Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Biking


The Husband's favorite sport is biking.  He's gone back and forth between downhill bikes, mountain bikes, cross country (road bikes) and currently has a trail bike.  I think.  He'll correct me if I'm wrong.

He is preparing to go on a three day "Bike-packing" trip, in July, and couldn't be more excited about it.  To train, he has been spending his free time on his bike, exploring new trails and going longer distances, all in an attempt to test run his skills, endurance, and speed.

On Saturday, when the kids and I were enjoying Chick-fil-A, The Husband was biking 40 miles into the mountains, gaining over 5000 feet from beginning to end.  I think he was grinning the entire time.


He sure has some amazingly muscular thighs!  Ahoooooga!

The Start of Summer


Summer officially began, in our household.  Today was a beautiful day. So beautiful, that we couldn't resist spending the afternoon outside.  I decided to pack a picnic lunch, snacks, water, and sunscreen...and that we would stay at the park for as long as Kimble cooperated.  It all happened during is normal nap time, so if he stayed  happy, we stayed happy.

We invited some friends to join us at our local park, and plopped down our blankets between the "spray park" and the "playground".  It was pretty much perfect, although Kimble didn't know quite what to make of all the sprays of water.


About the time the kids started to get antsy, we pulled out these ball shooters that I'd been saving for summertime fun.  The boys loved them, and even Kimble played with them a bit.  They were a hit!


After three hours, we came home.  The kids and I could have stayed longer, and many of them wanted to, but Kimble started getting pretty fussy, due to lack of nap, and so we packed it up and came home.  All this week is forecasted to be in the 80's, so I think we'll have a few more of these days to enjoy, before the weekend!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Swinging


 Kimble likes to swing, when we go to the park.  He's not quite able to manage the play equipment yet, so it's nice to have a contained place for him to play!  Kennedy also prefers the swings. She just learned how to pump her feet to make herself go higher, but she still loves getting pushed.


She also took the opportunity to "swing" on the merry-go-round, when someone pushed it really fast.  She screamed with glee!


Oh, look. There are the rest of my kids.  They were at the park too.  None of them wanted to swing.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Requirements

Keaton has been working on getting his Bear Achievement, in Cub Scouts.  There are a number of things that we need to do as a family, discussions we need to have, outings he needs to participate in and/or plan, as well as things we would normally do...like making cookies!


Keaton and his scout group had an end-of-the-year party this week, and so Keaton made chocolate chip cookies (with my help) to contribute, and in so doing, marked off Requirement 9a.  At the party, we sat as a family and enjoyed the BBQ fixin's, while sitting on our picnic blanket, after Keaton "cooked" his own hamburger over the grill.  Requirement 9g complete!

While the cookies were cooking, Keaton took the opportunity to call his grandparents, to talk with them about what life was like when they were young.  He learned from grandma that she liked to play hopscotch and jacks, and that she loved her dollies.  He listened to grandpa talk about how he went to a "weird" school that was all concrete, and how he liked going sledding down big hills.  Requirement 8d complete.

He also talked with grandpa about what scouting was like "in the olden days".  Since my dad wasn't a scout growing up, he talked about all the years he was a scout leader instead, and told Keaton that they had rock climbing walls, did archery, went canoeing, and had plenty of campouts.  It was like living the dream, for Keaton.  He loved listening to the stories.  Requirement 8b complete.

As Keaton was chatting away, Kimble was having a great time stealing cookies off the countertops.  Clever little boy!  His reach always surprises me.




Keaton has also been writing in his journal for two weeks, as part of another requirement.  He's not done with it yet, but it's definitely a work in progress.  He is supposed to write about what he did everyday.  The first few days of his journal were almost identical:  "Woke up.  Eat.  Brush teeth.  Went to school.   Came home.  Did homework. Did chores.  Ate dinner.  Went to bed."  Boy, that's some great detail, Keaton!  Since then, he's been working on expounding a bit, on his day.  We'll continue to check his progress with that.

Keaton and The Husband spent some time last weekend, talking about bike safety, doing routine maintenance on his bike, and going for bike rides.  All of this count towards requirements as well.  It's been fun to find new things to do, and check them off the list.  Keaton also has scout day camp coming up in a few weeks, which thrills him.  He is most excited about archery, target shooting, and horseback riding!

Chick-fil-A


Chick-fil-A is a restaurant chain that began in Atlanta Georgia, where Truell Cathy served chicken sandwiches made in "The Dwarf Grill" which was this tiny little house turned restaurant.  At a time when hamburgers ruled the roost, serving chicken sandwiches were unheard of.  By pressure-cooking the chicken breast, he could cook it in award-winning time, and thus, Chick-Fil-A was born.

They were the first to create "the chicken nugget" although they don't call it that.  They were also the first to have a restaurant within a shopping mall, thus starting the whole Food Court phenomenon.  Today, the kids and I were able to witness the Behind-The-Scenes makings, of Chick-fil-A.

We were enthusiastically welcomed by the site manager, who gave each one of us booties to cover our feet, official guest name tags, a stuffed cow (which is their mascot) and a proper Chick-fil-A hat.  We followed her around the store, where she pointed out interesting facts, and gave us a wealth of information on the history of the restaurant, then we got to go back to the kitchen, where we learned more things, like what goes into their lemonade, how all the chicken is hand-breaded, and that all of their recipes are identical throughout every chain store, and that some of those recipes were from "Mrs. Cathy" herself, the founder's wife.


After the tour, we used some of the coupons that were also given to us, to have a late lunch.  The kids all love eating there, and Mr. Kimble even learned how to drink from a straw (finally!).  Mmmm. I do love their lemonade!   It was a really nice afternoon.


I  commend Chick-fil-A for all they do for the community.  My kids always receive coupons for a free kids' meal, from school for having good attendance, good grades, or for reading books. 
Chick-fil-A is a wonderful company that strives to endorse family time, as well as education. 
Thanks Chick-fil-A, for kicking off our summer break in such a tasty way!

(This may seem like a promotional thing, but I have not been contacted by Chick-fil-A in any way. I simply signed up online for a 'back stage pass' that they had promoted, and it was great.)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dentist Smiles


Keaton and Kolby both had numerous cavities that required fillings.  We've had about three visits, this month, and they've done great every time.  Yesterday marked Keaton's last, but Kolby still has one more.  They both got a thumbs up from the Dentist, for how well behaved they are during the appointments, and this time, they were given grape-scented gloves to wear home.  What I like about this picture, is that you can tell, based on Keaton's smile, which side of his mouth is still numb.  Cutie.

A Week of Kimble

Since Kimble is with me almost all the time, he gets his picture taken more than anyone else.  Sometimes he is aware of the picture (and automatically says "Cheese!") and sometimes he has no clue, like this next picture.  He was completely zonked out after church last Sunday.  I didn't even try to keep him asleep, after bringing him in from the car, but there was no rousing him. He was out.


He gets thrilled when he goes outside now, and I can tell he likes to act "big" like the other kids.  If he's at the door, and I don't let him outside, he gets so upset!  We had a sprinkling of showers this week, and since it was so warm out, I let the kids stay outside during it.  Kimble loved it!


During Kamy's crossover ceremony, The Husband had control over Kimble most of the time, which included a bit of "stand up and walk around" amusement, but my oh my, they are so cute together!


Kimble even helped Daddy dig up the dead parts of the lawn, to re-fertilize and re-seed it.  They made quite a team!


Bath time involves his favorite toys: Cars.  Kimble can now "vroom" them all over the place, even along the edge of the tub.

No longer do we need to cut up watermelon for Kimble.  He chops it down to the rind, then wants more.  Yum!


Now school is officially over for the summer.  I'm sure we'll have a lot more pictures to come, and they will include the other four kids as well!

First/Last

Today is the kids' last day of school for the summer.  They only have half a day, and compared to all the parties, play days, reading days, game days, and movie days they've had this week, it might as well have been last week.

This morning, before the kids left, I took a picture in the same manner as their 1st Day of School picture last August.  I wanted to see the difference.  (First picture is dated last August, and the second picture is from this morning.)


Next year, my little Georgie (uh, I mean Kennedy) will be added to the picture.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fashion

I love to see Kamyren's drawings.  The clothing and accessories that she draws always impresses me.  This is just one sample of what she draws everyday.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Crossover


Last night was Kamyren's crossover ceremony, going from grade school to middle school.  The three fifth grade classes entertained us with songs and dance, which were focused on acceptance, respect, friendship, love, and perseverance.  Kamy was part of a small group that sang "Love can build a bridge" and she did a great job.  After all the music was done, one by one the kids got their certificate of completion, and then crossed over the bridge to be welcomed by a representative from the middle school.  It was all very exciting for them!



 After a snack of cookies and punch, which to Kolby was the best part of the evening, we all headed back home with a middle-schooler in our midst.

We are very excited about the opportunities that Kamy will have in our middle school.  Because it is funded through many organizations which support the military, and because we have such a diverse military community that's within it's boundaries, our district has so many programs available for it's students.  It's going to be really wonderful for Kamy to have more responsibilities and more freedom.  She can't wait for August!

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Hadn't Planned To...

This morning I woke up at 5am, to hear Kimble screaming.  He had fallen out of his bed, poor thing.  He had an early bedtime the night before, due to not getting a nap before church, thus at 5am, he had slept 12 hours and was ready for the day, and I guess, to him, that meant being adventurous enough to try to climb out of his crib.   I tried to go back to sleep, after bringing Kimble in bed with me and letting him watch a recorded episode of Curious George, but I had only begun to doze off again, when The Husband's alarm went off.  Trying to sleep, after that, didn't work.  Thus, I hadn't planned to begin my day at daybreak, but I did.

After shuffling the kids off to school, I headed to the gym.  As I was putting my stuff in my locker, I noticed a lady in the far corner, who was doing the same thing.  I recognized her as someone I often see on the treadmill.  I've noticed her since February; for some reason she stuck out to me.  She always has the treadmill on a fast speed with a slight incline.  She holds onto the front bars and walks as fast as she can without running.  Throughout these last few months, I've noticed that her size is getting smaller and smaller, most noticeably her hips.  I always silently root for her, as I pass by her.  Today, for the first time, I saw her in the locker room, instead of on the machine. I took the opportunity to tell her that I had noticed her and could tell that she had lost weight.  We spoke a bit more, and she was beaming the entire time.  I could tell that she needed to hear that.  I hadn't planned on approaching "nameless treadmill girl", but I did, and I'm glad I did.

After my workout, I came home and got busy working on a project I've been consumed with.  I hadn't planned on finishing it, but I did, and I'm super excited about it.  (No details to share yet.)

When lunch was finished, wherein I fixed Kennedy a hot dog (gross) and I had some chicken and strawberries, I went downstairs to tidy up a bit.  I hadn't planned on changing the kitty litter box, but it's a good thing I did, as the ammonia was so strong that I'm sure it surely would have killed us in our sleep had I waited any longer.

With Kimble down for a nap, I was feeling a bit motivated, so even though I hadn't planned to organize the girl's room, that's exactly what happened.  I started off going through the closet under the stairs (which opens up into their room) that housed a collection of crap I hadn't gone through since we moved here.  I made piles to give to thrift stores, piles to give to nephews, piles to give to nieces (all clothes my kids have outgrown), and then organized the rest of the stuff.  Then I moved on to the girls' dressers, where I added to the aforementioned piles, the result of which left me happy to have that burden off my shoulders.  I also made a mental note of what they would need next year for school, even Kennedy, who will be in Kindergarten!

Kimble woke up and joined me downstairs as I got started on sorting through all the toys. I found lots of missing socks, cups, shoes, and rubber bands (we can never seem find them when we need them!).  Then the kids came home from school, and I'm sure they hadn't planned on helping me finish their bedrooms, but that's what happened.  While the girls were going through their shoes and hanging clothes, the boys got their room overhauled as well.  Although I didn't wake up this morning needing to make a trip to the thrift store, that's how my day ended up:  with five bags up for donation, two bags of trash, two bins of clothes and shoes for Kennedy to grow into, and three bags of clothes to be given to nieces and nephews.

Feeling happy, and noticing how long it had been since I brushed my teeth, I went up to my bathroom to do so (I love to brush my teeth many times throughout the day; it just makes me feel good) I immediately caught the residual scent of The Husband's cologne, from when he got ready earlier that morning.  It made me smile.  I hadn't planned on how happy that smell would make me feel.

After some time on the computer, I caught a good deal for a day's pass at a water park.  I hadn't planned on buying that, but I know it'll make for a great summer outing for our family.

Likewise, I've been humming and hawing over getting a zoo pass for the year, and today I finally just bought a family pass.  I'm so excited to be able to take the kids to the zoo, as all of our friends constantly talk about it, and take day trips there.  Finally we can join in! 

Even though I didn't wake up this morning with any of this on my agenda, I'm glad it all happened.  The result of my day was:  clean and super organized bedrooms, a happy gym member, summer activities planned, major project finished, and missing shoes found.  Oh, and a blog post.  Go me!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Homework Detention

A few weeks after we moved to this new school district, the kids brought home a paper from school.  It read that anyone who didn't bring back to school their homework, as well as their parent's signature on their daily agenda, would receive homework detention.  They would not only miss out on their recess, but have to stay after school for one hour, so they could use that time to complete their missing homework.

I'm sure this came about because of the numerous homework excuses that they received every morning.  I think it was also a way to make parents accountable for what their kids were responsible for.  As we found out a few weeks into this new policy, if a child presents their finished homework, but doesn't have a parent's signature on their agenda for that day, they still qualify for homework detention.  Afterall, it's the signature that proves the child's claim that they also read for the allotted 30 minutes a day.  Luckily, a quick phone call home determined that Keaton had indeed read the previous day, and it was simply parent-neglect, for which he shouldn't be punished for.

However, on Wednesday, Keaton procrastinated his homework assignments.  I repeatedly instructed him to do his homework first, and then he could play outside, but he fervently said "It's just such a beautiful afternoon. I promise I'll do my homework later.  Can I pleeeaaaase play now?"  So I let him.  Later, after dinner and chores were done, it was time for bed.  I had forgotten that Keaton didn't get his homework done.  I helped Kolby with his right after school, and Kamy did her's at that point as well.  Keaton normally doesn't require too much help from me, so it slipped my mind.  Apparently, it slipped Keaton's as well.

The next morning, exactly 90 seconds before he had to walk out the door, Keaton remembered that he didn't have his homework done.  There, in his hands, were three sheets of white paper that seemed to glimmer with nakedness, having no pencil lead markings across them.

Out of desperation, Keaton sat down and said "I'm gonna do it real quick!  Mom can you help me!!"  But alas, there was just too much work to be done in 90 seconds.  I told him that, and instantly tears formed in his eyes.  "But mom, I can't have homework detention!  I just can't!"

I held his little face in my hands and looked him in his tear-filled eyes.  I told him that I couldn't sign his paper like he wanted me to, because that would be wrong.  He had made a promise the previous day that he would do his homework after he played, but he didn't. Now he had to own up to that, and suffer the consequences of his actions.  I also told him that just because he would go to detention, didn't mean he was a bad boy.  It's just a specific time where he can make sure to get his homework done, and not be distracted.

Oh, Keaton was devastated.  He cried his way to school.  I was sure I would get a phone call from his teacher, or the office, to talk about his detention, but I didn't.

At the end of the school day, Keaton came home with the other kids, right on time.  I said "Didn't you have to have homework detention today?"  He replied with a smile.  "Nope!  I told my teacher that we both forgot about homework, and she said we could just do it today."  Then he brought out five sheets of homework (for two days-worth) and sat down at the table to do them.

I wasn't sure whether to scold Keaton for not being entirely truthful with his teacher, or if I should be happy that my sweet, sensitive little boy didn't have to cry his way through detention.  Either way, it was a lesson learned for Keaton.  I don't think he'll neglect his homework again.

Story Time With Kolby

Kolby's class had a Story Hour this week.  The kids narrated three stories for their family members.  Kolby was Pablo the Penguin, and he had one line which he said with exuberance.  "I can't wait to go swimming!"

Notice his boots.  Kolby has longed for his own pair of cowboy boots since Keaton got a pair last year for his birthday.  Almost daily, Kolby would put them on, to wear, and was usually thwarted by Keaton's desire to wear them.  Occasionally, Keaton would allow Kolby to wear his boots, which made for a very happy Kolby.  I've been on the lookout for boots at the local thrift stores, and last week I found a pair that were the perfect size for him.  There was even some dirty remnants around the boot heel, which delighted Kolby.  He's barely taken them off, this entire week.  He is one proud cowboy, that's for sure.

 Afterward, Pablo and his 1st grade penguin friends all shared donuts and juice with their family members.  Kennedy sat with all the classmates and ate her donut, while pretending that she was in school too.

Kamy's Performances

Tuesday night brought a performance that Kamy has been working towards for months.  Since February, Kamy has been involved in a dance club that met once a week after school.  They learned many dances, which they performed for some school assemblies and functions.  Tuesday night they had an "Evening of the Arts" where we all got to enjoy watching performances from the drama club and the dance club, as well as view some artwork from all the students.

Kamy danced two dances: a waltz and a line dance.  She did a great job, and was very poised.

For the finale of the performance, the dancers did their line dance again, this time including siblings and/or parents to join them on the floor.  Keaton, Kolby, and Kennedy went out there and tried to dance along with everyone else.  Keaton got the hang of it by  the end.  Kennedy was constantly confused with the turns and steps, but she looked so cute trying.  Kolby stood at the back and spun around everytime there was a specific clap or kick in the cycle, and it made both The Husband and I giggle as we watched him.

The next day, the entire 5th grade participated in a Live Wax Museum along the hallways of the school.  Kamy's person of interest, in which she spent a month writing reports, researching information, and drawing pictures about, was Amelia Earhart.  As a side note, despite all this research, we didn't know until a few days beforehand, that she had to dress as Amelia and recite a narrative for the wax museum.  We had a bit of a struggle finding a costume for her, but in the end, it all came together.

Walking the halls, while trying to find Kamyren, and seeing all the kids dressed up and acting like "wax statues" brought a tear to my eye.  I don't know why, but I was so proud of all of them.  I saw Mickey Mantel and Oprah Winfrey.  I saw Willy Wonka and Walt Disney.  I saw Pocahontas and Benjamin Franklin.  I might have even seen an Obama in the mix.   They had all worked so hard, and were all waiting for someone to "push their button" so they could give their live narrative.  I'm sure their teachers and parents were so proud of their work.

Anyway, I found Kamy, and she looked terrific...even though she chose to salute with her left hand.


She recited her short narrative to me.  She said "Hi.  I'm Amelia Earhart, a famous pilot.  I was born in Atchison Kansas in 1897 and died in 1939.  I'm famous for my fantastic flights, such as my solo flight between Hawaii and California, and my flight across the Atlantic.  One interesting fact about me is that in the 1920s I was a nurses aide at Spadina Military Hospital, where I treated the wounded and helped the patients.  I am Amelia Earhart, a famous pilot."

Keaton found her in the hallway, as I was there.  His class members all had clipboards, and were assigned to find three people to gather information from.  Here he is, looking at Kamy as she was pretending to be a wax figurine.  The second picture was taken as he was listening to her statement.  I loved how proud he was, listening to Kamy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nearing The End

The time that I have at home, with just two kids, is nearing the end.  In less than two weeks, the kids will be out of school for the summer.  After that, when school starts up again, Georgie Kennedy will be going to all day Kindergarten.  It will just be me and my little man Mr. Kimble at home.

I know Kennedy will have an amazing time at school. She is so eager to learn.  She spends hours writing her name and drawing pictures.  She loves to look at books and pretend to read on her own.  We spend a lot of time practicing letter writing and recognition.  Today, she brought me a paper where she said "G is for Goat!" and she had painstakingly drawn a goat, and filled the page with the letter G.  She is excited for school, and I am excited for her.  Oh, but I'm going to miss my little Georgie at home.  I think Kimble will miss her too.


It wasn't that long ago that she was my little chubby-cheeked baby who proclaimed herself to be lefthanded at age one, when she determinedly sought out all coloring instruments and spent hours scribbling across paper. (Just as a side note, all my kids are left-handed except Kolby.  Kimble is to be determined.)   Here are some old pictures that I just recovered from my old-school cell phone.  She has always been a little pixie.




Now little Georgie is a composed 5 1/2 year old girl who speaks her mind but is very demure.  She loves pretty girly things and likes to be my helper.  She enjoys playing on the computer, watching cartoons, and spending time outside.  She wants us to remove her training wheels on her bike, but isn't ready to go solo yet.  She prefers to wear mismatching shoes because she likes them both and can't decide which ones to wear.  She comes out of bed at least six times a night, to give us hugs and kisses, and then she'll hold out her cheek for us to kiss her as well.


At any rate, I have just seven more school days of having her and Kimble to myself, and I'm enjoying it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Nursery Story

In my church, when a toddler turns 18 months old, they go into what we call "nursery".  This is a class for kids 18 months to 3 years old.  For two hours, the kids play with toys, have a short lesson, sing songs, eat snack, do crafts...all  in preparation for when they go to primary at age three.

It's usually a great time for them, and none of my kids have ever had an issue with being there.  It's more like "See ya mom.  There's fun to be had!"

So two weeks ago, Kimble turned 18 months old. Usually by the  time your kid's 18 months old, you are very ready for them to be in nursery, simply because they are so busy and energetic and loud during class time.  However, I didn't mind having Kimble with me at all.   The big question was whether I WANTED him to go into nursery.  Because I've been very diligent in keeping Kimble away from public germs as much as possible, I really didn't know if I wanted to expose him to a place where there are lots of other toddlers who share toys and drink from each other's sippy cups when nobody's looking, or standing right next to another kid who is coughing or sneezing. 

Somebody told me "you have to cut the cord eventually", and while I agree to that statement, I was a bit frustrated.  It's hard to explain to people, who don't understand Kimble's circumstances, that I need to keep him as healthy as possible.  An infection for Kimble is a lot more serious than it tends to be for other kids.  As a cardiac baby, there's just more things to consider.

With all that, The Husband and I decided that we'd take him to nursery for story time, lesson, snack, music, and crafts.  We'd remove him during open play time, to try to minimize sharing germs through touching the same toys.  I think as time goes on, especially with cold/flu season ending, that we'd eventually have him in nursery the whole time.  With that, the primary workers have been extra focused on making sure that there aren't any sick kids who try to slip into nursery.  They really want to make sure Kimble stays healthy too!

So, on Sunday, I took Kimble into nursery.  He was not happy about being left in there, so I chilled out in a corner, just to make sure he felt comfortable.  His separation anxiety has gotten worse the past few weeks, so he was pretty clingy.

Eventually, he got off my lap.  But he didn't go far. He kept checking behind him, to make sure I was there.


A little bit further....he was chasing a ball.  He got knocked over and started to whimper when he looked back to find me.


Lesson time!  I was on a little cushion right next to him, so he was content as he listened to the lesson and learned how to be reverent.


I tried to sneak away.  He caught me and clung to my skirt for dear life.  "Don't leave me!"


Hope he gets accustomed to it eventually.  For now, I really don't mind sitting in there with him.  He's my baby boy after all!  I like having him with me.