Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: {School Project}

MJ had her first ever big project for school...a poster with 100 items on it for the school's 100th Day of School celebration that is coming this week. My inner perfectionist was arguing with my inner school teacher, and I let the school teacher win out. I only helped with the items that required the hot glue gun to stay on the poster.

Pay close attention to her attire...because everyone should dress as a fairy princess ballerina while completing a school project. :-)

First she wrote the title...

And then started adding items, 10 by 10...

Some of them required peeling off sticky backs, which are never easy...

And then finally, the project was complete...

And ready for the 100th Day of School!

Ni Hao Yall

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Can't Believe I Did This...But I Did

I had one of those moments this weekend where I felt like a total idiot, but I know one day, all of this will make for a hilarious story. I’m not there…yet…

Backing up a few weeks, when I found out that MJ’s best friend was having a dragon-themed birthday party and that he is very into dragons right now, I decided a perfect present would be this shirt from Wild Olive. M got the same one for Christmas, and it is a great little boy shirt. So, I placed the order for best friend’s shirt, along with one for me that I had been eyeing for awhile.

The order came in, and I pulled my shirt out and put it in the laundry before wearing. And [I thought] I took the gift shirt and put it away to wrap later, while putting the packaging envelope in the trash. *Remember this paragraph. It will come up again.

So, MJ’s friend’s party was on Sunday. Saturday afternoon while the kids were napping, I decided it was time to wrap the gift. So, I go look where I thought I had put the shirt. Not there. I look in other places where I thought it might be. Not there. This wasn’t good…

Then, there was that sinking feeling. I’m pretty sure that I put the shirt back into the mailing envelope, and forgetting it was in there, threw it away. Not my finest moment.

So, on Saturday afternoon, MJ and I made a run to the store for a gift so she would have something to give her friend for his birthday, and I will be placing an order for another shirt, which I will have shipped directly to her friend’s house.

Oh, well…what’s done is done…

My words to my husband about all of this were, “Well, at least I’ll get a blog post out of it.”

And I did.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

[Almost] Wordless Wednesday: "Ka-Chow!"

M was really not in the picture taking mood that morning...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

On Our Decisions about School...

Before my husband and I even got married, we talked about a lot of our plans for the, how many, and the inevitable “What about school?” Both of us have education degrees and have spent time as classroom teachers, so this is an issue that merited some thought and discussion on our part. My husband went to public school, and I spent K-12th grade at a small private school. Both of them had their merits, of course. As we looked at our options, we came to the conclusion that as long as we are living in a good school district, our first choice for our children would be public school.

I will put a disclaimer here that this post is about the decisions we have made for our family, and how we arrived at those decisions. I don’t mean it to be judgmental of the choices of others. We have friends with children in public schools, private schools, parochial schools, as well as those who homeschool. Each family must arrive at their own decision, hopefully one that is prayerfully reached. Children can be educated in many different ways.

Our girls are currently in preschool in a private Christian school, and M will attend there when he is old enough. However, when they reach kindergarten, they will transfer to our local public school. We do love their current school, but in all honesty, even if we had not already decided on public school, we could not currently afford the tuition to keep them enrolled there.

Why not keep them in a Christian school? Besides the aforementioned finances, our children live in a pastor’s household, and our church is a traditional Southern Baptist congregation. That means, we are at church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. Our children, for all practical purposes, right now are living in a “Christian bubble.” It is a pretty sheltered existence. The Bible teaches us to be “in the world but not of the world.” Our children need to experience this on some level before they graduate high school and move on to college. Will I miss them coming home at the end of the school day and singing fun songs about Bible stories and quoting the scripture they have learned at school? Absolutely. But a huge part of our responsibility as parents is to teach our children about God’s word in our homes.

Why not homeschool? I just mentioned that my husband and I both have education degrees. In fact, I have two. That said, I believe homeschooling is a calling, and it (to this point) is not one that I have felt on my life. I would never totally discount the possibility, especially if we were in a situation where we were in a poor public school district and there was no viable private/Christian school option, but for now that is a non-issue. As it turns out, our oldest daughter is an extremely strong-willed child. Because of her personality, she doesn’t like to receive instruction from me...on anything...that could be her school work, learning how to dribble a basketball...anything. However, she is a sponge when she is at school and thrives in that academic environment. She is a very compartmentalized child. Teachers teach, Mommies do mommy things. That’s the way it is. Homeschooling for us would be a very difficult road. God is smart. He knew we were going to have a headstrong child before we did, and He did not lead us toward homeschooling. And although I would likely have an easier time actually teaching K, she is a child who needs to be around other children. She has a personality where she could very easily isolate herself. While most of the home-schooled kids I know are very well-socialized, normal kids, if K were home-schooled, she could easily fall into that stereotype of the home-schooled child who is not.

Thankfully, our parsonage is in a very good public school zone, so we are very comfortable with our decision. Will there be an adjustment period this fall as MJ moves from a private Christian school where there are 10 children in her class to a regular-sized public school kindergarten class? Of course there will be. There will also be the adjustment of half-day to full day, and uniforms to no uniforms. That last one will be a biggie for MJ. Our structured girl loves her uniforms...”no uniform” days completely throw her for a loop. That said, though, every child who is entering kindergarten this fall will be making an adjustment on some level. Even having been a public school teacher, I’m already getting those “Mama butterflies” about my little girl moving on to a new phase of her life. But we are entering this phase of life prayerfully and optimistically. (Remind me I said that when kindergarten enrollment starts this spring...)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: "Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet"

Title of post changed due to the fact I looked up the lyrics to the song I originally used in the title and decided I didn't want that connected with a picture of my child.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: {Getting Organized}

I've been busy since the girls went back to preschool, getting their room organized again. I'm sure you know the drill...find places for the new toys, figure out what needs to be passed along to little brother and what needs to be put away for garage sale or give away... And since I knew the room wouldn't stay this way for very long, I decided a little photographic evidence was in order.

Toy and Book Shelf: I was so glad I was able to clear enough space to put those pink dollhouses on the shelf. They got those for LAST Christmas (2009) and have been stored under their beds until now.

I use quite a bit of under bed storage. One is an underbed box on rollers with the lid off...Great for holding irregularly shaped toys and those things you just aren't sure where to put. Each girl has a smaller box with her dress-up clothes, and each bed has a box with bed linens. Their doll strollers and stick horses also are stored under the beds.

This is the art supply storage area. It is in their closet and has the art supplies they can access anytime.

And, finally, on the top shelf of the closet are the art and craft supplies that require adult supervision.

This isn't everything, but these are the areas where the changes are most obvious. They also have one set of storage bins on the opposite side of the room from the shelves and another smaller set in their closet.

I'm just thankful to be done, and now, hopefully, I can finish the rest of the house.

Ni Hao Y'all

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

M Through the Year (2010)

And here is my last "Year in Review" post...

I can't believe how much our baby boy has grown in the past year. He was an 8 month old baby when the year started, and now he is a 20 month old toddler. Wow!

January: M in the exersaucer, a piece of baby gear that has been used by all 3 of our kids, and one that we no longer even own. My, how things change!

February: Surrounded by his toys...I can't get over how chubby his cheeks were. His face has slimmed up a lot over the course of the year.

March: I still think this is a funny picture. We sat him down on the ground at the playground, and I'm not really sure what he thought about it.

April: M's first birthday party!

May (early): M's first haircut. He did such a great job, and even clapped while he was getting his hair cut--not the first tear!

May (late): Due to my terrible shortage of June pictures, M is getting 2 May pictures instead. Here he is enjoying the sunshine on Memorial Day.

July: M mugging for the camera at my parents' house in Louisiana.

August: This was the day M's sisters made him a cage. Hasn't every girl with a little brother thought of doing that at some point?

September: Messy Green Popsicle Face!

October: Cowboy M on Halloween...

November: M in the leaves at Grandmama's house in Georgia...

December: M on Christmas morning with the basketball that is still one of his favorites...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

K Through the Year (2010)

Here is K's 2010 photo retrospective. One thing I determined is I need to get more individual pictures of her. Some months I had lots, and some not nearly enough. She has grown and matured so much over the course of this year.

January: K at the park, still in a baby swing. Now, it is big girl swings all the time. She would spend her entire time on a swing at the park if one of us would stand there and push her.

February: K at our local FCC Chinese New Year party...

March: Picnicking at the park. The girl loves her strawberries!

April: Easter Sunday morning...This was after church, and she was absolutely NOT in the mood to have her picture made.

May: At the beach...This year, K overcame her fear of the ocean, and loved going to the beach!

June: I seriously made very few pictures in June. I had lots from MJ's end of school year program and VBS at church, but not a lot of individual shots, especially of K and M. I thought this one was sweet, though, and shows K's relationship with her little brother very well.

July: K playing in the yard at my parents' house in Louisiana. She still hasn't mastered blowing bubbles, but she really likes to try.

August: August was a big month for K. She turned 3, and she also started preschool. I used a birthday shot here, since there is a first day of school one in the Top 10 Photos post.

September: One of my absolute favorite pictures ever...We got K up from her afternoon nap, but apparently, she was not finished sleeping because this is what we found shortly thereafter.

October: Cowgirl K, ready to Trick-or-Treat

November: One of my favorite pictures of K from our trip to Georgia over Thanksgiving break.

December: K on Christmas morning...

Monday, January 3, 2011

MJ through the Year (2010)

Since I had such a difficult time narrowing my top 10 pictures from 2010, I decided to do a month-to-month favorite picture for each of the kids. I'm starting with MJ.

January: Pigtails for preschool. Looking at this picture makes me realize how much she has grown and changed in the last year.

February: Her first time bowling. It was hilarious. We need to go again to see how she does now that she is almost a year older.

March: Silly Sock Day at preschool.

April: Easter Sunday 2010

May: MJ takes swimming lessons for the first time...

June: MJ and her teacher on her last day of 3 year old preschool...

July: Chips and Salsa on our trip to Louisiana. I probably have cuter pictures of her from that trip, but the girl loves her chips & salsa, so I decided on this one.

August: MJ's first day of Pre-K

September: Her first Two-Wheeler!

October: Cowgirl MJ for Halloween

November: MJ found a ladybug at her grandmother's cabin in Georgia.

December: MJ turns 4!

Stay tuned for posts for the other two later this week...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: {New Year's Day 2011}

We spent a nice, quiet New Year's Day with our family. Here's a little snapshot of the kids' day...

MJ made a library in the girls' bedroom...

K spent some time reading...

Then we watched the Rose Parade...

While watching, M planted himself in his big sister's lap for awhile...

And K waved to the riders on the floats and said, "Merry Christmas!" like she did at our local Christmas parade...

Then they got their chairs out and their flags to wave...

After lunch, we took advantage of our warm Florida temperatures and spent some time at the park...

And the girls ended the day cuddled up in the recliner, watching a football game.

All-in-all, a nice, relaxing way to start the New Year!

Ni Hao Y'all