Latest & Greatest News, September 2015

Welcome to Pre-K

Hard to believe, but we are finishing up our 1st month of Pre-Kindergarten over here. We have always referred to daycare as “school” around our house, and now, we are in the “big kids school” πŸ˜‰ … At Liam’s school, the Pre-K Department is housed in an entirely separate building from the rest of the daycare, so he really does feel extra special and more grown-up now. It’s been a whole new experience for all of us, and more than anything, we are just happy that he is enjoying it & continuing to thrive.

To help with this transition to Pre-K, the school put the kids back with their new teachers at the beginning of the summer. At first, I have to admit that I was leary of this decision…..mainly, it was my mama heart not wanting him to reach this stage yet. But, we can’t hold them back now can we? πŸ™‚ — He did AWESOME over the summer & both Stephen and I absolutely LOVE his new teacher. We have seen so many changes already. It’s incredible how fast they growΒ — independence, the “i can do it myself” is really there now, he’s learning to write letters & numbers, he brings art projects home & sometimes we see him do things we had no idea he could do (like coloring inside the lines)….SO COOL!

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Liam really connected with his teacher, Ms. Samar, over the summer, and we’re looking forward to a great year ahead with her. With that said, I wanted to do something extra special to start off his Pre-K year and express our excitement for this milestone. Thus, I took to Pinterest and found some ideas for creating a “Back to School Kit”. My ideas came from several different sites so I cannot credit just one person, but I will tell you that this is not my original idea….I put it all together from other mamas with similar interests in mind ❀

All of the items were purchased from my fav spot, Target, and all were $1 or just at that price range….so, it definitely did not break the bank. If you decide to do something similar you can make your “kit” as large or small as you wish! The basket I used to put it all in was also from the Target Dollar Spot! — score!

This basket I created was featured as part of the Fall / Back-to-School Issue of The Moms Magazine. You can check it out here.

BTS Teacher Kit

I was anticipating the 1st day of Pre-K to be hectic, as we knew that there would be many new friends starting that Monday. So, we opted to deliver Ms. Samar’s basket on the Friday before. It worked out perfectly because that was the “End of the Summer” party day πŸ™‚ ….here’s a quick pic I snapped of Liam holding it just before we headed to school (can you tell he was THRILLED with me for this photo op?….LOL!)

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When putting the kit together, I had decided to make it fun and a little campy, so each of my items had a specific meaning. I wanted Liam’s teacher to know why we chose each item, so I put this fun list with descriptions inside the basket.

MsSamarBTS

Since we made such a big deal out of starting Pre-K, I wanted to also do something special for Liam’s 1st day. Let’s not forget the excitement we all felt getting ready for a new school year, and the butterflies we had in our bellies. So, for him, I made a “Back to School Celebration Kit” Again, I found this from various ideas on Pinterest, and it is designed to be easy & budget friendly.

I put the items in a sandwich size ziploc bag and hid it in his backpack. On the drive to school that 1st morning, I told him I put something special in his backpack. He could look at it when he got to school, if he wanted to, but he couldn’t open it up until I picked him up. That made him smile so big πŸ™‚ …he was very excited!! Β Since Liam is not old enough to read yet, I didn’t make an insert like I did for his teacher’s basket. Instead, I just talked about why I gave him each item. I think it made for a good conversation piece for us after school, as it was one of the 1st things he asked about after pick up.

For this kit, here’s what I put in & what each item meant:

Glow stick: to remind you to always share your bright ideas

Eraser: to let you know that it’s okay to make mistakes. That’s how we learn!

Stickers: to remind you that we are family & we always stick together

Pencil: to let you know that you are going to learn SO much this year

Starburst: to let you know that you are always a star

Chocolate Hugs: to remind you that your new teacher cares about you & is excited to have you in her class this year

Lifesavers: Mommy & Daddy are here to help you. Don’t be afraid to come to us if you need anything.

BTS Celebration Kit

One of my favorite things is walking into Liam’s classroom & seeing the art projects they worked on that day hanging on the wall or {now} the letters & numbers they practiced writing that day. He is also VERY proud to lead us over by hand & point out his work <3.

Here is his ‘self-portrait’ that he did during his 1st week. When he was showing it to me, he was like, “aww, I forgot my arms” ….haha! Love him!

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If you follow me on Instagram, then you saw his 1st family portrait that he did recently. We were blessed with this fabulous art project that he did at school just this week. It’s his family tree & it is just the cutest!! I love that he included all 3 of us, including our dog, Timber (at the bottom). He even noted to me that he drew red AND brown apples on the tree. So creative!

Family Tree Art

Another new experience for us is “extra activities” that are sent home to work on during the week. To get ready for what’s to come down the road, we’ve been calling it ‘homework’. Now, don’t get me wrong….this is not in any way a time consuming task. Trust me, a 4 year old’s attention span cannot handle it. It’s also not something he is penalized for. It’s just good extra practice to help reinforce what they are learning about for that week’s lessons, and it also helps us parents be engaged in his learning. Stephen & I decided to divide up what is sent home each Monday (it’s due back on Friday), so little man really only spends about 5 minutes working. It’s tasks like tracing letters & numbers and coloring shapes.

homework

2015-09-03_Liam Coloring Art

Switching gears a little bit —

We recently also had little dude’s 4 year check up! Good times!

He is currently 41 lbs & 3 ft. 4 inches. That’s 2 1/5 inches taller since last year & up 4 lbs., as well. Definitely growing like a weed, as he should be, but thankful that he is super healthy.

He was a trooper during his check up & even got his blood pressure taken like a big boy this time. I had asked him if he wanted to sit on either me or Daddy’s lap & he said, no….so independent πŸ˜‰

Since his birthday is later in the summer and at this time next year, we will be prepping to start Kindergarten (gah,Β don’t even get me started!…lol!) we opted to do his 5-year booster vaccinations this year. Can you believe we’ll be thinking about Kindergarten registration in the Spring???? Anyhow, his doctor told us he is now done with vaccinations until middle school. WOW!Β 

4yr checkup

Our little man is growing up SO FAST right before our eyes. We cherish every second with this dude — he is such a blessing & so full of love! Looking forward to a fantastic year ahead as we venture through Pre-Kindergarten!!! πŸ™‚

Pre_K Post

Until next time, friends!

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August 2015, Latest & Greatest News

A Splashing Good Time

Last Saturday, we gathered together to celebrate our little man’s 4th birthday. Very early into the planning, he declared he wanted an Avengers party, so I was excited to find this invitation on Etsy.

The shop I worked with is called, Cupcake Tops. Now thru Sept. 30th, use code: casademurphy and you can receive 20% off any purchase of $5 or more in their shop πŸ™‚

Bday Party Invite

Liam LOVES to swim & play at splash parks, so we thought it would be fun to have his party at the Oviedo Splash Zone — part of the Oviedo Aquatic Facility. Basically, it’s like a playground in about 1 ft. of water. SO MUCH FUN for all!!

When we booked the party, we chose the morning time slot, as we thought there would be virtually no chance of Florida showers that early. Well…..Murphy’s Law — it stormed AND poured for literally the week & a half prior to and days after the party. I’m talking HEAVY rain peeps. Poor Tampa was under a state of emergency there was so much rain. I just kept praying it would let up for those few hours. We had no back up plan. Driving to the park, it started to sprinkle — I was less than thrilled, but Liam was so positive (as always). He said, “it’s okay Mommy. Sprinkles are not bad :)”. Love him! We were blessed as the rain stopped AND the sun came out. The weather was beautiful for the entire party ❀ …..and then, it poured again as soon as we got home….LOL!!

I have a lot of pictures to share, so be warned that this post is long πŸ˜‰

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This is one of my fav shots of the morning. I have to tell you that Liam was a little stinker throughout the party, and almost every time I asked him to pose quickly for a pic, he said ‘no’ or ‘after cake’ or made a face. We had to work HARD for this shot!

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Knowing that we would be doing a water party with lots of kiddos, I thought cupcakes would be best & most easy to manage. Publix came through like champs with these! I gave them little direction, and we were thrilled with the end result. They even surprised us with these fun rings as toppers.

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We had a table set up under a ginormous umbrella. Again, so fun! Perfect for shade from the sun or rain. Since it was a morning party, we opted for breakfast snacks and coffee for parents. Thanks to Dunkin’ Donuts for coming to the rescue! I called ahead and we walked in just before the party, and they had our whole order ready to go. HUGE time saver!

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How awesome was this park? The kids {and adults} thoroughly enjoyed themselves!

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Cute mushroom!

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Liam & his cousin, Sierra ❀

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The orange slides were a definite hit with all the kiddos.

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It was SO hard to get any kind of a group shot. Even this is not the best pic of all 3 of these guys, but this is Liam with his bestie, Kenadie and a pal from school, Jase.

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Again….couldn’t get all to cooperate, but still so cute πŸ™‚

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Here’s a quick clip of Liam & friends playing…..

Amidst the craziness of the party, I completely forgot to take a pic of the box of favors I put together for the kids. However, I had taken this pic at home beforehand, so I had some saving grace. I was pretty pleased with how they turned out. I found the favor tags from an Etsy shop called ICandyEvents. The shop owner was awesome to work with & customized the tag for me.

I put a few of Liam’s fav things in there — glow sticks, stickers, temporary tattoos, and a ring pop. All superhero themed, of course!

Goodie Bag

Shortly before the party ended, we pulled everyone out of the water to do cake & sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to the birthday boy. You can see below just how happy he was that we made him get out & stop playing….hahaha!!! πŸ™‚

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We had such an awesome time celebrating Mr. Liam. Thank you to all who came out to have fun with us!

Happy 4th Birthday, Liam Michael — you are one LOVED little man ❀

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Until next time, friends!

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July 2015, Latest & Greatest News

Happy 4th Birthday, Liam!

Happy 4th Brithday, our sweet little man, Liam Michael!

Honestly, I cannot believe how fast this last year has flown by. My mom jokes that we will be sending him off to college before we know it….I’m afraid to blink because she’s probably right.

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Here’s the latest teddy bear pic ❀

If you follow our adventures, you know this teddy bear pic is a fun regular measure of growth for us. Check out all our past pics here.

Last year, we also started a new tradition of a BIRTHDAY INTERVIEW. Let me tell you, this was hilarious to do with him again πŸ™‚ …definitely recommend to do with your kiddos! I found this free printable here via Pinterest that we’ve been using.

Birthday Interview_Age 4

Other notable things these days…

He frequently refers to me & Stephen as “guys” …as in “hey guys….” πŸ˜‰

He is a master at the iPad — absolutely LOVES to watch amateur videos on YouTube of product demos of toys & role play….there is an enormous amount of videos of Imaginext, which he has grown quite the collection.

Super heroes are everything — most days you catch him in a superhero shirt. I am hard-pressed to dress him in anything else, actually. He won’t have it. His room is superhero. His birthday party theme was requested to be that, as well.

While he didn’t mention it in his birthday interview, he is also quite fond of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

He loves going to “school” and next month he is starting Pre-K!! He knows this and he already says he is in VPK πŸ˜‰ …he also will tell you that next year he is going to “hildegard” (kindergarten …lol!!)

Dancing and music are also his favs! This little dude has some awesome moves of his own AND he knows most Top 40 songs by heart ❀

Liam

Always smiling & always happy — BEST disposition ever!!

*However, I will add a side note & keep things real that I am predicting the asserting of independence, attempts of attitude, & pushing the boundaries to see what he can possibly get away with to be quite the test for us this next year…..all normal but we have definitely seen our fair share. He is a GREAT kid but he is kid and is learning….also, we are 1st time parents, and we, too, are learning along with him.Β 

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Words cannot express how much love fills our hearts for this little man. It is such a blessing to have him in our lives. He is truly a gift.

So happy to celebrate him today & everyday ❀

Until next time, friends….

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