Monday, August 29, 2011

McClellan's Critter Zoo

Last week was Josie's first full week of school and she did really good. She is still learning the ropes and rules so a bad day is to be expected every once in a while, but I'm very proud of well she is doing and how excited she is staying about school. Her first project was due Friday. A paper plate look like me doll:

Friday we had family night in and cooked a yummy dinner of steak and hotdogs.

Saturday was a mini adventure. I had heard about this petting zoo place in Banks (close to Troy). An Australian man owns he. He originally opened it for mentally handicapped and disabled children to get a closer look at animals, more so that what you would get at the zoo. At one point he decided to open it to the public. It is an awesome place. We definitely got our money's worth. The owner himself gives tours and he took the time to talk about each animal as we stopped at their cage. What I was most impressed with was that he made it very educational. He made a point to tell the children at each cage that in no way do you go close to these animals in the wild. He had different kinds of monkeys, lemurs, lions, tigers, alligators, bears, camels, cows, goats, deer, snakes, a pig, ligers (a cross between a lion and tiger) and a cross between a donkey and zebra (I can't remember what he called it.) We had a great trip and even Sheila, Caden, Ansleigh, Aunt Mona, her nephew Brayden, and Joe's Uncle Gary came along. It was very hot, but we all stayed well hydrated.

After the zoo we went to Arbys for lunch and some much needed air conditioner:

Then we went to visit Joe's Uncle Terry's grave. We had not been there since the funeral four and a half years ago. This was the first time we have taken the girls to a cemetary, so the talk in the van on the way to the cemetary was very interesting to say the least.

All in all it was a great day.

Sunday we had church and Awana. The girls are doing great at learning their verses and they are both now the proud owners of Awana vests.

Jolie is getting super excited about her birthday and tells everyone that she can that she is going to "be this many" and holds up four fingers.

Next Tuesday Josie does not have school because it is a parent/teacher day. I have made an appointment with her teacher that afternoon and we will go over how she is doing and everything like that.

We have a lot of unspoken prayer requests for family members and friends right now, so if you don't mind mentioning those to God the next time you talk to him, he knows who all they are.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Full of Firsts

Last week was an emotional week for me. It was full of firsts, and well, it was a lot for one week: The girls had their first Awana meetings at New Home, Jolie started her first day of K-4 with a new teacher, Josie started kindergarten, and Josie had her first acolyte training. I also worked on finalizing the details for Jolie's 4th birthday and Joel's first. I can not believe that in a little over a month my sweet precious baby boy will be a year old. The phrase I often use for my life is lather, rinse, repeat. So much of my life, just like everyone else's, you get up, do the same things, go to bed, and get up and do it all over again. I think my brain is just on automatic pilot sometimes and I'm not enjoying enough of our life and the little moments as I should. If I were I would not be as surprised that Josie has started kindergarten and Joel is turning one. WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE???
I know I am older, but I don't feel any older, therefore, my children should not be older :)

Now back to something above that I have not talked about before. In past blogs I have talked about Josie being a junior usher during the church services, but now she has attended acolyte training and will be acolyting in church. This is a HUGE deal in our church. Acolytes are the people that walk up front during the service and light the candles. At our church this job is left to the children. We had a fairly large group of children (all girls) that took the training Sunday and will now be even more active in the worship services. I remember what an honor this was when Ben and I grew up and now my daughter has learned to do this. We are supposed to be getting a calendar of when each child will acolyte so I will let everyone know in enough time in case you want to come watch Josie for her first time. I will probably be crying just like I did the first time she ushered. I am just so proud of her. She had a big week, starting kindergarten, learning her Bible verse for Awana, and learning to acolyte.

I am also super proud of Jolie for learning her Bible verse. I will admit I was a little nervous. She is not as disciplined when it comes to learning as Josie is. Yes, I do know that there is a 1.5 year age difference, but still even at Jolie's age Josie loved to learn things and practice her coloring and writing. Jolie, well, not so much. She is getting better and is learning new things, and she learned her verse fairly quickly. I was very proud of her.

We had a busy weekend that left us all a little tired this morning. Friday we picked up the kids and went to Buck Masters. After Buck Masters we stopped by my grandmother's house and visited with her. Saturday Joe had to work at the church while the girls and I cleaned up the house. We had invited Other Mama and Pap-paw over for dinner so we needed to do some tiddying before they came. We had a birthday party at Pump-It-Up that afternoon which is always fun. Joel loved it. Joe and I took turns taking him into the bouncy houses and took turns taking him down the big slide. He loved every second. If you put him down to crawl around he would crawl straight for the ramp to climb the steps to the top of the slide. After the party we headed home to cook the spaghetti and get ready for dinner. Sunday we had singing, Sunday School, church, then Josie had her acolyte training and Joe had a meeting. We were able to get an 1.5 hour nap in before eating dinner and heading to Awana.

The kids and I are getting adjusted to our new schedule. I still have a really hard time getting them to eat breakfast and Lollie never wants to get dressed, so needless to say there is a lot of fighting over that, but time wise we have done great each day. I have walked Josie in to her class each day and I'm not sure when I'll stop. She wants me just to drop her off like some of the other parents, but I don't know if I am ready for that :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Josie's First Day

If you ask Josie how her first day went, in Tony the Tiger fashion she says, "It was GREAT!!" She was so happy when I picked her up and she loved every second of it. She liked P.E. because they did jumping jacks, and they talked about the Gingerbread Man and the Gingerbread's mom made gingerbread cookies for them to eat. She sang that song all night long. Every day a sheet will be sent home showing either a happy face, a sad face, or a straight face letting us know how their day went, and Josie got a smiley face. Let's hope that continues.

When I picked them up I had a special surprise for the girls from Aunt Sheila: new back packs. I had not bought new back packs because they still had good ones, but yesterday her folder did not fit into the way it needed to so Aunt Sheila bought both girls new back packs. A Littlest Pet Shop monkey with peace signs for Josie and Hello Kitty for Jolie. They got so excited when they saw them and could not wait to take them to school.

Ms. Jackson sent home with her a super sweet goody bag fully of little goodies that had a meaning with it. Laffy Taffy because they are going to laugh and have fun together. A Hug (Hersey's kisses but with a nut inside it) because we all need hugs. Smarties because they are all smart. An eraser because we all make mistakes and IT IS OKAY. A sticker because they need to stick together. And a heart because Ms. Jackson loves them. I must admit I got a little choked up when I read the explanations to her last night.

Today she is spending the day with Aunt Sheila and then tomorrow she goes back for another day at school.

I want to thank everyone who called Josie or wrote me to ask about her day. It meant so much to Josie to be able to share her day with as many people as she could. I told her about all the people who asked about her and her face would just light up. For those who called after she was asleep last night, I will have her call you tonight.

This is such a huge milestone in Josie's life and I am so thankful to have so many people to share it with.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Josie's First Morning as a Kindergartener in Pictures

(Disclaimer: I just realized that the date is worng)

Eating breakfast to make sure our brains are in good working order:

Getting ready to leave:

She arrives at school:

Sitting at HER desk:

Josie and her teacher, Ms. Jackson:

Josie and one proud Momma:


Monday, August 15, 2011

Josie's Last Hoorah

Some of my favorite childhood memories are the spontaneous things (or at least they were spontaneous to my brother and me) we did. I decided I wanted to keep that "tradition" alive with my children and so this past weekend we had a Last Hoorah for Josie before she officially became a kindergartener. As always we are tight on money so I had to be creative, but before my surprise came Aunt Sheila's surprise. Thursday night Joe and I went went to Quint and Sheila's house to watch Caden and Ansleigh while Sheila and Quint went to Caden's open house. Around 7:15 Joe took our kids home to get them in bed while I stayed and put Ansleigh and Caden to bed. When Quint and Sheila got home Sheila came in with this huge smile on her face, and told me that she wanted to surprise Caden, Josie, and Jolie and take them to Chuck-E-Cheese the next day. I think she was as excited about surpirsing the kids and spending that time with them, as I know the kids were once they got to Chuck-E-Cheese. The kids had an absolute blast and came home with pictures, candy, and goodies. Sitting at work Friday morning knowing that my kids were having a great time with Sheila and her sister Stacey made me a little jealous that I couldn't do something fun with the kids. Joe worked this weekend so I knew we really could not do much. Then it hit me. I had my birthday money sitting on my dresser and I had not decided what I wanted to do with it, so I decided to get a hotel room in Greenville, Alabama. We could stay at one with a pool where the kids could swim and at night we could go to the golf course and ride. There is a park close to the golf course so I knew we could do that as well. So on my lunch I ran home and packed up a suitcase, snacks, drinks, swim gear, and anything else I could think of that we would need. As soon as I got off work I picked up Joel from Ms. Debbie, picked up the girls from Sheila, and we headed to Greenville for Josie's Last Hoorah. We had a blast. Joe especially loved it because he had a 5-10 minute drive to work. Hopefully this will be one of the things the girls look back fondly on it, and appreciate that although we didn't do something super exciting, we did have fun, and it was a great little get away.

Sunday we came home and dropped the kids off with MeMaw and Paw-Paw so that Joe and I could go to my boss' father's funeral. He died Friday night, and the funeral was Sunday. After the funeral Joe had session and I rushed back to get the kids ready for Awana at MeMaw and Paw-Paw's church. Jolie moved up to Cubbies and although was a little shy at first warmed up to her teacher and new friends. Josie moved up to Sparks and was fine. I am sure it helped that she had one of her best friends, Elias, there. Annaleigh is in Puggles and I think she enjoyed it as well. Crystal and I talked and caught up and then attended the evening service.

Today was Jolie moved up to a new class at Millbrook Child Development Class. She is in K-4 now with Ms. Amanda. Ms. Amanda is super sweet and I know Jolie will just flourish with her as a teacher. Josie's first day of kindergarten is tomorrow and then starts going every day on Thursday. She is excited and ready. She has been counting down the days.

I'll end with some pictures of the kids at Tanner's birthday party: