Monday, September 28, 2009

Grand Saline, here we come!

Oh, how I love, love, LOVE to scrapbook. You'd think I could get it done at home occasionally, given that I have a scrapbook room and all, but it's just not that easy with two curious "helpers" on my trail all the time. One of whom seems to enjoy eating paper. It seems that the only way I can get any scrapbooking done is to LEAVE TOWN!

So, about twice a year, Lara and I meet up and spend a long weekend at one of these (delightful) B&B's to scrapbook. Initially, we went for two nights. We've now started going for three nights, and we're hoping to start going for (gasp!) FOUR nights next time.

These retreats are the absolute best. We show up, promptly get our piles of stuff we'll never use necessities set up, change into our jammies, and get to work.

You know what else is so great about scrapbook retreats? They FEED YOU! I'm not talking about sandwiches and chips. I'm talking about hot breakfast casseroles, homemade waffles, roasts, delicious veggies that smell like Thanksgiving. . .it's better food than I've ever prepared in my life for sure! AND (I know. . .there's more?) there's always a massage therapist on site at least one of the days.

Here's the little "barn" where we eat. . .fitting for Lara's antics (see her on the far left?).

And here's the pile of pages I got done! We're talking about a big ol' stack of pages. Like 35 of 'em! Now if I could just find the time to actually get them into the albums. Back to reality, I guess!

It would certainly be easier to get the finished pages in albums if I could get that cook and massage therapist to come to my house, huh??!!??

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

E is for EEEEEEEK!

As in "EEEEEEEK, my husband is gone for the WHOLE WEEKEND and left me alone with these kids! Help!"

 Rip had an incentive trip to Las Vegas for the weekend (lucky guy!), and flights were too expensive for me to tag along. And to add to my bad luck, it was pouring down rain here all weekend. Massive amounts. Like we couldn't even go outside it was so rainy and wet. Great.

So, "E" wasn't really for anything specific. I was lucky enough to keep the three of us alive all weekend. . .doing a whole "E" theme was simply more than I could manage. But we DID do a little craft and an "E" brainstorm.
Since excavator starts with "e," Mason colored one for Rip.  He also painted a big posterboard "E" and we took turns thinking of words to write on it.  Mason said eagle, ego, and eight.  Where does he come up with words like that? 
And the Boo?  Well, he was just happy for the chance to explore Mason's room a little. 

Monday, September 14, 2009

D is for Disco

Ummmm, what??? I know. Sounds strange. But bear with me, and I will actually get to the educational part of this post. Just not right away! So, last weekend was Christina's birthday party. And she wanted a 70's disco party. Boy, did she get it! All attendees had to be in costume, and we boogied the night away. Check out the birthday girl, her family, and The Rays. . .as well as the "club" formerly known as the living room!

Right after this was taken, someone said we looked like "Stepford Wives." Hah!

The Pickering Clan, in all their glory!

Rip went for the "John Lennon, Give Peace a Chance" look. He had the perfect accessory in Brody, too. . .

And then, there was Mason. Here he is, doing his version of disco. He was a dancing maniac all night. He and Christina made the shirt as one of their projects last week!

So this is where I got my idea for our "D" lesson. We started with "D is for Disco." Which migrated into "D is for Dancing," which turned into a search on iTunes for music that Mason liked. Loving the Laurie Berkner Band for him right now! (Focus, Kristen. Focus!)

I let Mason practice writing the letter "d" on a whiteboard for something different. Which he thought was fun for about 3 minutes. Then he wanted to tell me words that started with the letter "D." The second word out of his mouth was "Delbert," which was hilarious. He said "Daddy calls me that sometimes, you know." Wow, he cracks me up!!

Peace, dude. And maybe put on some clothing next time.

Friday, September 11, 2009

C is for Candy Corn

Oooooh, I was so excited for "C" day!

Every fall, when August turns to September, I religiously do two things.  First, I put up leaf garland on all of our banisters and railings, and second, I make a delicious snack mix with fall candy.  As of today, there still isn't garland hung, but you can be certain we have our snack mix made!!

The kiddos and I went to Kroger right after breakfast to get the supplies. . .it was VERY important that we go to Kroger because they have these awesome little shopping carts.  As long as I don't need much, AND as long as the store isn't crowded, I let Mason be in charge of our purchases.  He's not very reliable, nor very coordinated (which explains why we only do it in an empty store!), but he thinks it's a blast.  Sadly, Kroger had neither candy corn nor Halloween M&Ms, so we basically accomplished nothing except pushing a miniature cart haphazardly around the store for 30 minutes.  Oh well. . .30 fewer minutes to fill!!!

Thankfully, the Walgreens right across the street had everything we needed.  Last year, I couldn't find any candy corn to save my life, so I had to have Lara send it to me from Denver.  I know, that sounds reeeeeDICulous, but what else was a girl to do?  This mix is seriously that good. 

*two bags Halloween M&Ms
*two bags Brach's Candy Corn
*one large can cashew parts and pieces
*about half a large container of raisins
*employ four-year old to pour and stir, then devour!

And, to add to our lesson for the day, Brody Boo wouldn't stop CRYING.  He is the most rotten child on the planet.  I have no one to blame but myself because I always cave in and pick him up when he goes ballistic, but it's rather unbearable if I don't.

Oh, and the longer you let the snack mix sit, the better it gets.  The cashews make everything else kind of salty and greasy. . .oooooooh, it's goooooood!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

B is for Books

For "B" day, I surprised Mason with a trip to the library. We used to go more often, but it's been much harder these last several months with Brody. Now that he's on somewhat of a predictable nap and sleep schedule, I thought it would be a fun outing for us.  Mason has his own little library card, of which he's very proud.

So, "B" was for BOOKS! We do love our books in the Ray household, and whether they're old or new, borrowed or purchased, they give us hours of entertainment. I often fantasize about winning a $1000 shopping spree to Barnes and Noble. . .oh, how fun that would be!

We got all comfy-cozy in the beanbags and read several books together.  Brody was really good, so it was a pleasant outing.  

I let Mason pick out five books to take home. . .believe it or not, one of them was "The Berenstains' B Book!" 

Our "B" day was even better because it was NANA'S BIRTHDAY!  We practiced writing little "b's" and big "B's," then started a game where we all say words that start with that letter.  Winners from today were Brody, brother, bottle, baby, and bedtime!!!

As for any books I'm reading?  Well, I'm trying to read "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle," but I'm not making much progress.  Lara and I are supposed to have it finished by next weekend's scrapbook retreat, but it's not looking good.  Sorry, Lara!!!!!  Too much time blogging, not enough time reading!!!!! 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A is for Alphabet Activities!

A delightfully fun part of the "blogworld" is connecting with others who share your interests; yet another fun facet is finding and reconnecting with old friends. One reason I began to blog was that one of my childhood best friends, Lauren, has an adorable blog where she shares her artwork as well as tidbits about her life. We had been out of touch for the better part of 15 years, and it's been really neat to fall back into contact. I've been inspired in many ways by her blog, and wanted to create something similar. So, here I am, givin' it a "go!"

I check her blog every few days, and often find ways to use her creative and fun ideas for crafts here at our house.  Lately, she's been doing a letter of the day with her kiddos, and I thought since I'm home with the boys three days a week, Mason could really benefit from this.  At least it's better than sending him off to play by himself while I search the Internet!  Seriously.  ANYWAY, though. . .

"A is for Acorn!"

I actually "lifted" this idea directly from Lauren.  It was just TOO CUTE, so we had to do it!  Mason and Christina went to the park in the neighborhood to collect acorns, then brought them home and gave them little faces.  Their creations cracked me up!

Then we went into my office and practiced writing the letter "A."  Mason was so very excited to get to play student!  He sees all the "big kids" come in, and to get to sit in their spot in Mommy's office was a ton of fun for him.  We have the craft room upstairs with a jillion crayons, markers, glitter pens, pieces of construction paper, etc., but a plain ol' piece of computer paper is what he wanted. 
I plan to keep these activities going. . .Rip doesn't think I'll make it through the alphabet.  What he doesn't know is that I have big plans for "W is for Wine" when I get to that point!  Well, maybe I won't wait until "W."  Oh, hell, just give me a glass now!  Hah!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Greatest Show on Earth

Things our family will remember from the circus:

1. Brody could not stay awake. He was TERRIFIED of the dark and all the noise, and screamed bloody murder until he conked out.

2. Mason sat with his fingers in his ears for the first 45 minutes. "It's WAY too loud!" he kept shouting.

3. Mason couldn't stop talking about the motorcycles racing around the "Globe of Steel." He was so fascinated by those seven (yes, seven!) cycles simultaneously chasing each other around the inside of the ball. Who am I kidding. . .we were fascinated, too!!!

4. Once Mason got over his issue with the volume, he was jazzed about the lion tamer. He was flexing his muscles and acting tough as if he was ready to take on those lions!

5. Thank goodness our tickets came from MillerCoors. Again, we had a suite with snacks, drinks, and yes, even beer. Thank you, Shellie!!!!! 6. The combination of cotton candy and Sprite makes four year olds completely delirious. (No image on this one, but I'm pretty sure you can imagine it all on your own!!!)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

On the Move

I have two little boys who are ON THE MOVE! Check this out. . .

first, Brody learned to crawl! I knew he would crawl early since he spends a lot of time on his tummy, but I wasn't ready for it. EVERYTHING is in his hands and mouth now. Yikes. I need to really stay on top of that!

Then, Sunday Mason learned to swim! I didn't see this coming at all. He's been jumping into the deep end for about a year, but never without a lifevest or Rip to pull him to the surface. Suddenly his limbs just all started to work together and he was legitimately swimming. We were so proud!

I can almost hear both boys' little minds working. . ."I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. . ."