Isla's ABC Parade

The kindergartners at the kids school does an ABC parade at the end of the school year. Each kid wears the letter vest they made earlier in the year and first parades around for the parents, then parades through EVERY SINGLE CLASSROOM. Yes, it's a small school. Here's the original post from when Isla made her "I" vest back in October. It's the sort of thing I love as a mom. Though I wouldn't complain if, say, it happened the week before school got out instead of the week of ;) That's probably only because this mom is fried with all that is going on this week. SO.MUCH.STUFF. I've actually had to hire babysitters for Callum for two different things at the school this's a long complicated story, but the kids school doesn't allow non-student minors on campus during school hours. Not to mention the other things I took him to - like this parade and the school picnic at the park. But I'm getting off track with all my angst. The parade is super cute and it's fun to see all the different vests. Some of them are just so creative. 

^^ Isla is in the middle of this picture, holding her hand up, waving at me, as they left their classroom to start the parade. 

Now on to the big kindergarten graduation! And then Isla's tap and ballet recitals this weekend. To say this week is busy is the understatement of the year. But we are making it through, not even one day, but one hour at a time.

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Perfecting the Selfie

I can't believe how there are certain things that kids just seem drawn to. For instance, Isla and her love of makeup. And also her love of selfies. Neither one of those things came from me...uh, Ian??? But it really does make me laugh how much personalities play into things. I don't find Connor wanting to take pictures of himself all day long, or really at all for that matter. But Isla, well she is a whole another story. 

The mirror just doesn't always suffice for this girl. And honestly, it's not like I hate it because I have tons of photographic evidence that captures Isla's personality perfectly, right now at six years old. 

At six years old, Isla comes home from school and puts makeup on almost every single day. She often brings her makeup bag with her when we go get Connor from school and puts more makeup on without even a mirror, but with a whole audience watching. I would say she isn't a shy one, but there are times she still becomes quite shy. She just likes things on her own terms. 

At six years old, Isla doesn't like her hair brushed, but wants to keep it long and wants to keep it down. She has started playing around with clips in her hair, but for the most part, she prefers wearing her hair down. I've asked her about cutting it several times, given how little she likes it being brushed, but she says she loves it long and wants to keep it that way. 

Also, Isla really wants to get her ears pierced. Every girl in her dance class has their ears pierced, except for her. But every time I ask her if she is interested in getting it done, she says she is afraid of it hurting. I tried showing her videos of girls getting their ears pierced off the internet, but that didn't seem to help at all, which I was surprised because the girls weren't crying, just smooshing up their faces when it happened. Even with the absence of actual holes in her ears, Isla always wants to buy earrings. She's a funny girl. 

So I started out just wanting to share these cute pictures of Isla and this morphed into a bit about Isla right now and I'm not sad about that. She is a fun one to have around. Life is never boring with Isla near.

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There's something about warmer weather that puts a spring in my step. But not too warm, of course. Just perfect. The kind where you can leave the back door open all day. The kind where the air never turns on in the house, and neither does the heater. The kind that beckons everyone outside and seems to put everyone in better moods. 

Spring has always been my second favorite season....behind summer, of course because I just love the long, bright days of summer. It probably has something to do with winter being my least favorite. Spring offers hope. When I see new growth on plants after winter, I literally get a smile on my face. But after having children, spring has taken on a new meaning. After being cooped up in the house for the winter, spring allows all of us to get outside and get our energy out. Spring ushers in summer break (after all "summer" break technically starts during spring). And with summer break comes a welcome lax in schedules....which is ironic when just a couple short months later I welcome those schedules back with open arms. 

But those beautifully perfect weathered spring days usher in the lazy days of summer. When we don't have to set an alarm and don't have to do homework. When we get to meet friends to play and go on little excursions. 

Spring, you have my heart forever and always. 

Well, except for the mosquitos. I really don't like the mosquitos. If they didn't have to be a part of spring and summer, it would just be the icing on the cake. But one truly cannot have it all, am I right?!

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Railtown 1897 on Mother's Day

We went up to Railtown 1897 for a little mother's day outing. We used to come up here and ride the train all the time when Connor was younger and super into trains. Callum has gotten into trains lately, though I would say not to the degree that Connor did. But I still thought he would find it fun to ride the train. And he totally did. It was cute watching him say "train" to every person that walked past him on the train. 

Callum got to go to the front and watch the locomotive for a bit. We didn't stay up there for too long, as I didn't want to be up there when the train blew its whistle, as my kids have a history of freaking out from loud noises and I didn't want to wait and see if Callum was the same as the other two. Callum enjoyed sticking his head out the window a couple times. But he mostly just enjoyed watching out the window. 

It's fun going to places like this as the kids get older because even though they may not be as excited about riding the train, they appreciate looking at the other trains and stuff more. They notice different looking trains and were interested in seeing the stuff that had been in movies before...and I got a kick out of seeing a painted backdrop used with a train scene the '90's. It's amazing how quickly technology changes things. I don't imagine them using painted backdrops in movies anymore. 

^^ Callum was very excited about his own ticket 

Also, apparently this wasn't the first time we came up to Railtown for mother's day. I guess it had been so long since we did it that I didn't remember. But Connor would have been the same age as Callum when we came up here for mother's day, so that's kind of fun. 

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Mother's Day

Here's to you
You were pink or blue
And everything I wanted
Here's to you
Never sleeping through
From midnight till the morning
Had to crawl before you walked
Before you ran
Before I knew it 
You were trying to free your fingers from my hand
'Cause you could do it on your own now

Slow down
Won't you stay here a minute more
I know you want to walk through the door
But it's all too fast
Let's make it last a little while
I pointed to the sky and now you wanna fly
I am your biggest dan
I hope you know I am
But do you think you can somehow
Slow down

-lyrics to Slow Down by Nichole Nordeman

Mother's day. It's one of those days that you are supposed to celebrate your mother or feel celebrated as a mother, but all it did was leave me reminded how quickly my children's childhoods are happening. I really am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be these three amazing people's mother. It was something I never knew how much I wanted until I became a mother. These amazing and crazy human beings bring me so much laughter, joy and pride...and also make me exhausted and test my patience constantly. 

Ian served me breakfast in bed. The kids gave me funny notes telling me that they appreciated me for things like helping them with their homework and that I make them laugh when I scare their brother. There were painted plates made for me and hand drawn cards. Then we all took a trip up to Railtown (more on that later) and got to watch Callum's eyes light up as he took his first ever train ride. Then, to top it off, I went grocery shopping at a practically empty store, because I guess most moms don't grocery shop on mother's day. It was a pretty dang good day.

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School Open House

Open house...the time of the year where we get to go in our children's overdecorated classrooms, crammed with too many parents, and see all the projects they did over the past month ;) It's true though right? But it doesn't stop me from loving it...probably too much. 

Isla was so hyped up in her class, she was just running around and playing with her friends. She really didn't want to slow down enough to show us any of the stuff she made. Many of the things were very similar to when Connor was in kindergarten, which I love, as I love me a good comparison. 

^^ Just for the record, Isla's nickname is NOT "honey bunch", but she said she didn't know what her nickname was, so she just made one up. Of course, I then called her honey bunch to be funny and she said, "Moooooommmm! Stop it!"

^^ On one thing she said she wants to be a secret agent and on this one an artist. She actually says she wants to be both. She definitely beats to her own drum...which I really noticed after seeing how many girls in her class want to be teachers. 

The fun thing about Connor's class is that I actually got to help with a few of the projects when I worked in his class, so it was fun to see them all done and on display. After all, doing paper mache with an entire class and two adults isn't exactly what I would call easy or clean. 

Connor's class did individual videos for each kid that interacted with an app on your phone. So that was fun. It also made me think how much time the teachers spend on open house! After watching his video, Connor quickly ran around and looked at his stuff on display, then pulled out his teachers collection on beyblades and began playing. Not so shockingly, other kids joined him. 

I figured we may as well end with a funny photo. After all, this stage of life often feels like I am living in a zoo...well, not as organized as a zoo. More like living with a bunch of uncaged, untrained animals. That's real life right there for you folks!

Now don't mind me as I go cry into my coffee and think about how kindergarten is almost over for Isla. It's just a sweet, sweet time and I am mourning it's passing.

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The many faces of a boy picking out candy

"I pick" he says as he spends 20 minutes examining every piece of candy in his sister's candy bucket to find just the right piece. We have a sort of never ending candy bucket around our house, since it never seems to all get eaten from one holiday to the next. And it's fitting that Callum would spend so long picking out just the right piece. Candy was one of his first real words, after things like mama and dada. And he asks just about every person he sees for candy. He asks for it by just saying the word and putting his hands up in a shrug, allowing his body to do the talking where his words fail. When we were renovating our bathroom, he would follow the workers around saying "candy" over and over to them, even though none of them ever gave him a piece. He is persistent, what can I say. 

In case you wanted to know, he sampled the gum, before putting it back in the case. I then caught him opening a starburst and when I reminded him he could only choose one piece, he threw it across the room. He finally landed on a piece of laffy taffy. 

I seriously got a kick out of him moving into so many positions, checking out the candy. He took his choice very seriously. It's cute things like this that make me love having a toddler around...and helps me to keep loving him through the times he draws on everything with marker or screams incessantly at school pick up.

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Connor's Volcano Project

Can we take a moment to discuss my general displeasure in school projects? In general, I find many of them to supposedly be a family fun project (like the turkeys at thanksgiving) and honestly, at least in our house, there is not much family fun going on while making them. Usually just copious amounts of money spent at the craft store and a glue mess at the house. Oh, and a meltdown or two by someone because their idea didn't pan out. Also, I tend to be more hands off with the projects, as I feel like it's good for the kids to learn themselves. 

Well, this year Connor's big project was a volcano. It was allowed to be constructed out of any material we wanted. It just had to look realistic and it had to have a water bottle in it for the explosion. So, off to the craft store we went. I honestly had no vision for it. Connor picked up rock and moss...not much to go off of. Then there was at least an hour spent just trying to figure out how to shape the dang thing. And the gluing of the rocks...each one of those rocks was glued down. In the end, it turned out really good. And in case you are wondering, the skeleton in the mine shaft was all Connor's idea! Well, the mineshaft was his idea too...which, of course came up after I shaped the whole thing. Thankfully cutting a hole out wasn't a big deal. 

Connor's teacher said she likes to not give much direction because it makes kids be creative and not all kids can afford to go to the craft store, which I totally get. Because of this, there were so many different types of volcanos, made out of so many different types of materials. I secretly wish I could be at school the day they get to make each on erupt. It seems pretty dang fun. One kid told me he hopes the lego man at the top of Connor's volcano goes flying up in the air with the eruption. But, given the amount of hot glue holding that little man in place, I don't think he is going anywhere anytime soon! 

I have to say, I am impressed that this project made it to school in one piece. We sort of have a history of that NOT happening. Last year, Connor's diorama broke as he was getting out of the car. Insert tears and mom trying to save the situation here. Then earlier this year, Connor had to make a pumpkin look like his favorite book character. Well, his nose broke off, taking some paint with it, on the way to school too. In hindsight, thinking I could walk it to school on top of the stroller wasn't the best of ideas. This time, Ian took the project to school and I stayed home with Callum. Something about wrangling a toddler and a school project at the same time has just never worked out well for me.

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