Friday, August 31, 2012


This was our Avery's first week of elementary school.

We've built up to this ... church nursery, Mothers Day Out, Preschool ... and now Kindergarten. Of course, for years I'd dreamed and believed we'd be in Little Rock for this new and exciting venture. But, we're not. We're in Pennsylvania. The realization that Av would start school in another state ... across the country ... was a pretty immediate concern when Aaron first started talking about the possibility of moving us up here. I was majorly opposed to it for that reason alone! However, obviously my heart changed and God brought us here.
 I called the Chamber of Commerce before Aaron was even hired, checking into school zones, real estate info etc and totally quizzing them on what the best school was for elementary. The only private school in town was a Catholic school, and I just didn't feel like that was the best option for Avery, and the other little private schools are about a 20 minute drive... not preferable for my never-on-time self. The Chamber told me their recommended elementary school and I was so thrilled when Aaron told us our rent house is in that very area.

 Once we we got settled in PA and started looking into preschools, we went ahead and toured the Elementary school too. Before I left I had registered her for Kindergarten. I loved the school as soon as we walked in. It was very nice and orderly, it seemed super safe and friendly, and I just had an absolute peace that she was going to do great there. (And it's free, Holla!) I never even googled another school . I knew that was the one.

Summer came and went and the last couple weeks Avery has been ITCHING to go to school. I had tossed around the idea when she was a baby about holding her back since she has such a late birthday, but the older the became it was very apparent she would be ready at 5. She is SO excited. So ready. So ... kindergartener-ish. The other night she was sitting on the couch by me telling me a story and I couldn't help but think, "It's time. She is ready. She's totally old enough." I can't imagine Dalton going to Kindergarten this year ... he is so NOT ready, even though he's only one year younger. I'm pretty sure Avery would volunteer to teach Kindergarten herself if they'd let her. She is just all about it.

I feel like we have reached a huge milestone. It seems like I've heard a gazillion times, "You'll look up and she'll be headed to Kindergarten." And, now she has. Just as we eased into the different types of school through  the years, the Elementary school eased us into the big day. And for that I am so, so thankful.

Monday night was Open House for Kindergarteners. Unfortunately, I had a 24 hour-ish bug that started when I woke up Monday morning and didn't really let up until Tuesday afternoon. All that to say, I just couldn't go to Avery's first trip to her new school. Bummed doesn't even begin to describe it. I sat outside to prep her and take pics of her before her big Kindergarten debut... Which she loved.

The boys needed in, too.

So. Sassy.

Right after this photo shoot, just minutes before it was time to leave, there was an incident. One of the boys spilled his orange drink alllllll over her. A few tears were shed and then she moved on to outfit choice number 2, and ran out the door with Daddy. They didn't stay gone long since I wasn't feeling well, but she got to go in, meet her teacher, find her desk and locker and get the feel for this new place. He sent me this pic of her new locker ... LOCKER ... way too big!!

I got better on Tuesday and on Wednesday we got to go to Kindergarten Orientation. I'll admit, up to this point I was super duper nervous. I was going through all the "what if" scenarios in my head; I kept wondering if she would be ok ... if there would be mean girls in Kindergarten ... if I would have to beat up any five year olds and other completely rational thoughts. But the orientation totally calmed my fears.

 Before orientation we went to lunch at our favorite little deli up here ... just the two of us.

We talked about things she was looking forward to and was even a little nervous about, and then went to the school.

 We heard the new kid spiel from the Principal, the kids took a bus ride, and we toured their classes. We had snacks in the cafeteria and even had a short recess.

Her little seat.

Another locker pic.

Avery and her teacher, Mrs. Wakely.


It was SO nice to see her in her element, to know where she would be sitting, where she would eat, who was in her class. It just totally eased my nerves.

So then we came home for the big Kindergarten Eve:
I may have even written a poem in my journal about it that's cheesiness abounds and I will not share. Instead, I'll share some of Avery's sweet words she answered from a survey ... I do love a survey.

What's your name? Avery
What grade are you in? Kindergarten
What's your teacher's name? Mrs. Wakely
What's your favorite color?  Every color of the rainbow.
What do you want to be when you grow up? A vet. And a manicure girl. And a pedicure girl. And a make-up tutorial lady. And a cook. And a helper so I can help out. And a baby-sitter. I think I'm going to be a lot of things.
What is your favorite snack? Yogurt Sticks
 What is your favorite cereal?  Cinammon Toast Crunch
 What's your favorite book? Every book that's in the library (I smell a harmonizer) I really like Pinkalicious.
What's your favorite holiday?  Christmas
What's your favorite game?  Duck, Duck, Goose
What's your favorite thing you did this summer? Going swimming at the lake and the swimming pool.
What's your favorite food? Salmon and Guacamole
What are two words to describe you? Curious and smart. (And I would like to add in lovely, precious, beautiful, happy, delightful, engaging, funny, sweet, encouraging, helpful, respectful, kind, loyal, and absolutely darling ... thanks for asking).
What are you excited about Kindergarten? Riding the bus and painting in art class.
What do you want to learn this year?  How to write my "fives" and "sixes" better.
Are you nervous about anything? Walking into the gym without holding Mommy and Daddy's hand. (I definitely cried when she said that.)

Then she went to sleep and woke up at seven the next morning, the first day of Kindergarten.
She popped up and tried to get dressed immediately. Finally she sleepily asked, "Why do they make kids get up so early? This is not fun. They should let kids sleep in."

I got her a few little happies to keep in her backpack that she was thrilled about. Like, I was totally okay with the crazy abundance of Hello Kitty on my table, because the child was so stinkin' happy.
As she was looking at her things she said, "Hey mama, will you write down your cell phone number in case I need to call you?" Uhhh ... sweet little thing.

We took all her "First Day of School" pictures ... I just couldn't love her more.

Jacket on ... nerves setting in.

Nice, little grandfather-volunteer-man helping the car-riders out ...
 (MAJOR bonus of Kindergarten v. Preschool: They walk themselves in.)

And just like that, she was gone.

I kinda day-dreamed all day about what it would be like when I picked her up. I pushed aside my nervousness about a bad day and just really believed she was going to jump in the car, hug my neck reminding me how much she loved and missed me, tell me every precious detail and ask how many hours until she could go back.
Then Avery walked to our car ...

She got in ...

Her eyes welled with tears and she said:

"I hate my life. Why did you not let me ride the bus?"


She was dead serious. Wouldn't hardly say another word, back turned to me applying her new Hello Kitty Chapstick.

Sassafrass went on and on and on about how she was going to die if she couldn't ride the bus.

{Sidenote: I woke up two sleeping toddlers to put in the car, to drive the 1.5 miles to wait in the car-rider line for 30+ minutes to make sure she wasn't waiting on me too long. I want to insert the little red mad faced emoticon right now ... Now picture smoke coming out of his little ears.}

In the Burger King line for ice cream she couldn't even tell me her order ... she was that upset.
Y'all. Drama Queen. I was SO confused. Shocked. Bewildered. A teensy bit pissed. Avery just isn't like that!

She got home, changed clothes and started coming out of her funk.

She set the chalkboard up in the living room and really played school until she went to bed. I think she had a fun day ... except for the whole me ruining her life part.

Today was a little more relaxed ... we knew the drill. She decided yesterday she wanted to buy her little lunch (which I was actually a little excited about since I found these cute printables!)

After dropping Avery off this morning I went to the office to see about letting her ride the bus in the afternoon. They were super nice and helpful and even had the busdriver call me! Small town service. ;)
So this afternoon all Avery's dreams came true when she got to ride the school bus.
Sawyer was MUCH happier romping in the grass than stuck in his carseat ...
Love that baby.

Dalton was also much happier snuggled up in my bed finishing his two hour nap.

She arrived in one piece, sweaty  and happy ... BURSTING to tell us all about her day.
I'm actually kinda thrilled she likes it ... Sure made our afternoon nice. It's hard to pass up Free Shipping, people.

Well, I feel like full blown parents now ... we're kinda big time.  Avery,I KNOW you're going to do great!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sawyer and Livi's Campout!

When we realized that Sawyer and Livi Knox's birthdays were just one week apart, and we have a pretty limited and similar friend group up here, it made the most sense to have one big partay.
I had been planning a campout theme for Sawyer, and the Knox's liked the idea too, so we went with it for their birthday celebration.
An unashamed Pinterest copy-cat, Fort Knox and Camp Boone came easily together. It was a big time and I know our littles felt very loved and celebrated.
The Knox's were fortunate enough to have Emily's parents in town and Maw was here to work tirelessly with me, as well. I was SO glad she was here; I FaceTime'd my mom before it started to show her all the little details and definitely shed a few tears that my crew wasn't here to love on Sawyer (and me). So having Lynda here was all the more special ... and needed.
I do think it turned out cute and it was a lot of fun. I'm very thankful to all our new friends who came to love on our kiddos- made this mama's heart smile for sure.

Avery and Sawyer preparing their birthday happies for Sawyer before he came in.

 Wheelbarrow was much loved.

A book from Bobo! She sent her picture too so he would know who it was from. He loved the picture! And when he realized there were dollar bills taped to the card he started screaming, "MONEY!" and searching for pockets to tuck them into. However he wasn't wearing pants (shocker), and I think for the first time in his life he was annoyed at that.

Sawyer stayed fascinated with Maw's boot all weekend. He was quite the helper in fastening it and finding her lone shoe.

I had lots of helpers in putting our campy details together.

For favors we had flashlights and Slim Jim's tucked into little bandanas.

Lynda used this inspiration ...

... to make their super cute cake!

Proud daddy's.

All the fun Knox's!

Out of all nine photos, this was the best one. Clearly I should have taken one at the beginning of the party. Oops!

Maw just left and we were SO sad to see her go. Avery came walking in the house crying, "I wish Maw could stay forever." Me too, baby girl. Me too.

She did leave us fun gifts to remember her by ... We're all ready for September 1!

Happy Birthday Weekend Sawyer! You are so loved!

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