Monday, April 20, 2015

Spanish Videos by Ainsley

This week's educational video is conducted in Spanish. Ainsley has Spanish class twice a week with Senora Blanco and absolutely loves it. She especially loves all the songs they learn (you know how much she loves to sing).  This week they made puppets to represent a whole family and sang a version of 'Where is Thumbkin.'

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A 200,000 Mile Journey

Do you see this?? 

This is how many miles I've put on my 4Runner. Almost 200,000 (now at 199,457).  I bought her new in September 2006, which means I've driven an average of 1,936 miles per month for the past 103 months. Kinda crazy when you think about it. I'd like to take a few moments to show my appreciation for this vehicle, which has driven me safely around the East Coast for the past 8 1/2 years. 

When I bought her she was just transporting me, my DH, and our 110 lb dog, Duke.  When it was time for my Jeep Grand Cherokee to go into retirement, we decided we needed more space for our big furry baby. A few years later we added a car seat in the back for Ainsley, and a few years after that we added another car seat for Parker. Dixie, being half the size of Duke, has all sorts of room to stretch out in the back. 

Do you know what makes this car great?  This.

Everything in this picture came out of my center console. I've posted before about how my family of four could survive in the wilderness for eighteen days on the food that I can fit in my console. I don't know what I kept in there before I had kids, but even 7-11 doesn't have this kind of inventory. 

You know what else? I fit 37 straws, about 250 napkins, and drugs for every type of ailment in my glove box. That's right, folks. If the apocalypse comes, you definitely want to be in MY car. 

What other amazingly useful things do I keep cleverly concealed in the pockets and compartments of my 4Runner?   Bug spray, three kinds of sunscreen, a first aid kit, a day's supply of diapers and wipes, plastic bags, waterproof bags (for things like wet bathing suits), seven kinds of chap-stick, four bottles of lotion (in various scents, and unscented for my DH), a hair brush, hair bands, three car chargers (which work with all our phones, two kinds of iPads, plus one that will run a regular power cord), two different kinds of ice scrapers, a set of screwdrivers, electrical tape, jumper cables, bungee cords, leather work gloves (both mens and womens sizes), four umbrellas, an extra makeup bag, two quilts, three flashlights, and six pair of sunglasses (for men, women, and children).  In addition to this I also have two bags with the kid's entertainment accessories - headphones, coloring books, crayons, trucks, airplanes, trains, puzzles, and books. 

She is weighed down with all of this (plus two adults, two kids, and a dog) and yet she has never broken down. Aside from regular oil changes and yearly maintenance, we've never taken her in for anything. Sure, she has a few scrapes from turning too close to trees or backing too close to concrete pillars, but what car could survive almost nine years without any cosmetic damage?!  Just the occasional ice storm...

We have transported lumber, Christmas trees, baby gear, plants and flowers, freezers, and too-many-to-name home improvement products in her trunk. She has provided a warm and safe place for many afternoon naps. 

She has driven us up and down the East Coast and to Kentucky and Tennessee to visit family, trips to the lake and the beach and the ski slopes, pushing through streams and up muddy hillsides to the hunting cabin, and even hauling a military-style air conditioner around the mountain for my mother-in-law's outdoor birthday party. 

My dear 4Runner will be leaving me tonight. I hope she finds a good home and is able to get someone else where they need to go. But I must pause and give her thanks for seeing us safely through so many milestones over the past eight years and [almost] 200,000 miles. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Educational Videos from Ainsley, part 3

This week Ainsley's class is learning about Africa. Since my DH is traveling again, she decided to share her knowledge with him on the way home from school. Little smarty pants...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Swimming Boy

While the rest of us were skiing, Parker got to stay at home and have some quality time with Nana and Papa. As the second child, he doesn't get much opportunity to be the center of attention. He loves the chance to have special time with grandparents when he gets to choose what to play with, what to watch, where to go, what to read... He was a little disappointed when we returned from our trip and he had to share the spotlight with his sister again. 

Saturday morning he started his first swim lessons. He spent a lot of time in the pool and lake last year, but he hasn't had any lessons yet. We decided this was the perfect time to start. He'll have lessons from now through the middle of June so he will be ready to show off his skills when the neighborhood pool opens! Nana and Papa took him to the YMCA and he was eager to start his lessons in the pool. 

After a fun morning swimming, Nana and Papa took him to the Virginia Aviation Museum at the airport. A colleague told me about it so we thought it would be a fun place for him to enjoy with his Papa, a former pilot! 

Sunday they spent lots of time at the Children's Museum and he was treated to Sweet Frog after his nap. He had lots of fun playing with some of his birthday presents, riding his bike outside in the warm weather, and reading his truck books. Although he was very happy to see us when we returned from skiing on Tuesday, he certainly had a great time with his Nana and Papa! Thanks for taking care of our little guy!