Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Memorial Day 2010At the serviceAddi & Grandma

What a fabulous Memorial Day! The weather was sunny and warm - perfect for the Memorial Day service in my hometown. My Dad did the annual "Left, Right, Left!" We visited some family buried in the cemetery before going to my parents for the annual picnic. I went to bed while the family enjoyed the Holiday picnic (I worked last night and was exhausted). The kids had fun but they were just ready for the next Austin Austin Adventure.

Happy Memorial Day!

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May in Review

Happy Memorial Day! Yeah...summer is here! Just when I think we can't get any busier, we do. This month we celebrated May Day, Mother's Day and Alivia's 6th birthday with 2 parties. Alivia even got her ears pierced for her birthday! We visited the zoo, Children's Museum 2x, & the Forest, as well as a pottery class, PE 101, Alivia took swim camp, and we visited and many parks. Alivia had her first friend spend the night with us (Ellie) and Asher is now #1 potty trained (still working on consistency with #2). Alivia had her spring concert at school and finished Kindergarten. Addison finished her first year of preschool too.
We continued to work on our home finishing the closet & drop zone in the laundry room (and we are really liking that!), planting 11 trees, painting 3 our of 4 bathrooms, and getting a fence installed. The house work is seriously never ending.
Now...onto the fun summer months! Bring it on!
Happy Summer!

Here are the MAY PHOTOS

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Fenced in Backyard

Today they completed the fence in the backyard. It looks different, but different can be good. We feel it is a safer place for the kids...and that is what is important. We ended up getting a semi private vinyl fence from Quality Fence. Just FYI, a semi private fence is more expensive than a full privacy fence. But, for us, it was worth it so that the wind could pass through. We also just thought the fence we selected looked better. We are quite happy with the overall look of the fence. We believe it is a nice and clean look. And, the best part is...we do not have to stain it! The fence was installed by a subcontractor, which we were not told about in advance and are not pleased about. The final product was installed today by one Hispanic male and 2 young kids - like a 10 year old and a 12 year old maybe. Um, what happened to labor laws? Quality will be receiving a phone call about this issue.

Anyway...This is our new backyard.

The Install ProcessThe Fenced in LookMore YardAnother view

Now...we are ready for more trees!

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Asher at 2 1/2!

I am getting tired of our kids getting older. Ha! Just a part of life, I know. But, I know what people were talking about when they talked about putting a brick on my head when I was a kid!

Asher is now 2 1/2 years old. Within the last couple of months he has nearly grown out of diapers and is now wearing big boy underwear! We are nearly potty trained and I find this super exciting but sad all at once. He has grown so much more independent since taking on the potty training. Now, for example, he wants to put on his own clothes. "Me do it!" he says. He wants to sit on the big potty, too. Asher likes to push around his trucks, play at parks and on our swing set, points out every McDonalds he sees, and could go all day eating constantly! He favorite food - I am not even sure! He likes a lot, but he is getting pickier. He is often times handing me food after chewing it saying, "yucky Mommy." Thanks Asher. :) He is a very sweet boy, though, and comes to me and gives me hugs and kisses many times during the day. He likes to sneak out of his room in the middle of the night and sleep in "Mommy and Daddy's room." He is so quiet that Chris and I don't even know he is there until we awake in the morning. I do miss him on the nights he stays put, though.

Asher remains in his crib and seems okay with that. His room is ready whenever we get around to moving the bed from storage at Chris' parents. We just seem to be dragging our feet. Afterall, he is the last "baby" to sleep in the crib! What is the rush?

Asher likes to color, play with play-doh....but, Asher does not like to get messy. He uses several napkins during meals because he does not like things on his fingers! He has been found to be the baby in the dolly stroller, wear princess clothes when playing with his sister, want his nails painted because the girls are getting theirs painted, and put on lip balm! But, he is still all boy! He has no fear - so much so that he scares me at times. At other times, he just wants to be Mommy's little boy. And, since he is still in 18 month clothes because of his short height I believe, he still is our little boy!

Happy 1/2 Birthday Asher!

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Our Family - May 2010

Here are are most recent photos...
Alivia's 6 year, Addison's nearly 4 year and Asher 2 1/2 year!


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Too Cute

Ahhh...Just thought this was too cute!

But...look where they ended up in the morning...
Addi in the morning.Asher in the morning (in our room on the floor).

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Shadow Lake Fox

This week, we walked to school. It is so peaceful around here in the mornings. On preschool days, we came right home. However, on the other days, Addi, Asher and I walked/ran around the lake. Seriously, pushing those 2 is one major work out!

On our walk Thursday morning, we met a baby fox just up the hill from our home. When we walked home from school after dropping Alivia off, there were 2 baby foxes! How cute! I watched them play a lot during the day. I saw them early this morning, but they were not out of their den to greet us on the way to school today. But...what a sight! Something we probably will not see again around here as the people invade their turf.

Things I have learned about walking around the lake.
1. Geese and ducks do attack when they have babies. Run into the lake and let them have the trail!
2. Geese poo too much.
3. Run to the left of the trail.The bug swarms seem to be fewer on that side.
4. The lake is so peaceful - Chris was right...I would and do love the lake trail!

Here are some pictures of our new Shadow Lake friends.

FoxyGeese friendsMore Geese FriendsSacked out Addi and Asher

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Alivia's Last Day of Kindergarten!

Today was Alivia's last day of Kindergarten! It is so hard to believe that she has completed one year of school and will be ready for the 1st grade in the fall! Seriously, where does the time go?

What a year! She started at Standing Bear in OPS, ended at Bell in Papillion. She began school knowing her ABCs, writing her name and knowing a few words. Now she can read level 1 well and we hope to move towards level 2 readers this summer. I know I was not reading until the 1st grade! She learned about money and money's value, geography, and how to tell time. Seriously, I think I just learned the ABCs, my phone number and my address in the Kindergarten. Addison already knows those things NOW (either I was completely unintelligent or kids are expected to know way too many things at such young ages! Our brains can only develop so fast...gees!).  The transition to Bell was difficult, from finding new friends to starting a new semester with new ways of doing things. Alivia took it all in stride for the most part.

I was sad as we were approaching the school this morning, but I kept it to myself. Mostly sad that my little girl is getting so big! Alivia seemed fine until we reached Bell, and then she said she had bad feelings and thought she may cry. A teacher walked her in - which seemed to help her. I think Alivia just realized that today she had to say good-bye to her friends and Mrs. Sindelar for the summer! How sad!

As a special treat for a great school year, I took the kids to a park in Papillion meeting up with one of Alivia's Kindergarten friends and picking up Cousin Lucas, too. We played, had a picnic, and had some ice cream treats. It was so hot - a perfect introduction to summer! Addison just did not act right and slowly began to show signs of being sick. After the park, the kids played with Chris at home running through the sprinklers while I went to Holy Hour. We then went to get our van from the service center and pick up a pizza from dinner. After a full day, Addison and Asher were definitely sick. They both fell asleep in the car on the way home from getting the pizza. When we woke them, neither wanted to eat. Asher said he did, but rolled over and went back to sleep. Alivia ate dinner and fell asleep before 7! In this house, all of the kids being asleep before 9 is unheard of!

Alivia had an amazing year full of excitement. Congratulations on a great Kindergarten, Alivia! Now...onto the 1st Grade.

Alivia on her last day of KindergartenLast Day of KindergartenAt the park...Addi, Lucas, and AsherWatching the fishMore Fish cute!Out like a lightNight night...

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Alivia in Swim Camp

For the last 8 days, Alivia has been in Barb Graeve swim camp with Ms. Meg as her instructor. We like swimming at Barbs because 1. warm water & warm air, 2. small class (Alivia was one of 3 kiddos in her class!, 3. more reasonable prices 4. she has learned to swim! and 5. Alivia loves it! The only downfall is registration and getting into a class.

We find that Alivia learns more when she goes daily since she just works off what she learned the day before. After going to swim camp for 8 days, Alivia learned to stream line swim, tread water (yeah!), back float, back stroke, butterfly stroke and more. She is now ready to start taking breaths while swimming (not sure what that is called). She did really well in the indoor pool with room temps at 88 degrees! That is about Alivia's perfect temperature (and she was still cold when she got out to jump in). She is still timid about jumping into the deep end without someone right there, but she is getting more comfortable with it.

Now, after swim camp, we are ready to hit the pools...just as soon as they open!

Circle Time with all classes (for the news!)Alivia & Ms. MegBack strokeDiving for toys

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Addison finishes1st Year of Preschool

Yesterday was Addison's last day at the Gingerbread House Preschool and marked the end of her first year. She has grown up so much over the course of her first preschool year. She really liked preschool and found new friends. She was even invited to the first of probably many birthday parties. Addison, academically, is well on her way to being ready for Kindergarten. But, as she tells us,"I don't want to go to Kindergarten." I have to remind her that she has another year before she will be off to school.
Although Addison has made amazing progress and loved preschool, I am not sure I would send her again. I am still not sure 2 years of preschool is necessary. At this point, I think one year of 3 days a week would be plenty to get the kids ready. This year, really, was just an introduction to concepts. She has made great strides, but she also missed her Mommy and I missed her!

As much as we love the Gingerbread House, I could not stand the drive and felt it was cruel on Asher who had to hang out with me in the area while we waited for Addison. Next fall, Addison will be going to Sacred Heart Catholic Preschool in Papillion.

Now, bring on summer! We can hardly get waited to get started!

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

6 Months in Shadow Lake!

Yesterday marked 6 months since we closed on our home (and we moved in a few days later). We have come a long way since then! Here is what we have done.

Clearly, we moved in. That is a huge accomplishment alone for a family of 5 that only had my parents and Chris' Dad helping (and nobody to watch the kids!).

We have painted:
3 out of 4 bathrooms
3 out of 4 bedrooms &
the laundry room

We have added on:
Took out the folding table in the laundry room and added in a closet and a drop zone.

We changed:
All of the hideous looking fans. We spend big $ on Asher's room, the Master and the main level fans and opted for some plain white ones in the girls' rooms. They are all quiet and work great! The cheap ones were a pain in the butt to install though.

Some new artwork and hung the old artwork from our previous address. We also purchased some knick knacks to go around the TV area (and I still have some things to buy for that).
Chris installed all the garage shelving and organized the garage. He also bought numerous tools for his upcoming jobs (drop zone thing in the garage).
We got new bedding for the Master bedroom, for Addison's room and for Asher's room (although Asher is still in his crib).

We purchased a patio set for the front stoop and added a new rug.
We purchased and installed 11 trees around our home. We only had 11 around our previous address in which we planted them all, too! But, here...we have a way to go yet.
Chris has cut out all of the sod around the house creating beds for plants. He also trenched all the way around the house. We hope to get plants and mulch in June, with any luck.
And, the topper - they are FINALLY setting the posts for our new car, I mean fence, TODAY! The install of the total fence will be in June (only a few weeks after it was supposed to be complete).

Nothing to do with us...but we now have a home right next to us in the process of being completed and for sale. Anyone interested in being our neighbor?

Gees...that is a lot in 6 months! I'm just tired from writing it down!

We are going to slow down in the next few months. Upcoming plans include:
Painting the master bath and bedroom (which is pain considering the ceiling is painted in the master bedroom).
Rod Iron Spindles maybe. We are getting an estimate on Thursday. It sounds like it is the price of a medium sized organ to do...ugh.
Landscape around the house with plants and shrubs and mulch.
Maybe plant one more tree in the back someplace. We do not know where to place the trees yet. We wanted the fence installed first. Then, we want to know where those neighbors are going to be at so we can keep private with trees. That is hard to do when we do not have neighbors yet. We will see.

Stay tuned for many more before and after stories and pictures!


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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Alivia at 6 years old!

Where did the time go...our little baby Alivia is now 6 years old! 6 years ago our 4lb little baby girl was born and changed our lives.

Today she is a busy little girl. She is very organized and is quite good at keeping her room straightened. With that said, she is a collector. She has 2 drawers full of her "collections," that I am constantly cleaning out. She has major opinions about her clothes. She rarely will wear jeans, preferring leggings. She does like comfy clothes while at home (don't we all), but she likes to dress nice for school. Her greatest interest is making art projects, drawing, coloring, working on her workbook, making people cards and reading. Alivia also likes to get away from Addison and Asher and watch ICarly, Spongebob and Victorious on Nic. Perhaps it is her age, but Alivia really needs her alone time and her space at times. She can only take so much and she just needs to get away on her own. With that said, she is not going to like my no TV policy during the day during the summer!

Alivia, as probably most kids do, has changed a lot by going to Kindergarten. She is still very timid and shy and probably could have benefited from maturing a bit and going NEXT YEAR! She has done well in school, but she is very quiet. Making friends at Bell has been hard on her too. We are hoping the summer break and a fresh start to next year will help her.

After having celebrated on Saturday with her friends and Sunday with our family, Alivia celebrated yesterday at school because the school had down that her birthday was on the 24! Today she passed out M&M cookies as treats at school and they sang to her again. Then...we celebrated again!

For Alivia's 6th Birthday, she wanted to get her ears pierced. We attempted this a few months ago, but Alivia was too afraid (and I did not think she was ready anyway). Today I picked her up from school and went right to Sweet and Sassy in Shadow Lake. Alivia selected her earrings and began to ask questions. They pierced both ears at the same time (so helpful!), and it was over before she realized it. I was shocked! We will totally be going back there when Addison wants her ears pierced. Alivia was sprayed with some cotton candy spray, got a sparkle star on her face, and a scrapbook page to bring home, too. Now, our little girl has little flower earrings in! She looks so much older. I'm not sure I was ready for that!

Next Alivia had swimming lessons. She is in week 2 of a nightly swim camp. Although swimming after getting your ears pierced is probably not a good idea, we did not have a least tonight. As an added surprise, all of the classes came together to swim in a circle to say Happy Birthday to cool is that!

After swimming, it was time for a pizza party at Mama's Pizza Midtown where Alivia had selected to go for her birthday dinner. We invited her Grandparents to come, too! It was a fun night.

Then, finally, after arriving home, Alivia was able to "open" one more present...A new desk! Alivia had a desk, but it was actually my old desk that I used when I worked outside the home. This one is one we found during Berkshire days and works better for storage for all her "collections." She started filling the drawers with her art supplies and special books immediately. Addison, on the other hand, went crying to her room because she wanted a desk, too! I guess I can do without a desk for a while longer.

What a day for a 6 year old...School, getting her ears pierced, swimming, Mamas, and a new desk! And, I still have not gotten used to the fact that she is 6!

Happy 6th Birthday Alivia! We love you, Baby Girl!

Alivia before going to school - now 6!Our Little Ladybug!New Desk!Before Getting her Ears PiercedDuring...& After!Daddy & the girls - Shadow LakeSwimming Circle WITH ALL CLASSES! for Alivia's Birthday!Playing Games at MamasAsher's Dessert!Alivia & Her New Desk

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