Tuesday, October 27, 2009

School Days

I find it funny that whenever I ask Sophie about her day at school, her typical response is, "All we did was work". While she generally seems like she enjoys her day, she is quick to point out that play time at school is few and far between. Nonetheless, she is always eager to start her homework. This is likely in part due to the fact that Jack doesn't get homework, and I suppose this minor difference gives her a sense of importance.

Her homework as of late has involved tracing and/or copying various letters and numbers in order to really master the technique of proper handwriting. Today, before even venturing into her "real" homework, Sophie asked if she could make a tracing page for herself. She proceeded to make dashes for every letter of the alphabet and numbers 1-10, and then traced them all. Granted she needs some work on the 6 and the 9!

Soon after this little project was complete, she set out to organize herself for the next...a stamp page that she's been working on for days. I love how all the stamps and crayons are lined up just so. This is clearly a trait that was passed down from Eric. While I love neatness and organization, there is something a tad more OCD about the way she (and he) like to line things up.

You can see from the picture that soon there will be no room left for any more stamping, coloring, etc. But Sophie views this as a work in progress and I love her enthusiasm in setting out to create the perfect masterpiece...which will likely end up taped to the kitchen wall or hanging from the mantle if she has anything to say about it!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Litchfield Beach 2009

Our Beach vacation has come and gone, and we are finally getting settled into our fall routine. I wouldn't exactly call it a restful week with 4 families living under one roof (7 kids altogether, including 2 babies), but we enjoyed spending time with our friends. The kids had a blast, and we were able to spend a lot more time at the beach this year as opposed to splitting equal time between the beach and pool.

Given that we rented the same house last year, it was nice to have the familiarity of the house and the local surroundings (like Starbucks!). We were able to incorporate our separate guy and girl excursions, but we decided to get these out of the way earlier in the week. So, after a great day at the beach on Sunday, the Dads headed out to play golf on Monday and us Moms enjoyed a shopping/lunch/spa day on Tuesday.

Our house was a short 2 block walk from the beach, which took anywhere from 2 minutes (walking solo with one's own towel or chair) to 15 minutes (walking as a group with 5 preschoolers, 2 strollers, coolers packed with snacks, lunch and beverages for all ages, an inflatable baby pool, and a wagon loaded to the hilt with chairs, kites, towels, and even a portable potty!). You get the picture right?! Total chaos!! But once we made it, we enjoyed it immensely. We tried to time our beach trips with low tide, which left a cool, rather large pool of water for the kids to play in away from the actual ocean.

All of the kids at the beach...

Given that Sophie and Jack have been to the beach on four separate trips this summer, they both enjoyed jumping the waves and playing in the water. This was the first time that Sophie was actually able to fully swim in the ocean once we walked out far enough past the breaking waves. She was also very interested in collecting shells, and she found this amazing conch seen below.

Another highlight for both kids was having 2 babies around. For some reason, they both really love babies and were captivated by them much of the time. Last year Jack was the youngest, and the only boy, so it's nice for him that he could hold his own a little more with the older girls while at the same time, spending some quality time with the 2 youngest. Before we know it, Jake and Bella will be keeping up with the rest of them, and I think Jack is glad to have another boy around!

We continued our tradition of each couple preparing a meal for the rest of the gang one night, usually after the kids were sound asleep so we could reward ourselves with a more relaxing meal. Towards the end of the week, we indulged in a gourmet meal prepared by a chef in our very own beach rental. We weren't going to let anything get in the way of our evening, so we wore the kids out all day at the beach, let them make their own individuals pizzas which they had chowed down on by 5:30 and put them to bed a little earlier than usual.

The chef and his partner arrived at 7, and wondered how the house could possible be so quiet with 7 kids around. Appetizers of scallops over risotto and crostini topped with lump crab meat were served at 8. After we were seated, we enjoyed a wedge salad, surf and turf featuring sea bass and Filet Mignon, and we topped off our evening with bananas foster (Liz is likely cringing at this part) and chocolate covered strawberries. Needless to say, this was the best meal of the week!

Here's a picture that Crystal took of me and Eric the night of our special dinner...

And all of the adults ...

Jack and Kiki (the 2 early birds) enjoyed breakfast together most mornings.

After another fun day at the beach on Friday, we were all pretty much ready to call it a week and go home to catch up on our sleep! By Friday, most of us had the beginnings of a cold or some other ailment, so it was time to pack it in. It certainly was a great way to end the summer and kick off the new school year!