Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fun Family Weekend

I love weekends.  You would think as a stay-at-home mom weekends would be much like any other day, but now that Emily is at school I like having days when she's home the whole time, and I especially like having Will home.  I especially ESPECIALLY enjoy weekends that include days where I get to lay around and let someone else do all the work :-)

Our weekend started out at the Westview children's reading festival, which had to be moved inside due to rain.  It was a neat event, but made super-strange by the location, which was a bar/pool hall.  People were still coming in to eat and play pool, but it was also crammed with kids.  I'm not even sure it's legal to have kiddos at a bar that's actively serving alcohol, BUT it was better than being out in the rain!  There were games with prizes, and the biggest attraction was Mr. Jon, who does storytime and sings songs at the library.  He's a huge celebrity to the girls (he IS on iTunes!), so they were super-excited to be able to see him and chat with him.  I only managed to take one picture:

I was quite grateful to Carolyn and Christian for getting there early and reserving a table, which gave us a base of operation (so important when you're with kids) and access to drinks for everyone.

After that we headed to Brewer's Alley to have a mother's day lunch for Will's mom.  I'm sorry Brewers, I have been less than impressed with you food the last few times I've eaten there.  It's not BAD by a long shot, but not quite what they're striving to be.  I guess the main draw is the beer though anyway, which is always good.

The next activity on our agenda was heading up to the farm so Will and his dad could brew some beer!  Will got his dad all the supplies to brew a batch of beer for Christmas, and they decided to brew it up at the farm using the spruce tips that come out in the spring, so this was the weekend!

Spruce Tips

Beer!  In a few weeks.
In the meantime, the girls and I were playing down by the pond.

Pond hockey

It also rained quite a bit, but luckily we had just gotten the girls new umbrellas so they were excited to break them in (and soon they'll just plain break them if things proceed as they always have).

The umbrella really helps when you're walking through soaking-wet ferns
 Sunday continued with the outdoor fun.  It started with a lovely breakfast in bed, plus hand-made cards from all three of my favorite people :-)  Then we set out to go for a bike ride on the C&O canal towpath.  Emily had a rough time getting started, but ended up doing really well.

Ohm-ing out
 Will even sneaked in a workout, with the help of Emily.

Charlotte chilled in her trailer most of the time.

The Potomac was so high and muddy it looked more like the Mississippi.

We grabbed lunch at CafĂ© Rio, chilled at home for a bit, then went over to my sister's house to do my Mom's mother's day party.  Kathleen and Dylan set up an amazing champagne and hors d'oeuvres party in her backyard.

The fare included saltines because....

...my sister Krista is pregnant!

Telling the girls they're finally getting their first cousin!

I'm super-excited to finally be an Aunt this December!  I definitely need to work ahead to make sure everything is ready for Christmas early this year so I can spend lots of time snuggling my new niece or nephew :-)

The evening was extremely chilly for May, so there was lots of sitting by the fire with blankets.

 Except for Charlotte of course, because she is immune to cold.

 We even got a visit from a little deer mouse who lives in Kathleen's retaining wall.

See him?
If every weekend could be like this, I'd be one happy Mama!  I think Will might die of exhaustion though :-)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Six years old (and three days late)

Emily is six now.  She needs 2 hands to show how old she is.  And if her first two days of being six are any indication, it is going to be a moody year.

This past year Emily learned to swim without water wings...

...and really started riding her bike well (still with training wheels).  I think she's probably ready to take the training wheels off, but I don't know if Will's and my backs are ready.  She got her ears pierced....

...and moved up into a booster car seat.

She discovered a love of gymnastics, and has taken classes all year.

She still loves to dance though.

She started Kindergarten!

She gets homework for the first time this year, and luckily really likes it.

She can now count to 100+, she can add and subtract and I've briefly broached multiplication with her and she seems to understand that as well.  She LOVES science.  She enjoys outings, but still likes to spend large portions of time at home playing with her toys.  She has started needing more time to play alone, much to her sister's dismay.  She'll do physical play with Charlotte, but gets quite irritated when Charlotte tries to play ponies or something like that with her because Charlotte doesn't do things the way Emily wants her to. 

 She can sound out words and write out fairly readable sentences with a little help (there's a "y" at the end of "today", etc.)  She is doing better with being flexible and accepting disappointment, but she still gets pretty upset sometimes when things don't go her way.  She cries a lot less, especially while playing with Jazmin, which she still loves to do at every possible opportunity.  She still gets a few "yellow paws" per month at school, usually for talking or doing something distracting when she should be listening, but overall she's doing really well in school.  She adjusted well to the full-day Kindergarten and having to eat her lunch more quickly to get all her food in.  She can get dressed, brush her teeth, wash her face and brush her hair all by herself in the morning now, and with the help of a chair she can even get her own cereal with milk.  She LOVES spooky stuff, though her sister is easily frightened so we sometimes have to limit things she is ready for but Charlotte isn't.

She finally got her first taste of cotton candy, a longtime aspiration of hers.

She also took her first Ferris Wheel ride this year, with Daddy of course because Mommy is kinda terrified of heights.

Emily took her first cruise this year, and visited her first of hopefully many foreign countries.

She loves to explore, and as she has gotten older she has transitioned from just standing there throwing rocks in the water to hopping from rock to rock along the creek at the farm, just like her Daddy :-)

She's so mature in so many ways, and she REALLY does listen to you and process what you say when you explain something, but she is also still so young.  She loves unicorns, magic and sparkly colorful things.

She's REALLY very good at physical/gymnastics type things.  She can do an honest-to-God cartwheel now, and aside from her haystack dive a few months ago she is pretty good at doing crazy flippy hangy things and not falling.  She has spent a large percentage of her last year hanging upside down.

She's very helpful and doesn't mind running upstairs or downstairs to grab something as a favor to me.  She is heartbreakingly sweet, and gets so confused when people at school are mean to her. She even invited a boy who has been mean to her all year to her birthday party in the hopes that extending the olive branch could make him into a friend (he didn't even RSVP :-( )  She seems to be attracted to friends who are kinda mean, and she is often upset and hurt by someone she considered a friend announcing they're not her "BFF" anymore.

One thing's for sure.  She is getting more amazing every day, and I am still enjoying getting to know her and watching her grow into a person SO much!  Every age she has hit so far is better than the last, and I'm so lucky to have such a sweet, smart, beautiful daughter.

But instead of prattling on even further about Emily, I'll let her speak for herself.  Here is her 6 year old interview, transcribed word for word!  I never realized what a little valley girl she is.

How old are you? - Six

How is being six different than being five? - Well, like, when I go to first grade, like I get to see different friends, and like, I like my old friends!

Who is your best friend? - Well, um, it appears that like, hmmm...Donovan.  But Trynn was my best friend, but then she moved.

What is your favorite thing to do? - Um, I like to...WELL, there are a lot of things I like to do.  I like to play on the playground, I like to jump on the jumpy thing, I like to go to Chuck E Cheese, I like to play games.

What is your favorite color? - My favorite color is...well, I have 3 different colors that are my favorite colors.  One's pink, the other one's purple, and the other one's blue.

What is your favorite food? - Ooooh!  My favorite food, I have like, um, TWO different favorite foods.  Like, I like macaroni and cheese and I like spaghetti and meatballs.

What is your favorite thing to do with your family? - Oooh!  I like to go out at parties!  Especially my birthday party.

What is your favorite toy? - Um, I have three.  One, my strawberry pillow that you got for me on my birthday.  The other one is Pink Swirl (her stuffed dog), and the other one is, um, the other one is.....the other one is like Rainbow Glow! (her light-up rainbow unicorn pillow pet)

What do you want to be when you grow up? - Oh!  Well like, I like to be uh um, a scientist when I grow up AND, I like, want to teach science.

What makes you happy? - Hmmm, well, when I'm feeling sad, I always like a hug from my mommy.

What makes you sad? - Well, sometimes I get sad because that like, sometimes I get sad and like I don't like something but like, I, it makes, like, sometimes not playing with Jazmin makes me sad cuz like, we're friends. (This is a very typical sentence from Emily...it takes her quite awhile to get to the point sometimes!)

What is your favorite show to watch? - Ooh!  My favorite show!  Well, I have three...one, Ruby Gloom.  The other, Casper's Scare School, and the other, ADVENTURE TIME!

What is your favorite book to read? - Oooh, I have a lot of favorite books.  One of my favorite books are like Ponyrella, I like that one.  And I also like Play Clay, AND I like that rhyming book (Shel Silverstein's Poems), and I like um Caroline (American Girl) and I like Sam (?).

What do you like to learn about? - Eyouuu, that's a lot!  Well, I like to learn about nature!  I like to learn about nature.

What was the best part of your birthday? - Oh, the best part of my birthday!  The best part of my birthday was getting to open my presents, and getting a long good sleep.

Where do you like to go? - I like to go like, I OH!  I like to go and visit the Mall!  And I like to go and visit trains, like, I liked the Santa Claus Train.

Who is your teacher? - Mrs. Utermohle!

What is your favorite treat? - My favorite treat is ice cream, and I like cake too.

What do you think about while you're falling asleep? - Well!  Well like my birthday night, I was thinking about the sad things that happened on my birthday (see the aforementioned attitude problem). 

What is your favorite song? - (singing) Roy G. Biv is a colorful man!

What do you want adult Emily to remember about 6 year old Emily? - Well, I want to remember that like, I had lots of friends AND that I had a happy family, AND that I lived with some friends for a very long time.


 Happy Birthday to my sweet girl.  I am excited to experience your 6th year with you!