Monday, December 31, 2012

Disney World! - Day 1

Since Evan died in 2006 we've talked about taking a trip the week of Thanksgiving. To be somewhere, anywhere besides home. This year Justin said, "Let's do it!" I think his thoughts were more along the lines of a quiet trip to the beach. Mine? Disney World! Obviously, I won. My main concern was how the kids would do with the large crowds. Being surrounded by people and then having to wait in line didn't sound like something our little high maintenance girl would like. But give the girl some sparkly Mickey ears, and she's ready to roll with, well, some punches. Here she is waiting to meet Mickey Mouse.

While the rest of the family waited in line (my parents joined us!), I went and got fast passes for the Meet the Princess event. Miranda did ok when Mommy was nearby, but if I went off somewhere, she had a tougher time. (Read: Grandma also had a tougher time.)

We got bonus fast passes for Dumbo, so we took that in before princess time! Here Miranda takes an important call.

Dumbo! Both kids loved this ride! Miranda giggled the whole time. Afterwards, Duncan decided he didn't care about meeting princesses, and got in line with Daddy to ride The Barnstormer. It's supposed to be a kiddie coaster. Thirty seconds of terror is what it turned out to be for poor little Duncan. Justin tried to videotape Duncan's reaction, and had to put his phone down to comfort our little guy. He did record Duncan's voice, and he sounded so scared. We knew from that encounter that the kids wouldn't be trying anything scarier.

"I wish I could meet a princess!"

Wishes do come true! The fast passes were totally worth the short wait to meet Disney royalty. The girls were SO sweet. They each took Miranda by the hand and talked to her, and then gave her a hug.

I was so impressed and pleased. Miranda, I think, was a little shy and perhaps a little star struck.

After the princess visit Miranda talked about "my friend Sleeping Beauty," and "my best friend Cinderella" for the rest of the week!

We took an afternoon break back at our condo, and returned to the Magic Kingdom in the evening. The lines were shorter on many rides, so we were able to get right on. Both kids loved "It's a Small World."

Duncan looking a little more Saturday Night Live than Pirates of the Carribean!

He loved Pirates, except for the loud cannons. We also went to the Haunted Mansion. Pretty tame ride, right? Not for Miranda. She did okay at first, but when that Vincent Price voice came on, things got scary. And, of course, he's on for most of the ride. So, I spent the whole ride comforting her and trying to draw her attention toward the silly things. Live and learn, I guess!

The end of the day arrived, and the kids were beat. Shoot, we were all beat! After walking around, waiting in line, and carrying a little girl all day I was ready to hit the hay, too.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Nature's Bubble Wrap

Our neighbors have a couple of Sugar Maples in their front yard. Every year around Halloween those trees drop their leaves and cover every inch of that yard. They rake them up neatly into piles under the trees. Nice, perfect circles. They don't bag them up or blow them away. Why not? Because they remember when their daughter jumped in the leaves, and they encourage Duncan and Miranda to jump, too.
Duncan always is the first to jump in.
Miranda looks on from our drive way.
But the fun is too much too resist!
The leaves crunching!

 The mess making!

It's kind of like Nature's bubble wrap.

It doesn't take too long before somebody starts picking up leaves to throw.


And Mommy's the perfect target!

A moment to reflect on the beauty of Nature.

And then back together to try to knock every last leaf down!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

We began our Halloween festivities over the weekend with a little pumpkin painting and carving.

The kids enjoyed getting all messy with the paints.

Although, I'm pretty sure they both wanted to wield the knife and have a go with a jack-o-lantern face.

Justin, scoopin' the goop.

Me, also scoopin' the goop.

Here's what we ended up with. And then I destroyed a perfectly good jack-o-lantern to make this:

It didn't turn out as well as the picture I'd seen online. I worked on it. Justin worked on it. And it was eventually sawn in two, and pathetic.

I pulled out the ghosts again to decorate the yard. This poor fella's eyes came off in the process. The quick fix with safety pins gave him a little bit of an eyebrowed look!

All ready for Halloween!


The front door with my pumpkins. You can see the one that fell apart. We've had so much wind and dry air lately (air pushed down due to Super Storm Sandy), that the pumpkins dried out very quickly. I didn't know there was such a thing as a geriatric looking skeleton, but after looking at my poor pumpkin, I do now!

Our little grave yard.

Miranda had a few costume choices. She could be a princess, Batgirl, or a witch. This is the constume she chose. I was calling it a witch dress, but she called it the Tooth Fairy Dress. (It did come with wings.) The Tooth Fairy enjoying a bit of pizza!

Duncan dressed as Iron Man.

Here's an eyeball lantern that we created from an activity kit. It was fun to do, and looked really cool!

Iron Man has his glowing core and is ready to do some serious trick or treating.

The kids had fun getting candy and mingling with other kids. When we got home they went nuts every time the doorbell rang. "More trick or treaters!" Duncan and Miranda admired each costume. And when we waved them goodbye, Duncan said, "Happy Super Halloween!" Miranda began by saying, "Happy Halloween," but changed it to "Happy Sparkle Halloween," in her ongoing competition with big brother. And now she's under the weather and getting a cold. Oh well! We had fun while it lasted!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

On the Contrary...

Lately, we've felt a little like we should have named Miranda, "Mary." But why, you may ask. Miranda is a beautiful name, you may say. When we decided on the name Miranda, I looked up the meaning on all of those Baby Name websites. It means to be admired. How sweet! And she is admired. And she is sweet. Well, usually. But she is a bit contrary.

Collective groan.

Well, bad jokes aside, Miranda does have a tendency to disagree. With everyone. About everything. I swear she sits and waits for Duncan to make a decision about something...what show to watch, what flavor ice cream to eat...she waits, watching Duncan choose. Then says she doesn't want to do that, she wants (fill in the blank.) She seems to take perverse pleasure in upsetting her brother. I always feel like she knows how to push my buttons, but really, she's got Duncan's button pushing down to an art form. And his reaction (or should I say over reaction?) makes it all worthwhile. This made any decision making over the summer a tedious affair. It seemed ridiculous that she didn't want cookies or a trip to the bounce house. She didn't want to go, because Duncan did. Pure and simple. Or so I thought. I thought she was just a meanie. But it turns out she's just contrary. And perhaps a bit nit-picky as well.

Since school started Miranda seems to be turning over a new leaf. She seems happier. Nicer. She's more willing to snuggle. She doesn't always fall down in a meltdown over the teeniest little thing. I wish she didn't do this at all, but we're making progress! I'm sure she still disagrees with Duncan over almost everything, but it seems more like Service with a Smile. And punches with a grin. But even with her improving attitude, she still has a hard time agreeing to just about anything.

"Look Miranda," I'll say, "See the monkey?"
"That's not a monkey. It's a brown monkey." She replies.
"Do you like George?" I ask.
"That's not George, it's Curious George."

And when she gets heated up over something, the questions get more personal. And more amusing to her parents. She doesn't always want to hang out with her Daddy first thing in the morning. He tries to lay on the charm:
"How's my sweetie this morning?" he asks.
"I'M NOT A SWEETIE!" she responds with venom.
"My, are you cranky today?"
"I'm NOT cranky!!!!" She cranks.

She is a stubborn little person, which my dad constantly (and perhaps, gleefully?) reminds me that she gets it honestly from her mom. When she decides on what she wants, it's very difficult to bend her will. I'm not trying to change her personality. I'm just trying to change the TV show! Last week she had her heart set on "Spookley, the Square Pumpkin" (a Halloween movie), but it wasn't on that day. And it wasn't going to be on for several more days. And not on On Demand! I tried to smooth things over with suggestions of Halloween episodes of other usually favorite shows. Nope. Even when I suggested The Octonauts (which I also like), she said, "I don't like The Octonauts." If I put it on anyway, she repeated her remark and insisted on Spookley. Eventually, I'm sure we were able to settle the matter. And, guess what? The last time Spookley was on? Yeah, she didn't like that, either.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Doctor is In

A couple of weeks ago, I went into my bedroom and decided to kick up the ol' feet. Not too long after Miranda comes in. I pretended to be asleep. She walked around the bed, whispering about me being asleep, and fussing with a blanket to put over me. It was super sweet and very motherly. I "woke up," but she tucked me back in, and I played along for a while longer. 

This week I went for a quick lie down, because I was just plain tired. I tucked myself in this time. But pretty soon the little Mommy came in. This time instead of a motherly air, she decided I was the patient and she was the doctor. There was something wrong with my foot that required a special wrap. She called it Footosis. She tucked me in and told me everything was going to be ok. She went and found some tools and checked my heart rate and my lungs. Giving me, "Good" comments when I performed my part.

Here Miranda is checking Daddy's heart rate with what she calls The Pink Heart. She probably requested that he take a deep brade (breath, ya know.)

Duncan got in on the doctor action, too. He mostly wanted to perform surgery. With scary tools. The only requirement was that the patient had to close his eyes. Eek!

Every doctor needs her Doctor's Bag!

A look inside the bag shows her stethoscope, aka The Pink Heart (a magnetic chip clip, which she insists is not "magmetic.")

Nemo sought out treatment and got a band aid for his boo boo. I think Mommy needs to help with this one!

After a long day of checkups, reassurances, hugs, and band aids, this doctor is done!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Summer Music and Fun

At the end of Miranda's school year last May, the kids from her preschool put on a little production. It all started well...


But Miranda has never been one to participate in the singing and dancing. (Unless you start singing a Disney princess song, and then she is so in!)

Her teacher tried to get her to do the little hand motions. 

She got Miranda to participate by performing hand over hand.

And by the end of the program, Miranda decided to play along!

All done!

Duncan and Miranda both participated in a Summer Vacation Bible School. Miranda played in the hall with Daddy, while Duncan donned his shirt and made some music! Here he is playing with the children's handbell group.

I'm pretty sure this is when he was wishing he'd joined the Drum Group (because they were fantastic!)

And doing a little singing and dancing during the main part of the program. He also read a little passage. I was so proud!

Pooped out after a long week of fun!