Sunday, April 29, 2012

Wrapping Up the School Year

It is hard to believe that my baby girl is about to be 5 years old and will be off to kindergarten in the fall.  This past week, she had her spring choir concert on Wednesday night....her last one of the year for 4K Choir.  She did a great job, and it was a quick show!  She is finally getting old enough where she doesn't just stand there with her fingers in the mouth, she actually performs.

Then on Thursday, I attended her year-end field trip/party at the zoo.  So that I could focus on her that day, I dropped Preston off at my in-laws.  I drove Bennett and another classmate there and we visited all of the animals over the course of the morning.  We ended with a picnic lunch outside the zoo with all of her classmates.  It was a perfect sunny day, and I know Bennett had a blast!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Team Divided

This past Friday, Steve and I divided the team and did something different with the kids. He took Preston camping, and I kept Bennett at home, but allowed her to have two friends over for her first sleepover! We both had a fun evening....

Steve has never been a big fan of camping, preferring to stay in the comfort of his own home for sure. However, Brian asked him to join him at their country club for a little father-son time. It was the perfect scenario for all he had to do was pitch their tent and pay a small amount of money. The country club did all of the cooking, organized a craft for the kids, provided a kid-friendly movie at dusk, a fire for s'mores and then a pancake breakfast the next morning. To top it off, they had access to the club's restrooms!

We had discussed having our next camping trip very close to home, probably in our backyard, but this opportunity presented itself and worked out perfectly! Brian thought it might be fun for Bennett to go along since all of the other kids were 4-5 years old, but she didn't want to go. In fact, she said something like "I don't want to sleep outside with all of the bugs." We hoped Preston wouldn't be too young, but he did great!

Preston loves to hang out with Christian, and having a little alone time with his daddy was just what he needed. He was so excited to go, and came back exhausted!
My night with Bennett was going to be just a mommy-daughter night, but there were no good movies out (that she hasn't already seen), and nothing she was dying to do. As we walked home from school on Friday, we discussed different options, but she had her heart set on having friends over. Of course, having a sleepover at 4.5 years is really too young. In fact, she has only done it with her cousins. But there are a few little girls that I know well because I'm friends with their parents, so we started there.

My friend Lauren has triplets (2 girls and a boy), and the girls play great together. She gave her okay with it, and the girls were all excited. They came over late afternoon and they went straight upstairs to get changed into dress-up clothes. We then walked to the park (in their new outfits). After a short time there, we came back and they played in the backyard until dinner was ready.

After dinner, we popped some popcorn and they plopped in front of the TV and watched a barbie movie Bennett chose to rent. It didn't capture their interest long, just long enough to finish the popcorn.

By 8:30 the girls were asking to go to bed, so I set up their sleeping bags and things appeared to be going smoothly. Unfortunately it took a lot of coaxing, a few threats and another 1.5 hours to get them to sleep. By 10:00 PM, the house was quiet.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!!

This morning the kids awoke to find a little something in their Easter baskets from the Easter bunny. Preston was so excited about his new spiderman puzzle and toothbrush! Bennett was excited about her new hello kitty toothbrush. We were happy that it was those simple things that excited our kids.

Following a yummy breakfast of beignets (thank you Steve), we got ready for church. Of course church was packed, but who doesn't come to see the beautiful sanctuary with all of the flowers and Easter lilies, the emotional finish to our minister's sermon series on the Lord's Prayer, and the wonderful music. Together these things make me so happy to be a Christian.

After the service, we gathered the kids to get our photo taken in front of the flower cross, and then went to Steve's parents. Myra cooked a big feast for the whole family. Since all of the cousins were there, Pres and Bennett had a blast hunting eggs over and over again. They played all afternoon outside while the guys watched the Masters.

It was another beautiful, relaxing day....a perfect ending to a perfect weekend. Happy Easter!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

More Easter Festivities!

This morning we woke up and got moving. We had a full morning planned, and the kids were excited to get their day started. After breakfast and showers, we went to Brian and Shannon's house to let the kids dye Easter eggs. Of course they all got a little dirty in the process, but we were smart enough to bring a back-up shirt for Preston since the kid wipes everything on his shirt! After that we let them burn off some steam in their trampoline, and then we went to their church for an Easter egg hunt.

Since it was such a beautiful morning, Brian drove the kids over in the golf cart (which was a BIG deal for my kids). They fought over who sat where, but eventually agreed to get their seatbelts on so they could go.

Once we got to their church, we were greeted and given a flyer listing all of the activities that they hosting. I couldn't believe how well organized and nice it all was. They offered hunts for 5 different age groups, all spaced 10 minutes apart. In addition, they had several inflatables for the kids to jump and play in, pony rides, face painting, coloring and a huge spread for lunch! All of the kids had a ball!!

Preston hunted eggs with Henley in his age category, but also wanted to hunt with Christian and Bennett, so he really racked up! After the kids inspected their eggs, we convinced them to take a break and eat lunch. Of course, as soon as they were finished, they were ready to continue with the activities. We finally drug them out of there a couple of hours later. They played a little longer at my brother's, but I could tell the end was near, so we packed up and headed home. They both fell asleep on the way home....which is always a sign that they had a GREAT time! What a wonderful family day, and opportunity for the kids to all hang out together!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bennett's Easter Party

This morning Preston and I attended Bennett's Easter party. Her party (always a well-organized affair) started off with a craft. The kids all made these little bunny magnets. Just as they were finishing, the fire alarm went off.
Of course, we knew it wasn't a drill so we looked around and followed the teacher's instructions. None of children panicked, they all just lined up and followed Ms Sherry outside....into the rain. Since we weren't expecting this, we didn't have umbrellas. While some of the staff stayed back to find out where the "fire" was, the rest of us stood around outside. After 10 minutes, they pinned the alarm on the kitchen staff that evidently burned some food.
After we all got settled back inside, several of the moms hid the stuffed Easter eggs while the kids had an Easter story read to them. Then they lined up again and walked to the room where they calmly looked around for eggs. Bennett was happy that she found one of the eggs that she stuffed with 5 tootsie rolls!
After the big egg hunt, the kids went back to their classroom so they could have their lunch. Bennett devoured the popcorn chicken they served, and asked for seconds and thirds before having 2 cookies!! Man, that child is a Banta....she can put back the food!
After we returned home, the kids opened up all of Bennett's eggs to inspect the candy. Surprisingly she shared some with Pres. After they each sampled a couple of pieces of candy I was able to get them both to lie down and have some quiet time! Tonight we attended the Maundy Thursday service at church. Since we have missed most of Holy Week at church this year, it was nice to experience the beautiful music, short sermon and communion before Easter Sunday.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Preston's Easter Party

Since this is holy week, both kids have a short school week but have plenty of fun activities planned. On Wednesday Preston's class
had their annual Easter egg hunt followed by snacks and juice boxes.
We decided to mix things up this time by me attending Preston's party in lieu of Julie
(who typically attends all of the children's events). Preston was a little upset when I arrived
because other parents had arrived before me and he thought no one was showing up for him. He quickly rebounded when I walked in and was excited to join in the festivities. The kids started by sitting in a circle and singing a round of Old McDonald (Preston chose a crocodile) while the teachers hid the eggs.

A major meltdown was narrowly avoided when one of the other kids found Preston's Spiderman egg before Preston could. As his eyes started to fill with tears it was apparent that it was not going to go over well. But after brief negotiations, Preston had "spidey" back in his possession and all was well. All of the kids racked up baskets full of eggs and couldn't hardly wait to break them open and start on the candy.
The party closed with the kids having lunch (which we called snacks in my day) consisting of Chex Mix, PB&J sandwiches, fruit, cheese, Peeps, and juice boxes (of course for Pres it was limited to double Chex Mix, Peeps, and a juice box...that kid will just not eat). Pres enjoyed his lunch with his typical group of buddies (Luke, Whit, and Lucy) then the party ended. When we arrived home he was excited to show Bennett all of the loot he brought home and she was eager to convince him to share...which he was easily convinced to do. We'll see if she will do the same after her Easter egg hunt.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring is Here!

This afternoon we hopped over to see the Easter Bunny for a quick photo opportunity before going to Preston's first soccer practice and game! Both of the kids were eager to see him, but as usual, Bennett got a little timid right before picture time. Thankfully though, she perked up!

After pictures, the kids were forced to lie down for an hour since they had a fun night/morning with their cousin Henley who spent the night. We all went to church this morning, then lunch and then they played outside until she was picked up. Since we were unsure how Pres would act for his first soccer game (in the heat), we made him lie down. Unfortunately he didn't get much sleep, and was still tired when we woke up to go play soccer. When I put on his shin guards and cleats he got excited though. We all went to support our little guy, and he was so genuinely excited to play once we got there!

We elected to play on the Mountain Brook league because it is so low key. They practice for 30 minutes, and play a game for 30 minutes (all being on a Sunday afternoon when Steve is always here). What is also nice is that they only play 3-4 players on a team at a time so each kid has an opportunity to actually run and kick the ball (without getting run over by a bunch of kids). Since Preston played on a team with several kids from our church, he was immediately comfortable. He learned a few tricks during practice and tried to implement them when the game began.

He did a great job chasing after the ball, but he still got confused by the direction he needed to be running with the ball. If he was lucky enough to steal the ball away from the opposing team, he kept running the same direction they were. Of course he wasn't the only one on the team that did that though, and he is only 3.5 years I'll cut him some slack. He had several turns to play, and had fun until a little boy on the other team stole the ball from him and got a goal. He just broke down and cried. Since Steve was on the field with him, he comforted him and explained that that was how things go, and he managed to turn it off fairly quickly.

All and all, it was a great hour of entertainment. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and loved seeing how excited Preston got when he was able to actually kick and run the ball.