Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

Usually we look forward to the long Memorial Day Weekend because it means three days of enjoying warm and sunny weather outside in our backyard...kind of like a preview to the lazy days of summer that are right around the corner  Well, true to this year's crazy weather patterns, the long weekend was cool and gloomy with rain.  I was definitely happy we accomplished our yard work and planting our flowers last weekend when it was a little nicer outside! 

Thankfully, Friday and Saturday were nice enough that we were able to play in the backyard, take the kids on a bike ride, fly kites at the park down the street, and grill burgers.  The rest of the weekend we spent catching up on chores and laundry, running errands, playing card games, grabbing breakfast at Denny's, watching movies, and baking pink cupcakes. 

Yep.  That's right.  Pink cupcakes.

Olivia is officially obsessed with the "Pinkalicious" books and I've been promising her for weeks that we would bake pink cupcakes together.  This long weekend seemed like the perfect time to make good on that promise. 

First we assembled the ingredients...

Then, we mixed up the batter....

And before we put those pink cupcakes in the oven, we made sure to lick those pink beaters clean!

The pink cupcakes turned out wonderfully PINKALICIOUS!

Olivia was so thrilled...she even asked for "just one more pink cupcake!"

Unfortunately, to her disappointment her body has yet to turn pink! 

Tomorrow is back to school for Allie and back to work for Ben.  Although Olivia did not turn pink, she did manage to come down with a cold and fever today.  So, I'm guessing the rest of us will be lying low here at home tomorrow...wishing that summer would just hurry up and get here!


The Newest Preschool Grad

Last Friday morning we celebrated Zach's graduation from preschool.  He has been anticipating his graduation from preschool for weeks now.  Mostly because he can't wait to start kindergarten!  Before we left for his very last morning as part of the Blue Class, I made sure to take a few pictures.

For comparison's sake, here are his beginning of the year pictures paired with Friday's photos. 

Not only is he a year older, but I think he may be a few inches taller, has two teeth fewer, and no longer feels the need to wear his beloved "Packer Warmer" wherever he goes.  Zach went from being apprehensive about attending preschool this fall to making friends in his class, learning how to count to 100, beginning to put letters together to read simple words, actually singing songs in front of an audience, and not hating crafts and coloring.  His teachers think (and I agree) he is more than ready to begin kindergarten in the fall!
Since Allie had off of school on Friday, we all got to attend his preschool graduation ceremony...even Grandma was able to come!  In addition to singing a few songs, Zach also received his diploma and special end-of-the-year gift:  a personally designed plate, a booklet of special artwork, and a bag with his hand prints and name.   

After the ceremony, we all headed out to the playground to enjoy celebratory popsicles and say one last big thank-you and goodbye to Zach's Blue Class teachers, Miss Billi and Miss Tammy.  Thankfully, the goodbyes were not too sad as we will surely see them both next year as the youngest member of our family begins her very own preschool career. 

She is so excited about attending class in the fall and is already getting to know the other kids...which just so happen to be siblings of Zach's classmates.  Here she is with her best friend Bryn, whom she lovingly calls "Grin."  Throughout the year, these two couldn't wait to see each other upon pick up time! 

A big CONGRATS to our newest preschool grad!  We are proud of you and know that you will make an awesome kindergartener!

Early Morning Pit Stop

Last week before we took Allie to school on Tuesday, we made a pit stop at Target to snag a few necessities.  Coincidentally, this particular Target also has a Starbucks located inside.  As we were leaving, Zach suggested we stop so I could get a latte.  It did not take much more persuasion than that for me to agree.  The barista also whipped up three complimentary hot chocolates for the kids.  Apparently, according to Zach, it was the absolute best hot chocolate he has ever had.

Unfortunately, now Zach suggests we stop for a latte every single morning...which has not been good for this latte-lovin'-momma's resolve to limit coffee pit stops.  Apparently I need to learn how to make a coffee shop quality latte at addition to the world's best hot chocolate.   

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Readathon Medal Ceremony

Last Thursday evening we attended Allie's Readathon Medal Ceremony at her school.  Throughout the school year, Allie has been calculating her reading minutes and turning them in monthly to her teacher in an effort to reach her reading goal of 400 minutes/month.  All the kids who reach that goal receive a medal at the end of the year.  Allie was especially excited this year because all of the kids in her class turned in their reading minutes every month.  In recognition of this achievement, her class' name will be engraved on a special plaque in the entryway of her school.  Only 2 classes in the entire school received this honor! 

Before we left for the ceremony, I just had to capture the girls in their coordinating sundresses.  I love it that Allie still thinks its fun to match Olivia!

Before the ceremony we had to get a picture of Allie and her good friend Abby.

Here she is walking up to receive her medal from the principal:

Her whole class:

Showing off her medal and enjoying ice cream after the ceremony:

Last Day of ECFE

This past Friday Olivia and I attended her very last ECFE...ever!  Next year she will be entering the world of preschool.  It feels a little strange to be closing the chapter on this phase of our lives as we've been involved in ECFE since Allie was Olivia's age.  However, I'm excited for this next chapter in our family's life.  So far, it just keeps getting better and better. 

Olivia's very favorite activity at ECFE is always the painting crafts

Enjoying the water table

She's feeding the baby a carrot

And now Olivia is chowing down on a loaf of French Bread

Roasting hot dogs over the camp fire

Listening to "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" with flannel board pictures

We will all miss Ms. Brenda!  What a great teacher she has been for all three kids!

Our Neighborhood Park

The weather is nice enough, at last, to warrant many visits to our neighborhood park!  Olivia, Zach, and I walked up the street a few times this past week to enjoy the sunny weather and the park toys. 

According to Allie she only has 12 more days left of school and then she can join us at the park too!

Mother's Day Recap

One of my favorite things about Mother's Day is seeing how excited the kids are to give me their hand crafted cards and gifts.  This year was no exception! 
A Handmade Dish Towel and Card from Zach

Zach's Handprints--I am still shocked that he claims his favorite thing I do is make dinner because he complains nightly about what's on his plate (definitely the picky eater of our family!)

Olivia's Handprints

A refrigerator magnet from Allie
A Family Portrait from Allie
Allie was insistent upon making me breakfast in bed, but since Sunday mornings can be kind of crazy, Ben woke up early on Saturday morning and helped the kids put a special breakfast tray together for me!
On Sunday morning, we all woke up to celebratory doughnuts thanks to Ben.  We went to church and then came home after a brief stop at the grocery store.  Mother's Day or not, the kitchen needed to be stocked for the week! 
We made sure to take the obligatory Mother's Day photos, even though Zach was initially NOT at all happy about it.

Thankfully, later on in the day, he agreed to a mother-son photo.
In the afternoon, we continued our celebrations with my parents by going out for ice cream!
Me and my Mom

I had a great Mother's Day, even though, just like motherhood, it was hardly perfect.  There were meltdowns and fights to referee.  There were skinned knees and name calling.  There were dishes and laundry and crumbs to sweep up off the floor.  By about 11:00 am, I was sure that what little patience I had woken up with was gone...which honestly, is not that much different than any other day.    And, as I fell into bed at the end of it all, I was completely and utterly exhausted.
But, the next morning, I got up to do it all again.
Because there is no one else I'd rather spend my days with than these three.  Because of the joy they bring to my life...the giggles and the smiles, the constant chatter and questions, the hugs and kisses.  Because I never knew what true selfless love was until these three came into my world.  Because they have taught me that no matter how overwhelming a task...God's grace is always bigger.