Friday, August 20, 2010

Still "Under" the Hill. Eric's 39th Birthday

Eric was happy to celebrate his 39th birthday with both of his best friends from high school and their families. Believe it or not, all three of our families now live in the Atlanta area, which was a totally unexpected perk of moving here five years ago. When we first arrived in Atlanta, The Knabs had moved to Alpharetta just a few months prior. And a few years later, Uncle Matt, Aunt Kori, Will and Colin made the trek all the way from Seattle. These guys have so much history together and it's fun to be able to make more memories with our families being so close. All of our kids are at similar ages and really enjoy being together.

So without further ado, here are few token shots from the dinner we hosted.

Jack loves being with his Uncle Matt...and he and Colin constantly crack each other up.

Below are Dave and Caroline Knab and Aunt Kori and Will...

And finally, Eric getting a little help blowing out the candles on the ice cream sandwich cake we made for him.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Mommy-Daughter Days

Over the summer, Sophie expressed interest in spending time with just Mommy, one on one. She adores Jack (well, most of the time!) but she has definitely born the brunt of being the older sibling at times, and has been noticeably a little jealous of some of the attention Jack gets.

Given that she was not quite 2 years old when Jack came along, most of her life has been spent with another sibling in tow. She didn't begin preschool until Jack was 8 months old, which meant that she had to yield to whatever schedule I had going for him at the time. It was an exhausting chapter in our lives, trying to balance having 2 almost totally dependent children all day long. In all honesty, there's no way I could have appreciated that time the way I would've liked to, and sometimes I feel guilty about that, but I also know that it gave me resilience as a mother that I wouldn't otherwise have.

Once Sophie started preschool, I remember the relief I felt to have just one child at a time - even if it was for just 3 hours a couple days a week. And the one at a time mostly referred to Jack. Even last year, when he started preschool, Sophie was the one who went to Pre-K 4 days a week and Jack only 3, which gave Jack a morning with me, all to himself. This year with Sophie being a full-time Kindergartner, Jack and I will have even more time together one on one.

Knowing that the start of Kindergarten was fast approaching, I decided to spend the last 3 weeks of the summer doing some Mommy-Daughter dates with Sophie. Jack went to summer camp at his preschool 3 days a week, and Sophie and I relished in our alone time. Sure, I can think of a million other ways to have spent this time. Normally, they would've been in camp together and I would've been a whole lot more productive. But, this is time that I will never get back and I am so thankful that I was wise enough to put my "to do" list on hold for a few weeks.

Here's a recap of how we spent our time...

Tea and pastries at Teafuse in Vinings, before heading to the American Girl Boutique, where I fully expected to pay big bucks for a doll. Turns out Sophie decided she wasn't all that interested, so after looking around the store for awhile we rode the carousel and had lunch at Cheesecake Factory.

Date #2 was spent painting pottery at Art and Soul. Sophie painted a jewelry box for me and I decorated a plate for her, which made it's debut when I served her the very first breakfast of the school year. We lingered for almost 2 hours, helping each other pick out the perfect paint colors for our masterpieces.

We spent the next afternoon having lunch with Uncle Mike, who had driven a truck all the way from Chicago with his belongings to unload at his new apartment in Atlanta. Mike had just enough time to take Sophie swimming at the slide pool before flying back to Chicago.

Date #4 was a back to school haircut and lunch at one of Sophie's favorite lunch spots, Garrisons. I realized that with just the two of us, we could actually carry on a real conversation, without all of the normal interruptions from the more chaotic lunches with Jack in tow.

The next day, we headed to the Georgia Aquarium, which despite being a total mob scene, was a nice way to escape from the heat. Eric's office is right around the corner from the aquarium, so we met him for lunch, and Sophie was thrilled that we could be a threesome, if only for short while.

Finally, swimming together in our neighborhood pool and a trip to Yoforia, our new favorite frozen yogurt shop, where we made our own sundaes before heading to Nickajack to meet her new teachers.

The days leading up to the first day of school were quite bittersweet for me as my mind raced back through the last 5+ years which seems to have gone by so fast in retrospect but not always fast enough day to day as I've been on this adventure called motherhood. I am grateful that we shared this special time together, which in some ways marked the beginning of a whole new chapter in my relationship with Sophie. It also made me realize how special that time was to Sophie, and the importance of carving out this kind of time in the midst of our busy and often chaotic daily lives.

Sophie's First Day of Kindergarten

Last week marked the beginning of a whole new chapter for our family. Sophie is now a Kindergartner! Her first official day at Nickajack Elementary School was Thursday, August 5th, but the week leading up to it was full of events to help her transition into her new school.

Tuesday was "Sneak a Peak", where we found her classroom and met her teachers. I have to admit that it was all a bit overwhelming for me, though Sophie seemed unfazed and simply enthusiastic. This is a brand new school for her, so most of the faces are completely new. We did pass a few of her former classmates from VCLC in the hall, but none were assigned to her class.
The next morning, which was the day before school officially began, we woke her up at the crack of dawn to do a practice bus ride with Daddy. We're not planning to send her on the bus just yet, but the school offered a practice run for the younger students to ride with a parent to school and back, just to see what it was like. Sophie was less than enthused when she first woke up at 6:15, since she'd normally sleep past 8 if we let her. Frankly, it was a painful awakening for all of us! This new schedule is going to take us awhile to get used to. The bus ride proved to be a success, and at least she knows what to expect should we decide that she's ready to do it.

And finally, onto the big day. As prepared as we were with supplies and information, etc., nothing quite prepares a mother to watch her little girl embark on the beginning of a new, more independent journey. Being a Stay-at-Home Mom has given me the ultimate control over my children - until now!

We decided to make it a family affair, and all hour of us piled into the car to drop her off. This will be a significant transition for Jack, who is used to being around Sophie for most of the day. Here he is giving her a big squeeze before we drove to school.And the two of them outside her new classroom...
She had a great first day. So much so that on Day 2, she totally snubbed my attempt to kiss her goodbye when I walked her to her classroom. When I called her out on it later, her reply..."I was just ready to be Kindergartner and I didn't have time to kiss you".

And so it begins...