Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sisterly Love

I almost forgot about this picture! This was when we went to dinner before The Backyardigans -- Grace asked for a hug, and Rachael happily obliged! This is something that's been happening more often lately, especially if one of them gets upset. If Grace starts to whimper or cry (which happens mostly when she doesn't get her way), Rachael will come over and hug her and give her a big kiss complete with sound effect! MMMM-WAH! When Rachael is upset, Grace will say, "Come here, Rachael," and Rachael will walk over with her arms outstretched. Grace is currently trying to teach Rachael how to give and receive Eskimo kisses, the same way our Daddy did with my sister and I. Grace even keeps the "mugga, mugga" sound effect we had with that. :-) These are the best days!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The theater, darling!

It was an overcast Wednesday night. Chris and I loaded the girls in the car and headed out to meet his mom for some fine dining (Panera) and a show at our center for performing arts. The show we were taking in (all thanks to Grandma)?

As you can see, the actors' faces were shown instead of replicas of the cartoons, I read that's so the kids can see their expressions. That's all well and good, but if you have a particular preschooler who notices things like "those are just adults dressed in costumes" (as one sitting behind us did) or cares that the voices don't sound a great deal like the actual cartoon (as mine did), you may have a slight challenge ahead of you. The show was really cute and fun, and Grace's favorite, Uniqua, maintained her cheery smile throughout the whole show, and there was definitely enough music and comedy for kids to keep her entertained! Rachael enjoyed it too! She watched all of it, only taking her eyes off the stage when she changed laps! :-) She clapped and cheered, had a ball!

Grace with her shield!

"Mommy, it's not a hat!"
Rachael thinks it works as an accessory too!

Today was another big day! While we were in California, Chris' mom took the girls to the library one day and said they really enjoyed it, so I took them to ours today and...

Grace got her first library card!

I think she was supposed to get a cute, colorful one with a turtle or something on it because she's not 5 yet (less than 2 months!!), so I'm going to have to call about that.

Rachael had fun too!
(This is what you get when you ask her to smile now! PRECIOUS!)

Grace is getting ready to go to KinderPraise next week, and then before we know it we'll be getting a home visit from her teacher at her new school, and then it's going to be time for school to start! And then she's going to turn 5! ACK!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Home again, home again!

Did I fall off the face of the earth? Well, no, but I did almost wind up in Mexico!

While Grace and I were visiting my sister in Georgia, Chris found out that he was definitely being sent for training on a program he uses at work. Where was the training? Temecula, California -- a wine country area just one hour north of San Diego. Being the amazing, wonderful, BEST HUSBAND EVER that he is, he bought me a plane ticket so I could go too!

Yes, that means Chris and I were gone by ourselves for about a week. I couldn't believe it either! His parents lovingly cared for the girls while we were gone, and a dear friend offered to keep Snickers.

Now, you would think that I would have at least one slideshow's worth of photos to share. Nope. On the third day, I accidentally deleted all of the pictures I'd taken. Granted, there weren't that many (I was surprised, too), but I liked what I had and it was disappointing! When we first arrived, even though I was feeling pretty rotten, Chris and I took a Trolley Tour of San Diego. It was actually a lot of fun! Except when the trolley went over the Coronado Bridge. Chris' leg may still be bruised from where I had gripped it for that part of the ride!

Coronado Bridge -- scary!
The second day, Chris began training and I returned to San Diego to meet a friend at Seaport Village. After being directed to two different trolleys (the kind that are really more like trains) that were heading for Mexico rather than my desired destination, I was told by the third police officer I asked that I could walk to where I wanted to be. Walk! It was about a mile and a half away, but walking that distance in San Diego, California is much different than walking a mile basically anywhere in Florida! NO HUMIDITY! Now, the locals were commenting on how bad it was, and I just laughed. I walked the distance without breaking a sweat! The scenery was gorgeous, the weather was beautiful -- I very well could have skipped through the streets! But I didn't!

Me at Seaport Village

Very cool monument next to the USS Midway. (Taken by my tour guide for the day!)

So I made it to Seaport Village and I ate lunch with my friend and her adorable son, then we continued to just stroll down Harbor Drive and take in the sights. That evening, Chris and I went to Ladera Beach to meet some friends that had moved to California from Florida and we got to meet their adorable son after seeing him grow up in pictures for almost a year! It couldn't have been a more perfect day! Well, we could've done without Highway 74 -- forever known to us as Dramamine Drive! Thankfully our friends gave us an alternate route back!

Highway 74 - scarier!!

The next three days while Chris was in training, I busied myself doing... Well, pretty much nothing! I drove through the Temecula Valley Wine Country, I read, I slept, I lounged at the pool. It was wonderful! Chris was done no later than 4:30 each day so we had plenty of time together in the evenings. The last day we went through Temecula's Old Town with his three co-workers (they definitely made the trip even more fun!), did some light shopping and then had dinner.

We were definitely ready to get home to our girls!! The trip was amazing and I am so thankful we had that time together (and I had that time to myself), but there is a lot to be said to hearing the squeal of "Mommy!" and feeling little arms tight around your neck!!

Just Chris and I -- we were tired!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What's in a name?

Grace took dance previously and did enjoy it, but her interest fizzled at the end of the year so we didn't continue. She would talk about it, though, and show us the different things that her teacher there had taught. It obviously wasn't forgotten. When we saw that the arts academy through the church was offering this dance camp, I had my doubts as her age group would only have 6 45-minute lessons. However, Grace had a great time and really enjoyed herself -- and she wasn't half bad!

My pictures didn't turn out as well as I would've liked, and the video camera wasn't working when I tried to tape her. I used the video feature on the camera so Chris would be able to see Grace in action, and I put this together. I don't know how much you can really see of her, but it's still cute. :-) Enjoy! (She's the first one on the left, in case you couldn't figure that out. The adorable miniature ballerina in the middle is her friend, Abbey!) :-)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fun on the 4th! (And 3rd, and 5th!)

Could this summer BE any fuller?? I cannot believe that July is already here and we are already almost a week through it! Chris' holiday weekend wasn't much of a holiday at all as he and his dad were umpiring every day, 2 games per day, for a tournament! He was able to join us for Princess Abbey's 3rd birthday, though! The girls were all smiles in the pictures shown above... Let's just say I was fortunate to get those shots! ;-) It was a great party with several beautiful princesses running around, my girls were just a little moody!!

Papa came to visit us on the 4th, bearing gifts! Grace has taken the Nemo-type stuffed fish with her everywhere so far! Papa knows what he's doing and also brought BUBBLES! It was a beautiful day, so we went outside and the girls had so much fun chasing them everywhere! I got some fun "action shots" that are in the slideshow below!

That evening, Rachael and Chris were completely wiped out, and at the last minute Grace and I were able to join the Campbells to go watch the fireworks. Grace has outgrown being afraid of them, and she only covers her ears during the finale! It's so fun to hear her commentary throughout the show! I snuck in a picture of she and I at the end, and someone else snuck into the shot as well! :-) So cute!

Chris and his dad finished up late on the 4th, so after they got home on the 5th we went over for a little cookout. Grandpa was in the backyard with the girls, and I took some fun pictures of Rachael, our little athlete, that I put in the slideshow. There were too many to choose from!! In a RARE moment of stillness, I grabbed a picture of she and I -- I think it's the first one I've gotten like this since she was about 6 months old! Look at those eyes!

Well, I'm going to try to show the slideshow in a separate post, it's not working in this one! Hope you and your family had fun celebrating our Independence Day!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Where did June go?!

June was a blur! After swim lessons finished up, we headed right into Vacation Bible School! I taught 3rd grade again, and had assistance from Ashley for the 3rd year in a row! We had an amazing class, they were so well-behaved right off the bat and even earned this very prestigious award:
They got to carry the pink flamingo around with them for a day, I was so proud! (I wonder if it had anything to do with the fact that I managed to have 15 girls and 4 boys in my class...) I even figured out a way to make sure they all got a chance to carry the flamingo as we walked around!

After VBS finished up on Thursday, we dropped Rachael off at her Grandma's, and Grace, Nana and I all headed up to Georgia to visit Katrina and her family, and meet Veronica! With a stop for dinner and another for gas, the drive took 10 hours. Mom's wonderful friend, Barbara, let us borrow a DVD player for the car and that was a lifesaver! I have a new appreciation for Color Wonder by Crayola as well!

It was so good seeing Katrina and spending time with the whole family! One of the best parts was getting to be Super Aunt for a little bit! Savannah let me brush her hair and play with it -- I braided it one night and put clips in it for church on Sunday morning! Veronica made me feel so special, because she seemed to quiet down and fall asleep when I would hold her! I loved it!

Grace would hold Veronica whenever we gave her the chance, and in this shot Veronica was starting to get fussy. Grace didn't mind a bit!

Of course meeting Veronica and spending time with Katrina, Jerry and Blake was wonderful, but the highlight of the trip was watching Grace and Savannah play, and hearing them GIGGLE!! From the time we arrived, the cousins were fast friends and virtually inseparable! Before we got there, I wondered about the age gap (Grace is 2 years older than Savannah), but I didn't need to worry! They had a great time together, and I could've listened to them playing and giggling forever!

It was hard to leave, especially hearing Grace ask if Savannah could come play this week (heartbreaking!), but Mom and I were ready to get back to our husbands, and I was missing Rachael as well! She got some quality time with Daddy and Grandma while we were gone, and they all had a blast! Daddy even took her on a date to Steak 'n Shake, where she sat in a booster seat and fed herself for the whole meal! What a big girl!

We got back in time for Grace to start dance camp (if you can call 6 45-minute lessons "camp"), and later she will go to a version of KinderMusik that the church has for a week. Before we know it, August will be here and it'll be time for her to start school!!

As I said once before, I don't know who came up with the term "stay-at-home mom," but I'm starting to think that it was not a mommy!!