Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Round One: The Playground Wins

Poor Miss Sadie managed to do a very ungraceful face plant at the playground. She went right off the end of the slide and couldn't get her hands out in front of her in time. I blame the Sun. It tricked us that day and although it looked beautiful out, temps were in the low thirties and windy so Sadie was bundled up so much she looked like the Michelin Man sliding down the slide. She skinned her nose up good on the rubber mat, bopped right back up and climbed the stairs again. No stopping her! By the next day, however, it didn't look so great and rough-housing with her brothers knocked the scab off and brought the bleeding on again. Hopefully it goes away soonish and she'll have her cute little unmarred countenance back!

Monday, March 21, 2011

In like a lamb... and then it snowed.... AGAIN.

We took the big boys out of school Friday to fully enjoy the last day of my Spring Break. So much for calling it "Spring" since technically the change in seasons missed my vacation by a couple days, but the weather cooperated beautifully and it was 60-70 degrees and a gorgeous sunny day. We had planned to go to the Museum of Science (and we did and we enjoyed it), but the boys were pining to be outside in the sun so we had to agree. We just walked along the river by the museum which proved to be just as much fun out in the sun as it had been inside. As usual, it is amazing how the kids don't really need anything expensive or material to find something to amuse and astound them.

What's that black thing I keep chasing around? Oh, it's my shadow. And I finally get to meet it because the SUN IS OUT!!

Liam's response to the sunshine: full-throttle basking.

Sadie longed to jump in the water and swim with the geese. I saved her from the edge more times than I could count. She's a little devil when she gets to break out of her stroller prison.

Colin was thrilled to pose in front of a Naboo Fighter. This model was used in one of his favorite Star Wars movies, I think it was Part I: The Phantom Menace, but I'd have to consult the local expert himself to be sure.

It was imperative that I get a photo that showed R2D2 (on top) and Little Anakin (inside the cockpit).

Colin's class at school is in the process of watching some caterpillars morph into butterflies. They're still inside their cocoons at this stage, but that didn't stop him from taking a ton of great photos of some full-fledged butterflies in the Butterfly Garden. He can't wait to take his shutterfly photos into school and show them off! If you click on the collage, you can see them in greater detail.

Today, alas, it is snowing again, and two more kids are throwing up... but we're going to try to forget all that and wish for more spring!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

And the results are in....

there is a mostly naked Leprechaun running back to his rainbow right about now!

Our annual project to trap the Leprechaun on St. Patrick's Day expanded this year to include three separate entries, one from each little Irishman here. Liam has LITERALLY been planning his attack for WEEKS. He's been saving boxes (yes, those ARE wine boxes. And yes, I did have to make an emergency stop on my way home on St. Paddy's Day eve with a fourth and final Bota Box to finish out his evil plan. And no, we did NOT drink the whole thing that night, luckily you can just extricate the bag of wine and leave the box undisturbed.) Liam, as usual, did not accept one tiny iota of help in any way. It was completely his vision and execution all the way. He cut the boxes himself, duct taped them together and I only BRIEFLY stood in with an extra pair of hands to help him make a duct tape ladder. The sign was all his own concoction too. As a clever, mischievous little boy himself, he knows full well that the Leprechaun could NEVER resist a sign that says "Do not go up the ladder!" And the little sprite did go up and fell down onto the sticky duct tape floor. Unfortunately, he wriggled free, but left his pants behind!

Colin also concocted his own plan with no help from parental units. The difference is that he was far less decisive than Liam and switched up his idea a dozen times before finally settling on something also duct-tape related. This is actually a very strange turn of events for the big boys. Usually it is Liam who spends agonizing hours trying to decide what prize he wants at the Chuck E Cheese counter or which $1 treat he can pick out at Target. But for St. Paddy's Day, Liam was 100% self-assured that he WOULD get the leprechaun. Colin was a little less confident in his idea, but was uncharacteristically magnanimous in his open admiration of his little brother's design. I also had to chuckle at the VERY characteristic taunting signs he made to lure the Leprechaun to his stash of gold (Colin had made a collection of yellow-painted tin foils balls to use as decoy gold, but was thrilled by my last-minute addition of some Pyrite I found at the Ecotarium store that he thought was more realistic.) He also got a kick out of wondering what a "fool" the leprechaun would be to be tricked by our "Fool's Gold". Like all seven-year-old jokes, he'd repeated that one a thousand or so times in the week prior, always sending himself and his brothers into ecstasies of laughter. In the end, he did catch a little bit of orange thread from the Leprechaun. Chris and I thought it might be from the clever guy's beard, but Colin thought it must be a shoelace or something similar...

Eamon needed some help from me to come up with an idea this year, but fortunately we have a huge stash of crafty items hanging around at all times. We constructed a rainbow picket fence from popsicle sticks and made a tricky tangle of rainbow pipe cleaners inside to draw the Leprechaun in to our pot of gold at the center of the labyrinth. Then we took a page from Liam's book and added a swath of duct tape to the center to solidify our trap. The hardest part of our construction involved keeping the cat away from the pipe cleaners. Casper LOVES playing with pipe cleaners more than any other thing in the house, but we figured that would only aid us in our diabolical plan if the cat was out on the prowl for the Leprechaun too. Eamon did manage to get the tricky guy into his trap, but alas, he wiggled away leaving only his little white shirt behind. Colin learned at school that Leprechauns are the official tailors and cobblers for fairies so hopefully our guy will make himself some new clothes before next year. If the Luck o'the Irish holds out, we'll surely get more than fabric next time.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Lots more to come this week on the newest installment of our annual leprechaun traps. All three boys made one this year and they all managed to trap SOMETHING from the leprechaun. But for now, this will have to do to get you in the spirit:

The boys all decked out and ready for school. What else would you expect from boys named Colin, Liam and Eamon? Any one of them would make a clever little leprechaun!

Poor Sadie... our little misfit girl. What she lacks in an Irish name, she makes up for in cuteness!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Half days are meant to play.

Since the big guys have been in school full-time, it seems like we never have time to go anywhere during the week. They had a half day on Friday so we jetted off to a local kids' museum (and away from the Wii which is their new default plaything). And any outing is an excuse to go out to lunch, so we did that too, of course. Although I get a lot of "Oh, you have your hands full!" comments, they were all very good and we had a great day. I sometimes wonder why people make such a big deal out of having four kids, it's not like having 20 of them, but it's pretty much all we ever hear when we're out (particularly if we're down a parent and on our own with them.)

Sadie again went stroller-less which she LOVED. She is so curious and happy to putter about, even from the first moment we arrived when she tried out her hand at being a newspaper delivery girl and set about trying to distribute a big stack of papers she found to everyone she met. I have really considered building a magnetic wall at home for a ball run as the boys would spend hours making and re-making it. Liam tried desperately to thwart gravity but found that he just couldn't best the powers of the Universe. Sadie started off thrilled with the fog machines, but eventually got scared by a big girl who came in and shoved her over and after that she was terrified of the clouds touching her!

I could play with big magnets forever and Colin loved them too. When he discovered it was strong enough to hold the washers even with his hand in between, he was completely flabbergasted! On our last trip here, it was school vacation and too crowded to get to some of the exhibits so the boys were happy they could spend an unlimited amount of time at the woodworking center this time around. Liam, of course, refused ALL help and cut and built some kind of contraption only for it to fall apart at the end (the soft wood they use to aid the kids in hammering is not meant for endurance, apparently). He cheered up soon after when he got to try his hand at the blow dryer sports upstairs where he was definitely the MVP!

Eamon begged me to take a photo of the Earth floating in space. And then got more of a kick out of sticking his head over the air jet and blasting his own face. Sadie spent a long time sitting on top of a gigantic pin table with her brothers popping up underneath with ghost hands and feet and faces outlined beneath her. She also stole a bunch of rubber bands from Liam who practiced some advanced geometry problems on the peg boards. (He is going to be a mathematician, I swear!) I eventually salvaged them from her droolly little mouth. Colin made faces into the heat-seeking camera and was kind enough to let Eamon think they were actually of him (he was too short for the camera to see him!). All in all, a nice way to spend the afternoon and there were no breakdowns, pout-fests or lost children, which is always a good way to end the day.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Playdates galore

We had a week filled with friends and fun. I took the Littles to the Ecotarium to bum around for a while since it's still too cold and snowy to have too much outdoor fun. This was Sadie's first official "no more stroller" outing which was great for her. Eamon could spend all day playing with the PVC pipes and the fan underneath. I should just make one at home with a hair dryer... Sadie could NOT figure out the light up dancing wall. The motion sensors detect your movements and cause different tones and lights to turn on. She was regular little Dancing Queen!

Colin got invited to a friend's house on Friday and since I'd already spent the afternoon with Eamon and Sadie at another friend's house, Liam was feeling a little left out. To cheer him up, I promised him I would have a "Mommy" play date, complete with snack and activity and one-on-one playing, no interruptions allowed! We set out to start our new I Spy Spooky Mansion game for Wii. And we completed all THREE levels in nonstop action, pausing only to shove protein bars down our throats for sustenance about 6pm. 5 hours and 51 minutes later (and a couple hours late for bedtime), we bested the game and got out of the mansion alive! At one point my Wii remote was acting up and I convinced Liam it was the ghost in our house moving the player on the screen. He took to hiding under a blanket every time we had to maneuver from one room to another, imploring me to "tell me when the ghost stops moving, okay?" As usual with Liam, it's hard to tell when he's being serious or being silly, but he didn't seem to have nightmares even after all the skeletons and ghosts and general spookiness we endured all night so it's tough to tell for sure what he was thinking! I admit the game became a SLIGHT obsession for all of us, but it was fun to do what Liam wanted for once, he rarely gets to get a word in edgewise with his siblings around.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Valentine's Day

Bashful little Liam had a Valentine's Day project to complete - choose a parent and write something you like about them on a paper heart and then have the chosen parent do the same about Liam. I was a bit surprised but thrilled that he chose me! So we started with our basic heart cut-outs and were free to write and decorate in any manner we chose.

Challenge accepted - time to get my arts and crafts on.

Glitter, markers, stickers, pipe cleaners and a glue gun. Combine in a balanced composition with a thoughtful sentiment and here is my entry for display on the Kindergarten wall:

Liam's turn. Pipe cleaners, glitter hearts, stickers...I think I'm seeing a pattern here. Wait, he goes for the seashells - I didn't see that one coming. Wait a second, what did he write, what does his say, what does he like best about me?

I think he nailed it. It's comforting to know his priorities are straight. I'm such a proud, proud Pappy right now.