Sunday, November 12, 2017

Teacher Tuck-In With Mrs. Schultz

Tonight one of the girls' very favorite teachers came to read stories and tuck them into bed. Every year at the CES Fall Festival, one of the fund raising items is the "Teacher Tuck-In" offered by each of the Kindergarten teachers. The highest bidder gets the opportunity to have their favorite Kindergarten teacher to come to their house and read stories to their child. Sofia had Mrs. Schultz as her teacher for 1st grade and Olivia had her last year for Kindergarten. Both girls adore her and she is easily one of the sweetest and warmest teachers. Last year, the Teacher Tuck-in went for $200. This year, somehow we were able to pay less than half for Mrs. Schultz' visit.

Mrs. Schultz arrived at our house at 7pm and both girls were excited. Olivia literally asked for hours when Mrs. Schultz would arrive and kept a lookout the front door for an hour. Mrs. Schultz arrived and the girls couldn't calm down or stop chattering! Olivia had written on the white board upstairs "Welcome Mrs. Schultz" and was desperate to show her. So the three of them headed upstairs and ended up sitting on the floor in Sofia's room. Mrs. Schultz brought a book called "Good Night Yoga" and soon it was quiet and I sneaked a peek to find Mrs. Schultz reading the book to them while all three did yoga poses. It was so cute! Unfortunately, I didn't have my cell phone, so wasn't able to take a picture. It was so sweet and the perfect book given Mrs. Schultz love of yoga.

Once the were done with their yoga moves and book, the girls and Mrs. Schultz moved down to Olivia's room where Olivia read to Mrs. Schulz and Sofia and then Sofia read to them. Olivia read a Dr. Seuss book. It was super sweet and Mrs. Schulz was very impressed by Olivia's reading! She gave the girls hugs and headed home. I told Mrs. Schultz that the girls were so excited and she said, "I can believe it! I think Olivia has talked more tonight than she did all year in class!" She really was super excited and they both loved having Mrs. Schultz over for the evening. Olivia re-read the book to me and showed me each of the yoga moves. She was so excited. After she left, we tucked the girls in and got them ready for school the next day.

Olivia reading to Mrs. Schultz and Sofia

Mrs. Schultz and her former Kinder Cuties

Olivia re-reading the yoga book after Mrs. Schultz left.

Olivia and Giraffey going to bed on Mrs. Schultz' pillow from last year

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Trick Or Treat!

It is finally Halloween! I absolutely love Halloween since it's so much fun to talk about costume options for each of the girls, I am able to be a little creative with their costumes and it's just a fun night out together. Growing up I wasn't able to trick-or-treat until middle school since the town I grew up in didn't allow trick-or-treating after a child was hit by a car and killed. Instead, our elementary school would hold a festival in the gym and we'd play festival games and get a little candy. It wasn't until I went to a middle school in another town that I was able to trick-or-treat with my friends in their neighborhood.

Of course the girls really love collecting candy, but I think they also love to dress up and look different for an evening. This year I asked the girls about a month before Halloween and Sofia immediately knew she wanted to be an astronaut. Originally Olivia wanted to to be a fairy, but I suggested she dress up as a unicorn and she agreed. I wanted her to wear her unicorn horn from her birthday and had a few easy ideas about creating a costume. Thanks to Pinterest there are a ton of great ideas and she really loved sitting with me and looking at different costume and unicorn face painting ideas. I ordered a white long-sleeved and skirted leotard and tights for Olivia's unicorn costume and used yarn that was a combined pink and purple color to make her tail and "hooves" for her hands. We planned to spray paint her black boots gold, but she decided to use her gold tennis shoes instead. She was most excited to have her face painted as a unicorn, which we'd seen on Pinterest.

For Sofia I knew we had to buy an astronaut costume and then decided to create some of the extras. We spray painted her Target cowboy boots silver and I used three 2-liter soda bottles to make "oxygen tanks" that were also spray painted silver and glued together. I used black ribbon to create shoulder straps that we ended up safety pinning to her costume. A few days before, Sofia and I made a paper mache NASA helmet using a balloon, strips of printer paper and a mixture of wood glue and water. We got into a good groove with me painting the strips with the watered-down wood glue and hand it to Sofia to place it onto the balloon. We ended up adding probably 3 or 4 layers of paper strips and were really surprised by hard solid the helmet was once it dried! I thought the helmet would have "NASA" on each side but CK and Sofia corrected me that the only markings on the real helmets are a wide red commander stripe down the center. So, I painted one on which was easy and then used electrical tape to smooth out the openings. It ended up looking pretty cute and worked well and Sofia loved it!

On Halloween day it was forecast to be in the mid-50s and raining! It seemed like the rain would hold off, until it started raining lightly around 1:30pm. It rained steadily but stopped around 5pm, which was perfect! We ate white chicken chili and corn bread and then the girls got dressed into their costumes. Sofia was lucky in that she could wear whatever she wanted under her astronaut costume, so she wore leggings and a long-sleeved shirt and was completely comfortable all evening. Olivia, on the other hand, had a very thin costume, so I had her wear a pair of white leggings under her white tights and we found a white fuzzy vest that was Sofia's that worked perfectly with her costume! I did her face paint while looking at the Pinterest post and it turned out really cute. She loved it! I took them outside to take a few photos before the festivities, and Olivia was cold from the beginning!

We met up with Stacy, Marco, Antonio, and Luca. Brandon didn't dress up this Halloween, now that he's 14 years old, but he walked the neighborhood with us. The kids actually trick-or-treated at our house first and Connie passed out candy to the eager crew. We then stopped by Pete's house and got more delicious candy. We continued down the neighborhood and saw Carla and Mitzi and ended up connecting with Peter and Tammy and their two girls, as well as Irena, Waguih and their sweet little girl, Michelle. We finished up the rest of the neighborhood and then caravanned to Shivani's neighborhood. Pritha invited us to come to their neighborhood pizza party and costume contest at 5pm, but we really wanted to go through our neighborhood first, so we made it over around 6:30pm. Before we headed over, we had to empty both of the girl's candy containers because they were both very full from all of our generous neighbors! It was crisp and cool, but both girls were very comfortable. Olivia did end up getting cold after we'd started trick-or-treating in Shivani's neighborhood. I also wore a white vest, so I gave it to Olivia which looked like a big, fluffy dress on her. She'd warm up quickly and then she would give it back to me. We visited the rest of Shivani's street and the girls were mesmerized by the house that had a scene of dancing skeletons which then turned into a scene of skeletons climbing out of the ground. It was super creepy, but the girls couldn't stop watching it.

On the next block there was another house that included a full haunted house in the front yard. The kids loved it, especially when the spiders would drop down on them. Just after that house, right around 7pm, Olivia announced she was done and wanted to go home. She said she wasn't cold, I think she was just tired. She and I walked back with Pritha and Shivani to their house where CK and Balaji were hanging out and "passing out candy." Connie stayed with Sofia and Antonio and crew, who continued down the street trick-or-treating. Once we were back at Pritha's house, Olivia tried out some of her candy and sat on my lap. Sofia and Connie returned about 45 minutes later and we said our goodbyes and headed home. Both girls had a great time but they were exhausted.

Once we were home, the girls looked over their candy collection and then changed out of their costumes and went to bed. Olivia loves having her Grandma in town to put her to bed. It's a nice break for me too.

Sofia working on her NASA helmet

Our unicorn is born!

Olivia's homemade "hooves"

Our NASA astronaut and unicorn

Our little unicorn doesn't want to venture far from the front door and the heat!

Our sweet unicorn!

The unicorn from the back and her yarn tail

Our NASA astronaut

Ready to trick-or-treat

Trick-or-treaters with Grandma!

Girls with their Papa

Meeting up with Antonio and Luca

The original crew - Antonio, Luca, Brandon, Sofia and Olivia

The first trick-or-treating house - ours!

After gathering candy - off to the next house!

Pete handing out candy

Mitzi passing out (a lot) of candy!

The four of us....with Sofia not looking in any of the pictures taken!

The whole neighborhood crew!

Sofia and Olivia with Shivani

The fantastic haunted house in Shivani's neighborhood

Hanging out at Pritha's house after trick-or-treating

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Carving Pumpkins

This afternoon we carved pumpkins in our front yard. We usually buy our pumpkins at Hall's Pumpkin Patch when we visit, but I ended up buying three really good-sized pumpkins at Walmart when I visited the neighborhood store about a week ago. With the heat of Texas, we can't carve our pumpkins too early or they will get gooey and moldy in days, so we figured today would be the perfect time to carve with just over a week until Halloween. It's been unseasonably cool this year and we hoped it will stay this nice through Halloween. Halloween in Texas can be anywhere from 90 to in the 40s, so there really is no way of knowing what to expect!

The girls were busy playing and I had to convince them to take a break and carve the pumpkins. Of course, once we were outside they couldn't get enough of it and really had fun. I had to cut both of the pumpkins the girls chose to carve since they couldn't even get the knife to go through the pumpkin. Once I removed the lid, Sofia went to town cleaning out hers while I cleaned out Olivia's. Meanwhile, Olivia had a blast using my camera which makes me a little nervous but I've also taught her how to put the strap around her neck and how to be very gentle with the lens. Of course, there were a lot of crazy photos I had to delete after we were done, but she also took some pretty cool shots and I really loved it because I'm always taking the pictures so I'm rarely actually in them. She loved taking photos of me and of Buddy. She did capture a few of Sofia working on her pumpkin too. Nearly all of the pictures below were taken by her, except for the few at the very end.

Olivia took a break from taking pictures and used a Sharpie to draw the jack-o-lantern face she wanted. Once she was done, I started cutting and it actually looked really great! The eyes were small, but the face was really cute! Buddy loved to eat all the little pieces of pumpkin as I cut. So, as I cut pieces out I would feed him. He loved it. Sofia drew the face on her jack-o-lantern and wanted to cut it all herself. I gave her the bread knife, which I find works best when cutting through pumpkin and she cut away. She did a great job and only needed a little help from CK for the eyes. Otherwise, she did it all herself.

Once they were both finished, I took pictures of the girls together with their jack-o-lanterns and then they decided to ride their scooters around the neighborhood. It was such a fun afternoon and it really is one of my very favorite traditions of Halloween.

The pumpkins (photo credit: Olivia)

Sofia and I ready to get started

Cutting of the top of the first pumpkin

Buddy (photo credit: Olivia)

A close-up of me

Sofia cleaning out her pumpkin



Buddy and me. Buddy loves eating the raw pumpkin

Papa and Sofia talking about possibly jack-o-lantern faces

Finishing up Olivia's jack-o-lantern face


Sofia working hard cleaning out her pumpkin

Olivia and her finished pumpkin

Sofia still working....

Starting on her jack-o-lantern face!

Olivia and her pumpkin

The girls and their pumpkins

Sofia and her pumpkin

The finished jack-o-lanterns

The girls and me

CK and the girls!