Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Alex's first day of VPK

Three weeks after Robbie started kindergarten, Alex finally got to start VPK. Alex has been so excited about going to VPK because he gets to eat lunch at school.  He got to pick out an awesome R2D2 lunch box and we have used it a couple times before school started.  Alex has the same teacher that Robbie had last year, so Robbie gave him the full run-down of how Alex's day would go.  It was so cute hearing Robbie give Alex some big brother advice.

Alex had so many good pictures to choose from, so I'm posting a bunch.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Yes, plenty has happened since the kids started school last year.  I have thought about doing an update post filling in the last year, and I still might, but I also think I should just get started where we're at now.

Robbie started school August 15th.  For the first week parents were allowed to walk the kids into the school, which we took full advantage of.  Robbie was nervous about getting dropped of in car line the next week, so I walked him through the route the Friday before and told him to ask a teacher or patrol if he got lost.  It was so sad dropping him off that Monday morning because he looked so unsure of what to do.  He ended up asking a patrol to walk him in and has been fine ever since (though he has pointed out that a classmate's mom is still walking her in).

Last week Robbie came home with the news that they were adding a new kindergarten class and taking a few students from each of the existing classes to make the new one.  He was so upset and afraid that he would get moved.  I don't blame him.  He started school not knowing anyone (though we did have a play date with someone from Mom to Mom) and had made a couple of friends.  Plus he really likes his teacher.  Thankfully we found out that he gets to stay in his class and neither of his friends were moved.

Now we are at the end of the first "month" of school.  Robbie loves it and says that he's learning a lot.   What more could we ask for? :)

Robbie's first day!

Alex getting in another hug before leaving his brother for the day.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

First Day(s) of School!

Robbie and Alex have been looking forward to going back to school since school ended in May.

Robbie started VPK this year.  I am sad that his classmates from the previous 2 years weren't going to be in his class this year (Gavin and Giana are going to a different school and Niko is in a different class).  Robbie was excited to see that Ben is in his class.  Robbie and Ben are in the same Sunday school class.  I'm glad that he knows someone, but I do worry that the two of them are going to get a bit rowdy at times.

One big difference this year is that Robbie gets to take lunch to school Monday - Thursday.  Friday is early release, so he gets to come home and eat lunch.  Robbie has been great telling me what type of sandwich he wants and picking out snacks and a drink.

Robbie's car line gets the kids in and out the passenger side of the car.  Since Catie's car seat is on the passenger side and she's still rear-facing, Robbie gets to come to the front seat and get in and out.  I'm still "training" the helpers who get him to let him in the front seat. :)  It's so helpful that Robbie can get himself buckled and unbuckled.  He's so good about waiting until I tell him he's allowed to come up front, too.  I don't want him thinking he can come up front any time he wants!

Robbie has had a great first month of school!

First day of school pictures:

Waiting to be picked up:

Alex has been wanting to go to Mrs. King's class since before his school was out.  I did talk to him over the summer about the possibility of him not getting into her class (I did request her), so I was relieved when we got the letter saying that he was in her class.  Of course, Alex knew all along that he was going to be in her class, so he wasn't surprised at all. We all went to Meet the Teacher for Alex (and Robbie, too) and Mrs. King loved seeing Robbie again.

Alex knew the drop off routine after watching Robbie do it last year.  It's funny because last year after I unbuckled Robbie in car line (the helpers don't unbuckle the kids) and he would come sit in the front seat until he had to get in the back to get out (Alex's car line gets in and out of the driver's side).  Of course, as soon as I unbuckled Alex his first day he asked if he could come sit in the front seat.  When I tell him he has to go back in his seat so the helper can get him out of the car he's ready to jump out.  I do have to tell him sometimes to wait to open the door if there's no one there to get him.

I love picking up Alex at the end of his school day.  He's so excited to tell me about his day.  He's learning his friends' names and loves being in Mrs. King's class.  Plus, she gives stickers to kids who have been good and he loves showing me which one he got.  Alex is not happy about not getting to eat at school, but that day will come....and last for a long time!!

First day of school:

Walking to the car at the end of the day:

The boys got to wear their new school shirts on the first Friday of school.  I had to get a picture of them, though they had had their limit of pictures by the end:

I'm so glad the boys like going to school!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Christmas in July

It did not go unnoticed that I did not post anything about our Christmas this year.  Everyone knows that the holidays are a busy time and sitting down and blogging is not something I made time for...until now! :)

I found cute snowflake glass jars at Target and grabbed a few for teacher gifts.  My friend Amber has a homemade hot chocolate recipe and I have had it before and know it's good.  When I asked her for the recipe she said it made so much we should go together on the ingredients and make them for all of the boys' teachers.  She wasn't kidding when she said it made a lot!  After we filled up our jars, she let Xavier like the pan.  I'm glad I wasn't the one who had to give him a bath, and I don't think the pictures truly show how covered he was.

Alex had a Christmas party at school and they made him into the cutest angel!  Unfortunately it didn't last long.

I was able to help out at Robbie's class party.  They made donut snowmen.  I'm sure the whole idea is lost on the kids who just want to eat it all!

Robbie's snowman

"You mean I have to wait to eat it??"

At Robbie's school they "fed" reindeer.  They each took of their shoes (or maybe just one), left it outside of the classroom with a sugar cube in it.  They went back into the room and read a story and when they went back out later, the sugar cube was gone and the reindeer left them a treat!  Robbie loved it!  They also made bags of reindeer food to leave out for the reindeer on Christmas Eve.  The boys loved tossing it all over the yard.

We took the kids to the live nativity.  Luckily we didn't have too long of a wait to go through this year, but Catie was a little cranky.  Our shepherd guide held her for a while and she thoroughly enjoyed that.  After we went through and heard the story of Jesus' birth there's a petting zoo area and the kids loved petting the animals.  They also liked the free cookies!

I heard a few times "Mom, come see what Catie is doing!"  It's amazing to see how much she has changed since Christmas when pulling up was a big deal.

We didn't do "big" gifts this year like the cars we gave them last year, but they didn't seem to mind.  All of the kids get spoiled enough by "Santa" and his special elves (aka family).

Sunday, July 12, 2015


A few weeks ago I saw that SeaWorld was offering preschool passes which would allow 3-5 year olds to get in free for the rest of the year.  I told Matthew about it and we made plans to go June 24th.  Matt's dad was able to join us.  Unfortunately hundreds of other people decided to get their preschool passes that day, too, so the line to get them was rather long and probably took a good 30 minutes to get them.  Luckily we bought the adult tickets online the night before, so that was one less thing to worry about.

Once everyone had tickets, the first thing we did was see a Shamu character and, since the line was so short, we took pictures with him.  They aren't great because they had everyone facing the sun. I was surprised how excited the boys were to take their picture with him.  I thought they would be a little scared.

Saying hi.

You can decide which one was the best picture.

I was already hot and I wasn't wearing a Shamu costume.  I do feel bad for the people stuck inside.

We decided to go see our first show, Pets Ahoy!  It was so cute and impressive that they can train all of the animals to do their part, especially the cats.  We can't train our cats to do anything!

After that we saw the dolphin show Blue Horizons.  Part of the show has people dressed as birds jumping and flipping from platforms high above the pool.  It made me wonder how deep the pool was and how in the world they didn't hit their heads on the beams overhead.  I really think a few came close!

Next we went underground for the shark exhibit.  The kids loved riding the people mover through the underground aquarium and seeing all of the sharks and fish.  It was nice that it was air conditioned, too.

Scary sharks!!

We were ready for lunch after that and headed to have some burgers.  I will say we made the best purchase of the day at lunch: a refillable cup!  I'm not sure how many free refills we got, but I know at one count it was 6.  There were tons places to get refills and it was easy and hassle-free.  Seriously, I will always get one from now on!

We took the kids to the Shamu viewing area.  I was surprised that there was a Shamu in the tank and I love how close it came to the window!  Robbie was a bit more interested in reading one of the signs than watching the orca, though!

Looking for Shamu!

Alex's spray fan is green.  Because we were in an enclosed area with blue light coming through it looked yellow.  Alex was not happy with his yellow fan.  Luckily he calmed down when we showed him it was still green.

Sweet Catie!

Robbie was a little more excited the second time around.

Then we saw the Shamu Show One Ocean.  Trainers are no longer allowed in the tank with the orcas (though they were called "killer whales" by SeaWorld staff which surprised me), so I feel like it was mostly a "see how far into the splash zone Shamu can splash."  I had to take Alex potty and missed a good bit of the end, though.


I love that, at one point, they dump a bucket of fish into Shamu's mouth.

The kids were losing steam at this point.  We walked over to the Wild Artic and waited in a short line to take a helicopter ride to the North Pole.  Ok, it was just a ride/video that opened up to the North Pole exhibit, we didn't actually go there, but Robbie and Alex kept asking us if we were really at the north pole.

There was a pretend ice cave that the kids could walk through.  It was short, but only Robbie was brave enough to go through it.  Catie and Alex were happy to touch the "ice" walls.

Alex comparing his hand to a polar bear paw.

Alex and Robbie

Catie trying to climb up.

Catie next to the bear's paw prints.

If you look carefully you can see the red lights on Robbie's shoes.

A walrus

Robbie, Alex and Catie checking out the beluga whales.

Robbie asked at the beginning of the video if he can go back in the ice cave.  Sorry buddy!

We went to see Clyde and Seamore in Sea Lion High.  Before the show started a guy with a stop sign and a whistle was trying to make people stop.  One kid stopped by him and the guy flipped the sign over and it said "dance."  Robbie loves talking about it.  I think this was definitely his favorite show!  One day we were driving and Robbie said "Tripp doesn't know how to swim."  I didn't know who Tripp was and Robbie said "He's the guy from Sea Lion High!"  Duh!

We were supposed to do hand motions during the song.  I really think Robbie wanted to do it, he just wasn't sure what to do when.

The sea lions were having a hard time sticking to the script.  The trainers were good about it and I hope everyone realizes that even the most professional animal has a bad day.  But they ended up finishing the show...just not as smoothly as planned!

At this point we had been telling the kids for a while that we would get them ice cream.  You can see how hot Catie was in the second sea lion video.  The kids had only taken a short power nap, so I figured we might as well give them some energy for the rest of the day.  Robbie even fell asleep on the way to get ice cream but you better believe he perked up once we set it in front of him!

We went and saw more sea lions.  The neatest part was seeing a pup that was born the night before!

Mama and her new pup

The sky started getting dark and the were announcements to take cover.  It did rain a bit, but not very hard.  Jim, Matt and the kids went and saw the sharks again and I sat with the stroller in a covered area so it didn't get wet.

Here comes the rain!

We decided to wait out the rain and get dinner, though I don't think the kids were too hungry after their ice cream!  

The rain probably helped thin out the crowds, though.  We went to the turtle exhibit.  I didn't know anything about it, I just thought there were some turtles in tanks.  Nope, there was a cool 3D movie about the life of a sea turtle.  The kids really liked it.  I didn't get 3D glasses for Catie because I didn't think she would wear them.  She stole mine anyway.  Luckily it wasn't too hard to watch the movie without the glasses and Jim let me use his.  

We had gone to Antarctica earlier, but the wait for the penguins was about an hour.  We came back and the sign said the wait was 35 minutes, but it was probably closer to 15.  I'm so glad we got in line.  We did the gentle version of the ride which meant our boat didn't get bounced around like the others, but we were fine with that.  When we got off the ride it was literally freezing in the penguin area!  Probably not as cold as Antarctica, but pretty close.  I took Catie out after a while because I was cold!

We did almost everything we wanted to do.  Robbie really wanted to ride the Sky Tower, but it was already almost 8 pm and the line was 30 minutes long.  (At least that's what the sign said.)  Jim treated the kids to souvenirs: Shamu cups for the boys with their names on them and a t-shirt for Catie.  It was so nice having him with us!  I'm already thinking about going back!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Catie has been doing so much growing and learning lately.  It's just so fun to see what she comes up with.  She definitely understands what we are telling her, and it's always amazing to see her respond appropriately.  I never know what kids know, so I'm always surprised to see her doing what I've asked such as throwing away garbage, getting a granola bar and even putting one away when I told her to because she already had one.  The kids all brush their teeth at the same time in the morning and the boys rinse and put their toothbrushes away.  Catie usually walks around with hers and sets it down wherever she gets distracted with something else.  This morning I found hers in the sink and I'm guessing she was just copying her brothers.  And she does copy her brothers!  She yells just like them and with them and yells when I turn on the vacuum just like they do.  They have her trained well. :)

Catie had her 15 month check up June 25th...yes, a day before she was 15 months.  She is 21 lbs and 30 1/2 inches, 50% for both.  She's our perfectly average girl!

Catie, our beach babe on our first trip to the beach.  We've gone to the beach and pool several times this summer and she is quite fearless around water.  I'm seriously considering doing swimming lessons for her.  I think she's going to be our little fish!  And thanks to Jonathan and Chat for her adorable swimsuit!

Catie hamming it up with an orange slice.  I just love her sense of humor!

Catie after getting home from one of our trips.  I'm not sure if she's happy to be out of the car, happy to be home or just happy. :)

We got 4th of July cupcakes.  I broke the bottom (cake) part off the cupcake to give it to her since Catie wanted NOTHING to do with icing at her birthday party, but she had none of that this time around.  Had I known I would have taken her shirt off.

"What?  This isn't how you eat a cupcake?"

I made scrambled eggs for the two of us for breakfast this morning.  While we were eating Alex called for me in the family room, so I left Catie with a few bites of eggs and went to see what Alex wanted.  He had thrown up on the couch, so I was a little longer getting back to my breakfast than I had planned and found Catie had reached the plate and helped herself to all the eggs.  I couldn't be mad at her, though, because who's ever hungry after cleaning up vomit?

"You see, Mom, you got up and left me."

"And that's why I had to eat your eggs."

She was just talking and talking when I came back.  I got a bit on video.  Obviously we need to teach her not to talk with her mouth full and she knows who I am.

This is probably one of Catie's favorite tricks:

This is a video of Catie going up and down the little slide.  A few night ago Matthew found Catie at the top of the big slide.  When he got her down she climbed right back up!  She also tried to climbing up the stairs of the swing set, but couldn't quite figure it out at the top.  I need to keep my eye on her!

Yes, when Catie puts her head down she wants someone to flip her.