Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Little Moments with Katie

Everything is so exciting and fun in the life of a preschooler! Had to share these photos of Katie Grace from the past few months; they make me smile!

One of the last swims of the season

eating some fruit snacks at Nene's

after her first ballet class

after Sunday brunch at Goose's Acre

After ballet class with her friend Mary

playing with stickers from Aunt Kathy and telling a story

pouring work in the Montessori Atrium Sunday school class

playing with her saints on the piano 

and her little hands and little princess bandaid :)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Happy 7th Birthday, Thomas

Thomas turned 7 in September, and we had a fun time celebrating this big boy! We threw together a Star Wars themed party with two of his neighbor friends, and NeNe and PaPa made it too. The boys played, had pizza, had cake and ice cream, enjoyed a piƱata, and then Steven took them to Main Event for some laser tag! The main things he wanted for his birthday were fidget spinners, and his big sisters put together a whole scavenger hunt to find them around the house! He got some other cool gifts and said it was the best day ever!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Activities 2017-2018 (Katie ballet photos)

Aside from homeschooling, we are always active in various sports and activities. Each year things go a little differently, but here is our plan for this school year:

All three girls are taking ballet this year. The big girls sometimes take modern as well as ballet, but this year we decided there were enough hours with their ballet classes and the classes where they are assistants, plus we now have a 3rd ballet student....Katie Grace! (hence the reason all the photos are of her)

Katie has been so excited to start ballet this year. She was thrilled to go and choose a leotard, tights, and tap shoes (we already had ballet shoes for her). We found an adorable little ballet backpack on Amazon, and she even chose a special princess water bottle, so she would have her "ballet water" like the big girls!

When the day finally came, she was dressed and ready for photos. But once it was time to get out at the studio, she started to freeze. She wanted to sit in Peter's stroller and wouldn't put on her ballet shoes or go into the class when it started. Ellie was helping as one of the assistants for the class, but she still just wanted to watch through the window.

Finally at one point, I handed her to Ellie in the class and shut the door. Ellie had to hold her for a few minutes. Then Katie agreed to stand by the wall and watch. For the last 15 minutes of class, they do tap dancing. So when it was time for me to come in and put on her tap shoes, I gave her some more encouraging words, including "if you do some tapping, we will get a lollipop after class!" The lollipop bribe worked, and we repeated the candy bribe for her second class, but now she is a pro who loves dance class and doesn't need a reward!

It's been fun to hang out at the ballet school for her little class. It was always a highlight of my days to visit with the other moms during classes, but now the big girls are old enough, and I'm busy enough, that I just drop them off for all their classes. So this is a fun time for me to stay and watch and visit with the moms! The big girls are doing beautifully in their upper level classes. Mary Clare is in Level 7 and also takes a Level 8/9 class. Ellie is in Level 6 and also takes both Level 7 classes. I can't wait to see their performance in November, which is always a beautiful mission fundraiser performance with all Christian music for the dances.

The boys started baseball about a week ago. Steven is on the 9/10 Premier Yankees (kid pitch) and Thomas is on the 7/8 Premier Mets (machine pitch). They were both really excited to make the premier teams which are a little more challenging and competitive. It's going to be a fun season for them, and as always, a crazy season for the driving mama! This year is especially challenging because the main parking lot which is RIGHT next to both of their fields is being used as a county dump site for trash from Hurricane Harvey. So we have to park way across the baseball park, and sitting in the car with the babies while I watch them practice or play is not an option. But when I make my treks across the park and when see the huge pile of debris from flooded homes and businesses in the area, I remember how Steven said to be glad that our belongings aren't in that pile. I have lots to offer up for those families during this season and these little inconveniences.

I'm continuing as the Club Manager for our little 4-H group this year and hosting them at my house. BUT, I also have a group of girls acting as officers to lead the club meetings (including Ellie as 3rd VP)! We had our first meeting in mid-September, and it was such a relief and big weight off my shoulders to have the girls coordinate the meeting, games, snacks, and program. It also makes things much more fun for the other kids. We've considered moving locations to a place that is not our house! But honestly it makes things easier for me to not have to go anywhere, be able to put the baby to sleep if needed, and to not have to worry about the stress of all the younger siblings at a church or community room. They just play upstairs or outside, or listen in on the meetings. The different contests don't take place until the spring semester, so it's always nice to ease into the year slowly.

We attend Sunday School/CCD on Sunday mornings, which takes place between two of the masses. We try to make the 8:00am mass, so then we are able to head home right after CCD, but it's so hard to wake up early on Sundays! I'm working with Katie and the 3yr olds in the Atrium for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program (Montessori Faith Formation). They are so sweet, and I truly enjoy working with that age group. This week I taught myself to play the ukulele to use in the Atrium, and the little ones loved it today! Thomas is preparing for First Confession and Communion, and the other kids are learning about scripture, theology and saints in their classes. Steven Sr. takes care of Peter and attends the adult forum with special speakers. The girls also attend some of the youth group activities when they're able. We are blessed with a wonderful church community!

Other Fun
I coordinate the monthly park days for our homeschooling group, and I am trying to make the monthly Mother Culture mom's nights for learning new skills. Last week, two moms taught us about canning! Mary Clare is doing some babysitting, both for neighbors and at the ballet school. She will be getting her learning permit sometime in 2018! One of her closest friends has her license, so it's a new era as she and her friends gain this independence. She will probably attend some of the high school events with our homeschool group, and Ellie will attend the Middle School nights when she's able. We hosted the first one at our neighborhood park!

I'll be doing some field trips with the little ones this year, while the big girls stay home and do their schoolwork. We are skipping science museum classes and virtue clubs this year, but hopefully we can do some other fun things as a family and with the younger ones when the girls need to focus on school. I'm always grateful that we spend our days at home when we have busy evenings, especially during baseball season when we're often at the fields until very late.  It's a hard balance to plan all our activities with such a big age range, but slowly but surely we're finding our groove!

Hope all our friends have a wonderful new school year!
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