Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Penny!

Penny, earlier this summer.

Penny, last summer.
Yesterday we celebrated Penny's third birthday!  It really is amazing what a difference a year can make!  In just one year, Penny has transformed from a typical two-year-old to a sweet three-year-old.  It is hard to list all the ways in which she has grown and changed but there have been lots of changes.  Penny is a very big girl that so far LOVES preschool, is potty-trained, and TALKS!  Even though she has quite the vocabulary and has been using complex sentences for a long time now, Penny really only spoke when she needed to.  Now Daddy calls her "chatty Kathy" because at bedtime she loves to tell him all sorts of things about her day.  While she has been opinionated and  headstrong from day one, she has a much easier time expressing herself which leads to far less frustration on her part and on ours.  We love our little conversations with her!

Penny likes to sing and dance and knows the words to many of the songs Mama plays in the car.  She still clings tightly to her "pink baby" most of the day but doesn't need her to attend school like she did last year.  Penny enjoys coloring, playing with play-doh, stickers, playing whatever game Cooper is playing be it trains, trucks and soccer or princesses, fairies, and dolls.  At the beginning of the summer, Penny only wanted to swim for a short period of time.  Now she is the first one in the pool and the last one out.  We are so excited to see what the next year has in store for us and our big girl Penny!

We celebrated Penny's birthday with a small party at home yesterday and cupcakes to school today.  Ma-Mas, Pa-Pa, and Libby joined us for dinner, cake and presents.  Here are a few shots: 

Penny's pink princess castle cake.  After the hours I spent on this cake, both kids had something to say:
Penny: "It's a castle!  I wanted strawberry."
Cooper:  "It's a necklace cake...why does it have cones on it?"
Penny, checking out her cake and waiting for us to sing.
ALL of Penny's gifts were a huge success...with both kids.  Cooper was jealous of all that she received, even after we reminded him his birthday wasn't far way.  Penny has barely taken off the fairy outfit from Ma-Mas and Pa-Pa and has played every chance she could with the play kitchen, play toaster, food and pots and pans.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

First Day of School

Hooray for the first day of school!  After a really fun and carefree summer, Mama was super excited for the school year to begin.  Cooper was a little apprehensive but shed no tears.  He didn't really want me to leave but took his spot like a big kid on the carpet for circle time.  Penny was ready!  She kept saying all morning, "I want to go to the yellow room...I'm big!"  She is indeed.  Penny was such a big girl as she proudly found her cubby and placed her things in it.  Penny is in the 3-year-old class this year and will attend three days a week.  Cooper is in prekindergarten (Can you BELIEVE it??)and will attend five days a week.  Again, hooray for the first day of school!!

Goofing off instead of letting Mama get a picture!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Vacation in California...For the Parents!

David, Leslie, and baby next to a redwood trunk.
Last week both the parents and the kids got a special treat.  Cooper and Penny got to spend a solid four days with Ma-Mas while Mom and Dad took a THEMSELVES!  As it  had been a very long time since we had taken a vacation AND it is the year of our 10th wedding anniversary AND with a new baby coming vacations will be even more rare, we decided it was as good a time as any to tour Northern California.  We started the trip with a day and night in San Francisco.  This we followed with a day drive up Highway 1 to Eureka, CA where we spent a night.  The trip ended with a day and night down in the wine country.  We had a great time, but by the third night, we could not wait to get home!  We missed the kids terribly!
Day One:  We walked ALL OVER  San Francisco, visiting China town, Fisherman's Wharf, and the surrounding areas.  For us, Chinatown was fun and entertaining while Fisherman's Wharf and the bay front were shamelessly touristy.
A view from the top of "the crookedest street."
Day Two:  We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge and headed north.
The drive up the Pacific Highway was by far our favorite day.  I can not adequately describe my awe when we emerged from the Redwood trees (which were beautiful too) to see the Pacific Ocean spanning before us.
It took us all day to reach Eureka, CA because we just had to keep stopping!  We waded ankle deep in the freezing ocean and made lots of references to "The Goonies."
The Carson Mansion in Eureka.  We had a view of this grandeur from our room at the inn.
We enjoyed our favorite hotel stay and dinner in Eureka.  We both could describe the meal at the little bistro that didn't seem like it should be there as one of the best meals we had EVER eaten.
A Pacific sunset.
Day Three:  We traveled down to the wine country.  The vineyards and hills along the highway are beautiful, though honestly this was not our favorite spot visited.  It might have had something to do with the fact that Mama couldn't taste the wines and it was unbearably HOT!  (We had really enjoyed the 60 degree weather along the coast.)
Nonetheless, we were glad to see the Napa Valley and what it was all about.
Day Four:  A quick walk down a LONG pier in Berkeley to snap a few more shots of San Francisco before boarding a plane to go home.  Cooper and Penny, here we come!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Counting Down

With just over a week of summer to go, it feels like we have just been hanging out and counting down.  We have so much coming up it is an actual effort to stay "slowed down" and in the moment.  That is all in the minds of the parents of the house, however.  Cooper and Penny are always "in the moment!"
In the moment on a random weekday morning.  Mama was ironing, the kids were playing in their living room tent and "painting" themselves with pretend brushes.  Cooper wanted me to take a picture of them as "all pink" Cooper and "all purple" Penny.  
On another random weekday morning, we had a visit from the little blue crab.
I FINALLY put together enough moments this week to finish my very first baby blanket. Hopefully the receiver is too busy at home with a newborn (Welcome baby girl Batey!!) to read my blog before I get a chance to give it to her!
And in case you missed it, what we are really waiting for!  Our new baby GIRL will be here in December/January!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Past the Month-To-Go Mark and Still Going

August can be kind of a yucky month.  For one, it's HOT and by now the heat has long lost its charm.  While we have enjoyed the carefree days of summer, this Mama can't help but long just a little bit for the cooler, more structured days of fall.  Once the kids' school and soccer start against the backdrop of  Aggie football and getting ready for the new baby (We find out if it's a boy or girl this coming Monday!), we will find ourselves with plenty to do.  But with less than a month of summer to go, we want to be sure and squeeze in as much free-spirited fun as possible.  Through our final summer month we plan to visit our usual spots for weekday fun including the museum, the aquarium, and the library.  Mama and Daddy have a trip BY THEMSELVES planned, and we hope to get up to the lake one more time.  We aren't going to slow it down as we cruise on in to the first week of school and Penny's birthday!
Cooper at one of our usual summer haunts, the museum.
Cooper and Penny take a morning dip at the lake.
I just love this little contemplative face!
Cooper gets up close and personal with the seahorses.  
Penny surprised me by enjoying the splash pad at the aquarium for almost as long as Cooper.  She is usually "over it" after about 15 minutes before she wants her towel and a snack.
This guy, however, could go all day!