30 August 2013

First Day of School Fancy Dinner

I've seen lots of back-to-school ideas and I knew I wanted to start a tradition in our family with the launch of the new school year.

We had a fancy first day of school dinner party to commemorate the big event.

As I sat the table in the dining room instead of our normal kitchen table, the boys asked who we were having over for dinner. When I answered that it was a special back-to-school dinner, they got all sorts of excited.

Blake exclaimed, "We're having a party just for us?!"

The boys squealed with delight when we revealed fancy glasses (theirs were plastic) and showed them how to put cloth napkins in their laps. They kept saying that it was just like a restaurant.

I thought the chalkboard napkin rings that my friend gave me were appropriate for the first day of school.


The purpose of the special dinner wasn't just about fancier-than-normal food and surroundings, but also to present our family school year theme.

We settled on "Respect". Our boys are still young, but we thought this was something they could grasp and improve on.

I was shocked at the riveting discussion we ended up having.

Not only did the boys stay in their chairs the whole time (a rarity at our house) and actually eat the dinner I made, but they actively participated in our conversation about showing respect. We talked about all sorts of scenarios where they could show more respect; school, church, friends' houses, stores, and with their parents and each other.

Blake caught on and asked Nash, "How could you respect your teacher at school?"

Nash responded, in the sweetest voice ever, "I'm not really sure, Blake. That's a good question."

What? Did that polite response really come from my child? Troy and I looked at each other, dumbfounded. We were pleasantly surprised that by creating an atmosphere that was special and different, our boys acted differently; more mature and ready to participate in the discussion we had.

Now, implementing the value of respect will be a whole different ballgame. We're obviously focusing on it because there has been a real lack of respect lately. We're hoping to dedicate one family night a month to focus on this theme and remind the boys what we're working on as a family.

The sign I made is now hanging by our back door so we all can continually be reminded. (And since the word "respect" is phonetic, Blake can actually read it.)

I think I'd call our little candlelight dinner a success.

After dinner, Blake asked, "Can we eat dinner in here every night?"


28 August 2013

Kindergarten

My first baby started Kindergarten today.





Choosing an elementary school has been quite the ordeal. Troy and I firmly believe in exploring our options when it comes to our children's education. We started applying for schools last December. Blake was accepted on open permits and random lotteries to three different schools in addition to our local elementary. The orientations all happened to fall the week Crew was born - and we still somehow made it to them despite how crazy that week was. We really wanted to get a feel for each school before making the decision. 

In the end, we decided on a school that isn't very close to where we live, but it's right next to the boys' preschool. Since I'll be driving Nash out there a couple of times a week anyway, it's not that inconvenient to bring Blake everyday. 

We were really interested in another school that he was accepted to, a brand new STEM school (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), but the location was even further away and in the middle of nowhere. I had to factor in my other children and consider whether I could really drive 20 minutes there and back twice a day when Kindergarten is only 3 hours long. And I have a baby that needs naps and a preschooler who attends school on the direct opposite end of town. As hard as it was to let go of that option, especially for Blake, it just wasn't feasible.

We've heard really great things about this elementary and the building is only a few years old which is an added perk. We'll see how it goes this year. He can always transfer to our local elementary school in the future if the 12 minute freeway drive gets to be too much.

There were a few kids in his class that he recognized from preschool which made the separation easy.

The start of school really snuck up on us this year. We were gone almost all month and focused on other things so I put very little thought into the launch of Kindergarten. I think it made the transition that much easier though. Blake is ready for school. I'm ready for school. There were no tears and only thumbs up on both ends. It helps that Kindergarten is still half-day in our state.

And just like that, Blake waved goodbye and walked into the start of his elementary career.

When I went to pick him up after school, he was all smiles. He had one goal in mind.

Notice that he wasn't running towards me, he was bolting straight towards someone else with an ear-to-ear grin.

His brother. For how much these two have been at each other this summer I was shocked that their reunion was so loving.

We had our traditional first day of school cookie chat when we got home. There's nothing like some fresh baked cookies to entice some good conversation about all of the school details.

This is what Blake told me about the first day of school:
  • His absolute favorite part of his classroom was a white screen that hooked to a computer and the teacher wrote on it with a battery powered pen (a smart board). He said that every student will get a turn to use it and he's already counting down the days.
  • There's more boys than girls. 13 boys and 9 girls.
  • They talked about all the rules. The only one he could remember was no touching the walls when you walk down the hall.
  • Zip it, lock it, put it in your pocket. (This means stop talking.)
  • He was delighted to find "popscrotch" (hopscotch) on the playground.
I think Kindergarten is going to suit us all just fine.


26 August 2013

TBall

The boys played Tball throughout the month of July.

Tball is hilarious. It never gets old to watch the little players run around with no clue as to why, or go after the ball they just hit, or sit in the outfield and pick dandelions when they are supposed to be catching the ball.

We didn't have high expectations as far as the actual sport went, but we loved watching them eventually figure out the rules and get some good exercise while participating.

Plus, they got to play on the same team which was an added bonus. We were known as the family with "the brothers."



I have decided that baseball stuff is adorable on little boys. Especially when it is exceptionally large.

Watching the batting helmet bobble back on forth on Nash's head as he ran to bases was a highlight every single game.


The older kids had the ball pitched to them towards the end of the season. Blake swung some pretty good hits that he was over the moon about.

It was between 95° and 100° every single game, so when the boys' enthusiasm lagged I didn't blame them. We were dying ourselves sitting on the sidelines. Troy showed Blake how to douse himself with water. 


Nash had two specific goals in mind during this activity called "Tball."

1. Obtain after-game snacks.

2. Receive a trophy.

He waited and participated for eight long games before that golden award was placed in his arms.

It might now be second only to his nie-night.




16 August 2013

Crew | Four Months

Crew went ahead and turned another month older.

And even though I'm so far behind on posting our summer adventures, I figured I better get his fourth month documented because by the time I get all caught up he'll probably be another month older. 

At four months, this is Crew's routine: Roll over. Get stuck. Get mad. Repeat approximately 86 times a day. (He is my earliest roller.)

He is the spitting image of Blake as a baby. I get some serious déjà vu because he is like a little clone.

I remembered recently that I should probably be offering him toys. He loves to grasp things, and the sticking-everything-in-his-mouth and constant drooling has begun.

He loves his bumbo, his binky, and lights up when anyone, seriously anyone, talks to him.

He is so flexible and easy that sometimes I feel like I'm cheating.









05 August 2013

July in Instas

Before we head off to Michigan, I want to at least document the last month in Instagram photos since I'm not sure when I'll get to sorting through all of my "real" photos.

I was crazy for thinking that building Blake a headboard in our garage when it was 106° outside was a good idea. He absolutely loves it though. (Someday I'll get to posting about our basement remodel.) We took a much needed break from the heat to go to a restaurant overlooking Temple Square and celebrate my mom²'s birthday.

The boys had a "monkeys on skateboards" pajama party night while Troy was away at Girls' Camp. And oh my goodness I can never get enough of my scrumptious baby.

We hit the waterpark time and time again. Nash passed the time in line by mauling his baby brother.

The boys are always more interested in playing with Crew when they're bored. Every time we go to church or are waiting at the doctor's office, everyone all of a sudden wants to hold the baby.

Playing in the rain has always been one of my favorite things to do. There's something about the sudden humidity, dark clouds and even thunder and lightning when we're lucky that lures me into dropping everything and running outside to play. What makes it even better is that our boys are starting to appreciate the rain too. Each time a warm rainstorm rolled in this month, their eyes widened and they immediately asked me if we were going to go play in it.

We wrapped up our last weekend at home with some Sunday evening brownies and batter licking.


Next stop, Michigan. Bring on the humidity, lazy days on the beach, and endless gatherings with our loved ones.