Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Snuggle Puppy

If you've had a baby in the last ten years, you've likely received this book as a gift at some point. It's a great, short board book to sing to your kids when they are little. All three of my children have enjoyed hearing, reading and eating that book. But the theme only really applies to one of my children: Ruby.
She is a Snuggle Puppy. Big Time. When you pick her up, she throws one arm around your neck and melts into you. MELTS.
She does not need to be held all day, nor does she have to be rocked to sleep. I still pick her up numerous times throughout our day together, just to steal a hug. (Silly that I say 'steal', because she gives them away so freely.) And Lehr will rock her to sleep almost every time he puts her down at night. Not because she needs it, but because he does. And both of us (mostly him) have been known to go in and pick her up and hold her for a few minutes before we go to bed. She sleeps through it, but there is something about holding a sleeping, snuggly baby that helps everything that happened that day disappear.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mixed Up Lyrics

A few times a year the kids cozy up in front of the computer with me and pick some songs to make a new CD for their rooms. Eli's are usually pretty predictable, and they tend to flow somewhat: The Revivalists and Kings of Leon or Jack White and The Black Keys. Maddux's tend to be more random, as one might expect. She will put the Frozen soundtrack in with Butch Walker, for example.
Maddux has all of her previous CDs still in her room, and she cycles through them often. She will put them into her player and always be surprised by what music comes out of the speaker, because she forgets which songs she used to like and used to listen to. Yesterday afternoon she put one in that she hadn't listened to in a long time. This particular CD contained music from Bon Jovi, Cake, and They Might Be Giants. At dinner time, she was singing a few songs back to us. 'Livin' on a Prayer' was a jumbled assortment of words, but 'The Distance' was very, VERY entertaining and awesome. Maddux's rendition went like this:
He's going the distance. He's going the speed. She's all alone, all alone in a pile of leaves.
She sang it with a straight face and was genuinely surprised that those weren't the exact lyrics.

Monday, August 04, 2014

First Day of School

Second Grade.
Fourth Grade.


Maddux and Eli both have larger classes with only one or two names they even recognize among the list of their classmates. Quite crazy, but that's how big their school is.
We kicked off the morning as we often do for special occasions, with pancakes and eggs. The kids were all smiles and they couldn't wait to walk up to the bus stop (several minutes early, of course). Our bus stop has grown so much since Eli's first day of Kindergarten, and now he only has one more first day of elementary school! Maddux and the other girls outnumber at the bus stop, so this year I have suggested heavily to Eli that he be the last to board the bus; ladies first!

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Lemonade for Team Ruby

This weekend was awesomeness. It was one of those great weekends that just happened. No plans, no schedules, just neighborhood fun. Friday afternoon found the kids and I playing in the front yard, and then the backyard. Somewhere along the way, we picked up our neighbors in our games. Virginia was talking about a lemonade stand on and off, but it was suggested we hold it over the weekend to pull in more traffic.
Fast forward to Saturday, another awesome outside play-day. One activity just melted into the next and at some point the girls were in Virginia's house making signs for the lemonade stand, which was now slotted for Sunday afternoon. The girls came over to ask me for a picture of Ruby because they wanted the lemonade sale to go for the Buddy Walk.

Can you say 'awesome'?

So just after church on Sunday, we put "Ruby is a Gem" shirts on everyone and went up the hill to set up shop. Virginia had cookies, rainbow loom bracelets, and lemonade. The girls' signs were great, and we even had a tip jar!
Maddux only spilled two or three cups, and only dumped a few handfuls of ice throughout the afternoon. We had LOTS of traffic coming to support the girls. Aunt Megan came all of the way across town, and many friends came from all over East Cobb.
The final count? $130!! Somewhere along the line, Virginia's dad said his firm would match the proceeds too, so big win for Team Ruby!

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Ruby's Parallel Bars

Ruby received a therapy tool from her main Physical Therapist this week: a set of parallel bars. Of course, they are tiny tiny, for someone as small as her; in fact, they are made out of a few pieces of PVC. The idea is that she can walk forward while having a support on either side of her, when she need help balancing.
These bars should help her begin to cruise/walk more, as so far she's only taken a few (supported) steps while I prompt her as I hold her hands or her torso. She has not yet shown that she understands forward or sideways mobility on her feet yet.

As of today, the only 'walking' she's done with the bars is prompted by me, moving her hands forward one at a time and slightly prompting her feet. She's taken a few random steps as I push her hands forward, but just barely. However, this set up is a cool one and I am VERY excited to see how quickly she progresses with them.

Bucket List Finale

Here we are at the final week before school starts and our Bucket List is less than half complete. This is to be expected for us though; the last three years have found the same result. We make such a big list and then things like camps and swim team and fun random play dates happen and the big stuff gets pushed to the back burner.

I'm totally ok with that though. I love the unscheduled moments of summer. Going to the pool for a quick dip and meeting several friends there which leads to us staying the entire afternoon. Or playing in the front yard before we run an errand only to remain in the yard, the cul-de-sac, the garage for the better part of a day, drawing with chalk and playing whiffle ball and throwing water balloons.

This year I very intentionally made NO plans for the final week of summer. No camps, no meet-ups with friends, no appointments. This allowed for us to pull out a few big ticket items at the last minute.

Monday night we got a sitter for Ruby and took the big kids to Stone Mountain. They've been once or twice, but just to barely walk around the bottom village area. They've never seen the laser/firework show. They had a great time lounging on the green with us and identifying the Confederate soldiers before it got dark. (OK, that was just Eli....he identified them for all of us.)

Tuesday I took them to the pool for a guaranteed three hours AND told them we could get a treat from the ice cream truck. Of course, that was the one day in the history of our neighborhood that the truck didn't show up. Usually it's there about once an hour! We played with friends and ate lunch and just enjoyed not looking at the clock.

Wednesday I took the kids to the Aquarium. It had been at least two years since we'd been; Maddux didn't even really remember it. We had a lot of fun going through all of the exhibits, and we ended with the dolphin show. Eli and Maddux had never seen dolphins perform in any way, so they absolutely loved the show with it's fin waving and spinning and jumping. Good stuff.
Thursday morning we went to Gigi's for Ruby, and then met Daddy for lunch. That's always a treat for the kids because we get to meet him at his office and walk to a restaurant.  When we got home, I filled up Ruby's plastic pool. And pulled out the tarp for a slip-n-slide. And turned on the sprinkler. Back yard fun, to the max.
We had to do the school Meet-n-Greet on Friday, so that ate up most of our day. By then we were tired from the week's events anyway :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Civil War Camp

Last summer I came across some information about Civil War camps offered at the Atlanta History Center. Unfortunately for Eli, it was too late to sign up, but we kept it in mind for the future. This summer found us in prime position to have Eli attend the camp that centered on the battles in Georgia.

Eli LOVED it. He's always been interested in history, especially the Civil War, so this was right in his wheel house. Each day last week, Eli spent seven hours with a handful of other kids, learning about the War and the battles through discovery walks on the campus, activities where they made cartridges and war-time foods, learning how to do re-enactings, learning how to hold weapons (practices with golf clubs), and many many classroom type discussions. We will definitely be participating in this camp again!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Overnight Camp

Eli just returned from sleep-away camp.

Let me say that again:

Eli just returned from being away from us for a week, living in a cabin with 10 other boys and 2 counselors, having the time of his life playing any sport or outdoor game known to man, staying up until 10PM each night, and grinning so hard and for so long that his face surely ached each night.

After two summers of participating in Winshape's day camp, we finally let Eli pack his overnight bag. (It helped that his best friend, Drew, would be attending for the first time as well.) For a full week before, Eli and I packed and repacked, checked and rechecked the list, and talked about all of the many things he would do. To say we were excited would be an understatement.

The first day of camp, we all drove Eli up to Berry College. The campus has a long entry into the campgrounds, and staff of the camp could be found all over, giving directions, holding signs, and causing much excitement in our car. Before driving up to the cabin area, we had to check him in at the main hall. There was a small camp store, and we bought Eli a team shirt (he already knew his team), and a scarf/bandana thing. Then we found Eli's cabin (he was only the third cabin-member to arrive) and unpacked his bag, making his bed and putting his clothes in the drawer assigned to him.
It was all getting very real, for both him and I.

I could tell Eli was pretty nervous; he was crazy wide-eyed and not really able to focus on anything I said. Instead, all senses were on high alert and he was taking in everything around him in the cabin. At some point he insisted on putting on his bandana thing and shirt, as if in an effort to immediately fit in.

Once we had him settled, I could tell he was not ready for us to go, so we opted to walk him over to where Drew's cabin was to see if he was there yet. Luckily he was, so Eli had a chance to relax and touch base with his friend.
By the time we got back to Eli's cabin, several boys were out front playing some type of ball-game, so Eli quickly jumped in.
The week was a tough one for me, but the camp posted pictures each night. Of course I stayed up until 11PM when they became available so that I could scan them for shots of my boy. Each one told a great story about the time he was having. (Not that I doubted it!)
When we picked him up at the end of the week, he had made many new friends and the counselors all seemed to know him by name. It was so cool to see a big group of boys that had bonded together over songs and Bible verses and camp fires....just being boys.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Just. Let. Me. Sleep.

This could possibly be the cutest video we've ever posted. Maddux and I left for a date and the boys fed Ruby dinner. From the looks of how it affected her, she had something similar to Thanksgiving dinner.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Fork It Over

I've been working with Ruby for a while on fork-feeding. Not me to her, but the other way around. This video was only the third time we worked on it. Not bad! I don't think she put the fork anywhere other than her mouth this whole meal. This video also shows Ruby's newest speech trick: saying "MMMMM" for 'more' (she dropped the sign last week).

Friday, July 04, 2014

Pool Party

Maddux asked for a pool party this year, which she's done many years already. With a July 3rd birthday, it's one of the most logical options! Instead of just friends, we invited the families of her guest list to join us for pizza and cookie cake and swimming. Even though her birthday falls in a holiday week, she still had a great turnout. Unfortunately, the pizza did not arrive until much later than it was supposed to, so we had swimming, cookie cake, and THEN pizza later. Not that she cared :)