Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mother and child

Several mornings this summer I woke up early to enjoy some quiet time before our day got busy. And some of those mornings I got to watch a mother deer and her baby on the opposite side of the lake. On the days I saw them they stayed for a long time -at least an hour- playing and drinking water.It is moments like this that I am glad my camera is handy AND that I wish for a lens with better zoom capability!Another reason why I love living on this lake!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 35

Most people probably believe educators get a lot of time off work. And, we do. Even on an administrator's contract I usually feel my summers have allowed me more than enough time to relax, rejuvenate, travel a little, have some fun, and get some projects done around the house. This year, though, the 38 days I had off seemed much too short. Especially since today is Day 35. With only 3 days left, I feel like there is still so much more I want to do with the remaining summer days. We experienced a lot of really great things this summer, but I still want to go to the pool, eat meals outside, visit the farmers' markets, play at the playground with Grace, help Grace learn to ride her bike, take Daisy for long walks, stay up late, etc....Why does it seem like the winter lasts forever and summer always goes by so fast????

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer dance festival

Tonight, Kellie and I took our two little ballerinas to an outdoor ballet in one of the city's parks. This performance was part of a series that runs throughout the summer in different locations in our area.
The evening started with all the children being invited on stage with some university students who are majoring in dance. I was shocked when Grace ran right up with all the other kids. She had to go around the back of the stage and up a flight of stairs without me. I watched her the entire way but I was down on the ground and she was about 8 feet above on the stage. In true New York fashion, she worked her way close to the front, which was perfect for me to see her and snap a few pictures as she watched the bigger girls and the director as they showed the kids how to stretch and do some simple dance moves.After the "interactive children's movement workshop" the professional dancers performed. Again, Grace amazed me as she watched and then got up on the grass in front of us to mimic the dance movements she was seeing on stage. I wish I had my video camera because it was hysterical. After a while she found a stick and used it conduct the music. I asked her on the way home if she liked the dancing or the music more....and, of course, she said the music! You can't see all of her shirt in these photos but it says "Music makes my life colorful". Thanks, Nana for the perfect outfit for our music lover.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Swimming like a fish!

Last summer Grace learned to jump into the pool. This summer she has been learning to swim. She started by using the arm floaties, but now she doesn't seem to want them anymore. Since she can reach the bottom with her head above water in the 3 foot area of the pool, she has been doing fine without them.

...and now for the swimming videos

Grace loves to climb the ladder, find a place along the edge of the pool, and JUMP! Then she gets her bearings and swims (with her head underwater!) to Kyle or me! We bought her goggles, but she only used them once. She liked that she was able to see under the water, though! Maybe that will be the next thing she masters.....

...and another one....

Monday, July 19, 2010

Oh, the places you'll go!

Last summer we discovered this quaint old-fashioned amusement park designed for kids under 50 inches. We took advantage of an overcast (but not rainy) day to skip the pool and ride the rides instead. Last year I thought it was great. This year it didn't seem as exciting to me, but Grace sure had fun. She still doesn't like the roller coaster, though! Good thing it only went around two times because on the second time she was telling me she wanted to get off!On most of the rides Grace added to OUR fun by waving and blowing kisses... ...and to HER fun by making funny faces at us as she went by!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Touch a truck

To fuel Grace's fascination with trucks, we took her to a "touch a truck" event in a neighboring city. They had all kinds of trucks for kids to explore. Many, like the school bus, fire truck, and army vehicles, had people there in uniform to answer questions and help the kids. They were allowed to climb aboard, honk the horns, touch all the dials, etc. It was a hot, but really fun morning.

Grace loves the "yellow bus" so this is the first vehicle we tried!The red mat showed kids to stay safely 10 feet away
from the bus until the driver signals them to get on.
Kyle showed Grace how sometimes
the firefighters ride holding on the to back.
I thought this tractor was one of the most interesting vehicles. For some reason Grace was very intrigued with
"Scrappy the Raccoon". She was pleased to get a photo with him
and followed him around for several minutes.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Silly Bandz

Did you know these shaped rubber bands are the craze right now with kids? Everywhere we go, I see kids of all ages wearing them on their wrists. Grace is no exception. Usually, I limit her to a couple on each wrist, but when she wanted to choose her own she spread them all out on the table, counted them (her newest funny number word is "eleventeen"), and then put them ALL on!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Je m'appelle Grace

Now, I know I have Aunt Susan and Aunt Jill's attention....They were both French majors in college!Tomorrow is Bastille Day and since Nana and Aunt Phyllis are in Paris right now, we thought we would share this photo of Grace with a French flag she made this morning at a French-themed story time . I think the woman who was reading the books just wanted to practice her French and use her Eiffel Tower rubber stamps! The kids learned to say je m'appelle, merci and bonjour. Grace is able to repeat foreign words pretty well for a 3-year old. She seems to be able to hear the phonetic differences in the languages. They say this is the time to teach another language. We work on Spanish here and there, but maybe I need to consider some lessons....

Friday, July 9, 2010

Blueberries for Grace

We went to a "pick your own" berry farm one evening this week to try our hand at picking blueberries. In case you didn't know, blueberries grow in bunches on little shrubs. This farm had rows and rows of them and they open for a couple of hours each day for people to come get fresh, organic berries to take home....or eat right there!
At first Grace did a really good job of choosing plump, deep purple berries. But it was hot out again (we're talking mid-90's) so after about 20 minutes she was ready to head back to the air-conditioned car! Dawson persevered a little longer but we were all ready to wilt by the time we headed back.
In the end, we picked about 1/2 pint of berries (about 1/2 the size of a normal container I buy at the grocery store). I think we are going to bake blueberry muffins tomorrow and buy the book Blueberries for Sal.
This 1947 Caldecott Award winning picture book is the story of a little girl, Sal, and her mother as they go out into the country to pick blueberries for winter, and a bear and his mother as they go to eat berries for winter from the other side of the same hill. Both pairs are collecting and storing blueberries for the winter....just in different ways. They are certainly surprised when they meet each other at the top!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Exploring the garden

On Tuesday, we visited the botanical gardens with our friends Kellie, Dawson, Becky, Greg, and Douglas. Our botanical gardens has a special children's garden with kids' activities every day.

Grace and Dawson - the Explorers
On Tuesdays, they allow the kids to make mudpies....basically, the kids make molded "pies" from the mud in a huge bucket and then use flowers, leaves, and grass from the garden to decorate.

Dawson, Grace, and Douglas waiting for their mudpies.Grace and Douglas
This was the reason we went, but after making her mudpie, Grace showed more interest in wandering around so I just allowed her to meander among the plants, rocks, and ponds.
Look at the fish, mom!

This play house had grass and wild flowers growing on the roof!
It was a REALLY hot day so we decided to go inside to see the butterfly enclosure. In there we saw this guy....
According to Greg it is a chameleon. I never knew they could get that big! Very cool to see in person.We ended the morning with a fun picnic under a huge tree where the adults could sit and talk and the kids had an opportunity to run around. They were sweaty and red-faced by 1:00 when we packed up to come home.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

How many dogs do I have?Yeah....I thought just one....until I turned around and saw this!Mmmmm....nothing like cold water from a hose on a hot day!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Slip slidin' away

On July 4th, Grace tried a slip-n-slide for the first time. She was a little hesitant in the beginning, especially since Kyle's nephews were so good at it and, I think, she was a little nervous about jumping in among the boys. But after everyone left, we took her back out to the yard and with a little coaxing (and modeling by Kyle), she got the hang of it. (Once again, I was behind the camera...sorry, mom!)As the day progressed from late afternoon to evening you can see how the sunlight changed in the photos. This one is my favorite. The light was just so warm and perfect.