Category Archives: PreSchool

First Day of School

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School started with a bang.  Our babies are growing up.  We started Pre-K4, Kindergarten, and 2nd Grade this year.  The little 2 are at school together and C is at a school by himself.

C walked into school and had to go to the lunchroom because it wasn’t 7:45 yet, we walked in and it was a bit overwhelming…until we saw some of his sweet little buddies.  The Lord is so gracious.  We walked in and there was ONE seat next to his buddy, A.  C told us he was good, and we left and took JL and EK to their school.

EK was in the same class with the same teachers as last year.  She has learned so much and progressed so far since she started.  We are thrilled and so thankful!

JL has a precious teacher, who we happen to go to church with.  She was one of the 2 we requested, and we are beyond thrilled for him to have her this year. He is loving school, but wishes he could play outside longer.  :)

Here are all three of them before school.  We managed to get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and take pictures AND leave on time.

 

 

Jeb wasn’t off work the first day, but he managed to take everyone with me and just get to work late.  I made the rounds at the end of the day and everyone had a great first day!  We headed out after school to get a treat, and then onto soccer practice…and another year begins.

May: The month that almost killed me.

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So, May came and went.  I thought November and December were busy, but May put them to shame.  The end of school madness is drives mamas to the edge of insanity.  It is finished now.  These pictures are not necessarily in any particular order because, well, I don’t feel like moving them around.

A good portion of a couple weeks in May were consumed with Teacher Appreciation Week.  We LOVE our teachers at Primary, and we make sure they know it!  Our dining room table became the hub for everything appreciative.

This was my look for approximately 2 weeks before LASIK.  I had LASIK the afternoon after field day.  I had every intention of taking a shower before surgery, but then, I didn’t.  I was SO FREAKED OUT about surgery, but it was a piece of cake.  I took a Valium, and they deadened my eyes…and then they shot lasers into my eyes.  No biggie.  It all seems like a dream now.  I never got panicky or anything.  Praise the Lord!  I remember coming back home and looking for EK’s ear, then taking a shower, and then trying to find her ear again (it had been lost earlier in the afternoon).  Eventually I got so tired (because I was on Demerol and Phenergan) I went inside and put the shields over my eyes and taped them on top of my hair.  That was not fun when Jeb had to put the drops in my eyes later that night and rip the tape off of my hair.  My hair was so tangled in tape, it was awful. But, then I woke up the next morning, and I saw 20/15.  LOVE LASIK.

Mother’s Day was great.  This was the card Caden made for me.  Please notice at the bottom it says: just made this a few minutes ago.  I love honesty.  I can’t remember what else we did, but I know I felt special and it was a great day. :)

Like I said earlier, these pictures are not in order, so here’s the teacher appreciation luncheon.  Isn’t it cute?  Those daisy’s were some of the prizes we gave away.  They were the first things to go. :)

Here’s the final product for the Haiti shirt.  I haven’t actually placed the order yet.  Oops. This kid cracks me up.  We got these Minnie Mouse pjs from a friend in Sunday school.  We turned around and she had put them on top of her dress.  She loves Minnie and she loves to dress up.Jeb works 2 Saturdays a month.  We go to Target.  It’s simple.
These 3 are precious.  I am so blessed to call them mine.   Here’s my mother’s day lunch photo.  We ate at Backyard Burger.  Yummy!  They have fantastic salads. This girl had her first ponytail!  How cute is she? This guy graduated from Pre-K.   We could not have had a better year.  I wish we could take Mrs. Amy with us to CCPS.  We LOVE her!  JL would run and jump in her lap and give her a huge hug every morning.   Here is the happy little couple. JL asked Sadie to marry him a few weeks ago.  She said yes.  I’m so glad he found his soulmate  at the age of 2.  I found a valentines day card Sadie made him when she was 2.  Melts my heart.  Love her. :) We were blessed with the BEST teachers this year.  Not only did JL love his teacher, but EK and C loved theirs as well.  It makes it so much easier to be able to drop the kids off when I knew they’re being loved on by these sweet ladies all day long.  And here are some comparison pictures for you.  JL first day and last day of school. Caden’s first and last day pic. EK’s first day at the school for hearing (in September) and her last day as a Firefly at CCPS. We ended up in Huntsville for some reason or another.  I can’t even remember why we were there now.  I do know we went to the cookie company and dropped $10 on 4 cookies though.  The kids thought it was totally worth it.  :) And this is so typical of JL.  They all had their baths and asked for a “variety tray.”  A variety tray is a tray with lots of different snacks on it.  Then they sit down to watch their show…and JL has on an eyepatch and a telescope.  Any time is a good time to be a pirate.  And in between all of this we had a few house showings.  We had Field Day.  We had bye bye brunch.  We had other various and a sundry things going on as well. May was so full!  I thought June would bring slower pace, but alas, it’s not the case.  So thankful to have this house full of munchkins to keep me busy.

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Dad got tickets to the National Championship game in Miami.  What’s a girl to do, but squeeze another Disney trip out of that?  So, we headed out to God’s Country again.  God has 2 countries…Tuscaloosa and Orlando.  Some people may disagree with me on that.  We represented Alabama all weekend.  

Jeb and Dad left after breakfast Monday morning to see the Tide roll over the Sparkly hatted Golden Domers.  Mom and I held down the fort at Disney.  We were exhausted by the end of the day.  Exhausted.

Dad and Jeb got to meet Paul Finebaum really quickly, get a blurry picture, and then see the Tide bring home #15.

We got to see some of our best friends from Tuscaloosa.  It was so fun to catch up with them!  This is their youngest little girl, Abbie.  Ella Kate  LOVED her.  Oh how I wish we lived closer to them.  Ella Kate would be so happy.

We got home from Orlando and Uncle Michael and Aunt Jess had sent JL a Luigi for his birthday.  He was so excited!  He loves stuffed animals.  He got a lot of his animals, asked me to take a picture, and then to post it to facebook.  I love how different our kids are.  JL loves dressing up, loves role playing with toys, is very particular about his clothes (he’s not on the cutting edge of fashion, he just has particular shirts he will wear), always has to take a toy with him to school or wherever we go, and loves stuffed animals.

Jeb has been working a lot lately to make up for the days he was at the championship game.  So, I get the kids from school, we run a couple of errands, come home, do homework, eat dinner, take baths/showers, get pjs on, and then wait for Jeb to get home.  He usually strolls through the door around 7pm.

EK had mapping last week.  Everything was about the same, but Emily had to turn her left ear up a little to make it a little louder.

JL loves footie pj’s and to not wipe his face after eating or drinking.  He’s one of a kind.

This is EK when I was trying to wrangle her to do therapy.  She took her socks off, put them on her hands as gloves, and wallowed on the recliner.

She also likes scissors.  She likes to find hidden scissors, hide in the bathroom while an unsuspecting mom is in the kitchen, be really quiet, and take chunks of her already thin hair off.

On the day of the snow storm JL had opposite day.  He wore his undies on the outside of his pants.  That’s the only thing he wanted to do opposite.  Aces.

We bought shrinky dinks at Target during the 75% off blow out in the toy section.  They were a huge hit.And, finally, we had the Snowpocolypse of 2013.  We actually had “thunder snow.”  It was pretty deep for Alabama standards.  We played as long as we could, but eventually these little kiddos got too cold and we had to retreat into the house to warm up.  

The snow is almost all gone, we’ve started school back, and we’ve had a fairly normal week here.  We’re starting to get back in the groove, and I’m loving every minute of it.

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We gave away Cat #1. She went to a sweet friend with 3 kids. From what I hear she had an exciting trip back home trying to keep the cat in the box, and then the cat somehow squeezed itself out of the box through a handle in the side. I haven’t heard from her since then. I’m just going to assume all is well and Ally is loving country life.

This is JL’s santa suit. It was sort of a Santa superhero outfit. He walked around the house saying “Hohoho, here’s your Merry Christmas present.” He makes me laugh.

Jeb got a new car. His old one had a hole in the back bumper, the speakers were dry rotted, the passenger side door had long scrapes down it, and the front bumper had been gashed on rocks and had hit a dog. Poor car (and poor dog). I’m glad he has something he loves driving.

This is the hat JL got to wear at school on his birthday. He also wore it the day after his birthday because he said, “Mom I’m STILL 5, so i can wear it. It says John Luke IS 5.” Well, yes, that does make sense. Wear whatever you like buddy.

He wanted me to send a picture of him to Pops. This is what he did for the picture. He is not right.

So, long story short. Jeb is going to the National Championship Game with my dad. I was sad. He was sad that I was sad. Mom and Dad had the idea to go to Disney World so we would all have something to look forward to. I wasn’t sad anymore. This is the face he made once I wasn’t sad anymore. He’s so very very excited. :) we will all head to Orlando, stay for a few days then the guys will drive down to Miami go
To the game spend the night and head back for one more day with mi mowe (what ek says for mickey mouse)

Sadie and JL last Christmas.

Sadie and John Luke this Christmas. Let me just get this out in the open…praise the Lord he didn’t have to wear a reindeer shirt with a bow under the fluffy ball nose this year. He is a boy. Also, please notice they BOTH have food on their faces. If this relationship doesn’t work out, I don’t know what will…they are perfect for each other. Maybe they’ll at least be friends for life.

This is JL with Mrs. Amy. He loves her. She has been such a great teacher this year. So thankful for her!

We had EK’s Christmas party this week too. She had to see Santa to get her present. She wasn’t too sure about it. If only he had Mickey ears on. She was all about going to see Mickey Mouse.

She was much more relaxed once she was a safe distance from Santa. I don’t blame her. It’s creepy. I used to tell my dad to tell Santa to leave the presents on the porch because I didn’t want a stranger coming into our house.

The Christmas list Caden gave me yesterday…for any last minute shopping.
1. Art supplies
2. Glo brix
3. 3DS (I don’t know why he turns his 3s around sometimes)
4. Once upon a Christmas (I had to get help deciphering this one)
5. Series 1 (trash pack)
Love this kid. He is always thinking. And, to make this even better…he did it while he was in time out for acting like a crazy loon at dinner. I guess he knew he’d get back in good graces soon.

We started out our Christmas vacation today. Jeb had to work, so we went to Decatur to buy the last 2 Christmas presents on our list! WE ARE FINISHED! We also ate at Panera. Yummy! The kids asked to eat at a restaurant where they could go inside and sit down. I thought they meant like a “real” restaurant…like Olive Garden. I asked them what that meant, and they said KFC! Um, no.

Ella Kate is going to school 4 days a week now. The day she doesn’t go to school is when she’s at therapy in Birmingham. She’s really starting to take off. She talks to me all the time, but I can only understand about half of it. I’m starting to decipher more and more. I haven’t been counting lately because I forget, but I’m thinking she’s well over 500 words she understands and over 300 words she expresses on her own. She’ll repeat just about anything you ask her to repeat.

We went to Disney last week. I have lots of pictures, but I’ll give them their own post.

At this time of year we always reflect back on how the Lord has blessed us over the past year, and this year is no different. We are so very thankful to have our babies in our arms alive and well this Christmas. That’s more than some parents can say. We pray we never take life for granted. We pray for those mama’s and daddy’s who don’t get the same luxury as we do of rocking their babies to sleep this Christmas. We pray during the wake of the tragedy in CT, the victims and the parents are not forgotten amongst the quarrels about 2nd amendments rights and asinine protests by hate groups passing themselves off as people who love Jesus. I hope I never forget. I hope and pray I keep my new perspective. Hug our kids a little tighter. Not get frustrated as easily. Love more. And on a somewhat funny note, Monday was the first day we took the kids to school after the shooting. We prayed together before school and we took the wise counsel of Jon Acuff (who writes a blog called Stuff Christians Like). He said why do we pray for a hedge of protection, why not protection of lions, or of fire breathing dragons…they’re much more likely to protect you….so Monday, when I was about to start boohooing, Jeb prayed for a hedge of fire breathing dragons around our boys that day (EK had therapy)…I loved it. We picked both of them up that afternoon. I kept hugging Caden for long periods of time, and eventually he said to me, “mom, have you ever thought about giving me away?” I said, “Um, no, do you think I’m giving you away because I keep hugging you so much.” He said, “Yes, yes I do.” So then we had to have a talk about how I wouldn’t ever give him away, and I just loved him and that’s why I was hugging him (they have NO idea anything happened in CT. I didn’t want to give him a complex and set him up to be terrified to go to school. Let’s face it….I was terrified to drop him off until I found out a uniformed on duty policeman was at the school all day. If I was scared, I know he would have been. We want to shelter him from unnecessary fears, so no news is good for him.)

Merry Christmas to all of you. Hug those babies tight. Don’t take them for granted.

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Something I forgot to mention in my last post, the boys have their own rooms now!  They decided one Sunday morning they wanted to split up.  I thought it would be tough on them since JL hadn’t had his own room since he was 15 months old and Caden hadn’t since he was 3, but they really seem to like it.  Here’s a mid-way through photo of JL’s room:

Ella Kate got a little room makeover too.  Her room is the only one I have a final photo of, of course.  Poor boys.  They get the photo shaft most of the time.

We also got a cat.  Yes, my daddy is allergic to cats, so I was raised to think cats were closely related to Satan himself.  After I left my parents home I held firm to that belief, but eventually did some soul searching and concluded that cats weren’t all that bad.  My friend Jesse would like to take credit as that being her legacy to our children, cats.  She brought cats into our world.  They have 2 cats at their house, Edgy cat and Sally cat.  They started naming their animals after U2, but for some reason they stopped after thier initial naming of The Edge (aka Edgy cat).  I kind of wish our cat was a boy so we could have named it Bono.  Cat number 1 was given to us by a friend from Sunday School.  It was a pretty cat.  It hung around for about a week and a half.  We played with it on Halloween and then put it back outside…and haven’t seen it since.

Ever since Allie the Cat (aka Shila – the name given to her by her original owner) ran away, the kids (mainly JL) have been bugging me to get a new cat.  One afternoon we were discussing how after we knew Allie was definitely gone we would get a cat from the shelter.  I talked to them about how it was good to get a cat from the shelter because it had already had shots, been spayed or neutered, and had a micro-chip inserted into it…and they put animals down at the shelter after they’d been there too long…so we needed to rescue one.  Well, they started asking if there was any chance our cat who had run away was there…oh I definitely didn’t see that coming.  We ended up going to the shelter and Pet Depot to make sure Allie wasn’t at either place.  At one point during the afternoon I thought we were going to end up with a school of goldfish and a cat, but ended up with NOTHING.  I felt like that was a huge victory for moms everywhere.  However, he next day JL started in again about wanting a cat.  He knows how to get me to agree to something…bug the crap out of me until I cave.  Worked like a charm.  We got another cat.  This cat’s name is Izzie.  

Izzie is a sweet cat.  Until today she’d try to dart in the house any time the door opened, but tonight she calmed down and would stay in the garage when we’d open and close the door.  She went on an adventure with Jeb and the kids this afternoon.  She stayed right with them like she was a dog.  :)  That’s what I need, a cat that acts like a dog.  I really want a dog, but don’t need something else to potty train…because apparently I’m not so good with that these days.

Caden had his 5oth day of school last week.  They celebrated by dressing up in 50s attire, having a sock hop, drinking soda, and doing other 50sey things.  

We were rebels on Halloween.  We didn’t go to our church fall festival.  Yes, I know, we are horrible people.  Y’all don’t realize how much those things stress me out and make me anxious.  I do not cope well in crowds with Ella Kate.  Someday it will be fine.  Halloween 2012 was not that day.  We went trick or treating with some sweet friends, who I have deemed will now be our Halloween buddies.

Caden didn’t want to be anything for Halloween.  I don’t really push Halloween, so I didn’t really care that he didn’t want to dress up.  Dressing up isn’t really his thing anyway.  At the last minute he decided he would be a Trash Pack kid.  He was Rank-instein…or stink-instein…I don’t remember it’s Trashy name.  JL pulled an audible at the last minute and decided to be Mario.  Whatever.  I threw EK’s outfit together that day.  She was “girl in poofy skirt with adorable ‘pig tails.’”

I love these 2 boys.  They are the best of friends, which makes me so happy.

Here’s JL and Sadie.  They have been good buddies since they were 2.  Wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long!    

 

JL says Sadie is his girlfriend.  He also says he’s “in love with her.”  I asked him what he thought love was, and I’d give anything if I had the conversation between him and Caden that followed my question.  JL mentioned love had to do with holding hands, getting married, and going on dates…then Caden chimes in, “Oh you can’t be in love then, you don’t have any money to take a girl on dates.” JL is notorious for spending every last cent once he gets any money, leaving him with nothing.  Here are a couple pics of Sadie and JL from Christmas last year.

This picture cracks me up.  Lukey is laid back on me all spread out, and Sadie has her hand perched on his knee. :)

And here they are before their Christmas Program

 

If only we could do an arranged marriage…

 

The Friday after Halloween was a Community Field Trip for Caden.  They visited different places in our community and learned about each one.  After they finished, the parents were asked to meet them at Depot Park for a picnic.  It was Caden’s birthday, so he got to wear his birthday crown.  He loved it.  He also loved that he got to check out after the picnic.  I need to add more about his birthday, but it deserves a post in it’s own.

We had some friends over Saturday night for the UA vs. LSU game.  That was one of the most nerve wracking games ive seen in a while.   I may have screamed at the top of my lungs and scared a small child toward the end of the game. The kids played together so well, which made watching the game more enjoyable.

Sunday I grabbed a craft I had planned on doing over the summer with them.  Better late than never.  The boys had fun building with their gum drops.  Ella Kate preferred to eat them.  

And that bring us to this past week.  You know, I envy the people who sit down every night and write on their blog.  I wouldn’t have to catch up on 3 weeks of info in one post.  I’ve almost fallen asleep 3 times since I started this…pressing on…We celebrated election day (not the election results…just the day).  I love a hands on activity, so I googled electoral college map and printed one out.  The boys then colored in each state as it was called out.  They had a great time, but then got too tired to stay awake…much like me right now.

Caden’s school always does a Veteran’s Day program, and honors the student’s family who are veterans.  Grandaddy has been able to be “Caden’s veteran’ the last couple for years.  I can’t get my picture of the two of them to upload to the blog.  I’ll try again tomorrow.

Here he is with his teacher.

Today, Caden had his pizza party for his class winning most box tops.  They had 2,200.  That is so great because it means their classroom will be able to get $220 from Box Tops for Education!  Such a great program.  We cbecked Caden out after the party and hung around the house all afternoon.  We even got most of our Christmas decorations up.  :)  Well, that’s all I can muster up for tonight.  I still have NYC and C’s 7th (yikes!) birthday to post about.

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A couple weeks ago we went to The McWane Center to celebrate Dr. Woolley’s 300 implant recipients.  He’s done many more than 300 implants since most of the kids he implants now are bilateral.  EK wouldn’t look at the camera for our pic with Dr. Woolley…probably because the room we were in was LOUD and full of people.  We are so thankful for the gift of cochlear implants and are forever grateful for them and Dr. Woolley.  The McWane Center is such a neat place, but I was happy to be headed home afterwards.  I’m not much of a museum person…especially with a 3, 4, and 6 year old.  

We’ve been doing therapy as usual.  We decided to mix it up a little and put together a Mr. Potato Head.  EK did this by herself!  I told her to pick up various body parts and put them in, and she would do it.  Yay!  She was proud of herself too.

We’re still reading books nightly.  This particular night Caden read aloud to me while I was cleaning up the kitchen.  Jeb was working late, and we had to make it work.  EK decided she would “read” with him.  It was fantastic.  What she was “reading” made NO sense, but was priceless nonetheless.

I’ve been a regular up at Caden’s school too.  EK started preschool there.  I expected the worst when I picked her up the first day.  Much to my dismay, they went on and on about how awesome she did.  They were so impressed with how well she learned routines, sat in group time, etc.  We decided to extend her to 3 hours 2 times a week.  She did fine with the extra hour, but it messed up our therapy we did at home.  We decided to change it back to 2 hours, and add an extra day.  She’s going 3 days a week, 2 hours a day.  I am so thankful for this little class.  They work one on one with EK, as well as give her time to interact with other kids her age (who aren’t her brothers)…and she doesn’t have to be potty trained to go. :) The past couple of weeks have been full of box tops, fall festival, Golden Apple, and Parent Picnic.

Here’s the basket me and the other homeroom mom got together.  This is one of the fund raisers for the school PTO.  It’s a basket for the silent auction.  Our basket brought in $190. :)

The wretched box tops I had to count, cut, and separate for Caden’s class.  In case you are wondering how many are in the 3 gallon zip lock bags, that would be 1600.  1,600 box tops.  So far, Caden’s class is winning.  Caden is so excited they will probably win the pizza party given to the class who brought in the most box tops.

Golden Apple is awarded to students displaying “good citizenship.”  We are so proud of Caden for his award. :)

After the Golden Apple presentation I took the little kids home to do a quick therapy session before we had to get back to the school for Caden’s Class Picnic.

After the picnic I checked Caden out of school and we geared up for a fun weekend!  We headed to Walmart, like we usually do on Fridays.  We buy our dip ingredients on Fridays.  Last weekend we had 3 dips.  It was UA vs. UT, so that called for a lot of dips.  We had Pioneer Womans Black Eyed Pea Dip, Buffalo Chicken Dip, and Snickers Dip.  I think I’ve gained 10lbs this football season.

Saturday morning Jeb woke up wanting donuts, so he took the little 2 with him. JL had just gotten his Toad costume the day before, so he decided he should wear it to the Donut shop.  EK couldn’t be the only one without a costume on, so she found her skirt and put it on top of her pajamas.  I got them all to pose before they left, because I needed proof of what they went out in public wearing. :)

Later we made caramel apples, went to the boys soccer games, glittered pumpkins, ate dip, and watched football.  Such a fun fall Saturday!

Before soccer, dipping our apples in caramel…

After soccer decorating our caramel apples…

Decorating pumpkins with glue and glitter.

Jeb has a new little football set up.  He watches 3 games at once now.  Ella Kate kind of likes it.  She sits her little chair in front of one of the little tvs and just takes it all in. :)  

This past week we’ve been immersed in planning for the Fall Festival.  I’m PTO Treasurer, which I’ve found out is more than just writing checks every now and then.  The Fall Festival was a huge success, but full of stress along the way.  We are so thankful for the school Caden goes to and the parent involvement.  We ended up making close to $6000 for CCPS.  

This past weekend we made Mississippi Sin Dip in honor of playing MSU.  It was about as good as MSU.  It had the potential to be good, but fell short when it counted.

We also had:

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili
2 chicken breasts, still frozen
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can corn kernels, do not drain
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
1 T cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t onion powder
1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese
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Put the chicken in the crock pot.
Top with the tomatoes, corn,
the drained and rinsed beans,
ranch dressing, cumin, onion and chili powders,
stir to combine then top with the cream cheese.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring one or twice
to blend in the cheese.
Shred the chicken into large pieces
and serve over rice.
Can also serve in tortillas or taco shells.
Serves 4
This was SO easy and it was phenomenal.  It will definitely make it in the regular rotation of soups around here.
Today we went to our niece’s 8th birthday party.  The kids had a great time, like they always do with their cousins.  When we got home I took a few pictures of the boys looking cute in their warm jammies.  I take pictures of Ella Kate all the time, but I don’t take them of the boys too often.  After we got EK to bed tonight (she fell asleep on the way home from Millbrook) we did our Bible story time together and I took some phone pictures of the boys.  So thankful for these two wild kids.  They make me laugh on a daily basis.  They are so full of love, thoughtfulness, and crazy. :)

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It’s the day we’d been waiting for since March.  The day we’d been potty training for.  It was finally here.  My stomach was in knots.  I had Ella Kate home with me all day every day since March.  We had done therapy.  We were inseparable.  I had no idea how this school thing was going to go.  Would she have accident after accident?  Would she cry all day and not get anything out of it?  I knew it was were she needed to be, so we went.

We took the boys to school, and then went off to Birmingham.  We walked her into the school and met other “friends.”  It was so fun to see her with other kids like her (but all older).

Her school lasts for 4 hours.  We went back to pick her up and here’s her expression…

I probably was crying at this point.  I shed a lot of happy tears over the past 2 weeks.  Our baby is finally “getting it.”  She’s repeating short phrases.  It doesn’t sound just like what we say, but  it’s getting there.  This school has been the best decision we’ve ever made for her.  She loves it.  She has learned the routines.  She’s doing great at potty training.  She did have one accident, and we’re praying it won’t happen again.  She’s also having trouble staying in her seat at lunch and not touching other friends food.  We’re praying she will learn this routine quickly (that would make meals at home nicer too if she’d learn it).  I have seen such a difference in her.  While I still get down that she’s 3 and isn’t a “normal speaking” 3 year old, I try to remind myself of where we were at the end of July.  At the end of July she understood around 120 words and could come up with 20 words on her own.  Now, in September, she knows over 300 words and can come up with at least 115 on her own.  She’s saying 2 and 3 word phrases…not all of them are super clear, but, like i said, we’re working on it.  That all happened in 1 1/2 months.  When I get down about where we are, I think of how much she’s progressed in such a little time, and I’m so thankful.  I am seeing a light at the end of this tunnel.  I can’t wait to see what every new week holds.

You may be wondering what in the world I do in Birmingham every day.  Mom and dad gave me a gift card to Ann Taylor Loft (yay!), so I’ve been taking advantage of their 40% off sale.  I’ve been able to grocery shop at Publix!  Publix!!!  It really was a pleasure.  I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect pillows for our bed.  I never get to look for any here in Cullman because you know what kids don’t like to do?  Shop for pillows, or follow me around shopping for anything really.  I have looked at Target, Walmart, TJ Maxx, World Market, and then the angels sang and trumpets sounded as I entered into Pier 1 and found the perfect little paisley pillows.  It hasn’t been all shopping, although that has taken up a significant portion of my time (I’ve been told to get a handle on that).  I also went running one day, however I decided, being sweaty in Birmingham all day wasn’t going to cut it (we ended up buying a treadmill today in hopes to get back on the running bandwagon…this new schedule and all it demands have killed our running).  And, last but not least, I hung out in Barnes and Noble inputing PTO forms into google docs for 3 hours one day and only got HALF of them done.  I had resorted to using peoples email addresses and requests to be notified by phone but not listing their phone number entertain me, then the man I love (that’s Jeb in case some of you were wondering) sent me a text telling me about a website I needed to go to for a humor break.  Y’all, I was in Barnes and Noble.  I was doing the quiet polite chuckle at first because it was quiet in the bookstore.  Then I would accidentally overcompensate for my quiet chuckle and let out a loud laugh.  I finally had to stop reading and wait until I got into my car.  It was hilarious.  Here is a link if you feel so inclined to read:  http://hahasforhoohas.com/the-fart-that-almost-altered-my-destiny/.  Yes, it is a post about a girl who has to fart.  If you think that wouldn’t be something I would think is funny, we probably shouldn’t be friends anymore.  Just kidding.  So, yeah, I find things to fill up my time.

This is what happens most days on the way home.  She is exhausted, and she rests until we get into Cullman.  We’re dealing with some over exhaustion still.  I’m hoping she catches up on sleep soon.  When she gets too tired, she has trouble sleeping.  All of our kids have had this problem, but until now it’s been from a long weekend or something…it hasn’t been something that will be lasting for 3 years.  We’re trying to get her to bed by 730.  She’s been getting up in the middle of the night and again at 5am.

And I’ve been doing a lot of research and writing trying to show our school system why they need to provide Auditory Verbal Therapy for her, so I’ve been up past midnight.  We’re all so very tired.  I sent my last email to the school system yesterday, so I’m hoping our nights get back to being veg out times once the kids go to bed. Advocating for your child is more work than I ever realized it would be.  We have our IEP meeting September 24th to try to get the school to change EK’s IEP to include an AVT (which is what she’s received from the HEAR center for the past 3 years).

As you can see in this last picture, she got a big girl back pack and  new lunch box to match. :)

On our days home (Monday and Friday), we enjoy the “laziness” of the day.  Last Friday, I had a PTO meeting, then we picked JL up from school, went to Walmart, ate Popcorn Chicken as we shopped, and then picked Caden up early from school for fun.

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We started a new tradition this year.  The boys got to pick where they wanted to eat the night before school started.  They thought it was so fun.  We went to Papa Murphy’s for JL to get a Mini Murph.  Jeb and I got our pizza there as well. A Mini Murph is a kid sized pizza they get to make when they get home.  He loved it.  

 

Caden wanted Little Caesar’s, so we went to TWO pizza places.  He got a whole large pizza to himself, so he decided he would share with EK since she didn’t have an opinion on the matter.  We memorialized Caden’s first visit to the Little Caesar’s by beating the “Pizza Pizza” saying into the ground that night….and by we I mean me.  I’m good at running things into the ground…sayings, food, songs, shows, you name it I can do it.

 

 

 

We got everyone to bed early, back packs packed, lunches made, clothes ironed, and yeah maybe that’s it.  Everyone woke up bright and early and we had time to take some pictures before school.  Here are the kids before school last year, and then this year.  Here’s Caden…he’s a big 1st grader now.  That seems so much older than Kindergarten.

And, this one makes me so sad.  He isn’t my baby boy anymore.  I’m not sure when it happened…

 

I will add EK’s picture after her first day of school.  She starts September 4.  We are so excited about this opportunity for her.  I think she is going to do awesome.

Here we are with Caden at school…

 

 

He looks so grown up doesn’t he?  

 

Here JL is outside his little pre-school.

 

When we got into his classroom he was attacked by 2 boys who love him.  They gave him big hugs.  I couldn’t get a picture quick enough.

 

Everyone had a great first week.  There wasn’t too much whining about having to go back every day.  They both had soccer practice 2 times last week and games on Saturday and we’re all still in one piece and have our sanity.  We’ve enforced 8pm bedtimes (which gets them to bed by 830…which is better than summertime 930 bedtime).  I’m hoping this week gets us squared away with a routine for them, so we can get started on adding EK’s school and our commute to it into the routine.

 

 

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This is where you’ll find me most nights. We have 2 weeknights off, Wednesday and Friday, otherwise we’re at the ballpark.  You know, it’s fun, really…except for the constant movement of my 2 year old and the ever impending emotional breakdown of my 6 year old.  The 4 year old, he’s fine.  More often than not, he’s fine.  He goes out on the field and does as he’s told.  When his game’s over he finds his friend Harrison and they play in the dirt until Caden’s game is over. EK, she has an innate desire to move constantly everywhere…everywhere except for where I encourage her to move. Since last Monday we’ve had 7 baseball/tball games.  We were supposed to have one more but it was rained out.  We had the regular tball schedule plus a tournament.  That made for some exhausted kids and parents.

By Saturday afternoon we were all in dire need of rest, ice cream, and a bath.  Caden blew acceptable behavior out of the water with his actions at his final ball game of the tournament.  His innate desire to win and be the best got the best of him and he had a come apart when he realized his team would not win and he could not get on base because they kept tagging him out.  We have noticed some issues with his ability to control his behavior and we are beginning to deal with it head on.  I think we’ve known about it in the past, but we’ve dealt with it on an as needed basis…like when he’d lose control.  Now we’re trying to deal with it before it becomes a problem.  We’re trying to identify triggers for his loss of control and talk to him about emotional stressors and things that make him feel loved.  We had a few things happen this afternoon, that on a bad day would have sent him over the edge, but today (after spending a family day together yesterday and being intentional about our conversations and interaction) he didn’t freak out.  It was a nice feeling to all get along and not have to yell.  I hope it continues.

At the end of the boy’s tournament, they each got a medal.  JL was cheesing it up with his.  You can’t help but smile with this kid.  As far as I can remember, baseball has been about the extent of our life the past week.

Sunday after church I asked the boys to prioritize what was the most important thing we did that afternoon.  JL said he wanted to play in the water.  Caden said he wanted to play Mario.  So, while EK was napping we played Mario and then once she got up we got out various and a sundry water toys and played in the water.  Each boy got what they wanted, and it was easy…which was a win win for all of us.

Today, Jeb was off, YAY!  So, we took the kids to school, came home and did therapy with EK (she’s getting better at the 2 step commands, just in case you were wondering), took JL his nap mat (because I cannot get everyone to school with all they need), and met the Yeager’s at their farm house for a tour.  Afterwards, we ate lunch, and headed home.

We got EK down for a nap and then had some rest time ourselves.  I made more bracelets for the kids and folded clothes.  I’m not sure what Jeb did.  I’m sure it was important and probably had to do with something on the computer.  At about 2:20 I looked at the clock and realized, “OH MY GOODNESS IT’S 2:21 AND WE HAVEN’T LEFT THE HOUSE YET!”

Thankfully my friend, Lois Ann, picked JL up at school and after getting Caden I went over to their house and got JL.  Later this afternoon we decided to head to the movies.  It looked like a big green lake was moving into AL, but the ball park hadn’t called JL’s game.  We decided to call it ourselves.  We got a friend to keep EK and we took the boys to see THE AVENGERS.  So good!  I love the Iron Man movies…and I realized tonight it’ s because there’s a little humor thrown in.  The Avengers is no different.  All 4 of us loved it….some of us got tired of watching it about the 1 1/2 hour mark, but that’s ok.  

JL liked it so much, he decided he needed to get into “uniform” when he came home.  As soon as we walked out of the theater he started asking for his Iron Man suit.  He cracks me up.  Speaking of JL cracking me up, please look at this school photo.

He told me he was looking at Sadie.  Goodness at that boy.  Well, that’s it for tonight.  Hope y’all are having a great week so far!

It seems all I’ll have time to do for the next few months is update with bullet points, and I’ll tell you why…

  • EK and Livi after we fed the ducks

    I’ve taken EK out of preschool. She needed to have more one on one time with me and I needed to be working with her more therapy wise, so we do therapy for most of the time the boys are in school. We do ling checks, we play with doll houses, we do learn to listens, we search for eggs, hide under boxes, make cars go, and on and on and on. I feel like I talk ALL DAY LONG…just to input language into her head. It’s so worth it though.
  • Some of EK’s new words are snack (“ack”), treat (“teat”), drink (“dink”), potty (“pie”), all done (awe), wipe (wi), Poopoo (poopoopoo), Boo boo (boo boo), no (“mo”), walk (“wak”). Other words she says are more, sit, stay, eye,
  • The learn to listens she says and recognizes are monkey (ooh for ooh ooh ee ee), cow (moo), cat (eeeeoo for meow), dog (woof woof), snake (ssss), train (oooo for woo woo), boat (puh), car (brrrr for broom beep beep), pig (oink), horse (she tries to do the click noise with her tongue), and that’s all I can remember right now.
  • We’re potty training. She’s doing so much better than I anticipated! She has a couple of accidents a day, but she will catch herself if she has an accident and she finishes on the potty. There have been many days we’ve headed out in undies and she’s stayed dry. Tonight we went to JL’s tball game and she stayed completely dry the whole time, and she even drank a Capri Sun while we were there. So proud of my princess.
  • Caden read a level “I” book to me. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t mean anything to most of you. I think it’s the level you have to be at to pass 1st grade. Caden is in Kindergarten. Crazy. He asks me how to spell things all the time. Well, bottom line, he just asks questions all the time. He has a zest for knowledge like no other…well…a zest for knowledge just like his daddy. I can’t wait until he’s old enough and I can just tell him to google it when I don’t know the answer. :)
  • Caden getting kisses from Livi while we waited on JL and Cameron to finish practice

  • TBall is in full swing. We’ve made it through the month of practice. JL and Caden both had practice Mondays and Thursdays. Monday they both had practice from 6 to 730. Thursday Caden had practice from 430 to 6 and JL from 6 to 730. We’re having trouble getting home and getting them rested enough to have energy and be level headed during practice (and by they I mean Caden). JL doesn’t have an energy/level headed problem per se. His is more a focus issue.

    John Luke, Colin, Caden, and Micah J at Colin's Bday party

  • JL’s first game was tonight. He only came off the field once because he was bored. I feel like that was a success. He was on 3rd after his last time at bat, and he ran off the field because he needed to potty. Ha! Tomorrow he has another game and then Caden has one more right after it. I liked it a lot more when we only had one kid playing a sport. Caden and JL are already asking to play soccer in the fall. Hoping they decide which sport they want to focus on soon…and hoping they chose different ones.

    Colin and JL. Coach had to separate them because they were playing on the field instead of paying attention to the game. :)

  • I’ve been playing draw something during my down time at night, well doing that, folding clothes, ironing, balancing the checkbook, and snacking a ridiculous amount. I’ve also been watching reruns of Psych. I love Psych! It makes me laugh and is so well written.

We’ve been playing outside a lot! Apparently EK has fairer skin than the rest of us because she’s burned a few times already and it’s only April 2. Nuts. When Jeb’s off work we have such a fun time playing outside as a family! We have fun when I’m home with them too, but it’s just even more fun when daddy’s here too. :)

We take walks around the block

This is a see saw rocker I bought off Zulily.com. The kids had fun with it yesterday!

  • Today Caden had a class field trip to Guillon Farms in Sommerville. It was such a neat little farm. The kids got to see hens and get an egg (and dye it since it’s almost Easter), fish with hot dogs (praise the Lord I didn’t have to bait a hook with worms or crickets), plant grass seeds, ride a wagon, till some soil, milk a cow, pet some chicks, rabbits, goats, have an egg hunt, and play with their friends. By the time it was all said and done Caden was worn out (and so was I). No rest for the weary though. He played on his phone the whole way home, then we stopped for ice-cream and brownies at CFA, and then he had another egg hunt at home. Grangran and Grandaddy came and kept the little two so I could go with Caden and they had eggs ready to hunt. Caden LOVES an Easter egg hunt. I’m starting to think it’s not good for his competitive side though. Here are some photos from the day…

Fishing

Milking a Cow