Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sophie and Jack's Birthday Bash

This was the first year we were able to have a joint birthday party for Sophie and Jack. Having birthdays 8 days apart makes it a little tricky to juggle the logistics for 2 parties, and seeing how Sophie and Jack have many of the same friends or friends that are siblings, it made the most sense to do it this way. Even better, we were able to outsource all of the planning to The Little Gym of Smyrna, where one of the teachers from VCLC leads parties on the weekends.

We knew Jack would be delighted to "share" a party with his big sis, but Sophie was the one we were unsure of. It really took no convincing at all for her to sign on. Her only concern was that Jack might blow her candles out. A problem easily solved by giving them each their own cake and 2 rounds of "The Birthday Song". The kids had a blast and were all tuckered out at the end of the day.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Jack's 3rd Birthday!

It's hard to believe Jack is already 3! This past has year been full of milestones.

He began preschool in the fall. Although many think of this as glorified day care, one thing I can say is that Jack has become an expert at tracing pages and coloring. Having become somewhat fond of the tracing pages that were sent home covered solid in crayon, one day I looked over his shoulder while he was coloring with Sophie and realized he was actually taking his time to put more thought into his artwork and attempt to stay within the lines. Here's a look at the before and after...

In addition to these other little stepping stones, Jack also made the move to a big boy bed,

and he is even officially potty trained!

Grammy and Grandpa Nick decided to come for a visit to help Jack celebrate his birthday. The day revolved around 2 of Jack's favorite activities; playing and eating. After a yummy pancake breakfast and a little play time, we headed to Muss & Turner for a birthday lunch. It was a gorgeous day - a sneak preview to the spring weather we are so anxiously awaiting.

After lunch we enjoyed some playground time and soaked up the sun on the back deck followed by Jack's favorite dinner of assorted appetizers and cupcakes. I can't think of a better way to celebrate with our sweet little man. It was early to bed to get ready for his combined birthday party with Sophie the next day. More on that in the next post!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snow Day

For those of you who can't possibly imagine that we actually get snow in Atlanta, this one's for you.
It seems like each winter since we moved here is increasingly severe in terms of cold temperatures and precipitation. This storm hit us Valentine's Day weekend.

Usually if it does snow, it melts upon hitting the ground, but the colder temps allowed it to linger for a few days, until all that was left was the base of our snowman surrounded by bare grass.

Having grown up in the Northeast, I take for granted how unusual it is to see snow here, and how special it is for the kids.

Here's the view from our back deck.

Sophie did not understand why I didn't have appropriate outerwear for the kids to keep them warm and dry. She was less than satisfied with the hodge-podge outfits I came up with but was somewhat easily talked off the ledge when I offered to make hot chocolate after they came inside. The kids had a blast building snowmen and pelting the house with snowballs.

It was a fun way to spend a long weekend but we are truly ready to shed our winter coats and say hello to some warm spring weather!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A visit with Rosie and Carlo

"Tante Rosie" is Eric's Dad's sister who lives in Germany. She's like another grandmother to the kids, and we've been lucky enough to see her just about once a year since Sophie was born. She's a natural with the kids and has a seemingly endless amount of energy when it comes to interacting with them.

Carlo is the wonderful man from Argentina (aka Jack's "best friend") who Rosie met on a plane about a year before our wedding, and they've been together ever since. As challenging as it is to live so far apart, they have made their romance work, taking turns traveling to one country or the other for months at a time.

Trying to keep it all together as a Mom is not an easy task, and alongside the joy that comes with being a parent comes a good bit of frustration and self-doubt. Sometimes I can't help but wonder how I'd measure up if there were a way to grade my parenting. So it feels good to be around someone who is full of love for my children and who offers unsolicited praise and encouragement to me. And that's where Rosie comes in. For whatever reason, being around her has always built my confidence about my parenting rather than causing me to question if I'm doing alright.

Quite possibly my favorite of Rosie's many endearing attributes is that she manages to find a nice balance between lending her opinion or advice while fully respecting my way of doing things in the end. She loves to remind me that back in the day when she was raising her girls, there was only one bathroom, no dishwasher, and certainly no microwave, and the girls' school clothes had to be ironed daily. I typically remain silent and in awe as I don't want to reveal that with all of the conveniences in place to make life easier, I can't even manage to take Eric's "wrinkle free" work pants out of the dryer in time for them to not wrinkle and then cannot find the time to use a steamer to touch them up, let alone find time to iron. EVER.

This most recent trip to the ATL was a intended to be a quick stopover on their way from the dreary cold weather in Germany to the sunny warmth of Bluffton, SC, where Eric's Mom has made her retirement home. It turned into a 3 day visit due the mid-Atlantic getting pounded with snow that left a newly retired Barbara stranded in Northern Virginia for a few days before she was able to make her journey down South.

We were delighted to have the extra time with Rosie and Carlo and the perks that came along with it...Carlo is very handy and was able to knock a few things off of the "Honey Do" list that Eric seems to have misplaced. And Rosie was always at the ready to whisk the kids outside to play so I could engage in the unusual activity of showering mid-day and cooking without interruption.

It warms my heart to see my kids respond so nicely to extended family - especially when they live so far away and visits are not plentiful. Growing up, my parents taught me to value this and Eric and I have tried to emphasize to our kids how much we love our family.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"The Letter Game"

Sometime over the past couple of months, Sophie and Eric decided to incorporate a new little game into the bedtime routine. Someone decides on a letter, and each person has to come up with a word that starts with that letter until you run out of words (or fall asleep?!).

While I am not oblivious to the fact that this is mostly a procrastination tactic on the part of Sophie, Eric has managed to see through that and has taken on the challenge of "The Letter Game" many a time. Since work limits his time with the kids during the week, bedtime is a special time for them to reconnect at the end of the day. Plus, it's fun for him to see first hand how her mind continues to tick away and that she can in fact think of 100+ words that start with the letter "D". Typically when it's my turn to tuck her in, my top letter choices are "X, Q and Z". This always guarantees a game that will end quickly and I figure there's plenty of time for us to play this game during the day rather than when she's supposed to be falling asleep (and Eric and I are supposed to finally be getting our time to chat!).

But tonight I decided to oblige her and let her choose the letter B, which resulted in a long but fun volley between the two of us. I had to laugh out loud at some of her words. While I had a seemingly endless list of more obvious words...bed, bedtime, blanket, bye-bye (anyone see a theme here?), Sophie belted out fancier words including balsamic, ballerina, belissimo, and finally, "Boo-hoo-hoo", which was her final response to me ending the game prematurely.