Friday, May 20, 2016

Jack's Second Year of Preschool: 3s Class with Mrs. Lisa & Mrs. Melinda


Jack had another great year at preschool. We have been so blessed to live where we live. People are friendly, there is a great sense of community, and we have been really pleased with the teachers at Jack's school. I didn't grow up living in the same town for my whole life, but I hope Jack and Isaac have the opportunity to have lasting friendships with the kids they are starting with now.

Jack's 3s Class

 First Day of School - he looks so little!

 Who am I?

Pajama Day! Jack was a little disappointed that we didn't have another Pajama Day the last week of school. There's always next year, little buddy!

Our Sensational Jack

 
 A fireman for Halloween

Celebrating turning 4 with the other little boys in class (their birthdays were all within a week of each other). Jack was the first in his class to turn 4 and he thought that he was supposed to go ahead and move up to the 4s class. Even though he is thrilled to FINALLY move up, he will miss his classmates and teachers.
 
 Red Day

 Excited to hold a rabbit at the Petting Zoo Day.

 Jack enjoyed meeting the firemen and learning about their job.

 Everyday I would ask Jack what his favorite thing about his day was 
and every day he would tell me "playing on the playground."

Learning about Johnny Appleseed

Valentine's Day

With his classmates

Jack's class performing the story of Daniel and the Lion's Den for chapel.

Easter Party at school, complete with an Easter Egg Hunt.

 
Every year the school has a spring program called "Happy" and 
each class sings and dances for the parents. It is super cute.

Every year the 3s classes perform a circus for the school.

Jack's class was the lion act.
 
The End of Year Party was a Water Bash. The kids 
had a great time, even if they did end up freezing!

It's so hard to believe that this guy is done with another year of preschool. We are so proud of him and can't wait to see what the coming years have in store!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Family Time in May is Becoming a Tradition


There are certain times of year that are busier than others. May is one of those times. There is Mother's Day, school is wrapping up, summer is on the horizon, and for the last several years it has also been a time that some of my family has able to get together.


I come from a family that is spread all over and we don't get to see each other that often, so I am grateful for the times when it works out for a visit. 


A majority of my extended family lives in Canada, my parents are in Arkansas, my brother is the closest in Nashville, and my sister and her family live in Florida.


Over the last several years, my Nana has been able to come down for a visit around this time and I am so grateful for our time together and the memories we have created. It is even sweeter now that I have children and they are getting the opportunity to spend time with loved ones.


We had a quick 3-day visit before my parents took my Nana on to Florida to see my sister. 


As we get older and our families grow, it is getting more challenging to be all together at every gathering. Sometimes you just have to do the best you can and be ok with that.


Jack adored having family here. There were lots of trips to our neighborhood park, there were games to be played and lots of good food to eat. 


Isaac hammed it up for everyone with his goofy smile and valiant efforts at communication. He doesn't really say any words, but through grunts, pointing, patting or shouting he is communicating plenty.


It was a great little reunion and I'm looking forward to seeing more of my extended family later this summer when we plan to head north for this year's vacation.


A Look Back at previous years we have managed to get together in May:
Isaac joins the family, May 2015  ⎮  Izzy graduates from preschool and Moriah graduates from high school, May 2014Mother's Day, May 2013


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mother's Day Paddling Excursion


For me, Mother's Day is about doing something I love with the people that I love most. And not cooking is pretty important too!


We recently purchased a new-to-us kayak (a 3-seater Perception Tribe 13.5 T) that we have been anxious to take for a spin. It's kind of hard to believe that the last time we paddled, I was 39 weeks pregnant.


We have taken Jack out in our canoe on several occasions. The first time he was 11 months old. We tried again when he was 2.5 taking him to Wolftever Creek and also to the Bat Cave on Nickajack Lake. With each subsequent trip, Jack has shown more confidence and skill than the last time.


At age 4.5, this paddling excursion was his best trip by far. It helped tremendously that he had his own paddle – something he had been asking for since our last trip. Next up he might find himself with his own vessel.


Anyways, with Isaac being one already, I felt like it was time to take him out on the water. As parents, our basic philosophy is to introduce our kids to the things we love, as early and as quickly as possible because we have every intention of taking them with us on longer and more adventurous excursions as they get bigger.


The thing with kids is that you have to be ready to adjust your plans on the fly. You have to commit to doing the activity, even if it means that you might spend four hours preparing and 15 minutes actually doing it. 


You also have to know (and be ok with) calling it quits. You do all of this knowing that on the next trip you will go further and longer than the time before, and that endurance will come and a love of the outdoors and adventure will only happen with time.


With that knowledge we loaded our kayak and boys and headed down our mountain and across town to the base of Lookout Mountain where we would paddle on the flat water of Lookout Creek.


Lookout Creek really is the perfect place to take kids. We launched under the Cummings Hwy bridge (for free, you can go on into the Reflection Riding Center and launch there but there is a fee). We liked that we could back our Subaru right down to the water and unload our boat without having to carry it a long way.


We started out paddling up river and initially Isaac was totally on board with being on the water. Our kayak doesn't have scupper plugs, so there was a little bit of water in my foot board and he enjoyed splashing in it.


But – there is always a but with little kids – about 10 minutes into our paddle, he was over it. The heat, the life jacket, being stuck in my lap, all of it. Done.


So we turned around and headed back to the car while he cried/screamed. Once on land, and out of his life jacket, we calmed him down with some food and water and he was a happy guy again.


Daniel took Jack out for a little longer (which meant Jack got to sit in a real seat), and then they came back and Daniel and I traded spots and I paddled a bit with Jack.


We need to work on Jack's paddling skills. Right now he likes to drag his paddle (which slows us down and makes more work!). And when he was riding in the middle, when all four of us were in the boat, he had terrible cadence and would end up banging paddles with Daniel.


Overall though we are really happy to know that we can all fit in the new kayak. Jack will eventually learn how to paddle correctly and Isaac will eventually come to not hate wearing a life jacket. I think age 4.5, for Jack anyways, is the perfect age to really start to love paddling.


It was a great Mother's Day. Each year is better than the last! 


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