Friday, May 25, 2012

A Family Four-ever

Amber turned four this past week and I've been promising family that I would eventually get around to posting pictures of the festivities.  It's appropriate that since Amber is our resident rainbow lover and amateur artist, her special day ended up full of color. 



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We had a last minute opportunity to teach Joy School on Amber's birthday come up, which meant getting to do a few special activities with some of her friends.  One of the lesson's activities was making necklaces out of colored noodles: a perennial preschool favorite.
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Robyn showing off her Joy School necklace.

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Amber had been excited to bring a special treat to Joy School on her birthday, so we let her share them even though Joy School ended up at our house: fruit rainbows!

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The Joy School lesson also included making cookies as a class, another one of Amber's favorite activities that played in nicely with the day.  The kids especially liked getting to flatten the gingersnaps with a fork.
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Besides Joy School, we also did a little "Painting Party" for Amber.  She loved getting to color to her heART's content!




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Displaying some of the girls' paintings while they dry.
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We even whipped out the finger paints. There really is a paper in front of Robyn somewhere, but it was sure hard to tell by the time she was done sliming it!



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Sticking with the painting theme, we let each of the girls "paint" her own cupcake using different colored frosting on a paper plate palette.
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Cupcakes!

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Perhaps the least messy aspect of the painting party: cooling off afterwards painting on the driveway with water. 



We also had a little family party with cake, ice cream, and presents when Daddy came home.


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The birthday cake.


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The inside of the birthday cake.  I was pretty excited about how this turned out.  I didn't tell the girls the cake itself was rainbow until we were cutting it after dinner and I think they got a kick out of the surprise.
My favorite moment of the day, though, came when Amber blew out her candles:

video

That's our big wish too, Amber!  Thanks for a great first four years...looking four-ward to four-ever with you!!

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Just a fun parting picture of Amber wearing a pair of funny glasses she got for her birthday.  She sure makes us smile!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pics-burgh, PA



All of my sisters live out west (why??????! :), but we're lucky to have a few of Bryan's siblings on the east coast, including his sister Kelly and her cute family.  When we found out they would be blessing their baby the first weekend in May we knew it was the perfect opportunity to visit Pittsburgh.

Never having been to Pittsburgh, we were surprised by what a cool city it was.  Apparently there are over 400 bridges in the city itself and the whole area was surrounded by these crazy steep hills and ravines.  Bryan's sister lives in the middle of a bustling part of the city near one of the universities and it didn't take long to realize that with only two days to spend in town we were barely going to scrape the surface of what there might be to discover in Pittsburgh.  (Dear Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, I'd be happy to accept compensation for the above promo...)




Besides encountering a whole new interesting city just six hours away from where we live, we made several other interesting discoveries over the weekend, especially during the hours we spent at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh.

Such as...

1.  Nothing brings together generations like a little bit of nerdiness.


Bryan, Grandpa Gordon, and the girls making circuits at the children's museum.


2.  Overalls are the perfect place to store birdseed for later.

Katie loved this station.  The museum probably should have charged us extra just to compensate for how much seed accidentally made it's way to our hotel in Katie's pockets and stock-piled inside her overalls and diaper.  



3.  Yes, the puppets on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood really were as creepy as you remembered.  (Don't get me wrong, I loved Mr. Rogers...but the puppets always seemed kind of scary to me as a kid. :)

Because of the ties between Mr. Roger's Neighborhood and Pittsburgh, several artifacts from "Neighborhood of Make Believe" were on display at the Children's Museum.  Which meant my sister Lynda received several ribbing texts during our visit. :)

4.  There's a little bit of hamster in all of us.  (But in some people there's more than in others...)

When we saw this contraption, I didn't really expect any of the kids to do more than go in one side and come out the other.  In fact, a little part of me was hoping they wouldn't since I wasn't sure how I'd fish them back out if anyone lost their nerve somewhere inside: nothing about this exhibit screamed "pregnant-lady friendly."  We underestimated Amber though: she went to the top and back several times and loved it!

5.  Toddler-sized rain coats score low for wetness protection, but very high for cuteness.

Exploring the water exhibit on the upper level of the museum with Grandma and Grandpa.

Re-directing spraying water with different shaped pipes and attachments.


Self-appointed care-giver to all abandoned bath toys.  I'm amazed none of the birdseed down her overalls sprouted...

6.  "Children's Museum" may be a misnomer.

The grown-ups having more fun than the kids "catching" letters in the air.

7.  Green transportation is totally doable as far as the girls are concerned. 


Tapping into renewable resources is easy when you have a daddy/grandpa-powered rickshaw at your disposal.



8.  When all is said and done, rocks are still the coolest toys.


Everyone playing with a giant noise-maker created from an angled barrel, nails, and lots and lots of rocks.

9.  There's no such thing as too much playing in the water.

To-do list for Saturday:  Play in the water at the Children's museum.  Swim around in the hotel pool.  Rinse off in a tub full of bubbles.  Check genealogy for mermaid lineage.

And finally...

10.  Big brother + camera with red-eye reduction = serious opportunity to be obnoxious.  :)


They say a sister is a lifelong friend.  They should probably also say a brother is a lifelong pest.  Everyone who came for the blessing now has several pictures of Kelly and her family with a nice red glow thanks to someone, who of course shall remain nameless, who couldn't help flashing the red-eye light at exactly the right moment over and over and over.  Redness aside, aren't they a cute family?  (Bryan's mother made the blessing dress baby Meghan is wearing.)  We can't wait to find an excuse to visit them again!