Monday, September 29, 2008

Hangin' Out

Whenever the kids don't have school I tell them they get to hang out with me and with Jack I have to play it up a bit because he'd always rather go to school. So on Mondays Ella gets to hang out with Mommy and on Wednesdays and Fridays Jack gets to hang out. On these days we usually have to do a few errands and we always do at least one fun, special thing. I am really loving this time with each of them and feel closer than ever with Ella and Jack.

Today my fun activity with Ella was to go to a local paint-your-own-pottery shop (something I would never try to manage with both of them). Once Ella narrowed down what she wanted to paint from 20 to just 1 (and thankfully she didn't pick the bikini-clad pig), she painted away and had a ball. She wants to be an artist when she grows up, ya' know, and artists paint pottery. I started a Santa's cookie plate with the help of Ella's thumbs. I'm going to bring Jack back on Wednesday to help me finish it with his thumbs (talk about a bull in a china shop--we'll see how that goes...).

After we picked Jack up from school we had the special treat of hanging out with Ella's "most handsomest" and special friend Baden. Although they go to different schools now and only see each other about every other week those two are still faithful best buds. Ella actually still insists that they will marry each other and now she's even gone so far as to name their kids (Curly Shirley and Pearly, in case you were wondering). But, luckily, Jonathan and I can visit whenever we like.

Jonathan put the kids to bed tonight while I was at a Junior League meeting (yes, on the night of our anniversary--but, don't worry, I came home to a sweet card and a slice of yummy cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory). Ella always asks what the next day will be called. Jonathan told her Tuesday. Then she asked what she would be doing on Tuesday. Jonathan told her she goes to school.

Ella: "Well, what will Jack be doing?"
Jonathan: "He'll be going to school, too."
Ella: "What will you be doing?"
Jonathan: "I have to go to work."
Ella: "So what will Mommy be doing?"
Jonathan: "I don't know, you'd have to ask her."
Ella: "I'll bet she's hanging out."

Yup, I guess that about sums it up, Ella. Boy do I love my job.

Child Model

We all knew that Ella loves to pose for pictures, but now she's hit the big time! This is actually the second time she's been published, but today we found out that Ella's picture will once again be in the Exposures frame and album catalog. I love submitting pictures to this catalog--I not only get a $50 gift card for it but I also get to live out my dream of being a published photographer. Ella and I were actually talking today about the day this picture was taken--it was two Winters ago back at our yellow house. It was the last time we've been here for snow and Ella still remembers it even though she was only 2. The last picture Exposures published of her was when she was a newborn.
Maybe Jack will decide he wants to be in a "magazine", too and actually willingly let me take his picture.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Family Affair

It's Fall planting time so we spent today sprucing up the lawn, hoping to bring it out of its new construction dullness. Of course we put the kids to work and had some fun, too. I think we must've worn them out, though. For dinner Ella ate two pieces of pizza, a pile of pasta salad, carrots, grapes, and two helpings of pumpkin seeds (we usually have to prod her along to eat half of her dinner!). And Jack actually asked to go to bed tonight. I have a feeling Jonathan's going to be asking to go to bed early, too, because he did all the digging (10 shrubs in all).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Horsin' Around

And we wonder why Jonathan's neck has hurt for over 2 months! I think the horse took off before Jack was ready, but he loved it just the same.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Rain, Rain, Ple-ease Stay

And stay it did. It rained for a full 24 hours here. We've been in a drought for over a year so every time it rains when Ella would start singing "Rain, rain, go away" we would tell her that we actually want the rain. This morning as we were driving to school in the rain Ella sang, "Rain, rain, ple-ease stay. We want you to stay all day." She even rhymed her song--pretty clever. We are definitely well above average rainfall for the year so hopefully the coffers are full and the water restrictions will finally be lifted.

It rained so few and far between last year that the kids never wore their rain boots. Now that we're getting more regular rain I noticed that their boots were each 3 sizes too small. No kid should be without rain boots! So, to celebrate our new rain boots and the glorious rain (that our patchy, top-seeded lawn needs so dearly) we went out to play in the rain and puddles. You can't tell it's raining in the pictures, but it was coming down pretty good. It didn't let up all day. Jack loved chasing his umbrella as the wind blew it away and Ella loved singing in the rain. After having lots of wet fun, the kids put on some warm, dry clothes and snuggled in for a movie night. There's nothing like making the best of a blustery, rainy day!

Monday, September 22, 2008

School Pictures

At the beginning of every school year, each kid brings a disposable camera in to school for the teachers to take pictures of the classroom activities throughout the year. I guess we got our cameras in first because both Ella's and Jack's cameras came back at the end of last week to be developed. I love this chance to get a peek into the kids' classes so I always make sure to get a CD of the photos made to save them for myself. Ella's class just did portraits. But, I can definitely see why Jack is so excited to go to school each day--he's having a blast!
This is how Jack motions "I don't know", with his elbows up. It's so cute. I've been trying to get a picture of it for weeks (he definitely doesn't do it on request)--thank goodness his teachers captured it!

Girls Morning Out

Jack thanked us profusely that today was a school day for him--he's loving school! Ella doesn't have school on Mondays so she and I get to have a girls morning out each week. We always talk about doing girly stuff together, but mostly I think we just hang out and try to do a few things that really are easier to do with just the two of us. This morning we headed to Toys R Us to figure out what size bicycle Ella would need. Jonathan and I have definitely put off getting bicycles for the kids (and especially Ella) too long--even younger cousin Jacob already has a pink bicycle ;-). Ella tried about 10 different bicycles, some twice, ranging from 12" to 18". She loved it and rode for about an hour. It didn't take her long to figure out the brakes, either.... I think on Wednesday it will be Jack's turn to try out a bike. Poor Jack, we've set him up for failure with bicycles. He has one of those tricycles with a handle for the parent to push and a pin that made the pedals basically useless. This was fine when he was 1 1/2 because he couldn't pedal anyways. But, we dropped the ball and forgot, as he was getting bigger, to change it so that his pedals would engage. We finally figured that out this Summer and, even though it's been corrected, the poor kid still has trouble pedaling. I'm hoping the different feel of a bicycle gets him on track again. Who knows, maybe he'll be tearing up Toys R Us like Ella did today (figuratively speaking, of course).

Our Little Philosopher

Ella just celebrated her half birthday--the only present for which is the ample honor of now being able to say that she is 4 and a half--and Jonathan was teasing her about it this morning during breakfast. He said to Ella, "You're 4 1/2 now? I thought you promised us that you wouldn't grow up too fast." (This is something we do indeed insist our kids promise us.) Anyways, Ella's sage response to this was, "Well, Daddy, life is life." I half expected her to start speaking French or next tell us she wants to go live in a cabin in the woods. Instead, though, she just shrugged and turned back to her french toast. Well, c'est la vie.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jersey Girl

When given the choice between a Carolina Panthers cheerleader outfit or a glittery pink football jersey, Ella chose the jersey (good to know for future reference--pink above dresses). When she donned it on game day she started calling herself "jersey girl", minus the accent of course. We headed up to the Browns house for a fun Sunday afternoon where the kids got to play, Brooke and I got to talk, and the guys got to watch football in High Def. All five kids were decked out in Carolina Panthers gear, but unfortunately, it still wasn't enough for the Panthers to pull out another win. Oh well, it was still loads of fun!

Miles sent the kids home with a few of his awesome artistic creations. Such a sweet friend, he even made Ella's rocket ship pink. Thanks, Miles!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Commissioned Artists

Jonathan's new outdoor game with the kids is to assign them each something to draw on the driveway. Jack insists on only drawing "messy things", so he is given assignments like drawing spaghetti or Dr. Octopus. Ella's specialties are flower gardens, the sun, and people. They take their commissions seriously and love going to Daddy for more ideas. Tonight Mitchell (our neighbor) was in on it, too. He drew a rocket ship, football, and alligator.

There's no rain in the forecast for a while here in Charlotte, so I guess we'll have the most beautiful driveway around.

(Note the marks of true artists on Ella's and Jack's faces--yellow, blue, and orange chalk.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Everybody Hates a Copycat

We took a family trip to Home Depot tonight and whenever we're there the kids always have to get Disney and Mickey Mouse paint swatches. On the way home, armed with her Disney Princess decor pamphlet, Ella was trying to tell us that she was going to keep it forever to help remind her that she wants to decorate her room like that when she's all grown up (as in, when she's no longer oppressed within her walls of yellow). And I, in my constant quest to end the influence of Barbie on her, was trying to correct her enunciations. This cracked me up, but it might be lost in blog translation--I want to type it up anyways so I can look back and laugh, though.

Ella: I have this to bemember

Me: RE-member

Ella: I have this to bemember

Me: RE-member

Ella: I have this to bemember at

Me: RE-member THat

Ella: Mommy, stop bepeating me!
Something tells me these corrections are getting lost on her....

Monday, September 15, 2008

Spoiled by the Grandparents

Today the kids got to do one of the two things that are on their list for the "most funnest" things to do--we took them to the jumpy place. We had no school today, but since everyone else did we figured we'd have the place pretty much to ourselves and we were right. The kids jumped, and even figured out new, more dangerous ways to climb and jump on the inflatables, for over 3 hours. My mom and I took a break from watching all the excitement to do a little shopping, leaving my dad to watch the kids. We only hit one store, so I think our trip was a little shorter than expected. We walked in the jumpy place door to see three surprised faces to see us--there the two kids were in front of the snack bar holding Snickers Brownie ice cream sandwiches, BEFORE lunch no less. But, who am I to ruin the fun and take away a grandparent's right to spoil his grandkids?

Back at home, our new little card shark Jack luckily found his sucker...uh, I mean Nonni to play game, after game, after game, after game of Go Fish with him--afterall, she did introduce him to it. He's not a sore loser, he plays by the rules most of the time and never intentionally breaks them, and notices his matches readily. So hopefully this new found interest in card games will help develop his math skills instead of his bluffing skills.

Ella and Jack also put on a puppet show for us tonight, which, to Ella, is more of a silent movie. She says she doesn't need her puppets to talk, they just dance. So, I put on some music to spice it up a little. Once a Little Mermaid song came on, she picked up the Ariel puppet and had her dance out the story. It's so nice to have the undivided attention of grandparents!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Sunday Stroll

Our new destination of choice when we have house guests from out of town is definitely the U.S. National Whitewater Center. It's an awesome way to spend a beautiful day outside! Jack might've thought there was a little too much walking involved, once again, but we all had a great time watching the rafters and kayakers go down the rapids. There wasn't a single boulder in the place that Ella didn't climb on or jump to. After a nice lunch on the patio overlooking the facility, Jack was recharged and able to conquer the boulder climbing garden over and over again.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Last Hurrah

Sadly, this weekend was the last of our neighborhood pool's season. Luckily it's still hot enough here to enjoy an evening at the pool. My Floridian, thin-blooded parents weren't getting in to the pool (they live in Florida and still heat their pool with solar panels and a heat pump...I think the constant pool temp is about 85 degrees) and I'm happy to say my goodbyes to bathing suits for a while, so Jonathan was voted to swim with the kids. They had a great time swimming while we enjoyed margaritas and conversation poolside. This is the first time we've seen the moon rise while still at the pool. It was a great way to end the pool season. Until next year, dear neighborhood pool. You've given us lots of good times and we won't forget you.