First Day of School 2012-2013

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Today was a big day. The first day of school for all THREE of our kids.

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Can you tell he was excited?

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Ethan started Pre-K (or as they call it here VPK). He goes everyday for 3 hours to the same school that the girls do. He has been asking about school starting since it ended last year. He has the best teacher. She was Natalie’s Pre-K teacher and we really love her. I had thought of taking Ethan to another Pre-K that went for full days 2 days a week, but I knew we had to have this teacher.

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He was all smiles this morning, and I could tell he felt like such a big boy. He kept telling me that he promised he’d be good and listen to his teacher. I told him if he kept that promise I would take him to McDonald’s for lunch.

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Bella started 3rd grade this year. Its hard to believe it, time seems to have passed so quickly. When she was in Pre-K we lived in Oklahoma and Ethan was just a few weeks old. And now? Well, see for yourself, she just looks too grown up.

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Third grade is a big deal for Bella. Her classroom is upstairs, which she has been excited about all summer. She will learn cursive this year (although with how electronic we are these days that seems a tad useless, but she’s excited) and she will begin taking the FCAT test in the spring. From what I’ve heard from other mom’s the move from 2nd to 3rd grade is a big jump as far as expectations go. But, I have no doubt Bella can handle it.

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Natalie started 1st grade today. She has almost been as excited about school as Ethan. A few weeks ago she asked me how long it would be before school would start. I answered “3-4 weeks, I can’t remember.” And she replied, “I REALLY hope its 3! I can’t wait!” I am excited to see how she grows and develops this year. It seems like Bella really grew up in 1st grade. I am interested to see if Natalie does the same.

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Last night we thought all 3 kids were sound asleep for over an hour when suddenly Natalie was in the living room telling us she was too excited and she couldn’t sleep. I really hope she stays as excited about school through the coming years.

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This next picture is my favorite of the morning. I think I said something funny.

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As we left for school the kids were all giddy and excited. But I am embarrassed to say, well not so embarrassed that I am not sharing it, that while driving the song “Firework” came on. The kids love that song so they asked that I turn it up loud. As we were singing it I guess I thought of what we were doing (dropping all my babies off at school) and what it was saying (if you haven’t stopped to read the words, do…although I always think the plastic bag part is a bit odd) and how it sort of really applied to today in a cheesy sort of way. And in that same cheesy sort of way I may have shed a tear or two.  I just think my kids are so incredibly awesome and I really want them to go to school with confidence and do well and show everyone how awesome they truly are. (All the while being humble about it too of course.)I am sure it is a feeling every parent can understand. But I still felt silly crying (although it was very brief) to a Katie Perry song. Luckily the kids had no idea.

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Once we got to the school the girls were ready to show Ethan the ropes.

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He is lucky to have good big sisters.

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Ethan was so excited to get to his classroom and get to work.

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When he finished coloring he thought he had to turn in his work. I had to explain to him that it was just something to do while the teacher got everyone signed in and settled for the first day.

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I left him here. Sitting on the story rug. He didn’t even care that I left, which makes me both happy and sad.

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We then dropped off Natalie in the hallway outside her class. She said she had gotten a bit nervous but she knew (and I knew) she would be just fine.

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Bella gets the most nervous of the kids. Although it only takes her a day or two to get over it. She asked me to walk her into her classroom, but she was ready to work before I left.

And then I was alone. I ran errands, but I was done and ready to pick Ethan up an hour before I needed to be. I am sure I’ll be better at using all my time eventually. Today he was all I could think of. And when I picked him up his teacher told me he was “perfect” and he had lots to say about his big day. So we went to McDonalds as promised, and he made sure I didn’t forget I had also promised him a chocolate shake.

I think its going to be a great year!

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Summer 2012

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There are just a few hours before the school bells ring and all 3 of my kids begin the 2012-2013 school year. I will talk more about that in my back to school post. But tonight is the closing ceremonies of summer (had to say it that way b/c of the Olympics). I was going to have some great last day of summer picture, but it rained all day yesterday so we didn’t do anything but be lazy, so I decided to pick my favorite picture of all 3 of them from this summer. And to end the summer I thought I would kind of recap our accomplishments in these short 10 weeks. (I THINK I did somewhat the same thing when the girls finished school and if I didn’t do it that way I at least thought about it.) So here, in no particular order, and without naming who accomplished what, is

THE  CRAIKER FAMILY SUMMER of 2012 LIST of ACCOMPLISHMENTS

– spent 10 days on the beach

– spent 12 days at a water park

– spent approximately 80 hours in the car as a family, traveling across 8 states and from one end of Florida to the other

– saw every member of our families (as in Anthony’s and my growing up families)

– visited old friends

– cuddled new babies

– made new friends

-swam in 7 different pools, each multiple times

– swam in 1 fresh water springs

– went paddle boarding

– learned to boogie board

– saw 5 movies in the theater

– ate lots of Mexican Food

– read through Harry Potter 5 (well almost, I think she’s in the 500’s of book 5)

– learned to swim

– learned the backstroke, breast stroke and butterfly

– bought a piano

– learned to crochet

– baked cinnamon rolls with friends

– ran in sprinklers

– stayed up past midnight with cousins

– ate ice cream for lunch

– had cookies and popcorn for dinner

– watched the sunset in the western Oklahoma sky

– camped in our living room

– saw manatees in the wild

-turned 4

– rain approximately 120 miles

– said good bye to friends

-watched the sunset on the gulf coast

In my mind summer is kind of magical. And a small tear is shed each time one ends, but at the same time I am excited for my kids to start school tomorrow. I love the new adventure that school brings. Its exciting to see each of their reactions to it, and especially see how excited Ethan has been. So, good bye summer 2012. You were great. Thanks for the memories.

A Friendly Kind of Adventure

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I like to think of summer as one big adventure and I try to do something fun with the kids each and everyday, but some days the fun is just a little bigger and better. This time I picked a destination that we had never been to and invited some friends to come along. Luckily our friends were happy to do whatever I said, I think her words were “This is your show.” 

So, our destination became De Leon Springs State Park. A cute state park that I had seen on another friend’s blog about a year ago. There are fresh water springs (think swimming hole with clear water that feels seriously like ice water), beauty all around and a cute little restaurant where they make you cook your own food and pay them for it! It was so much fun!

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All you can eat pancakes! They were so yummy. We knew you cooked your own pancakes but Abbey ordered an egg and toast breakfast, and she asked me if she had to cook her own eggs. Surely not. (I ordered some too) and when our food came they brought us a bowl with 4 eggs that we had to crack and cook to our liking. She even cooked her own toast on the skillet (which was the best toast ever). The only thing they cooked for us was the bacon.

Here is what our cooking surface looked like:

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Natalie loved flipping the pancakes.

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And Bella loved eating them!

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The little restaurant is in an old sugar mill. This is what it looks like outside. Crazies included.

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After a swim in the ice cold springs we decided to paddle boat down the river.

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The older girls wanted Ethan with them. This plan worked well for a while but then mid-paddle we had to swap passengers, glad we didn’t see gators just lots of jumping fish. Oh, and who knew paddle boating was such a work out. My legs were burning.

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The only sad part of our adventure is that our cars only hold 7 people and in total we had 8, so we had to part ways and drive by our lonesome’s home. It was such a fun day, and a lot of fun for a $6 entrance fee to a state park. Who needs expensive amusement parks? Well, okay I like those too.

This day was just another example of why I love Florida, fun things to do are all around…and fun friends too.

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