Wednesday, September 23, 2015

For the Love of Books

I recently spent some time with a staff member at the Ozark Literacy Council of Washington County. The gentleman actually called on me for a work-related meeting, but we ended our visit with my education about the organization and what they do for our community.
Since September is National Literacy Month, I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to share what I learned. I was surprised to hear that the Ozark Literacy Council is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and it's the oldest council in the entire state. They primarily have focused on the education of adults, both native English speakers and ESL students, but are now seeing the increased need for addressing literacy in a "family approach." Tutors at OLC can teach basic reading skills or even with a specialized focus on reading for job applications, health or banking literacy.
I've also learned that more than 36 million adults in America cannot read, which is really a shocking statistic. This week is being recognized as Adult Education and Family Literacy Week to raise public awareness of the problem we face in our country. In addition, Friday, September 25th, is the national annual giving day that encourages people in the community to make a donation or even sign up to volunteer as a tutor at their local literacy organization. Please consider helping out in any way that you can.
The services that OLC provides are free. Ozark Literacy Council can be reached at 479-521-8250 or if you need help learning to read, want to make a donation or if you would like to volunteer some time to helping others.

My favorite super reader!

I have been reading for as long as I can remember; it has always been one of my favorite things to do. I am fortunate that my children also have the same passion for books as I do. In fact, the annual book fair is going on at school this month (Coincidence? Maybe not). The kids have pulled out the flyer and put an X on nearly every book for us to purchase. I think books are definitely our thing--and Shopkins--but that's for another blog post.

Happy Reading, y'all!  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

#ad It's Funday Sunday Time! {sponsored post}

This is a sponsored post. I am currently serving as a blog ambassador for The Jones Center, who has compensated me for such. The photos and opinions are real, and are my own. This is a reflection of my family's personal experience as members of the facility.

If you need some fun entertainment for your family this weekend, I have the perfect suggestion for you! This Sunday, September 20th, is Funday Sunday at The Jones Center in Springdale. This is the day that the community can visit and use selected amenities for FREE!
Funday Sunday is a monthly event at The Jones Center, and activities vary from month to month. The designated activities for September are FREE skating at the ice rink and FREE access to the swimming pool. As you know, my family has spent a lot of time doing both of these activities over the past year.
I can't say enough good things about The Jones Center and all of the fun family activities that they provide for our community. If you've never been, I encourage you to visit on a Funday Sunday, or any other time when you only have to pay a small access fee. The membership fee is really reasonable, too. Fitness classes are even included in the cost!
If you can't make it this weekend, there are two more chances to attend Funday Sunday this year.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

School Is Cool

This week marks the 4th week of school for my kids, so I thought it would be a good time for a quick update on how it's been going.
For me: It's going surprisingly well. This mama shed no tears at all when the littlest ones went off for their first day in the big, scary school. This was a relief, after spending all summer in a tizzy about the "to separate, or not to separate" internal tug-of-war concerning the twins. I discussed it so much with them, that when drop off day finally came, I hardly even  got a wave from either of them. I comforted myself knowing that they could play together at recess every day to soothe their lonely, broken, separated hearts. HA! That lasted all of ONE DAY. For real, I've asked them every single day if they play together at recess--and every single day the answer is "No." So, what shall I worry about now?
For Boy Twin: After the 3rd day of school, he retreated to the couch to cry every morning because he didn't want to go to school. His complaint: "School is too long. Why do we have to go EVERY day?" That pity party didn't last long when I told him that's the rules and I don't make the rules. Why else would I go to work every day? For fun?  By the 3rd week of school he was excited to tell us about all the new words that he'd learned to spell in kindergarten; words like "P.E." and "D.J." (his new friend in class). 'Atta boy!  Also, not to brag or anything, but he's been blowing me kisses every morning as he walks up the sidewalk to school. I'm sure the other moms understand and are not mad at all that we hold up the drop off line every day.
For Girl Twin: This girl is like a steel vault; she won't give us any information about what she's doing or learning in class. Either she's really bored, or she is running the show and doesn't want us to know it. (I think I know which.)  Either way, we are thrilled that she has the same teacher that Big Sis had in Kindergarten! It's a little different, though, because she is teaching a K/1st split class this year due to enrollment being high in both grades. Yes, the class is half kindergarten and half first grade. Girl Twin is doing great in there and we're excited to see her learning. I guess hanging out with the first graders is really advancing her skills because last week she told me: "2 + y = 30" in a very factual manner. I had no idea they were learning algebra already! She also instructed me to stop putting "love notes" in her lunch box, which nearly broke my heart.
Big Sis:  This girl is loving 3rd grade. She's in the class with some of her favorite kids, and seems to be doing great. This year, they have to read five chapter books per quarter and be tested on each one for a reading grade. Challenge accepted! The kid just finished her 3rd book last night. Now, if we can get her that fired up about math...
We are in a great place right now. We love our school, love all of our teachers and love learning all the new things. There is a strange peaceful feeling in our home that I haven't felt before. Is this what it feels like to not have babies anymore? Big kids rock!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Conversation With My Kids

These two. I swear, it's a laugh a minute with them. It's even funnier that most of the time they don't even know they are being funny. It's funnier than that when they don't know we're listening to them.
The following conversation was overheard in the kitchen, when they looked out the window and saw our neighbors' dogs outside one night after dinner.
Her: Hey Brother! Come outside! Heidi and Zodie are outside and they're sniffing butts!
Him: That's just how they say hello.
* photo from a day trip to Eureka Springs 6/15. They were in awe of the "giant Jesus."

Friday, August 21, 2015

Mirror, Mirror

Lately it seems like we can't go anywhere without someone commenting on how much my girls look like me. It happens all the time. It's true, they do look like me; I can't deny it. But it does seem to really impact those people who've known me my whole life when they see Big Sis, particularly.
We are also seeing this a lot in my sister and her daughter, too. I suppose our genes are strong. (I'm just hoping they didn't inherit our slow metabolisms, too!) Grammy got to digging around in old photos and sent me a couple of myself at Big Sis's age. I know she looks like me now, but seeing photos of myself at her age was almost eerie. We both got a good giggle out of it.
Here are a couple of comparisons of us at the same age.

Anybody disagree?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Gone Fishin'

At the end of the twins' Grammy Camp, Big Sis and I headed east to pick them up. We had a nice, long-weekend visit and got to relax a bit, too.
The twins were super excited for me to go swimming with them once I arrived. Grammy had taken them swimming every day of their week at Grammy Camp, and they have both become quite the little fishes. We headed to the pool so they could show off without floaties on! Boy Twin is best at swimming under the water and Girl Twin is best at swimming on top of the water and floating. I couldn't believe their progress in just a week's time! I'm thinking by next summer, the floaties will be gone for good.
We got to spend some time at Pop's, too. The kids played with Allee and Kai, and we got to see the newest baby in the family.  But the highlight of the trip, without a doubt, was Boy Twin catching his first fish!
Uncle T and TP took Boy Twin down to Pop's pond, where they quickly caught a boat-load of fish....see what I did there? This is one happy and proud dude--and Boy Twin was pretty happy, too.
We were just sad that Lee wasn't with us, but he got to hear all about it at home. 

Cousin P didn't want to be left out of the fishy fun! She cracked us up when she grabbed hold of the fish and took off. There may have been some tears when her daddy took it away from her.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Twin Tuesday: Not Babies Anymore

It's another Twin Tuesday, and I'm feeling particularly anxious this week. Maybe it's because we bought their first round of school supplies and my babies are going to kindergarten open house tomorrow night.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not sad about them starting school--no way! Sometimes people expect me to be sad because my babies are not babies anymore. Heck, no! We've done our baby duty and are ready to move on. I'm ready for a regular schedule and ready for all three kids to be at the same place together all day long. And, above all, I'm ready to stop paying for daycare/babysitting/preschool! Yay for FREE public school!
I'm just feeling a little off kilter. Sometimes I look at the twins and literally cannot remember how they got to be five years old. The time between their birth and age 5 seems like a blur of feedings, diaper changes, crying, tantrums, butt wiping, messes and baths. And now, it's so different. They are riding bikes, writing their names, roller skating, hitting baseballs, playing video games and excelling at NEVER BEING QUIET. Mercy, the talking!
We have decided to split the twins up for kindergarten, which wasn't really a hard choice for us. My primary argument is that these kids have spent 24 hours a day together for nearly their whole lives. Don't we owe them each a little "me time?" I'm hopeful that spending the day apart will make their time at home together more peaceful and happy. In addition, because one of the twins is excessively dominant (not naming names), this will give Boy Twin (oops!) a chance to let his own light shine and speak for himself on occasion. Poor kid, it must stink having two mamas sometimes. 
I am a teeny bit worried about how they will handle the separation, but a level headed kindergarten teacher advised me this week not to sweat it--if the first few days are a disaster, we can always put them together. At our school, the kindergartners aren't assigned a teacher until the 5th day. They spend the first week just shifting kids around in different combinations, with different teachers, getting to know everyone. I didn't like this process for Big Sis, but I think it will be great for the twins to get used to being apart.
Here's to new beginnings, growing up and having a SUPER school year x TWO!

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