Thursday, April 10, 2014

Signs of Spring and Birthday Month Begins.

Signs of spring are popping up...

Yesterday I wore flip flops.  I rode my bike to the girls school.  When I drove by the bank, the temperature said 71.  71!  It was glorious.  It made me so happy.  It made everyone so happy.  It's like we are breathing fresh air after being stifled all winter long.  I know there are still spring snow storms in our future.  But each day the sunshine warms my face I know we are inching closer to summer.  And, we make sure to make it our business to get outside and soak up this sunshine when we can.  Last Friday the girls didn't have school and we worked on Operation Sunshine with a trip to the park.
Exploring long lost places no longer buried in snow...

Running in dry fields and taking in the beautiful cloud scattered blue sky...
When we left the park I suggested we go get a movie and have a movie night.  Ava came running over, gave me a huge hug and proclaimed "You're the best mommy ever".  That was just icing on my already full-of-happy-cuz-it's-springtime heart.  

I kept up the best mom title the next day when I took my girls to barrel racing at the rodeo.  This was the first of two cowboy-type events I went to Saturday.  I am not into cowboy-type things.  I grew up in the country (or Bozeman's version of country) and although I loved my childhood always wanted to live in town with my friends.  My girls have always lived in town and my oldest only wants to live in the country.  Where she can have a horse.  And a pick up truck with a horse trailer.  I have no idea where this came from, but my girl has passion for all things horse.

Because we try to live a fairly urban lifestyle in our small city this horse thing came about without influence from Matt or I.  Maybe it started with the first horse book she checked out.  Maybe because her beloved first grade teacher talked about the her own love of horses.  Whatever the reason it has stuck.  As we sat at the barrel racing and I observed all the young cowgirls with their large belt buckles, cowboy boots and hats I wondered if I was seeing a glimpse of our future.  Wondering if this is something that will stick with her or if it will fade.  Because it is not my thing, I have to admit there is a small part of me that hopes it will fade.  It feels very typical Montana to me and I have resisted this my whole life.  I am comfortable with my version of Montana...the outdoors, the mountains, the small communities.  I am not so comfortable with the farm, ranch and cowboy version that is also very much a part of our state.  I sat there thinking how easily we could immerse ourselves in that simply because of where we live, but not sure I would want to.  Right now I like to think we are encouraging our girl to dream.  Second horse event that day was Ava's horse back riding lesson and she adores it.  Again, I keep my thoughts to myself but honestly sit there counting the moments until she gets off the giant animal and safely back on the ground.  I think I like Layla's infatuation with pigs better...although I also wonder where in the world that came from.  

The weekend kicked off our official start to birthday month.  The girls birthdays are two weeks apart.  Birthdays and the celebrations involved are evolving around here.   Both are at the age where having friends at their parties is important to them.  However, we have a large family full of cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents.  Our house is not big enough for family and school friends so we had a combined family party this weekend and friends parties are to come.  I love birthdays for my girls and love to throw a party.  Over the past couple of years I have been caught up in the Pinterest world and gotten in over my head when it came to the parties.  I would have all these ideas and although they ended up fun, I got carried away and stressed.  This year I still wanted to throw fun parties, but they are simplified.  Finding the joy in cake, balloons, gifts, friends and family.  Nothing crazy, not a bunch of games and crafts.  Kids simply play.  

The family party we had with this theme of no theme was a hit.
The most "party" like thing we had was face paint in the corner if kids wanted to decorate with they could.  It actually ended up as a way for the girls to pass the time as they waited not-so-patiently for everyone to arrive.  The only games that were played were the ones the kids made up with the balloons.  Snacks were picked out by Ava and Layla and consisted of Pirates Bootie and Lays potato chips.  I didn't even make the cake from scratch.  Yep, you read right.  No homemade cake here.  I heard about this ice cream sandwich cake from a friend (who may have gotten it from Pinterest, but I'm not confirming this since I said I didn't do PInterest for these parties!)  It took about 15 minutes to make.  The girls helped and it went from this...


To this...

And Voila...


Because this was a combined party each girl picked their color of frosting for each side.  The frosting was the only thing about this whole, smaller party thing Ava questioned.  As I got out the Cool Whip for them to add food coloring to she exclaimed "You're not making your own FROSTING!!"  I didn't let guilt even come close as I replied "Nope...do you want blue or green?"  I need to lower the expectations around here.  This means yes to homemade cake and frosting on actual birthdays and store bought being just fine for class treats and parties.  She'll get used to it.

Party one success and we're gearing up for Ava's this weekend.  Keeping with the simple theme...she invited two friends to go see Rio 2 at the theatre.  It will be movie, gifts and cupcakes to sing Happy Birthday to.  Easy, fun.  Done.  

The longer days are another happy sign of spring.  My early morning runs are no longer in the dark.  They have been replaced with pink clouds and sunrises....

I'll take it.  
Happy Thursday.  

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