Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to School- First Grade!

Monica is in first grade!
I didn't realize how much I counted on her to keep Leah out of trouble. We miss our big girl around here. But she is happy to go to school everyday and loves to tell us about the stories she reads in class and is learning some sign language from her teacher, Mrs. Medina. She let us know at registration that she is hearing impaired and would be teaching some signs and we are totally supportive. Now, Monica crosses her fingers and waves them in the air in front of us when she wants our attention. I'm enjoying the loss of the incessant "Mom. Mom. Mama. Mommy. Mom. Mommy. Mommy." HAHA! 

I have a couple of friends who have been posting the adorable hairstyles they do on their daughters' hair on Facebook and have been generous in sharing the links they find the tutorials on. So, we looked through the links and Monica picked the hairstyle she wanted for her special first day of first grade. It suits my ponytail-loving girlie girl. I get to have fun braiding her hair and she gets all that thick and heavy hair off her neck.   

You can't see it in this picture, but on Monica's shirt is the Eiffel Tower. She has the Barbie "Fashion Fairy Tale" movie, which is set in Paris. She got to pick three new shirts for school and all three of the shirts she picked have the Eiffel Tower on them. It fits that the city of love would be her favorite as she is all about loving- giving hugs and kisses, writing love notes to Mom and Dad, and always trying to give special gifts to her family. 

How is Leah doing with Monica being at school? Well, she's three year old and ruling the roost. She loves having me basically to herself, and likes being the big girl and helping with Jillian. Sometimes that's a great thing, like when she picks up her room and helps me do the dishes and make breakfast and lunch. And sometimes Jillian is the unfortunate receiver of Leah's services, like choke holds as Leah tries to move her back into the living room. Needless to say, I don't leave them alone in a room for longer than 10 seconds to grab what I need in another room, or I take Jillian with me.

We're optimistic for the school year. Monica is reading really well now and loves to count and add her numbers. She has also started a Ballet Folklorico class, which she loves. She has a natural sense of rhythm and is picking up the steps fairly easily. It's really a pleasure to take her to class.

Summer's End

We've been doing a parenting overhaul. As part of our new routine, the girls have to do one hour of R/R: rest or read. So, we got the girls the V. Readers from VTech toys. They are awesome. Some days they use them for the whole hour. Some days Leah brings hers to me after 15-20 minutes and puts herself down for a nap. Some days they don't turn them on and Monica reads out of the Dr. Seuss books. Leah knows "Go, Dog! Go!" and "Put Me in the Zoo" almost by heart because she loves Monica reading to her. And some days they are happy just laying on their beds. One day, Monica heard Jillian before I did and took her into their bedroom for quiet time. When I went to let them know their hour was up, I saw all three of them huddled in the little corner in front of the closet. How could I resist taking a picture? I couldn't. 

Monica came running in the house after a little rain shower telling me to grab my camera. I went out wondering what was up and saw a beautiful rainbow. Monica has become quite the little artist and has a wonderful appreciation for all things beautiful and lovely, no matter how fleeting. She watches the world around her and always finds something to say, "Oh look it! It's so beautiful, Mom! Can we take a picture?" Or, "Can I draw it?" That's my favorite one. 

It was the last weekend before school started. After a fun summer, we asked Monica if she could do one last thing before school started, what would she do? She picked camping. We asked her if she wanted to go to the lake or just in the back yard? Thankfully, she picked the back yard. So Ryan, Monica, and Leah slept in the tent and Jill and I enjoyed the indoor A/C. They loved it! Ryan was a trooper. He had to wake up in the middle of the night to put the rain fly on because they were getting rained on, but apparently the girls slept right through that part. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Swimming Party

About two weeks before Ryan came home, we made a little visit to Albuquerque and were able to stay with our friends, the Milbergers. They were packing up, getting ready for a big move to Texas, so it was wonderful to get to spend some time with them before they left. Monica and Katie have been besties for a while and in true bestie fashion, they got together and seemed to pick right up from where they left off. It hurts my heart for Monica when she tells me how much she misses Katie. She has friends at school, but no one she gets to play with regularly like she did with Katie. On the other hand, it's made Monica and Leah get to be even better friends.

Anyways, after a miscommunication on our last trip to Albuquerque, we didn't get to see Aunty Theresa and Uncle Bruce. So, we made sure we got to visit this time around. She was so sweet, with a little surprise party for Monica and Leah. I'm pretty certain that in their eyes, swimming + cupcakes = the best day ever. Emily and her kiddos came, too, so it was a fun party!


Leah and Aunty Theresa

Monica is becoming such a fish!

Sweet Jill

Emily and Jonah

Monica is going head under!

Me and Monica

Me and the girls

The party favors

Leah went from not going in the water at all to swimming without help!

Catch me!

Me too!

Shark attack!

Hey ladies!

Cupcakes are awesome.

I love this candid shot of Uncle Bruce and Jonah

Aunty Theresa finds the funniest toys. These little singers are great!

I thought it was too cute that Jonah and Leah were so enthralled with the Singa-Ma-Jigs.

Thanks for the party, Aunty!

Fourth of July- The people

I am so grateful for truly good friends! Ryan and I love to celebrate the 4th and with him working in California for the summer, it was wonderful to have the Harringtons and Soquel over to celebrate the 4th with the girls and me. We BBQ'd, played a bit in the water, watched the fireworks and then did our own sparklers in the backyard.

Mark and May 

Jillian, Me, Soquel, Emily, and Camille

Lays' slogan completely applies to Leah. She can never just have one olive. And they are olives until they make it on her fingers. Then they are "froggie tips". My kids make me laugh!

Kenny was the dual sparkler master. 


Monica's sparkler.


Miss Katie. I had some really cool pictures of her posing with her sparklers but they were too blurry and made my eyes go crossed.  

The girlies.
Camille, Katie, Leah, Emily, and Monica

Fourth of July- Fireworks

This year we got really lucky. One of the places the city was setting off fireworks was just across the street from our house. Literally. You go down our street, cross an arroyo, and a soccer field, and on the other side of the field was where they set them off. So we invited our friends, the Harringtons, and Soquel Stewart, to come over and watch them with us. It was so fun! And our seats were perfect right in front of our house.

I had so much fun with my camera. I'm still learning a lot about how to use the different settings on it, so I was so excited that I actually did capture such great fireworks photos!