Monday, February 15, 2010

hearts and flowers

I just love Valentine's Day!! I know there are people out there who call it a "Hallmark holiday", but, hey, Valentine's Day has been around WAY longer than the Hallmark company. (Since the 5th century, in fact. Thanks to my friend Pam V for that info!) Other people criticize the holiday by saying, "You shouldn't just tell people you love them on February 14th." I totally agree with that sentiment! However, you also shouldn't ONLY be thankful for the things you have on Thanksgiving, and I don't think I've ever heard someone say they won't celebrate Thanksgiving for that reason.

Maybe it's because I love heart-shaped things. Maybe it's because I have fond memories of Valentine parties at school. Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for holidays in general. I think it has something to do with all those things, and also because it makes me happy to think of all the people that I love, and to give them a little token of my affection. :)

Luckily, my kids seem to love Valentine's Day, too! (And George, who says he used to hate the holiday before I came along, now enjoys it.) Benjamin had a fun time making valentines for his preschool class last week. (We got the idea for them from one of Ben's magazines.) It's true that I did most of the work on the finger puppet bears (that said "I'm beary glad you're my friend" on the back), but Ben glued the hearts on and also wrote his name on the back of every one:

He was so excited to come home after his class party on the 11th, and go through his bag full of valentines and treats!
That night, Nick's school held a "Family Dance Night". George was unable to join us due to work, but the kids and I had a fun time. Ben loved doing the limbo:
and dancing with his siblings:
Nick won a teddy bear in one of the raffles, so he was happy!
and Emm got to bring home one of the heart balloons:
Nick used my Cricut machine to make valentines for his classmates. Of course, they had animals on them! The sentiment on the back read, "Wishing you a wildly fun Valentine's Day!":

Nick said that he doesn't understand why more kids don't make their own valentines. (He's the only one in his class who does.) I don't understand it, either....

On the evening of the 13th, the kids helped me make our traditional valentine cookies, yum!:

George went out on the 13th and brought home this beautiful bouquet for me. :) (He also gave me some other thoughtful gifts yesterday.):
When the kids woke up on Valentine's Day, they were greeted with cards, candy, and presents at their spots at the dining room table. (Oh, and cinnamon rolls, fresh from the oven!):

We gave Ben this Truckery Rhymes book and also some Matchbox trucks:
Emm got this iTunes card and some Littlest Pet Shop figurines:
and Nick got a toy lizard and llama Webkinz:
Three of my favorite valentines:
We had to leave early for church because Nick's drama team had to perform at the 9 and 10:30 services. Their skit was called "Stormy Seas", and Nick played a boss who had to lay off his employee. He actually ASKED if he could wear his tie for the part, LOL:

Benjamin's choir performed during the 10:30 service, as well. They sang "Jesus Loves Me", and it was SO cute! I recorded the whole song, and hope to share it soon.

We had a nice afternoon, and then I prepared a special Valentine's dinner for the family before having to take Emmalie to Confirmation... tortellini alfredo, cheese bread, spinach salad, and sparkling grape juice complete with heart-shaped ice cubes! I spent an hour reading at Barnes & Noble while Emm was at church (it was deserted ~ guess it's not the hot spot to take your valentine, LOL), and then George and I rounded out the evening watching the Olympics (*love* the pairs skating!!) and The Amazing Race. What a great day! :)

Friday, February 05, 2010

keeping busy

Our calendar stays pretty full, no matter what month it is! Here are a few of the things we've done in the past week.

On Jan. 28th, I helped out with the preschool Fun Fair, held in our park district's gym. Ben loved it! First the kids watched a clown do magic tricks: Then they got to bounce in a moonwalk to their heart's content. Unfortunately, Benjamin's stomach was NOT content with all the bouncing he did, and he lost his lunch shortly after climbing out! He was fine after that, though, and was able to play all the fun games like throwing beanbags into the elephant's mouth:
doing a "cake walk" (which was really a lollipop walk!):
playing skee ball:
plus basketball, bowling, and several other fun activities. The kids also had their hands/arms painted ~ Ben chose a snake design for his arm:
On the 1st of February, Ben and I got together with our friends Karen and David. We had lunch at McDonald's and then the boys played in the Play Place there. They played some computer games:
and also ran around, crawling through the tunnels, sliding down slides, playing tag and hide and seek:

We were there for a couple of hours, and then had a little sundae snack before heading home:
On the 2nd, I took Nick to the pet store and he picked out a new fish. (Unfortunately, his fish Redbutton went to that Great Fishbowl in the Sky last month.) Meet Mac, our newest family member:

This morning George, Ben, and I attended the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance and Education) Graduation at Nick's school. All of the 5th graders who went through the 17-week program were given diplomas:
There were several speakers, including some students who read essays they'd written about what they'd learned, and there was also a fun slide presentation with pictures of the kids doing various DARE activities. Then there was cake and juice for everyone! :)
Here is Nick with Officer Stantsy, who worked with his class this year:
We are so proud of Nick!

Now George is off for a weekend with friends and I'm planning to do some scrapping! :)