Headed to Alabama

Posted in Family visits, Trip on October 1st, 2014 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We took advantage of having Rosh Hashanah off of school to head to Alabama. The girls have wanted to go to an Auburn game for a while, and we decided this would be the year. So, we planned to go down to Alabama to see Jen's family, and all of us would go to the game on Saturday.

We flew into Birmingham Thursday night. Friday morning Emmie had school, but the rest of us adventured to AirWalk for some trampoline fun. Leah got the hang of the big jump into the foam pit very quickly.

AirWalk in Birmingham

Everyone got in on the jumping action, even G’Mom.

Everyone jumping

Molly and Jen did some synchronized jumping.

Synchronized jumping

We headed back to the house for lunch, and the kids got in a little porch play before lunch.

Pre-lunch porch play

JJ doesn’t need to look at me to throw toys at this photographer. Duck!

Without looking

Emmie was in for a surprise when she got off the bus to such fanfare.

Bus stop welcome

And we were in for a surprise when Emmie told us she’d lost a tooth at school that day.

Lost tooth

We then headed over to visit with Grandma Dot.

Visiting Dot

Molly had plenty of stories to tell Grandma Dot.

Great granddaughter stories

Leah must have told Grandma Dot something shocking to elicit this face. Either that or she’s become a vampire in her old age and is about to take a bite out of Leah.

Shocking

The girls then put on an impromptu dance show for Grandma Dot.

Dance demonstration

That evening, we had an Auburn parade. Both Jen and G’Mom had made new Auburn outfits for all four kids. So, they showed them off, accessorizing them with megaphones. JJ might need a lesson in how to use a megaphone.

Auburn parade

Here are the Auburn clothes Jen made. She made JJ’s shirt, Emmie’s dress, Molly’s skirt, and Leah’s dress.

Auburn clothes

G’Mom also made the kids Auburn clothes. She made all 3 girls’ dresses, as well as JJ’s shorts.

Outfit number 2

Then it was early to bed, as we had to get up early the next day to head to Auburn for the game.

Leah’s Legos

Posted in Leah on September 26th, 2014 by c-had – Be the first to comment

For her birthday, Leah got two giant Lego projects - Rapunzel's Tower with 299 pieces and Olivia's House with 695 pieces. Leah's gotten very good at patience, focus, manual dexterity, and other skills required for Lego construction. With Jen's help, she managed to assemble Rapunzel's Tower in a couple of hours spread over two days. Then she constructed Olivia's House with my assistance over the course of a couple hours a day for three days.

Lego projects

Good work, Leah.

Preschool picnic

Posted in Leah, Molly, School on September 25th, 2014 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Leah’s preschool had a picnic (as they do every year) and lots of fun was to be had. Molly found if she stood on this stone wall, she could pop the bubbles that floated up high.

Preschool picnic

Molly loves to hula hoop. She was doing 4 hoops at one time later as well.

Hula hooping

Molly found an old preschool friend (the older sister of one of Leah's classmates), who showed Molly how to make a hula hut.

Hula hut

These girls thought they could hide from my camera. They were wrong.

Hiding

Molly does love to spin.

Spinning

We also had some yummy waffles from the La Pearl waffle truck. We'll pretend like that was a healthy dinner and not a dessert.

The Sweetest Place on Earth

Posted in Family outings, Leah, Molly, Trip on September 24th, 2014 by c-had – 1 Comment

We’ve debated taking the girls to a full-size amusement park (as opposed to one for little kids) for some time. We’re also debating a trip to Orlando, and thought this might be a good low-cost experiment to see how they handle a full-size park with full-size rides. So, we spontaneously (yes, shocking for us, I know) decided to go to Hershey Park, then headed up a couple days later. The girls are very excited to be in the Sweetest Place on Earth.

Hershey Park

Leah was very excited about a boat ride, so our first stop was the Coal Cracker - a flume boat ride with a big plunge at the end. Molly sat with Jen in the front of the boat.

Coal Cracker

And Leah sat with me in the back of the boat.

The back of the boat

Jen took two Dramamine in order to be able to ride rides, but she still wasn’t going to get on the tea cups. So, it was me and the girls. And Molly got sunscreen in her eye, which meant she had trouble with the sun. So, she stole my hat and covered her left eye.

Tea cups

Molly and I went to the bathroom to wash out her eye while Jen and Leah stood in line for the Skyview. We got back in time to watch them soar above everyone.

Skyview

Eventually, I convinced the girls to try out a roller coaster. We went for the little Cocoa Cruiser. It’s so small that they let you go around three times before you get out. Leah handled it well and did not freak out or get scared, but afterward calmly said she did not like it and did not want to do another roller coaster. Molly, on the other hand, was excited to do a bigger roller coaster.

Cocoa Cruiser

As a reward for trying the roller coaster, we got ice cream. Molly went for a Pepsi float, and Leah got a cup. Both were comically large.

Ice cream reward

This is the Sweet Swing, and it is just a giant swing. It is a very simple, but the girls loved it. They did it twice, and would have kept going all day if we’d let them.

Swing

Second time, still fun.

Still swinging

Next, Molly and I went to try out her first big roller coaster - the Comet. It’s a wooden roller coaster (which I love) that seemed like a good first coaster. Molly was very excited.

Comet

What we didn’t realize was that the Comet began with a 96 foot drop. As you can see, Molly got scared. But she recovered quickly and had a great time on the rest of the ride, smiling and yelling along the way.

Scared

Here’s proof that Molly was smiling at the end of the ride. She said it was great, and wanted to ride on another roller coaster.

After the ride

While Molly and I waited for the Comet, Jen and Leah went back to the Skyview. Here’s the two of them high up above the ground. They actually saw us on the roller coaster from their high-up vantage point.

Skyview part 2

Jen and Leah then headed to the Carousel while Molly and I sought out another roller coaster.

Carousel

Molly and I next rode the Trailblazer, a steel roller coaster with no big drops (though some pretty tight turns and good speed). She loved it.

Trailblazer

After being separate for a bit, the girls were excited to ride something together again.

Back together

We then ate some dinner and left the park, but not to head home. We headed over to Chocolate World. We took the Great American Chocolate Tour, which the girls claimed was their favorite part of the whole trip. Then we bought a big pack of Twizzlers, a giant Hershey's Kiss, and stuffed toy versions of those same candies.

Finally at 8:40, we were on the tram ready to head back to our car. It was a very long day.

Headed to the car

The girls had a lot of fun and were immediately asking when they could go back. I'm not sure when that'll be, but I give Hershey Park a thumbs up as well.

Celebrating again (and again)

Posted in Celebrations, Leah, School on September 23rd, 2014 by c-had – Be the first to comment

After much celebration, Leah’s actual birthday finally arrived. After lunch, her mom and dad took her to Yogi Castle for a sweet birthday treat.

Birthday treat

Later that day (after Molly got home from school), Leah had a few more presents to open on her actual birthday. Happy birthday Leah!

Birthday presents

The day after her birthday, Leah got to be the birthday girl at school. Here she is enjoying her class singing Happy Birthday to her.

Birthday at school

Snack time is better on your birthday.

Birthday snack

Leah wanted to make sure she got a birthday picture with her buddy.

Birthday friend

The end.

Cannot forget the singing

Posted in Celebrations, Leah on September 22nd, 2014 by c-had – 1 Comment

You already saw the pictures of the party, but I neglected to post the singing. So, here you go. Enjoy!

A mermaid party for a five year old

Posted in Celebrations, Leah on September 18th, 2014 by c-had – 2 Comments

After church on Sunday, it was time for Leah’s mermaid party. Of course, there were lots of decorations. I’ll show you a few close up, but for now make sure to notice the seaweed and bubbles on the wall, and something interesting hanging from the ceiling.

Decorations

Leah told Jen she wanted her cake to be chocolate and vanilla, because some of her friends liked chocolate and some liked vanilla. So, Jen obliged. She baked a 3 layer cake, with 1 chocolate cake layer, 1 vanilla cake layer, and 1 chocolate/vanilla swirl layer. Of course, Jen also added fancy decorations.

The cake

Jen also made a fancy mermaid banner for the occasion.

The banner

Hanging from the ceiling were jellyfish that Jen and the girls made. By putting them right under the lights, the glowed above us.

Jellyfish

Once all the guests arrived, Jen entertained the with a reading of Mermaid Sister.

Reading

After the reading, the girls made seashell necklaces.

Seashell necklaces

The girls were very still while they focused on stringing their necklaces with beads.

Threading beads

Focus

Careful

Precision

Serenity

Intentional

After the necklaces, we moved outside to make some sand art. This involved a little parental assistance.

Sand art

Help from Mom

After all those crafts, the girls needed a snack. Jen prepared fancy snacks from under the sea, including sand dollar cookies, seaweed grapes, star fish cheese crackers, and goldfish.

Snack time

Jen also made a starfish piñata, per Leah’s request. This was Jen’s first piñata. Here it is hung up and ready to be attacked.

Piñata

Leah was happy to get the first couple of whacks in.

First hit

It didn’t take long before it broke off its string. So, the girls attacked it on the ground. I love Leah’s war cry here, though using two hands might inflict a bit more damage.

The piñata is down

One of the smallest of Leah’s friends ended up being the toughest. She hit harder than anyone and pushed the piñata almost to its end.

Strong little one

It’s raining candy. Can you catch it?

Raining candy

Then it was time for cake. Yum.

Cake

After cake, the girls blew some mermaid bubbles.

Bubble time

Soon after I started taking pictures of the bubble blowers, they decided I would make a good target. So, I was attacked by bubbles.

Attack

My view of the bubble attack.

My view

You probably already noticed them in all the other pictures, but all the girls are wearing mermaid tails sewn by Jen.

Mermaid tails

We didn’t open presents at the party as we had so many other fun activities to do. But afterward Leah was very excited about all the fun gifts her friends gave her.

More presents

The party was lots of fun for all involved. Thanks to Jen for putting in so much effort to make it great, and to all the girls who came.

Let the celebrating begin

Posted in Celebrations, Leah on September 17th, 2014 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Jen asked Leah over and over where she wanted to go out to dinner with family to celebrate her birthday. She always had the same answer. Chick-fil-A. It is not only delicious, but includes a toy (it’s a bug light).

Fancy dinner

We purposely went to the least busy Chick-fil-A in the area, which worked out well. Here’s the whole crew enjoying the fancy birthday dinner.

Big crew

After dinner, we went to Grams’s house to open presents. Aunt EA and Uncle Scott upheld their standard of fun singing cards. This one even includes a dancing mustache.

Presents and cards

After presents, it was time for cupcakes.

Cupcakes

One of Leah’s gifts was a set of tiny Frozen characters. I told her I would extract them from their packaging while she was sleeping. Once they got out, they posed for a picture.

Frozen

Thus endeth the first day of celebration. But twas not the last.

Grandparent visit

Posted in Family visits, Leah, Molly on September 16th, 2014 by c-had – 1 Comment

G’Mom and Grampa came into town to celebrate Leah’s birthday. And since Friday was a day off of school, the girls had plenty of time to play with them. First stop - a playground. Grampa couldn’t bear to let Molly be taller than him, so he gave these trees a climb as well.

Grandparent visit

Later, G’Mom and Grampa got to see Leah do some gymnastics.

Gymnastics

Grampa got a sweet hug from Leah during a short activity break back at our house.

Sweet hug

They then headed to the school to ride their bikes on the blacktop and play on the playground. Leah likes to keep her helmet on so she can jump back on her bike whenever she likes.

School playground

How long do you think G’Mom can stay on this log roll?

Spinning

Saturday included some games. Leah’s excited for winning this round of Crazy Eights.

Saturday games

Next up was a game of Hedbanz.

Hedbanz

Next stop - pottery painting. Molly chose to paint this monster box.

Pottery painting

Leah painted this magic wand.

Magic wand

After the girls finished, they waited for Jen to finish painting her plate. Getting the details right takes time.

Details

That was a lot of activities, but it was just the warm-up. We hadn't even started celebrating the birthday yet.

Karate class in action

Posted in Leah, Molly, Sports on September 13th, 2014 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Since the previous post on karate did not include shots of the actual class, I took a few at their second class to give you a better idea. Here’s Leah practicing her punch.

Karate class

And here she is practicing her high block.

High block

Molly is learning her stances and punches.

Punch

Molly’s foot is moving too fast for my camera.

Quick kick

Nice punch form, Molly.

Nice punch