Friday, October 31, 2008

Windy City - Day 1

This past weekend, we had the pleasure of spending a few days in the "Windy City" of Chicago with our friends Shana and Adam Cumberworth. Chuck had a meeting with the Board of Governors for the American Bar Association and the girls and I decided to tag along.

We have missed Adam and Shana so much since we all moved away from Baltimore a few years ago. They are like family to us and we see them just as much, if not more, than we see some of our own family. One day, hopefully, we will all live next door to each other again in the South. (hint, hint)
DAY 1After we flew in early Thursday morning, Chuck worked on some ABA stuff while Shana and I took the girls to a play group at a local park.

Later that night, Shana took us all to Navy Pier on Lake Michigan. This was the only day that we felt the need to wear our heavy coats. That night it was in the low 50s and the wind was coming off the water, so it felt kind of cold. The rest of the weekend, we were pleasantly surprised that it was unbelievably warm (upper 60s, low 70s) for the end of October in Chicago.

Chuck enjoyed playing in the water fountain. Leland thought the statue of the kids was cool and joined in the line. Be sure to click on the picture and see the zoom-in on her face. We all enjoyed seeing the really big lake.

Shana knows we like to find the deals for our vacations, so we hit up the Children's Museum at Navy Pier which is FREE on Thursday nights. The kids, including my really big kid of a husband, had a lot of fun. I love that my husband gets in there and plays so much just like he is a kid. It makes it so much fun for everyone.

This was my favorite thing in the Museum. It was a butterfly projector of some sort, but the butterflies would "land" on you. It was really neat.

Chuck received some AmEx gift cards from the ABA for increasing membership at his school. Traditionally, W&L averages 5-10% membership in the ABA, but after Chuck's appointment as Student Editor of Student Lawyer magazine and with some alumni encouragement, the school is trying to become more involved. Chuck is working really hard to increase membership. In the first two months of school, more than half of the first year class joined the ABA. Participation went from 6% to 22%. The ABA gives the gift cards as incentives for its ABA representatives.

We decided to use the ABA gift cards to eat out in Chicago as a special treat. We dined at Bubba Gump Shrimp the first night. I know this isn't a great "Chicago" place to go, but out of our options, seafood at Bubba Gump on the pier got us excited. The food was kinda pricey, but very yummy.

Our girls are pretty good in restaurants, so it makes eating out nice. We were trying to get Leland to say a prayer like she learned at preschool and Lucy waited ever so patiently. (Leland's learned a sing-song prayer at school and it is so cute to hear. We will try to get a video posted soon.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pumpkin Carving Fun

Law Families club hosted a Pumpkin Carving Lunch this weekend. We had such a great time hanging out, carving pumpkins, and watching all the kids run around. We are still trying to get rid of all the homemade root beer we made for our Ward Party. After taking it to 3 events now, it's almost gone. Making 15 gallons was obviously WAY TOO MUCH! It sure is fun to watch and yummy to drink.

As you will notice in the picture of our family above, our girls are wearing cute matching pumpkin t-shirts. Well that was the first picture taken of our fun day (I'm still in pjs), the matching shirts didn't last very long.

During the event Lucy is wearing 3 different shirts. This is all the same day within a 3 hour period. Lucy also LOVES the homemade root beer mentioned above and anytime there was a cup in her reach, she grabbed it off the table, and tried to guzzle it as fast as possible.

That obviously led to a root beer-soaked little girl. I finally gave in and just gave her a sippy cup full of it. Then she quit making such a big mess. Our emergency clothes in the car came in great use. Lucy is just so darn cute in the picture to the left. (Lani - don't you love her shirt?!)

On to the carving - We couldn't get Leland to stick her hand in there to pull out any "guts". She loved helping her daddy carve. She was so focused, she would not look away from her work.

The finished product. He just looks so happy. I love it! Chuck and Leland did a great job.

The kids - minus 2 that left before picture time.

All the pumpkins. Do you recognize the 2 on the left? The wolf on the right was not finished, but turned out really good.

Leland won a prize for her pumpkin carving and was obviously VERY excited. She won a free scoop of ice cream at our local ice cream shop. Lucy is so tired there. She was asleep in the car before we even made our 3 minute drive home. The poor girl gets deprived of her naps so much for the sake of fun parties.

Thanks to those who planned such a fun party. We had a great time.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Frog in her throat

Today, Leland was in her first Primary Program at church. She is still in nursery, but was still asked to be a part of the program since she has started going to opening exercises in Primary. She has been so excited all week "to sing with the big kids." There was a practice last Wednesday and she has been listening in the car all week to the songs they would sing. She also had one short scripture that her teacher would help her recite.

Sadly, she woke up this morning with a scratchy voice. It got mostly better after a little while, so I didn't think much of it. Before her speaking part, they sang 2 songs. That must have been too much for her scratchy voice, so when she went to speak it sounded like she had a frog in her throat. When she went to talk, I think she was a little confused why she sounded so funny. It was so cute, but you could tell that everybody in the audience was itching to clear their throats for her. When she finished and it was quiet, Chuck sort of cleared his throat and all of our friends started giggling.

By song # 7 or 8, she couldn't sing at all and had almost completely lost her voice. She looked so tired up there and frustrated that she couldn't sing her hardest. So, she whispered to her teacher and then came down to sit with Chuck and get some water (I was in the hall with Lucy).

Tonight, when I tucked her into bed, I told her what a great job she did at church and she said, "Yeah, but I sounded funny when I talked."

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Blue Eyes

Lucy wears pretty much all hand-me-down clothes. When you have an older sister (and girl cousins) it's pretty much inevitable. The other day I put this shirt on Lucy.Chuck (jokingly) thinks I shouldn't make our brown-eyed girl wear this shirt because it's saying "Everyone loves my sister, not me!"

I think, "If it's clean and it fits, she wears it." Who really reads little kids' shirts anyway? And has the time to see the color of their eyes as well. Most strangers call my girls boys even if they are wearing pink.

What do you think? Come on give me some comments. Our comments have been lacking lately. All you Google Reader users - give me a comment. I'll leave you some love too.

Here's one more picture of my cute little baby who is not so little anymore. She stuffed her face, literally, with pumpkin mini muffins (recipe). She has easily eaten a dozen by herself.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

2 and 2

For record keeping sake, here are Leland and Lucy's specs that were taken today at the Health Dept.

Leland - 3 1/2 years
33lbs (75%)
39 inches (85%)

Lucy - 17 months
26 lbs (75%)
33 inches (90%)

I keep thinking Lucy is a lot bigger than Leland was at this age by just the way her clothes and shoes fit her. So, I looked up Leland's old stats. Sure enough Lucy is 2 inches taller and 2 lbs heavier than Leland was at her age. This is how she was at birth too. Lucy is already starting to stand up to her sister and "fight" back when her big sister gives her a hard time. Soon enough she will be just as big as Leland.

The pictures are the girls' favorite "spots". Leland has taken to under the kitchen table. She likes to eat her lunch under there and sometimes breakfast. Lucy likes to wedge herself between my file cabinet and box of paper in my office. She will bring toys and snacks and just sit there while I work.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fun with Fall Leaves

Leaves here are changing colors and falling off the trees. I love this time of year the chill in the air, seeing the bright colors, and walking on the crunchy leaves. The girls and I took a walk after visiting the park and found lots of leaves to play in.

This bench was a favorite spot to climb on and jump off into the leaves. We had so much fun.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cool weather food

Check out One More Bite where I posted my chili recipe and another soup that I love.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fall Activity

We had a ward party this weekend to celebrate the season with a fall festival. It was held at a family's home that lives in farm country. It was a gorgeous piece of property on the river. The leaves are starting to turn and there was a chill of fall weather in the air. It was great.

The hayrides were a lot of fun. On the 2nd run, it was an extremely more bumpy ride than the first. Chuck decided to jump off to see what was going on and a tire had completely fallen off the rim. Everyone had to walk back. The nice neighbor who had loaned the tractor for the party quickly brought over another trailer so the kids could take one more ride.

The girls and I on the hayride.

Leland trying out the sack race with the help of Daddy.

The 3-legged, 3-man sack race. One person had to have both feet in the sack and the other 2 had to have one leg in the sack. Needless to say, most of them didn't make it that far except for Leland's team because they carried her the whole time.

Some of my favorite pictures that were taken during the activity.
Left: The girl on the far right was shoved by her husband right at the start. I wish the picture would have caught his hand still in the air. It was so funny.
Right: Our Stake President in the blue jacket. What a good sport. This activity was held at his home.

Left: Mid air jump during the sack race.
Right: The ever popular tree swing.
(Click on any of the pictures to enlarge)

We did a chili cook-off, but didn't have that much chili. However, we had tons of cornbread. I need to remember to always pass around a sign-up sheet for food, no matter if I don't think it is necessary. I got 2nd place in the cook-off which is always a confidence booster. It was only out of 4 choices, but I will still boast.

We made homemade Root Beer which was a huge hit. The super sweet flavor and the smoking dry ice made it a fun thing to watch. It was so easy to make, however I ruined a ton of dry ice because I stored it improperly. I guess the best thing is to buy it right when you need it. I was glad that we had plenty of root beer cause the the kids went crazy over it. We actually have 5+ gallons left over. Everyone loved the root beer floats even though it was cold.

We had about 70 people attend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Duke Gardens

Saturday afternoon while in NC we walked around Duke Gardens. We went with Chuck's parents and Mitzi who had just sent her 3 kids on a plane with Amy (another of Chuck's sisters). We had a fun afternoon walking around and enjoying the outdoors.

Our Tour Guides: Chuck is the ultimate tour guide whenever we go anywhere. He gets every brochure they have and reads everything to help his "tour group" have the most educational visit possible. Leland had to be just like her dad and carry her own "map" to tell us where to go.

Poor Lucy was so tired walking around. We tried to help her out on the stairs. I really like this picture on the right for some reason. (photo credit to Mitzi). Maybe because we are all in the picture and its not a posed shot.

Leland kept sitting in different spots and saying, "Take my picture!" That is so unusual for her. She looks so silly with her posed fake smile. (I hope that's not the look she gave in her preschool pictures this week). I love her eyes in the picture on the right. She is showing me her "beautiful" rock that she found.

The Family - Papa and my girls

An afternoon with Lucy

While Chuck was at an interview, Lucy and I ventured around New Bern. I drove for a while through some historic neighborhoods which seemed like every other house had historical markers out front. I never managed to find the historic downtown business district so I opted on a visit to Tryon Palace.

A little NC history for you: New Bern is the 2nd oldest town in NC, which previously was the capital of colonial government in NC and previous state capitol of NC. Tryon Palace was the historical colonial governors' mansion .

I had such a fun afternoon with my lil' Lucy. I'm sure she enjoyed the no stroller afternoon. Poor girl would have been clipped in the stroller if Leland was with us. She enjoyed the new found freedom and ran all over the place.

Tryon Palace was preparing for the town's Mum Festival that was going to take place that weekend and was having a plant sale on their grounds. Entry to the grounds was free that day, so lucky us.

What are you looking at squirrel? I know I stole your nut. What 'cha going to do about it?

Lucy was enamored with the little house full of birds. I, of course, stood as far away as possible. Birds were flapping around inside that thing and squawking like they were being tortured. The edges were covered in feathers stuck in poop. It took forever to lure her away. Then we found the water fountain and she loved splashing and soaking herself.

Lucy loves picking up "treasures": rocks, nuts, sticks, leaves, anything. The funniest thing is when we are on a paved gravel area and it looks like a bunch of little rocks, but they are stuck in the pavement. It makes her so frustrated she can't pick them up.

Lucy has become very cuddly lately. She will give hugs and kisses generously. She HAS to have EVERYTHING that her sister has. I hear her say a few more words every so often: baby, juice, fish, please are the few I have noticed lately.