Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Connor's Last Day of Kindergarten

Connor's first year of elementary school is now officially in the books! Today was his last day of kindergarten and, oh my, how the year has flown! I remember so vividly those first few days where we were all adjusting to this big change for him. Truthfully, it was a much more difficult adjustment that I ever anticipated -- for ME. Connor, on the other hand, was the model student and has enjoyed kindergarten immensely.

We were blessed beyond measure with Connor's teacher, Mrs. Hunter. She has been the perfect teacher for him in so many ways. This morning when Connor was talking excitedly about his last day of school, he suddenly said, "I'm going to miss Mrs. Hunter next year" and he actually choked up as he said it. It brought tears to my eyes. Mrs. Hunter has set the bar high for Connor's future teachers.

Connor and Mrs. Hunter.

I was browsing Pinterest a long time ago and found a popular idea that I wanted to do for Connor. I purchased the Dr. Seuss book called Oh, the Places You'll Go! and decided to try to have each of Connor's teachers write a special message in it for him to have as a keepsake in the future. I asked Mrs. Hunter to participate, and this is what she wrote for him:

Mrs. Hunter's sweet message for Connor.

The places you'll go
& the things that you'll see,
Can be everything that
You want them to be!
With your joy in learning
(and some hard work, too!)
Anything that you want
can come true!
If I wasn't convinced before that she was the perfect kindergarten teacher for Connor, that extra special message sealed the deal. When I read her message to Connor, his eyes lit up and he grinned so big. I'm not sure who loved it more, him or me. :-)

Connor made some great friends this year at his elementary school, but his favorite friends at school are still the boys that live on both sides of our house. We have been so lucky to have neighbors on both sides of us with elementary school boys of their own. The 5 boys play together all the time and have become such great friends. We Moms have been taking turns carpooling and it is quite a sight to see 5 boys pile in and out of our minivans and SUVs! Here are the boys this morning on their last day of school.

Connor and the neighbor boys on their last day of school.

Even though today was the last day of school, the end-of-year party was actually held last Friday. Since I was Mrs. Hunter's room mother, I decided on a beach theme and got so much help from all of the parents in Connor's class. The kids had a great time eating pizza and treats and celebrating the end of the year.

Connor's kindergarten class at their end-of-year beach party.

Time for a silly pose!

Mrs. Hunter awarded Connor with a "Rocket into Reading" award for his progress in reading.

Everyone sing together now..."Schoooooool's Out.. For... Summer!"

Monday, May 28, 2012

Kaitlynn's Last Day of MDO

Kaitlynn's last day of Mother's Day Out was this week. Come this fall, she will be starting....PRESCHOOL! Yes, I emphasize that word because I cannot believe it!! How is it that my baby girl is growing up so fast? I am not usually an emotional person but I predict that these next few years of transition (preschool, kindergarten, etc.) will turn me into an emotional wreck. Consider yourself warned.

Back to Mother's Day Out...Kaitlynn has been so blessed this year at Foundry Faith Academy. I couldn't have asked for better teachers and friends! Ms. Susan was Kaitlynn's MDO teacher last year and knew her back when she was SO little and barely walking into the classroom. Ms. Diana was her other teacher and shared so many laughs with me about my sweet but strong-willed girly girl. These amazing ladies have seen Kaitlynn through her best (learning how to pray and worship God, potty training success), worst (sitting on the "C dot" for discipline, vomiting in the classroom), and all of the in-between (forming her first friendships, learning her ABCs and 123s, and growing from a toddler to a preschooler seemingly overnight).

Kaitlynn with her sweet MDO teachers, Ms. Susan and Ms. Diana.

It's always amazing to me how much kids at this age change during the school year. These pictures show Kaitlynn on her first and last days of school this year. I blinked and she grew from a toddler into a big girl.

Kaitlynn on her 1st day of MDO last year.

Kaitlynn on her last day of MDO.

Not only did she have the BEST teachers, but Kaitlynn has also begun forming some sweet friendships with her classmates. For so long, Kaitlynn's "friends" have been Connor's friends and their siblings. This year, Kaitlynn seems to have bonded with several of the girls in her MDO class. One sweet girl in particular named Anais (pronounced Anna ees) makes Kaitlynn squeal with joy everytime she sees her. Kaitlynn calls her "Ees" and we've even had the pleasure of meeting up outside of school to let them play together. Even though they weren't in the same MDO class last year (when they were 1), I learned from their teachers that back then these two would look for each other on the playground and usually end up playing together. So after their 2nd year of MDO and being in the same class, they are the best of friends and hoping to end up in the same preschool class together next year.

Just look at those smiles!

Kaitlynn and her best friend, Anais. They walked through the mall holding hands, so sweet!

I'm so thankful for Kaitlynn's teachers and friends from her MDO this year and we look forward to an equally successful time come this August when school starts again.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mother's Day and the Sick House

Last weekend for Mother's Day, Kaitlynn woke up with a fever of 101. I figured it was just something viral but it turned out to be strep throat. Luckily her fever was the only symptom she had -- you would've never known she was sick otherwise. The weather over the weekend was sunny, breezy, and gorgeous so we ended up spending all weekend lounging and relaxing by the pool.

Jeff was asking me if I had a nice Mother's Day and something dawned on me. It seems like many mothers consider it a successful Mother's Day when they are able to leave the kids at home and enjoy some nice alone time pampering themselves or just relaxing. It struck me as funny that on the day we Moms celebrate our motherhood, we want to get away from those that made us mothers in the first place, ha! (OK, maybe that's just me, or maybe that's just mothers of young children.) Fathers, on the other hand, tend to have a successful Father's Day when they are able to spend as much time as possible with their kids. At least that's how it works in our house. :-)

Even though I wasn't able to escape my kids, I had a great Mother's Day and really enjoyed the quality family time. Here are some pictures from our weekend together.

A Mother's Day photo with my cuties.

And another one.

Swimming on Mother's Day weekend

Another fun Mother's Day weekend activity was a cute little event that our local Chick-fil-A hosted. It was called "Mother Son Date Knight" and was such a neat experience with my own little knight. When we arrived at the restaurant for our reservation, there were several knights to introduce us and young maidens playing flute melodies. We sat at our special table where the knights took our order, served our food, and gave us some knight-themed materials to spark interesting conversation. The Chick-fil-A cow was there and also dressed as a knight. After we ate, we had a "knighting" ceremony and Connor was dubbed Sir Bubble of Gum. He really liked that part. It was a really fun and special evening with my little knight.

Sitting at our table at our Mother-Son Date Knight.

Connor is "knighted"

Connor's favorite part, being dubbed "Sir Bubble of Gum"

Even the Chick-fil-A cow dressed up as a knight.

Probably my favorite thing about my Mother's Day was a surprise note that came home in Connor's school folder. His teacher gave him some paper to write me a note and this is what it said. Man, it gave me the biggest smile (and maybe caused me to tear up a bit...)!

Connor's sweet letter to me for Mother's Day. You can bet this is going in the keepsake box.

The week after Mother's Day marked a very first in the Courtright household. Connor came down with some sort of stomach bug that was making its way through his elementary school. After a few middle-of-the-night bouts of vomiting, he was fine but I kept him home from school on Wednesday just in case. That night, we had the entire family over for dinner but Collin could only stay for a few hours. Then in the wee hours of Thursday morning, Kaitlynn woke up vomiting and I followed suit a couple hours later. By mid-morning Friday, Jeff had come down with the bug as well. Then at noon on Friday, Kevin came home from school with the same symptoms. A quick call over to Collin confirmed that he had the exact same illness. It felt surreal for all 6 of us to have this nasty stomach bug at the same time. The little ones seemed to recover quickly, but the rest of us struggled miserably with typical stomach virus symptoms as well as aches, chills, and fever. It was horrible. Friday was the longest day I can ever remember. Thankfully we are on the mend this morning. I'm going to mark this down as the first and hopefully LAST time we all get sick together. That's a little too much family together-ness if you ask me.

Connor in his "sick bed" (before the rest of us got sick).

Monday, May 14, 2012

Girlie Fun

With a house full of boys before Kaitlynn arrived, I was almost positive that our baby girl was destined to be a tom-boy. Don't get me wrong, she certainly considers herself as rough and tough as any of the dozen or more boys that live on our street, and she definitely knows how to get dirty and messy like them, too. But lately, Kaitlynn seems to be blossoming into quite the little princess. She is in to ALL THINGS GIRL lately. Here are just some examples I can recall:
  • She LOVES the few girl books we have in the house. It started with Pinkalicious and then we won a copy of Goldilicious at the recent spring picnic. She LOVES those books and wants us to read them to her over and over. She can recite most of the lines in them, too.
Connor reads Kaitlynn's favorite book, Pinkalicious

  • She talks nonstop about being a princess. She wants to wear princess clothes and hair bows, read princess books, watch princess shows, listen to princess songs, and play princess dress-up. She would probably eat anything I gave her if I called it "princess food."

  • Every time she gets dressed, she walks straight to the big mirror in our bedroom and admires her reflection. Then she walks into the living room and places her hand on her hip in a pose, waiting for her Daddy and brothers to compliment her appearance.
Her signature "Don't I look so cute?" pose.

  • She had her nails painted for the first time at Connor's school carnival, and she LOVED the result. She can't stop staring at her fingernails and wants to have them painted all the time.

  • She was flipping through the channels on the television one morning and somehow discovered a Strawberry Shortcake show. Her eyes grew as big as saucers and she looked at me in wonder and said, "Mommy, I so LOVE this show!"

  • She wants to fix her hair and put on makeup with me in my bathroom every morning. She takes my eyeshadow brushes and applies her makeup just like Mommy.
Applying makeup and admiring her work.

  • She compliments my appearance when I fix up my hair and wear pretty jewelry. The other day I wore a fancy necklace and she kept saying, "Mommy, you look so beautiful! I love your necklace!"
Putting on her (imaginary) earrings, just like Mommy.

  • She notices the candlesticks, flower arrangements, and other decorations I place around the house and tells me how much she loves them. I recently put together a red wooden cabinet for our entryway and she made sure to point it out to her Daddy. Finally, some appreciation for my home decor!

  • Her favorite colors are pink and purple. She always wants to play with the pink colors and toys.
An attempted side french braid. She wouldn't sit still for me but loved it when I was finished.

  • Like most girls, she is very much into her baby dolls. She can often be seen taking her babies on stroller rides and cradling them gently while saying, "I'm sorry, baby. It's okay, baby."

  • She has become obsessed with jewelry lately. She has been wearing a few of my necklaces recently and has broken all of them. I recently bought her some sturdier necklaces and bracelets to see if those would last any longer. She insists on wearing them every day!
Showing off one of her necklaces (actually mine) that she broke in less than 24 hours.

Back when Kaitlynn was about 18 months old, I began to regret not having her ears pierced when she was an infant. I just loved seeing all the little toddlers with their pierced ears and thought Kaitlynn would enjoy having earrings. When I asked her if she wanted to get her ears pierced, to my surprise she immediately replied, "No! Ouch!" while covering her ears. I have no idea how she figured out it would hurt, but she wanted no part of it. Periodically I would ask Kaitlynn again if she wanted earrings, but the answer was always an emphatic "No!"

Fast forward to about 3 months ago, Kaitlynn and I were out running some errands. Out of the blue she told me, "Mommy, I ready my earrings." I have no idea what changed her mind, but from that day forward she couldn't stop talking about getting her ears pierced.

It took me a couple of months to finally decide to take her to Claire's for her new earrings. I was so nervous about how she would handle the pain, and I definitely was feeling some guilt for talking her into it. At Claire's for the big event, Jeff and my girlfriend Julie both joined us. Thank goodness for the moral support AND for the extra hands to take pictures and videos. Kaitlynn was a little nervous but still super excited. She sat in my lap and was SO brave, especially after the first ear was done and she had to sit still for the second ear. Poor girl, her cries afterwards made me so sad, but she shook it off very quickly. Within a few minutes, she was ALL smiles and celebrating her big girl earrings by also proudly wearing her new pink heart necklace.

Here's the video of her ear-piercing moment. Don't watch if you don't want to see her get a little upset! But, I promise, she recovered VERY quickly. See the "after" pictures below!

Daddy came for the big event. Kaitlynn was SO happy!

It didn't take long for her smiles and excitement to return. She LOVES her earrings.

See? I don't think I've seen a bigger smile on this face. She is in girly girl heaven!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Kaitlynn's First Dentist Appointment

I've posted several times on this blog about poor Kaitlynn and her messed up front teeth. She broke one of them when she first started walking (and her dear brother gave her a little push from behind). She broke the other one last year at some point, but we never figured out when/how. Since then, her 2 front teeth have been very jagged and sharp. She often falls forward and injures her lips on her front teeth, not to mention the number of pacifiers we've had to replace due to holes in them from her teeth. My dentist took a look at her teeth back after she broke the first one and suggested that we visit a pediatric specialist. We were warned, however, that there's just not much that can be done for kids Kaitlynn's age. Upon hearing that, I decided not to pursue it and just try to get along.

Since then, we continue to deal with injury after injury to Kaitlynn's poor teeth. A few weeks ago, Kaitlynn slipped on the bathroom tile, falling face first onto the floor directly onto her mouth. She barely avoided stiches on the inside of her lip, so I decided it was time we visit the pediatric dentist to see what we could do. Unfortunately, we were told that there's not many options that wouldn't traumatize Kaitlynn. Cosmetically fixing her teeth or even just smoothing them out both require sedation and shots. On the plus side, they are baby teeth and will be replaced eventually. On the negative side, that is years and probably many more lip injuries away from happening.

Here are some pics from our day visiting the pediatric dentist. They definitely know how to cater to kids.

Upon arriving, Kaitlynn immediately sat down with the paper dolls and puzzles. I texted this picture to Jeff while we were there and he couldn't believe how grown up she looked.

Then she discovered the movie corner.

I was slightly obsessed with her big girl hair that day. :-)

The movie was "Cinderella" so Kaitlynn was mesmerized.

Back in the treatment area, there were even more toys.

When it was time for the teeth cleaning, Kaitlynn was NOT happy.

But she was all smiles afterwards when we had Chick-fil-A for lunch.

Visiting the dentist takes a lot out of a kid.

She was OUT!

Since we visited the pediatric dentist, things have gone from bad to worse with Kaitlynn's teeth. One of the front teeth has now turned an ugly shade of grey. It takes weeks for "bruising" to occur so I suspect she must've further damaged the tooth when she fell on the bathroom tile. It remains to be seen whether the tooth will die completely, fall out, or just stay an ugly grey color. Poor girl!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Birthday Celebrations

Now that Connor is 6, he has really learned how to milk his birthday for all it's worth. He had quite the fun week of celebrations to mark his special day.

Jeff snapped this pic of me with my 6-year-old. Love this kid!

Connor's birthday was on a Thursday, and I told him that I planned to come have lunch with him at school. He was really excited until he found out that Kaitlynn couldn't be there because she would be at her own school. So then he asked me if I could have lunch with him on Wednesday instead so that Kaitlynn could come with me. He LOVES his sister!

Birthday lunch with his sister. Because clearly my presence wasn't as important ;-)

The next day, on Connor's actual birthday, Jeff made a special visit to have lunch with Connor at school. They had a great lunch together from what I hear. One of Connor's favorite parts of the day was seeing his name in the list of birthdays on the school's electronic marquee.

Jeff and Connor with BIG smiles at Connor's birthday lunch.

On his birthday night, we went out to eat at Connor's favorite restaurant: CiCi's Pizza. He LOVES CiCi's!

At CiCi's Pizza, Connor opened a cool gift from his siblings: a Houston Texans robot.

Later that same night, Connor had the most special treat of all. His kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Hunter, came to our house to read Connor a bedtime story and tuck him in to bed. This was the event that we won at the spring silent auction for Connor's school, and we just happened to schedule it on Connor's birthday. Mrs. Hunter made the bedtime visit SO memorable. She picked out a perfect book, I Love Bedtime Stories, brought Connor a nighttime treat (muffins and apple juice), and she read the story to him with her best storytime voice. Take it from me, Mrs. Hunter is a master storyteller!

Connor couldn't believe Mrs. Hunter was in his house!

Mrs. Hunter is the best storyteller! Connor was captivated!

It's hard to imagine the birthday celebrations getting even better, but they did. Connor decided that all he wanted for his birthday was a birthday party with his friends, so we had yet another Houston Texans-themed party at a local bounce place called Jump On In. (I recycled the party invitations and decorations from his party last year, ha!) The party was so much fun and Connor had a huge smile on his face all day.

Connor loved his Houston Texans cookie cake.

Kaitlynn was just as excited about Connor's party as he was!

All the party kiddos.

Probably my favorite pic of the day: Connor and his oldest and best friends, Brady and Benjamin.

About to blow out the candles.

Connor was in heaven opening all his birthday gifts from his party friends.

I think it's safe to say that Connor had a very fun and memorable 6th birthday. Somehow between now and next year, I'm going to need to figure out how to lower the birthday expectations, ha!