Monday, May 30, 2011

Fish, Fish, & More Fish!

     As I blog this morning, it's almost 9 a.m., and Everett is still snoozing. To say we wore him out on our little weekend adventure may be an understatement!  We left Saturday morning at 7 a.m. and drove to Atlanta, Georgia to visit the Georgia Aquarium.  One of Jeremy's passions in life is fish.  We have visited several aquariums over the years, and this is our 2nd trip to this one.  Since we were there last, they have added a dolphin show, which we were all excited about.  This was Everett's first long trip in the car, so I was a little anxious about how it would go, but he did great.  I think he was just proud to be there with the big kids!  We drove with very few uproars from the backseat and made it to Atlanta just after lunch.
     When we walked up to the aquarium the line looked awful, but luckily we already had our tickets, so we walked right in.  Our dolphin passes were for 2 p.m., so we looked around a little, then headed to the theatre.  I think we were all expecting more of a Sea World type of show, where they tell you all kinds of random facts about the animals, but this was a full out Disney production with a story line, singing, lasers, shooting water jets, the works.  To tell the truth, I was a little disappointed that it was like that, but the kids loved it.  They encouraged audience participation in the songs, which Parker was all over.  Jackson just rolled his eyes and said it was "so embarrassing", but he enjoyed seeing the dolphins perform.  We wandered the aquarium for the next few hours looking at all the exhibits.  We didn't think about it being so crowded, but it was packed!  I guess with the holiday weekend everyone was looking for entertainment.  And I didn't expect to see so many naked women.  Ok, not completely naked, but good grief, some of them might as well have been!  I just wonder what goes through some women's minds as they are getting dressed.  I mean, geez, there are kids here!
     Jeremy knows tons about fish, so every time the kids said "what's that", he could answer them.  Everett loved it.  He kept trying to grab everything through the glass.  The biggest attraction they have is a huge tank with Whale Sharks.  They are supposed to be the largest living fish species in the world.  The biggest one they had was 23 feet long.  I stood up in the back with the stroller (and sleeping baby) while Jeremy and the other kids sat up close.  Jeremy said every time the shark would go by Parker would say "wow".  We are used to fish at our house, but the kids had never seen anything so massive.  They also had penguins, which Mia loved.  The kids could sit right up beside them and the penguins would come up to them and peck on the glass.  Honestly, they were probably just trying to break out of there!  There were freshwater and marine life exhibits.  They even had an indoor playground with an eel slide that the kids loved.  After we had looked at every single exhibit, we left to find our hotel.
     We are avid priceliner's, but with all 6 of us traveling I think those days are over.  We needed space this time, so we found a Residence Inn, which is more like an apartment than a hotel.  We had 2 bedrooms so we could close some of the kids off (hoping everyone would sleep well).  After we ran around the room and jumped on all the beds, we headed to the mall.  Not just any mall. North Point mall.  That's right, the American Girl mall, as Mia calls it.  She picked out some accessories for her girls and we grabbed some dinner.  After such a long day I had my fingers crossed that the kids would rest well.  They crashed right on cue and everyone actually got a decent night's sleep.

Everett trying to get in with the dolphins.

 Quick, everyone point at something!

Whale shark

Manta Ray

I guess Everett's never seen a phone plugged into a wall.  He was captivated!

 Jackson still finds time to read!

     The next morning we headed to Montgomery.  As we passed Georgia Tech and Auburn we started talking about colleges.  Mia loves animals and I told her Auburn was a good school for her.  She said she might want to work with sea life, so she might go to Florida.  Jackson thinks he wants to be a detective, but he said he will probably just go to Yale ☺.  Parker said he wanted to be a Transformer when he grew up.
     We got to Montgomery around lunch time.  Jeremy's dad, Jerry, and his wife, Debbie, live here, and they were having their annual get together, so we got to spend some time with them.  Their neighborhood has a community pond behind the houses and the kids fished all afternoon.  Parker actually caught his first fish and he was so proud!  He liked it on his line, but he did NOT want to get close to it.  Jackson caught a couple too, and Jerry showed him how to get the fish off of the hook and throw it back.  Mia ended up catching 4 fish and winning the prize, which was $20.  She was so excited that she beat out all the boys.  Needless to say, Jackson was not happy.  There are also geese, turtles, and ducks that live around the pond, and Everett really wanted to squeeze them, so we had to keep an extra eye on him.  Many times he broke out in a sprint toward the water.   I guess he was just going to fling himself into the pond with all the wildlife!  The kids fed the animals some bread and the geese and turtles would actually fight over it.  It was so funny to watch!  After a few hours we said our goodbyes and headed toward home.  I knew it had been toasty outside, but I couldn't believe it when we saw a sign that said it was 99 degrees.  Hello Alabama Summer!

Feeding the geese, ducks, and turtles

BBQ face!

Trying desperately to get in the pond!

 Parker's first catch!

Jerry and Jackson

 Everett's ready to be home.
     Everett didn't get fussy until about an hour before we got home, but we gave him a paci and his monkey, and that settled him in until we got here.  We made it home and Grandma was waiting in our driveway to take the big kids home with her to spend the night.  Nana saw us get home, and she walked over and took Everett for a while.  That gave me time to get the car unpacked and cleaned up, and to start some laundry.  Thank goodness for grandparents! 
     I would say we had a very successful trip.  It's always hectic trying to get everyone packed, making sure everyone is occupied in the car, trying to get everyone fed and in the car on time, etc., but it's completely worth it to have these experiences with my family.  I hope our kids will look back on their childhood's and not see a stressed out mom, but see parents that did their best to do as much as we could together.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

♪Schoooool's out for Sum-mah!♫

    SUMMER IS HERE!  I am so proud of Jackson and Mia for all they've accomplished this year. Jackson's 3rd grade honors day was Wednesday morning and I was so proud to watch him walk up and receive his awards.  He got "A" honor roll, Math Bug Club, and the Good Citizen Award.  I think the most exciting part of  Jackson's day was getting to see Mrs. Guthrie and meet her twins!  She was Jackson's teacher until Christmas, when she moved.  We have kept up with her on facebook and love seeing those baby's sweet faces, but they are so much sweeter in person!   After Christmas Mrs. South took Mrs. Guthrie's place, and Jackson has loved her too.  We were so lucky to get 2 amazing teachers this year!  As I watched them "graduate" it dawned on me that this is it.  These are the kids that he will be with until he graduates high school.  All the 3rd graders know each other and they will be together until it's all over.  Gets me misty eyed to think of all that time ahead of us that's going to pass in the blink of an eye!  Jackson and his dad made a deal at the first of the year, that if Jackson made all A's Jeremy would get him an Ipod, so he got his prize.  I think it's just as much for Jeremy as it is for Jackson, but they are both thrilled!
     Mia has all S's on her report card but most importantly she is becoming a great reader!  Nana took Mia and Kenzie out to get mani/pedi's yesterday afternoon for a treat.  She also got them new flip-flops, a summer scarf, and they stopped for Dip-n-Dots.  Today we went to pick up report cards and visit with our teachers one last time.  This year has flown by, and I know it's just going faster each day, so I hope this summer can give us some good memories together while the kids are all still "kids".  In approximately 10 weeks I will have a 4th grader, a 1st grader, a preschooler and an 18 month old.  Each of the kids have written their own blog below about their year.  We have talked about the year we just had and the year coming up.  We have discussed excitements and fears about new school's, new subjects, new teachers, etc.  We are praying now for God to ease the anxieties that come with change, and also praying for the teachers we will have.  For now those thoughts are distant, but we are always looking ahead and praying for that future grace!

As told to me by Mia:
     We had a program for graduating of kindergarten.  We had fun and made new friends at the beginning of school.  My friends are Sammi, Maudie, Abby, Ashlyn, and Nevaeh.  We met some people from the giraffe class. And I made a couple friends in the bear class.  Lakyn, John Brody, Graham, Elizabeth (an old friend from preschool).  My favorite thing was centers and my favorite center was the reading loft.  We learned math and how to read a few books.  I will miss our school when we actually graduate.  I'm scared about 1st grade because you have to know how to read everything.  My teacher is Mrs. Armstrong.  I will miss her when I go to 1st grade.

Mia on her first day of kindergarten.

Mia on her last day of kindergarten.  She's turned into quite the rock star over the past year, hasn't she!

 Mia, Jackson, and Parker playing in the reading loft on Mia's last day.

 Mia and Mrs. Bonnie

Mia with her teacher, Mrs. Armstrong

This blog has been brought to you by Jackson Robison:
     When I go to 4th grade I will miss  both of my teachers Mrs.South and Mrs.Guthrie. I will be afraid to go to 4th grade because the school bully might be in my class. My four best friends are Dawson, Max, Aliee, and Anna Kate. I learned how to multiply and divide this year. I have 21 kids in my class. In field day I won  three blue ribbons, one red, and one black. I made all A's all year long.

Jackson's first day of 3rd grade.

Jackson's last day of 3rd grade.

Jackson's in Mrs. South's class (front and center).  You can barely see his head on the left in the 3rd row.

 Jackson receiving his awards.  He was going so fast I barely even snapped his picture!

  Trey, Blake, and Jackson with Mrs. Guthrie. 

Jackson and Mrs. South

Monday, May 23, 2011

Planning & Planting

     We just had a great weekend at home with no major plans.  Ok, maybe major plans, but no set schedule.  Jeremy and our friend Michael planted our garden on Saturday.  It's by far the biggest garden we've ever had.  We usually plant a couple of tomatoes and peppers, but this year we have a 100' x 6' plot with corn, okra, 3 kinds of tomatoes, 3 kinds of peppers, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and 2 kinds of potatoes.  I can't wait for the kids to see what a job a real garden is.  I have a feeling they won't last long weeding during the hot summer.  I have a good mind to read them The Little Red Hen before we get started!  We also completed our "Things to do this summer" list.  We taped it up on our kitchen window and made little boxes next to each one so we can check them off.  It is by far the most practical list my kids have ever made.  All these school activites must have them tired out, because most of the list is stuff to do around our own town!  I'm sure it will be added to as the summer drags on.

     While the men were hard at work, the kids were playing and swimming.  Jackson's best friend Max spent the night on Friday and they played all day Saturday.  Saturday night Jeremy and I went out to dinner while the kids played at Grandma's house.  We also started planning that night for our upcoming weekend.  Next Saturday we are going to Atlanta to visit the Georgia Aquarium.  Do you notice a theme to our vacations?  We will spend the night there and then come home through Montgomery and stop at Jeremy's dad's house.  Every year they have a party on Memorial Day weekend and invite all their friends and family, so we will spend Sunday afternoon with them.  They have a big pond in their neighborhood and the kids love to fish there.  This will be Everett's first trip anywhere, so it should be interesting to see how it goes.  He is usually content to just be in the same place as his brothers and sister, so maybe we will have a smooth drive.
     Sunday we went to church and the kids swam and played again.  I love these days of spontaneity.  I feel like I say "no" to my kids so much during the school year because we're always trying to get homework done, get to sporting events, get to bed on time, etc.  I love getting to tell them they can stay up late playing or watching movies, that they can have friends over, that we can go to the park at a moments notice.  Of course, by the time August rolls around I will be thankful once again for the structure of each week and the overall orgainization, but for the next 8 weeks we will do as we please, most days anyway!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Same Park, Different Class

     Today was Jackson's turn at the splash pad.  McBride had their picnic at Gattman Park, and it was much hotter than the one yesterday.  The school isn't far from the park so the kids walked to it from school around 8:30 this morning to start playing.  I thought kindergarteners were hard to get pictures of, but 3rd grade boys were even more difficult.  I only got 3, and 2 of them were when the boys came to ask me for snack money, and I wouldn't give them any until I got a picture.  We had lots of party money left from our class so I picked up pizza for the kids and another mom brought cupcakes. 
     After lunch I talked Jackson into checking out (only by promising he could swim at Nana's), so he played hard and we were out of there by 12:30.  Mia checked out a little early also and all the cousin's got to swim at Nana's this afternoon.  Keep in mind the water is still only 75 degrees.  I think these kids could be polar bears!  3 more days of school left and it's SUMMER!

Parker as Silver Surfer

His favorite thing to do at the pool is shoot everyone with this gun.  NOBODY likes it!

 Everett tired after the pool, but he loves the basketball.

Almost out

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