Jill, Rob, and their three kids came up on Valentine’s weekend. We had a pretty full house, but it was fun. The kids spent a lot of time playing downstairs in the family room with the little girls’ new dollhouse and the dress-up clothes. It was a bit too cold and muddy to play outside except on Monday before they left. Church was interesting as we don’t normally have nursery right now (only because we don’t have the volunteers most Sundays), but this Sunday I was able to recruit a friend to watch the kids during the sermon. Benji was in my arms quite often. When I wasn’t holding him and he wasn’t nursing or sleeping, James usually had him. He really wants to bond with this boy cousin of his. He’s always loved babies and enjoyed holding them, but Benji is kind of special to him. He’s already planning on playing with matchbox cars and trains and dinosaurs and teaching him about how to make his own super hero to pretend to be. After church on Sunday, we went out to a restaurant which the kids love. It has dessert included with the meal, so the adults got pie (which we all brought home because we were full) and the kids got ice cream (James had jello). We all really enjoyed visiting and I wish we could have gotten out and about more. I hope they can come sometime when the weather is nice and warm and we can go out to the Forest Preserve to hike and go into Chicago to see Millennium Park and some of the shops on Michigan Ave like Hersheys and Lego.
And now, on to the 4-H regional International Festival.
The kids’ 4-H group did China for the regional International Festival yesterday. They all worked really hard to make sure they had learned a lot and did lots of different crafts of things from China. They made tom-tom drums, Chinese lanterns, firework sparklers (not real ones, of course), cherry blossom trees, terra-cotta soldiers, a clay dragon, a buddha, a replica of the Great Wall of China, and they all collaberated on making a big parade dragon. Some of the crafts were done by all of the kids and some were just done by a few or individuals. James made the little clay dragon. Amie helped a lot with the paper mache on the big dragon and along with Christine and another girl, painting the poster we used. AnnaBeth helped me make some Chinese sweet rolls on Saturday to take because all the groups had to have a type of bread.
Anyway, it was a ton of fun just making all of that… so now, on to yesterday.
During the presentation to the judges, Amie was one of three kids who explained about why we chose China and the different crafts we did. She and Christine both helped do the public presentation, but neither had speaking parts in it. James was also in the public presentation… under the big dragon. He was the third (and last) kid in the dragon. He loved it. We enjoyed going around and looking at the other groups tables and seeing what they had. Most of them had store bought stuff on their tables (the only store bought thing on our table was a betta fish, also called “The Chinese Fighting Fish”). Anyway, the kids enjoyed asking questions of the other groups and learning about different countries. At the end, the guy presenting the awards starting listing who all had gotten blue ribbons or green participation ribbons and we kept asking, “Did you hear our group?” Nope, it wasn’t in there. Then he announced the runners up. By this time, we were so excited. The winners were announced… HOMEGROWN CLOVERS!! Woohoo! Anyway, we are heading to the state International Festival in August down in Springfield, IL. Noelle and AnnaBeth might be visiting friends or family during this time as they weren’t quite as interested in participating in the actual festival and got a little bored.