Easter Egg Hunt

I hope you all had a great Easter.  We had a super fun time playing with the girls and telling Sophia about why we celebrate Easter.  She listened intently as we looked through a picture Bible and Daddy explained how Jesus conquered the grave.  It was sure interesting figuring out how to explain it all to her.  Her mad knowledge of Sleeping Beauty helped quite a lot.  There are some similarities there that you might not think about…  We also had a little Easter Egg hunt for the girls.  They were both a great age for this.  It gave me such joy to watch them run around and fine the bright little surprises.

Here’s some video for the grandparents.  My camera battery ran out so we only got the first couple minutes.  Not terribly riveting, but sweet.

We didn’t take any sweet dress-em-up pictures… sorry, I know, so sad…  Check out this sticker collage that Sophia made with the stickers she found in her Easter Eggs.  I’m afraid that she may take after me more than I thought. 😉

I, of course, helped her with her name, but the stickers and the placement was all hers.  She kept removing and resetting stickers, and she had to have so many of each one.  I’ve seen her categorizing colors around the house, but never quite like this.  Anyway, it’s really cool to have the privilege of watching her grow up.

Better throw in a picture of Abby.  She’s starting to try on other people’s shoes.

It’s a privilege watching her grow up, too.

A call to play.

Playing.  What does that word stir up in you?  Delight.  Smiles.  Warm fuzzies.  Or, what does it make you think of?  Games, running around, joking.  What about pretend play?  Childish. Frivolous. Any anxiety there?

My eldest daughter’s pretend play has recently been turned up a notch.  She now likes to act out stories.  I’m so-and-so, and she’s somebody-else.  She calls out scenes and lines…  Tells us where to go and what to do.  Yesterday morning, I was feeling a little more gracious, and I thought I ought to “play” with the girls:

8:00 a.m. The morning began with a dance party, as it usually does.  I had intended to “start” the dance party, i.e. turn on the music, get them dressed up in princess outfits, and then proceed to do the necessary morning housework while they danced.  Only, this day was different.  Since the girls were both in their princess outfits and Sophia’s getting into story-telling, out of nowhere she tells me, “I’m the fairy godmother.  You are Cinderella.  You must go to the ball!  Where is your carriage?  The prince is waiting for you!  You have to find the prince.  He wants to dance with you!”

This was some invitation to play princesses with her!  It was on!

I was in a particularly well-rested and pleasant mood, so I went with it.  I abandoned my dish-washing plan and dove into pretend play with her.

Only, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  I had trouble adding to the story with her.  I had trouble “diving” in and becoming Cinderella.  (If you know me, you know that I probably didn’t play “princesses” when I was a kid…)

Anyway, I did my best, and the three of us played our little princess hearts out.

Why was it so hard, though?  When did I lose the ability to lose myself in the story?  When did I lose the ability to pretend play with abandon?  

I think one thing that feels so hard is that I am always in the role of “facilitating” play–setting it up for them and/or demonstrating how to play, like you do with a infant or a toddler.  The reason that I’m doing that is usually because it’s my plan to set them up doing something so that I can then do something else.  Basically, get the teaching of “how” to play this particular thing out of the way and then moving on to my to-do list.

You know, I’ll “play” with them outside by giving them gardening tools while I rake and do yard-work.  I’ll “play” with them at the kitchen table by doing bills while they color.  Or, set them up doing play-dough while I make pizza dough… I’ll read to them, I’ll show them how to properly use scissors, or make an “o” or draw a person…

But, when was the last time that I painted with Sophia when she was painting, rather than just watch or glance back at her occasionally?  When was the last time that I actually had a tea-party with Sophia?  When was the last time I got down in the sand with them and got d.i.r.t.y.?

I first noticed my “play” deficit when I was being paid to play at various times in my life, whether babysitting or as a paraeducator in a preschool classroom.  I found that “facilitating” came natural to me; I was good at it.  The kids loved me.  It wasn’t necessary (or even proper) to lose myself in the play, though, because I was getting paid $6/hour for this…

Now, though, it’s different.  I’m a parent and it’s my job to teach my kids. But since it’s the primary way that they learn it’s also my job to “play” with them, right?  Why is it so hard?  Is it just because I can’t get the to-do list out of my mind–can’t stop thinking about what else I could (should) be doing?

Yesterday, I decided to abandon the list.  I just played.  I played and I played and I played.  By noon-time, we all went out for lunch, after 4 playful hours had passed.  At the end of the day, I had forgotten the list, dinner seemed to have gotten fixed and the kitchen seemed to have gotten clean.  No one was any worse off… It was a good day.  The girls were happy.  I think they were seen.  It was pretty dang lovely.  Why then, is it so hard?

Let me leave this post with an homage to play via a cazillion pictures of us playing.  Hope you enjoy.  And, I hope you decide to play a little extra with your kiddos this weekend.  (Imagine some awesome dancing music in the background while you look at these pics.)

A Perfect Saturday

“Family Dates.”  That’s what we call them.  Last Saturday we had the most perfect day.  We biked downtown and pulled our precious babies in a trailer.  They loved it.  Abby got a little nap in, and we enjoyed lunch on an outdoor patio, ice cream (gelato with coupons!), and a stroll through a few shops.  We biked back home and the kids took another nap.  Could we get more perfect than that day?!  Here’s a few pictures.

Spring pics

Spring is here… off and on.  It’s 70 or 80 one day, and then it’ll snow a bit and the sun will come back out.  Here’s a few pictures of the girls from a fun time outside, yesterday.  (We got freezing rain and snow this morning.  Fun.)

We have fun

We’ve been having a lot of fun around here.

Abby likes to pull everything out of the cabinets.  It’s pretty hilarious to see her carrying things that are bigger than she is.

Yes, she emptied out ALL the pots and pans by herself.  And, yes, she tore into that box of granola bars with hungry vengeance.  She leaves me lot of little surprises like this.  I have since had to relocate the snacks above the fridge.

Sophia has been painting.  She is slowly coming around to the fact that there are more colors than just pink.

These girls are my pride and joy.  We have so much fun together.  I love when I can remember to play with them.  Remember that a messy house is par for the course.  And, remember that they are a precious gift.

Sophia Princess

I just finished a little creative project during nap time today.  Sophia LOVES pink and LOVES princesses, and she’s always asking for more pink and more princesses in her room.  I compromised with her.  Rather than buying her some generic picture to hang, I decided to paint one for her.  Her requirements: She must be blonde and she must be wearing a pink dress.  (AH!  My daughter’s probably going to be a cheerleader, too!)

She says it’s “Sophia Princess.”  We’re going to hang it close to her bed.  I don’t consider myself an artist or even a very creative person, but this sure did boost my self-esteem.  I’m pretty proud to create something beautiful and meaningful for my daughters.

FREE-DOM!

 

You may be saying to yourself, “Yah, what’s so special about that picture?  It’s just two kids playing outside…”

Yah, but can you see where I am?  I am inside! They are playing outside together while I’m working in the kitchen, looking out at them through the window over the sink, listening through the open sliding door.  Do you know how long I’ve been waiting for this?  All the elements are perfect:  The weather is warm enough, the girls are finally old enough, and they are enjoying and entertaining each other!

AH. FREE-DOM!!!!

 

Snowshoeing with girls in-tow

We had a perfect day today.  Absolutely gorgeous weather, so we took off to the mountains.  We began our adventure with a snowshoe rental and headed to RMNP for a picnic lunch.  It was beautiful.  We hiked with the girls around Sprague Lake with snowshoes (our first time)!  It was SO fun. The girls LOVED it!  And so did we.  We also met some really cool people on our hike and stopped to sled with them a bit.  Here’s some pics from our day.

 

We love CO!

We’ve had some beautiful days lately.  Here’s a few pictures of our beautiful Friday afternoon, playing outside with the bikes.

 

Ah, the irony

I just opened this fortune cookie for the girls.