Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Back home

We are well past the middle of January and I haven't posted about being back home. Since we've been back,

  1. Grandma Clara rode home from our trip with us and overnighted here before my Uncle Roger came to pick her up for a visit with him in Dothan, AL. It was fun to visit with her on the trip and play with the kids once we got here.

  2. At a rest stop in Tennessee taking a rest!
  3. Schools were closed due to "cold." Seriously, Olivia's ballet class was canceled. At 10:30 the day it was closed, the thermometer in my car read 30 degrees. Come on, people! But, we've had lots of use of the easel the kids got for Christmas, and we've broken out the play dough several times. Messy indoor activities!
  4. I "cashed" in one of my Christmas presents from Nicholas and had my friend who is an organizer come over and get me started organizing drawers. The amount we accomplished in the span of two kid-free hours was astonishing--all eight of the drawers in my office space are now de-cluttered and organized. It was inspiring, too! I've organized the kids' bathroom drawers, the kids bathroom cabinets, one kitchen drawer, and one of my bathroom drawers. My goal is to get three more kitchen drawers finished before the end of January. Here are a few sample organized drawers! I am so proud! (If you are Tuscaloosa area reader and want my friend's number, let me know!)

  5. Nicholas has been regularly taking the kids to school so that I can work from 7:30-12:30 some mornings a week. This makes up for losing our babysitter on Wednesday afternoons in terms of my hours. Thanks, honey!

  6. One morning when Nicholas took them to school. Cheese!

  7. Olivia is back into ballet and she is doing great! She dances around the house, and I feel that I can see what she is learning even in the way she moves her legs and feet. She is ever more graceful than I am! Today they started practicing for their recital on May 10, which is a Peter Pan Theme. 
  8. Olivia's classroom picked up another teacher this term and two new students, and Olivia is getting more small-group reading time. She is excited about our fifteen minutes of reading lessons that we started each afternoon in December and are just getting back into. (We always read for 30 plus minutes during "quiet time," but we just started the reading lessons where she does Hooked on Phonics, word family books, or I write some words or word families for her to read.) She can read lots of three letter words by sounding them out and has about twenty sight words.
  9. Leo moved up to the next classroom at school--the young two's--even though he is one and they do activities with the next class up, which is the young three's, as their classrooms physically are joined. Although he had a rough first day, he has been doing great since then. Leo, though he doesn't articulate his words quite as well as Olivia did at this age, is talking in sentences just as much. And he counts to fourteen correctly. And he knows most of his colors. And he is singing. And he recognizes MANY letters and numbers, which is just shocking to me since we are not teaching him that directly. And he is just a cool kid in terms of being able to play independently for a while, take directions, and make all of us laugh with his silliness and affection.
  10. Mom came down to stay with us for a week! She brought a truck load of stuff that we couldn't fit in our van on our way back, including the red car from Grandpa Bill and Tamara, Abby's old bike with training wheels for Olivia, and lots of Abby's old clothes for Olivia. And then she helped me A LOT by watching kids so I could work more, sewing buttons onto coats and sweaters and flowers back onto dress-up outfits, hemming curtains, washing curtains, fixing curtains that I made that needed tacking up, baking bread, getting up with Leo so that I could get more sleep, and watching kids so that Nicholas and I could go out on a date! Hooray! I love you, Mom, even though I snap at you! 

  11. Olivia is learning to ride a bike! The first day that Mom brought Abby's bike, Olivia was ready to go, with training wheels, of course! And so Leo is beginning to take over the tricycle. He is pedaling some!

  12. Grandma came back up to meet Mom so that they could drive back together. It was fun, again, to have Grandma here to visit with for a while since we don't get to see her very often.

  13. This is a ridiculous picture of all of us. Mom and Grandma are more beautiful than it betrays, Olivia is sweeter than she was acting that day, and I have no idea what Leo and I are doing, but it is the only one where you can see all of our faces. Sigh.

  14. We spent MLK day at the zoo! We love the zoo pass we got for Christmas from Mom and Dad! I love that we can go to zoos all over the country for free! Leo loved the drums and the train...especially the train. Olivia loved the giraffes, the zebras, riding on Daddy's shoulders, and the carousel...especially the carousel! Nicholas and I loved watching the kids watch the animals, and getting to hear the lion really roar! Spectacular on that sunny, warm day in January!


  1. 1. Your drawers look great! Keep up the good work! :)
    2. I can't get over how smart Olivia is!!
    3. I love how long Leo's hair has gotten; he looks so old! Though you probably hate that :)
    4. It sounds like Leo is super smart too. Funny how we work so much with kid #1 and then kid #2 just naturally picks things up. Wonderful benefits to having an older sibling!
    5. Sorry I used so many exclamations! :)

  2. I always love your pictures. Everyone looks happy. While I think the pics with grandma & great-grandma are awesome, I think the zoo picture of Olivia's hand over Nicholas's mouth is hilarious.

    I'm also impressed with how smart your little kiddo's are: reading & recognizing so much already is wonderful!