Saturday, October 31, 2015

Better Every Year

Another year making it to Post Family Farms with cousins. A beautiful fall day didn't disappoint as clear by everyone wearing shorts.
And of course pony rides were a huge hit with every kiddo.

Ah the tractor pulling the barrels. I think some of the kids would stay in their barrel and just ride that tractor the entire day, if allowed.

And those slides! Come on now. If you don't go down them at least 346 times, then it wasn't a succesful day.
Right Kate?
Oh Ava. My little farmer girl. Maybe instead of ballet this girl needs to get signed up for 4-H.
Jackie, that pose is to die for. I can't pose like that. And I've tried.
We took the hay ride out to the pumpking patch.
I can't even count how many of this exact picture we have of these twins over the years. countless really.

if the kids are getting their faces painted, you can count on grandpa to join in on the fun. Nice pumpkin Papa!

Ava stuffed as many gourds and tiny pumpkins into the 5$ bag. She could barely carry it.
A fun day was had by all. Hard to believe that some day the kids will find this to be a lame activity. I gotta soak up all this fun stuff now. Our Fall bucket list is getting checked off as we have gone to Robinettes, Great Wolf Lodge, Post Family Farms and now Trick or Treating even though the weather every year is crummier just like the last. Good thing I took pictures of the kids in their costumes in early October. Best.decision.every.year.  Gotta get caught up and post that blog next!

Friday, October 30, 2015

First 'Back to School'

Can it be true? Is my first born heading to school? yeah, I couldn't believe it, just like every other Mom. We decided Austin was going to head to a young-5's program or as they call it, Developmental Kindergarten. He doesn't turn 5 until November 14 and I was constantly reaffirmed by everyone I talked to what a great decision we were making.
Austin picked out a Batman lunchbox......
To go along with his Shark backpack.

Austin was so ready to start school and as much as I felt emotional about him graduating from his school downtown, I felt like I was ready for him to get started. Little did I know that those first few weeks, almost months, were going to be the hardest times I have had with Austin.
Unforunately, as much as people tell you all the things to help you prepare, 'they won't eat lunch for the first week', or 'they are so tired at the end of the day', no one seemed to tell me about the attitude change, the relentless crabbiness, the outbursts, and just out right being mean, that Austin would go through. I talked with tons of other Moms going through the same thing. We must get amnesia after those first few weeks or months and completely forget because no one mentioned a thing about this to me. Jason was gone for military training the first 3 weeks of school and I felt like I was going absolutely crazy.
One night Jason called me telling me he had 10 minutes to talk on the phone and I think I cried and screamed and took up just about all 10 minutes telling him that our household was turned upside down. I think he cut the 10 minutes short due to not being able to say anything that would help me. At least, I would have. I remember pacing up and down the kitchen crying, wondering what had happened to my sweet, happy boy.
I know I don't paint the picture of excitement and happiness for Austin starting school, but it comes with a happy ending. I just had a lot to learn. I had to force Austin to eat at every given moment. He wasn't eating at school very much if anything at all. He was overly hungry and crabby because of it. I also had to cut bedtime back an hour. I was still in the summer mode and being a tad more relaxed about what time the kids had to go to bed. I also knew Austin wouldn't have any of it, if I let his younger sister stay up later than him just because nothing had changed with her routine one bit.

I also had to be very consistent with my discipline. No more empty threats. If it meant he went to bed before Ava, or if he couldn't play with something special due to his outburts, or if he had to spend a lot more time in timeouts on the stairs. I just had to keep at it. It wasn't easy for me doing it all alone. My parents saw it too. They would try to help out and bless them so much, but I had to isolate us as much as I could to get Austin to come back around. Some of it was just Austin needing to adjust to the new school and new friends and new routine. So no matter how much I had changed all of this, I also knew that some of it was just going to have to come with time. As much as I felt we didn't have any time to spare because it felt like an nightmare, I just had to pray and be patient.
The happy ending of it all, is that it all just went away. Just as we all knew it would, it took time, and some work on my end, but we are back to a happy and sweet boy that I've always had. But in the moment, it felt like my world as a parent was coming to a crashing halt.
Ava on the other hand loves to 'play school' and picked out a fairy lunch box.....
to go with her princess kitty backpack....if that doesn't scream Ava, I don't know what does.
This is Ava's signature smile. Sometimes she even tucks her top lip under and shows her teeth like a gopher. Silly Ava.

She is so ridiculously sweet. She's so sweet to me, always telling me "you're my best mommy" and she always shares with "My Austin" as she calls him. When he cries over a toy, she gives it up. When he ate all his candy all gone, she gives some of hers to him. Sweet, sweet Ava.

For the most part, they are really good together. It's always nice to seperate them here and there but they definitely act like twins. If there was a dollar for every time someone asked me if they were twins, I'd be rich. Although Austin is still a little taller, Ava is growing 2 inches for every inch Austin grows.

How did I even get this shoot you may ask.....
I just told the kids we were going to a new park. They have been to many parks and the idea of going to a park they have never been to, is mind blowing to them! So we indeed went to a new park with huge tires in the sand, new slides and swings, and apparently lots of weeds in the wood chips to pull out. We get lots of weeds on our beach and whenever I get a bucket and start to pull them, the kids love to chip in...."Woah, look at this huge one!" as they pull with all their might, trying to get an even bigger root than the last.

I wasn't for sure what kind of pictures I was getting, so I asked them to have their own dance party.
We should ask ourselves to do this more often throughout the day. Maybe we'd all get a little release of endorphins to keep us smiling. Or just a little laugh at the most uncoordinated person.
Austin is learning to write his name. He is a lefty so he continues to work on writing his letters in school. He is also drawing our family often when asked to draw a picture. Ava continues to get praises from school as she works hard at being a good listener. As she turns 4 in February she will transition to the last room at daycare. As much as I was emotional with Austin graduating from our daycare, I can't imagine Ava doing the same. Good thing I have plenty of time to prepare for that.

And good thing that I experienced the trials with Austin so I can be better prepared for what's to come with Ava. It was my first time struggling and trying to label myself a failure as a parent. Won't be the last time. Good thing for social media and being able to post whats going on to all my friends as they reassured me they were experiencing the same. And good thing like most stages/issues with kids, 'this too shall pass'. Be patient, pray, be consistent, love love love, try hard not to scream, feed their little bellies, and stop to have some fun even when all you want to do is lock them in their rooms.
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