Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Beginning of Fall

We took our annual trip to the apple orchard early this year when we learned that the fruit was coming into season ahead of schedule. We quickly rearranged our weekend plans so we could drive to the mountains on Sunday to pick grapes and pears. We'll be back in two weeks for apples.

A rare moment where the kids appear to really like each other. . .

followed by some weirdness. Molly starts dance classes next week, which I'm hoping will add some normalcy to her unusual style.

The End of Summer

We have spent many evenings this summer at the YMCA pools around Charlotte, and we've been swimming as much as possible this week before they close on Labor Day for the season. Chris and I are hoping that we are one summer away from being the parents who sit in the lounge chairs on the side of the pool rather than having to get in the water every time. We can only hope.

Here are a few pictures from our one of our weekend pool visits.

Josh usually swims in the big pool, but it was closed this trip due to an "accident." We didn't ask.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First grade, finally

Josh started first grade today, a milestone long coming after two years of kindergarten. He was very excited to get on the bus, and we're hoping this will be a great year. It was not so great to have to set our alarms back to 6:45 a.m., and clearly it was too early for me to focus the camera this morning for Josh's first day of school photo.

We met Josh's teacher, Ms. Bean, at an open house on Monday. She came highly recommended, and we are thrilled that Josh was assigned to her class.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Visiting with the Vrignaults

Our friends Thao and Eric, along with their three kids, spent a few days in Charlotte last week during their annual visit to the U.S. from France. The kids had a wonderful time, and we were sad to watch them drive away on Saturday.

We invited the Finks, Steph, and our friend Dave, who we knew in Wilmington, over for dinner with the Vrignaults one night. Molly immediately took a liking to Dave, and we had to drag her away from him to get her to go to bed at 10 p.m.

So nice to have these friends around our table

Emily, Olivier and Thao

Steph and Walt

Walt and Olivier in matching stripes

Molly and Vivy spent the evening playing in Molly's room

Molly and Dave

We had a big chocolate cake one night to celebrate Josh and Gaspard's upcoming birthdays. Josh called it his "practice birthday." The 6 is for Gaspard and the 7 is for Josh. I can't believe Josh is almost 7 years old.

Gaspard and Josh could not contain their excitement about the cake

I told Gaspard, Molly, Jeremie and Josh that they couldn't have cake until we got a picture of them all looking at the camera.

Can you tell I'm about the keel over from exhaustion?

We also went back the spray grounds, which has not lost its charm after repeated visits

Life has not slowed since the Vrignaults left Saturday morning. We found out hours later that a dear friend from church had been in a tragic car accident that day, and then we had to pull it together today for a neighborhood back-to-school party we hosted with a neighbor. The party was fun, and now we are about to collapse.

Here's Molly, a bit over-prepared for playing in the sand table at the party:

Josh showing off the jump shot he learned at Muggsy Bogues' camp

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What we've been up to

It has been a busy two weeks since we returned home from Iowa. We stayed in Charlotte for a week, then headed out last Wednesday for Florida to spend some time with my parents. We've put thousands of miles on the car, but it's all been quite fun. I can't say, however, I'm too sad that school starts in just over a week!

Eating out is actually a notable event for us, as with Josh's dietary restrictions we tend to stay at home. This photo is also notable because this meal was right after church, and Molly is wearing a monkey on her wrist that says "Las Vegas" on its back. Great church accessory!

We went to the local spray fields with neighborhood friends

The kids made garden stepping stones at home

We enjoyed ice cream out of a vending machine at a rest stop on the way to Florida

Molly especially enjoyed the ice cream

We visited an elephant ranch near my parents' house, and unfortunately the elephant ride portion of the day was rained out.

We went back to the Butterfly Rain Forest

We ended our last full day here with a stop at Florida's football stadium to check out my parents' new seats for football season. Josh thankfully told my dad that the Tar Heels beat the Gators, which is why I'm OK with him doing the Gator chomp in this photo.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chris' Belated Birthday Party

The kids and I met Chris in Chicago last weekend before we all drove home, and Chris' dad helped me organize a birthday party for Chris, who turned 38, I mean 28, last week. Chris hasn't been in Chicago for his birthday since I've known him, so this was a special treat for him to celebrate with family. Many thanks to Jerry for helping put this party together.

Josh and Ethan are posing here with the chocolate smorgasbord.

Chris' childhood friend Rob, who lives near Chris' parents, flew to Charlotte to spend Chris' birthday weekend with him (I was in Iowa) and then was back in Chicago for the party. Rob was a big hit all afternoon, helping to blow up balloons for the kids and then setting up a big telescope in the backyard when it got dark.

Jerry with Rhys and Avery, Josh and Molly's second set of twin cousins, who are 10 months old.

Rhys and Beth, Chris' first cousin

Ethan, Molly, Aunt Netta and some Mr. Potato Head glasses

Beth helped Molly and Ethan out with their soccer skills

Josh and Rob popping a balloon

Winding down watching Wall E