Monday, September 1, 2014

Summer Fun from the Bucket List

I finally wanted to sit down and recap some of the fun summer adventures my little crew went on this summer!  We started our summer with lots of ideas and inspiration.  I listed most of their plans out on our chalkboard wall…

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We were probably a little over zealous with our plans and ideas, but I was surprised how many things we were able to check off the list!  I am thinking the left over items we can save for next summer!

Here are some snapshots of our summer adventures:

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Life sized portraits

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Summer journals: we would draw a picture and write about our adventures in our journals

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Bakery Day:  We went to our favorite cupcake shop and I let the kids pick any cupcake they wanted to!

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Night swim:  We stayed at the pool really late one saturday night and ordered pizza poolside

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Peach Picking at Chiles Orchard

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Adventures at Myrtle Beach this summer!

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Busch Gardens

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Painting with Fly Swatters in our bathing suits

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Water Play Date with our new Car Wash

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Visit our buddies at Virginia Beach for the 4th of July

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Ellie and I made mermaid peg dolls together

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Huge canvas art with my two littles

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Play dates to say good bye to wonderful friends

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Visiting our best buds in GA

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And a lot of the summer was spent potty training this wild beast!

There are probably more things that I didn’t capture on the camera, but all in all it truly was an AWESOME summer!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

First Day for Everyone

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He had his first day of second grade last Wednesday.  I’m not sure that it gets any easier the older they get.  I miss him so much when he is gone for most of the day.  I am so proud of him for handling the transition back to school with such ease.  There were a few jitters and concerned looks, but overall he was confident about heading back to second grade.  He got a wonderful teacher this year, who seems gentle, kind, and very structured.  All of the qualities that Bradley will appreciate.  He sure does love things structured.  He decided his “Star Wars” backpack was still cool from last year, and since it had held up so well we didn’t replace it.  He mastered nine or ten new rainbow loom bracelets this summer, and picked out a special few to wear on the first day of school.  He also picked out the buzz hair cut for his back to school look.  It wasn’t my first choice, but I am trying to give him more and more chances to make his own decisions for himself.  And a buzz cut was what he wanted.  He came home all smiles and full of stories about seeing old friends and meeting new ones.  I would call that a successful first day of school!

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There was someone else begging to take some first day photos with Bradley.  This pretty much sums up the pictures and their relationship.

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Now that I am mostly recovered from my surgery, today was Ellie and Grace’s first day of Pre-K for Ellie and just plain old preschool for Grace.  They also wanted pictures taken and of course their own sign for the first day…

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One requested an Elsa Braid and the little one requested Kyla’s hair.  Kyla happens to be one of the gymnasts from the US competition that was on Saturday night.  Grace just loved Kyla for some reason, and every time she came on the screen Grace got so excited.  So she got a gymnasts bun!

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Ellie was so very excited to see all of her buddies again.  This year both groups were combined (minus the children that moved on to kindergarten).  Ellie thinks this is fantastic that she gets to see every each day of school, instead of flipping groups back and forth.  She played happily with her friends, swung on the swings, rode bikes, and read books.  She was simply pleased to be surrounded by her friends again and back to “work” at school. 

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Gracie’s first day of school wasn’t as smooth sailing as Ellie’s.  She struggled with the transition of children and mommies in the morning.  I am hoping that she will get used to the busy-ness of drop off and pick up.  She did lots of swinging with Max, and made bubbles in the sensory tub outside.  I surprised as she sat and listened to the books and danced with her friends.  She struggled with sharing and the structure of the morning.  She asked for snack again and again, probably wondering why we have to wait for snack at a certain time when she very well knew how to find a snack on her own.  I need to have patience, she is an entire year younger than Ellie was when I started the preschool last year.  It is hard to share your home and your mama when you are still 2.  I am giving her a month window to get it figured out, but for now we are going to take it day by day.

After everyone left I did curl up and take a two hour nap.  My belly was screaming and so sore from all of the movement this morning.  I hope that each day gets better and I feel more and more like myself. 

That about sums up the first day for everyone around here.  How was your first day?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Full Circle

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I am feeling reflective tonight as I get ready to curl into bed.  Tomorrow I embark on my second year back to work.  This brings about mixed emotions as summer comes to a close.  Teaching last year was so fulfilling and provided me with an amazing outlet for the “teaching” side of me that has been hidden all these years.  I struggled with balancing work and family life, and finding time for everything.  One of my biggest goals this year is to find a balance between my own kiddos and my school needs.  I want to make sure I am still carving out time for my family, to pack lunches, and do some of the other mommy jobs that I really do enjoy.  That being said, I have a lot of new ideas and projects I want to explore this year with the students.  But, balance will be my main goal. 

This summer ended up flying by, but it also was a real treat for me.  I got to be a “stay at home mommy” again, and I really relished the chance to hang out with my kids.  Did they drive me nuts at time?? OF COURSE, Did I want to pull my hair out some weeks?? YEP.  Overall though we had so much fun together.  It was so nice to plan activities with them and enjoy taking them to the pool and the beach.  We made quite a bucket list, and only crossed off about half of the items.  I think I was feeling a little ambitious after working for a year.  I still have lots of summer memories to share here, so stay tuned.

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I had to postpone the beginning of the school year for some medical issues I have been facing.  Years ago I had surgery to clean up some endometriosis that had built up after having Bradley.  In the two years I haven’t been nursing Grace my endometriosis had come back full throttle.  After trying different types of birth control and a failed IUD I was at my wits end this past school year.  Each cycle was getting shorter and shorter, with tremendous amount of bleeding and other side effects.  After two different discussions with my local doctor she suggested I have a partial hysterectomy.  The first time this surgery was suggested I was shocked.  I didn’t feel emotionally or mentally prepared for this surgery.  But, after another year of suffering we came to the conclusion that this was my bet for a future of health and happiness.  It is hard to believe that the same girl that cried and sobbed about having more children would have three healthy children and seven years later have a hysterectomy.  We traveled to Richmond to a top notch doctor who was able to perform the procedure laparoscopically.  I am still swollen and tender, but I am getting better day by day.  I am looking forward to many years where my endometriosis doesn’t control my life in the way it has in the past. 

Tomorrow my house will be filled with eager preschoolers, and I am so happy to have this behind me and for all of the adventures this year will hold!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

And Just Like That…She turned Four

 

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It is hard to believe that just four years ago, this crazy little thing was once a teeny, tiny baby sitting in the NICU scaring Chris and I half to death.  Of course there was the scary birth…scary transport to the NICU in this thing…

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Then we got to come home, only to face over a month of medical and feeding problems.  She definitely came in with a bang and has kept that same energy for the past four years. 

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She has so much personality trapped inside such a little body.  Usually on most days I want to eat her up with a spoon…usually…

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If you had told me just two years ago that I would be teaching Ellie every day in a preschool I would have told you that was crazy talk.  There is no way this extremely strong willed child would ever take direction, let alone learn from me.  But, here we are one year of preschool down and only one more left to go.  Sure we have had some battles over the school year, but for the most part she has handled the transition of mommy being her teacher beautifully.  She loves her friends from school, she is engaged in the lessons and I think she has really learned a lot from me and from her peer group.  Our nightly ritual at dinner is for Chris to ask the kids about their day and what they learned.  9 times out of 10 she will say nothing, she “just played today.”  Chris has started emailing me requests for parent/teacher conferences since his child isn’t learning anything. 

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Right now Ellie…

loves her big brother Bradley

is starting to play more and more with Gracie

loves non-fiction books,  especially books about animals

loves her family, her little cousins Winn and Brad and her big cousin Sammy

is obsessed with Frozen (what 4 year old isn’t?)

loves her Disney princesses and these are probably her favorite toys

right behind is her Playmobil princess castle and fairy house

is getting really good at putting puzzles together

loves art projects, especially ones without guidelines

can almost swing all by herself

took gymnastics and ballet/tap this year

played tball

loves to build with blocks and magnatiles

is working hard at learning to draw pictures of herself

can write her first and last name

loves to swim

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Happy 4th Birthday Ellie!! Love, Mama

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Spring Spent on the Field

It is amazing how quickly your Saturdays change from weekends where you get to decide what the agenda is, to all of the sudden sports determine your weekend schedule.  We got a sneak peak at that this spring!  With Bradley playing “real baseball” for our local league Ellie decided that she HAD to play t ball like her big brother!  Her little experience with baseball was called blastball.  The children hit the ball and run to first base.  There is a small horn inside of the base, and when they step on it the base the horn sounds.  It is the funniest thing to watch!  Ellie loved hitting off of the tee, but she had no interest in trying to field the ball.  She was the only girl on her team and I was so proud of her for trying something new on her own.

One morning there was perfect lighting and a sweet girl who was hamming it up for the camera:

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Hitting off of the tee…

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The best picture I could get of Ellie and her buddy Kellen after the game:DSC_0116

And this little girl did her fair share of watching blastball and bradley’s baseball.  She was a good sport about hanging around by the field.  Here is Grace testing out the horn sounding base before Ellie’s game. 

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And just some sweet shots of her watching one of Bradley’s last game while wearing an outfit that my Mom made for me when I was little.  How sweet is she?

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And yes, she is in love with band aids right now…that is why there are just under 15 band aids on her legs in these photos!