A few weeks ago, we got to celebrate the birthday of one very special Valentine! Our sweet niece, Brooklyn, turned 2-years-old this Valentine’s Day, and we celebrated with her friends and family at Varsity Donuts in Manhattan, Kansas. I think a donut decorating party is definitely one of my favorite party themes of all time! Probably because I’ m a bit of a donut freak, but that being said, I think this party was a hit for everyone who attended. I feel endlessly lucky to have such a fun family! Happy birthday, sweet Brooklyn!
We spent Valentine’s Day out of town, as we are lucky enough to have a cute little Valentine’s birthday girl in the family! We ate cake, chocolates and made wishes on candles. I was even spoiled with a few fun gifts, including a new charm bracelet that Trent and Lu put together for me and this t-shirt, which is pretty amazing! Hope your day was full of love and light, I know mine was!
I was lucky enough over the holiday last week to get to shoot some photos of friends and family while in my hometown. Some were for their upcoming holiday cards and some were just for fun! I am little obsessed with how this shoot turned out, featuring my sister-in-law and her husband. I mean, her skirt is so perfect, right?! I feel like it’s a 1970s dream, sort of like the movie Love Story. I applied a little filter on these images (The 600 from Totally Rad Actions for you photogs who might be curious) to ramp up the vintage vibe a bit. I love being able to play around and have people indulge my silliness! Thanks Ashley and Adrian!
Growling voices, pretending to be monsters. Hiding under beds and blankets.
Pre-bed dance parties, elaborate shows with intermissions and multiple curtain calls.
Sweet cheeks resting on mine as he snuggles in for a nap, both hands holding my face telling me not to leave.
Yelling from the car, “I love you!” and seeing her eyes light up as she waves back.
“I’m never too old, mama. I will never be too old for snuggles. Not even when I’m in college.”
The fighting. They scream at each other with the passion of two little people who are so different and yet so very alike. They hate each other. They love each other. They despise each other. They are each other’s heart.
They call each other “teddy bear.” When one falls and scrapes a knee, the other comes running. “Teddy bear, oh my teddy bear.” In the morning it’s “wake up, teddy bear.” Then they nuzzle into each other and hold on tightly.
Mysteries and games, made up outside. They come in, telling of their clues and what they’ve found. I play along, following the trail, seeing their faces brighten when I pretend to find a new clue they’ve left in the open for me to stumble upon. They giggle, trying to cover their glee.
My poor little family can’t catch a break. After about two weeks of fevers and colds, yesterday we found out that Lulu’s persistent cough had turned into early stages of pneumonia. And while Tate is finally feeling much better, now I seem to have contracted Lulu’s stomach bug from last week. Positive? Due to the weeks of sickness, my pants are fitting much looser. Negative? I’m freaking hungry.
Today, even though Lulu was feeling 90% better due to antibiotics and an inhaler, she couldn’t go to school. Yesterday evening she still had a slight fever, so she can’t go back to her 2nd grade class until tomorrow. But after so many weeks being stuck inside with one kid or another, we were all ready to pull each others hair out. So after the millionth argument over the iPad, I decided we needed to get out of the house and at least spend an hour or two in the sunshine.
We decided to take a picnic and head over to Deanna Rose Farmstead, an incredible, free destination in Overland Park (suburb of Kansas City) that has animals, parks, food and everything else you’d ever want on a beautiful fall day. We are big Deanna Rose fans, and have spent many fun days there, but today was a little different. Lucy and I decided to make it in to a homeschool experience, seeing if we could cover all her school subjects in one day. Between the Native American lodge replicas (a huge hit, and a great social studies lesson), the mining area (mining for stones covers both history, science AND math) and some time at the huge playground (can’t forget recess!), we had a great, educational day. When we got home, Lu spent about an hour reading and then gave me a mini book report. She also worked on some new jewelry and gifts for friends, a perfect art project.
While today was more of a fun experiment, I have been thinking about homeschooling more and more lately. Unfortunately, this year Lulu’s grade is overcrowded, but a few children short of adding another teacher. While in the past she has had around 20 kids in her class, this year it’s more like 27 kids. And that’s WAY too many 7 and 8-year-olds for one teacher. Lulu has been coming home tired, worn out from the chaos of her class. Teachers are having to be more strict, and Lu has even complained about her favorite subjects “not being fun” anymore. This breaks my heart, but I am not sure what more I can do, other than advocate for her to the district. Lu is creative and free-spirited, and I often wonder if a more laid back homeschool schedule would benefit her. I think the hands-on learning would be so wonderful, and I believe she would excel. I’ve been reading up on homeschooling blogs, like Pioneer Woman and Bleubird, and dreaming up all the fun we’d have at our little homeschool.
But, for now, Lulu still loves school. She loves seeing her friends everyday and thinks her teacher is awesome. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love her heading off for the day so I have time alone with Tate and to work. While we had fun today, I know both the kids are looking forward to tomorrow and fun at school with kids their own ages. And I really, really can’t listen to another fight about the iPad.
So what do you think? Is homeschooling something you could ever see yourself pursuing? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your opinions!