Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Summer Summer Time!

Hey, good people!  Hope everyone is enjoying summer so far!  Today is the official start of my summer, and I decided to update my blog. Woohoo!

School ended for us over a month ago, but I got the opportunity to teach summer school.  If you remember last summer (when I was sad because I didn't teach summer school), you'll know how thrilled I was about this.  Summer school has always been a joy for me, and I got to do it in a neighboring school system this year.  It was a four-week course, and it was FANTASTIC.  The students were amazing, and I really enjoyed it. Hope to do it again next year.

So what do we plan to do this summer?  No fancy lists like I've done in previous summers. There are just a few things:

  • Start back running. I stopped running this past school year, and was just overall unhealthy partly due to thyroid issues (partly due to unhealthy diet and lack of exercise). I felt AWFUL, and today I'm almost 15 pounds heavier than I was at the beginning of the school year. So I've got to get back into the swing of things. I'm the heaviest I've ever been, and I'm just uncomfortable. So I'm going to work my way out of it.
  • Get ready for kindergarten.
  • Have fun.
  • Read.
  • Do a few things around the house.
And that's all I'll commit to. Nothing like my previous years' list, right?  Well, one thing I learned this past year is that I sometimes "do the most."  And I'm learning to keep it simple.

I may not have been blogging lately, but life has still been happening. I still document a lot of what goes on around here, so check out these posts* I just put up of what we've been up to:

So here's to summer, my friends and fam. I hope to check in here a few times.  HAPPY SUMMER!

Cake she baked to kick off summer -- yellow cake with strawberry icing and LOTS of sprinkles!

*Please excuse any typos or crazy talk in any of these posts. I do not have the brain power to proofread after going through hundreds of pics, organizing them, and then typing out blog posts. I just don't. Thanks.

Learning to Ride!

One goal we set out for this summer was to learn to ride a bike without training wheels. I kinda ran over M's last bike in the garage M has outgrown her first bike that my dad bought her a while back, and it was time to invest in something else. So we visited a bike store a few weeks before summer to get some prices, and eventually went back and got the one we were eyeing.

I liked purple, but she chose pink.
I remember thinking that bike looked too big for my baby.  We talked it over with the bike guys (specialists?) about how to go about teaching her to ride without training wheels. We had two options: 1) they could install training wheels and we could come back and get them off when she was "ready"...or 2) they could take off the pedals completely and she could first learn to balance. I'd never heard of that method before, but apparently it works for many.  DK and I decided we'd do neither of those and just do it the old school way. If she fell, she fell. She'd be okay.

And we're so glad we did. The following video is Day 1 of M and her daddy working on it (I was at work and got this video...I was flabbergasted):

Day 1

He sent videos the next day of her progress, and I was no less shocked. So finally, on Day 3, I left work immediately so I could see this in person!  Here's what I recorded of my little bike star. As you can see from the last few seconds, we've still got to work on steering control.

I am so proud of M and her daddy! I know that if it'd been me teaching her, she would not have had that much independence so early (which obviously would have been a mistake).  It would have taken much longer to learn, so I'm grateful for her daddy.

And now they're working on her starting by herself, which I didn't realize was another skill altogether. She's getting there:


Yay for little kid milestones!

Art, Theater, Science, Reading, and Partying

Despite our being busy with work this summer, we've been sure to make time for some fun. We kicked off summer reading in May at the library. There was an event for the kids that focused on science.

They had cool snacks for the kids (petri dish Jello -- how cute) and fun activities. 

Then a week or so later, the free kid shows kicked off (you know how we do). First show of the summer: Doktor Kaboom. He show had a lots of science, creativity, and fun! We've come a long way from three years ago when we first started going to the shows - ha!

Holding her Doktor Kaboom ticket.
We started our summer reading progress too, and are working toward a particular prize M spotted in the prize case. We hope to go pick that up in a couple of weeks! So far, she's read about 850 pages. It goes a lot slower when your kid reads by him/herself, but it's so rewarding to watch her progress. 

Anywho, just like any other summer (or spring, winter, or fall, for that matter), we headed downtown for some McWane science fun (and Guthrie's chicken fingers). Always a good time.  

Pretty much any kid place we go I purchase a membership. They usually pay for themselves after a couple of visits, as is the case with another one of our summer destinations: DeSoto Caverns.  

I bought a membership last summer when I noticed how expensive one visit was, and I needed to get another visit out of it to feel I'd gotten my money's worth. So a couple of Saturdays ago we made the hour-drive to the country and got frizzy hair in that crazy humid cave. Even though the activity section of the park needs work (and more manpower), the cave is always amazing to me. If you live in the area and have never been, it's pretty spectacular. 

I have to admit that I didn't like the tour guides on our most recent visit. These caverns were sacred to people hundreds of years ago, and too many jokes were made on the tour about the deaths and burial grounds. For example, they mentioned that a Native American tribe had recently come back to rebury some bones that'd been found in the cave. Out of respect, the owners of the cave didn't attend the burial and left it as a pure, tribal event. Because of this, no one but those in the tribe know where the reburial took place inside the cave. And then the tour guides go on to say that if we see some skeletons grabbing at our ankles along the tour, to just kick them off and keep walking. "What the what??" No, sir. Not funny. I understand making people laugh is part of the job, but find something else to joke about. These looked like high school kids giving the tour...maybe DeSoto Caverns should rethink their staffing. 

Anyhoo, it was our last visit for a while. 

Of course M enjoyed it.

About a month ago, we took M to a birthday party (the little girl of one of DK's coaching friends). M and the little girl knew each other through their daddies, and had even gone to the movies together before. When I found out M was invited to this party, I jumped on it. One reason is because M had recently told me I "never" let her go to her friends' parties. GUILTYYYY. Here's why...

At preschool, M got a birthday party invitation EVERY WEEK (at least it felt like it). And because there were so many and we could not make all those parties, we never went to any.  I would hate to be at some and not others...and let's be real: birthday parties mean birthday PRESENTS. And presents every week for a school friend?  Sure!...if we were wealthy. So we just didn't get into the whole birthday-party-with-school-friends thing. It was easy to do because the kids always brought cupcakes to school on their birthdays anyway (like M did), so she gets to celebrate with her friends at some point.

So anywho, not only was this party special because M could spend time with her friend P, but there were also some special guests there: 

That's Elsa and Anna, for my out-of-touch-with-the-Disney-circus friends. :)  These characters are from the movie, Frozen, one of the biggest movies of the year. 

It was adorable, and there wasn't a single princess in the bunch who didn't know all the Frozen songs. 

It was lots of fun.

Speaking of princesses, my sweet niece and my mom came to stay with us last week. I needed someone to watch M for a couple of days, so they came our way.

We took the girls to see Willy Wonka at Alabama Theater's Summer Film Series. And we're talking the 1970s Willy Wonka!

MeMaw and two of her girls.

I was afraid the movie would be too old for them, but they enjoyed it. M said her favorite part was when Charlie found the golden ticket. :)

And then this past weekend, we went to the art museum. The art museum is free (donations accepted), fun, and was perfect for that wet day.

Building things with Daddy.

This time instead of just playing in the kids rooms, we did the museum scavenger hunt designed for the kids. M had her clipboard and was pretty serious about finding everything.

She was so proud of herself when she did. We're planning to meet a friend at the museum in the next week or so, so we'll get to do this again soon.

So anyhoo, it's been a fun-filled summer so far. We're looking forward to even more.

Mommy Daughter Photo Shoot

Okay, not really, but that's what it turned into.  You see, on this particular day, my hair was behaving, and my skin didn't look dull. It's kinda rare that those happen on the same day, so I thought it was great day to grab my phone and snap a few selfies. My profile pics were so old (straight hair days) and they needed to be updated.

So I snapped several pics (95% of them I didn't like, of course)...

...and someone noticed how much fun I was having.

....and thought that she was invited.

And...well...who could turn away this Froot Loop-crusted face?

Not I.  'Cause this is my favorite girl.

In all her silliness.

And of course the picture I liked the most was one where she was included. So that SELFIE profile pic never really happened because this is the one I chose. Go figure!

In all seriousness, I have a ton of pics of M and others, and not very many with the two of us.  So I'm glad she came over and hijacked my little session.  And here's one from another day this summer that my mom took:


Grateful for Fam

We are so grateful for our folks. They have helped us so much over the years, and this summer has been no exception. I know it's easy to assume that "that's what families do for each other," but I know people who don't have families as supportive or ABLE to help like ours. So we're grateful.

With me teaching summer school and DK having basketball practice several times a week, there have been times when we needed a sitter (usually days at a time). Between my mom and in-laws (mother, father, and sister), we've never had to look far. Despite the facts that none of them live in the same city as us and arrangements taking a little bit of planning, they are always happy to help us out with M. Of course M loves going to TeeTee's, MeMaw's, or Honey and PaPa's house. 

Here are recent pics they texted DK and me of our little munchkin enjoying herself:

This little girl has a lot of love in her life. We all do. And I'm so grateful.

My Sweet Nephew

In a blog post from last month, I shared that I'd become an aunt to a baby boy - my first nephew!  Less than a week after he was born, we were on the road to meet this precious one!

M was NOT impressed when she first met him (translation: she was SUPER jealous of my attention to him)...

...but my stepmother eventually got her to warm up to him. He is a PRECIOUS baby whom I absolutely adore!

My beautiful little sister and her sweet baby boy.
I know my little sisters are grown women, but it still feels a little weird to see them doing grown-up stuff like getting engaged and having babies. Crazzzzy.

Baby C, my dad, and me.
I always forget how tiny newborns are, and how much they sleep. Baby C never woke when we first visited him. When we went back a few weeks later for his baby shower, he only woke up for a few minutes. SO PRECIOUS.

Our second visit also gave us the chance to hang out with more fam.

My cuz, S.
It's funny I didn't know my cousin S for most of my childhood (she's a little bit older). She student-taught at my high school one year, and I remember thinking, "so THAT'S my Uncle M's daughter." We're both older now, and our daughters made an instant connection when they met at our family reunion last summer. S and I are both in education, so we have a lot in common, too.

Dad and and his girls (and boy)!
My stepmom, mom, and two aunts. 
We rode to Atlanta and stayed with my aunts, who are HILARIOUS and SO MUCH FUN. Can't wait to see them again for the 4th!

With the little sisters.

I can't wait to see my little nephew again. I'm getting by, thanks to the occasional pictures and videos I get of him. So thankful for technology!

Goodbye, Preschool

So we just ended our last year of preschool. Kindergarten, here we come.

Here are a few pics of M on her last preschool field trip. My mother-in-law accompanied her on this one. 

And of course we had our end-of-the-year program... 

There was no sneaky mic-hogging this year. 

We shot some video that I'll post eventually. 

M got what she went for, too: CAKE. It's all she talked about the days leading up to program.  She is my girl.

With grandmothers. 

With cousin J and TeeTee.
And Kindergarten begins in a little over a month (seriously, summer, I'm going to need you to slow down). And I think we're ready...or we WILL be.  We've already bought her backpack (a cute little markdown on Pottery Barn Kids), most of her supplies (thanks to being able to order the "supply pack" online  through school), and submitted the paperwork for preregistration.  Now we just wait for early August to complete registration and meet the teacher. I think I'm ready, I think I'm ready...

We also have a couple of other things to work on. While I'm proud that M can read well for her age, does 1st grade math, and has a genuine interest in science and mechanics (that I hope sticks), she can't tie her own shoes, she doesn't know her address, and she doesn't know our phone numbers -- whoops! So we've got some work to do this summer. And now that I'm home full-time, we can get it knocked out.

I'm proud of my little soon-to-be-Kindergartner!

Stuff I Talk About

2011 30 day shred age update AKA animals anniversary appreciation aquarium around the house art museum Atlanta baby/toddler sleep issues baking bama football beach birthday birthday party blog awards blog buddies blogher books camping causes celebrations celebrities cheer days childhood children's museum children's theater Christmas christmas card class reunion college days concert conference cousins crafts dance date night dating days deals decluttering dentist Disney dk easter engagement facebook faith fall fun family family fun fashion father's day favorite blogs field trip field trips football friday flashback friends fun event funny pic Gaylord Opryland genealogy girl scouts goals god grad school grateful graves' disease Halloween health holidays Hollywood honeymoon instagram Iron Bowl key west kindermusik learning letter to my daughter library Los Angeles m me miami mlk day morgan is three museum Nashville national championship game natural hair nature new look new orleans New Years nyc out on the town parks parties phone fun pinterest play days at home playdate playground action pregnancy professional development Race for the Cure raleigh ramblings reading Recipes relay for life school program shows singing skating snow soccer social networking sorority spring break spring fun stress summer summer fun summer reading summer to do list teacher life technical difficulties terrible twos Thanksgiving the girls the park theme park thomas and friends three thyroid tragedy trains traveling tricycle trips twitter valentine's day video walk for autism water play we love being outside wedding wordless wednesday work wrapup Yo Gabba Gabba zoo
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