Friday, May 27, 2016

Playing In the Sprinkler

It's finally hot here and the pools open tomorrow! I can't believe the change in weather from just a week ago when it was cold and rainy and we didn't think it was EVER going to get warm here!

Yesterday, when we got home from Dakota's awards ceremony, I let the kids put on their suits and run through the sprinkler. They were in HEAVEN!

After running through the sprinkler half a million times I moved it over to water the garden path area. The sprinkler ended up reaching the trampoline so they got to jump on the there while getting wet at the same time! It was genius and they must have jumped on that trampoline for a good half hour. Harper was loving all of it and while Dakota enjoyed it, she did what she could to not get too wet. I swear she had as much fun avoiding the water as Harper had getting wet. 

Harper yelled to me that he was a sprout and each time the water sprayed him he'd grow a little. So, he started sitting and then went to his knees and eventually stood up which is when I thought to get a picture of him being adorable. :)

When I finally made the executive decision to turn the water off they played in the sand box for a bit...and they made some mud too.

I am really looking forward to spending some time at the pool tomorrow and both kids kept asking me if it was really going to open tomorrow. They needed lots of reassurance! If you need us tomorrow, you'll have to come see us at the pool!

Jam Packed Friday

Today started early and man was it busy. (Tony worked from home today and Harper is off for Kindergarten conferences so the only one not here all day was Landon.)

Our first stop this morning was at Harper's school for his 9 a.m. appointment. I was eager to hear what his teacher had to say because I know I can see a huge difference in his school work. His teacher basically told me what I already knew (that he's a great student, eager to learn and smart) and that he's surpassed the reading requirement for entering 1st grade. They use an alphabet scale with A being the lowest reading level and Z the highest. They want kids to be at level D when entering first grade and he's a G! I'm so proud of him! Reading is something he loves so I think we'll be able to make progress this summer when we practice and maybe he'll even be higher when he starts school again in the fall. His dad and I are both really proud of him! As far as math and the other core subjects, he's doing great!

After the awesome meeting with Harper's teacher we all headed to the open play time at Rolly Pollies. Dakota missed her session on Wednesday because she and I decided to go and help with the 4 year old graduation ceremony at her preschool. So, we made up her missed session today and Harper was able to join us. Those two had a blast!

After Rolly Pollies we had to go right back to the elementary school for Dakota's speech lesson and then a meeting with her speech teacher regarding her IEP and the plan for next year. Because we'd been running all over all morning both kids were getting whiny and tired so Dakota's teacher cut her lesson short and kept our meeting brief. She went over why Dakota still needed regular speech sessions and told me that she thought Dakota might do better with more frequent but shorter speech sessions. Instead of 30 minutes 3 times a month maybe 2 twenty minute sessions a week. This will all be re-evaluated in the fall when she goes back to school and depend on whether or not she goes to the county preschool or CNS. Decisions, decisions...

This weekend is going to be a busy one for us and we've got a lot of work to do before our upcoming camping trip. Not to mention the vegetable garden that we need to finish planting, the mulch we need to have delivered and spread, and we'll also be prepping for a little Memorial Day get together here at the house. Here's to a happy long weekend! 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Class of 2030!

Today was a big day for our little Dakota. She had her final hurrah as a 3 year old at preschool. The three's just have a very informal awards ceremony (they get a certificate) and a fun ice cream party afterwards. It's nothing like the graduation they get at 4 before going to Kindergarten but it's a nice send off for the summer. Harper happens to be off school today and tomorrow for conferences so he lucked out and got to go to her ceremony and ice cream party. He was THRILLED!

Aside from their certificates the kids were each given a preschool keepsake. A little framed photo of themselves holding a sign that says "class of 2030". 2030! Can you even imagine!! That seems like light years away...I'm smart enough to realize it's practically tomorrow, but really! 2030...

After the certificates were handed out it was time for ice cream. The kids had fun choosing their toppings and eating dessert for breakfast (practically, it was only 10:45a.m.) and then we all headed outside so the kids could play together one last time. 

It was a tough year for my Kota and I'm not sure this was the best idea given how long it took her to adjust but it's too late to second guess things now. If it weren't for her incredibly patient teacher we probably would have stopped going back in January. Dakota just had so much anxiety and fear about school that I was feeling hopeless and worried and ready to quit. Her teacher assured me that she was happy while she was at school (she texted me pictures all the time to prove it!) and Dakota confirmed it every day when I picked her up, so we trudged on. 

For some reason, around the beginning of April, she stopped crying. She asked when we were going to school and said she wished she could go more often. Just like that. A switch flipped and she was okay. As painful as those months of crying were, it was nearly just as painful to see her jump so happily out of the van and run into school. I know that's plain silly and I should just be glad she was happy, but I couldn't help but wonder if I'd just worn her down. Had I forced her into school so many times (crying, begging me to stay, pleading to just take her with me) that she'd given up asking me to not make her go? Or, did she realize that my word was good and I'd ALWAYS come back for her, no matter what? I hope the answer is the latter, but I fear it wasn't. 

Next year is up in the air as of right now. I've signed her up for the 4 AM class at CNS, but I've also registered her with two county preschools. The county schools are free, 5 days a week (part-time) and she would receive help with speech on a regular basis while her current preschool is $165.00 a month and only 3 days a week for 2 1/2 hours, no speech. So, the county has a lot of pro's but CNS has my heart. I've invested a lot of time and love into that school so it isn't just an easy thing to walk away from. I probably won't decide 100% until I absolutely have to. (We may not be selected for the county anyway because they have a tiered system in which homeless/low income are offered the first spots, IEP/Special Ed students are second tier and everyone else is last. Dakota has an IEP for speech so we make the second tier, but still. IEP- Individualized Education Program.) 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Plant Nite!

I mentioned before that Zoe bought herself and I tickets to Plant Nite as a mother's day gift to me and tonight was our night out.  Plant Nite is just like Paint Nite but instead of painting (which I am horrible at) you get to make a little terrarium. That girl knows me so well! She knows I LOVE crafting in all forms so this was right up my alley!

We started with a little cup of rocks, a wooden box, and some cactus soil. First, put some rocks in the bottom of your (plastic lined) pot/box. Just enough to cover the bottom. Then add your cactus soil. She had us fill our box to about an inch under the liner. 

The next part was the hardest; choosing which succulents we'd use. There were lots of options and Zoe and I both settled on three each.

Once we'd settled on our plants we decided how we'd put them in the soil...and then we planted them in their new homes. 



Once they were in the dirt we gave them a few squirts of water and then it was break time for those who needed one. Next up was the fun part, decorating! The trays they gave us had all kinds of  colored and natural pebbles, mini pinwheels, tiny dinosaurs as well as larger stones with paint pens if you were feeling inspired to decorate a rock. 

I decided to go with white rocks beneath my plants with natural stones around the border. I then put some colored moss in one corner and stuck my pinwheel there. At the last minute I decided I wanted a few colored stones in there so I added some blue pebbles for a "water" look. I'm really happy with how it turned out!


Zoe had a harder time deciding which direction to take with hers. She kept wanting to change the placement of her plants once they were in but I talked her out of it and told her she could fill in with rocks and moss. She ended up using a lot of assorted colored rocks, and at first she had them separated around each plant but then changed her mind and mixed them all together. She had a lot of room in one corner of her box and a good amount of space behind a few plants so she filled that area in with the colored moss and her bright blue pinwheel. It turned out perfectly! I love how different ours were despite the common elements. 

The event lasted about an hour and we were some of the last to leave. We both had a good time and I know I'd definitely go again! Thank you, Zoe! 

*Spray succulents once a week through spring and summer. No idea what to do with them through fall and winter... Need 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Face Swapping

Today turned out quite a bit different than I thought it would. I got Harper off to school and then took Dakota to preschool, as usual, but when I picked her up, instead of going home we headed to Columbia Mall to meet Zoe for lunch. It's raining here AGAIN so it was good to have somewhere to go to get out of the house for awhile. We met at Zoe's Kitchen for lunch and then took Dakota to ride on the merry go round, which she just loves.

Zoe wanted to look for another dress for our upcoming cruise so we checked what they had at JCPenny. She tried several on but didn't love anything and when she went to look for more, Dakota and I went to the play area so she could climb and slide a little bit. She's really getting much too big for those little play areas, but she just can't resist!

We left the play area around 2 pm. We got back in our neighborhood just in time to meet Landon's bus and since it was raining, we waited for him. Zoe decided to come spend the rest of the afternoon with us and just 20 minutes after getting home it was time to get Harper off the bus. Phew! I felt like all I did was run this way and that all day! Tony rolls in around 4 each afternoon and Brandon came by to eat dinner with us as well. So, instead of just the five of us tonight, there was 7, and as usual, it was great! I love when we all get together like that! Nothing planned exactly, it just works out. 

As usual there was lots of running around and playing and silliness and for some reason Zoe decided to get her phone out to do some face swaps. The results really had me laughing!

Those are some scary faces but so dang funny! Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

Monday, May 16, 2016

What's Your Sign?

Both Harper and Dakota love making signs and hanging them on the doors in the house. Here are the latest additions:

The sign above is hanging on the door from the kitchen to the garage. Harper really wanted to hang this one on the front door but I'm not about to allow tape on my brand new front door so he settled for magnets on the garage door. It's facing the outside so that if anyone comes to our house they'll be too scared to come in because "our are house is haunted". :) I haven't got the slightest idea why he thought to make this sign or why he wants people to think our house is haunted, but there you have it. You've been warned.

The following sign is one Dakota made after he ticked her off.

That unhappy sign is hanging on the outside of her door letting Harper know that he is not welcome in her room. They had been playing outside when Dakota came up crying that Harper hit her (usually it's the other way around). She immediately locked him outside, grabbed paper and a marker and got to work on this sign. It's hard to see, but she made the mouth "not smiling" and "mean", because Harper was mean. You can see though that she gave him long "girl hair" and that made him a girl. When she told him she'd made him a girl he was a little pissed. He said "well, if I'm a girl then you're a boy" and she responded with "no I'm not, see I have long girl hair". And so it went. She hung that sign with not one but two pieces of tape...we'll see how long it works out for her. 

I Love the 90's!

I have got a majorly busy week ahead and the weekend wasn't relaxing either, but it sure was fun! My high school friend Melissa and I went to the I Love the 90's concert in Baltimore on Saturday night. It was sooo much fun! She got up here around 4:30 or so and we had to leave immediately because we knew there was also going to be a baseball game and parking gets tricky with so much going on in one night. (Thanks to Tony for thinking of the game/parking issue! It's something I wouldn't have thought of!) We made it into the city with no problems, got great parking and then headed out to find some dinner.

We ended up going to Kona Grill, a place Tony and I had eaten and enjoyed before. We both settled on sushi (excellent!) and while she tried a Sake Sangria, I had a Classic Mojito (yum!). She also wanted to try one of the beers, a Kirin Ichiban, and it was HUGE so I ended up helping her finish that. It was pretty good! Once we were stuffed we headed back to the venue.

I looked online a few days before the concert to see if the seating had filled up and saw that it hadn't changed much since I'd ordered my tickets. There were a lot of empty seats down on the floor where we were but the stands were pretty full. The floor in front of us was packed but I'd gotten end row seats and we had pretty good line of site to the stage. I think if I go there for a concert again I'll get the cheaper stand tickets as I think the seating is actually a little better. But, it was fine for this concert because we almost never sat so it didn't matter!

The show kicked off with Young MC and while he wasn't my favorite, he was good. It seemed to take him a bit to get everyone pumped up but when Rob Base came out, things got better. The next to come out was Tone Loc, and he must have told us a dozen times that he was happy to still get to be onstage at the ripe old age of 50! I can't believe I'm only 10 years younger than him! (Makes me feel super old!) I loved hearing him sing Wild Thing and he really has a unique voice that I'd forgotten. Seeing him was one of the highlights of the show, for me anyways. Coolio came out after Tone and he's not one of my favorites either but in the middle of his set he did a tribute to some artists that have recently passed (Prince, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston etc.) and that was pretty great! Color Me Badd was next followed by All 4 One. They were both great and reminded us of how much we loved hearing those beautiful harmonies; something you don't hear so much anymore. Salt N Pepa were the closing act and they were phenomenal! They looked great, sounded great and Spinderella was there to DJ! It was AWESOME! Mid way through their set they also did a bit of a tribute but theirs was geared to other amazing 90's artists. I can't remember all of the bands they highlighted but I know Guns N Roses, Nirvana and Bel Biv Devoe were in there! There were probably 15 others, but I can't remember them all!

Melissa and I had a wonderful time and I can't remember the last time I danced so much! The show didn't end until after 11pm (I think) and after sitting in the parking garage for about half and hour we finally got back to my house around 12:45am. Poor Missy had to drive home from here because she didn't have anyone to keep her dog, so she didn't get home till after 2 am. Fun times for sure and I hope we'll get to see another show together some time!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Perfect Gifts

I'm here real quick this morning to share the cute Mother's Day gifts I received on Sunday. My kids gave me some real treasures this year...

  • Zoe bought us tickets for a "Plant Nite". She asked me not to look it up, so I haven't, but she said it's like a Paint Nite only we get to make a terrarium! I'm sooo excited! I don't know what that says about me, but I am really looking forward to spending the time with her making something awesome! She knows me so well! 

  • Landon's gift came via the mail, yesterday. Apparently the first time they ordered it, it didn't go through so they reordered and I got it yesterday afternoon, which is why I've waited to write about my gifts until now. :) He ordered me a cute little wind chime:

It's quite small and he seemed disappointed with it's size, but it's really nice! I plan to hang it in my gazebo where it won't be subject to all the crappy weather. I think it'll look really nice in there.

  • Harper couldn't wait to give me the gift he made at school. He was awesome and wouldn't tell me what he'd been up to no matter how much I pestered him! 

He was so proud of his work! The pot of fingerprint flowers is adorable and I'm so happy he knows how much I love him!

  • Dakota's Mother's Day gift was perfect too. She drew a picture of me on a ceramic plate and answered a few questions about me...I love what she said although I think some of her choices were her favorites, not mine! :)

I'll be sure to post about "plant nite" once it's over...

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

My Mother's Day didn't begin until I rolled out of bed around 8:30 am. Tony had taken the kids out to get donuts to share with Mema so the house was nice and quiet when I got up. I took a leisurely shower and just as I finished up, they were home. It wasn't much longer before Zoe and Brandon were at the house and we were making plans for the day.  We ended up sitting around the table chatting the morning away and then we all hopped in the van and drove to Frederick for lunch. I've never been to Frederick before but I loved it right away! It's so pretty out there and the weather was perfect. We had a nice lunch at a little Mexican restaurant, La Paz and then we drove out to explore Washington Monument State Park where we took 5 bajillion pictures...

As you can see, the scenery out there is amazing! It was fun to climb up to the top of the tower and the views from up there were breathtaking. The kids loved climbing up and down the steps as well as on top of every available rock! And, when I say kids, I mean Dakota, Harper, Landon and Brandon! (When Dakota first saw the tower she said "I wanna go see the princess! All princesses live in castles! So CUTE!)

Once we made it back down the trail we spent a little time on the (sorry) playground and then we headed back home.

We didn't get home till after 4:30 pm and we were exhausted! Tony grilled up some burgers and sides and Mema joined us for dinner. It was an excellent way to spend my Mothers Day and the best part was that I didn't have to do much of the planning!

Now to start thinking about Father's Day...

Water Balloons

When my kids told me they didn't know what to do with themselves yesterday I suggested they go outside and play with the water balloons....