October 31, 2009

Snow White


This is Katie's first Halloween that she has really understood -- OK, at least the American commercial understanding. Nana bought her the Snow White costume she really wanted (thanks, Nana), and she got to wear it for five different Halloween events this week. This was after a party at Bucknell last weekend.

My favorite event was the preschool parade and party - they were all so cute! After a "parade" around one town block, the kids played games and then sang songs for all the parents who could come. Here are Katie and her best friend Laura singing part of "Five Little Pumpkins".

video

The town Halloween parade was really fun, too. We followed the high school marching band -- all in costume -- and saw lots of friends (mine and Katie's) in costume.

Katie's favorite part was probably the trick-or-treating, of course. She is definitely her parents' child, with a love of sweets. Why did I work so hard to keep her away from sugar for two years? Oh, well. She at least understands the concept of rationing, so her haul will hold her for several months, I hope.

She's already informed me that next year she wants to be Belle. I'll be interested to see what happens next fall....

Fall in Pennsylvania


I know it's been a long time since I've posted anything, so I'll make up for it with beautiful pictures in the next few posts!

One of the things we missed last year in Texas was the beautiful fall colors of Pennsylvania. We've had a record amount of rain in October, but that's only made the colors more vibrant. I'm coveting the next door neighbor's scarlet gum tree....

On Columbus Day weekend -- Fall Break for Dave -- we drove up to Wellsboro to take the Tioga Central Railroad fall foliage train. A little boring for Katie, once the conductor punched her ticket, but we loved watching the colors.

We capped off the day with a trip to the Pine Creek Gorge, also known as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. We usually forget about going in the spring, when mountain laurel and rhododendron are out, but we try not to miss fall there.

September 9, 2009

First day of school

Here's Katie on her first day of preschool (09/09/09, easy to remember). She told me (and later, Nana and Aunt Jen) that she loved, loved, LOVED preschool. I'm still not sure what all they did today, but apparently it didn't matter. Her best friend is in the class, as are several other kids we know at least by sight, and she's making other friends already.

And I did not cry, although I was a little nervous yesterday for her for some reason. I went to my meeting, and then home to do house stuff -- amazing what you can get done all by yourself -- and then picked up my smiling, happy kid.

I'm so glad she loves school!

September 3, 2009

Trip to DC in August

I know it's a month later, but now I have the photos ready. We went down to Virginia in early August to celebrate Martie/Mom/Nana's birthday, and to have Dave and Doug (who flew in from CO) go through some stuff in the basement. While they worked, Katie and I played in DC.

The first day we met Alyce and Tobey Phinney at their house and took the Metro into the city to the natural history museum. We thought they'd like the butterfly house, but the aquarium was a bigger hit. They also loved the carousel on the Mall (big surprise there) and the Hirshhorn fountain. It was fun to see the cousins play together after so much time apart.

The second day Katie and I took the Metro in, planning to go the National Archives. The line was too long so we did the National Gallery instead - both west and east wings. Katie loved it, which was really cool. Her favorite pieces were this Manet ballerina and the Calder mobile in the entry of the East wing. She didn't know it was her parents' favorite art there, too!


On Friday we drove in to the National Zoo, along with every other tourist in DC, I think. It was hot and crowded, and we parked several streets away (I almost lost our car). But we saw the giant pandas -- my whole goal. We've been to three other zoos now, and this is the only one with pandas. I have to say that the zoo is not as impressive as I remember from my childhood.


On Mom's birthday we all went to the Udvar-Hazy center of the Air & Space Museum -- it's an annex at Dulles Airport. We met Rob and Tobey there, and later Alyce for birthday dinner with the extended family. The museum was really cool, for air geeks and non geeks alike. My favorite plane, the SR-71 Blackbird, was the first thing you saw when you came in, which I thought was great. This was our first visit and we'll go back.

There are so many museums in DC that I'm sure this will become a regular kind of trip!

August 25, 2009

Knoebel's


Katie's new favorite place is Knoebel's Family Amusement Park in Elysburg, PA (about 40 mins. from us), although in a pinch she'll settle for anyplace with a carousel. We've taken two trips to Knoebel's this summer, and she has ridden as many rides as we had time for - and as she was tall enough for. She was not too sure about the new roller coaster last time, even with its purple track, but she wants to take Daddy on it "tomorrow".

Our first time this summer was with her best friend Laura Tranquillo (and the rest of her family); we got some great photos, even with the big rains we had all afternoon!


August 24, 2009

Princesses, fairies, and ballerinas


Wow, I didn't realize it had been too long since my last post. I guess I'm thinking that things aren't as exciting in Lewisburg as they were in San Antonio. Silly me.

This summer (OK, it started last winter), Katie has turned into a real little GIRL. As in pink and purple everything, and lots of dressing up. She has discovered Disney princesses, much to my chagrin, even though I have yet to buy her any branded clothing. I did break down and buy a Sleeping Beauty Little Golden Book, Disney version. I did tell her she could choose...

So this summer, Katie has spent alternating between being a princess (generic, Cinderella, or Sleeping Beauty), a fairy (or fairy princess), and a ballerina. Sometimes she is all three at once, depending on mood and footwear and whether or not she has been able to get her fairy wings off their hanger.

I wasn't going to keep -- or post -- these two photos of the melange until my sister reminded me that we'll want photos of every mood, just not beautiful smiling faces. So here they are for your amusement as much as mine.


And then, just 'cuz, another of my beautiful girl in her new favorite dress (thank goodness for hand-me-downs!).

June 29, 2009

Charleston


Dave's annual antennas conference was in Charleston in early June, so we all drove south, picking up Nana Kelley on the way down. (I won't bore you with the complex logistics of how we all got there!) While Dave worked every day, the three girls traipsed around this great old southern city -- OK, we drove a lot rather than walked. I, of course, was most taken with the architecture. Dave and I did get a night out, at the conference's opening reception, USO-style, on the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier. We had a lot of fun on that enormous ship.

Mom K has always wanted to take a carriage ride, and there's no better place for them than in Charleston. We did that our first morning, to get a taste of the city's history and architecture. Amazing piazzas (their word for big multi-story porches) and ironwork!



We took one day to drive up to Drayton Hall, a National Trust site that I'd heard about from the time I worked for the Trust, oh, some 18 years ago. Their claim to fame is that they're the only Ashley River plantation to have survived both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. What I think is really cool is that they haven't done anything to change the site -- they use its state of disrepair (well, they've stopped any further deterioration from about the mid 1970s) to tell the story of the plantation and its inhabitants, free and slave, white and black. They do an amazing job. This is Katie (and Elmo) in front of the family's "growth chart" wall -- dating back hundreds of years. We all really enjoyed that day.

We also saw the aquarium and the Charleston Museum, and on our last day, all four of us took the boat out to Ft. Sumter. Very interesting -- an island of nothing but the fort. But I have a clearer understanding now of the military beginnings of the Civil War. And later that afternoon Dave and I went to see the Hunley, the Civil War submarine that was recovered from the harbor less than 10 years ago. It's in a conservation lab, and they're doing an amazing job of the work. That was much more interesting than I expected. Here's Dave in a replica of the Hunley -- can you imagine being in there with seven other men and a few candles, underwater, in a vessel that had already sunk twice? Hard to believe anyone volunteered for that assignment.

Someday I'd like to go back and wander the streets some more to really fully take in the architecture and history.


(This is the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, a really beautiful new truss bridge that has become a symbol of Charleston.)

June 28, 2009

Elizabeth and Bill's wedding


My cousin Elizabeth and her long-time boyfriend Billy (OK, Liz and Bill to their friends) got married a few weeks ago in Fredericksburg, VA. She was born when I was in college, and we're a pretty close family, so this was really fun. It turned into a mini-reunion for my mom's side of the family, plus my dad, from all over the country. Aunt and uncles, both of my siblings and at least parts of their families, my dad (the minister), and my mother-in-law. Did I say we were a close family? Then there was my uncle's side of the family, who we see at family gatherings, and they're always so much fun. We had a great time all weekend.

Here are just a few photos of the wedding and my extended family...


June 12, 2009

Home - and away - and home again

My new words of advice: don't go on vacation right after you move! Eight days after Katie and I got home, and four days after Dave and Oliver arrived home, we left again. First stop was family reunion time at my cousin Elizabeth's wedding, and second stop was Dave's big conference in Charleston, SC. Both stops were places I wanted to be, but the timing was a little tough.

But we're really home now. I have finally downloaded my nearly 150 photos from the 11 days we were gone, and will post about our trips over the next few days, when I get them sorted and labeled. And then -- only then -- will this blog become maybe a little less adventurous. :) But no less cute: doesn't everyone think they have the cutest kid on the planet?

May 21, 2009

The move

Well, Katie and I are back in Lewisburg! We flew home on May 19, with two very easy flights, and were met by Oma and Opa - Betty and Dick Steffensen. It was so nice to see them again! And it was nice to see the familiar landmarks as we made our way up the Susquehanna to Lewisburg.

Katie recognized the "big brown house" and has been great so far about helping me move back in (by not getting in the way, mostly). The movers came first thing Wednesday morning, so everything is here. Except Dave and Oliver, of course -- they left San Antonio by car Wednesday night and plan to be in Lewisburg by Saturday dinnertime.

I do plan to continue this blog, but I guess I'll have to change the header and the main photos -- stay tuned from Pennsylvania!

May 18, 2009

Lasts



We've been spending a lot of time in the past few weeks experiencing "lasts" - the last Kindermusik class, the last story hour at the library, the last hike at Government Canyon, the last visits to our respective churches, the last time we go to the zoo,the Witte Museum, SeaWorld, or the Riverwalk, the last time we see fighter jets or huge C-5s zoom over the apartment. It's fun to hear Katie say goodbye to places like the Children's Museum when I tell her this is our last visit!


It is bittersweet, of course, to drive downtown for the last time, sing with the Mastersingers for the last time, see our friends the Lysiaks for the last time, play with Kim and Luke for the last time, etc., etc. But we're going home with some wonderful memories and some new lifelong friends. And we're going HOME -- that's the key word.

And it will be great to remember where Katie learned so many new skills and interests, not the least of which will be amusement park rides -- check out what she says at the end of the "monkey ride" at SeaWorld.
video

May 14, 2009

Mother's Day



I had a very nice Mother's Day this year, even without breakfast in bed! Dave talked me into a 10-mile bike ride for women only that morning. It was hard, but I did it. Only my second real ride since before Katie was born, so that felt good. And then they fed us barbecue brisket for brunch - yum.

In the afternoon we went back to the Witte Museum to see some exhibits and enjoy jazz on the lawn with three women jazz singers (my kind of jazz). Katie asked if I was going to sing, too. What a great kid! And the staff had bunches of pink carnations for all the moms.

And for dinner we met our friends the Lysiaks at a Japanese restaurant with fabulous sushi. We ate too much and too late, but we all had a good time. I sure was glad I had done the bike ride in the morning!

May 11, 2009

South Padre Island, Apr. 24-26


The last weekend in April we drove down to the Texas Gulf Coast to South Padre Island. I had really wanted a beach vacation -- the Gulf is not the mid-Atlantic, and I wanted to see it for myself. Well, in April it is WINDY!! We ended up not doing much lounging around on the beach, partly because of the wind. But we did get out a few hours each day, where Dave (with a *little* help from Katie) made animal sand sculptures. This was his cat on the first day.



We actually spent more time looking at wildlife on this trip, mostly birds. There is a sea turtle rescue place across the road from our hotel. There is a "sealife center" in Port Isabel, the closest town on the mainland, which had aquaria of interesting sealife - Katie got to touch a sea urchin and help feed some fish (and we saw seahorses so small they were tinier than sea monkeys we used to grow). There was a birding/nature trail across the road from the hotel, too, where we saw all kinds of birds, including this unusual purple gallinule. We had to ask what it was. On the way home we stopped at Resaca de la Palma State Park, part of the World Birding Center (as is South Padre) -- we saw more cool birds to add to our bird book checklist. Maybe Katie will turn out to be a birder, who knows?