Thursday, July 31, 2014

Library Buddies

Look what I found!

I think I told you before: we realized in September of last year that the little girl that had gone through weekly story times with Thomas since Mother Goose (T was 18 months old when we moved here) was Paige. And, Paige started Kitty's Kids with Thomas and his other friends.  Small world.

Anyway, as I was thinking about how long we have been doing the library thing, I got to thinking that I probably had pictures of Paige from those early days.

Not only did I, but I have it from the 2nd month that we started going.  How sweet is that?

Story Time Buddies since 2010 :)

**The first picture is from October 2010 Mother Goose Story time with Mrs. Hooper, we didn't get Mrs. Carolyn until the next year (we went the Toddler story time session after Thomas turned 2) and we kept her for more than 3 years! ***

Last Story Time

...for real this time.

Today wrapped up the last story time of the summer, so it will be next summer (likely) before we sit and listen to Mrs. Carolyn read on a regular schedule.

The library does offer a family story time on a week day evening, but I know what school evenings are like for one kid, so add another and I can't imagine trying to add in an evening activity once a week along with dinner and showers.

This won't be the last time we go to the library this summer as we checked out books today, and they have the Back To School event in August where the kids get to ride the bus for practice. So, it isn't quite as sad as it sounds--but a little. I have been taking regularly Thomas since we moved here in August of 2010. I am going to miss that mommy & Thomas time.  Not that I am not going to miss having him to myself all day long, but this was just something we did a lot, and I enjoyed sharing it with him.

This week's theme was cupcakes and cookies.

Mrs. Carolyn read two yummy books and the kids made their own paper cupcake for a craft. Thomas is usually not very creative and smacks whatever it is together and moves on.  But, today he was quite meticulous with his cupcake sprinkles and how they were aligned. Funny boy.

Now, since it was the last, last one, I took extra pictures, and I videoed the little "exercise" they do every week before she begins to read.

We love story time at the library, and remember my Thomas was NOT always the good listener he is now. It took time and practice and very PATIENT librarians for us to get to this level.  So, try your library out I am sure they have this opportunity.  And, even hard to manage children like my Thomas once was, can find a way to sit and listen--eventually.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ice Cream Wrap Up

.... for a pretty awesome summer day.

Kids BINGO Night

Thomas shouts (LOUD!) "BINGO!!!"
I guess this is becoming a yearly activity for us.

Although, last year it was just Gracie and I as Thomas was at Bryce's church for their weekly thing.
Thomas was so excited to do Bingo and he really got into the idea of the game in just a few moves.  I had to laugh, because he had so many ways to win with just once space left and he kept coming up short. In fact, when he did finally win, his card was nearly completely full.

The way they play is for kids to not clear their spaces when someone wins (except the winner) and play until every child had a BINGO and received a prize.  And, despite the unbelievable crowd for tonight's activity, they had enough prizes for every child to win BINGO twice.

I didn't count, but I bet there were 30 kids plus parents.  Last year Gracie was one of 5 or 6 kids playing.

Regardless of the number of people playing, kids love BINGO and the library, as always did a great job of putting on a fun event.

Gracie from Last Year (October 2013)

Apple Camp, Day 2

Today at camp it was all about editing.  Gracie (with a little help from mommy) filmed her new story board yesterday afternoon. She had originally planned on doing a Cinderella story with her stuffed animals, and then she realized how hard it would be to video subjects that couldn't take direction ;)  So, she went to the next hardest group of people to take direction: little brothers.

I won't spoil her video plan, as they will show all of the students videos on Friday, and I will post on here as well so you can see her first visual masterpiece.

She finished today out a little early, but she was confident and happy in her final product.  I think the Apple Camp was not only good for her, but a great boost in confidence and a great learning experience for her! So, go daddy!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Apple Camp, Day 1

Daddy heard all about it--somehow, somewhere.  But, the Apple Store in the mall in Short Pump hosts a 1 week "Apple Camp" for ages 9-(something).

Gracie had been interested in making videos and talked to daddy about showing her.  Well, these camps are apparently for showing kids her age how to use the programs and devices to become little filmmakers.

Well, we were on a waiting list to get in.  Then we weren't.

She was apprehensive at first (typical Gracie) since it was something new and unfamiliar, but she ended up having a great time.

All the kids got free t-shirts and name tags. I want to say there was about 15.  Then they passes out ipads to each kid and dove into the camp.

Thomas and I weren't allowed to leave the store, so we found a corner and hung out until Gracie was ready (1.5 hours later). Thankfully I remembered his phone and ear buds so he could stay entertained for  at least a little while.

When the "leaders" called all the campers and parents around in the end Gracie was beaming. She couldn't wait to film her video. She had a story board and she had made her own soundtrack using Garage Band during the morning's session.

I would say Day 1 was a hit!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

9 Years

...of blogging.

Happy Blog Birthday to me :)

There aren't a great deal of things in my life beyond my family that I am overly proud of, but writing about my adventures as the mom of two precious gifts is one of them.

Over the years I have tarried from my writing for days and weeks, and I have taken spells where I write more than one entry a day.  But, on the whole I have a 9 year compilation of the ups and downs, the joys and concerns, the hard days and the joy-filled days. A "journal" that will surely be treasured by me when the kids are older and need me less and less in their lives, and when the kids have kids themselves and need a reminder that life does get better.

You can read out my first blog entry here. I couldn't possibly choose a favorite blog entry, but there are many gems in this space.

Blogger does have some interesting facts about my blog that kind of make me puff up:

I have had 54,295 page views

I have posted 2,812 entries

I have 18 followers

2,373 published comments

My most viewed stories of all time are: Gum Drop adventures from 2011, Happy Birthday Aunt Dawn

My most viewed stories this month: Just Keep Reading, Busch Gardens With Clara, Slurpee Day, Grandpa's Helper,

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Planes,Trains & Best Friends

Thomas has been waiting oh, so, very impatiently to share his newest Geo Trax trains with best friend Bryce.

We have been collecting Geo Trax sets since Gracie was about 2 or 3.  As you know I love Fisher Price, and even though she is a girl (I was really into gender neutral and cross over toys for her), she loved pulling the tracks and trains and pieces out and setting them up for play.

Now, we love this set that has been added too for years, but there is a BIG draw back--it takes up the whole living room.  When Gracie first

had these, we lived in an apartment, and the living room was half of our living space. 

Since it takes up so much room, and it takes hours to make a viable track, I usually let the kids leave it up for a day or two before we take it down and put the containers back in the attic.

They have stopped selling and making the Geo Trax line of toys, and I don't think we had gotten a new set in many years.  So, I was surprised when Grandma told me three Geo Trax trains were coming to our house via the mail.

It was a long and confusing story (which I still don't understand), but somehow Grandma pestered Toys R Us employees who found trains in a back storage area at Winchester, VA store and now we have three new trains.

Bryce came over today with sister Emmy and the 4 kids had a great time running the trains over the track that I pieced together Wednesday.

While we don't pull the train set out too often, I love to watch the excitement the kids get over playing with it. Another thing they play with together. And, I am kind of sad that we won't be able to add more to the set. Not that we have space, or container room--but losing out on the idea of adding on bums me out a little.

And, while the trains are a hit, the airport remains the favorite piece of our little Fisher Price train world.

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for the three new trains, and probably half of the pieces we already own. While I love Geo Trax, I was more than often unwilling to pay the store prices for them (they were expensive!).

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Back Packs On!

We hadn't planned for either of them to have back packs so soon--but I love getting to check that off the list.

Not one hour after having a long discussion with Gracie about how she really needed to choose a good and sturdy back pack for school this year, and how the ones she insists on having in year's past barely made it to June, and sometimes didn't--she talks Grandma & Grandpa into buying her a Frozen backpack at Toys R Us.

What'cha gonna' do?

Tonight Thomas got his backpack--also unplanned.  I think his is the perfect size for Kindergarten, but I am not familiar with the brand, so I am unsure of the endurance heavy load power.  But, we got it at Marshall's for $13.  He fell in love with it the moment he saw it, and it was the ONLY one in the store. So, despite our better instincts we got it for him, making sure he realized that this was the backpack he choose and we were not going to buy another one when he found something he liked better at a different store.

Eh, well, it is done.  Now, I just have to tackle those lists!  I decided since it is Thomas' first go at real back to school shopping, I want to take the kids individually so we can savor that experience.  I figure we will get it done in the next week or so since the supplies have to be taken in on Meet The Teacher Night in late August.

Cool Day At Maymont

Well, it was only supposed to reach 83 today, so it seemed like a great day to do something outdoors that would ordinarily be deemed "too hot to do today" (by me of course).

So, I thought: let's go to Maymont!

The kids and I love that place, only it is all outside, and it is a LOT of walking, and and not much is covered from the sun.

I am sure that it did not technically get  above 83 degrees, but that didn't stop the humidity from punching me 8 rounds and generally kicking my behind.

But, I persevered--through the ridiculous amount of sweat--and I drug the Whitlock's along for the sweaty adventure.

I think we hiked, saw animals, ran (and got soaked) for about 3 hours before we packed up our sweaty treasures and headed back to the car to find a good picnic spot.

It was a humid day--but fun for all.

* We saw the bear--WAY up in a tree!

* Thomas finally fell into the pond where the stepping stones are as I predicted would happen to that child from the first time we visited Maymont. (He insisted he didn't need my hand this time, he could do it by himself--that should have made me even more prepared for the splash that came 60 seconds later). **Picture capture was hilariously coincidental**

* The kids ran through sprinklers that were for plants and not for them and got soaked

 * We had several "power up" snack breaks

* We took the hard and straight up path to the Italian Garden

* No one got a bloody injury!

What a great day! :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday With Bryce

Thomas probably missed us some while he was gone, but he really missed his best friend. So, thankfully Grace and I made a play date for the boys for this morning.

It was overcast and kind of yucky out this morning, so we found some indoor things to do.

Like a pancake brunch.

And, coloring and fun school workbook pages.

Of course they played lots and lots until I realized there wasn't any rain falling from those clouds--so we went out and played in the front yard.

Those are two happy boys glad to be reunited.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Back To Normal

Daddy had to remind us all several times this past weekend: we miss Thomas.

Of course we missed him.  Even when we could relax and eat our food, even when there were actually long periods of silence, even when we watched a family movie all the way through, even when we slept a whole night without extra legs and arms in between us, even when we went to church and sat still, even when went swimming at the gym and no one had to keep anyone from splashing, even when everyone could go to the bathroom when they wanted, even when we could talk not about cars or tow truck.  Even then, we missed him.

And, we are so glad to have him back home.

 Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for taking such good care of our baby big boy.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Grandpa's Helper

My dad was so nice and snapped pictures on his vintage flip phone and shared his adventures with his handy dandy little helper today.

Thomas loves to go to "work" the Grandpa. And of course the people who dad does side jobs for on when his helper gets to go apparently love it too!