Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Her Two Front Teeth

Within the last two weeks Ella lost two of her top front teeth!  The tooth fairy has been busy around here.  But, it definitely wasn’t the two top teeth I was expecting her to lose, and not in the order I expected her to lose them.  First, a few weeks ago, Ella lost her left top front lateral incisor (don’t the central ones usually go first??). 

Either way, Ella Bean is pretty darn cute toothless.  Then, within two weeks (and we saw this coming, it had been wiggly for a while), she lost the top left front tooth.  Ella is thrilled, needless to say.  Those new teeth are breaking through pretty quickly here, too, so I don’t think we’ll ever get that “two front teeth” look or be able to tease her about her S’s.   

At first we were telling Ella that she looks like that adorable little girl from the movie Up now…

…but, with her obsession of wiggling her top teeth with her bottom teeth, her right top front tooth is now sticking out quite a bit so we’ve been teasing her that she now looks more like Ray the firefly from The Princess and the Frog.  We keep walking by her saying “Evangeline” in our best “cajun” accent…

{see the resemblance.  :) don’t worry, she thinks it’s funny, too.}

Meanwhile, Jack is so frustrated that he hasn’t lost any teeth yet (Ella had lost two by his age) he’s in the denial stage—I’ve heard him say a few times, “I don’t care about losing teeth or the tooth fairy.”  Be careful, Jack, the tooth fairy might be listening!

Just for Fun

Our first weekday of the Summer with no swim team practice or meet, and of course we had to head to the pool—but this time it was all for fun.  Brooke and her boys joined us and we ended up staying for 5 hours!  Of course, Jack was still donning his swim team suit…he loves that thing. 

{anti-climatic, i know.  for whatever reason, i don’t have a shot of the moment of impact.}

{so wish i had a pic of griffin.  he was adorable, sporting his floaties, faux-hawk, and shades.}

Friday, July 22, 2011

Swim Team Season Recap

We returned from Hilton Head to find out, after 6 weeks of weekday swim practices and 6 (lasting well into the night) swim meets (and a sense of relief we’d made it through the season), both kids had made the All-Star swim team and were therefore in for another week of daily practices and another 5-hour meet.  As you can imagine, swim team is a huge commitment for the first-half of the Summer but one we’d happily make each year that Ella and Jack are willing to commit to it, too.  Being a part of our neighborhood swim team, the Waves, has been so rewarding for both kids—it was a great, active start to the Summer, they’ve built confidence immensely in swimming and athletics in general, learned the importance of working as a team (the Waves went undefeated this year—and every point counted, which made Ella and Jack really feel a part of something special), they each tried new strokes without hesitation, had the chance to swim at the pool for nearly two weeks before it opened (Jack’s input to this list), and they’ve developed some great friendships with other neighborhood kids (and Jack feels even better about starting kindergarten knowing quite a few kids in his school—he’s even friends with some older elementary school kids).  I can’t even begin to say how proud I am of these two, for sticking to their commitment to the swim team, working hard at improving their swimming skills, and getting out of the experience what was there for the taking (friendships, fitness, and fun).  And on the top of all that, they both were swim team all-stars!  Go, Ella and Jack!

Jack’s swim season in a nutshell:  From left to right, top to bottom—1), first meet at an indoor pool; 2) at his first meet Jack swam the 6-and-under boys freestyle event and then was done—he was in the stands with us to cheer Ella on for the rest of the meet; 3 and 4) for a few meets the coach, Eli, learned he could count on Jack for relays—he would come by and ask Jack directly to sub in for a no-show in an 8-and-under boys relay and Jack never hesitated a bit; 5) Jack might be a little sweet on this rising 5th grader—Grace goes to our church, too, so he sees her quite a bit and here he’s wishing her luck in her relay; 6 and 7) by the 4th meet Jack was regularly in the lineup for the 8-and-under boys medley and freestyle relays; 8 and 9) Jack swam breaststroke in the 8-and-under boys individual and medley relay events at the last two meets; 10, 11, and 12) at the All-Star meet at an indoor pool in uptown, Jack swam in the 8-and-under boys breaststroke individual event (each team can enter two swimmers in each individual event and one relay team in each relay event—Jack had to feel good to be swimming at all as a 5-year-old against mostly 7- and 8-year-olds); 13) it was a long meet and Jack kept visiting us in the stands in search of food; and 14)  Jack swam on the Waves’ boys 8-and-under freestyle team which came in 5th and he received a ribbon for this at the All-Star meet. 

After six regular-season meets and one All-Star meet, Jack racked up three 3rd-place ribbons and two 4th-place ribbons all for his 6-and-under freestyle events (he was consistently either the fastest or second fastest boy shrimper on his own team—watch out next year when he’s six!) and then a 5th-place ribbon for swimming on the 8-and-under boys freestyle relay team at the All-Star meet.  Well done, son!

Ella’s swim season in a nutshell:  From left to right, top to bottom—1 and 2) First meet at an indoor pool, after a great swim at the Time Trials, Ella swam the entire season on the Relay A team for both the 8-and-under girls medley and freestyle relay teams; 3) look at that focus :) ; 4, 5, and 6) in case we weren’t sure what stroke she was about to swim, Ella mimed for us her breaststroke; 7) and she’s off—Ella swam 3 individual events and 2 relays at each swim meet (3 is the max number of individual events a swimmer can swim at each meet) and it varied between freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly (the individual medley event starts in the 9-10 age group); 8, 9, and 10) swimming another relay event; 11, 12, and 13) swimming individual events at the last regular-season meet; 14) excited for her events to start at the All-Star meet; 14) love this picture—Ella is about to swim an individual event at the All-Star meet (one of two swimmers from her team in this event—breaststroke, I think) and her beloved coach, Eli, is in the foreground giving her a big cheer; 15) swimming the 8-and-under girls backstroke event at the All-Star meet; and, 16, 17, and 18) Ella was the anchor swimmer in the 8-and-under girls freestyle relay team for the Waves—her team came in 5th and received a ribbon.

Ella’s tally of ribbons at the end of the season included, from regular season meets’ both individual and relay events, four 1st-place ribbons, seven 2nd-place ribbons, two 3rd-place ribbons, and four 4th-place ribbons.  She also received a 5th place ribbon for the freestyle relay event for 8-and-under girls at the All-Star meet.  Great season, Ella!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hilton Head - Day 4

After our early start on the 4th of July, we rented a few bikes and spent the first part of the day exploring the miles and miles of bike trails within Palmetto Dunes.  Every day on Hilton Head Island we seemed to encounter new wildlife.  During our bike ride Jack fell (he was fine) and just happened to fall right next to a wooded area with a large deer eating nearby.  Jack’s fall didn’t seem to startle the deer and we watched it for several minutes about 15 feet from us.  Needless to say, we loved our time at Hilton Head—beautiful beaches, cool old trees providing tons of shady spots, and plenty of fun, outdoor family activities.  We’ll definitely be back.

{photographing while riding a bike—don’t try this at home…}

{we rented ella’s and jack’s bikes, so this is how we made the trip back to the hotel after returning the bikes in the late afternoon.}

After a little time on the beach and then getting cleaned up, we headed back to Shelter Cove with a picnic dinner to settle in for a 4th of July fireworks show. 

{take-out from giuseppi’s pizza and pasta—definitely a highlight of the trip (we had dinner from there two nights in a row).  the previous night we’d sat outside at guiseppi’s, enjoyed live music, and had their yummy pizza.  the kids loved their cheese bread (of course) and their marinara dipping sauce was just incredible.  but, i digress…}

{huge lollipops from their christmas stockings—a great way to keep them busy while we waited for the darkness to fall and the fireworks to start.}

{just some fireworks bokeh.  i was watching the fireworks through some palm trees.}

Hope you had a wonderful 4th of July—we sure enjoyed our holiday weekend in Hilton Head! 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

An Early Morning on the Beach

On the 4th of July, we woke up bright and early to be out on the beach a little after sunrise to take advantage of the beautiful early morning light and cool temperature.

{during the day, this beach had essentially no seashells.  we found a few big, beautiful ones in the water but something was living inside of them so we threw them back.  in the early morning, jack was excited to find just a few, albeit tiny, seashells all in one piece.  he’s stuffing them in his pockets below.}

{an honest laugh}

{and a true pose}

{ella’s favorite picture of herself because it shows her freckles and her hair looks soft and flowing.}

{it’s amazing how, in the morning, the light is lovely one minute and bright and harsh the next.}

{off to some open shade.}