Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Fall Fun (and Halloweeeeeen!)

When Sylvia was born, I really thought long and hard about whether to send her to elementary school where I teach.  Pros: convenience, communication, exposure to diversity.  Cons: "teacher's kid," too much time together, exposure to potential volatile behaviors that would not be an issue in private school.  And of course the money was also an issue.  Then, we moved to Northern Kentucky and I landed a job at the most family friendly school in the country.  My principal loves my kids, but...get this...she loves ALL of the kids as if they were her own.  Our building is a huge FAMILY and many teachers send their kids to school there.  Sylvia gets to be a FALCON where every adult loves her because she is a KID, not because she is my kid.  Everyone will require nothing but her best and everyone will hold her accountable.  I was honored to welcome her into the Falcon family this year and I thoroughly enjoy getting ready together in the mornings, riding to school together, giving her a hug during lunch, and chatting about school all evening after I get home.  I can't believe I ever doubted that this was the best decision for our family!

Grandparent's Night!

But enough about the Big One.  Let's move on.  One of the most amazing and life changing things has happened - ALBERT IS WALKING!  Finally.  And, just like I knew he would, he doesn't slow down for two seconds.  One day he just UPPED AND WALKED, like he'd been doing it his whole life. 

I had a ton of fun visiting with Laura and Emily and meeting the Petersiks again at Books By the Banks!

I've waited a long time to share this movie with Sylvia.  She enjoyed "The Worst Witch" almost as much as my friends and I did back in the day.  Margot loved it, too!  If you haven't seen it, you're missing some spectacular 1980's special effects and some thrilling song lyrics.  Check it out.  You won't regret it.

Margot, Bristol and Sylvia on the train for Jack's birthday!  They had a great time, but I think the moms had a better time...

Sylvia designed her own service project: making beaded bracelets out of pipe cleaners to give to some residents at the nursing home across the street from our school.  I wholeheartedly approved because for one thing, it's good for her heart, but for another thing....she used up all the craft crap that's been lying around our house for months!  Win-win!

 My mom and Jay threw another great Halloween party with hot dogs on the fire, bingo, bobbing for eyeballs and tons of treats and prizes!

 My little dude in overalls gets me every time!  He is so stinking cute and he's starting to really bubble with personality.  He answers questions now and plays jokes on us.  He knows what a dinosaur says and what a kitty cat says, but sometimes we ask, "What's a kitty cat say?" and he screams, "RAAAWWWRRR!" and he CRACKS UP because he knows it's wrong and he things it is just hilarious. He also loves to climb in the closet.  It's a fun trick.

Okay...Margot.  This girl.  She's been seeing Darth Vader everywhere and Sylvain let her check out a Lego Star Wars DVD from the library.  It has 2 twenty-minute episodes that include a silly, bumbling Darth Vader that makes her laugh and laugh.  She has decided that Darth Vader is her very best friend and she begged to be Darth Vader for Halloween.  Move over Hello Kitty!  As a closet Star Wars fanatic, I did not discourage the attraction.  Okay, I may have actively encouraged her a tiny bit.  Sylvia asked her, "Why do you like Darth Vader? He's a BAD guy?" and Margot said, "But Sylvia...Darth Vader is POWERFUL!"  And that pretty much sums up Margot to a T.  
That FACE!
 My class Halloween party was one for the books this year!  Sylvain dropped my three kiddos off so they could party with us.  Fun was had by all!

Rebel fighter, Obi Wan, two Darth Vaders (both girls! yes!!), Princess Leia, Chewbacca
 Here's my Star Wars offspring right before trick-or-treat.  They LOVED their costumes and I could not contain my delight!  There was much squealing.  Baby Yoda?  Tiny Darth Vader?  Bun head Leia?  Forget it.  Cute overload.

TWO baby Yodas!  Johnathan and Albert.  BFF's for LIFE!

The force is strong with this one!
Since Halloween was on a Saturday, we threw a gigantic kid party before, during and after trick-or-treat.  Our house looked like a tornado hit, but MAN did we all have fun!  My aunts from New York came to town for the weekend JUST to see the kids dressed up and having fun.  It was great to see that whole side of the family on such a fun night!

Uncle Kurt and The Carrot Hoarder

The New Yorkers got their baby fix!

Kirt and Dianne brought Baby Everly!

Mamie Brigitte spent the night.
I didn't get any good pictures of all the kids on the couch, but get this: between the Reynolds, the Staubauchs, the Hodges, the Gurleys and the Fasciottos, we had eleven kids under the age of SIX in this house.  It was glorious!

Sylvia finished up her soccer season right before Halloween weekend with TWO GOALS this year!  She's already a million times better at soccer than her Mama.  Her ballet school was very gracious to let us wait until soccer was over before she started back in her ballet class, so she was really excited to go to ballet last week.  The best part?  It's a class for 3-5 year olds, so....Margot gets to go to ballet, too!  To the SAME CLASS!  At the SAME TIME!  With the SAME RECITAL!!  That will likely never happen again, so I'm capitalizing on the opportunity.  Besides, Margot loves ballet and has been chomping at the bit to start.  I was going to wait until she was four, but come on.  You can't beat ballerina sisters!

Finally, I give you my classroom door.  I'm just going to ride this Star Wars train for the rest of the year.  We had a lesson on "The Force," or things you can use to make your year amazing: Friendships, Opinions, Rights, Choices, Energy.  Then, each kid drafted a sentence that started with "I can use the FORCE to..." and they wrote some awesome things!  We have bully fighters, peace makers, leaders, cleaners, name it!  They chose their favorite character, wrote down their sentence, and I slapped it on the door.  I traced some lettering and a light saber for the sign, printed a couple small posters and VOILA!  Best door ever.  My favorite one in 12 years of teaching.  
It helps to have an awesome class.  Look at these darling little Falcons!  They won the AR trophy for being spectacular readers.  They are truly spectacular in every way!  I love them to death.  My job is hard, but I get to spend every day with these smiles.  We have way too much fun!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Catching Up

 Holy moly, where does the time go, y'all?!  It's been almost a month since I posted, and I had such grand plans to write more and scrapbook less, but here I am, dumping pictures and captions all over the blog.  We've been so beautifully busy for the last few weeks.  Check out these cute kids...

We love Pride Park.  I took the kids there one evening when it wasn't too hot and it wasn't too cold and we neede somewhere free to go.  I always underestimate the amount of time we'll spend there.  Anyway, Albert's big enough for the bouncy toys now, so this happened and my heart fell out of my chest....

We spend a lot of time at Target.  They seem to have everything we could ever want in once place and coffee.  When Albert was a tiny newborn, I put the the girls in the double cart and I put his carrier in the basket, but now he's big enough to ride on the double cart roller coaster, so this is what it usually looks like when we go.

I don't know what happened here, but Margot suddenly looks like a super model.  It was a total fluke, I took about ten pictures of her in this new dress because I wanted my Mom to see it (we had just finished a day of fruitless shopping for kid clothes but I found this on my own):

We took the kids to Neltner's Farm for the annual Pumpkin Patch shenanigans.  They have live bluegrass music all day.  They have a petting zoo.  They have wine by the bottle.  Enough said, right?


Our general rule is, you can't take home a pumpkin unless you can carry it yourself.  We made an exception and let Albert pick out Daddy's pumpkin.

Mamie bought the girls some flower crowns and they were in heaven!  It made for some pretty cute pictures!

Every year I have that moment that makes weepy.  This is our "family farm."  It's run by my mom's cousins and my grandma lives up the hill from here.  This tiny corner of Melbourne, KY is a complete and beautiful slice of heaven.  When you stand in the pumpkin patch, you can see my grandmother's church and I always take a deep breath and thank God that Grandma Neltner (GG to my kids) is still in our lives.  The pumpkin patch trip means Christmas is right around the corner and every Christmas we spend at GG's house is a blessing.  I love this opportunity to give thanks for what we've been given and look ahead at what's to come.  

I can't take the sweetness.  What a good Daddy!

So....we went camping a couple weeks ago.  It was an adventure.  First up...surveying the picnic table.  It all checked out.  The kids gave Grandpa the green light to set up shop with his awning, table cloth, tackle box full of cooking supplies, and truck bed garbage can.

Next up...pitching tents!  Look at that perfect camping spot.

I took the kids for a walk around the camp grounds.  It was a beautiful place!
 Our campsite was right across from the swing sets!

Let me tell you something about my dad.  If a kid has wheels, he's going to tie a rope to it.  When Sylvia wanted to ride her scooter around the campgrounds, he was ON IT!  He pulled her up the steep hills and he slowed her down on the way back.  That's one dedicated Grandpa, right there!

A peaceful day beside the lake...

Until we had to go to the hospital with this one:

She fell of the swings and had a gash in the back of her head.   She had to get three staples.  Luckily Jess was there because I almost passed out when they cleaned her gash and put the staples in.

When it was all said and done, Margot wanted to go back to the campsite!  The doctors said we didn't have to restrict her activities as long as we washed her hair that night (we had to wash it once and then we couldn't wash it for FIVE days)! 
 I washed her hair in the campsite showers, put her to bed in her tent........then drove her home when Albert woke up screaming and wouldn't stop.  Camping with a baby is a bad idea.  We were really close to home, though, so I took Albert and Margot home for the night around 11:00, and we came back the next morning to eat breakfast and help pack up.  I wasn't upset because I got to sleep in a real bed.

Last weekend I went to a coworker's wedding.  It was probably the most amazing wedding I've ever seen!  Here's the Ft Wright family getting ready to party hard:
 I had to take a picture of Sylvia's teachers (and Nurse Patti) on the dance floor!  I love these ladies!
 Nurse Patti enjoys "The Flabongo," Autumn (the bride's) signature drink!

The next day, Sylvain and I celebrated my birthday!  I turned 34 while we were at Norris Lake in July, so we didn't get to go out on the town.  We put it off until now and this weather was begging for a date night, so Mom took the kids and we hit some wineries...

Here's what we saw when we came back.  Three princesses (my girls and their cousin) searching for berries.

And finally, there's Willoughby the Cat.  My cousin found him on the street and posted his picture on Facebook.  My heart was stolen, but I'm not the cat person.  I told Sylvain that if he wanted another cat, I would CONSIDER this one....

Within 12 hours we had called her and set up a time for the cat to come to our house.  She would have kept him herself except her big dog was not a fan of cats.  This little darling is litter box trained and might as well be a rag doll.  My kids have pulled, poked, and prodded the poor thing within a inch of his life, but he hasn't fought back once.  He is the most docile, gentile and loving little kitty we could have ever hoped for!  We are smitten with this kitten!

P.S.  Sylvia uses periods when she writes now.  Perhaps too many periods, but she's learning.  Here is her first complete sentence - totally umprompted.  "My costume is going to be a witch."  Melt my heart.