Saturday, May 26, 2012

Experience Nature

This morning, we picked blackberries at a farm near my in-laws' house.  My sister and cousin met me there with their girls, and my mother-in-law came, too!  It was SOOOO hot, so we picked quickly and then all headed over to McDonalds' to let the kids play for a bit in some air-conditioning!  I thought the berries might be a bit sour for Flanna, but she loved them and kept washing them off with water from her water bottle and popping more and more in her mouth!

And now I'm home, trying to get the townhouse deep-cleaned on this long weekend!  Here I am already getting distracted and procrastinating on the blogga-blog--hah!, so wish me luck!






How are you going to experience nature on this long weekend?

The Power of Good Teachers!

Saying Goodbye to PreK!
Flannery's last day of PreK was yesterday!  She was so sad to say goodbye to her sweet teachers and to so many wonderful friends!    I took the day off to be with her class.  We went to a musical performance, had a picnic at the park, and watched a movie--it was a nice, peaceful end to a great school year.

And really, it was such a great school year!  I've felt so many times throughout this year that Flannery's teachers have been a true blessing from God for our family.  They were able to challenge her and teach her new things without a power struggle and without having to force it.  They worked with her natural curiosity and what sparked her interest.  They suggested new activities and let her choose when to try new things.  They read interesting stories each week and based learning activities around the book themes, which made them exciting for Flanna.   Flanna's lead teacher had been trained by some of my colleagues at the Speech School years before, and this year, they even used the curriculum that I train teachers on--so I was familiar with the stories and units and could talk with Flanna about it without a lot of studying up on my part.  Flanna went from being a kid who never wanted to go to school (last year) to being a kiddo who looked forward to what they might do and create each day.  This is the power of good teachers!   It was such a blessing, and they didn't even realize what a gift they were!  It was just natural for them.

I can only pray that we continue to be so lucky in the coming years!


Playing "Who's the judge?" in her classroom

Dancing at the Opus One Concert


A class picnic!

Goodbye, Pre-K!

Flanna and her wonderful teacher (a photo from earlier in the school year)

And now,  we're off to pick some blackberries--yum!


What teacher did you love best as a child?


Take More Walks

balancing on the curb
My best and worst of yesterday:

BEST:  taking a walk after dinner with my sweet kiddo

WORST:  trying to clean up while said kiddo takes everything she owns out of her closet and strews it around the house

I'm going to focus on the positive, so here are some photos of our sweet walk.  I just love how 5 year olds can't simply walk somewhere--they have to be avoiding cracks, not stepping on lines, balancing on curbs, closing their eyes while they walk, crossing their eyes as they walk, looking only up at the sky while they walk, skipping, riding on your back, walking backwards....I'm sure the list could go on!  :)    When do we lose that "fun instinct"?

In any case, walks are my super favorite thing these days!



We stop to smell the hydrangeas.  
our neighbors down the street have green thumbs

beautiful, no? Not sure what it is?

Flanna loves these "caterpillar plants."  :)  It's just a weed, but it IS really cool. 


How can you work a walk into your routine more often?  I can't wait for next school year when I'm hoping to walk Flanna to and from school each day! 

Friday, May 25, 2012

If only the maid could come every day

I'd be a much calmer person if my house worked like a hotel...with maid service while I am gone working each day!

This was what we returned to at our hotel in Savannah--after a long day of working, it was SO nice to come back to a spotless place!

It's funny how a clean and orderly space has such a positive effect on my mindset---even though I am a self-confessed messy person!





Do you think an orderly house makes you happier?  I definitely see that in myself--when my house gets in disarray, I feel stressed and am less likely to be light-hearted at home.   

Take Time to Wander

on the ferry-boat
Last weekend, my wonderful colleagues and I delivered a language and literacy training to 125 teachers in Savannah.  It was great fun!


And the best part was that I got to bring Flannery and Robi with me for a little getaway.  My colleagues brought their families, too, and it was nice to get to see all of them in their family roles!  I had to work on Saturday, so Robi and Flanna spent the day swimming and sight-seeing, but then I got to join them for some meandering along the Savannah riverfront on Sunday.  It was so nice to just wander around looking at beautiful and interesting things.  We took the ferry across the river (a free boat trip, nice!) a few times, had lunch, watched candy being made, looked at cool sailboats, and just generally took in the city for a bit.

Flanna liked the cobblestones and the statues all around the riverfront (the waving girl statue was pretty neat), and we even let her spend some of her Easter money and buy a souvenir.  She got a cute little white tiger in the market by the river.  You know, because that will always remind her of Savannah. :)  But she loves it, so it was perfect.   It's funny, but the things I liked best about the trip were times when we were sitting waiting in line for a restroom listening to a street musician, and sitting on the dock together waiting for the ferry boat to arrive, and looking at the handmade carvings and baskets at the market, and walking through the park looking at the amazing twisted branches of the live oaks.  All those experiences weren't planned ahead, and were just by-products of wandering around a bit, but they were so peaceful and sweet.

So, take time to wander now and then.  You just might find the perfect unexpected white tiger if you do.

dinner on Tybee Island

Flanna just loves little Memphis!

a family photo! on Tybee

me with my brilliant colleagues!

view at dinner on Tybee 

Our hotel had an indoor pool!

Aren't their noses adorable?  Yes, I'm jealous.  

on the ferry 



What's your favorite quick getaway?


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Funny Flanna Quotes

Heading home from school in the afternoon:  "Mom, I'm sweating hot.  Can I be naked?"

After I've told her we need to make cards for her teachers for teacher appreciation week:
"I think we should make them boring and grown-up-ish, because they're for grown-ups."

At dinner (having baked chicken, rice, mango, and salad) -- "Mom, let's pretend this is all Hawaiian food. Like, pineapple.  Because I'm a Hawaiian princess who's going to become a good pirate, and you're my royal mother who doesn't know that your mom was really a mermaid."

"Can I start kindergarten next week?  Cause I don't want to wait until next year."

After we tried to explain the different sides of our family:  "I'm on your side, and on daddy's side, but once I get married, I'll just be on your side."  I don't think our message was quite clear enough.


What made you laugh today?







Friends are a True Comfort

If you haven't noticed, I have been pretty absent on the blogga-blog lately!  I have had so many posts in my head that I've wanted to write---and just too little time to sit down on my own and write them!  But when I don't blog for a while--I have to say, I get grumpy!  I think blogging is like journaling for me, organizing my thoughts and making sense of the moments that make up my little slice of life.  It's good for me, and makes me reflect and take time to appreciate what I've been given.

And one of the main things I appreciate about my life is the wonderful friends I have.  I got to see one of my BFFs, Rachel, last week at dinner, and it was just so rejuvenating and calming to be with her and her sweet family.  Her kiddos have some of her mannerisms, and I just loved getting to see their cute spark and wit already emerging!   It made me so happy to just sit with my good friend who I've known since I was five and talk about our crazy busy beautiful messy lives.  There is something about being with folks who have known me and loved me through thick and thin and in-between that makes me feel comforted and at home.  It's a really lovely thing.  


Roane cracking up at peekaboo  :)

Rachel and Zack

Finn, Roane, & Flanna being adorable

Oh, and then, I had just written this post, when we received a package from my West Coast BFF, Kelley!  She sent Flanna a gift from her recent European vacation (ooh la la!)-- a sweet little gilded-edged copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.  Flanna can't wait to read it!  Her note (although written to Flannery) was like a shot of comfort in my forearm--such thoughtful kindness to my little one!  And Flanna felt so special.  



Sigh.  Friends are really the best.



Which of your friends bring you a happiness boost each time you see them or hear from them?  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Keep the Camera Handy

I find that when I keep my camera handy, it's easier to notice all the amazing and beautiful things around me.  Just having the camera with me, and the possibility of getting a neat shot of something cool, really gives me a happiness boost.

Also, you just never know when you're going to stop off at the park on a normal day and witness something spectacular.  Like your daughter crossing the monkey bars all by herself.  Completely out of the blue.  Like, last time we were here, she just swung back and forth holding the first two rungs, and now suddenly, she is an expert pro monkey bar crosser.  Pretty amazing, and she was so amazed by her strength and progress!

So, friends, the moral of the story is to always keep the camera handy.


showing off her muscles  :)





What helps you slow down and notice the beauty all around you?  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Day in the Life

Flowers from my In-laws' yard--so pretty!
Today, I took the day off to go on Flanna's field trip with her.  We went to City Hall and met the mayor, then went to the city library for story time, and then finished the trip off with lunch at Chick-fil-a.  It was a  lot of walking for 22 preschoolers, but they were all really good sports.

After the field trip, Flanna and I ran by Walmart to pick up some tortillas, and I noticed an inflatable pool on sale for $25 that seemed big enough for several cousins to fit in comfortably (and maybe even me!), so I got it, brought it home, and set it up.

We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out by the pool, and making homemade lemonade and homemade pizza.  Then, we ate dinner outside by the pool.  It was such a nice lazy day, and was really rejuvenating for both of us, I think!  I am such a homebody, and I get stressed out when I don't have enough time in my home.   So yay for some time at home!







Yum, it was pretty good!

my side is basil and tomato; Flanna's is plain cheese of course.

Flanna by the new pool :)


Are you a homebody?  Or would you rather be out and about?  

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Find Some Local Fun

I finally got a membership to Fernbank since it's only 10 minutes away from us.  Flanna loves their nature playground room--I think we spent over 2 hours in there on our last visit.  There are so many neat things to do and see in there--a big hollow tree to climb up, pretend caves to explore--and when you shine a flashlight on the plastic bats--they squeal!, a pretend waterfall made of mist, an area to dig for fossils, a coral reef with magnetic barnacles and sea creatures that you can put on and off of the pretend pier, and even cool pretend rivers made of lights with fish shadows that swim away when you step into that area.  I have no idea how the designers made all these amazing little interactive areas, but Flannery really enjoys them.  We can't wait until summer when hopefully we'll have more time to enjoy ourselves there.


this pulley allowed kids to transfer balls from the floor up to a bridge,
then push them down through a ball maze below

The balls came out down here


Flanna shifting the ball maze around

Flanna loved pretending to be a raccoon and hiding in the holes in this huge hollow tree


What local place do you enjoy most?