Sunday, August 29, 2010

I'm a Bad, Bad Blogger!

I am horrible! How long has it been since I posted? Never mind...I don't really want to know. Let's just start from today and move forward, shall we?

Afton started kindergarten this past Wednesday. They have staggered-start at her school for newbies, basically that means that 1/3 of the class went to school on Wednesday, 1/3 on Thurs and 1/3 on Friday. She was SOOOO excited! Joe and I were up and getting ready for work when we hear a little voice from down the hall singing "It's my day for kindergarten! Today I go to kindergarten! It's my first day for kindgergarten!" We opened her bedroom door and she was dancing (naked) in the middle of her room with her dress in one hand and shoes in the other. She's generally a pretty happy kid anyway, but that particular morning, she was over the moon! Joe and I both took her to school and walked her to her class, and I was totally *that* mom...I had my camera under one arm and some First Day of School Treats for her teacher and teacher's aid. I am not above a little bribery.
I had Afton pose outside the school in front of the sign...
...and with her teacher...
...and then at her desk...

(this is when she said "Mommy, please don't take anymore pictures or you're going to make me angry.")

So, always respectful of my daughter's wishes, I snuck one more as we were walking out the door...

She did fantastic! Not a single tear! The same can't be said for me, I held it in until one teacher said to me "It's ok, mom...she's going to be fine." It was pretty much downhill from there. It's a good thing I had my preschool class to keep me busy, otherwise I would have just sat in a dark room and cried all day.

Joe was able to get off work early enough that day to go with me to pick her up from school. No walking into her classroom this time, she wants to be big stuff and so we let them dismiss her from the gym with the rest of the kids. They dismiss the bus riders first, and then the car riders all go to the gym and wait to hear their name called over the PA system. All the cars line up and, one by one, they give their student's name to the Asst Principal and she announces it over a microphone into the gym. Afton came bouncing out of the gym with her backpack and it struck me again at how much she's grown up. She was all smiles, and I thought "Great! She had a wonderful first day!" As she got in the car we asked her if her first day of kindgergarten was awesome and she said "Ummmm...not really."


She was sure that she had gotten in trouble "a lot", and that her teacher wasn't nice, but she thought eating in the lunchroom was "awesome". After much begging for more information on my part, we discovered that she hadn't really gotten in trouble - but she didn't know the rules of her new school and we explained that it was all part of being in kindergarten. Then we explained that her teacher wasn't really mean, but was trying to help her learn the rules. She goes back tomorrow, and I'm hoping for a better report tomorrow afternoon...we'll see.

Oh, and did I mention that she's lost 2 teeth in the past week?? Yep, my baby's growing up. I don't like all.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

3 Zoos, 4 Hotels, 2 Birthdays, 9 Days

***Warning. The following post is VERY long and contains A LOT of pictures! If you are not interested in how we spent our family vacation, feel free to log off now. I will only be slightly offended.***
We had a fantastic family vacation over Labor Day! We drove down to Alabama and spent some time with my Dad and Stepmom, Denise. It's been two long years since we've had the chance to go (as an entire family) and spend some time there. We had so much fun! We celebrated my twin step-sisters' birthdays (Happy Birthday again, Natalie & Ashlie!!) , Afton became fast friends with her cousins, Haley and Amber, we spent some wonderful time hanging out with dad and Denise, and I got a little shopping therapy in. On the way to Alabama we made a side trip to the Safari Wild Animal Park just South of Atlanta. It was pretty neat. They have a walk-through zoo, which seemed very similar to a lot of small zoos I've been to...smaller than ideal cages, but an interesting array of animals. Here's a few:

Is it just me, or do zoos not have kangaroos anymore? I haven't seen one in ages!

The only thing I could think when I saw this guy was "I like to move it, move it!" Does anybody else think he resembles King Julian from Madagascar?

Wild Pigs - these guys stunk! And they just look mean!

Ligers!! Napolean Dynamite - eat your heart out!

A little llama love

And then we bought a couple (ok - 8) bags of food for the animals and we got to rent a very unsanitary, disgusting, nasty van to take through the drive-thru part of the zoo. (Did I mention the van was dirty?) Here are some of the highlights:

We thought it might take a while for Afton to warm up to the idea of hand-feeding the animals, but she jumped right in willingly!

Look at the horns! This guy could do some major damage if he chose too ~ I'm glad we rented their van...I bet the people in front of us in the Lexus wished they had!

I thought this guy was going to jump in the van and ride home with us

Who knew camels could smile? I think a trip to the dentist is in order.

We got to Alabama Saturday night and just relaxed at the hotel that evening. Sunday was spent hanging out with my dad, we went to the mall, where Afton rode on a bunjee jumping/trampoline contraption, I have pictures...somewhere...and then went to see Ice Age in 3-D, this is where I learned that 3-D glasses give me a screaming headache. Monday we got back in the car for the "1 1/2 hour" drive to Nashville, TN to go to the zoo. I put the 1 1/2 hour in quotes because in actuality it took us 3 hours to get there...stupid GPS. The Nashville Zoo is a smaller zoo. They don't have bears or penguins, it only took us about 4 hours to go through the whole thing. It was a lot of walking, but the set-up was great...all the paths are shaded with "misting" areas that spray a mist of cool water on you. We would definitely go back. Just a little bit of what we saw there...

They had beautiful birds...I believe these are Macaws?

Our fearless leader...we called her the "whine" leader.

This is Doublestuff...

This is Doublestuff eating our Zoo Map...

This is the sad little girl who said "That mean goat ate my map & now I don't know where to go next!"

Just a cute little monkey.

Red Panda - I haven't seen one of these in FOREVER!!

Clouded Leopard - really cool.

White Bengal Tiger...fierce!

It was A LOT of walking.

Another cute little monkey.

We ride the carousel at every zoo. It's one of the first things Afton looks for on the map.

There was a special Lorikeet exhibit, you could pay $1 and feed the birds...this lady wasn't too excited about feeding them, but they ate her hair anyway.

They were very friendly. This one eventually hopped onto my shoulder and started nibbling my ear...that was awkward.

The Nashville Zoo has this amazing playground/castle thing. Rope bridges, climbing nets, a 3 story twirly slide...way too cool!

I just like this picture.

The end of a great day.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were pretty quiet. We hung out with Dad & Denise, did a little bit of shopping and just spent some good, quality time together. They are always quick with a joke, but just as quick to compliment and give really good advice. I love the time we get to spend with them and it always seems to pass too quickly. Friday was Natalie's and Ashlie's birthday...they turned the big 3-0!! We had dinner together with the whole family and a couple of their good friends. It was a loud, happy, wonderful time. The great way to end a fun (albeit way too short) stay.

We left Saturday morning for the trip home. We decided to stop in Columbia, SC Saturday night and go to the Riverbanks Zoo Sunday before we finished the drive. It was bigger than Nashville, but not by much...they had more big cats, penguins, bears...and the Pièce de résistance, a giraffe feeding encounter. Afton LOVES giraffes...everytime we go to a zoo she picks a giraffe themed souvenir from the gift shop. So when we told her that she was going to be able to feed one, I thought her head would explode from excitement. Here's a couple pictures from Columbia...

When we saw the monkey lining up the jump, Joe kept whispering "Don't do it, man. Don't do it."

I wish I could have gotten one with her face - it's on the video camera - maybe one of the these days I'll figure out how to get it on here.

We decided she has the coolest job...ever.

As much as Afton loves giraffes, I love these little guys...they are so cool.

Again with the carousel.

Another Lorikeet exhibit. The colors on the birds are amazing!!

Joe made a new friend.

How could you not love a face like that?

Sweet dreams, little guy.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My Girl's Got Style

I forgot to post pics of Afton's new school bag. I picked this cute little tote up at The Dollar Store and got some iron-on flowers and letters for her name. The first time we tried this I melted the bag with the iron - oops! Since it was only a dollar, and my kid was heartbroken, I promised her we would try again...and we did...and this time I think we succeeded. Afton chose the colors and placement of all the flowers and all I did was make 'em stick. She was so excited to take it to school on the first day and show all of her friends, and I don't blame her; I think she did a great job!!

The picture isn't the best quality...I took it with my phone, sorry.

One Week Down...

Well, we're one week into the new preschool year and so far, so good. Afton is in the 4 year old class this year. She goes 5 days a week from 9 to 1, and she LOVES it. I asked her if she had fun on her first day and she said "It was awesome!" Miss Ashley is her teacher, and she knows Afton inside and out. I've been working at the school for 2 1/2 years now - and Ashley and her husband Troy have become really good friends with Joe and I. Their daughter Jordan is one of Afton's favorite babysitters. They work on a color code in Afton's class this year, Green means you had a great day, Yellow means you had a difficult time listening and Red means you had a REALLY difficult time listening. Afton got green on Monday and Tuesday, came home with her first (and so far her only) yellow on Wednesday, and greens again on Thursday and Friday. I'm really proud of her for working so hard to get those greens! When Joe picked her up on Wednesday she asked if they could stop at McDonald's for an ice cream cone. When he said "Well, what color did you get today?" She hung her little head and said "Yellow", so Joe asked if she thought that yellow deserved an ice cream cone and she said (very sadly, I'm sure) "I guess not". So on Thursday when she showed me her green and I told her how proud I was of her and how great that was, all she could say was "Yeah, because now my daddy will buy me an ice cream cone!!" I told Joe that he better make sure he has a couple dollars in his pocket from here on out, because in Afton's mind Green = McDonald's Ice Cream Cones! Hey - whatever works!! She already has a homework project that she's been working on, and she loves it! She asks me to copy extra worksheets out of the curriculum books for her to do, and she's tried giving homework to me and Joe, also!! I know all parents say this, but she is so smart! She's recognizing rhyming words, she's learning to add simple numbers, and she's a whiz at mazes and puzzles. She's growing up so fast - I can't believe that in 4 months we'll be attending open houses for kindergarten and in just one short year Afton will be a kindergartener...where does the time go?!

I'm having a pretty great time in Preschool this year as well. I'm teaching the 3 year olds this year, so I have 6 of the kids that I had in my 2 year old class last year and 3 new children. They are a smart group of kids!! I have found that I love lesson planning - as long as I have plenty of time and don't wait until the last minute - and the kids seem to enjoy the activites we've been doing. They are excited about school and are a great group of's hoping they can keep it up for the rest of the year!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Additions

About a week or so ago we were getting out of the car and Afton said "Mommy, I see a nest!" I looked around, but didn't really see any bushes that would be safe enough for a bird to build a nest in, and we only have one smallish tree in our yard - so I thought maybe she meant at Grandma's house or something so all I said was "That's nice". To which she replied, pointing emphatically to our scrawny tree "No, mommy, I see a nest!" Sure enough, there was a nest in our little tree! It was too high up in the tree for me to pick her up to see into it, so I told her we would have to wait for daddy to get home and use his ladder. She was so excited that she could hardly wait for him to get out of the truck before she was begging to see inside her nest! Joe climbed up first to make sure we weren't going to get our eyes pecked out by a momma bird defending her babies and when he came down he said "we have baby birds". I was worried that Afton would want to pet the birds or touch the nest, and knew that if she did the chances of momma bird coming back were slim to none. So we explained to Afton that we couldn't touch anything, but she could look at the birds and she did great! So, here are the pictures of our newest babies...
Hungry little guys...

and noisy, too!

Momma bird keeping watch

Thursday, July 2, 2009

What We Did On Our Summer Vacation.

I know, I know...I'm a horrible blogger! But I like to think I have a good reason. We have been spending A LOT of time at the pool the past few months. And this is what we've accomplished...

She pretty much taught herself how to swim. We gave her the basics (hold your breath, kick your feet) and she did all the rest. I think she spends more time under the water than above it! We are so proud of her!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Saturday, in the park...well, technically it was our backyard

But it's such a great song, who can resist? Cute story...Beth and I have been friends since I was a teenager. When she told me in 2004 that me she was expecting, I was so happy for her...a little jealous, but happy nonetheless. I found out less than a week later that I was also pregnant. We had the same doctors, took the same Childbirth Classes (I thought for sure we were going to get kicked out...we could NOT take it seriously!!) And we had the exact same due dates - Jan 9th. Ella came early, Afton came late (she takes after me). And now here we friends whose little girls are best friends; how very Old Navy of us. But I digress. Last Saturday my BFF, Beth and Afton's BFF, Ella, came over to play. We hooked up the Slip & Slide and the Beach Ball Sprinkler. Those two monkeys had so much fun!!

I can't remember whose idea it was to put the roller coaster in the sprinkler, but it was pure genious!!

And then there was this little hole in our backyard...

I don't know why - but I really like this one...maybe it's the rain boots, or the muddy toes...whatever.

Thanks for coming over girls!! We had so much fun!!