Sylvie in Texas

Sylvia had the great pleasure of taking a trip to Texas to visit Granny and Grandad all by herself over labor day weekend.  Granny flew up to pick her up, and for most of a week, she enjoyed some solo time with her grandparents and Aunt Melanie.

As part of her visit, Sylv got to go to a real Texas boot and clothing store, and she got decked out!


There’s my girl, sporting her new duds.


Happy Sylv with her Aunt Mel.09-05-11_Texas_003

There’s my girl riding Ginger.  Giddy up!09-05-11_Texas_004

Sylv got to bring home some new leotards…happy girl!09-05-11_Texas_005

All ready to head back home…



Granny brought Sylvie back home too! Here they are at the airport!


Cowgirl Sylvie’s rounding up some orange critters at the airport.



It was so fun to watch Sylv come down the escalator after not seeing her for a week.  That girl is fun to be around!  Andrew was happy to have his sister back too.


Thanks Granny and Grandad for giving us a week-long break!  It feels so good to know that Andrew and Sylvia get to spend time with you.  It’s hugely enjoyed by all!

Sylvie at preschool

Sylvia started preschool at Monona Grove Nursery School this month.  She is L.O.V.I.N.G. it!  09-01-11_FirstDayofSchool_055

She’s been tagging along as we took Andrew to preschool since she was six months old.  For the last couple years, she’s been longing to be allowed to play in the big preschool rooms, and now, at long last, it’s her turn.09-01-11_FirstDayofSchool_058

Sylvia is in Jodi and Sue’s classroom.  She’s worn this Minnie Mouse costume every day.09-01-11_FirstDayofSchool_069

Here she is playing with Sue.09-01-11_FirstDayofSchool_071Sylvie goes to ballet and tap class on Tuesdays, to Donna’s house all day on Wednesdays, and then to preschool on Thursday and Friday mornings.  It’s a nice schedule, and I’m loving the new structure our weeks contain.

Here’s a quick video of Sylvia on her way to preschool for her first day of Lunch Bunch.  Such a cutie.  She’s loving life these days:)

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Sibling time

Andrew and Sylvia can be so sweet together.  I just love those kiddos so much!  Have I mentioned recently how cute they are together?  Oh, they are:)

Andrew is such a kind and loving big brother.08-29-11_FirstDayofSchool_003

Many days when Andrew is walking home from school, Sylvia will run down the street toward him, her arms spread wide.  And Andrew then runs toward her, his arms spread wide.  They meet half-way down the block in a big sibling embrace.  Reminds me of the scene from the Muppet Movie where Kermit and Miss Piggy are running toward each other through a flower-strewn meadow.  Makes my heart spark and pulse with happiness.

08-29-11_FirstDayofSchool_017In and amidst the sibling squabbles, there’s so much love and fun between these two.  Sometimes when they’re watching a movie and Andrew is feeling a bit worried, Sylvia bravely states, “Don’t worry, Andrew, I’ll protect you.”  And of course, he does the same for her.

Sometimes the two of them get laughing about something (often a bare bootie or a “sweet potato” as we oft refer to them), and they roll on the floor together, cackling and laughing so hard they can’t breathe.

They play games where Andrew is the villain and Sylvia is the girl baby or Andrew is the pirate and Sylvia is the pirate baby.  Or Andrew is a caped superhero and Sylvia is a tiny “born baby.”  See a theme? gaa gaa

Sylv enjoys having time at home by herself.  Franky, I think she relishes the solo time.  However, nothing beats having a cool brother to come home at the end of the day to play with her.

I’m so glad these two have each other.  Love you, kiddos!

Ballet class

Sylvia loves her dance classes.  She’s always excited to go.  Many costume changes ensue.  On this, her last day of summer ballet class, she ended up going with non-dance clothes.  Ahh well!  That’s what happens when you change 6-7 times before 10am.

Sylvie’s dance instructor at the Y is Ari.  She’s wonderful:)

Stretching out…


Love all the tutus!


On the last day of the session, parents come in to watch.  It’s so fun to see how the different kids handle the audience.


Ari gives the kids some direction, and then it gives me a big smile to see how the kids apply those directions to their own movements.


Love the sweet expression on this little one:)

Sylv is thinking with her tongue here.  Just like her mama.


And reach!





They’re all so earnest!  It’s adorable.


I love Sylv’s long limbs.


This one might be my favorite picture of the session.  Graceful teacher, practicing student.


Big steps!


Gazelle-like leap over the beanbag.




Some free dance at the end.  I love this sequence of Sylv coming around and then jumping.08-18-11_Ballet_07808-18-11_Ballet_07908-18-11_Ballet_080I was planning to have Sylvie take a dancing break this fall, but she wants to be signed up, so we’re doing tap (and maybe ballet again) at the YMCA-NE on Tuesdays.  I think she’ll have fun!

Sylvie in the summer

My Sylvie girl had a good summer.  She’s starting up preschool at Monona Grove Nursery School this fall, but I thought it would fun to look back at some of the fun she had over this long, play-filled summer.

Here she is back in July on the zoo’s carousel with her friend CC.



And here are two girls on the choo choo train.


Two girls in the kangaroo’s pouch.07-21-11_zoowithcelia_034

Two girls checking out the bears.


Here are a few pictures Bryan took…maybe last fall…I just pulled them off our little point-and-shoot camera.  Here’s Sylv playing with her food and doll.10-18-10_Canon_001


Dress-up with Andrew.12-04-10_Canon_019


Such a little goofy girl!10-18-10_Canon_00310-24-10_Canon_006

You can tell by her lopsided hair, that this picture was taken after the Great Haircut of October 2010.


I don’t even remember this.  Bryan got this image of them making up beds in the back yard last fall.



And here’s Sylv posing with dress and crown…


Back to the present!  Here’s August 2011, a nature camp at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center with Celia.


Here’s a few pictures from an outing Sylv and I took to the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee with my friend Anne.  Here Sylv is checking out some of the critters.


They have a great slide there that Sylvie loved going down.


What fun!07-31-11_Milwaukee_007This girl of mine amplifies our lives with her energy and enthusiasm.  She’s such a joy to watch grow!

The many expressions of Sylvia

My Sylvie-girl is amazing.  She’s dramatic and a shining, gregarious star.  She sometimes gets shy and unhappy if people look at her or comment about her.  She sparkles and spins and illuminates the room.  She demands an audience.  And she needs time to herself to recover from life’s small injustices.
Here, she was putting on a dance show for me.  She requested photography.07-13-11_028

Love this picture of her open face.


Dancing with the brown-haired twin.07-13-11_043


Suddenly, not so happy.07-13-11_045

Her dolly is dancing too:)


Dancing and spinning.


Dramatic dance-finish


Carefully positioned.  Her expression here just cracks me up.



Practicing some of her ballet moves.07-13-11_063

I love how she can channel some of her intensity.  She’s so self-contained in this picture.  That, right there, is my girl.




Now the other twin has come out to join the dance.


I just love the way Sylv’s lips pout out.07-13-11_075

My sweet Sylvie.


While Sylvie was putting on this show, I was sitting on the sofa next to Andrew, who was reading books and applauding alongside me.

Boy do I feel lucky to get to see my kids do their thing and grow into themselves.  Hugs to both of them:)

Swimming lessons

We’ve been doing swimming lessons at the Monona pool since the first day of summer vacation.  Hours spend pool-side are some of my favorite of the year!

Here’s a little show of Andrew jumping off the diving board.  So amazing!

Sylvia’s in the big pool now – Squirts A!  Last year she was too young for swimming lessons, and this year she’s delighted with her swimming lessons status.


Here’s a couple adorable pics that Jessica took post-lessons one day…


A good friend is such a treasure in life!


Here’s CC and Sylvie in the little pool as Paddling Penguins.


Check out Celia putting her head under water!


Heading out in a noodle train.

06-22-11_swimming_038 Here’s another series of Andrew jumping…






We’re doing swimming lessons through this week, and then we are doing a session in August.  I’m already looking forward to it!

Sylvia the tapper

I got my first fancy SLR digital camera when Sylvia was about six months old.  I so wanted to capture the fleeting moments of her infant-hood, and needed more creative control of the imagery I was creating.

I wanted to get professional pictures taken of my kids, but truth be told, I just wanted to take those pictures myself.

Sitting here at Sylvia’s last tap class on June 6, I was so glad that I have my camera as an extension of my hand.  It really doesn’t get much better than photographing a group of adorable 3-5 year olds dancing at the YMCA.

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Can you tell that she’s having a good time?

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Learning to grapevine.  That’s a skill everyone should have.

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And the shuffle step!  Very important for tap.

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That curl coming down in front of her eye just slays me.

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– oh, the shoes –

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My beautiful girl’s curly locks.  Maybe my favorite picture.

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Oh that marching tutu.  You know, she’s wearing my tutu.  I got it for the Mud Run last fall.  She has me pin it for her so it fits her waist:)

06-06-11_tap class_056 She’s so excited to be dancing for me.  Love love love that girl.

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The concentration showing in the way she’s holding her hands; the various activities of the other girls; the beauty of all those cute bodies.  Ahh, it’s just too much.

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I love the way she’s watching amidst the activity.

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Dance with abandon, my daughter!

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Make that crazy skirt dance!

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I love these next two:)

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Here she is with her fantastic teacher, Ari.  Thanks for a great session, Ari.  Next stop – ballet.  We’ll hit tap again soon:)

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I’ll close with a little video I took with my phone of the girls doing their thing.

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Andrew’s first “tri” – the Sawyer Crossen Trithalon

On June 4, Andrew and Eli participated in Monona’s Sawyer Crossen Memorial Triathlon.  Andrew had been excited about signing up, but the day before the event, he declared that he was not interested in participating.  After some cajoling and light bribery, I’d about given up on him participating.  But I asked him to pick up his goodie bag at the registration table.  When we got to the registration, Andrew was a little mesmerized by the maps showing the routes for the different age groups.  He traced the biking and running routes with his finger, intrigued.

And then when he gave him name to the registration lady, she gave him the run down on where to pin his bib and where to leave his bike, and when he turned around from that conversation, I could tell from the sparkle in his eyes that he was hooked.

The next morning, we met up with an excited Eli for the event.  Here’s the boys getting pumped before the start.



Probably not a necessity for the 4-6 year olds, but they had ankle bands to record their times.  And their bib numbers were written on their legs and arms just like real triathletes:)


Here’s a view of the Monona Pool, where they started with the swim.  They had kickboards or swim noodles and paddled 40 meters from the shallow end to the orange pyramid and then down a lap.


They staggered the kids’ start and had lifeguards posted every few feet, and it looked like it went really well.  They’re so cute!


There you can see the start on the far left  and then they get out on the far right.


After the kids get out, they supposed to hop on their bikes and go up and down a few blocks (about a half mile).  I ran around from the swimming viewing area to the bike transition area, and both our boys were standing there looking around, sort of watching the clouds pass by.  So I helped them slip on their t-shirts and get their shoes on so they could bike.

I do so love five/six year olds.  They’re so grown up, and yet, they’re really still such little people.

Here’s Andrew heading down the street.  Training wheels and all.


Eli speeds on by.


Andrew ditched his bike and took off running.


Wisely, they had volunteers closely interspersed along the quarter mile run to keep the young ones going the right direction.


There’s my boy, running to greet me.  He is 100% convinced that he won the triathlon.  He was so proud of himself and jazzed about the whole experience.  LOVE that boy.


What joy!


Our athletes post-race.


After the race, we hung out at the park and enjoyed snow cones and some of the treats from the registration bags.  Andrew got to see Bucky Badger and the Madison Mallard and a couple other large creatures.  Sylvia did a great job helping to cheer on the boys.  And she loved playing on the playground.  She’s been petrified of heights recently, but in this instance, she was a comfortable climber.


Wonder what she’s thinking there…06-04-11_triathalon_067

Oh, what light!


This picture now hangs on my living room wall in a 20×30″ float  wrap.  Makes me so happy!

06-04-11_triathalon_065 After we got home from the triathlon, Andrew requested that I find him additional tri’s to participate in.  There’s one in Middleton on August 20.  Maybe we’ll sign up!

Sweet Sylvia

On a balmy evening in late May, I captured some pictures of my beautiful girl as she ran and rolled and frolicked in a grassy field.


I think this is my favorite picture of Sylv.  I love the level look she’s giving me!


Look at all that life and energy just oozing out of her:)  It seems to shine from the tips of her hair.




And then running.  Again and again…


Oh Sylv, I’m so glad to be your mama.  You do drive me to the brink of insanity from time to time, but it’s all in good fun, right?


You’re a little like this oak leaf…just unfolding, still soft and tender and green.  You’ve got a lot of growing to do, my girl.  But there isn’t much sweeter than a young life, alive with promise and brimming with vigor.  I can’t wait to watch you grow and to experiences so much more of life together.