Preparing for Pre-K Graduation — A Look Back at Daycare

How is this day already here?!?! ~ Liam’s Pre-Kindergarten graduation is TOMORROW! I can hardly believe it. We are on the heals of ‘big boy school‘. Watching him evolve & grow throughout this year, I’ve been thinking a lot about this day & what it means for him and for our family. It really is such a huge milestone.

He has spent the last 4 years at the same daycare, and as I wrote in THIS post not that long ago, we really have entrusted his care & learning to the hands of the teachers & staff at his school. You have to advocate for your kiddos at this young age and trust your parental gut & heart. Also, I think it’s vital that you communicate with whomever is caring for them. That was vital for our family. Stephen & I couldn’t be there since we had to work. That’s why we chose daycare, but we still wanted to know what he was doing and learning. We didn’t just drop off & pick up. We stopped and greeted  his teachers and said hello. It makes a HUGE difference. They love your child like their own ❤

That said, I went through our memories over the last 4 years at Kids R Kids & pulled out some highlights 🙂


1st EVER day at school! …and, 1st time in a high chair & using a crayon & doing a craft project. All at a mere 4 months old. (I remember that my heart just about exploded when I saw this picture…so many firsts all at once!) ~ 12.16.11

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Another fun project while in the infant room ~ 3.13.12

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Class picture from the Infant Room ~ Suite 100 ….Look at the chunker in the middle front row!

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This pic was taken in June 2013, but this was of Liam reading a VERY special book — “Time For A Hug“. Our favorite teacher from the infant room, Ms. Kathy, gave it to him when he graduated from that room with her. We still have it ❤ …torn pages & all…lol!

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1st Water Day ~ Toddler Room, Suite 200 6.27.13

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Holiday’s have always been super fun at school. Valentine’s Day Party in Suite 150 ~ 2.14.13

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Class Picture from Suite 200 ~ 4.9.13

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When he moved to the other side of the building where all the Preschool Rooms were, we graduated to our 1st backpack. It will forever be called ‘giraffe backpack‘ around here, and while we stopped using it on a daily basis in Pre-K for space issues, I don’t think I can ever part with it…..Cuteness overload ❤ ❤ ~ 7.29.13 (1st day in Suite 250)

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Happiness is …Pajama Day, Suite 250 ~ 10.23.13

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Saying good-bye to one of the BEST teachers EVER. Ms Kathy!! ❤ ~ 11.23.13

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MLK art project excitement, Suite 250 ~ 1.22.14

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Celebrating another Valentine’s  with more of our fav teachers — Ms. Jenn & Ms. Tamie!! Cannot say enough about how much he loved his time with these ladies.  ~ 2.14.14

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Mardi Gra fun in Ms. Candice’s room, Suite 300 😉 …Ms. Candice is a saint & so kind for working with this mama bear through the trials of potty training! ~ 3.04.14

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So proud of his bird feeder project he made with Ms. Laura in Suite 350!  ~ 6.18.14

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He was only in Ms. Laura’s class for a few months but he still talks about her from time to time. She was a great teacher. She taught him to count to twenty in Spanish & he still remembers, today! ~ 8.14.14

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Liam’s 1st drawing that wasn’t ‘scribble scrabble’. I remember that I almost fell over when I saw this hanging up in his room. SO proud 🙂  ~ 1.29.15

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Last day with Ms. Dignora, Suite 400 for Preschool. She taught him to LOVE circle time & the days of the week song!  ~ 6.05.15

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Last June, Liam was excited to move back to the ‘big kids‘ building from the main center. We started early VPK for the summer in prep for VPK/Pre-K all year. It honestly was a harder transition on me than him (or Daddy…lol.) He flourished under the care & instruction of Ms. Samar! I like to peak at him from time-to-time on the camera access to see how his day is going, and sometimes, I really catch some hilarious tid bits. Here is one a snapped a screen shot of — he was ‘talking on the phone’ ….Love it!!, Early VPK, Suite 400EC ~ 6.18.15

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and then….VPK officially started! ~ 8.24.15

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A favorite art project from Pre-K — Family Tree Drawing ~ 9.15.15

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Circle time was seriously a fav for little dude. If we happened to go into school later on a given day than normal, he was adamant that he did not want to miss circle time. Love our little learner ❤ ~ 10.22.15

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All in blue in honor of World Diabetes Day // LOVES this playground …also Ms. Kaylee!  ~ 11.13.15

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Throughout his time here, we are thankful for the many opportunities for the parents to visit & be involved. We are also fortunate that are work schedules allow us to do this, too. While we Stephen & I normally swap events, this past Thanksgiving family lunch, we surprised little dude & both came ❤  ~ 11.25.15

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This was one of THE cutest productions ever. Liam performed his heart out & ate up the attention. All the kids & teachers did a wonderful job. It was adorable! — Pre-K Holiday Program ~ 12.17.15

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In-House field trip & the resulting painting was the coolest. Liam had a ball! — Yes, You CANvas ~ 12.23.15

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VPK brought on homework (or, extra activities) for the 1st time, but this little man tackled them each week like such a big boy. They always were family activities & they really helped reinforce what he was learning in the classroom. We also confirmed this year that he is a lefty, like his mama 🙂 ~ 1.16.16

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 VPK Garden — planting sunflower seeds with Ms. Samar– This activity was what sparked his interest in gardening and honestly, it lit a fire of interest that we love. We’ve now planted our own garden at home due to his request! ~ 3.11.16
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VPK — Another screen shot I grabbed because of cuteness overload. — Liam ‘reading’ to his class. I later asked him & he was turning the pages while they were listening the CD read the story…still impressive! ~ 4.11.16
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VPK Graduation Picture!!! ~ June 2016

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From December 2011 to June 2016 — oh, how far our sweet, sweet boy has come! ❤

Kindergarten bound now…..we can hardly believe it! Thank you to everyone who has loved him, hugged him, and taught him along the way. You have made a profound impact on our family, and we cannot thank you enough.

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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” 😉 … 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? 🙂 — 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 grow — 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 🙂 ….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 🙂 …he was very excited!!  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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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 😉

Since his birthday is later in the summer and at this time next year, we will be prepping to start Kindergarten (gah, 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! 

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!!! 🙂

Pre_K Post

Until next time, friends!

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Back To School

I don’t really want to say that’s “summer’s over”, since it’s a billion degrees still here in the sunshine state. However, the county schools all went back today, as did the university where this mama works & calls her Alma mater …thus, I thought it would be cute to join in the Pinterest-y fun of #backtoschool photos that are flooding social media today and post our own spin on it….plus, it let’s us start a new fun, tradition! 🙂

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It’s not really Liam’s 1st day in the Early Preschool Dept but it is his 1st day with his new teacher, Ms Brittany so I think that counts 🙂 ….and, it’s the start of a new school year in his room. I think he will be with her until January, so that’s a good while.

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Because I’m a sap, and was thinking about doing this picture last night, I got to thinking out his VERY 1st day of daycare, period. While, back then, I was too emotional to even think about doing a picture, period….the daycare actually DID snap one! How cool was that? I thought I would share with you ….

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This was taken on Dec 5th 2011. I remember picking out that onsie {still have it, by the way….tucked away}. This emotional mama got teary eyed seeing this pic because that was actually Liam’s 1st time sitting in a high-chair AND his 1st time holding a crayon {at 4 months old…lol!}. I think the look on his face here is, “WTF is this green thing in my hand?!?! And, what I am supposed to do with it? Eat it?” hahaha!!

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Ms. Kathy, if you’re reading this post, I’m sure you remember this!! I could not have made it through those 1st few weeks without you and the rest of the wonderful ladies of Suite 100!! 🙂 … We ❤ you!!

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Hope everyone has a WONDERFUL 1st week at school….no matter what your role is!!

~H

Recent Happenings

Last weekend, we were off to celebrate another friend turning a fabulous 3-year’s old. Oh, the life of a 3-year old, indeed….such a hard one….. 🙂

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It was a Little Mermaid themed soiree, so I tried to keep our guy in beachy attire 😉

We took this fun selfie before some snacks. The above pic was actually ALL him hamming it up. Totally cracked me up, and I was actually amazed I was able to snap the pic of that pose.

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There was a super big & super fun bouncy house / water slide out back. Liam gave it one good go & that was it for him. He much preferred the pool, but he was still all smiles at the end of this trip.

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This past week was considered the “end of summer” at school (daycare) for Liam. I think it’s mainly because all the summer camp programs are done and the county schools are back in session tomorrow.

So, it was “School Spirit” week with different fun activities sprinkled for the kiddos throughout the week. I didn’t get pics of everything, but here’s some highlights….

Thursday, was “Pajama Day”. Love this! I mean, who wouldn’t ❤ to wear their PJ’s all day?!?! Super comfy & laid back. That’s my kind of perfect.

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Liam & his teacher, Ms. Laura. We actually found out this week that it was our last week with Ms. Laura as Liam’s teacher {huge bummer}. He has been with her all summer & has really learned so much from her.  She’s one of those teachers that you know your child has really bonded with & has grown by leaps & bounds in such a short time. We are truly going to miss her!!

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Liam, below, with some of his pals at school on Pajama Day.

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Friday was Jersey Day! If you all know Stephen, then you know if absolutely killed him that we don’t have a Giants jersey that fits Liam right now…..but you all know that it’s almost impossible to keep the kiddos in clothes these days. Man, do they grow fast, or what?!?! We do, however, have this very cool Orlando Magic jersey that was just a tad snug, but we made it work 🙂

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To end their fun week, the kids had a party. Since it was Ms. Laura’s last day, they also called it a “good bye” party for her. It really worked out perfect because she, and his new teacher, Ms. Brittany, did an awesome job of working with the kids all week and then explaining to them was what happening. I was very thankful for that, and it really helped Liam. We, obviously, talked more to him about it at home, but he really didn’t have any questions for us because the ladies did such a great job at school ❤

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Not the greatest quality, as it’s a picture of a picture, but this is of Liam’s class on Friday with Ms. Laura.

We will miss you, too, Ms. Laura ❤

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 Everyone’s gearing up for a busy week, this week. How about you?

Until next time!

~H

Our Week in Review

Last week sure was busy, right?!?! I feel like I start off each week with the greatest of plans to get ahead with cleaning & organizing throughout the week and then, the week gets by me before I know it…Oh well!

Friday was the National Wear Red Day 2014 to raise awareness against the No.1 killer for us, ladies — heart disease. So, in honor of the cause, I sported my red for the day. However, I will also share that I’ve been making many lifestyle changes over these last few months to improve my health for not only myself, but also, for my family. One of these changes included a trip to the cardiologist and getting a stress test. VERY THANKFUL that my results came back clear but I will admit, that it was scary waiting for them to come back because you never know what could be found. If you can get checked, I would recommend it. It can’t hurt. I did it for a few reasons, but mainly because I want to better myself and FEEL BETTER — be more healthy. I want to see my child grow up …he’s my main motivation to be a better me!! 🙂

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In other news, potty training has been a huge focus in Casa de Murphy, as of late. You will most likely hear me talk about quite a bit coming up, as we are gearing up to do a FULL ON switch over from diapers to underwear with little man. Whew…pray for me! LOL …I think Liam is totally ready….just not sure about me.

Up until last week, while Liam has done wonderfully with going potty at home very often, he has flat out refused to even set foot in the bathroom at school. Then, last week, he had a break through! He used the potty at school a few times!!! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! Never thought I would be so proud to hear him say, “mommy, I used the potty”, but I was when he came running up to me at pick up & said that.

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Another milestone is coming up…we got word last week that Liam will be moving on up to the 2 1/2 to 3 year old room on Monday, the 17th. He’s already been spending a little bit of time, here & there, in that room, and it’s right next door, so it won’t be a shocker. Another plus, is that he LOVES his new teacher, Ms. Candice. She’s the one who got him to use the potty at school for the 1st time AND in her room..well, the boy’s potty room in there….haha!! I think he will do great in his new room, so we are all excited for this new change.

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The weather over the weekend was not the most fun. I guess compared to snow in most other parts of the country, we can’t complain….but the rain get a big thumbs down from me. Aunt Heather & baby cousin, Sierra came to visit for awhile on Saturday afternoon. Getting any pictures with Liam & Sierra was a big fail on my part.

After they left, we took Liam to Barnes & Noble to play with the Thomas & Friends train table. Since we got the train table at home, oh my goodness, this little dude is obsessed with Thomas the Train and his choo-choo’s!!! WOW…totally didn’t see that coming, but it is super cute to see him getting into them.

Since we only had a few Thomas trains with what we got with the table, we had taken him there to buy James the train, as he saw him on one of the movies we watched {yes, we are also watching Thomas on Netflix….lol}. HOLY COW, no one told us that Thomas & Friends as so pricey!!! Granted, they are very good quality trains {we are sticking with just the wooden choo-choo’s} but, oh man!! Definitely an investment.

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On Sunday, the sun finally made an appearance, so we took advantage of that & played outside! Liam enjoyed using the bubbles in his bubble mower for the 1st time. He kept wanting to stop to look at the bubbles & not realizing that if he did that, the bubbles would stop coming out….funny!

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We’re looking forward to Valentine’s Day at the end of the week!!

Until next time!! 🙂