Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from little Ms. Incredible and Sir Jack! Ella was cold last year so she decided no princess costumes for her this year and Jack's been set on being a knight ever since he got this costume for Christmas. The weather was dreary and a little wet, but Ella and Jack had a great time trick-or-treating and filled their buckets to the rim. When they got home, Jack ate candy until he looked a little green. Ella ate a few pieces and then offered to give Jonathan more than his "daddy tax" share for taking them trick-or-treating. Ella and Jack each loaded up a bag to take with them to church tomorrow, something they were told to do a few weeks ago at church to help provide candy for parties for children in need. After all that, they each still have a bag full of goodies--if you ask Ella and Jack, that means it was a successful Halloween.

5th Annual BYOP Party

It was another fun time at our old neighbor's 5th annual Bring Your Own Pumpkin carving party. Playing out gender stereotypes, Ella painted masks and decorated pumpkins while Jack chased girls with a monster mask on and rolled around in the mud with the other boys. It was a great way to kick off Halloween.

And sweet...

Friday, October 30, 2009


It has been another nice day off spent at home. Ella and Jack have been so busy reacquainting themselves with their toys, doing some art projects, playing Star Wars and decorating a box as a jet, and helping me bake a few things that they haven't asked once to go anywhere. Ella worked on a holiday picture to enter into the Mint Museum's holiday art contest while Jack decided he'd rather draw pictures for a Star Wars book he's making.

We are going to a Halloween party tomorrow so we decided to make something fun to bring--Pioneer Woman's (and Bakerella's) Halloween style cake pops decorated as jack-o-lanterns. I think they turned out pretty cute and my taste-testers give them the thumbs up!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Children of the Corn

OK, so I've always been too chicken to watch the movie, but I'm in the Halloween spirit so I couldn't resist the title.

Ella and Jack both have a few days off from school leading up to Halloween and, amazingly enough, they are as content as I am to have a few days at home. I guess the school year grind has gotten to them, too. We did need a few distractions to keep these idle hands busy so we decided to take on a project I had seen on a Montessori blog sometime last Fall. Basically, to improve fine motor skills the kids use tweezers to pull each corn kernel off of a dried corn on the cob. I had no idea the kids would take to this so enthusiastically. We took the project outside (the kernels tend to fly off) and enjoyed the beautiful weather for a good three hours working on this project (yes, three hours--can you believe it??). Ella spent over an hour working on her corn and then another two hours sorting the kernels by color and then making a mosaic picture. Jack's interest waxed and waned, but he spent at least half of the time we were outside working on that corn.

Look at that focus, that concentration...

Our corn mosaics: Ella's scarecrow, cornfield, sky, and sun; Jack's scarecrow; and, my scarecrow and cornfield on a rainy day.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

What a beautiful day it turned out to be! I just love the cool, sunny days of Fall in Charlotte. We decided to enjoy the day outside, decorating our driveway with spooky chalk pictures to welcome our trick-or-treaters this Saturday.

Ella's scarecrow, Jack's jack-o-latern, and Ella's cat. They also traced each other's bodies and Jack turned Ella into a ghost and Ella made Jack into frankenstein.

Gator hasn't quite been himself lately, not snuggling as much and keeping to himself more. He's coming around and a few hours of fetch really lifted his spirits. This dog would seriously play fetch ALL DAY LONG.
Look at those ears! He looks like a bunny.

Indian Summer? I guess Jack thought it was warm enough to run around with just shorts on. Mid 70s--all of our Floridian relations would seize the opportunity to wear a sweater.

Costume Parade

Jack's school had a costume parade and Fall Festival today, as they do every year (last year Ella was in the parade, but Jack opted out). Here comes the parade--I'm so glad to see Jack smiling and waving as they walk down and back in front of the school. Jack told us that his teacher was "a dust bunny" and "she lives under the couch".

Jack has already decided that next year he wants to be Scooby Doo, just like Austin.

Jack and Jackson are still best buds at school. The letter of the week was 'J' and so they both decided to bring themselves as their show-and-tell items. Apparently they hid in the show-and-tell box while Ms. Cole gave the class hints about them: "they run around a lot"; "they love super heroes"; and, "they both have brown hair". Jack thought this was the funniest thing ever.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Still the One

We were on hand today to help Baden celebrate his upcoming 6th birthday. It blows me away that this is the fourth birthday Baden has had since Ella and he met in their 2's preschool class and it has been since that time that these two have just adored each other. Well, Ella, you couldn't have picked a nicer kid, or a nicer family, with whom to develop a lasting relationship. Have a great birthday, Baden!

Love Letters

Through Kindergarten Ella has gone from being afraid to even try to read new books to feeling confident enough to write her own books here at home, phonetically spelling words of which she is uncertain. Her newfound obsession is writing little love notes for us and leaving them scattered around the house for us to find. I wake up to a few on my nightstand, find more next to my computer, and then sometimes see a new one placed up on the fridge. I hope the sweet little notes never end. Here is just a small sampling of these love letters we've found just in the past few days.

My Mom and Dad is the best Mom and Dad. You really are the best.

My my I love you Mom and Dad. I think you are the best Mom and Dad I could ever have.
From Ella
Love Ella
I love you Mom and Dad.

You are the best Mom and Dad! And I like my desk.

I like my desk so much and I love you Mom and Dad.

About a month ago I bought a desk at the Habitat ReStore for $25. It was ugly, outdated, brown, and water damaged, but I saw its potential. Jonathan didn't. But, luckily he set that aside and still helped me saw off the bottom, add some trim, and work a fix to put on the drawer pulls that didn't quite fit (thanks, Jonathan). Ella loved the desk from the moment she saw it (even in all of its 80s oak glory). She's been patient and grateful during the entire transformation, watching her desk go from brown to white to dark pink and then finally to light pink. We've received sweet little thank you notes about her desk all week, even while the desk was still parked in our garage. Last night her pink desk finally made it up to her bedroom and she couldn't be more thrilled. Every moment we were at home today, you could find Ella sitting at her desk writing or drawing. I couldn't be more thrilled that this labor of love for me has made Ella so happy.

The finished product.... I thought about taking a "before" picture, but it was really so dang ugly I'd rather just forget how it used to look now that it is in my house...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Prize Pumpkin

We went to a fun pumpkin carving party held by our neighbors (new neighborhood, not old--that party's next weekend!) at our clubhouse. We had a fun time hanging out with our neighbors, drinking hot apple cider, watching the kids run around, and, of course, carving our pumpkin. Our lite brite pumpkin won 3rd prize.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Into the Woods

The weather's beautiful this week, after weeks of dreariness, so Ella, Jack, and I headed into our woods behind our house. We planted about 100 daffodil, bluebell, and Grecian windflower bulbs in our woods, hoping to see a little color back there this coming Spring. After planting the traditional-bulb looking daffodils and bluebells, Ella looked at me incredulously when I handed her the pitt-like windflower seeds and said (taking her queue from Dot of Bug's Life), "It's a rock." It's a seed, Ella, work with me.

After we were all done planting, we headed over to the fairy houses Ella and Jack had built last Winter, to freshen them up. We also noticed that the fairies must've eaten the blueberries we left for them.

Aaaah, blue skies and sunshine, welcome back....

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Out in the Cold

We spent some time this afternoon outdoors at the beautiful setting of the Dairy Barn of Ann Springs Close Greenway for our first ever on-location photo shoot with a professional photographer. It was cold and windy, but the kids were good sports, working through the shivering to ham it up for the camera. Here's hoping we got a good family shot to finally replace the framed one in our upstairs hallway taken back when both Jack and Ella were essentially babies. Afterwards, in need of warming up, hot chocolate and donuts made it all worth while for the kids. Look at that smile on Jack's face--he's got a donut's orange frosting mustache and a hot chocolate mustache.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Jack and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

You have to take that title with a grain of salt. Jack is having "a terrible day" today, had "a rough day" yesterday, and a "very bad day" just a few days ago, but only for about 10 minutes each day. He usually mutters this softly and in a grumbly voice after he has been wronged in some way, i.e., we took away a toy because he put it in his mouth (can't believe my 4-year-old still does this--he is now under threat of getting baby teething toys for Christmas), we told him to eat over his plate instead of dropping crumbs all over the floor, or he would only be able to have goldfish for an afterschool snack after he finished the healthy food he brought home in his lunchbox. I tell ya', the kid's got it rough. As Alexander's mom says, some days are like that, Jack. I just hope those kind of days are fewer and farther between for you, sweetie.