Christmas Decorations

With baby scheduled to be born on December 4, I knew we needed to get our Christmas decorations up early or not at all.  This year I found a tree at Hobby Lobby for the boys to put in their room, and it was a big hit!  It was the first thing we got out, and they had so much fun decorating it

Side note: this was the same night the boys watched Home Alone for the first time.  They thought it was an absolute riot!  When I got out the tree decorations and they saw the strings of beads I bought, they proceeded to "booby trap" our house all night a la Kevin McCallister.  So funny.

I found a few ornament-making kits with my Christmas stuff that I had picked up on clearance last year.  The boys spent over an hour on two separate occasions diligently making new ornaments for their tree.  Not a bad $3 clearance investment!!

We got our big tree up:

At the end it was a big debate who was going to put the star on top.  We decided Charlie would be best since he's the lightest...

 But he couldn't squeeze the clamp hard enough to get it on there, so we switched to plan B:
 Turns out Jack was too heavy and it was awkward, so plan C it was...
I laughed so hard watching this all go down.  It's the little things in life....

I'm happy to say we got the whole house decorated and most of our presents wrapped before baby arrived!!

Silly Boys

I couldn't resist posting these pictures of the boys on the internet for all to see.  One morning after an overnight with Grandma Clayton, the boys came upstairs and surprised her by dressing up in the girls' dress-up clothes.  She said they were giggling their little heads off because they thought they were so funny...

Goofy guys!!

Halloween 2015

This year the boys and their cousins decided to be Star Wars characters for Halloween.  Jack was Luke Skywalker, Charlie was Han Solo, Mia was Princess Leia and Lily was Yoda.  We made their costumes ourselves and I'm happy with how they turned out!  Luckily, the boys had a lot of opportunities to wear them.

The weekend before Halloween, we went to the annual fall party at our neighbor's parents' property in Foristel.  There were hayrides, pumpkin decorating, bonfires and of course trick-or-treating.  Lots of fun with the neighbor friends!

Charlie's school had their annual parade through the courtyard at work.  It's always chaotic, but so fun to see all the kiddos dressed up.  It was a Thursday this year, but Grandma and Grandpa were nice enough to get Charlie in his costume and bring him up so he didn't have to miss it.

The night before Halloween, Jack's school had a Trunk or Treat, which was also a lot of fun.  Jack loved seeing his teacher and the principal there and running into his friends from his class.  We walked there with a bunch of neighbors, so that made it extra fun.

Star Wars cousins!
Jack giving his principal a hug 
Patiently waiting for the fun to start!

Jack and Jack lined up for the costume contest.  Lily won a prize for her Yoda costume!
On Halloween night, we followed our normal routine: a quick photo shoot with the neighbors before heading over to the Claytons' house to celebrate Grandma's birthday.

When we got to their house, Grandpa had a surprise!  He was Chewbacca!

After dinner, Jason, Uncle Todd and Grandpa Chewie took the kids trick-or-treating.  After they covered the whole neighborhood, we ate Grandma's birthday cake.

School Updates

The boys both took pretty good school pictures this year.  Jack got eaten alive by mosquitoes the day before his pictures and had bites all over his face, so we paid the extra $5 for facial touch-up. :)

 And here are Charlie's:

 We had Jack's first parent teacher conference in October.  His teacher was very complimentary of him, even going so far as to say she was "smitten with that boy."  We were very pleased.  She said he always does his work very quickly and she can tell that he's a very fast and eager learner.  He passed all the check points with flying colors, as they were skills he's had for a few years (upper and lower case letter recognition, number recognition and shapes).  While we were waiting to meet with the teacher, we saw this picture on the bulletin board:

The other thing that was displayed in the hallway was Jack's "All About Me" book, which we loved looking at.  One of my favorite things is when kids write words how they sound, and Jack is getting a lot more confident doing that now (vs asking us how to spell each word that he wants to write).

We've since received a second progress report and this one had a few comments on it.  One said "Jack needs to curb his talking during my instruction" and the other said "talking and silliness."  We are afraid our boy is getting bored.  The reason we think that is that he has been telling us.  Every day.  Some mornings he says he doesn't want to go to school because kindergarten is boring and they're just learning letters and he knows his letters, etc.  He complains when he does his homework because it's too easy (and frankly Charlie could easily complete most of the work Jack has brought home).  We are going to speak with his teacher to see if there are modifications she can make to challenge him more, but our understanding is that starting after the holidays, they will divide the kids into reading groups so they will be challenged at their own level.  That should help some.

Charlie's parent teacher conference this fall went just as well.  His teachers really like him and say that he is so fun to have in class.  He gets along great with his peers and is great at using his manners. Ironically the checkpoint for Charlie was EXACTLY the same as Jack's (upper and lowercase letter recognition, number recognition and counting and shapes) and Charlie too mastered it.  Since Charlie has another year and a half before kindergarten, we suspect we will be in the same boat with this one once he starts school.

A few other fun events that took place at Jack's school:

In November, they celebrated Veterans Day by inviting any family member veterans to attend an assembly.  That meant Grandpa Clayton got to go, and Jack, Lily and Mia loved having him there!
Lily & Jack got to sit on Grandpa's lap; Mia was with the choir

We also attended Kindergarten Fun Night.  They have a fun night for each grade each year.  For kindergarten it was a Friday evening where they just got to play different games (hula hoop, tug-o-war, parachute, egg & spoon race, etc.).  I volunteered to help out and was assigned the snack room.  It turned out to be a pretty fun station because we got to talk to the kids as they came through.  One of the groups had 6 girls from Jack's class and one from another class.  I told them I was Jack's mom and they said "oooh, Jack is soooo cute" in their giggly little girl voices.  What??  This starts already??  Jack had a lot of fun, and even Charlie got to go - they had some high school kids volunteer to watch the younger siblings, so Charlie and his buddy Logan got to play in a kindergarten class, which they thought was cool.
Jack is all the way on the right, with his orange sleeve on the railing.

 The week of Thanksgiving, I had a few days off work, so Jason, Charlie and I brought Jack lunch one day.  It was a fun treat for Charlie to see what lunch is like at Jack's school, but boy did Jack get wild at lunch!!  He and his buddy Jack (our neighbor) seem to feed off each other and show off - we can see why their teacher made the comments that she did on both of their progress reports!!