Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Weeks of School

We are now into the second full week (3rd week in all) of school. It has been an adjustment, something we are still adjusting to.

Alivia is now in the second grade. She is not in a class with her closest friends, but that does not seem to bother her much. She still eats lunch with her pals and gets to play with them at recess. She has confidence issues, but otherwise is doing okay.

Addison is enjoying Kindergarten. She had made a few close friends and likes to tell us about her day. She tells me that she does sleep during quiet time. She is really tired at the end of the day. We feel so bad for her, but for now, she will stay in Kindergarten. Academically, she is doing fine. She is just really tired, ending up in bed before dinner some days (although she has gotten better).

Asher is at home with me, enjoying it. He is lonely at times, I find, but we have many play dates and outings. This week, for example, we have been busy every day. Monday, Chris was off and home with us. Tuesday we had friends come over all day with a little boy near Asher's age. Today we met friends at a playground, and tomorrow we are going to our Church Mom's ground. Asher is in swimming lessons on Monday mornings and really enjoys that, too.

I am missing Addison...a lot. Of course, I miss Alivia, too, but I know she is where she needs to be. I am not so certain about Addison...yet. I don't let her know that though. I love therefore I miss her when she is not here. Asher and I have fun at home. I love my days with him and am trying to enjoy every little moment. And, of course, I need to start blogging them!
Girls before school

Walking home on Monday (with Zoe).

Addison before school this morning.

Addison at the park with his friend Xander.

12th Wedding Anniversary

Sunday Chris and I celebrated 12 years of marriage! 12 years has gone by so is hard to believe. We have lived in 2 homes, had a few different cars, had 3 children, and made many memories.

To celebrate, we took our first big trip without the Lake of the Ozarks (my parents graciously took care of the kids while we were away). We had so much fun. We arrived on Thursday, returning home on Sunday. We ate out together, swam, road the jet ski, and took quiet canoe rides.  We missed the kids, but we enjoyed our quiet moments together too. We took it was like taking a kid anyway. We are already planning our next mini vaca together!

Play Dates

Having 2 kiddos in school is real busy! Addison and Alivia both want to have playdates. So, last week, I allowed them to each have friend over, with siblings. It was crazy...but they had a lot of fun. Alivia had 2 friends, Addison had 2 friends and Asher had friends, too.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Neale Woods

Today, Asher and I went with our friends Ms. Kim and Keegan on a hike in the Neale Woods in North Omaha. The forest has 9 miles of dirt/grass trails, 600 acres of conserved forest and prairie land, nature center building that is said to be opened seasonally (but looked closed when we were there), and the Millard Observatory. It was a hidden gem in the middle of nowhere!

We arrived down the gravel road to the woods to an empty parking lot. I was picturing a place to show my Forest pass, but there was not a soul there. It was pretty quiet around there. Let's just say, I would not have hiked without having my friends along.

We got out and hiked the Jonas trail, a trail that was labeled to be a mile long. In the forest, a mile is a very long distance! We hiked through prairie with tall prairie grass, through many swarms of bugs, through so many spiderwebs and spiders that I lost count, and walked dirt trails. It was pretty, smelled fresh (except for my continuous spaying of the ineffective Family Off that I had along), and was quiet. We did not hear or see many birds, only saw one animal that crept away without us seeing what he was (thankfully, I think). We saw many snails and butterflies, though, along with the bugs and spiders.

It was a fun hike, I guess. It was something different, which is something I am always looking for. This forest will be beautiful come fall. Maybe I will have to bring Chris and the girls next time.

Going to visit the forest? Here is the address:
Neale Woods
14323 Edith Marie Ave.
Omaha, NE 68112

Be sure to check out the website for directions because the road is closed by the river due to flooding. The view from the hills shows there is still a lot of water over the river banks.

What to bring:
Walking shoes
Pants or capri pants (maybe even long sleeved shirt) so you are not so bit up
Bug spray and the good kind - not the family friendly worthless kind
Snacks and drinks

Just FYI: No restrooms were available that we found. It is the woods afterall. So, not a place to go if you are potty training. :)

Enjoy the woods!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

1st Day of School 2011!

Today was the first day of school for Alivia, in the second grade, and Addison, starting Kindergarten! Addison was ready to go this morning, waking up on her own at 6:30 and getting dressed, while I had to wake Alivia at 7.

Addison was a bit nervous I think since she refused to eat anything for breakfast. I tried to get her to eat just about anything, and she completely refused. We walked up to school just before 8 with Daddy. The weather was windy and a little chilly actually. Chris and I walked the girls to their rooms, helping them get to their seats on the first day. They did really good without tears! I did not even cry, at least today. I must have cried all my tears a couple days ago.

After the first 1/2 day of school, we went and picked up McDonalds for lunch, meeting Daddy at a playground to eat it, so the girls could tell us all about their day.

So, we now have 2 in school, leaving just Asher and I here at home. I am sure we will find things to do, but we will miss the girls. I already do! Hummm, makes me think I should home school.

Addison with her teacher
Time to get to work.

Addison in class.

Daddy walking home with Asher...just Asher!

The Last Day of Summer

Yesterday was our official last day of summer since school started today. So, we had to celebrate.

When I asked Addison what she wanted to do, she said she wanted to go to a jumpy place. When I asked Alivia, she said she wanted to play with Zoe. I had to grant their wishes before school, right?!

So, we began the morning meeting friends at Jumpin Jax in Papillion for open bounce, and Alivia brought her friend Zoe. After some good bouncing, we came home and played outside a bit before lunch. We made chocolate brownies with frosting before painting fingers and toes (painting 3 girls including Zoe took me forever!).

After dinner, it was time to walk up to the school for the open house. Addison was so excited to see her Kindergarten room, meet her teacher, and maybe meet some of her classmates. Alivia was excited to see who was in her class (a lot of new kiddos in her class this year!) and meet her teacher. Addison has 19 kiddos in her class and Alivia has 20, the 20th being added LAST NIGHT! Crazy! There are 3 Kindergartens and 3 second grade classes. I believe the school is filling up...and fast!

The girls felt better after knowing what to expect a little on the first day. Now, bring on the first day!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Visit to the Lincoln Zoo

Yesterday we had a play date with the Allen Family at the Lincoln Children's Zoo. We had never been there, but we had been wanting to go there for a couple years. I had heard very good things about it.

What a nice place to visit! Everything seems so clean, well taken care of, and new. There are many hands on activities for the kids, too. For example, in the butterfly exhibit, they spray sugar water on your hands so the butterflies will be attracted to land on you. Really?! In Omaha, we can not even touch them! How fun is that?! The kids pet a rat (Ick! They said rats are one of the cleanest animals!? Really? And they live in sewers?), a very soft bunny, a bird, a cockroach (really), and a grasshopper just to name a few. They have pony rides (which we did not do) and a train ride that goes around the outside of the zoo twice. The kids really liked the train. We all loved all the play areas for the kids, too. The exhibits were close together, so you go from one to another without time for whining between. And, every few exhibits there is a sand pit, climbing thing, or some fun kid activity.

It took us 3 hours to see all we wanted to see, eat lunch, play on the playsets, sand pits, climbing things and more, and ride the train. We could have stayed longer and played longer on the play things too. I believe one could stay all day at this zoo, if you took your time.

Pros: Hands on activities for kids, shaded walk ways, smaller in size, easy to walk without hills.
Cons: Officially, no outside food is allowed within the zoo. We did not know this, however, and at our own picnic lunch near the dino dig sand pit. Maybe this is why the zoo is so clean! I guess there is a picnic area someplace outside of the zoo. I found this quite interesting and weird. I mean kids eat, and eat often. Humm. Also, I did not find some of the trails very stroller friendly. Kim and I no longer use strollers for our kiddos, but just pointing this out if you do use one.

After the zoo, we visited a HUGE playground, Antelope Park, the kids just loved. They played until it was just too hot, and it was time to head home.

What a fun day! Would totally recommend a visit to the Lincoln Children's zoo! 

If you plan to go yet this year, go soon as they have short season: April 15th - October 15th. Open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. You do get a discount for being a Omaha Zoo Member, which is so nice!

The zoo crooked house and playset
Antelope Park

Asher's 1st Sleepover

On Wednesday, we had the neighbor's kids over to play while they mommy and daddy went out to celebrate their daddy's birthday.  They have Zoe, Alivia's BFF, Cameron, who is maybe 10 days younger than Asher, and baby Evan, who Addison adores because he is a baby. The kids played well together, watched a movie, and snacked on kettle corn that I had bought at the Papillion Farmer's Market. It was a fun night. As night time approached, the kids sacked out in each others rooms. Baby Evan slept in our room, Cameron slept in Asher's room and Zoe slept in Alivia's room. Addison was asleep within minutes, wiped from our fun filled day.

The boys were both having their first sleepover. Asher, who normally is an insomniac, went right to sleep with the company of Cameron. Alivia and Zoe, who just had a sleepover 2 days before, were giggly as usual. The boys slept right through them! How cute!

Baby Evan went home with our neighbors while Zoe and Cameron stayed here. It was a fun night. And, Asher was pretty excited to get to have a sleepover like his big sisters!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August at the Forest

Another day closer to school starting, so we enjoyed another full morning of fun. 
We started off early at the Fontenelle Forest. We took a hike through the forest today, looking for "clues." We saw a wild turkey, heard many birds, found feathers, and spotted some deer tracks. It was so pretty and the air smelled so good. The kids played in Acorn Acres where they found caterpillars. They were so excited! Then, it was time to head to our next play date.

We met a group of friends at a playground in Ralston. The kids were already pretty tired from hiking and did not last long. But, we at least got to stop in and say hi to everyone before coming home for lunch.

Now, it is time for quiet time and PBS kids for Addison and Asher while Alivia is off to Zoe's. We have some errands to run this afternoon before we are watching the neighbor's kiddos for a bit this evening. All in a day of fun!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Last Full Week of Summer...

This week marks the last full week of summer break for Alivia and Addison. I am quite sad about this. I told them that we would make the best of their last week at home, creating as many memories as possible while we can.
On Monday, we met our the Grajkowski family at a local park to play and have a picnic while Addison went shopping with Grandma Kathy. I brought Pippa, which I found a bit overwhelming. I believe Pippa needs to learn to stay home sometimes. After the picnic, Alivia's friend Sydney came over for a bit to play during the afternoon. It was not long and Addison arrived home from a day of shopping, She had so much fun with her Grandma and going alone. I am not sure which she liked better (going alone or the shopping). Although it was a full day, Alivia had not had enough. It was not long and Zoe was spending the night. Okay, it is the last week of summer, right?

So, today, we decided to his members hour at the Omaha Children's Museum. It was the last time the kids would go during the week for a while probably. We visited the dino exhibit upstairs, played on the main level, made an art project (that we forgot to bring home) and did a little face painting. It was a fun morning. For lunch, we went to Heartland of America park to feed the water fowl a bit before feeding ourselves. Okay, the water fowl do not understand what "all gone" means. They were all over us! It was crazy!! So, I need to bring more bread for them next time. Now we are home, Zoe in tow, enjoying a semi quiet afternoon watching movies (while I blog).

Why is it that they best things always seem to have to end?! That is so sad. I look at my little Addison and just want to hold her tight and never let go. She just turned 5. I wish I had more time with her. I think I would be ready for her to go to school by January. Humm, I wonder if they would allow that?