Saturday, August 29, 2015

Back to School

Here we are again. How did summer fly by and we end up back to school? I demand a re-do! Well, that's what I said on Monday night before Lily started school on Tuesday. By the time Friday rolled around I was pretty sure back to school was the best thing that ever happened. You see, for the first time both girls are in school full time!
Lily started second grade at MATES on Tuesday. We went to the back to school bash on Sunday afternoon and found out her teachers name. Almost more importantly to this second grader we found out which of her friends were in her class. There were squeals of joy (literally) to learn her friend Scarlett was in her class again. We were thrilled to learn she was going to be in Mrs. Linklaters class.
Gemma was not to be left out of photos even though she had to wait until Wednesday for her first day of transitional Kindergarten. Because her birthday falls in September she did not make the age cut off for Kindergarten this year. The school district offers T-K for those kids who fall in this age group. She is attending Weathersfield for the year. We learned her teacher would be Mrs. Raaf. She was so excited to start "real" school even though it is not the same campus as Lily.
Just for good measure one of the girls together on GG's first day.
This is how they felt about back to school. Lily was eager on day one and by day two she was crabby and didn't want to get out of bed. She loves school but is not a morning person. Gemma is usually up before I am.
It has been a hot week here (as it always seems to be for the first week back.) We waited eagerly in the hot sun to be allowed into the classroom. No parents allowed, only kids. Both girls have 22 students in their class. Gemma's class does not have a teachers aide and some of the students seem like they may not have attended preschool so I think the teacher has her work cut out for her.


She was a tiny bit anxious but had no problem marching into class and sitting on the rug. She's in the corner with the other girls. I snuck a picture through the window before heading off (high fiving the other parents). Just kidding. Sort of. After her first day we asked Gemma how it went and what she did. They colored a picture and she informed me the boy next to her scribbled all over his picture and she told him, "Didn't your mom teach you how to color? It's all a scribbled mess." Guess we need to work on her tact.
Gemma's T-K hours are the same as Kindergarten, 8:30-1:30pm. I pick her up and then we have one hour before picking up Lily. At least the drop off times are staggered and we drive Lily to school first where she jumps out in the drop off line and we have a 10 minute drive to Gemma's school. One week down and they are already asking when Thanksgiving break is. All this and they haven't even gotten homework yet. It might be a long year. Next year they will both finally be at the same school!

Lily's class had a super hero themed dance party on the first day with the music teacher as the DJ. Not a bad way to start second grade. Here is Brianna, Lily, Scarlett, and Olivia.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Summer Fun List

We always write a summer fun list so we make sure we do all the fun things we love about summer. It's a good reference for those "I'm bored" days or when we run out of ideas. 
 We busted out the old alligator pool on a hot day. This thing used to be so frequently used when the girls were little and couldn't swim and we were stuck home with twice a day naps. We only use it once a year now and I think it is going to find a new home so one last dip was in order.
We had a quick and lovely visit from our friend Kimi and her daughter Miranda. They went to Disneyland and then stayed with us a couple nights.
We explored our local gardens of the world which we had never been to. It was small but very nice and free!
Pedicures with Granny in Carpinteria. Lily barely reached the water with her tippy toes. The girls love getting pedicures and we try to do it twice a year. Once at Christmas and once in summer. 
 Gemma managed it with three pillows.
 The final result. Gemma wanted fireworks on her big toes, Lily wanted kitty faces.
Many of their friends spend all summer at day camps. This year we decided to do one week of day camp to try it out.  Day one was exciting. Up bright and early with an Elsa braid.
 Two sisters ready for camp fun. By day three they were ready to be done. It was fun, but hot, long and repetitive. I think it was too much like child care and they would prefer one that was more themed.
Trip to mini golf with Scarlett. We drive by this mini golf center every time we go to Carpinteria. We call it princess castle. It was high time we finally went to enjoy it. 
The girls had fun golfing but were a bit in a hurry to just race through it to get to the end.
At the end we rode some of the rides. This was a giant tire with a motor you could steer around and bump into each other.
It was really good fun. Gemma and Julie bumping into us.
Scarlett was tall enough to ride alone so my girls got to ride with the moms.
We went to see a movie one evening with Daddy after work. Too bad Gemma was scared and in my lap half the movie and Lily was sad and crying into Daddy's shoulder the whole movie. Next time we're finding a good comedy.
The girls spent a week at Ascension Lutheran vacation bible school. The theme this year was Everest.
They loved it. At the end of the week they perform some of the songs with all the motions.
We managed to squeeze in a couple Saturdays at Zuma beach. We didn't get to go as often as we would have liked but it was great when we did. They love to splash and swim in the waves with no fear. Of course they always beg us to bury them.
Lily was so lucky her friend Scarlett and her mom invited her to join them for a day at Disneyland.  
They had the best time. It was a long day but full of fun, and face paint, and Tiggers tails. Yum! 
I had to throw this one in because it reminds me that even as they grow so fast they are still my little girls. They saw some fairies in their magazine and rushed off to dress in outfits just like the fairies. It is pretty hilarious but actually pretty accurate to the ones in the magazine. 
After our Seattle trip we were nearing in on back to school! We took a trip to the LA zoo for one last outing. Scarlett came along and we all had a good time. 
They had as much fun goofing around as they did seeing animals. 
The otters were really lively and really seemed curious to approach the glass to interact with the girls. 
Our lemurs waiting  for the bird show to start. 
The reptile house is my least favorite and the girls think it is so funny to make me go in and look at all the snakes. 
We didn't hit all the items on our fun list but that's ok. They can move up to the priority of next summers list. We sure did have a lot of fun and school starts this week so it will be back to the grind. Sniff, sniff.

Seattle

It has been a long time since I've flown with these two. Try 4 years!! That is way too long. It was a whole new ball game with kids who could pull their own suitcases and no strollers to drag along. The short 2 1/2 hour flight to Seattle went by in a flash. Thanks to shows, games, and music.
Due to our super early flight and compounded with Lily having spent the day before our trip at Disneyland with her friend from school we found ourselves with this after finally landing and getting our rental car.
It wasn't a long nap before we arrived in Snohomish at our friends the Brady's home. The girls took right off playing with Kat and Natalie like no time had passed since they were together.
Riding bikes and scooters to the park in the Seattle version of a drought.
The next day after a giant girl sleep over the youngins woke bright and early to head to our old stomping grounds at Greenlake. We picked the perfect day to hit the wading pool. Lily and Gemma had no recollection of the area. We drove by our old house and it looks exactly the same. It was pretty hard not to wish we were living in it right then. Lily and Natalie playing mermaids.
Most of our crew! Natalie, Gemma, Lily, Cora, and Kat. We missed pics with Annie's girls but by the time they arrived the crew was not interested in posing.
On Saturday morning we were up early again to pick up Daddy from the airport. We wandered around Seattle some and got some good coffee before meeting up with friends Annie and Erik for lunch at Tutta Bella. The kids (they have two girls as well) were all thoroughly unimpressed with sitting for lunch so we chatted as long as we could before saying good bye and heading out for some sun. We walked around part of Greenlake to the playground before heading to West Seattle to stay with Clare, Ryan and Cora for the weekend. We got to see their newly remodeled home and have dinner Sat night. 
Clare and Ryan were chicken sitting for neighbors so we got to do several rounds of chicken feeding, petting, and general harassing. It was a highlight for all the kids. Of course it pays in eggs.
Then Sunday morning we went to the beach in West Seattle. It was amazing and warm.We searched for tons of sea glass. Gemma was begging to go in the water but we didn't prepare with swim suits. She was a bit put off by the rocky bottom and slimy seaweed so we stayed dry.
They took Cora home for a nap and we continued to explore. Who knew we were so close to NYC?
The views back at the city skyline are not to be beat.
Lily had already picked out her souvenir, a calico kitty stuffy. To add to the 5 other stuffed kitty's she has. Don't worry about Gemma. She saved her souvenir choice until the last minute but was thrilled with her purchase. A pack of gum, at the airport.
 A hot day calls for ice creams and iced coffees. After Cora's nap we met up at a playground and even found some blackberry bushes to pick from. Heavenly! Back at home after much needed baths it was time for a roaring game of Simon Says. It was pretty cute.
 Monday morning they headed off to work and we headed off to the city to play tourist. We really know how to be tourists, first thing you stop off for Top Pot donuts.
Then you wander the city, ride the monorail, play at the play structure at Seattle center, all waiting for our turn to ride the duck!!
It is super touristy and corny but a lot of fun. We did it so many years ago but thought the girls would have fun with it. Our duck happened to break down shortly into the ride and we had to swap ducks but it all ended well.
The best part is the ride around lake union. Gemma fell asleep during the ride (expensive nap!) but we woke her for the water portion. Lily even volunteered to go sit up by the driver and that somehow morphed into Alex having to dance in the aisle of the vehicle but I will spare you (and him) the video.
The obligatory space needle selfie. We did not ride to the top but enjoyed the view from below. We had to hit the road to drive a bit north of the city to meet Jessie and Mark and their girls for dinner. There must be something in the water in Seattle with everyone and their girls! Well, and token baby Danny.
Our friends Annie and Erik kindly allowed us to stay in their house for the last few nights of our trip while they were away at the coast. It was perfect and so convenient. We gave them 5 stars!
Tuesday was our last full day in town. We went downtown to Pike's market just like good tourists. Holy blackberries! We paid $2 for a giant container of melt in your mouth berries. We are ruined for life on the store boughten variety.
 It was beautiful and crowded as ever. After we had our fill we went down to the waterfront to meet up with Ann, Kat, Natalie and Danny one more time. They have installed a "big wheel" since we moved away and we decided to give it a try.
 The kids thought it was great fun. I think we got about 4 rotations for $50 per family. It is much smaller than the London eye and quicker. I think were glad to say we tried it.
 It does look bigger from here.
 We lucked out that Ann took a family photo for us!
After enough playing tourist we headed to Ballard locks to watch the boats go through the canal and see if the Salmon were swimming upstream into lake union. We grabbed a picnic lunch on the way and had a good time running around and playing. After saying a final farewell to our pals we recouped for a bit after being hot and tired. We knew we couldn't rest for long since it was our last day. We picked up the girls swim suits and headed to a splash pad at south lake union. 
 It was just starting to become evening and it was a beautiful time of day to refresh and relax.
 The girls ran and ran playing in the fountains. Gemma somehow convinced me to buy her a two piece swim suit that showed her belly. She was very specific. Then she snuck it into her suitcase the night before vacation. I'm not sure why the girls are both obsessed with "two piecers" but I guess wear it while you can. In moderation.
 Once things started to get whacky we knew it was time to head out, get some supper and head for bed.
We had to be at the airport around mid day on Wednesday so we had just enough time for breakfast, a play ground and one last view of the city from queen ann.
We miss you Seattle and friends.