Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Graduation

A few weeks ago, I watched my son's life flash before my eyes. I watched as my little boy in preschool put on his cap and gown with very little help from mommy. I gave him a big hug and tried to kiss him on the cheek but he instead held out his fist signaling he wanted a fist bump instead. Smiling through the little sting that made, I fist bumped him like a super cool mom and headed out while he hung out in the waiting area with his friends and teacher. Chloe, David and I took our seats in the sanctuary. My neighbor/best friend Misty took her seat across the aisle from me with her family and we glanced at each other taking deep breaths as we waited for the music to start and our babies to come walking down the aisle.

Then it happened. The well known pomp and circumstance started and here came the Pre-K 2014 graduating class of Hilldale Church of Christ. Brody was the 5th in line and as he got close to us, he grinned so huge as if to say "look at me mommy, I did it!!!" Tears welled (as they are now as I type this) and I could not have been more proud of him. 

The class took their places on stage and started off by singing several songs they had learned during the year. Their little tassels on their caps were just swinging as they sang and did the motions. They were precious. Many kept playing with their tassels, but my Brody, he was concentrating on singing and doing what he was supposed to do. I could tell that he was a mixture of nervousness and pride.

Next was a beautiful video they made of each child. The first slide was a baby picture the parents sent in, then their school picture, and then it was a picture of them holding up a sign that said "When I grow up I want to be __________________." Brody's said when he grows up he wants to be a policeman. The video was set to music and it was precious. Each parent got a copy of it and I am so thankful for that! 

After the video played, each child was called up one by one to receive their own Bible and their diploma. After the ceremony, they all walked back out to the foyer and there was a  large reception and lots of inflatables for the kids to jump on and enjoy in the gymnasium. 

This was a perfect graduation and a perfect year for my sweet boy. I could not have imagined anything better. He got to go to pre-K with his best buddy Kailyn, had a loving teacher who he talked about nonstop even on his non-school days, and he still gives hugs to when he sees her (and if you know Brody you know that is rare because he is a shy kid). He has worked so so hard this year. Every single week he has come home with 8-15 pages of homework and he has done every single bit of it. He is so ready for Kindergarten and so excited to go. He even told me a few weeks ago that he is proud of himself. Hearing him say that makes my heart swell! 

Not sure how I will do on the first day on Kindergarten, but I know one thing, Brody Blevins will be just fine. 

before we left for graduation


me and my baby


This is the first thing that made the tears trickle - this verse on the back of the program made me think about how Brody is going out into the world now into elementary school. He will not be sheltered by me or his church pre-school/homeschool curriculum. However, God has plans to PROSPER him and NOT harm him. No matter where life takes him, he has a hope and a future with the Lord!




look at this proud smile holding his Bible!

and this is something he got to go along with his room re-do. He did not get his room redone when he turned 5 which is what we did for Chloe. We did tell him though that when he graduated preschool that he could choose a new theme and get rid of the nursery theme of African safari. He is infatuated with Star Wars so that is what we went with. Room pictures in another post.



Monday, May 19, 2014

Field Day at Carmel Elementary...

Monday marked our Second Annual Field Day for the Carmel Colts and it was the most perfect day imaginable weather wise! Sun was shining, sky was bright blue, and temps were in the 70s. Chloe's class started out the day with an outdoor event. Not sure what it was called because their events are SOOOOO not the same what my field day events were...not even close. Nope - no potato sack races, egg in the spoon races, 50 and 100 yard dashes, standing broad jumps, etc... No ribbons for the first, second and third place winners - because now they are ALL winners ;) I digress though. Where was I? Oh yes, her first event was one where they had to throw some foam balls across a volleyball net to another class while that class lobbed them across towards her class. When the whistle blew, the class who had the most balls on their side "lost". Not sure if they call it losing now though. Maybe the other side are just known to have gotten a point. Next the same two classes had cones spread out across both sides of the net and each class had to try to flip the cones over on the opposite side before the whistle was blown. The kicker though is that your class can turn their own cones back over. That one is a fun one to watch and you can use some strategy on that one. Proudly, Chloe's class killed it on that one!!!

Next up was Sink the Ship, Water Relay and Scooter Soccer. Of those 3, Water Relay was my favorite to watch. They dunked foam balls in water, tossed them down a line of their peers and the last one squeezed it into a bucket. At the end of time, the class with the most water in their bucket won. Again, Chloe's class reigned supreme! Admittedly, I am slightly competitive, but you should have seen her teacher getting in there and helping those kids. LOVE IT!!!

There were a few more games and then it was lunch time and their field day was over. It was a really fun day and I LOVE going to watch field day. However, the second part of the day is one that I may have to pass on next year. It was volunteering in the older grades (3rd-5th) field day. I was placed in the scooter soccer event and it was slight torture. It was an indoor event, it was really loud, I was in charge of the music, and there were a few kids who smarted off to me several times. There was one 5th grade boy that got really nasty with me and I thought to myself that he probably wouldn't do that too many times in middle school before he got what he deserved. Whew!!! I admire teachers more and more after that short stent of time.

Next year will be fun - I will have Chloe and Brody to watch and juggle my time between. Maybe fun is not the word...how about interesting?


Running to flip over a cone


Scooter Soccer about to start


Some of Chloe's friends - Blair, Kirk, Emily


Chloe's best friend, Hannah - at the water relay


forgot about this game - this is one where they had to try to sneak the bean bags out but the ones in the center were the guards and if they tapped you with the pool noodle while you were grabbing the bag you had to drop it. Chloe was FIERCE!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Where Has The Time Gone

How can this be happening? My baby...my little 8 pound and 20 inch baby boy, Brody David, is going to Kindergarten in August. In the pictures below, he is proudly attending Kindergarten Round-up at Carmel. This is a time where all incoming Kindergarten students show up and meet the principals, the kindergarten teachers, get to tour the classrooms, the cafeteria, and get to take a little spin around the parking lot on the big yellow school bus. The parents have a chance to hear the attendance policies, get signed up for volunteer positions within the PTO, and hear from our school nurse about immunizations, illnesses, etc...

Chloe's Round-up was definitely hard for me since she was the first and I had no idea what to expect. My nerves were shot and I was just sad at thinking about her being in someone else's care all day besides mine. But in the back of my mind I knew this was going to give me and my Brody-man some good one on one time as well. 

I have SO enjoyed these two years of it just being the two of us. Don't mis-read that. I miss my girl when she is at school and there are many days when I would love to keep her home and just hang with her! But, I do love having that one on one time with Brody. He calls it our date days - the days he is not in Pre-school. He wants to just hang with me and play games, go to the park, sometimes just sit beside me and have me watch him play Star Wars on the iPad, or go to Chick-fil-A for breakfast after we drop of Chloe. 

So Round up this time was not nerve-wrecking as I am at the school a lot. I am an officer on the PTO board and will be again next year. I volunteer there a lot. I still walk Chloe in every single morning and eat with her once/week. I am very well known at the school, I know the routine and when something just isn't right. So the nerves aren't the issue. This time, the issue was that Brody is my baby!!! He is my little baby and I am just not ready to send him to Kindergarten. I don't want to send him off to big school on his own. I feel like I need him. I will miss having a little one at home to care for. I will miss it terribly! And I'm not sure what to do with that. 

Yes, I know soon enough we will have our other baby home through our adoption, but it seems like it will be forever. Truly! And that's a whole other post so I won't get into that here, but just know that while I am super proud of Brody for changing his mind and finally being excited about starting kindergarten (last year he said he wasn't going until her turned 19), my heart is tender at knowing that in a few months my baby will be walking through the halls of Elementary school on his own and making choices for himself without his mommy there to encourage the wise choice, and help him defend himself from rude people if need be, or navigate through new problems that may arise. 


Ready to go to Kindergarten Roundup

Brody with his best friend, (and neighbor), Kailyn. He loved riding the bus through the parking lot which is great since he won't ride it again except for field trip days! Sending him to school is traumatic enough - adding the bus to the mix?!? Kill me now! 


Spring picture proofs from pre-school

Awards, Soccer and Gardens - Spring is Here

Chloe had her third nine weeks awards ceremony which is always a nervous time for  me. I don't know why. I always know she is going to get the award for straight A's. And of course I know if she will get perfect attendance or not - which this time she did not because we were in Disney World. But the one that makes me nervous is the COLT award. It's the one where the teacher has to choose 1 boy and 1 girl from her class who displays good character, leadership, etc... Some teachers will choose the child based on their merit and if they really do deserve it, some will choose the child who doesn't get encouragement at home or may just need the extra at school, and some will just randomly draw a kids' name out of a hat because they don't like to just choose one child. This whole system bothers me. 
Hear me out. When you have a child like Chloe who is a rule follower, has never gotten in trouble at school for anything, is kind to others, is very well liked by everyone, and takes everything to heart, she gets CRUSHED if she is not chosen for the COLT award and immediately wants to know what she didn't do good enough and what she did wrong. She is sad and you can see her shoulders slump when the other kids' name is called. It's heart-breaking to watch when you know she, along with others I am sure, deserve it too.
This particular nine weeks of school, Chloe's teacher decided to ask the Principal if she could award 4 girls and 4 boys with the COLT award - 2 for C, 2 for O, 2 for L, and 2 for T. Brilliant! This way more kids have a chance to win it. The teachers who randomly draw a name don't have to resort to that method. The ones who choose the kids who need extra encouragement can also choose the other kids too who get that at home already. It's a great idea I think! 
So anyways, my point is, Chloe was chosen as the "C" recipient!!! This was the award for displaying the most Character in the classroom! My heart could not have been any more proud of her. And her heart could not have been any happier!



Holding up her two awards


Chloe with her teacher, Mrs. Smith

And soccer season has started (and finished since I haven't blogged in forever)! Chloe has once again dominated the field this year although as the girls age it's getting tougher so the games are more low scoring. It's been fun to watch the girls play this season as this is their 3rd or 4th playing together so they are really in a groove and are beginning to pass to each other, figure out some plays, and it's not all about "give me the ball." I think we finished the season 5-3. Chloe scored  2-7 goals each game and ended the season well. She decided to stick with rec for another season so we are not going to travel soccer yet. We will keep re-evaluating each season but for now, rec is perfect for everyone involved.






And finally, we went to Rivers and Spires Festival a few weekends ago and hung out for a while for a family day. It was hot...really hot! Kids had a blast for several hours doing all of the things in the Kids Zone but once that was over, they were ready to peace out and head home. David and I were right there with them. We were all tired. Here was the highlight of the day...Chloe climbing the rock wall tower. She killed it!



And finally - gardening! Brody and I picked our day and got our vegetable garden started. And what better way to start it than to put his green bean plant that he planted at school in our garden first? This year we decided to grow green beans, red and green bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and roma tomatoes. 
Brody is always a HUGE help in the garden! He loves to help till the soil, dig the holes for the seeds, plant the seeds, cover them up and water. He then will help me out by watering them periodically and picking the veggies when it's time. I love that we do this together. It's kind of our special thing. It's the second year in a row that we have done this - just me and him. 
After this garden, we also planted some flowers around the kids' playset and in the front porch planters. He helped me pick those out at Walmart. He chose red and pink somethings (have no idea) for the playset area, and lavender-ish dahlias for the front porch. Great choices!!! Things are growing and looking great!




So Much To Catch Up On!


Easter was fun this year. It came and went so quickly though. We didn't have time for our usual Resurrection Rolls. We didn't have time to do all of our Resurrection Eggs, and I ran out of time to go get the things to do the UnEaster Basket like I had planned. This was just the year of non-planning for the usual things. We did however get to do a few other things such as activities from a new book. For several days we did different things based around Scripture related to the Easter Story. 

One day we made a jar of perfume using baby food jars, essential oils and bamboo sticks. This was to illustrate the woman in the Bible who poured out her expensive perfume on Jesus' feet and dried it with her hair.
Another day we took empty cans of vegetables and painted them green then used puff paint to draw palm branches, crosses, leaves, etc... on them. We then tied them together and hung them near the door. We talked about Palm Sunday and read the passage about Jesus riding into the city on a donkey and how the people waved the palm branches and shouted "Hosana" which means "He Saves Us." So every time the cans clanked or rang, one of the kids would call out Hosana and the other would say what it meant. That was fun!
Another day we read about the Jesus washing the disciples feet and what it meant to wash feet back in that day. How feet were extremely dirty and it was almost beneath a servant to wash them. But that Jesus did it willingly and that shows that Jesus had a servant's heart and we should too. So naturally, we filled big pots of water and washed each other's feet. Kids really loved that one! And made a huge mess of it too. 

We avoided the Easter Bunny again this year. It's not that I am against the bunny - well, maybe I am. I just think it's ridiculous to even attempt to tie in a huge 6 foot bunny to the cross. I mean really, how do the two things even remotely relate? Santa is a giving individual who gives gifts. Baby Jesus was the gift. And received gifts from the wisemen. I can do Santa. But the Bunny? Nope! Just can't do it! The bunny didn't die on a cross. A bunny didn't resurrect. A bunny didn't have a last supper with disciples and get betrayed. There is nothing... So the kids know that mom and dad are the Easter Bunny and we pack the baskets. That was fun too - and for anyone who thinks I am a lame mom or one who doesn't let my kids believe in anything, the only other thing I refuse to let them believe in is Cupid...the baby who flies around in his diaper shooting arrows, and the Leprochaun who plays tricks on kids on St Paddy's Day. They get the Tooth Fairy, and Santa :)



Easter morning basket fun!

Easter morning at church


Egg Hunt with our small group after church on Easter





Sunday, May 4, 2014

Cards for a Cause

I am curious to know how many of you are like me in that you always have the best intentions of getting birthday, get well, congrats, thank you, or other cards in the mail ON TIME but you either forget to pick them up at the store or you just don't even make it there on time. Or maybe you are super awesome like me and you buy the card EARLY and then you put it away somewhere and forget where you put it. That takes real talent!

Hang with me, I'm getting to a point...promise! I tweeted a few weeks ago that I needed adoption fundraiser ideas and my new friend Heather responded that she could help me out! I immediately went to her website and I was blown away by not just the content...but the quality.

So the product is 30 handmade all occasion greeting cards. I know, I know...you aren't jumping up and down for joy yet. Just hang on, it's coming. These cards are not just regular cards; they are so super cute and sassy! They are all different, have embellishments, and are individually wrapped. That just screams FANCY to me! AND, they all have coordinated envelopes. So, not only do your friends and family get a super cute card, they also get a fun envelope too when they first open their mailbox. That just screams "somebody loves me!!!" Oh, and you get an awesome keepsake box with a magnetic closure to store them in.

So here are some pictures of the box, with the dividers and I just randomly chose 15 cards to show you. ALL of them were cute so I literally just chose a few from each category.





Ignore the glare...I didn't want to remove the plastic from them and risk a
 kid or dog getting them dirty while I set them up to photograph them :)





Here is the best part of all - the price!!! It's all of this (30 cards and the box) for only $30. That is literally $1 per card. Actually less if you count the awesome box that they are stored in! You cannot get a card this nice at Target, Walmart, Walgreens, (you get my point) for any less than $3.99 each. I should know because I went and looked.

So, I am going to be selling these for TWO weeks! ONLY 2. Please order some as 1/3 of your purchase will go straight to our adoption.  You can email me at BlevinsAdoption@gmail.com about placing an order. Please share this post with your friends, on Facebook, Twitter or whatever other social media you have. The more the merrier :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Time For An iPhone Dump

It's that time again. The iPhone dump time. Family...enjoy yourselves!

Brody loves his bubbles


This was on a mommy/daughter date day to Opry Mills. 


Meet our sponsor son Belete. He lives on Entoto Mountain in Ethiopia, and is 14 years old. He is an orphan who lost both parents several years ago. He was living with his grandmother but she made him leave the "home" because she couldn't afford to take care of him anymore and afford her HIV medicine too. She felt as though with him being healthy that he would be able to fend for himself.  He was begging for food and had to quit school because of his displacement and inability to pay for it. Can you even imagine this being your son, nephew, brother, cousin, or friend? I have the sweetest video of him telling his story. He is one of the kids that was in the child sponsorship program that I set up when I returned from Ethiopia last year. He now has a place to stay, 3 meals/day, and is going back to school. Plus, he is volunteering with the Feeding Program on Saturdays for the other kids who are in the sponsorship program who still need sponsors! This kid is amazing! If you are interested in sponsoring one of the children from Entoto Mountain, you can email me at KBlevins@ordinaryhero.org and I can send you some profile pictures and a brief backstory on them. Sponsorship doesn't just change their lives, it will change your life as well!


This is a little biography Chloe wrote about our family. Love how she calls out her brother being mean and my cooking having no flavor sometimes. Ha!!!


Please, can someone tell me WHY these books were on the shelf in Chloe's book fair at school this week?!? RIDICULOUS! Inappropriate and seductive covers for sure. When the assistant librarian was asked about them, she skirted around the issue saying that the company who supplies our book fair sends only elementary age approved books and to ask the head librarian about them. So, I got home and looked them up on Amazon. Yeah...these books are for 7th grade and for 12-17 year olds. Not quite elementary school. And honestly, my middle schooler wouldn't be reading them either if I have a choice. Still waiting to see what the librarian is going to do about this. UGH! Another reason that I have been researching K12 today.


my extent of Pinterest lately - took all of our water bottles and put them in a shoe thing inside the pantry door to clear out some space in the cabinets. Best pin ever!


Me and my neighbor (aka - best friend) before our St Patty's 5K

and the AFTER.... but we beat our goal by 3 mins and 44 seconds. Yay us!


This is how God is rocking my world right now. Enough said.


And this is how Brody looks when he comes out from cleaning his room. Toboggan, boxer briefs over the pajamas, and my fuzzy socks on with tears streaming that he just can't clean anymore. But guess what! He hadn't cleaned up one thing! I'd say he got somewhat distracted. Oh how I love this kid. I mean, how could you not?!? Look at him!