Friday, April 29, 2011

A Bike Riding Expedition

I mentioned in my previous post that the four of us recently went for a bike ride at a nearby park. We’d heard this park had a quite a few bike trails, and we wanted to give them a ride before the spring temperatures climb into the mid-90’s on a regular basis. (At which point I no longer go outside, unless I’m on my way to the swimming pool.)

Two adults, two kids, two adult bikes, one kid bike, and one Chariot – it was crowded in our Freestyle.

Will showed off a little before riding his bike for a few minutes, and Hallie prepared for whatever we might encounter.

I’m always really grateful that I’m not the one who pulls the Chariot behind my bike.

For the first time in my life, at least that I can remember, I saw someone proudly flying the confederate flag. I felt anything but proud.

Also for the first time in my life, I saw a trebuchet in action. I kept the kids far away from the apparatus, however, because its operators were beer-guzzling college students.

As luck would have it, we didn’t discover the really cool bike trail until about five minutes before the kids were ready to be done riding together in the Chariot. After we’d heard “I’m hungry! I have to go potty! I’m hot! I don’t want to sit next to Hallie anymore!” from Will and “HALLIE JUICE! NO WILL NO WILL NO WILL!” from Hallie we decided to turn around and bike back to our car.

It’ll be a while before we can bike ride as a family again (it’ll take another eight or so weeks for Tom’s broken collarbone to completely heal, and after that it’ll be too hot outside), but in the meantime Will keeps practicing and Hallie keeps crying on her tricycle because her feet don’t reach the pedals.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

Will the Conquerer

Will takes after his mama when it comes to change (he doesn’t like it) and learning new things (he doesn’t like to). Last summer, however, Will conquered swimming and soccer (if you define “conquered swimming” as is no longer afraid of the water and makes forward progress with dog paddle motions and face in water and “conquered soccer” as participates in practice and games instead of screaming bloody murder on the sideline). This summer, we’re working on bike riding.

Will was very nervous on his bike. He wouldn’t ride up hills. He wouldn’t ride down hills. He wouldn’t ride around sharp corners. He wouldn’t ride on grass or gravel or over bumps in the sidewalk. So basically he wouldn’t ride.

And then I mentioned to Will that perhaps his preschool might hold a trike-a-thon. Will’s preschool in AA held a trike-a-thon last year, and preparing for the event was the push Will needed to learn to confidently ride his tricycle. I have absolutely no idea whether or not Will’s preschool here will hold a trike-a-thon, but I figured that preparing for the event, should it come up, might help Will learn to confidently ride his bike.

We started out going around the block v..e..r..y s..l..o..w..l..y. Will got off his bike and walked it around corners, over manhole covers, and around a basketball hoop that partially blocked the sidewalk. He also came to a complete stop at every single driveway, not because he was being safe, but because heaven forbid his bike reach speeds beyond ¼ of a mile per hour. After a week or so, Will graduated to riding around the block without stopping, and after another week Tom, Will, and I biked (Princess Hallie rode in the Chariot) around a small, paved loop at a nearby park. Just last week Will finally rode his bike to our neighborhood playground about a ¼ of a mile from our house. Success!

Trying to keep up.

But bike riding success brought about a new problem – I can’t keep up with my little speedster. What’s a mom to do when one child won’t stop…

…and one child won’t go?

Sit down and take pictures, that's what.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Will, Will, Skip to my Will

It’s taken him quite a while, but Will has finally learned how to skip. And we’re all pretty proud of him.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Plan

As you likely know, I took over writing this blog in January. Initially I did so simply to help Tom out - he was incredibly busy with work and my schedule was a bit more flexible - but I soon found that even though I had no idea how to blog (Tom had to show me like seven times how to post a picture), I really enjoyed writing about our kids, our family, and our lives together.

I enjoyed blogging so much, in fact, that I decided to start my own blog. A Midwestern Girl in Cowboy Country ( will be a place where I can write about and post pictures of topics that aren't as kid-centered as those written about here, and a place where I can pay tribute to where I came from and share stories about where I'm going.

Since January I’ve posted here nearly every weekday, and I’ve found this schedule suits me as I seem to have exactly enough time, energy, and ideas for once-a-day posting. I’m fairly certain that if I tried to post more than five times a week I’d quickly be overwhelmed, and if I posted fewer than five times a week I’d drift away and soon find I’d forgotten all about keeping track of our lives.

Now that I’m writing two blogs, I’m still going to post five (or six) times a week but I’ll split my time between Wiggles and Midwestern Girl. I’ll be here on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; and over at Midwestern Girl on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

I’d love it if you’d join me at Midwestern Girl, or, as they say here in Texas (I heard these exact words last week) – Y’all come back now, y’hear?!

Also, a big thank you to Ferris Creative Media for their help setting up this blog. Visit their website and Facebook page to learn more about the logo creation, design, editing, proofreading, and website development services they provide. Tell 'em the Midwestern Girl sent you!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Future Accountant?

My dad and my “Uncle” (camping family uncle) Jim both count to three on their fingers in the same funny way. When we discovered their finger counting method years ago we attributed it to the fact that they’re both accountants, and that accountants are sometimes kind of weird about numbers. (I mean no disrespect, all you accountants out there. You’re weird in a good way, and I’m grateful for you and your love of the numbers because it means I don’t have to do my own taxes.)

Well, it seems Will is a little weird about numbers too – perhaps we have a budding accountant on our hands. This one’s for you, Grandpa Paul!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hallie's 2nd Birthday

The birthday girl's day started with a banana for breakfast (I couldn't convince her that pancakes would be more fun), and then we moved on to opening presents. Hallie doesn't care much for ripping the paper off of wrapped presents but delights in finding out what's inside each box and bag. Will, on the other hand, is much more interested in the act of tearing away the ribbons and bows and paper. So that's why Will ended up unwrapping all of Hallie's presents.

Though she didn't open many of them...

...Hallie loved all of her presents, especially her bracelet, Minnie Mouse ears, Chinese pajamas, four pairs of shoes, and beanbag chair.

Will enjoyed celebrating his half birthday, but had a tough time when his half birthday presents ran out and the celebration for Hallie went on.

Hallie loves Minnie Mouse. Everyone who has spent even a few minutes with her knows this, from family members and friends to the manager of my gym and the barista at the Starbucks in Kroger. When it came time to select Hallie’s birthday theme, Will first suggested Transformers; after I reminded him that Hallie’s birthday should actually be about Hallie and what she likes, he suggested Minnie Mouse. So that’s how we ended up with a Minnie Mouse ensemble and a Minnie Mouse cake.

Hallie loved her Minnie Mouse ensemble...

...and her Minnie Mouse cake.

She wasn't quite sure what to make of the candles, however. Thankfully her big brother knew what to do.

About a month before her 2nd birthday I started asking Hallie what she’d like to do to celebrate her special day. Every. Single. Time. Her answer was “DeeDeeDondals!!” (McDonalds). So that’s how we ended up having lunch and playing on the indoor playground at McDonalds.

Hallie talks to inanimate objects as if they're her close personal friends - she says hello and good-bye to the shopping carts at Target, the book shelves at the library, and the flower beds at the gym. Her best inanimate object friend, however, is the playground. When we drive by the playground on the way to Will's school she says "Good morning Playground! See you tonight!". When we arrive at the playground to play she yells "Hi Playground! I here to play!" When we leave the playground she waves and wistfully calls "Bye bye Playground! See you soon!". So that's why we ended up at the playground.

It's My Party... Right after we arrived at the playground Hallie spilled a full glass of water down her shirt. This upset her greatly because she DID NOT want to wear a wet shirt but also DID NOT want to play in only her diaper. After quite a few tears we solved this dilemma by turning her too-big skirt into a dress.

Hallie loves to just hang from this piece of playground equipment and watch the kids around her.

"MOM! Dad got my soccer ball stuck in the basketball net!"

Eventually the skirt-dress became just a skirt again.

And then Hallie showed off her newest skill - running very fast away from me.

It doesn't matter how fast or how often you run, Hallie Claire - I'll always catch you and wrap you in my arms.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bed Head, For Real

I’ve blogged about Hallie’s bed head before, but I just couldn’t pass up posting this picture of her. I’ve never seen anyone with such serious hair issues upon waking.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Super Moon

Remember the Super Moon? Here's what it looked like from our back porch.

I thought the sight was beautiful, but Will wasn't all that impressed - "It's no Super MAN, Mom, it's no Super Man."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More Visitors

A couple of weeks ago Tom’s grandparents (Grandpa Keith and Grandma Carol) came to visit us for the weekend. They were on a bit of a cross-country tour, and were kind enough to include a stop in College Station on their route to San Antonio.

Hallie convinced both Grandma and Grandpa to read Counting Colors to her many times. (Notice Minnie Mouse clutched tightly in her little hand - she loves that little doll SO much.)

Our big outing was to the George H. W. Bush Presidential Museum. Tom and I had been there before, but had been forced to leave before we were ready because the museum closed. Tom was particularly excited about seeing what he’d missed the first time around, so while the boys (Grandpa, Tom, and Will) actually toured the museum, the girls (Grandma, me, and Hallie) played in the museum’s children’s reading room.

When the kids had had enough of the museum (they lasted considerably longer than I thought they would though), Grandma and I took them outside to visit the pond and the Barbara Bush rose garden.

I think these two pictures capture the kids' personalities perfectly. Will is introverted, introspective, organized, and neat; Hallie is extroverted, loud, wild, and messy (her dirty feet made both Will and me cringe). What a pair!

I have a new camera, and based on the kids’ reactions to me asking “Will and Hallie, can you smile for the camera?”, I think it’s safe to assume they’re pretty tired of having their pictures taken.

Come visit anytime, Grandma and Grandpa!