Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Trick or Treat!

(Note to readers: There will be LOTS of Halloween posts this year. Just so you know.)

Halloween came early this year and the festivities kicked off Sunday with a party at Amelia's friend Haley's house. Most of these girls (and us, their mamas) have been friends since they were just months old and two years later, we still get together to visit or play or party. The gatherings are less often now. With so many of the kiddos in pre-school our schedules are harder to coordinate. And talk of diapers and baby food has been replaced by potty training and how to handle tantrums. Some families have moved away, others may do so soon. But hopefully, us mamas and our little ones will all remain friends for years to come.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fun Fall Days

After a long, hot summer, we have had some beautiful fall days here in Florida. (Hey, 80 degrees and no humidity is downright cool when the heat index just a few weeks ago reached to 100!) And we have taken advantage of them with lots of park days, (that's Amelia in the big girl swing at the park in her Florida Gators garb)and a visit to the Central Florida Zoo in nearby Sanford where she rode in a train with Jason and sat in front of a beautiful butterfly with Auntie Tracy.

But the recent highlights have been a visit to the University of Central Florida to see "Sesame Street Live" (which is a traveling show) and an open house at Amelia's school. Amelia, of course, LOVED seeing all of her favorite characters dance and sing IN REAL LIFE during the Sesame Street show. At times it was a little too loud for her tastes and she covered her ears, but mostly she sat still and was riveted by the performance. It warms my heart that she loves live shows because I have such special memories of going to see shows when I was young. Maybe she'll grow up to be on Broadway!

Last Thursday was Open House Night at Amelia's school and she was THRILLED to be going to school at night with us. She was so proud waking in to her classroom and wanted Jason to read to her and play with her and show us her favorite toys. (That's Jason reading to her during the open house.) She worked the room full of classmates and their parents like a pro. Following is a real conversation Amelia had with one of her friends, Izzie and Izzie's mom, who is pregnant.

Amelia: Hi! How are you guys?
Izzie's Mom: Fine! How are you?
Amelia: Just fine. How's the baby in your belly?
Izzie's Mom: (Laughing!) Just fine, thank you. (Still laughing.)

That's our girl!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


In August, we took another quick trip to Washington D.C. to visit Chris, Yoko and Nong Lanna, who Amelia continues to love with all her heart. The girls were absolutely fabulous together! They got along instantly and loved talking, singing, playing, eating, swimming and chasing each other. They're such good friends even though they only see each other a couple of times a year. After our visits, Amelia can't stop talking about Nong Lanna. I hope they remain close all their lives! We also got to see Everett and Rollin Scandlen on our trip. Everyone is growing up so fast! Auntie Tracy came with us and was able to capture dozens of amazing pictures of our family. Here are just a few. Thank you, thank you for giving us images that will last forever.

Over Labor Day weekend, the Lusk side of the family was in town and Amelia got to reconnect with Stacey's boy, "Baby Jake." She LOVED him, too, but I don't think he was quite as enamored with her. She was excellent at sharing her toys and really wanted to play WITH him, but he is still a little too young to play with friends. He mostly played alongside Amelia. We had a fun day at Downtown Disney, where, once again, Tracy took this wonderful photos.

Amelia is such a lucky girl to have such sweet cousins.

School Daze

I can't believe it's been two months since I've written! Where, oh where does the time go? We have had an amazing couple of months and there is so much to report. Events won't appear chronologically, but it's all late anyway.

The biggest news is that Amelia started pre-school Aug. 24 at a wonderful school called Windermere Union Church Preschool. It's been around for 50 years so it's well-established in the community. We spent a lot of time talking and preparing for the big day - reading books, decorating her new school bag, meeting her teachers and seeing her classroom. And when the big day came for me to drop her off with virtual strangers for the next three hours, Amelia was SUPER! Not a tear was shed from her little eyes or mine. ("Only the babies cried, Mama," Amelia cheerily reported back on the first day of school.) Details of her days trickle out and this is what I can surmise. She eats a snack most days, successfully uses the potty (big news when you're 2 1/2!) walks in line, goes to gym class, sings in music class, does art work, reads books and plays, plays, plays!

Amelia is in a class with other 2 1/2year-olds so everyone is about the same developmentally. She goes Tuesdays and Thursdays mornings and talks about some friends more than others. She says she really likes her teachers, Mrs. Jones (pictured here) and Mrs. O'Leary. They seem like very caring, committed teachers who love their jobs and appreciate their students. We have our first parent-teacher conference on September 30. Stayed tuned.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Lumpkin, Sumpkin. . . . .


Everybody knows that Amelia is the world's Number One Abby Cadabby Fan. And Sea World has the REAL Abby Cadabby and Elmo and Bert and Ernie and Rosita and Cookie Monster and Grover. That's right. They are ALL at Sea World during the summer when they are on vacation from Sesame Street. They all star in a show and you can meet them before and after the show, too.

The highlight of our most recent trip to Sea World was meeting Abby Cadabby herself. We were in the park for about 15 minutes when we almost ran right into that adorable fairy-in-training. Amelia was beyond thrilled - gasping, staring at her and generally enamored by the REAL ABBY. It was even more special because Amelia had an Abby tattoo on her arm that day AND was wearing her Abby ponytails, all of which she pointed out to Abby.

During the Sesame Street show, Amelia sat on Jason's lap and was very serious about the whole thing like she is when she is absorbing every moment of a new experience. And when we met Abby after the show, Amelia got to hold her wand and practice some fairy tricks. As Abby would say, the whole experience was "SO MAGICAL!"

Sea World!

This year, we decided Amelia was old enough to REALLY appreciate going to theme parks. And we are lucky to have plenty to choose from in Orlando. Several of our friends recommended we get passes to Sea World (Florida residents get a GREAT deal and Amelia still gets in free) and we have braved the spring and summer crowds several times.

As we expected, Amelia LOVES going. She is mesmerized by the underwater dolphin viewing, fascinated by the sting rays and enthralled with the Shamu show "Believe," during which she actually sits still and watches! (Yes, we do recognize the differing opinions around keeping wild animals captive - especially killer whales - and training them to perform. But that's a whole other story.) She's not too crazy about the sea lion exhibit because folks feed them fish and Amelia thinks that's "stinky."

We're lucky that our tickets allow us to go back as much as we want for a year so we don't have to cram everything into one day. I don't know how families do three, four or five parks in a week!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sun, Sand and Surf

The wonderful thing about living in Florida - even though Orlando is smack dab in the middle of the state - is you're never very far from the beach. And after a cooler-than-normal winter, we were glad to welcome beach weather! We love going to Cape Canaveral National Seashore near Titusville because it's unspoiled and there's plenty of room to roam. Also, if there is a space shuttle about to launch, you can see it on a launchpad, which is always a spectacular site.

Last year when we went to the beach, Amelia loved the water but wasn't so sure about the sand. This year, she is all about the sand - scooping, shoveling, digging, burying her feet. With Jason's help, she built sandcastles (which were really more like mini sand dunes) and looked for shells. She's so good about wearing her sunscreen and was so patient while we slathered it on and even wore her hat for awhile. To quote Amelia's swimming teacher, it's never too early to start teaching little ones about sun safety!