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Friday, May 24, 2013

For Abigail, 5/24/2013

Dear Abigail,

It's been a week since you graduated from Pre-K and you made me laugh so much I couldn't even cry. There were so many chances, so many different times I thought I was going to lose it in that tiny class room I've dropped you off at every day -- but I didn't.

You must be really special, because you had seven - YES SEVEN!! - people come to your graduation. Your mommy & daddy of course came to watch you, but also your Grandma & Grandpa, your Mimi, and your Granny & Memaw (your Paw Paw was so sad to miss it, he wanted to be there for you, too). You are so lucky; you have three Great-Grandmothers that are living, and you have such a special relationship with each one of them!

You with your Memaw & Granny on Graduation Day

 The first time I began to tear up was when your class started to walk into the room and sit in your chairs. All your friends looked so grown up! Everyone was walking so big and tall, just like little people and no longer our precious babies that we've raised for all these years. When I saw your curls bouncing into the room with your big, bright smile, I felt the tears coming... but then you saw your Grandpa and you yelled, "Grandpa!" and I just started smiling. As you kept walking in the room you saw your Daddy, and you yelled for him even louder. THEN, you saw your Granny, and you just screamed, "GRANNY," so loud I thought she was going to have a heart attack. You were so excited to see all your family and you had to jump out of line to hug your Mimi & Grandma. That's one of the things I just love about you - watching you love other people. You just love everyone with your whole entire heart and it makes us all feel so special. You touch everyone you meet; such an amazing gift you have.

Ella, age 5
Your best friend in your class, Ella, was so funny that day. She saw the flowers her mom & I had bought for you girls under her mom's chair and yelled across the room, "MOM! Where did you get those flowers?? Who gave them to you?" It made the all the parents laugh, and kept all our tears at bay. As much as I was there for you that day, I was also there for Ella. You have an amazing group of friends you've made (and kept!) over the past few years, and I can only hope it will always be this easy for you. As a mother, my only dream for you is that you remain forever as happy and healthy as you are right now - not too much to ask, right?

After you all got seated and your teacher gave an introduction to your program, your performance began. You've been practicing your songs at home for the past two weeks, and it was so much fun to be apart of that with you. You  started off with your Pledge of Allegiance and Texas Pledge (which led to a great discussion between your father, Paw Paw & I over dinner that night), and then went onto your Days of the Week and Months of the Year songs. You've been singing these songs at school for three years now, and they went off without a hitch! It was then, though, that I realized the Director of your preschool, Ms. Karen, was still peaking in the room watching you guys.

This year at our school auction, you begged me to bid on "Director for a Day," so you could spend the day with your special friend, Ms. Karen. I've written her letters and thanked her for all she's done for our school, and for loving my children, but I want you to know how much you are loved by her, and how much you've loved her in return. I think she was just as excited to spend the day with you as director, as you were to be director and spend the day with her. That's that special thing you have coming out again -- making people love you! When you were director you first asked me to make you a special dress, "So I can be beautiful & grown up like Ms. Karen, mommy!" (which I did), and you also wanted to bring tattoos for you and Ms. Karen to put on, "Matching BFF Director Tattoos," as you called them (which we brought).

Ms. Karen & your matching tattoos

I only bring this up, because I know you weren't able to see her watching you, but almost as soon as your graduation was over and ran and gave all of your family hugs, the first thing you asked me, was, "Mommy, did Ms. Karen and Ms. Kathy come and watch me? They told me they were going to come watch me and I know they would be sad if they missed watching me!" So yes, baby, yes. They came. They saw you walk to your chair, and sing, and they saw you and all your friends on your special day. I hope you always feel as loved and as safe as you do right now. I hope you always have adults watching out for you, making sure you are growing and learning, and having fun, and most of all taken care of.

The next song you did was the color song, which you were SO excited about. When I made your graduation outfit, you wanted to make absolutely SURE that every single color was on your dress. I couldn't quit figure out why, until this song came on. In this song, the lyrics go through all the colors of the rainbow, and then on the second verse, you have to stand up and touch the color on your outfit they are singing about. Abigail.... you stood up during that ENTIRE song!!! And about half way through we all just started laughing because it was just so obvious that you wanted that outfit exactly like that for a reason. Such a smart girl. I had several people come up to me afterwards, asking if you wore that dress so you could stand up through the entire song, to which I replied, "Well yes, of course! Abigail knows what she's doing! Haha!" Everyone, including your teachers, thought it was so funny. 
Dancing to the color song with your friends

You and Ms. Diana
After the song portion was over, the Presentation of Diplomas began. Oh, Abigail. I thought this part would FOR SURE bring on the tears. My little girl, my sweet baby, was all grown up and leaving this school she's been at for all these years... my mind was made up, this is when the tears would come. But when your time came, you walked up there so tall and proud, and got your certificate from your teacher, and when she went in for a hug, you jumped on her like a little money and said, "I'm the jelly and you're the peanut butter," and I just started laughing so hard. You are so funny, Abigail! I should have known you would ruin my moment to cry with something hilarious. You made Ms. Diana laugh when you said that, too. When you finally let go of her, you turned and faced us, and said, "When I grow up I want to be a rockstar." I hope every single one of your dreams come true, baby girl.

Ms. Natalie, you & Ms. Diana on graduation day

So, I made it through your graduation without a single tear falling. How did that happen? I thought I would cry like baby, and instead you had me laughing and smiling like an idiot through the entire thing. You are such a firecracker of a girl. At age 5 you are absolutely the funniest, most creative  person I know. You are so smart, such a beam of joy to everyone around you. Such a bright, special star in my every sky and I love you every single second of every single day.  And, I guess you finally got me, because I cried when I wrote this. And I mean cried like a baby.

I love you Abigail. Congratulations on your special day.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Useless holidays are fun for crafts with kids

 For whatever reason, my kids really got into Earth Day this year. I'm not sure if it was the Lorax movie, or the recycle art work they made at school.. but either way both of them acted like it was the best day ever.... so I went with it!

We started out by making crayon crafts for our school friends. This is a simple craft you can do for almost any holiday, as long as Wilton will make a pan for it (they will). All you need for earth day crayons is:

muffin tins

Seriously. That's it. You take all the paper off the crayon, and break them into pieces in the muffin tin & melt them in the oven.. done. Since it was earth day, we used all our greens, blues, whites, and brownish/gold crayons to make little earths. I set the oven to 270 and let the crayons melt for 7-8 minutes. TIP: you have to let them completely cool, or you may have some trouble popping them out. Martha Stewart has a tut on molded crayons, too.

Here's how ours turned out:
They were super cute Earth Day favors, totally free (if you have to have lots of crayons laying around like we do), and a fun project for the kiddos to enjoy.  Of course, my daughter had to have some hot pink mixed in to a few of them. Ha!

For Earth Day, the kiddos wanted to make some bird houses, so we picked up a couple cheap ones, and I let them go to town with our art tubes. It was a great way to spend an afternoon! Ever since we hung them up, the kids have spent a lot of time looking out our front windows bird watching!

My next project, a fruit vase, was actually inspired from a vase I saw at Chick-Fil-A. I instantly fell in love with theirs, so I asked the manager if I could snap a quick pic to remember later.The flowers ended up lasting two full weeks, and by the end they smelled like citrus! It was such a neat and unexpected side affect of the fruity flower arrangement. I would definitely make another one!

Mine on the left, theirs on the right:

 The last crafty thing I really did was presents for our preschool teachers during Week of the Young Child. Since we have six teachers and five admin that we like to shower with gifts, I'm always looking for cute ways to make them feel special, while trying to stay on the cheap side -- 11 gifts adds up after five days of gifts!

One day the kids & I hand painted little wooden frames and stuck pictures of them in there. They had a ton of fun painting and decorating, and it was a cute memento for the teachers to keep.

Another day, we wrapped the teachers up a Starbucks drink with chocolates. A fun midday snack!

We also picked up some plastic tumblers and decorated them with the teacher's names, and threw some tissue paper & candy inside. Cheap, cute, & personalized... what more could you ask for!?

One thing that is encouraged during WOTYC is a hand written note to the teachers. Since our kiddos are still on the young side (four & five), I wrote the letter to each teacher or admin, and let the kids draw on the inside of the card. I also printed off instagram pics of the kids and glued them to the front of the card, for a personalized way to say "Thank You!" SUPER cute, and way cheaper than Hallmark!

The only other crafty thing I have done is making a couple bow holders. I made one as a gift, and one for my daughter's room. This was another simple, easy craft that took hardly any time at all to create. A little paint and a staple gun... done.

Here they are:

Dresses, totes & lots of links

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! I took a small hiatus in the Spring since I had other obligations, but I'm back now and ready to share some of the things I've been working on. Last time I posted, I updated y'all with some spring crafts I created to get ready to host my first Easter party, so this time I thought I would play catch up on some of my latest sewing projects!

First up is a baseball dress I made for my daughter. My husband plays on a local co-ed softball team, and my daughter is always asking for something "basebally" to wear to his games. I've had people ask me a few times if I use patterns -- the answer is NO, I don't use patterns. However, before I try something new I usually find a blog post or two with picture instructions, so I can get a good idea of what I'm about to do. For those of you who like patterns, however, you can find a pattern for this type of dress here (I am not affiliated with this person in any way, I just had it saved to my pinterest board). Here is the blog post I consulted before I embarked on my this sewing adventure(:

I always start by washing, ironing and cutting my fabric pieces before I do a project. Sometimes I will do this for three or four at a time, so when I have time to sew I can just grab the pieces I need and start my project right away. Half the time of every project is the ironing and cutting.

The next dresses I worked on were for my daughter and her cousin (my niece). We took all the kiddos to Thomas Day Out and of course the girls needed something to wear!! Since these were my second ones to make, they were a little easier but still a little time consuming. I'm getting there, though!

Here they are:

My friend over at Artsy Magnet did the embroidery for me on these! I wanted the dresses to compliment each other but not be totally identical, so I just flip flopped the red and yellow panels on the dresses. The girls were happy with their outfits for the day, so that was all the gratitude I needed. I love to make them smile.

I've had a few small projects here & there, some chamois dot pillow cases for some sweet girls,

and actually something for myself!!! I found these AMAZING fabrics at a local fabric store and snatched them up in a nanosecond. I have some left over, too, so I guess one of my lucky friends will be getting a tote to match mine.... just have to figure out who! I also made a tote for my niece, since she is my go to babysitter. I've been making these totes for a while, so it wasn't anything new that I was trying out, however, it is the first time I've made one for myself. I'm really happy with the way it turned out (I put a double pocket on the inside), and I was glad I made it reversible so I can have it on funky chevron side, or the mint/brown honore side.

Stay tuned for my next crafty post, featuring fruity flower arrangments, teacher gifts, and more!