Monday, May 31, 2010

All Dressed Up and No Place to Go

Ella and Jack put their bathing suits on first thing this morning in prep for a big afternoon we had planned at the pool with some friends. I suppose their parents are pretty clueless, though, because we failed to notice that rain and thunderstorms were in the forecast…for the ENTIRE day.

rainy day 007-1rainy day 008-1

I was hoping to have an exciting “woo hoo” picture from the pool to post as my last of the ‘picture a day in May’ series, but we’ll have to settle for these pictures taken of the kids just hanging out in their bathing suits, looking pretty disappointed. Way to go out with a bang, eh? But, I hope you haven’t gotten too used to the daily posts because, let me tell you, I’m worn out! :)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Man at Work

Using this weekend to get some stuff done around the house. Thanks, Dad, for the pressure washer—it obviously works (and we obviously needed it)! It’s not all work and no play around here, though, we’re definitely putting in some serious time at the pool this weekend…pressure wash 024-1

pressure wash 001

{Hey Dad, you missed a spot!}

Our little slab of heaven...we're getting a fence this week and hopefully our next project will be that new patio...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Velvet Painting in the Making

We dropped Ella off at a birthday party looking completely normal and picked her up looking like this.  Well, actually, when we picked her up she had a smile on her face.  I think she rolled her eyes at me, before refusing to smile, while I tried to capture her Corky the Clown painted face.  Our sad little clown would make the perfect black velvet painting, no? 

Don’t worry, Ella’s still her carefree, happy-go-lucky self.  This was her the minute before the above picture, running wild in the yard, high on sugar from some birthday cake and excited about the neighborhood pool being officially open.  Woo hoo!

The Shirt Formally Known as a Dress

It’s hard to believe that Ella used to wear this top as a dress. I had no idea that it was so tiny on her now. I can’t wait to do the side-by-side comparison of Ella from the first to the last day of school to get a real visual of how much she’s grown (not that she wore this dress at the beginning of the year...). She just keeps sprouting up, getting longer and leaner. Only 8 more school days until she’s a rising 1st grader!

And here’s a drawing by this sunshine of a girl from this morning.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Poor Neglected Daddy

At home for a full week and it still takes me having nothing else to photograph for my ‘picture a day in May’ project for him to make the blog.  We don’t mean to neglect you, Daddy.  We know you work hard and we’re very glad to have you here at home.  Thanks for all you do.  And, uh, thank goodness the pool opens tomorrow because you could really use a little sun… :)

may 28 022-02-1


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Jack’s Last Day

It’s officially Summer vacation for our boy Jack—today was his last day of school! His teachers sent home a folder of drawings and writings he’d done over the course of the year, as well as a comparison of his heights and weights at the beginning vs. the end of the year. After seeing that he had only gained 1 pound and grown 1 1/4 inches since September, I wasn’t expecting to see much difference in my photo of him from the first day compared to that of the last day of school. You be the judge, but I think he looks quite a bit more grown up.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Moving On Up

Jack’s preschool had their annual “moving on” ceremony for the 4’s and TK classes today, which is so-called for the many 4’s who tend to go on to TK each year.  Jack’s teacher, Mrs Cole, donning her graduation gown, handed out certificates and “Congrats” necklaces to each kid and then read an adorable Curious George Book Curious You: On Your Way.  It was very cute.  Admittedly, though, this year’s ceremony for Jack wasn’t quite as emotionally charged as Ella’s was last year.  Last year’s marked the end of preschool for Ella, while this year’s was really just a practice for next year for Jack, a dress rehearsal of sorts.  Jack will be moving on to TK (transitional kindergarten) next year.  He’s already acquainted with his new teachers, he knows where his new classroom will be, and he’s very excited to rule the school as a TK-er next year.  It’s the perfect fit.  That said, it was a darling ceremony and we’re very proud of Jack for wrapping up another great year of preschool and moving on to his next challenge.   


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Our Special Boy

Jack had a very special day today—he celebrated his birthday (just a few months early) with his class at school and he capped off several months of gymnastics with a performance and trophy ceremony.  Jack’s preschool class celebrated the Summer birthdays today with an ice cream sundae bar—yummy!  After school, just like every Tuesday since January, we headed to the YMCA for gymnastics.  The class ran through all of the skills they’d been developing this year (Jack is such a strong little guy—he has very controlled v-seats, bar work, and tuck jumps) and then his teacher passed out the awards.  Jack couldn’t be happier about adding to his trophy collection and I’m proud of a special 5-year-old-to-be.    





Miss Quoted

Since January, Ella has had a weekly list of 5 to 8 sight words that she must learn for a Friday spelling quiz. To learn these words she has homework each night: write each word 3 times on Monday, write a sentence for each word on Tuesday, put the words in alphabetical order on Wednesday, and make flash cards to study on Thursday. Each week I love flipping through her spelling notebook to read the sentences she comes up with for the words of the week. I always get a good smile out of them…or start wondering if maybe we nag a little too much… Anyways, here are some gems for words of the week since January.

{Here’s Ella modeling her look this morning. Look’s like an outfit I could’ve worn in my youth. The belt is Ella’s only hope to keep that skirt up all day.}

  • Git off of my ne. [Get off of my knee.]
  • We love are family. [We love our family.]
  • The wrld is shiney. [The world is shiny.] …shiny happy people holding hands… Yes, she’s a very positive person.
  • I grow up.
  • I rol down. [I roll down.]
  • My mom seys look war yer going. [My mom says look where you’re going.] And I stand by that—have you noticed the nice gash Ella has on her forehead lately, yeah well, that’s from skipping straight into a door frame…
  • Wut are you doing it was nuthing. [What are you doing? It was nothing.] Hmmm…what WAS she doing?
  • I did clen my room. [I did clean my room.]
  • I am a byootfl girl. [I am a beautiful girl.] Yes, you are, Ella bean.
  • But I dot wunt to go. [But I don’t want to go.]
  • And the following week: No I dot wunt to go. [No, I don’t want to go.] I’m not sure where, last February, we were trying to make her go, but it was obviously troubling her.
  • I wish that you were here.
  • Ples tac the dog out. [Please take the dog out.]
  • Let me be. Something she said to Jack, perhaps? The next few sentences from that day sound like a conversation with Jack:
    • Do you like to play with me?
    • I wunt to play then.
    • You are little.
    • Yr shrt is yellow.
    • You are a boy.
  • It is luce to find a four lef clovr. [It is lucky to find a four-leaf clover.] Thought that was a pretty creative sentence for the word ‘four’.
  • I am done cling my room. [I am done cleaning my room.]
  • Help help Im faling down a clif! [Help, help! I’m falling down a cliff!] I always get a good laugh out of that one.
  • Ras yr hand to ask a queshtin. [Raise your hand to ask a question.] OK, so I’m obviously not the only one pumping this poor child full of directives…
  • I did clen my room. [I did clean my room.]
  • My dad said to clen my room. [My dad said to clean my room.] We’ve brainwashed her well—seems to have this on her mind quite a bit.
  • I am kind to my frens. [I am kind to my friends.]
  • Wiy yes I will have a cup of tey. [Why yes, I will have a cup of tea.] How proper.
  • White srts can be stad esle. [White shirts can be stained easily.]
  • Who is pocking me. [Who is poking me?]
  • And the following week: Why is sum wun pocing me? [Why is someone poking me?]
  • When I have a loos tooth I am hapey. [When I have a loose tooth I am happy.]

What a character our girl is. She cracks me up.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Thanks, Jack!

Jack has been incredible this past week at Ella’s swim team practices. The pool isn’t “officially” open yet so no one except swim team members are allowed in the pool. This means Jack and I have to sit poolside for nearly 45 minutes each day while Ella has all of the pool fun. Instead of whining or complaining about this injustice, Jack has taken to cheering Ella on, waving to the coaches, and, well, sometimes acting a little goofy.

{the one and only picture taken on my camera today. after this my camera had to head for cover from some rain.}

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Spiders That Are Killing My Blueberry Bushes

This little guy and his friend (see below) have been smothering my blueberry bushes.  No matter how many times I destroy those beautiful webs, they just get right back to work building another one.  These plants survived the coldest Winter in 30 years and look at their browning leaves now!  Aargh!

It was actually a practice in manual focus for these pictures—my lens just could not pick up these little buggers.  I loved the “leading lines” of this black & white shot.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Little Salt 'n Pepper

With 31 straight days of pictures posting to the blog I thought Gator deserved at least one day to himself. It is his blog, afterall…

Somebody needs a haircut…

Friday, May 21, 2010

Family Night Out

No pictures taken on my camera today. You’re going to have to settle for a phone cam pic—which actually didn’t turn out too bad. After a long, busy day we decided to join the masses for a late dinner out at P.F. Chang’s and I couldn’t be happier that we did. I don’t know why we don’t take the kids to this restaurant more often, the two times we’ve been here we’ve had such an enjoyable time with the kids. Ella and Jack were polite, reasonable, and even tried some new foods. Ella had about three bowls of wonton soup and Jack dipped his crunchy green beans in hot sauce that had steam coming out of my ears. As with my post of our last night out at P.F. Chang’s, I wanted to remember our fortunes from this great family night:

  • Ella’s - Do not mistake temptation for opportunity. (I’m at a loss of how to relate that one to Ella’s life. Any ideas?)
  • Jack’s – A dream you have will come true. (I think he might wake up as Iron Man tomorrow morning.)
  • Jonathan’s – You will receive a surprising gift very soon. (As I, curiously, had to say for his last fortune, as long as we're not talking about a small bundle from the stork, I'm game.)
  • Mine (and I L.O.V.E. this, especially after such a wonderful night spent with my very reasonable—but usually lacking any impulse control—children) – The best times of your life have not yet been lived.

Here’s Ella and me wandering around Restoration Hardware while we wait for our table at P.F. Chang’s. Cool mirror, huh?


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wishing and Hoping

Ever since Ella first started reading I’ve been wishing and hoping (and thinking and praying) to find her reading to her brother.  This might have happened before, like when they have sleep-overs together on weekends or when I wasn’t around, but this was the first time I’d witnessed this sweet moment for myself.  It isn’t too often that these two contentedly sit still next to each other (there’s usually some good-natured wrestling or attempts to irritate each other going on when they’re this close), let alone an instant where Jack will actually let Ella impart some knowledge on to him (he seems to take offense to that).  Regardless, I hope I find more of these perfect moments to come.  

{Ella’s already decked out in her Speedo two-piece here, ready for swim team practice from the moment she got home from school.}

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Strawberry Picking

All of the kindergarten classes from Ella’s elementary school went on their last field trip of the year today at Hall Family Farm.  It’s amazing how the year has slipped away—this last field trip for Ella as a kindergartener was the first field trip I’d been able to tag along on.  I love kindergarten.  I’m going to miss it.  These kids are silly, they openly love their mommies, and they go on fun field trips like strawberry picking.

Ella’s class started off their day at the farm with their teacher, Mrs. Hunter, leading them through the “Berry Amazing Maze”, coming in with the fastest time of the day, I might add.     

Next the kids had their fun at the water pump duck races.  You wouldn’t believe how entertaining 5- and 6-year-olds find this.  This is Katie, one of Ella’s good friends from class.

Finally, each kid was given a clamshell to fill and set to work in a row of strawberries.  We had some of the delicious, red, ripe strawberries Ella picked for us with our dinner.  They were so yummy, we might just have to go back for more with the fam.  Down below is a picture of Savanna, Ella’s “BFF” from school.  They even wore BFF necklaces to school for a while, that is, until they both lost them (obviously, a true soul mate of Ella’s).

After the clamshells were full of red, ripe strawberries there were more games and “totally awesome” strawberry slushies for all of the kids.  (Unfortunately, I missed that part because I was off to pick Jack up from school.)  It was definitely a great field trip and I’m so glad I got to share most of it with Ella.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Making Waves

Ella had her very first swim team practice this evening at our neighborhood pool.  She'll be swimming with our team, the Waves, this Summer.  I was so incredibly proud watching Ella practice today.  She swam lap after lap, brimming with enthusiasm and eager to learn from the coach.  At the end of practice, after she’d swam about 10 laps over the course of 25 minutes, I asked her if she was tired and she casually replied, “Nope.  That was easy.”  Well, I think she’ll find some hard work ahead of her, but we’re all looking forward to a fun swim team season.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Boy and His Geens

Jack came home from preschool one day last week raving about Sam’s new “geens”.  Apparently, these geens were shoes that could make you run incredibly fast and, for this very reason, Jack was in desperate need of a pair.  Right now he’s only as fast as a panther, you see, while Sam, on the other hand, is like a cheetah on the playground.  Now, I had no idea what Jack was talking about, had never heard of “geens”, and made no inference from what he told me about them.  As chance would have it, on Friday I volunteered for the last time this year at the aforementioned JLC Wearhouse and, since I can never seem to work there without shopping, I came home with a brand new Ralph Lauren silk wrap dress for Ella and a good-looking pair of those rugged Keen sandals for Jack.  You should’ve seen Jack’s face when he saw those Keens.  He lit up with pure joy and shouted, “Geens!” I had just won the Mom of the Year award in Jack’s eyes…and all because of my dumb luck.        

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Glimpse of Summer

This is a worn out boy from an afternoon of swimming. Pool season has officially begun! The kids are very excited, to say the least. There's no easier way to keep the kids happy, busy, and active than a trip to the pool. Only a few more weeks of school and then you'll find us at the pool more than anywhere else...and there'll be a lot more of these tired looks at the end of the day.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

T-Ball Fun

Ella and Jack have spent their Saturday mornings for the past month playing t-ball through the YMCA. They're signed up for a clinic together with their friends Miles and Noah, and a few neighborhood kids, that is perfect for this age group. They do base running, hitting, grounding, and throwing drills and then sometimes have little scrimmages. It's so casual (and so cute!) and the best part is that all of the kids love it. They look forward to their Saturday morning t-ball and both Ella and Jack are actually pretty good at it (and getting better!). Maybe one day this will lead us to the 3-time-a-week practice and games t-ball, but, for now, we'll take our Saturday mornings of t-ball fun.

Look Out Below

I'm not trying to be sneaky, but, I know, every once in a while I slip a new post in with the old ones. I don't do this to bug you or to have a post go unnoticed. I do this because if I don't post things on the days they actually happened I tend to get a little confused when I'm looking back later and, seriously, I don't need more confusion in my life. I spend a lot of my time already in a brain fog. So, if you weren't paying attention, you might not have noticed the new posts on The Pioneer Woman, camping at Lake James, and Mother's Day. Check them out for some good stories and new pics.

Friday, May 14, 2010

It's Been a While...

...since I've posted about Jack napping. This makes me giddy. I always loved how Jack would succumb to his exhaustion in the most odd places and/or positions. It's as if it came over him in one small moment of weakness and he completely surrendered. If you've been with us since 2008, you might remember a series of similar posts, such as here, here, and here, which actually led me to ponder whether I should devote an entire blog to these strange napping habits of Jack's. I've missed these adorable little episodes of Jack's. Actually, it has been so long I'd forgotten to miss them. But, alas, Jack decided to remind me just what an endearing and quirky little boy he is.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Flowers for Mom

I can't believe it's taken me this long to post pictures of the beautiful, sweet card that Ella made for me for Mother's Day. The time, thought, and care that went into this card just make me feel so special.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Eyes Have It

A little practice focusing on these sweet eyes...

This is Jack's signature "Mona Lisa" smile..seriously, I put that in quotations because that's what he calls it.

Ella left for school today with two sweet little braids in her hair. I even hairsprayed them, hoping they'd hold for most of the day. She returned home with sweaty, wavy, disheveled hair, like always. I guess that means she had a good day. Oh how I love that au natural, mussed up look in pictures.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Brotherly Love

This is what you call emotional perfection (as opposed to technical perfection) in photography. It's a concept introduced to Brooke, Tracy, and me back in March when we went to a "mamarazzi" boot camp in Dallas. To get candid shots you have to be immersed in life and then it's just too dang hard to get those perfectly focused, correctly exposed, and well composed shots. But, you do get this. A shot that makes me think about just how sweet Jack is--and how he chases Ella down to give her his "slobbery" kisses. Doesn't get any better, if you ask me.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mini Me

So I bought Ella a jean jacket recently, another find at the Junior League of Charlotte's Wearhouse where I volunteer about once a week. I, too, own a jean jacket and just recently started wearing it more often. Well, Ella L.O.V.E.S that we are "twins". She insists I wear my jacket whenever she wears hers. I got scolded one afternoon when I met her at the bus stop and I wasn't wearing my jacket even though I'd promised I would (I don't recall promising and didn't think to put my jacket on over the workout clothes I'd sweated in earlier that day...still felt like a bad mom, though...). Today when I came downstairs in my jacket, Ella had to put hers on, too. After school today (and yes, I did meet her at the bus stop still wearing my jean jacket), I attempted to get a picture of this "mini me" moment. My shots are at the bottom--obviously I don't have long enough arms for that gig. Jack to the rescue. He took a pretty good shot of the two of us....once he figured out the whole viewfinder thing.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

We spent last night and early Mother's Day morning camping out on this beautiful hill at Camp Lake James (see our red tent?). Oh what a lovely place it is...I hope all you who are mothers enjoyed your day, too.

I have a ton of pictures to go through from our weekend, but I'm just too tired know how camping goes--loads of fun, but a little exhausting.

Mother's Day

We awoke Mother's Day morning to a brisk and windy day at Camp Lake James. Great camping weather, if you ask me. The coffee and outdoor fire really hit the spot. The kids were excited to give their mommies the flowers they had arranged in bouquets the previous day. I really loved spending Mother's Day completely outside (and away from the responsibilities of home) on such a beautiful, clear-skied day.

The wind was so strong that there was a small-craft advisory on the lake, so no kayaking or canoeing this trip. This actually led us to discover another gem at Camp Lake James--the incredible hiking trails throughout the property. We hiked (or strolled, rather) to the little fishing pond the kids had been to yesterday (where they all caught fish).

There I am! There I am! Can you see me? I actually did go on this vacation...

Here we're hiking alongside the lake. Lake James is such a beautiful, clear, blue lake.

View of the kiddie pool, infinity pool, and lake...

This is not the "pull my finger" trick you might think. Jonathan kept showing the kids that his finger could come apart (remember, he's magical), so they kept trying to pull it apart to see how he did it. One time Jack pulled so hard he fell down. Once he landed, his eyes opened wide and he checked inside his hand to see if daddy's finger was there.