Monday, September 17, 2012

My Little Girl Turned 5

Well, it's been about 6  weeks, but on August 1st my little girl turned 5. I mentioned we celebrated her birthday in Florida at the Magic Kingdom. That was just our family celebration, and she really wanted to have a party with friends. Since we had done the big Disney celebration, I told Emmaline that we could do a small celebration at the park in our neighborhood with a few friends. After just getting back from vacation I knew I wouldn't feel like having my house trashed by a bunch of kids or feel like making a ton of food. We had the party the weekend after we got back, and ended up doing it on a Friday evening. She was fine with having it at the park and it ended up working out perfectly!

We went with the Minnie Mouse theme this year since just returning from Disney. I really wanted to do cupcakes and keep it real simple at the park, but I ran across a cake on Pinterest (don't you just love Pinterest?) that I fell in love with and Emmaline loved too. So I knew my little girl had to have it for her party. I had the teacher that made Evan's Tigers cake last year make Emme's cake. It really turned out fabulous. I was very pleased, and it tasted delicious too! Here's the Minnie Mouse cake!

Isn't it fabulous? I loved it and so did my little "Minnie Mouse." Emmaline had 7 friends come and they played at the park first, then we had a few light snacks, and presents and cake time. It was a nice little celebration, and I was so glad we decided to do it at the park. It was nice and close to home, and after the party we came home to a clean house and no mess to clean up. I joked that Evan might have to wait and celebrate his birthday in the summer so we can go to the park too. Haha! Here's a few pics from the "Minnie" celebration at our neighborhood park.

My little Minnie Mouse and her birthday cake. (We had a bit of a wind issue at the park and the box caught the top of the ears so they started to fall.)
The kids piling up on the slide!
 Emmaline and her best bud Chloe
 Opening presents with friends!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Florida Family Vacation

As I mentioned in my previous post. We took a family vacation over the summer that I wanted to share a little bit about with you. We went back and forth about when and where we were going to go on our summer vacation. We thought about going to Hershey, Pennsylvania or Orlando and doing the whole Disney thing. Since both kids had baseball/t-ball the whole month of June, we knew we couldn't go until late July or sometime in August. After finally figuring out when we would go, we decided on where to go. As most of you already know from seeing all my pics on Facebook, we ended up doing the whole Disney trip.

We planned to drive down to Florida and knew it would take us two days. We left on July 28th (Saturday) at about 6:30am. Greg and I have driven to Florida many times and always go down through Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and into Florida. This time though we decided to go a different way. I ran across a new route while on Google Maps and discovered we could go through Ohio, the Virginia's, Carolina's, Georgia, and into Florida that way, and it took about the same amount of time. We've never been to many of those states so we figured, why not head that way and check it out. It ended up being a beautiful drive through the mountains and we absolutely loved it! We made out first day the long day and drove until about 9pm that Saturday night. We stayed in South Carolina. On day two we stopped in Jacksonville Beaches to see my dad and step-mom. They were on vacation there and were leaving to go home that day, but we got there early enough to see them at the hotel they were staying at. It was right on the beach and the kids got to visit the ocean for the first time ever! They dipped their feet in the Atlantic Ocean and collected some seashell. They absolutely loved it! We stayed for a couple hours and then headed onto our hotel in Orlando. Here's my two travelers checking out the salt water.
My dad graciously got us a hotel for the week at the Marriott Springhill Suites which was only 5 minutes from Disney. We got settled in and then decided to take the kids to Downtown Disney that evening. We ate at Planet Hollywood, the kids first time there, and then toured some of the shops at Downtown Disney. We had a busy week ahead at Disney World, as well as a stop at Legoland, and SeaWorld so it was early to bed that night. Our first full day in Orlando, Monday, we headed to Hollywood Studios. The kids absolutely loved it! Much was the same as I remembered from 11 years ago, but there was also a lot of new things. Tuesday, we made a 45 minute drive south of Orlando to Legoland in Winter Haven. Evan really wanted to go to Legoland ever since he heard about it opening last fall. Since it ended up that we would be in Florida for Emmaline's birthday we figured we should do the one thing that he really wanted to do. Legoland was fun, and the kids enjoyed it. I personally have seen it/ done it and if we were to go back I'd rather do more at Disney or go to Universal which we didn't get the chance to do. Wednesday was our big big day. We planned to go to the Magic Kingdom since it was Emmaline's birthday and celebrate her big day turning 5 there. Dreams came true and she got to meet many of her beloved princesses. It truly was a magical day for her, as well as Evan. As a parent, I loved loved loved being able to see all the joy that Disney brought to them. We had a full day at the park and I made reservations before we left for vacation to take Emme to a dessert firework party that night for her birthday. We all were able to finish off our wonderful day and Emme's birthday, and enjoy a buffet of desserts and watch the fireworks over Cinderella's Castle. Awesome!

After three full days at parks, we decided we needed a rest day. It was a lot for the kids to take in and we as well were tired! We took it easy on Thursday, and lounged at the pool in the morning. Then we decided to take the kids over to the City Walk at Universal so they could get a glimpse of what Universal/Islands of Adventure was like. Evan picked lunch at the NBA City Restaurant, and then we played mini golf and shopped at City Walk. Then we headed back to the hotel to chill a little before we went to a nice dinner that night (something that wasn't fast food or park food), and back to Downtown Disney for a bit. It was a much needed day of slowing down and relaxing a little to gear up for the rest of the week.

Friday we headed to Sea World and the kids really enjoyed all the animals. Once again we were at the park all day, and it was fun to watch the kids see Shamu for the first time. Saturday we headed back to Disney and went to Animal Kingdom. We headed straight for the Safari ride first and the kids really enjoyed it! So much we had to do it again before we left. One of the other favorite parts of Animal Kingdom was the Festival of the Lion King show. The kids were even lucky enough to be picked and be a part of the show. So awesome for them! It was nice that this park closed a little earlier, and were able to get out of there at a decent time.  We decided since we were done earlier than normal that we'd go check out some of the Disney Resorts. We walked around the Animal Kingdom resort which was fun to check out. Did you know you can get a room with a balcony that over looks the animals? Giraffes, zebras, etc. right outside of your room! Sunday was our last day and we spent it at Epcot. There were some things at Epcot that I remembered from years ago, but there were A LOT of things that I totally didn't remember or that were new! We had a wonderful last day and the kids had fun touring through the different countries.

Unfortunately Monday was our day to start heading home. We ended up kind of taking our time getting out of there. We made one final stop at Downtown Disney (I love that place) before getting on the road. The drive home seemed to be slower than the drive down. Mostly because we had to leave our wonderful vacation, but we did run into about 20 minutes of bad weather in Georgia that slowed us down. It poured like I've never seen before and I could barely see the road driving. SCARY! Thankfully it cleared up. We made it to Chattanooga, TN that night and called it a night. Our last day of vacation on Tuesday was driving the other half of the way home. We made one stop in Bowling Green, KY to meet another Emmaline. Yes, that's right. I met this gal through Facebook through another friend. Her name is Elaina and her daughter is also Emmaline Grace. Spelled exactly the same way. We never thought they'd meet, but since we were passing right through Bowling Green where they lived we figured it was the perfect opportunity. The girls enjoyed meeting each other. It was really nice to have the chance to do so. We made it home about 7pm Tuesday night.

I have to say the kids did a pretty good job two days in the car down, six parks in seven days (FULL DAYS), and two days in the car on the way home. They really are great travelers! It was such an amazing family vacation. Something I've always dreamed of doing with my kids. Greg really has never been a big Disney fan, but even he had a great time. It's something every parent should do with their kids! Dreams came true and wonderful memories were made! A big thanks to Greg's mom for helping us get there (she gave us money for Christmas last year to put towards vacation, and then she gave the kids money to put towards souvenirs their park tickets before we left. Also a big thanks to my dad and step-mom for redeeming some of their hotel points for us and getting us the hotel. Very much appreciated! And a huge thanks to Greg for making this possible for our family! I love that he let us choose Disney to go to! It will definitely be a vacation we'll never forget and a 5th birthday I'm sure Emmaline will remember forever! I took over 800 pictures on vacation so I'm just going to share a couple of my favorites here. :)

Our first day at Disney- Hollywood Studios (the backdrop if perfect!)
 Emmaline's Birthday at the Magic Kingdom!

The picture I really wanted of the kids in their Mickey/Minnie attire with Mickey & Minnie!
 Her favorite princess- Belle! I LOVE this pic. My favorite!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Kindergarten & Second Grade

Well hello! Gosh, it's been FOREVER since I've blogged. Like two months forever! It's crazy that my last post was about the last day of school, and now I'm back to talk about the first day of school. Yes, we've had a whole summer of fun things happening. Apparently my theory that summer went by way to fast is true, since I haven't blogged about any of it. I'm not going to even try to go back and cover all of summer, but there's a few highlights I really promise to share. Seriously I mean it. We went on vacation last month and I really want to share some of it. Plus my little baby girl turned five! Those will be my next posts, but for today I have to talk about the first day of school in 2012.

Yesterday was the first day of school, and it's a first day of school that I can't believe is happening already. I mean seriously, how did my two little bundles of joy grow up so fast? I'm still in denial that my babies are growing up, but it's true. Yesterday was the official day that both the kiddos are in elementary school! *Sniff, sniff. It seems like it was just yesterday that we were taking Evan to his first day of Kindergarten, and here we are taking my little baby girl to her first day of Kindergarten. Oh how time sure does fly! My little guy went off to his first day of second grade. I know, you can't believe it either right?

My little girl started her journey at the school Evan previously attended, Wilkshire Elementary. She got placed in Mrs. Mills class which we requested and are thoroughly overjoyed with. If you remember, Evan had Mrs. Mills for Kindergarten and we loved her! We are definitely looking forward to Emmaline's year in Kindergarten. This is the first year that Haslett has full day Kindergarten so totally different than when Evan was in Kindergarten. Because of this switch to full day, the first day of school yesterday was a little different for all the kindergarten classes. They went for about a half day and did what they call a "soft start." Parents went to school with their child in lieu of an open house before school started. It was a nice start for the first day, and I didn't have to leave my Emmaline ALL day. Today was the first full day for Kindergarten, and it was definitely harder on me than on Little Miss Independent. It didn't phase Em at all to leave mom and dad to head off to school for a full day. She was more than ready and couldn't wait to get her day started. That little stinker growing up so fast on me.

Evan as I mentioned headed off to 2nd grade, and with that brought a new school to attend. In Haslett there is a K-1 building and then the kids split off to a 2-5 building at either Ralya or Murphy. Evan is at Ralya, which is kind of weird for me. Ralya is where I did my student teaching 15 years ago. If you asked me back then if my kids would attend there someday, I probably would have said "No." It's weird to see how it's changed over the years, and see the classroom where I once taught. I'm delighted though that he's fortunate to be at a very good school. Not only is he at a great school, he lucked out getting the teacher we requested. I didn't know any of the teachers other than word of mouth from parents and other teachers. He is in Mrs. Zuke's class and two days in he already knows it's going to be a great year. He really likes his teacher. Evan had a full day yesterday which I was used to from him having a full day last year when he started first grade. I still missed him all day though since I was so used to having both kids home the last three months.

We experienced a first on the first day of school... RAIN! I always do the kids pictures outside before we leave for school on the first day, but this year we had to compromise and take them on the porch and inside. It was really dark out yesterday and raining. While I didn't get my normal shots, I did get some cute one's so I'll share a few with you.

My little Kindergartner
 My second grader
 Hugs for brother before we leave! (She gave Evan a big hug in the afternoon too when we picked him up because she really missed him.)
 Emmaline and Mrs. Mills
 Evan with Mrs. Zuke (this was taken at the Open House last week)
 And this picture... well this is when it was harder on me than Emmaline. Today when I dropped her off and waited for her class to leave the lunch room she was ready to go. She had this being a kindergartner down and was fine leaving momma. Ugh, how I missed her all day. She did great though and loved her first day. I'm sure over time I'll get used to it. I know she's in good hands, and she's going to have a wonderful school year!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Where Did June Go?

Well here it's is almost the 4th of July and it seems this oh so neglected blog was severely neglected for the month of June. Remember me telling you we would be having ball four nights a week for part of May and the month of June. Well, yep we did and it pretty much consumed our first few weeks of summer vacation. I think it's the fastest June I can ever remember. How it's July already is beyond me, but it is what it is. SUMMER, PLEASE SLOW DOWN! I'm going to "speed" through June so we can get to the more current stuff.  I never even blogged about the end of the school year for Evan so that's up first.

Evan was done with school on June 8th. That last week of school went fast of course. On Monday of that week there was an end of the year class party and all the kids in his class and his teacher put on a celebration for the parents. They show a video of different things they did throughout the school year. It was so crazy to see how much the kids had grown throughout the year. Then each student did a poem reading for their parents. Evan did a great job reading his poem that he wrote about baseball. At the end the class did a little skit about saying good bye to first grade and hello to second grade. They were all so cute! Once all that was over we got to go around the room with Evan and gather any of his work that was up, clean out cubbies, and there were refreshments of cookies and lemonade to end the day. It was a very nice celebration his teacher put together. Here's some photos of the first grade celebration.

Evan reading his poem
The class doing their skit!

 Enjoying some refreshments with sister!
 Evan and his teacher Mrs. Park

The last day of school was a little sad for a few reasons. One being that my little guy is growing up too fast and is going into 2nd grade already. Where does the time go? Two, in that we absolutely loved Wilkshire and the learning experience that Evan's had there in kindergarten and first grade. Now Evan leaves that school for a new school in second grade (It's only a K-1 building). Three, Emmaline will be starting at Wilkshire in the fall, and it would have been nice to have them both at the same school. Four, Evan had a wonderful teacher and a fantastic year in first grade with Mrs. Park. She does an excellent job with the kids and you can tell she really loves her job. We will miss the sports room tremendously! Bye bye first grade! I'm so proud of Evan and the terrific year he had in first grade. He once again had another perfect report to end the year. That makes 8 out of 8 perfect report cards between kindergarten and first grade. Here's a couple pics from the last day of school!
Evan and his "girlfriend" Jaidyn. It was "torture" getting them to take a picture together. LOL
 I now have a 2nd grader!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Little Preschool Graduate

Last week was Emmaline's final week of preschool. The school year went fast that's for sure. Wednesday was her last "official" day at Miss Shirley's, and then on Thursday they had a preschool graduation. It was held at a park near school and there was a potluck lunch along with it. The weather was absolutely beautiful! A perfect day to be at the park! Miss Shirley goes all out for graduation and each of the kids got to wear a graduation cap and walk to get their "diploma." It was very very cute. Here's my little girl "graduating" from preschool.

Once all the kids walked to get their "diplomas," the teachers handed out their end of the year gifts.   Here's the whole class of graduates with their teachers.

After graduation we had the potluck lunch. Then the kids got to play for awhile. Here's Emmaline with a few of her friends- Chloe, Addison, and Sophia.

It's weird this week not having to go to Miss Shirley's. It was a fantastic year for Emmaline in preschool, and she's grown so much in her learning. She really is going to miss going to preschool, but is looking forward to kindergarten in the fall. I'm so glad we ended up sending her to Miss Shirley's. She loved it, and she had some wonderful teachers. Here's my little graduate with her three teachers- Miss Shirley, Miss Brie, and Miss Gail. Miss Brie came in the middle of the year and Miss Sallie (not pictured) left. We really missed Sallie the second half of the year.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mother's Day Weekend!

Here I am again! Doesn't seem like almost a month since I've blogged, but just goes to show how busy I've been. I've got a few things I want to write about, but first I need to catch up on Mother's Day weekend. That week prior to Mother's Day, I spent getting ready for a garage sale, finishing up the last week of dance class, and the start of t-ball and baseball practice. It was a non-stop week! I always forget how much work setting up for a garage sale is. Not to mention I'm a little anal when it comes to organizing things on the table. I had my sale on that Thursday and Friday. My mom came to help me with the sale which was much appreciated. We had a pretty successful Thursday. Friday was really slow in the morning and we ended up doing most of our sales in an hour and a half time frame in the afternoon. We ended up closing early since it was slow. Plus I had to get the kids ready for our big busy weekend!

Mother's Day weekend also meant the end of dance. The kids had their big dance recital on that Saturday. Friday night they both had rehearsal and had to go in full costume and hair done. Evan was fast to get ready, he can do it all himself. Emmaline on the other hand had to have her hair in a bun, make up on, and help with her tights and costume. For rehearsal each class just did one run through. Both kids did a good job with their songs. The rehearsal ended up not taking as long as we expected which was nice after a two long days doing the garage sale. We anticipated a long evening, but got home at a decent time.

Saturday was the big day with dance recital. There were two shows, one at noon and another at 6pm. Of course the kids had to be there a little early for both. I ended up helping as a backstage mom for the first show. I got to hang out in the back with Em's class and some of the other little girls. I was able to watch both kids perform from the side of the stage for the first show. Emmaline's ballet class performed to "Beauty and the Beast." Evan's hip hop class performed to "Where The Girls At." Both kids did a great job! They brought tears to my eyes. So proud! I give them a lot of credit for getting on that stage for the first time in front of 500+ people and dancing their hearts out! While I was at recital, Greg went to Menards and bought some wood and built me a raised garden that I've been asking for. More on that to come!

After the first show we got to come home for awhile before heading back for the 6pm show. This was the show we got to watch from the audience. My mom, sister, Kaite, and Greg's mom, went with us to the show. I was so excited to get to watch it the second time around from the audience instead of the side of the stage. I was a little nervous leaving Emmaline in the back for so long, but I knew she would be in good hands with other mom's and classmates. Evan I knew would be fine hanging with the boys. Both did good of course and I got to go check on them at intermission. The performances we ten times better from the audience versus watching backstage. Emmaline performed first and then Evan was a few songs after her. Both kids did a fantastic job! It was so great to see all their hard work throughout the year of dance turn into such wonderful performances. They both melted my heart, and I was so so so proud of them once again! It was so awesome to see! The whole recital was great. All the classes did a good job! It was a long day for all of us, especially the kids. They made it through though and loved it! Here's my little dancers! So cute!

We ended the long busy week with a nice Mother's Day. We did a late breakfast at Hannah's with my mom, sister, and Kaite. Then they all headed home early afternoon, and we took it easy for the most part. Later on we went to dinner with Greg's mom. It was a busy few days, but well worth it to see the kiddos perform. I'm a little sad dance is over, but sort of glad since now we are in full swing with t-ball for Em and baseball for Evan. We're on the go once again with not much of a break until the end of June. Yes, I said the end of JUNE! Looking forward to the long weekend ahead!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Girls Night Shopping

On Friday night Emmaline and I had a girls night out shopping with Evan's friend Jaidyn, and her mom Joanna. If you remember, Jaidyn is Evan's friend who we say is his "girlfriend." He's got a little crush on her. She and Em have become friends too. The two of them each got the same American Girl doll, McKenna over spring break. They both have been wanting more clothes for their dolls. So Joanna and I thought it would be fun for the girls to go shopping together. While we don't have an American Girl store around here, I've seen some stuff at Target that is similar to American Girl, but they call it Generation Doll. Kohl's also has a limited amount of girls pajamas that have matching doll pj's with them. So we met up at Kohl's first to see what we could find. Both girls were ready to shop with their McKenna dolls in tow.

Both girls ended up picking out the same nighties for themselves with the same matching jammies for their dolls. We then headed over to Target and the girls must have shopped so much at Kohl's that they decided they needed a drink when we got to Target. How cute are they together enjoying their Sprite?

They both ended up getting the same dolls clothes at Target too. :) Em was excited because one of the pieces is a ballet outfit. She said McKenna will look like her when she goes to ballet. It was a fun evening and the girls can't wait to get together and play with their dolls. They really can't wait to get more clothes too! Here's Em when we got home and got ready for bed. She absolutely loves having the same clothes as her doll!