Happy New Year!

Some thoughts from the kids as we close the door on 2014…

What was your favorite thing from this past winter:

  • Joey: My birthday!
  • Grace: Building snow forts
  • Thomas: Playing in the snow.

What was your favorite thing from this past spring?

  • Joey: Running in the grass again.
  • Grace: My birthday party with Ciara
  • Thomas: New leaves

What was your favorite thing from this past summer?

  • Joey: Swimming
  • Grace: Swimming
  • Thomas: More leaves

What was your favorite thing from this past fall?

  • Joey: Going to the ND football game.
  • Grace: Playing in the leaves.
  • Thomas: Changing colors.

What was the hardest thing that happened this past year?

  • Joey: Giving up being the turtle vet.
  • Grace: Moving upstairs at school.

What were the best books you read this year?

  • Joey: Captain Underpants
  • Grace: Amelia Bedelia
  • Thomas: Scrambled Eggs (Green Eggs and Ham)

Who were the important people in your life this year?

  • Joey: Family, Vincent, Mr. S (LE teacher)
  • Grace: Mommy, Mrs. S (EC teacher) and Mrs. S (LE teacher)
  • Thomas: Just Mommy.

What was your favorite thing you learned this year?

  • Joey: Being the turtle vet.
  • Grace: Swim lessons
  • Thomas: All the things.

How do you hope this next year will be like this past year?

  • Joey: Fun
  • Grace: I hope we swim at Grandpa’s house.

How do you hope this next year will be different for you?

  • Joey: I want to see a squid.
  • Grace: I’m good.

Questions from The Art of Simple

Start of Summer!

The SBCSC finished on a Thursday, so to celebrate the end of the year I took a few days off.  It allowed me to attend both Bridging Day with Joey and the last day of school with Grace.  By Friday morning, we were ready to have some fun.  I debated going strawberry picking on Friday morning but thought better of taking three children out into the fields by myself.  (I couldn’t even hack it in the digital wilderness of the Oregon Trail let alone the real deal.)

We started the day at the zoo with a friend from work and her three kids.  You might not know her, but trust me, Amy of one of the funniest people ever.  If I’m going to be tackling a crowd of six (semi-cranky) kids in the summer heat she’s one of my top choices.  McDonald’s afterwards seemed to tidy up any crankiness.

After lunch, we headed home to grab our things and headed over to the Kennedy Park Water Playground for playtime with more of our favorite friends.  This was our first visit and it was awesome.  The pool starts at 0″ at both ends and never exceeds 18″ PLUS there are 4 lifeguards on duty keeping an eye on things.  The kids had a great time splashing, swimming, and sliding around on the play structures while I got to have some great conversations with Katie.

The first weekend in June is also the Greek Festival.  I don’t know what else to say except that it’s one of my favorite things about living in South Bend.  If we ever move away, I might just arrange our visits so that they fall during the festival weekend.  We ate, talked with friends, watched the kids take advantage of the 20′ slide and dance to the live music.  Good times.

Saturday we did our usual coffee and doughnuts run before heading up to Stovers to pick strawberries and sweet cherries.  It was blisteringly hot, but we had a fantastic time picking.  I’m pretty sure we ate as much as we brought home.

As it was also the DTSB summer movie night, we drove downtown to see WALL-E at the College Football Hall of Fame.  Of all the places we’ve done outdoor movies/events, this was surprisingly one of the best venues.  Parking was easy, the (weird) football turf was soft and comfortable, and the Chocolate Cafe was right next door with treats and indoor plumbing.

Sunday?  We rested.  🙂

End of School

Joey and Grace attend a Montessori school so moving from Kindergarten (early childhood) to 1st grade (lower elementary) is a big deal.  Most children have been in the same room with the same teacher and the same kids for three years.  Joey only attended for K so we didn’t feel the full weight of the transition, but it is still remarkable to see our little man ready to take on first grade.  In a simple way, it means moving upstairs but there will be a new level of expectations in terms of the academics and personal development.  That, and there is now video of the crazy adorable song that the kids sang.  We were lucky enough to grab seats with friends we have known since our teens to watch our boys “bridge” from EC to LE.

Bridging Day Song

The next day was the last day of school and it was so much fun!  Grace’s teacher invited parents to come have a snack, paint flower pots, see some of the works and say goodbye to the other children for summer.

There were definitely challenges and an adjustment as we transitioned into a public school family, but it was a good experience overall.  We are definitely making schooling choices on a year-by-year and kid-by-kid basis, but we’re already looking forward to next year.  In the meantime, how fun is this?  We’re already doing a little bit of this on our own, but it’s kind of cool to think about planning academic activities around our own interests.

Four!

Our Easter Grace turned 4 in March.  I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone.

We invited the usual group over to celebrate, but she also invited a few friends to join us.  It was so much fun to see little girls running around the house!  (Our parties are pretty boy-heavy.)  The weather was amazing so we were able to go outside…  a welcome treat after so many indoor birthday parties for our winter babies.

Everyone had fun taking turns at the princess pinata…

And collecting the loot!

Grace and friends – Lucy and Ciara.

Our birthday girl with her “chocolate chocolate princess cake.”

Beekeepers

Here’s how you make honey:

1.  Gather pollen.  A few fingertips will be juuuuuuust enough.

2. Scrape on Honeycomb cereal.

3.  Wait a few days for your very own honey!

 

“Duh” Disclosure:

While they were otherwise occupied I emptied the cereal out, washed the jar and then poured honey in with some new cereal.  Much was made of how this was a supervised activity and how we are to never, under any circumstances, attempt honey making without adult supervision.  🙂

Menu Plan Monday

Adjusting to work.  I have tons of pictures waiting to be loaded, but that might not happen until this weekend.

Quick thank you to all of you who offered advice on the sushi.  We went to SoHo and ordered a few different rolls + soup and salad.  It was a great anniversary dinner.

Monday:  Egg Mess

Tuesday: Chicken Salad sandwiches

Wednesday: Pumpkin pasta

Thursday: Salmon and spinach salads

Friday: Burgers

Saturday: Dinner with a family from our new church.

Sunday: Not sure yet!  🙂

This Moment

“A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.”

I’m borrowing this concept from Kara who was inspired here.  Unfortunately, our camera is broken and the new one won’t arrive until next Wednesday.  (Please, please, please arrive sooner!  Amen.)  It’s also Saturday, but whatev.  In the meantime, it’s super sweet watching the kids play in the rain, decked out in their rainboots and raincoats.

Preschool.

After much consideration, Jon and I pulled the kids from their daycare center in favor of a less intense, less expensive community preschool.  It just so happens to be the preschool my sisters and I attended as children and volunteered as teenagers so I’m quite familiar with  the directors and the general routines.  That helps!  Joey is enrolled in the 4-5’s class as well as Pre-K so he goes 5 mornings a week.  Grace is a little young, but is in the 3’s class two mornings each week.  Both kids have done brilliantly this week and seem to really enjoy the time they are spending at preschool.  They are also totally into the backpacks.  🙂

I was able to go with them each day for pick-up and/or drop off because of my vacation, but Jon will be on duty next week.  🙂  I’ve uploaded pictures of their first week to Picasa.