Saturday, April 29, 2006

How can we teach these girls to play soccer aggressively?

That's the question we ask ourselves each week watching Samantha's team play soccer. These are the nicest girls - they wouldn't possibly want to take a ball away from a friend, now would they?

Anyway, its funny to watch girls play soccer at the age when they are afraid of the ball.

Samantha's game today was great. They won 4-3 and it was a hard fought win. Samantha scored a goal and then had a penalty kick where she scored another goal!! So she contributed two goals to the team win. Its tough, though. Samantha would often get the ball and start taking it down the field, only to find that there is no one to pass the ball to, and several defenders from the other team coming at her. But she hung in there and the Screaming Eagles won their game!!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Emma's communication skills are growing

For a couple of months now, Emma has told us that she's tired by picking up her blanket and "handing" it to us so that we will take her to her bed. This morning, she was standing up in her play yard with blankie in hand and paci in mouth. I asked her if she was ready to go "night night" and she actually NODDED her head up and down telling me YES, she was most definitely ready to go take her nap. And she must really have been tired because I haven't heard a peep from her in the 20 minutes she's been up there. I wonder what she does all night to make her so tired in the morning?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The car is closer!!

I started making some calls today to Toyota dealerships to get an updated status report on the arrival on the 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid. Since my initial "data gathering" resulted in dates ranging from April to October, I figured I would receive the same variety of answers this round. The good news: I called a dealership out of town who says they expect the new Hybrid Camrys to come in NEXT WEEK. And, because its not in Northern Virginia, there aren't nearly as many people waiting for the car and we can possibly get one almost immediately!!

We are quite excited - we will be ready to drop almost everything to drive down there and purchase our new car. Can't wait!!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Opening Day!!

An event I remember fondly from many years of my childhood - Little League opening day. Michael started playing T-ball in the fall, but this is his first Spring season, so we were looking forward to his first official "Opening Day". As the team mom, I even painted a team banner for the team to display at games and at opening day (not the one here - I'll share photos of the banner later this week!)

Prior to Opening Day, Michael had his first T-ball game of the season. His team is the New York Mets. Michael had a great time. He hits the ball really hard and runs hard to the bases. Fielding is a bit different as I believe he would rather socialize with his friends on the field instead of watching the other team bat. But, he's only 5 so we'll give him that.

The girl in this photo who is running to third base is actually his friend Lauryn from last year's preschool. He was very upset when he first learned he was playing her team - he didn't want to play his best friend's team!!

Saturday approaches and we look forward to Opening Day. But, it rained. It rained a lot. Not enough to cancel Opening Day, so Mike and Michael headed out to the festivities. Michael was only 1 of 2 kids from his team who came because of the rain - and not even the coach showed up. So, we were a litle disappointed that Opening Day festivities were soggy - Michael only stayed a little while before Mike decided it was time to leave. But, the season will continue with two games a week through the beginning of June!!

Friday, April 21, 2006

I have lost control!!

I am no longer in charge in this household. Its important for me to be in charge of schedules because they are quite busy and there is so much to do. But, apparantly, I am no longer in charge.

Emma has been in her bed for at least 45 minutes. She should be asleep. I have already done the obligatory "go back in and lay her down" that she has worked into her routine. Alas, its been another 15 minutes and I still hear her talking and laughing.

Guess what happens when Emma doesn't go to sleep during nap time - the rest of the day is nuts. She will either a) go to sleep and the sleep so long that that bedtime is messed up; or b) not go to sleep, resulting in a very tired baby about 5pm.

So, I go upstairs again to tell Emma that I am in charge and I command her to go to sleep!! Think it'll work?

I had to edit and add to this post - as I pushed the "Publish" button, I hear her actually KNOCKING on her wall because she knows I can hear it - is she 14 months or 14 years old?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Live and In Color!!

More proof that the internet has increased in power, and made it easier for the "layman" to do things. I can now host video for displaying here. Don't know how long it will stay hosted on the internet, so this will be a good experiment.

Here are Michael and Emma playing!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Here Comes Peter Cottontail!

We had a nice Easter in the Stopper household this weekend.

We colored our eggs on Saturday afternoon, so that they would be ready for the Easter Bunny!! We had to make a quick trip to Target in the morning because I looked at the box of Paas that I actually remembered to purchase earlier in the week, only to discover that it only had THREE colors - who colors eggs with only 3 colors?
The Easter Bunny did indeed visit overnight. The kids each had an Easter basket full of candy, toys, and eggs. Each one got a DVD - Samantha got Narnia, Michael got Chicken Little and Emma got Wallace and Grommit. The kids then headed outside to look for the Easter eggs hidden by the Easter Bunny. They looked high and low and found eggs filled with jelly beans (and even a few had quarters inside!).

Easter morning was a little busier this year than in past years. We have begun visiting a new church and I wanted to make sure that the kids made it to Sunday School and church. Its a nice small Baptist church, currently meeting in an office park, but planning to build in the middle of South Riding. The church has about 25 members in the choir that presented a beautiful concert during the service.

After church, we went to a favorite destination - the Hyatt at Fair Lakes - for Easter brunch. It was done nicely with many stations and lots of food (and desserts) to choose from. We had a great meal and took some nice photos of the kids afterwards (but, alas, were unable to get a family shot).

We ended our day relaxing after such a huge meal and a busy weekend. Kids were ready to hit the sack and be ready to return to school on Monday!!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

14 months old!

Today, Emma turned 14 months old. The past two months, since her first birthday, have been exciting. She's not yet walking - which isn't unusual since Samantha didn't walk until around 16 months. But she is doing many things deliberately and is already showing how smart she is. For instance, we had chicken and Lipton noodles the other night. Emma had finished eating all of her noodles and still had some chicken left - yet she pointed her finger to the spot in the plate where her noodles were and asked for more!! Now let's be clear - in Emma speak - asking means screeching at the top of her lungs until she gets everyone's attention. She can also tell us when she's tired. She will be playing in her yard and she'll stand up and pick up her blanket to hand it to me - she's ready to go to bed!!

She's also testing her boundaries - she intentionally throws her pacifier out of her car seat and then yells for someone to get it. We are now telling her that she isn't getting it back because she did it on purpose - and she actually pouts! She knows a lot of words - but we know only a few. She can clearly say Mama and Dada, and we have interpreted her saying "Michael" and "Samantha". But there are other times that a string of sounds comes out of her mouth - and we know that she knows EXACTLY what she is saying - but we don't. We look forward to the time that we learn her language, or she learns ours.

This photo was taken today after Easter Brunch. I will share more about that tomorrow. Thanks to Aunt Emily for buying the pink dress with the beautiful pink smocking on the front from Brazil. We love it!!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Equal time

For no particular reason, I seem to have more to report on Samantha and Emma than I do for Michael. I'm sure its because Emma is a baby and things that happen are often "firsts". And I'm sure its because Samantha is involved with more things because she's older. And I'm sure its because things with Michael are normal right now, and we are very happy about that.

Michael is almost 6. One thing we learned about Michael when he was about 2 is that he is going to be good at sports. He has played soccer and is currently playing T-ball. He is quite good at both. He also can hit a golf ball so far that it travels the width of our backyard and often lands in the neighbor's yard. He can also throw a pretty good spiral with a football. With all of that talent, its tough to know which way to direct him to use that energy.

But his talent isn't limited to sports. He already reads very well and is becoming a great piano player. It seems that whatever he tries, he does it well!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

And they keep on comin'

I was looking at Emma today and realized she has cut TWO MORE teeth - the two other incisors on the top. So, now she has SIX top teeth - and two bottom teeth. No wonder she's been fussy all week!! Who knew!

So that's what he did!

So Michael was arguing with me. I told him to go outside and he gave me a thousand reasons why he didn't want to. Its Spring Break and I want the kids to get as much outside time as they can, weather permitting. So, finally I said, "I don't care if you sit there and look at the sky - you are going outside".

So that's what he did.

I looked outside the window 10 minutes later and there was Michael, sitting on the bench on the deck, looking at the sky!!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Emma has molars!

Emma's teeth have come in in the most unusual way. She got her first two close together - both on the bottom. Then, after lots of tears and lots of pain, she cut her first upper one. It was quite a while before her second front upper tooth came up - it still isn't all that far out. So, that's FOUR.

But, she was especially fussy yesterday and so I figured I'd feel around to see if she had any teeth coming in - and her two 12 month molars on the top have BOTH come in. So, her fifth and sixth teeth AREN'T her other bottom front teeth, like most NORMAL children. They weren't her remaining two upper front teeth, again like most normal children - but her upper molars (not even her lower molars)

I don't have photos because trust me, she's not letting a camera get anywhere near that part of her mouth - you just have to take my word for it.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Its a ZOO in there!!

The 3rd grade at Samantha's school had their animal fair this week. Each student:

  • Chose an animal
  • Researched the animal and wrote a research paper
  • Drew a food chain
  • Wrote a poem about their animal
  • Colored a map indicating where their animal lives
  • Built a habitat out of a shoebox
  • Made a clay statue of their animal; and
  • Constructed a display board presenting all of this information.

Samantha chose the Koala. She researched her animal using her newly learned research techniques and wrote a compelling paper on the Koala. We constructed a habitat from a shoebox, covering it in blue and green paper and building trees out of pipecleaners - we even gave her clay Koala some friends made out of punched hearts. She put together her display board from all of the components she wrote at school and punched out and glued on die cuts to resemble a eucalyptus tree - the natural habitat of a Koala.

On the day of the Animal Fair, the 3rd grade presented 7 songs about animals, with dancing and speaking by some of the students. Then, all of the students presented their display boards and habitats in the cafeteria for all the parents to see.

Samantha was very proud of her board and her habitat. She received very high marks for all of her work.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

This just isn't right

We had sod laid yesterday. 5 strips to replace what was dug up in February for Verizon to lay their high speed fiber lines. I'm sure they expected that by April 4th, it would actually BE Spring.

So, we get a note on our door that says to make sure that we water it significantly over the next 3-4 days (I'm presuming so that it will take root before it dies). And, because of the location of the 5 strips of sod, it actually take 5 different sessions where I have to move the sprinkler each time.

This would be no problem - if it weren't 45 degress outside with 10-15 mile per hour gusting winds. I actually have to stand with my back to the wind in order to place the sprinkler so that I don't get soaked - and cold soaked at that. And, do you know how difficult it is to determine where the sprinkler is actually going to water when the wind is blowing the water stream.

That's just not right!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Poor Michael

Michael hasn't been feeling well. It started mid-day on Sunday, but Samantha had had a little fever on Sat and was feeling better, so I thought he had a little 24-hour thing. Well, 2 1/2 days later, he is no better. He has been running a fever of 102 (before Advil) and 100 (after Advil). When his fever is down, he acts as though he feels ok. When his fever is up, he is outright miserable. He has coughed until he is absolutely hoarse.

Took him to the Doctor today who did two things: 1) confirm that he didn't have strep (kinda wish he did because at least we could give him an antibiotic and get better) and 2) tell us to come back on Thurs if he isn't any better. Well, here we are Tuesday night and he isn't any better. Tomorrow will be his 3rd day out of school - not that I mind much - its only Kindergarten - but I feel so bad that he feels bad. He really is miserable when he doesn't feel good.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Note to Self: Don't let Emma take "Little People" to bed

All of my kids have loved playing with "Little People". Emma likes to put the Little People in the Little People bus, and then open the back door and dump them out - just to do it again.

She took a Little People up to nap with her. 20 minutes later, I hear her talking and laughing with her Little People - when she should be sleeping. So, of course, I have to be the "mean mommy" and take the Little People away.