Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Fourth Grade Field Trip to the Ft Worth Zoo

Today was the last field trip of 4th grade with a visit to the Ft. Worth Zoo. Since I was just there with Olivia and the Kindergarteners, I knew it would be a fun day. There was a risk of rain, but the teachers decided to go ahead with the plan and we all met at the zoo around 10am. I drove Linda, Alexa's Grandma and Pritha, Shivani's mom. Linda's husband, John has been instrumental in teaching both my kids how to read and write and is very involved at CES. He and I have driven to the zoo field trips for the past few years and it's a little bit of a tradition at this point. He was originally going to go, but decided to stay behind and read with Mrs. Schultz' Kinder Cuties for the last time this year. Linda is an equally lovely person who is easy to be around and the three of us had a good trip to Ft. Worth.

We bought our zoo tickets and our kids arrived on the school buses around 10am. My group consisted of Sofia, Elena, and Sofi B. Sofia wanted to see the lions and elephants, Elena was completely content to see anything and Sofi B. was completely focused on getting Dippin' Dots after lunch. It was a lot chillier than I expected and my shorts and long-sleeved shirt weren't as comfortable as I expected. Of course, I also had my backpack full of all of our lunches, extra snacks, extra water and my wallet and things, so I was carrying extra weight which helped warm me up enough. I brought my "real" camera with me, but ended up leaving it in the back of the car since I was afraid it would start raining and I wouldn't have room in my backpack to keep it dry. I really prefer taking pictures with my "real" camera, but my iPhone would have to do for this visit.

We headed toward the giraffes, elephants, hippos, and ostriches. One perk of having the cooler and cloud-covered weather is that all of the animals were out and active. After visiting those animals, we headed up to see the lions and tigers and saw the rhinoceros - one of my very favorite animals. The first of the big cats we came across is the white tiger, which is absolutely stunning! It was laying right next to viewing window, so we were able to get a cute photo of the girls together. From there we visited the other tigers and lions and I gave each of the girls a granola bar since they were all starting to get hungry. We continued on and came to the parrot house, where I gave each of the girls $1 and they bought a stick of peanut butter and bird seed. The parrot house was really crowded already and most of the birds were on the enclosure fence or really high in the tree branches and not interested in eating. Of course, there were a few who the girls convinced to eat their bird seed and we probably spent 20 minutes with the birds before I told the girls it was ready to continue our visit.

The girls saw a small shark and kangaroos as part of the Australian Outback exhibit. The kangaroos were actually walking around rather than snoozing in the shade, as they always are in all of our previous visits. We also saw a variety of raptors, which Sofia really loves and then we decided to stop for lunch. The girls found a picnic bench and we dried of the wet seats with napkins and ate our lunches. Throughout lunch the girls were debating whether they wanted Kona Ice or Dippin' Dots. Technically, the chaperones aren't supposed to buy anything for the kids on field trips, but I figured it wouldn't be a big deal if we got something at the end of our visit.

We walked all the way to the Texas Wild Depot and visited the "Texas Traditions" exhibit that included all the Texas native animals and plants and was really interesting. We'd never been inside before, so Sofia was totally focused on reading everything she could about each display. Meanwhile, Sofi B and Elena quickly headed to the main area, where we soon watched a short preview show about Texas weather before we headed into the main little theater to hear about the Texas environment and how people and animals need to co-exist with the resources that we have. It was an incredibly balanced and fair representation on our ecosystem, I thought. The girls loved it and it was only about 15 minutes long. We continued to the Texas native animals with the first one being a favorite - the burrowing owl. There were three in the enclosure and they were all out of their little burrows. They are so cute! We continued on and visited the alligator, black bear and otters before swinging into the bats, snakes and spider house. Of course, Sofia really loved checking out and learning about the bats, snakes and spiders and I had to convince Sofi B from zooming ahead and leaving the building so she could hurry to Dippin' Dots.

We left the Texas Wild Depot in search of Dippin' Dots and ended up having to walk all the way back to the elephants! The girls each decided on cookies and cream Dots and they were so thoughtful in thanking me. As they were enjoying their Dippin' Dots and strolling toward the entrance, Sofia noticed that we'd missed going into the amphibian house. She wanted to run in and look around, but we really didn't have enough time at that point. She was bummed and I told her we could return to the zoo anytime this summer. From there, we headed back toward the entrance to meet the teachers and other students and stopped at the gorilla exhibit while the girls finished up their ice cream. The male gorilla was sitting on the grass while the baby gorilla climbed across the structure. He was so cute and it was eerie how similar their motions and actions are to humans.

Just as we were ready to go and we had less than five minutes to go, I realized I had no idea where Sofi B. was! I figured she headed to meet the class, but when I headed to that area she was nowhere to be found. I wasn't really worried that she ran off or was taken, but I did start to stress out that I would be the chaperone who actually lost one of the students at the zoo! We soon discovered that she's walked a short distance on the other side of the gorilla enclosure to get a different view of them. Disaster averted!

We met up with the rest of the kids and teachers and Pritha, Linda and I headed to the car. It was still pretty chilly out and I was glad to get into our car and maybe get a coffee once I got home. It was a fun trip and I think the girls really enjoyed it. I especially loved how much Sofia really got into it and read everything she could on each animal and exhibit. I can't wait to return with the girls over the summer.

Elena, Sofi B, and Sofia ready to explore the zoo

Posing near the elephants

The beautiful white tiger!

The other tiger hanging around

One of the female lions

Sofia holding her lion figure with a lion in the background

Feeding a parakeet

The girls with the kangaroo statue

Sofia! I have a similar photo from when she was in Kindergarten!

With the penguins

The coolest owl - the burrowing owl!

Sofia and me

Touching the starfish and horseshoe crabs

Posing for another picture together

Zebras! So beautiful!

The huge male gorilla and the cute little baby climbing above him.

Three happy girls after a very fun visit!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day 2017

We had a very fun Mother's Day celebration today. Yesterday afternoon we ended up swimming and hanging out with Marco, Stacy and their boys in their backyard which is always fun and relaxing. Mid-afternoon CK and Sofia headed out to "run errands" and we all decided to go out to dinner together once they returned. We ate at a brand new Asian restaurant called Sai Fine, which ended up being very delicious and much fancier than we all expected. We actually set out to eat at the Italian restaurant Ruggeri's, which is outstanding! CK and I visited Ruggeri's on Cinco de Mayo while the girls were at Open Gym at Sunbelt from 7:30-9:30pm and ended up having the entire outside balcony to ourselves. We figured it might be the same, so we headed there. However, it was completely packed and they had no way of accommodating us. It was fun to try a new restaurant and the food was outstanding.

This morning the girls were super excited to have me open their Mother's Day gifts and CK and the girls brought me coffee in bed. I actually have a hard time sleeping past 7 or 7:30am, but did end up lounging around in bed until 8am, which was nice. The girls and I walked Buddy in the neighborhood while CK ran out to get us donuts. Once we returned to the house, we all got dressed and then ate donuts, enjoyed coffee and opened my Mother's Day presents which had a cooking theme - one of my favorite things to do. Before I could open any of my gifts, Sofia had me read her Mother's Day gift that she made at school. It was so sweet and really thoughtful and well made! I really love homemade gifts for Mother's Day! After reading her gift to me, I opened up my gifts. Olivia gave me a cool new hand blender, since the one we use now is one of my Mom's from probably 35 years ago and it tends to overhead very easily. Sofia got me a bunch of fun stuff including a new smiley face spatula, a new whisk, a bumblebee scrapper and a "monkey" cookie cutter. Ck got me a really pretty summery apron and a gift card for cooking classes. So, we'll have to schedule a fun date night! It was all so sweet!

After donuts, we went to Meeting and then drove into Dallas for brunch at the Park City Club, where CK is a member. It was the first visit for the girls and we lucked out with a great table right next to the window! The food was just as outstanding as our visit with CK's parents during their visit except there was a lot more options and it was really hard to decide! We went through first with the girls and they picked out fruit, bacon, poached salmon, and brisket. Later, I realized they had a small "kids" table set up that included mac and cheese, tater tots and chicken nuggets and I was so glad we didn't see the food earlier. They really loved their selections and Sofia even said the salmon was good but "not as good as the salmon you make." The shrimp with the homemade cocktail sauce was outstanding! The buffet had tons of fruit, salads, deviled eggs, smoked salmon, eggs benedict, and brisket as well as cornish hen, cod, and sauteed vegetables. It all looked outstanding and what we ate was very good. Of course, they also offered a huge dessert table with cakes and pastries and the girls had small ice cream sundaes and chocolate-dipped strawberries. We enjoyed our meal and the ambiance for a bit before heading home.

Once we got home, CK and I both ended up taking a pretty long nap while both girls were completely quiet. Around 4pm I started to wonder why they had been so quiet and found Olivia curled up on the arm chair asleep and heard Sofia upstairs playing with her toys and making up stories. Olivia woke up when I came out, so she got up and curled up on my lap and slept maybe 30 more minutes. She doesn't nap often anymore and hasn't had the opportunity to curl up on my lap, so it was a rare treat.

After Olivia woke up, I headed out to the backyard and watered my plants and Olivia decided to swim. Sofia soon joined her and I slipped off for a very relaxing pedicure. After returning home, we ordered a pizza and just relaxed. It was a fun Mother's Day full of the girls and CK, my favorite people. I love having the day to think about what it means to be a mom to my girls, remember my Mom and think of all that she taught me and loved me, and know that I am so lucky to have our girls and be able to love them so much.

The girls and I on Saturday night

Happy Mother's Day with donuts!

The sweet book that Sofia made for me at school!

Our "portrait"

Sofia's fox she colored for me

Love the portrait she drew of me!

Opening presents

My new apron! I love it!

The girls and I and the flowers they gave me on Saturday

Love this sweet photo of the girls and me!

At the Park City Club

Olivia and her "new" smile

Coffee and champagne with brunch - a rare treat!

Our sweet Sofia!

Olivia Loses Her Second Tooth

Just in the past week Olivia's other lower front tooth has become lose and ready to fall out! She is so excited to lose another one of her teeth! Last night, just before we went out to dinner, CK somehow convinced Olivia that he could pull it. We were all in our bathroom when he came up with this idea, and I literally had to leave the room. I can deal with pretty much any kid-related issues, but for some reason the losing of teeth really creeps me out. According to Olivia, her Papa used a piece of dental floss and somehow got Olivia's tooth out with out much of an issue. It did actually bleed a good deal, and Olivia came running out to the kitchen with a tissue in her mouth and her tooth in her hand. She was super excited! It was adorable, even if she bled a good amount. Her gum stopped bleeding after a few minutes and we headed out to dinner with Marco and Stacy and their boys.

After we returned from dinner, Olivia put her tooth on the dresser and went to bed. She actually wanted to put it under her pillow, but we told her that the tooth fairy might not be able to find it. So, we convinced her to leave it on her dresser.

In the morning, Olivia came into my room and told me the tooth fairy came! She followed it up with wishing me Happy Mother's Day. The tooth fairy brought her two $1 coins, a small glass container of green fairy dust, a fairy pendant and a small blue rock. The tooth fairy also gave Olivia another note that read "Olivia- Congratulations on losing your 2nd tooth! You're such a big girl! Be a good girl and listen to your parents. Love, Alicia xoxo" She was so excited to have lost another tooth. She really does look pretty different with her bottom teeth missing but is also very cute!

So excited to show me her new tooth

Kleenex in her mouth to stop the bleeding

Olivia's little tooth

The note from Alicia and goodies

Olivia is SO excited her tooth fairy, Alicia visited her in the night!

Olivia's new smile!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Olivia's Mother's Day Brunch

This morning Olivia and the rest of the CES Kindergarteners performed in a sweet Mother's Day program and then sat with each of their moms to share a delicious meal together. The cafeteria tables were set with a handmade place mat and hand print plate made by each of the kids. I found Olivia's which was really sweet. The place mat included a hand drawn "portrait" of me by Olivia in the center. I found a good seat at the table nearest the grandstand where the kids would be performing and reserved a seat for Stacy, who was picking up the food for our meal.

Soon, our cute kiddos were entering the cafeteria and Mrs. Schultz' class climbed up onto the grandstand first so they were on the top row with Olivia in the middle right. She stood with Scout on her right and Walker on her left and looked completely comfortable standing in front of all the Kinder moms and was ready to perform. Olivia is our shy girl who doesn't like to the be the center of attention, so it was great to see her so comfortable. Soon all the kindergarteners were in their places and the performance began. It was so sweet! They sang a few songs, most of which I'd heard Olivia sing at home and they also did a segment where they each said "My mom always tells me....." Olivia's line was "My mom says to eat my sandwich before I eat my cookie." The kids didn't actually get to decide what they said, which is probably for the best since they would likely have just a few differences in what each of us moms actually say. Instead, it all flowed really well and was super cute and funny.

Unfortunately, Scout gets very emotional when her mom is at school. Kelley and I used to volunteer in the school library together before she went back to work and Scout would cry her eyes out every time. She was happy to have her mom but sad to know her mom would be leaving. It was really upsetting and hard on Kelley and now that she's working full-time Scout is absolutely fine each time I see her at the library. As the program started, Scout started crying uncontrollably and it was very distracting to all the kids around her. Olivia tried to comfort her and rub her back and the girl standing in front of Scout also tried to calm her down. Nothing helped Scout and she continued to cry and be upset. As they sang their first two songs, it was clear that Scout wasn't going to calm down and it threw Olivia off her singing. I don't know why Mrs. Schultz' didn't just have Scout get off the bleachers from the back so it wasn't noticeable. Instead she stayed and sobbed and cried when it was her turn to say her "My mom always tells me..." line. She finally got her lines out and continued to cry, but all the moms clapped for her finally able to do her part. It was then Olivia's turn and she took a few seconds before she said her line. She did a great job and the microphone continued to the rest of her classmates.

The kids sang a few more songs before they finished. It was such a sweet program! After the kids finished with their performance I gave Olivia a big hug and told her what a great job she did before we went to our seats. Stacy had the idea of ordering brunch food from Another Broken Egg in Southlake and asked if I wanted to order food for Olivia and I. I'd made blueberry muffins to bring with us since they are Olivia's favorite but also wanted to get something more interesting than Olivia's usual lunch food. I ordered chocolate chip pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon for Olivia and a Mediterranean omelette for myself. Stacy picked the food up for all of us and it was delicious! Olivia really loved her pancakes and gobbled them all up.

After brunch, we took a few pictures together and Olivia wanted to take a picture with Mrs. Schultz, who she absolutely adores and also her two closest friends, Hannah and Hayven. As we were finishing up, we gathered all the girls from Mrs. Schultz' class for a photo. They are all such sweet girls and we've had such a fun year together. I gave Olivia a hug and walked with her back to her class before I left. It was such a sweet program and so much fun!

Olivia's sweet handprint plate

The cafeteria, set up so Mom's can sit next to their child

Olivia's plate

Olivia and her classmates getting ready to perform

Olivia's two big buddies - Hayven and Hannah

Olivia getting ready to say her lines, with Scout crying her eyes out next to her

All the adorable kindergarteners!

Olivia and her plate

Mother's Day brunch selfie!

My sweet girl and me

Olivia and Mrs. Schultz - one of her very favorite people!

Hayven, Hannah and Olivia

All the sweet girls in Mrs. Schultz' class

Sweet girl!