Monday, October 20, 2014

James at FIVE.


Dear James,

Another year! ANOTHER year! I cannot quite believe it. In some ways I feel like five years has been an eternity. And in other ways I feel like it has flown by. Either way, it hasn't been enough time. Have we done enough of the things we planned to do? Have we spent enough time with you? Have we told you we love you and kissed and hugged you enough? There's never enough time for all of it.

Your personality is something that is difficult to put into words. You are our sweet little old man. Mr. Serious some of the time, practical joker some of the time. You are so, so bright! You constantly keep us on our toes with your questions and the words that you say. We always look at each other and say, "How does he know that?!" We're preparing for kindergarten next year - we've visited the first of two schools in the past week - and we're definitely nervous about where to put you...we want to do what's best for YOU. You are super inquisitive and very much Mr. Independent, but you like to have someone do things with you. You want to do things YOUR way and in YOUR time, but with someone next to you for encouragement. You are a perfectionist...you have Mama AND Daddy to blame for that trait. Welcome to the world of first born children, my friend. If you KNOW you cannot do something perfectly, you won't even attempt. Thankfully, they're working on handwriting with you at school because the two of us together wouldn't get it done without tears. Maybe from both of us. You are a sweet big brother but sometimes Will still drives you bonkers. Y'all have become SUCH big buddies since we moved you into the same bedroom, though. I'm praying that bond continues to grow big time.

Recently, you've grown a TON. This time last year you were wearing a 3T in jeans (they were, admittedly, WAY too small) and this year we're almost into a 5T (and WILL is in the 3T...). You've learned to SNAP in the past month and your fingers are going to be blistered for all the SNAPPING that goes on. You love to sing, sing, sing and choir is one of your favorite things all week long. You also love to play board games. You've gotten into superheroes and Ninja Turtles a LITTLE lately. Still not the obsession of other little boys your age. We pulled out our dress-up clothes after they'd been packed up for over a year and they have been the HIT parade lately. So has your swing set outside.

Mama and Daddy love you SO, so much and we're so proud of you. I can hardly believe you're FIVE!

Love,
Mama

His 4 year old interview can be found HERE.

This year...

Your favorite things: Planes: Fire & Rescue, fishing, all the girls in his class (yikes...), choir, getting dressed up for church.
Funny things: Snapping! ALL THE SNAPPING! He is INTO football - especially the local high school's football team, Clemson (ick!), and Georgia (hallelujah!). He hasn't ever been interested until this year but he is all about the team names, the scores, etc. I asked him what he'd do if we go to a school that doesn't feed into the local high school (we have season tickets) and he said he wasn't interested in going there!!! Then we visited the other day and he saw paw prints in their parking lot and thought we'd gone to visit CLEMSON and he changed his tune. I quickly told him we weren't in South Carolina. We were just five minutes from home. Lol!

What is your favorite color? Orange.
What is your favorite toy? Remote control car. (He got three for his birthday!)
What is your favorite fruit? Strawberries.
What is your favorite TV show? Paw Patrol.
What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Sandwiches.
What is your favorite shirt to wear? Planes Fire and Rescue shirt that I have.
What is your favorite snack? Goody mix. (Trail mix that they made at school.)
What is your favorite game? The huntin' game (on his iPad).
What is your favorite animal? Giraffe.
What is your favorite football team? (The local high school team.)
What is your favorite song? Jesus Loves the Little Children.
What is your favorite book? Curious George.
Who is your best friend? Ricky. (SHOCK!)
What is your favorite movie? Charlie Brown. (It's on right now.)
What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play on the swing set.
What is your favorite holiday? Saturday. No. Halloween. (He said The Saturday of Christmas last year. LOL!)
What is your favorite drink? Lemonade.
What do you take to bed with you at night? My big wubbie.
What is Mama's job? To take care of me and Will.
What is your favorite breakfast food? Breakfast sandwich. (LIES!)
What is Daddy's job? To work at his office.
What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Will said cake so James said cupcakes.
What do you want to be when you grow up? A farmer.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pumpkin Patch Field Trip

Last Tuesday I went with James' class to the pumpkin patch. We love going out to this farm because there's so much to do. Hopefully we'll get back out there with Will and Daddy. October is WAYYYY to busy to enjoy.

We picked cotton and rode on the wagon ride.

We had ice cream and played on the playground.

We did a corn maze and went to the petting zoo.


And James picked out a pumpkin!

So fun! These four year olds go ALL the time. Tomorrow we're headed to Publix!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Long Time, No Blog!

So we're busier than we've ever been. That's just life, huh? We run from one thing to the next and when the boys are sleeping I either have a million to-do list things to get done, or I just want to do nothing. Unpacking and organizing a home is busy. Teaching school (even if it's just two days a week) is busy. Two year olds and almost-five-year-olds (where's my paper bag?!) are BUSY. The bigger they get, the busier we get. Jamberry is busy. (Thank goodness for that!) Being involved in a million clubs/organizations/committees/Sunday Schools is busy. So I just got wrapped up in all that living and I haven't blogged in ELEVEN days. Whoops!

Here's what we've done:

* The boys went to Papa and YaYa's for the weekend LAST weekend. Eddie and I thought we'd unpack a little and have a little down time. WRONG. We moved all day on Saturday and part of the day on Sunday. There was WAY MORE in that rental house than I realized. I actually called and requested they stay one more day and picked them up at lunch on Monday. I have pictures of their weekend, but I can't find them. :/

* Tuesday I went with James on a field trip to the pumpkin patch. SO fun! I'll post about it separately.

* Wednesday and Friday are teaching days for me. That means we're up and going earlier than normal and we're gone later. Wednesdays are also choir days so that means we get home late and get a shorter nap because we're right back out the door for church. 

* Will had a doctor's appointment on Tuesday afternoon. This was unexpected. He had a runny nose all last weekend while he was with Papa and YaYa and then ran a fever on Monday night. I FREAKED OUT about EV-D68 or whatever it's called and took him in - I'm not a big "sick visit" person, shockingly. We haven't had one in over a year...typically we just wait it out unless it's terrible. He had a double ear infection so I was glad we went.


* We played on the playground at school after school on Thursday. We've picnicked with friends two weeks in a row. That's been FUN!

* This weekend we went to the last home football game that we'll be able to go to this year. It was the class of '94s reunion so Eddie spent some of the game visiting with friends (it wasn't his reunion). James spent some of the game running his little self silly in the end zone. Will spent some all of the game eating. We left in the third quarter and when we got home, James got sick. Ughhhh. Thankfully, we were all spared the embarrassment of public throw-up and thankfully it was just a one-time thing.


* On Saturday we made plans to go to a pumpkin patch/fall festival with some of Eddie's cousins, but we canceled in case James really WAS sick (he wasn't). Instead, Cacky came and took the boys to the playground.

* Sunday was BUSY. James was singing at church and he'd been looking forward to it all week long. It was his first time to sing in "big church." Mr. James is a little bit of a performer. Singing is his thing.


* Sunday afternoon Grandmama and Granddaddy put a swing set up in our back yard! They also went and picked up the Bobby Lou (our boat-shaped sandbox) out of the rental house's backyard. My boys are LOVING their "new" backyard.


* Yesterday James had a dentist appointment. He had his little toofies cleaned and got his little chipped tooth smoothed down. 


* Tonight I saw Gone Girl with my Book Club crowd. It was SO GOOD. It was very, very, very true to the book. I still prefer to read books first, but I'd say if you're not a reader GO SEE IT.

* We've played lots and LOTS of games recently.


* And Mrs. Bobby fall-ified my front porch last week. I hadn't realized I needed to pressure wash the sidewalk (HA! I mean Eddie needs to...). Big old mums are still alive and kicking for now!


Friday, October 3, 2014

31 Days...

October is the time of year that a lot of bloggers start doing a 31 Days series where they focus on ONE topic and write about it for the month. The past two years I've done 31 Days of Halloween. This year, being that we are nowhere close to being unpacked and organized (and my Halloween stuff is all packed up in storage!), I'm going to skip. However, if you're interested in seeing what I've done in years past, here are my 31 Days of Halloween posts. Some are links and some are actually posted right here for your viewing pleasure. {Also, I wound up NOT doing ALL 31 days so these are sort of randomly ordered...} Look at the tiny babies in these pictures!

Day One - Leaf Hunting
Day Two - Halloween Books
Day Three - Pumpkin Cuties
Day Four - Chili Night
Day Five - Campfire Boys
Day Six - Pumpkin Muffins
Day Seven - Halloween Decor
Day Eight - Preschool Crafts
Day Nine - Canned Goods Drive
Day Ten - Pumpkin Pie Playdough
Seriously, one of my favorite things on this list. EASY to make, fun to play with! I wrote the directions down in my planner so I don't have a link for it. 

Ingredients:
5.5 c flour
2 c salt
8 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 c oil
1.5 oz pumpkin pie spice (I didn't put this much...)
orange food coloring (2 parts yellow to 1 part red)
4 c water

Cook over medium heat until lumps disappear and it has a play dough consistency. Knead until smooth! Store in a sealed container up to two weeks.


Day Eleven - Pumpkin Patch
Day Twelve - Q-Tip Skeletons
Day Fourteen - Drink Apple Cider
Day Fifteen - Five Little Pumpkins Thumbprint Art
This was simple and fun. And The 5 Little Pumpkins is one of James' favorite books. {When he was teensy we read it all year 'round!} I got a little fancy and cute a gate out on my Silhouette and then we each stamped our thumbs on top {James volunteered to go twice!}


Day Sixteen - Falling Leaves Handprint Art
This was fun...but ours really looks more like a turkey. I think I'll do it again in November!


Day Seventeen - Handprint Bat
James thinks this is hysterical. It was EASY, peasy to make. Took less than five minutes and then he played with it for a while! I just traced his hands, drew a bat body/head/ears (can't you tell?!), and attached the "wings" with brads.


Day Eighteen - Paint Pumpkins
This might be my LEAST favorite activity on the whole list. It took me longer to unload the dishwasher than it did for him to paint and he got paint everywhere. I know, that's expected, it just wasn't quite as much fun as I'd hoped.


Day Nineteen - Costumed!
Day Twenty - Footprint Ghost
So here's my advice on this. It was SUPER easy. But don't use construction paper. ;) The kindergarten teachers are all nodding their heads in agreement. Who knew? Not this high school teacher. Next time I'll use black cardstock. Hopefully that will solve the black paper + white paint = pink paint issue. Our ghost has high arches. ;)


Day Twenty-One - Halloween Jammies
James LOVED matching Will. Both sets of Will's are old ones of James' - one is Gap, one is Gerber from Target. Both of James' sets came from WalMart.



Day Twenty-Two - Dirt, Slime, and Worms
Day Twenty-Three - Pumpkin Carving and More!
Day Twenty-Four - Teacher Gifts
Day Twenty-Five - Monster Munch
Day Twenty-Six - Class Parties
Day Twenty-Seven - Spider Web Marble Painting
 Just like the ghost footprints, in hindsight I would've used black cardstock to avoid bleeding and white-turned-pink paint. I just put a piece of black paper in a shirt box, drizzle white paint in a circle, and let him roll a ball around to make the "web." You are SUPPOSED to use marbles because they're smaller but we didn't have any. Easy peasy!




Day Twenty-Eight - Spider Handprint Art
Super easy, fun project! This literally took just a few minutes. You could use both hands but I just smooshed the same one on the paper twice. I probably should've reapplied the paint. Oh well! Skip the thumbs for an 8-legged spider!


Day Twenty-Nine - Haunted House
This was FUN. James is allergic to tree nuts so I couldn't go the pre-done route, although I am making a Candy Cottage purchase in a few weeks at Mistletoe Market! (Have y'all seen these? Google them if not. They are plastic "gingerbread" houses that you can decorate, wash, and re-use! I'm so excited about them that I called a store an hour away the other day to see if they'd have them for sale at Mistletoe Market again this year!) Anyway, I put the house together and let James have full reign of the decor - a bit of an accomplishment for this control freak. He was SO proud and had SO much fun!



Day Thirty - Caramel Popcorn
This was good, but maybe just good enough to eat it every once in a while. It's Orville Redenbacher brand. I saw it at Target and didn't buy it, then I went back and DID buy it. Then it sat in my kitchen for about two weeks and yelled my name every time I opened the cabinets. I finally broke down and tried it. Ha! I do LOVE caramel corn but I think this is only good every once in a while! (It was easy enough to make, but make SURE you follow the directions about removing the kernels. I was a dummy and skipped that step and those suckers blend right in with the caramel. Thought I was going to hurt my teeth!)


Day Thirty-One - Trick or Treat and MORE!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

September Books.

September was a fairly good book month! I have a LOT of books going right now as usual. I need to just wrap them up and October will be another good book month.

What Shamu Taught Me About Life Love and Marriage: Lessons for People from Animals and their Trainers by Amy Sutherland
First of all, this book was NOT what I expected. I totally get wrapped up in "themed" reading. When we went to SeaWorld in the spring I watched Blackfish and requested several SeaWorld themed books from the library. This was one of those books. And you'd think that because it has "Shamu" in the title it would be about SeaWorld...but it wasn't. The author followed animal trainers around and learned how they trained animals (shocking!) and then applied it to her own life. If she didn't want her husband doing something, she'd employ animal training tactics on him...and it worked! While I would never, ever, ever have picked it up if I'd known what it was I was surprised that it was fairly interesting. And I've employed some of the tactics on my children (I'm not training Eddie...he's good!). For instance, Will is in a fit-throwing stage of life and has also been saying a few fairly inappropriate things lately (definitely G-rated...I just don't want my two-year-old commenting on female body parts ALL THE TIME) so I've begun completely ignoring him when he does those things. I don't look at him, I don't flinch, I just do nothing. Hopefully it will work...

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I know that everyone and their mama's aunt has read this book but I was late to the party. I picked it up because I knew that there were all kinds of twists and turns and the commercials for the movie started coming out and I HATE finding out what happens before I read a book, so I had to read it. I LOVED IT. I won't say anything else except if you like psychological thrillers you will not be able to put it down. It's not at all scary, just weirdo mind games through the whole thing. I could not WAIT to see WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WIFE. :) Do yourself a favor and read this one.

Foolproof by Ina Garten
Yep, I read and am including a cookbook. It was one that I kept hearing about, but I am NOT a fan of Ina Garten's Food Network show so I wanted to try it before I bought it. (I am a cookbook NUT and love to collect them.) It's made its way onto my birthday list. Lots of great recipes in this one.

Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Dectective by Donald J. Sobol
James LOVED this one, but I will say that it's still over his head. He thought the mysteries were very cool (we're all about cool these days), but he couldn't figure any of them out and often when I'd read the answers he would still asked me who did it. They'll be great when he's reading on his own, though.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
This is one of my favorite young adult books so I convinced James to read it with me. I think it's hilarious and clever, but James didn't get it. We have the movie, too, so I'll show him that soon...I think he'd enjoy it more. I thoroughly loved reading this with him. If you've never read it and you love words, it would be right up your alley.

Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Disgusting Sneakers by Donald J. Sobol
Because James loved the first one so much, and because we owned this one already, we read Encyclopedia Brown #18 in September, too. He still thought it was great, despite not really getting it.

What's on my bedside now?
Gone with the Wind - I put it down for a bit and hope to finish it SOON.
To Kill a Mockingbird - I haven't finished it from book club last month but the minimum number of times I've read this (often aloud for a group of middle schoolers) is 15. :)
Redeeming Love - our book club pick for this month.
When the Wind Blows - I {heart} James Patterson.



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hello, October!

It's my very favorite month of the year! Two birthdays for our immediate family (half of us!), Halloween, the weather cools down, football, pumpkin EVERYTHING (someone brought home pumpkin OREOS the other day...I'm not even a fan of Oreos but these are DELICIOUS), cozy clothes, ahhhhh. I love every. single. thing. about fall! 

I have my kitchen doors open today and I'm trying to bring the cooler air into the house. It's still a little warm, but it's not SUMMER hot. I am NOT a fan of summer.

I don't have a lot to share today, but I wanted to stop in anyway. This will be a little random.

1. While I'm dreaming of cooler weather and enjoying October, I'm also thinking of Christmas. It will be here before we know it! I'm not trying to get the cart ahead of the horse, but I AM making Christmas lists for the boys and thinking of things that they NEED for their new room and playroom and backyard. Our Elf on the Shelf, George, also put a little whisper in my ear this morning to get them a little something for their beds this week and that's exciting.

2. Our house is still basically a disaster. If I can get all the boxes unpacked that are already moved IN, I will be thankful. We have a garage full that I'm not touching yet, I just want to not have to step over boxes. On that note, I wish that dishwashers washed faster. It takes almost three hours to run a full load and it slooooows me down.

3. Last night was reasonably NORMAL in our household. I had a meeting at 4:30 so Miss Jessie came and played with the boys. As soon as I got home I got dinner fixed, the boys took a bath, and they were both in bed before 8:30. Eddie and I hadn't even eaten supper before 9 o'clock in a WEEK. Ohhhh, it was so nice. There is much to be done, but it was good to feel normal again.

4. I have a bathtub in my new bathroom and I have MISSED my tub. I use it as an excuse to sit and read for as long as I want. I've read 3 nights in a row this week. I might actually get some books knocked off my list!

5. For the first time ever in my five years as a mother, I don't have Halloween costumes for my boys. We ALWAYS have them before the beginning of October. This year we cannot decide what to be. At all. Driving me CRAZY. I'd just buy them and surprise the boys, but even I can't decide. If you have any clever brother costumes, give me a shout!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fire Station Field Trip

One of my FAVORITE things about being a stay-at-home mama is that I get to go on all the field trips with my boys. The four-year-olds go on field trips ALL the time. We had our first one today and we have THREE in the month of October - and they're FUN.

Today James' class and the other four-year-old class headed to the fire station.


They watched a video about how to get out of a fire (if you were a child of the late 80s/early 90s you, too, might have seen that video...they're still playing the Little Richard video from way back when...) and then they put on their fire gear and let the kids climb into the truck. James had a GREAT time. Looking forward to many more fun field trips this year! Eating UP this time with him.