Monday, June 28, 2010

One Year Down...

....only twelve more years to go! Thankfully if this first year of schooling is any indicator of the next twelve years to come then there shouldn't be too many tears or gray hairs.

First day of school:
Alexis with her teacher, Mr. Gillotti. We could not have been happier with her teacher this year. Andrew also had Mr. Gillotti in Kindergarten and I really feel like he sets the tone for their future and guides them onto the right path. He is an awesome teacher!
Of course with the start of schooling comes classroom birthdays. Mr. Gillotti really tries to make each child feel special every day, but especially on their birthday.Alexis was the "Birthday Queen" for the day. Fall picture
Here favorite activity at school: THE SWINGS! Each morning there was a competition for who could get to the swings first. She LOVED when I got to work in her classroom because that meant she got to go on the playground a few minutes before the entire class while I pulled out the toys, which guaranteed her a swing.Lexi and Ms. Heather, the yard duty. The kids know since Mommy works on campus often that they better be on their best behavior because I will always find out what they are doing. Doesn't hurt to make friends with the yard duty.Lexi is a VERY social person and rarely has a problem making friends. Her problem is actually knowing when to NOT be social (like in the middle of class). Every day when I would pick her up from class it would amaze me at the number of kids who would be yelling out, 'bye Lexi!' more so then any other kids' name. She really is very friendly and accepting of everyone around her.Her other 'problem': BOYS! Early on in the school year I had the mother of these twin boys J & J approach me and tell me that Alexis had a crush on one of them and that they both had a crush on her. Thankfully they are good kids and the three of them are really good friends, but boy am I not ready for that!Spring picture. Comparing her fall and spring picture it is interesting how much of her baby face she is loosing.Not only does Alexis have Mr. Gillotti as her teacher but she also gets to have MRS. GILLOTTI as her teacher too. She teaches the afternoon Kindergarten class, so in the morning before her class arrives she reads with Mr. G's class and helps out. They are a great pair! Could you imagine going to work everyday with your husband? They are with each other 24/7 and you can just feel the pure love between them.

Last day of school. Alexis has grown so much this year physically, but the academic growth is amazing. Her reading has taken off and her love of math continues.

THANK-YOU MR. GILLOTTI FOR A WONDERFUL KINDERGARTEN YEAR!! Though this may be the first year of many, you have set her off on the right path, and for that we are very thankful. I know it is a lot to ask, but could you PLEASE not retire before Aiden gets into Kindergarten??

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mom's Wedding, March 20, 2010

On March 20, 2010 my mom and Mr. David got married locally. It was a pretty crazy weekend since the wedding was taking place in my town and all my sisters and other family and friends would be traveling in with their families to stay for the weekend. It took every ounce of my energy to make it through that emotional weekend. It was the following handsome and beautiful faces that got me through it all.Trying to keep Aiden still for more then 2 seconds to take a family pictures was more then one could ask for that day. He was wanting to play with all his cousins that he rarely gets to see and especially wanted to get his hands on the drum set that was still set up in the corner of the stage. My sister Grace made all the floral arrangements for the wedding. She is such a talented person! She also made the arrangements for my wedding, which I if I could dig out the pictures I would show you her amazing work on mine as well.The kids were all lined up on the front pew just waiting for their marching orders. They were trying to be so patient, but there is only so much patience you can expect out of a 2 year old who has the energy level of the energizer bunny.
Lexi with her cousin Desiree, who is almost 4 months older then her.
All the boy grandkids! They range in age from 11 down to 2.
Dale had the pleasure of walking Grandma Leader down the aisle. I made sure to remind him to smile as he walked up the aisle so he wouldn't look like the pallbearers that walked me up the aisle on my wedding day. ;) *My Grandpa L. and Grandpa W., who had the most stern looks on their faces the whole walk down the aisle.*
The grankids were all matched up by similar heights to walk down the aisle. Lexi was matched up with Eric. They all looked so cute and took their job very serious.
Aiden was the ring bearer. The minute he entered the church he tried to pass the ring pillow off to the first person he saw. That of course solicited a laugh and after they handed it back to him he jetted down the aisle to deliver the pillow to the correct person.
Next down the aisle was my mom, who was being escorted by two very handsome young men. Her eldest grandsons, Jacob and Andrew, had the honor of walking her down the aisle.

The ceremony went off without a hitch and then Andrew had the privilege of playing the wedding march as the new couple exited the church. He did an awesome job!
Of course once the ceremony is over the true 'fun' begins with all the pictures. I was not looking forward to this part because I, for one, knew Aiden would not cooperate, and two, do not like my picture to be taken at all.

Mom with all 4 daughters. From left to right: Faith, me, Mom, Charity, and Grace.
Mom and I.
The story behind this picture is hilarious! The photographer wanted to get each family set of kids together for a picture. She couldn't for the life of her get Aiden to sit still for longer then 2 seconds. She finally made the statement, "Well, we really don't need him in the picture." Excuse me! He is part of the family! It wouldn't be my family if he wasn't in it. Well, moments later he came running over to get in the picture and he had a HUGE piece of bread in his hand. The poor child was STARVING! He had had enough with the pictures and just wanted something to eat.
Once he had a few bites in his stomach he was willing to cooperate, or at least ham it up for the camera.This is one of my favorite pictures of my Grandma. She is just so stunningly beautiful!
Once again, here is Grandma trying to hold Aiden down long enough for a picture of her to be taken with the three kiddos.And Lexi was still velcroed to Grandma on wedding day. Beautiful girls (minus one tired flower girl) all blowing bubbles at the reception.
So, now there are 16 grandchildren (only 2 could not make it, my brother's children in NC) who are all under 11 years old.

Though it was a stressful, emotional weekend, it was great to be able to see and spend time with my family, and for the kids to be able to spend time with their cousins that they rarely get to see.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Time with Grandma Leader

In March my Grandma Leader was able to fly to CA from OH for my mom's wedding and to spend some time with the family. It was a little iffy as to whether she would be able to come or not because her health has not been the best recently. Physically she seems like the same grandma on the outside with a few aches and kinks, but it is mentally that the decline has happened the most, and that is sad to witness since she has always been the sharpest witted person.From the moment Grandma got to our house Alexis was smitten with her. She has only ever been around her a few other times since we do not live close to each other, but it seems like they always pick up right where they left off. Grandma had a velcroed Alexis to her hip and a chatterbox in her ears for the next few days.Grandma even humored her by letting Alexis teacher her how to play the Leapster.

Of course this was only Aiden's second time seeing Grandma and he was more interested in her shoes. This was during his phase where if your shoes were off your feet they were on his feet. He thought they were the coolest shoes because they made 'clopping' noises and he made sure the whole neighborhood knew he was having fun.

I really wish we had the time to get ALL the great-grandkids together to get professional pictures taken, but that wedding weekend was already chaotic enough. So, here are the 9 who were present out of the 14 total kiddos. I wish that we could spend more time with Grandma. I wish that we could live right next door to her so the kids could grow-up learning more about her then just what they know from my words and pictures. I know that the memory loss will only increase instead of getting better. I find myself shying away from calling as often since I am sad when the phone call is over, and then I am angry with myself for not seizing the opportunity to talk to her now while I still have the chance. May I take the time now, while I still have it, to spend as much time with my Grandma as I can. And may she have MANY, HEALTHY years to come.
**I also wish that we may be able to save enough to take a trip to Ohio this next summer so we can spend some time with her and the rest of our extended family**

Redlands Symphony - Family Concert

On April 18, 2010, Andrew, Lexi, Daddy-O and I had the opportunity to go to the University of Redlands to enjoy the Redlands Symphony. Each year they put together a family friendly concert that is geared directly toward children, which is interactive and shorter then a usual concert would be.The concert included 2 narrated musical interpretations of children's stories with a twist. The kids and adults in the audience enjoyed it immensely After the concert they had all the instruments out on the lawn and allowed the children the opportunity to "pet" the instruments.
Both Lexi and Andrew both did an awesome job playing the French Horn. We were teasing Andrew that he actually made a better quality sound on the french horn then he did on the trumpet and that he might consider a change. Lexi seemed to be a natural, so maybe there is a french horn in our future.

Andrew and Lexi then tried out their skills on the violin. Andrew said it was awkward holding the instrument on his chin, but liked not having to blow into the instrument for once.Lexi was all over the place and couldn't understand the concept of keeping the bow lower on the neck. For the sake of mom's ears I am REALLY praying one of these is NOT in our future.
Lexi also attempted to play the flute (or a portion of the flute. The lady didn't have it all assembled since she felt it was too long for the small kids.) She did eventually get a sound out of it but it took A LOT of work. I do like the sound of the flute and wouldn't mind of she tried this one out in her future. :)

There were MANY more instruments to "pet," but the lines were long and the kids were getting pretty hot and tired. Overall they had a wonderful time and we really enjoyed the concert. I definitely think we will be adding this to our calendar again next year. Hopefully Aiden will be old enough and calm enough to join us then.

My Little Miss

Alexis has many different names around the house. When choosing her name when I was pregnant I wanted to make sure she had a name that could be shortened into variations of her name. At the same time I wanted to make sure that she got to choose which variation of her name she would be called by, so we have pretty much always called her Alexis up until this Kindergarten year when she started expressing that she wished to be called LEXI now.

So Lexi it is most often.
Unless of course your name is Aiden and you have a hard time pronouncing your L's and X's so you call her FeFi.

Or, there are other times when mom just simply calls her by her middle name, which is Julianna.
We all call her 'Little Miss' from time to time because we also have 'Little Man' and 'Little Guy.'

And then there is the variation of Lexi-Loo, which I use often. Not sure where that came from, but it usually comes out more like a bugle horn call at the end just for giggles.
Then there is the 'Little Lady' name when I am scolding her for flipping and flopping around when she is in a skirt and showing her wares to the world or I need to get her attention.
But most importantly she is my Alexis. My only daughter. The one I buttheads with most often, but also the one that teaches me the most about myself because she holds that mirror up each time we have conflict.

The one I love, my Little Miss!