Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hello, Summertime!

What better way to spend our first official day of summer break than at the pool!

And there's nothing better than a cold treat out by the pool.  Hannah Kate is currently going through dancing withdrawals.  I've lost count of how many times she's asked "how much longer" before she can start dancing again.  In the meantime, everything is a dance or a twirl or a pose.
And here's my second grader relaxing in the big float.  Yes, those goggles are pink.  They are actually Abbie's goggles, but he says they are better than his blue ones because they don't fill with water.  Real boys wear pink!
We have big plans for this weekend.  Here's a hint:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


This morning Mason went to school as a 1st grader.  He came home today a 2nd grader and a SILVER SCHOLAR.  MSA recognizes academic compliance on four levels: platinum scholar maintains a 4.0 GPA, gold scholar maintains a 3.75-3.99 GPA, silver scholar maintains a 3.00-3.74 GPA and bronze scholar maintains a 2.5-2.99 GPA.  Mason received a medal, certificate and plaque as a silver scholar.

Now.  If you would've told me a few months ago that Mason would be a silver scholar, I wouldn't have believed you.  As a matter of fact, I'm still in disbelief.  As another matter of fact, we didn't even go to the academic awards ceremony last night because I didn't think he was receiving an award.  I know.  That sounds awful.  So imagine my shock last night when I got a text from my friend announcing that Mason was listed in the program as a silver scholar!  I nearly fell over.  

We had a great first semester.  But we had a very difficult second semester.  First grade just wasn't our friend this year.  Mason has struggled in reading, and that affected his other grades when, after Christmas, his teacher could no longer read test instructions and problems to them.  So when he took those five-page multiple choice social studies and science tests that are written like standardized tests, he struggled.  The same thing happened in language arts and, of course, reading comprehension tests.  We had to do a lot of work at home during the past few months to supplement the reading instruction he was receiving at school.  We have 200 sight word flash cards that we review daily, nonsense word sheets, consonant blending workbooks and phrase power points.  People kept telling me to "find something he likes to read."  Well, we've tried, and I still don't think we've found anything he "likes" to read.  We've been to the library, book store, book fair.  He's picked out his own books, we've picked out books for him.  He just isn't interested.  He'd much rather be doing math problems!  Math is his thing.

We had some really tough days with homework.  There were tears from both of us.  But the one thing I can say about Mason is that he never gave up.  He never complained.  He just kept on and on and on, even when it really seemed like we weren't making any progress at all.  I often felt like his GPA should be a 4.0 given all the extra practice we were doing!  But he still continued to struggle.  Within the past month, I've finally noticed some improvement.  We still have some work to do to be fully prepared for 2nd grade so you can imagine what we'll be doing this summer!  But I'm determined to make it fun so we'll see how that goes.  

I didn't give much thought to the awards ceremony.  When I checked Mason's grades on-line as late as Monday evening, there were still a few test grades not posted, and it didn't look to me like he would be receiving any kind of academic award.  At that point though, I didn't realize that they use the student's overall, final GPA and not the individual GPAs from 1st and 2nd semester for awards.  So his 1st semester GPA enabled him to maintain silver scholar status even though his 2nd semester GPA fell somewhat.  He had a 1/2 day of school today so Hannah Kate and I went to pick him up.  I was so proud when he showed me his awards.  After I received that text from my friend last night, I explained to Mason that he had received an award and what that meant, and I apologized that I didn't take him to the awards ceremony.  He was such a sweet boy about the whole thing.

Having said that, we now know for next year!  And we are so excited to be saying goodbye to 1st grade and hello to 2nd grade!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

At the Ball Park

Since I last blogged about Mason playing spring ball, it seems several things have changed.  And for the better, I might add.  Now the umpire keeps track of of the pitch count.  It's not exactly three-strikes-and-you're-out, but the game does go faster now.  He also calls outs, which means you have to hustle to the base (or maybe not depending on how well the team can throw and catch the ball!).  The teams then swap after three outs or six run, whichever comes first.  These pictures were taken at last Tuesday's game.  Mason had a really good game that day.  He started out playing 2nd base.
I guess 2nd base got kind of boring.  He resorted to kicking dirt around the base.
He had three at-bats and made it on base every time.  Two of his hits even made it to the outfield.

He's on 1st base, waiting for his teammate to hit the ball so he can take off to second.
He finally runs the bases and makes his way to home plate.  He loves running home.  I think deep down inside he really wants to "slide" home, but he hasn't quite figured out how to do that yet.
And then the next time in the outfield, he was on 1st base.  He'd been begging his coach to play 1st base.  Seth and I had both explained to him that if he played 1st base, the ball would be thrown to him every time it was hit, and he would need to catch it or try to catch it.  That would be the part of baseball that he isn't too interested in.  All he wants to do is bat.  But here he is braving it out on 1st base.

And here he is bring to catch the ball.  I think it's hilarious but oh so cute . . . he wants to catch it, he really does.  But that left hand is up there for good measure because he's really scared to death that the ball is going to hit him!
He had another game last night and played 2nd base again.  He got a workout!  The opposing team had some heavy hitters and most of the balls sailed right over 2nd base into the outfield.  So Mason would take off running every time.  There was one hit that he almost caught, but he ended up turning his head away at the last minute and just throwing his glove up there, hoping it would make contact, but he just barely missed it.  The most important thing though is that he is having fun.  And I love watching him have fun!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Viva la Danza! (or dancing diva!)

Saturday, May 5, was the big day . . . Hannah Kate's first dance recital.  The studio, Machita and Co., celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.  The theme for the recital was Viva la Danza, a tribute to Miss Machita's home country of Mexico.  What a day it was!
The day of the recital was my third attempt at putting Hannah Kate's hair in a bun, and you would know that it took me longer than ever and was the worst bun ever, too.  Next year we're definitely going for the French braid instead.  My little ballerina was so excited.  Here she is backstage when we first arrived at the theater.
And here she is with Abbie.  Because Machita and Co. has so many students and dance classes, there are two recitals each year, both of which last about three hours each. We were really hoping that Abbie and Hannah Kate would be in the same recital, but they were not.  Hannah Kate was in the 1:00 performance, and Abbie was in the 6:00 performance.  Aunt Ashley and Abbie were so sweet to come watch the 1:00 performance.  So here are my two ballerinas.  This is Abbie's sixth year of dance.  Hannah Kate's and Abbie's baby pictures really favor each other a lot.  I really think they could pass for sisters sometimes.
The dressing room that we were assigned to was complete and total chaos and costumes and cute little dancers and their mommies.  These pictures do not even begin to show what it was really like in there.  The first two hours were fine.  But during the third hour, I was honestly so ready to get out of there.

The ballet was Hannah Kate's first performance.  Her class danced to The Wedding Dance.  She was a flower girl.  Her class also danced with one of the older classes, who were the brides and bridesmaids.  It was a rather intricate performance for the little ones, but they did such a great job.  I was so proud of Hannah Kate!  She remembered all of her dance steps and danced her little heart out.  Here we are dressed and waiting for her turn on the big stage.  And, yes, she's wearing lipstick.  But that little smile sure was shining onstage.
During intermission we let Hannah Kate open her gifts.  I also had a gift for Mason.  After all, he has been so good to go to all of her practices and rehearsals all year without complaining.

Hannah Kate was only a little excited when she opened the gift we gave her.
And all of the excitement was over a new Fancy Nancy book, Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet.  I first saw the book when I took the kids to the book fair at Mason's school a few days earlier.  I wanted to get it for her, but I wanted it to be a surprise.  I made an excuse for them to go wait in the hallway while I checked out with our book purchases, at which time I picked up the book and hid it in the bottom of my bag.  A few days later, we went to the bookstore.  I'd decided I wanted to get one for Abbie.  Hannah Kate spied it before I did and picked it up.  I found another really cute ballet book so we sat down, and I read both of them to her.  She liked the Fancy Nancy book the best, but she said she wanted to get the other one for Abbie.  I immediately knew why.  She was thinking that if we got the other one for Abbie, she would get the Fancy Nancy one.  To make a long story short, she eventually decided to get the Fancy Nancy book for Abbie and walked out of the store with big tears in her eyes because we only had one copy, and she wanted one.  Note to self: that was not a good idea!  But no more tears now.
I found this really neat book about sharks for Mason.  He LOVES sharks and is absolutely fascinated by them.  There are some really great pictures in this book, and it's even easy enough that he can read most of it.  He really liked it.
And there were more gifts.  Uncle Troy, Aunt April, Avery and Beau sent her a ballet photo album.  I'm going to print several pictures from her first year in dance to put in the album for her.
Abbie gave her a ballet paper dolls collection, and MawMaw and PawPaw gave her a ballet pillowcase and bracelet.

After intermission came what Hannah Kate had been waiting for . . . the tap routine and dance with her daddy.  Now I'll be honest.  Tap is not my favorite.  I don't know why.  I just tend to prefer ballet.  I'd been hoping that Hannah Kate would really love ballet.  But she REALLY loves tap.  And she REALLY loved her costume.  I'll be honest again.  Yellow is not my favorite color.  But I think she's won me over.
And here she is with the flowers we gave her.
Hannah Kate and her sweet friend Addison . . . I'm not sure what the whole hands-on-the-hips thing is.  She's a little diva in that cowgirl costume for sure!
She was nearly beside herself waiting backstage.  She was a bundle of excitement, but her Daddy was a bundle of nerves!
I know he doesn't look excited, but he really was.  He was so excited, in fact, that after Hannah Kate's 3-hour recital, we stayed for the next performance at 6:00 so we could see Abbie!
I wish you could've seen them on that stage together!  Hannah Kate did not stop smiling the whole time!  I could see the twinkle in her eye even from where I was sitting 13 rows back.  She had so much fun.

After the tap routine, we had one more costume change for the finale.
 Here she is (third from the left) with several of the girls in her class.
It was such a fun day!  I can't wait to get the DVD so I can let her watch herself on stage.

A couple of days later, Hannah Kate received a gift from Pop and Mimi.  It's the most precious book, Dance Me, Daddy.  I really wanted her Daddy to be the first one to read it to her, but she couldn't wait until he got home.  So we read it together, and then he read it with her later.
So now dance lessons are over until August.  And that isn't sitting so well with my little ballerina.  She's already asking "how much longer . . ." until she can go back to the studio for lessons and dance on the big stage again.  My answer is always the same . . . after Mason finishes 1st grade and Vacation Bible School and the baby is born . . . then you'll have dance again.  In the meantime, she broke out into her tap routine last night in the kitchen while I was preparing supper.  I had to stop what I was doing so I could . . . "watch me, Mama!"

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Bump

I've celebrated seven Mother's Days, but I do think yesterday was the best one yet.  There was no breakfast in bed and certainly not a "day off," but I enjoyed celebrating my family and just . . . mothering.

I wanted a new watch so Seth and Hannah Kate went shopping for that on Saturday.  Mason didn't want to go.  He informed me that he'd already gotten me something.  That something turned out to be a small heart fashioned out of clay that he then painted red and blue.  He made it during art class at school and brought it home buried in the depths of his book bag.  So you have to use your imagination when it comes to looking like a heart, but I put it in my jewelry box to keep forever.  He was so proud of it, and it's probably the best Mother's Day gift I've ever been given.

When Hannah Kate got home on Saturday, she asked if tomorrow was Mother's Day.  I told her it was.  She and Mason both are very much into calendaring, particularly days of the week, months, holidays and who has the next birthday.  So after I confirmed that the following day was, indeed, Mother's Day, she asked, "Well, are you going to get my stocking?"  I just laughed and explained that she was getting her holidays mixed up.  Christmas is still several months away.  She makes me laugh all the time.

I was looking at my children yesterday, wondering when exactly it was that they got so grown.  I mean, Mason will finish 1st grade this week!  And Hannah Kate is 4 going on 21, it seems.

And the newest addition to our family . . . well, you can mark your calendar.  The birth date is scheduled for Monday, July 16 at 12:30.  NINE weeks!  I had another check-up today.  Baby's heart rate was 150 BPM.  And that's about it.  So I was thinking earlier today that perhaps it's about time to pull the rubbermaid containers down from the attic and start washing some newborn clothes.  And maybe I'll go ahead and put the cradle bedding on the cradle.  And I really think we need to go ahead and decide on a boy name.  I don't know why that's been so hard.  I have to tell you though . . . not knowing whether this baby is a boy or a girl is about to send me over the edge!  I can hardly stand the suspense any longer!  And besides that, I would always pray for our babies by name and gender.  I can't do that this time.  It's hard.  A friend of mine told me to come up with a nickname.  I have to be honest.  I'm just not one for nicknames.  But nicknames are pretty popular around here.  I know a Goat, Boobie (I guess that's how you spell it), Tootie, Jughead, Dinky.  I'll just stop right there.

Of course, Mason wants a boy, and Hannah Kate wants a girl.  When I asked Hannah Kate the other day why she wants a girl, she said, "So there will be two girls, and I'll have one to play with."  So I explained to her that she could also play with a boy.  She and Mason were having a conversation about it this weekend.  I heard Hannah Kate explain her logic to him.  So he responded that he wanted a boy so there would be two boys.  Hannah Kate thought about that for a minute, and then I heard her say, "I know.  We'll have a girl baby and then we'll get Connor back so that means we'll have two boys and two girls!"  She's a smart one, that girl.  She also wants to name baby girl Lily.  She's very adamant about that.  Now.  I like the name.  I really do.  But that's just not the name for our girl, if we have a girl.  So I'm not sure how that's going to go over.  We've tried to involved Mason in the process of naming a boy, but that hasn't worked out too well.  I thought we had a name a few months back that Mason had actually picked out, but he's obviously changed his mind, and he won't really talk about it anymore.  The only other thing we've been able to get out of him is Jack.  Well.  Again.  I like the name.  I really do.  But I just don't think there's a Jack moving around in my belly!

Speaking of the bump . . . here we are!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Our Crazy, Busy Life

So the day of the big anniversary party, the cousins had the opportunity to go swimming earlier in the day.  Mason, Hannah Kate and Abbie always enjoy visits with Avery and Beau, especially pool time.  These pictures were taken while Abbie was at dance recital practice, but she did join us a little later.

Here's our bathing beauty.
Mason and Avery were having a friendly water fight with Beau.
And as for Beau . . . well . . . this is what happens when you fall out of a tree and think your arm may be broken.  At this point, the x-rays were inconclusive so his arm was in a sling, and he had an appointment the following week with a pediatric orthopedic.  We wrapped his arm in a plastic bag, but he still couldn't get in the pool.  So he had to hang out on the steps, every once in a while dipping his head in a bucket of water!  And we have since found out that his arm was not broken.  
Avery is so sweet to play with my little monkeys.
I love this picture of Mason.  That boy LOVES the water.
Again, Avery is such a good sport.
So that was Saturday.  The following week was crazy busy.  So here goes.

Sunday - Mason had baseball practice after church.

Monday is always my errand day.  So the girl and I spent the morning in town.  When we got home, I prepared supper and put it in the crockpot for later.  As soon as Mason got home, we all loaded up and headed to the River Center Theatre for the Performing Arts.  Hannah Kate had dress rehearsal for her upcoming recital.  I took snacks and homework, and we spent three hours watching Miss Machita and the classes rehearsing for the big day.  When we got home, we ate supper, got baths and went to bed.  And that was a very busy, tiring Monday.

Hannah Kate had a doctor's appointment on Tuesday morning.  She was overdue for her 4-year check-up, and I was concerned about a lingering cough.  In case you don't know, you get three shots at your 4-year check-up.  I did not inform Hannah Kate of this, deciding instead that what she didn't know was probably better.  But before the shots came, I discussed with Dr. K some of my concerns and observations of late.  So as a precaution, it was first decided that Hannah Kate needed to undergo a stool test.  I can tell you that all results from that were absolutely normal and fine.  Dr. K also diagnosed Hannah Kate with bronchial something-or-another.  Just so we're all on the same page, this is otherwise known as asthma.  This was no surprise.  I'd seen it coming for more than a year now.  Given Hannah Kate's severe bout with croup two years ago and family medical history, it's just one of those things.  Dr. K thinks she'll eventually grow out of it though.  So that's the good news.  She typically has multiple recurrences of croup every spring and fall.  This spring has been the worst.  The only way she could sleep through the night without having those awful coughing fits was with the humidifier.  I've purchased three during the past two years, and I was about to have to buy another one.  We've used it nightly since the beginning of March.  And no cough medicine in the world helps her.  So because of her age, Hannah Kate is not yet ready for inhalers.  That means we came home with a nebulizer.  Dr. K prescribed breathing treatments five times a day.  Each treatment takes about ten minutes.  So you do the math.  After all of that, Nurse S walked in with the immunizations.  As soon as Hannah Kate saw them, she knew what was coming.  And boy did she yell!  But it didn't last long.  Unfortunately though, it wasn't over.

We headed downstairs for a visual and hearing screening, both of which she passed.  Dr. K also ordered blood work, which I knew wasn't going to be good.  And I was right.  At this point, we've been at the doctor's office nearly two hours.  To say that Hannah Kate was ready to go is an understatement.  So the lab technician asked me if I would rather her finger pricked or draw blood from her arm.  Thinking the finger stick would be the least painful option, that's what I chose.  I should've known better once I realized how big that vial actually was and how much blood they wanted.  Hannah Kate did okay with the finger stick, but things got bad rather quickly.  To say the finger stick didn't work is an understatement.  So they went for her arm.  And she started screaming.  It wasn't a scream of pain.  She was mad.  I mean M.A.D.  So that was over quickly, although it seemed an eternity, and we were on our way out.  She refused to walk so I had to carry her.  She's still screaming.  So here I am, 29 weeks big and pregnant, trying to carry my 4-year old with one arm and holding my purse, a bag containing the nebulizer machine and another bag containing what we needed for the stool sample in the other hand.  She's screaming at the top of her lungs, "GET IT OFF!  GET IT OFF!"  And she's clawing at her finger and her arm.  She gets the band aid off her finger and throws it to the ground.  So I stop and empty my arms so I can pick it up.  She's still clawing at the tape on her arm and getting madder by the second because she can't get it off.  So I sit down with her in the lobby to get the tape off and calm her down.  I have never seen her that mad before!  She still insists I carry her, but once we're to the parking lot, I can't carry her anymore.

While we're waiting on the pharmacy to fill her breathing treatment prescriptions, I take her to Chic-fil-A for lunch.  And we're finally on our way home.  At this point, I am exhausted.  But the day is nowhere near over.  When we get home, she takes her first breathing treatment.  It didn't go so well.  She snatched the mask off her face.  So we had to have a mommy-to-daughter talk about her attitude and her responsibility to get better. Here she is with her first treatment.  I can tell you now that she is doing much better, and we have been three nights in a row without a coughing fit.  I also got to put the humidifier away yesterday.
While Hannah Kate was taking her first breathing treatments, I was packing a picnic supper for us to take to the park.  As soon as Mason got home, we did homework and then headed back to school for a parent-teacher conference and book fair.  After we purchased several books, we went to the park for a picnic.

After our picnic, it was time for Mason's first baseball game of the season.  This year we have graduated from t-ball to coach's pitch.  That just means the coach pitches the ball to them instead of them hitting it off the tee.  And do you know how long it takes them to finally hit the ball?!?  Let's just say it's a long time!  That also means that instead of picking clover flowers and playing in the grass, the outfielders are now throwing their gloves up in the air and trying to catch them when they come down.  I guess I don't blame them very much.  It's a rare occasion that the ball is hit into the outfield anyway.

And now I have a confession to make.  I didn't take any pictures at Mason's game!  I know.  But I was just so exhausted by this point that I just didn't feel like it.  Besides, he had another game coming up on Thursday so I figured I would just snap some pictures then.

So I mentioned that hitting the ball takes quite a number of tries.  The game last an hour and a half, and each team batted only twice.  By the time we got home, everyone was so tired and ready for bed.  But we still had to take baths, and Mason had a test the following day that we needed to review for.  It was a very long, very crazy, very busy, very exhausting Tuesday.

We had a little break on Wednesday.  Hannah Kate and I had Bible study that morning, but we didn't have anything else the rest of the day.  And then the dance studio called.  Miss Machita wanted to have an extra ballet practice for Hannah Kate's class tomorrow evening at 5:30.  Sigh.  Mason's next game is tomorrow evening at 5:30.  So I had to figure out how to have two children in two different places in two different towns at the same time.  It was a crazy, busy Wednesday.

It was so nice not to have to get up and go anywhere Thursday morning.  So I spent much of the day cleaning, doing laundry and working in my garden.  When Mason got home from school, we had time to do homework before heading to dance practice and the baseball game.  Of course, I missed the game.  So you know what that means.  No pictures.  Well, no worries.  There were two games scheduled for this week, one on Monday and the other on Friday.  BOTH games were rained out.  Still no pictures.

And then it was Friday.  I really didn't want to, but I had several errands that I really needed to take care of so Hannah Kate and I were at it again.  It didn't take us long though so we got home in time for me to do some more work in my garden, finish preparing my Sunday School lesson and get my music together for Sunday.

It was a crazy, busy week . . . just another week in the life of being a mommy.  But the best was yet to come the following day . . .