Friday, June 22, 2012

End of the School Year

The weather may not show it, but the end of the school year is here. Mitchell's last day of preschool was last Thursday, the 14th. His class celebrated in style by going to "Super Jump," a fun bouncy house play place with inflatable slides, bouncy trampolines and all sorts of fun kid play structures inside.

Mitchell was very excited for this day and hopped right on the slide. He's been to this place a few times before, but they recently got a new slide and it was going extra fast this day and really flew these little kids down the slide at an extra fast pace. It shot him right off the end of the slide and scared him pretty good. So much, in fact, that he would only go down two more times the entire day. The second time was with his teacher and with the weight of the two of them, it made them go even faster and it scared him even more. The third time was with me right at the end- the thought he was feeling brave again, but got to the top and remembered how scary it was and started crying again. I literally had to force him down with me, crying and screaming the whole way. It was sad.

After the scary slide, Mitch and his friends played it safe and played other games.

They loved rolling these balls. Over and over and over.

Mitch was so sweet to play with Leah for most of the morning.

Lexi got brave and tried the slide all by herself. She loved it and went on it again and again.

After the kids played for awhile, they gathered together to preform some songs for the parents. This is the a combined shot of the morning class and afternoon class. Mitch was in the afternoon class with 6 other kids.

Mitch with teacher Miss Cindy- the best preschool teacher ever.

One of the Miss Cindy's teacher helpers made this cake. Isn't it awesome? Not only was it amazing looking, but it was absolutely delicious. Each layer was a different flavor. There was cookie dough and mint chocolate. I tried the cookie dough and it was to die for.

With pizza and juice as well, it was the best day ever for food for the kids!

Mitch and one of his preschool buddies, Josh

Mitch's certificate

Miss Cindy also makes each child a collage of pictures she takes throughout the year of them. I love this.

I also love the personalized little note she writes about each child (click on it for a larger view to read). She truly is the best teacher ever. She treats every child like her favorite and gets to know each and every one of them on a very personal level. Mitch has a fall birthday so he won't start Kindergarten next year, and I was actually going to put him in another year of Miss Cindy's preschool until I heard about another program that a neighboring school district does. It's a program specifically designed for kids with Fall birthdays who just miss starting Kindergarten by a few months (like Mitchell- his birthday is in October and school starts in September). It's a full day pre-kindergarten class, 2 days a week one week and 3 days every other week. And best of all it's free. Can't beat that. I think it will be really good for him.

But I am sad that he has to leave Miss Cindy's class. She is wonderful.

Mitchell got to take home his place mat. Mitchell is not defined by lines, that boy.

Mitchell's favorite preschool buddy Jacob. They had lots of play dates throughout the preschool year at each other's houses and his mom and I carpooled all year long. They saw lots and lots of each other and loved it. Mitch loved watching out the window every Tuesday and Thursday for Jacob's van to pull up to our house. Twice a week for 9 1/2 months I heard the question, "Mom, is it time to start watching for Jacob?" He usually started asking this question at least 2 hours before it was time for school.

Way to go buddy! You went off to preschool a boy and returned a BIG boy! :)

The end of the school year brought lots of fun things for Chloe.

The first fun activity was the much anticipated First Grade Mother's Day Tea. All of the Mother's come for a special program at the school. As soon as we arrived at the classroom, we got a special paper flower corsage pinned on us and had our picture taken with our child.

Chloe then escorted me to her desk, seated me, then brought me a plate of food (cookies, cheesecake, and other yummy treats), and 2 cups of punch. We shared the treats and got to visit with each other and she pointed out fun things she had made around her classroom. She was so excited I was there.

Next, we all went down to the gym where the mother's sat in the audience and all the first graders stood on risers for the cutest, sweetest little performance you ever saw.

They sang their little hearts out (the song like "You are my sunshine" melts your heart).

They sang and read parts from the book "I'll Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch. That was my favorite part. That is such a sweet book (I think every mom loves that book) and to hear 100 first graders singing "I love forever, I'll like for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be" is very touching. And Chloe had one of the talking parts and she didn't even tell me. She kept it a surprise. She did such a good job, too. I was so proud of her.

Towards the end of the school year, our elementary school puts on a school play. Chloe really wanted to try out this year, which really surprised me because she does not like to perform in front of big audiences at all. With her being timid, and with so many people trying out as well, I knew there was a good chance she wouldn't make the play, so we talked about the possibility of that. She said she was fine with that and we she still wanted to try out.

Long story short, she didn't make the play and was absolutely devastated. It was heartbreaking to watch her cry when she didn't find her name on the cast list. Before we knew that she hadn't made the play, we had decided that if she didn't get a part that we would sign up for an after school art class at school. Chloe has always loved to draw. She leaves papers and drawings scattered all over the house, and tapes and pins up her creations on my walls (which I don't really allow) all over the place. I was not happy that she was so sad about the play and had to go through something so devastating like that, but I knew that she would love the art class and was excited that she would get the opportunity to get to take a class relating to one of her talents and hobbies.

Her class was once a week for 7 weeks and I took a picture of each of her creations. Of course I'm a little biased but I think she did awesome.

Orca whale

Lady bug on a leaf

Cat in a can

Chloe claims this to be her best one- dog and cat


A character from Pokemon (Chloe can't remember)

Fairy- (my favorite)

Chloe also earned the Star Reader award this year for reading 5000 minutes. She got to attend the Star Reader party at school where they got ice cream and all sorts of toys. She worked hard to earn this award. She earned it last year as well, but this year a lot of these minutes were earned by her reading to herself/on her own, or by reading to her siblings, whereas last year, a lot of the reading was done by reading to her.

On the second to last day of school (this past Monday, the 18th), was the much anticipated Father's Field Day at school where all the fathers of the first graders go to the school and spend the day with their child. Chloe has been looking forward to and worried about this day for months. I say worried because she was worried that Ben wasn't going to be able to come. We didn't know if he would be able to take time off work for it either. We found a note that she had written to her teacher (that never got taken to school) that said something to the effect of "I don't think my dad is going to be able to come to the Father's Field Day because he has been in Hawaii for 2 weeks." Ben pulled some strings and was able to take the day off to be there for this special day.

The day started off with the Reptile Man show. He has lots of really cool reptiles.

I'm shocked that Ben didn't volunteer to go up and hold the big snake (ha ha- Ben hates snakes).

Chloe was brave and petted the snake. Much braver than her father.

The kids and dads ate lunch together, then spent the rest of the day playing games (in the rain).

It was a blast. (I guess the little girl in the white fancy dress missed the memo about it being a field day... oops!)

The games ended with a friendly/competitive game of kick ball. Ben said most of the first graders had no idea how to play kick ball.

At the very end, the first graders sang a few songs for their dads. I'm so glad Ben was able to go. It made Chloe's whole year!

Tuesday, June 19th was Chloe's last day of 1st grade. Here she is with her buddy Adam that we carpooled with this year. My baby made it through her first year of all day school! She had such a great year and her report card was amazing- she is one smart cookie and truly excels at everything she does. Her strongest areas are counting, comparing and ordering numbers and most things math (she gets that from her dad) and all things reading. Her teacher could not say enough kind things about Chloe. On her report card she wrote: "Shows leadership ability. I have enjoyed getting to know Chloe this year. She is such a sweet girl! She is a wonderful role model for other students. Chloe is meeting or exceeding standards in almost every area. She is especially proficient in math, and is exceeding standards for counting, writing, comparing & ordering #s to 120, understands place value very well, and has good number sense when it comes to grouping objects. Her reading and writing skills are all very solid, and she is performing at standard in science and social studies. She will make an excellent 2nd grade student." We are so very proud of her. Our Chloe is quite the girl!

Now onto summer... after just 2 days of summer break, my very structured girl who loves school and needs something to look forward to every day is already bored. Uh oh... How many days until school starts again?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day!

The 3 Father's in my life:

1. Ben- The Father to my four beautiful babies (and the best fisherman around). I adore him and my kids can't get enough of him. Even the fish surrender to him. He is loved. He works hard, he sacrifices much and loves unconditionally. He is a good man and an amazing father.

Ben and his dad

2. My Father-in-law. I seriously could not hand pick a better father in law for myself, or a better grandfather for my children. I grew up without any grandpa's (mine both died when my parents were young) and he is beyond amazing with my children. He is what I imagined my grandpa's to be had they been alive.

Me and my dad

My dad- My dad is awesome. My love of all things sports comes from this man and any time I need an athletic question answered, I turn to him (especially about baseball). He taught me how to work hard, how to be honest, and taught me what a true testimony was. He has a killer sense of humor and I get my sarcastic gene from him. He is a great man, a fantastic grandpa and a loving father.

We had a fun father's day. The kids were so excited for Ben to open his gifts.

Mitchell was even more excited that earlier in the week, he got to wrap them- all by himself! (Yes, in Christmas paper, because that is all we had!)

Surprise! Ben loves Costco's milk chocolate mints, but they usually only carry them at Christmas time. To our surprise and delight, they randomly had some last week just in time for Father's day. The kids were so excited, and so was Ben!

Ben's true joy on Father's Day was getting to use his Traeger to cook "man meat." He slow smoked some pork for 24 hours for his big day. And it was good.

Mitch made Ben two separate cards for Father's Day that both told Ben that his favorite thing to do with him was wrestle. He loves playing with his daddy.

4 lucky little kids with one great dad!

Happy Dad's Day!

(And the cheesecake after the kids were in bed was delicious!)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Post CastTina & Post Hawaii

Post CastTina

A week and a half before we left for Hawaii, Leah got her cast off (CastTina). It was a much anticipated day at our house. Even the sun was shining in her honor.

Leah and CastTina's last picture together. Leah looks happy; CastTina is looking old, battered and extremely worn out.

I was very nervous for the cast removal process. I broke my ankle as a teenager and remember the cast removal process very vividly. It was not a pleasant experience, even as a 14 year old. I could only imagine how my already timid and very emotional Leah was going to handle it.

Ready or not, here we go! (I gave her a book from the doctor's office to help distract her... yeah right!)

First they use a plastic like saw blade to cut through the fiberglass cast. It is very loud and vibrates. I warned Leah about both of those things this morning.

Surprisingly (no, SHOCKINGLY), my baby handled it quite well. She is not crying here- she did this laughing/whining sound the whole time.

The nurse sawed all the way through the cast.

Leah had to sit up to investigate once the loud noise was over.

Then he used a tool to pop open the cast.

Next came the scissors to cut off the inside sleeve underneath the cast.

And that was it! We are CastTina free for the first time in 4 weeks!

What came next brought tears for the first time- the nurse had to straighten her leg out and after being bent at an angle for 4 weeks, she had "stiff leg" as he called it and to straighten it out was very, very painful for her. After that, she cried out in pain, "Put my cast back on!"

While we waited to go down the hall for X-rays, Mitch dug CastTina out of the trash. We had to say our final good byes.

The two halves of her put back together.

The was the bottom of her, where Leah's foot was. Yes, absolutely disgusting.

If you ask Leah where CastTina is, she will say "We threw her in the garbage." And we certainly did.

Her follow up X-rays looked fantastic. The doctor said it healed perfectly, and that the broken leg actually looked stronger now than the non broken leg. She has no restrictions and does not need physical therapy.

Leah's long, yucky toenails, terribly dry skin, and true, live toe jam. I never really thought toe jam existed until I saw this. Well, folks, it's real. And really, really disgusting.

I of course had to carry Leah out to the car- there was no way she was walking. Without CastTina, she felt completely helpless.

Our first order of business when we got home was to cut those toenails. I do not tolerate long toenails on my children.

Secondly, I let my baby have a bath! We have been talking about a bath for 4 weeks and I promised her that the day she got it off she could soak in the tub for as long as she wanted. She has been suffering through sponge baths (or Sponge Bob baths as she calls them) for 4 long weeks and has been a trooper about them. Lexi has been doing them too, taking one for the team. (I have given her one or two baths when Leah isn't around).

Next on the list was to grease her up with plenty of lotion. Her poor skin was so dry on that broken leg. For days afterward, the skin would peel off in chunks.

Next, I made her stand up. She did not want to do this. At all.

She still stood as if she had her cast on.

And she hated it.

She said it hurt. I'm sure it was still a bit sore from the stiff leg, and I know she felt so unsafe not having the comfort of the cast there.

I rewarded her with M&M's for her efforts.

She crawled around for the rest of the day. It was deja vu of day one of having her cast on.

But later that day, we went outside and guess who wanted to ride her "helicopter" bike?

She's healed!! Look at her go!

She can't be in that much pain if she can ride like that!

It was a long first few weeks after the cast was off. She didn't walk at all for the first day and a half. Then she walked with a very noticeable limp for the first 3 weeks. The limp got less and less noticeable with each week after. She would randomly keep reverting back to walking like she had her cast on and we'd have to remind her to "walk normal." Some mornings she'd wake up and say "My leg hurts!" Now, almost 6 weeks later, she is running, jumping, no limp and is back to normal (which was hard to imagine when she got her cast off). Hooray!

Post Hawaii

Leah had made noticeable improvements in her walking while we were gone in Hawaii.

Like I said in my last post, it wasn't all that hard to come home from our vacation. Even though we had a fantastic time, by the end of the trip, I was missing my babies like crazy. 12 days is a long time for a mom to be without her kids. We got home around 8:00 p.m. the night we flew in and all of the kids were in bed and asleep. As soon as we unloaded all our luggage, I had to go upstairs and peak in on all the kids and give each of them a hug and kiss. Chloe woke up and I was able to visit with her. I was so anxious to talk to the other kids that I was like a kid on Christmas Eve going to sleep that night. I couldn't wait until morning to see them all.

The next morning did not disappoint. When the kids woke up, they all came and climbed into bed with me. They were as happy to see me as I was to see them. It was a happy reunion and it was so good to be home.

The next evening after dinner, we gathered to the kids to open a few gifts that we had brought them back from Hawaii.

The girls loved their Hawaiian bracelets.

I knew Chloe would love her purse. She loves bags of any kind!

Ben picked out this hair pick for her, too.

The babies loved their coconut purses, too!

They loved them so much that they slept with them for the first 3 nights straight after we got back.

For whatever reason, I didn't get any pictures of Mitch's gifts, but he loves sharks, so we found him some shark teeth in a bottle, a pirate telescope, and a pirate card game.

They all loved their Hawaiian clothes. Mitch perfected the Hawaiian "Hang Loose" sign quickly that was on his t-shirt. The babies have a little bit of growing in to their dresses to do....

We had also promised the kids that once Leah got her cast off that we would go swimming as a family, so the Saturday after we got home from Hawaii, (June 1), we made good on that promise. A local community center has a fun pool with a water slide (big one and small one) and spray park all indoors. The kids had a great time. We stayed for 3 hours.

I forgot to get a picture in their swimming suits, so here they are, still wet, right after they got done swimming.

At the community center, they also have a rock wall. Mitch and Chloe took a turn at this before going home as well. Chloe has rock climbed before and is quite good. This was Mitch's first time. He got scared and would quit at this same spot every time, but we were proud of him for trying something new.