Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Cookin' Pottin' Celebration!

This weekend marked the end of another successful volleyball season. It's always bittersweet to see another season come to a close; sweet because it sure will be nice to have Neil home earlier. The boys are excited to play with Daddy in the evenings. And I'm looking forward to getting our feet back under us, doing some things that we've been putting off for the last few months, and finally having time to breathe! And Neil can finally get caught up on some sleep! But bitter too, because after three months, we love these girls! Weekends filled with volleyball are a part of our weekly routine. Iain has a whole volleyball team of new best friends, and I don't know what Liam will do without his fan club! We've gotten to know them and appreciate them, and we never know who will be back for next season, so in a way, it's always very sad to see the season end.

Friday night was the last game, and to finish the season in style, we hosted a cookin' pottin' party Saturday night! If you know us well, you've probably heard us talk about the magical cookin' pottin' experience! Maybe you've even done it, or been promised a turn! Basically, we chop up a ton of meat and veggies, put out every sauce and spice we have in our fridge and cupboard, and let everyone go to town! You have a mini frying pan, and each person cooks their own stir-fry at the table. It's awesome! The girls were good sports and really got into it, trying new things and cooking up a storm! It's always fun to cookin' pot with new people, and with a big group, and with 16 people, I think we set a record!

Neil's parents were kind enough to let us use their house to host so we'd have enough room for everyone, and with the fireplace and the candles, it was a perfect, cozy autumn evening! We finished off with lots of yummy fall desserts (peach crisp, pumpkin cheesecake, and apple-raisin "last resort" bread pudding) and games. It was a great way to end the season!

We documented the night by taking pictures of each girl's "record"; the number of pans cooked and eaten! I think the girls had a great time, and I'll let their photos speak for themselves.

Thanks for a great party, and a great season girls! We'll miss our "extended family" of Eagles! Come visit, and keep in touch! And in Iain's words..."Go EAGULLLLLS!!!"

Thursday, October 27, 2011

He Bakes Like His Mama!

Roll out the dough...

Cut out the cookie...

Give it a little taste...

(For quality assurance!)

And back to work!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Weekend "Away"

The past weekend was phase one of our most recent (quarterly?) babysitting swap with Stu and Becky. We watched their kiddos while they went away for the weekend, and it was a jam-packed, exhausting, chaotic, hilarious good time! In some ways, it was easier than the last time. We were at their house this time around, and it was nice to feel like there were no projects hanging over our heads, and we could just play with the kids. Also, since it was the weekend, Neil was there the whole time, which was wonderful! Because in all other ways, it was much more difficult, so we truly needed all hands on deck!!

Last time we had four children to watch, both babies were barely sitting up alone. They were content to be in the swing, the bouncy chair, the crib. As long as they got a bottle at the appointed time, you barely knew they were there! This time, they are both on the verge of crawling and are not content to sit still! This resulted in lots of babies stuck in lots of places! Also, they are both eating solids now, so that meant four mouths to feed (not counting our own!) instead of two at mealtimes!

The toddlers are much more comfortable with each other now. In July, Becky and Stu had just moved back, so Iain and Courtney were on their "best behavior" around one another. This isn't saying much for toddlers, but suffice to say there were a lot more "interventions" this time around! Also, they are both potty training now, so that added one more (quite essential!) thing to think about!

For the above reasons, when I went through the photos, I was not surprised to see that all four of them look like neglected little ragamuffins. So please excuse the children in various stages of pajamas, soiled garments, and mismatched clothing; nothing that could be construed as a proper "outfit"! Please excuse Courtney's hair, which did not get "done" after her Mom did it Friday! (Still not sure if I could ever be a Mom to a girl!) Please excuse the babies (and toddlers!) with food remnants on their faces constantly! We really did try to keep them clean! Despite all the work, it was a great experience! I think all of them had a ton of fun! It was even a nice little "holiday" for Neil and me, to be away from home, in a different house, staying up late, watching the Food Network! Above all, we were reminded (again!) how lucky we are to have such a great family, with kids that we love as our own! And we're sure looking forward to our turn to be the ones that go away, coming up soon in November! Here are some photos of what we did this weekend!

We napped. And we sometimes didn't. Here's Cal, the little imp, making the most of his "alone time" with his Uncle and Auntie while his cousins and sister sleep!

We played. And played, and played, and played! We shared toys and took them. We had lots of fun both inside....

...and outside! Balls, sidewalk chalk, dolls, dishes and rings. Everything is better if you have a cousin to share it with. Or steal it from.

We had lots of "picnics". The weather was perfect, and we figured the easiest way to get four kids fed with a minimum of mess and fuss was outside! (And please realize that "minimum" is a very relative term!)

We took a walk and enjoyed a "second breakfast" of delicious offerings from the Mexican bakery. Mmm! Fresh sugar doughnuts! Liam and Cal appear slightly miffed at not getting their fair share!

We hit up the park and played on the wooden train, the slide, and the swings. The big kiddos generously patronized the big swings to leave the baby swings for the babies, but soon realized that in the end, you can go higher on the baby swings! It was okay. The babes were happy to sit on the grass and eat leaves!

We baked (and ate!) chocolate chip cookies! Do you know that if you split 1 cup of chocolate chips into four 1/4 cup measures, both kids get two turns?! Good thinking Neil!
We helped rake leaves! And jumped in them! True to form, Iain was more keen on the helping rake, while Courtney was very excited about the jumping! But they both had lots of fun, and that is what counts!

We took (very crowded!) baths! We played tea party, swimming, fishies, and splash. And at least twice during the weekend, all four kids were clean at once!

We listened in on the big kids' bedtime stories! We wore matching jammies, chewed our Sophies, and flapped our wings as we waited (oh-so-patiently!) for our bottles!
We wore matching jammies too. We snuggled up together and heard bedtime stories. We used the potty one last time, brushed our teeth, had one last laugh, one last good-night, and one last kiss. We got tucked in with bunny and kitty, with George and Big Brown Burzah and went to bed!

We slept (just barely) enough, ate (more than) enough, played enough and laughed enough. We came home exhausted, but we sure had a great time!