Thursday, October 31, 2013

Girls Trip = Dads Weekend

After our last trip to Trades Days in Canton, my girlfriends and I vowed to do it again as soon as we could. "Soon" turned out to be an entire year and a half later, ha! It was worth the long wait, though. We spent 2 entire days shopping and came back with a full load of goodies but much lighter wallets.

Julie, Michelle, and I ready to tackle our first day of junkin' in Canton.

Julie put together this cute collage photo on Facebook. This trip, we stayed at a different place that has dozens of cute little rented cabins. It was right across the street from our favorite Canton shopping so it worked out great.

Back before we visited Canton the first time, I once asked someone what types of things we'd be able to find/buy there. Her answer: "Everything!" So true!! We had a full carload after our 2 days of shopping, but we were kind of disappointing in ourselves that we left room to spare, HA!

Finally, during one of our caffeine runs to the gas station, we tried our luck at scratch-offs. Guess who won $5? Woohoo! (hahaha)

Back when we planned our girls' trip to Canton, I made sure to schedule Jeff for Daddy Duty that weekend while I was away. Several weeks in advance, he started talking to the kids about how much fun they were going to have on Dad's Weekend. Donuts for breakfast, tents in the gameroom, trips to Chuck E. Cheese and Cici's Pizza, and even a swim at the neighborhood pool...what's not to love about Dad's Weekend?? Needless to say, the kids weren't sad to see me go AT ALL!

Kaitlynn and her "sweet Daddy" had a tea party while Connor was in school.

They had the entire neighborhood pool to themselves.

Donuts with Dad on Friday before school.

Another visit to the pool.

Hanging out with Kaitlynn on the porch.

He painted her fingernails so she painted his big toenail. He wore it proudly for weeks!

A visit to Chuck E. Cheese.

My kids are already asking (begging) for another Dad's Weekend. I think I could get used to this! ;-)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Kaitlynn Lately

Not to be outdone by Connor, Kaitlynn has been super busy with her own school activities. Her pre-K year is going great so far, and I admit that I am amazed at all she is learning and being exposed to. Her class is really working hard on letters/numbers, sight words, and counting to 100.

For her very first homework assignment, the teachers asked us to complete an "All About Me" worksheet. Since this was her first week of school, Kaitlynn wasn't all that enthused about completing the sheet herself so we worked on it together. Then the teachers hung them on the wall in the hallway outside the classroom. It's fun to walk to class and see all the children's work displayed there.

Kaitlynn's first Pre-K assignment -- All About Me.

Another fun classroom event for Kaitlynn has been bringing home the class pet, Sammy. Each student takes a turn having Sammy for the weekend and then makes a scrapbook page for the classroom book. Anyone who knows me understands that I am NOT crafty enough to handle scrapbook pages, but I can make an electronic one in my sleep. Ha! So here was our finished page for Sammy's scrapbook:

From the very first week of school, Kaitlynn had an instant connection with one of her sweet classmates, Sofia. These two girls are just the cutest, always excited to see each other and wanting to play together.

Kaitlynn and Sofia

Of course, Kaitlynn still relishes every opportunity to see her best friend, Anais. Their faces just light up with smiles every single time we get together. Recently, we got the girls together for a playdate.

Back before Connor entered kindergarten a few years ago, we enrolled him in a very popular local class called Head Start to Reading. It's a weekly class designed for pre-kindergartners to help give them a "head start" on reading strategies and, more importantly, to promote enthusiasm for learning to read. Connor had such success with the program that we definitely decided to enroll Kaitlynn in the same class before kindergarten, even though it will require us to drive 45 minutes across town. I was planning to wait until next spring to enroll Kaitlynn in the first reading class, but then we learned that Anais would be taking it this fall on Fridays. Once we learned that, I didn't hesitate to sign Kaitlynn up for the same class.

Kaitlynn and Anais started their reading curriculum early this month and they are doing great. The first class starts with basic sight words and progresses into future classes with phonetic and reading strategies. In addition to the class, I have been working with Kaitlynn at home every day on additional sight words and writing. She is not always the most eager learner, but she is making great progress by spending just a few minutes each day on these areas. So proud of this girl!

Anais rode with us to reading class.

I have been so proud of Kaitlynn's progress that I asked her if she'd be willing to make a little video of her reading so that we could share it with her grandparents. She agreed, so we sat down with one of her little preschool "readers" that we had only reviewed once or twice before. I figured she would be able to read most of it, but she ended up surprising me when she started discussing some of the book's content. Take a look:

During one morning this month, Kaitlynn's preschool hosted a fun event called Donuts With Dad. It was very similar to the Dad's Night Out event at our former preschool. The Dads joined the kids at school for breakfast and got to tour the classroom. Then they took a few pictures and presented each Dad with a "biography" completed by the kids. Kaitlynn and her "sweet Daddy" (as she is prone to calling him) had such an amazing morning together. I tell you, these two have quite the connection. There is just nothing like it.

Dad and Kaitlynn walked Connor to school before they got ready for Donuts with Dad.

Getting loaded in the truck for their Donuts with Dad date.

Oh my, Kaitlynn loves her "Sweet Daddy"

Picture in Kaitlynn's classroom.

They were all smiles.

Kaitlynn's biography about her Daddy.

One last pic enjoying those donuts!

Adjusting to Kaitlynn's 4-day school schedule with an extra day of reading class on top has been quite the change for us. I thought I would really enjoy all the time while she is in school, but I have to admit that I am really missing our "girl time" during the weeks. That being said, I know she is in such a great preschool that is preparing her for kindergarten, and I am so thankful for that!

School is exhausting!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Connor Lately

Kids these days, they are just so busy! With all of the school and sports activities, it feels like we are constantly on the go keeping up with everything they are involved in. I know it only gets busier from here, so we'd better get used to it, ha! This post is a random collection of photos showing some of the things Connor has been up to lately, and I'll have another post soon about Kaitlynn.

So Connor's 2nd grade year is well underway and couldn't be going any better. He is still so enthusiastic about school and learning so much. We really lucked out with his teacher this year because Connor is really benefitting from her experience and positive learning environment. I'm just so thankful for that!

Connor recently brought home his official 2nd grade school picture. It made me smile but then almost immediately brought tears to my eyes at the same time. He just looks so. darn. big!! Sometimes I catch myself looking at Connor and can't help but remember the happy, angelic baby with chubby cheeks and wonder where he went?? Sniff sniff.

Connor's 2nd grade photo.

Recently Connor's elementary school hosted Donuts with Dad before school one morning. Jeff walked Connor to school and enjoyed some breakfast together, such a fun time together.

Heading off to school for Donuts with Dad

On another day at school, Connor's class was able to celebrate their good behavior by having Crazy Hair Day. Connor insisted on his Texans hair paint!

And just a note on Connor's Texans shirt... Connor discovered it hanging in his closet and begged to wear it. He didn't realize that it actually belonged to Kevin back when he was around the same age. How cool is it that Connor is now wearing hand-me-downs from his older brothers?!

Wearing Kevin's old Texans jersey, so cool.

And speaking of the Texans, Connor's youth football team is having a fun season. Currently they are 3-3 and fighting for a playoff spot. Connor continues to play offensive and defensive Left Tackle and is really enjoying it.

At one of his recent games, Connor was playing Defense and wanted to hype up the crowd like he sees the Pro players do at Texans games. He started pumping his arms and the crowd definitely responded. Cracked me up because he thinks he's J.J. Watt, haha!!

Connor pumping his arms to hype up the crowd, hilarious!