On November 3rd Simon turned 5 years old. We celebrated with cupcakes in his preschool class and a dinner of pizza and salad, as per his request. But this past Saturday we had a Ninjago themed birthday party at a local martial arts establishment.
We invited all his friends and had a wonderful time. The kids played games with the instructors, learned proper kicking and punching technique and even got to kick a few board in half. Simon was the star of the party and even got to cut his cake with a real ninja sword. We had such a great time celebrating Simon.
The martial arts place offered all of the party attendants 2 free months of classes (no obligations to sign up). So we hope to head back and take a few classes as the boys all seemed very interested in the activities.
I was secretly hoping no one would be at the park this afternoon. But the boys are thrilled there are other kids here. I sit far away but still within view of where the boys are playing. I don’t want to hover or nag them while they playing. Abel is at home napping while Joe works so I only have the older 3. They are all old enough to play on their own. I overhear the boys striking up a conversation with some of the other parents. But I’m not going to intervene, everyone seems fine and happy. I realize for the first time in 10 years of parenting that I don’t really care what others think of me but I do care how I make other people feel. And as a mother that same sentiment is extended with my children. I care how my children make other people feel. My boys are very social and are pretty good at making others feel awkward. It kind of drives me nuts and it’s one of the reasons I nag them to be less intrusive in public. But really they aren’t being intrusive, just inquisitive and friendly. All of my helicopter parenting is striving to make sure other adults aren’t uncomfortable. Meanwhile, I’m sort of crushing my own kids. I’m not taking into account how I’m making them feel. I so often see my kids as an extension of me, instead of the individual unique people they actually are. Now, I’m not going to let my kids be little brats but it’s OK if they strike up awkward conversations with people or say ridiculous stuff. If they are kind and caring I’m proud of my kids.
We are in the midst of our first track-out on the year-round school calendar. After every 9 weeks of school the boys get 3 weeks off for track-out. This is our first year not only sending our kids to public school but also adhering to a year-round calendar. And I have to say that I really love this schedule, once I got past the typical mindset of 3 month long summer breaks which is how I grew up.
We have completed 2 weeks of track-out with this next week being our final. What makes this time so great is that while Jude and Noah are out of school Simon is still on a traditional calendar so he goes to preschool every day from 9-1. With Simon in school during the mornings I’m able to take Jude, Noah and Abel out on little outings around town. That one child difference make things a little bit easier. Then because Joe works from home I’m able to take the big boys out for afternoon adventures while Abel naps.
So far we’ve visited several parks, met up with friends, visited our favorite museums, gone bowling, and even took a short trip to Great Wolf Lodge. It’s been such a great break. I’m glad we have one more week off but I’m also glad the boys go back to school next week.
Jude read the first 2 Harry Potter Books over break.
We went bowling and Noah scored almost 100 on our first game.
Of course we had to get some Halloween Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
One of our favorite places, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science
While the big boys were off selling popcorn for Cub Scouts, Abel and I visited the fire station.
We even got to see Santa
Jude built and epic castle at Marbles Kids Museum
We checked out the Ninja Warrior park in Apex
The carousel at Pullen Park is only $1 and was on the top of our to-do list.
Knightdale Community DayGetting ready to Trick-or-Treat at Great Wolf Lodge
A few weeks ago Joe and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We took a long weekend trip to the mountains of North Carolina, just outside of Asheville. It was such a welcomed get-away. We’d been so busy with life that I think if we hadn’t gotten away we may have completely overlooked our anniversary.
We rented a small cabin on VRBO that was about a 20 minute drive outside of Asheville. It was a great location because it forced us to slow down and really enjoy the time away and each other. I’m a planner and I love having plans when we go somewhere but other than a few ideas of things we wanted to see/do we had no real plans and it was so nice. Our cabin didn’t have cell reception so we were off grid in a manner of speaking, we did have wifi.
We toured Biltmore, we toured a local brewery, we ate A LOT, we hiked and we just relaxed. It was a perfect weekend way to reconnect and recharge.
The past few days we have been super busy. Between the in-laws and friends visiting from out of town, to school events, parent-teacher conferences and new house meetings we’ve been non-stop. On Monday afternoon we met with the builder to finalize all of our structural/plumbing and electrical details so they can submit the plans for the permit. We were supposed to meet last Tuesday but they hadn’t received the plat plan from the city yet so we had to postpone.
Thankfully Joe’s parents were in town to help watch the kids so we could give our full attention during the meeting. I think coordinating meetings with all the right people around our kids’ schedules has been one of the hardest parts of this whole process so far. But thankfully we have wonderful friends and family that are more than will to hang out with our kids.
During the meeting with the builder we discussed and confirmed the follow:
all structural upgrades/options
exterior colors, siding, shutters, door
electrical outlet placement
co axial cable placement
lot and house position on lot
orientation of house (garage on the left)
all standard structural elements (doors, windows, island, kitchen, etc)
We didn’t go over any colors or finishes except for the exterior colors.
One of my biggest concerns and questions was how our house would fit on our lot. It’s a odd shaped lot and I couldn’t work out the ideal location for the house. I was really worried that they would position the house where we would lose a lot of our usable backyard space. They positioned the house at and angle on the lot which makes the backyard shape a little odd but does open up a pretty decent size space for the boys to play. So I’m pretty happy with the results.
We also updated the accent color on the exterior of the house. Now the siding and board and batten will both be the same pearl color. The siding and trim color will look something like this house.
(this is not our house plan, just an example of the exterior color scheme.)
My boys have been back to school for about 4 weeks now and I finally feel liked we’re getting into a good routine for our days. It’s so important for my boys to have a daily routine they can count on, it’s helps to feel confident and comfortable when they know what to expect from the day.
I typically prep their school lunches the day before so I can be present during our morning routine. The boys know there are no screens in the morning before school but after they are ready for the day they are free to play or read until it’s time to leave.
In the afternoons they unpack their backpacks and then are free to relax for an hour or so until we have to start homework. They typically run to play with their little brother’s that they’ve obviously missed throughout the day. We have a small snack and discuss the events of our day. It’s probably one of my favorite parts of the day because they little brothers are so excited to tell the big boys what they’ve been doing all day. I love to listen to them excitedly share what’s be going on while they were gone.
Having a routine helps our days run smoothly and reduce the amount of whining when they kids know what is expected of them. I actually think they look forward to their screen free mornings playing with their little brothers before they head off to school.
Juicy Juice has more great tip from author Meredith Sinclair on how to get your kids into the back-to-school routine.
I received the featured product in exchange for my honest opinion. My opinions are not influenced by the company.
Yesterday was Jude and Noah’s first day of school. This year they are attending a year-round public school. I’ve had a variety of emotions over the past few months about them going to school this year instead of homeschool. I feel at peace about the decision and know there are many benefits to this decision. It’s not one we took lightly but when we originally decided to homeschool Jude 4 years ago we said we would take it year-by-year and do what was best for each child. I am sad to give up all of our free time and flexible schedule but I think there are so many positive things that will come from their days at school.
As I dropped them off at school yesterday morning they walked into the building holding hands and I knew they would be alright. While they were at school I took the 2 little guys out for a fun morning at Pullen Park and it was nice to spend some quality time with just the 2 of them. I didn’t know what to do with myself all day, it was calm and quiet around the house even with 2 little boys. I think they also liked the extra space they got with their brothers gone. When I picked up Jude and Noah from school they had smiles on their faces and told me all about their days. Noah admitted he was a little nervous but then happily told me about his desk, cubby, recess, story time, lunch and his new teachers. Jude had lots to talk about as well. He is ready to volunteer for all the things and wants to participate in all of the extra activities offered. I also noticed a big difference in Jude’s behavior after school, he was very relaxed and attentive. I think the structured school day really helped him.
After dinner we took the boys for a bike ride to Pelican’s Snoballs where they continued to share their excitement for school. They were all pretty exhausted when bedtime came around and were happy to go to bed, not only because they were tired but because tomorrow was another school day.
I know there will be challenges that come along with each school year but for now I’m so happy their first day was a success.
A few months ago I signed up the boys for the Kids Club at Buffaloe Lanes here in Raleigh. Over the summer they are offering Free Bowling for Kids. Each child you register will receive 1 free game every day (shoe rental not included) through October 31st.
It’s like 100 degrees this week so I took finally took the boys bowling and we had a blast. None of them had ever been bowling so it was a little chaotic for the first half of the game as they learned the rules and techniques. By the end of the game everyone had vastly improved and was loving the game. I think we spent around $9 for shoe rentals all three of the big boys.
In addition to 1 Free Game per day Buffaloe Lanes also has daily EXTRAS. We went on a Thursday and could have got an additional game for free but we had a limited amount of time. We plan on visiting on one of the other days to take advantage of some of the other bonuses like free cookies and arcade tokens.
If you’re in the Raleigh area and looking for a great (inexpensive) way to beat this summer heat register for the Buffaloe Lanes Kids Free Bowling program.