Monday, September 12, 2011

Making Daddy Proud

With the kickoff of yet another NFL Season, Sophie has risen to the occasion to support her Daddy's team. Her elementary school held a "Back to Football" spirit day last week, and the kids were encouraged to show their team spirit by wearing their favorite team jersey. We have yet to purchase an appropriately sized jersey for Sophie, so she had to sport a very over sized Cowboys T-shirt with some leggings for the day.

There were lots of fun activities planned for the kids during the day, and her PE teacher just emailed me this awesome picture of her, which speaks to the fact that she pretty much puts her heart into everything she does. Go Cowboys!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Surprise! 40 is the New 30!

Eric turned 40 over the weekend, and with a lot of help from family and friends, we were able to pull off a very fun and celebratory surprise party at a local restaurant. This has been in the works for 3 months, and I am relieved that I no longer have to keep a secret and cover my tracks. Eric was truly surprised and had a wonderful fun-filled evening with local friends, old high school and college buddies, a few work colleagues and even our parents. To make it even better, he and I got to spend the night out in a hotel while his Mom babysat the kids.
After a lunch out with the family at Muss & Turner (above), we headed out on our own for a few errands and then to our hotel. Our plan was to meet up with a few other couples for a drink and some games at the very same place the party was to be held (which Eric coincidentally chose as the location to start our evening, feeding into my plan perfectly!). Meanwhile, my mom and Nick and 2 of Eric's dear friends from childhood were all on planes headed to the ATL. I couldn't even let the kids know that they would be seeing Grammy and Grandpa Nick, so they were also quite surprised when they showed up on our doorstep.
After a drink at the hotel bar with The Killimetts and The Jameses, we were on our way to Ormsby's, where The Dekels were camped out, waiting for guests to arrive and texting me the full report every few minutes. After arriving at Ormbsby's, Eric admits he became a little suspicious that something was up, but at that point, I had no worries. I knew he truly had no idea what (or who!) was hiding behind those curtains!

One of the best surprises of the evening was a visit from old friends Kristine and Dave Allyn (who are intent on letting everyone know that they are brother and sister - not husband and wife!). Eric has known these two all his life, and it was really special to have them join us.

Coincidentally, both of Eric's best friends from high school now live in the Atlanta area, though we don't get to see them nearly enough with our busy schedules. So it was another nice surprise to have Dave and Matt there to celebrate with us!
Most of you reading this know that Eric is always on top of everything safety related for the kids. Not long ago, Sophie coined the phrase "Danger Ranger" as his nickname, which naturally all of our friends think is hilarious. Eric received a monogrammed Danger Ranger T-shirt and hat from the Kings and Bergstroms. And thanks to the Seymours, we also have a Danger Ranger kit complete with a book and DVD on fire safety and all sorts of other potentially dangerous situations that the kids have already watched repeatedly. Jack has now been named our resident "Junior" Danger Ranger.

All in all, it was a GREAT night and I think it's safe to say that everyone had a lot of fun. But most importantly, Eric was so happy to be surrounded by so many loved ones, and he even told me this was the best secret I've ever kept :-). Here's hoping that 40 really is the new 30!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Off to First Grade

In what seems like the blink of an eye, our little Sophie is officially a first grader! She was very excited to return to school, but not nearly as excited about the early wake up time (which was pretty brutal for Mommy and Daddy too). This year, she gets to return to the same classroom and will have the same teachers, only now she will sit on the other side of the room as a more experienced 6 year old that gets to guide the Kindergartners who are new to the "Mighty Multiage" class.

I remember exactly a year ago, how daunting it all seemed at first. While she was excited about school, she was certainly cautious about entering a classroom full of new faces. Instead, this year she bolted into the classroom last week at "sneak a peak" and proceeded to introduce herself to kindergartners and their families, welcoming them to the class. What a difference a year makes!

We are excited to see what this new year brings, and are confident that it will be a great one for Sophie!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

VBS 2011: Anchored By God's Grace and Love

The kids had a wonderful week at Vacation Bible School this year. Sophie experienced her first year in the elementary program and Jack had a great time in the preschool class. It is hard to explain the awesomeness of this experience. More than 900 children and volunteers gathered each day at The Church of the Apostles for a fun and exciting week. If you click on the link, it should take you to a slideshow of the highlights of the week. Eric and I have volunteered in the past for the entire week, but this year, we decided to take a break and simply bring the kids. I must admit that in that final assembly, I was a little remorseful that I wasn't part if it this year. As much as I enjoyed (and needed) a little time for myself, I also know how special it is to be part of this experience. Next year we will be there again for sure!

The following pictures are from the final assembly held on the last day, where the kids perform several songs for their parents. Jack was particularly enthusiastic about it, this being his first time at the assembly. He was so into the music and the hand motions he had learned, and he willingly flaunted his cheesy smile each time he thought we were trying to take a picture. They wore these little sailor hats that were so adorable.

Sophie was enthusiastic in an entirely different way. The elementary classes are grouped in such a way that there are rising 1st graders through rising 5th graders all in the same class. So Sophie was the youngest and the idea is that the older kids help guide and lead the younger kids. This was perfect for Sophie, as she loves to hang out with older children and gets a little tired of trying to cater to Jack at home. Her cast drew even more attention of course, and Sophie was thrilled to be on the receiving end of lots of attention from the "big kids" that week!

We are so thankful for the outstanding children's ministry at our church, and are truly amazed out how much Sophie and Jack are learning and growing in their understanding of God's love for them!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

Eric was treated to breakfast in bed for the first time ever this Father's Day! I can't take the credit - it was Sophie's idea. As expected, Eric thought it was the best thing ever and quickly propositioned that we make this a once a week ritual. Nice try, buddy - but I do promise to make this happen more often!

In lieu of gifts, both Sophie and Jack presented Eric with sweet hand made cards. I remember my mother encouraging me to make special cards for my own father when I was growing up, and now I see how precious and meaningful this is.

Later in the afternoon, we headed over to The Dekels for a barbecue with several families from the neighborhood. The kids enjoyed some backyard water fun and we had a great dinner that we all contributed to.

Father's Day is always a little bittersweet for me, as I no longer have the chance to tell my own Dad how much I appreciate him, but I know how proud he would be that I married a man who is truly an amazing father!

Going out with a Bang

Sophie was invited to her first roller skating birthday party just before the end of the school year. I was a bit reluctant to send her, as she has never skated before, and based on our experience attempting to ice skate a few months back, I was fairly certain this could turn out badly. That, coupled with the fact that Eric and I were going out of town, and this would all go down on Grammy's watch. Nonetheless, I decided it wouldn't be fair to have Sophie miss the party, and that surely she wouldn't be the only one who was a first timer. I also didn't want to impose my own worries on her to the point of causing her to not try new things. If only I had thought to buy wrist guards beforehand!

Needless to say, my motherly instincts were right on, and although Sophie did start to get the hang of it and even strongly encouraged Grammy to leave and come back at pick up time, things did not end well, and 3 days later she was sporting a hot pink and thankfully, waterproof cast. Fortunately, it was not a bad break and Sophie didn't seem to be in much pain after the first couple of days. And did her eyes ever light up when the orthopedist confirmed her broken arm - just in time to show all her friends on the very last day of Kindergarten.

Now that we're 4 weeks in, and even onto a second (this time blue!) cast, the novelty is wearing off and Sophie is quite ready to have it removed this week.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mother's Day

I have to say that this was one of the best Mother's Day's I've had to date. And yet there is nothing spectacular to report, other than the fact that we had no agenda and a totally relaxing day.

After church we had a nice family lunch at Season's 52, followed by a very relaxing and lazy afternoon. Both Sophie and Jack presented me with sweet little gifts each of them made for me at school, which I will cherish forever. Or at least until next year when perhaps they will outdo themselves.

Sophie planted a sweet yellow marigold in a cute little pot that she hand painted with ladybugs and bumblebees, using her own little fingerprint as the body for each creature. She also wrote a special book, all about Mommy's favorite things, which was beautifully written and illustrated. According to her, my favorite thing to do is go to parties - just us girls.

Jack had his own fun with a hand print tile and a very special Mother's Day card that was handwritten - which is no easy feat for this little guy.

It really is the simple things that can bring so much happiness to one's life. I am so thankful to be a Mother!

Friday, April 29, 2011


We were thankful for beautiful weather on Easter. We started the morning with a hunt for our baskets, a leisurely family breakfast and a lovely church service.

Both kids were especially excite about receiving Marshmallow Peeps in their baskets this year - probably because they know I would typically never let them consume a marshmallow that's been dyed yellow and dipped in sugar.

Later in the afternoon, we ventured over to The Kings' house for a neighborhood Easter egg hunt and pot luck supper, and even more sugar.

I can't take credit for this last picture that Susana took. I just love it and am amazed at how the two Sophies have grown into such beautiful young girls.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Writing: Part 2

I recently received a phone call from Nickajack's Vice Principal, which you can only imagine set my heart racing when he told me he was calling about Sophie. He quickly reassured me that she was safe and sound, and not in any sort of trouble. He was calling to let me know that her writing sample on Harriet Tubman which her teacher submitted to a writing fair for the entire school district, had been selected as a winner for Kindergarten.

Last Thursday, we were invited to attend a special awards ceremony with all of the other winners in our school district, grades K-12. It was a special night for Sophie, who got to have Mommy and Daddy all to herself. We smartly secured a babysitter for Jack, headed to Chick-fil-a for a quick bite, and then to the awards ceremony.

One of the most special things about the evening was that both of Sophie's multi-age teachers, whom she ADORES, came to support her, along with the principal of her school. She was the only winner representing her school, and it was especially touching for us that her principal came to show her support.

Here's a picture of Sophie and her principal when she first realized that Mrs. Parks was there. Even from behind, you can just tell that Sophie was beaming with pride and excitement. On the left is sweet Mrs. Butler, her Kindergarten teacher.

Sophie was overjoyed. While she was initially seated with the other winners in the front of the auditorium, she managed a break-away towards the end. Instead of coming to sit with me and Eric, she went right for her teachers and sat with them for the duration of the night. At one point, she expressed her excitement for the refreshments that would follow the ceremony, and let her teachers know that there would surely be beer and wine for the adults! Which probably explains the laughter in this next picture.

They didn't seem to be too disappointed by the glasses of punch she grabbed for each of them before drinking her own. After that, she brought them to the cookie table to make their selection. It was a totally priceless moment, and a night that Eric and I will likely remember for years to come. We are so proud of her, and also so thankful for the wonderful teachers that are encouraging her and fueling her love for learning.

The next morning. Sophie was able to read her piece to her entire elementary school during the morning announcements, which are video streamed into each classroom. Such a neat experience for a 6 year old if you ask me!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

See Mommy Run

I think most of my Mommy friends would agree that along with motherhood comes the sacrifice of putting a lot of your own interests and hobbies on hold. So little time and so much to get done - much of which is a little mundane yet certainly necessary.

Fortunately, one thing I've managed to grasp tightly is my love for running. Long before I got married and started a family, running became an outlet for me that simply can not be replaced, and I'm thankful I have a husband who understands my need to pursue this passion. I accomplished my goal of running a full marathon just before getting married, which was so fun and rewarding that I immediately began training for the next. While my marathon days are probably long gone - the time and dedication required is not all that compatible with mothering young children - I still enjoy some shorter races from time to time.

Last week, I ran the Georgia Half Marathon, and was happy that my family was able to cheer me on from the sidelines. Yes, it would have been easier for Eric to hunker down at home instead, but it dawned on me that I really did want them to share in the experience with me, even if it meant waking up at 5:30 am to pile in the car and head downtown. Sophie and Jack are all too familiar with my running/exercise routine, and I thought it would be nice for them to gain a little more perspective on something that has been and will remain such an important piece of who I am, aside from all of the other aspects that shape my identity as their mother.

After a quick send-off in my starting corral, Eric smartly piled them into our double stroller (that they had not laid eyes on in years) in order to more easily navigate the crowd of spectators and head to the start line. They loved the stroller so much that they even asked to play with it in the driveway for the next several days, taking turns pushing each other. Funny that neither one of them would ever sit still in the stroller as babies and toddlers!

After a quick cheer at mile 9, they even got to enjoy a Krispy Kreme donut on the way back to meet me at the finish line, so all in all I think they had a good time!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Soccer Mom

I think I can officially call myself a Soccer Mom. Both Sophie and Jack took an interest in playing soccer this spring, which I'm quickly learning is no small time commitment. I think it's a great sport, and am happy they both enjoy being active, but with a practice for each of them on separate weekday evenings and a game for each on Friday night or Saturday mornings, it's a lot. Thank goodness Eric is helping with Jack's team again, which will sometimes get me and Sophie off the hook from having to always be at Jack's practices. With a couple of other after school activities going on mid-week, down-time is hard to come by right now, but I also see the importance of allowing them to figure out the types of activities they enjoy the most and will eventually pursue wholeheartedly.

Yesterday was the first game of the season and picture day for both of them, and due to the crazy timing of it all, we were hunkered down at the field for over 4 1/2 hours. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day and great to be outside and enjoy a picnic lunch between games, but we were all a bit tuckered out by the end of it. One thing is for sure - we should all be sleeping well for the next 10 weeks!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Writing, and an Ode to Jack

A continuation of sorts from the last post...

Reading and writing tend to go hand in hand, so in addition to her love of reading, Sophie likes to write, too. From the time she had just learned her letters, she loved to sit at the table and write notes, which was sometimes a painful activity for me as she would ask me how to spell each and every word. This is actually Jack's deal as of late. It took about 10 minutes to tell him how to write the word "grape" this morning. Who has this kind of time??

This year, for Valentine's day, Sophie decided to hand-write all 48 valentines to the 2 classes she was exchanging cards with. This was no easy feat, and it took up until the very last minute to finish them. But I loved the sentiment of it all.

She's moved past asking me how to spell words and prefers to do it on her own. I find it interesting to see how she writes certain words phonetically, which gives me a glimpse of how she sees certain words in her mind. Here's a menu she wrote for an impromptu family Superbowl Party we had. See what I mean about phonetic spelling?!

I have always been a good speller, so it's somewhat instinctive for me to read her writing and want to make corrections. But, her teacher reminded me that this phonetic spelling is totally normal and all part of the process, so rather than correcting all the misspelled words, it's better to allow her to focus on content, or even punctuation and capitalization.

Two days ago, I got a note from Mrs. Butler that she had submitted one of Sophie's writing samples to the school writing fair, and she had won for Kindergarten. She needed my permission to let her continue on to a statewide contest, which we are of course very excited about. The topic she had written about was Harriet Tubman, and I love the illustration she drew along with it.

But what's really hilarious to me, is the writing sample that was tucked behind this one in her folder. It was written during a free writing period during a week when Sophie was particularly struggling with the dynamics of having a younger sibling, so she decided to write about her yakety-yak brother named Jack. The picture truly depicts the exchanges the two of them have on a daily basis. And she's right - he really is a yakkety-yak! But he's sweet, and funny and he ADORES her. We love him, and I know she does too!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Warning...this post is a bit of a brag, but I am beaming with pride as I watch Sophie thrive as a kindergartner, and just had to share this little tidbit.

Sophie continues to love to read. She has been tearing through chapter books for months now at a rapid pace, and has especially loves the Ivy and Bean, Magic Tree House and Junie B. Jones series.

If there's a down side to all this, it's that she prefers to read to herself "in her own head" as she puts it. Which means the time we spend cuddling on the bed with a good book has been somewhat limited these past few months. However, she's starting to embrace the idea of being read to at night again, and we've selected a book that will be reserved solely for that purpose. Presently, we're reading The BFG by Roald Dahl.

I've been volunteering in Sophie's classroom each week to help with a program called Accelerated Reader (AR). I get to take a group of students to the library, read a story and then help them log into computers to take a short reading comprehension quiz. I've loved this experience as it allows me to participate in Sophie's education, and also provides an opportunity to get to know some of her classmates better.

Here's where the brag comes in. The other day, her teacher informed me that Sophie's name had been announced to the school over the PA system during morning announcements as the Kindergarten student who had read the most AR books during the grading quarter. Her prize was a gift certificate to a local used book store for a new used chapter book. Given her love of reading, it didn't really come as a surprise to me. It was just nice to see her be recognized for something she excels at and enjoys so much.

These pictures below are from a recent trip to Barnes and Noble with Grammy and Grandpa Nick. They gave her a gift card for her birthday and took her to pick out a few books of her choice. My mom was a little surprised when one of the books Sophie selected was about the life of Harriet Tubman. Turns out they had been studying her in school and Sophie wanted to dig in deeper and learn more. So she just sat right down in the stacks and started to read. I have a hunch that B&N will soon be a favorite destination, especially since they have a Starbucks downstairs!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy Birthday to Sophie!

Our sweet Sophie turned 6 today. I truly can't believe it. Thankfully, we've led up to this day with multiple fun outings and a tea party to celebrate. The celebrating began more than a week ago when Grammy came to town and treated us to a girls' outing to see Peter Pan at the threesixty theatre downtown. It was a fantastic show, and I was impressed with Sophie's ability to stay focused through the full 2 hours.

The festivities resumed this past weekend, with Oma coming to town to help us celebrate. We had a tea party at home with some neighborhood friends and new school friends. The girls enjoyed decorating teapot frames, playing musical chairs and making charm bracelets. It was a great chance for me to get to know some of the girls from school and their parents a little better, and see that Sophie has gravitated towards a nice group of girls.

Today, Eric and I had lunch with Sophie at school and brought cupcakes for her class to enjoy outside after lunch. Another little girl in her class shares the same birthday, so her Mom and I split the baking, which was great since we had to provide 48 cupckaes for the combined multiage kindergarten and first grade classes. Here's a shot of the birthday girls.

Our plan for dinner at one of Sophie's favorite restaurants, Garrison's, has been thwarted due to a tornado watch, so we've altered our plan to pizza delivery. We'll try again for dinner tomorrow night. Happy Birthday, Soph!