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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mira can read!

Yes, that's right.  My 3 year old daughter can read.  Only small words with short vowel sounds, no tricky spellings, but STILL.  She's READING.

I don't feel at all like we've pushed this skill on her, she WANTED to learn.  All I did was supply the tools and be open to her requests to be taught.  Basically, she regularly comes up to me and starts a conversation about phonics.  Like, out of the blue, she'll spout out, "Cat starts with the letter C.  What else starts with C, Mommy?" or "Sometimes G sounds like guh and sometimes it sounds like juh." or "Why does 'Daddy' have two d's in the middle?" or "How do you spell 'Ellowyn'?"  And then of course these questions would be followed by long conversations about language and phonics.

Before bedtime and nap time, we always read two books as part of our going-to-sleep routine.  I always let her choose whether she wants me to read to her or her to read to me, and she very often chooses to read to me.  I think she genuinely enjoys it, which is so great and rewarding as a parent.  I hope her love of reading will continue for the rest of her life!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mira's Show Week at Little Gym

Most of you know that Mira has been taking dance classes at Little Gym ever since she turned 3 years old.  Well at the end of spring, they do a "Show Week", which is kind of like a very informal recital where the kids get to show off to their parents.

I was so proud of Mira.  Considering that she is one of the youngest in the class (the class is for ages 3-5), she is doing incredibly well.  She pays attention to the teacher, she does the moves to the best of her ability, she follows directions, and she applies herself completely to the task rather than getting distracted.  I think she looks beautiful doing her dances.

Here's the ballet performance:

And the tap performance:

Another thing I really like about this class is that they get to split their time between dance and gymnastics, so Mira gets to experience both.

Here is her bar demonstration:

And on the beam:

Then they did a little "graduation" ceremony and handed out medals.

"Ta da!"

The whole class, with the two teachers.
Mira loves doing this and I can't imagine making her stop.  We've let her try some other sports and physical activities, but this is by far her favorite.  So we've signed her up for the next two sessions.  I can't wait to see how much progress she makes by the next Show Week.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ellowyn video dump

That's right folks, Ellowyn knows her body parts.  She knows head, hair, ears, nose, mouth, tongue, hands, feet, belly, diaper and sometimes eyes.  Ok yes, diaper is not technically a body part.  Allow me to remind you that the topic at hand is not in fact my ability to distinguish clothing items from body parts but rather is actually THE AMAZING ADORABLENESS OF MY DAUGHTER.  Behold.

And this mess isn't even that bad.  It's up to her eyebrows, yes, but she did manage to keep it out of her hair, which is impressive considering that stuff up on top of your head makes an excellent napkin don't you know.

What's really cool is that Ellowyn is now not only very often comprehending what we are saying to her, but she's also showing us in various ways that she does understand.  She can nod/shake her head to indicate yes/no and does so in context and with purpose.  She can follow simple directions.  She also has quite a few words now including mama, dada, grandpa, KK (for Aunt Katelyn), baby, giraffe (which you heard her say in the body parts video), all gone (which she said in the eating video), all done, bottle, poop, ball (in the walking in mommy's shoes video), bubble, bug, dog, duck, uh-oh, book, tickle, hat and probably a few others that I'm not remembering right now.

Oh and there's this:

Ok folks.  I've saved the best for last.  If you can watch this next video without smiling then you officially have no soul.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Farm visit

We recently went with a group of friends to visit a place called Crowe's Nest Farm.  It's a working farm that is also a wildlife conservatory.  It was really cool!  They had the normal farm animals: cows, pigs, chickens, horses, donkeys, goats, etc.  Plus also they had tons of exotic wildlife like buffalo, ostriches, snakes, spiders, turtles, peacocks... I'm sure there was a lot more, but we didn't get to stay as long as we would have liked due to a certain someone needing their nap.  I definitely want to go back, though!

Cow milking demonstration

Watching the buffalo on the hay ride

Holding hands with friends

Watching the pigs wallow

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Weigh in - 8 months

Ok.  This month was kind of a bust.  I didn't lose any weight.  Or rather, more precisely, I gained two pounds on my beach vacation and then spent the rest of the month losing those two pounds again.  

If you add the 18 pounds I've lost on my 30 pound challenge to the 7 pounds I lost before that, I'm down 25 pounds from my heaviest weight.  Saying it like that makes me feel a little better.  :-)

I think the trick to busting out these last few pounds is going to be my diet.  I know I've been saying it all along, but this time I really mean it: this month I am getting serious about my intake.  

I guess I've gotten to the hard part because it seems like I'm going to really have to work for this last bit of weight to come off.  I just need to buckle down and power through to the end and then maintenance will be easier. 

I lost 0 pounds this month. Since I started 8 months ago, I've lost 18 pounds, putting me 12 pounds away from my goal of losing 30 pounds.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Beach trip 2012

It's getting to be an annual thing.  We've been to the beach 3 summers in a row now and every time is a blast!  It always takes the girls a bit to warm up to the waves, but once they do they love it.  We went to Port Aransas again: the drive is not too far and the waves are nice and calm, so it's good for us even if the beach is not the most beautiful.  We went with my parents, my sister, and her boyfriend.

The view from our balcony.

This is the boardwalk that took us from our hotel to the beach.

They held hands all the way.  Mira wanted to make sure Ellowyn didn't fall off the edge.

Aunt KK and Ellowyn making "drizzle castles".
If they gave awards for "awesome sand play ability" Katelyn would have them all.   

My dad and Brian feeding the seagulls.  They would fly in and take food right out of their hands.
Unfortunately, they would also poop on your head.  

Jumping over the waves.

Hunting for hermit crabs with Grampa.  Grampa is the best hermit crab finder on the beach.

Watching the dolphins at the Texas State Aquarium.

See how Mira's got her arm around Ellowyn, pointing the dolphins out to her?  Has your heart melted yet?

Ellowyn plays a game called "Pile on Grampa".  He is so good with the girls; they are lucky to have a Grampa like him.

The pool was nice too, when the girls got tired of the waves and sand.
A couple of days while we were there, my dad volunteered to stay with the girls while they napped so that Brian and I could go to the beach kid-free.  On those occasions, Brian taught me how to boogie board.  Wow, it was SO MUCH FUN.  I didn't have to worry about whether the girls were drowning and I could go out into the deep water with my husband.  Together.  Alone.  It was wonderful.  And then the boogie boarding: So Fun, you guys.  It was one of the first times that I got to really put my new strength and endurance to use at an enjoyable activity, and let me just tell you... physical activities are so much more fun now.  No pain and more capacity for enjoyment before tiring.  So yeah... boogie boarding with Brian was the highlight of the trip for me.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Easter 2012

Better late than never...

Easter was pretty good this year.  It was the first year that both girls were actually able to hunt for eggs.  I was impressed with how quickly Ellowyn caught on.

Three egg hunts this year: one in my backyard with some of my mommy friends, one at Mira's school, and one at my parents' house with my mom and dad, my sister, and my cousin with her 3 children.

Unfortunately, when my camera's memory card bit it, I lost most of my Easter photos.  But I had a few that I took on my phone...

At my house.

At my parents' house.

For me, the most memorable bit from this Easter was that, at one point during an egg hunt Ellowyn got her hands on an egg stuffed with M&Ms.  (Which is fine.  I don't mind if she eats M&Ms on special occasions.)  But I was watching Mira hunt eggs with her friends and so I wasn't paying much attention to what Ellowyn was doing and when I look over she has chocolate from her forehead all the way down to her chin.  Every inch of her face is covered in chocolate.  And I'm not even exaggerating.  Only Ellowyn could make so much mess with the candy that's supposed to "melt in your mouth, not in your hand".  I got some super adorable photos of it too... on my camera's funked out memory card.  When I found out I lost those photos, I almost cried you guys.  I seriously almost cried.