filling in some gaps

Well, here I am again after another nearly-two-week hiatus from the ol' blog. I'm sitting here with a literal mound of paperwork (and stickers, packages of balloons, two spools of thread, a roll of masking tape, a pacifier, three suckers, and a Target bag of things to return to the store) surrounding my laptop on my desk. I probably shouldn't even be taking the time to blog right now, but I thought I'd post a few odds and ends, filling in some of the gaps that I seem to leave when I fail to blog for long stretches of time.
I can't remember if I ever mentioned that Eloise is taking ballet class this fall, but, in case I did fail to mention it, Eloise is taking ballet class this fall. She loves it! She loves interacting with her teacher and classmates, and she adores wearing leotards. Here are a few photos from her first day of class back in September:

Eloise is in white.

Getting some help with her jumping (she's already gotten much better!)...

They learned the YMCA (or Y-C-M-A, depending on whose version you're singing...)!

The day before we left for Texas last month, I took the "big girls" for haircuts. Evie decided to cut off 10 inches of her hair and donate it to Locks of Love. I had donated my hair a few months ago, and I think she really loved the idea. So, we went from this:

to this:

Cute picture, huh? It was "drawn" in one of those photo booth things!

I was nervous about it being so short, but I think it's adorable. It really suits her, and she loves it!

We don't do Halloween in our family; neither Mr. B nor I grew up celebrating it, so it feels pretty normal to us to just ignore the holiday. Our friends from across the street are not Halloween people, either; they've always gone to Chuck E. Cheese that night. We've been joining them in their tradition for the last several years, and I can tell you that Chuck E. Cheese is very quiet on October 31st when most of the rest of the world is out trick-or-treating! Here are a few photos:

The whole gang: some of those "kids" are not very little anymore, but they still love their annual Chuck E. Cheese visit!

Crammed in the climbing tubes!

Taking a spin with Chuck E.

So, nothing terribly thrilling in this post, but consider yourself a little more "caught up" on our ever-exciting lives. Doesn't it feel good?


the tickle in my tummy

We were having a rough morning the other day, and we hadn't even had breakfast yet. I woke up with a tickle in my throat, unsure whether or not it was going to turn into a full-blown sore throat. I heard Evie and Eloise squabbling about something, and Evie switched into her bossy voice and said, "You just lost Cinderella." (The Cinderella doll belongs to Evie, and sometimes she sort of lords it over Eloise, taking away the privilege of playing with the doll if Eloise won't cooperate with Evie's plans or ideas.) Mr. B and I quickly jumped in and told Evie she couldn't play with any dolls or the dollhouse all day. This is a major punishment in our house. Anyway, Mr. B left for work, and I was getting breakfast ready for the girls. Evie began telling Eloise that the Little People (Fisher Price) are not dolls. I wasn't sure the point of the conversation, but I continued to listen. Evie continued to explain that Little People are not dolls, because they are fat, and Eloise echoed that statement. I quickly explained that Little People really are dolls, that they are not fat (they just have super short legs), and that calling people or things fat is unkind and can be hurtful. Breakfast was ready, so I brought it to the table, and we bowed our heads to pray. This was Eloise's prayer:

Dear Father, Thank you for the wonderful day. And help us to be kind and show others how to be kind. And Evie lost dolls for the whole life. And we were talking about Little People. And they are not fat. In Jesus' Name, Amen

I definitely had to stifle a laugh. But then I suddenly realized why Evie was insisting that Little People were not dolls: she wanted to play Little People, even though she'd lost dolls and dollhouse for the day. I was soft, and I let them play Little People off and on for the rest of the day. Eloise had another cute prayer at lunch time:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Lord, please be with all the people in the whole...the whole...the whole...states. All the states...Because some of the people in the states are sick. And my mom has a tickle in her tummy.


So, the tickle was in my throat, rather than in my tummy, but I thought it was sweet of her to pray for me nonetheless. If I had a Cinderella doll, I'd let her play with it.


canner kids and other adventures in Texas

So, we've been home from our trip for almost a week, and I'm just now sitting down to blog about it!
We really did have a great time visiting Matt and Molly. Saturday, we drove out to Caddo Lake. I guess there's a whole Cyprus forest growing in the middle of the lake, all hung with Spanish moss and everything, and it's amazing. They had taken Matt's folks on a boat tour of the lake when they had visited a few weeks prior to our visit, and they thought we might like it. When we arrived, however, we discovered that everything around the lake was flooded from all the rain they've been having down there, and some of the "houses" for the boat tours were totally under water. Most of the docks were covered. Basically, there was too much water for boats.
This picture is of a parking lot. You can kind of see an information sign a ways out, probably about two-thirds covered with water.
So, instead instead of taking a boat tour of the lake, we hiked a trail right there in the state park, and it was a fun little adventure.
We all used bug spray, but somehow we all still got bitten. Poor Eloise had it the worst: her little eye was nearly swollen shut the next morning!
The park also had a nice playground area where we sat and enjoyed some snacks and, of course, played. Evie and Eloise impressed me with their fearless trips down a rather old, very long metal slide.
Sunday, we visited Fellowship Bible Church, where Matt and Molly have been attending. Molly even played cello with the praise team during the service! While we were in "big church," all three girls went to their separate classes/nursery. After church, I was asking Evie how Children's Church went (we call it Children's Church where we attend), but then I tried to remember I'd heard it called when I'd dropped her off...finally, I remembered: Kinder Kids!
So, I restated my question, "How was Kinder Kids?"
She looked at me like I was nuts. "It wasn't Kinder Kids!"
Me: "Yeah, honey, I think that's what it was called."
Evie: "No. Our teacher told us what it was called. It was...it was...CANNER Kids."
Me: "Canner Kids? Like, did you work in a cannery?" (Yes, I am silly and slightly sarcastic with my kids a lot.)
Evie: "For real, Mom. The teacher said it was called Canner Kids."
And then it dawned on me. We were in TEXAS. Of course the lady told her it was called Canner Kids. That's exactly how an East-Texan would sound, pronouncing Kinder Kids. Molly and I had a good laugh about it, but Evie asked me not to talk about it anymore. So I'm not. I'm just typing.*
Sunday night, we had a bonfire at Stonehouse, where Matt and Molly live and serve as house parents for people who come to serve at Missionary Tech in a somewhat short-term capacity (I think?). We roasted hot dogs and s'mores. The girls call marshmallows "marsh-a-moles," and when they roast one, they say they "marsh a marsh-a-mole." We even had some live music--Molly played guitar, and their friend, Joel, played mandolin. Except for more blasted mosquitoes, it was great!
Monday morning, we woke up (at Stonehouse--we slept there Saturday night) to a birthday party! Molly wanted to celebrate all three girls' birthdays, because they had been gone for Audrey and Evie's birthdays, and Eloise's is coming up quickly. They had filled the hallway outside our bedroom with balloons.
Molly made muffins with candles in them, and yummy French toast. There were presents for all three girls: Evie and Eloise got homemade paper dolls (so, so cute!), sparkly batons with streamers, cowboy hats, feather boas, jump ropes, and a neat book; Audrey got a stuffed dog, some hair clips, and a cloth book with clear plastic windows for photos, and Molly inserted pictures she printed off my blog.
Everything was delightful, and the girls were so excited! As part of the party, Molly also tuned their ukulele to a major chord and let the girls take turns playing it.
Oh my...what fun!!! There were even a couple of party games with prizes!
Once we finally finished partying, we headed over to Missionary Tech to see the building and meet some of the team. Unfortunately, we arrived just as they were calling people in for chapel, so we really didn't get to meet very many people (although, the ones we did meet were very nice!), but we did get to tour the building, in its present, in-the-middle-of-remodeling state, and it's going to be great.
From Tech, we headed to a nearby town to visit an oil museum. Of course, when we arrived, we discovered that the oil museum is closed on Mondays, so we just peeked in some windows and piled back into the van. I had it in my head that one must eat some good Mexican food while visiting Texas, so we took Molly out to lunch and did, indeed, enjoy some good Mexican food.
It was hard to hit the road for Missouri after lunch--Molly and I had a teary goodbye--but I just keep reminding myself that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and she and Matt will be here! Of course, thinking of Thanksgiving also makes me think of all the things I need to do before then, so I should get off the computer. I'll post later about the rest of our trip!
*Seriously, while I was working on this post, Evie came up alongside me and said, "Mom! Why are you typing about Canner Kids?!?" She proceeded to read that whole section aloud, including the part that said, "...but Evie asked me not to talk about it anymore. So I'm not. I'm just typing." Let's just say, she was not amused. But I was!