Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Annual Back to School Photo

For the first time in history,

All kids,

In school!


And even though I tried so hard last year, this was also the first year that they all made it into the first day of school photo.

They all insisted on having their individual photos taken as well. Wilson was first:


I'm not sure what the power rangers pose is, but I love the puffy eyes of a kindergartener waking up too early on the first day of school.

Certainly Henry has a hero:


But I'm not sure if it's a power ranger or his big brother.

And Anna Jane was so ready for 2nd grade. All summer she kept asking how many weeks she had left before she could go back to school.


A few days before school started, she accompanied the boys to get their back to school haircuts and insisted that I let her get her 'vangs' cut, so she's got a cool new 'do.

We've survived the first week and a half, some preschool potty anxiety, riding buses in the morning and afternoon, and remembering to pack three lunch boxes and snacks, signing and returning forms, etc. Now when the homework starts next week, we might all explode.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Garden on My Kitchen Table

I work here:


More specifically, I work here:


I seriously cannot believe that I get to look out of my window and see this garden all day long. We have a horticultural therapist that works crazy-hard and keeps the garden up. It is truly therapeutic for the students and the staff. The therapist feels very strongly that everyone should benefit from the garden. We grow vegetables and herbs and fruit and lots and lots of flowers.


There are 4 large raised beds so that the plants are accessible to everyone. If I had any sense I would take more time to cut flowers and have them fresh on my desk everyday. But I'm definitely not missing out on much with this view.

This week, Henry and I stopped by school and collected some flowers from the garden.



We brought them home to put in a big vase on the sewing table. Which is really supposed to be the kitchen table. But it's the best place for me to sew, so we don't do much kitchening there. More sewing. But my machine is at the machine spa, so it's back to being a kitchen table for a few days.

The plan was to stick them in a large vase, take a photo, and post on the blog. Then I got a little carried away.

My grandmother gave me this crate about 10 years ago. Clearly, it's awesome, but I really haven't had a good use for it.


This didn't all come to me at once, but after a few brainstorms, I decided to fill it with canning jars, and then fill them with the flowers from the garden.


I don't however, have many canning jars. I don't can, so whenever I do have them, I give them to friends that need them. I do have a couple of jelly jars.


And milk glass glasses.


And funny enough, the small jars on the left of the above photo is from Old English cheese spread. They are small and very plain and I keep sewing notions in the jelly jars, milk glass, and cheese spread jars. I know that cheese spread stuff sounds gross, but I will soon share with you a recipe that will convince you that it is the best preservative rich food you've ever had.

I wasn't sure of the best plan of attack, and the way I saw it, I had two options: Fill each jar with only one kind of flower, or fill each jar with a mixture of flowers. I decided on the latter.



I started just sticking them into cups, and cutting them to size. They really didn't look too hot, but I kept going.


I realized very early on that I needed a few more jars and many, many more flowers.



The overall effect is pretty close to what I wanted, and no matter what, it looks a little nicer than a clunky (though super awesome) sewing machine.


I kind of love it.


...was my 9th anniversary. What is it they say about how most girls marry guys that remind them of their fathers?



Do you think that's true?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Big Swim

We jumped right in and joined the swim team this year. We had planned on only signing Anna Jane up, then I heard that they needed 5 year old swimmers. I told them I had a 5 year old, but he couldn't swim. They signed him up anyway.

I have never seen more progress in this short amount of time. By the second day, Wilson had abandoned his 'swimmies' and now he is swimming like a fish, jumping off the board, and swimming in 'the deep.'

The kids have both formed strong bonds with their coaches. Here is a pre-race pep talk.


And another....monitored closely by the medium brother.


These are photos from the first meet, last week.

Our first experience with the event board:


There were lots of shots of the kids actually swimming, but you can't really tell if they are swimming or floating or moving or stalling, so I've just included some behind the scenes shots. Actually they are all before the scenes shots.


Deciding he needed a little more stretching before his dive in:


Listening to his coach....or maybe it was the opposing team's coach, that could explain the hiding behind the goggles:


Anna Jane was really worried that she wouldn't win her race...


We assured both kids that whatever happened, we would jump up and down and cheer as soon as they jumped in the water. Winning wasn't even in our minds (for good reasons).

So Anna Jane jumped in and swam her little heart out and made it to the other side of the pool without stopping. That was our goal. She did it.

So Wilson jumped in the pool, swam right to the wall and started sobbing. We jumped up and down and cheered and congratulated him on jumping in the pool.

I was so proud of the kids and thankful to the coaches for sharing these skills and positive experiences with my kids.

Tonight was our second meet. Anna Jane smoked the freestyle and had definitely increased her speed from last week. Lo and behold they also entered her in the backstroke race. That was a little crazy....she had never been the length of the pool on her back and was super nervous. But she did it and it actually looked like the backstroke. I jumped up and down and cheered. I'm not one for playing it cool. Luckily they still like seeing their mom go nuts on the side of the pool.

And my sweet Wilson....this morning he had decided that he would sit out the rest of the year and pick it up again next year. Even though he had the skills to compete, he just isn't probably mature enough yet to keep up with the practices and demands of being on a team. But late this afternoon he had made up his mind to stick it out. He wanted to race at the meet tonight and he didn't want it to be his last one.

So the buzzer goes off and he jumps in the pool...and he SWIMS! In the midst of all of my jumping up and down and cheering, I see a few adults on the side of the pool pointing and grinning at my little jellyfish. He gets halfway to the other side and......stops. Turns around. Sobbing. No problem, the swim coach jumps in and swims him to the side. The crowd goes wild and I assure him that I am so proud, that he did more than he has ever done at a swim meet.

I am bursting with pride for my babies...It's amazing to see their confidence grow and I hope this is the first swim team season of many. Many.