October 31st. Halloween evening is always good family time and I tend to do the same things each year: prepare a Halloween feast for the kids before they go out, simmer chili for Michael and I, and then get the kids dressed and out for the evening.

As usual, I bought waaaayyy too much candy. The basket in the photo is just one half of the candy. The rest was tucked away in a large plastic bowl to refuel the candy pot as it dwindled throughout the night.

Emma went dressed as Dora the Explorer this year and Avery was Dora's sidekick Boots the Monkey. Emma's costume had this crazy brown wig that went with it and it looked hilarious on, but of course she refused to wear it. I can't really blame her though, the wig didn't stay in place very well and kept flopping over her face.
Ryan was Batman this year and is still getting lots of use from his costume! All of the kids came home with plenty of candy and as usual, I am sure Michael's co-workers will be receiving a large bulk of it after the kids begin to forget that it is there.

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween!

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Spooktacular Food

I thought I'd quickly share some of the items that were on the kids' menu for Halloween night. Halloween is one of the few occasions when they are allowed to dine by themselves in the formal dining room. This is partially due to the fact that the dining room lends itself to the spookier decor complete with gravestones, skeleton chair covers and spiderwebs hanging from the chandelier.

My mother sent each of the kids their own adorable treat bag which added a cute touch to each of their own table settings. I also put together a little goody box with assorted candy next to their seats. There is nothing like getting the sugar high off to a good start!

The three dined on pumpkin and ghost shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches...

jack-o-lantern fruit cups...

and a ghost mousse dessert. Yum!

In the center of the table there were many goodies that were waiting for them on their return from trick-or-treating: popcorn balls, chocolate and peanut butter haystacks and cat chocolate cookies on a stick. I made these cookies to pass around at Emma and Avery's class Halloween parties and as special treats for Ryan's teacher and Emma's dance teacher.

It's really difficult to displease a child with a meal comprised mostly of chocolate, peanut butter and plenty of orange Kool-Aid to go around!