Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Spirit Day 2016

Pres with Jackson Nix
At the end of every school year, when the children are all wound up, ready for school to end and summer to begin - Shades Cahaba puts on Spirit Day!  It is a fun day that allows them to participate in various challenges out on the field, have a picnic lunch, dance with Coach Sills from the middle school and sign yearbooks with friends.  I don't think there is much time during the day for them to do any learning, but that is okay...they are over it!

Since Walker's school let out for school year last week, he accompanied me to the school to cheer on the kids.  Of course he wanted to be participating alongside of them, but that wasn't really allowed.  First we watched Preston on the field.  He had a great time with his friends, but when their rotation ended, it was time for the 3rd and 4th graders to hit the field.

Look who is leading one of the lines!!

Walker wants to be a big kid so badly!

However, there was a slight break between, and Walker spotted the new treat for kids on a hot day this year....Kona Ice!  He had to have some, and insisted on adding his own juice, over and over again.

Walker and I were excited to see Bennett since it was her birthday!  We wanted to cheer her on, and she and all of her friends love Walker.... which makes him feel extra special.  Sadly her time overlapped with Walker's lunch and nap schedule, so we couldn't stay the entire day.

W getting love from B and her friends

The kids had another great year at SCE, with more fond memories and new friendships!  However, we are all ready for summer!  Thank you Mrs. Kennedy (B) and Miss Jones (P) for great experiences!

Monday, May 23, 2016

9 is Fine!

Today our baby girl turned 9 years old!!  I still recall the day she was born as if it was yesterday, so it is crazy to think she has celebrated 9 birthdays!  As it happens every year, Bennett's birthday falls right at the end of the school year.  This year, it fell on Spirit Day at her school, and during an important conference for Steve.  Therefore, we began celebrating Bennett a week ago when I took her shopping.  But the fun didn't end there....we celebrated all this weekend too!

Friday, I was the mystery reader for her class, and then I had lunch with her.  Saturday morning was a "Bennett Day," where she got to choose what we did.  We started with donuts for breakfast, followed up with a playdate at her friend, Tate's house.  This part worked out great since we needed to hit the ballpark for one of Preston's baseball games, and she hates going there all of the time.

As soon as the game ended, I picked Bennett up just in time for a family lunch at Sam's Sandwiches, and a quick visit to Homewood Toy.  As soon as we got Walker to sleep, she insisted on baking her own birthday cake (lemon cake with lemon icing).  Then we ran out the door to get our pedicures!  She convinced me to choose a fun color, so I went with blue, and Bennett chose green (colors of the ocean, as she said).

That night, we dropped the boys off at Mimi's house and the three of us went to a restaurant of her choice.  Bennett chose Brick & Tin.  She got all dolled up, and we all enjoyed the one on one time together.  Of course, no dinner is complete without dessert - so off to TCBY we went before calling it a night.

she loved making and decorating her own cake
Sunday was another beautiful day, so we took a family walk in the morning, and just enjoyed the pretty day outside playing.  After baseball practice, Steve and Pres brought Bennett some pretty spring flowers.  But of course, her real birthday is today, May 23rd, so we had to make it special too!  She awoke to balloons, and lots of presents.  She racked up with Ivviva athletic clothing and cash, so she was very happy.  This afternoon, the Bantas came over for cake and then we had an impromptu dinner with them.  I think she had a great day - we sure hope it was a special birthday!
modeling one of her new jackets

Annual Birthday Interview

Bennett we love you so much!  I still can't believe how grown up you are and what a lovely lady you are becoming right before our eyes!  We love you so much!

Friday, May 20, 2016

The End of the Toddler Classes

Sept 2015
For this past year, Walker has been attending two mother's day out programs.  One at our church, which was also attended by our older children, and the other at All Saints.  Late last summer I realized that Walker needed to be in school all 5 days, so I spent the rest of the year trying to recall which day of the week it was and where he needed to be on each day.  Countless days I went to the wrong school to drop him off, or pick him up.  We battled two classrooms of sick kiddos, had double holiday and year-end parties, double teacher gifts and has been invited to many birthday parties.

Davis, Emma, Nell , Parker, Walker, Evan , Celia and Barron
It has been a chaotic year keeping up with him, but it was worth it.  However, when I picked up Walker from his last day of school at Trinity - I cried.  Tears of sadness and joy.  He has had the best teachers there, and has such a tight knit group of kids in his class there.  Whenever I have asked him about his friends at school, he names off his entire class at Trinity (never mentioning one child at All Saints).  The projects they worked on were always super sweet, and if he was absent - they called to check on him.  I knew he was safe and happy always.  I hate that I had to move him to All Saints, but I need for him to be in one school for five days, so no more Trinity.
Ms Debbie and Ms Shay (taught all three kids)

Hello summer! Good-bye Trinity PDO!

Walker has grown tremendously over the past year, he speaks often and fairly clearly now, loves to ride his balance bike, scooter and drive his jeep, loves markers (especially "sharpie markers"), still loves most foods, enjoys singing and dancing, and loves hanging out with big kids and adults!  He has quite the personality at 2.5 and I can't wait to watch him grow even more!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Dates with Shades Cahaba Teachers

Each year at the Shades Cahaba's biggest fundraiser, the Winter Festival, the silent auction is one of the biggest money raisers.  Local businesses donate a variety of items, but things that go for the largest amounts of money are the art projects that each class creates and the teacher dates.  Since all of the money goes towards a good cause, I always bid on a date with a teacher for each of my children.  Since each date includes another child, I typically bid with one of their friends, and we split it.  This year, I won both!

Bennett's date was with her 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Kennedy and friend, Tate Robertson.  All of the 3rd grade teachers got together and planned a "cake wars" themed party.  All of the children (who happened to be girls) stayed after school one afternoon and decorated one cupcake with a "Homewood" theme, and the other was their own creation.  At the conclusion of the party, each team of girls won an award.  Bennett had a blast!

Preston's date was with the art teacher, Mrs. Lucas.  He and his buddy, Boone Aycock, met her at Dave's Pizza for lunch and arcade games.  He enjoyed his fun laid back time with her, and it was the perfect treat at the end of the school year.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

3rd Grade Field Trip to Ruffner Mountain

Annie and Bennett
Shades Cahaba Elementary provides not only a stellar education to our children, but many extracurricular items, with field trips each year as one.  The third graders this year, packed into a bus and hiked Ruffner Mountain.  A guide was provided to educate the children about various plants, and rock formations, along with the history of the mountain. 

Sadly the field trip fell on a very hot May morning, so the kids wore out quickly when they weren't covered by the canopy of the trees.  Since I was a chaperone of the field trip, I got to tag along and watch Bennett with her friends.  They are goofy as you might expect from a bunch of 3rd graders, but they were respectful and seemed to learn something from the guide.

I am glad I got to tag along and spend the morning with my little girl!

B with Mrs. Kennedy

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Girls on the Run!

GOTR practice at Shades Cahaba
Girls on the Run is one of the sweetest little programs at our school.  It is offered to the 3rd-5th graders twice weekly after school for 3 months.  This program is designed to allow every girl to recognize her inner strength.  Each week there is a lesson that encourages positive emotional, social, mental and physical development.  The girls discuss these topics, all while walking and running.  Physical activity is woven into the program to inspire an appreciation of fitness and to build habits that lead to a lifetime of health. 
B after her practice (and first) 5K at SCE
At the end of the 3 months, the girls participate in a GOTR 5k with a buddy.  This celebratory event is the culminating experience of the curriculum.  Completing the 5k gives the girls a tangible understanding of the confidence that comes through accomplishment as well as a framework for setting and achieving goals.  Crossing the finish line is a defining moment when the girls realize that even the seemingly impossible IS possible.
B with friends and Mrs. Kennedy (her 3rd grade teacher)
2 miles into the race, she has this!

Bennett has never really enjoyed exercising, but the Fitbit she got at Christmas in addition to our  friendly challenges has made her more motivated.  This program, coupled with the nice weather, has her walking to school most days, walking home from school when she can and just playing outside more.  She has really enjoyed her time after school participating in this program. Several teachers at Shades Cahaba run the program at her school, and they have managed to recruit a few community volunteers to help out with all of the girls.

We ran, we conquered!

photo booth after the race

We ran the 5K on May 7th, and I had the privilege of being her race buddy.  It was a fun and rewarding experience for both of us, and I couldn't be more proud of Bennett.  She shaved time from her practice race, and we now have something to work towards for years to come.  Bennett is going to accomplish great things!