Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Eden's End of Year Speech Party

Last week, Eden had her end of the year speech party.  She has had such a wonderful year of speech with her therapist, Mrs. Fabiola, and we are so proud of all of the progress she has made with her articulation.
The party started with a speech story about a little boy and girl who got to eat ice cream and after that, Eden got to make her own ice cream sundae- yum!
We love Mrs. Fabiola!
The last activity was Articulation BINGO.  Eden was paired up with several other students (including a third grade student) and they played one game of BINGO.  I was worried that she would get nervous playing with kids she didn't really know, but I was wrong.  She loved it and even found a few of their pictures on her own!

We are so thankful to Mrs. Fabiola for all she had done for Eden this year and can't wait to see how Eden continues to improve over the summer!

Parker's GT Presentation

Last week, Parker had his end of the year GT presentation to show off all of the work he has been doing in Mrs. Webb's GT class.  This nine weeks, the kindergartners have been studying different artists and art mediums.  Parker got to go up and show all of the pictures that he had created over the past few months.  We are so proud of everything Parker has done this year and look forward to another fun year of learning in first grade.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Our Family Field Trip to the Zoo

A few weeks ago, Cory was off on a Saturday and we didn't have anything planned, which doesn't happen very often.  Since he only has one Saturday morning off every month, we usually plan it when we have something important going on, like Parker's birthday party or our ski trip.  Because we didn't have any plans and the weather was perfect, we decided to pack a lunch and surprise the kids with a trip to the zoo.  It had been over a year since we had been to the Fort Worth Zoo, so we knew they would be so excited!
When we got there, the first thing they wanted to see was the flamingos.  It was fun to watch Lily's expressions- the last time we were here she was barely walking.   
 Next up were the monkeys and rhinos.
In the African area of the zoo, we saw elephants, giraffes, and Lily's favorite... the hippos.  I still can't figure out why she loved the hippos so much, because all they did was lay in the water, but she asked to go see them twice.  And to this day, if you ask her what her favorite thing was at the zoo, she will always say the hippos!
We had to stop for a quick snack break after the giraffes because the kids were "starving".  I'm not sure how they could have been starving after only 30 minutes of walking, but we stopped for a snack anyway!
The one thing Parker and Eden couldn't wait to do was feed the birds, so we headed there next.  We saw the lions, tigers and mountain goats (who both happened to be going to the bathroom on the rocks...a highlight of the trip!) on our way to the bird cage.  Unfortunately, the birds were not interested in eating our birdseed this time, and we only got a few to come anywhere near us.
Lunch was up next and I could not believe how much these three kids ate!  They ate everything I packed... six sandwiches, four bags of chips, three apples, three bananas, applesauce, juice boxes, and they were still asking for more.
Next we walked over to the petting zoo and the kids enjoyed petting a chicken, hog, and goat (who also happened to be going to the bathroom).  It was a six year old boys dream come true!  He couldn't stop laughing about how all the goats we saw were going to the bathroom!
The last time we went to the zoo, the kids were disappointed because the carousel was being remodeled.  Today, they were all excited to get to ride it!
By this time, the kids were getting tired and the zoo was getting a lot more crowded, so we decided to call it a day.  Our last stop on the way to the car was the new reptile house with crocodiles and lots of snakes.  Eden loved looking at all the snakes and was super excited when she got to touch one.
We all had such a fun time at the zoo and I enjoyed spending time with Cory and the kids so much.  It is always fun to go places with friends and extended family, but sometimes it is just nice to do things as a family of 5.  We made lots of memories and even though it's been two weeks, the kids are still talking about our "family field trip" to the zoo (which is what Parker called our outing!).  Just last night as I was putting Lily to bed, she kept telling me about the monkeys who were just hanging around, the elephants with hay on their backs, and the hippos in the water.  Hopefully, it won't be another year before we make it back to the zoo!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Four and a Half

Today you turn 4 1/2, but in my mind it seems like it should only be 3 1/2!  Where did the time go?  You are such a beautiful little girl and I love spending my days with you!  Here are the things I always want to remember about you at this age:

-You are still the most easy going child in the family.  Like all kids, you have moments that drive me crazy, but for the most part, you are pretty easy to please. 
-You are still long and lean.  You are getting close to weighing 40 pounds and are the tallest girl in your preschool class.  You are wearing 5/6 size clothes. 

-You are finishing up you first year of speech with Mrs. Davis and have made so much progress this year.  You can consistently say your /k/ and /g/ sounds now with very little prompting.  While I'm so proud of you, part of me is sad that you can now pronounce things correctly, like "Parker" instead of "Pawper"!  

-You are not a very good eater.  Maybe that is why you stay so skinny!  You do not like fruits and vegetables and are horrible about trying new things.  Some of your favorites right now are bean/cheese nachos, black olives, nuts (especially pistachios), yogurt, and chicken nuggets.
-Your favorite thing to play with is not dolls or princesses, but Parker's huge box of Hot Wheel cars.  You play with them every day, sometimes for hours at a time. 
-You LOVE bugs!  Roly polies are your favorite but you also love worms and lizards.  You are not afraid to pick anything up and you love putting them in your bug box.  
 -You recently went through a month where you cried everywhere you went- Sunday School, speech, gymnastics, preschool, Cubbies.  We tried everything we could think of to try and get you to stop crying.  Finally, I came up with the idea of a sticker chart and letting you put a sticker on the chart any time you went to something without crying.  We are starting our fourth week and you are doing great!  You have not cried at anything for the past three weeks and we are so proud of you!
Your redneck "kite"- you flew that thing for several days! (For those of you who can't tell, she is flying the sun visor from Cory's car!)
 -You love to help me in the kitchen.  You are always the first to pull up a chair and ask what you can do to help.  I hope cooking is something we will always enjoy doing together.
-You have really taken an interest in reading the past few months.  You can read the words "the" and "is" and love finding them in your books.  You often ask that I let you "read" the bedtime stories to me while I listen. 

-One of my favorite things is that you refuse to go to sleep without giving me a BIG hug and kiss.  I'm going to miss when you don't want to do that anymore.

-You start almost all of your stories or questions with, "Mom, I wanna tell you sumpin".  It makes me smile every time!

You are such a precious, sweet, smart, sensitive little girl and I'm so lucky to be your mom!  You bring so much joy into our family and life wouldn't be the same without you as our middle child!  I love you to the moon and back, Mommy

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ryan's Baby Dedication

Today we were able to go to Mansfield and support Emily and Jon as they dedicated Ryan to the Lord in his baby dedication service.  Ryan is not one to sit still so he was not a big fan of having to be held during the service!  He may not have been the quietest baby up on stage, but he sure was the cutest!!
After church, we went back over to Emily/Jon's house to celebrate my dad's birthday.  Everyone wanted to help Granstan blow out his candles and open his presents.  I'm sure he was thrilled with all of his helpers! 
We had a fun day spending time with our cousins.  We are so thankful for the joy that Ryan brings to our family and we look forward to watching him grow over the next few years.

Friday, May 17, 2013

An Unforgetable Week

Today marks the end of a hard, devastating, crazy week.  Our little town of Cleburne was hit with an F3 size tornado on Wednesday and many people lost their homes, including three families that we are very close to. 

It started about 8pm on Wednesday night while we were at church for AWANA. A tornado warning was issued for our county so I quickly grabbed Parker and Eden and headed home to join Lily and Cory.  By the time we got home, the rain, wind, and lightening had strengthened.  A huge tornado had already been reported in the neighboring town of Granbury, so Cory thought it would be wise to go ahead and take cover in the bathroom.  We woke Lily up and grabbed some pillows, the kids blankets, and lots of books.  The kids thought it was very cool to be reading in the bathtub!
To make a long story short... the mile wide tornado barely missed us and after a long hour and a half, we were able to finally put the kids in bed.  Parker, Eden and Lily all did a great job staying calm during the entire ordeal.  They never cried or acted scared, even when we lost our electricity.  Eden also said the sweetest prayer while we were waiting for the worst.  Needless to say, it was a very scary hour and a half.
After a restless night of sleep, we awoke to helicopters flying overhead to survey the damage.  After checking the Internet on our phones (we still didn't have any power), it became quite apparent that there was some pretty significant damage very close to our neighborhood.    
My parents lost some of their fence, their swingset, a huge tree in their front yard and had a cracked window.  Just blocks away from them, Parker's buddy from school lost his entire house.  In another section of town by the lake, many houses were also destroyed.  Two of my family's closest friends lost their houses in this hardest hit part of the city.  Also suffering a lot of damage was the school that I teach at. 
Cory had an infusion yesterday morning so the kids and I tried to go to my mom's house to check out their damage, but the destruction made it too hard to get close, so we turned around and came back home.  Through Facebook and watching the news on our phones, we were able to stay updated on the relief efforts around town.  Because we had no power, we drove to Burleson and had lunch with Cory.  Last night, we went out to Heath's for dinner and swimming and a little air conditioning!  Thankfully, our power came back on in the middle of the night and brought with it some much needed cool air. 
This morning, I had the opportunity to go over to Parker's friend's house and help them a little with their clean up and recovery.  Words can't describe what I saw and I left there feeling both grateful that we had been spared and helpless that there wasn't more I could do to help them.  They have lost almost everything they own and are now in the process of rebuilding not only their house but their lives.  I just can't imagine what they are going through. 
Cole's kitchen
Master bedroom-the tornado took the sheet off the completely made bed and they found it stuck in the ceiling
The Harrison's house was completely destroyed. 
The living room at the Harrison house

Our friends, the Wrights, used to live in this house many years ago.

Amazingly, no lives were lost in this horrible tornado.  The community has pulled together to help all of those in need and crews are working around the clock to both restore power and clean up our hardest hit neighborhoods.  They've even brought in disaster recovery teams to clean up my school in hopes that we can resume school on Monday morning.  
Those who lost their homes have a long road ahead of them.  It definitely puts life into perspective and makes you realize how quickly your life can be turned upside down.  Thanks to everyone who has called or texted to check on our family.  We truly are blessed!