Friday, May 25, 2012

Awana 2011-2012

The kids wrapped up their second year of Awana Club earlier this month. Each week, Clay would go to Cubbies and Carolina would go to Puggles. Clay has been a Cubbie for two years and Carolina has been a Puggle for two years.

When we started Awana last year, it was the first time we had ever dropped our kids off and left the building. It was tough on everyone. Well, maybe not Clay. Carolina screamed and hated it and they called us to come and get her the first couple of times last year. This year was better, although she was never really excited to go.

Carolina had Buddy and Ally for teachers both years and we couldn't have loved them more. :) They are a young married couple who were super sweet to Carolina and just loved her. At the end of last year, I asked Buddy if they would be back and he said they were already looking forward to next year when their crew would be out of diapers and a little older. Buddy told me that they already knew what roles the kids would be playing next year (based on that year) and Carolina was the one in charge of the class. Guess they knew her pretty well!

Clay had to memorize a scripture each week and he did so well with it both years. He's very auditory so we would only have to review it a couple of times before he had it down. Mike would read from the Cubbie Bear book each Wednesday at dinner and then we would work on his verse.

Clay wore his blue Cubbies vest proudly each week and made several new friends. Ampanee (AKA Anthony) and Clay became fast friends the first year and they were the same class again this year. Mike and I would go and have dinner and then come back and sit in the parking lot and watch as Clay's class would be on the playground. It was funny to see him in his element with his friends.

                                                      (Clay and his teachers from this year)

Clay filled up his vest with patches each week and by the end of this year, it was full! He will be a Cubbie again next year (you graduate to the next group when you start kinder) and so will Carolina. While she was hesitant to go EVERY week this year, we're hoping she'll enjoy being a Cubbie with her brother next year.

Carolina's teachers, Buddy and Ally, moved a few weeks before the end of this year and Mike and I were definitely sad. She was almost two when she started Puggles and they were the first ones we trusted with our baby week after week. They were so sweet with her and we knew how much they cared for her. I got teary-eyed picking her up that last time from Buddy and he did too. :(
                                               (Ally, Carolina and Buddy on Pajama Night)

Carolina did fuss every week about going but she would say to me when I was getting her dressed, "What's Sarah going to wear tonight?" or some other little girl. She was always playing when we looked in on her and listening to the story and singing songs. Even though it was hard to leave her when she was unhappy, she loved every week.

It was another great year at Awana and on the last week I was telling Mike I couldn't believe we were already finishing our second year. It felt like it had just started!

We're already looking forward to next year! Go Cubbies!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sea World

The day after Clay's birthday party, we headed off to Sea World! Mike and I were very excited about taking the kids on their first trip to a theme park. We kept it a surprise until just before we left. We talked to them about it since they had no clue what Sea World is and I said, "So, is everyone excited about going to Sea World??" Clay's reply was "Can't we just go to the zoo?" Uh, no.

We went on a Thursday so we never had any problems with crowds or lines. The kids started on the Shamu roller coaster and they loved it! I insisted on Mike and I riding with them the first time in case anyone freaked out but they thought it was awesome. Mike and I got off and they wanted to ride again and again!

After a couple of rides on Shamu, we went to the "spinny ride". It was a boat kind of thing that went in circles and up and down. It was right up mine and the kids' alleys--not Mike's. 

I wanted to make sure we balanced rides with shows so we went to the Sesame Street 4-D show next. It was super cute and nice and cool. :) Carolina got frustrated with a few of the things (not unusual) and Mike was next to her so he was cracking up. "Who's frowing that water at me?!" "Who's bwowing that air on me?!" Poor girl couldn't figure out what was going on.

We went back over to the ride area and while we were standing in line I spotted some special characters. Clay's pretty shy but Carolina was all about going up to meet the characters.

While we were gone, Clay and Mike made it to front of the line. I guess there must have been an extra spot because...
We went to a sea lion show that was really cute. Carolina loved it when the girl and guy characters fell in the water and she talked about it all day. We also saw some alligators sleeping with turtles on their backs which impressed us all!

Both kids kept seeing the big roller coasters and asking to go on. We knew Carolina wasn't tall enough but we thought Clay might be. He and I went over to the line but he was still a couple of inches short (he's 46" right now). He had been super excited about going, even after seeing how really big it was up close. I was so proud that he handled it so well when we figured out he wasn't tall enough. You could tell he really wanted to cry but kept it together. We talked about how he would probably be tall enough in the fall and we could ride it then. Poor guy. :(

The penguins were really cute but Carolina was way more interested in being on the people mover. Clay liked them and we all had fun playing with the penguin stuff in the gift shop.

We did the Shamu roller coaster a couple of more times. At one point, all of the riders were seated with the seat belts on but Carolina wouldn't get in her chair because it was wet. Apparently, the person who sat there before her had been on a water ride. The two teenage girl ride operators didn't know what to do with her so they just tried to clean the water up with their hands. Carolina just stood there on the side fussing until they got it to her satisfaction. Mike and I weren't riding so we couldn't help them but I will say the girl knows what she wants. Maybe that will come in handy someday...

Our last stop of the day was the Shamu show. This is always a highlight of Sea World when I was a kid so I was super excited to take my kids. We got them seated and the show started but it was kind of slow. The whales were doing their tricks (not as good as they used to be) and a couple of minutes in Carolina turns around and says, "When is the show going to stawt??". See, it was that good.

Overall, it was a really fun day. Carolina got tired of walking and fussed (but she also missed her nap). Clay never got tired. We got to do some really fun things and share a special family fun day. :)

San Antonio Trip May, 2012

We just got back from a trip to San Antonio and everyone had SO much fun. The kids went down a little early so I could attend a homeschool conference and then Mike and I joined them a couple of days later. They had a great time with Nana and Papa and got to spend some time with their cousins and aunts and uncles at Grandma Susie's and Aunt Nancy's, as well.

                                                               (Clay and Matthew)

                                                       (Carolina, Kasey, Kylie, Clay)

                                                         (Mikayla, Carolina & Jordan)

Once Mike and I got into town, we had a family dinner and birthday party for Clay. We got the party room at EZ's and it was a really special night for Clay. Since it was his 2nd of 3 birthday parties, I let him choose whatever cake, plate and napkins he wanted. :) He chose Spiderman. He was pretty shy with the adults most of the night (he always is) but he was very excited about his gifts. Aunt Stacy got him his first big water gun and he and Carolina had a blast shooting everyone.

One of the best parts about this trip to Nana and Papa's were the kittens. One of their stray cats had four 6-week-old kittens and another stray had one that had been born on Clay's birthday so it was one-day-old when the kids arrived. They were SO sweet and we all fell in love (but not in love enough to take one home :)).
One night we got to have a celebration dinner with my dad and brother. We all had birthdays this month, my dad finished his last round of chemo the day before and my brother graduated from college the week before. Exciting stuff!
For a couple of days, Mike and I got to take a parents' getaway to the Menger. We spent two nights there and had some wonderful food and quiet time. We try to do this every trip to San Antonio and it is always a blessing. Clay had some trouble each time we were separated this trip so it was a little harder but Nana and Papa take such good care of our kids so it's a worry-free time away.

We wrapped up our time away and I met Nana and the kids at the Magik Theater to see Knuffle Bunny.

Anita (AKA Nana) has been reading to them from the series on each of their trips so it was only natural that we see the play. Nana had even bought the kids their own Knuffle Bunnies! The kids were glued to the performance and had a lot of good things to say about it. It's fun that the book came alive for them! It was Carolina's first theater show and she did so well. Atta girl...cause truth be told mama was sweatin' it!

We left town that night to come home and get ready for another special event--Clay's Knight Birthday Party. We still have a couple of days to get ready before it's party time. What a great trip we had!