Stories & Such

From a mother of three to you.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Conner's Closing Ceremonies

On Friday, Allison and I attended the closing ceremonies for Conner's 2nd year of preschool. In preparation, I got the kids all cleaned up, and Allison and I consulted on some potential hairstyles for Conner on his big day. Then the kids were dressed in their finery, pictures were snapped, and it was off to school. Conner showed off what he had learned in his weekly movement classes (kid yoga), then received a memory book from his teachers. It ended with ice-pops and smiles all around.

Click the picture to see the slideshow.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Em & Sam Come to Play

Here are a few pictures I took when Em and Sam came over to play.

(Sorry Sara, I just think this picture is cute.)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Allison Van Gogh

Allison is becoming quite a little painter. She especially loves exploring the transfer process from a paper medium to the more dramatic artistry of face painting. Click the pic below to see more.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Random Acts of Cuteness

Allison makes an adorable flower child, and Conner...well, you'll have to see for yourself. Click on the Alex's lovely artwork below to see how our two youngest's personalities have been developing.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Karate Kids

In January we started Alex and Conner in karate lessons at a local dojo. Sensei runs them hard, and every week they earn a stripe. Eventually, they had enough stripes to earn their yellow bites. Here are some pictures from their class and their yellow belt ceremony.

Click the picture.

Birthday Bowling

The party may be over but today is actually Allison's birthday. I asked her what she would like to do as an activity for her birthday, and she chose to go bowling. Who was I to argue?

We went to the Acton Bowladrome and had the whole place to ourselves.

It was all fun and games right up until Conner "tossed" Allison the ball. She survived the glancing blow to her foot, but Conner was not able to recover from the firm reprimand I administered. Despite my efforts, he was out for the count.

Soon after, Allison said she was done and wanted to go home. Since we were only in the middle of the fifth frame, I opted to bribe the kids with iPhone games and peanut M&M's so I could finish up. Towards the end, I really started to show some improvement!

Check out our scores, and then click the pic for the full slideshow.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Allison's 3rd Birthday Party

Allison had a wonderful birthday party on Sunday. Thank you so much to all the friends and family who were able to join in! She is now loving her new Cinderella castle and her lovely dress up clothes, among other new favorite toys. If you look closely you'll see that the day was full of more outfit changes then Whoopie Goldberg hosting the Oscars. And we didn't even get a picture of her in the pink dress!

Click the pic for the slideshow.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Russells Go Camping!

Well, sort of. You see, when I was a kid we used to camp all over the New England area. I have wonderful memories of pulling into our secluded campsite late at night in the pouring rain, matching up big metal tent poles in the dark to the light of an unsteady flashlight held by a shivering, dripping wet kid (that was actually me), climbing into a sleeping bag in the same dripping wet clothes because it was too cold to change out of them plus, ya know, in front of the whole family? And then slowly warming up to a steamy, clammy mess as our old Coleman dome top propane fueled heater filled the tent with heat and CO2 (CDC now says not to use those things inside, by the way).

But in the morning, the rain was gone, the birds were chirping, and my mom was cooking bacon and pancakes on her little camp stove. By 9AM we were in our bathing suits and ready to run down the dirt road, following the wooden signposts to a sparkling mountain lake where we would swim, dig in the sand, and relax the day away. It was heaven...with mosquitoes.

Now, every once in a while, if we were going for a long weekend or a whole week's worth of camping, we would go to a campground where upon exiting our afore-mentioned secluded, tree enclosed, private campsite, we would have the option to follow the trails and paths to a beach, or a pool, or a playground, and there would be a small covered area where a family-oriented group of musicians would play sprightly dancing music until 9PM. That was called "resort camping". And one of my favorite resort campgrounds as a kid was called Jellystone Park. It was with this memory in mind that I booked our first family camping vacation at Jellystone. My thought was that introducing the kids to sleeping in a tent and being surrounded by nature, dark dark nights and long cold walks to the bathroom by flashlight, it would be easier for them to handle if there were kid-friendly activities and a huge Yogi Bear statue for them to enjoy. I was right...ish.

The kids did love Jellystone Park. They really loved Jellystone Park. I mean, how could they not? It was never too dark, you could walk to the bathroom without a flashlight because you could see by the ambient lighting coming from the campsites of every other family within a quarter of a mile. It was never eerily quiet because the band pumped music until 10PM and then the music and voices and dog barking from the other campsites took over, free to travel through the clear-cut treeless row upon row of campers, trailers, pop-ups and the occasional tented site that were packed in one on top of another on top of another on top of another as far as the eye could see. There was an arcade full of violent shooting games, a spray park (that was actually cool), a swimming pool, a coin operated hot tub (seemed to be out of order), a mini-golf course (closed for repairs), daily crafts, hayrides with pumping music, pedal car rentals, organized games of kick ball that somehow included vats of mud, a minuscule sandy beach where one could rent kayaks and canoes...ya know, camping. The kids were ecstatic.

So, here are some pictures of our adventures at Jellystone, where the kids ate their weight in S'mores, Paul discovered the joys of meat-on-a-stick, and Allison discovered her absolute and utter joy of playing in the dirt. Hope you all had a similarly exciting Memorial Day weekend. Enjoy!