Monday, October 29, 2012

Fun days at Montessori: Grandfriend's Day and the Halloween party

Friday was Grandfriend's Day at Montessori. My mom drove down the day before and her and I went to see Wicked (awesome!), then she accompanied Hannah to school the next day and shared some photos and stories with me so I could share them here.

Hannah brings home at least one new painting every day, and during the parent/teacher conference, Hannah's teacher let me know that Hannah spends a lot of time at the easel each day. Apparently she has also mastered the art of double-handed painting, as captured by Grammy.

In lieu of this information, I picked up an easel for Hannah at IKEA on Friday afternoon. Since she decided to play in the kids room there for the first time ever and didn't see me pick it up, I decided to make it a Christmas present. That's right, I've started my Christmas shopping. Feeling good about that! I have no clue where we'll put the easel after giving it to her...the house is pretty full already.

The grandfriends spent a little over an hour in the classroom with the kids then they moved to the auditorium. The kids filed in shortly after and sang some songs they had rehearsed. My mom didn't tell me what songs they sang, but the night before when I asked Hannah what she was going to sing, she started singing "You Are My Sunshine." It was very cute. I wish I'd heard the performance!

Hannah is the one waving excitedly in the photo before.

That afternoon we headed to the mall. This is not something I do on my own, but it is a thing I have always done with my mom, though increasingly less frequently since becoming a parent. She wanted to go to IKEA, and she also wanted to get Hannah's picture taken since she had a coupon from when she took Clay and Mason to get their's taken. I'm not a big fan of those in-mall photo studios, in fact, I think they suck. But I wasn't paying so I humored my mom.

Before that we mosied into the Disney store and Hannah went straight for Merida's bow and arrow set. I cannot tell you how proud I was that in a store chock to the brim with princess crap, she picked up the bow and arrow. I happily bought it for her, and then Grammy bought her a Merida doll that she didn't ask for but that she is quite enamored with.

The bow and arrow and the doll sealed the deal on her Halloween costume for the Halloween party at her school the following day. I'd bought her the Merida dress a couple months ago, and since I had to go to Target for cat food that morning, I picked up the wig while there, and voila! A mini Merida (albeit with strange 80s bangs) is born.

Of course there were tons of Merida's there, after all, she is this year's Disney princess, and although I would have loved to have been more creative, I am just thrilled that the princess she loves is the ONLY one who isn't rescued by some prince and living married and happily ever after by movie end. Even Tiana, who is a pretty cool princess with great work ethic, still needs the prince to round her out and teach her how to have fun. Merida learns her lessons on her own, with a little help from her mother, and at the end, she climbs a giant rock and stands on top as if she's standing on top of the world. This is a princess I can get behind.

Our first Montessori Halloween party was a lot of fun. Hannah bounced in the bounce house, played on the playground, decorated a pumpkin, and hung out with her friends.

We volunteered for the clean up shift at the bean bag toss and while I was doing that, Hannah climbed her own rock and looked out across the land triumphantly.

I haven't yet decided on whether or not we'll be trick-or-treating in the neighborhood (regardless, of whether or not we collect the candy, we will definitely not be eating it), but either way, we'll definitely get dressed up and walk around to scope out the really cool and original costumes. Due to the insane weather, the Hampden trick-or-treating and costume contest has been pushed back to Saturday, which is great since it means Eric can come with us!  Hannah has a box full of costumes and dress-up material so whether or not she chooses to be Merida again remains to be seen....

P.S. I'm officially caught up on my blog posts. Woot woot!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Clay turns 3!

Clay turned 3 last Saturday so Hannah and I drove back to Hagerstown for the day to celebrate. Notice that I said Clay turned 3 last week; the key phrase there is last week, as in, I'm currently only a week behind on blogging. I'm looking for applause here people--I've been playing catch up since I taught that class at the beginning of the summer and am just now thinking it might be possible to catch up!

Shockingly, Clay went right for the book that we got him first. Maybe it was the plain brown wrapping paper that the children's bookstore wrapped it in? No clue what the appeal was, but he opened that shortly after we walked in the door and then insisted that his daddy read him the story about Otis the little red tractor. When I called my mom and brother looking for present ideas, they both tipped me off to Clay's obsession with tractors. This tip sounded good on the phone, but in reality, tractor-related stuff is not easy to find. There's a ton of construction truck stuff out there, but tractors are scarce. I'm glad that I went to a local children's bookstore because the owner took me right to Otis when I asked about tractor-themed books, and it's a great book! Very cute.

We ate some lunch then and got out the cake that Grammy brought. Hannah snuck a hand in to feel a tree right as I was snapping a shot.

Clay was a little hesitant about blowing out the candle so Hannah helped.

As soon as the flame was out of his way, Clay went immediately for the tractor and started to lick the icing off the wheels.

Then he plowed the field.

Once the top of the cake was removed, he cut everyone a piece. I don't think I even saw him eat any--he was too busy slicing and dicing.

Hannah shared a small piece with me, and I scraped off the icing, but in spite of the small amount, the sugar rush still kicked in so we took the kids outside to run it off. Since the stomp rocket that Grammy picked out for Clay is an ideal toy, she had him tear that open before heading out. She did good on that one--it was a big hit! Clay liked to get a running start and then land on the inflated part with a heavy boot stomp. He landed so powerfully that he kept shooting rockets onto the roof, much to his delight. Hannah didn't have so much power in her stomp. She stomped, and if she was lucky, the Styrofoam rocket lifted up ever so slightly and dropped onto the ground an inch from the base.  When unlucky, the rocket didn't lift at all. In response, Clay kept saying, "Wash me, wash me!" And then he'd run up, stomp the daylights out of it, and send the rocket soaring.

We went back inside after a bit, and Hannah gave Clay the other present from us. We picked out these SmartMax Power Vehicles. They're magnetic car pieces that you can put together however you want to create a variety of vehicles. I'm not sure he's terribly interested in the building part, but as soon as daddy had one put together, he enjoyed pushing it around. 

His daddy got him a remote control truck that was a big hit between both kids, but my refusal to use flash screwed me out of getting a shot of that.

Aunt Pam was there too, and about halfway through the day I realized I hadn't gotten any pictures of her so when I noticed her 'nuggling Mason I broke out the camera. Not the best shot of her, but Mason's eyes look amazing, right?!

We took the party back outside after a while and stomped the stomp rocket a kabillion more times, then the kids rode their bikes down the hill out front and complained about getting them back up the hill.

Driving to and from Hagerstown really wears me out these days, but it's always worth it to be able to spend time with my family. I'm just glad that my brother has a place with lots of outdoor space now where we can all get together easily and have room to breathe and play.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hannah goes to a puppet show

Every year I vow to take advantage of Free Fall Baltimore, and every year November comes before I have a chance to live up to that vow--but not this year! Last Sunday after yoga I was feeling crafty, even a little artsy, and motivated to do something other than sloth around the house like we normally do on Sunday afternoons. The weather was beautiful, but I was in no mood to follow Hannah around a playground, and although I was motivated, I wasn't that motivated so a hike was out of the question.

I ate my lunch at the breakfast bar in front of the computer while scrolling through the Free Fall activities and settled on a 3:30 puppet show at Black Cherry Puppet Theater in the downtown neighborhood of Union Square/Hollins Market. We got there around 2:30 to take advantage of the puppet making workshop before the show.

The workshop was pretty impressive. I assumed it would be paper bag puppets and some markers maybe, but nope. They had paper plates wrapped into cones. They put one cone on the child's fingers and another on the child's thumb (pointy side out) to make a giant mouth, then they wrapped the two cones in a fabric of the child's choosing, cut down the center to form a mouth, hot glued it, and then passed the kid to the next station where they picked pre-cut felt teeth, eyes, ears, noses, tongues, and whatever else they could think to do with the array of options. There were even feathers.

Hannah finished her puppet and was running around the yard enjoying the sunshine when Brody and Addison showed up. They always bring the fun meter up a few notches! Brody made his puppet and then him and Hannah modeled them while I attempted to capture the moment.

There was also another puppet-making station using Popsicle sticks which already had paper-mache heads glued on. Two really nice young girls were manning that table and helped Hannah give the one that she picked some hair, a cape, clothes, and a long green beard with a bow tied in it. Then the three kiddos retired to the yard to play with their puppets and hang out and wait for show time.

The show was the Frog Prince. Hannah was enthralled but afterwards she complained because the witch wasn't part of the show. She's a huge fan of all things scary these days and was really looking forward to there being a witch. After the lights came on, the puppet masters/theater owners brought the princess and horse puppet out for all the kids to touch and investigate.

This is an awesome Sunday afternoon afternoon activity when you're in the mood to do something you can feel good about without expending a lot of unavailable energy. I'll most definitely be keeping an eye on their performance calendar and taking Hannah to other shows in the future.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hannah gets her wings at the Renn Fest

We made it to the Renaissance Festival this year, yay! Hannah was only 1 the last time we went, and life was very different then, although we ended up carrying her the majority of the time this year as well, so maybe things weren't that different after all.

This year Eric was bummed that we didn't have costumes. I'm not really into dressing up (or wearing anything other than yoga pants and sports bras) so I mostly just ignored him, but I did indulge his efforts to live vicariously through Hannah. We went dutch on everything that day and took turns buying her fun stuff. By the end of the day, she had wings, a flower headdress, a wand, and a wooden sword. Spoiled much?

We either picked a crazy busy day to go or a crazy busy time of day because the crowds were insane. It took me forever to get my bearings, and the lines were insane, and we mostly carried Hannah because the alternative was that she be trampled. In spite of the lines, we did manage to hit up the slide, go crazy in the maze, ride a pony, and eat a turkey leg. The maze was her favorite by a long shot. She ran through faster than either Eric or I could keep up with, giggling maniacally with a far longer attention span that either Eric or me. It's crazy how much she loves running wildly through a maze! I wish we had a yard and space to build our own maze--imagine how much exercise she would get and how well she'd sleep at night!

And that's it. Pregnant Terri is not turning out to be much of a mamarazzi. The bright side to that is that I'm finding it easier to catch up on posts!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hannah adds dancing to her fall schedule

Brace yourself for some very bad ballet class pics! I haven't taken my camera to class, just my phone, and there are no parents in the dance studio so when I try to get action shots, I have to take them while peering through the glass in the door...I would normally NEVER do that, and if I did, I wouldn't share, but in this case, they're the best I'm going to get and I REALLY want to share.

I researched various dance classes in the area off and on for a few months but wanted to wait until Hannah was settled into school before determining if she'd be able to handle an extracurricular activity. She kept asking to to take ballet, so I signed her up for a trial class on the first Wednesday of this month.

I chose Baltimore School of Dance, and although I have nothing to compare it to, I'm really happy that we picked this one. In addition to the convenience of being able to walk to and from the studio, the teacher is professional while still being really sweet and fun with the kids. Fun is a big priority for her, especially with kids this young. The class is called Creative Movement and is for kids 3 to 5 years old. They dance ballet at the beginning, then they read a story or sing a song and then put on a costume that pertains to that story or song and do some more dancing, and then after that, they trade their ballet slippers for tap shoes and spend the rest of the class learning tap techniques.

This first pic is from the tap section of the trial class. She was so smitten with the class that we ordered her a leotard immediately.

They read a hysterical book in this trial class called Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance and then put on monster costumes. The only reason I know that she read this and that it was funny is because the next day we were reading books online and randomly came across that one. This was her monster costume.

 Knowing that I'd failed to get any good pics at that first class, I took a pic of her on our walk home.

Her leotard didn't arrive in time for her second class, which she was very upset about, but she got over it pretty quickly and had a great time. They did something pertaining to Goldilocks and the Three Bears in this class, and I think this was a Goldilocks costume, but it's impossible to get any information out of Hannah so who knows.

She had her leotard for her third class, but we arrived late so she put it on and raced into class before I could get a picture. As a result, I hovered at the door with my phone, trying to zoom (hello pixelation!) and photograph through glass again....sigh. Every time I peeked in at her, she was dancing around and staring at herself in the mirror with a big smile on her face (even when the other kids in the class were sitting down). The novelty wore off pretty quickly though. When she came out for her tap shoes she complained that the leotard was uncomfortable and insisted I tear out the tag. I did, but she was still eager to take it off after class. The leotard and tights is the number one reason that I quit ballet after only one year, so I get it. I just hope it isn't a deal breaker for her. I mean, I don't care if she becomes a famous dancer or anything, but I think it's a good activity for the time being and would like her to stick with it for a bit. I like that is physical, requiring movement, but that it's also an art form. It's the perfect well-rounded activity when you have to choose just one extracurricular .

I think I heard her teacher say that they were fireflies in this third class...I overheard another parent say "mud fairy" and am thinking that one makes more sense.  

Her first dance recital, the Holiday Diversion, will be on December 15. I'm freaking out about having to apply stage make-up to a 3-year-old and will be phoning Aunt Laura for advice on that one, but I'm otherwise really excited for her. I think that getting comfortable performing at such a young age will serve her well when she has to give presentations at school or interview for jobs or anything else requiring a performance. Hopefully she'll get used to her leotard quickly!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Terrill gets hitched!

Our first big event in October was our second wedding of the fall. This one was vastly different from the first, beginning in an enormous Catholic cathedral with high ceilings, elaborate stained glass, and stone stacked upon stone as far as you can see in any direction. After the service, the small gathering of wedding goers strolled through the neighborhood across the street to Terrill's parents' backyard for a laid-back BBQ, yard games, and some socializing.

The b-e-a-utiful bride took some time out to have a silly face photo shoot with Hannah and even play with her on the backyard playground. It's not everyday you see a bride kick off her shoes and careen down a sliding board that very well may have been the same one she played on with her brothers as a child growing up in that house.

We are loving sharing in the festivities of all these happy, awesome couples who find totally unique ways to tie their knots!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ramping up for Halloween and our annual trip to Weber's

Our neighbors up the street hung a skeleton from the second story window and put their pumpkins on the sidewalk toward the end of September, much to Hannah's delight. She'd stop and stare and ask questions and then tell us that it's time for us to put up our Halloween decorations, so on the last Saturday in September, Eric pulled the big ol' Halloween box from the attic.

The two of them ransacked the costumes, strewing them all about the floor upstairs, and then came downstairs, Hannah in my old mermaid costume sucking on a pacifier from the year that my friends and I dressed up like the seniors from Dazed and Confused and Eric in some overalls, funny glasses, and an alien hat (?? no clue why that's in the costume box).

After hanging a light-up spider web from the window, stringing some other kind of spider web on the screen door, and hanging some skeletons from the trees out front, we took the festivity up a notch and headed to Weber's Farm to pick out a pumpkin.

I thought that I was less snap happy this year because we have plenty of pics from last year and the year before, but as it turns out, I still have a decent amount of pictures. The thing is, even though we do this every year, it's different every year because Hannah's interests and capabilities are always changing. This year, Hannah LOVED the maze. She ran around it giggling like a maniac for hours, long after we gave up trying to keep up with her and just stood on the bridge above watching her.

The slide was a hit too, but nowhere near as much of a hit as it was last year--the maze definitely took the cake this year.

We also stuffed our first scarecrow!   

Hannah insisted he have lips, so I painstakingly cut lips to fit around the mouth she had already picked out and glued on.

She also insisted on blue plaid fabric for hair and this funny hat.

After we took our "finished" pictures, Hannah traded the yellow hat for a green one, and after we got home, Eric did a little bending of the hat to make it look normal. He also gave the scarecrow some boots, gloves, and a walking stick.

Amy drove up from DC that afternoon, and our neighbors happened to be outside at the same time that we were admiring our scarecrow, and Hannah insisted that I take a picture of the gang, so here it is, a pic of the gang.

And another with Hannah showing off the dollar Nate gave her.

She went inside then with Amy and since all the Halloween costumes were still strewn about the hallway floor, she picked out some items for her and Amy before coming back out. This time Amy donned the mermaid costume and pacifier, and Hannah found some witchy stuff.

The kid is totally obsessed with Halloween this year. We're reading Halloween books non-stop (her favorite is Bone Soup), she's asking for Halloween shows, she wants to talk about witches and ghosts...obsessed. I'm looking forward to taking her out to The Avenue to see all the costumes on Halloween. I don't think we'll trick-or-treat, but we'll at least walk around. This was always my favorite holiday too so I'm loving her enthusiasm.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Random dress-up pics and a penguin

If I were a more regular blogger and not always so backlogged, I would upload one or two random pics here and there as they were taken and be happy for a short post, but I'm more of a procrastinator, so I end up with a bunch of random pics just sitting around for a couple of months, and since they aren't timely any more, I'm lumping them into one random and miscellaneous post.

Most of you are aware of Hannah's pension for dress-up. One of her philosophies is that the more clothing and accessories, the better. Another thing she likes to do is pick a color theme and stick to it, so all blue one day and all pink on another.  She also has a thing for princess costumes. She has two friends with princess costumes, and every time we're at their house, it's the first thing she goes for, so toward the end of the summer, when we were racing past (not through) the toy section at Target, her very sharp eyes spotted this blue Merida princess dress, and I relented a bought it. I like that it's blue and also that Merida is pretty awesome as far as princesses go.

One evening she donned her Merida dress, neon sunglasses, rainbow bug umbrella, and roller skates and skated around the house striking poses. I think this is my favorite Hannah ensemble ever.

I may have already posted this one, but if not...BabyLegs on her arms and legs were a phase as well.

 Grammy came across some princess/ballerina dresses at Sam's Club one day and scooped up two. They came with a headband and fake ballet slippers AND were cheaper than the Merida dress....There was no blue so she picked out purple and pink and shipped them off to Baltimore along with a really great Olivia book.

Hannah likes to stand on her tip toes and dance. She also INSISTS that these are ballerina costumes, not princess costumes. She insists this when she spies another princess costume that she wants and I remind her that she has plenty (she picked out a Belle one at the consignment shop two weeks ago). She then reminds me that she only has two because two are ballerina dresses. Sheesh. She's had her eyes on the Melissa and Doug princess costume for the past few weeks and asks for it every time we're at Whole Foods. It's $30 though!! No thank you! I almost feel like I should buy it and save it for Christmas though because she asks for it even when we aren't at the store.

This last pic is not a dress-up pic, but I do love the fact that she matched up her rainbow leggings with an unrelated rainbow dress. We ended up at the zoo one random morning before it got cold, and got to meet Winnie, the penguin ambassador. She's so cute!! It's the closest we've ever been to a penguin and was super cool.

I don't know how to wrap up such a miscellaneous post, except to say that I feel relieved to "clean out" these random pics. Next up is our trip to Weber's Farm earlier this month, pics from Hannah's first dance class, then pics from the Renaissance Festival yesterday, and from Black Cherry Puppet Theater today....Let's see if I can get them posted before it's Christmas!