Sunday, May 26, 2013

My little dancing queen

Christina had her dance recital earlier this month.  This was her second recital (she had one at the end of the school year in 2012 as well).  She kept a very serious face on for most of her dancing (just like she did last  year) except this year, she didn't seem as concerned with getting the moves right and on time.  Last year she watched her dance teacher very closely and did every move methodically.  This year you will see her looking around occassionally, laughing or smiling sometimes, doing different moves, falling a little haha.  It was really cute how she would go from no smile and doing her moves seriously, to laughing and almost falling over.  She obviously had a very good time.

Here is one of the cutest ones.  She is all excited because she loves the song (she calls it the Barbie song):

This song is one they did last year, but it is too cute to not do it again:

I missed the beginning of this one since someone was blocking my view.  Here is Gummy Bear:

Let's get this party started:

You spin me right round:

I'm not familiar with this song, but it seemed really sweet:

I've also never heard of this song before:

See how excited she gets when she hears that they are about to get trophy's:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

School pictures

Saturday, May 18, 2013

To try or not to try

When Olivia was only a few weeks old, for some reason I felt the sudden need to make a final decision about whether or not we would like to try to have a fourth child eventually.  When I was younger, I use to say that I wanted three children.  When I met Nik, he wanted six!  We compromised on four before we were married.  Nik likes to say that was before he knew how expensive it was to have children.  Very true.

Although the growing daycare bill is enough to keep most people from reproducing, it isn't something I heavily consider when deciding whether I want to expand our family.  I loved having a big family growing up and I love the chaos of family get togethers and holiday's.  I want to be surrounded by people I love and that love me.  With all three of my kids, I made sure that we found a way to make it work financially.  I know that parenting is a handful and that it requires a lot of self sacrifice.  But, the reward is greater than the largest obstacle.

I battled with the idea of three kids or four over several weeks and then it dawned on me.  While worrying about the size of my family, I was simultaneously stressing out over the transition back to work.  Having three little children and a full time job is no easy task.  Getting up and out of the house in the morning is probably the most difficult part of the day.  Finding time to pump during working hours is stressful.  Always being pulled away for one of them, when both of them are extremely important takes a toll.  Trying to pick the kids up at a decent hour, then cook and get them all to bed at a reasonable time takes planning.  Not having much, if any, quality time with the kids at the end of a work day is disappointing.  Taking time off work for doctor's appointments, Easter egg hunts, and dance recitals is challenging but something I am not willing to miss out on. 

Ultimately, it was that last point that pushed me over the edge.  As much as I adore my babies and would love to try for another one, I just can't do it.  I don't want to spread myself too thin that I would end up not giving my attention to the amazing girls I already have.  I want to be at every recital, every game, every activity . . . and if I want to keep my job (which, yes, I definitely NEED to), then I better focus on the three children I already have and not add more to my plate, so to speak.

We have been blessed with three amazing children and we are over the moon happy with our little family.  I don't feel like we are missing someone, like I did before Olivia was born.  I know that I am always going to want another baby, and I am going to be sad to watch my last baby grow into a toddler, but at the same time I am excited to see our family grow together.  I am excited that we will be able to do new and exciting things as each of them gets older.  Once Olivia is out of diapers, there is no looking back and I will spend all of my baby cuddling time with my future nieces, nephews and cousins when the time comes :-)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Lottery

In our County there is a charter school that offers a really great education for free. The only catch is that in order to get in, you have to be picked from a lottery drawing.  When there are over one hundred names thrown into that fish bowl and only thirty or so will be pulled out, the odds are not in your favor.

When Nik and I moved to here, we didn't think too much about the school system.  Honestly, we probably should have, but we had been trying to get to Georgia for two years and as soon as the opportunity presented itself, we just jumped at the chance.  Since we only had a few weeks to move, we had to find a house pronto and so it only made sense to reach out to the only real estate agent I had had any prior contact with.  Amazingly, she had a foreclosure house available only three doors down from my cousin and his family.  The house was perfect, the price was right, we loved the neighborhood, and we loved our neighbors :-)  We (mostly I) decided that we would just deal with the school system, even though we knew it wasn't great.  It seemed like school for the girls was so far off that we didn't need to think too much about it.

Well, the time is here and Christina starts Kindergarten in August.  Last year, I started looking at schools.  I quickly realized that the private schools that we might be able to afford, were not that great.  The really good private schools were completely out of the question financially.  So, it was time to start getting use to the idea of public school.  Now don't get me wrong, I am a public school girl through and through.  Nik and I both went to public school and loved it.  We feel that we got a great education.  However, we grew up in New Jersey where the school system is much better than Georgia, and our district in particular isn't great.  That is what we were having a hard time dealing with.

Our neighborhood is very hands on though and so many of our neighbors are going to the nearby public school.  I know that the community and PTA can have a big impact on the school and I was looking forward to seeing the school improve over the coming years.  And then the lottery came . . .

One day in February I drove over to the Charter school to get a lottery ticket for Christina.  A couple of weeks later, the drawing was held at a nearby church.  Names were to be picked for every open slot in each grade.  Nik had to work, which was really a shame since he always has good luck.  So, I had to cart all three kids over to the church.  We were running late and had to stand against the back wall since there were no seats available.  Olivia was hungry and I had to sit down against the wall and nurse her in the back of the church, as the big girls tried their best to behave. 

When it was finally time, they started by reading each applicants name and dropping the piece of paper into the bowl.  134 names.  I recognized the names of several neighbors and several of Christina's classmates.  Then, the drawing began.  Each time a name was called, I crossed my fingers and said in my head "Christina Kalos, Christina Kalos, Christina Kalos".  About half way through the available slots (14 or so out of 32) and here it came - Christina Kalos!  Not just in my head this time, but out loud, officially chosen.  Christina Kalos, on the list for Kindergarten!

I was so excited and tried to explain to the girls what was happening.  "Mom's totally freaking out" Christina said later to anyone that would listen. 

Not only does Christina get to go to an awesome school FOR FREE, but Gwen and Olivia automatically get enrolled as well.  Once one kid is in, the siblings are in too!  Since Christina is the oldest, and the school goes from K-8, that means all of my girls are totally set until high school.

And yes, I am still totally freaking out!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Picture Post: Olivia

Such a happy baby!

Beautiful outfit lovingly provided by my Aunt Holly.

Olivia's first ride. (The Carousel at Six Flags)

My three girls

Look at that happy face!

My two Valentines this year.

Close UP!

Cuddles with Grandma

Olivia loves to sit and watch her big sisters.

Just one of the girls

Bright eyed

Friday, May 10, 2013

Life with three little Princesses

My little angel is now four and a half months old.  Nik and I have settled into a family five very easily and our whirlwind lives have definitely not stopped just because we now have a baby in tow.  Nope, in fact, baby Olivia just goes with the flow.  Meet Santa at four days old . . sure!, seven hour road trip to Orlando . . no problem!, go to Disney and smile at all of the Princesses . . . sign me up!  Yep, Olivia has been a wonderful baby.

In the beginning, she slept a lot as most babies do and then when she was awake more, all she wanted to do was nurse for a few weeks.  She's been my biggest baby yet and even though she is only in the 25th percentile, she is growing like crazy (chunky monkey seems to have turned into long caterpillar). 

At about two months old her personality really started to shine. She began smiling all of the time and giggling (now she even waves when prompted).  Her sisters are a great source of entertainment and you can tell she really loves them.  She rolls over all of the time and even now, at four months old, you can see that she just can't wait to get up and run around with her two older sisters. She kicks her feet out and tries to stand up and get down from your arms when she wants to join in on the fun.  This little one is just a delight to have around.

We were lucky enough to join some of my family in Orlando recently for my Great Aunt's 90th surprise birthday party!!  And how could we go to Orlando without taking the kids to Disney? 

The trip could not have gone any better.  All three girls were awesome in the car.  No potty accidents from my two big girls and Olivia didn't cry at all.  Only a few days prior to our trip, I introduced her to the pacifier. Although neither CC or Gwen ever took to it, Olivia seemed to really like it.  With the help of the pacifier and my long reach from the front seat, Olivia was always happy.  She had toys hanging from her carseat which she happily played with and then the pacifier helped her fall asleep when she was tired.  She was a champ as we spent over 10 hours at Disney one day and she was happy the entire time!!

We have had the luxury of spending a lot of family time together lately and it has been wonderful. I love watching as the girls grow and change.  I can't believe that Christina is starting Kindergarten in August and that Gwen is such a beautiful and smart big/little girl who always amazes me.  I can't believe how most of what Christina says and does takes after me and how most of what Gwen says and does takes after Nik.  I love how Christina always says "That's weird" and Gwen always says "That's cool" which is a perfect example of how Christina is more skeptical about everything and Gwen is much more open and carefree.  I love how they ask questions and want to know about everything (even if it is sometimes hard to answer all of the "Why" questions).  I love how Olivia fits in with all of us so perfectly and how I can just snuggle up to her and never want to let go.