July 2017

Kindergarten ~ That’s a Wrap!

In seemingly the blink of an eye, Liam completed his first year of elementary school and is now a Kindergarten graduate. This was such a fun year and filled with so many new experiences.

It feels like only yesterday that I was putting THIS post up about the beginning of Kindergarten, and now, here we are. Enjoying the sweet simplicity of summer & gearing up for FIRST GRADE! Really?!?! — If I’m honest, there are so many times that I look at his sweet face & still see our toddler with his big brown eyes and favorite green paci in his mouth (*insert mama tears here*).


Just like with the 1st day of school, when we did that interview with him, I also wanted to do a fun wrap up interview to grab some memories on how he was feeling. I found these fun free printables online & plan to continue them through the years! This time, he even asked to write his own answers πŸ™‚

On the last day of school, several items were sent home. By far, these two drawings were my favorite. Liam had to draw himself back on the 1st day of school, and then again on the last day of school. While we knew he was making tremendous growth over the year with his learning & development, to see the difference in these two pictures literally brought tears to my eyes. The little blobby with stick legs & no arms under the sun on the 1st day picture was how he drew himself (and people) back in August. To see how he draws full-figure people now is so cool! We are so proud of him! Not to mention his creativity and imagination ❀

Officially official πŸ™‚

In the last few weeks before the school year ended, we gave a few things to Liam’s teacher, Mrs. Juarez, to show our appreciation for all she had done this year. He loved her, which means we did too, and he thrived in her room. I wanted one of her gifts to be something personal from Liam, so I found this cute thank you note for him to fill out & color. He loved it! I loved that he filled in all the answers himself. He had just asked for help with spelling some of the words.

Here’s a few of our….

Favorite Takeaway’s From Kindergarten:

Last Day Smiles!! πŸ™‚

When I compare this pic of the last day of school to his 1st day of school pic, I think he honestly looks tired. LOL! It was a fun year for him but it was also hard work. Stephen and I joked many times that Kindergarten should be called “Kindercollege” …seriously, he did far more this year than we ever did at that age. He had actual subjects that he studied — reading, math, social studies, geography, science. He regularly worked on the computer, and we had really never let him touch a computer before school started. He learned addition, subtraction, all about about the planets, animals, and he was reading chapter books with us by the end of the year. His level of learning far surpassed anything we had expected. He was recognized as one of the top readers in his grade by the end of the year! We are SO SO PROUD of all his hardwork! ❀

We are enjoying a super fun summer with this lovable kiddo and giving him a much needed rest. Soon enough, school will start up again, and we can’t wait to see what the next year brings as we embark on FIRST GRADE!! πŸ™‚

 

Until next time, friends,

 

November 2016

Welcome to Kindergarten!

To say that the last few months have flown by is an understatement for sure. I started this post so long ago, and it just kept getting pushed back. We are in a good season of life right now, but it sure is a busy one. A few of our friends told us over the summer….’just wait until Liam starts Kindergarten, your schedules are going to be so crazy.‘ I honestly think I laughed at them….Well, folks, they’re laughing now because they were so right.

It’s November, and the majority of this mama is still in denial that we’re here — Kindergarten. How did we get here already? I still remember dropping him off for his 1st day at daycare ❀

I know this year is going to continue to fly by, so I’ve been trying to soak up the highlights. Here is a little BTS Interview that I did with little man after he got home on his 1st day. The last bit? ….He literally came running up to me when I picked him up & said that! It was a GREAT 1st day πŸ™‚

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We had ‘Meet the Teacher’ on the Friday morning before school started that following Monday. The three of us went together. We found his classroom, met Mrs. Juarez, and dropped off all his classroom supplies. Stephen & I were cracking up because we had assumed we would drop off the bag of supplies we had to buy, but there was actually a page of instructions we had to follow for how to put them away. It was very efficient for the teacher ….but we immediately felt like we were the ones back in school πŸ˜‰

Liam’s room is a jungle theme & is super cute! He loved exploring & checking it out while we put everything away.

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Β The night before the 1st day, I got his backpack ready to go. He has a purple folder that goes back & forth between school & home each day. We already had forms from Meet the Teacher that we had to send back. I had picked up a cute Clifford book at Kohls to send as a welcome gift for Mrs. Juarez. This was also her 1st year at Liam’s elementary school.

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Little Dude woke up full of excitement on his first day!! — August 15th

I think I was the nervous one for us…lol! He picked out his own outfit and was ready to go. All smiles ❀

He was just THE cutest!!

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We dropped him off for his 1st day. Again, I was anticipating the standard tears & maybe even being scared….I mean, this was the 1st time we were leaving him at a different place in the morning. He had always only ever been at the same daycare. So, when the bell rang and the teacher opened the classroom door, he walked in …there was still only all smiles. He then looked back over his shoulder and waved good-bye to us……THIS.MAMA.LOST.IT

You see, he was fine. He was better than fine. He was great. He felt safe and happy, and I knew we had done our job. And so….I felt relieved and just lost it for a moment. I walked away, so he never saw my tears, but there were a few ❀

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His 1st week of school was awesome. He brought home the cutest projects that they did during the 1st few days. The Kissing Hand Story is one that helps kiddos who are feeling sad about missing their parents while being away from home. So so cute…..

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Love it!…

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We celebrated the end of a fantastic 1st week of school with our fav….sparklers!!!

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Right after the beginning of the school year, Liam went in for his 5 year check up with his pediatrician. He grew 3 inches since last year and gained 9 pounds! He had a great & healthy check-up …and for sure, he is keeping us on our toes with the growth spurts. Little man’s gonna be taller than me in no time {not hard to do, I know}….and then, I will cry. LOL!

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In the middle of September, we got to go back to the his classroom for Open House. It was nice to check in with his teacher & get an update on all that been’s happening, as well as take a peak around the school. Liam was super excited to show us where he sits each day in his room. We also got to see the Mangrove seedlings that his class planted outside with the help of a UCF professor πŸ™‚

We actually do hear from his teacher almost daily, as she emails updates on classroom activity, homework info, etc. That honestly was an aspect I didn’t realize until school started. Everything is SO electronic now. You even log online to add money to his lunch money account. I love it, but I had just not realized it. Things have definitely changed since we were in school!

During the school days, Liam participates in Gym class (PE — Physical Education), Art & Music. For Open House, we also got to visit these room and meet with his teachers for these ‘special’ areas.

Since school starts after we go to work and ends before we get out work, Liam does before/after care with the daycare/summer camp he had attended. So, we don’t actually ever go to the school. We drop him off & he rides the bus. He LOVES riding the bus, and we trust them so it’s a win-win. The times like this night for Open House, then, are nice to be able to catch up with what’s physically happening there. Sometimes, though, it does feel weird to me that I’m not dropping and picking him up from there daily, but it’s just not our routine.

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This note below was in the packet we took home from Open House & I just loved it. Such a thoughtful reminder…..

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At the end of September, he took his very 1st official school pictures. We’ve done pictures with the daycare the last few years, but these were special. Kindergarten pictures, people! ….There were tons of backgrounds we could select from, but Stephen & I thought this one was cool. When we showed it to him, he said…”how did a castle get behind me?” πŸ™‚

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Most recently, at the end of October, it was the end of the 1st grading period, and he received his very 1st report card. At his school, the kiddos don’t receive letter grades until 2nd grade. Thus, his marks are Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory, or W — which is for ‘working on it’, since they are just newbies in school and learning all these skills.

During progress reports in September, he had a few W’s, but mostly all S’s. For his report card, he earned all S’s and one W. We are so proud of how hard he is working, and you really could tell how proud he was of himself, as well. We also think that it helps that he had such an excellent Pre-K program last year that gave him a strong foundation going into this year.

I have to say that it’s really incredible the curriculum that these children learn in Kindergarten now. It is completely different that when Stephen and I were in school. He is learning things that I know we didn’t even begin to touch on until grade school.

They are already teaching him beginning reading skills, math that includes comparisons and less than & greater than signs. They have language arts, science, social studies….my mind is blown away repeatedly by the things he comes home and tells us. He also uses computer programs….we never even let him touch the computer before school began! What we are most grateful for is that he has a love for learning. He truly enjoys school and is excited about what he is learning about.

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On the day he received his report card, he was also honored with the Principal’s Award for making good choices. He was beyond excited to receive this, and he had his name called out over the loud speaker for the whole school by his principal. So cool!

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We are off to a fantastic start to the school year, and are eager to see what else Kindergarten has in store for this sweet boy ❀

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Β schooldayz_casademurphy

Until next time!

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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.

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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.

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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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