Monday, May 28, 2012

VanGrow

The good thing about Groupon is that you can find fun things for you and your family to do together at a cheap price.  The bad thing about Groupon is realizing that an activity that you have purchased is about to expire and trying to find time in your already too busy schedule to fit it in.

As if May wasn't already crazy busy enough, a few weeks ago I realized that we needed to use a Groupon in the next few weeks or we would lose it.  Almost a year ago, I had bought the four biggest cousins an art class for preschoolers at an art studio in Fort Worth named VanGrow.  You would think that sometime in the past 12 months we could have found a Saturday to go, but things like having babies, work, and life in general got in the way.  Luckily, we were able to work it out to leave the two babies at home and go spend a fun afternoon with the big kids this past Saturday.  The kids were also excited that Aunt MerMer was able to join us. 

We had no idea what to expect but were very impressed with the class.  It was very well organized and very age appropriate.  The class was intended for 4-5 year olds but they let us bring Eden and Aubrey as long as we stayed to assist them.  Upon arrival, the kids got to have some free art time while they waited for the other kids to get there.  They had a choice between painting, coloring with stencils, or beading a necklace/bracelet. 
All the activities were centered around an ocean creatures theme.  The first craft was making a crab with their handprints.  They all loved painting their hands red!
The next craft was making an octopus out of clay.  Parker named his octopus Ruben, but he can't seem to remember his name and asks us several times a day what his crab's name is!  Ruben now lives on his dresser in his room!
The last craft was a collage in the shape of a fish.  At this point, Eden was getting tired and I ended up making her fish for her while she whined in my lap.  It was a good thing that there were only three crafts and not four!  We definitely wouldn't have made it any longer! 

I don't think we have any world famous artists on our hands, but I do think the kids all enjoyed being creative together.  I would definitely recommend VanGrow studio to anyone who has creative, artistic kids, especially if you can get a good deal through Groupon like we did.

Friday, May 25, 2012

End of T-Ball Season

Tonight was Parker's last t-ball game of the season.   He has absolutely LOVED playing this year and has improved so much since the first game.  He is hitting harder, catching better and he no longer cries when he gets out! 
His team will not be heading to any championship games but all the boys improved a lot this season.  He had some really sweet boys on his team and it was fun to watch them get better and better with every game they played.  They ended with a 4-6-2 record which put them in 7th place out of 10 teams.  The best part is that Parker could care less about whether or not he won or lost each game.  He was just so excited to get to hit the ball and run the bases. 
It's been exciting to watch Parker's passion for the game develop over the last few weeks.  He is eating, breathing, and sleeping baseball right now.  If he isn't playing, he is playing catch with me or Cory at home.  He also hasn't missed watching a single Rangers game with Cory.  And many times, he is playing catch in the living room while he is watching the Rangers! 
We are proud of him for working so hard this season and are so thankful to all of our family members who came out to watch him play every week.  While I am sad that the season is over, I will not miss sitting out in the heat this summer and am glad the next game he plays will not be until the fall.   

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Parker's Last Week of Preschool...Ever

Yesterday was Parker's last day of preschool...ever. *sigh*
The next time he steps foot in a school it will be as a kindergartner.

I did really well with my emotions this week and the only time I got teary was at drop off yesterday.  (I'm saving the ugly crying for the first day of kindergarten- Ha!)  I usually don't get to take him to school in the mornings but I took off for his graduation ceremony and all I could think about as he hopped out of the car is how much he has grown and changed over the past two years.  The child that I had to pry off of my leg on the first day has now matured into a confident little boy.   

He's had a great year with an excellent teacher and some really sweet friends!  I can not say enough good things about his preschool and how well they've prepared him for kindergarten.

His last two days of school were filled with lots of fun things.  Monday was Splash Day.  They started with a picnic lunch and then headed outside to play in the water.  Just like last year, Parker was hesitant to participate and it took him a while to warm up.  He started at the shaving cream table, then moved to the water table before settling on bubbles.  He spent most of his time making and catching bubbles with a fly swatter.  He told me as we were getting into the car, "Mom, this was my most favorite day ever!".
I love the look on his face as he was getting hosed off...he was definitely done!
Yesterday was his graduation ceremony.  The kids sang several songs before being awarded their certificates of completion.  Parker did a great job singing and didn't seem nervous at all.  After the ceremony, we enjoyed lunch with his classmates and their families in the fellowship hall. 

This week was a great end to a fantastic year!  We will miss Miss Tammy and Miss Amy but luckily our time with them is not over.  Eden will be in the three year old class next year and then Lily will be there when she turns three.  Ready or not, they've got four more years with the Brown kids!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Three and a Half

Eden-
For three and a half years you have been blessing our family with your sweet spirit and easy going personality.  You are such a joy and you smile brightens my day!  Here are some of the things I want to remember about you at this stage in your life:
-You are still tall and thin.  You weigh about 36 pounds and wear size 4T clothes. 
-As a baby, you were a great eater, but lately you have become my most picky eater.  There are meals where you only eat a few bites before telling me you are done.  You used to be the girl who would eat half of the bag of grapes before I could get up to the checkout stand to pay for them, but now I can't get you to touch a piece of fruit with a ten foot pole.  Some of your current favorites are pepperoni, yogurt, cheese nachos, and most types of nuts (especially pistachios).  You also have a huge sweet tooth and never turn down cookies, candy or ice cream. 
-You have the most beautiful curly hair.  You are always telling me, "I have crazy hair!" and without a little bit of product, you are often right!  You wake up in the morning with the worst case of bed head that I have ever seen!  You are always getting compliments on your curls and I hope you will learn to love them as much as I do.
-I love listening to you talk.  You have the sweetest mouse voice that is so different from your siblings.  Your speech has improved so much over the last six months but you still have a long way to go.  If a few things don't clear up in the next few months, we will probably have another speech evaluation to see if more therapy is needed.

-As of a couple of months ago, you are fully potty trained both during the day AND night!  You are very good about waking me up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom instead of having an accident in your bed.  Hooray to no more diapers!!!
-You are not overly affectionate and when you do give kisses, it is usually only on the cheek.  Sometimes you give kisses on the cheek, nose, eyes, and chin... one right after the other. 
-You are painfully shy and do not like to be the center of attention.  I might worry about it if Granna had not reminded me that I was the same way when I was three and that I eventually outgrew it (although I still hate to be the center of attention!). 

-Any time I ask you to do something you don't want to do, you politely say, "nettime" which means, "next time".  For example:
Mommy: Eden, can I have a hug before you go to sleep?
Eden: Nettime.
or
Mommy: Please eat one more bite of your dinner.
Eden: Nettime.

-You LOVE bath time and NEVER want to get out, even after the water has turned cold.  I have to make you get out every. single. time! 

-You know most of the letters of the alphabet and can count and recognize numbers to 10.   Your favorite number is 10 and you love to look for it.  You always ask to use checkout lane #10 at Wal-Mart.

-Up until about a month ago, you hated music and singing.  You would always ask me to stop singing to you as soon as I started.  About a month ago, you spontaneously sang your first song, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star", in the car one afternoon.  I now catch you singing periodically around the house as you are playing.  You can't carry a tune in a bucket, but it is still one of the most beautiful sounds I have ever heard.

You are so precious and being your mommy is such a privilege.  Your terrible two's and three's have not been that bad at all.  Like all three year olds, you have your tantrums and can whine with the best of them, but they are usually short lived and it doesn't take you long to find your "happy heart" again.  What a wonderful gift you are to our family! 

I love you to the moon and back, Mommy 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Taste of Summer

Summer is only two weeks away...I can almost taste it!  I am getting excited about the thought of sleeping in and not having much on our daily schedule and Cory and the kids are getting excited about swimming!  Parker has already been swimming several times and my mom was brave enough to get in with Eden one afternoon.  It will still be several weeks before I'm ready to take the plunge into the frigid water. 
Today Addison and Aubrey came to play, so we got out the little plastic pool and let them swim in the front yard. 
Lily was in heaven!  I forget that this is her first summer to really enjoy the water with the other kids.  She splashed and slid and laughed and didn't get out for almost an hour and a half. 
It took Eden a while to warm up but once she finally got in, she loved it too!  At one point, she and Aubrey took a break to catch a butterfly.  The poor butterfly's life was unfortunately cut short when Aubrey accidentally stepped on it, but the girls didn't seem to mind.  They were just excited that they were finally able to catch it up once it wasn't able to fly anymore.
Parker and Addison had a great time together today.  They played well together and even gave Granna and me a concert with some of their favorite preschool songs and a puppet show after dinner.
I can't wait for more days like this.  The lazy days of summer are one of the best perks of being a teacher.  Two weeks and counting!

I'll leave you with a recent Parkerism from this week.  One of his classmates taught him to bump elbows while saying "porta potty".  (I have no idea what this means, but five year olds apparently think it is hilarious.)  In true Parker fashion, he doesn't get it exactly right and says "porka potty".  I definitely think Cory and I may start greeting each other this way soon!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Granstan!

Happy Birthday to the best Granstan in the world!
We had a Mother's Day/Granstan's birthday celebration this weekend with the whole family.  Parker made sure we sang "Happy Birthday" to Granstan two times before we opened presents.  All of the kids couldn't wait to see what was in his presents.  They are all such good helpers!!
We love you Granstan and hope that you have a very special birthday today!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

AWANAs Award Banquet

Last night was Parker's last night of AWANAs at church.  This was his first year to participate in AWANAs and he has done a great job memorizing his Bible verses every week.  He loves to go on Wednesday night and was excited about receiving his first Cubbies award.  He was so proud of his certificate of completion.
The biggest surprise of the night came when they made a special announcement for Cubbie of the Year.  They honored the one Cubbie who had finished their book, had great attendance, and a great attitude.  We were shocked when they called Parker up on stage to receive this special award.  Cory and I were so proud of him and he could not wait to show everyone his new trophy!  Way to go, Parker!
We are so thankful for his teachers, Miss Suellen and Miss Mandy, for all of the time and effort they put into making Cubbies so much fun every week.  Parker had such a great year and learned so much!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Brotherly Love

Parker can be quite an annoyance to his sisters at times, but usually he is loving, caring, helpful and thoughtful.  A few weeks ago, he came home from Awanas so excited because he had gotten an extra piece of candy for doing a good job.  He had chosen Smarties because he knew it was Eden's favorite.  As soon as he got home, he begged me to let him sneak into her room (she was already asleep) and put it on her chair so that it would be waiting for her when she woke up the next morning. 

The next morning he woke up earlier than normal and ran to my room to ask if Eden had found her candy yet.  As soon as she appeared, he led her back to her room to give her the surprise he had left her.  She was thrilled and even shared her candy with him.  (Yes, I let them eat candy before breakfast that day.  How could I not?  They were both so excited about it.) 

I was so proud of how thoughtful Parker was.  I love watching the big brother/little sister relationship develop between them.  I know things will not always be perfect but I hope the bond they are developing now will last well into their teenage years and even into adulthood.  I always wanted a big brother to look out for me and am so thankful that Eden and Lily will have Parker to lead the way for them.

The funniest part of this story is that when I asked Eden who had left the candy on her chair, she excitedly exclaimed, "SANTA!!!!".  I guess in her little three year old mind Santa is the only one who has ever left her a present while she was sleeping!  Don't worry...we made sure that Parker got credit for his thoughtful deed after we stopped rolling on the floor laughing!

Monday, May 7, 2012

WTS Program Videos

Here are two of the videos from last nights performance.  The first one is Eden's class singing "Old McDonald Had a Farm".  It is hard to watch.  I want to rush up there and give her a great BIG hug as soon as the tears start flowing. 

The second video is the entire preschool singing several songs.  It is kind of long and I am only posting this for my sisters who were not able to come last night.  Last night, I was so worried about Eden that I didn't pay much attention to Parker.  As I was watching this tonight, I was so proud to realize that he is the one on the back row singing so loudly, doing all the motions, and... picking his nose.  Such a proud mommy moment for me!  Enjoy Aunt MerMer and Aunt Emily!  We missed you last night!
video
video

WTS Program/Graduation

Last night was Parker and Eden's end of the year program/graduation at Thursday school. Each class sang a song and then the entire preschool sang several songs together before presenting the graduates their "diplomas". 

Parker's class recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang two songs about going to kindergarten.  They were very cute and he did a great job!
Next up was Eden's class.  Just to give you a little background on Eden- she has always hated singing.  She also hates when other people sing.  She will usually tell me "no" or "stop" when I start tuning up.  One of my biggest desires was that she would learn a few songs and enjoy singing them this year in preschool.  About three weeks ago, we were driving to meet my sister for dinner when my mom and I realized that Eden was in the back seat singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star".  I have never felt so happy and proud.  Over the last few weeks, I have caught her several times singing songs that she learned in preschool.  She will even join with me now when I sing "Jesus Loves Me" to her at bedtime. 
I knew that Eden would more than likely not sing a word at her program, and I was perfectly fine with that.  All I wanted was for her to get up on stage with her class without throwing a fit.  That would be a successful program for me.
Her class sang "Old McDonald Had a Farm" and she was one of the pigs.  She talked all week about holding up her pig picture during the song and even seemed a little excited about it.  I was thrilled when Eden walked up on stage with her friends and the music began without any tears from her.  The cows sang their verse and then it was the pig's turn.  As soon as she realized the spotlight was on her group, the tears started flowing.  Not loud, fit throwing tears, just scared-out-of-my-mind-and-I'm-going-to-cry-quietly-so-hopefully-no-one-will-notice-me tears.  It was heart wrenching.  I wanted so badly to run up on the stage and rescue her, but she finally made it through the song and a teacher picked her up to console her. 
I was shocked when she joined all the classes on stage for the group singing.  She did not utter a sound, of course, but she stood there without crying.  Hopefully, she will outgrow her stage fright by the time her next program rolls around, but seeing as how she is just like me when I was three, I don't have much hope! 
After all the songs were sung (or heard, in Eden's case!), it was time to "graduate".  They announced all of the kids going to kindergarten next year and presented them with a diploma and a backpack that had a Bible in it.  Parker has been carrying or wearing that backpack all day today and we have been reading and rereading lots of his favorite Bible stories.  It was a perfect ending to a great final year of preschool.
Parker and Eden both had such wonderful teachers this year.  Ms. Donna was encouraging and patient with Parker and Ms. Debbie was loving and nurturing to Eden.  It was exactly what each of them needed.  They made some special friends and lots of wonderful memories.  I am really sad to see it come to an end this Thursday but so thankful for another wonderful year!