Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Labor Day = Family Fun!!

It's always a great day when our entire family is able to spend time together.  With 5 kids under the age of 6 (soon to be 6), we fondly describe our family gatherings as "controlled chaos", but we all love being together.  Since at some point we will have cooler fall temps (please, God!), we decided to enjoy possibly one last pool party of the season, and Labor Day was the perfect opportunity--a gorgeous, sunny, hot day, and everyone was available.  In a few weeks the days may still be warm, but nights will drop down and render the water too cool for comfortable swimming.
Here is my lovely Jenni (46 days til her due date with Cribblet #4) and precious 19 1/2-month-old Maggie, just relaxing on the steps with a snack cup of slightly soggy goldfish crackers.
Our entire family of 10 (sans me, designated photographer) enjoying the sparkling water and prompting the idea that we may need to think about a larger pool.  Notice my basil, mint, and freakishly huge rosemary plants along the fence, growing strong, healthy, and forgiving despite my total neglect.
My beautiful girls with their beautiful girls.....Erika holding almost-20-month-old Etta, and Jenni holding Maggie with Zoey (who will turn 6 in December) in front.
Leo, who just turned 4, has really come into his own in the pool this summer.  He's not only an expert "jumper-in-er", but he also loves to be tossed breathtakingly high in the air between his parents, and he's also learning the basic elements of swimming.
Not to be outdone by her big brother, fearless Etta also loves being airborne above the water.
And Zoey's already an old pro in the pool after spending the entire summer at camp, much of it in the water.
Here's 3 1/2-year-old Ruby, also wild about jumping in and learning some swimming basics.  The 3 young Cribbies gain so much confidence during their 3 months spent with wonderful camp staff and campers.
Sun-kissed Etta enjoyed a spin in her floating island.
And Maggie had fun splashing in the security of her daddy's arms.
My Favorite Five, who graciously indulged Grammy's request for a quick group pic while yearning to get back to water play.  Sweetest kids ever!!
Before we move inside, here's a cute video of Zoey jumping into the pool, all gangly arms and legs which keep moving even after she's airborne.
An afternoon of sun and water gives everyone a hearty appetite, so we gladly dried off and came in for dinner.  We are now officially a 2-table family, and I couldn't even get both entire tables in a single frame.  Maybe along with the larger pool we should consider a larger house?
The kids' table, more or less.  I love that all five kids enjoy being together and get along so well.  It's such a blessing to be able to have everyone together so often.
After dinner, Etta decided the pictures on my fridge needed to be rearranged.  I have several family photos in magnetic frames for the little ones to look at and move around.
Then Maggie's creative juices started flowing and she completely reorganized Etta's handiwork.

As usual, Grammy and Papa breathed a sigh of contentment and total exhaustion after everyone left, and it wasn't 5 minutes later we wished they'd all turn around and come back.  I love my family!!

Next up:  Random videos.  Check back Oct. 4! 

**And watch soon for my coming post which will follow a very eagerly anticipated trip to Disney World Oct. 5-8. Some long-time favorite high school girlfriends are meeting for a weekend of fun at the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival, and I'm sure there will be lots of pictures to post when I get home.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I've enjoyed riding bikes all my life.  When I was in elementary school in upstate New York, I had a "big girl bike" named Lightning that I loved to ride around the neighborhood, pretending she was my horse.  Here in Texas, springs and autumns are perfect for bicycling; in another couple of weeks the trails will be full of bikers anxious to move their legs again after imposed dormancy caused by the  brutal summer heat.

Last year, though, I had a fall that prompted Tony to encourage me not to bike anymore.  I was riding to Curves as I enjoy doing when the weather cooperates, and a pedestrian was approaching on the path.  I always move out of the way to give pedestrians clear passage, so I carefully moved onto the grass to let the man pass.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize the lawn sprinklers had recently activated, and the grass was wet and slick.  Down I went, in slow motion as such disasters seem to occur, tumbling into a mess of muddy Mona and metal.  There were scrapes, bruises, and some lingering soreness, but thankfully I wasn't badly injured.  Still, it was a wake-up call.  We put the bike away to decide its fate.

A few weeks ago while walking Millie I saw a couple of women my age riding 3-wheeled bikes, and an idea was planted.  Until recently I hadn't even considered a "big girl trike" because, after all, MY MOTHER RIDES ONE!!  She's almost 86, and I thought adult trikes were strictly for older seniors.  Heck, we used to see them all over when we lived in Boca Raton (retirement capital of the world), and THOSE PEOPLE were REALLY OLD!!  But seeing these two happy, classy, nice-looking ladies on trikes in my neighborhood changed my mind in a flash.  I presented the idea to Tony, who was on board instantly.  We started researching adult tricycles and decided on a 3-speed Miami Sun, which we ordered and picked up a week ago.  Coincidentally, we had a couple of cool-ish mornings (just a tease, it turns out, because a week later we were back in triple digits, or "triplits", as I like to call them), so I was able to try out my new toy a few times.  But it won't be long before the mornings are fresh and cool on a more consistent basis.
Now I just need to think of a name for the trike.  At age 62, I just don't think Lightning is going to cut it.  Any suggestions? 
Incidentally, one of my siblings--if you know me at all you'll easily guess which one ;-) --thinks I've prematurely entered old f**tdom, but truthfully I'm very content in my skin at this age.  There have been numerous embarrassing moments in my life that have served to etch away any remaining vestiges of self consciousness--including pushing out two babies without any drugs or anesthesia and lots of yelling--so looking less than cool doesn't cramp my style.  I love riding and being outdoors, even if it does take 3 wheels to get rolling again. 

So look out, folks!  Here she comes!!  Uh-huh!!!  (double fist pump) 
Eat your heart out, Margaret Hamilton.

"32 days til Baby Cribby is due!"

**Next up: Labor Day swimming fun with the whole family!  Check back September 26!

And watch soon for my coming post which will follow a very eagerly anticipated trip to Disney World Oct. 5-8.  Some long-time favorite high school girlfriends are meeting for a weekend of fun at the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival, and I'm sure there will be lots of pictures to post when I get home.  Don't look for any shred of self consciousness here, either!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Leo's 4th birthday

It's lots of fun having a grandson, and a grandson's 4th birthday is an extra special time to celebrate.  Leo had 2 parties: a friends party at The Ark two days before his actual birthday, and then a family party on his birthday.  The first 7 photos were taken at The Ark, a wonderful, huge, indoor playplace at a local church.  We had the whole place to ourselves, and the kids were free to climb, slide, run, and scream to their hearts' content.
Here's my sweet Leo with his yummy birthday cupcake, listening to everyone sing the happy birthday song.
Erika did a fabulous job creating the wild animal cupcakes, in keeping with The Ark theme.  They were delicious!!
To balance the sweets, Erika also created a lovely fruit tray.  I'm glad I got a picture of it because it wasn't long before the fruit vanished!
At first 19-month-old Maggie was a little shy about joining in the fun, so Jenni stayed with her in a quiet corner while talking to Papa and Josh's coworker, Julie.  Maggie eventually warmed up and had a great time.
19-month-old Etta had a blast riding down the huge slide on her mommy's lap.
Here's Zoey, fresh off the slide and ready for another run.  The jungle gym is huge and constructed such that adults can use it, too.  Participants must climb and go through obstacle courses to get to the slide, which is 3 or 4 stories high.  Behind Zoey are 32-weeks'-pregnant trouper Jenni, finishing her sliding run, and little Etta.
The nursery gym was a little more Maggie's speed.  Here she is sliding with Jenni as Ruby awaits her turn.
Monday was Leo's actual birthday, and the family enjoyed a pizza dinner and lots of fun at his home.  One whole wall in the family room was decorated with cards and birthday tributes.  Along with Leo, his parents, and his sister Etta, those helping to make his birthday a happy event were Aunty Jenni, Uncle Dave, Zoey, Ruby, Maggie, Grandma Kit, Papa, and Grammy.
Leo and Erika eagerly awaited the first present to open. (sorry I forgot to fix "red eye" on this one)
Sweet Etta loved helping celebrate her brother's big day.
All the kids "helped" Leo with his gift wrap deconstruction.
Ruby had a good time driving Etta's car around the living room, with Maggie in the background.
And Maggie just had a good time playing with a different cache of toys than she's accustomed to at home.

Happy birthday to my very favorite grandson, Leo Joshua!!!

"40 days til Baby Cribby is due!"

**Next up: Mo gets a big girl tricycle!!  Check back September 18!

And watch soon for my coming post which will follow a very eagerly anticipated trip to Disney World Oct. 5-8. Some long-time favorite high school girlfriends are meeting for a weekend of fun at the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival, and I'm sure there will be lots of pictures to post when I get home.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Zoey's first day of kindergarten

One of the most significant milestones in a child's life is the first day of kindergarten, and I firmly believe it's a Grammy's duty to make this landmark event as special as possible.  As first grandchild Zoey's momentous day drew closer, I made a date with her to go shopping for a first-day-of-school outfit and lunch at a restaurant of her choosing.  Zoey spent the night on a Tuesday, then Wednesday morning, fortified with a hearty breakfast from Mama's Daughters' Diner, we hit the stores.  Afterward, we had lunch at Chik-fil-A, came home to watch a movie together, then headed to Zoey's with her bundles.  Here are pics of the cute outfits she picked out.  The kid already has outstanding taste at age 5 1/2.
We hadn't intended to buy church clothes but Zo fell in love with this dress, and it looked so cute on her I had to buy it.  Ditto the shoes.
A sundress was also not exactly what I'd had in mind, but this was on clearance and was so adorable on Zoey.  I couldn't NOT get it, and because our summer is so long, she'll get several months' wear from it.  Also, with 2 (possibly 3) younger sisters, Zo will be able to pass it down the line.
Zoey did select a cute school outfit, and she bought the purse with her own money.  She'd seen it on an outing with her mom and decided it was necessary to go back and buy it.  All in all, we had a lovely, successful day together.
And suddenly, it was Monday morning, the first day of school!  Jenni asked Zoey what she wanted for breakfast, and Zoey ordered pink oatmeal.  I'm not sure if she expected it to taste different from regular oatmeal, but she was too excited to eat much, anyway.
She got herself dressed and ready, complete with new sneakers.  But I think she was in too much of a hurry to smooth her socks inside the shoes, and they were uncomfortable.  Two more shoe changes later, she was ready to roll.
Looking like a typical school kid, Zoey posed outside her front door with backpack and monogrammed lunch bag.  I didn't mean to do this (Sorry, Jenni!), but you can see the reflection of Jenni and baby Cribby in the glass door.
Zoey was posing for her mom's camera but I managed to catch her sweetness as she made her way down the sidewalk.
My heart was simultaneously bursting with pride and yet breaking as I watched this sweet little girl embark on a journey that will last the next 13+ years.  It was a joy seeing her so excited and confident, ready for her new adventure.
I remained at home with the Zoey's two younger sisters as Jenni walked her the 2 blocks to school.  When I saw her after church today, I asked her how her first week of school went, and she enthusiastically shouted, "I love it!".  That's the answer every parent and grandparent hopes to hear.  Zoey is participating in a dual language program in which the students spend half their day learning in English, and the other half learning exclusively in Spanish.  The English-speaking students help the Spanish-speaking kids, and vice versa.  So far so good.  If she continues in this program throughout her elementary years, Zoey will be bilingual in no time.  Awesome!  I love you, my Zoey!!!

**Next up: Leo's 4th birthday!!  Check back on September 10!

And watch soon for my coming post which will follow a very eagerly anticipated trip to Disney World Oct. 5-8. Some long-time favorite high school girlfriends are meeting for a weekend of fun at the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival, and I'm sure there will be lots of pictures to post when I get home.