Saturday, August 30, 2008

1st game of the season

I don't care much for football ( or most sports, for that matter), but the rest of my family are fanatics. We had a full house yesterday for the 1st UGA game of the season. Our godson, Jay, and good friend, Josh, came out. Esther loves hanging out with Jay and enjoyed reading with him. The second picture is from a visit from the whole Price family last weekend. The kids woke up early and cuddled on the couch, while us Mamas (who had gone dancing the night prior) slept in.

My Mom, Dad, brother, sister-in-law, and nephew also came out. Esther had fun with cousin Spencer. He recently started walking, which Esther thought was so 'funny'.


He's so cute!

Esther sharing with me all her wisdom of the world

Esther found her winter coat and slippers from last year and had to try them on. I think she wore them for about an hour before the heat got the best of her.

We got some good art time in last week. Esther colored with pencils for the first time and glued some foam beads to her paper. She was very proud!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Playing in the dirt

With the wonderful, cool weather we've had the last week, we've been playing outside a lot more again. Esther loves using her shovel to find worms and roly-poly bugs. I'm so glad that she loves being outside and getting dirty. And who doesn't love holding a squiggly worm!

We colored on the sidewalk and discovered this cicada crawling past us. Esther followed it as it made its way to the bushes.

About 2-3" in length= 'Big Bug'

I love how she stands with her hands behind her back

"Go? Big Bug, go?"

In an attempt to make a nice dinner w/out Esther 'helping' me or pitching a fit, I brought her kitchen inside (was in the backyard). I don't know why I never did this before. She played for hours and cried like I had broken her heart when I made her stop playing and come to dinner. It has been a wonderful outlet for her to pretend and play. She loves making 'muffins' and 'sausage' for Papa (again, not sure where the sausage idea came from). A set of toy pots and utensils are definitely in her future. For now, our extras will do.

She's even 'cooking' while sitting on the potty.

We also had a wonderful visit from Grandma Vickie (our good friend and Finn's grandmother). The kids loved reading on her lap and I enjoyed conversation over coffee.

And an update on school - Esther had to miss Wednesday due to a weird one-day runny nose, but had a wonderful day on Friday. She is really excited to go back tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Esther's 1st day of Montessori

Watch the excitement build...

School bag on arm...

Come on, Mama and Papa. I'm ready to go!

Oh, yes. Our little, sweet girl started Montessori school yesterday. For those who aren't familiar with the Montessori philosophy, here is the short and sweet of it (copied from a website). "Children direct their own learning, choosing among the sections of a well structured and stocked classroom, including Practical Life (fine and gross motor skills), Sensorial (senses and brain), Language, Mathematics, Geography, Science, and Art." They also have a lot of outside time, focusing on using nature to learn. As you will see, Esther just loved it!

Esther is going to Morningstar Montessori Toddler House, which is out of a good friend of ours' home. Esther and I have had many playdates with Marci and her daughter, which made this an easy transition for her. She will be going three days a week, from 9-1. This will allow Ben to get in some shadow hours with PAs and for me to work more, and also gives Esther the social outlet that I think all kids need. So, the first day of school...

Esther woke up yesterday morning and immediately said, "School...Marci...Harper...Go" (we obviously have been building it up a bit). We ate breakfast and did our normal routine with her repeating the above phrase continuously. You saw her waiting for us on the porch with her school bag. She could not wait....

We arrived at Morningstar and E ran off immediately to see the fish, then grabbed some fruit to 'cut' at the table.

She then sorted strawberries and sorted rocks. She is on a big sorting and pouring kick.

She is proclaiming that she is making muffins.

I had to go to work, so Ben picked her up. She got a wonderful report, being the only child who did not cry. They said she was good about putting her projects away when finished (we were very surprised) and participated in all the activities. We were so proud! She just crawled on my lap to look at the pictures and said that she wants "more school". No tears, but a heavy sigh on how quickly she is growing up.

I leave you with a few of Esther's quotes from yesterday. We've started a notebook of them b/c we think they're hilarious. She usually says a word and pauses, like she's waiting for us to comprehend her brilliance.

"Birthday...CAke...Bicycle" She has thought it is her birthday for about 2 weeks now. She wants a bicycle and car - so she tells us.
"Babies...tushy...hold it" She was referring to baby tomatoes (cherry), but the rest of it is a mystery. Ben and I were both in tears from laughing so hard. The funny thing is she is so serious in her comments. We wonder what she is thinking.
"OATMEAL...Find it...I find it" At the grocery store with Ben. They obviously found the oatmeal. Ben said that the whole store heard that they had found it. She eats oatmeal once, sometimes twice a day. She was excited that we were restocked.
And one from this morning, "Orange...Green...Birthday...Chicken...Cook it...Go...hotdog...cook it...ketchup" Really not sure where she was going with this one. And, she doesn't eat meat (by her own choice), so this was really out of left field.

It for now...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Nothing much

Esther watering the plants

We had another wonderful, relaxing weekend. I pulled out the sewing machine and turned an old shirt into this new skirt with added embroidery.

Esther and Finn got some playtime together - they are the sweetest of friends. She admired his mad, puzzle-skills.

Esther is too cool!

Yummy - blueberry, strawberry, & raspberry cobbler

A short post - Esther started Montessori school today, so tomorrow's post will be very exciting!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Our big girl

This is her 'cheese' face

Esther turned 20 months today (written on the 13th, pics uploaded on the 11th) and it is really hitting us that she is not a baby anymore. She is growing up so fast (as everyone said she would). She loves to help out around the house, pretend with her baby, and tell us everything she knows.

Feeding baby

With all the wonderful time we have on weekends now, Ben has taken up cooking. I know- what a lucky woman I am. On the days I work and some on the weekends, Ben has been trying out new recipes (with Esther's help). Going back to his cajun roots, he made Jambalaya this weekend. It was SO good! Last night, he made pasta primavera. Yum! I made a peach and blueberry cobbler over the weekend too, but it didn't last long enough to get a picture.

Cooking with Papa

Notice the new haircut

A fun visit from Poppi and Grandma (Ben's parents). We also had a great visit from my parents last week, but unfortunately I did not have the camera out. Next time...

Keeping on the theme of our big girl, we are working on updating Esther's room. Since potty-training is going to well, we've put the changing table in storage and got this great dresser. I found it on Craig's list (online garage sale-type thing) and when we picked it up, she gave it to us for free. It is in good condition and fits our needs perfectly. We also found this cute elephant at a yard sale over the weekend. This wonderful woman goes and picks up good-condition stuff off the side of the road that students, who don't know the value of stuff, dump on the side of the road after the school year. She then has this huge yard sale at the beginning of the next school year to keep all this out of the landfill and provide cheap items to the public. We got some great items, including this elephant, some cute Esther clothes, books, a laptop case, a lantern, and a beautiful shirt for me (all for $4, by the way).

I don't think I have posted a pic of this great toybox my brother made Esther before she was born. We love it! E can color on the chalkboard and it hides all the extra toys and bags that she's gotten too old for or otherwise have no place to go. My brother is an engineer and wonderful woodworker. Knowing I would appreciate it, he only used reclaimed wood for this project. Thanks, Kris!

And a memory of Esther on her first day home. She had jaundice, so we let her get a bit of sun each day. Even though it was December, the temps were in the 70s. And a highlight of the first baby blanket I crocheted her. I made her a purple and white one after she was born (knowing she was a girl).

Oh, the baby fever is setting in. No worries (or, don't get your hopes up), it will be at least another year or so. But they are soooo sweet!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Well, its 4:00 in the morning and I can't sleep. At 29, the insomnia that has plagued my parents for years has hit me as well. It's no fun, but I'm embracing it and figure I may as well get up and do something, rather than toss and turn for hours.
So, here is a recap of our wonderful weekend (and Monday added on). August started Ben's new schedule, which includes No More Weekends! Woo Hoo! It is wonderful to have family time and to be able to enjoy life together. Esther loves having both of us and commands us to 'hug' and 'kiss', just Ben and I, then a 'family hug'. So sweet!
Back to the weekend. Saturday was very busy, but fun. We started off with a trip to our local market for some yummy veggies and music. The corn is actually from our landlord, who is a very sweet, 80-something year old man. The eggplant, care of backyard harvest, made a delicious eggplant parmesan on Sunday.

We then headed to Ben's ER department picnic at Sandy Creek Park. Esther enjoyed playing on the dock and romping around with the other kids.

After an attempt to get E to sleep (which did not happen), we went to our dear friends' son's 7th b-day party. It was pirate themed and included water balloons. Esther has been saying 'party' ever since. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera out to capture the fun.

Sunday was a wonderful day of relaxation. It was the first time in a very long time where we have had absolutely nothing to do. It was great! We got up and made banana nut pancakes. Esther LOVES to help me cook. She likes to pour in the ingredients and help stir. After breakfast, we went to the local zoo, then went swimming. I later made a wonderful dinner (the eggplant parm). I rarely have time to make such an extravagant dinner, so it was quite a treat.

They were yummy!

Monday, we returned to Ashford Manner to see Grogus (local latin band). Esther was up in front of the stage at the first note played. We danced the night away with good friends and family. Esther continues to ask for 'munic' (music) and 'dance', so now we are having daily dance parties in the living room.

Late in the evening, after the sun went down (it was really hot, too)

So, we are enjoying life. Three times last week, the theme of 'living in the moment, slowing down, and appreciating all you have' came to me. I am trying to pay attention to this message. Esther is no longer a baby and changes every day. Ben and I are very blessed to have the relationship we have, a beautiful daughter, and wonderful family and friends. We are grateful to God and all who have helped us along the way. To many more wonderful moments...