Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Last Day of School for Max

Max had his last day of school yesterday. He has had a great year. The year started with tears but ended with smiles. He confidently walked into his classroom every day wanting to play with his friends and the toys. He made a few great friends this year that he talks and talks about.

His teachers said that his end of the year book had the fewest pictures in it. (I didn't notice, I thought it looked great!) They said that he was never very interested in the activity they were doing if involved art. He wanted to continue to play with the trucks, trains, cars, whatever sort of "construction" activity they had in the room. In fact, in two of the pictures in his book, he is wearing a hard hat. So, he came home with only a few art projects this year. He can't really hold a crayon and doesn't really care to. He's just not into it. That's Max to a "T" - he'll do stuff when he's ready to do it.


First day of school on the left, last day on the right. According to his end of the year book, he grew 3 inches! Based on the way his pants fit, I'd believe it!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Favorite Boy.


Each night when Max goes to bed, he has to pick some cars, trucks, or trains to go with him. He settles into bed, turns on his "Flashlight Friend", and lines them all up. Then, he talks to them and pushes them around until his eyelids get too heavy. He's been going to bed cuddled up with some of his favorite vehicles for a long time now. It is one of the things I love the most about him. That, and the way his arms feel around my neck when I kiss him good night. Just like I tell him every night, "You are my favorite boy". He always responds, "You my favorite Mommy."

Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Day of Spring

Happy First Day of Spring! I know that is a welcome phrase for most of the country after this awful winter. The kids were out playing with the neighbors in the driveway in shorts and t-shirts. It was a great afternoon.

I'm taking a line drawing class via creativebug.com. I created this line drawing a couple of weeks ago. I colored it tonight. If you need a little yellow in your house in honor of spring time, feel free to download it and print!

Download it here!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rainbow Looming

Last summer my mom asked me if I had heard of a Rainbow Loom.  I said that I hadn't.  She told me to check it out, Charlotte would love it.  I went to Michael's and bought one for her.  I brought it home and we opened it and read the instructions to make the basic bracelet.  We worked on it together and successfully made a bracelet.  Then, she wanted to do it on her own.  That attempt was not so successful.   She ended up VERY frustrated and the loom sat in the box until New Year's.

On New Year's day we discovered whole channels on You Tube dedicated to Rainbow Looming.  I showed her how to pause and re-start a video so she could loom at her own pace.  She spend 4 straight hours that day rainbow looming.  It was a miracle.  The first time this child had EVER done something by herself for a half hour let alone 4 hours.

For the next month after that, she was completely addicted.  Looming 'til her fingers bled.  (Well not quite that much, but a lot).  However, there was also a side of the looming addiction that we didn't anticipate.  If something did not go quite right on a bracelet - MAJOR tantrums would ensue.  It got to the point that I had to restrict access to the loom for a couple of days to let her cool off.  If you follow me on instagram, you have seen what she looks like when things don't work out.


But, now, she is a Rainbow Loom master.  She makes mistakes, but now she can correct them herself.  She loomed so much that she broke the hook that comes with the loom and we upgraded to a metal crochet hook.  She spent all of her birthday money on new rubber bands.  She has invented her own "snake" bracelet.  She brings home from school orders that her friends on the bus have filled out, so they can have their own custom "snakes".


Again, I have had to restrict the time she spends after school to a half an hour.  But, this is because she would do it all evening if I would let her.  And we probably need to be doing things like learning to read better, practicing math fluency (still figuring out what that is!), and other kindergartener type things.


We even came up with a little tag for her creations when she passes them out to people.


I created a PDF you can dowload if you have a little rainbow loomer that wants their own tag too!  Just download here!  And, here's a version for any boy loomers out there: download here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Picnics and Such

Last week, Charlotte found the blog books I made for years 2008, 2009, 2010. She sat down and shared them with Max. The sat there for a long time on the couch looking at all of the pictures together. Later, when they went to bed, I sat down and looked at them. They are amazing books. Books filled with the little things we did every day and the big things that only happened once. They are something that I treasure. After that night, I have been itching to sit down and starting logging our adventures - big and small - again.

Since I last posted, we've made a few changes to our way of life around here. I quit my part time job to spend all of my time at home. My brain is rotting away, but the stress in our house is gone. I learned that I just can't handle the stress that comes with working and having kids at home.

We also got a puppy back in August. A beautiful beagle pup that we named Hudson. (After Hudson Rd., the street our old house was on.) However, after keeping him for seven months, I had my fill of puppy hood. He was a pretty high maintenance pup and with two kids I just couldn't do it. So, we made the decision to ask Atlanta Beagle Rescue to help us find him a home. Luckily, the said they would. He was placed in a new home this past Sunday. While it has been pretty sad, overall, our house is much more peaceful. I was really worried about the kids, but they have hardly mentioned him.


Charlotte is doing great in Kindergarten. She is reading to us every night. She comes home happy every day. She asked to ride the bus home from school, so in September I signed her up to do that. Everyday, Max and I walk down to the bus stop and wait for her. She has 3 baby teeth missing from her mouth, with 3 big teeth growing in right behind them.

Max is going to school 3 mornings a week. He doesn't cry anymore when it's time to go and walks in happily. His favorite days, though, are still the days that he stays home with me. He likes to wear his PJs until 10 AM and drive his toy vehicles around the rooms. I'm pretty happy to stay in my PJs until 10AM and relax with him.

Every day when he gets home from school he always asks to have a picnic. He runs to his room and grabs his "comfy blankie" while I make his sandwich. Then, he watches a show while he eats. This little routine makes him SO happy.




Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Our Summer AKA "The Blur", Part 2

After we got back from Hawaii, it took us a week or so to get adjusted back to Eastern time. The first few nights, the kids were up until after 10. I think the 2nd night back, they didn't go to sleep until after midnight!

We had a low key July 4th around Atlanta. It rained, actually. I opted to not run the Peachtree this year. Looking back I wish I would have because it would have been my 10th.

The Saturday after July 4th, the kids and I headed up to Pennsylvania to spend a week with my parents. The first night we were there, Charlotte got to stay up really late and have her first try at catching lightening bugs. I'm not sure how many she caught, but she had a lot of fun trying. Since we didn't get to see any fireworks on the 4th, we stayed up SUPER late to see the fireworks that the racetrack near my parents would fire. After a quick run through their neighborhood (when we realized they were starting and we couldn't see them), we had great found great seats on bleachers at a nearby baseball field. We had a wonderful summer night.

The next day we visited my parent's church (where the kids dutifully, without tears, went to the nursery). After church, my dad had the idea to go to the lake at Mt. Gretna. We had a great time there that afternoon. We swam, jumped off of docks, splashed, and played in the sand.

My mom watched the kids in the morning during the rest of the week while I worked. Then, we would usually do some sort of activity in the afternoon.

Even though the forecast wasn't great, we decided to head to Hershey Park on the Wednesday that we were there. It rained in the morning, and then towards lunch time it started to look really dark. We thought about not going, but that day was really the only chance we had left. So, we went for it - and we are SO happy we did.

It poured as we drove over to Hershey. It was pouring when we parked the car. It was 2 o'clock, we waited in the car for 10 minutes and it started to lighten up. So, we decided to go ahead and go into the park. We saw lots of REALLY wet people leaving as we were going in. Luckily for us, we didn't get rained on again. Everyone cleared out of the park, and we walked onto every ride we wanted to ride without waiting in any lines.

Max wasn't too sure about the rides at first, but then got really into it. Charlotte could hardly handle it. She wanted to ride anything and everything. She rode every roller coaster she was tall enough to ride. We ended up staying almost 6 hours!

We spent one afternoon with my Grandmother outside of Philadelphia. My sister and nephew, Jacob, came to visit us on Friday. We had a really nice day hanging out with them. We played at the park, played with toys, hung out and had a great time!

Sadly, the week had come to an end on Saturday and we had to board a plane home. Happily, though, we got to fly home and see Judd who celebrated his birthday that same day. We made him a root beer cake, drew pictures for him, and sung him a Happy Birthday.

At the end of July, I was lucky enough to head to Nashville to spend a weekend with some of my closest friends. We have known each other since freshman year of college and we still have a great time with each other. We did the usual - pedicures, eating out, and shopping. We also went to see the Grand 'Ol Opry, which was very fun. That weekend went by way to fast.

After that trip, my time was focused on getting Charlotte ready for her first big day of school. Summer was getting ready to come to an end for our little kindergartner.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Our Summer AKA "The Blur", Part 1

This summer was pretty darn awesome.

Since I actually have a job now that requires me to be at a computer each morning, I hired in some help this summer. Our lovely and talented cousin, Mariel dutifully watched my children each morning. They played, took walks, went to the park, crafted, and baked. In the afternoons, the kids and I would hit the pool, run errands, or hang out.

We spent every morning of the first week of June at VBS. We had a great time learning about God and how he can work in our lives. We sang songs, danced, and played. Charlotte said the closing prayer in front of 300 kids and adults on the first day! It was a great week.

The rest of the month of June was spent thinking about and being in Hawaii! We left on June 15th for a 10 day adventure on the island of Kauai. We had our first flight to LA, spent 2 hours in LA, and then flew to Lihue. The kids did WAY better than we anticipated on the flights. By the time we got to our rental house, it was 3AM our time.

We stayed right in the middle of Hanalei bay. We had the bottom story of a two story house. The backyard was the bay. It was amazing to say the least. The first morning came early - like 4:30AM early. The kids were up and at 'em. They crawled into our bed and we all tried to doze off, but it just wasn't going to happen. Each day got a little better, but we were up and going by 6:30 or 7AM each morning. Judd and I took turns in the morning going for walks on the bay.

Our vacation was spent exploring the different parts of the island. We found a great kid's beach that we spent time in a couple of days. We rented kayaks and hiked to the secret falls. We stopped and tried different restaurants. We ate lots of shave ice and Mac Nut ice cream. We spent time jumping off of the Hanalei Pier. We played on many different beaches.

From our house, we could walk about 100 yards down the beach to where a river came into the ocean. This was a wonderful spot for Charlotte and Max to play. The water was a lot calmer, but Judd and I could watch the kids while sitting on the island between the river and the ocean and put our toes in the ocean waves. The kids loved jumping off of the sand cliff that the river made. We loved how tired they were afterwards. We spent a few afternoons here.





It was seriously beautiful. That mountain behind Max in the last picture would have 3-4 waterfalls visible depending on the rainfall for the day. We would leave our house and all look up there to see how many waterfalls we could see.


I actually forgot about these pictures. I didn't have the big camera with me much. It is just too hard to take when you have small children and LOTS of sand everywhere. I happened to throw it in the car on the morning we went to a little beach, Anini Beach. We were the only ones there. It was a beautiful morning and very peaceful. We searched for tiny seashells. After that, we tried to find the perfect rocks for skipping. (Judd won) We took some pictures. Then, Max fell asleep in my lap, Judd took a nap under a tree, and Charlotte built a sand castle. It was silent for almost 20 minutes. It was a moment that I can still feel as I type this - pure contentment.





Our last night on Hanalei Bay, we gathered a bunch of driftwood, spend $30 at the store for smores supplies (groceries are SUPER expensive), and had a bonfire. It sounded good in theory, but it started to rain and then Max peed in his bathing suit. So, about 10 minutes in, we had a very smokey bonfire and a naked boy. Charlotte didn't care, she had a smore in her hand.


Our last morning, just before we packed up:


After our 7 nights on Hanalei Bay, we drove South and stayed on the South Shore for 3 nights. We had a very nice condo which had a wonderful ocean view. We were a lot closer to "civilization" down there. It was a very nice 3 nights, but Judd and I both agree that our hearts are on the North Shore.

On our last day we were able to play on the beach and use the hospitality suite at the condo complex to shower before we headed to the airport. We boarded the plane around 8:45PM. The kids were AWESOME the whole way home. They slept on the red-eye to LA. Then, Max slept most of the way from LA to Atlanta while Charlotte watched TV on the iPad.

It was a family vacation that Judd and I certainly won't forget. I know the kids probably won't remember much of it, other than the parts from the stories we tell them, but I hope they'll remember the fun. That and the fact that they have two parents that want to show them so many amazing places - I hope that this is just the start of lots of summers of adventures.

If you want to see more of our adventure, my Instagram feed is full of pictures of our trip.