Friday, July 29, 2011

4.5 Years Summed up in 4 Minutes

I dropped Camdyn off this morning for her last day of Pre-School.  I left her with 15 cups of pudding to celebrate with her friends and parting gifts for her teachers.

Surprisingly, my heart is not heavy.  I'm okay with this.  This is life and progression; moving on and growing up is what this gig is all about. 

So, this is how we will sum up Camdyn's Pre-School career a 4 minute video of memories from the past 4.5 years.  It's been good....It's been really good.

***Edited To Include***
My apologies, Flickr did not load my entire video last night.  I will try and have the full version up later this afternoon.  This is only the first minute of it...dang it Flickr.

The entire video is now up :) 

...and we get to do it all over again with Chloe Belle.

Thanks for the Memories!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

This I Know...

I'm pretty much dedicating this week to Pre-School.  It deserves a week on the blog, before we say farewell to this chapter and move on to the next.

I could watch this cuteness over and over again.  Cam is the 2nd from the right.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Smile Because


Summer 2011 001
Camdyn & her beloved teacher, who has the patience of a saint, and the heart of an angel.

Camdyn says she wants Miss Carol to be her Kindergarten Teacher.

She is really going to miss her.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Last Monday...Ever. Ever. Ever.

I can hardly believe it.  As I dropped Camdyn off in her classroom this morning the only thought racing through my mind was  - This. Is. It.  Her final Monday of Pre-School.  4+ years coming and going with her, through these doors, down these hallways, and it all comes down to this...her final week. 

Sure, I'll still be coming and going with Chloe, and we still come and go to Church every Sunday...but she won't ever have be a student here again. 

I spent hours this weekend organizing photos from school and compiling them in to a slide show...I found some treasures:

Baby Cam (in the purple) in the infant room...she was probably 15-18 months old.


Toddler Cam on Red day when the children were learning their colors - Chloe is in this room right now and about this age.
Cam Red

Camdyn and her Best Friend on Tea Party Day when they were 3.  Funny how I thought they were getting so big.  And now, I look at these photos and they still have BABY written all over them. 

This little treasure was just given to me this morning by Camdyn's former teacher.  I don't really know what she is singing, but she is singing by herself and her classmates are listening, and the 20 sec. clip is worth the click...well, if you are in to cute :)

I'm sure I'm going to spend a large part of my week reflecting on the last 4 years, wishing that time would just slow down, and that I could hold on to this a little longer. 

But, I'll do my best to do exactly what my 5 year old is doing...she's looking forward to the future; Horse Camp, a week with Gramma, a trip on a big boat (cruise) and Kindergarten are all on the horizon.  She's giddy with excitement about that.

She's probably not going to lament what she's leaving, she's only looking forward to what's lying ahead of her.   

I'll try...I'll really try.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Sibling Love

"To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes.
We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys.
We live outside the touch of time."
~Clara Ortega


One of the greatest parts about having a sibling is having someone to share your history with.  Someone who experienced childhood with you exactly as you experienced it.  Someone to reminiesce with, someone who knows you as you have always been.  Although, siblings grow up and often life and distance separates them, their history never changes, their connection to each other does not expire. 

My girls will have this.

And so will these boys.  I'm entering this photo below in Paper Mama's weekly photo challenge this week.  It was taken in April, down at the Marina.  A young single Momma and the source of all of her joy.  I love how big brother has his hand on little brother's shoulder, and the pure joy on little brother's face.  She is one blessed Momma.
Apr 2011_0168-1-2-1

The Paper Mama
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rite of Passage

On Saturday, July 9th Camdyn did something special:


I'd always told her that she could get her ears pierced for her 6th birthday.  Why 6?  That's how old I was when I had it done and I remember it distinctly.  I remember how proud I was of myself and what a big deal it was for me.  I wanted that for her.  I wanted it to be her decision and for her to have the same sense of pride and accomplishment about it.

We didn't make it to 6.  About a month ago Cam began begging to have her ears pierced.  She wanted to do it before Kindergarten and I kept holding her off.  Finally, I caved.  She met the biggest criteria...she really wanted it, and she was 5 1/2...close enough. 

She had both ears pierced at the same time and she didn't cry or whine at all.  She still is pretty stinkin' proud of her pretty ears and she can't wait to change her earrings in 6 weeks...just in time for the 1st day of Kindergarten.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Kinda Party....

Our weekend was anything but ordinary. 

The hubs was in Miami for a "work trip."  He won a contest at work and the prize was an all expense paid trip to Miami for the weekend.  He went deep sea fishing with 5 other guys who also won the trip and they had great time.

I was on the home front with the girls, although I had plans of my own.  I had tickets for a sold out concert at my favorite venue on Friday night.  So, at 5:00 my friend Liz came over to play with the girls and I met up with some friends and we headed out to see Jason Aldean.  The storm clouds were really looming and threatened to make our night really memorable.  I figure seeing a concert in pouring rain must be like playing soccer in a only makes it better!

These photos are courtesy of my cell phone...

I have never seen so many people at this venue before.  Needless to say, the people watching was sublime.  And by some freak force of nature it never rained during the show.


We had a great time singing along and screaming when we were supposed when Jason said "How y'all doin' out there on the lawn?" 

The lawn is where it's at.  We listened to good music and embraced our inner redneck on the lawn that night.
2011-07-15 20 59 31

The show was one of the better ones I've been to.  If you have no idea who Jason Aldean is, you can read the review here.  And, it sure was nice to have a night out with the girls.  Of course, getting up with the kids early on Saturday morning wasn't a cake walk, but how can you not smile when this is what you wake up to?
2011-07-17 10 04 29

Happy Monday!  I hope you had a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - A little bit of Heaven

"A little bit of heaven
Drifted down from above -
A handful of happiness,
A heart full of love.
The mystery of life,
So sacred and sweet
The giver of joy
So deep and complete.
Precious and priceless,
So lovable, too
The world's sweetest miracle,
Baby girl, is you."
~author unknown

This photo was taken by my friend Becky, on the beach, during the fireworks display.  It was chilly, and I was perfectly content to snuggle up with my little girl as the fireworks lit the night sky.

Monday, July 11, 2011

On Independence Day

Now the Lord is the Spirit,
and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
There is freedom.
~2 Corinthians 3:17

We spent the majority of the day on the 4th of July recuperating from an awesome mini-vacation to Atlanta.  I did laundry and cleaned up a bit and we played with the kids, all the while the Hubs and I himmed and hawwed about how we wanted to spend our evening. 

We had several options; The first was to meet friends at the beach for fireworks, we've never watched the fireworks from the beach so this seemed enticing.  Although, then we deal with the parking issues, the crowds, the sand, the issue getting off of the key and home, so it would be a late night.  The second option was to watch the fireworks from the Marina like we usually do.  It's a good display, parking is not bad, and the kids could get to bed at a decent hour (since it was a school night and all).  The final option, was to skip the fireworks, watch them on TV, and enjoy an evening at home with the family.

Around 4:30 we decided to not decide and instead we would carry out our tradition of eating dinner at our favorite family friendly, locally owned Italian restaurant.  We've eaten here many 4th of July's so off we went.


This is the kind of place where the owner immediately brings two plates of hot buttered noodles for the kids the moment you sit down.

But he doesn't charge you for them.  It's the kind of place where it's okay if the kids get a little loud, and the older people there actually comment on how cute they are and how well behaved they are even though they aren't whisper quiet.

It's a 4th of July meal of noodles, pizza, and lemonade that is quickly becoming as much a 4th of July tradition as the fireworks themselves.

As we left the restaurant we noticed that the storm clouds were rolling in.  Black thunderous clouds coming in from the east that were beginning to drop speckles of rain on our evening.  We decided to head to the beach anyway and we would just see what happens. 

We arrived just in time to witness a mass exodus as hundreds (not exaggerating here) of beach goers were heading for their vehicles and leaving the lot.  Parking was not a problem.  We parked and waited.  Lightning came, Thunder boomed, and heavy sheets of rain pelted our window.  The girls watched Dora for half and hour and then got our of their car seats and began to play in the rear of Hubs' SUV.  We saw our friends, who were waiting it out in their truck, they were soaked head to toe, enjoying a brew at their tailgate, and making the most of their time together.

Half an hour later the sheets of rain turned to a drizzle.  We put our suits on in the truck and headed out to the beach.  The beach was nearly empty.  We got a spot for our towels right on the boundary line for the fireworks.  We put down our things and headed to the water.

**The rest of these photos were taken by my girlfriend Becky with her iphone.  I am so grateful she took some photos.  Given the rain and the unpredictable weather I did not bring my DSLR to the beach.  I did edit these photos in LR **

The view was surreal.  A giant, full arch rainbow stretched before us, and water so warm it was soothing against the cold intermittent mist of rain. 
The children did not mind.  Here Camdyn plays with her best friend and her little brother. 

Chloe Belle was giddy about the beach.

And before we knew it the sun was setting.  The kids got out of the water to dry off before the main event.

I had a hard time figuring out which was more spectacular, the sunset or the fireworks...
Then, we sat together as a family and enjoyed the most terrific display of fireworks I have ever seen.  They were literally right above our heads.  This was Chloe Belle's first fireworks and she kept saying "OH MY GOSH!" 

After the fireworks were over, we stayed on the beach for 45 minutes while the kids played with glow sticks and had a snack.  It ended up taking us 30 minutes to drive off of the key, and another 20 to get home.  The kids were in bed by 11:30 and extremely tired the next day.

But it was worth it a 100x over.  The image of that rainbow, the sunset, and the children's faces, and the camaraderie with friends will make this 4th of July one of the best we've ever had.

I say...It becomes tradition.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Our trip to Atlanta revolved around the great game of baseball.  It happened that the Orioles were playing the Braves, and the drive from home to Atlanta was doable.  So, we decided to see the Orioles play on the road and we headed north.

We went to the game on Friday night after a day that was spent in the pool and at the mall and even included a fairly significant nap time. 

Here Cam dances with Abby as we entered the ballpark.  Abby knows the drill and Cam has been to her share of ballgames.  But, as best as I can remember, this was Chloe's 2nd game.  The first one she attended was in Baltimore right before Abby was born, and she was only 6 months old.
(Her poses kill me.  She is beginning to embrace her inner model.)

We arrived in time for the National Anthem and for what Liz & I thought would be a really long game.  After the first inning I said, "Even if it all goes down hill from here, at least all 3 kids sat for an entire inning of baseball."  Much to our surprise, they were still holding their own in the 5th inning when we decided to reward them with Dip N Dots, which should hold them over until the 7th inning stretch.

The stretch came and went and before we knew it we were looking at the final out.  The game was over, the Orioles lost 5-4, but we were ecstatic.  We enjoyed an entire game of baseball!  Our kids were well behaved, they stayed confined to our row, and we all had a great time.  This is the first game that Cam showed real interest in.  She wanted to know how it was played, why the players were doing what they did, the Hubs even explained to her that Daddy used to do this and for the first time it clicked. 


We headed to the tunnel to meet Uncle JJ after the game was over.  We waited for about 20 minutes and then decided we would head back to the hotel and see him in the was nearly 11pm.  However, the huge tears that welled in Cam's eyes at the thought of NOT seeing JJ convinced us to stay, so we did.  She greeted him with big hugs and a toothless smile.

Then, we piled 3 very tired children in to the car and headed back to the hotel. 

The love of the game must be in their blood.  And for the first time, the Hubs enjoyed sharing pieces of his pastime with his girls. 

This is a memory to treasure.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Vacation

"If you come home as happy as you leave,
you have had a good vacation"
~Author Unknown


Last Thursday, we sent the dog to the kennel, packed the car with suitcases, a travel potty, and scores of toys and drove north to Atlanta, Georgia; Where we met Liz who flew south from Baltimore with Abby and met us at the hotel. 
We stayed at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead and the girls were immediately enthused.  We had adjoining rooms, space for them to play, read books on their own beds, and watch Dora on endless loop.


They enjoyed being in an unfamiliar place and living outside of the schedule.

This vacation was just long enough for us to take a break from the mundane, but short enough that we weren't quite pining to go home. 
It was everything a family vacation should be. 

**More to come over the next few days.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Flashback Friday - Give Her A Day

What can you give to one small girl?
A diamond ring, a baton to twirl?
A pretty pink dress with lots of bows,
or dainty sandals that show her toes.
A walk in the woods, a romp in the park,
a shopping trip from dusk till dark?
A shiny new bike, a kitten for a pet?
No, there's still time for such things, yet...


Give her a day of her very own.
Just one small girl and her Dad alone.
Give her the gift that only you can,
the companionship of her old man.
Games are outgrown and toys decay,
but she'll never forget
if you give her a day.
~author Lisa Tasker

I still remember my 8th birthday.  My mom bought me a brand new velvet dress that was the deepest shade of purple.  It had a lace collar and cuffs and I was given a brand new silver purse to carry.  My Daddy picked me up and brought me to eat at the Mayflower Restaurant, which was fine dining at the time.  We ate, and I used my very best manners, and then he took me to a Piano concert which was being held in the auditorium at the college that I would end up attending 10 years later.  Afterwards he took me to a nightclub, where I sat on top of the baby grand piano, and was sung to by the staff, while I blew out candles on a cake that must have been there waiting for me.  He gifted me a pair of 14k gold bow-shaped earrings, which I still have today.

I felt so special and loved that night.  The whole world rested on my daddy's shoulders.  It was an evening that will always have a special place in my heart. 

This is my wish for my daughter on her 8th evening of similar splendor, just her and her daddy. 

Some traditions must simply carry on.