Monday, September 8, 2014

Controlling the art project overload!

By now, all of our school-aged kiddos are back to the grind. Today marked Aubrey's 6th day of school and already, our fridge has been overloaded with artwork!



Inspired by a post made by Adriana over at Stories Of A Happy Mom, I decided to research ways to save it. I find myself to be a super sentimental mama and if I don't find a way to manage this, we are going to need a room dedicated to art projects.



She suggested this really cool sounding app called "ArtKive", which allows you to snap photos of your kids' projects and then archive them by child, age, year, and can even share them with family. I definitely like this idea, because like most people I don't go anywhere without my phone in my pocket, so it's super easy and convenient to just snap a picture as I'm going through her daily communication folder and then upload it when I have a free minute on my lunch break or when I'm relaxing at the end of the day.






Another great option I've seen floating around is to take photos of the artwork (either with your phone or a camera if you want better quality) and upload them to Shutterfly or another photo sharing website and create photo books! I always seem to be seeing codes for a free 8x8 book through Shutterfly (or if you are like us and have a younger child who is in diapers, you can use Pampers Rewards Points from diapers/wipes and redeem them on a free book).





If you have extra time on our hands (ha! Extra time! What is that?!), scrapbooking is also a great option. I used to love scrapbooking with my sister. She made scrapbooks for her boys  and I couldn't wait to have kids of my own to make them scrapbooks! I got as far as making Aubrey one for her first birthday and haven't picked up any supplies since. Our walk in closet is half craft supplies that I just don't have the time to do. Someday...






Or... if you DO have the extra space and really want to hang on to all of the artwork your kid brings home but just don't know how to display it without making your house look like a kid's art museum, you could upload photos to your computer and use a digital picture frame that plays a slideshow, and just put organize the artwork into bins and store it wherever you'd like.

How do you store your child's artwork? 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Favorites!

We have officially wrapped up our first full week of school. No carpool lane for 2 days! Yes! Aubrey is really loving school. We have our first open house to attend on Monday night and we are excited to go and get to know her teacher better and see more of her classroom. 

My favorites for the week:

1. V by Maroon 5
My favorite boys are back with a new album! My Adam Levine obsession is no secret and has been in effect for about 10 years so I was pumped when they announced a new album was in the works. I preordered the album bundle, which came with the CD, postcards that are going to be promptly hung up in my cubicle, a presale access code for their tour, and an MP3 download so I could download the album as soon as Tuesday hit (I ended up downloading it at 1:30 in the morning when I got home from work and listened to it twice before hitting the hay. Whoops). I'm hoping to score great seats for the show! 

My favorite songs on the album are Sugar, Sex and Candy (yup - a cover of Marcy Playground!), In Your Pocket and Shoot Love. But the whole album is amazing!


2. Facebook yard sale groups
I scored this adorable polka dot cardigan, as well as a fleece Gap zip up for her for the cooler weather, for $5 total. If you aren't a part of your city's yard sale group, get on it. In the past I have also scored a grill for $50, a $280 area rug for $30, and an umbrella stroller for free. All in great condition!


3. International Delights Coldstone Creamery Sweet Cream Iced Coffee

Well that was a mouthful. I love grabbing a carton of ID iced coffee to stick in the fridge at work. It saves me a trip to grab coffee on my lunch breaks, and also saves some money. This flavor is really good. I always tend to add some milk to any of the flavors because I find them very sweet, but this one wasn't too bad!

4. Jamberry Nail Wraps!

A friend of mine asked if I wanted to host an online Jamberry party. She sent me some samples to put on, which I was a bit skeptical about because I have always bitten my nails. But I said sure, why not?. The wraps lasted about 5 days because as a first time user, my application was a little sloppy and I didn't push my cuticles back like the instructions stated. But they still looked amazing even after cleaning out my car and my house. AND! I haven't bitten my nails in a week and am seeing growth! If you want to try out Jamberry, you can order through my online party here! (Make sure you choose my party at checkout. It is closing on Sunday) They are buy 3 sheets, get 1 free and you can get up to 3-4 applications with one sheet. The above are my favorite nails that are in the new fall/winter catalog that just debuted. How adorable are the ugly sweater nails?! They also had Thanksgiving and Halloween nails that were super cute.

Our weekend will be spent making a Wizard of Oz birdhouse at Home Depot tomorrow morning, attending Aubrey's BFF's birthday party tomorrow afternoon, and then just relaxing. Hope everyone else's weekend is fun!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

One on one

Aubrey has officially been in school for a week. To commemorate this special occasion, she was sent home with her very first fundraising magazine! I couldn't believe how fast they get into that, but I suppose it makes sense.


The first couple of days were rough. Lots of tears from Addie when we dropped Aubrey off at school and the crankiness continued until we went and picked her up. 

But Addie and I, we are slowly getting into the swing of things and I am so enjoying getting alone time with my sweet baby, even if it's only for a few hours a day. Since day one, it was the three of us home during the day. Which was amazing, of course.. but this alone time is just what we needed.


This week consisted of:

Going to the park and having the whole playground to ourselves (and Donald Duck, of course)


Stopping for "coffee" (aka water for Addie)





Having munchkins at Nana's house



Having munchkins at Nana's house

As well as playtime at the library and walking around the mall and just letting her lead the way (Boy did she love that).

Next week I think I'm going to trying to throw a couple of gym sessions into the mix. (I really need to lose some weight!) and maybe try to establish a weekly routine. 


Sunday, August 31, 2014

First day of Kindergarten!

Aubrey's first day has come and gone and she had a great time! We woke up bright and early to make sure we had plenty of time to get ready, have breakfast and do a mini photoshoot.






Addie wanted some photo action too!



I love how this photo captures her excitement:


A Frozen lunchbox (of course)





At this point I thought I would be a sobbing mess, but I surprisingly held it together. As soon as she saw her teacher, that was it. She wanted nothing to do with us! We asked for a kiss and hug goodbye and you could tell she was just ready for us to leave. She was more than ready to start this journey! Walking back to the car I got a little teary, and then when we got in the car Keith passed me a tissue and when I looked up, he was crying. Awwww.



We went and grabbed a quick breakfast with Addie and came back to the house for a bit. I'm going to miss Aubrey like crazy when she's at school, but I really loved having alone time with Addie. We've never really had much opportunity for one on one time and now we will have some every day!

When Aubrey came out of the class, I could tell she didn't want to leave. I asked her what she did at school today and she said "I don't remember!" haha. 

"Did you color?"
"Yes"
"Did you go outside?"
"Yes"
"Who did you sit next to?"
"Andrew"



When we got back to the car, I went into her backpack and pulled out the daily communication folder and found her very first school art project and I got teary all over again when I held the tiny handprint in mine. 



I know it won't be this tiny forever.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dear Kindergarten Teacher

A new school year is upon is. I'm sure you're a mixture of nervous and excited as a new group of 5 year olds join your classroom for the next 10 months. It's another year of putting faces to names and deciphering each child's individual learning needs and learning to read each kid's personality.


There's a couple things you should know about Aubrey.


You should know that she has a very strong desire to learn everything about anything. The number of questions she asks in a day is astounding. Some find it annoying. I see it as her trying to soak in everything humanly possible. She will probably have a question about everything you talk about. 


You should know that she has a speech delay. Up until about a year ago, she barely spoke to anyone but me and Keith, and occasionally her aunts and grandparents. She had the thoughts and couldn't get the words out in a way that people would understand. This caused her to hole up and ignore anyone who tried to talk to her. She has come very far in the past year and has blossomed into a whole new kid, but she is still working on her speech and still has some sounds that are hard to decipher. Please be patient with her. It breaks my heart to see her upset when she isn't understood.



You should know that she takes a minute to look at the camera for a picture. So if you could, take a couple extras. I promise the sweet picture you get as an end result is well worth it.





You should know that that little girl is my whole world. From the moment I found out I was pregnant with her, she consumed my life. I debated over nursery fabrics. I babyproofed my apartment. In the car I replaced Eminem with Laurie Berkner, and at home I replaced Sex and the City with endless repeats of Toy Story (1, 2 and 3. I'm pretty sure I could recite each of them from beginning to end). I scoured every weekly email that compared her to the size of a poppy seed. A peach. A zucchini. A watermelon. 




And ever since that watermelon was placed into my arms for the first time, I dreaded this day. Between then and now, I was always able to hold her hand through it all. Once she walks through that classroom door, I share her life with you. 

We got a chance to see you and your classroom today, and some of those feelings of dread were replaced with excitement. Because I saw the way her face lit up when she saw that she was seated next to her friend that she met at the playground yesterday during the Kindergarten Meet-Up.

I saw her eyes fill with wonder as she fingered through the books in your mini library and all of the ways you incorporate each child's name into your classroom.






I saw the proud look she gave when you promptly hung up the picture that she made for you.




I felt your hand on my shoulder as I watched her do one of your open house activities, deciding whether or not I was going to let a tear fall. I saw the look of acceptance she felt when she was explaining the picture to you and you listened and asked questions.




You get it. I know you do. I'm sure you deal with parents like me every year. Parents who are ready to see their child, who they spent the last 5 years putting their blood, sweat and tears into, spread their wings and blossom into mini adults.. but at the same time want to take that child home and just forget about this whole "kindergarten" thing. Parents who have seriously considered homeschooling just for those extra hours in the day. But in the end, I know she's in good hands. 





Here's to an amazing year. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Countdown to Kindergarten!

This is it. The last Monday before Kindergarten. We've spent the last week preparing for this big day. We went school shopping with Grammy last Sunday and Aubrey picked out a bunch of "cool clothes" (including a zebra print sweatshirt.. yup she's definitely my kid!)

A mommy-and-me date on Monday, just the two of us, to shop for more clothes and accessories. But not before stopping at our local airport's diner for some breakfast and plane watching.





We have been getting Miss A to bed earlier each night so she's used to it by the time Wednesday night rolls around. It's definitely super important for kids to get enough sleep during the school year and we haven't had the strictest schedule over the summer. She has been adjusting to it really well. 

We were invited to go to a kindergarten meet-up this morning at the playground at Aubrey's new school so the kids could meet each other. We were all asked to bring a snack or drink, so Aubrey and I spent the weekend making these adorable fish snacks!

They were super easy to make. You will need the following:

- A printer
- Crayons (or you could find a clip art fish that is already colored. I thought having Aubrey color them herself would add a cute touch)
- Ribbon
- A hole punch
- Plastic baggies (I used sandwich bags- no zip closure- and just trimmed the tops after I was done so they looked "neater")
- Goldfish. I got 3 packages and it made about 40 bags with between 25-30 in each)





My plan was to put Addie to bed early last night and have Aubrey help me by counting the fish to put in each bag, but I got the mother of all migraines and had to go lay down for a good chunk of the night. I woke up around 10:00 and finished them myself. The whole process probably took about 2 hours total.



They were a huge hit with all of the kids and parents! 


The best part of the meet-up was meeting a new friend that will be in her class! These two were joined at the hip from the moment they said "hi!". Her mom & I exchanged phone numbers for play dates. I hope their friendship blossoms throughout the year!


The next couple of days will include an open house tomorrow to see her teacher (we met her briefly today - she was so nice! Aubrey loves her!), explore the classroom, and see where her desk and cubby will be. Wednesday she has a dentist appointment and will be getting a hair cut. Keith got Thursday off so he can come with us to drop Aubrey off at her first day (and to hold me today as I sob the whole way home :D)

I can't believe this week is here! Anybody else sending their kiddos off to school for the first time?