It's been a busy, chaotic month, but somehow we've survived -- and managed to have some fun along the way, too. We were greeted by many blooming crocuses at the beginning of March, about a month early, thanks to our very mild winter. So pretty!
I spent the first week trying to get everything done around the house that I could. I knew it would be awhile before I'd be back in the swing of things! On the 9th I went into the hospital for my scheduled surgery, and was there until the afternoon of the 12th. On the 10th, George bought our new iPhone and brought it to me so that I could go on the internet while in the hospital. I used it to take this picture of my half of the room (unfortunately, the other half of the room was occupied by a rude, crazy woman):
George and the kids bought me this lovely arrangement to brighten up the hospital room:
On their weekend at home without me, Emmalie and George made this Japanese meal -- udon soup and gyouza (a kind of "pot sticker"). They had quite a bit left over, so I got to sample some when I returned home. Yum. (Just a note: the soup originally had many shittake mushrooms in it, but I picked them out of my portion before taking this picture!):
I didn't do much of anything that first week I was home, although I did make this pineapple cream pie on the 14th, for Pi Day. :)
On the 17th, St. Patrick's Day, George had to drive Emmalie to school at 6am, so that she and the speech team could travel to the IHSA Contest Play and Group Interpretive Competition.
When the boys woke up a few hours later, they found new green shirts and a box of Lucky Charms from Lucky the leprechaun, and the first clue for their treasure hunt (to save till Emm got home so she could participate, too):
They're "magically delicious"!
That afternoon, we went to see Emmalie and the rest of her team perform their Group Interpretive Play, "The Neverending Story". I thought they did a wonderful job! Emm was Atreyu, the main character, and had many more lines than anyone else in the play.
We weren't allowed to take pictures during the play, but I did take this photo of Emm in her costume afterwards (all the girls wore the same thing, and styled their hair the same... all the boys dressed alike, as well):
Unfortunately, the team did not place and move on to the state competition. BUT, Emmalie did win an individual medal for an outstanding performance! We are so proud of her!
That evening, we had a special St. Patrick's Day supper -- potato soup, shamrock-shaped biscuits, peas, salad, lime jello parfaits, and Green River floats. Mmmmm.... :
Afterwards, the kids went on their treasure hunt around the house. Here they are, looking for a clue in Emm's room:
Looking for more clues upstairs:
Finally, they found the pot of gold (hidden in the dining room hutch). Inside was a bag of M&M's for each of them, party blowers, and a game (Story Cubes):
The 20th was Emmalie's 16th birthday. Ben and I decorated the house with green streamers and some balloons:
Since it was a Tuesday, Emmalie had school all day, and then had play practice until 6. We picked her up then and headed to Stir Crazy at Woodfield Mall. I had arranged for Emm's best friend Taylor to meet us there -- Emm was quite surprised! (She's wearing the Sweet Sixteen tiara that we gave her in the car.)
We all ate a yummy supper, and then headed home for a little party. Taylor joined us, too:
A pretty Asian tea set from Taylor:
A cupcake ornament to commemorate Emm's "sweet 16":
It's a little hard to tell here, but this is Emmalie's expression of shock when she opened her main gift from George and me, an iPhone! (Her very first cell phone.)
We also gave Emm this Harry Potter (Hedwig) cover for her phone:
and the boys gave her a small Harry Potter Lego set, a few crafty items, and a gift certificate to Hobby Lobby.
Then it was time for cake! Emm requested angel food cake with Cool Whip and strawberries (mmm... my favorite!) She also chose to have chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream:
The birthday girl:
Quick, call the fire department! ;)
Emm and Taylor:
Soon after the crocuses finished blooming, our yard erupted in even more color -- cheery daffodils everywhere:
and our magnolia tree:
Normally we don't see any of these blooms for another month or so!
On the 21st, Emm's friend Amy came over so that the two of them could work on a Japanese assignment, to make a Japanese dish to share with the class (and a power point presentation to go with it). They decided to make more gyouza, using pre-made wrappers this time:
On the 22nd, Emmalie and I joined the SHS choirs and our community choir for a day long rehearsal, and then that evening we performed our concert of Handel's "Messiah". George took a couple of pictures with the phone:
There were also 4 professional soloists who did a fantastic job! Everyone seemed to enjoy the show....
On the 25th, we headed back to Brookfield Zoo. It turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day, and all of the zoo's flowers were in full bloom and it smelled wonderful!
I thought this peacock looked like he wanted to order a Pepsi, LOL:
Nick in the gift shop. Sorry, kiddo... I'm not buying you a $500 stuffed animal, no matter how cool it is!
The fountain and some of the zoo's flowers:
Ben and an iguana puppet in the Hamill Family Play Zoo:
Butterscotch the guinea pig:
All 3 kids had fun spraying water on the plants in the Play Zoo:
Out in the Play Zoo garden:
A white peahen:
Ben, Emm, and Nick:
Ben the snail:
Nick and one of his goat friends in the Children's Zoo:
I don't know why, exactly, but this sign on the petting area gate cracks me up! :
Ben, not even as tall as a 1-year-old dolphin:
The kids outside the Seven Seas:
Sleepy snow leopard:
Ben spotted this tiny ground squirrel by the sidewalk:
Giraffes and Canadian geese:
Elephant shrew -- this little guy is so funny to watch! :
The azaleas were in bloom, too:
At 3pm, it was time for Nick's Wild Encounter that we bought him for his birthday this year. He (and I) got to go behind-the-scenes at The Swamp building (shown behind Nick here):
Nick at the entrance to The Swamp:
We got to pet some tiny, adorable Lesser Shrews, a couple of snakes, and a toad. Nick got to hold a box turtle, a giant millipede, and a prickly leaf insect. He also got to feed some turtles, some snakes... and the alligators! We weren't allowed to take pictures during the Encounter, but when we were in the alligator snapping turtle's enclosure with the zookeeper, George was on the guest side of the glass and took a couple photos with the phone:
Here the zookeeper was throwing fish to the river otter, Benny:
Nick by the alligator enclosure:
What a great day at the zoo!
This week the kids are on Spring Break. We'll mostly be hanging out at home (except for Emmalie, who has play practice every day), but it's nice to have a little vacation from our normal schedule. I'm still not totally recovered from the surgery, but I do feel better, and hopefully soon I'll be pain-free!