Monday, July 28, 2014

The school year begins

Here I am, wrapping up another summer. I still can't seem to grasp the concept of summer break ending in July here in Georgia. Even though school let's out in May, it still seems the break is much too short. In June I was planning for our family Disney trip in July and no sooner then we return, it is time to prepare for school to start.

This year, Christina will be in first grade and Gwen will be in Pre-K. It may seem like fun and games since they are still so little, but let me tell you, I can feel the pressure of all that they need to be learning at this age. Reading is no easy task and we still aren't there yet with Christina (and Gwen is still learning her letters!), so yeah, I'm a little stressed. Gwen's hearing loss also adds another challenge.

Can you believe my girls are getting so big? Olivia is now 19 months old and I'm pretty sure I practically abandoned this blog since she was born. Although I love to write and I want to be able to keep track of what is going on with the kids here (so that I can always go back and re-read), it isn't always feasible for me to make time. I mean goodness, it has been a year since I even posted last! Sadly, I'm not sure how long it will be before I post again.

I have a little lull at work right now, as in just today, for like the next hour or so, but otherwise my days have been pretty busy. I've been essentially dedicated full time on two separate programs. Thank goodness, that won't last much longer and work should be less hectic. But, when I'm not at work, or I should say - when the kids are not at school/daycare - well let's just say that you can count me out of pretty much anything like writing on a blog (aka spending time doing something for myself that doesn't demand a place on my to do list). Life is busy with three kids under six!

When I'm not taking care of the kids, the house, or work, I am usually too exhausted to do anything fun just for me. But, I'd like to try! The truth is, with Olivia getting a little older, I do have more hands free time. Both Olivia and Gwen are awesome at playing and entertaining themselves, alone or together (Christina, not so much). This sometimes means that I can sit and do something on my computer while the kids play. Thank goodness for that because I have needed to spend some of that time working lately, but I've also started on our vacation photo book on Shutterfly. I'm super excited about it and fully expect to work on it for the next month or so (to get it JUST right!)

I'm enjoying myself so much that now I have a list of ten other photo books I'd like to make. But oh yes, school is starting. That changes everything! Now we get to go back to homework every night. Piano practice too. Checking everything that comes home in their book bags from events to behavior reports to school work. I'll be writing out checks every week for a class shirt, a school field trip or spirit week, etc. I'll have to stay on top of laundry for uniforms that need to be worn each week. I'll have to start getting the kids up earlier each morning and hoping that the lack of sleep doesn't cause them to get sick.

Getting sick really throws a wrench in things. When one gets sick, it is almost impossible for one or both of the other girls to get sick. In fact, usually at least one parent gets sick too. In fact, three (possibly four) of us are sick right at this very moment. I have gone into crazy Mom mode and am making everyone use hand sanitizer every two seconds, wash hands with soap and water after a sneeze to the hands or any other time I suspect germs lol, I forbid they even THINK of sharing food, and we increase our vitamin intake. And, oh yes, nap time anyone? I mean come on guys, school starts next week! No time for germs people!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Christina's Pre-K Graduation

Last Wednesday, Christina started Kindergarten (my big girl!). So far it is going great, more on that to come though.

In May, CC graduated from Pre-K and I finally had the chance to put some of the video up here. I have to say that she was super excited to graduate Pre-K. She loved practicing the songs that they would sing and she absolutely loved wearing her cap and gown. She had really great friends in her class and enjoyed the year. Christina's teacher says that she is a very smart little girl, but she is a little unsure of her self. She often hesitates and says "I don't know" to things that she really does in fact know. She has learned so much over the year from writing her name to sight words and so much more. Even though she was the youngest in her class, she certainly didn't show it. Oh sure, sometimes she had trouble listening or staying quiet, but she still learned everything she needed to learn while in Pre-K.

In her yearbook, under Pre-K Superlatives, Christina was listed as most talkative, loudest, shortest, and 5 going on 40, which is funny because she is only 4. She definitely is all of those things. She has a presence that you can't ignore and she is still trying to transition from having fun and running around with her friends, to sitting down, learning and listening. Her teacher thinks that she is absolutely ready for Kindergarten, which is great to know since she does techincally have the ability to stay back a year due to her age.

Unfortunately, Christina was seated all the way in the back for the actual Pre-K graduation. It was difficult to see her and most of the songs they sang, you can't see her in the video except maybe the top of her forehead. I won't post most of those. I'll start with one that is a little long, but towards the end, Christina has her own chance to shine since they go one by one through all of the kids.

After this, the kids get their cap on and come down the aisle, which is what you would expect at the beginning but for some reason they didn't do it that way. You can't really see Christina come down because of all of the people, but she gives us a nice smile and wave when she gets on stage :-)

Lastly, here is another cute song that they did. Christina's friend Angela gets things going. Other parts of the graduation that I'm not posting, include a slideshow of the kids from the year and a handful of songs including "You are my Sunshine" where they all have sunglasses on (very cute), "We've got the whole globe in our hands", "We're so Happy" to the tune of "If you're happy and you know it", "Me I am", and another cute song that goes like this: 
I've been having fun at preschool, learning all year long 
I can tell you all about it, 
just listen to our song 
We've been learning shapes and colors; 
letters and numbers too 
I've learned how to share with others, 
and now our year is through! 

And now another milestone is complete and Christina is off to Kindergarten!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Things have certainly been busy around here for my little girls. Olivia is seven months old and cute as a button. She is crawling all over the place now and nothing is safe! She's already pulling Blu-Rays off the stand, slamming the media center door over and over again for kicks, and of course trying to get ahold of every big-kid toy within sight. She certainly knows how to entertain herself, but really enjoys being around her big sisters. She is happiest when they are playing in the same room as her. Christina and Gwen love Olivia dearly except in different ways. Christina is very protective over Olivia and is such a sweet and loving big sister. She always wants to make sure Olivia is ok and happy. If Olivia fusses or cries, she feels it is her job as a big sister to comfort or entertain her. She can't go a morning without kissing her first thing and can't go to bed without a kiss goodnight. She always wants to help out with whatever baby-care is at hand and even brags about "her baby" to anyone that will listen. She loves Olivia so much that she has thanked me more than a dozen times for "making this baby". "Mommy, thank you so much for making this baby.", "Mommy, isn't Olivia the cutest baby?", "Mommy, we have the perfect baby, don't we?" Christina is just too darn cute. Now Gwen on the other hand loves rough. She also brags about "her baby", but her one on one interaction is less cuddles and kisses and more like knocking over, smothering her, bumping her in the head, jumping on top of her or over her. She reminds me of Christina when Gwen was that age. I assume she will grow out of it and in the meantime I have to be very careful when Gwen is with Olivia. There have been a handful of times where she has purposely done something that would hurt Olivia (throw a toy at her, pinch her, etc), I think just to see what Olivia will do. I guess Gwen is just curious, but that curiosity can hurt her baby sister and she doesn't quite get that yet. Christina and Gwen also fight over helping out with Olivia or even fight over who gets to kiss her first. Olivia is eating solid foods now (so far just rice cereal, oatmeal and green beans - soon to be carrots), and the girls (for awhile there) would fight over who got to feed her. I think the excitement of that wore off though because they haven't asked in awhile. They do, however, fight over helping out with everything, not just things related to Olivia. If I ask one to do something for me, the other takes it as a challenge and runs to try to do it first. Unless, of course, they both decide they are too "busy" to help. Feast or famine in this house for sure. Sometimes they drive me crazy and I have to ask over and over to get them to do the easiest things. Other times they are overwhelming me with questions about what they can do to help. I have the girls regularly doing chores around the house now so that I can take advantage of this helping stage (before they learn to hate it). I have them putting away their own laundry. Christina can do it completely on her own. I can just dump a basket of clean clothing on her bed and she will sort and put everything away in the proper drawers. Gwen needs me to do the sorting and then she needs to be told specifically where to put it. She does know what items go in which drawers though, so I only need to tell her "put this in your PJ drawer" and then she does it. Christina also makes her own bed every morning, but I haven't gotten Gwen to catch on to that one. When CC is feeling generous, she will make both beds. They love to vacuum using the shark, clean tables, and occasionally to unload the dishwasher. I also have them clear their plates from the table most of the time although I have to admit that sometimes I prefer to do it in order to avoid a mess on the way to the garbage and/or sink. I'm trying to take advantage of the little time we have left this summer. I have to admit that this has been a very lazy one. I've been letting the kids go to bed a little later and sleep a little later each morning. We've been strolling into daycare at 9 or 10am each day. Luckily, since my office is practically empty this month, I have been working from home most days. But boy oh boy are things about to change. Christina starts Kindergarten in exactly 8 days. Yikes! We are going back to the days of waking up at the crack of dawn and we will be rushing to get the kids to school on time for breakfast and me to the office at a decent time. Weekly swim lessons are over and we will spend our evenings doing homework. I have to say I'm nervous, but also excited.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Disney Magic

The formatting on Blogger with pictures and text drives me insane. But, I'm not going to let that hold me back from posting this any longer.  It isn't going to be perfect and may not be pretty, but oh well.  Here we go . . .

We had the opportunity to take the girls to Disney for the first time in early May. We went to Magic Kingdom and also Hollywood Studios. They loved it! Nik and I enjoyed ourselves as well. My Mom and Uncle Peter joined us for Magic Kingdom. Nik's cousin Melissa, her husband and their son Dominick were able to join us for part of Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studio's.

These princess poncho's that I ordered from Macy's came in handy. When we first arrived at Magic Kingdom, it was chilly and the boat ride over to the park entrance was very windy.

The girls cozied up with the poncho's while they watched our view of the castle as we approached.  They also were invaluable at the end of the night when it got cold.

The girls were very excited as we arrived and I must admit that I was as well.  I have been to the Magic Kingdom about three times, but not since I was much younger (a teenager I think).  Nik had never been to Magic Kingdom at all either.  Cinderella's Castle (although a little smaller than Nik and I expected) was gorgeous.  We also arrived just in time to see the show ending at the castle.
The first attraction we did was Enchanted Tales with Belle.  Some of the audience joined in with a story-telling performance with Belle herself.  Nik was one of Belle's guard's where he got to stand up in front and protect Belle the entire time.  Christina and Gwen sat in front, CC was a picture frame and Gwen was a fork and spoon combo.  Afterwards, they all got pictures with Belle.
My Mom and Olivia even got a picture with Belle.
We loved meeting so many characters at Disney.  My only complaint is that the lighting in all of the rooms is awful for my iPhone camera.  Of course Disney takes their own pictures which come out fabulous, but at $15 per picture, they aren't exactly affordable.

One of the things I loved most about the Magic Kingdom was that we could all go on almost all of the rides together, as a family.  Even Olivia, at five months old, could go on the rides with us.  That made the trip so much nicer because we could all stay together.

We got the chance to meet Ariel.
Olivia was such a good girl the entire time.
It was really nice to spend some time with our cousin Dominick.  The girls had fun meeting their little cousin for the first time.
The girls were excited to get autographs from some of the characters.
They met Rosetta the Fairy and TinkerBelle.
TinkerBelle was quite a character and she talked almost non-stop.  She went on and on about some random things that Christina really payed attention to.  Apparently she said that she only liked to fly in the winter.  Later that night when we watched the end of the night show at the castle, TinkerBelle flew down from the castle and onto the ground (literally, came down on a wire or something).  Christina asked me why TinkerBelle was flying when she said she only likes to fly in the winter.  It was cute.

Just as it was getting dark, it was time for the grown ups to have some fun.  We took turns with the kids so that we could go on Space Mountain.  It was just as awesome as I remembered it!

By the end of the day, the kids were tired but still behaving (suprisingly!).  The end of the night show on the castle was amazing!  Hundreds of people gathered together to stare at the castle. It was like a movie that was played on the castle as well as fireworks above the castle.

By the time it ended, it was pretty late and seconds afterwards, all of the kids were asleep :-)

My Mom and Uncle Peter had to leave the next morning, but we were able to go to Hollywood Studio's with the kids and our cousins.
Hollywood Studio's had some fun things to offer, but we were so exhausted that we didn't stay long.  There were many character meet and greet opportunities that we didn't want to miss though. 
First, we got to meet Handy Manny.
 Next, we got to meet Mickey Mouse himself!
 We also got to see a Disney Live show which featured stories from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sofia the First, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. It was great (except for the part where we all had to sit on the ground - not so fun for me).

Cars were there, so we got to "meet" them as well.  I was surprised by how big they were.
Last, but not least, I think we were the most excited to meet Wreck it Ralph and Venelope. We love that movie and were willing to wait on a pretty big line (and skip the last chance for the Beauty and the Beast show) just so that we could meet them. Wreck it Ralph was HUGE.

As we were getting ready to go and just walking around the park, we found this awesome little spot.  The wall was made to look like the hills in San Francisco.  We all took a bunch of pictures in front of it because it was such a nice backdrop.