So Long, Kindergarten!

It’s time to say so long, Kindergarten! First grade, here comes Braden!

kindergarten graduation

Braden’s last day of kindergarten was earlier this month, but his school held a graduation program at the end of May.  It was adorable!  It doesn’t get much cuter than a bunch of five and six year olds on stage singing.  I teared up a few times watching.

I can’t believe how fast this school year went by.  When I was still in school, the time seemed to drag on and on.  This year flew by, I feel like his first day of kindergarten was just a month or two ago.

bradens last day of kindergarten

Braden learned so much this year and has grown into such a kind and caring little guy.  I’m so proud to be his mama.  Early in the school year, his teacher referred him for speech therapy.  He had a bit of a speech delay due to all of his ear issues when he was younger, but thanks to his teacher, he started therapy for it in October and I’m amazed at how much his speech has improved.  At the beginning of the year, I had to translate a lot of what he said, even to people he was around a lot.  Now, I don’t at all!

He’s also learned to read, totally killed his sight word list, and is awesome at math.  It breaks my heart a little, but he is not a huge fan of reading.  He loves to be read to, but doesn’t like to do it on his own.  Hopefully one day he’ll learn to love reading like his mama.  I hate to push it over the summer, since it’s his time to have a break, so we signed him up for a summer reading program through my university’s continuing education department.  It’s only two hours a week and I’m hoping that since it’s not going to me trying to get him to do it, that he’ll enjoy it more.

bradens last day of kindergarten

We also learned that we have a little math whiz on our hands.  I’m amazed at how much and how quickly Braden learned.  When we did his homework each week, he breezed through the math assignments like it was no big deal, often without any help.  I used to hate math when I was younger and I really struggled with it.  Oddly enough, it finally started to click in college and I aced all of my college math classes.  I love that he’s not struggling and that he really seems to enjoy it.  Since Adam and I both work in IT, out through processes are often very logic-based.  It’s so funny to see that at least one of our kids may be following in our footsteps.

bradens last day of kindergarten

I am so, so proud of this little guy.  He makes me smile and laugh every day with his sweet sense of humor.  He’s kind and loving and really cares about others.  I am lucky to be his mama.

bradens last day of kindergarten

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Let’s Catch Up

It’s been crazy around here and we’ve been busy, busy, busy.  Instead of bombarding you with a ton of little posts about the things we’ve been up to, I’m just going to share some pictures.  I could write lots about it, but I know when posts are this picture heavy (and long) I tend to just scroll, so I’ll save us all the time and try to be brief!

There’s a new crop maze that opened this year in our area – Amazing Grace Crop Maze.  A friend of mine from high school had the idea and she and her husband are running it.  We had a blast getting lost in the maze.  We let Braden be our guide, so it took a while.  The kids also LOVED the corn crib (and I found corn EVERYWHERE when we got home, sorry for stealing corn Kelly!).

I think their favorite part was the cow train.  Thankfully they weren’t busy when we were there, so both kids got to ride over, and over, and over..

Braden spent a good chunk of time in the petting zoo too.  I didn’t get pictures, but they had two itty-bitty baby goats (I think they said they were two weeks old) and I wanted to steal them and bring them home with me.  It was cracking me up watching them with their mama, they babies just wanted to nurse and you could tell the mama had had enough – she kept running away from them and they kept coming back for more.  I feel your pain, mama goat!

The next week, Braden’s class went on a field trip to the crop maze and I chaperoned.  I was a little worried that he’d be bored since we had just gone, but he loved it and got to do a few things we skipped when we were there.  He did the duck races FOREVER.

My favorite part of chaperoning field trips is watching him interact with his friends from school.  I rarely get to see it, and it’s nice to get to see a different side of my little guy and to meet the buddies that I hear so many silly stories about.

The Friday before my birthday, we celebrated with some friends at Taverna Yamas.  It’s kind of a drive from our house, so we rarely go, but their food is SO good.  Seriously, you need to try the artichoke chicken and lemon potatoes.  Oh, and the flaming cheese.  YUM!

And FINALLY, after three years of asking, Adam finally got the birthday cake that I wanted!  It’s from a small, local restaurant, French Pantry.  They bring this cake every year to our office for our lease anniversary and it is SO good.  You have to order it in advance though and he kept forgetting in the past.  This year, he did not forget, and it was so worth the wait.

The restaurant has belly dancers, but who needs belly dancers to entertain you when you have these two crazy girls?

The day before Halloween (how’s that for last minute?!) we headed over to the Pumpkin Patch so the kiddos could pick out and carve their pumpkins.

Braden kept saying he wanted to get the BIGGEST PUMPKIN EVER!!  We told him he could get the biggest pumpkin he could carry.  You should have seen him trying to carry these pumpkins that were bigger than him over to the table where you paid.  We finally gave in and helped him with one after he kept struggling because he swore he couldn’t find one that he loved as much as this one.

We headed home and Adam and Braden got to work carving their pumpkin.  Braden picked out the mummy design because he loves mommy :) I love this kid!

Mackenzie wasn’t so sure about their carving abilities.. or about giving her big brother a carving knife..

But it all turned out okay.

And I can’t even remember what day this picture was from, but is it not the cutest thing ever?  I love how much they love each other :)

I have a few more catch-up posts that I didn’t want to squeeze into this one, then I’ll get to my Wine & Dine weekend posts! It was such a fun weekend and I can’t wait to tell y’all all about it!

Five Things Friday (Sunday Edition!)

This week is weird – Braden had a half-day at school yesterday because they got their interim reports, so all day Friday, I felt like it should be Saturday.  I know I’ve mentioned this a few times, but work is absolutely insane right now.  My to-do list is a mile and a half long so by the time I’m finished with work, the last thing I want to do is look at the computer.  Hopefully it settles down soon, I suppose I should not complain and I should be thankful for lots of work that I love.

Anyway, this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write and there was so much going on this week — here’s the big five though :)

1.  Head over to the ZOOMA site and check out the line-up of Florida race ambassadors!!  I am so excited to run with such a fun group of ladies!  Don’t forget to use code FLAAMB5 to join me at this girls race weekend getaway and save 10% off the race fee!

2.  Braden got his first interim report this week.  It’s crazy that his first 9-weeks is already halfway over!  He’s doing so well and I’m crazy proud of him.  He’s reading!  They changed the way they evaluate kindergartners to follow the common core standards – it’s a little weird.  His report was great though, he’s mastered everything that he should have at this point and his teacher says he is off to a great start.  Yay!

3.  Buddy had surgery this week.  I jokingly told the vet that I’m just going to give her my paycheck for the month.  He had a growth in his ear that needed to be removed.  We got the pathology report back and thankfully it was all good news – it’s a benign tumor and they got clean margins.  He was out of it for a few days thanks to his pain meds, but he’s pretty much back to normal now.  Hopefully this is the end of the crazy vet visits.  I’d really love to not be there so often.

4.  I live in Florida and we have a lot of critters.  A lot.  I can deal with most of them, but not snakes.  I reaaaally dislike snakes.  Friday morning, as I was getting the kids in the car for school, I heard the all too familiar rattle of a rattlesnake.  Thankfully, I kept my calm and just urged the kids to get in the car really quickly.  I never actually saw the snake so I can’t be 100% sure that’s what it was, but I definitely sounded like one.  I left the garage door open to hopefully encourage Mr. Snake to leave.  My dad was off work, so I called him and he came over a little while later to get rid of our little problem.  He couldn’t find the snake, so either I was wrong or he moved on.  Either way, I’m glad there is no snake in my garage!

5.  Fall is quite possibly my most favorite time of year.  I love when the weather starts to cool down just a bit (so it’s not miserably hot outside, but not chilly) and we start talking about Halloween costumes and the local fall festival.  Right now I’m really loving the Salted Caramel Mocha at Starbucks and my new fall nail color.  Although I don’t love cold weather, I’m really looking forward to the cooler temps so I can enjoy running outside again!  And by cooler, I mean lets keep it in the 50′s.  Anything below that is practically arctic.

Braden’s First Day of Kindergarten

I’m not entirely sure how this happened. He’s still supposed to be an itty-bitty baby.  He is definitely not supposed to be big enough to be headed off to school.  All official with his Spider-Man backpack that he picked out.  A big boy back pack.  No more baby stuff.  He’s told me more times than I care to count that he is definitely NOT a baby anymore.  I suppose it’s time to accept it.

He has been in “school” since he was 6-months-old, so you would think I’d be okay with it. This is different though. No keeping him home because I want to. No taking a day off here and there to head to Disney for the day, just because we can.  It’s elementary school, the big school with the big kids.  And the cafeteria – he is stoked about the cafeteria.

I’ve been so worried about how he’d handle it.  He’s been at his small school for pretty much his entire life.  He has a great group of friends there and we’ve been so happy with the staff and his teachers.  They’ve almost become like a part of our extended family.  Change scares me, but thankfully, it doesn’t seem that Braden has inherited my irrational fears.  He wasn’t scared at all, not even a little bit nervous.  He was thrilled and so excited.  We’ve been driving by the “big boy school” every day on our way to his pre-school and for the last few months, he’s been asking me how much longer until it is his turn to go there.

Today was finally that day! We loaded his new backpack up with his brand new school supplies and packed his adorable little lunchbox full of his favorites. His school staggers the starting day for the kindergarten classes – half of the class started on Wednesday and the second half on Thursday. It gives the little ones a chance to get acclimated with a little less chaos. I was happy that he got to start on Thursday, so he went the full day Thursday with half of the class then returned the next day on Friday with the full class. The other half of the class started Wednesday, with the rest of the school, then had Thursday off and returned Friday for the full day.

One of the most exciting parts of “big boy school” for Braden, is riding his bike to school. He tolerated the picture taking before we took off, but was seriously itching to get on his bike and go. Adam and I both took the morning off so we could drop him off together. All of a sudden, watching the bigger kids zip past them on their bikes, he just looked so little.

He parked his bike in the bike rack and we headed in. Of course, being me, we were running just a bit late so most of the kids were already inside. He looks too little to be here, right? I mean, there are sixth graders here.. and they think my baby belongs here? How?! His backpack is practically as big as he is!!

We made our way to his classroom — thankfully it’s the first one right inside the door, so when they don’t let the parents walk them in anymore, I can at least watch to make sure he makes it to his classroom door. He found his desk and his teacher had a coloring sheet and a fresh box of crayons laid out for them to color their “First Day of School” picture. I wanted to take pictures and, well, be a ridiculous mom, but Braden wanted nothing to do with it. He had things to do and was just ready for us to get the heck out so he could have some fun.

So we did. I really thought I’d cry, I didn’t want to upset him though so I kept telling myself not to cry, to be strong for him. We gave him hugs and kisses and told him to have a great day, told his teacher goodbye and we left him for his very first day of Kindergarten! I fully expected to be a sobbing mess, but I didn’t shed a single tear! I really think I was just all cried out.. it was an emotional week for us. I know it’s good that I didn’t though. Braden is sensitive and the type that would worry about me all day if I seemed upset when I left. So yay for no tears from any of us!

Adam and I planned to take the entire day off to spend together, but my work schedule is crazy busy right now so instead we went to breakfast, then spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out at our favorite coffee shop. He goofed off on the computer while I worked (and anxiously watched the clock, wondering what Braden was doing approximately 4,535,295 times). After what felt like an eternity, it was time to head back to pick him up.

Apparently they let the kindergartners that walk or ride their bikes out a bit early (they do it so the little ones can get out of the way and not get trampled over by the bigger kids), because when we got there to pick him up at the time school lets out, he was already outside waiting for us by the bike rack with one of the kindergarten teachers. He was so excited to ride his bike home and tell us about his day. He said he had so much fun, the cafeteria was the coolest thing ever, he loved his lunch except next time he needs a straw, and the playground is HUGE! I asked what else they did and was told “nothing”. Nice to see some things don’t change :)

Last year on the kids first day of school, we made chocolate chip cookies after dinner to celebrate and I thought it was a a fun thing to do, so after we picked him up we baked cookies for his after school snack. Fresh baked cookies and milk are pretty much the best after school snack, according to Braden.

Braden’s teacher seems really great and he seems to like her. He has a few buddies from VPK in his class and gets to see a lot of his old friends during recess, so he’s a happy camper. When I asked him at bedtime if he liked it and wanted to go back, he told me yes, he loves big boy school.. lets hope it lasts!

Did you have little ones starting school this year? Or going back to school?

How does your family celebrate the first day of school?

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