Jack is 7!

Jack is now officially 7!  We had a pretty fun day on his birthday…

First things first, we had to open presents.  They were pretty heavily Star Wars themed again and Jack immediately got to work building some Legos and skating around on his skateboard.  I’ve been giving the non-birthday sibling a gift the last few birthdays and I found a Queen Amidala costume for Casey that she loved.

We went to a Memphis Redbirds game in the afternoon.  The Redbirds are a AAA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.  Pat signed the kids up for  Rocky’s Kids Club and they got to go on the field before the game and make a high five tunnel for the players to run through.  They also got to go on the field after the game and run the bases.

But the best part was that the big “Happy 7th Birthday Jack!” that showed up on the Redbirds scoreboard.  They showed it after the 2nd and 7th innings.  The first time, Jack wasn’t really sure what to make of it, but he loved seeing it the second time.

It also happened to be Nickolodeon day at the park and there were all kinds of shenanigans with slime going on in between innings.  All the kids were invited to go get slimed by the slime-a-nator.  The birthday boy had absolutely no interest in that, but his sister begged to go get slimed.  I thought she might change her mind after seeing other kids get hit with the slime but she was determined to do it.  A big bucket of cold slime crashed down on her head when it was her turn and she loved it!

 

On the way home from the game, we stopped at Baskin Robbins and let Jack pick out an ice cream cake.  He found one with a golf ball and bag on top and assured me that he liked mint chocolate chip and we came home to light some more candles.

Jack’s Bowling Birthday Party

Sometimes Jack gets the short end of the stick with birthday parties.  He gets parties, but they don’t get quite the time and effort that Casey’s do.  Of course he hasn’t noticed a difference so in the end it seems to work out for us.  Casey is still asking what kind of crafts we’re going to do at Jack’s party though.
One year we thought we wouldn’t have a big party until all my friends convinced me to have a little playdate party for him.  This is the one where Tugger ate the cake and I had to make a last minute call to a friend to pick up a cake.  Last year we had just moved into the area and didn’t really know anyone.  On Jack’s birthday we went to a Hail & Farewell for Pat’s office and the Captain’s family got him a cake and some sweet people who didn’t even know him brought presents for him!  
This year we were trying to work around friends being in and out of town, so we decided to have an early party.  Jack originally wanted to take some friends to a baseball game but the schedules didn’t work out.  When I suggested bowling, he thought it was great.  So we invited three of his best friends, I grabbed some Star Wars themed plates, napkins and balloons at the store and we planned a party.  
It also happened that Jack’s party was in the middle of Vacation Bible School week for us and after I spent a morning with incoming 1st graders, I was not feeling ready for a bowling party.  But I pushed through, got some brownies and ice cream made, blew up some balloons and Jack was happy.  
As soon as the boys got here, an epic Star Wars battle began and there was a lot of energy in this house.    I was kind of afraid to take that energy to the bowling alley by myself, but once we got to the bowling alley they all settled down and started focusing on getting strikes!  I really had fun watching the boys bowl.  (But I’m going to have to join in next time I go!)

After 2 games of bowling, we headed back to the house to make pizza and eat cake.  Jack was so impatient to open his presents that he didn’t even want to blow out the candles on his cake.  Then he didn’t even eat a piece of cake until after all his friends left.  He was too busy putting Legos together!

Nana bought some great cake toppers for Jack’s Ocean City birthday celebration back in May and Jack wanted to use them again.  General Grievous and Anakin Skywalker battled it out on top of the brownies.
I think Jack was pretty happy with his birthday party.  He really liked bowling so we’ll have to go back a few more times this summer.  And I was happy that everyone seemed to have a good time without me trying to recreate anything from Pinterest.  I didn’t even have party favors – gasp!  
Only 2 more days until someone officially turns 7!

1st Grade!

Jack started 1st grade on Monday!  He was very excited about going to school and riding the bus.  He didn’t seem to be nervous at all.  I guess I need to try not to project how nervous I would be if I were him onto him 🙂  New school, new teacher, new friends, new bus experience…and it didn’t phase him! 
 
After pictures and getting to the bus stop nice and early, he hopped right on the bus without a second thought.  The driver had to get him to turn around for a picture.  Casey and I had a nice long day together and then walked up to the bus stop to get Jack.  We waited for 20 minutes before we even saw a bus in our neighborhood.  It drove back and forth on the cross street below ours a couple times like the driver didn’t know where to go.  Then I saw some people walking from the other end of the neighborhood towards us.  It turned out to be Jack and another family from the bus stop where he decided to hop off the bus.  He got off about 3 stops too early.  The nice family decided to walk with him to make sure he got to our house.  When I asked him why he got off so early he said, “I didn’t know how close it was going to get to our house, so I just got off!”  Brave kid!  It didn’t upset him in the least.   
There’s since been a week of school and I’m not quite sure what he’s doing for 7 hours a day.  There’s “early bunch” in the morning which means they color until everyone gets there.  There are announcements, two bathroom breaks, lunch, and recess (if everyone is good).  I think maybe the learning starts this week? 
He brought home some homemade play-doh that his teacher made and he said, “It’s just like regular Play-Doh but it tells the future.  Isn’t that great?  This one said we are going to have a great year.”  
I think he’s made a few friends but he’s iffy on the names.  He said, “The one boy that I expected was going to be my best friend said he didn’t want to be my friend.”  It makes my heart break and makes me laugh all at the same time.  I’m not sure why he “expected” someone was going to be his best friend…it’s kind of cute.  And I’d like to hope he just misunderstood the situation and that boys are not that mean.  Luckily it didn’t seem to bother him too much.  And then we talked about making sure he was nice to everyone and friends with everyone. 
So far he’s enjoying the experience but he said the homework starts this week.  I hope he still likes school after this week 🙂 

School Registration

Today was registration day at Jack’s new school.  He starts school next Monday!  August 6th is pretty early but he gets done around the 3rd week in May.  That’s why we had to miss International Festival and our two weeks of August in Maine and visit earlier.

Pat asked Jack if he was nervous about starting school and he said, “A little bit.”  When pressed further, he said he is nervous because he hasn’t really done as many worksheets as he should have done this summer.  Not because he’s going to a brand new school and has no idea where his classroom is or who his teacher is and not because he doesn’t know anyone at the school!

I’ve tried to get him to do a few worksheets and some reading this summer so he doesn’t completely forget how to read.  He’s been very resistant to it for the most part so I may have tried to guilt him into it by telling him he needs to remember what he learned last year or he’ll be behind.  Then I read something on Jack’s 6-7 year checkup from the doctor that said not to push them into reading because it can interfere with his interest in learning.  So I backed off.  Mostly I really want him to love reading like I do but I think that will come in time.

Anyway, I was probably more nervous for his registration day.  I had all my questions written down so I wouldn’t forget anything.  I had the most questions about the bus system.  The only elementary school experience I have is my own and I had 10 students in my class, there were 4 classrooms and only one bus.  This school has seven classrooms of 1st graders alone!

After driving home for a few more pieces of paperwork, Jack is officially registered for 1st grade.  He met the principal and despite our coaching, when she asked him a question he responded with his typical “Yeah.”  At which point she said, “He’ll be saying ‘Yes, Ma’am!’ in no time!”

I was really looking forward to back-to-school shopping but the school puts together a box of all items required for his class and it’s one-stop shopping.  I think Jack would have enjoyed the scavenger hunt of finding all the things on his list and filling the shopping cart, but Pat convinced me this would be much easier.  We still have to go out and find a lunchbox though.

Thursday night is parents’ night for Casey’s school although she doesn’t start until late August.  It is also a movie night at Jack’s school.  He should find out his classroom and teacher then.

And so the school years really begin!!!

  

Jack’s Birthday

Thankfully, Jack didn’t ask us to get up early to try to surprise him this year for his birthday.  Last year we were at the shore and unwrapping presents by 6am after his “surprise” party.

Instead, Jack decided to try to recreate the sleepless night before he was born minus the contractions.  He was obviously very excited about his birthday and wasn’t sleeping well.  I ended up in his room at some point, tossing and turning with him.  Then he woke up at 5:30.

So it was a rough start to the morning but once he dug into his presents, he was much better.  This year I bought only things that he wanted instead of buying things that I thought he would like.  It worked out pretty well as he was very happy with everything.

We had a special birthday lunch for which he chose the menu.  He wanted pizza and when I asked where he wanted it from, he told me Domino’s with a little attitude as if there were any other place from which he would want pizza.  And then he wanted a watermelon, feta and mint salad.  It was really good and he actually ate it.  He asked for a blueberry upside down cake for his cake.  I was very happy to oblige with a cake that required no decorating.  (He was sitting beside me during packing a couple weeks ago while I was looking at some recipes which is why he picked these certain things.)

We had a birthday lunch because for the afternoon and evening we went to a pool party at the Captain’s house.  It was a Hail and Farewell for some of the officers at Pat’s work.  The kids were in the pool for a good 4 hours.  There was also a little impromptu surprise birthday party for Jack while we were there.  He got a few gifts from some very nice people who barely knew him and a big cake.  He thought it was great and was very excited about his toys.

It was a pretty good birthday considering we got our household goods less than a week before and knew very few people here.  

6 Years Old!

Jack turned 6 yesterday!  Here’s a little bit about 6 year old Jack and some old pictures.  Birthday festivity recap to come in another post.

He loves to play.

He still loves Star Wars.

He’s really into Hot Wheels right now.

He likes math and is doing really well at reading.

He’s smart and coordinated and imaginative.

He builds amazing Lego creations on his own and also follows the directions so intently for the sets he gets.

He loves sports, especially hockey, and was pretty sure that he was a better goalie than the Flyer’s backup goalie this year.

He can be painfully shy with people he doesn’t know but he’s being brave and shaking hands and looking people in the eye as we meet a lot of new people in Tennessee.

There’s a lot of food he doesn’t like but he does like some of the strangest things like pesto, cantaloupe, and feta cheese.

He loves crafts.
He likes to be funny and make people laugh. 

Christmas Decorating

On Sunday, we started our Christmas decorating.  Pat pulled all the boxes out of the attic and brought them downstairs.  The kids pulled everything out of the boxes, set them on whatever surface they could find and left the boxes strewn around.  I attempted to make our fake Christmas tree presentable by using zip ties to hold branches in place.  Casey and Jack asked when they could decorate the tree and where the ornaments were about 45 times.  We strung the garland and then it was finally time to decorate!

Actually it was a pretty fun afternoon.  I liked that I could let them pull everything out of boxes and not worry about them breaking things (too much.)  I loved their excitement.  I loved watching them find all their ornaments and remembering when they got them.  I love how quickly they decorate a tree.  I even love their clumps of ornaments on the tree.

The afternoon’s pictures:

Casey never shies from an opportunity to pose.

 Jack waits patiently so he can put the first present under the tree.

Casey helps Daddy under the tree.  He’s turning it to hide the bad spots.  Yes, our fake tree has bad spots.

More smiling and posing.

Pulling all the ornaments out and “staging” them for tree decorating.

Casey’s clump of special ornaments.

Casey’s favorite Cinderella ornament that’s lost its wheels from rough handling over the past two years.  She kept asking who broke it and denied that she would have done that when we told her she did it.

Jack hanging an ornament.

Jack’s turn to put the angel on the tree.

Jack as a human crane.

Almost there.

Casey makes sure the angel looks good.