Monday, February 28, 2011

Skiing at Loon - Libby and Emma Jane's Story

As I said last week, Libby and Emma Jane are born skiers!

I was prepared for it to be a diaster, especially after Libby had a meltdown about the color of her ski boots. They didn't match her ski clothes and we all know what a crisis that a five-year-old girl.

But thankfully, after a good night's sleep, she got over it!

We enrolled them in ski school for lessons so that mommy and daddy could have free time so that they could receive proper and age-appropriate instruction.

Both girls LOVED ski school. It was an all day program that alternated between indoor playtime and outdoor ski lessons.

I sneaked a picture of one of Emma Jane's lessons:

When I picked them up after the first day, Emma Jane said, "I wish we could just live here all the time!"
Libby equally enjoyed ski school! When I asked about what she learned she said, "Well, I really don't like doing the pizza slice, because really I just like to go FAST!"
And she does! When I took her on the bunny slope myself, she was halfway down the slope before I was even off the lift!
Emma Jane preferred a slower run down the mountain with the help of daddy.
Or she was just being lazy...who knows?
And since no vacation with my sis is ever incident free,

Emma Jane filled our injury quota by slipping on some ice and smacking head first into the sidewalk.

And then she spent the rest of the weekend milking it for all it was worth. My girl knows how to play the sympathy card!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Skiing at Loon - My story

It's been two years since the ski trip from hell the one where everyone got the plague our last trip to Loon Mountain.

Since all the kids, except John, were old enough to go to "ski school" this year, my sister and I decided to risk it and go on another ski vacation together.

And although John's runny nose worried Catie a bit a the start, I can now say with confidence that the Snellings/Casey vacation curse has been broken! We made it all weekend with no vomit, no antibiotics, no trips to the ER and only one minor head injury. (I'll get to that soon.)

Overall, the weekend was great! Almost all the kids had a blast at ski school! And clearly, my girls are being raised in the wrong part of the country, because they were born to ski!
But again, I will tell you more about that later...because this post is about me.
And I, as it turns out, was not born to ski!
I have been skiing exactly three times.
The first time was eight years ago. Brad and I had only been dating a few months when we went skiing together. It did not go well. Brad spent his childhood skiing all over Europe and is basically an expert. I have trouble walking without falling down. Neither one of us is incredibly patient. We really should have foreseen the fight that took place on the bunny slope!
Three years ago, we took our first trip to Loon with my sister and her family. Having learned from our mistakes, Catie took me down the bunny slope, while Brad skied elsewhere on the mountain...away from me. And while I did more falling than skiing, I made it down. I was very proud of myself!
And in the three years that passed between that trip and this one, my memories of skiing altered ever so slightly. In my head, I knew how to ski. How to slow down and turn and stop. It wasn't so hard! Surely skiing would be like riding a bike!
So this year, we skipped the easy slope. We rode the gondola straight up to the summit. And as I stood there on my skis, with the wind whipping around me and the snow blowers blowing at full tilt and watched the 7-year-olds on snowboards blazing past me, I did what any woman who has calmly faced childbirth three times would do: I had a major panic attack!
But my sweet, patient sister talked me through it!
I fell a lot. But I made it down the mountain.
And on my next run, I fell less.
And on my third run, I didn't fall at all.
And then, I went skiing with my husband!
And I only had like one more small panic attack after that!

Who knows? Maybe I was born to ski!

My sister and me, safely at the bottom of the slope!

(And don't worry, I will be back next week with the head injury story!)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Warning: Cuteness Overload Ahead!

What do mean, put your shoes back in your closet?

I think I look so cute in them!

Okay, so I realize this is three posts in a row about John, but he has just been doing so many cute things lately and his recent obssession with my shoes (really, anyone's shoes) has been cracking me up! And notice he snagged one of his sister's socks as well! Seriously, what am I going to do with this kid?! He is a class clown and he's not even old enough for preschool yet!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Licking on a prayer

Life with a boy is so different than life with just girls.

John is louder than the girls. Sillier (which I did not think possible!) than girls.

He is dirtier, hungrier, more physical, more territorial and, as I recently discovered, more irreverent than his sisters.

And when I say irreverent I don't just mean he amused by his own boisterous bodily functions. Even though he is. John thinks that nothing is funnier than to pass gas and then pat his own bottom and say "toooo" and then laugh hysterically.

But this latest irreverence appalled me even more than that. The other night, I was rocking John and trying to settled him down for bed. It wasn't going well. John was too busy cracking up at his own farts to snuggle with Mommy and sing Jesus Loves Me.

So after a few minutes, I said "Ok, John are you ready to say prayers." He nodded and so I folded my hands and he folded his little hands over mine and got real quiet and I closed my eyes and started to pray for him.

It was such a sweet moment!

And then...

Just as I was about to say Amen, I felt warm, slobbery little puppy dog tongue on my nose!


On my FACE!

While I was PRAYING!

And it was gross!

And he just laughed and laughed.

Don't let that little angel face fool you!

He's a devilish little stinker!

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The puddle and the traveler

Once upon a time, it rained in Florida.
And from that rain, a puddle was born.
It was a small puddle, but proud and brave.
In that same driveway land, there was a traveler. He was a strong and adventurous lad and eager to discover.

In the course of his travels, this young adventurer stumbled upon the puddle. And in awe he approached it with the reverence one weary with thrist might approach an oasis in the desert.

And like a man tired from his journey, the traveler drank deeply of the puddle.

And thus ended the proud puddle's most of it was absorbed by the traveler's sweat pants.

The End.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Superhero cookies

One of my goals for 2011 is to cook more with my children.
I feel that cooking is an important life skill and one that they should learn young. I wish my mom had taught me to cook when I was young. But at the same time, I understand why she didn't. I often find myself shooing the kids out of the kitchen, because I can do it faster, and with less mess, if they aren't "helping."
But I need to let that go. And deal with the mess, because we are making memories. And because my girls might not be blessed with husbands that are as easy to please as their daddy is. If Brad hadn't been so willing to eat anything, and I do mean anything, in those early days of our marriage, I might have gotten discouraged and we would be eating take out every night!
And for the record, when he is old enough, I want to teach John to cook too, because men need to know their way around a kitchen too.
So all that being said, the easiest type of cooking (for me) to include the kids in on is baking. So we have started baking a lot. A lot! Cookies, muffins, name it we are making it!
This cookie recipe is one of our new favorites. Not only are they super tasty, they are also healthy. That's right, healthy! You are going to want your kids to eat these cookies! They are loaded with good things like grains, fiber, protein, omega-3s and the best part: no crack sugar!! They are sweetened with real maple syrup* so that means no crack sugar highs. And no crack sugar crashes! And if your kids are as addicted to affected by crack sugar as mine are, you are probably doing a little happy dance right now! Woohoo!
Emma Jane named these Superhero cookies. The cookbook that I borrowed this recipe from called them Super-Charge Me! cookies, but EJ thought that was a dumb name, so she renamed them with something that made sense to her. Superheroes need to eat healthy food so they can grow big and strong. To a three-year-old, that made much more sense than being super-charged. :) And since I tweaked the recipe a little, so I thought it was fitting that we tweak the name too!
I am writing the recipe for you exactly the way it appears in Eat, Drink & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton, but I will notate the changes I made.
Superhero Cookies
1 cup quick oats
2/3 cup spelt flour*
1/4 tsp (rounded) sea salt
1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon (I used 1/2)
1/8 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4-1/3 cups raisins or chopped dried fruit
3-4 tbsp carob or chocolate chips**
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup flax meal
1/2 cup pure maple syrup***
3 tbsp almond butter (may also use peanut butter)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp canola oil****
Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, combine oats, flour, salt, cinnamon, coconut, raisins, and chips. Sift in baking powder and stir until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine flax meal, syrup, almond butter, and vanilla and stir until well combined. Stir in oil. Add wet mixture to dry and stir until just well mixed. (Do not over mix!) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon batter onto baking sheet evenly space apart and lightly flatten. Bake for 13 minutes (no longer or they will dry out). Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 1 minute (no longer), then transfer to a cooling rack. Makes about a dozen cookies.
Changes I made:
*a note about spelt: I did use spelt flour and I really like it, but if you want to substitute regular white flour, reduce the amount by 2 tbsp.
**I omitted the chocolate chips. I added an extra 1/4 cup of raisins and 1 tbsp of sesame seeds, which are loaded with calcium! Sunflower seeds would also be yummy!
***I substituted brown rice syrup for the maple syrup. It is a little more mellow.
****I used coconut oil instead of canola.
This recipe doesn't require the usual exact measurements of most baked goods. It is very easy to tweak. If some of you decide to try them, I would love to hear your variations! Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I don't want to be tacky

Last week, my sister and her family came to Florida for their annual "escape the snow" vacation.
All the usual fun was had, including an adults only double date.
But I have to say the highlight of the week for me, was a little big girls only outing to the hair salon with Libby and this little munchkin.
Libby desperately needed about 4 inches cut off and Morgan just came along for the fun of it.
As Libby was sitting in the chair having her hair trimmed by Victoria, Morgan explored the salon.
"Aunt Lauren, what are all of these different shampoos?" she asked me.
So I read some of the bottles to her.
"Which one do you like best?" she asked.
I told her that I didn't actually use any of those shampoos. I need a color safe shampoo and those were on a different shelf.
She pondered this thoughtfully before asking, "Why?"
I replied, "Well, I put fake color on my hair and if I don't use the right shampoo all of my fake color will rinse right out."
"Well what color would your hair be if that happened?"
(BTW, while Morgan was grilling me with 20 questions, Libby was treating Victoria to her own endless diatribe of fascinating kindergarten thoughts. Five-year-olds are fun!)
Since my own next appointment with Victoria is still a week away, I was able to answer Morgan's question with a visual aid! I pointed to the hair closest to my scalp and said, "Do you see all of those gray hairs? That is what my hair would look like if I didn't color it."
Without missing a beat, Morgan replied, "Well that sure would be tacky!"
Thankfully, at that exact moment, Victoria was in between snips otherwise she probably would have scalped Libby! It took her a full 90 seconds to recover enough to continue Libby's haircut.
And during the grown-up laughing fit, Libby continued to talk endlessly to herself and Morgan stood quietly by, most likely trying to picture Aunt Lauren with a head full of tacky gray hair.
But I totally understand where she is coming from...
I believe I used those exact words when explaining to Uncle Brad why my monthly salon visit was an absolutely necessary expenditure!