Saturday, June 23, 2007

Will's Last Day of School

Obviously, this blog is not in chronological order, but with the summer business upon us, I am lucky to get any blogs created!

Will's last week of school was full of fun and was a perfect ending to a perfect school year. We are so proud of Will and his accomplishments this past school year. He went into his Kindergarten classroom not knowing a single person and left with a room full of friends, some of which I believe he will have for a lifetime. He entered Kindergarten reading a few words and left being able to read some simple chapter books. He has found a new love - math, even though he still writes some numbers backwards and sometimes has to think for awhile before identifying certain numbers. He gave his first kiss, much to Mom's disapproval and Dad's cheers. We can easily say that Will has grown both physically and emotionally. He is different person than he was before entering Kindergarten and we LOVE him.

We owe so much to Will's first teacher, Miss Davis. Will could not have been matched with a better person/teacher. They have such similar personalities and thankfully, Miss Davis appreciated and encouraged Will for who he is. Thanks to Miss Davis, Will was able to express himself. And as anyone who knows Will knows, he LOVES to express himself. On the last day of school, Miss Davis handed out awards to each of the children for their individual gifts and traits. She waited until last to give Will his. She couldn't even begin speaking because she had started to cry - and continued to cry throughout the whole speech! Well, this of course, made ME cry. Yep, I am going to be one of THOSE moms. :) So, I thought I had recorded the whole thing, but I didn't press down hard enough on the button and I got nothing. I will forever beat myself up over that! Anyway, Miss Davis gave Will the "Best Storyteller" award. At the risk of sounding too obnoxious, I have to say that Miss Davis said that Will is a student that she will never forget and neither will the rest of her family and friends. She always had a "Will Story" to take home each night. Evidently, she knows A LOT about our family. She went on to say that she could always count on Will to investigate a subject (to death!), ask lots of questions about a variety of subjects and entertain everyone.

As a mom, I certainly love my children with all of their faults as well as their attributes. I do however, realize that other people may not always see their attributes as clearly as I do and I certainly do not expect others to appreciate my children the way that I do. That being said, I really felt like my heart was going to burst with pride and love on that last day of school. I realized that there is someone else, besides Allan and myself, that really appreciates and loves Will for who he is. I really think that is big.

I know this is pretty sappy and I may not have conveyed my thoughts quite clearly, but it just had to be said. Going to Kindergarten was huge. Until that point, Will had been under my influence and control 90% of the time. When he started school last fall, in just one day, he had the influence of other adults and at least 17 other children working on him from 8 am until 3 pm, Monday through Friday. That was pretty scary for a controlling mom like me. I have to say though, Will did a great job of remaining who he is and he made lasting impressions because of that.

OK! Now that I am done with the emotional mommy bit, I best continue on with Will's story! Aside from this last day of fun filled with awards, Will also had activities the other four days of his last week. Emma, Jack and I participated in a family pizza party with Will in his classroom and Water Day. On Water Day, Will went to about 7 different stations where he participated in water activities. It was HUGE fun for everyone and even some of the parents and teachers got wet. By far, the most popular station was the shaving cream. The kids each had a can of shaving cream that they used to spray all over each other. It was a riot! Here are some pictures from Water Day.

Will and Emma reading a book that the Kindergarten class wrote and illustrated.

All creamed up!

Miss Davis has been waiting to do this all year!

Jack joins in on the bubble fun.

Miss Davis and her kids

After getting out of school early on the last day, we went home and had our own water fun with balloons, sprinklers and a pool (made out of a wagon, Neat Sheet and LOTS of water). Of course, the kids had to take a break for some popsicles! We are ready for summer!

Old Friends and Lots of Kids

On the last day of our visit to Ohio, the kids and I drove down to Columbus to meet up with a couple of my old high school friends and their children. We spent some time at the Powell splash pad and playground. The splash pad was like a bunch of water fountains for the kids to play in. It was perfect for little ones who don't know how to swim, but Emma and Jack found it to be too cold. Actually, most of the kids were cold, so we hit the playground for awhile and then headed to a metro park for a picnic, hiking, more playground and chatting. We had a great time and it was a lot of fun seeing my friends again. It was also neat to see all of our kids (8 in all) playing so well together. Emma especially had fun with Claire who is just 2 years older. Claire is a common name in our house as she has given Emma a lot of clothes. Now, Emma is now able to associate a person with the girl named Claire who gives her cute clothes!
The kids are directing us through the woods!

Emma's new friend, Claire

Not too hard to figure out which kids are siblings!

Sure we look the same as we did in high school

At last, it was time to head to the airport to pick up Allan and head for home. We had a great week and I was happy to be able to see everyone, but I was even more happy to get back to our home. Thank you family and friends for entertaining us, feeding us and most important, putting up with us!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Celebrating Mom Z's birthday

On Thursday we celebrated Mom's birthday a little early since we wouldn't be with her on the actual day. The kids took her to a nursery and each picked out a perennial to plant in her rock garden. They helped plant them and then Will helped puts rocks around the garden that Nana was creating.

I would have had pictures of this lovely event, but Jack was beginning to show signs of being tired. Well, I may as well be honest, he was a complete monster that day. It started with trying to put his upper body in the ponds that held water plants at the nursery. Then, he didn't want to leave the fish pond. As a result, I had to almost use a crowbar to put him in his car seat to go home. Once we were back at Nana's, he refused to take his much needed nap. Because he was so tired, he fell so many times that we lost count. One of the falls produced blood, at which point, I was ready to lose my patience that was already mostly gone. He never did fall asleep until we were back in the car and on the way to Grandma's. I hated to leave him with Grandma and Aunt Debbie, but he was sleeping and the guilt didn't last too long as I was off to have some fun with the girls in celebration of Mom's birthday!

I picked up the birthday girl and we drove to Mary Jo's where a beautiful blindfold was put on her. She hesitantly left with us and we drove her around and around before picking up a package (aka, Sharon). From there we went to Sonny Jack's for a cocktail and some groping. Still with the blindfold on, we took her to the Bel-Mar Boat Landing where we met some old acquaintances (not planned) and had another cocktail. By this time, we were about to be late for our reservations, so we had to scratch some stops off our list and head to the Pioneer Mill where we enjoyed a very lovely meal.

I realize that it was all about the birthday girl that night, but I really felt that I was the person of honor! I actually ate my food while it was hot and no one asked me to cut their food for them. I didn't have to run to the bathroom during the meal and no Disney movies were included in the conversation. Does it get any better than that?! What a treat!

The birthday girl/victim

After a couple of cocktails

She's happy to be another year older!

Happy Birthday Mom!

Wednesday in OH

On Wednesday we got all of the grandchildren on my side together for lunch and swimming. This is the whole crew...

Just the boys

Just the girls

That evening, we had dinner with Janet and Tim. Another fun night spent with family and we even got to see more of Wyatt. He is such an adorable little-big guy! I can't believe I didn't get any photos of the kids with him! I think we were just too wrapped up in watching Wyatt and his rolls roll around. :)

The Ohio Week Continued...

On Tuesday, we were fortunate to be able to spend some time with Grandma Grace. She was so happy to see the kids and commented on how big they were getting. We had a nice time catching up with her.

That evening, we were invited to dinner in honor of my godson's birthday. Eric turned 17! Where has the time gone? Sharon made an incredible dinner and it was followed by gifts for Eric and Jack. Since Jack's birthday is also this month and Uncle Steve is his godfather, he scored big that night with a bubble mower, scented bubbles, a shark that eats fish to play with in the bathtub, and swimming trunks. Aunt Sharon had bought two pair of trunks (side note: why do we say pair, when a pair of swimming trunks is only one?) for Jack. He zeroed in on the ones that had bright colored lizards all over them. I thought that was a good choice as I will be able to spot him easier in those when he is running away or lost in a crowd. Nana also gifted Jack with a toy truck, clothes and a pony-in-the-box.
Another great night spent with family!

Wow! Eric is big enough now that I get to sit on HIS lap!

Sometimes a man just has to mow in the dark.

Big hit gift from Nana - a pony-in-the-box for his JACK-in-the-box collection.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What A Week!

We just finished a week in Ohio and what a time it was! We were able to see lots of family and friends, and that is what made it such a great week. On the flip side, all of the running around took its toll on little Jack and he certainly let us know that he had had enough! Sometimes it is hard to remember that we have a little one amongst us.

The day after our arrival, Sunday, June 10th, we attended Todd's graduation fiesta. What an awesome time we all had! The kids spent the day jumping in a huge blow-up castle and playing with their cousins (does it get any better than that?!) and Allan and I spent the day catching up with all of Allan's family. We also played a few games of Blongo Ball and Corn Hole. We won't mention any of the winners' names.....It was just a great day filled with great family. And we can't even complain about the weather!
The graduate and his family. Watch out DeVry, here comes Todd!

Emma with her girl cousins. I think we need to have a chat about wearing skirts!

Aunt Debbie took the kids right to her house from the graduation party and Allan and I were able to have a late night (relative term!) with no kids! We then headed for the airport bright and early Monday morning. I dropped Allan off to spend the week in Indiana and I headed for the lake to pick the kids up from Aunt Debbie. Mom S. rode along with me, so we had lots of time to catch up. Once at Debbie's, we spent the day walking the beach and finding periwinkles, fishing and digging up trumpet vines (the outcome of the flowers will come in a later blog!). It was a great time and the kids, Will especially, were sad to leave.

Will tries out the skateboard - kind of!

Jack and Aunt Debbie are looking for lucky stones.

Can you tell the kids love Aunt Debbie and Grandma?!

Cousin Brad is the BEST!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Apron

Well, I did it. While Allan was in Philly, I attempted my first sewing project and made Emma an apron. Things actually went very well. I broke out the booklet that explained how to use the actual machine and succeeded in threading the machine and a bobbin. After that, everything was pretty simple. It was an "easy" pattern that I used, so I couldn't mess things up too badly. I did modify the pattern a little. The apron was supposed to use strings to close the back, but what child can reach behind them and tie a set of strings?! So, I sewed on a little snap to close the apron at the neck. All in all, things went well and the apron was done in an evening.

Now! On to some bigger projects! Believe it or not, these kids could have my summer filled with sewing projects if I let them. :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Emma's Last Day of School

Our big preschooler!

Emma had her last day of preschool on Thursday, May 24th. It was a great day filled with lots of friends, playing, pizza and ice cream sundaes. Does life get any better?! Jack and I were able to be there to help her say goodbye to her teacher, Ms. Neva and all of her friends. Since Emma misses the Kindergarten cut-off by one day, she is the only one in her class who will be returning to preschool next year. She is a little hesitant about going back and still believes that once she turns 5 she will be going to Kindergarten. However, she will be in Ms. Bonnie's class, who is fantastic. She will be expanding her reading skills as well as some other Kindergarten skills. And for the first time ever! we were able to say goodbye to one of her friends who is moving (to Texas). For once, we are not the ones moving! Hooray!

Here are some pictures of her last day.....

Catch up!

Wow! What a long time it has been since I have posted anything. Rest assured, this does not mean that we have had nothing going on! Quite the contrary. To catch up, here is a condensed version (as condensed as I can get, anyway!):
The weekend before Memorial Day, we had a "Roaring River Day". Allan invited all of his staff members and their families to join us for dinner and fun. We had a GREAT time! It was so nice to meet everyone that Allan works with as well as their spouses and families. I appreciate being able to put a face with the names that Allan talks about each day. Allan made his famous BBQ chicken and I took care of everything else. The "everything else" turned out to be a little too much. OOPS! There was so much food that we invited two neighborhood families over the next evening to help us out with the leftovers. I am ashamed to say that there was STILL food left. I have to remember that not everyone eats like Allan's family!
I have to add, that in Allan's true style, he allowed everyone to leave with a story. The kids wanted to play on the zip line. Of course, Jack had to have his turn as well. Usually, he will hold on until the end. He decided to see what it would be like to let go before coming to the end this particular night. As always, Allan was running behind him, just in case. Thank goodness! Allan had to dive to catch him and the momentum was enough to make Allan tumble through the woods. It looked like he was diving for a football and Jack was the football! Everyone who was watching from the deck let out a cheer and applause could be heard throughout the county. All was not saved, however. Jack had a minor leg scrape and Allan had half of his thumb ripped off along with a few minor scrapes and muscle strains (he isn't a spring chicken anymore!). We also noticed a foul smell coming from both Allan and Jack. It was discovered that Jack's diarrhea had escaped the diaper and was deposited on both himself and Allan's shirt. EWWWW!!! Clothing change for both!
The evening ended with Allan and another one of the guys being in the bag from too much Brazilian hooch. The rest of us sober members were having fun at Tribal Council on the deck. It was so much fun that we didn't take anymore pictures after the one of Allan cooking his chicken!
The following weekend was Memorial Day weekend and we spent lots of time with the kids goofing off. We went to Carowinds in Charlotte on Saturday, where Will became a "man" by riding all of the adult roller coasters and the rest of the weekend was spent hanging at the pool and planting the rest of our garden in the cement that North Carolinians call dirt.

Having fun on the Boots ride

Everyone is mesmerized by the Dora Sing-a-Long show!

Emma and Jack enjoy snacks while taking a break from the rides. Daddy and Will were riding the big water slides.

Will and Emma hold hands while waiting in line for the Scooby Doo Haunted House. Please note! There was no prompting from the parents to do this!

Will poses with Shaggy and Scooby Doo outside the Haunted House