Friday, June 27, 2008

Ben loves me


(Please excuse the picture quality, it's a digital snapshot of a photo in a frame.)
My friend Callie recently posted a tag she did about her son's cute answers to some questions about her. At first I thought I'd do the same thing with all my kids, but that could take awhile to get accomplished. So I thought I'd just copy down here the Mother's Day card I got from Ben this year. His teacher had asked him the same type of questions (all about me, his mom) and this is how it turned out:

"My mother is the most wonderful mother in the world. She is as pretty as a crystal! She weighs 30-40 lbs and she is 20 ft. tall. Her favorite food is crepes. When mom was a little girl she used to watch TV. I think she looks pretty when the house is clean. I know she is grumpy when she's mad. I wish my mom would let me have bubble gum. My mother likes to nap when she has some free time. I would not trade my mom for anything! Happy Mother's Day! Love, Ben"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A few more beach photos...

Cousins on the beach doing silly cousin things:
Scott and I very seriously evaluate our daughters in a sand pit:
All 31 people who lived in that house together that week:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Swimming

Almost to the wall in backstroke:

Emma is on a swim team this year. It's been a very interesting experience, mostly good. She was really excited to join, listing swimming as her favorite sport. She's never been what you'd call a "real" swimmer, doing the strokes correctly and all that, but she can get around without drowning and isn't afraid of a diving board or anything. I warned her that practices would be maybe kind of boring, maybe kind of hard...not just doing cannonballs and handstands but swimming lots and lots of laps. "No problem," she assured me, "I love swimming." The first day of practice was a mighty shock to her system. The coaches were trying to get an idea of the kids' ability levels so pretty much the whole hour was spent going up and down the pool. Little Emma was not used to that much freestyle and backstroke all at once. After the first couple of laps without too much trouble, she started having to hang on to the lane divider a little as she made her way down, then holding on a lot, barely taking three strokes before needing a break. At one point, she came over to me in tears and said she was scared and it was hard. She took a little breather but got back on that horse (or in that pool, as it were) and finished it out. Things got much better as practices continued (which has been every day M-F by the way, that's a lot of swimming!). Some days are still a lot of work, but mostly now it's easy and they aren't nearly so strenuous. They work on diving and technique and yes, still swim a lot of laps. She's not scared any more. At the first meet she swam a 25 freestyle, 25 backstroke, and one leg of a 100 freestyle relay. She placed fourth, third and third, respectively. It was exciting to watch her swim her hardest and we were so proud of her for finishing each race without having to stop in the middle and hang onto the lane divider. Last night was her second meet. She told us she wasn't going to try to just finish this time, she wanted to win. Her lineup was almost identical: a 25 free, 25 back, 25 breast, and part of 100 free relay. I can't remember how she placed in each (they'll get their ribbons tomorrow), she was still near the back of the pack. But she looked awesome. She was confident and fast. I can't wait to see her times, I'm sure she's improved. (Update: two seconds faster in free and FIVE seconds faster in back!! Go Emma!)

Her event numbers sharpied on her leg:

After about the first week of practices I asked her if swimming was still her favorite sport. No, it had plummeted to the bottom of her list of sports she's tried (the list: softball, soccer, gymnastics, basketball, swimming). But after last night's meet, swimming made a comeback to a respectable 2nd favorite (softball's still #1). Swimming and softball are the only two competitive sports I ever played growing up, and swimming was the one I did when I was Emma's age. So I'm glad she likes it now, it's nostalgic for me to go to her meets and remember how much fun those were as a kid. I'm glad she's not scared anymore. I think it's been really good for her to try something hard and stick with it. And seriously, look how cute she is in a swim cap:

25 Free (we've gotta work on that dive):

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Have you heard of Blurb yet?


If not, check it out. You will love it. I'm pretty sure I heard about it first from Design Mom (where else?) a few months back. I think this is pretty much the coolest idea ever. You design a book online with your own photos and text and layout and everything, then the good people at Blurb make it into a real book. A real book with glossy pages and full-bleed images, and it can be soft or hard cover, and different sizes and you can order just one or many. The prices are extremely reasonable for a single printing. You can make one for your wedding, your blog, your family recipes, your collection of sunset photos, your vacation, whatever. I'm trying to think of clever gift-books I could make. I've decided that once I catch up in my scrapbooking to the point in life when I got a digital camera (that is to say once I've run out of actual photos in a box and I'm left with images on my hard drive) I'm switching over to this system. I think it will be easier and much cheaper than getting all those photos printed and buying all the little papers and such and an album. I'm excited. I don't know if I can wait until I actually catch up, I still have a year or two left of photos in a box. And I just think this is so cool. Am I right, folks?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Close Call (Or Why I'm a Firm Believer in Keeping Your Non-Potty-Trained Kids in Onesies at All Times)

There I was, minding my own business. Lydia had been napping. Wait, I need to back up. Right before Lydia's nap she'd had a big, messy diaper that got on her onesie a little. Normally I would have put a clean onesie on her right away (because they keep her diapers from sagging and drooping and I can hardly stand for her to go without). But it was naptime and I was anxious to get on with it so I just took off the dirty one, put her clothes back on (they were still clean) and took her to bed. Anyway, back to minding my own business. I heard Lydia start to fuss a little, announcing that she'd woken up from her nap. I was about to go get her, but she stopped. She was quiet for about five minutes so I carried on with whatever I was doing and thought maybe she'd gone back to sleep. Nope, there she was yabbering again. So I went upstairs and what did I find? This:Our little nudist had taken advantage of her sans onesie state. I found her shirt, shorts and diaper on the floor around her crib. She looked very guilty at first, but sooned joined in with my laughter. Hers was a relieved laugh, "Yeah, can you believe I did this, Mom? Pretty good one huh? Just a big joke..." Mine was a relieved laugh also. She'd only been naked for a few mintues, no harm done. It could be much, much worse.

Camping (yes, camping)

So, I was the YW Camp Director this year. I've never really been a big advocate of sleeping anywhere other than your own nice, comfy bed in your climate-controlled room so I was just a bit nervous about the gig at first.
I needn't have been. It was awesome. We had a really small group, which was actually kind of nice. Only five girls came and two of them had to leave early. We set up our tents at the Cross-Eyed Cricket campground (which was our first pick because it's only a 25 minute drive away) right on the stream. We had so many duck and goose families come to visit we got to know them well over the campout. There was a pool right there which was great. We had scheduled swimming for one afternoon, but the girls managed to get ahead of their schedule and make some time for it every single day. That was fun. S'mores are just as good as I remember, so are hobo dinners. Sleeping in a tent wasn't the end of the world.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Monkey Girl tries out new mediums

Sure, she's best known for her supernatural climbing abilities, but Lydia is out to prove she's not just a one trick pony. For the most part, she has lost her passion for the top bunk and has moved on to other feats of agility. She's testing her limits as to how high a precipice she can jump off of (her favorite is standing on the arm of the couch and hollering, "Watch out, Mom!" before leaping and landing on her bottom on the cushions (I don't have footage of this yet, I'll get it soon)). She also enjoys spinning herself sick in the doorway jumper thing and shooting down the back steps. Enjoy.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Travelogue






I've said it before and I'll say it again:

I love the beach.

The family reunion this year was awesome. Barbers traveled from California, Utah and Tennessee to one huge ol' house right on the ocean for a week of sandy bliss. Highlights for us and our kids this year: digging huge holes, burying cousins, boogie boarding, jumping over and into waves, catching minnows, finding shells, soccer, bocce ball, the sound of the water, writing "Cruzes Rule" in the sand, napping in lounge chairs.

Lydia spent about 1/2 an hour straight one morning repeating "Here come water!" over and over (and over) each time a wave would roll in. Emma and Ben were obsessed with going out to the "really deep" part of the ocean. Josh was not scared at all to go in the water this time, and he even shared the enthusiasm for the really deep by the end of the week. Having all of the Barber cousins there enhanced the fun even more. 17 kids all together, and only three of them in diapers. We usually spent the mornings at the beach, then came back to the house for a late lunch, followed by an afternoon of pool swimming (with volley ball and BasketBrawl, a full-contact in-water sort of thing). There's too much to talk about it all, talent show, eating out, races and games on the beach, treasure hunt and carriage tour in Charleston (thanks, Mom and Dad), so many games, and extra-yummy desserts every night. Emma said she wished we all lived there all the time. Might not be so bad...

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sunny, Sandy Fun

So long without a post. Why? We were on beautiful Isle of Palms last week for a Barber family reunion. Too much laundry and unpacking to post photos today, maybe tomorrow.