Monday, August 29, 2011

Sterling's Story

Some of you know that we had a 2.5 year old cousin, Sterling Scott Carnes drown in March of  2007.  His Mom, Marla has bravely decided to team up with CrossFit and ISR to share his story and hopefully save someone else from living the nightmare they have lived.

I wanted to share the link with all of you and ask you to share this with your friends and family who have a pool or have small children.  Marla will be featured today and the next 2 days sharing Sterling's Story.

There is the written story and three videos. While it was difficult for me to watch this for so many reasons, it reminded me that you can NEVER be TOO CAREFUL! I will be the first to tell you, they NEVER let this child out of their sight. It was truly a freak accident that none of us will ever forget. Marla ask that you keep in mind that drownings can happen at your home, at other people's homes, in the summer, in a bathtub, during the winter, in a ditch or when you least expect it. 

We miss sweet Sterling and think about him daily. He and Gavin share so many of the same characteristics and energy! I love this picture of us dancing together at my wedding.

Please share this with any and everybody you know. I pray NONE of us ever have to walk this road, but I am so appreciative that Marla was brave enough to share her story with the world.  I know Sterling is proud of his Mommy today too!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gymnastics with Gavin

One of my goals this summer was to find an activity that Gavin could begin this Fall when Emma went back to dance.  It was important to me because I wanted him to be involved in an organized sport, have a place to channel his energy and I did not think it was fair for Emma to always be involved in things while he sat on the sideline and watched.   After searching and searching, I realized the only thing a TWO year old could be involved in was gymnastics.   Emma started gymnastics at 18 months old, so we returned to the same gym to register our little man for the weekly Parent & Tot class.

Last night was our first night at gymnastics and it was WILD!  Gavin was overstimulated from the second we walked in the door and he never slowed down until we walked out or should I say ran out.  I know people think I am kidding when I say this, but I promise you this little boy has more energy than five two year olds combined.  

Mrs. Ronette was super surprised to see us walk in and even more surprised to see how big Gavin had gotten.  He was a newborn when Emma was in gymnastics.  It took her about 3 minutes to observe Gavin and start laughing hysterically saying, "Wow, he is so much different than Emma." 

There were about 8 little girls that showed up for the 1st night of class and Gavin was the only boy.  I wish you could have seen the looks on the faces of all the first time, stay at home girl mommas when we made our grand entrance.  All of them were sitting on the floor Indian style with their pink leotard wearing daughters glaring at the only boy that entered the room.  Class began with stretching and Gavin decided he wanted no part of sitting still and stretching, so I got up and just followed behind him as he tested every piece of equipment around within 4 minutes.  After testing out all the equipment he decided to start hopping around like a frog shouting, "ribbit ribbit" and shooting his imaginary gun at the pictures on the walls in the room.  By this time it was obvious that all the SAHM's were not impressed, nor did they appreciate the rambunctiousness of my little boy.

Gavin was afraid of nothing and needed no explanation on what he was suppose to do at each station.  He ran around like a maniac but never acknowledged the other kids in the room, so why did their Momma's think it was important to comment on my very active two year old toddler, oh and let me not forget...that is a BOY!

Mrs. Ronette kept laughing and tried to assist Gavin at each of the stations.  At one point she tried to pull him by the legs on the trampoline and quickly realized Gavin is strong as a mule.  I think she was honestly blown away by his level of energy.  All I could do was LAUGH!

About 20 minutes into class I was sweating like a pig and Gavin was soaked from sweat.  Thank goodness Daddy came along with us, so we decided to switch and Daddy came in to chase around our overstimulated, two year old, very active little boy.

Here are a few of the comments we heard within the 45 minutes we were in class from the stay at home girl mommas:
  • Wow, he has alot of energy
  • Me and my husband really wanted a boy this time since we have our daughter, but man after seeing him I am thankful I am having another girl
  • Is he always like that?
  • Stay away from that little boy, I don't know what he will do
  • Uh, if he is going to be on the trampoline just get off, get off now! 
  • He is all boy
  • How do you keep up with him?
  • I bet if you would have had him first, you would have never had her.
Seriously, are you freaking kidding me people?  This is my SON you are talking about at a level where me or his Daddy can hear you!  What was I suppose to say? I just kind of smiled, responded and tried to keep up with Gavin.  By the end of class, I had heard enough of their comments along with the looks they continued to send my way every time Gavin moved.  I wanted to tell them to STOP staring and pay attention to their own whiny kid.  However, I kept quiet and thought that I would have acted the same way if this wild man had been in our class when Emma started gymnastics.

Now look at this little face and tell me if you think he had a good time jumping off the trampoline into the foam pit.  This boy had a blast and when it was time to go, we were all EXHAUSTED.  I figure we will take small steps with Gavin and hopefully in a week or two he will be accustomed to class and participating in the warm up (a Momma can wish).

In the meantime I saw a sign for indoor Soccer that allows them to start participating at two.  I plan on checking into those details and possibly letting him do soccer opposed to gymnastic.   I am not sure I can keep smiling week after week if the SAHM's keep making comments about my child (ha ha).  If they catch me on a not-so-good day, I might end up in jail or letting Gavin get em'.

Gavin, you did an awesome job in your class little buddy.  We were so proud of you and how brave you were when it came to trying out new things.  It is safe to say that you LOVED gymnastics and enjoyed all of the climbing, jumping, running and rolling that you squeezed into 45 minutes.  I am thinking all the bow head Momma's were just a little jealous of your ability to hang from the rings while squealing like a little monkey.  Heck who knows, perhaps it was how fast you cleared the rock wall or dove off the trampoline.  Whatever it was, they better WATCH IT because your Momma is out their trying to recruit more rambunctiousness to join the class.  Yep, I am proud to be in the boy club.

I have said it once and I will say it again, I can not imagine Gavin being any other way than the way he was at gymnastics.  I love that he is so active, inquisitive, rambunctious, athletic, busy and wild.  Yes, it makes for a long day and one tired Mommy, but I love my little man with everything that is in me.

Gymnastics was tiring for me and Daddy, but so worth it to watch Gavin be able to release so much energy and have fun doing it.  Thanking God for my rowdy little boy tonight, loving the fact that he is so different from his BIG sister, appreciating his zest for life and so blessed and honored to call him my SON!

Monday, August 15, 2011

First Day of MDO 2011

Our kiddos went back to MDO today to start a new school year and they were super excited for their little feet to hit the floor this morning.  Emma entered into PreK with Mrs. Becky and Mrs Violet and Gavin moved up to the 2 year old room with Mrs. Yuri.  They will be going from 9-12 this year and I am already dreading that this is Emma's last year before big school. 

We have been talking about school starting for a couple of weeks in our house to get them back into the swing of things after having Mommy home for the summer.  Every time we asked G-man if he was ready to go back he always shouted, "nope"!

We put the little bus on our Happy Everything plate a while back and Emma quickly informed me that they did not have a bus that runs in our neighborhood for her school.  This girl is eager to ride a big yellow bus to school one day.

Last night we got backpacks ready to go and hung them in the utility room where they would be easy to grab when we were headed out the door for school.  The kids are so good about making sure their backpacks are hung back up at the end of everyday and I appreciate that.

We had parent orientation last Thursday at our Preschool and Emma's teacher Mrs. Becky sent her home with homework and a star for the first day of school.  Her assignment was to create a story board on this star about her summer or her family.  We let Emma choose and she chose her summer along with all the pictures she wanted to go on it.  She did a great job organizing it and Daddy and I assisted her on her first project.

Today when she got to school she had to present her story board to the class and she was very excited to tell us all about it when she arrived home. We worked really hard this weekend on it and Emma practiced presenting it several times as her Daddy and I pretended to be her classmates. I love that she is not shy when it comes to public speaking and I am so glad she is getting the opportunity to do this at such an early age.

We are really looking forward to having Mrs. Becky this year, she has been at our preschool for 22 years and seems to have very high expectations for her students.  They will be covering a kindergarten curriculum and some first grade skills before the year is over.

Here is Emma Lou before school this morning holding her star.  She insisted her hair be in a french braid and refused to let me pull it up any other way.  I tried to pull it a little tight in the beginning so she would give in and let me put it half up, but it did not work and she won with the braid.

Little man was not interested in having his picture taken at all and kept telling me he was Superman while playing with an empty lighter and pretending it was a gun. 

They looked like pros this morning walking in and going straight to their classes.  I attempted to get a picture of them side by side, but the truth is I think they are sick of me and my camera.

Making their way down the hallway to find their new classes, new teachers and old friends.

I finally got them to stop and take a picture with me real quickly before they rushed into the room to start playing.  I was so PROUD of both of them this morning.  Sure does make life alot easier on this Mommy when they stay willingly and there are no tears involved.  Daddy was back to get them at noon and both of them had a great first day.

When we left this morning, Gavin had found his way to the water fountain and no telling what happened next.

All in all, it was a great day that ended with Emma at Jazz and Gavin at his first night of gymnastics.  Oh boy, Gymnastics was WILD and I can not wait to post pictures tomorrow along with a couple of stories.  He loved it and was overstimulated beyond belief. Lets just say the other Mommy's did not appreciate his rambunctiousness.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Tonight we kicked off a new season of dance with one very excited little girl on our hands.  After this years recital Emma was on fire about taking more than one dance class.   We visited the studio this summer and had her evaluated where she was given permission to take Jazz along with her Ballet and Tap class.  Our Dance studio only allows students 5 and up to participate in Jazz.  

After we had Emma evaluated she was invited to join company with a hand full of other 4 year olds.  Emma thought it was a great idea, but because of the time commitment Mommy decided it was best that we wait another year and continue to nurture her interest in dance.

We did decide with the studio owners encouragement and blessing to enroll her in Primary Jazz, which is a 5 year old class.  I was very concerned because Emma just celebrated her birthday in June and is a very young four, but we decided to give it a try.  We both were confident that Emma could do it based on her ability to listen, follow directions and the discipline she displayed during her Ballet class and at recital.   

Emma was ecstatic and has talked about Jazz nonstop since we enrolled.  We visited our local dance store and purchased new dance clothes, ballet shoes, tights and jazz shoes.  She came home and organized it and started counting the days to Jazz.  She really liked the fact that she could wear another color besides PINK!

I was so proud of her this evening when she walked in class, removed her skirt and went straight to her spot on the floor.  She was so excited to be in class with all the 5/6 year olds and was determined not to be the rookie.  Her little friend Lauren is in the same class, so she was excited to see a familiar face.

Emma did a great job and was able to keep up with her other classmates.  It was obvious that Emma really enjoyed the challenge of being with the older girls. 

After class she told me, "Mom I really love Jazz more than I love Ballet, but I still love Ballet."  I knew after watching her that she truly enjoyed the pace of class and learning new skills.  One of the conditions for her being in Jazz is that she has to remain in a Ballet/Tap class so hopefully she continues to enjoy Ballet.

After class she wanted to stay after and observe the Primary Ballet class.  She is really hoping that she might get bumped up from Preschool Ballet this week and asked to join the older girls.  Regardless of where she ends up, I continue to tell her that we are so proud of her and how far she has come from the first time she walked in the studio. 

We picked up our dance recital DVD tonight and she is watching it for the 3rd time and trying to do all the dances she sees the other girls doing.

We are very excited to watch Emma dance her way through her 2nd year of dance and are so proud of what a great dance student she has become. Keep dancing Emma Caroline!

Don’t dance for the audience; dance for yourself.
~ Bob Fosse

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Happy Camp 2011

This weekend we ventured off to a resort on the lake for "My Cousins Rock ~ Back to School Weekend 2011".  We did not tell the kiddos where we were going for the weekend and my nephew Hunter was very nervous.  Nana and I had him convinced we were going camping for a while and he was completely miserable with the thought of it.  I can not say I blame him since it has been 102 degrees around here.

Emma & Gavin love their big cousins and they are pretty crazy about them too.   Gavin will be moving up to the 2 year old classroom this year, Hunter is going to 4th grade, Cameron is going to be our big kindergartner and Emma is beginning Pre K 4. 

Curtis and I stayed up the night before we left to make these silly little Tshirts for all of them and they wore them with pride.

We stayed in a suite facing the lake and had big fun jumping on the beds, eating pizza, swimming, sliding, roasting marshmallows, watching the pirate show, floating the lazy river, making smores, feeding the ducks, enjoying fireworks, playing checkers and just hanging out.

These four did not have a problem finding things to entertain themselves and it was monkey see, monkey do all weekend long.

These two played their hearts out this weekend with their favorite two cousins and really did not want the weekend to come to an end. 

Lots of first timers around this fire roasting their Marshmallows to make smores and they turned out so YUMMY!

Just ask Emma Lou, she thought they were finger licking good and so did we.  Hunter and Aunt Stacey turned their marshmallows completely black, but we still ate them.

This little girl has become a really good swimmer this summer and is officially using her arms and legs properly in the water while swimming.  Daddy taught her to come up for breaths this weekend and she can almost make it across the pool all by herself.  She loves the water and has become very confident in her abilities, sometimes a little too confident.  Looks like we will be joining Coach John next summer for swim team if she continues to improve her skills and her love for swimming.

Hunter was so excited from the second we arrived at the resort because of the Chess and Checkers game.  He enjoyed teaching Emma how to play until Gavin kept taking the checkers away and throwing them everywhere.

Cameron was so sweet all weekend and has finally realized that Emma is going to kiss and hug her constantly no matter if she likes it or not.  Emma just can not get enough of her and Cameron can not get enough of Gavin.

Emma had to sport this big purple neoprene swimband because of her recent ear surgery.  To date this is the most expensive headband I have purchased (ha ha), but the little sucker did its trick and her ears stayed dry.

Here they go on the Lazy River and looks like Hunter is leading the way. 

It is a miracle Gavin is not sick every time we leave a  pool of any kind because when he gets thirsty he handles the situation himself.

I love all these kiddos so much and am truly blessed that they are a part of my life.  I really enjoyed watching all of them run, laugh and play together this weekend.

Hunter loved the water slides and each of us took  turns sliding with him. I think he liked sliding with Uncle Curtis the best because they would lay down and go super fast.  This boy is sweet, polite and I hope Gavin loves me one day as much as he loves his Momma.

Emma climbed the stairs a couple times and went down the big red slide with Mommy and Daddy.  I think it might have been a little too fast for her liking because she decided she would rather wait at the bottom and watch Hunter shoot out into the water. 

So this was our last little adventure before school starts and I am so glad we made time to fit this into all of our busy schedules.

We were excited that Nana got to join us on our little getaway and we are already thinking about where we will spend  "My Cousins Rock" next summer.

As the summer comes to an end and the COUSINS get ready to head back to school, I am praying and hoping that they all have the best school year ever.  I hope they are blessed with God loving teachers that will love and nurture them while making them rise to very high expectations.  I pray that school will be a great experience for each one of them and they continue to love learning.  I know each one of them will be successful and soar during the 2011-2012 school year.