Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ella’s First Communion

Ella has spent every Saturday morning this month in a class at our church, along with 26 other 1st graders, preparing for this morning’s First Communion ceremony.  She studied the Bible verses related to the Last Supper, came to understand the meaning and process of receiving communion, and even learned church manners.  Ella took this all very seriously and was calmly and quietly excited about this sort of coming-of-age ceremony today.  There was not much pomp and circumstance, no gifts or parties (well, we did go to Dunkin’ Donuts afterward for a treat), but there’s no doubt it was a very special day.  All of the families of the First Communicants paraded into the church together and sat in the front rows of pews.  Ella and the rest of her classmates were called to the front of the church where they each received a First Communion pin from Father Paul.  Ella then received this sacrament alongside us in the full church line of communion.

{There are no pictures from the actual ceremony because there is no photography during services in the Episcopal Church.}

{I love the beautiful red doors on Episcopal Churches.  They signify sanctuary to all those who enter.}

{Like father, like son I guess. Jack LOVES putting his hands in his pockets lately which unfortunately hikes up his pants that have all suddenly become too short anyways.  Side note—Jonathan measured Jack the other day, because he is looking suddenly taller, and found him to be 43”, well tall enough to ride the big rides at Disney (when we went 2 years ago he wasn’t even close).  Upon hearing this, Jack hugged my leg tight and sincerely said, “Thank you, thank you, Mommy, for feeding me healthy food.”  I guess being a Mom isn’t a thankless job after all.}

{Our best family shot from the day, believe it or not.  It will have to do. :) }

Saturday, February 26, 2011


The weather this weekend was just so wonderful and warm.  We tried to spend as much as we could of it outdoors, although it was a busy weekend.  Not much is blooming here in Charlotte yet, but we did our best to find some first hints of Spring.

{sweet jack took it upon himself to pick an entire bouquet of little purple flowers for me.  he didn’t set them down the rest of the time we were outside and right now they’re in a vase in my kitchen (all his doing, i didn’t even get the vase out for him).}

It’s Here!

There will probably be more posted on this later, but just had to share my excitement—our piano was delivered today!  We’ve been mulling over getting one for what seemed like ages and Ella has been asking very nicely for piano lessons for at least a year.  So, we finally bit the bullet and bought one.  We are all very excited to say the least.  Right now, the only songbooks we have are for Christmas carols so Jonathan and I have both taken our turns at leading the family in a round of holiday singing.  It’s loads of fun…but, hopefully we’ll have some new sheet music soon. :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Because I Can

Jack was snuggling up to me this evening in our very dark, lamp-lit family room and I dreamily thought to myself that this was the kind of moment I want to capture and savor, just wished it wasn’t so dark.  Wait a minute—I have a camera that can handle that!  I wouldn’t have even thought to get my old camera out, but, having just watched a review of my new one where they tested the ISO (sensitivity to light) up to 25,600 (the old camera maxed out at 6,400 and wasn’t very usable after 800), I figured I might as well try.  Anyways, I bumped my ISO way up to 5,000—and granted you still get some grain—and I captured some sweet images when I otherwise wouldn’t have even gotten my camera out.  My faves are actually ones I didn’t take. :) 

Once I was taking pictures Ella and Jack wanted to get in on it, too.  This is Ella’s attempt.  She stood in front of us focusing and refocusing for several minutes, blinding us with the autofocus illuminator light (guess I need to turn that off).  She finally took the shot and this is what we got.  Guess she was more concerned on focusing on me.  I do love that Gator’s curled up on the couch behind us, though. 

This is Jack’s shot.  He’s pretty good.  He actually focused on my eye.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Only Myself to Blame

I have apparently created little attention-hungry monsters.  Gone are the days when Ella would simply ignore my camera’s presence altogether.  And an even bigger surprise, Jack no longer hides his face or grimaces when I point my lens his way.  In fact, these days the kids are making requests.  Jack hounded me several days ago until I trudged up to the playroom with my camera to photograph, per his adamant request, his new Lego creation.  Apparently it is a new hangout for ninjas and Jedi alike, complete with a sword cabinet, a slew of vehicles, and robots for protection.  I’m a little fuzzy on some of the details, so you’d have to ask Jack for more info—or you can check out this commissioned collage (I guess it’s handy to have a personal photographer).

Ella has gotten used to me now having a video camera on my DSLR.  Her requests are now, “Hey Mom, make a movie of me doing [this].”  I have several such trick videos.  Here’s one silly, short, unedited video of her making her way across a sort of new age monkey bars.  Love that tummy.  She was so proud that she could make it all the way across, even with a little help.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Here One Day, Gone the Next

Ella lost her tooth last night (with a little help from Daddy) right before bed last night!  She left it under her pillow last night and the tooth fairy came and left her a little surprise for it.  Ella was actually glad that she had school today (a snow make-up day that was originally a teacher workday) so she could show her teacher and friends her new “air tooth”.  No more Nanny McPhee face…that is, until the tooth on the other side starts getting wiggly…

{Ella’s holding her tooth fairy doll.  The doll has a little bag to hold your tooth.  The tooth fairy left her a $1 gold coin in the bag in place of her tooth.}

Monday, February 14, 2011

HAPPY Valentine’s Day

From Jonathan

{Sorry, Jonathan, but you know I love my purposely out-of-focus shots.  No special effects post-processing here, just me and my manual [out of] focus.}

From Ella

{Ella has been really into drawing snowglobes lately.  She made me the front and back of one for Christmas (drawing the family facing out and then from behind), meaning to stuff it and make it 3D but never did.  This snowglobe with an angel (note the lace dress) pops out from the paper.}

From Jack

{I’m fairly certain he meant ‘Dad’ instead of ‘Bad’… :) }

Ella McPhee

Ella has a lower baby tooth that is so wiggly its days are surely numbered.  She calls it her “Nanny McPhee tooth” (the kids recently watched Nanny McPhee Returns).  She is actually so proud to show off this new trick, her ability to resemble Nanny McPhee with one tooth coming out of her mouth, that she literally shows everyone—the other girls and moms at the Girl Scouts cookie booth we worked at last weekend, her swim instructor, the kids and moms at the bus stop, her 1st grade teacher, the Miners, her gymnastics coach, the list goes on…  Today, actually, we were walking home from the bus stop and she told me that she had showed Blake, a boy in her class, her Nanny McPhee tooth which prompted from him, “That’s nuthin’.  When this [upper front] tooth was wiggly, I could make a Mater face.”  As in Tow Mater from Cars.  So I guess we shouldn’t be worried by this new interest of Ella’s—it’s just what 1st graders do, one of the few perks of having lose teeth I guess.


{Nanny McPhee with one tooth sticking out over her lip.}

{Ella McPhee}

p.s. Coming to a food store near you—Ella will be working at another Girl Scout cookie booth this weekend!  If you haven’t gotten your Samoas-fix yet this year, there’s still time to get cookies. :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Just a few notable pieces of artwork that have come home with Ella in the past week—couldn’t go without highlighting them!

{ella drew this in sunday school last weekend.  i think they just had a few minutes to draw something, but, to me, this drawing of herself praying is just so special.}

{ella sketched this in art class when she was done with whatever project they were working on that day.  i love all of the different types of flowers.  she’s really proud of her rose in the middle—she said she figured out how to do it all on her own and would show me how to do it if i'd like. :) }

And Ella’s not the only artist around here.  Jack has been hard at work on making Valentines over the past few weeks and is very proud that he can now draw hearts.  I love his sort of abstract and very colorful style.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sunny Days

We’ve been teased over the past few weeks with a few sunny days well into the 60’s.  When it warms up above 50 we head outside to enjoy it.  Spring just can’t come soon enough…and here we are tonight waiting on a light snow to start…

{beautiful hat by the talented ms. dao.  ella loves it.  thanks, dao!}

Goodnight Kisses

I have the sweetest kids on the planet.  I got home pretty late from a fun girls’ night out last night.  I went in to each kid’s room to give goodnight kisses, quietly I had thought, but they each stirred, put an arm around my neck to pull me closer, gave me a kiss, and said, “I love you, Mommy.”  And that makes me the luckiest mommy on the planet.

Love these faces. 


{jack’s mona lisa smile.  most of the time we get this one or the fake, cheesy one.  either way, i love it.  i could just stare at this face for days.}

{…and then, of course, there’s his cute little crooked smile, too.}

{ella has a new really loose tooth.  she’s been wiggling her top-right tooth for months and not getting very far with it, except to make one of her perfect front teeth crooked.  now she has made her bottom, second-to-the-left incisor tooth practically sticking out (you can see it in this shot).  it probably is coming out within the next few weeks.  ella couldn’t be more excited about losing her first tooth naturally.}