Category Archives: Spring

Baseball and Birthdays and Dance! Oh My!

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This summer seemed to fly by more quickly than ever before. It seemed like we were always busy, but I don’t remember what we were doing. I didn’t post often, so I’m really behind on sharing these photos.

Big Brother played baseball again in the spring and enjoyed playing catcher. He has had this baseball helmet for two years but refuses to take the MLB sticker off the brim. Goofy boy. He improved a lot this year, hitting, fielding, and throwing better. He is now swimming on a team at the Y instead of playing football (fall) and basketball (winter), but he wants to play baseball again in the spring.

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Big Sister took ballet and tap (Combo I) last school year and just started Combo II for this school year. She performed in a recital in June and looked so cute and sassy in her costume.

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In July, Big Sister lost her first tooth, began wearing a shorter hair style, and turned six years old. Whew! That was a busy month for sure!

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The twins turned 18 months old in August and would not cooperate for pictures. We were unable to get any of them together for the first time since they were born. Stubborn little girls! I think they were a little shy. They wanted me to stay right with them the whole time. The next pictures we have taken will be of our whole family, so their daddy and I can each hold one. Maybe they will cooperate if they are in our arms. I can hope anyway.

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My husband became the new chief of his fire department on August 1st. I think this is the best picture he has ever had taken. We are so proud of him!

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Nature Girls

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All of my children enjoy being outside, but it seems like the twins are more interested in everything outdoors. They cry to go outside, cry when others go out and leave them behind. They like to “help” in the garden, dig in the dirt, move rocks, pick up bugs and snails, and take time to smell the roses or whatever flowers they find. They don’t mind getting dirty and want to touch everything. Grandmother has started calling them her little nature girls.

Sissy found a snail this morning but didn’t want to show it to me for a close up photo.

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Grandmother has a huge wildflower bed, and the girls love to look at the flowers and pull the petals off. Little Sister is looking closely at the petals in her hand.

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I don’t know if we will ever have any ripe tomatoes because the twins like to pick them when they are green. This photo shows Sissy trying to put a tomato back on the vine after picking it.

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Here are several random photos I’ve taken over the last two months of them enjoying the great outdoors.

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The next two were taken after we got home from Big Sister’s kindergarten graduation, so they are a little too dressed up for playing outside, but as soon as we got them out of the car, they grabbed their tools and headed for the driveway.

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This last one was taken at an arboretum, where they had so much fun being outdoors, seeing flowers, running in lush grass, chasing a squirrel, etc.

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Our 5th annual Easter party

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20140610-173753-63473019.jpgBeginning when Big Brother was in pre-k and Big Sister was just a toddler and a little sister (above), we have hosted an Easter egg hunt and party every year, rain or shine. I tried to get out of it last year since we were in a rent house and had six-week-old twins, but the kids insisted we continue our tradition, so I modified the party and had two smaller parties during each of the babies’ naps. For at least two of the parties, it has been too wet to have the egg hunt outside, so we have hunted inside the house (below). It was a little chaotic but still fun.

20140610-173754-63474309.jpgThis year, I wanted to control the chaos as much as possible, so I decided to offer several stations for the kids to have constructive and fun activities to do while we waited for everyone to arrive and while we hid the eggs. I created a checklist so they could mark which stations they had completed. I asked parents to help with some of the activities, but most of them were self-directed.

20140506-110219.jpgBig Sister and some friends from school are playing an Easter-themed Bingo game, using a 20-sided die to roll for numbers. (There are actually 24 numbers on each board, but I forgot to print and cut out numbers to draw, so we improvised with the die, and they got plenty of Bingos.). I placed a small Easter bowl full of wrapped Smarties on the table with the die and Bingo cards. Each child could open a package of Smarties, use the candy pieces to cover their numbers, and then eat their candy.

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I saw an idea on Pinterest for plastic monster eggs and found some solid white, one-piece, plastic eggs at Walmart this year. I just provided pipe cleaners (pre-cut into various lengths), googly eyes, pom poms, Sharpies, feathers, etc. for the kids to use to design their own monster egg. I asked a couple of moms to help with the hot glue guns.

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The kids enjoyed creating their monster eggs, and we had plenty of supplies leftover for my kids and their cousins to create more monsters a couple days later when we got together on Easter.

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Big Brother and some of his friends are playing an egg hunt board game that I found on Pinterest. It was cute and good for the older kids. My mother-in-law was so sweet to cut out the pieces and put it together.

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The simplest station was an Easter activity sheet that the kids could color, complete a crossword, etc. I just provided the sheets and a container of pencils and crayons.

I was too busy to get photos of every station. The others were an Easter bunny mask and estimation jars (baby food jars filled with either cheddar bunnies, gummy worms, jelly beans, or bunny grahams). Before the party, the kids helped me decorate balloons like Easter eggs, which we hung over the kitchen table (see the second monster egg photo above). I also made Peeps on a stick and egg-shaped Rice Krispy treats.

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I just washed three plastic eggs and then buttered the inside of each piece. I stuffed rice krispy treats in each half and snapped shut for several seconds and then placed them on a plate until set. The kids loved these and ate every one.

All of these activities and treats were fun, but the main reason we have this party is to share the real reason we celebrate Easter–Jesus’ death and resurrection. We hid dozens of eggs, but one dozen contained specific items to tell the Easter story. This year we used the “resurrection eggs” my son made in pre-k. I told the kids before they started hunting that there were lots of prizes in the eggs, and there were plenty of numbers inside eggs to choose prizes from a table as well, but there were twelve eggs with numbers on the outside of the eggs that were for something special. We gathered on our front porch as the kids finished up, and we went through the whole Easter story together. It was so fun to listen to the younger children share what the items represented. Their eagerness and joy were refreshing.

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My wonderful mother-in-law, holding Little Sister, helped me so much in preparing for this party while my husband was out of town. I couldn’t have done it all without her.

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My terrific mom, holding Sissy, brought extra treats to fill eggs I had leftover, brought more jumbo eggs to put some of my treats in, and also provided some of the white eggs for the monster eggs. She and my stepfather drove over two hours to come help with the party and watch the twins’ first egg hunt.

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New landscaping

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We moved into our new house last summer, but we didn’t have our builder install any landscaping because Hubby likes to do it all himself (with a little help from me and the kids). With the ongoing drought in our area, we didn’t want to plant anything in the heat of the summer, so we waited until this spring, and then we bought all native plants that are drought-resistant. Here is a photo of the front of our house before we got started.

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We had some rock delivered and worked on the border and placed a few boulders where we wanted them. I forgot to take a picture of this step, but you can see the rocks in the background of this photo of Big Sister flying her kite in our front yard.

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We also moved our metal bench into the bed in front of our porch. The kids had a lot of fun on the bench after we moved it from the front porch.

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Hubby sprayed RoundUp to kill the weeds and grass in the beds, and then waited a few days before he tilled inside the beds and filled them with a landscaping mix.

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The weather wasn’t always cooperative during this project. The girls are watching the rain in this photo taken after hubby ran out of soil.

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After all this prep work, we were anxious to get some plants. We researched which plants would do well and figured out which of those we liked, and then I sketched the beds and jotted down where we wanted to place each plant. We went to a local nursery and were surprised that they had so many native plants. It has been almost seven years since we landscaped the last house we owned, and the nursery has greatly expanded its selections since then. Big Brother went with us and helped unload the plants once we got home.

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Big Sister helped by watering the plants after we arranged them where we wanted them. We waited until the next morning to put the plants in the ground.

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That’s a lot of landscaping! We spent most of the next day planting what we had bought. The kids were great helpers. Hubby had to go back to the nursery to buy a few more plants after we saw what else we needed.

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As you can see, we planted beds from our driveway to the fence on the opposite side of the house. Here is a photo of the beds on the west side with our garden beds in the background.

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Here is a shot of the front beds from a different angle, showing where we placed the bench with flagstone in front of it.

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Hubby started on the bed on the other side of our driveway, but he had to dig out some dirt for the beginning of the dry creek bed, and those rocks are heavier than they look. Plus, he had to put mulch in all the beds, so he ran out of daylight. He got it started though.

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One day about a week later, the twins wanted to stay outside all morning, so I thought I would be productive and work on the dry creek bed. I had some help from the twins. They love rocks!

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By the time Hubby got home from work, I had used all the rocks in the big bag and almost finished the creek bed. The twins were awesome and played outside most of the day, only going inside for lunch and a nap. Grandmother was outside working in their garden that afternoon, and Sissy decided to walk down there by herself. She went right through the gate into their garden, gave Grandmother a hug, and then walked back out! Here is an “after” photo of my hard work.

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I found this metal trellis at a local trades days event, and we plan to have a vine grow on it, but Hubby left for three weeks soon after I brought this home. Now that he is home, he has a long “honey do list” to complete.

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Hubby got another load of rocks and finished the dry creek bed next to the driveway. Our plans for this bed are to use native plants that do well in the shade and then to fill in with mulch. We used smaller river rock to make three small dry creek beds in the front beds where the gutter spouts are. I haven’t taken a photo of those yet. In fact, I don’t think I have an “after” picture of our house either. I’ll add one soon, and I’ll post photos of the bed along the driveway once we finish it.

In case you are wondering what plants we chose for our beds, here is a list of the ones I can recall.
yucca
knockout rose
Texas mountain laurel
pink muhly grass
rosemary
abelia
lantana
verbena
salvia
iris
daffodil
loropetalum
fall asters

Fun in the sun

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These girls love being outside. When they are both fussing or bored or whatever, we can just mention going outside, and they run to the door in a better mood. I bought sunscreen and sunglasses for them a few weeks ago, but they wouldn’t wear the sunglasses. They left the sunglasses on for several minutes today. I think they will get used to them in the next few weeks. Here are some individual shots of them in their “sunglasses”.

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You can see behind Little Sister our unfinished landscaping. The river rock will be a dry creek bed running through mulch and shade plants (instead of weeds) when we are finished. We landscaped the beds in front of our house about a month ago, and then hubby went out of town for three weeks. I’m sure we will finish this bed soon now that he’s home. I’ll post separately with photos of our landscaping.