Monday, August 31, 2015

She's a 'Firstie'!

What did you say??


Yep - it's hard to believe we now have a 'firstie' in our house! Ainsley started her second year at The Steward School today. So what does it mean to be in 1st grade at Steward? Well, some pretty exciting things happen when you move up to a grade with a number. Last year all the kindergarteners had a Steward School tote bag with her initials. This year, as a first grader, she gets to bring her own backpack. So she spent about 25 minutes in Target last week selecting the perfect one - dark purple with pink hearts and six (yes, count them, SIX) pockets. She is so excited to see how much stuff she can fit in the pockets of her backpack. I'll have to check it each morning to make sure she hasn't hidden the toaster or the dog in her bag. 

Another perk of moving up with the big kids is that she can now play on the playground before school. Last year she had to go straight to her classroom when she arrived. The big kids get the play on the playground if they arrive early. This will be a major source of motivation for getting out of the house on time this year. 

Her teacher is Mrs. Moore - and Ainsley has already declared that she has cute clothes and is a 'very smart teacher.'  What else could you need? She has 11 kids in her class this year (about 1/3 are the same as her class last year - the others they swapped around from the other classes), and she already knows all but 1 of the kids. After picking her up on the first day she was already trying to get me to schedule a play date with one of her classmates. She is very excited to start the year with her friends, and I know she will learn a lot this year! 

Look how tall she's gotten!!
[I actually realized, while walking her into school, that she is breaking the dress code with those shorts....they are definitely not fingertip length anymore. She grew 3 inches this summer!]

Showing off that fabulous hair cut she got last weekend.

Her grade has a NUMBER!!!

First-day-of-school lunch with Mama at her favorite restaurant [she only has a half day of school on the first day... which is great for the kids and somewhat annoying for those of us who work all day]

Happy girl!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Summer Love

Summer is a wonderful time. A time for swimming, playing outside, enjoying the late sunsets, and running around barefoot. The one thing that is not awesome about summer is that my kids spend a little too much time together. They fight over toys. They argue over what movie to watch. They interrupt each other constantly. They push and shove and kick because they can't figure out how to fit on the couch together. Ainsley builds things and Parker knocks them down. They can't agree on what color the carpet is. 

Unfortunately I missed out on these sibling experiences being an only child (my parents were so smart...). But luckily during the school year they only see each other for 3 hours a day so it's not so bad. Spending all summer together creates some challenges. So we signed Ainsley up for camp one week in June. She took a (perfectly-timed and sanity-saving) two week trip to my in-laws in July. And now we are getting ready for school to start again. Hallelujah! There will be peace and harmony in the house again until winter break. 

I know they really do love each other, and they really did have a fabulous summer. Sometimes I even catch pictures of them looking happy and doing cute things. 

Like this little guy who ate a cupcake with green icing and then smeared it all over the house. 

Or when the babysitter took him (solo) to the zoo and he got to ride the safari train (which we never let him do because it takes a really long time) and he was the happiest boy in town.

Or when Ainsley was getting ready to go to Grandma & Grandaddy's house for two weeks and they gave each other big snuggles for 5 minutes.

Or when we left the kids at home and went to a birthday party for a dear friend and her dad made jello shots for everyone (Kat has the coolest dad - he also happens to have a tiki bar in his backyard).

Or the thirty-seven times we took the kids to get fro-yo this summer (I think that's an exaggeration but maybe not...)

Or when they wore themselves out at the pool and fell asleep in the car.

Or the time Parker put Dixie 'to bed' and sang lullabies to her. 

Or that other time we went out for fro-yo.

 Or the fun 4th of July party at Mimi's house. 

Yep... more fro-yo.

Or the many times they met friends for lunch at Chick-Fil-A and played until their stomachs hurt.


Or going to the playground.

Or being totally cute and lovable with their sibling.

 Or the many times we went to the pool as a family.

It's been a fun and fabulous summer and I'm (mostly) sad for it to end. But we can now look forward to fall football at JMU and Saturday morning soccer games. And probably some more frozen yogurt too. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

North Pond 2015

After a long summer we finally made it to the lake in early August. We spent five days with my parents, relaxing by the water and enjoying the outdoors. It was actually a little cool while we were there, so we only went swimming a few times. But after our hot and humid Richmond summer, the cool air was a welcome relief for us. 

The kids have decided that Burger King is their new favorite stop on road trips. 

Nana and Papa kept all of my old bikes and even put new tires on some of them so the kids could ride them up here. Ainsley found Papa's old tricycle in the barn and thought it was the best bike ever!

We found lots of frogs, toads, and newts during the week. And we spend a lot of time catching and examining them!

Looking for fish and attempting to drop pebbles onto lilypads to see if they float.

Testing out the water.

"It's not cold, Mama!"

I received several bouquets of lilypads.

A very happy water dog.

A beautiful day at the cabin!

The kids collected firewood several times so we could have s'mores. 
Here they are, admiring their work.

Playing peek-a-boo with Papa. 

Our handsome little swimmer.

Daddy snuggles!

Papa got the kids new fishing poles. This was a highlight of the week. We weren't sure how good the fishing would be off the dock but the kids managed to catch about half a dozen fish, including a good sized bass and a perch!

Parker liked fishing but did NOT want to touch the fish. 

Ainsley's big catch!

Parker caught a bass too! Notice how he keeps himself safely away from the fish?

Trying to convince him that it's okay to hold it.

My favorite place to be.

My parents were so smart to purchase the ATV and the Ranger those many years ago. They certainly provide endless entertainment for their grandkids! They had lots and lots of rides through the woods each day. 

You'll probably be getting this on your Christmas card this year!

Happy kids with their grandparents! We had such a great visit!