these days

caroline's school workload is pretty demanding for a fifth grader. i don't really even remember doing homework until middle school and even then it wasn't much. on average, she has 45 minutes a night. if it was up to me, she'd have none. i feel like she already has such a long, heavy day getting to school at 7:20am and not leaving until 4:30pm. that is a long day for anyone. some days she is able to get all of her homework done in after-school but some days she still comes home to do another 20-30 minutes worth. and this doesn't even include her supposed daily 20 minutes of reading and 15 minutes of viola. we skip that a lot (we, as in she skips it and i am ok with it). i'm not debating whether or not she can handle the load. i know she is more than capable of doing it, as i see she is. i'm debating whether or not i think the load is really necessary for a 5th grader. will this really change the outcome for her down the road of life? i have to hope so but i definitely can't say i think so for certain.

projects are something that she does once or twice a month. her last one was compiling a memory box from the battle of bull run. as far as research goes, she does not enjoy it. i think she is easily overwhelmed by the amount of information on the internet and is still learning to navigate the waters on legit vs fictional sites. when it comes to the visual aspect of any project, she is all about it. she loved decorating the memory box the most. she loves art and anything creative. and in true caroline spirit, she let her little sister help her out. in the end, she made a 100 on the project. she is a great student for sure. very dedicated.

the girls just this week discovered we have a backyard. hey... where did that come from? neither of them have ever been big on playing out there. mainly because bugs live out there. did you know that? these girls are screamers and runners when it comes to seeing bugs of any kind. i guess now that the cooler weather is here and the bugs are fewer and farther between, the girls feel like it is safe to play outside. two nights this week they have played outside on the playground for like 45 minutes at least. that is a record for them. and the husband and i were in the house (we can see them from the window of course). pretty sure mazie had a great time outside too. though she was a little sad that she couldn't make it into the clubhouse with them.

hadley was lucky last night because i forgot her leotard at home. this meant she was able to get a real, non-target brand leotard at the gymnastics center she takes at.  and i looooove it on her. the picture isn't great because she refused to pose for me so i just snapped this up while she and caroline played. the ponytail was the icing on the cake. she is growing up too fast. can't believe she is 4 1/2 already. and happily wearing a leotard.


our life ordinary

i know I used to document hads and her spd progress. then i stopped. now I'm going do it to again.

she's doing amazing. the thing I always mention is that big steps for her are normal for your average kid. I may share a pic of her in active pants and you'll be like, ok so what's the big deal? and I'll say, she's wearing pants, dude! that's it. that's the impressive part. or look she's wearing a hoodie! a tight, over the head, awkward-feeling hoodie. man, that kids impressive. buns! she's wearing buns in her hair. I tried for well over a year to get her to do this. can't tell you why she's ok with it now, but she is. that makes me smile. sneakers! she owns not one, but two pairs of nikes. she wears sneakers to school every single day. that, my friend, is positive progress.

fifth grade has been a tougher year for homework for caroline. i'd say on average she gets over an hours worth of work. that on top of an already long school day. i feel bad that she works so hard sometimes. as if she is missing out on more 10-year-old kid time than the average kid. the impressive thing is she does it all so well and without complaints. her study habits have really improved this year as well, resulting in high test scores. her hard work is admirable. i am so proud of her.

this was her cell project, which she made out of a cookie cake and lots of good candy! she made a 100 on this project.

sometimes, fun at our house actually involves science. we had a fun day sunday doing a few science experiments. the first one was a volcano kit from discovery kids which was an absolute bomb. didn't work at all and was a complete waste of money. then we went on to do some rain clouds out of shaving cream with food-colored rain coming through. and our all-time favorite that involves milk, soap, and food coloring. none of these experiments are hard to do and the girls absolutely love doing it! now i see why bill nye was such a hit. science can be cool.


cabin life

we were lucky enough to spend a few days of our spring break at this little, lovely cabin in north caroline and enjoy this beautiful view. it did take me a couple of hours to get used to the view as we were so high. i mean the driveway at this house had its own guardrail. that speaks volumes of it's elevation, right! the little cabin was the perfect size for all 11 of us, as we were with phil's parents and sister's family.

we all wanted to see this little white house one more time before it is torn down. it is super old, full of mold, and covered in asbestos but it also holds many fun, loving memories for phil's family. this little house was built by the girl's grandfather's grandfather. so you can imagine the years of history that fill those walls.  though the girls won't remember it much, phil sure will and i am sure will miss it immensely.

one of the best things about this little house is the land it is on. it is surrounded by lots of big, beautiful trees, scenic views, and even has a little river across the street. it was fun seeing the kids be kids up here... running around barefoot, throwing rocks, walking in the river, jumping over the river, and all that good stuff that mountain life allows kids to do. i never expected to see hadley barefoot and walking into a creek full of mud while holding her dress up to keep it from getting wet. i also never expected the kids to be interested in seeing a decapitated copper head but they surprised me yet again. apparently they do love being one with nature. that is of course unless the wasps and bees were out, then they ran as if zombies were chasing them.

(note the bare feet here)

we are all lucky that my husband is an awesome cook. we had several good meals while here. dinner time was a fun time with all of us sitting around one big table, swapping stories and laughs, and just enjoying our time together.

(a serious game of candy land going on here)

this porch has amazing views. it was a lovely place to sit in the morning, rock, and watch the sun rise. hadley and mafra were enjoying the cool temps while playing on their iPads. who needs a view like that when there are games to be played.

i adore seeing all the kids play together. they are so lucky to have one another. despite little fights that may take place here or there, or sharing that may not want to happen, they love each other and really have fun together. they had a huge bucket of legos to play with and kept them busy for quite a while. another perk to this little cabin was a nice outside play/seating area. the adults were able to sit around the table or fire place, sipping on spritzers (our drink of choice which is fresca and white wine over ice) while the kids could run around, play, and work off some energy. it made for a few perfect evenings.

hadley was kind enough to take this picture right before we left. you can totally see what a beautiful place this is. look at that amazing blue sky! hope we do this trip again.


ten birthdays later

welcome to double digits, caroline.

how did my first baby just turn 10? why does time continue to go by so quickly when it comes to my kids? i have seen her go from crying baby to silly toddler to independent, big kid to what she is now, which is an amazingly smart and thoughtful young lady. i can tell you that i had hopes and dreams for her from the minute she was born and she has surpassed so many of those already. she has created new hopes and dreams of her own and i love having the opportunity to share in those with her. caroline is beyond words. how so much kindness, love, concern, genuine thoughtfulness and intelligence can be wrapped up in to one long-legged, smiling girl is beyond me. i am just so proud of her and enjoy seeing her grow in to the amazing person she already is.

(zehn is german for 10... thanks, grandma, for the shirt!)

Caroline at the age of 10:

  • is true to herself, knows what she likes, and goes with it
  • is in the 4th grade
  • is doing an amazing job at her new school and works hard for the good grades she get
  • is a string bean... tall and skinny
  • wears a size 4 shoe
  • is on a competition gymnastics team
  • is learning german and to play the viola
  • favorite shows are lab rats, jesse, and girl meets world
  • still loves taylor swift
  • loves to eat sushi
  • is learning to sew from her grandma
  • beats the boys at a basketball game called knockout
  • is a writer... to include songs and fictional short stories
  • is an avid reader
  • cleans her own room and is always helpful w chores
  • is a big marvel fan, with her favorites being capt america and iron man
  • is super stylish
  • great at doing her hair
  • always has rubber bands around her wrist "just in case"
  • sleeps w a retainer in
  • plays with ever after high dolls
  • makes her own oatmeal 
  • drinks hot tea
  • still the best big sister ever

we celebrated her birthday with a dinner out with some school friends at a sushi restaurant.

i am so lucky to be her mom.
phil is so lucky to be her dad.
and hadley... well she just has no idea how good she's got it thanks to lb.