Sunday, April 19, 2009

What A Week!

Though it was really more than ten days. And it ended a week ago. But it's been quite a week since then, too. (I spent most of last week working hard to catch up on four weeks' worth of paperwork at work, so it's been a tad busy at work with little free time.)

Anyway, we start this tale on Friday, April 3, 2009. Grandma B had arrived two days before for a visit. It just happened to coincide with Sydney's birthday weekend. It's amazing how those things work out.

When Grandma B arrived on Wednesday Sydney immediately had things for her to do. She had to see all her toys and play all sorts of games. Thursday morning Grandma B stayed home with Sydney while I went into work early so I could get things done and start my time off that much earlier.

So I guess we really started on Wednesday, April 1, 2009. But we skimmed over that and we're now at Friday, April 3, 2009.

Friday morning we didn't do our usual pre-preschool class with the kids and moms. Sydney was signed up for an Easter "Eggs-travaganza" through the Post Falls Parks & Recreation Department. It's just one of the many classes through the city we sign Sydney up for and have been taking her to for several years.

This time, though, Grandma B was in town and Sydney thought it would be grand if Grandma B took her to the class. So I dropped them off and then went home to finish straightening up for what came after. You can read about the class and more of Grandma B's visit here on her blog.

They had fun and about five minutes before I was going to leave to pick them up I got a call that they were done and one of the last ones left. So I hurried over to pick them up. Then we went to go pick up pizza. At noon we were having the pre-preschool kids and moms over for Sydney's birthday.

Sydney's Class Birthday Party

Seated to the right of Sydney in that picture is Sydney's oldest (length-of-time, not age) friend, Mary Jane. She's not in class but was invited to the party. And in the picture everyone is eating cupcakes and ice cream that came after the pizza.

Sydney Opens Gifts

Even though we weren't asking for or expecting any gifts from these friends Sydney did get a few. She knew that going in so was extra excited to have them. And since we knew she'd be getting a lot more gifts the next day we let her open the gift from Aunt Heather (not pictured - it was a play doctor kit. No jokes necessary - I've already made most of them).

And then there was a lot of mass chaos while the kids played. (Grandma B was smart and lucky in that she got to retreat to her bedroom for that part of it.)

On Saturday we had Sydney's birthday party with family and close friends. (You can read even more about Sydney's birthday over at Grandma B's blog.)

Sydney's Birthday Balloons

Around noon Sydney's birthday balloons arrived. They were a gift from Great-Grandma M (Grandma B's mother and my grandmother). Do I need to mention that Sydney really likes getting balloons?

Shortly after the balloons arrived Sydney got dressed up for her party. (See Grandma B's blog linked above.) Since Sydney's favorite foods are pizza and pasta and we had pizza on Friday Anne made an awesome baked ziti for the party. We also had fresh garlic bread made from a garlic loaf picked up at Costco.

Sydney Opens Presents

Since everyone was stuffed on the meal we let Sydney open her presents before having cake.

Then we had cake.

Sydney's 4th Birthday Cake

Sydney picked out the design for her cake all by herself. And she wanted the white frosting on the chocolate cake with the chocolate cream filling. Mmm...

Sydney Gets Sung To

"Happy Birthday" was sung.

Sydney Blows Out Candles

And candles were blown out.

On Sunday it was actually Sydney's 4th birthday. We relaxed and played with Sydney's presents. What? You thought we were going to have another party? Don't you think two is enough? Sheesh.

On Monday Grandma B went out to lunch with a friend. And we went out to lunch and then to Toys R Us so Sydney could spend her birthday money. Why, no, we don't think she got enough toys for her birthday. Why?

Sydney did do rather well in spending her money, though. (With a bit of prodding, coaching and coaxing, of course.) She bought a soccer goal for outside for when she wants to play soccer. She bought a slightly smaller and lighter basketball she can play with since Mommy's is a bit big for her. She also bought some more bubble mixture so she can blow bubbles and some cheerleader pom poms that she got extremely excited about as soon as she saw them.

Tuesday Grandma B was leaving. And Sydney was getting sick. This was bad news because we were planning and reserved to go to Fairmont Hot Springs in Montana on Wednesday for a few days. We were going to meet a couple of my online friends there.

So on Tuesday we relaxed and took things easy. Sydney got plenty of rest. On Wednesday she was much better. She wasn't completely better, but she was better enough that we decided she could travel. She relapsed a little on the drive, but we arrived safely and Sydney got a good night's sleep that night. She woke up feeling even better.

On Thursday we went swimming in the pool and spent a few hours there. Then we went outside (even though it was a little chilly and muddy) and played on the playground at the resort.

Sydney Slides

Sydney liked all the stuff there and spent some time running back and forth between things. But then she settled on the tall, metal slide. She'd climb up, slide down and then run around to repeat. She did that for about twenty minutes straight.

Long before she was tired of that Anne and I decided it was about time to think about dinner. We had contacted my friends on the road earlier and they estimated they would be in between 6:00 and 6:30. Since it was a little before 6:00 I called them and they were close. So we went inside to wait for them in the lobby.

As soon as they arrived I made them pose for a picture with me.

Dave, Shawna and John

That is DavePrime and Crafty Dragon - Dave and Shanwa - from the Museum of Hoaxes forum. They live in Billings, MT, so had a slightly longer drive than we did to arrive at the resort.

And in case you're wondering, yes, this is the fourth time I have arranged a meeting with people I know from that forum. We have previously met Alex, the owner of the Museum, when we went to San Diego last year. I then met Oppiejoe when I went back to Michigan for my reunion last summer. In October we went over to Seattle and met Nettie and Transfrmr. And now we've met DavePrime and Crafty Dragon.

Someday I'll figure out how to meet some of the other folks from the forum. Those trips could be fun and involve various parts of Europe and Australia. (Unless they come here, like Nettie did.) Though there could be more possibility for meeting some members from here in the States.

Anyway, on Friday it was time to leave and head back home. Dave and Shawna were staying another night, but we all drove up to Philipsburg, MT for some fun.

There are two main attractions there we were interested in. The first was the candy store (we actually went there second, but I didn't take any pictures of it, so I'm mentioning it first). It's a large candy store. One of those places where you walk around and just start throwing candy into a bag. At the end they weigh it and charge you by the pound. There are hundreds of kinds of candies including handmade taffy and caramels. They also have storemade fudge in a variety of flavors (not for the same price as the other candy). And some storemade chocolates (again, not the same price). We spent a good amount of money there.

The other big attraction for us was the sapphire store right next door. For $25 you get to pick out a four-pound bag of gravel. They get it wet and sift it a little bit then plop it down on a table for you. They show you what to look for and then you pick through it with tweezers to find raw sapphires. We ended up finding five quality sapphires with a total weight of 7.55 ct. We had several others that were too small to do anything with or were flawed and cracked. We opted not to pay the extra to have them (the good ones) heat-treated and cut.

Sydney Finds a Stone

Dave and Shawna had similar luck with their bag.

Dave and Shawna: Sapphire Hunters

The bad thing about that place is that when you first walk in you are actually in the store part. You are surrounded by stones and things carved from stone. Beautiful, exotic and sometimes rare, there are a lot of fun things to look at. Yep, we spent a good amount of money there, too.

Dave and Shawna Shop Rocks

At the end of that excursion we continued on home and Dave and Shawna went back to the resort for their second night.

The reason we couldn't get our dates to coincide for the entire trip was because we had to be home before early Saturday morning. It was Sydney's first soccer game!

Sydney Plays Soccer

Sydney had been very excited about it since we asked her and signed her up back in February. But, once we actually got there, Sydney reverted into her shell and decided she was too shy to play soccer. We explained that she was signed up and part of a team. We explained that she couldn't not play now just because she was feeling shy. We tried what we could to coax her out of her shell. She just continued to stare at the ground and mumble that she didn't want to go out and run around with the other kids and kick the ball. (This was before the start time when the kids got a few minutes to run around and kick the ball on their own.)

So I went up to Sydney's teammate who looked lonely. She was holding her pink, flowered soccer ball and looking like she wanted to kick the ball with someone but certainly did not want to go run around and kick with those boys over there. I introduced myself and got her name. I asked if she would like me to kick the ball with her. She agreed.

Strangely enough, I was standing fairly close to Sydney. The little girl kicked the ball to me and I kicked it back to her. Then I asked Sydney if she wanted to join us. She decided she did, so the little girl kicked the ball to her. Sydney kicked it back and then promptly ordered me off the field.

Sydney Does Soccer Drills

The first half hour of soccer (for the four year olds, at least) involves some simple drills. The coaches help them learn some of the very basics of soccer. The second half hour involves a bunch of four year olds running around the field, kicking the ball, forgetting which direction they're supposed to be kicking it, falling down (sometimes on top of the ball) and frequently looking around at anything but the soccer ball or the other kids kicking the soccer ball. (There are no goalies for this age group.)

Sydney on a Soccer Team

Sydney really likes to kick the ball. Unfortunately, she's not real big on getting into the middle of things and trying to kick the ball. If it's out in the open and she's near it she will run over and try to kick it. But mostly she runs around the outer parts of the game and doesn't seem sure of what she wants to do. While a little frustrating because we know she's capable it's also quite funny.

This week was Sydney's second week of soccer. While she did the same things while playing she was completely involved in the entire process. Once she got there she was out on the field. Mommy and Daddy were almost completely forgotten (except when she came over for water). She practiced and ran around the field and had all sorts of fun.

The last day to be covered in this post was going to be Easter Sunday. But I think it's long enough so I'm going to save that for the next post.