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Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Days are Long, but the Years are Short

One of my favorite quotes is, "The days are long, but the years are short." by Gretchen Rubin.  It is just. so. true.

Today was our first event at Flanna's new elementary school.  She starts kindergarten (kindergarten!) on Wednesday.  Today, the PTA hosted a popsicle party, complete with a gigantic water slide.  Flanna got to see a few old friends from PreK, and two of her good friends will even be in her class this year!  It was a little surreal to sign up for the PTA, as the mom of a kindergartener.  I mean, I can still remember actually being a kindergartener myself.    

But Flanna is ready, and she's going to love kindergarten, I'm sure of it.  As I tucked her into bed tonight, I was telling her how much I enjoyed our day, going to church together as a family, having lunch together, getting to see her new school--and she said, "Wait, church was yesterday, mom!"  I tried to correct her, telling her that, no, all that was in this one--albeit long-- day.  But she was so funny, and was adamant that there was no way we did all that in one day.  Hah!   Even Flanna agrees--the days are long!

But the years, the years are short.

Flanna befriends animals wherever she goes!
waiting in line for the water slide

How has your life changed in the last few years?  What parts have flown by?  What parts drag by? 

Fernbank with Friends!

Flanna and Max are so sweet together!
Flanna and I met up with my friend Sara and her kiddos (Max and baby Malcolm--sooo cute!) at Fernbank a bit ago.  I meant to post the pics, and then work got crazy busy, but I just found them again and had to share them!

I love Sara so much!  And not just because I've known her forever (although it does make me happy to be with a friend who gets my Athens references!), and not just because she's hilarious (although she really really is), and not just because she lives close by and is always up for a last minute get together (although I really appreciate friends who are open to last minute fun!), but mostly because she is one of those amazing and wonderful moms who does everything perfectly but who doesn't make you feel guilty that you aren't as amazing or perfect as she is.  She's just so calm and nurturing and organized and sweet and self-deprecating all at once, that I can't help but love being around her.  

Anyway, here are some of the photos from our time together!   We were not impressed with the "Poop" exhibit at Fernbank, which I think could've been really cool, but there just weren't many hands-on activities to make it hold the kids' interest.  Too bad.  But we love Fernbank, anyway, especially the cool indoor nature playground area.  Totally worth the membership.

Flannery giving kisses to the baby alligators

What local friend are you amazingly thankful for?  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Funny Flanna Quotes

Cutest kid ever.  Notice the cool forearm tattoos.  
Taking a walk down our street:
Me:  "I think I hear a truck."
Flanna:  "Either a truck, or a really loud tummy rumbling!

"I think I'm gonna marry a prince, and Luke, AND Dexter.  Because I just can't choose one of them, and Dexter says it's okay to marry two people if you want."

To our neighbor down the street, who has just invited us to supper sometime:  "My Grammie calls it supper, too, but we just call it dinner."

On vacation on Anna Maria Island:  "Can we just move here?  You could find jobs here, and I think they have a school for me."

On the elevator going down to the basement at my work:  "That made my legs feel dizzy!"

At the laser show (Listening to the "Devil went down to Georgia" song) -- "Is the devil really real?"

Fighting with her cousin over a toy (I had told them they could earn points  on a behavior chart toward going to a water park if they shared with one another)--  "OK, you can have it.  But only because I want to go to the water park tomorrow."  

In the car:  "Mom, did God ever get married?"

At dinner:  "I'm gonna mix cherries and basil.  No one's ever invented that before!  And people will come to my restaurant and order it, and I'll serve it to them, and then they'll say, mmmmmm!"  

What made you laugh today?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Be in the Moment

This weekend, we took Flanna to Stone Mountain to see the laser show (with fireworks!).   Lots of our friends and family joined us there, and it was a great time!  Flannery was so happy getting to play with so many cousins and good friends--they laughed and laughed together!                                                                  And even though a lot of the time, I was scouring the crowd to be sure Flanna was safe and close by, I made a point to try to be in the moment here and there, and soak up the good time spent together.  And in those little moments, I felt so grateful.   Good friends.  Good family.  A wonderful husband.  A sweet little daughter.  Health, and love.  Life is indeed beautiful.  

How do you remind yourself to take in the moments in your life?

Speechy Sunday: My Favorite Beach Books

I love to bring along children's books that relate to our trip whenever we travel.  I think kids love to read about things that relate to their real life, and books can make us more curious and excited about the details of our experience, too.  Since we've been to the beach a few times this summer, we now have a pretty good beach book collection!  Here are a few of our favorites:

1.  Jenny's Suprise Summer by Eugenie - This Little Golden Book is an oldie but a goodie.  I read the book when I was growing up and saved it to share with my own children.   Jenny visits her grandmother by the ocean, and while she's there, she finds two kittens.  She plays with them all summer, but then when it's time to go back home to the city, her parents tell her that she can only bring one of the kittens back home with her.  She has a hard time making the decision, until she considers the different personalities of each cat.  I like the way the author builds the relationship between Jenny and her kittens, and how easy it is to develop empathy for Jenny's situation.  I also love how logical she is about making her decision in the end.  Overall, this is a very sweet story set at the beach, and my 5 year old daughter has loved it for several years now.

2.  Just Grandma & Me by Mercer Mayer - Mercer Mayer is a favorite at our house, and this story of Little Critter's visit to the beach does not disappoint. It's just an ordinary day at the beach, but Little Critter feels special being there on his own with just his Grandma.  My daughter has liked this book from the time she was two, and although now that she is almost 6, she's able to read more complex stories than this one, she still requests it because she can relate to all the fun activities they do at the beach.

3.  Big Al by Andrew Clements - I just discovered Big Al this summer, and my daughter and I really love it!  It's a story of a very ugly fish who has a hard time making friends because he scares them all away.  He tries lots of things (including hiding his true size, shape, etc.) to make friends, but in the end, his brave and caring actions make all the fish love him just the way he is.  It's a great story with extremely beautiful illustrations, and I'm so glad I stumbled upon it this summer!

4.  Mr. Seahorse by Eric Carle -  In his classic artistic and engaging style, Eric Carle teaches children about the many sea creatures whose fathers take care of them as they grow.  My daughter especially loves the pages where there is a clear overlay hiding the sea creatures, and then when you turn the page, you can see the new daddy tilapia or eel caring for its babies.  In the end, the little seahorses have to go on their way, but the Mr. Seahorse tells them how much he loves them.  This is a sweet story that made my 5 year old daughter curious about different sea creatures, and we really enjoy reading it together.

5.  What Lives in a Shell? by Kathleen Zoehfeld - This nonfiction informational book is a wonderful resource for little shell collectors.   The author teaches about shells and the animals that live in them in a very simple, straight-forward way that is interesting to preschoolers (and to me!).  This book held my daughter's attention, and was a fun way to make her shell collection come to life once we got back home by trying to match what she had found at the beach to the book illustrations.

6.  Stella Star of the Sea by Marie Louise Gay - This sweet little story book stars Stella and her little brother, Sam.  Sam has never been to the ocean before and is reticent to get into the water, but his sister Stella is a pro and knows everything about the sea.  Sam asks a zillion questions about the ocean until he becomes comfortable enough to join Stella in the sea.  I like the way Stella answers all her brother's questions with kid logic--it's very cute!  I also like this book for helping children who aren't sure about getting into the ocean realize that it's like that for everyone their first few times at the beach.

7.  Moon Song by Mildred Plew Meigs -  My mom got me this book back when I was in college, to save for her future grandchildren.  It is gorgeous and mystical, and so interesting!  It's a rhyming book with beautiful lyrics, and makes references to constellations and ocean folklore.  I love the chorus of the poem ("and the waves roll in, and the waves roll out, and the nodding night wind blows, but why the moon man fishes the sea, only the moon man knows").  It's a rare book that is super expensive to buy, but you might be able to borrow it from your library, and trust me, you'll be glad you did!

8.  Children's Animal Enclyclopedia  by Sally Morgan - We also brought along an "animal encyclopedia" last time we went to the beach, that was a pretty big hit.  We found what I thought was a hermit crab one day at the beach, then looked it up that night, and figured out that it was really a "shore crab."  We also looked up manatees, pelicans, coquinas (those little clam-shaped shells that dig down into the beach by the shore!), and my daughter and niece (5 and 8 yrs old) were really into it.  Each night, they were so excited to see what we would learn about before bed.  Way to make a mom feel cool!

Do you have a favorite book you've read with your children this summer?  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Keeping it Real

How can pink converse "just feel wrong"?
This morning, none of the shoes Flannery tried on "felt right."   And no amount of adjustment was going to help.   So, we had to resort to sandals, of which we could only find one!   Until a quick search of our dining room unearthed the other one-- on top of the dining room table.

Chaotic much?

I'm guessing it's officially time for me to unpack now and put away all the piles of vacation stuff!  Wish me luck!

What project, if you tackle it this week, will bring you a happiness boost? 

Give Thanks

Today, I am feeling really thankful for my wonderful hubby.   Flanna's been having a hard time getting back into the routine of going to camp, and when she has asked if she can stay home, he has generously let her stay with him while he's worked from home for the past two days.   I seriously don't know what I would do without him.  Force my child to go places she doesn't want to go just so I can work, I guess.  Which would not make me feel like a good parent in the least!

Here are some cute photos of him from the beach.  Showing the girls a dead fish, no less!  Yikes!  But they were so interested!

What are you thankful for today?


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Children in Action....

tend to stay in action!

My mom this week made the comment that she just couldn't catch a good photo of Flannery, because Flanna never pauses to pose for a picture--she just flits around her little world.  It's so true!  In a lovely way!

There is this song by the Weepies that reminds me of her--

"Always been like a hummingbird, and I can't keep still.   Listen up, love, listen up--I never will."  

Flanna always is like a hummingbird, dancing from one spot to the next, humming her little sweet songs, noticing something beautiful and interesting, showing us, and then flitting off again to go and see and discover and notice more.  She is so full of life and is genuinely excited and curious and passionate about the world.   I can just see her as an adult-- all spark and light, lost in the excitement of whatever amazing thing she will be creating--be it a piece of art, or a captivating story, or an interesting scientific breakthrough, or an amazing piece of architecture, or whatever it is.  Whatever she chooses to do, I do think she'll be a generator--a creator of something new and interesting and beautiful and captivating--that is just what she loves to do, to create things.  

Anyway, I am digressing, when I meant to just post a few photos.  A week off work will get me into uber-reflective mode, it seems!  

And now, off to bed--work tomorrow, bright and early!

What characteristic do you think defines you?  Are you humming-bird like?  Or like me?--more like a mama hen who likes to hang out at home sitting in her nest or pecking slowly around her yard?  :)  

Be the Memory Keeper

I love being the memory keeper for my family.  I try to keep my camera handy to get those spontaneous snapshots, but I also love to force the family to pose for group photos once in a while!  I coerced my parents into taking some photos with their grand-daughters while we were down at the beach, and I'm so glad I did.

Didn't they turn out great?

I especially love that my parents are willing to make dorky faces with the kids!  Those are the ones I think I will cherish forever in my heart.  After all, it's "easy to be heavy, hard to be light" (G.K. Chesterton), right?  I love that sometimes we make a point to "be light" here and there, even when we're exhausted from the girls waking us up at 6 a.m. every morning!

Who is the "memory keeper" in your family?  

Catching Up!

Whew!  We just got back from a week at the beach, and I have so many great times to post about, I'm not sure where to start!  I think the silly pics should come first.  Here are Flanna and my niece in their Uncle Sam hats they made on the fourth.  We just cut the middle out of some paper plates, colored them blue, colored and rolled up a big piece of construction paper into a roll, and taped it on top of the plate, and voila!  They felt super crafty!

Then, they made up a musical cheer-leading dance show--American themed, of course, in which they sang, danced, and dissolved into giggles.  It was beautiful.

How did you celebrate the Fourth?