Pin My Travels

Our family likes to travel. Who doesn’t? The trill of a new place, exciting adventures, foreign cultures, and delicious cuisine? What’s not to love! I also think travel can be very¬†educational. As I now have a school-aged child (yikes! How did that happen?!) every trip we take is now a lesson for Ana. Whether it’s a linguistic explanation (“We speak English, but in Mexico they speak Spanish.”), cultural differences (“Here in Italy they drive on the left side of the road, while back home we drive on the right.”) or a simple geography lesson (“Your friend Beckham flew all the way from Boston, Massachusetts to visit you here in Portland, Oregon.”) I am always looking for a way to teach my girls. So you can imagine my delight when I discovered Pin My Travels. It’s a personalized map that allows you to mark the places you have been, as well as the places you want to visit.

Well, last week MY map arrived!

The box was gigantic, but surprisingly light. And it was packed really well.

Sim and I were both really excited for the unveiling.

I even had a spot on the wall already picked out! Perfection.

Now for the fun part: the pins!

You can personalize them how ever you want, but we kept it simple “Bateman Family Travels” and “Our Next Trips.” Our maps could get really complicated really quick if we tried to keep track of “Sim’s Travels” or “Parent Trips” and then add in the kids? Forget about it. If you were apart of the family when we took the trip, it’s a family pin. Simple as that.

These are all of our travel in the US (well I guess Mexico and the Bahamas are technically international, but they are around the US, so there). It was fun remembering each trip as I stuck in the pin.

And our International travels. They are fairly contained…for now. I’m just impressed I was able to pin things in other parts of the world!

The next order of business will be to add in the places we would all like to go in the future. I’m excited to see where the girls want to go. It will definitely make traveling more exciting knowing we always get to come home and add a new pin! You can see all the pictures of my new map here. And if you are interested in one as well, make sure you visit their website, Pin My Travels.

To 10 Years of Happily Ever After

Today is our 10 year wedding anniversary. We have been together for 14 years (15 in January) and friends for about four years beyond that. Not sure what that looks like, exactly? Well sit back and enjoy a little photographic trip down memory lane…

Us at the Arc de Triomphe
Us at the Eiffel Tower IV
Us at Musee Du Louvre II
Us at the Berlin Wall

Happy anniversary, Simeon. I love you more today than ever before. Thank you for being the most amazing thing in my world. To 60 more years together!

Hadley the Ballerina

Last week Hadley had her first “Tiny Toes” ballet class. She has been watching Ana dance from the sidelines her entire life and was so excited that it was finally her turn. Unlike most dance studios where they start ballet at two (or even three!) Encore Performing Arts Center starts at 18 months. So I signed Hadley up to start once Ana went back to school.

I dressed Hadley in her tiny pink outfit, tights, and slippers and we did our best attempt at “ballerina hair.” Now we were ready to go!

Hadley loved twirling with the scarves.

They practiced pointing their toes by kicking balloons.

She loved the balloons.

Next they twirled the ribbon batons. (I just LOVE this picture.)

My little maestro.

Hadley really wanted to share all her toys with me. She is the sweetest little thing.

Having fun with her teacher.

Hadley made a friend in her class.

She loved her first ballet class.

You can see all the pictures from Hadley’s first ballet class here.

First U6 Soccer Practice

Over the weekend Sim and Ana got her gear for soccer (shin guards, socks, and cleats.) and picked up their team shirts. Sim got a nice “coach” shirt because he will be the assistant coach for her team. Ana was allowed to pick her own number (from 1-99). She wanted to be just like her cousin Emily and requested to be number 11. Let’s hope it’s as lucky for Ana as it is for Emily!

Ready for soccer!

All ready for practice!

Warming up. (Please note the tiny cheering section.)

Dribbling with the ball.

Retrieving the ball after making a goal.

Fancy footwork!

Big wind up for the kick.

Contemplating the ball? I should probably remind her she can run faster without her hands in her pockets.

Finally they ended the practice with a little game.

Ana had a great first practice. She was very excited to finally get to play soccer outside! And it thrilled her to no end that they have an all girls team. You can see all the pictures from Ana’s first soccer practice here.

A Letter: Twenty-Two Months

Dear Hadley,
Today you are twenty-two months old. It has been a packed summer yet I cannot believe another month has come and gone! We have been keeping busy as usual but I am really happy for us to get back into a nice smooth routine once again. Since it’s September, Ana is back in school (full day kindergarten!) so I am really looking forward to the adventures you and I can have together during the day. We will continue doing Stroller Strides and Gymboree, of course, but I have also signed you up for a little ballet class and you are SO excited to be “a ‘rina!”

I guess the big news this month was the fact that you hurt your arm. After a simple fall (something you do LITERALLY All. Day. Long.) that resulted in much screaming and crying, we took you in to Urgent Care. Luckily nothing was broken, and most likely you just sprained your wrist, but as you were in a lot of pain they wrapped your arm, adding a splint for stability, and stuck your arm in a baby sling. You wore the sling for the first couple days and the splint and ace bandage for a few beyond that, but as the wincing and saying, “ouch!” or “owie!” lessened we eventually set you free and you have been fine ever since.

Lately you have been pretty fixated on the potty. This is not to say you want to USE the potty but rather you want everyone else to use it. Your parents, your sister, your dolls. You’ve even decided the Little People wheelchair is a toilet and you let the Little People take turns going potty.

That is until today.

Today you actually told me you needed to go potty before you went, I took you into the bathroom, stripped you from the waist down (though you really wanted me to take off your shirt as well, which, I had to explain, is totally not necessary… if you do it right.) and set you on the little potty. You kept shaking your head and saying no, and I fully expected you to bolt like you normally do, but this time you actually stayed on the potty and the next thing we knew, you had pooped on the potty!! Let’s just say there was much cheering, clapping, and generally excitement from ALL the members of our household. Way to go, Hads!

Another exciting milestone was this month we took you to your first Timbers game. We used to love going to Timbers games from time to time but since they became MLS the tickets have been next to impossible to get. So we finally ended up going to a reserve game with tickets you and Ana got for completing the Summer Reading Program at the Beaverton City Library. We adorned you in Timbers clothing, bought some cheering accessories (you were partial to the foam chainsaw), and enjoyed a lovely summer evening at the soccer field as a family. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

We also went hiking at Multnomah Falls this month. You are still a little untrustworthy on the steep trails so we stuck you in the backpack, but you didn’t seem to mind. You enjoyed the view from Daddy’s back and we even let you out from time to time (when it was safe to do so) to stretch your legs and run around. It was a gorgeous day and a beautiful hike, but we were all exhausted by the time it was over. In fact you fell asleep on the way back down to the bottom!

Your personality has really taken off over the last few months. I think a lot of it has to do with your ever increasing vocabulary. You are talking more and more but still in mostly one or two word sentences. Last night when I was getting you ready for bed you pointed at my water bottle, said, “Mama’s water.” When I acknowledged that yes, it was my water, you then pointed at it again and sternly said, “Drink it.” I’m pretty sure your favorite word right now is, “What.” But you don’t always ask it like a question, but more like “Yeah. What are you gonna do about it? Huh?”

Another aspect of your personality is your OCD. You don’t like things to be out of place. This would be perfectly ok with your-more-than-a-little-OCD mama, but YOUR idea and MY idea of where something belongs aren’t always on the same page. As a result, you are constantly moving things that I set down. For example, you simply cannot leave your sippy cup just anywhere on your high chair tray. It belongs in the cup indentation. When you aren’t moving things, you are putting things away. The other day I cleared all the stuff out of the bathroom so I could mop the floor. By time I came back with the mop bucket you had gone into the bathroom and put everything back where it belongs.

Well, Hadley, I think it’s pretty obvious you are doing a great job of keeping me on my toes. You aren’t even two yet and I feel like your independence and self-assurance are sky rocketing through the roof. I am so proud of you and all the thing you are able to do, but I don’t mind if you want to slow down. You are so busy trying to keep up with your big sister that I think you sometimes forget to be little. I know I shouldn’t say this, but a small part of me didn’t mind you having your arm in the splint this month because you were finally willing to ask for help. Lately all you’ve wanted is to do it on your own, brushing off my offered hand or denying my assistance, so when I see those little glimpses of vulnerability I have to cling to them. Whether you think you need me or not, I will always be there for you. Because that’s what moms do.

All my love,

Kindergarten Interview

I’m a big fan of traditions. I particularly love making traditions for my own family based on the things we feel are important. Plus it’s just plain fun. So I get a little excited when I find things that I believe will make a great tradition (annual Back-to-School pedicures? Yes, please!). I found the idea for a Back-to-School Interview on Pinterest and tweaked it a little to make it my own. It’s pretty simple to do and Ana and I had a lot of fun discussing her responses. I’ve interviewed Ana on video in 2009, 2010, and 2011 but I like the idea of making it a little more about school, including pictures, and making it a fun thing to do on the first day of school. What do you think?

Interviewing Ana(You can click on the picture to load the full size image in Flickr.)

First Day of Kindergarten

How quickly time flies. It seems like just yesterday it was Ana’s first day of preschool:

Then it was her first day of Pre-K:

And now she’s a full fledge Kindergartener:

Ana had a great day today. She loves her teacher, has already made a new friend, and cannot wait to go back tomorrow. Kindergarten is going to be amazing!! You can see all the pictures from Ana’s first day of Kindergarten at St. Pius X here.