Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fine Motor Skills

Within the past week, Evelyn has learned three new "tricks" that she is very proud of. She can whistle, she can snap her fingers, and she can draw five-pointed stars. When she whistles, she has to inhale to get the sound. Eventually she'll be able to whistle the normal way, when she exhales. Evelyn has a quirk with her snapping, too - she uses her ring fingers instead of her middle fingers. Just as with her whistling, whatever works!

Julia has been feeding herself finger foods for quite awhile, now, but she recently started using utensils. It all started when she used a spoon to eat applesauce (thanks to our adventurous friend, Kat). Julia has just about mastered the spoon, and she has moved on to using a fork. Not only does she manage to get food into her mouth, but she can also stab the food on the plate with her fork. Her other new trick is drinking with a straw, which she figured out in no time at all. With all these new skills, Julia is ready for the world of fine dining.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner

Even though we couldn't be with our family in Illinois for the Thanksgiving holiday, we still ate some of the traditional Birch/Luster foods. Evelyn and I rolled out homemade butterhorns. Evelyn did so well with the rolls that you couldn't tell the difference between the ones she made and the ones I made.

Thanksgiving dinner wouldn't be Thanksgiving dinner without Evelyn's Corn Casserole, as we call it. This year, our five-(and-a-half)-year-old pretty much did everything on her own. She cracked the eggs, emptied cans and cartons and containers of the other ingredients, and then she mixed it all together. As always, it was delicious! I also made raspberry applesauce Jell-O salad and pumpkin cream cheese dessert. Fabulous side dishes (and a dessert) to go along with yummy Thanksgiving turkey.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Little Buddy

Recently, I was able to take some pictures of Rosie hanging out with Evelyn and Julia. She loves playing with the girls, she doesn't mind having her tail pulled, she tolerates Julia using her as a pillow, she doesn't mind being it when Evelyn holds and carries her, and she seems to enjoy watching TV or reading books with Evelyn. Such a sweet little kitty!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Good Fit

Our new little kitty, Rosie, is such a good fit for our family. You never know what you're going to get with a pet, especially a cat, and it seems that we chose the perfect one. Rosie is playful and silly, which is to be expected with a kitten. But when someone wants to pet her, Rosie immediately switches over to cuddle mode and doesn't try to scratch or bite. She is tolerant of Julia's unpredictable toddler ways, including tail and ear tugging. Evelyn is such a responsible cat owner, playing with Rosie before and after school, as well as making sure she has enough food and water. After the girls go to bed, Rosie usually curls up on my lap for a short snooze. So far, so good!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Imagination Movers Concert

Evelyn and I went to the Imagination Movers concert in Frederick, Maryland this evening. At the start of the show, when the Movers came out on stage, Evelyn was both excited and in awe. She couldn't believe she was really, truly seeing one of her favorite bands! Lucky for Evelyn, our seats were on the aisle, which is where she spent most of the concert dancing and be-bopping. Mover Rich frequently wandered out into the audience, and he even made it all the way to our seats toward the back of the theater. Evelyn ran up to him, and Rich waved hello and patted her on the head. What fun!Tonight's show was one of those concerts where you were bummed that it was over because you had so much fun. The Movers - Scott, Dave, Rich and Smitty - were just as energetic and funny in person as they are on TV. And they jump around all the time, too.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ballet Class

Today we were invited to observe Evelyn's ballet class. I was really curious to see what she has been up to, both because she is at a new studio this year, and I am not able to watch her class. I was pleasantly surprised with how well Evelyn knows her ballet terms and phrases. At the beginning of class, she moved through the stretches and poses like a pro.
This is Evelyn's third year of taking dance, and this year she decided to focus on ballet. Her two prior years of dance consisted of combination classes, including tap, which she never really cared for. Her long-term goal is to become a pointe ballet dancer. She needs another six or seven years of regular ballet before she earns that status. I hope Evelyn sticks with it!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hiking at Gambrill State Park

The weather today was too nice to stay home - it was sunny and close to 70 degrees. Troy and I tossed around the idea of either going to the National Zoo in Washington, DC or hiking at a new (for us) state park. Neither one of us felt like going to DC, so we headed out to Gambrill State Park, just west of Frederick, Maryland.
After browsing online through our choices of hiking trails, I decided on the "Green Ash Trail." The description of this 2-mile round-trip trail said: True hikers will love this trail. There are several steep slopes and very little level ground, making this trail an adventure. As you hike the trail, imagine what it was like to cross the Appalachian Mountains on foot in the 1700's. Boy, they weren't kidding about an adventure!

Not only was the terrain hilly, but this was also one of the rockiest state parks we have visited in Maryland. Fallen autumn leaves in a forest can significantly increase the difficulty of a trail. Imagine climbing up and down a mountain, leaves hiding the rocks underfoot, and slipping and tripping on those rocks all the while. Thankfully Evelyn just laughed each of the four times she fell down today. At the end of the hike, we rewarded our hard work with a picnic lunch.

Julia (by far) had the best deal of any of us. She hitched a ride in the backpack carrier for all two miles, and she took a cat-nap while I was trying my best to stay sure-footed on the trail.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Recovering Well

Rosie went in for her spay and declaw surgeries Friday morning, and she came home today. She has a pain patch taped to her back, which makes her incredibly groggy. The poor girl will walk to a spot in the room, and then she'll just sit there. After we (Troy or I) notice her sitting in the middle of the room, we carefully move her to a soft blanket on the couch. She gets the pain patch off Monday. Knowing how quickly kittens recover, I'm sure Rosie will be back to her normal self by the middle of next week.

Return to Ralph's World

When I found out that Ralph's World was coming to Vienna, Virginia, I couldn't pass up the chance to go to his concert again. Evelyn and I were not disappointed - the show was great!

Before the concert began, Ralph did a meet-and-greet. Evelyn told Ralph how much she loves his music, and she also requested her favorite song, "Old Red Number Seven." (Ralph mentioned that not everyone in the band knew the song. So, even though she requested it, the band did not sing Evelyn's song.)
The kiddie mosh pit at today's concert was pretty calm. Evelyn was the only kid up and dancing throughout the entire show! Evelyn had an awesome time, seeing her favorite singer for the second time this year. I like his music, too; hopefully we'll be able to go to more of his concerts in the future.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Evelyn and I have been wanting a cat for a couple of months, but we needed to make sure Julia would be nice to a pet. All summer, Julia has been very gentle to our neighbors' cats, so we decided to take the plunge.

Troy and I knew we wanted to adopt a cat from the local humane society. We went there earlier this week to check out their adult male cats. But once we were in the cat room, we fell in love with a female 4-month-old kitten. During the adoption visit, Rosie purred while I held her on my lap, and both girls were very gentle with her. It was a good fit for everyone.

We filled out the application on Tuesday, had a phone interview Wednesday evening, and little Rosie was ready for us today. Julia and I picked up Rosie from the shelter this morning. That way she has some time to adjust to our house before Evelyn comes home from school.