Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bunk Beds!

 Good bye 50 year old trundle bed probably covered in lead-based paint.
 The delivery guys were kind enough to let my kiddos watch them assemble the bunk beds.
 so happy! 
 complete reverse of how this was suppose to be - turns out Caleb is the our one brave enough to sleep on top.
 Happy to have the bottom bunk
Proud to have the top bunk - so far so good!

We are now bunk bed owners.   It is really an end of the era for my family – a generational one at that!  The boys have been sleeping on the same trundle bed that me & my sister slept on our entire childhood AND my aunt and uncle before us!  We decided the boys were old enough for bunk beds and really wanted to the option of under the bed storage and also some extra space to fit a desk in for Aaron’s constant art projects which currently take over both our kitchen & dining room tables.   We are pleased with our choice and especially like the detachable ladder that we place on the top bunk during the day to avoid Leah climbing up  - so far just one instance of her sneaking up top before we forgot to move the ladder!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

On Kindergarten

 Aaron's Last Day of Kindergarten - May 31, 2012
A few weeks ago, Aaron graduated from Kindergarten and is officially now considered a “first grader.”  Wow – that was fast!  It is so hard to believe his first year of school has come & gone and even harder to believe that I am mother of a “first grader” which flat out just makes me old.  I by no means consider myself an expert but for fun here are what I would go as far as call “observations” from our first kindergarten experience to those mommies that have been asking for advice:
Shoes:  Always empty shoes near a trashcan when your child comes home from school.  I really don’t see how Aaron’s playground at school has any mulch/rock/sand left after what my living room rug (I mean trashcan) collected from each day’s haul. 

Vomit: Train up a child in the way he should go and when it comes time to puke at school he won’t falter.  Early in the school year we had a vicious tummy bug strike 4 out 5 in our household – Aaron stayed strong so I continued to send him to school fully coached on if he needed to throw up to “find a trashcan or hard surfaces floor.”  He never did get that tummy bug.  Fast forward to Christmastime (tacky Christmas sweater day at my MOPS meeting that day to be exact) when I get the dreaded call from the school to come pick him up because he had puked. Sidebar:  On tacky Christmas sweater day, always take a change of shirt in the car to avoid rushing into a school building looking like an idiot.  Sidebar #2:  Should said tacky sweater be seen in public at a non-participating venue, do NOT make excuses for your clothing by explaining it is all a joke outfit because in a school setting it is very, very likely very similar “joke” Christmas jewelry or sweater will be worn in non-joke manner from the next 3 grown adults who walk into the office while you wait for your puking son to arrive from the nurse’s office, just saying…  So I pick Aaron up and first thing he says was “I didn’t make it to a trashcan, but I did make it to the hard floor in the bathroom.”  Good boy!  Months later after his coaching session and he remembered the drill!  And turns out he wasn’t sick at all. When I asked him what happened he said, “well, I was going into my favorite bathroom stall and there was old, smelly poo poo in there. And well, I couldn't breathe and I turned around with my mouth open but not breathing but needing to spit and well that is when the throw up came.  It was a pretty good trick for getting to come home - well, except for missing that playground time."  He comes by that gag reflex quite naturally.

Lunch:  Fitting topic following the vomit saga right?  Thank God for Star Wars fruit chews – those and a night’s worth of anxious praying is what got Aaron through the door that first day.  He was dead set on not going to school, but the lure of Star Wars fruit chews was enough to get him motivated to give Kindergarten a try!  Pull out all the stops for that first lunch – the more sugar bribes the better!

Spelling:  Teach your child to spell early and accurately. Or you might come home with an embarrassing surprise in your child’s folder unexpectedly one day.

Exposure:  Our kids live a pretty sheltered life so we knew school would expose them to things not normally said or discussed in our family, I just wasn’t prepared for it to happen the first week of kindergarten when Aaron asked me “Mommy is there a bad finger?”   He asked me what makes it bad and which one it was – I gave honest, age-appropriate answers.  He thought about my answer and said, “So is there a bad toe?”  

Schoolwork:  Do not dump your child’s 20th connect the dots sheet he brought home from school in the trashcan. If “treasured” papers do happen to find their way into your trashcan, be as appalled as they are when found by your child and exclaim, “How did that get in there?!?”  Do cram has many random papers into plastic bag, tie securely and throw away. Rinse & repeat. 

Homecoming: If you have younger children at home while big sibling is away at school, expect happy go-lucky “reunited and it feels so good” type behavior for about 5 minutes upon your child’s return from school – followed by an afternoon & evening’s worth of fighting because no one remembers how to share anymore.

The first day:  It is the LONGEST day ever.  I LOVED having my personalized scripture book created by a dear friend to pray him (and me) through it: - thanks Sally!  PS – wear sunglasses and keep them on while inside the school building when dropping your firstborn off for the first time.  In fact, where sunglasses inside your home that day as well should you want to avoid your other children seeing you uncommonly weepy.   :)

I am certain there are plenty of note-worthy tips worth far more than any of these just for fun observations.  All in all, we are tremendously and I mean tremendously proud of our firstborn’s first year of school.  He was above reproach in all things, excelled academically, conquered so so so so many fears – especially of large, noisy crowds - made friends, and loves to learn.  Bring on 1st grade!
  Aaron had a wonderful, godly teacher who was the perfect fit for him.
 Aaron's class all awarded each other special awards.  His is the "Good Citizen Award" because is the only student in his class to never once get in trouble all year long. We are very proud!
 Christmas Gingerbread House Party
 Field Day - the day Aaron described as the 
"best day of school and the first time he has ever liked PE!"

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

2012 Family Reunion

 Our family of five - happy campers!
 Very old rustic cabin on the Blanco River.  We have stayed as a family of 5 in this cabin that last couple of years and it has grown on us - I especially enjoy Leah's nap times when I can read on the front porch and look out on the (below) view.  I did not particularly enjoy Caleb's night terror in the middle of night 3 when I had to rock him on the front porch getting eaten by mosquitoes and hearing random night time creatures I had to work out a survival plan for in my ever worst-case scenario planning mind! :)

 Fun perk this year were this pony and sheep in a nearby field - kids even got to feed her!
 2 weekends in a row to use the river floats - summer is off to the right start!
 Nana had the genius idea of turning her cabin's screened in porch into an art room - Aaron approved!
 Impromptu kid requested photo shoot with daddy
 Kids would slide down the rapids - followed usually by my boys having to pull up their swimtrunks.

 So this post probably doesn’t look too differently than my last post but I promise they are different weekends and rivers.  We went to Scott’s 4-day long family reunion in beautiful Wimberley. This is a large reunion with lots of extended cousins from all over Texas – always a great weekend that we looks forward to every summer!  When we left on Friday all three kids were running a fever so I was bit curious how the weekend would play out – fortunately the sickness passed quickly and did not pass onto anyone else. The pics show just a few highlights from a great weekend.  We are blessed to be a part of a family that values time spent with one another. On a side note, while we were there Aaron asked "Mommy, do we go to church in the summer?"  Two weekends away from church is a rare thing for us and it blessed me to know that my oldest noticed.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Small Group Family Camp

 Caleb wanted to be super safe in the river! 
 We took several rafts and they were perfect for the nice flowing Frio.  The dads pulled this boat around for hours I think.
 Rope swing fun!  Both Caleb & Aaron gave it a try and loved it! 
 Our swimming area had a great chute - we would have a parent up top to send them down and then a parent downstream to return them - only once to 2 kids float downstream without a "catcher" - followed by 2 dads running downstream after them - if only we had Baywatch music to play as they ran to the rescue...
 This place had a large fishing pond - Caleb fished for hours! I should say a special thanks to my parents - we cheated a let them keep Leah for night 1 and bring her to us the next day - it was nice to have Papa there to fish with Caleb.  Caleb told everyone his Papa was coming to fish with him and that "Well, I sure do love my Papa."  Sweet boy. :)
 And Scott caught his first fish since childhood!
 Leah wanted to do everything her brothers got to do of course.
 The girl LOVED the water - the Frio is cold and fast - she would plop down in the current on her stomach and lift her hands to float down stream - no fear!
 Snack time by the river

We just returned from our “First Annual Small Group Family Camp.”  Our wonderful friends that lead our small group (which consists of 6 - 7 families all from various churches) thought we should attempt a weekend camping trip with 12 adults (2 of which are very pregnant) and count them, 14 kids (12 of which are 4 and under!).   I think we must have all prayed this trip into a success because we had a blast!  No major injuries, no prolonged missing children, great weather, etc. We truly had a great time.  We stayed at a small private campground on the Frio River near Concan/Leakey.  It was perfect for our group – we did tent camping but also splurged and had a cabin with AC and full kitchen where the mommies and babies “slept” – multiple pack & plays in one space made for an interesting first night but a camping miracle happened on night 2 and all the babies slept solid for 8 hours!  It will be sad day next year when I have no baby to qualify me for the AC cabin... tent camping as a family of five it will be!  I don’t have many good pics from the trip b/c I was busy keeping my 3 kids alive – a couple of mommies served as official photographers so perhaps I will acquire better pics later.  We are looking forward to next year and so very thankful God has blessed us with such a tight-knit group of friends.