Sunday, August 30, 2009

Geocaching...Our New Family Hobby

Geocaching...heard of it?

Geocaching, as defined by The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Website,is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.

Basically, it is a big treasure hunt. People have hidden caches (or treasures as the kids like to call them) all over the world, and we go look for them using my husband's iPhone. We have found some in our neighborhood park, local state park, back of a parking lot, and other interesting places.

The caches all have a log book which you sign to show you have found the cache. You also log your find online. Some caches are small, and others are larger and have actual 'treasure' inside. We found one recently that was loaded with toys for the kids. We follow the general rule, though, of if we take something, we must leave something of equal or greater value. Our plan...get a bunch of Ds awareness trinkets (buttons, stickers, magnets, or keychains), and that will be our 'calling card' that we will leave when we find a cache.

We also have plans to hide our own cache. We have a couple of locations mapped out - we just haven't executed yet.

If you haven't already done so, you should check it out! The kids will love it - and you will too! It is free. It is family-friendly. It is an outdoor activity that often requires some hiking (read, excercise).

Jonathan and Anna Geocaching (BTW - Anna loved the backpack carrier! She is not smiling in this picture, but I can tell you, she was full-on smiles the entire time!)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Countdown is On!

Only 6 more days until school starts!

Today we got to go visit Charlie's classroom and meet his teacher, Mrs. T (or so that is how I will refer to her). She was very nice and welcoming.

Charlie was very excited about his classroom. He and Paige had a fun time exploring all the neat things there are to look at, play with, listen to, etc. There is a little reading corner and loads of books, 4 or 5 computers, lots and lots of art supplies, and Charlie's favorite - Legos!

There will be 20 students in his class. I don't think we know any of his classmates - so there will be lots of new friends!

After visting Charlie's classroom, I took Charlie and Paige for back-to-school haircuts. They were both very excited to get their haircut -- not sure if they actually like the process, or the lollipop better. Either way, they are both looking sharp for their first day!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Healthy!

...so says the doctor. Praise the Lord!

I took Anna in for a weight check today. At her 15-month check-up, Anna had not gained any weight from her 12-month check-up. So, the pediatrician requested that we bring her in for a weight check a month later. Anna weighed in at a whopping 21 lb. 15 oz. today -- up almost two pounds from last month! Actually, I am shocked that it wasn't more. Anna eats like a horse!

The doctor also told us that all of Anna's bloodwork came back normal...which I had already assumed since we had it done a month ago and we haven't heard from anyone.

I also had the doctor do a quick check on Anna's eyes. The picture below was taken while we were on vacation. You will notice that Anna has one red-eye and one white-eye. (Click on photo to enlarge)



Of course this alarmed me because the first thing I thought of was the story of the little girl who was diagnosed with retinoblastoma after having a similar picture taken (See Link)

But, the doctor checked them again, and didn't see anything of concern. She did recommend that we have her double-checked by her ophthamologist when we go for her follow-up in September.

And, Anna got her flu shot.

So, according to her pediatrician, Anna is very healthy, and is now innoculated so she will hopefully stay healthy this winter!

Party Animals

Ha! Ha! Not really -- but we did enjoy a lovely evening among adults for a change.

Last Saturday, we ditched the kids with Jonathan's parents and headed to Boston for a wedding. It was a 'black tie optional' affair, so we got to get all dressed up in clothes that are not 'kid-friendly' - meaning...no stains, no holes, neatly pressed, dangling jewelry, and high heels. Here is a picture of my handsome date and me.
It was a lovely event...classy, but not overdone. They really did a nice job and thought of every detail. The wedding was held at The International in Bolton, MA. Here is a picture of Jonathan and me overlooking the golf course.
Notice how shiney we are...it was HOT and STICKY! I felt sorry for the men in their tuxes. I was in just a little dress and I was melting!

Sitting next to us at our table were our good friends, Judd and Elaine.
We are excited that they will be joining us on the Buddy Walk again this year.

And, here is a picture of the happy couple just after sealing the deal! Congratulations Rachel and Scott!

Anyway - we had a great time! We danced and enjoyed the company and conversation of adults until after mid-night. And, yes - I am still tired today. I am definitely getting old! =)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just Killing Time

We haven't been up to much since getting back from vacation - which has been kind of nice since we are all fighting a nasty summer cold.

We have been over to our friends' pool a couple of time this week - it has been warm here. Yesterday we met some friends at the park for a picnic. Nothing overly exciting...We are basically just killing time until school starts for Charlie on Sept 2, and for Paige on Sept 10.

I can't believe Charlie is starting Kindergarten this year! He is getting so big, and looks so grown up - it is often hard to remember that he is just 5.

We found out the name of his teacher today. I have mixed feelings about his teacher assignment - only because someone (a trusted source who knows my son and the Kdg. teachers) told me the other day that she hopes he gets one of the other two teachers, NOT the one that he got. I am sure that the teacher he got is just fine, as all of them at our school come highly recommeded.

And Paige starts pre-school, Tu and Th mornings. I am very excited for Paige to go to school - and I am very interested to see how she behaves. She is bubbling over with excitement, but I think she is just as excited about getting her hair cut again before school starts - silly girl =)

So, what will Anna and I do with all of our time together? No plans yet, but I am thinking about signing her up for a music class. She will have therapy every other Thursday morning.

Speaking of therapy, Anna had two really great sessions this week. Despite having a major summer cold, she was smiley and cooperative (well, mostly). Anna has been doing a great job of bearing weight on her legs in PT. And she is starting to get the hang of putting objects back in to the container.

And that, my dear friends, is about it. Good times! =)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Starting Your Week Off Right!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

R.I.P. Eunice!

Before Anna, I probably would not have made any special note about the passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Mainly because I never really thought about the Special Olympics as a part of my life before. I have always been aware of the Special Olympics, and have always admired the courage and strength of the Special Olympic athletes. But, it was never personal for me.

Silly me.

I soooooo look forward to the day when Anna is able to participate in the Special Olympics (If she wants to, of course...we won't force her to do anything she doesn't want to do). I wonder what her event will be? If there was Special Olympics for babies...right now, Anna would take the gold in "army crawling" and "the cup toss". =) Either way, we would like to become involved with the Special Olympics in some capacity; whether it be participating or volunteering.

Anyway - Thank you Eunice Shriver for having a big heart and seeing past the disabilities to the person inside. And thank you for giving a voice, and hope, and respect, and dignity, and acceptance, and dreams to so many who had been previously cast aside by society.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Just Because She is So Stinkin' Cute!

It was a rough day out at the beach!




And don't you love her pigtails? They add a whole new dimension to her cuteness, if you ask me. =)

Monday, August 10, 2009

I'm A Winner!

And that is not just a self-motivation speech!

I am actually a winner of my first bloggy giveaway.

Kim, from Blessed With Girls, was giving away one of her nifty crayon keepers...and I won one!

Woohoo!

Thanks, Kim! =)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

We're Back!

We are back from vacation!

We got back last night after spending a week on the beach in Old Orchard Beach, Maine (OOB). God blessed us with prefect beach weather all week! Needless to say, we had a great time!

We arrived at our beach house last Saturday, and the kids could not wait to get into the water. They ran right in, clothes and all. :)

Charlie and Paige were quite the beach bums (so were Jonathan and I). We had a hard time dragging them off the beach to go in for dinner. And, despite being slathered in SPF 50 a couple of times each day, they are both a beautiful golden brown. They look like little California surfer kids.

Anna was a bathing beauty. She didn't care for the water much (too cold, I guess), but she loved laying on the sand. She was pretty good about not eating it, but she did manage to get a handful or two into her mouth :) On our last day there, our beach house neighbor gave us his inflatable rowboat. We filled it with water and set Anna in it. She had a blast playing in her little pool beside us on the beach.

We chose a new location for our beach house this year. In the past, we looked for a house that was in OOB, and closer to the pier. This year, we went a little farther west into the Kinney Shores area of Saco, ME. Same beach, just on the other side of the little inlet. I am pretty sure that I speak for everyone when I say that we loved the new location! It was a lot quieter, and the beach was far less crowded - which is huge when you have 5 little kids to keep an eye on.

The weather was perfect, but the waves were puny. I love playing in the water. In particular, I love to play on the boogie board. But, we really didn't have any waves this year for me to show off my mad skills. But again, small waves make it easier to watch 5 little kids.

Jonathan and I, and my Father-in-law, played in the Annual OOB Salvation Army golf tournament one day. We didn't win any prizes, but we did have a lot of fun. The course we played was beautiful, and in was in great shape. I don't get to play golf nearly as much as I would like. I did manage a few nice drives, though, that kept our team in the hunt. I'll hang my hat on that :)

We played in the water. We played in the sand. We caught all kinds of marine wildlife (crabs, hermit crabs, snails, clams, etc.) We rode rides at the Pier. We ate enormous amounts of yummy food. We had a great time with family. In summary....A great vacation!

Tomorrow, it is back to reality!

Here is a link to our pictures. In typical Russell Family fashion, we took way too many :)

Enjoy!