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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Lazy Days of Summertime

Well.  Lazy meaning we don't have to wake up to an alarm clock, we can sleep as "late" as we want to (because anything past 7:00AM is late!), we can do what we want to without having to be somewhere at a certain time everyday and some days five different places at once at the same time (we actually get to stay at home!), we can stay up as late as we want to.  And that's exactly what we've been doing!  And I. love. it.  LOVE. IT.  So many people have asked, "So what are yall doing this summer?"  And I tell them, "Nothing!"  That's true and not true all at the same time.

I decided this would be the summer that I tackle several projects that have been on my to-do list for two years.  One of the said projects was rather big.  I started the week before Memorial Day with the goal of actually finishing it on Memorial Day.  That was nearly a month ago, and I'm still working on that project!  I knew it was going to be a lot of work so I should've known.  And, just in case you're wondering (because I'm sure you are), said project is stripping and re-finishing four of the French doors on the front of my house.  The whole problem is I didn't do them right to begin with.  I was so tired of painting and building a house that I took a short cut, and I was never happy with it.  The process of stripping the finish off the doors was nearly a nightmare.  It's not perfect, but I do like the doors better now that I used to.  They actually look pretty good from the road!  Just don't get up close.

In between stripping and sanding and staining and sealing, we have been playing, playing and playing some more.  It's hot now, real hot, but not near as miserable as it's going to be come August.  So we spend a lot of time in the water.

Ellie is not a fan of the "big" pool.  She looks happy in this picture.  But it was fleeting.  Very fleeting.  I spent the rest of this afternoon sitting on the steps with her.  She didn't want the water above her waist.  I'm not sure why that is.  She loves her bath and doesn't have a problem scooting all around the bathtub.
This year Mason wanted to perfect his flip and land feet-first in the water.  He's already done just that and spends most of his time flipping off the diving board.
This year Hannah Kate wanted to be confident and comfortable enough to jump off the diving board and swim in the deep end without her floaties.  I'm not sure why, but she thought using only one floatie would help her accomplish her goal.
Apparantly it worked!  In less than a week she was jumping and swimming all over the place without her floaties.  But now she holds her nose when she jumps.  She didn't used to do that.
Beau was in town a couple of weeks ago.  He rigged up his float for a water gun fight with Mason.
And here's Mason's rig.
Hannah Kate wasn't much for a water gun fight.
And since Ellie doesn't care for the big pool, I got her a little kiddie pool to play in while the big kids go swimming.  She loves it!  (Yes, she has a mohawk.  Compliments of big brother.)
Every once in a while, she has company in her little pool.
On the days we don't go to the pool, the kids hit the waterslide.  This has been one of the best investments ever!  Not to mention I found it on sale.
Don't let her fool you.  Ellie isn't a big fan of the waterslide either.  She's looking happy in this picture only because she thought I was going to pick her up.  So we use the kiddie pool at home, too.
We spend a lot of time outside, especially in the mornings and again in the evenings after supper.  We spruced up the play set a bit, and the big kids love swinging and hanging all over the place.
One of our most favorite things to do is ride bikes.  I have a seat on the back of my bike for Ellie, and sometimes we'll spend nearly two hours outside riding around.  She loves it, and Mason and Hannah Kate love riding their bikes, too, especially when I'm riding mine.  We've done a lot of work in the flower beds.  And I've worked like crazy in my vegetable garden, but I'm just not having a whole lot of success with it.  Thank goodness for neighbors and in-laws who share!

So far that's been our summer.  And it's all just perfect and fine with me!  Things are about to get pretty crazy though, and the lazy days will be given to busy days.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hannah Kate's Dance Recital

Here is my beautiful ballerina on recital day (May 11).
The Thursday night before the dance recital, Hannah Kate took a little tumble out of her bed.  It was about 10:30.  I heard the THUMP.  I knew what it was, but I didn't know who it was.  I was nearly to the top of the stairs when I heard her.  She was still on the floor when I got to her, and I immediately saw it.  I ran her downstairs and held an ice pack on her eye for awhile.  She was quite aggravated with me and didn't realize why until she got up the next morning and looked in the mirror.  Her eye and the top of her nose were bruised, and she had a small gash below her eye.  I think she hit the corner of her vanity stool when she fell.  She was very self-conscious about the way she looked, and she was also upset that it happened at recital time.  I did the best I could with some make-up, but I'm not really good with that.

The theme of this year's recital was Dancing with Legends.  Each class honored a "legend."  Hannah Kate's ballet class danced to Bob Dylan's Forever Young (as sung by someone else who really created a pretty version of the song).  It really was a beautiful dance, and I might have shed a tear or two.  Hannah Kate has learned so much at dance this year.  Her favorite is the passe pointe (and I'm absolutely certain I butchered the spelling of that lovely French word).  I have the cutest video of her "teaching" Ellie how to passe pointe several months back.  She is constantly dancing and flitting around the house, dancing on her tippie toes with arms outstretched.  She LOVES dance and has already asked several times when class starts again.

Here is Hannah Kate and some of her friends waiting so patiently before taking the big stage.
Hannah Kate's tap class danced to The Eye of the Tiger.  And they wore these cute little boxing costumes (Mohammad Ali was the legend), complete with boxing gloves.  I wasn't too sure about it at first, but it really was a super cute routine, and she had a lot of fun with it.
When Hannah Kate asked me when it would be time to dance again, I told her not until after she starts kindergarten.  I took her on Monday to kindergarten registration.  She was hot-to-trot for me to also go ahead and purchase her uniform, making sure I'm aware that she wants to wear a skirt and not pants.  I told her we would wait a few more weeks before buying the uniforms.  I never thought I would say this, but she can not wait to go to school!  I always thought she would be the one I'd have to drag kicking and screaming to the classroom.  I told her the other day that I couldn't believe she wanted to go to school and leave me because I was going to miss her.  She replied that she was going to miss Ellie!  When I asked her if she was going to miss me, she said she'd miss helping me. . . "Mama, I don't know what you are going to do without me helping you!"  Yes, indeed, Hannah Kate.  Yes, indeed.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

MASON: Scouting, Baseball, Field Day, a Hair Cut & an Award

I want to talk about Mason today.  I've not had a lot of time for blogging this year so I want to go back and capture some of the activities and fun he's had.

He begged us to let him join the Boy Scouts this year (during 2nd grade).  He actually wanted to join in 1st grade, but we didn't because I wasn't sure how much time it was going to take and if we could handle it with his school schedule.  But this year we decided to let him do it.  Honestly though, I think the only reason he wanted to join was because he thought that meant he'd get to go camping all the time.  Outside . . . not upstairs in the playroom where the tent is currently set up.  He quickly found out that was not the case.  There is a lot more to Boy Scouts than camping. 

But in January, he finally got his wish.  It was the annual Family Camp Out.  And since my idea of camping is spending the night at the Holiday Inn with a black and white TV, Mason went with his friend Braden's family.
They had a fairly nice little set-up.  It also included a heater because this just so happened to be a rather chilly weekend.  They boys even earned their Polar Bear patches (yeah, don't ask me to explain patches and belt loops and pins and such because it's complicated!) because the temperature dipped below something or another. 
Mason had a blast!  They did all kinds of things . . . like whatever it is 7 year old boys do when they go camping.  All I know is that he came home with lots of wet and lots of mud.  So that means he had fun.
And then in February was the Pinewood Derby.  That means you have to get a block of wood, cut it in the shape of some sort of vehicle, add wheels and decorate it.  Sounds easy enough.  But not so.  It has to weigh enough to go down the track and go quickly.  But it can't weigh too much or you can't race.  And there are all types of ways to weigh it down . . . like filling it with lead or attaching lead beads.  But then you have to be sure they don't drag the ground.  Oh, it's complicated all right.  Seth spent a lot of time researching the internet and even took it upon himself to go to a craft store to buy a book about designing your car.  As for me, well, I was nervous.  I just wanted the thing to go and make it to the end of the track.  That's all.  Just go.  Here is Mason with his car.
And here he is setting his car up on the track.  Apparantly there is a "trick" to this as well.  You have to pull the wheels out or something like that.  But not all of them.  Just some of them.  We only know this because we saw some of the other boys doing it, and they were winning.  So, obviously, that's what you're supposed to do.
And, wouldn't you know it . . . Mason won 3rd place among the Wolves!  (Again, this Boy Scouts thing is complicated.  You actually aren't a BOY Scout until like 16 years old or something.  You are a CUB scout first.  And when you're in 1st grade, you're . . . well, I can't remember what you are.  When you're in 2nd grade, you're a wolf.  And when you're in 3rd grade, I think it's a bear or something.  So Mason basically won 3rd place out of all the 2nd graders.)
And here he is with his trophy, which he is super proud of.
In March his den (the 2nd grade group he's a part of) took a trip to visit and tour the Louisiana State Capitol building.  Mason absolutely loved this!  He was so intrigued by the history of the building, the materials used to make it, the bullet holes in the wall where a former governor was shot and killed, the pencil stuck in the ceiling of the Senate chamber after a bomb exploded in there.  So now everytime we go into Baton Rouge, he always reminds us that he sees the State Capitol building.  It's the tallest building in Baton Rouge.  Here the boys are on the steps.  Mason is the fourth one from the left.
The steps leading up into the capitol each have the names of the 50 states on them in the order they became states.  Here Mason is sitting on the Louisiana step.  Yes, there's a Georgia step, too.
We went to the observation deck at the top of the building where you can look out over Baton Rouge.  On a clear day, you can see nearly all the way to Grosse Tete.
The Scouts meet the second Thursday of every month (all of them, all grades).  Each month they do a different activity or have a different visitor.  At the April meeting, they made catapults out of two coke cans, rubber bands and a fork.  They then shot marshmallows across the room at each other.  It was mass chaos, and they loved every minute of it.
And then it was time for baseball season.  We spent many of our Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the ball park during the months of April and May.  This year Mason moved up to machine pitch.  He also had to wear "real" baseball pants, which he thought was super cool.
Because, you know, the object of baseball is to see just how dirty you can get these white baseball pants so Momma has to pull out all the stops after every game to get them white again and keep them white for two months!
Mason was number 1 again this year.  Machine pitch proved to be quite challenging for him.  But he did manage to get several hits, especially during the final weeks of the season.  He loved making his way around the bases and never missed an opportunity to slide home or anywhere else for that matter.
Before school was out, they had Field Day.  I had the opportunity to go and spend that day with him.  His favorite game was the sponge race.  You soak a sponge, put it on top of your head and race.  He must've done this at least 27 times.
And by the end of Field Day, he was funky!  He was also rather shaggy because we hadn't had time for a haircut.  So that afternoon I promtly took him for a haircut.  She shaved it all off and left some on the top to spike.  Mason is loving the spike these days.  Here he is with his new do the next day (he's holding one of Mrs. M's teacher appreciation gifts).
And at the end of what was a very long 2nd grade year, Mason was awarded the Bronze Scholar.  This award meant a lot to us because he worked so hard all year.  This award was not easy for him, and he earned every bit of it and more, if you ask me!
I sure do have some fun times with my boy, and I couldn't be prouder of him!