Monday, February 28, 2011

Rain Day!

Not quite as fun as a Snow Day, but don't tell the Ollie and Ivy that! They love it!

Organizing the garage:

Let's see. We'll put Eli here, and I think Lizzie can fit here...we need easy access to Ollie so we'll put him down here and that leaves just enough room for Ivy Done!

Report Central

Ivy has had more homework this week than perhaps the entire previous Kindergarten homework combined: A farm animal report (Ivy chose to report on horses), and a Star Student report (all about Ivy). Do you see the 3-D nature of her Horse poster? I hope she gets extra credit for that. It also has googly eyes that are quite frightening.

Here's Ivy's Star Student Poster (the hardest part was printing out all these pictures! Hopefully by the time Oliver's a Star Kindergartner, I will be able to email all these pictures into the teacher.). If you're able to zoom in, the captions she wrote are completely worth the effort! (i.e. "Best Freds with Lizzie")

Go Ivy!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Overheard at the Dinner table tonight

Me: "Did you hear who won at the Grammy's last night?"

Kids: "What are the Grammy's?"

Lizzie: " it awards for Grandmas or something?"

Happy Valentine's Day

One man, two beautiful dates. Is it polygamy? NO! It's the Daddy Daughter Dance!
For the first year, Ivy is old enough to attend. The night was danced away. Rugs were cut. Moves were busted. They got down. They grooved. They shimmied, they twisted, they rocked, and they rolled.

Hope you had a wonderful day with your loved ones too! :)

Egyptus and King Tut

Vickie and Alan (& family) were in Egypt traveling recently. Yes, as recently as the last few weeks. As in they were there stranded in the Cairo airport overnight due to the riots and curfew. Well, they all made it home safely (for which we are grateful!), and we just opened a fun package from them tonight of gifts from the other side of the world. I wonder if the kids will appreciate just how much they went through to get these to them? Maybe these limericks from those on the trip will help:

This one from Adam's cousin Daniel sums it up pretty well:

In Cairo they’re having a riot.

Our hotel was really right by it.

It’ll kill Egypt’s biz,

But the funny thing is,

I swear I heard Janet prophesy it.

Or how about this one from Alan:

In Luxor on hard airport chairs,

The Muirs sit while time on them wears,

Ehab fights with his might

To reschedule their flight,

But at EgyptAir, nobody cares.

These from a fellow traveller Thelma paint quite a picture:

Why sleep on the airport floor,

A position we all abhor?

‘Cause we didn’t arrive

Until close to five

And the curfew began at four.

And finally:

The noise of the vast airport crowd

Lends a whole new meaning to “loud,”

And the way we’re compressed

From belly to chest

Would make a sardine packer proud.

Aren't those great! And the possibilities with these fun costumes are endless! Thank you Vickie and Alan! And welcome home!

Farm Field Trip

I chaperoned the Kindergarten Field Trip last week. It was oh so exciting! Ivy rode her very first School Bus.

A Farmer stood in a Front End Loader to talk to the Kindergartners!

We toured the 1,000 cows that made up the Dairy Farm. *Pee-yew!*

At the Milk Bar, we chose flavored Milk. I tried "Moo-berry". Ivy had Strawberry. It was so delicious and fresh!

We had a picnic lunch and the kids burned off some energy jumping on haybales.

They fed and held animals.

We had a wonderful day together.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Take a box of Oranges...

...and you get some O.J.!
How sweet.

Eli goes to ELIJAH

Last week, the Phoenix Symphony performed Mendelssohn's Elijah. We had rehearsals Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, with concerts Thursday, Saturday and Sunday! Whew! It was totally wonderful and exhausting.

I thought it would be appropriate to invite Eli to his first Symphony concert, considering the material. We prepped him with the Old Testament story of Elijah the Prophet, so he would know when to jeer at the prophets of Baal. Happily, we sang it in English and there were supertitles as well. They also featured artwork illustrating the music throughout the entire work. It was really a wonderful introduction to the Symphony!

If that wasn't enough to keep him entertained, there's always the seeing-eye dog who sits onstage at every concert, in the very front with its owner, a half-blind second violinist. Rumor has it that once the dog got up and walked around the stage during a concert. I never saw it myself. But I bet that dog is cultured! Too bad it can't write the reviews, he might do a better job than the guy who wrote ours last weekend.

Before the concert, Eli played on the strange downtown Arizona sculptures. That's my EliBug! :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Christmas Card Winners! ~ AMMENDED!

Folks, we have had an Eleventh Hour submission, and therefore a NEW WINNER in our "Latest Card Received" category! See below!

Thank you for your patience as we have been feverishly working to wrap up this season's episode of "Look at THIS Christmas card!"

We are happy to announce our winners tonight. In the category of "Earliest Christmas Card Received" we have a new winner - The Taylor Family! Look at how they're all laughing at us for being so much later than them! They knew they had this one in the bag.

In contrast, we have the winner of the "Latest Card" - and I am thrilled to present to you a family who has never before sent letters out, and may never again after I embarrass them with this shout out! With no frills necessary, we got it straight from the heart of the Dave and Sabrina Litster family - complete with personalized note at the bottom!
Stop the presses! It appears I ended our contest one day too early! Postmarked February 3rd, received February 8th, we have a clear and unrivaled winner, the Rucker family.
I went to get the mail tonight, and what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a late Christmas card, from our friends, so dear. ;) This was a true Christmas card - no shame, no explanation. Just late. I love it. Complete with festive green paper, a family photo including a Christmas tree and grandchildren wearing Santa suits, and a two-page, single spaced family update, and a traditional Rucker plane-flying artwork card and well wishes that the spirit of Christmas may fill our home, this card may also be in the running for the "Most Elaborate Card"! But that would mess my post up too much, so they'll have to settle for being the Latest. Congratulations!
I hope you have noted the Christmas tree address label as well as the postmark date.
Which brings up an idea - why don't we just send cards all year long?

Moving on to the Distance categories: "It would have been cheaper to throw it over the fence" Award:
It's hard to compete with this family unless. . .well, unless you move in with us and then mail us a card. This card comes from our backyard neighbors, the Kippeses, complete with rhyming poem describing their year.

And with Erin and John spending Christmas in Paris this year, they get the "Card from Furthest Location" award. Isn't it so French and so pretty? How very foreign.

This year we are introducing some new categories: Most Elaborate/Most Efficient Cards. Under Most Elaborate Category, it seems only fitting that we have Subcategory A: Traditional and Subcategory B: Digital.

Winner of Most Elaborate: Traditional is Sister Meilstrup of Hershey PA! She sent a traditional Christmas card (that opened and closed!). Enclosed was a letter printed with an update on her beautiful family, complete with color pictures. And the reason that her card won me over - the hand written note inside, personalized to our family. Impressive!

Most Elaborate: Digital.
Undoubtably, this is a popular category this year. I mean, how many pictures CAN you squeeze onto one card, really? But to do it well takes an artist's eye. The winner goes to Allison and Jack. Gorgeous. Tells the whole story. Makes me feel reconnected with their lives and family. Well done!

Most Efficient
One word: Postcard. Was I was inspired! A Christmas card postcard! Did I feel slighted in the least? NO! This card had it all: family picture, Christmas wishes, names and ages of kids, even a return address! We received a few similar cards this year, but this was the only TRUE postcard - no envelope! Check it out, the postage was only 28 cents! Something to think about for next December...Congrats, Benson Family!

Best Family Picture:
Now we enter into the realm of the subjective. Look, I don't know why, but we have a lot of artistic, beautiful friends, okay, so I'm going to have to expand this category a little bit.

Subcategory: Composition
Winner: Furedy Family!
I have it on good authority (Carrie told me) that the entire Card layout was thrown out and reconfigured to align with this amazing photo. Good move! The moment captured here is priceless!

Picture to Layout Coordination:
Winner: The Watsons
I have to give props - they somehow made it look like it could be cold in AZ in this beautiful picture. And do you notice how their outfits match the card layout? It was so pretty hanging on my wall!

Child Model Category:
Winners: Morley Boys
Get these boys an agent already!

Overall Gorgeousness:
Winner:Telford Family
This includes card layout, theme, beautifulness of children and adults, amazing coordinating outfits, background. Seriously, this card could go into a Christmas card art museum. Is it weird if I frame this and hang it in my house?

And last but not least, we have our Literary Category. I noticed a trend this year in fewer written letters - maybe people figure that talking to friends all year on facebook and blogs was enough words? Anywho, it was lovely to sit down to some good old-fashioned snarkiness, typed, printed, and mailed directly to my house.

I leave you with this nugget of wisdom, ripped from the pages of the John Parmley Family Christmas letter:
"In a world of darkness and despair, where hope is lost and yesterday's dream home is today's foreclosure, where American's long slow sunset foretells doom for all, where can one turn for joy? Is it here? Does this letter, this mere trinket of holiday joy hold the ember to fan the flames of victory over terror, despair and recession? Maybe. It is quite good."

Yes, John, your letter did bring joy to our home, as did all of your Christmas letters. We love every one of them!

Congratulations to you all, and to all a good night!

A Pampered Citrus Tree

I came home from a late rehearsal this week to find my husband in the front yard with his headlamp on. There was a "hard freeze" forecasted that night, which would ruin our 10 oranges. Adam put our tent over the tree to protect it. Very clever! I thought. Then I noticed an extension cord sticking out from under the tent. Hmm. Mysterious...
Turns out a tent was not enough for our diva-esque citrus tree. An electric blanket was underneath to keep it nice and toasty warm.

Luckily, I reminded Adam to turn off the sprinklers.

Otherwise, we might be saying, "Fried oranges, anyone?" ;)