Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bye Bye, Virginia!

Well, it's official. I have successfully completed all my coursework for my MFA program in Children's Literature. That means we will not have to travel back to Roanoke, Virginia anymore. I am very relieved to have finished this summer in particular. We had quite the juggling act with all the coursework, Meilani and my pregnancy sickness. (Thank goodness for my serving husband!) Admittedly, it was sad to leave Holins University and say goodbye to many good friends, including Han Nolan (pictured here), an award-winning author, incredible teacher and mentor. And now on to my thesis...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Picture of the Day: Pool Progress

Ericlee and Meilani enjoyed their last day at the pool. The Hollins U. pool is closed for this final week of class as they do some maintenance to get ready for the school year. Daddy and Meilani have been to the pool almost every day this summer and they have made some swimming progress.
With her little floatie vest, Meilani can swim the length of the pool and back with no helping hands. This means she's figured out how to kick and how to avoid swallowing water. When we take off her vest, she's learned this trick - holding her breath underwater. She can swim about 10 feet without help to the edge of the pool.
We will miss Amanda the life guard who gave us lots of pointers this summer since Meilani was too young for the official swimming lessons at the university. She's our little fishie!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pictures of the Day: Daddies hike with their explorers

On Tuesday, while Mama was working hard on graduate school papers and presentations, Ericlee and Meilani met up with our friends the Pickerings for more adventure hiking. Justin and his family live here in Roanoke. They went hiking at the Twins of Otter on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

George and Meilani girl are just a few days apart and they have the same exploring energy. They had fun traipsing through the forest, playing the rocks like drums and peering into puddles.

In fact, these two had so much fun trekking through the forest with their daddies that they decided to bring a few friends home. Ticks! Meilani had one and Georgie had four but we quickly removed them. (Not as bad as we initially thought though.)

Happy Trails!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Picture of the Day: Trader Joe's we love you!

On our way back to Virginia from North Carolina, we found a Trader Joe's in Chapel Hill. What a gift! We've been missing our wholesome & organic deals at TJ's. We found a gold mine - This Trader Joe's just opened 6 months ago. All the people were friendly and helpful just like our TJ friends in Fresno. Meilani even got to drive a kid-sized cart. She very importantly shopped the aisles and got lots of attention from customers and workers. Mama was happy to score some Ginger-lemon tea for my upset tummy and Prenatal vitamins and sour lollipops. (Let's just say these are lifesavers during a 3-hour grad class.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Beach babes & cousins: Exploring a new Coast

We continued our adventures with cousins on Saturday at the beach. This time we experienced the Atlantic Coast with its light breeze and pale blue waters. Meilani and Whitaker made sand castles and dug a huge pit with a moat going out to the ocean.

Ericlee and "the favorite cousin" Sean had some playtime too.

They went body surfing and got pulled all the way down the beach by some strong current. They played like they did when they were little boys.

Dorina even got in for a little dip. You can't go to the ocean without feeling the surf on your toes.
Kites and whirligigs are also a big deal at the Outer Banks. We drove past a kite festival at Kitty Hawk, where the first flight took off. Meilani poses as a pilot!

Dorina got a glimpse of her dream car - an old-time punch bug.

Whitaker and Meilani made friends with a pirate. Arrrrr-tee-ma-tay!

On the way home, we stopped at a favorite "fast food" place called Chick-Fil-A. They have a great kids meal, which includes grilled chicken, fruit and 100% apple juice. They also give away books for prizes: Click, Clack, Moo by Doreen Cronin. Of course, this goes along with their mascot, the EAT-MOR-CHIKIN Cow.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Gilmores head for the Outer Banks with cousins

Friday morning we piled in the car and headed for North Carolina to meet up with Ericlee's cousins, Sean and Amy Bennett, and their son, Whitaker. The Bennetts had a plan to take us to the "Outer Banks," which is the Atlantic Coast. We made it to our hotel Friday evening and head a seafood dinner at Miller's Restaurant.

Then we drove over the sand dunes at Kitty Hawk, where the Wright brothers flew that first plan. We arrived right at sunset and enjoyed running up and down the dunes and watching the colorful hang gliders and kites. The sand was so cool, squishing between our toes.

Meilani and Whitaker ran and played in the sand. They were bathed head to toe in warm sunlight and sticky sand. Time for a bath!

We watched a flaming magenta sun ball slip into the horizon. We drank in the complete beauty of it all.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Picture of the Day: Right on Track with Daddy

Daddy took Meilani on an adventure to a nearby high school track today. He practiced jumping long jump and triple jump while Meilani played in the sand. Ericlee is training for the Commonwealth Games of Virginia, where he will be competing on Sunday, July 20. Meilani was quite content to build sand pies and bake sand cakes while Daddy worked.

We'll be cheering Daddy on this coming Sunday in the long jump, triple jump and 400-meter dash. It's not often Coach Gilmore gets to compete.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Picture of the Day: The Clean Show: A Bath Time Book

Every summer Hollins students are invited to do a reading for kids from a neighborhood summer camp. This is one of my favorite events because it means a little people audience and some genuine feedback. I read my newest picture book manuscript, The Clean Show: A Bath Time Book, starring Cora and the dancing ducks. I taught the kids motions for the refrain, which includes "a wiggle and a CLAP and a be-bop scrub." The audience was 4-5-year-olds and they had fun shaking their booties. Meilani sat in the back with Daddy and yelled out the wiggle and clap on cue. She was especially proud I brought her plastic duckies along for props.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Pictures of the Day: Watching the Olympic Trials & Our Little Pole Vaulter

Sunday night we headed down "the Rat" or student lounge on campus to watch the final day of the Olympic Trials for Track & Field and a little bit of swimming. They have a great flat-screen television that's open for graduate students to use when we want. Ericlee has been *wild* over the Track & Field trials. We have rooted for Jordan Hasay, a high school 1500-meter runner from the valley who made it to the finals, and Billy Nelson, another valley kid who is actually going to the Olympics in the steeple chase. Meilani set up her own Olympic trials. She worked on her pole vaulting over the couch and diving skills into a pool of pillows.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Picture of the Day: Hiking to the Waterfall

Our friend, Rick Villarreal, gets credit for these artsy photos with this funky camera lens. He took all kinds of "perspective shots" while we took the funny candids on our way up the Cascades.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July to
all our Friends & Family!
We miss you & send our hugs & kisses.
May your day be filled with good food and blessings.
Dorina & Baby Gilmore

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Picture of the Day: Reading our Blues Away

You could definitely call this a summer of reading. I have loads of novels to read for my classes. The reading is actually very interesting so no complaints in that regard. I'm just trying to master the art of speed reading. (Thank goodness I worked ahead on most of it back in Fresno.) Meilani has embraced reading this summer as well. She goes to the library twice a week with daddy and insists we read 5-6 books per sitting several times a day. (Daddy notes these are always the SAME books.) She crawled into bed with me here to *help* Mama with her homework.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Picture of the Day: Celebrating the Halfway Mark

Admittedly, I haven't been feeling so hot this week. The first trimester pregnancy sickness has definitely set in. Don't get me wrong: I'm ecstatic to be a mommy times two just feeling really tired and nauseated all day long. I would appreciate your thoughts and prayers in these next three weeks as I attempt to complete my graduate classes here in Virginia. I have a truckload of work to finish and don't feel much like doing anything (not even cooking!). I do have a wonderful husband who gets me out of the little apartment for evening walks to drink in the sunset (this picture doesn't do it justice). This is a great diversion and some quality family time to reflect on our day.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Picture of the Day: Care Package Mania

Meilani got a special card in the mail from Nana and Papa and a care package from Nama. The care package included these fun art supplies, Dora bubbles, glow-in-dark bracelets and more. What a treat!