Play Cars with Me Mommy?

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The girls starting school this week has really made a change in Ethan’s life. He suddenly lost his playmates from 8am to 3:3opm. When they do come home they have homework, piano to practice or are just exhausted from their days. So since they are gone I am suddenly his sole playmate. This week the game of choice has been cars. About every 15-20 minutes he asks, “You play cars with me Mom?” (And most times we JUST finished playing cars.)

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I am trying to remind myself to stop and play with him even when I feel like I have something else that needs to get done because I know all too soon he will be on the bus with his big sisters. Then I will have all the time I need to clean, edit pictures and cook dinner, etc.

For now, we play.

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I’m so glad to still have Ethan home with me. It is possible that he will begin Pre-K next year (we’ll see how much he matures first), but until then he’ll be my side kick and we’ll have some fun adventures just the two of us.

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School, Day 1

Today was the girl’s first day of school. It was an exciting morning, especially since it was Natalie’s first day of Kindergarten. I must say the second time around I’m much more excited about Kindergarten and less emotional. I think Natalie is going to love being in school all day like her sister and that she is really going to blossom this year in so many ways, and I am anxious to watch it all unfold.

I woke the girls up 15 minutes early this morning so we could snap a few pictures before we headed off to school.

So first up is Natalie, our Kindergartner.

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Natalie got off the bus just as excited as she was when we left for school. But, when I asked her what she had done I got a lot of “I don’t knows.” and “I don’t really remember.” Over the evening we got a few more tidbits about her day here and there, I look forward to hearing more and more.

(Oh, and in addition to her first day of Kindergarten today she also started Piano lessons. It was quite a day for her.)

And then there is our much to grown up Bella heading off to second grade.

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Bella didn’t give us much more information than Natalie. I think I may take some advice from facebook friends and make them share 3 things with me each day because “I don’t know’s” drive me bonkers!!! All in all I think she had a good first day in 2nd grade.

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Once we got to the school we took Bella to her “waiting spot” first. She was the first one there and I embarrassed her with a few more pictures. I could tell she was nervous so we stayed until at least one other classmate arrived.

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Natalie would have let me leave the second she saw her teacher. I stood around just kind of observing and she went right to work talking to other kids and showing off her monkey backpack. She makes friends wherever she goes so I know school will be nothing but fun for her. Finally I left and she had no issues, she just wanted her day to begin.

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So tomorrow is day 2. Shouldn’t be a big deal, BUT Bella came home and about 2 hours later I hugged her and realized she was really warm. Turned out she had a 103.5 fever and a ticket to stay home tomorrow. I am hoping it will just take a day of rest and she’ll be ready to go back and be with friends. I hate that she’s missing a day already, but what can you do? My biggest worry is tomorrow is the first day they were to ride the bus and Bella was going to take care of her sister and be certain she got where she needed to be. Now, Natalie will be on her own. I’m sure it will be fine, and it isn’t as if I drove her that it would be any better because she’d still have to navigate the school on her own because you can’t walk them in after the first day. So I’ll just send her and remind her in the morning that she can always ask an adult for help if she gets confused. Bring on day 2.

One Last Summer Hurrah

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Last year we went to a place on my birthday called Fort Myers Beach, FL. It was beautiful, and we all loved it. Later in the summer we went back and went across a $6 bridge (had to put the price) and visited a place called Sanibel Island. We love that too! The best part is they are only 30 minutes (or so) apart so when you visit one you can visit the other. So when Anthony had the need to do a bit of traveling for work we took the weekend before hand and had one last summer family “hurrah.” It was the perfect ending to our summer.

The first night was spent dancing, running, and splashing in the warm waters at Fort Myers Beach. When we got there we noticed a sandbar about 30 or 40 feet into the water. It was so close the kids could even walk to it without the water getting deep. The cool thing is that with the sandbar we saw lots of cool shells and sea creatures. We saw full conch shells, but we sadly couldn’t keep them because when we would pick them up they all had conch alive in them. Darn it! They were such pretty shells.

The kids spent lots of their time bent over the sand like this finding new discoveries:

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We actually found lots of sand dollars, but they were all alive.

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The next day we headed to Sanibel. Here are the kids on the boardwalk headed to the beach. (They were really happy…the sun was just bright and they wanted to get to the beach more than they wanted to pose for Mom.)

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The shores of Sanibel look like this. Seriously. Its pretty cool, but it kind of hurts when you walk on it!

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We visited a yummy little ice-cream shop (Pinocchio’s for anyone who might want to go), a shell shop and then headed back to the hotel to relax. It was seriously an amazing weekend and an awesome end to our summer. (I can’t wait to go back next summer!)

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Disney Friends

 

A few weeks ago I decided to take the kids to a morning at Disney. I choose to go to Animal Kingdom because it seemed the easiest park to handle all three kids by myself. We only stayed for about 3 hours, but we did everything I had planned to do. (The Safari, a Dinosaur ride…twice, the Lion King Show and Camp Minnie & Mickey to meet Characters)

We don’t typically stop to meet characters on our trips, but I decided the kids needed to start filling up their autograph books, and on this trip I think we counted 9 characters, so it was a great start to getting them filled.

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Chip and Dale…don’t ask me which is which, but Bella is the one who noticed their noses are different colors. I could probably Google it, but I don’t care enough.

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We didn’t even know who these 2 were before getting in the line. I take that back, we knew one was Thumper. But who was the other? I didn’t know until I read their autograph books – Miss Bunny. I guess she’s Thumper’s girlfriend. Its been a while since I’ve watched Bambi.

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Minnie totally had a thing for Ethan. She wouldn’t stop kissing him, and he ate it all up.

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Pocahontas cracked me up. She asked if Ethan was a trouble maker. Um….could you tell? When she said good bye to the kids she hugged Ethan and said, “Stay out of trouble, okay?!” Okay, we’ll work on that, lol.

A Non-picture Garden Trip

 A few weeks ago I decided to do something “fun” and take the kids to some gardens in Downtown Orlando. It was the last Free Monday of the summer (they are free the first Monday of every month) and although it was unbearably muggy we went for what I thought would be a fun 2 hour trip. I brought my camera along “just in case.” But I told myself I was not going to take pictures, just have fun. Yeah – that is why I told each child what to wear, not matching but not clashing(just in case).

We hadn’t been there 2 minutes when I spotted a pretty tree where I thought I could get the kids all situated under and take some cute pictures of them first looking, and then interacting. Basically we made the trek (with a stroller through grass and up and down 3 hills that were much steeper than appeared from the sidewalk) got to the good lighting spot, got my camera ready and Ethan said, “I need to go potty.” I swear, I’d just asked him while we were in the building right next to one.

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I tried to distract him and still get a few, but he couldn’t be distracted. He was jumping up and down. We went back, up the three steep hills and gave up that location.

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Then we found this swing and I told them just to sit on it and swing…oh and laugh b/c laughing pictures are always fun. Fake laughter…they had a hard time with it. I think they were too hot to fake laugh. So I danced, and danced and danced and actually liked this one (above).

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So as you can see my “non-picture” trip turned into a mission to get a picture of all 3 looking. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. I can’t control it. So the girls sat JUST LIKE THIS her to rest (seriously humid, only 82 degrees but we were d-r-i-p-p-i-n-g) and Ethan was playing with them. I ran to get around to the other side b/c it would make a perfect surrounding for a picture. Ethan moved, just to Bella’s right (or is it left) just outside the frame. No matter what I did we couldn’t get him in the frame. Soon they were frustrated with me, I with them and we just had to stop…and then it started to rain. Guess it was time to stop for the day and head to the car. Maybe next time I want to just have fun and keep myself from going into photo shoot mode with my children I’ll just leave it at home…but that is SO HARD! My camera is like my third appendage.

Extended Vacation

How is the best way to extend your (almost) 3 week vacation? You bring it home with you. And by “it” I mean GRANDMA!

My mom accompanied us on our 19 hour drive from Texas to Florida since Anthony was already at home. I did it last year on my own, but this year with a newly potty trained 3 year old who wanted to stop to potty every 2 hours having Mom with me was a life saver. I don’t know how I would have made all those stops and kept my sanity without her. The best part was, of course, the kids having some extra quality time with Grandma.

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Cousins, Part 2

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While we were visiting my parents in Oklahoma my sister and her family also came from Houston. This meant we had 3 more cousins to play with (and for one day there were also 2 others, but Anthony and I were gone for that day so I didn’t get any pictures). Cousins are always great to have fun with and sometimes even be a little silly…

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The only downer is the fact that there are 10 other cousins that we didn’t get to see this summer.

Ethan Turned 3

I am going to catch up…I am going to catch up…I am going to catch up!

If I keep repeating that it will happen right? Well, it will because I have promised myself I will get all the summer stuff blogged and wrapped up by this weekend so I can be ready to blog about school starting and any other current events WHEN they happened instead of a month later.

So, Ethan turned 3 (1 month and 1 day ago)!

Since his birthday is so close to our vacation both Nana and Grandma planned birthday parties for him during the trip. First up was Nana.

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The party at Nana’s started with everyone going to see CARS 2. This is Ethan watching the movie. Before going to see CARS 2 he had seen the first CARS maybe about 5 times, since seeing CARS 2 he has watched the first CARS movie just about everyday. Its a new obsession. He loves it.

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After the movie we went home and had pizza and cake. Nana had let the 4 big kids decorate his cake. It was so cute!

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Then he opened presents while his sisters and cousins looked on. There were lots of fun goodies for him.

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His cousin Sammy even gave him some of his old costumes to keep. He loves this cheetah and he looks so cute in it. Maybe it’ll have to be his Halloween costume. (sounds easy enough for me!)

Next up was a party at Grandma’s.

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Grandma had made some games for all the kids to play. First it was “Pin the Smile on Lightning McQueen.”  (Ethan didn’t want the blind fold on his eyes, and since he was the birthday boy and only 3 Grandma let him do it his way.)

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There was also a match game she had made with CARS stickers.

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After presents (and while Ethan was waiting for Grandpa to get some out of the box) Jeremy read to Ethan. Jeremy was so sweet with Ethan and so helpful the entire time we were there. He was such a good big cousin.

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Instead of cake at Grandma’s we had ice-cream. No one seemed to mind, and you can still put a candle into the ice-cream.

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Then came his actual birthday…

…WHAT? No pictures. Yep, no pictures. His actual birthday was the day after we got home from our long drive from Texas back to Florida. I was exhausted. Anthony (who had come home a week earlier) had cupcakes here for him and we had a present for him, but even he seemed a little birthday-ed out. Kind of like…”I’ve already done this…twice!”

I can’t believe my little boy is 3. It seems there is no way that 3 years has passed since he joined our family – and yet it seems like he’s always been apart of it. And although he’s stubborn, loud, and often times defiant (seriously had to just stop typing this post to go handle a big time fit over something simple I asked him to do) – I love this kid to pieces. He is quite honestly, the coolest.

A Vacation Favorite

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This picture was taken our 2nd full day in Oklahoma. My dad had gone out to mow the lawn and pretty soon my mom was calling me to get the camera because Ethan had taken the toy lawn mower out and was “mowing” with Grandpa. Unfortunately I wasn’t fast enough for THAT picture, but he was still helping when I got there. Ethan loves Grandpa, and I think its pretty obvious.

Cousins

I can’t believe I am so slow at blogging our vacation that we came home from about a month ago! I’m not even into the 2nd week of vacation yet, meanwhile there is other blog-worthy things going on as we close our summer and I can’t even get to them because I’m back in the beginning of July. At some point I may just have to move forward, but not today.

I don’t have much to say about these pictures except to say that seeing cousins is the BEST part of vacation. They play from the minute they get there until the minute we leave and they all have the best time. These cousins are Anthony’s sister’s kids. They are always so excited to see each other.

All vacation Ethan would call them his “friends” – which of course they are, but we were trying to get him to understand they were his COUSINS, which are kind of like a special friend. He still insisted on calling them friends, which we were fine with, and then today we met some friends at the beach and when he saw them walk off the boardwalk he said, “LOOK! My cousins!” I think he’s a bit confused still with friends and cousins, but he’ll learn.

Meanwhile here are some fun COUSIN pictures.

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