Monday, June 8, 2015

Flashback to Easter Sunday

We came back from our spring break Edisto camping trip on Saturday and then got to enjoy Easter at home on Sunday. Matt and Ashlee came to church with us and then we had a big lunch at John and Barbara's house. I managed to get some pictures (although not necessarily decent ones) of all the kids in their Sunday best--the struggle is real when it comes to posed pictures and my children.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Shelby's bowling field trip

I have a tough time keeping up with the general hustle and bustle of our everyday life on this blog and when I looked at the photo card on my camera, I realized there were some key moments I missed documenting during the past couple months. I'm going to try and catch up over the next couple days.

I took a day off of work at the beginning of May to help chaperon Shelby's class field trip and to spend some quality time with my girl. When you are a full-time working mom, days like this are a really big deal.

This is Shelby's sweet friend and classmate, who insisted on sitting beside her on the bus. I think the bus ride may have been Shelby's favorite part of the field trip. 

It took Shelby a long time to warm up to bowling--the bowling alley experience is a bit of a sensory overload. But by the end of her first game, she started to enjoy it and had trouble waiting for her turn. Here is Shelby bowling with help from her sweet teacher, Ms. Milor:

After bowling, we had lunch at the park and Trip was able to join us. 

I am continually impressed by the amazing people that work with Shelby and her classmates at school. What a phenomenal team of teachers and therapists--I am so glad that Shelby is at this school and it was a joy to hang out with them for a day. 

Elkmont Firefly Camping Weekend

This was our second time traveling to the Elkmont Campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to see the synchronous fireflies. This year, we went with four other families who are dear friends of ours and it was a blast. The synchronous fireflies did not disappoint. I found this video on YouTube in case you are wondering what these fireflies are all about;

Shelby's birthday was Friday and she loves camping, so we told her that this was her birthday party. My parents gave her an ENO hammock for her birthday and she spent a great deal of the weekend in her "birfday hammock" swinging and relaxing and napping by the river. 

Our campsites were riverside which was heaven for both children and adults. I loved the communal feel of this weekend. People spilled from one campsite to another and parents fed and took care of each other's children. 

The kids had an amazing tolerance for icy cold water and were in the river exploring and tubing from 8 a.m. till 8 p.m.--stopping every now and then to eat. My favorite part of the weekend was sitting by the river relaxing and laughing with friends while watching the kids float past on their tubes. 

Many thanks to my friend Jessica for providing photographic evidence of my presence at this glorious weekend of fun: 

Sweet Landen was the littlest kid at the campsite and he did his best to keep up with all the big kids. 

Group photos can be challenging--enter the selfie stick that the Grahams brought. Here is the selfie stick in action:

I think it is very safe to say that a good time was had by all! What a wonderful start to our summer--1 week till summer break! 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Who is Andy?

Shelby has an invisible friend named Andy........we think he lives inside John's banjo.

When we were living with John and Barbara last summer, Shelby's favorite place in their house was on the glider on their porch. The motion of swinging, rocking, or gliding is really calming for her. John spends a lot of time on the porch playing his banjo, so this porch banjo gliding time became something that Shelby and John did together.

Now that we live in our own house further up the mountain, Shelby still loves to hang with her Bop while he plays the banjo. At some point, she started requesting to hear the banjo when visiting John and Barb. And then at some point they noticed that Shelby would say "Want to talk to Andy" when the banjo was nearby. She leans into the banjo head and will whisper "Annndyyyy.....hey Andy". I'm not sure what is up with this. Shelby has a wicked sense of humor and loves to entertain others, so it really could be a big joke. However, she doesn't really giggle when the banjo is around, so who knows.

Bottom line: I love it that Shelby and John share banjo time together. John plays for Shelby while she listens, he very patiently lets her strum it while he plays, and he even stops playing so she can converse with Andy.....

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Spring Break Edisto Camping

I love Edisto Island and the many childhood memories I have there--I spent two weeks there each summer with my dad's side of the family during my formative years. For spring break, our family experienced Edisto in a completely different, but equally great way. Growing up, I never even tapped the surface of what Edisto had to offer because I was too busy playing in the ocean. The state park is great--tons of handicap accessible biking and hiking trails through the forest, across the marshes, and to the ocean. Spanish Moss dangles from the branches of Live Oaks which provide shade and privacy for the camping spots on the marsh at the Live Oak Campground. I lucked out in getting a four-night camping reservation for Spring Break and the trip was wonderful---the temperature was perfect, the biking was great, we had a little bit of beach time, and it was fun being with my parents and using their "new" Shasta trailer. Now Trip and I really want a pop-up camper so we can do more trips like this.

No trip to Edisto is complete without some cousin time. Edson lives in Charleston and came to hang out with us on his day off. Here he is helping H fly a kite. 

Did I mention that Harding took this dragon kite over from another kid on the beach? Oops....

Speaking of cousins--Harding and Shelby got some cousin time in too because Riley came with us. She collected tons of oyster shells, but she also found her first fossilized shark's tooth by herself and an intact conch shell (which she and Harding reluctantly returned to the ocean). 

Drip castle fun. The water was COLD but that did not stop the kiddos. 
One of the many bike trails we explored.

Mommy Son bike trip to the water. 

Our friend Graham brought baby Clarkson over to Edisto to visit us on Good Friday when daycare was closed. What a treat to get to snuggle this sweet angel!
We were full of visitors--the Easter Bunny came early and brought the kids treats on paper plates. Classy, huh? 

Camper Cuteness
I woke up early one morning and went to see the sunrise by myself. The sun really puts on a show in the morning at Edisto. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to survive winter on top of a mountain 101

1. Capitalize on any day that is sunny and 60 + degrees (we had one glorious weekend like that at the beginning of February).
Trip is pulling Shelby in the bike trailer that the Gillilands have generously handed down to us. 

Harding hamming it up for the camera. 

Old Fort, NC

2. Stock up on the essentials for lots of time indoors: fuzzy slippers, firewood, books, beer.

Shelby loves her bunny slippers Nana!

My new chair has turned into Harding's favorite reading spot.
3. Remember that cousins make great playmates. Thank goodness for our next-door neighbors!

4. Do what you gotta do to get down the driveway and get to work, school, etc....

The Polaris is great for transporting down to the bottom of the driveway, where we leave our vehicles during snow/ice storms. But, its a cold ride to the bottom. 
Chains!! These made a huge difference.
5. Enjoy the long-range winter soon as the trees leaf out again, we won't be able to see the mountains surrounding our house. 

We did it--we survived our first winter on Kinnaird mountain! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Our Soaring Eagle

Shelby's school has a program a few times a year called the Soaring Eagle ceremony. It is a really big deal. The teachers and teacher assistants pick one child from each class to recognize because of their academic growth or character. We were invited to attend the ceremony last Friday because Shelby was among the recipients. All the students and teachers come to the auditorium for the ceremony and each teacher reads a speech about their class's soaring eagle. Shelby's teacher wrote a beautiful speech that really captured the essence of our girl:

Our class's choice for Soaring Eagle stood out quite clearly. She not only exemplifies the 3 R's (Respectful, Resourceful, and Responsible) but has shown us all what the 4th R is...Relational. Relationships are intertwined with being Respectful, Resourceful, and Responsible and Shelby shows us this on a daily basis. She meets you once and remembers your name. She remembers specific things about each individual, and reminds us how important it is to really know and love people. Shelby is brave, facing her fears and courageously persevering in even the hard things. She is one of the most independent little girls I've met, with a sense of humor and whit that is sure to brighten anyone's day. We are so proud of Shelby Kinnaird for being our Soaring Eagle. Congratultions, Shelby!! We love you! 

There were many teary eyes as Shelby came across that stage to get her award and it was wonderful hearing everyone clap for her. Her teacher assistant told us later that she kept saying, "Yay, Shelby Kinnaird" when she got back to the classroom. This ceremony confirmed for us what we already knew--Shelby is finding her place at school and the people there love her and really get her!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Liam Neeson Cool Factor

People that know Harding well know that he is notorious for never having his shoes tied. He knows how to tie them, but it takes forever and they never seem to stay tied (even if I tie them for him). I was a few minutes early to pick up H from climbing club at his school the other day and got to watch him in action. After several rounds of climbing routes with his shoes untied (as usual), I witnessed the following interaction between Harding and one of the belayers when he got to her section: 

Belayer: “On Belay.”
Harding: “Ready to Climb.”
Belayer: “Climb on.”
Harding: “Climbing.”
Belayer: "Wait, your shoe is untied!"
Harding: (Blank stare)
Ms. Jo, the P.E. Teacher: (says to me) "She obviously does not know Harding very well."

So, is Harding "Liam Neeson cool?" You be the judge......

Post note: I have since ordered my eight-year-old a pair of shoes with Velcro straps (sigh). 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Growing up: Inches and Miles at a Time

In so many ways, Shelby is developmentally still our little girl, but I've been noticing how she seems to have grown a lot over the last couple months. My long legged baby girl is looking like a big girl!

And to cinch the deal, she lost her first baby tooth earlier this week.....

She didn't quite get what the rest of us were excited about--but she enjoyed all of us making a big deal out of the occasion, and of course, the tooth fairy came through and brought Shelby a dollar bill!

And as if to prove that she's not just growing physically, Shelby started carrying her back pack by herself. Previously, she hasn't been able to handle balancing and walking and carrying it all at once, but she's got it now.