Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy 13th Anniversary!

My husband and I are celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary today (so I'll keep this short)! We went to a concert two weekends ago and got to have an adult evening out, so that was sort of a pre-celebration, and this past Friday, we were both off so we got to spend the day together. Friday night we took the girls out to dinner -- Red Lobster - not super fancy, but still a special evening out! Saturday night we all watched the wedding video -- our little tradition! And tonight we are going to have a nice, romantic dinner after the girls go to bed! As a special surprise this year, our eldest just showed us a video that she made for us on Windows Movie Maker. Very sweet -- this is something she learned from her cousins when we were in Long Island and she's always making cute videos now. We just loved it and I asked her to teach me how to use it -- I'd love to turn some pictures into videos (vacation, etc.!), set them to music and burn them to a dvd -- great way of storing pictures, too!

So, happy anniversary to my wonderful husband -- truly, he and the girls are the loves of my life -- I don't know what I would do without them!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11 - 10 Years Later

I can hardly believe that it has been 10 years since the tragedy on 9/11. When I think about it, or see pictures or news coverage, I'm taken right back to that day - the same feelings, the same fears. The war on terror is still going on, security measures are still high everywhere we go, there are still extremists in far-off lands that want to do us harm. But the infant that I had on that day is now 10-1/2 years old. That baby that I held close and worried about protecting is now a 5th grader -- she's curious about 9/11 and while we have talked about it with her in the past, this year we have been much more forthcoming about what it was like, how we felt, who was lost. She is optimistic that since "that guy" (Osama Bin Laden) is gone, that this won't happen again. My husband and I would love to tell her she's right, but unfortunately we are not as confident as we were pre-9/11.

On my husband's side of the family, we lost a cousin who was a firefighter, a husband, a father. We do not live close to his family, but over the past ten years we have seen his wife and three boys at family reunions and kept up through family. His boys have grown into three wonderful men that he would certainly be proud of. Two of them are married, one has a beautiful daughter, and all three of them have followed his calling of being a firefighter.

Yesterday we watched some news stories about the 9/11 anniversary, the new building that is being built (One World Trade Center) and the 9/11 memorial -- two breathtaking fountains that were built in the exact footprint of the Twin Towers. I think the sight of the new state-of-the-art building, next to the memorial really symbolizes my hope for our country -- that we keep rebuilding, keep growing, but never forget.

On this 10th anniversary, my thoughts are with all of those who were lost, their families and friends, and the troops that continue to fight to protect us from something like this happening again. God bless NYC, PA, DC, and God bless America.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What We Did This Summer - 2011 Edition

It's that time again -- summer is winding down, school is starting, and we are left wondering "what did we DO this summer?" It's such a blur! I always like to do a recap because with the start of the school year comes the inevitable "What did you do this summer?" questions and it's always nice to have a refresher! In no particular order (clearly not even chronological...):

- We enjoyed a fun weekend with my brother-in-law and his 2 children who came out to visit for a weekend

- We renewed our membership to the zoo and made a few trips to see the animals and play in the water play area

- We enjoyed a nice evening boat ride on Grandpa's sailboat to celebrate Father's Day

- We went to countless birthday parties - most of which seemed to be at Bounce-it-out this year!

- We celebrated the 4th of July with our usual bbq, fireworks and trip to the festival at the town hall

- We watched my eldest march in the Memorial Day parade with her Girl Scout troop

- We enjoyed a fun, yet wet (rain...) end-of-the-year picnic with her Girl Scout troop

- We took full advantage of the wonderful weather that we had and thoroughly enjoyed our pool with it's new liner

- We loved having Nana and our family from New Hampshire visit!

- We celebrated my 40th birthday with a fun family / friend bbq and pool party

- While Nana was here, we took my eldest daughter to see the final Harry Potter movie -- she's read all of the books and seen all of the movies on dvd -- this was her first time (and last opportunity!) to see Harry Potter on the big screen!

- We had a few "play dates" with friends, at our house and theirs

- We got in touch with our inner pioneer at the Genesee Country Village Laura Ingalls Wilder Day -- a tradition in our family! (That's my friend , in costume!)

- The girls enjoyed 2 weeks of swimming lessons at the yacht club (thank you Gramby & Grandpa!)

- The week after the swim lessons, our littlest girlie came into her own in the pool and now she is jumping in and swimming like a little mermaid!

- Our little one and her friend enjoyed a week of "Princess Dance Camp" and we were all treated to a mini-recital at the end of the week

- We planted a veggie garden for the 2nd year in a row

- In celebration of her 5th birthday, my little girlie had her first "friend" birthday pool party which was lots of fun!

- The girls got to spend a fun-filled afternoon with Daddy at the zoo and the library!

- We went to a fun bbq at our friends' home where the girls where the girls enjoyed playing on the slip 'n slide and got to watch a movie on a large screen outdoors!

- While Mommy & Daddy went to a concert, the girls enjoyed their first sleepover, anchored out on Grandpa & Gramby's sailboat! They took a little boat ride, anchored on the bay near G & G's house, cooked and ate their dinner on board, played Old Maid, made JiffyPop Popcorn, and slept in the v-berth ("pointy end"). It was quite an adventure!

- We took a trip to Long Island to visit with our family and while we were there, we enjoyed 2 days at the beach, including one at the ocean

- While in Long Island we went with all of the cousins (and Uncle Joe, who does the best Tigger impression ever!) to see the new "Winnie the Pooh" movie -- on it's last day in the theater!

- We also went to a great garden store in Long Island that had a butterfly "zoo" (this is my niece after patiently waiting as still as possible until a butterfly landed in her hand!)

- And we ended the summer with a bbq / swim party with some of our favorite friends!

It's been a great summer -- they always seem to go by quickly, but Fall is my favorite time of year, so I am getting excited for all of the wonderful things that this season brings!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Day of Kindergarten!

My baby started kindergarten today! My eldest started the 5th grade -- ugh, that pains me to say that -- last Thursday (it was even a news story that our district starts so early...), but they gave the kindergarteners a reprieve until today! We (I) did better than expected - not just with the emotional aspect, but with the time management one! For years, Grandpa has been watching the girls for full days 2 - 4 days a week, depending on my husband's work schedule (which rotates). So, I am used to him coming over and walking my eldest to the bus. With my little one in morning kindergarten, it gives Grandpa the opportunity to have the mornings off! I took today off from work because I wanted to be home to see my girlie get off the bus after her first day of school. So, I didn't have to get them off to school AND me off to work this morning, but it was a nice test run to make sure that I could do that (I'm not much of a morning person...). The key to a successful morning in our household, is getting fully prepared the night before! Last night we set out the kids clothes, my clothes, lunches were packed, backpacks were filled -- there was a last minute, too close to bedtime panic over a collage that I needed to do to send in to kindergarten today, but we managed! All four of us piled into my little one's bed to hear Daddy read a new book that we had bought her, "Curious George's First Day of School" by Margret & H.A. Rey. And then lights out and off to sleep!

When I went up to bed later last night, I stopped in to check on my little kindergartner (as I check on her and her sister every night) and she rolled over, opened her eyes and said, "I'm going to miss you when I'm at kindergarten, Mama!" Ugh -- I'm sure she's having a great day and will be just fine -- but I'm definitely missing her! I said at dinner last night, it's hard to believe that I would put her on a bus and send her off and that I won't be there to walk in with her and help her find her way! I think it's just the adjustment from preschool, where we take her, walk her in, pick her up, and kindergarten... It's always hard for me to have these reminders of the passing of time -- the kids are growing up, they are getting to be more independent -- and so on the one hand it's difficult to send my second child off to school. But, I think life is like a book and we go page by page, chapter by chapter. I don't want to skip ahead -- I want to savor every page, but it's exciting to flip those pages and see what comes next. We spent so much time last year worrying about whether the preschool teacher was right, and whether she is ready for kindergarten. Now we have the opportunity to see! What kind of student will she be? Will she love school and love learning like her older sister? It's a fascinating book and I look forward to taking it one page at a time! For now, I'm just happy that she went off to school excited and I can't wait to hear all about her day when she gets home!

Oh, and Grandpa (my dad) still came over this morning -- he wouldn't miss seeing his little granddaughter on her first day of school! We took pictures and video and we marched down to the bus stop and then walked them over to the bus. We were doing really well, even after the bus took off for school. But in the driveway, Grandpa told me what a great job I've done with my girls and I gave him a big hug and told him that we couldn't have done it without him -- my husband and I truly appreciate all the time that he has devoted to watching our girls since retiring 10 years ago. And my mother too, when she was living up here -- words can't express how much it's meant to us and to the girls to have family taking care of them when we can't be there. And so that's when the tears finally started for my dad and me!