Monday, August 27, 2012

chalkboard love, third year ballet, and R2D2

I love chalkboards and I love big chunky wood frames so when Poppy Tree Frames added a chalkboard insert to their repertoire I had to give in and order the robin's egg blue frame I'd had my eye on forever...
I ordered it about a month ago and I'd hoped to have it in for our back-to-school shoot but alas it was worth the wait. This is my first attempt at sizing it out so don't laugh at my word spacing...I sure love the sentiment though!
Today is the start of the little pumpkin's third year of ballet lessons. Someone is super excited and maybe just a tad bit nervous at joining a little bit older age group.
And with the new class, a new addition...jazz shoes!
As I was pulling out her new leotard and skirt out of her armoire, this little picture caught my, oh my, it sure seems like only yesterday...
...and look at her now!
Grace, 5 yr. 5 mo.
ThANk YoU for your comments and emails about our new fish's name. I had to follow my heart and we now have {for our yet unpurchased fish} a new name: R2D2. Yes, someone is into Star Wars thanks to his beloved Legos.
Off to make {this} family favorite for dinner.
Happy Monday!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

as they are...and Jesus, the fish

Oh, goodness. Trying to get a couple of sweet pics of these littles makes me break a sweat. Natural is best...yes, yes I know...but sometimes all a mama wants is a sweet picture of her littles just lookin' and smilin', ya know?

These were my attempts this morning, on our way out the door for church...

Giggly Grace...
Goofy Grace...
Hudson, the Philosopher...
Hudson, the Dinosaur...
Silly littles... least they love each other!
In other news...

Our little beta fish Tiki Tiki died a couple of weeks ago. One night a couple of days after he died, I was putting Hudson to bed and we were talking about Tiki Tiki. This is how the conversation went...

Hudson: "I'm really sad that Tiki Tiki went up, up, up to be with God."
Me: "You're sad that he died?"
Hudson: "Yes (tears). I love Tiki Tiki."
Me: "I know you do. I do too. And so does Grace and so does Daddy.  It's okay to be sad."
Hudson: "At least he didn't go down, down, DOWN below (big eyes, serious look)."
Me: "Yes, you're right. It's a good thing he's in heaven now.
Grace and I have been talking about maybe getting a new fish in a couple of weeks...she wants to name her new fish Lily Pad, would you like to get your own fish too?"
Hudson: "Yes, I want a boy fish. I'm going to name him Jesus."

So here we are about to go shop for a couple of fish (not betas) and I can't help but wonder.....should I let him name his fish "Jesus" or is that disrespectful? I know he means it with a pure heart, but I just keep thinking, if "Jesus, the fish" doesn't make it, will Hudson be even more upset than normal??????

Thoughts? Suggestions??

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

One week in...

Her shirt pretty much sums it up...
She loves Kindergarten!
{and that makes us very happy}

Today is only her fourth day, and so far her school has been amazing.  When we were going through the nerve-wrecking process of testing and waiting on an admissions decision early this year, we prayed and prayed that she would end up just exactly where she needed to be.  We obviously wanted her at this school, but most importantly we wanted her to end up where God wanted her to be.  It feels amazing to be on the other side of that coin and see her enjoying and loving her new school!  What an answered prayer!

These are just a few of my favorite things so far...
{I want to be able to look back on these one day and remember our first weeks of elementary school} 

* The faculty seems really happy to be there. 
Before my current position, I worked as a Program Manager and later as a Development Director for an educational nonprofit organization that awarded grants to public schools.  As part of my job, I had the chance to visit lots - and I mean  LOTS - of schools in our area...elementary, middle, and high schools.  That was an eye-opening experience. 

I saw GREAT teachers in not so great schools and BAD/MEAN/UNHAPPY teachers in so-called good schools.  And I learned that a teacher's disposition makes all the difference.  Of course, good administration and parent involvement play a key role, but oh my, teachers make or break the deal - that's for sure.  It's got to be one of the hardest jobs out there, but when you have a good teacher who enjoys what he/she's doing - WOW!  I love how everyone I've met at her school seems to want to be there.

* They seem to make a real effort to get to know the students right away.
I noticed this even from our short week-long summer camp.  This school is a pretty good size...4 classes per grade...yet the principal, the counselor, and several teachers already call Grace by name.  It sure makes this mama's heart happy to know that her "baby" is not lost among the numbers.

* They make a point of really creating a school family from the start.
I love how they have so many opportunities for every family to get involved, regardless of their work schedule or situation.  And I LOVE their fifth grade buddy system! 

* The children are so polite! 
It really brings a smile to my face every day when the fifth grade student that closes my door during carpool in the morning says, "I hope you have a great day."  Every time that we've gone to a school function, the cheerleaders and older kids are stationed all throughout the school greeting people as they walk in and showing them around.  Kindness and respect are so important to me - I love how it seems her school helps to encourage those traits as well.

* The principal is hands-on.
I'm so impressed to see her in the morning helping with carpool, see her around the school, rather than stuck in an office, see her talk to students and encourage them.    She used to be a kindergarten teacher...enough said :)

* I love that I see teachers give hugs to students.
Oh, in this day and age when everything has to be so politically correct and there are so many do's and don'ts, it's so nice to see some of the old-fashioned values still shining bright!  I love to see the teachers at her school give a glad-to-see-you hug to the kids before sending them on their way or passing them in the hall.

* And last, but certainly not least, her teacher seems to be the caring, compassionate individual that you hope your child has every year!
She's a great communicator, her classroom has a certain welcoming feel to it, she has some pretty neat ideas and practices...I love that she has high expectations of them and I LOVE how she seems to really care for each child individually and the class as a whole.       

I hope this doesn't come of as bragging or boasting, that's not my intention at all.  I just want to remember the early weeks of her first official year in school and how we felt while embarking on this journey.  I'm beyond thankful to God for giving the little pumpkin the opportunity to attend such a great school.

Two years ago on her first day of Preschool... and now, during her first week of Kindergarten...
{when I look at these pics and how she's standing against the sofa, I can't believe how tall she's gotten!!}
During our parent orientation on Monday night, her teacher ended the meeting by saying, "I want them to be good listeners, be patient, and be kind."  I knew I liked her for a reason ;)  I'm writing those words on the back of our carpool tag so the little pumpkin and I {and Hudson come September} can say them every morning.  I know all 3 of us can benefit from that sweet reminder.

Hope your school year is off to a great start and if you're a teacher or educator, THANK YOU for what you do!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

It's official...we have a Kindergartener!!!

Friday was the little pumpkin's long anticipated first day of school and boy was she excited!! I was soooo glad we had taken pictures outside {last week} because it stormed all night and it was dark and dreary Friday morning.
Ater our little {back to school party}, we had pizza for dinner, Grace's choice, and then it was time for bed...
...but not before sprinkling some of the jitter glitter her teacher gave her!!
While the little pumpkin snoozed, I put together these little treats for her classmates...
Free whale printable {here}.
Playdough recipe {here}.
We had blueberry muffins for breakfast...Grace's favorite...and then we were ready to go!
But not before our first day of school tradition!!
When I grow up I want to be......
Hmmm...well, let's see...I want to be lots of things, why do I have to pick just one??!
Past years' answers {here} and {here}.
I went with her first answer!!
But you know...I also want to be a vet, and a dentist, and a ballerina, and a mom and a...
Quick pics with mama and daddy...
...and off we go!
Lined up by class and making new friends...
...but oh, so happy to see old ones! It's Layla!!!!!!!!!
Bye-Bye Mama and Daddy! 
She was a champ.  No tears and soooo excited to be back at school.
And right after the four kindergarten classes marched off to their classrooms, all of us parents headed to the school library for the Boo Hoo Breakfast!
This is my dear friend Bridgette. We were sorority sisters in college (Phi Mu) and we've been close friends ever since. Her little boy Hayden also started kindergarten. I still can't believe we're old enough to have Kindergarteners!!!
Grace was all smiles when I picked her up. She had a great day and said she couldn't wait to go back on Monday.  I asked her what her favorite part of the day was and she said she liked it all.

Noonie went with me to pick her up so she could learn the carpool routine, and then treated the littles to their favorite frozen yogurt.
Look who was super excited to see his sister come home...
Grace did mention that she loved the way they sign-in every morning..."We touch the whale with our name on it (on the smartboard) and we dive it into the ocean.  When all the whales are at the bottom of the ocean, Ms. V knows that we're all here."
Boy, oh boy, things sure have changed since I answered "here" during roll call!! Ha!

Back to School Party {2012}

I feel like this post should have been titled "the little party that could..." after one of my favorite classics, because the reality is it almost didn't happen. But Noonie came to the rescue and I'm so glad she did!

You see, I've been in kind of a "party funk" lately and I didn't see the point in really having a "party" if I didn't even have school supplies to present the littles (we bought the prepaid pack through the school and had it directly delivered to the classroom since it was a fundraiser for the PTA). But then, Noonie reminded me that it didn't need to be big or fancy, just a little way to kick-off the year and make the day before school started extra special.

And she was right!
Shhhh, don't tell her but she usually is! :)

So a little after midnight on Thursday - the day before school started - I decided to start shopping my house and seeing what I could come up with. And this is the result. Not too bad for a $3.00 {the cost of the cupcake mix} mini party, huh?
Yes, a lot of the props came from our {back to school photo shoot} and I repurposed the hanging paper decorations from {Grace's 5th birthday}.  My shabby vintage quilt played center stage once again.
The littles wore their first day of school outfits from {last}{year} and we were ready to par-tay!
I'm excited for cooler weather so we can enjoy picnics outside once again...I think next time I'll pack everything in brown paper bags...the littles went nuts over them.
I love repurposing stuff and this little chalkboard was the perfect serving tray.
Is it just me or does milk taste better in a glass bottle??? This little pumpkin sure thinks so!
Oh my, this little girl LOOOOOVES her milk! She drank 3 out of the 4 bottles on the table in just a couple of minutes...funny because Hudson won't touch milk unless it's chocolate milk. But you know what he does love??
Yup, he's got my sweet tooth, alright!
And the little pumpkin so does NOT! I asked her recently what her favorite food was and she said it was a tie between hummus, black olives, and broccoli!
She does like brownies though and I guess these red velvet cupcakes were pretty yummy because she ate one and said the cream cheese frosting was "yummalicious".
My two favorite little people in the whole wide world...
Earlier in the Summer, Noonie said she wanted to get the littles something for back-to-school and she ended up getting them their backpacks and lunchboxes. Thank you, Noonie!
Time to check out that backpack...
When I saw this book at Barnes & Noble I knew I had to get it for the little fits her perfectly!
This may or may not have been a birthday present we misplaced and just recently found again...Grace is so excited for Noonie to teach her how to sew! ;)
I love how Grace's lunchbox turned out!
Hudson's orange-and-blue-are-my-two-favorite-colors gear...
Hmmm...what's in here?
{We ended up having to get Hudson a bigger backpack - hence the lack of a monogram on this one - because even though this is supposed to be the "preschool" size backpack from PBK, it is TINY and his lunchbox doesn't fit inside...a requirement for his preschool.}
I want to eat my lunch now! ;)
Hudson loves all my vintage Junior Elf and Little Golden Books, so I added these two to our collection...
I think we're ready for school!!!
Can't belive we have a KiNdeRGaRtenER and a PrESchOOleR!!
Here's wishing all of you with littles starting school a WONDERFUL 2012-2013 year!!