Thursday, September 19, 2013

Back to school!

On Back-to-School Eve, we had our traditional Back-to-School dinner.
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I meant to buy a fresh bouquet of flowers when I was at the grocery store, but forgot to add it to my list.  If things don't make my lists, then they don't happen.  I ended up picking some flowers from outside.  These red flowers paired up with the red candles and red ribbon on the vase sure made for a lot of RED at our table!
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On the menu this evening was garlic chicken, baked potatoes (with sour cream, shredded cheddar, crumbled bacon, and chives for topping), and broccoli.  Apple crisp over vanilla ice cream was our dessert.

Bella was a little eager for school.  She was already showered and in her pajamas before dinner!
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Soon is was off-to-bed for these kiddos.  The next day would be a big one!

As is usually the case on the first day of school, everyone was ready with at least a half hour to spare before we needed to be anywhere.  That just gives me plenty of time for pictures!
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Curtis wanted his picture taken too - empty backpack and all! 
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Bella and I walked to the bus stop while Andy loaded the boys in "Black Beauty".
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They met us at the bus stop for a little bit but ended up leaving before the bus came (it always runs late on the first day) in order to get Graydon to his school on time. 
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Daddy wishing Bella a great first day. 
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I watched her get on the bus.  Always hard for me on the first day. 
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Then I got in the van and made my way to the school so that I could greet her when she got off. . .
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. . . and meet her new teacher!
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While I was at Bella's school, Andy was with Graydon at his preschool.  I was so sad that I couldn't be there to drop off Graydon too.  I still haven't figured out how to be in two places at once!  But it probably worked out better that Andy dropped him off as I think I would have been a bit too emotional about it.  And Andy kept me in touch by taking some photos with his phone. 
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He is whistling while waiting for class to start.  That is so Graydon. 
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Finding his job for the day: snack prayer. 
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After the two big kids were safely dropped off at school, I met up with Andy.  It was just three of us now - kind of an unusual feeling.  We decided to get Curtis a little treat.  While walking into Starbucks, Curtis went between Andy and myself and grabbed for both of our hands.  He is often a bit more independent and doesn't like to hold hands.  But I think he knew it was special that he had the complete attention of both parents.

We treated him to "big boy coffee" a.k.a. hot chocolate.  
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Afterwards, he said he was hungry.  I would never usually spend $1.50 on something that could be eaten in one bite, but I told him he could pick any treat that he wanted.  This was it.  A yellow cake pop.
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Here are the kids' thoughts of this first day of school.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


If you want to know where to find us on a Saturday morning for the next two months (and on Monday and Wednesday practice nights), it's easy: the soccer field.

Bella decided to give soccer a try this fall.
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She has scored a few goals at each game so far.  (It helps that they won't be adding goalies until mid-season).  
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She definitely gets in a good workout by running back and forth on the field during each hour-long soccer game.  
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Here's to a great season!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Officially saying 'good bye' to summer

It seems that sidewalk chalk paint is one of my go-to end-of-summer activities.  All of our little stubby pieces of chalk get mashed to powder and then I add some water to make a fun paint.
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Graydon made a blue and green blob that Bella said looked like our country.  Graydon said it was a bouncy house. 
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I painted flowers and wrote the kids names on the steps.  Curtis added his own touches.
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Everything looks so colorful now and I love it.

For the past few summers, I've created a summer bucket list.  I decided not to do that this summer.  But when we did do something fun or summer-y, I wrote it down. 

This was our summer. . .
  • day trip to Sesame Place
  • playing at 15 different parks!
  • homemade popsicles
  • eating ice cream on the porch
  • fruit picking at a farm
  • catching fireflies (and letting them go)
  • helping Daddy wash the car
  • riding bikes
  • eating watermelon
  • climbing trees
  • afternoons at the pool
  • swimming lessons
  • Camp Hope (Bella)
  • picking veggies from our garden
  • lighting sparklers
  • sidewalk chalk
  • indoor forts
  • rootbeer floats
  • playing on the tire swing
  • attending a parade
  • cooking on the grill
  • Vacation Bible School
  • road trip to Wisconsin
  • eating corn on the cob
  • swimming in a lake
  • Jelly Belly Factory tour
  • eating at a frozen yogurt bar
  • making/eating s'mores
  • bouncing at Monkey Joe's!
  • seeing a movie in the theater (Despicable Me 2)
  • evening picnic at the lake
  • outdoor movie in Jodi's backyard
  • indoor carnival
  • sleepovers with cousins
  • cotton candy and snow cones
  • blowing bubbles
  • water balloons
  • trip to the shore
  • nature walks
  • picking wildflowers
  • sidewalk chalk paint  
 Most of the things on this list are simple, every day activities.  But when added together, they created one happy summer and lots of treasured memories.

So long Summer 2013.

Hello fall!

Monday, September 09, 2013

Nature Walks

Andy and I sometimes joke that one can take a nice walk in New Jersey - you just have to drive to get there!

And so we did. There are a few hidden nature trails around us and we decided to take advantage of a couple of them.
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Bella came prepared for some exploration. 
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Curtis kept complaining of things getting in his shoes, so he rode like this for a while. 
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Andy found some mushrooms growing on a branch.
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It was at about this point that Bella started to lose interest.  She wasn't super enthusiastic about this nature walk in the first place since she was hoping we'd be spending the afternoon at the pool instead.  I think that some branches brushed against some old mosquito bites, causing her to get itchy.  Her mood wasn't the best for the next ten minutes or so. 
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She asked me to take her picture.  But this was the best smile she could come up with. 
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There were caterpillars everywhere in this area!
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And then something glorious happened.

We found water.
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Andy did a little rock skipping lesson with the kids. 
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Bella caught on quickly and was skipping rocks right away. 
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I tried and tried and almost gave up until Andy showed me the right way to curve my finger around the stone.  Soon I was skipping rocks too!
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Curtis needed to be banished off to the side.  He liked to throw his rocks while standing several feet from the water; often times coming dangerously close to hitting someone.  He did hit Graydon once. 
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I don't know how he does it.  Graydon purposefully took off his shoes.  He was even running on the rocks at one point.  Those are some tough feet. 
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And what do you know. . . Bella got her water after all. 
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A couple of days later, we tried a different spot.  No pictures taken except this one from my phone.
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But I did pick some wildflowers to remind me of our day and bring a little of the nature to our house with us. 
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And while I'm trying to hold onto every last bit of summer, there are little reminders all around that fall is just around the corner. 
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