Monday, May 28, 2007

Super Sniffler and the Search for SparrowHawk

Will is going to Interlochen Center for the Arts for two weeks this summer with his friends, Eric and Ross. Eric and Ross don't really know each other so we had the boys spend the night last night so they could bond. This morning, the kids wanted to borrow the video camera. Check out the results of their fun!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Lyra isn't the Only One who Loves a Tutu!

The tutu hadn't been on the table for two minutes when KC adopted it. KC is in touch with his feminine side. Lyra is in bed already!
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Lulu in a Tutu

It is way past Lyra's bedtime because she is trying hard to hang in there for the big kids' sleepover. She is covered with watermelon juice. But a girl is never too young or too messy to enjoy a pretty pink tutu!
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We have had a very difficult time taking pictures of Lyra because she is always moving (who says a perpetual motion machine does not exist?). The other problem is that Lyra is at that age where she takes lots of tumbles and the results are not something we want to photograph. She fell into a table at Starbucks and got a big bruise on one of her cheeks. Just as it was healing, she fell into the shelf on our kitchen worktable and bruised the other side. POOR BABY!

The cats are remarkably tolerant of Lyra. I wonder when they will decide she is not a kitten anymore. Lyra is five days shy of 17 months. She has gotten much pickier about her food but rice, beans and guac are always favorites. So who do you think she looks like?

Here is Lyra playing by the kitchen worktable where she got her bruise the other day. In a different household, there would be a beautiful ceramic mixing bowl there or perhaps some decorative baskets on that lower shelf. In OUR household, we have a basket of toys, a teddy bear and crumbs from Lyra's snack. Lyra also likes to sit on the shelf or in any little hidey-hole area she can find.
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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Spring Ballet

Eva's spring ballet production was today and what a production it was! She has been in rehearsal all week and the final rehearsal and production took the better part of today. I had this brilliant idea to metro to the theater this morning since it was right across from the station, gas is $3.30/gallon and I feel like I've spent all week in the car. SO, I got us all ready to go, Eva's hair in a beautiful bun and Bill took this cute picture just prior to us setting out on the mile walk to the metro. (You know where this is going, right?)

We get to the metro station, buy fare cards, get up to the train track and hear part of an announcement saying that due to track maintenance, some trains would not be going further than the Pentagon. I went down to ask the guy in the booth if I could get a yellow train downtown or if I needed to jump in a cab. He said cab. HOW IRRITATING. I would have driven if I'd known but there was nothing about this on the metro web site the night before.

So Eva and I took a cab to the theater (so much for saving $$$ and gas). But we got there in time to get a snack and some water before her rehearsal. For someone who says she doesn't like ballet, she was excited all day for the production.
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Wheee! The performance is done! Eva's spring ballet production was at the Lincoln Theater downtown, in a real theater with publicity and everything. She enjoyed being in the production and being on stage. Being in class without an audience and a pretty costume is not quite as appealing. I keep trying to explain that you need to do the classes to be in a production but I am not sure that message has sunk in yet.

The Washington Ballet did a fabulous job on this production. Students of all levels participated, from Eva's pre-ballet class all the way up through senior students on their way to professional ballet careers. I will definitely buy the video.
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The best part of a production...THE FLOWERS! (Well, after the applause. Eva really liked the applause too.)
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Will's Birthday at the Park

After our trip to Rome, Will gave up the idea of a James Bond party theme and decided to have a Roman Field Day. So we gathered at the park, clad in togas (Will and his friends, not me!) and held discus throwing, chariot races, foot races and gladiator fights. It was a lot of work but a lot of fun too. Totally worth it! And the best part was, it wasn't at our house! Check out some of the action....
I failed to user test our games in advance. As a result, the gladiator fight with the pool noodles didn't really work. The kids could have beat each other with those noodles for hours and not moved each other 6 inches much less across the endlines we set up. So, we rearranged events and did something else while Bill racked his brain for an alternative. And he eventually came up with one.....BLINDFOLDS. Except we didn't have anything to use for blindfolds, not having planned in advance to do any such thing. So, the funny "leather" armor Will helped me make for the gladiator gear had to become the blindfold.

Here is Will fighting with Natalie, one of his favorite girls. (He would Just Die if he knew I typed that out here for the world to see). Yes, there were women gladiators. No, that is no way to treat a lady but we are working on that.
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Finally, everyone enjoys some chocolate cake after a long hot afternoon at the chariot races and gladiator fights! In the heat of the moment, I think "why oh why didn't I outsource this?" but the kids had lots of fun and we got do the party Will's way. He is so funny....he planned everything! I hope I get to go to his parties when he grows up.
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Compose Yourself!

Will's class play was a musical production called "Compose Yourself." A group of children learn about classical music and the composers in a dream when statues of the composers come to life. The statues teach the children about the music they wrote and the children teach the composers about more modern music. Will really wanted to play a composer rather than a student and was excited to be assigned the part of Felix Mendelssohn.

The kids did such a great job! Will and some of his other classmates learned to play songs on the piano written by the composers they were playing. Will played a bit of the Wedding March. Ariana did a very nice Fur Elise. There were no takers for the Moonlight Sonata but Teddy did sing his lines for that. His mother was totally surprised for he had not told her anything about singing a solo.
That last photo there at the bottom is where the composers have become statues again, and the children have awoken from their dream and are on their way to class to turn in their reports. The statues make faces at the kids but resume their normal positions when the kids turn around. You can see that Will carries this bit on until the bitter end. No one else is continuing to make faces behind the kids backs except for Will. I think he really enjoyed being on stage and making people laugh.

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Will's Visit to the Supreme Court

The mother of one of Will's classmates (Danny, in the blue shirt on the left) clerked for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor when she was first appointed to the Supreme Court. She arranged to have the class visit the Supreme Court building, have a tour and a meet Justice O'Connor. I made sure to be a chaperone for the field trip! I'd never been to the Supreme Court and I hadn't been on a field trip for either kid all year because Lyra is such a handful. Lyra got some special Grammy and Coach time on this day.
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Will's class met with Justice O'Connor and she talked to them about the Supreme Court and some of its history and then she took their questions. The girls all sat on one side and the boys all sat on the other. It was funny that they all segregated themselves this way. The kids had all kinds of questions but the girls were mainly interested in what it was like to be the first woman on the Supreme Court.

Justice O'Connor said she felt honored to have been selected and worried about whether she could do a good job since whatever she did would reflect upon all women. Then she said it was even better when another woman was appointed to the Supreme Court and it would have been great if there had been 3 or 4 or 5 of them! Justice O'Connor did such a nice job of talking with the children without being condescending or oversimplifying anything but she was warm and friendly too.
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Will, his class, and Justice O'Connor having fun at the court that is truly the Highest Court in the Land. This basketball court sits directly above the Supreme Court courtroom. Even our Supreme Court justices need some play and exercise. No one is allowed to play up there while court is in session because it is too loud. This is the part the kids will probably remember the best!

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Two of a Kind

Eva and her gymnastics buddy, Skyler, both like pink and are missing the same tooth.
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River Farm

Every spring, River Farm, the home of the American Horticultural Society (and a former part of George Washington's estate), has a great family picnic. We probably see more of our Alexandria friends at this event than anything else we do all year. This year the picnic had tree climbing, a magician, and various crafts - including making your own pinwheels. Eva came straight from ballet which is why her hair looks so neat (this is neat for Eva!)
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Pretend Climbing

One of the things Will and Eva looked forward to at the River Farm picnic was the tree climbing. They were really disappointed when it was canceled last year so they were excited to try it out this year. But it turned out not to be real tree climbing. The kids wear a harness and someone hoists them up into a big tree, one that would be difficult to climb for real. When Eva saw that, she didn't want to do it anymore. But Will some poor guy got a real workout!
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This picture does not do Lyra justice. I don't know why I don't have others....oh wait a minute, yes I do! Lyra doesn't stand still much any more and if she sees you are taking her photograph, she runs towards you to get behind the camera so she can see what you are seeing, making it difficult to take her picture at all.

Lyra has lots of teeth now. She makes friends everywhere she goes and tells everyone bye-bye (though it sounds more like dah-dah). She climbs everywhere and I think she will not be in her crib for much longer. Lyra loves music. We recently watched Phantom of the Opera on DVD and I bought the soundtrack right away because Will and Eva loved the music so much. Now everyone is singing from that, including Lyra! Lyra is also trying to dance now. We watched "Singin' in the Rain" for family movie night last night and every time they'd start singing and dancing in the movie, Lyra would run up to the TV and dance around on her tip toes. I didn't even know she could move around on her tippy-toes. It was cute and I hope some of the video came out so we can show you.
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Friday, May 25, 2007

Will's Birthday

FINALLY. A blog update. And I couldn't remember the convoluted process I used last time to get the pictures to stay on the blog. Google really needs to get its act together because they look sort of silly not being able to get their own software to work together, especially since it was so seamless before.

ANYWAY, Bill was out of town on Will's birthday so we had multiple celebrations and fun throughout the week so that it didn't matter so much that we didn't have a family celebration on the actual day. But on the 24th (of April), I took the kids out to Mai Thai, one of Will's favorite restaurants and let them order whatever they wanted....the fancy fruit punch with the umbrellas, mango and sticky rice, the works! We did some presents too. Eva got Will this River Crossing game, probably because she wanted it. But Will was happy, as you can see.
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