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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Kicking it.

Watching the action.

I can't believe it's the last day of May! Activities are starting to wrap up for the summer, so I thought it was about time I took the annual soccer photos. This is Lauren's fifth season playing. We now have soccer shirts in every color except yellow and red. But there's always next season to complete our collection.

Coaches corner.

Having a bit of a huddle with the coaches during practice.

Waiting in line.

Time to wait in line for drills!

Practicing drills.

Practicing footwork.


It was right about now that she realized that I was taking photos and immediately demanded that I cease and desist. So I didn't get any photos during the game.

Hanging with the teammates.

But I couldn't resist taking just one more of Lauren and her teammates hanging out in / by the goal as they watched their other teammates practice. I'm always sad to see soccer season end. Luckily, it's just a short few months between now and next season (Unlike between Fall and Spring, which is more like a 5 month break), and they'll finally be adding goalies when she plays at the U-8 level. After next year, play gets a little more serious, so we'll have to wait and see if she wants to keep at it, as she mostly seems to enjoy the social rather than the athletic aspects of the game.

Girl Scouts is also winding down next week, so I'll try to post some highlights of the year in the coming days.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Just another day at the ballpark.

PNC Park.

I chose to spend Mother's Day at PNC Park watching the good ol' Pirates play. The third grade chorus at Lauren's school was scheduled to sing the National Anthem, plus it was double giveaway day - traditional Pirate jerseys for the kids and a special pink trimmed ones for moms. At $9 a ticket, it sounded like a great way to celebrate my fantastic mothering skills.

I have discovered in twenty years of moving around a ball park, that the knowledge of the game is usually in inverse proportion to the price of the seats.

That was until I got the tickets and found that our seats were the next to the last row in the park. Nonetheless, this ended up being a lucky turn of events because the weather delivered a constant drizzle the entire day. So even though it seemed like we were sitting somewhere out in the parking lot, we stayed nice and dry under the overhang that covers the grandstand.

 Lauren, Lysandra and Siera.

It was also lucky because a couple of Lauren's classmates were sitting right next to us. Sitting with your friends makes a boring baseball game a lot more bearable.

 Watching the game.

 It is said that baseball is a thinking man's game. She's thinking, "I could go for some cotton candy right now."

Us at the ballpark.

Here's Mark and I huddled together pretending that we don't know the girls behind us that keep chanting "WE WANT COTTON CANDY!" at the top of their lungs.

Enjoying cotton candy.

Thankfully, the cotton candy vendor donned his oxygen tank and hired Sherpa so that he could climb all the way up to our section and sell us a bag for the bargain price of $5.

Laughing at daddy.

There are many famous quotes about the game of baseball, but none truer than "He who laughs last, gets the cotton candy."

Friday, May 11, 2012

The art of having a birthday.

Molding with clay.

Your eyes do not deceive - less than a week after Lauren's birthday party, we have photos! I should get extra credit because this week was just as busy as the last two, filled with basketball, soccer and Girl Scouts, but unlike the last two weeks both Lauren and I were feeling well. Makes a world of a difference.

Happy birthday chalkboard.

Anyway, after the craziness of the last year's pizza party, I decided to take the birthday on the road to the North Hills Art Center. We had access to the entire art studio, which included this awesome sitting area for parents which I called the "Groovy Grown-up Lounge." I'm saddened that I did not take a photo of it.

 Lauren painting.

The party was basically an art class run by one of the Center's instructors, followed by traditional cake and present opening. As I went through the photos, it occurred to me that it probably looks like the kids aren't having much fun because no one is smiling. On the contrary, these were some serious artists, and even the instructor commented on how well behaved the kids were. Everyone did seem to have a great time and got to take home some cool art projects to boot.

 Siera, Samantha and Kendall.

 Jack and Matt

First the kids painted animals on real canvas.


 Griffin and Lauren G.

Then it was time to make animal masks.

 Lauren with kitty mask.

Here's Lauren showing off her kitty mask.

Masked men.

Who were those masked men?

Alex and Adrian.

During the school year, Lauren had worked with clay in art class and was really excited about doing a clay project at her birthday party. She insisted on making clay animals.

Clay kitty.

Here's her finished project - a kitty sitting in a bed, complete with mouse toy. It may not be a Rodin, but we all have to start somewhere.

That concludes the marking of the 7th year. If these parties keep getting more and more elaborate each year, we're going to be hosting a weekend long cotillion by her tenth birthday.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Get a pizza the action.

Table setting.

Tomorrow is Lauren's seventh birthday party, so what better time to post about her sixth birthday party. Last year, we hosted 15 kids at our house, but tomorrow we're having the party offsite at the North Hills Art Center. I've been feeling under the weather, so I'm thankful that at least I will not have children tearing through my home tomorrow.

 Get a pizza the action.

Pizza was the theme of last year's party. I got the idea from a Curious George book. Mark made this cool sign for our dining room.


For favors, each guest received a chef's hat, gummy pizza candy, a pizza smelling bookmark, pizza stickers, mustaches, and a red bandana. Everything you need to be a pizza chef.

Pizza cake.

I made pizza cakes with red icing for the sauce, shaved white chocolate for the cheese, and fruit rollups for the pepperoni.


Each guest got to make their own personal pizza, made with Mark's famous fresh pizza dough. We also made sure we had lots of toppings to choose from, although I don't believe anyone used the green peppers.


For games, the kids played pin the pepperoni on the pizza.

Pin the pepperoni on the pizza.

Each guest had their own personalize pepperoni piece.


Jack and Matt.

We also played the meatball toss.

 Lauren G.

Then it was time to make the pizzas.

Mini pizzas.

Daddy and Mel C.

We also made an adult sized pizza for us to snack on. It was topped with the forsaken green peppers.

I was happy when the kids ripped into their favor bags and really started getting into the act.




Make a wish.

And at last, the birthday girl with her pizza cake. Hopefully tomorrow's party will be as fun as this one. And I promise I won't wait a year to post about it!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lucky seven.

  Lucky seven.
 Today Lauren turned seven. Her birthday party isn't until this Sunday, so we had planned just to spend the evening at home. The birthday girl requested pancakes and eggs for dinner, so Mark and I fashioned a birthday cake out of a stack of flapjacks.

 Amazed at her pancake cake.

As you can see, she was pretty darn impressed.

 Blowing out the candles.

Here comes the wish...

Missed one.

Oops...missed one!

Waiting patiently for presents.

Now she's patiently waiting for presents to arrive. She's holding the cool glittery baton that was a present from her teacher.

Time to open!

Time to dig in!

Okami pillow!

She was pretty excited to get a stuffed version of one of her favorite video game characters.

Noreen's present.

Then it was time to open the big present from Cousins Nick and Noreen!

Lala Loopsy!

Look at those happy faces!


Wait a minute - maybe this was actually meant for me! (Thanks Nick and Noreen!!)

This week is all about Lauren (And when isn't it all about Lauren?), so more birthday themed posts to come...