Thursday, September 29, 2011

If You Give A Girl A Suprise Bag

Josie got to bring the coveted Surprise Bag home from school the other day.  

She was very, very excited.

The Surprise Bag has a stuffed animal and some books inside and for homework, the student is supposed to read the books.  And cuddle the animal, I suppose.

Josie and I read the books together.

I read a page and then Josie read a page.

Josie preferred the pages that I read.

It was a sweet homework assignment, perfectly suited to a first grader.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I have been asked if Josie ever managed to pass her Deep Water test at our pool this summer.  I wrote about her quest here but I didn't remember to ever tell you the outcome.  Sadly, Josie did not even take her test this summer.  She took four private swim lessons and made unbelievable progress with her stroke, but then had problems with swimming the required two pool lengths without stopping.  It's a shame, too, since at one point, I think her lifeguard/teacher would have just passed her but it was a day when Josie was feeling silly and having a hard time concentrating on the task at hand.  The coveted orange band stayed in the manager's drawer.  

I am determined to do all I can to help her pass next year - not because I hate to see her hard work go unrewarded, but because I can not fathom having to listen to her complain about not having her orange band for another summer.  It was rather unbearable, especially considering that the children have to take their deep water tests during adult swims at the pool, thus ensuring that all the other children are fully aware of who has and who hasn't passed.

Josie does not like watching her peers pass a test that she is incapable of taking.  And I am do not like listening to Josie cry about a test she is incapable of taking.  Adult swims happen every hour and the non-stop complaining started grating on my nerves.

I signed Josie up for swim lessons at a local University this fall and for the next few weeks, she will be swimming and practicing her stroke. 

Josie really enjoys her lessons, but she doesn't really enjoy physical exercise in general.

The swim lessons are a fundraiser for the university's swim team and they are really an amazing deal.  For $45, you get 4 private lessons with a college student - many of whom haven't been up this early on a Saturday morning in about 10 years.  

The parents all watch from the observation deck above the pool.  It is very warm and relaxing.

This past Saturday, Josie's teacher got her to try a backstroke, which Josie liked because it didn't involve any fancy sort of breathing.  Each time Josie tries a new sport, I hope that this will be the one she falls in love with, but it never seems to happen.

She seems to enjoy the chatting and the personal attention of the teenager more than she enjoys the actual swimming.

Perhaps Josie will be my musician or artist.  

It's becoming obvious that Josie prefers sitting to moving.

She does show great enthusiasm for the diving portion at the end of the lesson.

but that could just be that she's  glad that the lesson has come to an end.

She's crafty that way.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Soccer Saturday

If it's Saturday in September, then it's time for soccer.  Saturday, September and Soccer are the three S's of fall.  I guess you could also include Separation and Sickness and make it the five S's of fall because that is what happens when you have a family of three germy kids and only two parents to drive them all across the state to different activities.  Hockey is in its infant stage right now, so Gordy and I are each only responsible for one girl child and their soccer games.  This week, both Henry and I had horrific cough colds that ended in antibiotics, sleepless nights and in Henry's case, a five-hour trip to ER for asthma issues.  It was not the best week ever.

Saturday was the first day of my antibiotics, so I was hacking away on the sidelines watching Josie enjoy her time on the field:

I noticed that the other mothers kept a wide berth of my coughing fits and I can't say that I blame them.  Even with three cough drops in my mouth, I sounded horrific and with a low-grade fever and accompanying aches, I felt even worse than I sounded.

Josie was playing with wet hair, because we came directly from her early morning swim lesson.  Perhaps "directly" is not the most accurate term.  We had enough time between swimming and soccer to make exactly one stop and I made the executive decision to go to CVS to pick up my antibiotics, rather than go home and dry Josie's hair.

Sorry about that Josie, but Mommy needed her meds.

At least it was a warm-ish, humid day!

Little kid soccer is funny to watch because no one plays an actual position.  All the children on the field run after the ball at once, in a pack.  It's a miracle that any plays get made at all.

Georgia's age level, on the other hand, is much more professional.  She has finally been taught what it means to play different positions - although she prefers defense.

While I was coughing up my lungs in our town, Gordy was far away cheering on Georgia and her team mates.  Georgia is playing for two teams this year and on her non-town team, the coaches have been moving players around, trying to get a feel for which positions each player does best.

On this day, Georgia had to play goalie for half of a game, a position she has never played before.

Later, Georgia told me that she had been nervous to play goalie, but defending the goal wasn't as bad as she had thought it would be.  She'd rather not have to do it again, though.  Goalies do not get to run and Georgia loves to run.

I like the Saturday, soccer and September aspects of fall, but I could do without the sickness and the separation.  It would be more fun to do things as a family, but that's what you give up when all three of your children are playing sports at the same time.  Things will be even crazier when Hockey really shifts into high gear and weekend homework rears it's ugly head.  

Is it too early in the season for me to say that I miss the lazy days of summer already?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What Josie Wore

I am an enthusiastic reader of blogs.  I read mommy blogs, dog blogs, fashion blogs and home decorating blogs.  I've even been known to press the Next Blog button at the top of the screen and fill a dull moment reading random blogs.  Over time, I've noticed a common trend in the female internet community:   women bloggers LOVE to publish "What I Wore" posts on their blogs.   The posts are always the same:  the blogger is wearing some fashionable outfit, complete with gorgeous shoes, jewelry and a handbag.  They are always posed outside in a garden or standing by their front door and they are always - ALWAYS - looking up at the sky with an impish smile on their face which says, "I don't really want to have my photo taken in this marvelous outfit that I came up with this morning, but you readers just won't leave me alone until I do!"

Here I am, demonstrating the "What I Wore" standard pose.  I'm not very good at it, as you can see.  I forgot to smile when I looked up at the sun and I can hear my pilates instructor yelling at me to lower my shoulders.  See, Britt?  I told you my shoulders just naturally gravitate up to my ears!

I have always thought the "What I Wore" post was the worst of all blog posts.  Who cares what you wore today?  Where are you going dressed up like that, anyway?  Who even knows who you are?  Unless you are Rachel Zoe and you are blogging to an audience of millions, your outfit choices are really not that important.

I thought it would be funny to do my own "What I Wore" post.  On day one, I would be wearing my 10-year-old, hole-y exercise pants with a ratty t-shirt and unwashed hair.  I would call the photo "What I Wore To Drive Henry To School in The Rain."  My next post would be me, dressed in jeans and a sweater, looking clean and relatively cute.  And since, I like to be honest, the next six posts would have to be me wearing the same outfit in varying stages of deterioration.  Because, like many busy mother's of young children who I know, I am big enough to admit that I often wear the same outfit multiple days in a row.

Stop acting grossed out.  It's EASY.  Especially, when I take the clothes off each night and drop them onto the floor of my closet where they are easy to see and put back on in the morning.  You know you've done it, Ms. Stay At Home Mom.  Confess, you'll feel better.  A well matched outfit is not always easy to put together and if you do scored an outfit hit the day before, it will still be fabulous the next day!

Obviously, if I wanted to do a "What I Wore" post, I would have to tweak the concept a little bit.  Enter Josephine, fashion expert and outfit coordinator extraordinaire.  I asked her if she would pose for me each morning so I could take a picture of each of her outfits.

Josie thought this was a fabulous idea.

And so I present to you:

What Josie Wore 
(And I'll put commentary on the bottom just like the other blogs!)

On the first day of school, Josie wore a Crewcuts dress with a Crewcuts thin, purple, sparkly belt and Nordstrom bow/ballet flats in black.

On the second day, Josie wore Crewcuts peg-leg, cropped, navy blue pants and a Crewcuts tunic with black ballet flats.

Josie did not think she was properly accessorized and so she added sunglasses (Nordstrom kids department) and a corduroy blazer from Gap Kids.

On the third day, Josie wore black Gap leggings with a GapKids purple dress and ballet flats.

This is getting boring, isn't it?  See what I mean?  No one cares what one person wears every day.  All that most of us care about is that said person IS WEARING clothes each day -- trust me, I've lived in many US cities, and I've learned the hard way that not everyone remembers to get dressed on a daily basis.

Josie liked the whole sunglasses thing, so on the next morning, she paired 4 year-old, hand-me-down Crewcut shorts with a GapKids sleeveless shirt (NOT a tank top, because kids aren't allowed to wear tank tops at our public school) and the purple Crewcuts, sparkly, thin belt.  She wore shoes that day, but didn't pose in them.

Josie remedied the shoe oversight the next morning.  She paired a Zara tunic with the purple belt, leggings from GapKids and black "leather" boots from CWD.

You can tell it started getting colder outside.

On the seventh day, Josie wore a vintage Crewcuts tshirt (that sounds better than Hand-Me-Down, right?) with a new Crewcuts jeans skirt, the GapKids blazer, navy blue, argyll knee socks and the boots.

I feel like I'm singing The Twelve Days of Christmas.  Sing along with me!  "... the Gapkids purple blazer, and the boots from the C-DOUBLE U - D."

Here is a close-up of the leg wear.  I thought it was pretty neat.

Later that day, Josie changed for her tennis lesson and she thought that I should record the new outfit as well.  I think I've solved the question as to why bloggers include these posts... "What I Wore" photographs are addicting!

To play tennis, Josie wore Reebok sneakers in gray & pink, ankle socks bought at TJMaxx, an exercise skirt by Target and a pink t-shirt that was a gift from her Great Aunt Elsie.  

Which brings me to the last post.  

On the last morning, Josie out-did herself:

This was the big hoorah.  Josie put on knee socks from GapKids, a vintage green Crewcuts critter-print skirt, a white t-shirt from her closet and a blue, bunny sweater from BodenKids.

And that, my friends, is what my six-year-old wore.  

I should tell you that Josie always puts her own outfits together each morning with no assistance from me.  But, I'm the one who buys the clothes in the first place, so I should get some of the credit, no?  As she gets older, Josie has more opinions on what she will or won't wear.  She insisted on buying black, knee-high boots this year and she swears by a good blazer and some leggings to complete any outfit.  

She is available for fashion consulting and closet organization, but I'll warn you, she's expensive!  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

And All The Rest

I am finally winding down my weeks-long account of our four day trip to Washington, DC.  We have been home much longer than we were away, but in my defense, we did have a lot of blogging material to cover!  This post will include the odds and ends of our long weekend and it will start with the trip we made to the upper left hand corner of Washington, DC to the row house I lived in for a year and a half after college.  

See that second story window on the left?  That's where I kept my stuff when I met Gordy for the very first time.  I lived in this house with my college friends, Jen ( and Tara ( and I have some very wonderful memories of the place.

I should take a moment here to tell you all that I met Gordy through Tara -- they were friends from high school and while I didn't actually meet Gordy until Tara and I lived together in DC, I had the opportunity to meet him two years before while we were still in college.  Gordy was playing on his college lacrosse team and they were playing an away game at my college and after the game (which they won, incidentally), Tara said, "I'm going over to see my friend Gordy from high school.  You want to come?" and I said, "No." and walked away.   Whoops!

Thank goodness, Gordy and Tara remained friends and thank goodness, that Gordy came to visit Tara for a morning one random day in DC and if I'm getting really grateful, then thank goodness for Tara's ex-boyfriend Tom and one drunken college night whose details required Tara's full attention therefore giving Gordy the opportunity to show off his charm and wit for an hour or so!

The rest is history.

So back to THIS trip to DC.  The Elliot Children enjoyed a ride on the Smithsonian carousel:

And I did take a few pictures during our trip to the Air and Space Museum:

And I took a picture of the Capitol building, even though we walked by without taking any tours:

Here is the view from the Capitol of the Mall:

And finally, I had to take a few pictures of our wacky hotel, The Hotel Rouge:

Like it's name suggests, The Hotel Rouge is red.  Very red.

It was rather like living in a bordello:

but it was funky, too:

And perfect for a family of five - especially since it included a kids bunk-bed area with their own television:

The location was perfect, the free breakfast was tasty and the hotel was clean, modern and dog-friendly.  What else could a family want?

We left DC with heavy hearts.  It was a fun trip and no one really felt like saying good-bye to summer and hello to school and homework.  Alas.
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