August 21, 2011

Summer - at the end

Sheesh, did I really forget to post all summer? I guess that has been summer for us: a little step back from our regular "work" of all kinds. No big vacations, but plenty of fun. I figured I better post some highlights before school starts. Yes, school - for Dave AND Katie this year. That's another post.

Katie's summer highlights: Princess camp (for the second year)

and swimming. She took two sessions of swimming lessons and FINALLY put her head under the water. Once.

But she got pizza and ice cream out of that once. Oh, and ice cream. That goes for all of us.

Dave's summer highlights: trip to Spokane and biking, a whole lot more than usual.

Sara's summer highlights: gardening (we have cukes, broccoli, and honeydew, all new for us); playgroup again, since we missed it during the school year; and fresh produce. We went blueberry picking with friends in early July, and raspberry picking just last week. Yum!

For all of us, it would have to include the time we hit a deer with our "new" (10-year-old) car. The only one with air conditioning. When it was 90+ degrees this summer. It's finally back, looking new - at least in the front. We survived four weeks with the old car (21 years old), and we're happy not to have to coordinate schedules *quite* as much.

Now we're practicing for the school year to start - earlier to bed and earlier to rise. We do get to see more sunshine that way!

June 24, 2011

Summer vacation

Our summer vacation was really Katie and me tagging along with Dave on one of his conference trips, this time to Baltimore. Cheap and close. :) But lots of neat places to see in Baltimore, especially for kids. It was just SO hot that week - it hit 100 degrees one day! Oh, and Katie had a bad reaction to the antibiotics she was on for strep, which made her cranky, itchy, tired, and on medicine (after spending half a day finding a diagnosis). She really was a trooper, though, given all that!

We spent six hours at the Maryland Science Center, part of it with Dave (who played hooky for a few hours). What a great place for curious people! Lots of cool hands-on stuff about so many topics. We went from paleontology to astronomy to geography to medicine....

And the next day was the National Aquarium, probably the one absolute must-see in the Inner Harbor. It was World Oceans Day when we went, which meant extra exhibits and activities (and prizes).
We splurged on the dolphin show, which was worth it. Two of their dolphins had calved this spring, and we got to see the moms and calves. I thought it was funny the main trainer was pregnant!

The other highlight of Baltimore was Fort McHenry, which we saw with Dave. Katie and I had read a children's book about the woman who made the big flag, so it was neat to drive by her house downtown and then see the fort. Katie really likes the national anthem, so the exhibits were fairly interesting. Dave and I caught her singing it around the house this week.

The vacation part of the trip for all of us was a visit with our great friends Ingrid, Jeff, and Emma in New Jersey. Emma invited Katie to her dance recital, so we all tagged along. LOTS of dancing - Emma was in 10 numbers all day, four in the one show we saw (one of five different shows all day long). What an incredible undertaking for the dance school. But Emma was great, and Katie loved the dancing - sat upright and mesmerized, even after being sick most of the day. And we all got rewarded with fabulous Indian food. Oh, and mehndi painting (henna) for the girls.

After the week, I think we'll be piecing together a "vacation" of short visits and travels - to fun places and of course to great friends.

May 31, 2011

Dance recital 2011

Katie's dance recital was last Thursday - the culmination of a eight months of ballet classes. And she couldn't WAIT to put on the costume and get on stage! (Here's a closeup of the costume.)

They danced to a fun version of "I'm a little teapot", which automatically made the dance cute no matter what they did. But they all did a pretty good job, considering all the steps they had to learn. Katie performed better live than she had in rehearsal (I didn't think she had learned some of the steps, but she clearly had). Destined for the stage, I guess. Sigh.

Oh, and again this year she didn't want to get off the stage after the whole thing was over. She went from whining about being thirsty and hungry to this:

May 27, 2011

Arts Festival

OK, it's two weeks after the final Lewisburg Arts Festival events, and I'm just now posting.... Can you say "exhausted"? It really is an amazing event, run by an ever-growing crew of volunteers. Sometimes I forget I'm a volunteer too! It was great this year, partly because the big Saturday Market Street Festival came complete with the first beautiful weather we'd had in what seemed like months. It finally felt like spring.

Anyway, the highlight was the Keltic Dreams kids that came from the Bronx to do Irish stepdancing in Lewisburg. They were really good, and they were just great kids. Katie (and Nana) got a chance to visit with them at a pre-Festival picnic - Dave and I were at a big Bucknell dinner - and they tried to convince Katie to dance with them. No go, but really sweet.

And after their second performance on Saturday, the same kids that looked after Katie found her to say "hi" - again, really sweet. This time, I got pictures. :)

April 11, 2011

Birthday, Part 2

Saturday was Katie's mermaid party - SO much fun! We started planning quite a while ago, partly so I knew she'd stick with the theme! I was excited about everything we decided on (most ideas borrowed from the internet, of course), and so was Katie. So for all of you who wanted to know what we did.....

Katie invited five friends, and they were asked to come in bathing suits - over warmer clothes (this is early April in central PA, after all). The first activity was to make their own mermaid tails. I got this idea from a library book on the Coney Island Mermaid parade, actually. I cut out green poster board tails, and the girls spent nearly an hour decorating them. Stickers, flower pieces (taken from the floor of craft shops by my daughter), shiny and sparkly fabric from Aunt Jen, fun paper, you name it. They had a ball!

I took a picture of each girl with her tail when it was done, and then they all posed in front of our crepe paper "waterfall".

The second activity was to dig for buried treasure. I filled Katie's turtle sandbox with shredded brown paper "sand", and we buried gold chocolate coins, chocolate fish, iridescent bead necklace "kits", and the rest of the 200 beads from the package. They dug with the shovels that came with their pails - what they got instead of goody bags.

Then they used up some excited energy with a freeze dance to Little Mermaid music. We printed out pictures of fish, jellyfish, and mermaids, and Katie made up moves or sayings that they had to say or do when they landed on one of the pictures. It was very funny. I didn't get any pictures of this -- too much movement to make a clear shot!

We ended with dinner: shells and cheese, octopus hot dogs (did you know you can even find *videos* of this on the web?), fruit salad, blue jello aquaria (with mandarin orange goldfish), and the cake.

After present opening, the girls who could stay ran around the house and did more dressing up. They all had a blast, which was even more gratifying for me since Katie's friends didn't all know each other before the party. Neither did all the parents, but we all had fun, too!

Needless to say, we're still cleaning up "sand" and beads... but it was worth it for our five-year-old mermaid!

April 9, 2011

Birthday, Part 1

Katie turned 5 - yes, five - on Monday, and we've celebrated all week. We started with Geoffrey's Birthday Club at Toys R Us last week.

On her actual birthday we had her favorite dinner (Black Bean Enchiladas) with Nana, Opa, and Oma; ice cream; and presents - by far, Katie's favorite part.
Tuesday was her birthday party at school (they had a field trip on Monday) complete with Mom-made cupcakes. Notice the crown theme for the week?

Birthday presents and cards have also come in the mail almost all week, so she really thinks this is normal. Guess we better nip that in the bud next year.

The birthday party was this Saturday - that's a whole other blog post with more photos!

March 31, 2011

Spring Break in the southwest

We finally got to take a Spring Break vacation - first time in more than 10 years that I haven't been singing on St. Patrick's Day! So we flew out to visit Dad (Steve) and Cynthia, aka Boppa and Grammy, in Rio Rancho, NM for 10 days. Dave had a conference in Phoenix for the first half and then joined us.

It was so great to spend time with them - we only get to see them about once a year. Katie really enjoyed being with her grandparents, and even managed to be less scared of the dogs by the end of the week!

In addition to visiting we did a lot of sightseeing. We went to several museums - Katie's favorite was the Explora Science Center and Children's Museum (here are Katie and Boppa at the light table). We spent a whole day in Santa Fe - how beautiful! I can see why it is such a tourist magnet. And the three Kelleys went hiking on our last day to see volcanos and petroglyphs. Very cool.

Oh, and the fantastic sunshine and blue skies.....