Tuesday, May 31, 2011
And so they did.
Happy anniversary to my darling husband, the wonderful father of my two beautiful girls, and my best friend in all the world.
Monday, May 30, 2011
I love a family walk. Our typical family walk means a baby in a carrier, and a toddler running. Then stopping. Then running again. Then going back the direction we came from. Then running to catch up. Then going completely off course. Then stopping again. Then … you get the idea!
There are also two dogs that come along. And one cat. Yes, the cat follows us when we go for a walk. It never fails to elicit comments from people we pass.
We usually walk to the pond to the right or the pond to the left or up over the hill to the river trail. On this day, we chose the pond to the left. But first there were cows to be seen.
And then there were fish to spy in the pond.
And plenty of plants to examine.
"Wheels on the Bus"
Sunday, May 29, 2011
She's a full on speed crawler these days and if I set her down on the ground, she immediately takes off for the closest item of interest. Usually it's the dogs' water bowl. Splash, splash!
Speaking of splashing, this baby disliked the bath for much, much longer than most babies I know. For months, she would scream from the time she touched the water to the time she was out and wrapped in a towel. But now, she has finally found the love. I think it helps that she's big enough now for me to just set her in the tub with Sierra.
I'm glad she's finally found an affinity for the water because that made her first trip to the pool this week a whole lot more fun. We are so happy that Woodberry has a pool with a beach entry because I can sit with Kaia in just a few inches of water and let her splash to her little heart's content. We went to the pool yesterday and the day before and she is getting comfortable with the water while using me as a support person. She would lie across my legs and then splash splash in the water. She started to get a little more comfortable and tried to speed crawl into the water. But she learned rather quickly that you cannot go head first into the water.
She'll have to wait until she can stand to go a little bit deeper. And that, I fear, is just around the corner. Every time we turn around, Kaia pulling herself up on something. The couch, the kitchen chairs, and Sierra's train table are favorites. The train table is not Sierra's favorite, however, because it means that little sis and wreck the track and take the trains. Oh no!
We are beginning to hear the beginnings of speech from our littlest girl. She will say "mama" and "dada," though I don't think she is associating them with specific people yet. She does a lot of babbling and making random noises that sound like speech, but we haven't a clue what she's talking about. It sure makes her happy though. She is seriously one of the happiest babies I have ever seen. She's always smiling, and she will give a smile to just about anyone.
Well, she smiling unless she's a little too tired, or a little too hungry, or if she's hurting. And sadly, she been hurting quite a bit. We're (almost) certain that her teeth are trying to come in because she's drooling like a faucet. She's had a fever on and off and sometime she will just suddenly cry out in pain. It's so hard because there's not a lot we can do for her, and she can't tell us exactly what's wrong.
Despite the fact that they grow up way too fast, I am looking forward to seeing Kaia begin to use the sign language we've been doing with her. I thought I had seen her do the sign for "milk" a few times, but she's stopped, so maybe I was just seeing something that wasn't really there.
When Sierra was younger and using sign language, we taught her a lot of food signs, and I think those are going to be useful with Kaia too. The girl can eat. Which is good, as she has beautifully round baby thighs. She is transitioning from smashed up and blended baby food to finger food, but the accuracy rating is still pretty little low. At this point, there is definitely more food on the floor than in her mouth at the end of a meal.
We visited the doctor for Kaia's 9-month check last week. She was 28 inches long and 18 pounds, 14 ounces. She's thinned out a little, but still remains right around the 50th percentile for both height and weight. Our doctor said "she's perfect."
Though this is third year we’ve lived at Woodberry Forest School, this is only the first time I’ve attended the graduation ceremonies. This year, we had two advisees in the graduating class and I wanted to be there to help send them off into the great, wide world. I knew that there was no way my two little darlings were going to make it through a graduation ceremony sitting quietly in their chairs, so we set up camp behind where the bleachers were set up. This allowed us to see the procession at the beginning of the ceremony, which was lead by Woodberry’s Pipe and Drum band and included all members of the school, as well as faculty. Phew!
Sierra had a couple friends who were there as well, so she got to play a little and I could listen to what was going on during graduation.
Kaia was pretty happy crawling around the blanket in the shade and trying to steal Sierra’s crayons.
As the ceremony was ending, Sierra spied her buddy Spencer, and took off running, crying, “I see Spencer! I see Spencer!”
We stayed for lunch on the lawn and I had a minor panic attack when Sierra was playing near a tree one moment, and when I looked up again, she was gone. I was asking all the people in the area if they had seen her, but she was soon recovered. She had gone directly to the cookie table to help herself to another cookie.
That evening, Jason and I had a rare night out, as we were invited to the graduation dinner hosted by the parents of our advisee, Cary. We got a babysitter. I wore heels. It was amazing. And it was really nice to formally send off Cary. He’s been great, and we will certainly miss him.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Woodberry’s outdoor pool is now open for the summer and we are so excited. It has been hot, hot, hot around here, so a trip to the pool has been a welcome relief. Sierra is just as fearless as ever. She will get her noodle, swing her arms up over it and kick away. We have to watch her closely because if we don’t, she will kick herself right down to where she can no longer touch.
She will be taking swimming lessons this summer, and I’m so happy that she will be starting to learn to actually swim, instead of just thinking she can swim.
Kaia is the one who really surprised me, though. She is like a little round fish.
I took her to deeper water, counted to three, and then pulled her through the water before setting her back on the pool deck. After a couple times of this, she was suddenly jumping in on her own. I honestly didn’t believe it the first time she did it and thought it was just an accident. But sure enough, she continues to “jump” in. She will grab my hand and pull it to her, hold on with both hands and then lean forward as far as she can until she can push against the wall and push herself into the water. It’s crazy. And amazing. And she’s going to have a water class this summer too!
Friday, May 27, 2011
Sierra’s preschool has finished for the year. We are already registered for next year, but until then, we will be finding some other ways to keep ourselves busy. On the last day of school, I stayed for a little while after I dropped Sierra off to take a few pictures of her last day.
Sierra and her buddy Harper
Relaxing on the polar bear with Chandler and Hudson
During "circle time" the preschoolers practice spelling their names
Sierra on the see-saw with Chandler and Tayza
That night was preschool graduation. Such fun, and the kids were so cute. Sierra is not “graduating” from preschool, but her little friends who will be in kindergarten next year each had a tiny cap and gown.
Both the graduating class and Sierra’s class did little performances for the parents.
And, preserved forever, to embarrass her with later, I have Sierra singing with her finger up her nose!
After the graduation ceremony was a pot luck dinner and Sierra said a last good bye to her classmates. (Well, okay, not last because ½ of her classmates live at Woodberry and I’m sure we’ll see many of the others throughout the summer.)
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
The last time I was at Dawn’s place was sheer chaos. There were piles of strawberries and many pots simmering and toddlers running about. We were trying to get our jam finished before dinner, and I think we all felt a little pressure.
So, take 2 was a lot more relaxing. Shannon had fresh mint in her garden to spare, and so the obvious solution for a hot afternoon was mojitos in the yard.
We picked up dinner from the dining hall (perk of living at a boarding school: you get to have someone else do the cooking) and after dinner, we released the kids outside and took turns chasing them
and sitting still sipping.
There was lots of fun in the sandbox.
(I love this photo of Kaia and Peyton with their respective older siblings playing together in the background.)
There were popsicles for the kiddos.
And Sabby had to show me how fast he could ride his plasma car. I was impressed. Really.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Every year in May, Sew Mama Sew hosts a giveaway day. From their website:
So. There you have it. And here you are. Welcome. My name is Em. I have two little girls.
Sierra will be 3 in June and Kaia is 9 months.
Since you probably linked over from Sew Mama Sew, I'll take a shot in the dark and guess you're interested in sewing, fabric, or stuff made from sewing fabric together? Right? Damn, I'm good. Guess what? I like sewing, fabric, and stuff made from sewing fabric together too! So, hey! We already have something in common.
Here's some stuff I sewed, in case you're interested. (And even if you're not, I'm still posting it.)
1. My little netbook needed a case, so I made one for it. It's got a double layer of batting and is straight-line quilted
2. An egg. With a disproportionately large yolk. This was my very first attempt at felt food, so I'm giving myself a break (get it? Ha, ha!).
3. Shirt for "green day" at preschool (not to be confused with Green Day, the band. I doubt any of them would fit into this shirt). This was my first attempt at sewing with knits, my first freezer paper stencil, and my first fabric rosette. Hooray!
4. The elephant shirt and striped pants were upcycled from a bed covering.
5. My most recently finished mei tai (say MAY tie, which is not to be confused with mai tai [MY tie]: this one is for carrying babies, not sipping on the beach). I make a lot of mei tais, actually, and had hoped to start a business, but liability insurance for baby carriers is astronomical. Go figure. My friends keep having babies, though, so I get to keep making them! (Amy, yours is next in the queue.)
6. Fully lined curved top pouch for my sister in law. It is not easy to sew a zipper on a curve!!
And now for the main event! We love books around here, and when Sierra got to the age where she actually wanted to listen to the stories rather than rip the pages and eat them, we started to go the library. You can imagine, that at age 2, she's a very "I can do it myself!!!" kind of girl (aren't they all, at age 2?). But she couldn't carry the tote with the library books, not because it was too heavy, but because the straps were too long and she ended up just dragging the bag on the ground. Yikes! So, I made her a patchwork library bag with her initial appliqued on the pocket. The pocket is the perfect place to keep our library card so we always know where to find it, as well as the slip from the library that tells us when the books are due.
Guess what? (you already guessed, didn't you?) I'm making one for you! You can give it to your favorite little girl (or make them share), or keep it for yourself. Or, heck, give it to your favorite little boy if you want. Boys like pink too! (I was going to be all ambitious, and make one with greens for the boys, but sewing patchwork together takes some time and I just couldn't make it happen.) It's not finished yet, because I'm going to personalize it for you! I can't sew the bag together until after I attach the pocket. I can't attach the pocket until I know what letter to applique on it. And I can't do that applique until I pick my winner.
Here's the front:
And the back:
How to enter:
1. Leave me a comment. Since this is a library tote, tell me your favorite children's book and why you love it. Or tell me what book you think I should read (Ha! Who are we kidding? Like I have time to read ... ). Or tell me that you hate to read and you are going to use this as a grocery bag instead of a library tote.
2. Be sure to tell me what initial to applique on the pocket. Or, if you don't want an initial, I could do a patchwork flower, in the style of the letter on my daughter's tote, above. Or, I could applique one of the flowers from the fabric in the tote.
Or, one of those On a Whim owls would be cute as the applique.
Just tell me what you would like.
3. Make sure you leave me a way to contact you if your email isn't associated with your profile.
I'm sorry, but I"m unable to ship internationally.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
It's the time of year for finding local farms with fresh berries to pick. Even though our local Liberty Mills Farm is relatively new, they were ready with rows of beautiful red strawberries, ripe for the picking.
And we were ready with five little "helpers" to gather both berries and loads of wet Virginia red clay on their shoes, pants, bottoms, hands, faces (how did they get mud on their faces?!)
Oh. That's how.
Would you believe that our little helpers were not particularly helpful? I know! Astonishing, right? We did manage to teach them to pick the red berries and not the green ones (mostly) and walk between the rows, not on the plants (usually). However, when one of them did manage to actually pick a berry it usually did not end up in the berry flat (see above).
They sure had fun, though! And Kent, the owner of the farm, even let them "drive".
(Oh my! Five small people and they are ALL looking in the direction of the camera. It's a miracle!)
We tried to get a group shot of our happy berry pickers, but per usual, getting a photo that involves more than one toddler is always a crap shoot. Kent kindly agreed to take the photo for us, and I told him just to keep taking pictures and I would pick out the best one later. This one is good-ish.
We were ready to go, so all toddler were striped down and strapped in. We met back at Dawn's house for lunch and a jam session.
Jam session! Sounds like we are cool, musician types, right? Uh, not so much. We had a lot of berries.
The goal was to take all those berries and make them in to jam. This involved, hulling, chopping, protecting babies from rampaging toddlers by placing them in doll cribs,
detangling a wrestling match, stirring, adding, scolding, pouring, twisting, navigating disagreements about sharing, sealing and waiting.
And after all that, we had some delicious ... strawberry syrup!
Whoops. We tripled the amount of fruit but only added double the amount of pectin, so what we had hoped would be jam instead turned out to be syrup. Laura tells us she tried again later, dumping all her jars into a pot and adding more pectin. It apparently worked well.
I've kept mine as syrup. I was so excited to try it that the very next morning, Sierra and I made cinnamon drop biscuits with strawberry syrup for breakfast. I've been adding it to yogurt and it's great on pancakes too!!
The strawberry picking and jam making was an all-day affair. The toddlers had no nap, and by the time we got home that afternoon, Sierra was exhausted. She was crying about something indiscernible upstairs and then suddenly we heard nothing. I went to check on her and found her crashed out at the top of the stairs.