Friday, August 31, 2012

August 31: Ikea

Today I went to Ikea with some friends.  The purpose of the trip was to buy some things for the church's children's ministry rooms.  But we also were excited to make some personal purchases as well.  It is a three hour trip to Ikea, and we don't make the trip very often.
 I went to the store with a list and a plan.  I was going to spend about $40 on white picture frames.  I did not follow that plan.  My total ended up being $165...yikes!  I'm feeling a little guilty about that as I rarely make big impulse purchases like that.  It makes me a little sick to my stomach.  But it is not every day that we shop at Ikea, so I had to take advantage.
Here is what $165 will buy you at Ikea:
  • Ten window curtain panels.   I have been looking for new curtains for our living/dining rooms for almost two years.  We have five windows, and curtains are just so expensive.  Even the cheapest curtains I could find would end up being around $50 a window.  I wanted white/red patterned curtains that were not sheer (we have sheer now and I want more coverage).  And I have not been able to find anything I like that I can afford.  
 Until today!  I found these curtains, and they were just what I have been looking for.  The best part...they were only $15 a pair.  So I could get curtains for all five windows for just $75.  I could have easily spent $75 on just one window, so this was a deal too good to resist.
 The curtains are a little long.  I'm planning to hang the rods a little higher and also hem the curtains a little.  But I think they will give our living/dining rooms a much needed update.

  • Ten white picture frames.  I have been planning a portrait wall in our stairway for a while now.  I just needed picture frames!  Ikea's frames are not super nice, but they are super cheap.  And super cheap is what I can afford right now. 
  • Two purple curtains, 30 purple napkins and four frying pans.  These are for Audrey's upcoming Rapunzel birthday party.  I think the curtains will make a pretty backdrop for something, not sure what yet.  The frying pans are inspired by the movie Tangled.  I've seen a lot of party ideas that serve food out of frying pans.  I liked the idea, but I wasn't sure how to afford frying pans.  For $3 a piece, these seem to be the cheapest frying pans around.

  • A standing picture frame, a salad spinner, some plastic bowls, and a stacking toy.  I have several of these 99 cent frames, and they are great for parties.  The salad spinner was only $4, so I thought I would give it a try.  And I got the stacking toy as a gift for an upcoming birthday party.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

August 30: Physical Therapy Update

Isla hasn't really learned any new skills in the past two weeks since our last physical therapy appointment, but she showed some improvement in our session today.  She pulled up much better than she did last time with Shannon.   She also showed Shannon how she can climb stairs by herself, though she does not do it with proper technique.  So that's another thing to work on for us!  Shannon and I talked a lot about Isla and her progress (or lack thereof) today, and here are a few bits from our conversation.

Shannon considers 12-15 months normal for learning how to walk.  Isla turns 15 months tomorrow, so she has 30 more days until she is out of the normal range and considered a "delayed walker."

Shannon doesn't think Isla is going to crawl ever.  (Well, maybe someday she will, but not at any point in the near future). 

Shannon said her next step with kids who are struggling is to test for vision problems or problems with depth perception.  She was telling me this as we were watching Isla show off her impressive tower building skills with some blocks.  Isla was consistently building towers that were seven blocks high, which showed that vision and depth perception are not at all a problem for her.  Isla's fine motor skills are really good.  She is great with her hands...just not with her legs and feet!

Shannon said she didn't see any other developmental delays with Isla (besides the obvious difficulties with crawling, pulling up and walking).  With Isla's early problems with torticollis and moving her head/neck, Shannon said it is common to see those problems continue into toddlerhood.  She doesn't see any signs that those problems exist anymore with Isla.  So that's good to hear.

In the end, Shannon said Isla is a mystery.  And a stubborn one, too!  When she watches her cruise around, she says Isla is so steady and sure on her feet.  It's surprising that she is taking so long to walk.  Except that maybe her leg muscles are a little weak due to her scooting.  And her confidence may be a little low due to her uncertainty about pulling herself up and sitting herself back down (she is getting much better at sitting down by herself though).

Isla is not struggling enough to necessitate more physical therapy, so we're just going to keep on doing what we are doing. We will keep working with her at home (which is getting harder as she is getting tired of all our usual tricks), go back again in two weeks and discuss all of this again!  I'm trying to write all of this with a smile on my face, but I'm growing impatient.  I know she will start walking one of these days, and I will look back at these posts and laugh at myself for worrying about it so much. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 29: A Better Day...Kind of!

I decided it was up to me to start the day with a better attitude today.  My grumpiness rubs off on my girls, and I know that they react negatively to it, especially Audrey.  So I decided to take them out of the house this morning and to do something different from what we normally do.

We went to the park!  We haven't been to the park much this summer, because it has been hot and crowded and I don't find it much fun.  But Audrey loves it, and Isla thinks it's fun (even though she can't do much by herself yet!).

I packed my camera, thinking it would be fun to take some pictures.  But once we got there, I realized that I left my memory card at home (this happens to me ALL the time, you would think I would learn my lesson!).  So I decided to use my phone camera, but then my phone died after I took just two pictures:

I also brought a blanket and a picnic basket with snacks so that we could have a picnic snack after we played.  Audrey loves picnics, so this was a big hit for her.  All in all, it was a pretty good morning.  It helped that Isla was in a MUCH better mood today than she has been the past two days.

AND THEN...this afternoon...I saw a mouse run across my kitchen floor.  EEK!  I am terrified of mice.  Daniel thinks I am being a bit ridiculous, but seriously, those little rodents scare me to death.  I realize that this is a completely irrational fear.  They won't hurt me, and they are probably more scared of me than I am of them (though I doubt that is possible!).

After I saw the mouse, I was paralyzed with fear and did not want to leave the safety of the couch.   We only had an hour of free time before I had to teach a piano lesson, but I just couldn't sit in the house for an hour knowing that the mouse was lurking around unseen.  So I packed up the girls, and we headed to Scheels, because it is nearby and they have cheap ice cream.  A good distraction.

We played in the playland.

We said hi to some animals.

And we had some ice cream.

Then we had to go back home, and I had to face my mouse fears.  I got braver as the evening wore on, as it was really impossible to just sit on the couch all night.  We have a bunch of traps set now...I really, really, really hope that mouse is in  one of them in the morning!  Just the thought of a mouse running free in my house makes me tense and uncomfortable and creeped out and grumpy all over again!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August 28: A New Backpack for Audrey (and some Whining from Me)

Audrey starts preschool next week!  Exciting times!!  Today she got to go meet her teachers and see her classroom.  I think she is pretty excited about school, and I think she will really like it.  Her first day is next Thursday.

Here is her new backpack.  I really wanted to buy this Pottery Barn backpack, but then I knew that a $30+ backpack was definitely not a preschool necessity.  Instead I paid  $5 for this backpack at Old Navy.  Audrey likes it, and I think it will work just fine for the handful of things that she will need to transport to and from school.

Honestly, I'm ready for her to start school and get out of the house for a bit.  She is just going on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, so she won't be gone long.  But I think we are both ready for a change of pace around here!  I've been crabby a lot lately.  Between Audrey's drama (she had a screaming/crying fit the other day because we were out of dryer sheets, seriously!) and Isla's fussing lately (second molar is finally breaking the skin, plus she is getting frustrated at her lack of ability to move like she wants, and I'm getting frustrated because she doesn't move like she should!), I just never feel like I have enough patience.  Nowhere close to enough patience!

Back to school time usually makes me a little crabby, because it was my favorite time of year as a teacher.  Sometimes I wish I was still teaching or working or doing something else besides being home every day. 

But I know that I would not make a very good working mom.  I don't think I would do well at balancing work life and home life, and I am pretty sure I would be stressed out most of the time.  But then I am stressed out being a stay at home mom, and right now I don't think I make a very good stay at home mom either.  All of that leads me to think that maybe it is this whole "being a mom" thing that I am just not good at.  Sigh.

Don't worry though...I will be okay!   I hate to be such a downer, and when I put things in perspective, I know that I have no reason to be grumpy about anything.   I've been staying at home with my kids for almost four years now, and I occasionally go through these "crabby" periods.  I know that I eventually will come out of it and figure things out and deal with life a little better than I am right now.  I will still welcome any tips that you want to share with me though, as I find it so encouraging and helpful to hear from other people that are in the same boat with me!

Monday, August 27, 2012

August 27: Oh my Isla!

Isla loves putting things on her head and face right now...specifically a princess crown and sunglasses.  She tries really hard to put them on by herself, but she can't quite do it.  Then she gets so excited when you help her get them on the right way.  She is developing such a cute little personality!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

August 25: Block Party

Tonight we had our annual block party.  They close down the block, set up tables in the road, and everyone gets together for a meal and some activities.  Audrey is getting old enough to participate in some of the block party activities, so that is fun.

One of the activities that they always have:  a firetruck comes to visit.  Audrey was a little nervous about the firetruck making loud siren sounds (thankfully, it didn't), but she was also excited to climb up inside it.  This is the first year at the block party that she has been brave enough to go inside it.

Another annual activity for the kids:  a straw hunt.  They hide a bunch of candy in a bunch of straw in the middle of the road, and the kids search through it. We've never even attempted to have Audrey participate in this, as I didn't think she would really be brave enough to dive in there with all the kids.  So this year was her first attempt at the straw hunt.

This picture is not in focus, but I wanted to share it to show what Audrey does as soon as she leaves our side...she gravitates towards the first adult she sees and grabs on.  (And in case you are wondering about the costumes, the block party was pirate themed this year.)

 Once she figured out what was going on, Audrey did dive in the hay and get a few pieces of candy. 

 A new game this year was a scavenger hunt.  There was an adult version and a kid version, where we were supposed to talk to everyone and find people who fit each category on the list (i.e. someone who has been to a foreign country, someone who plays rugby, etc).

Daniel helped Audrey with the kids version, and she ended up being the winner because she got her form completed and turned in first.  (Considering that she cannot read or write, it probably should have been Daniel that was the winner).  She got this goodie bag with pirate stickers and candy and stuff in it.  She was so excited; she kept saying, "I can't believe it!  I'm the winner!"

 Audrey was also excited to be able to ride her bike in the road, which obviously is never allowed.  She even finally agreed to attempt to use the pedals.  She started to get the hang of pedaling, but she had a hard time getting herself started.
Isla is not at an ideal age for all the block party festivities.  She is too old to just still on our laps and be content, and she wants to be up and moving around like all the other kids.  But since she can't crawl or walk, she can't really do that by herself.  I hate to see her scoot on the pavement, because it scratches and irritates her legs.  So if she wanted to go anywhere, we had to hold her hands so she could walk.  That got tiring pretty quickly!  She spent a lot of time cruising around all the chairs.  Here she is playing peek a boo with the chair.
 This little girl needs to learn to walk soon!!  Surely by next year she will be a pro at walking and will be able to join in on all the fun with the other kids.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 23: A Night Out

The blog has been lame again this week.  It's been a long week.  Daniel is running sound for another show, which means he is gone most nights.  The girls and I have just been spending a lot of time at home, just hanging out. 

Tonight, Daniel had the night off, so I got to go out for a while with my friend Heather.  We had dinner at Panera.  Then we went shopping at Michaels, Barnes and Noble, and Carters.  Then we went to see a movie.

We saw The Campaign.  I can't really recommend the movie, as it was extremely vulgar and raunchy.  And at times it was just dumb and stupid.  I read a somewhat misleading review that said this was a smart, witty comedy (despite the fact that it starred Will Ferrell and Zach Galifinakis, I should have known better!).  I wish they would have been smarter with this one and left out a lot of the dumb, unnecessary humor because there was potential for this movie to be better than it was. 

There were times though when the movie was genuinely funny.  I think it was so funny because it was not all that far from the truth.  Their ridiculous portrayal of a political campaign was obviously exaggerated, but there was still an undercurrent of truth running through all of it.  I strongly dislike politics, especially during political campaigns.  The movie hit on several points that resonated with me, like this opening dialogue:
Campaign Manager:  "Repeat after me:  America.  Jesus.  Freedom."
Candidate:  "America.  Jesus.  Freedom."
Campaign Manager:  "Now what does that mean?"
Candidate:  "I have no idea.  But when I say it, people like it."
That basically summarizes my feelings on political campaigns.  How are you supposed to ever know what a candidate really thinks or believes when all they say is what people want to hear (or what their campaign managers tell them to say?).

Stepping down off my soapbox now.

Tonight, Heather and I also browsed through a fall movie preview guide and saw some good previews for upcoming movies before our movie.  We are starting to make our list of movies to watch in preparation for the 2013 Oscars (and no, The Campaign is not on that list!).  Better start saving my money and lining up the babysitters now!

Monday, August 20, 2012

August 20: Haircut

Audrey got her hair cut today.  Nothing too drastic; just a good trim to make it look a little less sloppy.  Audrey loves going to the salon.  One of these days I need to take my camera with me.  She just sits in the chair with a huge smile on her face the whole time.  It is pretty cute.

Here she is modeling her new 'do.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 18: Time with my Girls

This morning I took Audrey to the mall to go shopping.  It is not that unusual for us to go to the mall.  But it is kind of unusual to go to actually do some shopping!  Normally we just play and browse.

Here she is ready to go shopping with her purse and all!
Audrey did a great job, considering that I made her try on a ton of shoes and several pairs of jeans.  I had to resort to bribing her with a pretzel from Auntie Anne's during the shoe trying on process.  But other than that, she was a great shopper, and we had fun!  (The bribe wasn't necessarily all for Audrey...I wanted a pretzel too!)

Tonight, Audrey went to see Beauty and the Beast again with Daniel and his parents and his nephews.  So it was just me and Isla for the night.  I didn't really want to stay home, so we went out on the town, just the two of us.  

First we went to Barnes and Noble to look at some books.  Isla was immediately drawn to this book, Poke-a-Dot Old Macdonald's Farm.   I had never heard of these kinds of books before; there were little plastic dots all through the book.  I thought that they would make an animal sound or something when you pushed them, but they didn't.  It wasn't electronic or anything like that.  It was more of a popping sound, kind of like when you pop a bubble on bubble wrap. 
Anyway, I thought it was kind of lame, but Isla LOVED it!  I couldn't get her to look at any other book, she just wanted to point to the animals and pop all the bubbles over and over again.  It was quite entertaining!

After Barnes and Noble, we walked down the strip mall to Pet Smart to look at the animals.   Isla loves animals and animals sounds right now, so it was fun to see the cats, dogs, birds, fish, gerbils and guinea pigs.  I think the guinea pigs were her favorite.

It is a lot of fun to be able to spend one on one time with my girls!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 16: Update on Isla

It's been a while since I've written an update about what Isla is now doing.  So here goes an update, along with some videos.  Let's first talk about the things that she IS doing:
  • She is great at communicating without words.  Right now her favorite thing to do is to point and grunt and use different tones of voice, and it is amazing how well she can communicate what she wants this way.  
  • She also likes to point at everything in sight and say, "dat" and "dis".  It sounds like she is trying to say "that" and "this" but I'm not sure if that is what she means or not.
  • She babbles a lot without many coherent words.  She does say a few words but not always on command...mama or mom and dada.  She says "da" for duck and dog.  The other day I thought she was saying "yuck", and she tries to say bubble by saying "baba."
  • She knows some animals sounds:  sheep, cow, lion and elephant. In the video below she does all of them, except she doesn't really do her lion growl very well.   
  • She knows some body parts:  nose, fingers, toes and sometimes head.
  • She is an expert cruiser.  She can cruise around furniture, walls, anything.  As long as she can hold on to something with at least one hand, she can get just about anywhere.  Look at her, she barely needs any support at all to walk across the room.
  • She scoots like a pro as well, though that one doesn't make me too excited.  

I'm sure there is much more I could write about all that she is doing, but I will save it for her 15 month update in a few weeks.  I just wanted to write some positive things before I get to the list of things she is not doing at 14 1/2 months old:
  • She is not crawling.  Nowhere close to it.  I'm sure that eventually she will figure out how to crawl...maybe by the time she goes to kindergarten???  She has no interest, and she STILL screams when you try to put her on her stomach or in a crawling position.  I'm determined that all those hours of tummy time we forced on her have backfired, and she now associates that position with screaming and bad feelings.
  • She is not pulling up easily.  She is pulling up.  She can pull up on many different things, like the couch and the coffee table and such.  But it is still hard for her and takes a lot of effort on her part.  In physical therapy today, we worked on pulling up a lot.  Shannon says she is just lacking muscle strength in her legs and hips, because she scoots.   The way she scoots doesn't really require much leg muscle work at all.  So those muscles are not developed the way they should be...thus making it hard for her to do things like pull up and walk.
  • She is not walking by herself.  I really thought she would get the walking thing more quickly, because she has been so steady and sure on her feet for months now.  She just freaks out when she doesn't have something to hold onto. It often seems like it is more of a confidence problem than a physical problem.  She can stand by herself for a few seconds at a time, but only if she doesn't realize that she is standing by herself.  Once she realizes she isn't holding on, she immediately tries to grab onto something or sit herself down.
Isla is still going to physical therapy once every two weeks.  She is making progress, but it is SO SLOW!  I'm watching babies 6 months younger than her or more who can crawl and run laps around her, and it gets frustrating.  I just keep reminding myself that it could be much worse, and that she will learn all of these things in her own time.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August 14: More Photo Organization

I seriously have a problem.  I take, print and keep way too many pictures.  I thought this was a more recent problem that developed when I had kids and got a nice camera.  However, today I realized that this problem has been going on for much longer than that.

At the beginning of the year, I was in the mood to clean and organize and get everything in our house in order.  I got a lot accomplished, but as the year wore on and we got busier, I never finished all of my projects (and many things started to get unorganized again).  So, now that our crazy summer is over, I am back in the mood to organize and simplify our house.

Today, I tackled the storage area in our basement.  As I was going through tubs, I found two entire tubs full of photo albums and scrapbooks, as well as a few more that wouldn't fit in tubs. That is not including the entire shelf full of photo albums that are in my dining room.  I had no idea that I had so many pictures and albums!

Earlier this year, I dealt with the two boxes of loose photographs that were just sitting in the basement.  I threw many of them away, and what was left I put in albums.  Then I organized those albums on the shelf in our dining room.  I knew I had more albums in the basement, but I had NO idea how many were there.

So today, I decided that it was time to get rid of some photos. A lot of photos.  I have a bunch of random pictures from high school.  And a ton of pictures from college.  I think I took a picture of absolutely everything I did all the way through five years of college.  This whole idea of "a photo a day" obviously started long before I began blogging about it!

I pulled out lots of pictures to throw in the trash.  The girls thought it was great fun to play with these.  Audrey was helping me put them in a tub to throw away, but then Isla would pull them out of the tub and throw them on the floor.  Then Audrey would pick them back up, and Isla would pull them back out again.  This created a huge mess in our living room, but the girls found it hilarious.  Plus it kept them occupied while I looked through tons of photo albums.

I then consolidated the pictures I had left in the albums, trying to keep them as organized by date as possible.  I ended up getting rid of about ten albums and scrapbooks and tons of photos.
I added more albums to my bookshelves in the dining room.
Now, I have just a half tub full of scrapbooks left to go in storage.   With the help of two little girls, this was an all day project.  But it feels good to get rid of some things.

It was fun to look through all of the old pictures though.  I am glad that I take and keep pictures, as I enjoy reminiscing and remembering life's little moments.  But I am realizing that  I don't need to keep absolutely every picture forever either. 

Looking back at all the pictures of me in my high school and early college, I am just a different person now.  Crazy to think how much has changed in the past 10-15 years.  I'm sure I will be organizing photo albums again in about 10-15 years, reminiscing about how much life has changed yet again!

Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13: Towel Buddies

Both girls like to wear their towels on their heads after bath time.

 They also like to watch a show on TV after bath time.

And they like to scoot around on their bottoms after bath time.  (Well, Isla scoots and then Audrey always wants to copy her.  She is in a phase right now where she wants to do everything that Isla does).

Sunday, August 12, 2012

August 12: The State Fair

It's August, which means it is time for the state fair!  We have a tradition of going to the fair with our friends Steve, Amy and Cael.  So that's what we did yesterday on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon/evening.
 Let me start by saying that the fair is expensive!  We were there for four hours and spent $60...yikes!  Here is what we got for our $60:

Admission for Daniel and I (Kids 5 and under are free)
5 kiddie rides for Audrey
1 bag of mini donuts for the four of us to share
1 Sprite
1 Coke
2 cheeseburgers (I brought sandwiches and a banana for the girls, and we brought our own water)
1 order of fries for the four of us to share
1 small cup of Dippin Dots for the four of us to share
We could have spent less on food, and it would have been a cheaper afternoon.  We also could have easily spent a LOT more money on food and rides and all the random stuff (i.e. junk) for sale. 

This was the first year for Audrey to ride some fair rides.  She only got to ride five; see above for my thoughts on how expensive the state fair is!  =)  But five was really the perfect number of rides for her.  She went on the tamest rides that the fair offers, but she went on them by herself, which was impressive to me.  And she had a huge smile on her face the whole time.  

Poor Isla, she needs to learn how to walk so she can get out of the stroller and start having fun with the big kids!  She is pretty content to hang out in the stroller and eat goldfish and watch everyone else though. And we did get her out often...we didn't make her stay in the stroller the whole time.  Here she is getting a close up look at some goats.
Audrey and Cael spontaneously started walking and holding hands (actually, it was Audrey who grabbed Cael's hand) while walking from ride to ride.  SO cute!!
 Silly sisters!!  They love to play together in the stroller.
Even though I complain about it being expensive,  I'm pretty sure we will continue this tradition.  It is a fun time with friends...just look at all the memories that were created!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

August 11: Beauty and the Beast

Last night, Audrey and I went to see Beauty and the Beast at the Muni.  We have been talking about going to see it since we found out about it in December, so there was a LOT of build up to this night!  We also have been listening to the Beauty and the Beast Broadway musical soundtrack in the car constantly since December (by Audrey's choice not ours!).  So Audrey knows all the words to all the songs and much of the dialogue as well.  We knew she would be really excited to see the show live in person.

The weather was so perfect.  Temps were in the 60s, so we needed jackets and even a blanket.  It was gorgeous!

Audrey loved the show, and she stayed awake through all of it.  The show started at 8:30, which is past her bedtime.  The show didn't end until after 11, and we didn't get home until almost midnight.  She even stayed awake (barely) on the 15 minute drive home.  This was by far the latest she has ever stayed up in her life!  (Yet, she was still awake and ready to go at 6:45 am this morning!!)

Some people from church were also at the show, and they were kind enough to buy a light up rose and bring it over for Audrey.  She was super excited about the rose.  At the end of the show, they told everyone to turn on their roses to help the Beast turn back into a prince.  Audrey is convinced that the Beast would not have turned into a prince without the help of her rose.

Audrey did some singing and dancing and dialogue quoting through parts of the show, but she kept it until control and wasn't too obnoxious to the people around us!  She also wanted to tell me what was going to happen next at the end of every scene.  There were over 1700 people in attendance and tons of little I'm sure she wasn't the only one talking and singing through the show.

After the show, Audrey wanted to meet Belle and get her picture with Belle.  She has been talking about it for weeks.  I knew that it would be possible to do this, as the characters almost always come out in costume after these shows to greet guests.  But I also knew that Belle would be extremely popular with the huge crowd in attendance, and I wasn't feeling up to waiting in a long line at 11:30 pm!

I made an educated guess about where I thought Belle would come out to greet the crowd, and I guessed exactly right.  We were standing right in front of Belle and the prince when they came out.  Audrey was the first little girl to greet Belle and get her picture with her.  We were super excited about that!

I did take some pictures of our fun night, but they are on my phone.  And I still don't have a way to get pictures off of my phone, so I can't post them quite yet.

Daniel's parents are coming with our nephews next weekend to see Beauty and the Beast as well, so Audrey is going to get to go a second time.  Obviously, she is excited about this!

Friday, August 10, 2012

August 10: I'm Back!

I'm going to try to get back into the daily blogging habit.   I have been a slacker this summer, but now I have no more excuses for not blogging.

My camera is working!  It sat in the rice for three and a half days, and when I took it out, it worked!  I have read that the camera can begin working again, but may later stop working if there is any residual moisture inside.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will not happen that way with my camera.

Our crazy summer schedule is over!  Summer Fest was the last big event at the end of a busy summer.  Now we have a few weeks with barely anything going on, and I am so excited to relax for a while!

Summer Fest went pretty well, I think.  I really enjoyed the planning process for this event, which started way back in January.  Most things worked out just as we planned them, and that is always nice.  I wish we would have had a few more kids attend, but I think the kids that were there had a great time and hopefully learned something too! 

As I said before, we decided to write our own VBS this year.  We took out some of the things we didn't like about traditional VBS, added in some ideas that we thought would make it more fun, and the end result was pretty good.  Since it is Olympic season (and I am in love with the Olympics), we went with an Olympic theme.  Here was our stage decor:
 That cauldron is over eleven foot tall, made completely out of styrofoam (made by an extremely talented guy in our church), and it was pretty amazing.  On the first night, we had an opening ceremony, where our main character of the week, "Super Steve," ran into the auditorium and lit the cauldron.  It was not a real flame, but it was pretty realistic.
I was too busy to take many pictures, but here are a few from our week: