Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gator Who?

Today I was provided with an excellent opportunity to undo four years of University of Florida brainwashing that has turned Josh into a "go Gators" robot. UNC is playing in the Sweet 16 in Charlotte, so I took Josh out of school early and we went to Bobcat Arena to watch the team practice. We rehearsed saying "Go Tar Heels" in the car so there wouldn't be any embarrassing Gator blunders in front of my fellow alumni.

I'm pleased to say that other than one "Go Targets" blip, Josh was screaming for the Tar Heels like a mad fool. He learned one Tar Heels cheer and charmed our seat mates with his enthusiasm. One guy behind me even said, "Now that kid's been raised right." Mission accomplished.

Egg in the Face

Our neighborhood hosted a post-Easter egg hunt on Monday because many of the kids were out of school, and Josh held his own in the more difficult "older kids" hunt in the woods. Molly and her fellow babies picked up eggs off a grassy field.
The most interesting part of this Easter celebration was our first annual egg toss. Josh was thrilled to get to wear a protective garbage bag and couldn't wait to get his hands on the raw egg. There was no way this situation wouldn't end in disaster, so I volunteered to be Josh's partner to negate any impending craziness. Sure enough, when it was his turn to toss the egg to me (I was standing about four feet away from him) he tossed the egg right at my face. I luckily turned to the side and it bounced off my forehead before splattering on the ground. I'm sorry to say we don't have this moment caught on film.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Molly quickly figured out that the plastic Easter Eggs today had chocolate in them, so she was an enthusiastic participant in our Easter Egg hunt! We had lunch at our friends Anne and Gideon's house and then hid eggs for Josh, Molly and Gracie. Molly wobbled around as fast as she could, but after getting distracted by the chocolate she only ended up with two eggs. That turned out not to be a problem, as she just stole some from Josh and Gracie's baskets later.

Here are some pictures from our day:
Here Molly is moving in on Gracie's Easter basket.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Easter Eggs

As you can see from this picture, Josh had been very excited about Easter Eggs this year. We've had several bags of plastic ones around the house for the numerous egg hunts over the next few days, but when things got a little slow this afternoon I decided we should try coloring our own. I only had six that I could spare, but we had to start somewhere! Josh was fascinated with the eggs changing colors.

Our project got a little complicated when we introduced Molly into the equation, and then it turned into an all-out brawl when she went for the eggs. When Josh started screaming, "Molly, NO, bad choices!!" I decided to put the eggs away.

Babies and Books

Molly has recently developed a liking for books (much to my delight), so this morning I took her to Charlotte's new children's library. She had a good time listening to songs, stories and nursery rhymes from a librarian, and then she enjoyed climbing in the computer chair. It gave her a good vantage point for smiling and shrieking, two of her favorite past times.

Emily and Vivy and our friends Sarah and Owen also joined us at the library.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Photo with Live Bunny

The result of the "Photo Session with Live Bunnies" arrived in the mail today, and I should not have been surprised to open the envelope and find this! Once again my kids have delivered a weird shot, and we've wasted $40 on "professional photos." This time we have Molly licking her lips as if the little bunny looks tasty, and Josh looks like he was drug out of bed for a picture. If anyone wants a copy of this gem, I have five extra!

At least the bunny looks cute.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Raise Your Hand if You're Having Fun

Chris' sister Missy, her husband Tyler, and their son Ethan came to visit this weekend, and we had a great time showing them some of our favorite places in Charlotte. The weather was somewhat uncooperative, but we were able to get in a fun trip to the botanical gardens before the storms came through on Saturday.

We ate a picnic lunch outside and then walked through the orchid conservatory and the gardens. We literally were closing the car doors to drive home when the rain started to fall.

Here are a few pictures from our day:

Josh and Ethan tested their luck running between the two fountains that will unexpectedly shoot water over the walkway. They stayed dry, but just by a hair!

Amazingly, all three kids are looking at the camera for this shot inside the orchid conservatory.

This is Josh and Molly's new favorite pose.

Molly demonstrated her dainty eating techniques Friday night when we took Ethan, Missy and Tyler to our favorite pizza restaurant.

Nothing quite says "fun" like ending your Friday evening at Harris Teeter with three kids in a grocery cart! The kids had a good time with the free balloons and cookies, but we didn't have room for many groceries.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

She's Got Moves!

Finally, Molly has started walking for real! She's now walking more than crawling, and she can take 8 to 10 steps without falling or grabbing on to something. She's currently pursuing the Michael Jordan school of walking, as you can see above, which involves her tongue hanging out when she's doing something exciting.

Here are some funny photos of Molly's new upright moves:

It's Better than TV

We've discovered that one way to keep Josh entertained for at least an hour is to wash a load of clothes. He and Molly are both fascinated with our new see-through washer doors, and Molly usually shrieks and laughs when it goes on spin cycle. When the wash cycle gets exciting Josh likes a close-up view, and during the less interesting phases he'll play with toys or look at books on the floor in front of the washer.

I convinced him to tear his eyes away for two seconds this afternoon so I could get a picture of him looking at the camera.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Kids' Paradise

We hit the motherlode of fun this afternoon with our first trip to a new sports complex near Chris' old office. Josh wore himself out playing on the inflatable castles, and then Steph and I battled a large group of 8-year-olds in a game of laser tag. Luckily many of the 8-year-olds had little strategy, so it wasn't too hard to find and shoot at large groups of them with my laser gun.

Molly and Vivy did a lot of hanging out in their strollers, and Molly certainly enjoyed looking at all of the people and bright lights. She even got to hang out with Uncle Randy while Josh played in the castles.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Fun with Bunnies

We took the kids back to the botanical gardens this morning for a "Garden Party with Peter Rabbit," which included a photo session with live bunnies. It actually turned out to be one very scared little bunny (you can see his backside next to Molly's left shoulder) and one very nervous bunny handler (the woman on the left). Josh and Molly were unimpressed, although Josh told me he would like to bring a bunny home and put it on a leash. We passed on that.

We also had the opportunity to take pictures with a multitude of lifesize Peter Rabbit characters, including these three very nice bunny ladies. Molly was having none of that, so I ended up being in the picture too.
Josh warmed up to the bunny ladies when he realized the basket was filled with candy corn. That later came in handy when we tried to take a picture of the kids together in the orchid house--here's the one moment of serenity we got--when we let Josh and Molly dig into the candy.
Molly also tried out her walking in the orchid house, with Chris' help.
I've saved the best, and weirdest, picture for last. As we were leaving, we asked Josh if he wanted to have his picture taken with Peter Rabbit, who we learned was about to go on break. This is what Josh did. It may be the only picture in the history of Peter Rabbit pictures were it looks like Peter Rabbit is going to spank the kid. I think Peter has an appropriately confused look on his face. The fun never ends around here!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bouncing Babies

Once a month all of the moms in my neighborhood get together to chat and watch the kids run wild. I first started attending this group when Josh was six weeks old, and the group included him and about four other kids.

Today, the host mom outdid us all and had a small inflatable castle for the kids to bounce in. There were so many kids that we had to clear it out for an "all-baby bounce," which Molly thoroughly enjoyed. I was just struck at how much this group has grown--there were nine babies born in the neighborhood within a year of Molly, and Josh and his playgroup friends will be going to kindergarten together next year. Crazy!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Our Avian Friends

We encountered this fine bird Saturday at the Carolina Raptor Center, which is just north of the city. The Raptor Center rehabilitates owls, hawks and eagles and keeps the ones that can no longer fly or hunt on their own. We saw everything from screech owls to bald eagles, and Josh seemed pretty interested in them all, especially when he realized they all had names written on plaques outside the aviaries. This is Maddie, a horned owl, that was part of a presentation we attended.

We were actually a little hesitant to attend the afternoon show, which was called something like "Courtship and Mating Habits in Birds," but we felt OK after the speaker assured the large crowd of families we would be spared the gory details. We learned a lot about a few of their birds, and Josh amazingly paid attention the whole time. Molly, on the other hand, played in the dirt and squealed occasionally. We joked (sort of) that the screech owl had nothing on her.
Here's the standard picture of Molly in the backpack that comes with any outdoor trip these days.
This is the eagle aviary, which had three bald eagles. You can see two of them in the upper right hand corner of the picture.
I'm including this picture because I was surprised to find a bald eagle sitting like a chicken. It never occurred to me that these regal birds too much rest and aren't always soaring through the air or sitting upright. I think this one was a little annoyed that I kept taking its picture.