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Friday, May 28, 2010

Animals Outdoors

Evelyn's day was full of animals and the outdoors. First, she went on a field trip with her Kindergarten class to the National Zoo in Washington, D. C. I was able to go on the field trip as one of the class chaperones, and Evelyn was in my group. We saw as much of the zoo as we possibly could in two hours, including the elephants pictured below. I think Evelyn had as much fun running around the zoo with some of her friends as she did looking at the animals.
Then, after supper, Evelyn and I headed to Black Hill Regional Park, which is only about 20 minutes from our house. I had registered the two of us to go on a sunset pontoon boat cruise to look for wildlife, specifically bats and beavers.

We did, in fact, see bats and beavers on our cruise. Evelyn was very excited to see these animals in a natural habitat - the beavers swimming in the lake, eating plants along the shore; the bats sweeping and swooping to catch bugs. We also saw herons, geese, ducks, fish and orb weaver spiders. In the picture below, Evelyn is holding a beaver pelt while watching a (live) beaver swimming.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This Morning's Walk to School

We girls had a splendid nature walk on the way to school this morning. We heard the usual song birds in both the neighborhood and around the creek that runs behind the school. While looking down at the creek, we found a mother and father goose with their goslings. Those babies are hard to find in the tall grass, but Evelyn counted four of them waddling around. As we got closer to the school, a snapping turtle was right next to the sidewalk. Its shell was about a foot in diameter, so it wasn't too big, but we still kept our distance. You never know what kind of wildlife you'll see on the walk to and from school.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Evelyn's Last Day of Ballet

Today was Evelyn's last day of ballet for the school year. We parents were invited to watch the last class, and naturally I took plenty of pictures. In addition to doing the usual warm-up stretches and exercises (which is when I took all of the pictures), each girl performed a 30-second dance that they coreographed. Evelyn danced to a Sheryl Crow song and did plies, arabesques and jetes - all her choosing. I know she is looking forward to the 6-year-old class next year at this studio since that gets her one year closer to dancing on pointe.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Evelyn Loses Her Tooth

This morning Evelyn was doing handstands and running around the basement. Then she felt something hard in her mouth . . . because . . . her tooth fell out! That tooth had been on the verge of falling out the last couple of days, and she was elated that the big day had finally arrived.
At bedtime, Evelyn gave her baby tooth one final inspection before saying goodbye.

Then she tucked it into her tooth pillow, which will help the tooth fairy find that little baby tooth tonight.
No, she's not really sleeping in this picture, but that book was Evelyn's bedtime story tonight. Sweet dreams Evelyn, and we hope the tooth fairy brings something good in place of your first lost tooth.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wings of Fancy

This morning we went to the "Wings of Fancy" butterfly exhibit at Brookside Gardens. There were literally hundreds of butterflies fluttering around the large indoor conservatory. Our first stop was at a table where you could study expired butterflies. Evelyn visited this display twice to inspect the butterfly wings.
Both Evelyn and Julia were a little on edge about the butterflies flying all around and the possibility of one landing on them. Little Julia never could completely relax. Shhhh . . . don't tell the girls that there is a black butterfly on the plant behind them . . .

At the end of our time at the exhibit, Julia settled down enough to point out some still butterflies on flowers. She looks like quite the tour guide in this picture -

Monday, May 17, 2010

A REALLY Loose Tooth

Evelyn's tooth is so close to falling out. Check out this video to see how Evelyn's breath moves her tooth.
video

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Morning Hike

This morning, we headed over to the C&O Canal National Historic Park for a morning hike. It was a beautiful morning to walk out across the Potomac River islands to see the waterfalls.
We saw several animals today - skinks, geese, snapping turtles, mules, turkey vultures and a blue heron (flying in the picture below). Both Julia and Evelyn thoroughly enjoyed looking for and spotting different kinds of wildlife during our hike. After our little stroll out to the Great Falls, we headed back to the "mainland" for a picnic lunch.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Birthday Donations

Evelyn had a giving spirit for her birthday this year. Evelyn decided to ask her friends to bring toys to be donated to the pediatrics department at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. It seems she was influenced by the book Curious George Goes to the Hospital and by making donations for various causes throughout the year at school.
In all, Evelyn collected 40 items at her birthday party last week, and today was the day she brought the goodies to the hospital.
We met with a child life specialist in the pediatrics department, where she showed Evelyn the kids' play area. Some of the toys, games, books and DVDs will stay in this room. Other toys, like stuffed animals and Barbie dolls, will be given to patients who are brave during surgeries or tests.

I'm so proud of my little Peanut for doing such a noble thing on her birthday. I wonder if this is the start of a birthday tradition?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Evelyn's Doctor's Appointment

Evelyn had her six-year-old checkup this afternoon. When was the last time the doctor had seen her? Exactly one year ago today - May 11, 2009. When Troy and I look back on Evelyn's first two years, with all of her ear infections and having tubes in her ears, we never imagined that our little Peanut would be illness-free for an entire year. The doctor said he loves it when the only time he sees his patients is during their annual checkup. Keep up the good, healthy work, Evelyn!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day Flowers

No, not flowers in a vase - real, live flowers. In the little patch of our townhouse's front yard, Evelyn helped me plant 30 impatiens along the two rows of bushes. We alternated white- and red-flowered plants, and Evelyn had fun helping me keep track of which color came next. All of the flowers are itty-bitty right now, but in a couple of weeks we'll be able to tell the plants from the fallen leaves.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Kids' Birthday Party

With Evelyn's help, I planned a beach-themed kids' birthday party for this evening. Since a movie was part of the festivities, we invited the guests to wear their pajamas and bring slumber party comforts like sleeping bags and stuffed animals.

At 5:00, the party started with some art in the kitchen. The girls made octopus artwork with finger paints, and coloring sheets (with beach pictures) and markers abounded. After everyone had a chance to paint an octopus, the girls enjoyed pizza and juice boxes.

Following dinner, the girls made glittery flower necklaces, and then everyone played a dancing game in the living room. As you can see from the picture below, Julia got in on the action, too.
After dancing their sillies out, everyone settled down to watch "The Little Mermaid" and snack on popcorn. Just about everyone was hypnotized by the Disney flick and watched the entire movie from start to finish.

What was missing from the party? Ah, yes, the singing of "Happy Birthday" and eating cake! Evelyn and I came up with the idea of making cupcakes that had the ocean (blue frosting) and a sandy beach (brown sugar). We stuck a palm tree umbrella into each cupcake, and each guest had their own beachy-keen cupcake.

After the last cupcake was devoured, the party went back to the living room for a round of the game, "What time is it, Mr. Octopus?" This is a very exciting, loud game, which startled some of the parents when they came to pick up the girls. It seemed like everyone had a good time, especially the birthday girl.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

6-Year Birthday!

Evelyn celebrated her 6th birthday big-time today. How else can I describe her eating chocolate cake/cupcakes three times today? Here's a run-down of Evelyn's cake-eating for the day:
1 - At school, the morning announcements wished Evelyn a happy birthday, and then she was invited to go to the office to pick up a birthday bullfrog pencil. (Her school's mascot is the bullfrog.) I visited Evelyn at school in the afternoon to read her autographed Ralph book to her class, and then all the students enjoyed some birthday cupcakes.
2 - After her gymnastics class, the girls all sang "Happy Birthday" to Evelyn and snacked on mini-cupcakes.
3 - Lastly, Evelyn enjoyed her official birthday cake at home, after opening presents.
That's a whole lotta cake for a little girl in one day!

In the way of presents, Evelyn got some things that have been on her wish-list for awhile, including a pair of purple Crocs and some Polly Pocket dolls. Even though Evelyn isn't willing to share her new things with Julia yet, I'm sure both girls will especially enjoy the art easel, which has one side for chalk and one side for large paper.
When Evelyn came down for breakfast this morning, a bouquet of flowers was waiting for her. It seems that some flower fairies magically delivered this bouquet last night. Evelyn was tickled to think that fairies put together a special arrangement of flowers just for her. When asked what she wanted for her birthday cake, Evelyn requested a four-layer chocolate cake. I jazzed it up a bit by adding some colored candy flowers. You can tell by her smile that the cake was a bit hit.

One last smile from the birthday girl before she devours her cake:
Let's not forget about Little Sis. She couldn't wait to get her hands (literally) on the cake. She grabbed bites of cake by the handful and stuffed them into her mouth . . . and around her mouth.

Evelyn's Birthday . . . Rosie Style

Never one to miss out on presents and packages being opened, Rosie was close-by throughout Evelyn's birthday events tonight. She just knew Evelyn would start tearing paper off of these presents, which would then make for tons of pouncing and playing in wrinkled paper.
Jackpot! Rosie couldn't wait to get her paws (and teeth) on the crumpled wrapping paper.

Is Rosie the next Picasso? Not very likely, but she did have fun batting the chalk around.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Counting

Julia tries to be like her academic big sister in so many ways. When leafing through books, Julia tracks the words with her index finger and "reads" them aloud. Julia sings the ABC song, but she doesn't say many letters.

And she tries really, really hard to count numbers like Evelyn . . . but it doesn't turn out quite right. Julia's counting goes something like this: 1, 2, 7, 8. She looks so proud of herself after reciting her numbers that we can't help but shower her with praise.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Our B&O Railroad Museum membership gets us into the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore this month. We couldn't pass up a chance to visit a new zoo for free, so we headed up there this afternoon.

Julia is old enough now to recognize and talk about the animals she sees. As we walked by the animal displays, she took her time looking at the animals, making sounds like them, dancing in front of them and telling us all about them. Here she is, pointing to some cranes by a waterfall.
The Maryland Zoo is divided into two sections - native Maryland animals and African animals. We started on the African side . . . and that's the only side we saw today. Since the girls wanted to take their time, carefully observing each critter, we spent all four hours in that section.

The girls had different things to say about this cheetah. Julia kept roaring and calling it a lion. Evelyn noticed that the vertical lines on its face looked like mascara running down its cheeks.
One of the highlights of Evelyn's day at the zoo was riding a camel. You can tell by the smile on her face that she is just thrilled to be riding such a huge animal.
We learned that the little elephant on the right just celebrated its second birthday. We made lots of comparisons between the two-year-old elephant and two-year-old Julia. In the end, we came to the conclusion that we are very thankful our Julia isn't the size of a two-year-old elephant.