About 2 weeks ago we took the kids down to UT's agriculture campus.
They have the most beautiful gardens and we have taken some great photos there before.
So we loaded the kids in the car along with a change of clothes so we could get a variety of shots. It was a great day to go. There wasn't many people there so we didn't have to worry about other people being in the frame of our photos.
The kids did a really good job about letting me "pose" them and cooperated really well. We got some really sweet photos and some funny ones too. All in all it was a great day of photo opportunities. Here are a few of our favorite pictures. (It was hard to decide which to post because we had so many good ones).
Thursday, May 29, 2008
About 2 weeks ago we took the kids down to UT's agriculture campus.
Posted by Holly Aytes at 9:30 PM
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Well summer is officially here! We have been to the pool for the first time. The water is still to cold for me to get in deeper than my knees unless of course the kids were in trouble then I would dive right in and brave the frigid water! It is too cold for Madison also. She would go no further than the 2nd step. The other 2 didn't care that the water was cold. They both jumped right in. My parents have a great pool at their townhouse. Nobody is ever there especially during the week (there aren't a lot of kids mostly college kids, young professionals, and divorcees) and not many on the weekends either. We pretty much have the pool to ourselves most of the time.
I wasn't sure how the kids would do since they hadn't been in the pool since September last year but mostly was worried about Caleb. Last year he was jumping in the deep end and swimming with no help from us or floats. I hoped he would pick up right where we left off. He did! Jumped right in and started swimming like the fish that he is.
Taylor, I knew would be fine. I did make her jump in at the deep end and swim the whole length of the pool. She did wonderful. She too is a fish.
Madison will take a little more work as she doesn't really remember the pool. She is also at the apprehensive age. She stuck pretty close to me the whole afternoon. She did enjoy sitting on the lounge chairs covered up with a towel. And wearing goggles like Taylor and Caleb. She did put her face under a little bit and blow bubbles. Last year that is how we taught her to keep her mouth closed under the water. She was actually swimming last year pretty good without arm floaties and hopefully it won't take long and she will be doing that again.
She also enjoyed having a snack brought out by Nana.
Nana brings the best snack. They are always healthy...fruit with dip, cheese and crackers and peanut butter and crackers. We have wonderful poolside service also. You couldn't ask for anything better.
Posted by Holly Aytes at 11:42 AM
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Friday was our last day to keep Carter. We all knew this day was coming but none of us were prepared for how we would feel. The kids don't really get it, well Taylor does but neither Caleb nor Madison do, but it won't be long before they realize he isn't coming to our house everyday. We have grown very attached to this little guy over the past 2 years that we have kept him. He is like a piece of our family and the kids adore him. Now don't get me wrong they fight amongst each other like "true" siblings but they also loved each other with the same amount of passion.
With Madison going to preschool next year and Caleb being in Kindergarten, I really wanted to be able to focus on them so I decided not to keep Carter next school year. I am going to really miss him though. We have watched him grow into the sweet little boy that he is :) We watched all his first and got to be a part of them. Caleb lovingly refers to him as "the brother that my mommy didn't have in her belly." It is actually a nice way to add "siblings" to your family :) We got all the perks of a baby with the pregnancy, birth and "costs". Just kidding, those things aren't bad. Madison has always referred to him as " her Carter" and she loves him more than anything. She is always willing to share with him when she wouldn't share with anyone else. This not only includes toys but snacks. Sometimes she wouldn't even share with me, Taylor or Caleb but she was always willing to share with Carter. I didn't realize just how much I am going to miss him. I got lots of hugs, kisses and "cuddly" time in on Friday. Carter must have realized something was different b/c normally he isn't a big cuddlier but he let me love on him all day. It was wonderful. I am truly going to miss "my Carter" this fall. He has been my "sidekick" for the past 2 years and he will be sorely missed.
It will be very different for Carter as this is all he knows outside of his mommy and daddy. He is used to one-on-one attention. He is used to getting his way alot of the time, probably wasn't the best thing we could have done for him. And he is used to a big extended family. He had 2 "extra" sets of grandparents who have enjoyed loving on him and spoiling him like he was one of their own :) I pray that whatever transition is in store for him this fall, that he will adjust to it well. I also pray that however "has" him during the day will love him and nurture his sweet little spirit!
Even though we aren't going to be spending our days with him anymore we promise to still see his sweet little face whenever possible and to love him :)
Posted by Holly Aytes at 7:07 PM
Friday, May 23, 2008
I tried to think of a fun title for this post and this is what I came up with! I may be crafty in certain areas but other areas I fail miserably. Taylor is moving on to 3rd grade (not that I had a doubt that she would but it is official as per her report card).
Thursday was Taylor's last day of school. It was a very emotional day. Taylor is an emotional child to begin with but is having a difficult time with leaving Cedar Bluff. This is the only school that she has known and we have had the most wonderful experiences there! We have had the best teachers. In fact her teacher this year received the "Knox County Teacher of the Year" award which she most definitely earned!
Both her Kindergarten teacher (Mrs Schaefer) and her 1st grade teacher (Ms Riley) have continued to be there for Taylor. They have watched out for her these past years and were always there to comfort Taylor whenever she needed it :) Who could ask for better teachers!
Mrs Schaefer Miss Riley
We have gotten to know lots of the other teachers. In pick-up line I don't even need a sign, they know me and my car :) I too have been having a hard time with this transition. This is the only school we have known for the past 3 years and it too is changing in many ways. We received an "end of the year" letter today along with the report cards. In it the principal had written a note. It said
"with the end of this 9 week period, Cedar Bluff Primary will cease to exist as we have known it for the past 32 yrs. There is a rich history associated with the Primary School and it will be missed by many.When school opens in August, we will say hello to Cedar Bluff Elementary School for the 1st time in many, many years."
I cried when I read that b/c Taylor's grade level is the last to complete the primary school. When she started kindergarten it was Primary and when she finished 2nd grade it is the last time it will be Primary. That is just a little sad. Last summer when they torn down the old school (and trust me, I know they needed too b/c that thing was like a dungeon) I cried. It was sad to see where my "baby" started to be demolished. However the new school is completely awesome, kinda sad we won't be there to enjoy all the new things they are getting like a new gym and cafeteria. No more eating in their rooms and having gym outside!
Taylor will be moving to a new school next year. I am sure that it is just as nice (though not as new) and that they teachers are wonderful (they just don't know us like the ones at Cedar Bluff do). Taylor is apprehensive about the move. She is scared b/c she won't be in the same school as Caleb. Farragut is 2 separate schools, Primary houses K - 2nd and the Intermediate houses 3rd - 5th. They are in 2 different places also. Not sure how I am going to get 2 kids to 2 schools at the same time but we will figure something out :)
When I picked Taylor up today from school I went in so we could take a picture of her with her 3rd grade teacher as well as Kindergarten and 1st grade. I was met at the school door by a teacher who knows us by name even though she hasn't had Taylor in her class. She said "oh Holly, Taylor is crying her eyes out" and sure enough right inside the door stood my sweet little girl crying :( She had been crying for a while b/c her little face was all red and blotchy. I felt so bad for her. All of her little girlfriends were crying too. They were concerned they would never see each other again. I assured them we weren't moving to Mars just Farragut which must seem like Mars to a 8 year old. After exchanging numbers and promising to get together over the summer, and many more hugs and tears we made it out of the school. Taylor was doing better by the time we got home though I am sure there will be more tears before all is said and done!
Posted by Holly Aytes at 2:45 AM
Thursday, May 22, 2008
On Tuesday Sam and Will came over to play for a few hours while their mom was at work. My kids love it when they get together and play. It doesn't happen often enough! Madison adores Sam, she calls him "her Sammy" lots of the time. She was so excited when he got to our house Tuesday morning. He is the reason we get through Church sometimes. All I have to say is "want to go see Sam" and Madison is ready to go :) I am happy that she likes him so much, I mean not only does he come from a wonderful family but he is absolutely adorable!
The kids had a great time playing. We spent most of the morning outside playing. We made time for a snack of popcorn and Pop Ice. Which the kids thoroughly enjoyed.
They all played together so good that those 2 boys are welcome back anytime (and I mean that Cindy). Here is a few more pictures of them enjoying themselves.
Posted by Holly Aytes at 9:30 AM
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Well, we did it! We mulled over the idea for a few months now and decided to do it, plant a garden that is! My kids always love going to my grandparents house in the late summer (right before school starts back) b/c the garden has things to pick. We tried a few years ago to grow some things but didn't have much luck. Matt's mom thought the kids would enjoy seeing things grow and being able to pick stuff.
We just went with the basic plants.....tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and squash. These are all things the kiddos love! I know that is a little weird since most kids who are 8, 5 and almost 3 don't eat those things but mine do. The kids had a blast with the planting part and are most excited about their garden. Now it isn't anything fancy and we may have wasted money but we at least made some great memories not to mention the great pictures I took to scrapbook later.
The tomatoes take the longest at 78 days but the squash and cucumbers have a shorter growing time so maybe soon we will have some good pics to post and blog about.
Posted by Holly Aytes at 10:25 PM
Saturday, May 17, 2008
A few years ago my parents bought a camping cot for their house. Whenever the older 2 wanted to spend the night they wouldn't sleep in the guest room, they wanted to be in Nana and Pops room and so the cot was bought!
Well Caleb "fell in love" with that cot. He was always talking about it. He wanted to bring it home with him whenever we were over there. He wanted Nana and Peepaw (Matt's parents) to get one for their house. So for Christmas this year Nana and Peepaw got Caleb a cot! He loved it. Well the kids go through phases where they want to sleep on the cot. They take turns and it is great fun :) It kinda comes in phases though. We sometimes use it every night for a week and then it is not gotten out for awhile.
Well last week there were many nights of sleeping on the cot (or in some cases under the cot).
It was Taylor's night to sleep on the cot and Caleb was a little upset about that. This isn't where we put him to bed. He was in his bed and when we checked on them this is where we found Caleb. He had even taken the time to "fix" a bed under it complete with blankets, pillow and animals :) We did put him back in his bed b/c we were afraid the cot might collapse on him. It never has done that before but we didn't want this to be the first time! And we got a new picture to put in Caleb's "weird sleeping positions/arrangements" album.
Posted by Holly Aytes at 9:43 AM
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Yesterday was a sad day for me. As I write this post I am even a little teary-eyed. Thursday morning I packed Caleb's backpack for preschool for the last time. I am having a much harder time with his "transition" than I did with Taylor. It seems like only yesterday I was sending him off with his Spiderman lunch box and little bitty backpack. I remember what he wore that 1st day of preschool almost 3 years ago.... a white bodysuit with little blue and green fish on it and khaki shortalls.
He was so excited. He was so little. He was still just a baby. Madison had been born and I thought he would love getting to play with other kids his age....he did after awhile. He was such a "mommy's boy" back then :) We have been so blessed with the best teachers at CSWS :) We run into teachers from previous years and he is still happy to see them! I know that I am going to have wonderful memories with him as he begins his journey in school, it is just very hard to watch him grow up so quickly. I want my little blond haired, blue eyed baby back :) I also know I will get to experience all this "preschool" stuff with Madison next year as she begins her journey.
Posted by Holly Aytes at 11:03 PM
Nana decided that her and Peepaw would take the kids to eat for their birthday at the restaurant of their choice. It was only Nan, Peepaw and the birthday child. Taylor chose to go to Olive Garden for lunch. She actually got to go on her birthday b/c she checked out of school early that day in order to go to the dentist. They had a lovely time and Taylor really enjoyed the one-on-one time with them. After lunch the ice cream at Maggie Moo's..YUMMY!!
Caleb decided to go to breakfast at Cracker Barrel for his birthday. After his breakfast the staff sang "happy birthday" to him and presented him with a ice cream sundae :) He enjoyed getting to have dessert with breakfast!
Posted by Holly Aytes at 10:49 AM
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I seem to be late posting things lately. I am just getting around to posting my beautiful Mother's Day gifts that the kids gave me. We had a great day. We spent it with Matt's mom and dad as my parents were out of town. This was the first time ever that I wasn't with my mom on Mother's Day. For the past 32 yrs I have spent it with her. She got to go be with her mom for Mother's Day which was wonderful for both of them. She hadn't been with her mom on Mother's Day in at least 10 years.
The kids had worked hard to create wonderful and sentimental gifts for me. I love the handmade gifts the best and they didn't disappoint me :) Caleb had made his gifts at preschool and this is what I got
and I also got this card
Taylor made me some paper flowers in Girl Scouts and then a bookmark at school
The bookmark was a project that the whole class did. They collected the flowers and pressed and dried them then assembled their bookmarks.
Madison scribbled on a piece of paper, stuck a few stickers on it and then Taylor signed "Madison's" name. I can't find it now however to take a pic. It was beautiful though and she was very proud of it :) She kept telling me "I make a picture for you mommy!"
Posted by Holly Aytes at 9:21 AM
Monday, May 12, 2008
On Saturday we drove up to Pigeon Forge to "celebrate" Caleb's birthday. We had some free tickets and he has been asking to go to Putt-Putt so we decided to go there. The kids had a blast! We got in a round of free mini-golf which Caleb and Madison grew tired of quickly since they could see all the other cool stuff to do. It was Madison's first time to play and we didn't expect that it would keep her attention very long. She would putt once and then pick up her ball and place it right next to the hole and knock it in (this is how I wish I could play too). I have never been really great at mini-golf but it is really sad when your children are better at it than you. (My kids are also better at bowling than I am, I need those bumper guards more than they do :)
After our round of golf we bought at few tickets to give the rides a try. Taylor was excited about the go-carts. She was finally tall enough to ride by herself. She actually did pretty good for her first time driving alone. She will however require many lessons before she will be allowed behind the wheel of a car :) She only hit the wall once and that was b/c she looked over at us to make sure we were watching her :) She was however a race-track hog. She was the one who rode in the middle of the track. Other riders had a hard time passing her.
Caleb gave the little go-carts a try but wasn't really into them. He rode a few laps while barely being able to see over the steering wheel
and then drove into the pit area and abandoned his car. It all happened so quick that the little guy manning that station didn't get to Caleb until he was already unbuckled and out of the car. All the other kids were still driving around the track :) Caleb had not only us laughing but the other people watching too.
Caleb preferred the "truck" merry-go-round and the swings.
Poor Madison wasn't able to do any of the rides. You had to be 36 inches tall to even ride the Choo-Choo train. After a very loud melt-down over the fact that she couldn't ride the train or swings we got her inside where there was a tube/slide thing (like at Chuck E Cheese) which she enjoyed very much.
After some time doing that we bought some tokens and played a few inside games. Then we cashed out our tickets and got a handful of "junk" that the kids thought was worth a million dollars :) Everyone had a great time and was exhausted by the time we got home.
Posted by Holly Aytes at 9:24 AM