Tuesday, June 28, 2016

a million things in June

School is OVER!!!!!!

I can't even explain my joy.

Actually I can...WOOHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

I was pretty sure having to pack one more lunch at 7:30am was going to send me over the deep end.

We need some "no-routine" routine for a while.

Aside from my Friday Five (that posted on Monday, because, well, it did) I last updated life in May, so this is my sad and pathetic attempt to record (and redeem myself) the last few weeks of our crazy lives!

1. Katherine got a special cheering section at one of her last games. Grammy and Grampy came down to watch her and she really had a great game. She was so excited to show them how well she was hitting and fielding. She has really come a long way in three years. AND to top off the night, she received the game ball for an incredible play she made plus her at-bats! YAY!

2. Memorial Day Weekend in these parts has typically been wet, soggy, cloudy, depressing and all around depressing...so be still our hearts when it was not only sunny, but in the 90's! 

The kids spend the entire weekend in the lake- which was WAY toooo cold for anyone over the age of 12 but they had no problem.
3. Katherine lost another tooth. I honestly don't know what number this is? 8? 10? It was just hanging there but wasn't coming out so Mommy gave a little tug and out it came. GAAAAH. The whole teeth falling thing out is a bit much...and Emily still has a whole mouth of them to lose!

4. Emily had her gymnastics show in June to showcase a variety of skills including walking the balance beam (which until today she thought it was a balance BEAN) and floor work including a cartwheel, forward roll, handstand (attempt) and a cute little twirl.

OMG. She was so cute!! And she medaled! (OK everyone who attended all sessions this year got one, but shhhhhh)

5. Katherine had her annual Fun Day for Softball and competed in some activities such as farthest throw and accuracy, as well as hitting. She liked doing that but most of all enjoyed the dunk tank.
They had such an incredible team of girls with equally wonderful parents- we were very lucky this year! As CRAZY as the schedule was, it is one of my favorite activities. Next year, Emily will play and Katherine will progress to Juniors if she wishes- which is competitive play so she is not sure if she is game for that or not.  But it's an entire year away so we're just going to focus on swimming and Popsicles right now.

6. Katherine had two field trips this year that I was not able to go on because I had Emily home with me and had to get her to her 15 preschools etc. Katherine was bummed but I have gone to so many of her events and make every in-school program, so I was still in good graces. One of the moms, who had a daughter in Katherine's class, was amazing and took Katherine under her wing and would text me photo updates throughout the day.
Oh look. My child has a bow and arrow. lovely!
7. Emily's second field trip of the year was to a local park. This sounds like a silly trip but the kids LOVE it. It had a bunch of amazing playscapes and the best part- it's all fenced in! No escapees!

8. Katherine had her field day first this year- I volunteered in the afternoon so I got to be part of her class activities for a while. They had bounce houses and then there were a lot of "games" like pass the ball with toilet plungers and dunk, dunk, splash (instead of goose you dump a small cup of water on the persons head). Say what?! Kinda strange but the kids loved it. 

9. Emily's field day was next and it was pretty much a free-for-all in the preschool play area outside that is fenced in. They had a huge bouncy with a slide and a Caterpillar bouncy, some water games, and then the playground equipment. Emily primarily wanted me to push her on the swings for most of the time which is bizarre since she always goes on the swings but she is learning to pump herself so I think she was trying to score so extra practice time.

10. My niece had her annual dance recital and was once again the most smiley and cutest dancer up there. They made their usual announcement about no photos or videos...but that does not pertain to me at all, I have that "auntie" pass. What? It's a thing. (No?) 

What I love most about watching her is that she just has fun. Even if she misses a step she just keeps smiling and dancing. She truly finds joy in the experience of doing something she loves...and if we all approached life like that, this world would be a better place. 

11. In 3rd grade the students are all given a recorder. If you are not privy to this, do not panic. It's the most brutal instrument ever. I don't even know if you can call it an instrument. The sounds that come out of it are just dreadful- and that's when they are playing it correctly!! But I will have to say, Katherine has come a long way in a year. It started out in the fall as just painful to listen to but now you can actually recognize the songs. 

The purpose of giving them this instrument (from Satan) is to introduce them to music, reading notes, learning how to play something, remembering to bring your instrument to school... Katherine was very good at that except the last part about remembering it (grrrr!) Next year, they can choose to play a real instrument- flute, cello, clarinet, etc. Katherine has chosen the flute, because it is what I played and I am thrilled because not only do I have a flute, but it does not weigh more than she does, so she will be able to actually carry it.

12. Katherine is officially a Junior Girl Scout! I am happy it's something she wants to stick with and I am even happier that I am not a leader. The leaders they have are great and are always up for adventures and nature things...which I am so not. Emily will start Daisies in the fall which Katherine thinks is very cool, until she realizes she will have to share selling cookies with her sister.

13.  Emily had an adorable pre-school graduation from her morning program complete with a graduation cap (handmade) and more songs than you can imagine. 

I did of course tear up as her leaving preschool really starts a new chapter for her, and for me. I have been a stay at home mom for 9 years. But now all my children will no longer be "at home" all day with me...very bittersweet.

14. Katherine celebrated the end of school with a class ice cream party. My rooms moms all brought in items and we took the kids outside to enjoy. 

Her teacher presented me with a beautiful necklace to thank me for all I did for her and the class this year and I will honestly really miss her. She was so kind and sweet and incredible to Katherine. We had so many doctors appointments that meant she came late to school or left early and I am sure it was disruptive but her teacher was always understanding about that which I greatly appreciated...and when we had some issues at the end of the year she took care of it immediately and really was a huge support for Katherine. I am of course very nervous about who she will be with next year for a teacher but I have done what I can do on my end so now we just need to wait and see.

15. Emily also celebrated the end of school with a class ice cream party... 
(and more time on the swings!) 

She has had the same teacher for the last two years of preschool so it will be quite the adjustment to have someone new, though Emily really just goes with the flow with most everything. I have my fingers crossed for who I WANT her to have but just have to hope she gets the right person for her.

16. I am happy to have the school year end. It was wonderful in many ways, challenging in some ways and frustrating at some times...but at the end of the day my girls learned a lot, they grew as students and as people, they were faced with issues and problems and managed to come through it. I know one of my biggest faults as a mom is that I am afraid to let my kids fall. I basically walk around with this safety net 24/7 and really go out of my way to make things OK. I want to fix everything- it's just in my nature. (I completely blame my parents for this quality...I come from a family of fixers!)  I am trying to step back...baby steps, juuuuust in case they need me. It's a work in progress.

Summer is here and we are ready to just "be". Lake time, friends, cousins, ice cream, flip flops...it's going to be phenomenal!

Monday, June 27, 2016

friday five #116

The whoops-forgot-to-post-Monday-version of Friday Five...

1. We visited my inlaws at the beach...
I LOVE the beach and the ocean but I am a not a fan of swimming in it...or really much more than putting my feet in it. All the gunk and seaweed and hermit crabs...blah. I am a lake girl. But it was nice to sit in the sunshine (for about 3 minutes before I was needed to get snacks, build a sandcastle, find missing flip flops, get water bottles, etc)

2. We have also been lakeside (OF COURSE!). There was jumping, jumping and more jumping...

AND thanks to Grampy...Tubing!!! The kids were so excited to tube again. And look who has joined them? 
Emily has gone a few times with Mark but never just with the kids...she is like one of the big kids now! 

3. As if 3 days in the water was not enough, we were also invited to a friends pool for the day. It's so strange to be in 80 degree water (but nice!!) The kids play so great with their friends and we made sure to break for popsicles often. And photos, of course!
We also squeezed in some strawberry picking! 

It was insanely hot in the field with the shade at 0%. But we got some good berries...most of which Emily ate before we got to the car.

4. My scrapbook-bestie and I met up at an ice cream/cupcake place in my town on Wednesday so we could fill our children up with sugar before dinner get everyone to get together and catch up. This place is part candy, part toy, part cupcake heaven and part ice cream store. I mean, you really can't go wrong here. And I am pretty sure I left smelling like chocolate, which is not a bad problem to have. We have a lake date coming up soon so stay tuned for jumping, jumping and more jumping photos soon featuring these four again!

5. Summer Reading!!! This is my most favorite time of year for books because all my favorite authors break out with a new book Right now, my list of books to get for my to-be-read is at 38 books and that is not counting the 10 I already have on my nightstand.

I took the girls to get a pile of books for their own summer reading program through the library. Emily is not "reading" all on her own but recognizes sight words and she will easily flip through the pages and tell the story as she sees it. 

Katherine fills up her bag with no less than 20 books and has them half read by bedtime (or by the time we leave the library)!
The summer program reading for Katherine is almost a joke because she will hit the max before July. It's a good problem to have!

The fact that all this has happened, we have been so busy and it's only JUNE makes me a happy girl!! 

Happy Monday! 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

the end of the beginning

One hundred million years ago (or something dramatic like that) two little girls started school:
There were school parties....
and field trips...

and field days...

and lots of smiles and giggles...

and lots of homework (sans smiles and giggles)...

Then finally, one day, the school say "Hey kids, you have been going to school forever and it's 90 degrees out so let's end this and celebrate summer!"

And all the moms (and dads) who packed backpacks, water bottles, lunches, snacks, who stressed over homework, friendships, sports, activities, who ran fundraisers, organized book fairs, chaperoned dances, class parties and field trips, bought teacher gifts, volunteered and spent hours lying away at night with questions and doubts that they were doing this right or if they would ever survive, shouted back "YES! OMG!YES!"

And summer vacation was born.
Summer, we're coming for ya!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Saturday 70 (kidding!)

just looked at the last time I posted and it was late April.

It's now the end of May.

Has nothing happened worthy of writing?


Am I completely insanely busy and have crappy time management?


This month is B-A-N-A-N-A-S! (Like the Gwen Stefani song...)

We've had 4-5 softball games A WEEK for Katherine, plus her two hours of ice skating, plus her after-school art class, plus Emily's two preschools, plus Emily's swim class and gymnastics class, plus endless physical therapy for Katherine's leg...and homework and the every day madness of children.

This is also a very, very, very busy time for my newspaper writing. I try to cram in a ton of articles before the summer slump.

And don't even get me started on PTO, school field trips, school parties, and teacher appreciation week that nearly mentally broke me...

We have 3 weeks until the end of school and it can't come soon enough.  I love that the kids are busy and into all these great activities but it is leading to complete burnout and exhaustion so we are all ready for a couple months of lake time and dock jumping.

I don't even know where to begin but we had some fun stuff over the last few weeks that I want to post about...

1. Softball is going great...aside from the nearly 2 weeks of rain and cancelled games and this week we have FIVE games to make them up...all is well. Great girls, really nice parents, awesome coaches and the mom in the batters box is AMAZING. Oh, that would be me. Ha. Katherine is hitting is incredible and she seems to really enjoy being one of the older girls on the team.
Her little sister is enjoying dress up time when the girls are on the field.

2. With our crazy schedule, this is basically what meal planning looks like each week. 
Though honestly, I cave by Tuesday.

3. SHE PASSED!!!! 
Katherine is onto level FOUR for skating and we are so proud of her. Level three is pretty hard to get out of because they really need to nail a couple of moves perfectly to move on and she has been working so hard since the fall, leg issues and all! This was one of the greatest skating accomplishments for her!

4. Katherine went rock wall climbing for the first time a couple weekends ago for a birthday party. She was totally excited about doing it...but then freaked out slightly going up and then did not want to come down. But after that one time, she was hooked. And didn't want to leave.

5. For teacher appreciation I put together these super cute bags of candy for the teachers. 
The bummer was I had to make 75 of them. I needed anyone who could count to 10 to help...so I enlisted Emily. She took it very seriously (and never miscounted!!)

6. We took the girls to see ZOOTOPIA. 

We heard rave reviews about it, we watched YouTube videos, we finally went and Katherine HATED it. I don't know what her deal was. It stressed her out or something and she couldn't sleep for 3 days. Sigh. But the rest of us liked it. Win some, lose some.

7. Look who got a hold of my phone during the 10 seconds it was unlocked...

8. Katherine and her girl scout troop went to a museum to earn their painting badge. Since Katherine is so into art I knew she would love this. She decided to paint a mermaid. It was AMAZING. She hated it and had a complete meltdown. 
It was not perfect to her level of perfection so all was not right in the world....I tell my mom this who just says "she is her mother's daughter". 
Sigh. I can't argue that.

9. Emily's morning preschool had a special Mother's Day tea. The teachers provided all these wonderful foods and the kids made special pins for us to wear and adorable signs. This is why I will cry when she leaves preschool...these little things are so special at this time.

10. Katherine got her first manicure at a salon over the weekend...a friend from school invited her and three other girls to celebrate her birthday. Katherine got sparkled pink...and picked it off three days later...which is why 8-year olds should not get manicures!

11.  On Mother's Day eve, my sister and I escaped to the NASHVILLE concert. If you don't watch the show NASHVILLE you have no idea what I am talking about but basically it is five of the characters (who are musicians in real life) singing songs from the show and ones they wrote as well and playing instruments. It was awesome to get out and do something with my sister though the band was slightly deafening. Who needs hearing?
(Now a follow up to this...I am HEARTBROKEN this show was cancelled! Good looking people singing country songs mixed in with some drama?? Come on! Yet, that "Three and a half men" show is most likely still on. (Please say it isn't so?!) 

12. Mother's Day!!! I am lucky to be a mom...I am lucky to have my mom close enough to spend the day with. My mom is the mom that I want to be...she always knows the answers to everything, she can whip up a 50 course meal in 1/2 hour and not break a sweat, she can entertain 60 people with such grace and she always knows the right thing to say. And let's face it...she still puts up with me and all my crazy after all these years without any hesitation which makes her a super hero in my eyes.

After the INSANE week I had, I was happy not to do anything or go anywhere other than my parents house for dinner. When you have little kids, this day is really still about them. They are so excited to wake you up and show you their cards they made at school...it's more about seeing the pride and excitement in their faces than anything.
I go on semi- strike, meaning I do as little as I can chore-wise but I hate a messy house so by the end of the day I end up picking up everything and putting stuff away.

13. On Mother's Day we also celebrated my dad's birthday!! YAY! My dad is such a rock star for sharing his birthday with Mother's Day. Though it was technically not until Monday, this was the time we could all be together so I busted out some yummy cupcakes and we got him an iTunes gift card so he could get some new music for an upcoming trip they are going on. I am very grateful to be so close to my dad, I know a lot of people don't have that type of relationship. I know, no matter what, I can turn to him for advice or help (and of course to fix all the things the girls and I break) and he is always there in a heartbeat. 

I know there is nothing he would not do for me and the girls and is so comforting.
I am grateful and blessed for them both.

14. Emily is loving swimming lessons. She would go everyday. She has come so far from not wanting to put her face in the water two years ago to now wanting to just swim underwater throughout class! 

She is learning the front crawl and mastering her back float. And there is lots of jumping of course...in preparation for our summer!

15. OMG. Kindergarten Orientation was this week. 
It was exciting for her to see the Kindergarten rooms and the kids who might be in her class. I have my hopes up for two teachers who I think will be great for her...we won't find out until August for either girl so going to have to push it in the back of my head and not worry about it until then. (Yeah, right!)

16. Mark celebrated his birthday this month (with more candles than he wants to admit). 

17. Katherine upgraded to her summer skating outfit (really!) 

18. Emily finished her year of gymnastics! She will do a mini performance and get a medal in June but this picture is from her last class. I thought I had photo of her actually doing some gymnastics but it turns out I was taking videos. Oops! 

19. I might rename our sister sleepovers: "sleepless sleepovers". These girls don't. stop. talking. 

20. I mean, how great is this shot? Even through a window it's pretty fabulous!! 
21. Emily's afternoon preschool took a field trip to a local farm and these kids were off the wall excited! There is nothing like field trips with 5 year olds...next week  we go the park! So cute!!!!! 

22. In the mornings Mark wakes them up. Then they promptly crawl into my bed and go back to sleep. Mornings are slow going around here! 

23. Summer is coming!!!

If you are still reading...congrats. This post was a doozy. Stay tuned for the next episode of "OMG so much has happened and I have no time to blog so I am going to cram it all in one post".

Happy Weekend!