Wednesday, October 13, 2010

summer snaps: feel the love

Here's a few more summer memories in .jpg format - an impromptu photo session
of Jax and Joy doing what they do best - PLAYING! I am sooooo thankful that they play together so well. Jax is great big brother - he is constantly looking out for her, and never takes the opposing side. Joy looks up to him for sure - she wants to do everything that he does; and I do mean everything! (Did I mention that we are potty training?!!) They make childhood look so much fun. And, oooh, the energy! Where does it all come from? Oh, if I only knew the secret.
I love these kids - they have captured my heart. I wish I could just "freeze" them, and freeze these times. I would give up my right arm before I would willingly give up just one these memories. Priceless.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

she made a discovery

This:Causes this:
And this:I think she was trying to make herself look like this:

And, although a MESS was definitely made in a matter of just a few short minutes, her Mommy couldn't help but LAUGH and snap pictures to freeze the memories of her exploration and discovery!

Here's to budding artists!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Summer Reading Program

Jax participated once again in the library's Summer Reading Program this year. Joy also benefited from the many books we read this summer even though she was not officially old enough to sign up for the program. Both kiddos enjoyed every visit to the library this summer, where they explored books and puzzles, made crafts, met new friends, and encountered all sorts of creatures (even snakes!), both real and imaginary. Jax got a variety of prizes for his participation in the program and for reading 33 books over the summer. Here's a few of our favorites from our summer reading list!

We're Very Good Friends, My Sister and I, by P.K. Hallinan. This was a great story about an older brother and his younger sister. Jax and Joy really are great friends and playmates, so I enjoyed reading this book to them. We love P.K. Hallinan. We own copies of both My Daddy and I and My Mommy and I as well as I Know Jesus Loves Me by Hallinan, all of which are excellent children's books with a Christian message.

We also enjoyed John, Paul, George & Ben by Lane Smith. This was a very cute book about some typical "boys" who turn out to be real characters significant to our country's history, John Hancock, Paul Revere, George Washington, and Benjamin Franklin. It was a comical tale of each, implying how their childhood may have been an early indicator of their adult successes. Cute and educational; love it.

A really cute book about morality and character development, Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller is another one of our favorites. We love Laurie Keller! She has written many unique and appealing children's books, and we are looking forward to reading more of them in the future.

Lizard's Home was also a great book to promote empathy, fairness, and prosocial behaviors. We enjoyed George Shannon's book about Lizard, who finds someone else has taken over his home and he responds to the situation with cleverness, rather than aggression. A great lesson-based book; I guess you could say it is a fable.

And, my FAVORITE book that we read this summer was Who's That Tripping Over My Bridge? by Coleen Salley. This story is based on the traditional story of the 3 Billy Goats Gruff, but the author puts a unique CAJUN spin on it by setting the story around Baton Rouge and including south Louisiana traditions and language in the script. Jax and Joy both giggled and snickered all the way through this book, even when we read it for the 472nd time!! If you ever get the opportunity to read this book to your child, I recommend it! This would be a great preface to a planned daytrip to New Orleans or Baton Rouge with your kiddos, especially if you will be participating in mardi gras events. Just typing about this book makes me want to read it the 473rd time! It is so creative!

Of course, we could NOT go through the summer without some Eric Carle books! He's a standard on our list of favorites! Joy also enjoyed Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr., Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, Bambi Gets Lost by Albert Miller, and Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Margaret Wise Brown is another one of our all-time favorite children's authors. Bambi Gets Lost is actually an old book that I had as a small chap. I am thankful that my kids now have most of the books that I enjoyed so much when I was a little girl, thanks to my parents and sister for holding on to them when I'm sure it would have been simply "easier" to just give them away.

We are always looking for recommendations for good children's books! Please share your favorites with us!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Summer Update

Well, it's October. I guess I should update you on our Summer activities sometime soon - before next summer gets here. Poor Josh had to work throughout most of the summer, but he did manage to take a little time off here and there. I got even more confirmation that I made the right decision when choosing a career in Education - I am so blessed to be able to spend the summers at home with my babies. Jax and Joy stayed busy and kept me on my toes. I began the summer with a long "To-Do" list, and I ended the summer with a long "To-Do" list. I had great intentions, but I'm okay with the fact that I actually marked off very little from my list. It will still be there when my kids are grown. We didn't do anything super-duper-spectacular, but we did have a FUN summer, and that's all that counts.

In May, my youngest nephew, Travis, graduated from high school, the same school where my sister and I graduated (but many years apart, ha ha), my parents graduated, and my grandparents graduated. My grandmother (which would be Travis' great-grandmother) graduated in 1933 ~ isn't that such a neat tradition?!! I am so proud of Travis; he's a great kid. I'm so slow getting these pictures up, he has already moved on to the next "big thing" in his life - he's in college! He started 13th grade at Southwest in August, but really, it's okay that he didn't choose Co-Lin; really, it is. I'm just glad that he's in college... I mean, 13th grade!
We were reunited with an old friend again at the beginning of summer. This is the third year that we have seen this frog hanging out around our back patio. I'm pretty sure it's the same one because I have pictures of him from each year. We don't see him (or her - ??!!!) in the winter months, but he can usually be found on the patio near the steps and my potted plants in the spring! He really is photogenic, don't you think?

Vacation Bible School was in June and this year's theme was cowboy/western, Saddle Ridge Ranch. I helped with the crafts for the 2's & 3's, and 4's & 5's. It was hectic, but tons of fun too. I love our kiddos at Calvary Baptist! Here's a few pictures of my two from the commencement service following a full week of lassoing good times:

I almost forgot! Josh and I managed to plan a "weekend getaway" for just the two of us on our anniversary weekend. We have never done that - not since the kids came along, so this was our first time to leave them overnight. It was a real treat. I really had forgotten what it was like pre-kids. We were both a little apprehensive about actually leaving them, but we did it! (insert Dora theme song here, ha) We knew they were in good hands with the grandparents! I think the kids enjoyed their break from us as well! We had so much fun on Pickwick Lake (TN), we didn't even take one picture of us together! As a matter of fact, I really didn't take any pictures at all --woah-- that's not like me - guess I got carried away with the "getaway" mentality! We got to see Crossing Dixon perform, and I did take a couple pictures of the band, so... here's all I got to share from our trip:

Father's Day. Why is it so challenging to get ONE freakin' picture of your husband and the kiddos on Father's Day? UGH - we tried, but NO ONE was cooperative. This is the best I got:
I think he had a good day anyway. I know I saw him getting lots of hugs and kisses so that should make-up for the lack of photo quality. ;-)

One day during the summer, we managed to slip off to the park while Daddy was working! We met some friends and got some energy out that morning! It was very HOT, which made it tempting for me to jump in the sprinklers right alongside the kiddos! Here's a few snaps, but I didn't get many, because I didn't want to damage my camera - it stayed in the car most of the time. That turned out to be a good thing afterall, because a HUGE rain ended up running us off- it came out of no where and drenched us all!

Jax finished up t-ball in mid-June, and was oh-so-sad about the end of the season. This year was his first experience with organized (well, you know) sports and he absolutely LOVED t-ball. He was SUPER-proud of his trophy from Coach Haygood. We are proud of him too! He actually used the tee only once during the entire season; he hit from the coach's pitches all other times. Way to go, JAX! We can't wait for more ballpark Q.T. next year!! Yay for T-ball memories!!!

Joy wasn't old enough for "organized sports" this year, but we did notice a few "trends" in her likes over the summer. First of all, her LOVE for SHOES escalated!!! She is STILL a shoe fanatic! Y'all hear me? !! This child is obsessed with shoes! Her favorite "toy" is a basket of shoes! She puts them on; she takes them off; she puts more on; and this continues all day long if we let her! Actually, she is now beginning to take interest in the entire "dressing up" activities - not just the shoes. But shoes are definitely her FAVORITE! What a Southern girl! Here's some of my favorite pictures of Joy immersed in her "dress-up" play activities!! (Keep in mind that she had no help putting this stuff on! - she is Miss Independent!)
1. Stealing my shoes:

2. been in my closet again:
but, seems to think a pair of her own shoes would be better:
3. a family-contributed outfit: Jax's superhero mask and t-shirt, my underwear (hard to see with that long t-shirt on, thank goodness), and Josh's socks (pulled all the way up to her little hiney!)! This outfit was of her own making, with components supplied by her sneaky little robbery of my laundry basket! You have to fold clothes fast with Joy around - she'll still 'em in a heartbeat!
This girl brings us so many laughs and good times. Our JOY!

We also opted for swimming lessons for Jax this summer. He was very interested in learning to swim, so we began the search for a teacher. Finally, we were able to coordinate schedules with Mrs. Leah Brister, and she was absolutely wonderful with Jax. He does have a touch of stubborness at times, and even though he really wanted to learn to swim, there were some times that I wondered if this would ever be achievable. He started swimming lessons on a Tuesday afternoon, and by Friday, he had it perfected! The best part was getting to see him feel SUCCESSFUL and so PROUD of himself!!
Practicing with his floaties:

Diving off the diving board:
Explaining to Daddy how long he can hold his breath, and how he has learned to swim underwater:

Of course, Joy got some pool time too this summer! She isn't as fond of the water, but I hope that is just a phase for her. After she gets warmed up, she enjoys splashing about but she doesn't venture too far away from Momma or Daddy, especially in the big pool.

Coming soon ~ more SUMMER pics (!), and coming not-so-soon: Fall pictures. Y'all know how slow I am - There's no sense in denying it. I'm just hoping I can get our Beach Vacation shots up before it snows!
Thanks for stopping by! Until next time...