Saturday, January 21, 2012

Evelyn's New Afghan

A couple of days ago Evelyn received a package in the mail from Grandma Luster. It was a big box, but it didn't weigh very much. What could it be? Hmmmm.....Evelyn thought about it for a little bit and figured it would be her afghan. She was right! And it was just the thing to keep her warm after playing in the snow.

Our First Snow!

It finally snowed last night! We have had our fair share of precipitation this winter, but the temperatures haven't been cold enough for it to snow. We only got an inch and a half of snow (with a bit of freezing rain after the snow).Evelyn took full advantage of the snow - she was eager to help scoop the sidewalk...
...and build as much of a snowman as possible. We have had such a mild, warm winter that this could possibly be our only snow of the season. We'll just have to wait and see.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Losing the Baby Language

Julia lost another baby word today. This morning, she told me, "Don't forget about my dolly." I asked her to repeat the question, and she said it correctly again. She used to say, "Don't get-for-bout."

A couple of months ago Julia finally started saying elephant correctly. That word, in Julia's mind, was pronounced Evelent.

Julia still says two things incorrectly, which I think is cute, while Troy wishes she would say the words and phrases correctly - aminal (for animal), and My tumbly is grumming (instead of My tummy is grumbling).

Evelyn held onto brefkast until Kindergarten, and I have a feeling that's how Julia's aminal is going to go.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Evelyn's Little Gym Day

Today was the day to observe Evelyn's gymnastics class from inside the gym. Even though I watch her class every week, it was fun to see her skills close-up. In this picture, she is doing a straddle-travel on the parallel bars.It's hard to get a still picture of Evelyn on the bar, with all the flips and turns she does. So I asked her to do a front-support pose for me.
The grand finale for this afternoon's class was doing a run-hurdle-springboard jump onto a high mat, followed by a handstand-into-a-bridge. Evelyn really loves going to gymnastics, and she continues to master more and more challenging skills.

Bird Watching

This winter, we've frequently seen one or two red-tailed hawks in the treetops of the neighborhood park. While getting ready for school this morning, Evelyn spotted one of the raptors perched in a tree across the street. You can tell it was a chilly morning, judging by how the bird has its feathers puffed out. The girls have so much fun watching for the hawk(s)!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jump Rope for Heart

Evelyn's school did a fundraiser for the American Heart Association today called Jump Rope for Heart. Parents were invited to come to the school during their kids' jumping times to cheer them on, and you know I was there, camera in hand. Each second-grade class had four turns to jump, and each turn lasted two minutes. As far as I could tell, Evelyn was one of a handful of students who actually jumped the entire two minutes...straight! That's eight minutes of jumping rope. Our little Peanut is quite the cardio machine!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Julia's Little Gym Update

Friends and family were invited to watch Julia's dance/gymnastics combo class from the inside, and I jumped at the chance to take some pictures of our little redhead. Her class started with 15 minutes of tap (pictured below), followed by 15 minutes of ballet, and then the class moved to the gymnastics room for the last 30 minutes.Here's a rare moment, Julia sitting still and listening to the teacher.
Julia's teacher helped the little ones do a preschool version of back handsprings. The goal here is to get used to the movement of that skill. Julia was definitely comfortable rolling back on the mat and then flipping her legs over her head.
Julia loves anything and everything on the bars. She likes doing basket hangs, swinging on the bars, and doing the skill below - walking her legs up the mat, which is a precursor to a pullover (swinging the legs backwards and up over the bar).
Julia usually shies away from the balance beam, but not today. Maybe she wanted to show off for the camera, or maybe she just finally decided to try this on her own. Either way, she did great - she never lost her balance on the beam.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Comparing People

We had pancakes this morning. We use Aunt Jemima syrup. The bottle of syrup was sitting on the table, with the label facing Evelyn. Evelyn asked, "Who's this lady?" Troy answered, "Aunt Jemima." Then Evelyn asked..."Don't you think she looks like Grandma Luster?" This had Troy and me in stitches because, quite honestly, we don't see it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jazzed-Up Cupcakes

I saw this idea online a couple of days ago, and today Julia and I tried it: cupcakes with an Oreo cookie crust.
Here's Julia, modeling a gorgeous Oreo cookie...
...and here she is, putting an Oreo in each cupcake liner.
Then we made the cake batter per the directions on the box, divvied up the batter among the 24 cupcake liners and baked the cupcakes per the directions on the box.
And here's our creation, all frosted and ready to eat. I have to admit, there really wasn't much of a difference in taste (there's so much sweetness going on with the cupcake and frosting), but the girls enjoyed having a unique dessert.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Snowy Walk Home

It snowed for about an hour and a half this afternoon, and the timing couldn't have been better. Big, monstrous, chunky snowflakes swirled around us on the walk home from school. Evelyn was in heaven, walking with her tongue sticking out. And what better after-school snack than hot chocolate with marshmallows?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

DC Zoo on a Warm January Day

The high today was forecast to be 60 degrees, along with mostly sunny skies. We girls had to get outside and do something, and we opted to head into Washington, D.C. to visit the National Zoo. It has been over a year since we've been to this zoo, so we took our sweet time wandering around, checking out all of the aminals (as Julia calls them).We spent five hours at the zoo, looking at.....cats, prairie dogs, an anteater, outdoor water turtles (in January!), horses, orangutans, gorillas, a gibbon, a siaming, both pandas, an elephant, fishing cats, clouded leopards, a sloth bear, cheetahs, zebras, a mane wolf (which is a stinky as a skunk!) and gazelles. We also ate our picnic lunch near the orangutan O-Line and grabbed a snack at the Starbucks across the street from the main entrance. Needless to say, we were all exhausted by the time we left, but we had a blast!

Awesome Animal Pictures

I love the zoom on my camera. While at the zoo today, I had some fun taking close-ups of animals. My absolute favorite animal picture of the day was of this Sumatran tiger. It looks like I was standing right in front of her.There were eight lions outside today - a five-year-old male, four male cubs and three female cubs. The cubs were all about 15 months old, having tons of fun rough-housing with each other and playing with burlap sacks. Evelyn enjoyed distinguishing the boys from the girls by looking for longer fur around the lions' necks, like the guy in the picture below.
I wanted to see what my camera would do if I tried taking a picture of an animal behind netting...and here's how my experiment turned out. The camera totally focused on the siaming, and you can't see any netting in the foreground. This guy also cracked us up, just chillin' in the sun, way up at the top of his enclosure, with a veggie snack in his hand.
The pandas were sleeping inside today, which gave me a chance to take some pictures through (scratched) glass. Not too shabby!
It was tricky to catch the family of red pandas. They were hiding high above us in a rock alcove, and they only came out to wander around for a few seconds before crawling back to their hiding place. Goodness only knows whether this is the dad, the mom or one of the two kids, but it sure looks soft! (Julia kept calling these little guys raccoons because they have striped, fluffy tails.)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tolerant Furball

More proof that Rosie is uber-tolerant of a three-year-old's antics: