"Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!" --Ms. Frizzle

"Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!" --Ms. Frizzle

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring Break!

Spring is here, and this time it brought-- among other things-- a week with just my girls, warm weather, Easter with the neighbors, my first taste of ham in a really long time, a new guitar or two, some unexpected outings, a Ferris Wheel, a birthday party, and Nana. For the last week I have been on Spring Break, and here is a look at how we spent that wonderful time together...

First of all, we had some serious egg-dyeing to do. Geneva was extremely excited about choosing the colors.

Ali and Maya came to lend us some creative genius.

Lavender was initially pretty jazzed up about coloring the eggs, but figured out quickly that the eggs could then be peeled and eaten. Oh well!

Geneva and I chose our least-favorite tablecloth for this project. As anticipated, it got pretty stained during the dyeing process, so after coloring the eggs we took the tablecloth outside and dumped the rest of the egg dye onto it, in an artsy fashion.

On this particular afternoon Lavender decided to show off her newly-blossoming daredevil streak. She demonstrated her backwards slide, her nontraditional swinging style...

...and her new leaping skills.

The girls had fun with their friend, and I had fun with mine. Win win!

Later, Geneva and Lavender asked if they could wash the dishes. Like a crazy person, I was hesitant at first, thinking that it might just make a bigger mess than before. Then of course I came to my senses and realized that a) in the best-case scenario I would no longer have to do the dishes, and b) even if they made a catastrophic mess, that's not what this was about. They wanted to be near me, to learn by doing, and to be helpful. How could I say no?

Yes, this is an uncensored look into my kitchen. Geneva is wearing Lavender's 12-month sized bloomers as undies. Lavender is wearing nothing but an apron. The door to the garbage won't close all the way, and the counter is mostly taken up by a crock pot wrapped in a blanket because I was in the process of making goat milk yogurt. Honestly, I love this picture.

On Sunday we celebrated Easter, and the return of Spring! Geneva and Lavender awoke to find that Nana had arrived, that the Bunny had left them new skirts and stickers, and that the colored eggs had mysteriously vanished in the night.

My mom helped Geneva and Goya to investigate the case of the missing eggs...

...Found 'em!

Between our yard and the neighbors' yard, there was a lot of loot to be had, and a good deal of it contained jelly beans.

In the celebratory spirit, we let the chickens have the run of both yards. I think it was a fine day for everyone.

Lavender and Paloma were able to snatch up a few eggs before the bigger girls got to them, and spent the rest of the morning eating jelly beans and climbing on lawn furniture.

The sun, for the first time this year, showed signs of creeping past warm into hot. We all lost a layer of clothing or two as the day wore on. The semi-formal indoor feast we had originally planned for the afternoon went right out the window, so our Easter dinner was a large, splendid picnic on Roman and Cristina's patio. It was way better than anything I could have planned, anyway. We quietly closed out our celebration of Spring by painting ourselves with henna, riding bikes with Nana, and eating frozen yogurt for supper. If all days could be like this... well, I'd be completely covered with henna stains and massively fat, but I'd be happy.

With the weekend behind us, the girls and I spent our week together having small adventures. We visited several parks in town, and at Tara's invitation took a trip out to Fort Simcoe and spent the day playing with her kids and a large group of homeschooling families. Geneva and Tara's four-year-old son Kian were almost inseparable, and shared a fascination with the old jail building, the water spigot, and the humongous piles of leaves.

Tara's middle child, Shealyn, kept up with the big kids for the most part, and was probably the cutest thing we could have found in that pile of leaves.

I managed to talk Avery into taking Lavender and Geneva to the parking lot carnival near our house one rainy evening. The ride tickets were overpriced, as one might anticipate, but we mostly went to look at the lights and the people. Geneva was wild with excitement, and spent a full ten minutes just running in a circle around Lavender, who was in Full Observation Mode.

We lingered at the Fun House, which was playing Disney songs that the kids only know from my goofy a capella renditions at home. I think Geneva was amazed that The Bear Necessities is, like, a real song and not just something her mother made up.

Geneva got to choose one ride, and she selected the Ferris Wheel. I wish I had a picture that could do justice to the look on her face as she went whooshing around.

After the ride it was time for some hugs and hot cocoa. I asked Geneva if she was scared by being so high up. She replied "no, but I looked down and saw that Lavender was," and gave her little sister a comforting snuggle.

Not a bad way to blow ten bucks on a Thursday night!

On Saturday we had the privilege of attending Jack's fifth birthday party, which came with the added bonuses of catching up with the cousins and visiting the farmhouse-- home to most of Avery's Christmas memories, and the place we were lucky enough to live during our first few months in the Yakima valley.

I wish I had more pictures of this event. This is the one decent one I have, and even it is blurry. I really wanted to share this moment, though, because it was proof of what I already know: these kids-- and their parents-- are fantastic people. For his fifth birthday Jack received (among a few other things) a toothbrush, a bottle of mouthwash, and a dust-buster, and he loved them all. I was actually getting choked up thinking about what a cool kid he is to want a dust-buster, and how that is undoubtedly due in part to the fact that the adults in his life encourage his natural curiosity and don't buy into the boys need a ton of pseudo-masculine plastic crap fallacy. Yes, these kids play with Legos and have toy trucks, but I'll tell you one thing: by the end of the party the dust-buster had been confiscated for being used too liberally (that is, outside in puddles) and the lid to the mouthwash was already lost. I am absolutely stealing these ideas for the next birthday party we attend.

Other Spring Break highlights include a visit to the museum, our weekly jaunt out to Cowiche Canyon to milk goats, and the completion of Geneva's very own guitar. Avery is to be credited entirely with this accomplishment; it was his idea, his research, and his labor that created Geneva's new Favorite Thing. She loves it.

I was surprised to find that, not only does she adore her new instrument, she also seems eager to share it with others. When Lavender came up to investigate, Geneva immediately put the guitar into Lavender's lap and showed her how to strum. After a little while she got out her daddy's big guitar and they "jammed."

 All I could do was watch, listen, and try not to cry. That probably would have freaked them out.

Geneva thought we should end our Spring Break with a tea party, and set out to make it happen. She knocked on Goya's door and told her to arrive at 4:40. Then she picked a bouquet of dandelions, put on "fancy clothes," set her little white table with a tablecloth (blanket) and dishes, and helped me bake a cake.

It was a charming soiree, with only one big hissy fit (I won't mention names) and two potty accidents (both Lavender's). After all, it's hard to be dignified all the time.

Now it's Sunday-- and late Sunday night at that. Spring Break is over, and we will resume our normally scheduled programming in just six hours. Geneva will be back at preschool in the mornings, and Eoin and Maya will join us once again. It's reality, and it's awesome, but I've been really grateful for this last week. I had the rare chance to be selfish with my time: no school, no other children, just me and my babies. It's the biggest duh statement I could make, but I love them somethin' fierce.

P.S. I told Geneva she was a big enough girl to help me with the laundry, and asked her to put her folded clothes into her drawers. This is what I found a few minutes later. Sigh.

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