School for Casey

Casey started school too!  …two weeks ago.  Then she promptly got sick and missed a few days.  But she is back on track and set to enjoy the third week of school…her first full week of school.

She goes to preschool at a very nice Baptist church down the street.  (In Tennessee, there’s a very nice Baptist church every mile or so it seems.)  It’s five days a week and on two days she stays a couple extra hours for “Stay and Play.”  She gets to eat lunch with her friends and play for a little bit.  Last week was her first week of stay and play and it’s the longest time I’ve had to myself in quite a while.  Although I have to admit I was a little lonely at lunch.

So far she is having a great time at school and always has something to tell me and show me when I pick her up.  She is even doing made-up “homework” in the afternoons when Jack has to work on his homework!

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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 🙂 

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. 

Kindergarten Graduation and End of Year Show

Last week, Jack’s preschool held their End of Year Show and Kindergarten Graduation.  Both Jack and Casey were very excited about the show.  They each had songs to sing with their classes and had been practicing for weeks.  Jack especially was excited.  When we talked about missing his end of year party a couple weeks ago so we could go to Philly for Mother’s Day Weekend he said he was fine with that, but he wanted to make sure we weren’t going to miss the end of year show.

The day before the show they practiced for the graduation ceremony and had their pictures taken in their caps and gowns.  Jack told me there was a special song that they were going to play and that he was going to smile really big when he heard that song and walk down the aisle.  When I started singing a bit of Pomp & Circumstance for him he was very impressed that I knew the song already.  And just like he said, when he walked down the aisle he had a huge smile on his face.  I couldn’t capture it with the camera or the video because we were too far away, but it was there.  Even his teacher commented on it.

I spent $60 at Target the day before the show so that Jack would have a nice outfit.  I was tired of him not really having any dress clothes.  At first I just went to get him a new shirt.  Then I decided he needed pants that matched better than the others I had already bought him.  I went to get in line and realized that he had no dress shoes and this was not an occasion where his crocs would do.  Oh, and I suppose he needs dress socks and a belt to go with that.  I bought them all in a size 6 and the outfit was a bit too big for him.  But I hemmed up the pants.  Actually, I taped them up with masking tape.  We cinched in the waist and he looked good!  And, since it’s a little big, he can wear this outfit for every dress up occasion for the next 3 years…and totally justify the money spent 🙂

Casey sang two songs with her class and did a really great job.  You could tell she was having fun and excited to sing the song for everyone.

Jack’s class joined the group and they sang a few songs with the rest of the school.  (Good thing he was in a few numbers without the cap & gown so everyone I could appreciate his nice outfit.)

Then Casey sat with her class and the kindergarten class got ready to graduate.

They all marched in and took their places on the stage.

There was a little bit of time for silliness.

They sang their special kindergarten songs.  I am so proud of Jack because I know I could hear his voice when he was singing.  That’s a big deal for a little guy who wouldn’t do any singing with his class two years ago.

Then they got their diplomas.  Jack thought he had been tricked because there was nothing actually written on the paper they got.

Jack and his teachers…

And we got one bad family picture 🙂  Doesn’t Pat look nice in pink though?

Jack was very excited to graduate from kindergarten.  He had a great year with his teacher and friends.  They showed a video of the kindergarten students at the end of the program.  They asked each one what they favorite part of kindergarten was and what they were going to miss next year.  Jack said his favorite part was playing on the playground and that he was going to miss his friends Jon and TJ.  One little boy said, “I’m going to miss my friends…some of my friends!”

I thought I was going to cry through the whole thing but once the show started and I was trying to capture everything on camera and video while still enjoying the show I was distracted enough to forget the tears.  I’m so proud of the wonderful year that both Jack and Casey had at school.  They learned so much and grew so much.  On the last day of school when we went to pick them up, I really did tear up.  We’re going to miss this school next year!

A Princess Leia Birthday Party

On Saturday we held Casey’s birthday party for family and friends.  She decided on a Princess Leia themed birthday party.  And why not, since her first movie quote was a Princess Leia line (directed at Han Solo) – “Why you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy looking nerf-herder!”  It took a while for me to decipher that about a year ago when she said it, but once I did all I could do was laugh.

Since there apparently aren’t a lot of 4 year old girls who request Princess Leia parties I had to be a little creative with my theme.  Casey greeted the guests at the door in her Princess Leia ensemble – dress, belt and Princess Leia buns headband, but I don’t have a picture of her in complete costume.

I visited a lot of websites and blogs for inspiration but it was actually Walmart’s party aisle that gave me the decorations I needed.  We went with some black and pink colors and found some generic Princess paper plates.  I put a black tablecloth on the dining table and sprinkled it with pink stars.  I found some blue and black sparkly tulle one day and thought I would drape it somewhere and decorate.  Turns out I didn’t get much tulle in one roll – enough to decorate two chairs and the top of the china cabinet.

I wanted to have some crafts and games for the kids to do while they were here.  I found a cute paper craft on this blog and used her idea to make my own pieces.  I set them up at the table so the kids could make R2-D2, Yoda and/or Chewbacca.  I also printed out some coloring pages from starwars.com.  

 Then we played a rousing game of Pin the Bun on Princess Leia.  Jack was able to peek through the back and see what he was doing so he managed to get perfect placement of his bun.  I thought about playing Princess Leia Says but the kids were distracted by the toys and they were all playing so nicely.

For lunch I made Thai Chicken Wraps and Mediterranean Veggie & Hummus Wraps from Rachael Ray.  Instead of grilling the chicken I made a Teriyaki Chicken in the crockpot the day before.  The kids were welcome to eat these wraps but I also made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and peanut butter and banana rollups…just in case.

I made the same chocolate cake that I made last week and ordered a special princess Leia topper from it from an Etsy store called CrumbyArt.  She did a great job crafting Princess Leia into fondant and it was better than any form of Princess Leia that I could make or would want to make out of a cake.  I also made some cupcakes and decorated them to look like Ewoks.

Casey was very excited about her party and as I was frantically trying to finish everything up in the kitchen in the minutes before it started she stood by the door and asked me how many minutes until her party started at least 50 times.  When everyone got here she crafted, she colored, she pinned the bun on Leia, she played, she ate and she definitely blew out her candles.  She had a great time with her friends and with Nana and Pop Pop who came to celebrate too.

I figured that the kids were old enough to watch the present unwrapping and Casey was very excited to do that.  She got some great gifts from her friends and made sure that she thanked everyone.

For party favors I went with notebooks and markers.  The boys got Star Wars notebooks and Superhero markers and the girls got pretty pink notebooks with Disney Princess or Fairy markers.  I printed out a cute Leia picture and label to put on the bags.

At the end of the day, Pat thought it was a good party because there was good food, good cake, a happy birthday girl and it didn’t cost too much.  And that was my goal.

Happy Birthday to my Princess!

Casey is 4!

On Friday Casey turned 4.  I think Casey and 4 are going to get along pretty well.  She’s so happy that she is four that she’s been telling random strangers how old she is.  Three seemed like a long year but I think she grew up a lot.  She was ready for 4 before her birthday came if that makes sense.  But it is a little crazy that it’s been four years since I headed to the hospital!

Auntie Jenn came into town to celebrate with us.  Casey had school and then it was time to open presents (after delaying her for 10 minutes so I could wrap mine).  She was very excited with her gifts.  I should have downloaded the video that Jenn took because I think it was pretty funny.  Casey is getting good at saying “Oh my gosh!” as if she is 14 and not 4 so there was a lot of that.

She added a couple of princesses to her collection, an Ariel dress, some Friends Legos, a scooter and a crazy peace sign sweatshirt that is her new favorite piece of outerwear.

The highlight of the day was really the cake.  For me anyway.  I found a yummy chocolate cake recipe and it was delicious.  

We went outside after cake to check out Casey’s new scooter in the dark because it has wheels that light up.  (The neighborhood scooter collection is very varied – one makes chalk marks, one makes sparks and Jack’s is different too, so I felt Casey needed wheels that light up.)  It was actually pretty cool.

Happy Birthday Casey!  A Princess Leia party is coming up this weekend.