Saturday, August 29, 2009

Opening Day of Soccer

This was our 4th Opening Day of Soccer. And it followed in the tradition of earlier years. Each year we have played in the Windsor Youth Soccer League, we've had extreme weather on Opening Day. Two times Open Day has been postponed due to rain. The other time was like today, HOT, very HOT. When the family piled out the door this morning (after searching for Grace's socks for 10 minutes and finding them in her art box), it was already close to 80 degrees at 9:30 in the morning.

Festivities were slated to start at 10am followed by jumpy houses, climbing wall, BBQ and pictures. By the time all teams had been announced it was pretty close to miserable. The heat was all encompassing with no shade to be found. Thankfully we had plenty of water. Emma Jo enjoyed the dunk tank and Grace and Cooper loved the bubbles. The firetruck that showed up and sprayed kids with water from the hydrant was a big hit too!

Team pictures started with the youngest kids and worked up through the ranks. Thankfully Grace's Royal Pixies are in the youngest bracket so we were done with portraits by noon. We had thought about getting Hot Dogs from the snack shack to support the league, but there had been a BBQ mishap and no food was available for purchase yet. We decided it was a better idea to hit Quizno's and Cold Stone to fill our bellies and cool off. After lunch the girls and I got our nails done and then headed back to the field for Emma Jo's pictures at 3pm. By the time we arrived at the field for the 2nd time my car thermometer was reporting the temperature at 110 degrees. HOT! The parents huddled the in the shade of a scrawny tree while the Purple People Eaters took their pictures.

The weather is supposed to cool off tomorrow by 10 degrees. It sounds great until you realize that would still put us around 95!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Getting SO Big

Cooper John is getting SO big. He has changed so much over the summer from being a dependent baby to being a more independent toddler. Much of the change has to do with his speech. Cooper can easily string words together into sentences. He will tell you what he wants and he can thank you for your efforts.
For the last couple of weeks he has been plagued by a runny nose. Cooper will interrupt playing to run over to me and say "Mama, why no peas?" I know that this means 'Mommy, Will you wipe my nose please?' When I'm done he will say "tank u mama, garbige?" Cooper loves finding things to throw in the garbage. The other night at soccer practice we had to walk down over half the field so that he could throw away a piece of litter he had found on the grass.
Cooper is also getting good at using his manners. He often uses "peas" and "tank u" and sometimes even "welcome". Of course he thinks that if he uses please he will automatically get whatever he is asking for. If he doesn't get this request granted then he will repeat "peas, peas, peas, mama" until we finally make him stop.
He is also a great mimic of his sisters. On the weekends he will climb up onto the couch point at the tv and say "cartoon peas mama?" I was never really sure if he knew what the tv was and that we could control what was on the tv, but he is obviously smarter than I thought. It is a good thing that we have implemented a new "no tv on school nights" policy.
Although Cooper adores his sisters and wants to play with them constantly, he is also jealous of them. When Cooper notices Jason or I playing with one of the girls or letting them sit on our laps, he will try to interject himself into the game or tell them to get off of our laps. He clearly believes he should have Mommy and Daddy to himself and does not want to share.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

First Week of School

We have officially finished our first week of school. So far, so good. Gracie is doing excellent. The first day went off without any tears (from Grace). She was fine until I picked her up. Then she was a little emotional and not sure if she should cry or not. Luckily right then Mrs. Mohle (her teacher) and Mr. Theiss (her principal) both commented on what a good day she had. The reassurance was just what she needed and we were off to find Emma Jo.
Emma Jo has discovered that 5th Grade really does have more homework than 4th. Between soccer and homework we've been lucky to be in bed by 8:30. We used to have an 8 o'clock bedtime but that just isn't possible with two kids in soccer and 30+ minutes of homework a night. Of course, it might be easier for Emma to do her homework if she didn't have two younger siblings constantly distracting her...
The kids bring home a "Tuesday Folder" every week that contains all of the important information for the week ahead and a sampling of the work completed the previous week. In yesterday's folder, Gracie received a sweet note from her teacher. It said:
Dear Grace,
What a blessing you are to have in class. Thank you for being well-behaved and following the rules.
I am so happy to be your teacher.
God Bless You,
Love, Mrs. Mohle
I thought it was so nice of Mrs. Mohle to give Grace a note of encouragement and to fill us in so cleverly on how she is doing. Gracie was excited to tell Mrs. Mohle "Thank You" today.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

First Day of School

Today was the girls' first day of school. Gracie started Kindergarten! and Emma Jo started 5th grade. Grace is so excited to finally be in the "big school". Matthew and Gabi, her two best friends, are in her class which makes it even more special for her.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gymnastics Show

The girls spent their last week of summer vacation at Healdsburg Gymnastics. The week was spent practicing summersaults, cartwheels, trapeze, roundoffs and back handsprings. The week culminated with a Friday afternoon show for the parents. Grace performed on the spinning ladder and Emma Jo was a "fancy dancer" and had a trapeze act.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Boys are DEFINITELY Different from Girls!

I never quite believed it when people said that little boys were tougher to raise than little girls. I was sure that all children were different and more or less of a challenge based on their personality not their gender. I already had two girls and Gracie was definitely more of a handful than Emma Jo. Would Cooper really be more active and trouble-prone just because he is a boy?

I can't 100% guarantee it is because of his gender, but Cooper is absolutely more active and trouble-prone. In fact we affectionately call him our "little troublemaker". It is adorable and we love him to pieces, but he is a handful. We have to worry about him getting into trouble that neither of his sisters would ever dream about.

Last night was another example. Around 3am Cooper started calling for Papa from his crib. He has taken to co-sleeping with us in the middle of the night, so we had figured he just wanted to come into our room. Jason went into Cooper's room and first discovered that Cooper had removed his sleepsack. Gracie very contentedly slept in a sleep sack until she was 3. Cooper has been taking his off in the middle of the night for a couple of weeks. Jason started to lift Cooper out of the crib and Cooper started screaming "tuck" "tuck". I came running and we discovered that Cooper had tried to climb out of his crib and had gotten his foot stuck in the railing. Neither of the girls ever attempted to climb out of their cribs. I guess this is just one more adventure I get to experience by being the mommy to a little boy.

From August 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

First Week of Soccer

Both girls started Soccer practice this week.

From Two Princesses & One Dude
This will be the first year that Grace has played. She is very happy to have several people on her team that she knows from ballet or pre-school. At practice on Monday we found out that her team color will be royal blue and her team name is the Royal Pixies.
From Two Princesses & One Dude
Emma Jo is starting her 4th year of soccer. This year she has moved into the U12 league. This means a bigger field and later practice. Last night her practice was from 7pm-8pm. I wonder how that will work out once school starts next week. We don't know yet what her team colors or name will be, but she was very happy to find out that she knows several people on her team (although she has never played soccer with them before).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fair Day

I took the kids to the fair today. All by myself. We had a great time!
Jason is out of town for opening weekend of deer season. Mom and Dad are in Los Gatos with the twins. I am home alone with the kids for the weekend. Last week when I told everyone that I was going to take the kids to the fair by myself this weekend everyone thought I was crazy. Jason assured me that I was going to be a grumpy mess when he got home. I was confident we would have a great time. I love my kids and I love spending time with them. The key to outings like the fair is to not have any expectations and go with the flow.
We started our weekend by having pizza for dinner last night. It is no surprise to anyone since pizza is probably my most favorite meal (and all my kids love it). We had an easy night of tv, pizza, bedtime stories and sleep.
This morning we took it easy getting up then had french toast, bacon and scrambled eggs for breakfast. After that it was off to the mall for school shoes for Grace and birthday presents for a couple of Emma Jo's friends. By the time we were done at the mall it was lunch time and we were hungry. We decided to eat at the fair.
Once the kids and I got to the fair we decided to ride some rides and check out the dinosaur Hall of Flowers before lunch. The rides were disappointing in the kids area since Emma Jo was too big for most of them, Cooper was too little and Grace was too scared. Even so we managed to spend all of our ride tickets before heading off in search of Proto Pups.
In the 4H exhibit the kids got to milk a cow and Stornetta was giving away free scoops of ice cream to all fair goers. The kids got to dig for dinosaur bones and paint a billboard size Dinosaur poster. By then it was 3pm and we were hot and tired and ready to relax at home. We played a couple of games on the way to the exit and then hit the road.
Cooper crashed about 1.5 miles from home and gladly finished his nap in the middle of my bed when we got home. Gracie spent the afternoon coloring and creating project while Emma Jo watched tv and I cleaned.
After a dinner of mac-n-cheese and Cold Stone Creamery the kids were ready to hit the sack.

I'm looking forward to homemade banana bread for breakfast followed by church and possibly the grocery store. We expect Jason home by the time Cooper wakes up from his nap.

I always miss Jason when he is gone, but it is so much fun spending time with the kids. Especially when I've decided to let chores fall by the wayside and just enjoy the kids for the day. I figure there is plenty of time for chores later. Not enough time to play now.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Picasa Web Albums

Although I've used Picasa Web Albums since I started my blog since it is the photo repository for Blogger I've never really explored the possibilities of the service. Last weekend I decided to explore. Picasa includes a face recognition piece that isolates faces in photos. It does a pretty good job of grouping faces together which it thinks are the same person. Then you can name each face and later can sort and share photos based on who is in them.
I ran the face recognition service on all of the photos I have uploaded to Picasa. I was amazed at how well it recognized faces. But even more than the faces it got right, I loved the faces it got wrong. It could easily distinguish Mays and Dallas, but would often think Mays and Cooper were the same. It would also get confused with Grace and match her face up with Cooper, Emma, and Dallas. I love that the cousins all have so many facial features that are the same that the software can tell they are family.
While I was playing with Picasa I downloaded their computer based software. It looks pretty useful for organizing and editing pictures. It also makes it easy to upload pictures to Blogger and Picasa Web. Unfortunately I couldn't find the face recognition feature on the downloaded version.