Thursday, August 25, 2016

First Day of School - Jake

First Day of 2nd Grade!
August 11, 2016
Looking at the picture above, he looks so old! (He refused to old a sign) Because he is so tall, he looks so much older than just a second grader. (I've always been so short, so it is weird for me to have a tall kid.)

Oh, Jake! I hope you have the best year of school. I hope that you learn a lot, that you have a lot of fun, and I hope you make some great memories. Of course I want you to do well in school, but I also want you to live a life that would make our Father in Heaven proud. Be kind to everyone.  Stand up for those that others are being mean to. Be a good friend. Share. Smile. Be understanding. Be yourself. If you ever feel alone, I pray that a special friend reaches out. And if someone else feels alone, I hope that you will be that special friend to them. Work hard. Be strong. Laugh. Study hard. Listen. And always remember that your mom & dad love you more than anything in this world and are so incredibly proud of you. 

Jake's first school assignment was to bring in 5 things that he loves or that represent him. His 5 items were: 1) book about snakes. 2) game winning baseball, 3) lightsaber (because he loves Star Wars), 4) picture of him & his sister, and 5) rocks from his Stone Mt vacation.  

Friday, August 19, 2016

Last Few Days Before School

Jake's school didn't start back until Thursday, so I had all of these grand intentions to make his last 3 days of summer, the best yet. 

I failed. 

But Monday started off good! I took the day off work, so I could be 100% with the kids. I decided to take them to the zoo. Last year, when we went to the zoo, they had a zipline that Jake wanted to ride so badly. You had to be 7 though, and I wouldn't lie for him to be able to ride (he was 6 at the time). This year, he would be old enough though and was so excited. We got to the zoo that morning, ready to explore. We had our first hiccup, when they told us that the zipline doesn't open until noon. No problem, we'd just check out the animals, eat lunch and then ride.
Jake was in charge of the map. He LOVES a map. He got to pick the path we followed and in which order we looked at animals. Which basically meant we kept running all over the zoo looking at animals instead of going in any logical path.
(Note: sister woke up not feeling great, and wasn't much in the mood for anything)

Jake is obsessed with snakes. He says he wants to be a snake catcher when he grows up. He is always asking for Gran to catch him a snake to hold. He acts so brave. But yet, this was as close as he would get to the anaconda case. He wouldn't stand anywhere near it!
Anaconda is on the far let side of the picture and Jake is 5 feet away
He wouldn't stand anywhere near the glass

We had a great time checking out the animals and then we ate lunch around 11:30. As we were eating lunch, the bottom falls out. It was raining so hard. Uh oh. We wait it out about 30 minutes until it is a light rain. Of course we have no raincoats or umbrellas. So we walk in the rain to the zipline to see if they would still run in the rain. Right as we get there, it starts thundering. They state that every time it thunders, it is a 45 minute delay. We make our way back to the front entrance and it starts raining hard again. Jake wants to wait it out to see if it stops thundering. Hollon didn't feel good, and it was her naptime, so she wanted no part in any of it. We wait about 15 more minutes, but it just continues to rain and thunder. I tell Jake I just didn't think it would happen today. I could see he was about to get so upset, as he has talked about riding that zipline for the last year. It broke my heart, so I told him we'd go to Target and I'd let him pick out a toy. Crisis averted somewhat.

We got home, sister got her nap (and a new toy as well).

Doing one of his chores 'water our dying trees'

Jake's toy he picked out was a new lightsaber. So he let Hollon play with his old one.

Tuesday we had Jake's Meet the Teacher that afternoon. Work was super busy since I had a ton of work piled up from being off Friday & Monday. Hollon did okay in the morning.

We had a great Meet the Teacher experience. We ran into lots of friends we knew and Jake was excited to find out one of his favorite sports buddies was going to be in his class this year. He really likes his teacher and I'm hoping she will be a good fit for him. Hollon was terrified that she was being dropped off, so Robbie was on Hollon duty while I filled out paperwork. In the midst of everything, I completely forgot to even take a picture of Jake with his teacher! I was able to steal this picture from a friend of ours who took it.
Jake & Baker
Wednesday is when it really started going downhill. Both kids were just in funky moods. Hollon especially was being a pill typical toddler. (Things like throwing a fit to sit in my desk chair, saying "mine! mine!" trying to push me out of it. I finally gave in. So I had to work at my desk standing up!) She was being mean to Jake, so Jake snapped at her. I was already getting on to her, so I told Jake to let me handle it. That upset him (he likes to think he is in charge of Hollon). So then he starts throwing a fit, which makes Hollon throw a bigger fit. On the work side of things, one of the banks we work with was throwing their own fit about a program we were closing out. Basically everything around me was melting down. So I did the adult, mature thing....

I melted down too.

I had a big pity party for myself. I told myself I was a horrible mom, a horrible worker that couldn't do anything right or make anyone happy. I had a good 5 minute cry. Then I realized no one else was attending my pity party. And I was crying with a 7 & 2 year old. And my horrible moments are nothing compared to what other people are challenged with. So I just had to move on.

And call in for reinforcement.... Grandparents.

Both sets of grandparents had offered to help with the kids. I declined, because I'm an idiot of all of the wonderful things I had planned for the kids & me to do these last few days of summer. My AMAZING in-laws were on their way home from a doctor's appointment and offered to swing by the house and get Hollon. And the offered for her to spend the night, and they'd watch her the next day. I'm pretty sure I heard Angels in Heaven singing.

So I cried again, just because I was just so thankful.

This was Hollon's mood -

She had a great time at Mimi & Granddad's, I was able to get work taken care of and spend some one-on-one time with Jake. Chuck & Judy sent me this picture of Hollon napping. Ha!
She is hugging a large plush Veggie Tales Larry the Cucumber doll
Jake started to school on Thursday (separate post)

We had recovered by the weekend and moods all around were much better. 
Reading her favorite book - Good Night Moon

Robbie's sister was in town, so we went over to his parents Saturday. Jackson & Jake had just taken Bruiser for a walk. Poor Bruiser, he was hot and tired. And Hollon kept trying to get him walk because she didn't have a chance to walk him. 

The look on his face is - SOMEONE SAVE ME

Monday, August 15, 2016

Stone Mountain Vacation

Last year, my parents took the 3 older grandkids to Stone Mountain. They had an awesome time. But it was hard for my dad to try to manage the obstacle course with 3 little ones all by himself. So this year, they wanted to go back, but take the parents with them. We all got into town Friday night and walked over to see the laser show. 
Carving in the side of the mountain at night
Maddox, Jake & Marrell

Hollon was so tired. One of us should have just stayed back at the hotel with her. But we brought her with us. She feel asleep midway through the show. But once we got back to the hotel, she caught her 2nd wind. And we paid majorly for it that night!

The next morning, my sister and her family joined us. We had a mini birthday party for Woody (July birthday) and Maddox (early August birthday).
Gaines, Woody & Lindsey
Gran with Marrell, Hollon & Jake

Woody loved the gift we got him (the one Hollon had already opened once). Poor Woody couldn't even look at it without Hollon trying to take it.

Poor Woody staring intently at adults wondering why they are not stopping this crazy rude girl!
Stare down 

What's better than 2 kids fighting over a gift? 3 kids.

Lindsey's boys were such good sports and ended up letting Hollon win. Of course that wasn't fair, because it was Woody's gift, so I took it from Hollon and gave it to Woody. Which lead to a screaming tantrum from Hollon. It just goes to show that she would make a pretty bad big sister.

Ready to tackle Stone Mountain!

Carving during the day
Hollon wondering what all these crazys are up to

Nana & Gran with their 6 munchkins

Jake was in charge of the map, and took it very serious

First up was the obstacle course. The 3 older kids were doing that, each with a parent. We took the 3 younger kids to a kiddie one, right beside it.

Can I just comment on how awesome my sister looks? She is 7 months pregnant, WITH HER 3RD child (which will give her 3 kids under the age of 5) and she was out there in the scorching heat. I'm not even pregnant and I looked like a hot mess.   

Look who I found in line!

Meanwhile, Hollon & Gaines found a little sand and water area

Nana holding down the fort below

After lunch, we went on a train ride

Gaines, Marrell, Jake & Maddox

Nana & Woody

My brother Billy & his wife Leigh Ann
(Maddox & Marrell's parents)

Gran & Hollon
During the train ride, Hollon fell asleep with her head on the railing

Our whole crew!
From left to right:
My family (Robert, Emma, Jake (7), Hollon (2), my parents (Nana & Gran), my brother's family (Billy, Leigh Ann, Maddox (12), Marrell (7), and my sister's family (Lindsey, Brooks, Woody (4), Gaines (2) & Squeaks (due Oct))
After the train ride, my sister & her family headed back to their house in Atlanta, so her kids could take naps. The rest of us headed to another Stone Mountain activity.

While the older kids did the water activity, Hollon napped in her stroller.

Up after a 30 minute nap and cooling off with Marrell

The older kids climbed a rock wall

Maddox, Marrell & Jake with their souvenirs
(Jake's was a bag of rocks)

Hollon stole poor Marrell's souvenir. Do you notice a pattern? Basically if Hollon wants something, she takes it. #toddlerproblems

Cooling off with a fan

Last activity for the day! We rode the tram up to the top of the mountain.

Hollon, Nana & I waited inside the building at the top. Usually, I'm the one with all of the fears with the kids. But one of Rob's fears is the kids near anything that they could tumble over (like railings or side of mountains). Plus is was hot, Hollon was starting to melt down from only having a 30 minute nap, so I happily just waited with her inside.

We rode the tram back down (I tried to get a picture, but we were crammed in with 30 other people, so I was basically just taking pictures of the backs of people's shirts (#shortgirlproblems). 

We said our good-byes and then our family headed back to Birmingham. It was such a fun trip. Plus it was a mini-practice run, since we are all going to Disney together next spring! Everyone got along, we did stuff together, but also knew when to separate into smaller groups. We laughed, the kids played, we made so many great memories, and if Hollon would ever learn to share, then there would not have been any fights. It was an awesome trip spent with the people I love most.