Sunday, March 13, 2011

Precision car racing

During the month of February, I think our family has had more illnesses than we have ever had before in that period of time. Nothing was dramatic or terrible, but we have passed around major head colds, high fevers, a flu bug as well as assorted other small things. I thought we were done, but unfortunately Tom came down with a high fever again this week. With medication, he was fine, but he was obviously tired and I didn't want him to pass whatever virus he had to the rest of the first and second grade, so he stayed home. While he used to spend hours at home alone with Mom every day, now he is used to having friends around and school work to do. He wasn't real impressed with the idea of entertaining himself, but after watching a movie and realizing Mom wasn't going to stop everything to entertain, he brought out his matchbox cars. He used to spend hours with his cars and took them everywhere. He still enjoys them, but he hasn't played as much with them lately as he has been absorbed with legos and plastic animals when he isn't playing ball. He used to enjoy racing his cars a lot, but I haven't seen him do it in a while. When I saw what he was up to, I grabbed the camera, as it is a very unique racing game and so very telling of our son's personality! The game always involves ALL the matchbox cars. They are all lined up at one end of the couch (starting line) then over an extended period of time (20 minutes or so) Tom moves them all centimeter by centimeter through the race. Over time, the cars get more and more spread out. He usually asks whoever is around, "Which one do you think will win?" We always guess incorrectly as the leader never wins due to elaborate car crashes, and come from behind moves which are all played out in slow motion as the car pack travels up one arm and across the back of each adjoining chair to go down the next arm (note the cars still below on the arm). I have seen the race continue over the entire set of living room furniture and across the floor to end at the piano, this day, the race ended at the second chair. It is amazing to me how much time and attention he can spend moving each car forward just minimal amounts over and over again. If he doesn't grow up to do a precision filled job I will eat his orange racing car!

Turning 9 is a special time!

Kay and Tom were born on the same day, so we were away during the weekend of Kay's birthday for a softball tournament as well. Though it was a fun weekend, poor Kay was sick through the majority of it. Here is Ian taking his turn at bat. His team came in second!We enjoyed cake and ice cream with friends on their actual birthday, but it wasn't until the next weekend that Kay had her party.
She choose a Hawaiian theme. The girls had lots of fun making leis (flower cutouts and straw pieces) and grass skirts (with colored crepe paper) when they first arrived. They looked very fun and festive! (this picture is when they were waiting for Kay to open her presents, as you can tell, the skirts had already been mostly shed...)Next we played some Hawaiian themed party games (I am hoping this is the last party game birthday I have to do, they are not my favorite!) including musical beach towel hula, pass the pineapple, and a beach relay race. We also had hula hoop and limbo competitions. Given my spontaneous and frenzied state during the party games, we didn't take pictures of these! Unfortuately, party games do not go well with grass skirts which shredded all over the yard. At the end of the morning, we had a very colorful and festive looking yard, but not so many grass skirts left! Kay choose a lemon cake with marshmallow flowers on it. The girls had fun with the little drink umbrellas as well. The thing that impressed me most about this party, however, was the girls themselves. Most of these girls have gone through 1st through 3rd grades together. They all are great girls from lovely families, but all of us mothers realized that they all have STRONG personalities and very active tongues. This has been a huge issue of prayer since even before their very first day of school. I remember first grade in particular there were lots of sparks and daily drama on the playground. It was really neat to see how they have each matured in caring for one another and learning how to interact with one another in away that respects their differences. It was a great birthday gift for this Mom to see the way our prayers continue to impact our daughters' lives!

7 is for Baseball

Tom's party was next in line this year. We were going to be away for a softball tournament over the weekend he turned 7, so we had the party Thursday afternoon before we left Friday morning. Appropriately enough, he wanted a baseball party, so we arranged to use the baseball field at the American Rec Center in town. (An added bonus was that I wasn't setting up or cleaning up from a party as I was packing to leave the next day!) We played tball with the kids on one team and Ian and I on the other. Because we had a wide variety of sports skill as well as a range in ages from kindergarten to second grade, the Tball worked really well. It gave all of them (and me!!) a chance to be big hitters! The kids even liked fielding the ball when it meant they could tag Mr. and Mrs. Rideout out! In between innings, we played various relay races with balls, bats, and water to cool us off! We had ordered pizza and koolaid for all the kids, and we also enjoyed Tom's base ball cake and cupcakes- chocolate of course-
and opened presents!Ian was a trooper doing more than his fair share of keeping them running while I set up food and cleaned up wrapping paper. The kids had lots of fun, I didn't have to cook dinner that night, and the kids slept well after running around and around and around the bases so they were well rested for our long trip the next day! We all won on this party!!

11 and Counting!!!!!

I am a bit behind the times with this post, but better late than never! The last few months are always busy ones for us, largely because it is birthday season at the Rideout house! Heidi comes first midway through January. This year she turned 11! She is becoming quite a young lady and maturing and growing in every way. She is a joy to have in our family. We are very proud of her!

We usually get together with cousins to celebrate on the day. This year Heidi requested a birthday breakfast, but scheduling required that it be an evening breakfast, but we enjoyed Breakfast casserole and cinnamon rolls anyway. For the first time the kids took over the "big" table and the adults got their own table off to the side... nothing like being outnumbered! The kids were thrilled :)

Heidi's birthday party followed close behind. She had a clue party this year. Each guest was asked to come dressed as one of the characters from the game "Clue." From left to right they are: Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, Col. Mustard, Miss Scarlett, Prof. Plum, Mrs. White, Mlle Brune (we added her to have enough characters). The butler is on the right and Ms. Body is lying across the girls' laps. Here is a close up of Ms. Body, the victim and former owner of Mystery Mansion. The rooms in our house were transformed into the various rooms in Mystery Mansion and several clue playing cards were hidden in each room. Here is the butler who greeted each guest at the door. He is standing in the Dining Room. Each member received a notebook with a clue chart inside to mark off their clues. They went from room to room looking for the hidden cards, marking off the appropriate boxes and rehiding the cards for those coming behind them. When someone solved the mystery, they ran to headquarters and rang a bell. We then opened the envelope to see if their accusation was correct and they won, or if they were mistaken and out of the game. We put snacks in each of the rooms, so the girls could nibble as they went around. It was lots of fun and very easy! We played multiple rounds as each time we just had to reshuffle and rehide the cards. In between rounds we ate cake and opened presents. What a fun group of girls!