Sunday, January 30, 2011

A 'Writerly' Life

Ava decided to use her birthday cash for Toy Story Legos. I'm not sure who was more excited about that choice, Daddy or Ava James.

Although the box says "For ages 7-12," if you average the ages of the 'children' playing it all comes out okay.

We have started having regular Friday Night Dinners with the Wilson/McCormick/Boatman family. (Anybody else thinking of the Gilmores? It's nothing like that, I promise.) They included us in their resolution to eat out less. Each Friday night we choose a restaurant to theme dinner around, and each family brings a component of the meal. We've enjoyed Ted's Night (a local Mexican restaurant), Victoria's Night (Italian), Charleston's Night (delicious everything), and can't wait for this Friday's Tapas Night (appetizers). Sweet E and Ava have a blast playing while we stuff ourselves silly.

Just like me, Ava is a girl who loves to write. When I taught fourth grade Writing I used a curriculum by Lucy Calkins. I love her writing jargon and constantly find it popping up in my vocabulary. One thing she talks about is that children need to live a 'Writerly life', meaning they need to see value in writing in their everyday life and take note of interesting things to write about in the future. (Thus preventing the, "But Mrs. Lockett I don't have anything to write about" blues that young writers like to sing.) To show Ava that writing is useful, I've been going out of my way to point out how writing can help us.

For weeks I kept forgetting to buy a pencil sharpener for her colored pencils in the school room. One day, after a trip to the grocery store, she grew frustrated with her dull pencils and my exclamation of, "Ugh, we forgot again Ava!"

I immediately grabbed by shopping list pad and a pencil (mechanical, thank goodness - otherwise we were out of luck) and asked her to write 'sharpener' on the top of the list so we would remember to buy it on our next shopping excursion. Sure enough, when we returned from the next Target run we had a shiny red sharpener in hand. Tangible, 4-year-old appropriate proof of the value writing has in our lives.

Well, I've created a monster. Now each week, while I'm making my shopping list, she insists on writing one of her own. She picks her favorite grocery staples and any 'fun stuff' we need. It's her responsibility to sound out and write the items on her list, then read them to me while we're at the store.

This week's list: avocados, pencils, and pigs.
(No, we didn't buy pigs. She loves pigs in a blanket for breakfast.)

Saturday's weather was positively dreamy.

We took the afternoon to bike ride to the parks and playgrounds near the house.

Determined to make it all the way across the monkey bars - she did!

Pedaling with Daddy

Sliding with static/windy hair Mommy

Driving in the warm sunshine

Playing soccer

Brave climber

A little gymnastics at the playground

Walking on the rolling barrel

More climbing

New uses for the soccer ball

A little support on the high monkey bars

Above the blue

The Smirk

Daddy found a lizard sunning in the window of one of the classrooms.

Sunday morning dawned overcast and blustery. We layered clothes and coats for church and spent the day inside. I meant to take Valentines pictures of Ava yesterday, but I hadn't appliqued her shirt in time. Instead we found a semi-sunny spot in the house to pose for these shots. I know there are a ton, but I loved so many of them.
(Grandmas - if you'll let me know which ones you like I'll send them to a nearby photo center of your choice. They are numbered for convenience sake.)











Sunday, January 23, 2011

Happy Accidents

A few nights before her fourth birthday Ava had her heart set on eating watermelon. Watermelon in January? There were a few scrawny seedless ones at the grocery store. I assured her it probably wouldn't taste very good, but I bought one for her anyway. She ate almost the entire watermelon by herself.

Such a happy treat

Round 2

and Round 3

On Saturday we celebrated Ava's fourth birthday at Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy. After a perfect party there last year, it was an easy choice for this year.

What a treat to have a party on her actual birthday.

Ready to play

Waiting so patiently for the gym to open


Encouraging a sweet friend to try the slide

Bouncing and climbing

Loving on Baby K

Baby K just hanging around

Waiting for the Air Tramp to inflate


Time for bouncy fun

Wrapping the birthday girl in a parachute

Then spinning her around with a tug

Jumping on the parachute bubbles

Playing in the parachute tent

Kicking the pink top

Foam pit wars with Daddy

Sliding into the pit

Building bridges with G

Daddy tossing Ava "not too high" - ha!

Foam pit swimming with Pops

Floating with Mommy

Daddy attempting gymnastics tricks, boy is he feeling it this morning.

Defying gravity with Mary

Balancing fun

The whole group

I'd just like to say a quick 'you're welcome' to all of the parents of kiddos at the party. I know there were some serious naps yesterday afternoon.

A 4 out of cupcakes

Ava requested cupcakes from our favorite spot, Sara Sara Cupcakes. I ordered mini cupcakes for the party, but the girl who took my order forgot to mark the 'mini' box. We ended up with 48 huge cupcakes! They were kind enough to only charge me for the minis, and we had more cupcakes than we knew what to do with. We decided the mix-up was quite the happy accident.

Sweet kiddos

Happy Birthday Ava James

Chocolate bites for the birthday girl

Dig in

Present time

Mimi helped Ava open a special birthday book.

I was determined to sew something special for Ava's birthday. A dear friend, TC, helped me make her Twirly Skirt. I appliqued a 4 onto a shirt and also made a headband to match. She was so sweet, and asked to wear it several times before her birthday. I let her wear it last night to dinner and to church this morning.

Aunt Jaryn admiring Ava's fancy new charm bracelet from Baba.

Tuckered out from the day of fun.

We are so thankful for our own little 'happy accident' four years and nine months ago!