Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dad (and Husband) of the Year

post by Jonathan (Title by me--thanks, sweetie! You can check out the fun I was having on my girls' weekend at Brooke's blog.)

Trish took her third annual girls-only trip to the beach this past weekend, so I assumed some of her duties for a few days, including providing updates to the blog. (Nothing like a few days alone with Ella and Jack to remind me how much she does behind the scenes here.)

I suppose the weekend really started on Friday night when we all went outside to enjoy the summer weather. Jack and I (surprise, surprise) played Star Wars with a few modified golf clubs while Ella rode her bike. I told Ella not to go past the neighbor’s mailbox, but with a fair amount of attitude, she explained to me that she was five now and could go to the 3rd mailbox – significantly farther down the street. I relented…and she seemed to have fun building up some good speed pedaling down the street. Hopefully I didn’t set a precedent that her mother won’t like.

Saturday afternoon was spent at the pool with Miles, Noah, Griffin, and Mike Brown. What better way to welcome in the hot weather than with the Brown boys. FOUR HOURS of fun later, the adults called it quits and everyone headed home. I have to say, the swim lessons have really paid off for Ella – she is just about self-sufficient, even in the adult pool. I am impressed. Jack is making progress too, but still prefers sticking to the water slide in the smaller pool with partner-in-crime Noah. That’s a-ok with me…I prefer he not get too brave too fast. A little bit of caution is a good thing in my book.

Saturday night we had an added bonus – we got to take advantage of PopPop’s (my Dad) layover at the Charlotte airport. Stuck here for a few hours on his way home from Kentucky, he came through security and met us for a quick visit and a box of donuts. The kids really enjoyed seeing him…and the donuts.

Sunday we headed back to the pool for another four hours with the Brown boys. These kids have endless energy when it comes to swimming. Good times were had by all though (myself included), so I hardly minded the repeat trip.

Mommy came home to some tired little ones, but we’re glad the ladies had such a fun time together at the beach.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

In Stitches

My kids do not get knock knock jokes. They do not understand the anatomy of a knock knock joke. Even when you explain to them the play on words they just don't, well, get it. In fact, the less sense a knock knock joke makes, the funnier it is to them. They can go on and on with nonsense words and phrases in their knock knock jokes for an entire car ride. This type of self-concocted joke, followed by several variations of this, has them in stitches:
Ella/Jack: Knock Knock
Mommy: Who's there?
Ella/Jack: Orange [this must come from a real knock knock joke we tried to teach them "orange ya' glad I didn't say orange again"]
Mommy: Orange who?
Ella/Jack: Orange chocolate milk silly head! them at least. After a while I find it really hard to fake a laugh--does that make me a bad mom? Nonetheless, my quest to get my kids to get it continues. A few months ago I was partially successful at teaching them one that made sense.
Ella/Jack: Knock Knock
Mommy: Who's there?
Ella/Jack: Boo
Mommy: Boo who?
Ella/Jack: Boo why are you crying? [OK, so it should be "Boo hoo, why are you crying" or just "why are you crying", but good enough for a least the first time or so...]

Then, they got sweet and these at least make me smile.

Ella/Jack: Knock Knock
Mommy: Who's there?
Ella/Jack: Mommy

Mommy: Mommy who?
Ella/Jack: Mommy I love you! [Who wouldn't love hearing that.]

A recent return to the marathon of nonsense jokes lead me to check out from the library a picture book collection by fourteen artists of their favorite knock knock jokes, aptly named KNOCK, KNOCK!. I figured with how often my kids have me read them their library books, maybe they'll pick up a joke or two that ACTUALLY MAKES SENSE! Well, they were not impressed. The jokes were not funny to them, and one actually offended Ella.

Mommy: Knock, knock!
Ella: Who's there?
Mommy: Impatient cow.
Ella: Impa-
Mommy [interrupting]: MOO!
Ella: Mommy, that is not nice.
Mommy: Yeah, but don't you get it? The cow doesn't have patience.
[Ella, arms folded, continues to pout.]

I had high hopes for this one. This is Jack's variation of the joke with probably the most simplistic concept.
Jack: Knock, knock!
Mommy: Who's there?
Jack: Lettuce.
Mommy: Lettuce who?
Jack: Lettuce chocolate milk silly head! Ha ha! [s/b "Lettuce in!", of course.]

Well, maybe the joke's on me. I guess I should just be happy that my kids got in a good half hour of belly laughs.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Jack's Gymnastics

It was Family Day at Jack's gymnastics class at the YMCA today. Ella and and I got a chance to check out all of the skills Jack and his class have been learning over the past several months. Jack has been taking gymnastics on Wednesday mornings for the past 5 months and really loving it. He's the only boy in his small class of 4 kids, but he doesn't seem to notice (or maybe he likes that!). He loves swinging on the rings, walking the balance beam quickly, and jumping into the cheese pit. His balance, strength, and jumps have all improved. We loved watching Jack show off his new skills and seeing his moment in the spotlight receiving his "participant" ribbon. Proud Jack carried that ribbon around the rest of the day...and it shows, too--it's covered in dirt already from the playground! Ella really had a hard time not being the center of attention for a while, but in the end she cheered on her brother and his friends. Go Jack! Only one more class and then we're off for Summer.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I ♥ Faces: Silhouettes

Brooke recently introduced me to the fun photography blog, I Faces. Each week the site creators host a photo contest and invite a guest judge to vote on the winners. Professional and amateur photographers alike can enter. I have enjoyed checking out the site for creative ideas on capturing the darling faces that surround me. Although the contests typically involve photos with, of course, faces in them, the theme this week is "Silhouettes". I just happen to take one such photo last week at the Georgia Aquarium, so I figured I'd try out my sea legs, so to speak, on I Faces with a photo I had on hand. I took this with my moderate wide-angle lens, which helps to show just how impressive this part of the aquarium is (this tank holds four whales sharks!). This is my nephew, Jake, and Ella. Ella has a hold of the guide to all of the sea life in the tank, but I think Jake was giving her the full tour.
To see some truly inspiring shots, and beautiful faces, check out

Rite of Passage

Around the age of 4, here in the Williams household it is apparently a rite of passage for our children to play hard and carelessly, incur battle wounds, and then of course take a trip to the urgent care center to get stitched back up. It was about the same time last year that we made the trip for Ella, who had split open her eyebrow. But, why should Ella get to have all of the fun, right? Jack and Ella were playing upstairs today, donning their swimsuits no less because we were minutes away from leaving for our swim lesson, when I heard a scream out of Jack that I just knew was bad. I ran upstairs to find Jack just spurting blood from right under his left eye. You could see a crescent-moon shaped gouge that no doubt needed stitches (more for vanity than anything else). So, instead of heading off to swim lessons, we were off to the urgent care center. Brave little Jack never shed a tear while the doctor numbed and then stitched his "boo boo" up. With 2 stitches under his eye, there'll be no swim lessons for Jack this week--not a great way to start off the Summer! Jack's still about 5 stitches short of Ella's record, but I'm praying he's not keeping count!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Two for One

The silver lining of having a rainy Memorial Day weekend is that Ella got to see her first (and second, right above it) "actual real and true" rainbow.

Jonathan's Turn

...for a little peace and quiet. Ella had a sudden earache this afternoon that had her in tears. After she took a little Tylenol, I cuddled up with her on the couch. Jack came by and, I guess because we just looked so comfy, decided to climb up and join us. It didn't take long for the two of them to fall asleep. Trapped beneath these cuties, I figured why not take advantage of this rare opportunity for a nap. Luckily, Ella's earache was a fluke and the ear pain hasn't returned.
We'd also like to take this opportunity to debut Jack's new haircut. We've had the toughest time figuring out sweet Jack's hair. I'm not sure this new buzz cut is the solution, but at least it's out of his handsome face.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kissy Face

These sweet little pink, puckered-up lips come at me literally about 40 times a day. I appreciate every slimy, snot-accompanied, neck-pulling, phone-call-interrupting kiss I get from my sweet little boy.

So What I Am a Rock Star

Aren't you gettin' that vibe from this look?

The Farmer's Market

After 9 1/2 years in Charlotte, we finally checked out the farmer's market here and it did not disappoint. The kids were amazed by all of the fruit, veggies, flowers, and homemade items available. Ella and Jack were smelling everything (carrots included). Jack's nose lead him right to the strawberries. We came home with strawberries, peaches, bell peppers, corn, cucumbers, squash, and the best (and cheapest) avocado we've ever had. We're definitely going to have to head to the farmer's market more often. On the way home we were talking about how neat it was that the farmers brought their food to the market for us to buy it directly from them. Ella asked, "Where were the farmers? I didn't see any of them." We told her they were, of course, the people selling everything. To this she said, "But they didn't have their straw hats on." I guess this is why we need to get these kids out a lot--so they don't learn everything about the world around them from picture books and movies!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Baden and Ilse

We kicked off our Summer with a playdate with our special friends Baden and Ilse. The kids ran around like mad and played in Baden and Ilse's yard for over 3 hours. These kids have fun playing together in any combination. All 4 of them played pirates for a while and then hide-and-go seek. Ella and Ilse picked flowers and then pretended the playset was a castle. Jack and Baden got out bats and pretended they were "life savers" (I'm most certain this was Jack's idea). Ella taught Baden how to ballroom dance in the "tower" of the playset/castle and Jack and Ilse enjoyed a snack together on the bench. And then, in the end, they all got together for a big group hug which I decided I wanted savor with my own eyes rather than from behind a camera.

I guess we should've encouraged taking turns on the swings instead of sharing...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Last Day of School

I really thought the kids wouldn't look too different now from their beginning of the year pictures because they are still wearing a lot of the same clothes. But, I guess it's hard to see the changes when it happens so gradually. Jack's facial features have definitely matured and Ella has lost most of her belly. They both gained about 2 pounds during the school year and Ella grew 2 inches and Jack grew 2.5 inches. I'm sure by the end of this Summer their hair will lighten again. But, beyond the physical changes so much else has happened this year. Ella has started reading. She can now write her upper- and lowercase letters. She's more responsible, more reasonable, and definitely more independent. Jack knows his letters, writes most of them, and would rather sing the alphabet backwards than forwards. He can dress himself, clean up his room (yes, Jack, your secret is out!), and tell a knock-knock joke that actually makes sense (well, maybe not all of the time...). We love our amazing kids! And, we're looking forward to a fun Summer!
First Day of School, 9/02/2008
Last Day of School, 5/21/2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Graduate

Our sweet Ella Bean is now officially a "rising kindergartener". Preschool graduation ceremonies were held today and Ella received her certifcate of completion, a cap-and-gown necklace, and a '2009' cookie. Ella asked her teacher after the ceremony, "Why did I have to go last?" Oh, sweet Ella Williams, doomed to be called last at however many graduation ceremonies we have to come. Blame the alphabet!

Spencer has been Ella's friend for three years now. He's off to a different kindergarten than Ella, but hopefully we can still keep te friendship alive.

Julianna lives near us and is the only other kid from Ella's class who is going to the same school as Ella next year. We hope she and Ella are in the same class next year!

Congratulations, Ella! We're very proud of you and know you are ready to move on to kindergarten!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bubble Monsters

In their ever-amusing (at least to them) attempt to make bubble beards on their faces, Ella and Jack both ended up looking more like abominable snowmen. Bubbles always have these monsters smiling and laughing.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lakefront Property

And did we mention that Tracy and Ken's awesome backyard is on a lake. The kids got in a few tours of the lake before the rain starting really coming down. Luckily, Jonathan's and Ken's mad Star Wars Wii skills were enough to entertain all the rest of the afternoon. Thanks for the fun weekend, Crosson clan! We miss you guys I guess we'll just have to come back in, let's say, a month.

"It's that way!"

Friday, May 15, 2009

Backyard Fun

The 4-hour drive to Atlanta is worth every minute to Jack and Ella just to get the chance to play in Jake, Zane, and Drew's awesome backyard.

Georgia Aquarium

We started our weekend early and headed down to Atlanta to visit my sister and her family. Jonathan actually joined us on this trip--and we definitely needed the extra set of hands and eyes on our first adventure to the very large and very busy Georgia Aquarium. As the world’s largest aquarium, Georgia Aquarium features more animals than any other aquarium in more than eight million gallons of water. Jack's favorite: "the poisonous fish", aka Lionfish; Ella's favorite: "the jellyfish 'cause they're pink"; my favorite: definitely the ham-it-up beluga whales; and, Jonathan's favorite: the whale sharks.