Monday, February 28, 2011

Valentine's Day Treasure Hunt

Valentine’s Day went on for more than a week at our house this year. We kicked off the festivities by baking and decorating Valentine’s Day cookies with Grandma, and then a few days prior to the actual holiday Will celebrated at school with a Valentine’s Day party. (That party “kept on giving” for a quite a few days, thanks to the crazy amount of candy Will acquired.) The weekend before Valentine’s Day Will, Hallie and I baked and decorated Valentine’s Day cupcakes, and then on the 14th I presented the kids with their gift via my annual Valentine’s Day treasure hunt. In years past, neither Will nor Hallie has really understood what was going on, and Tom’s help was needed for them to successfully transition from one clue to the next. This year, however, Will didn’t need any help at all, and was off to the races the minute I handed him the first clue. (This was great, because Tom was at work and didn't get to celebrate Valentine's Day with us this year.) Below are a few highlights from the treasure hunt!

From the back deck... the fireplace.

From the mailbox...

(Hallie tried to keep up with Will, but he left her in his dust.) my closet, where their gifts were hidden. And yes, Hallie is sporting her red cowboy boots once again. She loves them and wears them ALL the time.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hallie's 22-Month Bath Pictures

While 22-month-old Hallie is still teeny tiny in stature (I finally packed away the last of her 6-12 month size dresses this week), her personality and need for independence grow noticeably every day. Hallie is incredibly friendly and polite – she says “please”, “thank you”, “hello”, “good-bye”, "sorry", and “excuse me” at appropriate times and to whoever will listen – but can pitch fits to rival any two-year-old’s. She LOVES singing and reading, but only if she’s chosen the song or book. She also loves hair bows, shoes, and dresses, but only if (I’ve convinced her that) she’s picked them out. She talks a mile a minute, narrating everything about her life with a smile on her face, but expects all of us to immediately respond to her spoken demands. She follows Will around like a puppy, until he tries to tell her what to do, that is – then they battle it out like the siblings they are. At 22 months, Hallie is a peach, and most days I could just eat her up.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Visitor from the Great White North

A few weeks ago Grandma Brenda came for a visit. (Grandpa Paul had a work trip to Georgia planned and couldn’t make it, much to Will’s dismay.) She ended up coming a day earlier than planned to escape a massive snow storm headed toward Wisconsin, and seemingly brought with her the freezing cold temperatures and snowy weather of the North, i.e. the snowpocalypse.

We had a great time with Grandma, despite the chilly weather keeping us indoors for much of the time she was here. We visited the Brazos County children’s museum for the first time (not much to write home about, but at least the county has a children’s museum), went out to lunch and to play at the indoor playground at McDonald’s, baked and decorated Valentine’s Day and Packers cookies, shopped at Target for new games for the kids, watched movies, and cheered the Packers on to a Super Bowl victory. Come back soon, Grandma!

Hallie and Grandma enjoy "My First Book of Numbers".

Hallie enjoys train tables, not so much for the trains, but because she likes to walk around like a giant on them when she thinks no one is looking.

Hallie works on an art project, and Grandma and Will play a game of chess. (Actually their game was more like checkers, but with chess pieces and VERY loose rules.)

Part of the cookie assembly line - Grandma rolled cookie dough, I helped the kids cut out cookies, I baked cookies, Grandma frosted cookies, and then the kids put sprinkles on cookies while I tried to contain the mess.

TOUCHDOWN PACKERS! (Note #1: yes, Hallie is wearing a nightgown over her clothes. Note #2, Aunt Sara, I think Hallie's winning the contest. :))

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fort Lunch

While I wait for Tom to upload my pictures from the last three weeks to Picasa (my computer doesn't have the software, so I'm at his mercy when it comes to this step in the blogging process), I thought I'd post a couple of posts on rather random topics for which I already have uploaded photo documentation. Hopefully by Thursday I'll be back to "catching up" - next up are Grandma Brenda's visit, Hallie's 22-month-old bath pictures, and our recent vacation to Orlando!

I'm all about coming up with clever ways to encourage Hallie to eat well-rounded meals, so a few weeks ago I tried feeding the kids lunch in a fort in Will's room. Will and Hallie thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but Hallie ate her typical one-cracker-and-one-bite-of-apple lunch just like she would have if she'd been sitting at the kitchen table.

Say and/or eat cheese!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


We're going out of town tomorrow morning (we're headed to Orlando for a conference of Tom's and to visit AJ, Grandpa Mike, and Grandma Susie) so I wanted to get in one more post before taking a brief leave from blogging. See you next Tuesday!

Could we have a genius on our hands?

Experiment #1
Erin: “Hallie, can you count to ten?”
Hallie: “YES! One, two, sree, four, fise, sis, senen, eight, nine, sen!”
Erin: “Very good! Let’s try something else. Hallie, what’s one plus one?”
Hallie: “Purple!”
Erin: “And what’s two plus two?”
Hallie: “Banana!”

Result #1: It’s safe to say Hallie is NOT a mathematical genius. At least not yet.

Experiment #2
Tom: “Hallie, what color is your dress?”
Hallie: “Football!”
Tom: “Hallie, we JUST talked about this. Tell Mama what color your dress is.”
Hallie: “Piddy!” (Pretty)

Result #2: So, Hallie’s not a genius with regard to her colors either.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Piano Hands

Tom is a very good piano player, especially when it comes to playing by ear. The kids love this about him, because they can request a song and then hear it performed live just a few minutes later. Some of their most frequent requests, at least these days, include I Want to Hold Your Hand, Elmo’s Song, Life is a Highway, Little Einsteins, and Poker Face (they have eclectic tastes). When Tom takes Hallie’s requests she insists on sitting on the piano bench and tickling the ivories along with him, making for some interesting duets.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day from Texas, happy birthday to Aunt Chandi, and happy anniversary to Grandpa Paul and Grandma Brenda!

And a little Valentine's Day Will-ism...
"Look Mama - this Valentine that Sophie gave to me has X's and O's on it! It's a tic-tac-toe card!"

(Important note from the photographer: It took 177 pictures to get this one - one where both Will and Hallie are smiling, looking at the camera, and holding their signs the right way. The picture would be better if Hallie weren't holding a pretzel and the kids hadn't inched their way onto the dirt patch in the corner of the yard, but after 20 minutes of picture taking Tom was pretty tired of dancing behind me and trying to get the kids to cooperate. :))

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bed Head

The color of Hallie's hair is beautiful, but that's where the pros end. Her hair is wonderfully curly in the back but stick straight on the sides, making both curly and straight hairstyles difficult to achieve. Hallie's hair is also very fine, and every four or so months a new crop of thin hairs sprout up. This means there is always a portion of her hair that is only about an inch long, making her blond locks difficult to style and perfect for really spectacular bed head.

While I work on taming her wild mane, I take comfort in knowing she has her pretty face to fall back on. :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011


A couple of days after we wore shorts, short-sleeved shirts, and flip flops to the park, the snowpocolypse rolled into town. (I told you the weather was confusing.)

This is what a snowpocalypse looks like in Texas.

Now let me be clear – I know that what hit College Station was nowhere near as severe as what hit the Midwest and the East Coast. But when temperatures drop into the teens and an inch of snow falls in a city that has ONE plow/salt truck, people behave as though the world is coming to an end. Frenzied shoppers buying bottled water and canned goods at the grocery stores. Schools – including Texas A&M University – and businesses closed. Fender-benders, accidents, and trucks in the ditch at every corner. Will couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about, and headed outside in his jammies to make snowballs.

Trying - unsuccessfully, due to the cold temperatures - to turn the snow into something fun.

The road conditions kept us at home (note to all you Midwesterners scoffing at me for staying home because of such a small amount of snow - it doesn't matter that I know how to drive in snow, because no one else here does and it's best to stay out of their way), so we spent the day baking cookies (post to come), coloring, and getting to know the new games that Grandma Brenda kindly gave the kids. It was officially a Texas Snow Day!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chicken Legs

The temperatures here in Texas vary dramatically. It’s not uncommon for us to see a high of 70 degrees one day and a high of 40 degrees the next. It’s also not uncommon for us to see 40-degree temperature swings throughout a 12-hour period of time. The weather confuses me, and I feel like I spend at least 45 minutes every day trying to figure out what everyone in our family should wear to be comfortable.

A couple of weekends ago the weather was beautiful – nothing like what January weather is supposed to look/feel like. I pulled out shorts and a short-sleeved shirt for Hallie, thinking that what she wore last summer would probably still fit her, what with her refusal to grow and all. I was wrong, but once she was dressed, Tom and I thought she looked too cute to change her clothes. This outfit has since been packed away for baby Lily, but before it was retired we had to take pictures so that we can one day remember her adorable chicken legs.

This was the fastest playground slide I've ever seen. Hallie nearly flew up over the side, and she definitely shot off the bottom. Note how Hallie's hair is blowing backwards as she comes down - it was NOT a windy day.

And just because, another shot of Tom and Will peeing in the bushes at a public park. Hallie and I can't take those two anywhere.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Visitors from Nebraska

Back in January, Grandma Mike and Grandma Susie came down for a visit. The kids were very excited to show Grandma and Grandpa around College Station (the six of us went on a walking tour of campus, visited the A&M bookstore to stock up on Aggie merchandise, enjoyed quite a few meals at local restaurants, and shopped for real-deal cowboy boots), but they also enjoyed just relaxing at home with two of their favorite people.

The weekend started with presents, which were very well received, especially because we're planning a trip to Disney World next week.

There was lots of book reading, for which I was grateful, as I'm pretty tired of reading 10 Friendly Fireflies to Hallie and books about Wolverine to Will.

One afternoon we all (minus Hallie) watched the Transformers movie during what would have been Will's nap time. Will was the only one who didn't take a nap that day.

Grandma and Grandpa bought Will and Hallie their first pairs of cowboy boots.

And no visit would be complete without a trip to the park.

During Grandma and Grandpa’s visit, Uncle Joel, Aunt Teresa, and cousin David drove down from Dallas to join in the fun for a day. The kids really love Joel, Teresa, and David (as do we, of course) – Hallie sweet-talked Joel into reading her LOTS of books, and David was a very good sport about playing Transformers with Will for what seemed like hours. The family-focused weekend was a great one, made all the more special by the Packers’ NFC Championship win over the Bears!

Visit again soon, Grandma and Grandpa!