2014/05/28

Memorial Day weekend

Let me start by saying this is one of my favorite holidays.  It most importantly allows us to reflect and remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  In addition to that it is a laid-back long weekend that signals the start of summer.

Friday was Annie's last day of school.  Here's the annual first/last day comparison:

 
I worked a half day and Philip was off work so he ran some quick errands and we had lunch together before gathering up the kidlets.

We played at home for a little while, ate some supper, and then went for a walk at the Botanical Gardens so Annie could hunt down some fairy doors.  The Botanical Gardens are a hidden gem in Stillwater.  It's a beautiful place to go walk, enjoy the evening, and look at all the unique vegetation the students grow.  Plus, they have fun things for kids like a playhouse, sensory garden, and manual water pump.  Annie loves it there and with the addition (or our discovery) of the discreet fairy doors you can seek out she wants to go there all the time now.
 

Denver just comes along for the ride.  As long as he can see what's going on he's happy.
 

We finished the evening with ice cream because:
 1) it's summer and
 2) I noticed Braum's has stolen my creation of the carmel brownie sundae and so I found it necessary to go try it and make sure they were making it right. 
(Paleo cheat - which I have decided I will no longer call cheating but instead call it LIVING.)  :)

Saturday stretched in front of us as a blank canvas which was a welcome change from the past few months of  busy weekends.  We did a little lounging and then made use of our Wondertorium membership.


 

 

After church on Sunday we had some friends come over and share Sunday lunch with us.  The adults conversed and the littles played until the "everyoneneedsanap" meltdowns began to occur.  

That evening we had a burger bar cookout and fun with Nanny, Papa, Melissa, and Maylee.  The girls enjoyed playing together and Annie was more than happy to take her cousin to see the fairy doors.  (In a small town any novelty item is worth showing everyone who visits.)  
 
On this trip Annie was excited to see the ferrel cat that lives there because it allowed her to tell her personal story of witnessing it kill a mouse on Friday night (which per her tale now was a rat - someone has a flair for the dramatic...).  
 
However, when it started following us her excitement turned to panic.  Maylee was ready to take the kitty home with her as evidenced by her taking as long as possible to get in the car to allow the cat to jump in all while Annie was screaming "SHUT THE DOOR."

We then returned home and watched the OKC Thunder take down the Spurs and swapped stories about summer plans while going through my various essential oils. Luckily my in-laws have a little hippy craziness in them too.  ;)

Monday brought a lazy morning.  Annie learned about Memorial Day so she now includes the soliders in all of her prayers (in addition to numerous individuals who have long recovered from their previous illnesses and prayerful needs but hey, who can't use a few prayers?).  The sincerity of children's prayers is pure preciousness. 
 
Annie and I worked on her Kiwi Crate which this month involved planting a mini garden and making finger puppets.  Well, the excitement of farming and wanting to be involved was too much for Denver and this happened:
 

He's on the move now - watch out world.  (I would've preferred he had a onesie or any having type of clothes on but capturing authentic "firsts" does not allow for breaks in filming...)

That afternoon we were invited to a "safari" at a local exotic animal farm and enjoyed seeing and feeding unique animals with some of our friends.

Mini horse
 

Mini cattle 


R.O.U.S.  (Rodent Of Unusual Size). Not really, but I can't remember what this was described as beyond it being a really large rodent.
 

Turtle (there was an interesting story behind this one too but I didn't hear it because Denver and I were still feeding an extremely hungry emu.  All Annie caught on to was it carried its house with it everywhere it went.  Can we do that Mom?  No dear, I'd prefer not to live in a Winnebago.)
 

Zebra
 

The evening was a quiet one where both Philip and I put off all the necessary things to get ready for the next day and work week which left us scrambling Tuesday morning but it was worth it to stretch as much as we could out of the enjoyable long weekend.

Welcome summer - we're looking forward to the adventures and experiences you bring with you. 
 



















2014/05/20

Farewell to preschool

School's out for summer at the end of this week.  Yeehaw!  I love summer break - even though I have a job that doesn't have a summer break, the job is considerably less hectic when you are dealing more with rashes and sprains instead of flus and pneumonias.

Summer brings with it evenings that are long, mornings that are bright, and extra family time to be enjoyed. It's a lot of fun because we live in a college town where the relaxed atmosphere of summer is obvious and welcome.  Add-in vacation, various get-togethers, and the occasional road trip and it's straight up good times for three months.

Also, I enjoy the break from school for Annie - it's nice for her to have days free from strict schedule and structure (i.e. getting out of the house in the morning with hair fixed, clothes on, a lunch, bookbag, and whatever treasure she needs to show everyone) for awhile. 

This year is unique though because she is done with the Mother's Day Out/pre-school where she has spent 6 hours a weekday the majority of the school years since she was 9 months old.

For perspective this is her on her first day of school:


Eeeep!  Look at that sweet little baby that was still back-facing in her car seat.
 
She wasn't even walking!


Here she is at her first Christmas program - darling little doll.  She loved singing and kept standing up to clap.  So very cute.


Then the Easter egg hunt year 1:
 

And here's the end of the year art show:



Crazy how much growth and maturity occurs in a school year...
 

Here we are first day of school year 2:
 

Then a couple of months later in October so she's about to turn 2 years old in the pic below (this one makes me chuckle every time I see it and gets me slightly concerned about her teen years...).


One of the great things about her pre-school/Mother's Day Out program is all the annual events they do.  There is a family picnic, Thanksgiving feast/sing along, Christmas program, Easter Egg hunt, art show, and various other things thrown in during the year that involve the whole family in the school.




Good grief looking at these shows me how fast time flies.

First day year 3:
 

The school's motto is learn by play so here she is learning with friends...
 
Sliding
 

Parading
 

Driving


Spinning


It's neat to see the many social and life skills she has picked up and been taught over the past four years.

The majority of these I have to credit to her teachers because something like taking turns and sharing is definitely a skill that until this past fall at home that really didn't have to happen.
 

She's picked up all of the education fundamentals that you would expect but she's gotten so much more out of her time there.  Motor skills, love of art, creatitivity, and confidence doing these things are other big gains she has had. 
 
School is where she has really learned to peddle a trike and go across monkey bars - two of her favorite outdoor activities now. 
 
She also loves to paint, draw, write, and sing and I think this is in large part because of all the creative opportunities and encouragement she's been given there.
 



Most importantly though she's been around kind adults who have taught, loved, and cared for her and made good friends with some of the sweetest little ones.
 



 
 



When I look back through the various pictures through her time at the Early Childhood Center there is a common denominator that is always there and that is her little bestie Sadie.
 

These two have been a mess when they are together since they were tiny.  Born about a month a part they were smiling and crawling around together at church before they even started at the Early Childhood Center. 
 

There's a lot of this when they are together:
 

..and a little of this:
 

But they work out their differences and all is good.
 

Consistently at parent teacher conference their friendship has been brought up and more than once the reference to how they act like sisters more than friends has been noted.
 
They call each other's bluff and make each other laugh.
 
They are upfront and honest with each other and hold nothing back (tears included) about how they feel when the other one makes them happy, mad, or sad. 
 

The first person to run up to Annie at drop off is Sadie and she's also the one Annie has to say goodbye to at the end of the day.
 
They organize games and make plans together all the time.  Either one can tell you what the other has been up to and all the funny things that four-year-old little girls think are important that the other one is doing.


They are both very concerned when the other is out sick or gone from school for a day.  We have numerous cards, pictures, stickers, and little gifts that are treasures we have to keep because "Sadie made that for me." 
 
They have also learned a lot of social skills throughout their friendship and how to deal with conflict management (with the help of their very patient teachers).
 



Next year brings pre-K and different schools for each girl which will be a big change from the daily interaction they have had but play dates and time together will be arranged and they'll continue the friendship.  
 

In the end that is the greatest thing I think she will take away from this program. While she has grown by leaps and bounds and had lots of unique experiences, the great memories and friendships are a precious treasure that she may not distinctly remember in years to come, but they will definitely leave a positive imprint on her for the rest of her life.
 


















































2014/05/04

Easter action

Easter weekend found us headed to Sayre for alumni weekend & all the fun that goes with that.  We pulled in to the 3g Ranch around 8:30 that night & both kids were able to get a long nap en route so they were ready to play (& stay up late) with Wyatt & Willow.

It is so funny how excited they all get to see each other - they literally squeal with joy.  Brynn arrived about an hour later & only added to the fun.  Needless to say that was a loud late night...

Saturday had us up early to go to the Rotary pancake breakfast since Nana is a Rotarian & we like to support our Nana (like that really happened though - she bought the meal).  We then headed downtown for the next activity but first we had to pose for pictures (mainly because we had an hour to blow).  


Finally the annual alumni parade that is everything a small town parade should be began (and yes that is indeed THE courthouse featured in the famous movie The Grapes of Wrath)...


and the pursuit of candy ensued.  Let me just say it was like Halloween Part 2.  I'm still slowly throwing it away two weeks later.




The highlight for me was catching up with old friends & seeing their kids.

We then took the littles home to hunt eggs.  Annie was in good practice from her school egg hunts earlier in the week.  
 



But here we had lots of ground to cover (& thanks to Aunt Cassey awesomely stuffed eggs). 
 







This guy just enjoyed the fruits of his sister's egg-finding labor
 

That evening we went out to dinner & because there is a new hotel in Elk City with a splash pad the grandparents got a room so the kids could play in the water. 






Let me just take a moment to acknowledge the extent the grandparents go to make fun memories & put smiles on their grandkids faces.  It's no wonder Annie is always asking us to move in with Nana.
 

After a night of sleep we awoke to find the Easter Bunny had come by & left baskets full of goodies...






This guy really liked checking out his Easter basket. (The fact that a large creepy bunny snuck into the house to stuff it didn't seem to phase him.)
 

 

We then got dressed in our Easter finery & took pictures for posterity's sake (& possibly to embarrass the kids at a later date) before heading off to church. 







After church we did another egg hunt.  This one was a real treat because Aunt Cassey was kind enough to bring some of the greatness that is confetti eggs & share them with us.  
 



Denver really became good buddies with Aunt Cassey over the weekend.


At this point we all loaded up & headed back home much to the dismay of the kiddos.  

However, Annie wasn't upset long because we left in time to catch the end of Philip's family Easter where she got to spend a little time with her cousins & go across monkey bars which is about her favorite thing to do.  
 
Unfortunately my phone was down to nearly zero battery so I have no pictures of that portion of our weekend. (And as mentioned before getting pics off our Cannon camera & uploaded on here just isn't going to happen in this season of my life.)

It was a perfect weekend packed with family, fun, & the reminder of the wonderful blessings we share & hope we have because Christ arose.

































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I'm blessed with fun days, happy moments, & precious memories...this is where I store some of them.