Monday, January 24, 2011

GAPS update

My kids have LOVED participating in the Great American Postcard Swap.  It started back in May (2010), and it has been tons of fun.  Not to mention, educational!  (You can read my original post on the GAPS here.)  At first Joy was oblivious, but after observing multiple instances of great enthusiasm from Jax when a postcard was found in the mailbox, she began to come around a little more.  We have been placing the postcards on the wall in their toy room, along with a blank U.S. map.  We've been coloring in the states as we receive the postcard from each state.  (Side note:  we started out with the postcards in the kitchen entryway, where I usually display our beloved Christmas cards.  I thought the GAPS would be over by Christmas to make way for the Christmas cards, but alas, it was only mid-way through at Christmas time so the postcards had to be uprooted and relocated to the toy room wall).  Joy enjoys looking at the pictures and pointing out mountains, deserts, fields, and other geographic significances that she has learned to recognize in the pictures featured on many of the cards. Jax can recognize some of the state shapes and he knows the general vicinity of their location on the map.  He can recall geographic land types for many states, but not all.  Heck, I don't know if I could, either, ha!  Most of the cards have state history information on them, so we have reviewed those facts occasionally.
I originally joined the GAPS to help Jax understand maps a little better - they are still naturally an arbitrary idea for him.  We don't travel a lot, but I recognized last summer that he didn't understand anything about "states" other than traveling to any other than Mississippi meant "far away" and "long ride" for him.  This has been a fun endeavor, and I hope we'll get a chance to participate in another one perhaps when Jax is studying the United States in school.  Or Joy.  Or both!
To bring it all full circle, Jax got a U.S. puzzle for Christmas, and he was so excited about that.  But I can still tell that he doesn't fully understand, and that maps are still a tiny bit arbitrary for him.  I hope this exposure and practice will help him to develop an appreciation not only for maps, etc., but to also introduce him to basic directional skills (he knows how to read a compass!) and state identification, as well as foster a love for his own state of Mississippi and all the blessings we have here.
Did you know that maps are on their way out of style?  I heard a radio broadcast recently that said that our children will be unaware of such things as telephone books, letters, maps, cd's, and chapter books and libraries!  These essentials from my childhood years are being quickly replaced by the internet, email/social networking, g.p.s systems, mp3's, and electronic readers. WOW!  That is so true; I never stopped to think about it before hearing the broadcast. 

The GAPS is not over yet - we are missing a few states still - but we hope to have a complete set of postcards very soon, that we can look at over and over again.  Thank you to all of the GAPS participants - we have really enjoyed this project!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011


yes, it's January.  2011.
and, yes, I'm blogging about Halloween.  2010.
but, they were too CUTE not to share, okay?!  I'm just anal like that.  I can not get over it.  So, yes, I'm still in "catch up" mode.

But I will make a deal with you, my lovely readers.  Since you have long forgotten about Halloween, I'll spare you the details and just let the pictures speak for themselves - how about that?
Ha, I'll let you decide the CUTENESS factor, [wink, wink]

So, without further ado, I present to you... Halloween 2010!  [drumroll, please!]

First up, LUIGI!!!!

Jax is obsessed with the Mario Brothers, and idolizes Luigi for some reason.  What better Halloween costume?  Very fitting for him, right now.

I love the mustache the most!  hilarious!

Jax, 4, cannot say "Luigi" no matter how hard he tries, but, bless his heart, he's working REALLY hard on it!  When he says it, it comes out as "Lu-wedgie"    LOL

And, next up, we have a very lovely....   STRAWBERRY!!!!

isn't this just the most precious thing?

She's BERRY sweet!!!
Love her BERRY much!
Our church had the annual trunk-or-treat, and we had soooo many kids -- it was a BLAST!!!  Look at all of 'em!
you could find any creature you've ever dreamed up at Calvary's annual Trunk-or-Treat.  Can you say FUN!!
here's a closer snapshot, just before the kiddos hit up all of the "trunks" in the parking lot.  That's my niece and nephew (Popeye and Olive Oil) sitting between Luigi and Little Miss Strawberry
The kids got to select a pumpkin from the patch, and decorate it - this was a fun activity for all ages.

Daddy helped Joy - she picked the cutest tiny pumpkin for the project - it was about the size of an apple.  It turned out soooo cute!  I loved having the kids' decorated pumpkins sitting out on our porch for Halloween.  So cute.

Here's the two cutie-patooties as we were getting ready to wrap up the night.  GREAT TIMES for the Leggett's

Friday, January 21, 2011

a lesson on pets

Back in the Fall, Joy's class was doing a study on animals, and pets.  One afternoon, I reached into her cubby to gather her belongings, and pulled this out:

YIKES!  "What is this?" I asked, and Joy just looked up at me sheepishly.  Her teacher answered for her, "it's a gerbil - we're talking about animals this week."  Joy just nodded in agreement.   OH!, I thought, how silly of me to think it was just a toilet paper roll with some lint on it.  "Ok, great," I said, and we went to the car, while I tried worked very hard to stifle in my laughs.
On the same afternoon, when I picked up Jax, I reached into his cubby to gather his belongings, and pulled out a letter, informing parents of the PET SHOW his class would be hosting the next day.  It wasn't a live pet show - it was a pet show for stuffed animals or other favorites of the non-living type.  What a neat idea, I thought as I ushered him to the car, but, what in the world will we bring for the pet show??!!.  
On the drive home, we talked about the usual things:  what they ate for lunch, who they played with, what they learned, what they made.... and it was THEN that I had the most wonderful idea!!! --- JAX could take JOY's hand-crafted GERBIL to the pet show!!!!!!!!!!!
He did NOT approve of that idea.

He had apparently already contemplated the issue and had already made a selection mentally -- he wanted to take his "pet" squirrel... the one that was our guest at our recent front yard picnic. 
So, that is exactly what he did.  And, all of the kids loved it, including Joy, who got to be a pet show audience member.
I still think my idea was better.  I mean, how much more unique can you get?

Look Ma! No wheels!

... training wheels, that is!
Jax was SUPER excited when his Daddy FINALLY removed the training wheels from his bike.  He spent all of Fall break getting used to the new freedom... and the brakes!   He had no problems riding without the training wheels, but it did take a little while to get used to those brakes.

Getting coached...

a little push...
this is my most favorite picture - exhilaration!
and he's off!...
Look Ma!  I can't stop now! ... don't know how to use the brakes!
Joy cheers him on!

Look out for that TREE!

Friday, January 14, 2011

lovely weather for a pic-nic

During Fall Break (October 2010), we had the most beautiful weather!  So, the kids and I planned a little pic-nic for lunch, right in our very own front yard.  It was the best idea, we all enjoyed our meal, as well as the time relaxing under the tall, tall pines.
I took my camera along, of course. 
 Each of the kids chose one "guest" to attend our pic-nic.  Since our pic-nic plans were spontaneous, their guest selection was limited.  Jax brought along his squirrel, and Joy chose her dog.  We also packed along one of my favorite books from childhood, The Berenstein Bears' Picnic. 

We enjoyed a meal of Dinosaur shaped ham sandwiches, Cheese-It crackers, and string cheese, with a Rice Krispy Treat for dessert.  We also sampled the new JellyBelly Lemonade that I stumbled upon in Walgreens the day before.  YUM.

THEN, I stretched out on the picnic blanket and laughed hysterically as these two crazy kids engaged in an impromptu Lawn Mower Race.  I enjoyed the entertainment, and I especially enjoyed listening to them giggle and chat as they played together.  It made for a great lazy afternoon, and a super adventure for a Fall Break, even though we didn't really "go" anywhere at all. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

the Water Carnival

Speaking of small-town-traditions, I have another small town event that I haven't yet reported on my blog.  This year (Aug. 2010) was the first time we got to participate in the Water Carnival.  I sometimes have to rethink my words, because I am quick to assume that everyone knows what the Water Carnival is...  however, it is apparently NOT a national phenomenon and most people outside of Lincoln County have no clue of what it is.  As a matter of fact, if you ARE a Lincoln Countian, you STILL may not know what the Water Carnival is because, for some reason, some parts of this traditional event have been changed over the years, including the name of the event.  It is now known as the Lions Club Beauty Pageant.  This revamped name more accurately reflects what it is I guess, but being the small town traditionalist that I am, I STILL call it "Water Carnival."  I'm no historian, and I certainly was not yet living when this annual event began, but I am assuming it was originally called "Water Carnival" because it was a pageant where all contestants wear Swimsuits - no dresses, etc!  The modernized version of the event allows swimwear for the little girls only now, and the big girls have to wear traditional pageant gowns/dresses.  I hate that - I like the uniqueness of the "Water Carnival" but I guess there are probably some valid reasons for changing to the new standards. Anywho, I have long dreamed of the time when MY little GIRL would be in the Water Carnival.  Joy missed the age limit by just a few months for the 2009 pageant (must be 1 year by the time of the event - she wasn't 1 until 4 months later), so you can bet we were READY for the 2010 event.  I was really nervous that she would not WANT to be in it... but that idea was quickly squashed when we began trying on potential swimsuits (glitzed up, of course) --- she LOVED them!  As a matter of fact, she PICKED OUT her own swimsuit!  Not even 2 years old, and already got an eye for it!  That's my girl!    My next concern was Josh.  Y'all know him - the stubborn southern good ol' country boy - he has always said "no no no" to the idea of pageants.  But, I told him, THIS is not a pageant... THIS is THE Water Carnival!!!!  (at least in my mind anyway)  I was shocked that he really didn't say much at all about it.
Okay, okay, so I'll skip over some of the detailed details!  I'm realizing that my readers may not be "into" this event as much as I was.  But, can I say here that this Water Carnival was SO. MUCH. FUN. !!!!!!   We both had a blast, and I was SO PROUD of my little bit.  SHE even PLACED!  That wasn't something that I emphasized, because I do not want to create a pageant monster, but that lil fact did make me smile, so I'm throwing it in here!

All of those pictures were taken backstage before the pageant started.  She LOVED the bling on her suit, and the fancy ribbon accessory on her foot... she's... such a GIRL!  Yay!  I love it!
So, now, on to the stage photos.
We don't have any!
Can you believe that? 
Well, you see, we Leggett's can't seem to pull anything off without a hitch.  About 30 minutes before we were supposed to be at the event, Josh got called out to a wreck 2 counties away.  It was a fatality and would require extra documentation and markings of the scene.  I was soooooo FRUSTRATED!  He would not be able to see his daughter in her very first stage debut!  Can we say UP-SET ?!!  I was.  Joy had no clue, but I was soooo disappointed that her Daddy would not be in that audience cheering her on.  I had to remind myself many times that some other family was experiencing a crisis far more important, and THEY needed him more at that very moment.  That is very, very hard to do.  But it is a conversation that I have to have with myself frequently, as there is never really a convenient time for a fatality. 
So Joy and I carried on.  And everything was fine.  I had my camera with me backstage, and Josh wasn't there for me to pass it off to as we approached the stage.  But, it's ok.  My camera ended up being entertainment for the little ones backstage, so it all worked out in the end.
Miss Prissy-and-Independent navigated that stage like a pro!  She was precious, if I do say so myself!
Here's some snaps that I took backstage as we were waiting for our turn to enter the stage!  That's her friend Layla, who is just 3 months older than Joy.  I am so glad that these 2 girls will get to share so many events and experiences together, just like Layla's mother and I did throughout our childhood years.  So fun!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

small town FAIR

So, I am reeeaaaallllly liking this new and improved photo uploading tool on Blogger!  
So, I thought I'd upload some more old pictures from last summer.  HA!  Hey, hey, I'm working my way up to the most recent events in the Leggett household, K?! ~I'm getting caught up here!  

These photos need little explanation, much like my last post of Beach photos.  These are from the annual Brookhaven Exchange Club Fair last August (2010).  Jax and Joy ENJOYED themselves, and I had a ball as well.  Josh got OLD sometime between the time we started dating, when he would ride any ride out there, (and even make efforts to make them more swirly, spinny, scary, etc. than what they actually were) and the present, when he refused to get on anything!  But, I do believe he enjoyed himself just the same - he enjoyed talking and socializing! Because at a small town fair, it is just one big reunion of old friends - the rides are just a side item.  :-)

Joy LOVED the carousel!  This child WOULD NOT get off!  We learned that inflation has even hit the carousel at the fair - $1 per ride is at least twice the amount my parents paid for me to ride the very same horsies as a kiddo!  ;-) 

Jax LOVED the Farris Wheel - the big one!  He was not hesitant one bit!  As a matter of fact, he went to the fair with full intentions of riding THE farris wheel.  His Daddy watched from a distance, and took a few snapshots for us.
Jax had already sailed thru the big Ferris Wheel experience, but he was just as happy to serve as a riding partner for Joy on the little ferris wheel.  They were so cute and he took good care of his little sister, making sure that she didn't get up or fall during the ride.

COTTON CANDY - a fair staple!

They both loved the cars.  A fair classic for kiddos, for sure.  I love how they chose to ride together rather than separately, even though there was plenty of "single driver" cars available.  They both wanted to ride together. 

Driving takes determination!  Their facial expressions here are priceless!  They seem to perfectly represent me and Josh, and our different approaches to driving (and other concentration-oriented tasks).  I'll let you figure out which child's expression represents me, and which one is a good reflection of him.  LOL

The Exchange Club Fair is so much fun!  No, it's not a theme park with super duper rides that attract people from all over the world.  It's small.  And it's old.  As a matter of fact, I believe ALL of the rides at the Exchange Club Fair could be easily considered antique!  I mean, they were OLD when I was a kid.  But, I wouldn't change this small town tradition for anything.  It's ours.  We love it, and we're looking forward to next August for another twirl of small town community, good old-fashioned FUN.