Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Random life updates

If you're looking for a cohesive post with a central subject, click away now. Now that you've been forewarned, here are my random thoughts/life updates for the night:

  • Know what makes me feel old? Having a kid that punctuates the end of every sentence with "dude". Wasn't it just yesterday that I was celebrating his first babbles? And now he's talking like a 14-year old skater boy. I have to admit, it makes me smile every time he says it though, because I know he picked it up from one of his older cousins, and I love the way he admires them.
  • The switch to the toddler bed has made the past month-ish interesting. Overall, she's done well (with the exception of a rough first week). She still has her off nights every once in a while, but mostly, she stays in her bed. Nap time has become entertaining though. Most days, she chatters and plays for a good 30 minutes after I put her in her room. When I go to check on her after she falls asleep, I often find her like this:
Who doesn't sleep with a carton of milk and a microwave?! For the record, when she woke up, I also found pretend broccoli, waffles, and cookies under her.

  • Macey had her two year check-up a few days ago. It was smooth sailing with the exception of (surprise, surprise!) her weight. She is in the 61st percentile for height and only the 2nd percentile for weight. Camden has always been a skinny kid too, but he has never fallen below the 5th percentile for weight, and usually hovers around the 10th percentile. The pediatrician wasn't overly concerned (he is aware that Matt is 6'2" and 155 pounds soaking wet), but he does want me to keep her on a high fat diet indefinitely. Right now, she weighs just under 22 pounds; the goal is to have her at 23 pounds in 6 months. I know one day she will be thankful for her lightning fast metabolism!
 
 Admiring fish at the doctor's office. There's nothing like a happy child at the pediatrician to make you feel guilty about the upcoming shots.
 
My skinny little trooper.

  • I was looking at classes to register for next semester and realized that, after I complete my class next semester, I only have 3 classes left before student teaching! This doesn't change my timeline (meaning, I will still go back to work when Macey starts kindergarten), but it does give me a light at the end of a tunnel that I've been slowly trudging through for the past decade! And I'm very thankful that there's another degree and a licensure waiting for me at the end of this tunnel.
  • I haven't forgotten about my home preschool series. I kind of debated whether or not I was going to continue working with the boys while they were in "real" school. It seemed a bit redundant, as my main focus was the alphabet and I knew they would be covering that in preschool this year. Plus, with baseball starting, the boys are busy, and I didn't want to pile too much on their plates. So, I have been working here and there with Camden, but I'm not doing any formal lessons again until (most likely) next summer, which will be right before they start kindergarten. I am still doing a little bit of alphabet work with Camden, but I'm also focusing on some kindergarten readiness stuff, which I will be sharing here and there. I'll likely continue my home preschool series next summer.
Some of the activities we've been focusing on lately: math (understanding the values that numbers represent), sorting (by shape, color, size, animal type, etc.), and patterns. We've also started to work on some sequencing.

 



Saturday, September 13, 2014

Game one is in the books.

I'll be honest: I had absolutely no idea what to expect when it came to Camden's first Little League game. He's playing on a rookie team, but the skill levels are all over the place; there are some kids on the team who are seven years old and have played a few seasons, and then there are a handful of four year olds on the team who are brand new at baseball. It's quite the eclectic mix. Mostly, I just wanted Camden to have fun out there and for it to be a good experience for him.

I think that was accomplished last night. In his rookie league, kids get four chances to hit the ball that is pitched to them by a coach. If they miss the pitches, they get to try hitting the ball off of a tee. Camden was at bat 3 times; twice he hit off the tee, and he hit the coach's pitch once! He even scored a run. I was super proud of my boy out there. The best part was, he was having a great time. Watching him play defense was quite entertaining. He played catcher once (and my goodness, seeing his tiny self in the catcher's mask was pretty darn adorable and hilarious) and he played outfield a few times. Since this is a rookie league, there's not much action in the outfield. However, Camden paid attention the entire time he was out there, and as soon as a ball was hit, he'd go running towards it (even when it was nowhere near him). I was impressed that he didn't get bored and roll around in dirt like so many of the other kids.

Overall, the game was a combination of painfully long (rookie league= no one is able to stop the ball and get outs) and completely adorable (small kids in baseball uniforms= the cuteness is overwhelming).
 
Camden and Daddy (otherwise known as Coach O)
 
#99 up to bat!
 
Playing catcher.
 
Waiting on base.

Running to second!
 
With his cousin/BFF/teammate.
 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Time to Party!

We had Macey's Peppa Pig themed birthday party a couple of weekends ago. It got off to an interesting start. On the day before the party, my mom was running party errands and just being a big help to me in general (as usual). She was planning on making and decorating Macey's Peppa cake and cupcakes (because, as I've made abundantly clear over the years on this blog, I am mediocre in the kitchen. And that might be generous). Well, late that afternoon, she started feeling sick, and by Saturday morning, she was completely miserable. Mostly, I felt awful for my mom, but I'll admit that there was a moment of panic and visions of a last minute store bought cake (or, alternatively, burned cupcakes). So, I called for backup in the form of my sister, who generously took over baking and decorating duties while I finished all of the last minute party preparations.

My mom was a trooper and made an appearance at the party (because, as she put it, she couldn't miss her only granddaughter's second birthday! Don't worry- she wasn't contagious.). We had family members visit from Virginia and South Carolina; it ended up being a great evening with so many of the people we love. Macey was a little overwhelmed by the crowd (and especially when we sang 'happy birthday' to her), but mostly, she loved running around with her cousins and getting extra attention from her grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

And I just have to share this story before I share pictures. On the morning of Macey's birthday (which was also the day of her party), Camden and I headed to Macey's room when we heard her wake up on the monitor. "You ready to tell Macey 'happy birthday'?" I asked Camden and he nodded excitedly. He rushed to her door and barged in ahead of me. Then, he was silent, as Macey said, "Hi, bro!" from her bed.

"Camden, aren't you going to tell her 'happy birthday'?" I asked him, as he continued to stare at her.

Then, he turned to me and said, "WHAT?! You're still a BABY when you're two?!"

Even though he looked totally disappointed, I couldn't help laughing. Clearly, he thought we were going to open Macey's room that morning and she was going to be as big as he was.

These kids never fail to entertain me.

Party decorations:
 
 
 
 
 

Check out Macey's expression. To say that she liked her Minnie Mouse airplane is an understatement.
 
My father-in-law caught this sweet moment during the party; my nephew, Alex, was reading to Camden. Camden idolizes him.

 
Getting some love from the birthday girl. Alternate interpretation: Macey hiding her face while everyone sang 'happy birthday' to her.
 
Yum! Chocolate icing!
 
Aunt Lauren's cupcakes were Macey approved.
 
Macey enjoying one of her birthday gifts. I can only hope her maternal instincts improve with age. :)

 

 

 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Back to School

It's that time of year again; time for football, sweaters, cooler weather, pumpkin spice lattes, and...school.

A few days after we got back from the beach, we went to meet Camden's teachers. They're both great- I'm pretty convinced they were made to be preschool teachers.


Meet the teacher day. Camden can no longer pose for a photo without a photo bomb in the form of a little sister.
Camden's first day was this past Wednesday. Gone were the nerves that overtook him on his first day last year; he's an old pro at school now.  He walked right in and started working on an activity immediately. He didn't look up to see where I was a single time (I was trying to hunt down Macey, who had also welcomed herself into the classroom and made herself comfortable in the corner with toys). We kept our goodbye casual and quick, and he didn't give me a second glance as I left the classroom. Now, that might make some moms sad, and I get that. Not me, though; I was proud of my boy, who has grown and matured so much in the last year. I'll take the casual "see ya later, mom" over crying and clinging to my leg any day.

 
 Happy first day of school! Macey was convinced that she was going too; we've been hearing a lot of "May May school".

Saturday, August 30, 2014

She's Two.

My Macey Jean,

Today, you are two. For two years, you've been my perfect daughter. For two years, you've been your daddy's girl. And for two years, you've been your brother's sidekick; your carefree, adventurous demeanor serving as the ideal complement to his more reserved, cautious nature.

Over the past two years, you've made our family complete.

There's not a thing about you that I don't love, my sweet girl. You are the definition of joyful; your big, toothy grin is a permanent fixture on that beautiful face of yours. You're our little entertainer (you get that from your daddy); there's little that you enjoy more than making us laugh. And you are funny. There's not a day that goes by that you don't do or say something that makes us all laugh (much to your delight).

You adore your brother. Your face lights up when he walks into the room and an enthusiastic, "Hi, bro!" almost always follows. Whenever he helps you with something, you immediately respond with, "Thank you, bro! That nice!" Camden smiles whenever you use that line, as he knows it's reserved exclusively for him. (No matter what anyone else does for you, we only get a "thank you". Your brother is the sole person that you declare "nice" on a daily basis.) Sometimes, when Camden is playing a video game and he's especially proud of an accomplishment, he will yell, "Macey! Quick! Come see what I did!" And no matter where you are or what you're doing, you come running in the room with your trademark smile. You always look at your brother with an expression of pure admiration and you tell him, "Yay, bro! Good girl, bro!" (I'm sure one day he won't appreciate being called a girl; right now, he thinks it's as cute as we do.) I love the way you adore him and I love the way he wants to impress you. You are the perfect little sister for Camden.

You are so incredibly smart. You amaze us with your ever growing vocabulary and the new skills that you pick up seemingly overnight. Just last week, you counted from one to thirteen with complete accuracy! You're putting three to four word sentences together with ease. I love watching you soak up your surroundings; you're so eager to learn and experience everything.

Which brings me to your next defining characteristic: you are one adventurous little girl. When it comes to physical activities, you're downright fearless. Admittedly, this trait can cause your cautious mama some anxiety, but it's also something I admire about you. You're willing to give most anything a try and you can definitely hold your own around the big kids. While you're likely going to be a petite girl like your mom, I have a feeling you're also going to be a strong girl.

You're so loving and affectionate. Truly, you know how to make people feel special. You pay individual attention to those that mean the most to you and give affection freely. I think it's safe to say that, in addition to your mommy and daddy, you have several members of our extended family wrapped around those tiny fingers of yours. I think you know it, too. You're a charmer, Macey Jean.

It's simply not possible to fully capture your beautiful spirit in words. I'm so lucky that I get to experience it every day. I'll never know what I did to deserve to be your mom, but I am so thankful that you were chosen for me, my daughter. You are such a gift.

And you are so very loved.

Happy second birthday, my precious girl.

Love,
Mommy




Monday, August 25, 2014

We're back!

We spent the last week at the beach with my parents, my brother, and my sister and her family. It was a great week full of good company and perfect weather.
 
We're back now, and with the end of the summer comes the end of a more relaxed, laid back schedule in our house. The change in pace began on the way home from the beach when we got an email from Camden's new Little League coach, letting us know that his first practice would be the following morning at 9am. That resulted in an impromptu stop at a sports store on the way home to pick up all the things a little boy needs for his first Little League practice.
 
He has now had two practices and is loving baseball. He also loves that his cousin, Will, is on his team, and his daddy is one of the coaches.
 
In other news, I had my first day of class today and school starts for Camden next week. We go to meet his new teachers on Wednesday morning.
 
Oh, and this little girl I know? She will be turning two in 5 days. No big deal. (Seriously?! Where did the time go??)
 
So, bring on the rush that is fall. We're ready.
 
But first, some pictures from our beach trip:
 
 
 
Early morning snuggle time with Nan.
 
 
This girl right here loved the sand but was terrified of the ocean until Day 4, when Nan was able to coax her into the water.
 
Camden, on the other hand, wanted to spend most of his time in the ocean. He tried his hardest to keep up with his cousins, but he's just not as comfortable in the water as they are yet. So, he'd follow them as far as he could, then observe. Matt and I also carried him "deep" (his words) out in the ocean several times.
 
Just a little beach relaxation.
 
When they weren't on the beach, you could often find them just like this- absorbed in games on their Kindles. (I have since had to severely limit the amount of time Camden spends on video games, but that's another story for another day.)
 
Selfie with my girl.
 
I don't know why, but this picture just makes me smile. Something about that big toothy grin of hers, I guess.

Matt's sunglasses broke, and he claims these are the only ones he could find at a local beach shop. I think he secretly loves them. I openly hate them.
 
Two cool dudes.
 
She loved most everything about the beach, but especially enjoyed the military helicopters that routinely flew over the water.
 
Beach bums.
 
Camden spent most of the time we were at the beach playing with his cousins, but I did manage to snap this picture of my two kiddos enjoying some beach time together.
 
The beach is exhausting. He was asleep within 5 minutes on the way home.
 
And the first Little League practice the very next morning! Macey ran in at the last minute to photobomb her big brother.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Home Preschool: Letter Cc

It was a big week in the land of home preschool this week: first, Camden was thrilled that we were "finally" learning the letter C (because C is for Camden and nothing else!). And I was really happy that we hit a home preschool milestone this week: we are officially halfway through the alphabet!
 
Now, time for business on Day One:
 
Working on some handwriting.

 
Here they are (with two very fake smiles), ready for story time. Photo bomb courtesy of Maggie. And Macey's Klip Klop stable.
 
I decided reading about good ol' Clifford would be an excellent choice for the letter C.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my laminator? Yeah, I thought so. Well, I was reminded of my affection for it when I was able to drag out the parking lot that we used several weeks back for a new activity.
 
This activity was a big hit with the boys, mostly because of all of the different kinds of cars I printed out (and yes, laminated). There were police cars, race cars, trucks- you name it. They had the most fun choosing which car to park each time.
 
So, I started by asking them to choose a car to park in the [oval, hexagon, triangle, etc.] spot. We went through all of the shapes. Next, I took their parking lots and wrote numbers on the shapes. I used a lot of variety in numbers-- there was 100, there was 55, there was 16, etc. I then asked the boys to pick a car to park in the [fill in the number] spot.
 


 

 

 
Up next: craft time. We made a clown (that, if I'm being honest, turned out looking much more like a strange wizard than a clown...)


Tracing their own hands for the clowns' hands. They both did an excellent job while using their dominant hand to trace and neither could make anything even coming close to resembling a hand while using their non-dominant hand to trace.


Ta-da! Our wizard/clown hybrid.

 
 
Day Two:
 
 Workin' on those C's...


Next up: I had the boys hunt for both big C's and little c's mixed in with plenty of other big and little letters.


We then talked about coins. (Side note: this activity originally involved dimes too, until I realized I didn't have any in the house. So, we stuck to quarters, pennies, and nickels.)



I gave each boy a quarter, penny, and nickel and asked them to complete various patterns on the cards I made.



I then gave them a blank template (with just circles on it) to make their own patterns. It was fun to see what they each came up with.



Finally, we made some pretty stinkin' cute caterpillars. The boys loved these little guys, and especially loved that they could pull them around on a "leash".




Taking their new caterpillars for a walk around the house.
 
I told you they love them! They decided to give their caterpillars a kiss.
 
Can you blame them? Look how cute!

 
We continued with Clifford's adventures on Day Two.

 
Woohoo! Half of the alphabet down; half to go!