Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December

My PC got a virus, and crashed...
My cousin recovered it, but I still couldn't access the internet...
Perry decided I needed a Mac...
I got a Mac, but realized I had a steep learning curve...
It was December and I had to do my Christmas shopping...
All of that, and more, to explain my long absence.

(Wow...I just realized I never even posted any Disney pics!) We went to WDW for a surprise trip over the Thanksgiving holidays. Here's a slideshow. More pics to follow.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Rethinking Christmas

Thanks to a church series and a very powerful Advent Conspiracy video, we are trying to change our approach to Christmas. We'll still have a very commercial Christmas, I'm sure, but I hope we can make enough changes to also make it more meaningful.
We are creating a Jesse tree (well, we're actually creating two!) in order to learn more about Christmas. We've replaced the candy and trinkets in our countdown calendar with fun family activities, like singing Christmas carols, making Christmas cookies, writing letters to our Compassion International child in Guatemala, and buying presents for a needy child. But our biggest change this year is to give up one present, and use that money to donate to charity. Sarah and Abby readily agreed to this arrangement, so tonight at dinner Perry asked them what was on their Christmas list, and what they thought they might want to take off the list. Abby said she could do without a DS. I was shocked - this is a must-have item on her list. I really thought it was her #1. But then she said she'd do without it, because all she really wants is a horse!!
When she isn't making me crazy, she's making me laugh!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

Pics from Halloween night and both of the girls' class parties:

No Time to Sleep!

Abby doesn't have time to sleep - she's much too busy. This is what I found in her bathroom when I went up to get her Friday morning at 6:00. No telling how long she'd been up!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

They're VERY Different!



Friday was 60s day at school. The kids danced to 60s music in the gym and everyone dressed up. I love that S&A picked such different outfits. Sarah was a hippie chick, which totally fits her personality. Abby found a shirt in my closet, and we made a few adjustments so she could wear it as a dress with her go-go boots.





Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's THAT Week Again

Red Ribbon Week.

Drug Awareness Week.

My least favorite week of the school year!

Sarah told me that she wasn't going to drink tea anymore because it's a drug. After lots of probing, I figured out that caffeine is one of the drugs they learn about in counseling. But, since I make decaffeinated tea, she doesn't need to worry.

Later she asked if she could have some Skittles, or if they were a drug; somehow I think 6 is too young for drug education. I remember her crying last year when Perry drank a beer on Halloween night, because he was doing drugs. I guess the idea is to start the dialogue now, so it won't be a taboo topic when they get older, but I really think third grade would be early enough. I mean, I know that some kids are drinking and experimenting with drugs in middle school, but even Drew Barrymore didn't drink until she was 10!

At least it's a fun week for the kids. Every day has a different theme - today was team spirit day. You could wear your team colors or wear a uniform or other outfit from your favorite sport. Abby was a USA cheerleader and Sarah wore her tennis outfit.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

NOT Hannah Montana

Many months ago, we got tickets to the Miley Cyrus concert. I had concerns about it even then, because I think she is much too "old" for S&A. I rarely even let them watch her TV show. But the girls love her music, and Perry & I thought it would be a great concert for them.

In the past few weeks, however, my concerns grew. I saw reviews and video clips of her new tour, and saw how she is trying to change her image. Hannah Montana is gone, although she still sings a few HM songs. Her wardrobe consists mostly of too short shorts and leather. And her new music is much harder and edgier. I seriously considered telling the girls that we couldn't go. But, we had friends coming to town to go with us, and so ultimately we decided to go. We figured we would have many "teachable moments" to discuss with the girls when it was over, but at least we were prepared.

Last night was the big event. We went to dinner before the concert and saw all the Miley Cyrus tour buses at the Galleria, which was thrilling for the girls. We intentionally arrived at the concert an hour late in order to miss the warm up band (Miley's older, rocker brother). As we walked in the doors, Miley took the stage. Our seats were far from ideal- we were one row from the very top , on the far side of the stage, almost at the back. I thought this would be disappointing, but it really turned out to be a blessing. We had friends with great seats, and they were appalled by Miley's skimpy outfits and suggestive dancing. We couldn't see any of that from our seats, and instead just enjoyed the music and special effects. The highlight was definitely the flying motorcycle, as Miley rode above the audience while singing "I Love Rock n Roll." We also enjoyed our back-stage view, as we watched Miley fall backwards onto a mat and rush under the stage to change outfits (about 7 times). Both S&A said they really had fun and enjoyed the concert, but I definitely think that Abby liked it more. She sang and danced all night. Sarah was very serious throughout the whole show and never danced or sang. I think she was a bit overwhelmed.
It was a much better night than either Perry or I expected, and I hope it's a night they'll remember for a long time.
A note on the pictures. Abby insisted on wearing her Hannah Montana wig (she's going to be HM for Halloween). Fortunately, she took it off at the restaurant because it itched, and she didn't put it back on. As for the signs, all three girls worked on their signs for a long time, but then didn't want to carry them into the concert, so we put them back in the car after we took the picture.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Charades

S&A love to play Charades. Unfortunately (or fortunately, since laughing is good for everyone), they're not very good at it. Abby is VERY literal - even her teachers have noticed it and mentioned it to me. So when she sees something on the paper, she can't think about acting it out in any way other than what she sees on the paper. She won't see the word "table" and think about setting something on a table; she'll just BE the table. Sarah's pretty funny too, although not quite as literal.

video

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New Vocabulary Word

I can't believe I forgot to post this!

A couple of weeks ago, we had teacher conferences. At Abby's conference, her teacher said she had a funny story to tell us. She begged us not to be upset or mad at Abby and suggested that we probably shouldn't even mention it to her. Of course by this point we were starting to get very concerned about what she might be about to tell us...
She said that she had the whole class on the rug, and they were playing a word game, where you start with one three-letter word, then change one letter at a time until you get to another, completely different 3-letter word. The beginning word was "bit," and they were trying to get to "dog." So they'd changed some letters, and were making progress, so she told them they were getting close, but they needed to start thinking about words that were kind of like "dog." She asked, "Can anyone think of a word that's kind of like dog?", and Abby raised her hand. When she called on Abby, Abby said, "I know a word that's like dog." "Great! What is it?" asked the teacher. With a sweet voice and an innocent smile, Abby said, "bitch." Seriously. Fortunately Abby's teacher is a quick-thinker, so she just said "that's great, but we're looking for 3-letter words. Can anyone think of a 3-letter word that's like dog?", and they moved on without any conversation about Abby's new word!
Where did she learn such a word, you ask? Well, all I can think is that it came from a book. For two straight weeks she brought home non-fiction books about dogs from the school library. We didn't read them together, but she must have read them by herself. And she obviously has great comprehension!
This story has entertained most of the faculty and administration at school. The following day I saw the Assistant Principal, and he said "oh, there's the mom of that first grader with a foul mouth." Yeah, ha ha.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Field Trip to the Zoo

Fall Ball


Friday night, the kindergarten teachers hosted "Fall Ball" for K-3rd grade students. The kids dressed in costumes and ate, danced, and watched movies. Sarah and Abby had a big debate about what to wear, and both decided to save their Halloween costumes for Halloween night. Instead, they dug through the dress-up closet and pulled out their favorite things. Unfortunately, it's very cold here right now, and their choices were sleeveless recital costumes. After a bit of serious negotiating, I managed to get some long-sleeved shirts on them. And then Abby found some colorful tights, and paired them with her pink cowboy boots to complete her ensemble. A little spray-on color in the hair, and they were ready to go!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fire Station

I forgot to blog about the girl's trip to the fire station a couple of weekends ago. Their Daisy troop went on a field trip to the local station and had an awesome tour. The guys really did a great job showing us everything in the station (even the Murphy beds!). They put the big ladder up on the truck, and showed us how they put on all their fire safety clothes and equipment, and opened up all the compartments on the truck so we could see how much equipment they have. It was as informative for the parents as it was for the girls, and we all had a great time. Here's our sweet little Daisy troop (minus one):

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My Serious Student

Sarah has a project due next Friday. When she got home from school yesterday, she immediately asked me to Google "Australian animals" so that she could decide which animal to write about. She finally chose the wombat, and then she did her entire report. She answered all the questions, drew a picture, printed pictures from the internet, and then put everything on a poster board and decorated it. I told her that she had all weekend and most of next week to get it done, but she was determined to do it immediately. It turned out very cute!


Teenagers?


It's been a little cool in the mornings this week, so we've pulled out some winter clothes. Friday morning, the girls came down in jeans and long-sleeved shirts. That would have been fine, except that I took one look at them and realized how big they've gotten. Seriously, don't they look like teenagers?!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Dog and 2 Gerbils: A Love Story

Bailey really really loves Miley and Sasha.



video

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Additions to Our Family

For months, Sarah and Abby have been asking for their own pets. They started with puppies, moved to kittens, and finally settled on gerbils, hamsters, or guinea pigs. Last weekend, after a few days of research, we decided to add two gerbils to our family.


Introducing Sasha and Miley! Sasha is Sarah's, and she's a little bit darker. Miley is Abby's, and she's lighter and a little smaller. I never had gerbils when I was growing up, so I really don't know much about them. But they seem fairly easy. They're still getting used to us, so I hope they'll get more social in time. Right now it's hard to get them out of the cage and they won't sit still for us to hold them. We like to take them into Sarah's bathroom, put towels under the door so they can't escape, and watch them run around and explore. They really are very funny.










Bailey and Ellie are very interested in them. They sit on the stairs, or in a chair near the cage, and stare for hours. Yesterday, Sasha squeezed past the towel under the door and raced out of the bathroom, only to find a very eager Bailey waiting outside. Fortunately he only sniffed her, and she ran back into the bathroom safely. Right now he's standing on a chair, looking into the cage and wagging his tail. I think he just wants to be friends!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Daddy

Perry had lunch with the girls today and then read to Sarah's class. He said she was so happy and soooo proud. Her teacher sent this pic:
And, I had a flashback to six years ago. She was a Daddy's girl then, and she's still one today.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pets?

The girls are begging us to get them "their own pets." A few months ago they were asking for puppies, but now their obsession has turned to small animals, such as rats/ mice/ hamsters/ gerbils/ guinea pigs / bunnies.
I don't know much about these creatures. We did some research this weekend (yes, we Googled it), and decided that gerbils sounded like the best fit for our family. But then I tossed it out to my Facebook friends for some advice, and I didn't get anyone telling me how great they are. Mostly I heard things like "don't do it" (a direct quote from my sister).
I'm not sure why they would be such bad pets. Of course it would be more convenient if we didn't have them, but how much trouble could they be?
We're still discussing it. I'll let you know how it turns out!

Oh, and Sarah has saved $26 so far for those Twinkle Toes. I told her she had saved enough to go buy them (she hasn't really, but I'm willing to make up the difference), and she's not begging me to go. I think she likes saving her money and is hesitant to spend it all. Can't wait to see what she decides.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Middle Earth

We headed south last weekend for the long Labor Day weekend. First we went to Grandmother's farm in Citronelle (Middle Earth) to commune with nature. The girls LOVE this place.
They love the animals













and the insects



















and the gardens









and the labyrinth











and the cookouts










and the surprises - a Great Owl, a medicine wheel, G&G in bee suits.








And, of course, they love Grandmother and Grandfather. They are being exposed to so many new things at Middle Earth - things that Perry and I don't always understand or believe in. But one of my greatest hopes for S&A is that they will develop open, curious minds, and not be quick to judge. Middle Earth challenges all of us (in a good way). I hope they will learn new things and make wonderful memories at G&G's "farm."

6 Is a Great Age

The girls saw the front page of the paper this morning and were very excited to see pictures of stars from the Hubble telescope. The photos were amazing - old stars, stars being born, a butterfly nebula. After cutting out all the pictures to share with their friends at school, they started asking me questions that I couldn't answer. Where is the Hubble telescope? How long has it been in space? Can astronauts visit it? Do astronauts float in space? On and on and on. What's a mom to do? Google it!! We grabbed my computer and found lots of answers, and even watched a video of astronauts turning somersaults and playing with a flashlight in space. Such an awesome lesson.
Tonight at dinner, Abby had the US map placemat, and she asked why most "twisters" happen in Kansas. I had no idea. So again, we Googled it. We got our answer and watched a few videos of tornadoes on YouTube.
Abby also told me all about coral and coral islands, which she learned about in class today. Sarah is learning about Australia. I was able to pull out my photo album from Australia and show them the Great Barrier Reef and lots of pictures of my trip.
I just think it's so amazing to see how much they are learning, and what little sponges they are! I'm so thankful for their wonderful teachers who are opening up new worlds for them. I'm thankful for the Internet and all the resources available to me when they ask questions I can't answer. And I look forward to learning new things with them. Am I smarter than a first grader? No, apparently not. But we're learning together.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It All Started With a Commercial

I hate commercials. I rarely let S&A watch any channel other than Noggin, not because of the shows, but because of the commercials during the shows. I just think that kids are so impressionable, and it bugs me when companies target them in the middle of an otherwise benign show. But occasionally, I will let them watch Nick Jr. or Saturday morning cartoons on a network. Evidently, that's when Abby saw THE COMMERCIAL. About three months ago, the badgering began for "Twinkle Toes, New from Skechers." So, when her tennis shoes got too small, I agreed to let her get her beloved shoes. I'll admit, they're pretty cute. And they're VERY Abby!
Abby said that they make her dance like this:
video
(I'm wondering if I should take the shoes back because they make her dance like Elaine Benes.)

Now, Sarah has decided that she wants Twinkle Toes, too. Unfortunately for Sarah, she doesn't need new tennis shoes, so I won't buy her any. But I told her that she could buy her own if she saves her money. I created a list of extra chores she can do to earn money, and she's been hard at work all weekend. So far it seems like she REALLY wants these shoes. Sarah is a determined and tenacious little girl - I'm guessing she'll have new shoes in less than a month. Here she is, hard at work:
Scrubbing the kitchen floors (a five-hour job, with a few breaks) and washing the dishes after dinner. She also set the table, and cleaned the baseboards in the den. I'm going to run out of chores soon!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cooking Out

Last night, we went to Oak Mountain (my favorite place in Birmingham) for my cousin's son's birthday (my half great aunt's daughter's son - you figure it out). They were camping and invited us to cook out and make s'mores. We had such a great time. The girls loved running around the woods looking for fairies, roasting marshmallows on sticks, and watching the fireflies dance. I was actually a little ashamed, because this was the first time S&A had ever seen fireflies. I'm much too rigid about bedtime!!! I told them about making homemade ice cream at Big Mama and Big Daddy's house growing up, and catching fireflies in jars.
I really want to take the girls camping soon, even though I don't know much about camping. I've done it a few times in my life, but it just seems harder with kids. Still, I would love to be a camping family, so I hope we'll give it a try soon. As we were leaving, Abby asked if she could have a "nature birthday party" next year. Awesome.
Here's a grainy iPhone pic, because I forgot my camera.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Backing Up

A fun slide show from our last day of summer, which we spent at the splash park with lots of friends:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

First in First




Today was S&A's first day in first grade! I started their day with a big breakfast of eggs, bacon and biscuits. We all enjoyed it except Sarah, who was too nervous to eat. I took the obligatory first day of school pictures, then Perry and I (and Bailey) drove them to school. It was so much easier than last year - Sarah's jitters were minor, and Abby was almost bouncing off the walls.


They both had a great day. I was able to see them for a moment because I went to help the kindergartners in the lunchroom. Both of their teachers sent home notes telling us about their first day and all the things they did. I've quickly realized that first grade is going to be very different from kindergarten - Sarah even had homework today!


I had them in bed with lights out by 7:00, and they were asleep crashed ten minutes later when Perry went up to kiss them goodnight. Hooray!