Sunday, June 30, 2013

Deja Vu

...has been wearing clothes that Katherine...
...wore the summer we were waiting to travel to meet Rae.

I have rather mixed emotions about all of this.  I love seeing these sweet outfits again.  I loved them four years ago and I still love them.  They make me happy.  But they also make me a little bit sad.  Because what happened to that cute little girl from four summers ago?  How on earth has she gotten so big? And as for Rachel, has it really been almost four years since she joined our family? How can she possibly be heading to kindergarten?  What happened to my babies?

Friday, June 28, 2013


The girls have been taking swimming lessons for the past four weeks.  Today was the last day, so I was allowed to come close to the pool and take pictures. 
Katherine has had some challenges in the pool this summer. Last year, she passed Level 3 lessons so she enrolled in Level 4 this year.  After the first day, the teachers moved her back to Level 3 because she was just not comfortable enough in the water.  Kate grumbled at first, but was willing.  At the end of two weeks she easily passed Level 3 and moved to Level 4.
She was excited about learning new strokes, but very hesitant about being in deep water.  The second day she swam out into water over her head and panicked.  After a minute she remembered to just float on her back, but by then a life guard had jumped in and pulled her to the side.  Katherine was embarrassed and mad at herself and very frustrated.  The head teacher talked to her and told her she just wasn't ready for Level 4.  She sent us home to decided what we wanted to do.  After much discussion and a whole lot of drama, we decided to just end swim lessons for this year.
The next day, Steve took Rachel to lessons and talked to the head swimming teacher.  She and her staff had talked about the situation and suggested moving the Level 4 class to shallower water so that Katherine could continue.  Kate was thrilled!  So she went back to lessons and has done wonderfully. She is a good swimmer.  Her strokes look strong and she tries so hard.  She just doesn't trust herself to let go when the bottom is an unknown.
Today she was all smiles in the water.  She passed most of the skills for Level 4 - everything but swimming in deep water and reversing directions while swimming.  At the end of the day she received compliments from teachers and parents about her swimming and her bravery.
Rachel, of course, adores swimming lessons.  This is typical Rae in the pool - underwater whenever possible!
She will try anything, anytime.
Today, every time I came near she shouted "Mom, look! This is a front glide/back glide/bob!"
She'd made friends with all her classmates and turned waiting time into an excuse to socialize.  Of course.
Rachel just LOVES being in the water.
Personally, I am glad swimming lessons are over.  I'm tired of wet swimsuits everywhere and waiting in 90+ degree heat.  But I am so glad that my girls know how to swim and that they love to do so!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Trying to Beat the Heat

It was 101 yesterday, with high humidity.  Pretty miserable... The girls begged to play in the sprinkler and, since there really wasn't any excuse, I let them.  Did they ever have fun!
Rachel was hard to capture in photos, because she was usually just a blur!
 But check out her jump!

I had a couple of wet, dirty, and very happy kids.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Country Picnic

Last night we had a picnic at our dear friends Larry and Linda's house in the country.  It was a wonderful evening! Linda and Larry are like another set of grandparents to all the kids at church.
Larry got out his tractor for a hay ride.  Over and over again!
And later he let each kid take a turn driving the tractor.  This, of course, was an extremely popluar activity!
We ate and chatted and the kids played and played.
After supper, it was time for some s'mores.
What a perfect evening!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Shooting Baskets

One of Katherine's favorite things to do is shoot baskets on our driveway.
She goes out several times a day to shoot.  It keeps her entertained.  And I think it calms her.
In any case, the sound of a basketball thunking on concrete has become part of the soundtrack of our lives.

Tonight Kate's solo shooting became a family affair (3 people shooting balls and one person shooting pictures).

Rachel prefers a granny-style shooting form.
Awkward as it is, she manages to make some shots!
Steve keeps everyone entertained with ridiculous trick shots - like backwards, over his head, from across the drive.
The girls were amused!
Kate even gave the backwards over your head shot a try.
It didn't work.  From Rae's expression, I'm guessing this one didn't either!
In any case, we had a lot of fun.
Katherine had company for shooting practice.
I, however, am not convinced that shooting baskets is her ultimate goal.
Judging from the pictures, I think she's learning to fly...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tennis, Anyone?

The girls have been taking tennis lessons this summer.  Every morning they get up and walk themselves the two blocks to the tennis courts.  This morning I finally made it over to take some pictures of this, their current favorite sport.

This is Katherine's second year of tennis...
...and she loves it.
She takes it all very seriously.
And she has become competitive about her lessons.
She knows how many points she has earned in their skills games and exactly how she compares to her classmates.  But this new competition thing has made her work harder.  And she has gotten noticeably better.
She has even figured out how to serve.
She was slightly embarassed that I was taking photos of her, but she also wanted to make sure that I had some of her "from the front side, too".  Tennis is important to her and she wants to make sure that I document it!

Rachel, on the other hand, likes tennis because it's an excuse to socialize.  And take drink breaks.
But she takes her turn at attempting to whack a ball every now and then.
Mostly this invloves standing still with her racquet raised, hoping the ball her instructor tosses her actually makes contact.
Occasionally, it does.
At this level, tennis largely involves picking up balls.  Rachel has told me repeatedly how impressed she is by the number of balls her teacher can balance on a racquet!
But, as with all sports involving 5 year olds, the best parts are when you are waiting your turn.
Yep.  That's my kid!
After watching this, who wouldn't love tennis?

I love birthdays!

the ladybug cake

The Ladybug Sisters


Jie Jie and Mei Mei

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Peeking through the windows

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Katherine and her toothless smile

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
The little one leads the way