Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

It was another fabulous Halloween for us.

Becky picked Ally up right after kindergarten, so no After-school program for Ally (which she was thrilled about) so that Ally could rest up for the evening activities with our neighborhood friends. I came home to find them sprawled out and cuddled on the couch with Nali watching Clifford on TV.

After TV Ally went to work making Baby a pumpkin basket of her own to take trick or treating. I was pretty amazed that she constructed it all by herself and drew a jack-o-lantern face on it. (Seriously - she cut our 3 circles, glued them together at the bottom with glue stick, folded them upright to create a bowl or basket shape, then taped a strip of paper handle to it to form the handle. Becky and I were running around getting our costumes on, warm clothes and some things to bring to our hosts' house for dinner, and the only thing we did was open the glue stick and rip the tape to help her.)

Ally and mommy on our way to Liem's house for dinner. Baby is in Ally's pumpkin. Ally was afraid Baby would fall out so she moved into my bag for the rest of the night, and then there was plenty of room in Ally's pumpkin for her candy.

Had to get a picture of the smiling girl in front of the only patch of snow we have left. It snowed here a bit a few days ago. Ally loves snow.

Poised and ready to enter our friend's house. 3 dinosaurs and one more time for the record Becky is a stegosaurus, I am a corythosaurus and Ally is Buddy the Tyrannosaurus Rex from the PBS show Dinosaur Train.

Trio of tales

It took Ally a bit to warm up, but after dinner she, Liem and Thora terrorized Becky. I think the 3 kids were carnivores trying to eat Becky.

Becky said she was afraid she would go deaf between Thora and Ally's screams.

Outside after dinner ready to go trick or treating.

From left to right - Ally, Lila (who is slimer from Ghostbusters), Thora (in a black wig as Wonder Woman), Auric (Superman behind Thora), Liem (Spiderman) and River (Lila's older brother as Brinkman one of the Ghostbusters).

Then the fun began - trick or treating!

We met up with some other neighborhood friends so eventually our group was the 6 above, plus Kai (Liem's little sister as a Superhero), Olive as a punk Mermaid in the pink wig, Maya as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Max as a dragon and his sister Millie as a chicken. It was quite a group.

Eventually we started to split up and go home. Ally and Liem hit one last house together.

Ally and Liem at our house. Liem headed home with his family and we stayed outside on our front porch to hand out treats. We gave out pretzels, no candy from us.

My favorite picture of the evening.

Ally loves to hand out treats. Here she is all set for kids to come. She picked out a piece of her candy - a dum dum lollipop - her favorite.

We spent an hour trick or treating and then another hour outside handing out our treats. We gave our about 100 pieces and then ran out so we went inside and got in bed.

It was a really fun evening. And an interesting twist this year was running into a few of Ally's friends from school while trick or treating. I feel so fortunate to have such a wonderful community of friends to share nights like this with, and to live in a place that we can safely enjoy it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Preview

Becky has been extremely busy sewing costumes for herself and me and a new dress for Ally.
Its a dinosaur dress for Ally! Becky and I really like to shop for fabric, but Ally does not. About 2 months ago when we were visiting my parents Becky and I went out by ourselves and of course Ally wanted to come. So we told her we were going fabric shopping and she could stay and watch the Dinosaur Train movie with Grandma Barbie. We asked if she wanted anything and she said a "dinosaur dress" we scoured the store and found the green fabric above with dinosaurs on it. Ally was a bit bummed that it did not have Velociraptors on it but the yellow fabric has dragonflies on it so I think that helped.
Side view of Becky's costume. She is a stegasaurus.
Ally immediately asked to put on her costume to play with mama.
Ally is a Buddy the T-Rex. She loves to roar in her costume, and one of the best things to her is that a T-Rex is a carnivore and the stegasaurus, and the corythasaurus (what I will be) are herbivores. So that means she can pretend to eat us!
They had so much fun playing until Ally's nose got bonked and she got a bloody nose. Becky and I managed to extracate Ally from her costume and her special dress without getting any blood on them. Phew. But a bloody nose is so traumatic for Ally - she screams and shakes and hates it so much. She told us "bloody noses is so scary...I don't like to get a bloody nose". It was rough for a while.
She got another one the next day, and it was just as traumatic. But since then she has been fine. We've talked a lot about how they happen and what we can do to prevent them (humidifier at night, vaseline on your nostrils, gentle nose blowing etc). But Ally was still so spooked about getting another one that she begged Becky to write her teacher on Monday morning to let her know that if Ally got another one at school she would need help. She did not, and it seems for now that her nose is back to normal.

And not to be missed is my costume. You get bonus points if you know what kind of dinosaur I am:

These were taken at our HUGE Monster Halloween Bash this morning. We had 60 people there and it was a lot of fun. I'll get more pictures and the story of that posted soon.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Friendship in art

One night Ally was working diligently on a project. Becky was out and it was just Ally and me. I let her keep working on it for a while, when I should have been getting her ready for bed, but sometimes its hard to stop her creative process in progress. I finally let her know it was going to time soon for bed and looked at what she had put together:

She made index cards with her 2 close friends from Pre-School's names on them, and one for herself. Then she taped them together and put the tape loops on the back so she could hang them up.

The pink flower is Ally's interpretation of a rose. I asked her about the project and she told me what the names were (she knows how to spell her friend's names!) and then said she needed to do cards for Adalis and Willow, her 2 new friends in kindergarten! I explained she would need to do that another night, since it was bedtime. She didn't protest much, just hung the 3 cards together above the couch in our living room.

They stayed that way for about a week. Then this weekend she completed the project:

2 new flowers - 1 for Adalis and 1 for Willow.

Thank-you Grandma Debbie for the adorable Halloween cat shirt!

Its fascinating to me that Ally works so independently sometimes and then other times seems incapable of doing anything at all without Becky or me to do it with her. But I realize that is part of being 4 and an only child. Its also really neat that she can start a project and then a week later remember that she wants to finish it and then actually complete it. Love that follow-thru!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumkin Carving- Take 1

I called this Take 1 because we have lots of pumpkins to carve. Ally has been asking so nicely if we can carve a pumpkin. I usually say its too soon, and we want to wait for Halloween. But jack-o-lanterns are popping up all over the neighborhood and she has noticed. She told me "some people have them" she was right. And when she asks so sweetly "please can we carve our pumpkin and eat the seeds" its hard to resist. So one night this week we did.

Ally got a marker to draw the face.

She likes happy faces.
She asked me to "make a jack-o-lantern" out of it.

Scooping out the guts.

smiling with mommy

Separating the seeds with mama.

The finished product! I cut out the pieces while Ally worked on cleaning the seeds. She was seriously motivated to eat the pumpkin seeds she remembered how yummy they are.

All lit up.

Being silly at dinner with her pumpkin for trick or treating.

We ate by the light of the jack o lantern.

Such a silly girl!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rosa's Birthday Party

It was Rosa's birthday on October 22 - she is the 2nd in our Guatemala Girls group to turn 5. Ally is next, then Roxie in December and Gabi in April.

The main excitement was the butterfly pinata!

We started with it inside hanging on the door.

Then Rosa's mom Julie held it as Ally tries to break it.

Then we went outside and Rosa tried to break it there. All the girls tried but no luck.

So finally a couple of moms took turns at it. Here are the girls all lined up watching.

[l-r Alice, Rosa, Ally, Roxie & Gabi]

Julie finally did the deed.

And the girls all rushed in to get their loot.

I love this picture of all 5 of them huddled down.

Alice took a picture of all the moms!

[l-r Cheryl (Alice), Julie (Rosa), Julie (Ally), Becky (Ally), Kim (Gabi) & MaryBeth (Roxie)]

It was a beautiful Fall day and we had a wonderful time at the party.

For the record that was our 7th Birthday party in 7 weeks, and we have 1 more to attend this Saturday! Then I think we have a break for a couple of weeks and then its Ally's birthday. We will be having a small fish-themed birthday party for her Guatemalan Girls group.

To thank all of our friends new and old for all the parties we have been at, and to celebrate. We are hosting a HUGE Halloween party on October 30 at our local community center's gymnasium. So far we have almost 70 people coming! From all of our circles; preschool, neighborhood, adoption groups, and kindergarten.

Wish us luck, we are very excited and hope the party is a success.

One last picture of mama and Ally.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

School Work

Yesterday when I picked Ally up at school we took a couple pictures of the bulletin board outside her classroom.

Ally in front of the display of art by her class.

The red one is Ally's

The fish with the yellow and black bumble-bee striped fin is Ally's.

Description of the work on the board. Ally was very keen to tell us that her fish had lots of stripes - the yellow and black bumble bee fin and then other parts of the fish were colored in in different stripes as well. I think its clear she understood the idea of pattern fish!

Any guess what this picture is of? It was not done at school.

Its a bunch of grapes! What is so cool about this, is that there was a bunch of grapes on the table in front of Ally when she made this picture. I thought it was pretty neat - her first "still life drawing" like an artist!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Super Busy Weekend

This was possibly the busiest weekend I have ever had. And after attending going to college in New Orleans and attending 4 MardiGras that is saying a lot. But Ally and I went to 5 parties, gymnastics class and swimming lessons and Becky ran a 5k. Yes we did all of this from Friday after school until tonight, Sunday. Here are the photos and information. It was lots of fun, but I am pretty tired.
Friday after school, Becky had to work at the museum, so Ally and I attended the Grand Opening celebration of a new children's store in Brookline (The Tiny Hanger) some friends of ours own the store and we were quite excited to check it out, and Ally had fun playing with Olive at the party.
Saturday morning I took Ally to gymnastics. For the very first time she did a flip on the bar ALL BY HERSELF - it was awesome. And she got to swing from the high bar of the uneven bars. But that is not all, she also did a forward roll on the balance beam. It was such a great class.
After gymnastics we stopped at one of my work projects - its a 250 year old church that we just finished an exterior renovation and I needed to hang up pictures on a bulletin board before the 250th celebration gala that night.
After that stop Ally and I attended a Sukkah party at some neighborhood friends' house. Ally had fun doing crafts to decorate the Sukkah with, tissue paper flowers, a mural, a painting etc.
Then it was home for a 2 hour nap for Ally before we attended our 3rd party of the weekend.
Ally all dressed up for the birthday party. Becky came with us to this party, it was a princess theme and was hosted at a local children's theater.
In the car Ally decorated this card for her friend Mia. I was pretty impressed with the castle. Ally liked the apples she drew in the tree.
The party was fun, and after that we went grocery shopping for the week and back home for some play time before bed.
Next up was Sunday.
Here is the card Ally drew for Stella. Yes this picture is Ally's signature drawing. I thought it was amusing she made a picture of herself in the card.
Becky all ready for her 5k. She was running with some members of our neighborhood mom's group and they had T-Shirts made that say "C-port moms run..." on the front
"like we're chasing our kids into traffic" on the back.
Ally and I loaded up the stroller with birthday gifts, a pbj sandwich, and water bottle ready to attend our first party of the day (weekend party #4)

It was Stella's and her is Ally with Stella and Semi on the swings.

Sack races with Stella.
they were adorable!
Then it was 3-legged races. Ally is with a friend of Stella's and Semi and Stella ran together the first one.
Then they switched partners. Ally and Semi were impressive - they had it down right away.
These 3 girls are such good friends. Even though they go to 3 different schools now, they played and had fun and enjoyed being together. It was great to see. (from left to right, Semi, Stella and Ally)
When the party was over Ally climbed into her stroller and we headed off to our final party of the weekend - Luca's birthday! (his card has train tracks on it)
There were tons of friends from pre-school at the party, but Ally was kind of overwhelmed by the crowd and had more fun trying to push and pull this tree than anything else.
The highlight of this party was that there was a grilled cheese truck serving lunch for everyone. So you went to the truck and ordered your lunch. It was pretty cool. Ally of course just ate potato chips (half her pbj on the way there and half on the way home!)
She was so cute
Becky texted me while I was at the party that she finished the 5k and was home. Ally and I are so proud of her for running and finishing the race. Go mama!
On our way home from the parties we stopped at Ally's school and she played on the playground:
climbing the spider structure
rolling around on the field
We hurried home just in time to pack our bag for swimming lessons and hit the road again with the stroller on our way to the pool. I seriously don't know what I would do without the stroller on days like this. It is truly the most efficient means of travel around town.
Ally had a fantastic time at the pool and a bit of a breakthrough. We go early and swim together first, then she has a 30 minute lesson with Stella and their instructor. Ally has been making pretty good strides, but has been really hesitant to let go or swim at all without aid from a flotation device or an adult. But today she started to push off the wall towards me without help and had to actually swim a little on her own! Then during lessons she put her face in the water a lot and floated all by herself for a bit. I was so proud of her. She swallowed a ton of water and was coughing up a storm a few times, but she was ok, and it was great to see how much she has improved and how brave she could be.
My favorite picture of the weekend.
I love Ally so much. We had fun together celebrating with friends all weekend. I am so proud of how she handled herself, no meltdowns, and big steps in gymnastics and swimming.
At a couple parties she was pretty clingy - but there were a lot of people - and eventually she would play and join in.
Oh and on Friday night I laid down the law about whining - there was to be absolutely no whining or pouting the weekend. No groans or moans. Or it would be an immediate time out - no 3 strikes. We talked about what that meant and what would happen.
It worked. Once or twice I got a look, or started to hear the start of her "Ahhwww" whine and all I had to say was "remember what we talked about...timeout" and it immediately stopped.
We are going to continue the zero tolerance for now. It really did make our time together much more enjoyable.