Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Where are we?

Here! Enjoying the sun, sea, and sand.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fearless 5 minutes

As soon as Grace woke up this morning she said she wanted to go to the pool....so we did! And all this happened in the first 5 minutes. I was able to put my camera away after that. We kept doing all this over and over for 2 1/2 hours! Now she is taking a nap!
Can you believe how fearless Grace is? Look at her jump!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It takes someone special to be a dad

Grace and I are lucky to have two amazing men in Grace's life who love her, protect her, teach her, and care for her. I am thankful every day for these two men who enrich our lives by just being themselves. I love to watch them nurture Grace and share their special talents with her.

When I see my father with Grace and I hear him talking to her, it brings back memories of being little and growing up with him as my dad. And, I am so glad Grace gets to know and love him. My parents do an incredible job of being a part of our everyday lives even though we live almost 500 miles away.

And, I couldn't have asked for a better person than Kyle to be Grace's dad. There is no doubt how much they love each other. They have their own silly jokes and a whole language that I don't even begin to understand. Sometimes, when I try to chime in, Grace reminds me that I am just out of the loop by "shushing" me or saying, "No, Daddy do (sing, say, etc) that!"
Happy Father's Day, Ba and Daddy!
We love you both very much.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dawson!

Kellie had Dawson's birthday party on Saturday at a really cool build-a-bear-type place called "Bear on the Square". We loved it! All the kids made a t-shirt for their animal, chose a special friend to stuff, enjoyed pizza and cake, and then paraded their special animal outside and around the store! It was a really fun time and Kellie had all the details planned to make sure everyone enjoyed themselves.Grace was a little shy at first, wanting me to hold her. At some point, she even "hid" behind the door. Aimee told me today that they grow out of this clingy, tempermental phase by the second half of the 3rd year. I hope so....Grace didn't care too much about decorating her animal's T-shirt or coloring, but she loved exploring the store. They had a lot of unique items for kids of all ages. In the end, she chose a twisty lollipop! They had about 20 different animals to choose from, but Grace went straight to the dogs. At first she had a black one that looked like Daisy, but she ended up with one that reminds me of Summer. She pulled the tag right off and claimed it as her own. Then Grace stuffed it and put an angel inside for extra love. She named it Tulip. When it came time to sing "Happy Birthday" Dawson told us that she didn't want us to sing because it was too loud. And, she didn't want to blow out her candle. Funny girl. She certainly has a mind of her own. But it was her birthday, so we followed her rules. But this is my blog....so I am going to say a loud HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Sweet Dawson. We are happy to be a part of your life and hope we are there for all the birthdays you have coming!

Friday, June 18, 2010

After the pool

When I was a teacher, I got 10 weeks off in the summer. When I became an administrator, that changed to about 6 weeks off. This summer, we made an agreement with our superintendent to finish earlier next June. But, in order to do that I have to go back a week sooner this August. So, this summer, I will only be off for about 5 weeks, instead of 6. Now, I know that sounds like a lot of vacation time to some people. But for me, it is a week that I won't get to spend playing with my Grace. So, we are going to squeeze every minute of summer fun out of the time we have together.

Today, we went to the pool for 2 hours after work. It was so much fun to watch her jump from the side of the pool, go down the slide, play in the waterfalls, and willingly put her head all the way under the water. I think she smiled the entire time she was swimming! After the pool, we both just hung out in our cover-ups with no undies! Shhhh....don't tell anyone!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A relaxing summer evening

Kelly invited us over tonight to hang out, enjoy some wine and appetizers, and to let the kids play. It is always interesting to me to watch Grace interact with kids she hasn't met before. In this case, she did great with Kellie's friend, Tristin's two daughters. They played in the pool and water table, danced to the radio in Dawson's bedroom (while we watched on the video monitor!), and pretended to camp out on the grass. What fun!
Notice how Grace has the purple "cell" phone.
Her one-sided conversations are pretty funny!That's MY kind of camping...close to a bathroom!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How many, many feet you meet

Dr Seuss was never one of my favorites growing up or as a teacher of elementary children. But, lately I LOVE Dr. Seuss. Thanks to Aunt Susan, Grace has a few classic Dr. Seuss books - The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and The Foot Book. And she really enjoys them because she can memorize the text enough to "read" it aloud to me and her stuffed animals and baby dolls. Often, she will want to go to bed with a book and I can hear her in her room (in the dark, mind you) "reading" to her dolls. You have to love a kid who takes a book to bed!This photo of Nana and Grace's feet and the photo in the last post reminded me of The Foot Book, a classic book of opposites:
Left foot, left foot
Right foot, right
Feet in the morning
Feet at night
Left foot, left foot, left foot
Wet foot, Dry foot
High Foot, Low foot
Front feet, Back feet
Red feet, Black feet
How many, many feet you meet.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Just like Mommy

Grace always notices right away when I get my nails done. Last week, she asked to have her toes painted pink, "just like Mommy!" So I polished them for her...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Three days, two nights

I am about to do something I haven't done since Grace was put in my arms on March 6, 2008....leave her! Yes, that's right. In over 2 years, I have not spent the night without Grace.

In my "business" there are very few business trips. There is the occasional seminar I need to attend, but since we live pretty close to some larger cities, I can do these in one long day. There are the State and National conventions, but I can choose to attend....or not. And, lately, there has been a lot of "not". But, an opportunity came along a month ago that seemed so good I chose to participate. So, this trip has me leaving tomorrow for three days and two nights.

I have told Grace a couple of times that I am going away for work but it doesn't seem to register or bother her. That is probably because she is going to stay with Kyle and, as she told him this week, she "loves him the most ever!" so I am not concerned that she will be sad. I expect that she will ask where I am. But I will be back before she has too long to feel my absence. I know he will keep her busy with the pool, soccer, playing at the park, eating out, etc. And, there is always school if taking care of a 3-year old 24/7 becomes too much for him!

I am sad for myself. It all sounded good a month ago. But now, as I pack for both of us to be in different places for 1/2 of the week. I don't really want to go....So, I will leave you with this picture of my peanut sleeping in her big bed. You know I will be looking at all the photos on this blog every chance I get in the next few days!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I scream, you scream, we all scream...

...for soccer?

Grace's soccer participation was better this week. I'm not sure if it was because she knew what to expect, OR because we were encouraging her during the car ride to the field, OR because she had a female coach, OR because we bribed her with ice cream (yeah, it was probably that one!).... but she participated right from the beginning. It was really great to sit on the grass and laugh as we watched Grace listen to the coach and play the little games Coach Cheryl used to teach skills (step on a bug to trap the ball and make it stop, walk like a penguin to use the inside of your foot to move the ball, etc.) Every few minutes, though, Grace ran over to us and asked if it was time for ice cream. Yeah, that cold, sugary, creamy ice cream sure is a motivator!

Toward the end, they had a "scrimmage" with kids from the purple group. That is what this 1 1/2 minute video is. The kids running from one net to the other trying to kick the ball. Grace was always on the outskirts or in the back of the pack - just too distracted to care much and not aggressive enough to take the ball away from someone else. After all, we are always telling her to share! It is hard to understand that in this game we want her to TAKE the ball away from someone!

The funniest part of this to me is how Grace pushes a little boy and SHE falls down!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Big girl bed

After waiting 6 weeks and ALL day yesterday for the delivery men, Grace's big girl bed is finally here! She seems so proud of it. This morning, she lined up almost all of her stuffed animals (yes, there are more than what you see here!) along the wall and used her new kiddie camera to take photos of them.She played in her room for a long time - something she hasn't done before - but stopped for a second so I could take a couple of quick photos.I am really pleased with the bed. It is exactly what I was looking for to blend with her furniture and still be girly, but not babyish. I think Grace likes that she can get up and down from it on her own. That, could also pose a problem, too, I know...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Well, at least she looked cute...

This evening, Grace started soccer! Her "team" includes 9 other 3- and 4-year olds and is one of 4 teams in the Hudson Hummingbirds league.We got lucky and found soccer cleats, shin guards, and shorts for $10 from someone whose daughter wore them once and hated soccer so she never played again. When I bought them for her I secretly thought, "I hope we have better luck than they did".
Hey, this is soccer. No hands!
And, boy did Grace look cute! It took two of us to put on her soccer socks and shoes as the princess just sat on the couch and watched us struggle to make it all work and not cut off the circulation in her legs.
Getting her blue team shirt
When we arrived at the field (which is behind the high school where I work), there were about 40 kids running around in orange, purple, blue, and grey T-shirts. The coaches seemed to be college students and they were pretty good at relating to preschoolers. I liked how they made everything into a game, talked to the kids at their level, and let them participate to whatever extent they wanted.
Watching from the goal.
That was good for Grace because....I was really hopeful that Grace would love it, but when we arrived, she was really nervous and wouldn't participate with the other kids. I'll admit, I got pretty frustrated with her. I wanted her to jump right in, run out there, get active, and show off. But, that was an unrealistic expectation. Thank goodness Kyle was there. I needed to walk away and he stuck with her, made her feel secure, and encouraged her to try once she warmed up.
How cute is this?
It took about 30 minutes of watching from a distance, 15 minutes of standing near the other kids but not really participating....
Notice Grace on the right
.....until all of a sudden she joined the group.
And the next time I looked she was running and playing.We both tried to praise and encourage her when she kicked the ball. I am not sure she understood that she was supposed to chase the ball and "steal" it from the other kids as they ran toward a goal. I think some kids "got it" but Grace was either too distracted or not really interested in the objective of the game. It is really too soon to tell.As we were leaving we asked her, "How was soccer?' and she replied, "It's good." And she said she wants to go back again. Kyle predicts every week will be like this one - with her watching for a long time until she is ready to try. Well, she has always been an observer. Even when she was 4 months old we could see how she watched everything going on. Once Grace is comfortable, she doesn't hesitate to join in. So, we'll keep going back until that happens.