Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Real men...

...paint their granddaughters' toenails.

(Apparently I was too busy to paint their toenails but not too busy to whip out the camera when Taid responded to the request.)

Dad was here for his birthday so I made him birthday waffles (and sausage and strawberries) for breakfast and stuck a candle in them so we could sing happy birthday to him.

My kids love this guy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sixth birthday, extended version

Since my last two posts were picture-free and sort of boring (who cares what I got cleaned last week? well, I do, but that's beside the point...) I'm going craaaazy with the photos today.

Kathryn turned six on Monday (!!!) but we had her birthday party a few weeks before, on the 11th. There were just too many things going on the following weekends and we wanted to make sure her party didn't get squeezed out. She wanted a mermaid theme (she specified that she did NOT want "The Little Mermaid" Disney movie, just "regular mermaids") so I made a mermaid cake. Apparently, this mermaid went spray tanning before posing for this cake. That's the only good explanation I can come up with for the orange skin.

We had big plans for outdoor water fun (sprinklers, kiddie pool) but since Mother Nature decided to have some outdoor water fun of her own in the form of rain, we kept it all inside. The kids didn't seem to care. They just ran around like crazy people. Kids are good at that.

We had a pinata, too, which was fun, although I was a bit annoyed at having to purchase a Tinkerbell one. The only other choices at our fine Wal-Mart (Wal-Mart! curse you and your convenient proximity to my home!) were Disney Princesses (barf) and Sponge Bob (double barf). Oh, and Spiderman. I phoned Kathryn from Wal-Mart and consulted with her and Tinkerbell was deemed acceptable. If I was a good mom (and it wasn't the night before the party), I would have made a homemade one. Oh well.

Opening presents. The kids had all gotten into the dress-up box, which explains the Davey Crockett hat and the lei.

Poor Dex. He got bonked on the head by falling candy and Matchbox cars when the pinata opened up.

Blowing out candles.

On Kathryn's ACTUAL birthday, Monday, June 27, she woke up at 5 a.m. and bounced into bed, declaring herself the birthday girl. I declared her insane and told her to go back to bed for a few hours. TOO EARLY.

Later that day, at a reasonable hour, we went out to lunch and then to Wal-Mart to buy her a promised bike and helmet. Pink. Barbie. Whoah.

(Just a cute photo of Viv in a dress Kathryn got for her 5th birthday.)

Monday evening we had Kathryn's best friend Paige and her mom and brother over for cupcakes. Betty surely had fun eating hers.

I let the kids pick out a bunch of sprinkles to put on their cupcakes.

They loaded them up!

My kids cannot understand how I can eat a cupcake without sprinkles. I cannot understand how they can eat so MANY sprinkles on one cupcake.

Curtis got out our new bubble machine and the kids were over-the-moon ecstatic with the sheer number of bubbles spewing out of the little machine.

Then Curtis started blowing big bubbles, too, the old fashioned way and they were in heaven.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Boring post

Hey! Another boring post with no pictures of cute kids. Whatever. It's my blog, I'll be boring if I feel like it.

The Nesting Project is going well here at Casa de Rice. So far I have:

  • sorted/culled/organized the kids' art supplies (a bigger job than you might think)

  • organized puzzles

  • cleaned out the plastic wrap/tin foil/plastic bag drawer (and apparently I was anticipating the apocalypse when plastic bags, etc., would be hard to get because I had a LOT of stuff in there)

  • cleaned out the fridge

  • cleaned off the top of the fridge (yuuuuck)

  • sewed a button on a bag, a task I have been putting off for a month

  • sorted through bibs, washcloths and dishtowels, saving only the ones that weren't shockingly stained or frayed

  • deep-cleaned Betty's high chair

  • sorted through lots of toys

  • repaired a beloved children's book

  • cleaned out my purse

  • sorted through various small piles of "stuff," the kind of piles that grow because I'm not sure if this screw actually goes to something important or if this battery is still good or because I always intend to superglue that toy horsie's leg back on...

I feel like I should be getting more done, but as it turns out, my back does not feel the same way. It, apparently, is of the opinion that I should be sitting down. So I'm doing some of that, too, but not for long. I have a carpet to shampoo and a closet to clean!

Monday, June 20, 2011


My mom and sisters-in-law Tami and Sherry are doing me an enormous service this week and have taken my children for THREE WHOLE DAYS while I get this house ready for Baby Annie to arrive in about two weeks. It's an unbelievable luxury - three days to clean the fridge, sort baby clothes, shampoo the rug - all without any interruption or having to think about what to make for everyone for dinner.

Day One has started without much oomph. So far I have slept until nearly 8 a.m.(!), showered, wandered around looking into rooms and thinking about what I should be doing, read a few articles in a New Yorker magazine swiped from my parents' house, ate a leisurely breakfast, checked my email and am now doing this blog post. Not exactly the crack of dawn closest cleaning frenzy I was gearing up for.

But I just got off the phone with my mother who was trying to distract two-year-old Betty who was crying that she missed her mommy while the rest of my kids and their cousins pounded on the piano downstairs, oblivious to my mom's shouted admonitions to not pound on the piano it is not a toy!!

So...I'm off to motivate so that their sacrifice isn't for naught.

Aaaaaand GO!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Teepee (or tipi?)

Is there a proper way to spell that word? Is one more PC than the other? Am I supposed to be calling it something else entirely or not making one of these Native American-Inspired Tent Structures at all because of my extreme European heritage? I don't know. But anyway, I made one for the kids. And we call it a teepee (tipi?)

Curtis's Grandma Clayton (who Vivian was named after) made his family one back in the late 70s or early 80s and he loved it muchly. It still survives, all these years later, and I saw it in person a few years ago out in California when we were visiting for Christmas. Curtis's mom pulled it out of the closet for the grandkids and I thought it was pretty darned cool. So, FINALLY, I got around to making one for the kids. Curtis and I both thought the tradition needed carrying on.

We bought the fabric and PVC pipe late last summer but then I never actually made it. I think I was intimidated. I had no pattern and only a vague idea of how to put it together. But during April vacation (I think?) I brought all the stuff up to my parents' house and over a few days my sister-in-law Sherry and I worked on it and finally got it done! Sherry is a genius and I'm sure it would not have come out nearly as well if she hadn't been in on the project. She has a very "can do" attitude that is SO handy.

We traced the hands of all the available cousins (there are, obviously, quite a few missing) on fabric of each kid's choosing and then I stitched the cutouts on the tent. Here Dexter points out his blue handprint. We even put a little handprint on for Annie, though she isn't with us quite yet. (That was Curtis's idea...I know, awwww).

It provides welcome shade from the sun (Viv was in there reading books with Betty for a long time today!) and a place to have a clubhouse or eat a sandwich.

We can actually fit quite a few people in there!

I think it sort of adds to the ambiance of the yard.

Check out Curtis kicking the ball there! It's the kids' current favorite thing - seeing how high Daddy can kick the ball. Sometimes he even gets it on the roof and they all think that is amaaaaazing!

Speaking of the yard, it's coming along. We still have a lot to do and a lot to learn about gardening, but it's a start.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pizza parlor in my kitchen

My friend Lynn and I had been talking about doing a "make your own pizza" night for our kids for a long, months. So, finally we waited until it was about 85 degrees out with 1000% humidity and thought "THIS! This is the time to fire up the oven to 450 degrees!!"

Well, really, we both reconsidered the wisdom of the date we chose when we saw the weather forecast, but decided to do it anyway. The kids were so excited and we had been trying to do it for.e.ver, so we just went with it.

The first order of business was to give Cranky Betty her own piece if dough to mess with. Genius. I think she ate it all raw, but didn't seem the worse for it.

We poured some olive oil onto baking sheets and let the kids (attempt) to pat out their own dough. They actually did pretty well but needed a bit of help.

Then, sauce, cheese and toppings.

Dexter even tried putting something other than pepperoni on his. I was amazed, but then he picked off the green peppers and mushrooms before we put it in the oven. Typical.

Kathryn was inspired by her pal Jack to put on toppings in the shape of a clown face. Turns out she didn't like the green peppers but loved the mushrooms.

Jack with the extremely cheesy finished product.

We had lots of fun, the kids loved the pizza and I think we'll have to do it again. Maybe in the fall...or winter, when a hot oven sounds like a better idea.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Red, white and blue

I can't help myself. I theme-dress my kids whenever I get the chance (and if I'm not too tired on that particular day). So, of course, this applies to Memorial Day.

LOVE this dress! I have a great photo of Vivian wearing this dress a few years ago at the Rumford Memorial Day parade (the same parade shown here). Betty was quite happy about the parade, her dress and especially having a flag to wave.

Viv looks rather grumpy but was actually in a fine mood. She was just refusing to cooperate with the photographer at this moment.

The parade was a mix of fire trucks (and other emergency vehicles), veterans, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, one high school band, one senator (Snowe) and exactly two floats. Impressive as always.

Oh, and some candy, smashed to bits when it hit the pavement.

Still, we had fun and went out for breakfast after. We probably should have stuck around for the end of the parade when they dedicated a memorial to a local soldier, Buddy McLaine, who was killed recently in Afghanistan. But the kids were hot and hungry and I'm all pregnant, etc., so.... We did make a point of talking to the kids several times about what Memorial Day is all about.

Look at this. The kids love their dad. A lot.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

From the artist still known as Viv

What's going one here? Two posts in one day, you say? Well I don't know. I have had these photos for about two or three weeks now and it's just time to post them.

And I'm avoiding cleaning up the kitchen. Sitting my 8-months pregnant self down and writing a blog post (while simultaneously wishing for some fairy godmother to make me a sandwich...hmmm...where is that Curtis?) seems like more fun that kitchen duty.

The photos. Right.

Vivian is our Focused Child. When she gets it in her head to do a project (usually arts and crafts related) she can work on it for HOURS on end. Literally. A few weeks ago she discovered this foam paper stuff that had a sticky back (peel off the paper and it's sticky) and spent more than a few hours creating these masterpieces over a few days.

She decided she wanted to have a museum to display these fine works of art so I strung some yarn in front of the downstairs mantle and clipped them up for her. The pom-pom ball art was a bit of an afterthought for her. She wasn't done creating art but had run out of foam sheets, so this had to do.

And here she is, in an outfit of her own choosing (of course - always) and with her hair done by me according to her exact specifications.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Crazy for the princess stuff

It used to be that when people would say things like "what little girl doesn't want to be a princess" I would sort of internally roll my eyes, because I'm sure there are LOTS of little girls who don't want to be princesses and are probably bored to tears by fluffy dresses, sparkles and crowns. I'm not saying I'm PERSONALLY princess-averse...many of you know what I was doing in the early morning hours of April 29. Oh yes, I watched the Royal Wedding with great interest and have a bit of a girl-crush on Kate Middleton and love the pretty clothes and all that. I just think that just because one is female, one is not neccessarily into the Princess Stuff.

I also thought, before I had children, that if little girls were all princessed-out it was probably pushed or at least encouraged by the parents who thought it was Just So Cute that little Chelsea or Maddy or whoever was obsessed with Disney princesses.

While that is probably true to an extent, I am here to testify, as the mother of three little girls, they are into princesses and I did not push this on them. No ma'am. Sure, they were exposed by some great hand-me-down dress-up clothes, a few coloring books and two puzzles I can think of, but they have LATCHED onto that stuff like nobody's business (even thought they have tons and tons of other toys, very non-princess-y). They looooove the princess stuff (Viv especially).

Anyway, all of that to say that they were thrilled when they got to go to a Princess Party a few weekends ago. Kathryn's best friend's family was putting it on to raise money for the American Cancer Society (via their Relay for Life team) and quite a lot of kids showed up! The girls had lots and lots of fun with all the activities.

Kathryn spent probably the first hour coloring this picture. She was very focused and was not interested in the others games or activities until she had finished the picture to perfection.

Vivi, on the hand, rushed right off to try EVERYTHING. She won this wand after (finally!) getting a beanbag in the hole. (After she did all the activities, it was her turn at the coloring table for a good 45 minutes of intense coloring.)

Nail painting - there were so many polishes to choose from!! I think she ended up with about four different colors, spread over both hands.

She made her own crown and then got her makeup done.

Finally, Kathryn got her nails and makeup done...

...and her hair done by "Princess Jasmine" (from the Disney movie "Aladdin"_.

A group shot of most of the kids who attended the party. Note the three "princes," one of whom was Kathryn's best pal Paige's little brother who apparently had a hard time choosing between coming to the party with his mom or going with his father to buy tractor parts. He seemed to be having a good time...hope he didn't miss tractor-part-buying time with his dad too much.

There was a "parade" of sorts downtown at one point. The kids got to walk around and wave one at all. It was the weekend...downtown isn't exactly hopping then.