Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Orelia's First Day of School

 Orelia started school this week!

She is attending a Young Fives program offered by our city.  She is eligible for kindergarten this year, but we decided to give her an extra year to mature and grow before venturing into elementary school.

 We sought the advice of her teacher, my aunt, and people who had done Young Fives before, and once we let go of our assumptions and preconceived notions, it was an easy choice to send her to Young Fives.

 We have received lots of unsolicited advice as well (generally from the parents of Orelia's friends), but hopefully now that school has started everyone can just accept the course.

 Orelia was very excited for school to start, as the "fives" are the oldest kids on her preschool campus.  She's finally one of the big kids and allowed on the "fives" playground!

 She has never liked first day of school photos, however, and I absolutely love this outtake.

 I whipped this sign up five minutes before we left for school, and immediately regretted it since she kept hiding behind it.  She also insisted we bring it to school and give it to her new teacher, so that happened.

 Bennett was headed to gymnastics at the same time we were leaving for her open house, so I was able to get a snap of the two kids together.

 The kids of Young Fives each bring a flower to plant in the class garden on the first day, and then every day when they arrive they water their plant.  I love this sweet ritual.

 Orelia is so lucky to know lots of kids in the program, and spent the entire open house playing with her best friends.

 Sadly she doesn't know a single kid in her class, but is already making some friends.

 Yesterday was her open house, and today she had her first full day of drop off.

 She was a bit nervous and changed clothes several times before landing on a Wonder Woman tank and shorts (shockingly).  She of course had to accessorize with her new pair of gloves from her latest costume (and was wearing a sequined skirt and ruffle tank when I came to pick her up).

 She gave Bennett her sea lion toy a couple months ago, and has regretted it ever since.  Ha.  So I finally ordered her a new one, and she got to bring it to school today to keep her brave.

She did great on her first drop off day, gave me a huge hug at pick-up and was all smiles.  I'm so excited for Orelia to have a great year.  "I love Young Fives!" she said today at dinner.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Happy Birthday, Orelia

 Our little girl is now five years old, and we had the best time celebrating with her last week!

 I set up a little nook in our house with some balloons, a banner, and most importantly, all her presents.

 She had been waiting for maybe 11 months for her birthday to finally come around again, and she was very happy to delve into the day.

 Bennett got in on the fun too, and was sweet and happy for his sister all day.

Orelia remembered us putting a candle in a doughnut for her on her birthday last year, and specifically requested it again this year.

 Thankfully a 7:00AM Door Dash order to Krispy Kreme makes the request even easier to fulfill than last year.

 I specifically didn't sign Orelia up for camp the week or her birthday so we could do something fun together.

 I was hoping we could go to the beach, but the weather wasn't warm enough, so we headed to our favorite little kid amusement park, Happy Hollow.

 Orelia and one of her fellow daredevil best friend loved riding the rides together.

 Orelia enjoyed wearing her poofy birthday costume all morning, and had so much fun just lounging around with her friends.

These three girls have known each other since before they could even sit up, and it's so special that they are still friends.

 Orelia knows how to bring out the excitement in people.

It was the perfect morning for Orelia, and it made me appreciate her summer birthday where she will always be able to spend it outside in the sun - her favorite way to celebrate.

 On the night of her birthday, her best friend flew in from Portland and was able to come over in time for pizza and cake.

 Orelia got an ice cream cake in her favorite ice cream flavor - birthday cake!

After her friend left, I bribed Orelia with one more present if she would pose for a photo.  A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.

 I can't remember what this "one last present" was, actually, but I can assume it was something that arrived that evening form Google Shopping.

 This was the first year Orelia wasn't overwhelmed by presents and quite happily wanted more and more.  A blessing and a curse, I suppose.

 I had been trying to find a pack of sparklers all summer, though they seem to be illegal in California (or at least very hard to find).

 I stumbled upon a pack at a ritzy candy store (randomly enough), and scooped it up immediately so my kids could finally see what sparklers were.

 Orelia absolutely loved holding them and lit one after another to just hold and watch.

 Bennett opted out, and played trucks in the background instead, while we watched Orelia in awe.

Happy birthday, sweet Orelia, we are so lucky to have you light up our lives every day!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Orelia is Five

Orelia is 5!  And John and I have been married for ten years!  There have been lots of celebrations around here lately, and I can't wait to share more photos soon!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Summer is Waning

I grew up in Virginia, and we never under any circumstances started school before Labor Day.

 Things are different in California.

 Orelia starts school on August 15th this year, which to me seems sacrilegious.

 We have had an amazing summer so far, and I still have so many photos I'd like to share.

 These photos were all taken in mid June at a close friend's birthday bash.

 The bouncy house was big and the smiles were even bigger.

 For families I love, I like to bring my camera along to their parties so I can document their child's big day for them.

 Along the way, I often get some photos of my own kids enjoying themselves too.

Orelia loves summer (like her mama), and she is lucky to have her birthday come at the end of summer because it's always something for her to look forward to.

On Wednesday night when we were in the cab riding home from the airport (after a trip to Portland), I told Orelia that her birthday party was this weekend and only four "bed sleeps" away.  She yelped and said "I'm so excited I could explode!"  Me too, girl.