Monday, June 24, 2013

Fathers Day Weekend and On...

For Father's Day weekend we'd been planning to take a trip to Little Rock and visit. We got a bit of a late start because we had our friend Veronica spend the night on that Friday night and then it just took us awhile to get out the door on Saturday. We'd been promising Veronica that she could come and spend the night and that was going to be the last night for a bit since we were heading out of town. I have to admit that I came very close to bringing her with us that day -- she was begging me to come and it's so hard to take her back to where they live. It breaks my heart every time. But, her mom wasn't there and I wasn't going to take her without talking to her mom.
We got to Little Rock in the early afternoon. The kids were so excited to be there! Not long after we got there, Sugar, Stewart & Cormac came by. We celebrated Grandad's birthday a few days late that night -- with German Chocolate Cake, of course!  They stayed for dinner and then after dinner we all watched Up, which is such a cute movie! 

We all took turns loving on Cormac -- he is just the cutest baby! He is in that really fun phase of giggle, squeals and babbling. The kids thought it was adorable. :)
All of my sunday pictures are on Matt's phone so I'll have to add those later. The kids are always so excited to give gifts -- I love how excited they get about seeing someone else open their gift! We got Matt some new golf clubs a couple of weeks ago as part of his gift, and then the kids got him some new golf shirts on Father's Day. They were very proud of their cards too -- they worked and worked on them last week! After a yummy lunch at home and some delicious pies too we hung out for the rest of the afternoon.

Then that night, Matt, Madeleine & I headed home. Madeleine and Harrison stayed on in Little Rock and spent some time with Mimi & Grandad. They have been looking forward to getting to have some special time with them this summer! And, it was kinda fun for me and Matt to have some one on one time with just Charlotte. I know that it's all perspective, but just having one kid after having 3 most of the time is cake

Monday we just did some catching up things around the house and then Tuesday we took Charlotte to Boingo Bounce. Tuesday afternoon I took food to a friend that has had an adorable new baby and then we all went up to the Promenade to do some birthday shopping for Madeleine and go to dinner.

From all the fun-looking texts I got, I don't think the kids missed us much at all! They painted pottery, played at McDonalds, went to the Museum of Discovery and had a blast! 

I have to admit, I was very ready to have them home! I'm thankful that they had a good time, but I love having them here at home.

Friday, June 21, 2013

SDC -- Round 2

We made a last minute decision last Monday to spend the day at SCD. So, we loaded up and headed to Branson for the day. This time it was much easier to navigate our way around and we had a little bit of a plan for what we wanted to do. We were also anxious to see how busy it would be on a weekday.
It ended up being the perfect day to go! We grabbed a quick breakfast on the way and we were ready to get started! We headed straight back for the kid rides. We had several things that we didn't get a chance to ride earlier and those were what we hit first. It was not crowded at all that day -- most of the rides we just walked up to and got on. Yay! It was wonderful! We did a lot of the rides a couple of time. Charlotte, Madeleine & I rode the swings a couple of times and Matt rode it once with them too. Harrison discovered Flooded Mine where he gets to shoot guns, too! 

Our longest wait was for a water ride. We all were able to go on it -- Charlotte is just barely above the height requirement for most rides which is perfect! Not that she likes all of the "family rides." On the water ride she was the one that got the most soaked. Ha! We spent the entire day there and with the exception of stopping for icees a couple of times, we stayed busy the whole day!

I'm so so thankful that we decided to go ahead and get season passes this year. Every time we go is fantastic and it's close enough for us to do a day trip every couple of weeks. The kids are the perfect ages to enjoy almost everything and with Matt working off and on this summer we can take advantage of those nice uncrowded week days.

These are some wonderful memories we are making. From watching/listening/laughing to The Andy Griffith Show in the car, to riding rides together for the first time we loving our time together!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Softball 2013

Madeleine played softball again this year. She said early on that she didn't want to play, but changed her mind at the last minute -- like a couple of days before practices started! The person in charge of the league works with Matt & we were able to still get her into it and I'm so thankful that we did! She had a great experience this year! We switched from the Parks & Rec league to the FPS league this year. This was the first year for the FPS to host a league and I think it's going to be a great one! We had a great little team of 9 girls and they all had a fun time.
I didn't take a ton of pictures this year so I snapped these on the last day. We had a little mix up with tourney play on the last game, and I didn't get to go and see her play on the last night. We (our whole team) thought our game time was different than it actually was, so we ended up being pushed to an 8:00 game. I hadn't given Charlotte a nap since I didn't think we'd be home so late and we hadn't even eaten dinner yet. So, Charlotte, Harrison & I ended up heading home and doing dinner and bed and Matt got to go and cheer her on for the last game. 
 She has really improved so  much this year! She hit the ball practically every at bat that she had -- seriously I think there were maybe only 2 times this year that she didn't make contact. That's pretty good! And, she's gotten much better at catching -- she and Matt have practiced lots and it's definitely noticeable!

This year it was so much fun to watch these games! The had a 5 run limit per inning and our team hit that limit several times. The girls know a lot more what they are doing this year and the games are a lot more exciting. Not that last year wasn't fun to watch, because they were all so cute, but this year it's more like watching a real game. :) And, Madeleine went out with a bang on her last at-bat this year -- she hit a double to run in 2 players. Woohoo!

 They even got trophys this year! She is beyond proud of her trophy! We are already getting excited for fall softball around here!
And, one of the other great parts about our team this year is the parents/families that we had on there! Charlotte quickly found 2 little girls to befriend. She loved loved loved her time playing with Bristol & Bella out at the fields each night! She looked forward to softball as much as Madeleine, I think, thanks to these sweet girls!
 And, since we played on the FPS softball fields, Harrison often had a friend too. One of his best buds from school, Lucas, was often out there playing. His dad is the tennis coach at while they had practice, and we had softball, Harrison and Lucas had a blast playing!
It was such a wonderful season! I'm so thankful that we had this experience. And, I think we are all excited about this fall!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Movie Fun

We had movie night/go to a movie on our Summer Fun List this year. We started off the first week of summer with a fun movie morning with the Wilson Boys! It was a cute movie, Rio, that we've never seen and the kids chowed down on popcorn & laffytaffy that morning. :) 

 We also had a fun movie night at home. We started out with Harry Potter 1, but didn't get to the end before the kids got scared. So, our next attempt was Madagascar which we've never seen, but was really cute!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

First Days of Summer

We started our summer off with a BANG! by meeting up with our besties, the other W family, for a morning of fun outside. We started out by meeting up at one end of the Lake Fayetteville trail and walking it to Veterans Park. We could not have asked for better weather that day -- the morning was almost cool at first and I'm thankful in the midst of the hot weather this week that we took advantage of that beautiful morning!
We took our time on the trail and the kids explored as we went. The water was much higher than the last time we were there and we stopped along the way and threw rocks in the water. At one point a sweet older man in a boat just off the shore stopped and showed the kids the fish that he'd just caught. Now Harrison can't wait to get back there and fish -- he's certain he can catch one that size too. :)
The Wilson boys introduced my kiddos to honeysuckle as we walked too -- there was tons of it. Poor Harrison had to miss out on this part since I'd left his EpiPens at home and I'm always a crazy wreck when I do that. It doesn't happen often, I just changed bags that morning and they somehow didn't make the switch. Ugg. I hate it when that happens! The poor child has so many random allergies and I'm always worried about what crazy bug or plant might get him -- we've had enough run-ins to last me a lifetime. 
I love this little pic of Harrison & Drew -- they were deeply engrossed in a serious discussion about superheros.
We finally made it to the park. We'd both taken scooters for the kids to ride, along with bags of snacks. I had the feeling that I'd end up carrying Charlotte's scooter, but ended up carrying all of them before we were done with the day. What I sight we made toting all that gear while 6 crazy kids ran around us!

The park was so nice that day! We had it to ourselves most of the time -- and the kids got their imaginations going and pretty much left all the playground equipment alone and opted to play their own story. I love to see their imaginations at work -- there was "sword" fighting, a honeysuckle store, exploring and some serious bug stomping by Ty and Charlotte.
There was some serious cuteness going on with these 2 that day. They were hand in hand playing and walking around the park. This picture makes me smile every. single. time.

{Photo bomb by Madeleine }
We manage to make it back in one piece. :) My kids are dying to go back and explore the waterfall area more -- we never knew there was a path down to it. We'll be going back and bringing our snake fighter with us this time just in case! Ha! But, this morning, we had to get back since we'd planned to meet up with Daddy for lunch!

The kids were excited to see Matt in the middle of the day and had lots to tell him about our fun morning! It was the perfect way to kick off our summer!
And, we even got to check off something from our summer fun list! Play at Park -- Check!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Last Day of School

Friday, May 31st was our last day of school! We were so excited at our house! The kids were up bright and early and ready to go. It's amazing to me how much they have changed this year. Both in looks and in personality. :)
First day of school
Last day of school
 Madeleine first and last day

They have both had such great years. I want to remember how far they came this year --
Harrison started kindergarten not even knowing all his letters. He has grown so much this year! He had such an amazing teacher. She sent me an email the weekend before school was out:
I am at school doing some final reports and I just had to let you know how proud I am of Harrison!    I am looking at his end of the year MAPS scores.  His reading RIT is 182 and that is at the 98%.  His math RIT is 174 and is at the 87%.  Isn't that fantastic!!!

Thanks so much for all you do!

Jackie Curington
See why I think she's the best?!
He moved up from the next to the lowest reading class to the highest by the end of the year. He is reading on a level 10/11 which is well into first grade reading level. His teacher told me on the last day that his reading skills are solid enough that even if we don't do anything this summer (which of course we will do something) he won't regress. He loves to read and write too! She told me that he always has ideas of what to write about and starts his writing assignment almost immediately and writes until the page is full. His spelling is well above average -- he had a 102% in spelling this year. And, he was doing the same spelling words/sentence that Madeleine was doing in 1st grade thanks to common core. :) He pretty much always got the bonus right and he teacher commented one day when I was up there that she was going to make the bonuses harder -- one week they were "lifespan" and "metamorphosis." Impressive, huh??  Mrs. C told me that Harrison was one smart kid to come so far in a year -- and he's come along way from crying every day at drop off that first month too. She commented on how confident he is around the classroom and in the school now too.
His math scores are fantastic too. He is in the highest math class -- he can add/subtract and has even learned greater than/less than. We knew he'd learned a lot when he came home and told us that his MAPS test had a bunch of questions that he didn't know. Matt says that MAPS tests are one of the best gauges of what they know because they don't have a ceiling -- if they get a question right, they get a harder one, if they get it wrong they get an easier one. So there is no limit to the questions they can have and no child get the same test, they are tailored to their knowledge. If Harrison got to questions he really had never seen, he must have been getting a lot right. :)
Madeleine has had her best year yet! I am blown away by the changes we have seen this year. I need to do a completely separate post on how she has changed at home, but for now I'll stick to school. She ended the year will all A's on her report card. Woohoo! She has learned so much and been challenged in many ways. She has read some great books this year at school -- The Odyssey, Little House on the Prairie, The Odyssey Part 2 to name a few. She's learned cursive which she loves. :)
I cannot say enough wonderful things about her teachers. Mrs. Harter was her homeroom/reading teacher and Mrs. Bowman was her math/word study teacher. She was in the highest groups in reading, word study, and math (the classes that they ability group for). She has continued to be challenged and learned so much this year! She has worked hard and given 3rd grade her best!
This year she has really loved school. I think she's enjoyed it in the past, but this is the year that she has popped up and gotten dressed on her own without coaxing most days. She is excited to leave and get to school each day! At the beginning of the year, Mrs. Harter told us that Madeleine was one of her 2 quiet kids and her goal was to bring her out of her shell this year. By the time spring rolled around, Mrs. Harter told us that she often has to look over at Madeleine's group sternly and get them to quiet down -- she seemed thrilled to tell us that! She said Madeleine is quick to get quiet and a look is all that it takes, but she is so happy that Madeleine is talking and participating in class.
I am thankful for these 2 teachers that have created an environment where Madeleine felt secure and confident. They are both so sweet and gentle and I think she felt very at home in both of their classes. They cared about her so much and took a special interest in helping her grow her confidence. She has blossomed and changed so much socially.
So, I think while I was excited to see the school year come to an end because I love having all my littles home with me, I was a bit sad to leave behind our wonderful teachers. It's always a bit bittersweet because I'm always reminded just how fast they are growing up. Don't even get me started on the fact that Madeleine is now 1/2 way through the time that we will have her at home with us. sniff sniff 
I told them that I'd check them out early that day. I had to go up to the school to pick up Harrison's epipens and since he's not allowed to be at school without them, I just went ahead and checked both of them out. This little cutie was beyond excited to have her sissy and bubba home for the summer!

Harrison and his teacher, Mrs. Curington. This was her last day teaching as well since she is retiring. We will certainly miss her next year.
Madeleine & Mrs. Harter.
Madeleine & Mrs. Bowman
We left school and decided to do lunch at CFA to celebrate the last day of school. Harrison was so excited to walk in and see his one of his best buds, Jude, there! We stayed and played for a long time before heading home!
We came home and hung out until Daddy got home, then it was dinner and softball for Madeleine that night! Hooray for summer!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

End of Year Kindergarten Fun

After working so hard all year, the last few weeks kindergarten had some breaks for some extra special fun. They took a trip to the Gentry Animal Safari. This is a tradition with our kindergarten classes. I got to go the year Madeleine was in kindergarten and was so excited to go again this year! Matt even got to join us -- after working lots of extra hours during April for testing, he deserved a day off. So, we all loaded up and headed up to Gentry for the day!
Matt & I had quite a crew of little boys that we trailed along with through the walking part of the safari. After exploring and seeing lots of animals and petting/feeding them, we had all worked up an appetite! All 4 classes met up and had a picnic lunch together. Harrison sat by one of his best buds, Owen and I snapped a pic of them!
The second part of the day is spent doing the drive through safari. We actually checked Harrison out and drove ourselves & Charlotte through it. It's tough to see on the bus and we wanted to enjoy this together. Harrison sat in my lap & Charlotte sat with Matt & "drove" as we went through it. She was giddy getting to sit in the front seat with Daddy!
They did some free writing the last few weeks -- this came home in Harrison's backpack one day. Melted my heart! Not sure what I'd done that day to deserve it, but he sure loves his mommy! That boy is so sweet!
Both Madeleine & Harrison had field day. Harrison was pretty excited and unsure about what it was going to be like. We had lots of field day talk in the days leading up to it -- Madeleine was happy to tell him all about it. Both kids came home with face paint, but only Harrison's was still fully intact. He was a superhero. :)