Saturday, May 28, 2011

Summer Schedule

Ok, I know I am going to be made fun for this post! However, those of you who know me will not be surprised at all by this post! Now that it is summer, I have sprung into planning mode. (Well, I stay in planning mode but planning for summer is way more fun than planning for lessons.)

I have created something fun for my kids to do every day this summer. I will spare the details of every single day but here is a rough look at what our calendar looks like for June and July:

Maniac Mondays- Every Monday will be spent cleaning the house, catching up on laundry, and running errands such as the grocery store, etc. The girls will be expected to help with the cleaning and laundry.

Terrific Tuesdays- Every Tuesday will be spent doing something terrific. This could include going to the movies, Chuck E Cheese, Incredible Pizza, Jerry's Snowcones, Yogurt Mountain, Putt-Putt, etc.

Water Wednesdays- Every Wednesday will be spent doing something involving water. It could be playing in the backyard on the water slide, going to the sprinkler park, going to the Little Rock water park, or swimming at the neighbor's pool. (We bought season passes to the water park in Little Rock for just $29 back in November. That price is cheaper than a one day visit so we plan to go there about three times this summer.)

Thrifty Thursday- Every Thursday will be spent doing something "thrifty". In other words, something CHEAP or FREE. This could include playing at the Arlington playground, going to Shelby Farms, visiting the library, or going to the zoo. (Free for us since we already have a season pass.)

Fun Friday- Every Friday will be spent doing something FUN. This could include anything already listed on the other days or it could be just playing in the cove. As long as it is fun, it counts!

Now, let SUMMER begin!!!

End of Year Awards

It is hard to believe that this school year is already over! It seems like Ava just started kindergarten and Elia started 2nd grade! I am so sad I do not have a kindergartener any more. Here is Ava on the first day of kindergarten taking that long walk down the hallway for the first time:

And here she is sitting at her desk for the time on the first day of school:

It seems like just yesterday, and here we are having her end of the year awards program! Here is a picture of all the kids in kindergarten this year:

Ava received a citizenship award. Here is Ava getting her "diploma" from Mrs. Gore and Mrs. Grimes:

She also had the most AR points in her class. Here is Ava getting her medal from Mrs. Inman, our librarian:

Ava has a good friend, with special needs, in another kindergarten class. This student also received the award for the most AR points in his classroom. Ava was SO excited when she heard his name called. In fact, I think she was more excited about him receiving the award than when they called her own name. It was really sweet!

And here is Ava at the kindergarten reception showing off her reading medal:

While it seems like just yesterday that Ava started kindergarten, it also feels like Elia was just in kindergarten. I still can't get over that she will be in 3rd grade next year! Here is a picture of Elia on the first day of 2nd grade:

Elia received an award for citizenship and an award for making honor roll all year. Here is Elia at her awards program:

We are SO proud of our girls!!!!

Field Day 2011

The girls had their field day about 2 weeks ago, and they both had a ton of fun! Ava's field day started in the morning hours, and it was already pretty warm outside. Her Grammy and Papa came to watch her! Here is a picture of Ava with her Papa:

Ava got to hang out with one of her favorite classmates, Luke. Ava has a "thing" for Luke which worries me since she is only six. The other night Elia had her music program and Luke was there since his older brother was also in the program. When Ava came in and saw Luke, she ran over to him and started planting kisses all over his face. I told her that we do not kiss boys and she said "I just couldn't help myself". I need to start praying now for Ava before she reaches the teenage years!

Here are a couple of pictures of Ava participating in some of the races. The pictures crack me up because her tongue is sticking out in two of the pictures. I guess it helped her run faster. HA!

Elia's field day took place in the afternoon We thought it was going to be sweltering hot by the afternoon but the clouds came out and helped hide the sun which provided for perfect field day weather. Here are two pictures of Elia during her field day:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I Am a Mom - Mother's Day

I used to dread and despise the first Sunday in every May. This was the day when all the daddies would make breakfast in bed for the mother of their children. It was the day when all the preachers at church would have all the moms stand up to be honored. It was the day when all the moms all over the world would be spoiled and pampered. It was the day I would sit at home and cry my eyes out because I so desperately wanted to be a mom.

There was one Mother's Day several years ago when several of my "infertile" friends and I decided to attend church service at one of the area churches. Our thought was there is strength in numbers. There were about ten of us (yes, I knew that many infertile women) and we all took up the entire pew. Then the time came for all the moms in the sanctuary to stand up so they could be honored. Then the time came for all the tears on my pew to start flowing. However, the preacher surprised us by having all women who want to become mothers to stand up. You should have seen the look on peoples' faces when an entire pew stood up. Then the preacher had everyone else lay hands on us and pray that we would become moms by the next Mother's Day, one year from that day. Well, the next Mother's Day came and went and I was still not pregnant nor did I have a baby in my arms. Little did I know that my sweet Elia had been conceived and was growing in the tummy of her birthmom. God had chosen to anwer our prayers in ways I could never imagine. The following October 17, 2002 Elia Lynn Carter was born in Guatemala. However, I did not find out about her until January of 2003.

Many months passed before we were able to visit Elia. We had to wait until our case was through Family Court before we could make a visit trip. God works in mysterious ways, and our first visit trip, the first time we laid eyes on our baby girl, took place the first weekend in May which also happened to be Mother's Day weekend. There are no words to describe how I felt the day they brought Elia to the hotel and the first moment I got to hold her. I am still amazed at the automic love that occurs between a baby and a mom who did not carry her for 9 months. It is truly amazing and indescribable! Here is a picture of me holding Elia soon after she was put in my arms for the first time:

Here is another picture of Elia and me in the hotel restaurant:

And another picture of our sweet baby girl: (I feel in love with those big, brown eyes!)

Ironically, that Sunday was the day we had to leave our new daughter in Guatemala and travel home without her. It was Mother's Day and I was in tears again only this time for a completely different reason. I had felt a Mother's love, and I was having to leave part of that love behind.

The summer dragged on as we heard news that Guatemala was shutting its doors to adoption. It truly felt like a death of a child to think I may not be able to ever bring her home. Of course, we prayed the entire summer, and thankfully Guatemala decided to open its doors once more. Kevin and I could not let Elia's first birthday go by without us being there to celebrate with her so we hoped on a plane and traveled back down to Guatemala. Here is a picture with me and Elia getting to know each other once again:

Once again we had to board that plane with empty arms. However, we were able to return to Guatemala one month later to finally bring Elia home. Here is one of my favorite pictures of me and Elia: (This was taken one day before we boarded the plane with her. Look at the contentment on my face! I love it!)

Here is another one of my favorite pictures when we got off the plane at the Memphis airport. The look on Elia's face is priceless. It is like she is wanting to say "Who are these crazy, obnoxious women I am stuck with for the rest of my life?" I also love this picture because it captures my mom's love to me and Elia as well as my love for both of them.

I could not believe I was finally a mom and I could get served breakfast in bed and get pampered every first Sunday in May. However, there were other little things that I never took for granted about being a mom. The first thing I loved to pack in my diaper bag is a formula container. I used to see moms at the mall pulling those out and getting their baby's bottle ready. I longed to be the owner of one of those prized possesssions.

Another coveted mommy item is the Cheerios container. Once again, I could not wait to carry one in my diaper bag, and now I got to have that proud moment. I know people may think that is a little off the wall, but if you ever unsuccessfully tried to conceive a child, you will know how I feel.

Now that I was the mom to one daughter, I knew I was not finished. I still had love in my heart to give so we started the adoption of another baby girl from Guatemala. This baby was born on November 17, 2004 and I got to once again, live my dream of being a mommy. Here is a picture of Ava and me in the hotel in Guatemala right after they dropped her off: (She was 4 months and weighed only 8 pounds. She was so tiny.)

Here is picture of me, Ava, and my mom once we got home. It was taken at a baby shower given by friends. I love this picture of the three of us.

Here is Ava at 5 months old:

And another one of Ava at 6 months old:

I have to admit that being a mom is not always easy but it is something I will NEVER take for granted. My friends laugh at me because I drive a minivan with my kids' name on a sticker on either side of the back of my van. They have no idea how much that van and those stickers mean to me. They are so much more than just a van and stickers. They are a symbol to me that I am a mom! I could not be more proud of my girls!!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

May Theme Dinner

It is hard to believe it is already the month of May! That means it is almost summer break! Our May dinner theme was Cinco de Mayo! We used the Dollar Sore table cloth, plates, napkins, and Fiesta sign. I also used flowers that were given to me by one of my students for Teacher Appreciation week. The other decorations came from things we bought on one of our trips to Guatemala. I did not go too all out for this dinner because this is the time of year things are so crazy at school. However, you don't have to go all out to make it a special dinner for your family!

Since it was Cinco de Mayo, we had tacos for dinner as well as Spanish rice.

I struggled with what to make for dessert. Since I couldn't think of a dessert to make, I decided to buy Chocotacos! You definitely cannot go wrong with those!

Stay tuned next month for our June theme dinner. It will be a luau to celebrate the start of summer! I will definitely have to go all out for that dinner!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Weekend Fun!

We had a busy but fun weekend. The girls had swimming lessons on Saturday morning so Kevin took them while I cleaned the house. Then we headed to Arlington in April. It amazes me how much it has grown since we started going 12 years ago! The girls had fun eating a funnel cake, buying a necklace, and even spraying their hair orange and green. We also brought Miley with us! She had a blast but was so worn out when we got home. We had plans to go back for the Music on the Square that night. However, it got cancelled due to possible rain. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me to document all the fun of the day!

Sunday morning was a very special morning for us. Our church had a procession of flags representing all the countries our church has been involved with for missions. They asked us to carry the Guatemala flag. As they called "Guatemala", Kevin carried the flag out with the girls and me following behind. They asked anyone who has been to Guatemala with us to stand up. They also said anyone who has anything vested in Guatemala could stand. Of course, Grammy and Papa stood when we walked out. It made me very proud to have two beautiful daughters from this wonderful country! I did not want to take pictures in the middle of the service but I was able to take a picture before we walked out with the flag.

I managed to find this picture of Kevin and me on a visit to see Elia in Guatemala when she turned a year old. We are in a hotel in Guatemala standing next to the Guatemala flag. It amazes me how much Elia has grown since this picture was taken 8 and a half years ago. (The picture is not very good quality because it is a picture of a picture but you get the idea.)

We spent Sunday afternoon watching the weather (again)! We had more bad storms come through today. The storms are not so much our concern right now. It is the flooding that could occur from all the rain. Hopefully, things won't be as bad as they are saying. Here is a picture of Ava in her goofy attire watching the weather: