Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Day: Take Two!

So after last week's rocky start, it felt like we had a do-over after not returning to school for 4 days! Yesterday I got Grace to school in plenty of time, and on the way there I asked her if she wanted me to walk her to her class or if I should drop her off in the carpool lane.

"You can just drop me off!"
I tried to take a picture without her looking as she went inside, but some of the volunteers spotted me and started shouting, "Camera! camera!" (mamarazzi!), so Grace gave me one of her beautiful smiles and a wave, and off she went! Yes, it tugged at my heart, but no, I didn't cry. We might have to save the tears for next year when Grace starts kindergarten and Rachael starts preschool.

I didn't have any big plans or errands to run, so Rachael and I had our first morning alone together in a while.

Looks innocent enough, doesn't she? Casually checking out a book?

Don't be fooled!
Rachael's effort to play with every single thing that she could get her hands on:

One of my good friends sent me a picture she'd taken at the zoo a couple of weeks ago. It was right after Rachael fed the giraffe -- she's giving the little "rock on" hand gesture, notice.

The scene looked familiar to me, and I found this from 2005 (please disregard the bad hair):

Notice: 1) The girls are about the same age in these pictures! They were both right around 18 months old -- look how different they are! I don't know, it's just fascinating to me, because at the same time I see some similarities. And 2) I have the same exact expression on my face each time.

So much for no tears from Mommy though! This morning Rachael and I did run some errands -- to the church, to vote, and then to the library. As I was talking to the librarian about renewing Grace's treasured Peep DVD, Rachael made a beeline for the sliding doors. I darted after her, but the door was sliding open, and she kept her hand on the glass. Before I could grab her, she was stuck between the doors up to her elbow. :-( She cried a more scared cry than a hurt cry, but I couldn't budge her and I didn't want to tug at her, so I just held her until two of the librarians came to hold open the doors so she could slip out.

She bounced back quickly though, barely a scratch on her, and used the water they gave her to dip her hand in rather to drink. It definitely took me longer to recover, and it was all I could do to not break down right in front of the check-in desk!

All is well now though! Just a little more excitement than we're used to!

A Mom of Many Talents!

I've raved about Liz's Lovely Little Lovelies, but hair clips are just the beginning for this SuperMom -- this is a woman of MANY talents! If you have a daughter, granddaughter, niece or know someone who does, and would like the chance to win an adorable dress with matching hair clips, head to her blog and leave her a comment!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

This is how we roll...

Or bowl.

After five days of being stuck indoors, we were ready to be anywhere other than the apartment!! We were able to find some fine family fun going bowling with Nana, Grandpa Ken and Aunt Ashley! It was Grace's first time, and she has already asked us at least 1,547 times when we can go again!

Grace was ready -- gotta love bowling shoes!

Rachael selecting the perfect ball.

One of Grace's turns -- what form!

She's pleased with her score!

Rachael didn't want to leave Ashley's side all night!

This is her reaction when Ashley had to bowl!

She could be cheering, but really what she's doing is tensing up and going, "EEEEEE!!!"
I know you probably have to be there to understand, but trust me, it's hilarious!
And if you ask her to do it, she does it over and over. Such a ham!

We went to Friendly's afterwards, where Grace concentrated on a word search.
I still can't get over this girl's eyelashes...

Rachael tried on my lipstick.
(Don't worry, she hasn't learned how to twist it up... YET!)

Grace and Aunt Ashley, so sweet!

More rolling...

We went for the first walk/ride with Grace's new helmet.


The helmet already went through its first performance test... Grace headed right on her bike and we were going left, so she tried to swivel back around. One of the training wheels went up too high and she toppled over. It was actually a pretty bad fall, but she came out of it with a very, very small scrape on her knee (that you couldn't see after her shower, but she wanted a Band-Aid nonetheless!), and we knew she bumped her chin but there wasn't anything there. BUT, the helmet's visor part was scratched up, meaning it hit the pavement. If there was ever any doubt about the necessity of a helmet for a child on a bike with training wheels, it was erased in that moment!

I had to come back to edit this post, I forgot to mention that after crying in pain, getting hugs from Mommy, Daddy and Rachael, Grace got right back up on her bike and rode the rest of the way home!

Ride safe!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Free From Fay?

Remember the scene on Wednesday?

This was yesterday, already a huge difference.

And now this morning.

But this isn't the norm! Friends in the area having been wading out in knee-deep flood water, catfish are swimming across their sidewalks, cars have been submerged -- sometimes even big ol' trucks.

I'm hoping to venture out with the girls sometime today, but I'm really not sure what the roads are like. Chris did go to work today (the businesses had their employees report), so maybe he can give me an idea what it's like and where it's safe to travel!

Keep those who were severely affected in your thoughts and prayers, as well as those who are getting a taste of Fay in the northwest area of Florida!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fay, Fay, Go Away!


This is the worst of it for us. We have some standing water on our porch, but there's no real threat of it seeping in. We've had two calls with recorded messages from the police department telling us that residents are to stay indoors, roads are unsafe for travel -- even for emergency vehicles. We lost power for maybe 20 minutes earlier today (the longest 20 minutes of Grace's life, I believe), and our internet connection was a little touch-and-go.

I have seen pictures from other friends in this area and other parts of Florida, even the type they show on the news with canoes being paddled on a residential street. What we're seeing in our little neck of the wood is NOTHING compared to what they're seeing.

Apparently school has been cancelled again tomorrow, so we'll likely have another day indoors.

All in all, though, what we're experiencing is nothing. Call us blessed (that's what we say), call us lucky -- we're thankful!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Greetings from Fay!

I love it when the weather is so newsworthy! After 2004, you'd think that the media would treat a Tropical Storm with as much interest as they would a politician being honest (get it? they never report that! ha!), but from what I see, Fay is getting a lot of press. So far it's been a lot of wind and rain, but nothing really exciting.

But look up at the top of the blog, where the girls are standing. I'll wait... That's our little pond or whatever on a good day, after several weeks of pretty consistent rain in the afternoons. Here it is today. Notice our lamp has been blown over.

I went downstairs and took a direct look at it. The light was bobbing up and down as the wind blew, and there were some huge fish swimming around in that shallow part.I don't know what to think about that light still working...

Look what I found! Even in my mad rush to get Grace to school yesterday, I did manage to take ONE picture -- I'd forgotten! And even in our mad rush, she managed to totally WORK IT! Seriously, when I saw the picture I remembered saying, "Grace, smile!" on my way to the car with Rachael on my arm and her bag over my shoulder, and in a split second Grace turned and posed. (Where the heck did she learn that?!) She is still using the same Dora backpack she had from her first day of preschool -- that thing has been through some serious spills in the past couple of years, but it's kept up well!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Reminder: They don't stop growing!

Today began a transition for us, as Grace had her first day of VPK and Rachael and I spent some time together in the morning. Miss Rachael isn't taking morning naps anymore, so my challenge will be to keep her entertained. Thankfully she manages to entertain herself most of the time! Sometimes she uses my empty purses, hoisting them over her shoulder and saying, "Bye!" as she walks to the front door. She's started getting into playing with Grace's baby doll, and it might be time for her to have her own. (The dilemma: give her Grace's and get Grace a new one? Or get Rachael a new one? Or avoid all frustration and get them both new baby dolls??) And while Rachael and I get to know each other better (because this girl's personality is developing faster than I can keep up), Grace will be spending 5 days a week in Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten.

Here's Rachael playing peek-a-boo with a basket that usually holds various little toys. She always enjoys being comic relief for us! If she gets a laugh or a cheer from people, she'll keep doing her "act" over and over!

It would be my pleasure to show you a picture of Miss Grace on her first day of school... But I don't have one. I must've turned off my alarm clock in my sleep (I do that), and I woke up at about the time we would've needed to leave in order to get there. I rushed to throw some clothes on, pull my hair into a ponytail and decided to wear my glasses since my contacts were giving me problems, and thankfully Grace was so excited that she was happy to get herself ready for her big day without any assistance! Rachael also was very helpful when I got her ready, and didn't squirm around and try to give herself big, sloppy kisses on the mirror the whole time I was putting her clothes on.
Can you believe she's going to be FIVE next month?!? FIVE! This girl!

So instead of showing up looking like a mommy who had her act together, instead of letting Grace get a feel for the room and possibly meeting some of the mommies and their kids, I fumbled in late, and made my dear, sweet Grace even later by parking on the wrong side of the building. When we finally got to her class, everyone was already in the middle of the room counting to 20. Grace loves counting to 20! The teacher's assistant came back and welcomed us, and I had to ask a few questions about where to pick her up, and I feared looking like I had no idea what I was doing, where I was going -- basically that I was a complete mess!

By the time Rachael and I returned to pick Grace up, though, it was a different story. I had a productive morning -- I managed to take some books and a DVD back to the library, pick up a trial pair of contacts until I could get in for an appointment, go home and get Rachael a snack, take a shower (with her awake, a feat in and of itself), and then make myself presentable.

I know I had to look much different than I did when I dropped Grace off, because the teacher's assistant brought her out and honestly did a double-take. Maybe I'll just tell her the girl who dropped Grace off the first day was the nanny, who I promptly fired. Anyway, Grace had a fun day and already told me about another little girl that she played with on the playground, so she managed to make a friend on her first day. :-) This month she gets to learn about what makes her special -- they're going to need more than a month!!

Here are some pictures from our trip to the zoo last Friday, our last hoorah before school got started!

I think the giraffes are the best part! At the bottom you can see the baby, Stephanie!

Grace always gets skittish around those big ol' nasty giraffe tongues! Can't say I blame her!

I don't have a picture because I was holding her, but Rachael fed the giraffe, showing no fear whatsoever!! Here she's just checking them out!

The girls were given some pellets to feed the deer in one part of the zoo, and Rachael was once again very brave. Somehow she kept being given more pellets, and she decided that she'd had enough so she kept giving hers to Grace. Awww, sharing!

Grace's turn! She had no problem feeding the deer!
This weekend we stopped for a bite to eat with the girls at a restaurant, and a mom who was there with her older daughters (both older elementary age, I would guess) said to me, "They only get more fun!" I thanked her for saying that! So often people tell you, "Oh, I miss that age," or "Just gets harder from here!" Obviously I love the girls through every age and stage, but I also love thinking about them as two little ladies! It's nice to think fondly on the times that have passed, but there's so much to look forward to also!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mullet, be gone!

Okay, so maybe it isn't every mother's worst nightmare, but as Rachael's hair grew, I noticed the top wasn't growing as fast as the back, and the back was getting a little wild. So there she sat -- business in the front, party in the back. Grace's hair was so easy -- I was even able to cut it myself! I made the rookie mistake of cutting her bangs too far back, but otherwise it was pretty simple. Then Chris' barber took the task of keeping it trimmed, and now we've moved to my stylist for her hair. With Rachael's, though, I didn't want to make any mistakes! I also didn't want to be the one responsible if all her little curls disappeared!

I asked a friend if she knew of any places that specifically did kids' hair, and she answered, "Snip-Its." It was GREAT! It was $16.95 for the haircut, a certificate, and a little lock of her hair in a delicate little bag tied with a ribbon. That's a little steep, but in the end I think Chris and I both agreed it was worth it! The stylist was patient and was able to stay with Rachael no matter how she moved, and her hair looks so good!

The Before Shot! Rachael was remarkably happy! She had only taken a quick snooze in the car on the way up to the shop and we were afraid she'd be out of sorts. Nope! She was amazing the whole time, no fussing at all!

Here's the stylist at work, with Rachael gripping one of the two lollipops she was given while she was there, and holding a mirror she'd been given. You can also see bubbles -- there was a little girl who was there, I believe she was someone's granddaughter, and she was blowing bubbles to entertain Grace! They had a small cushioned sitting area in front of the chair, as well as a monitor that they showed their own little cartoons on. It was the same in each of their stations.

Before I could say "Billy Ray Cyrus," the cut was over, and the stylist had managed to put two little piggy tails in Rachael's hair, complete with ribbons! I think you can see the improvement! When her hair dries, there's still so much bounce!

This is Rachael giggling after the stylist dusted to get any stray hairs off of her. :-) I don't know if you can see it, but she also swiped Rachael's hair with PINK coloring! She offered to put some in Grace's hair, but Grace declined. Grace was more focused on taking the little cards that they'd given her and Rachael and putting it into the machine in front of the register that spit a toy out at them!

All day Monday I tried to get a picture of the girls together, wearing t-shirts that said "I Am Adorable!" The best laid plans... Here are the girls out in the (finally) green grass -- the only picture of them together I could snag!