Friday, August 7, 2020

Busy Week

It was a super busy week but here we are!  My nieces have been here in Charlotte staying with us so I’ve pretended to be a mama of four and loved every second of it. They are the biggest help ever and extremely well mannered!  Both of my kids LOVED having them here and so did Kevin and I!  We didn’t do a ton...mostly the pool, another pool and our big outing was visiting the Big Rock Nature Preserve one day while Grady was at school. But we still had so much fun hanging out!  

We also had a garage door issue at one of our rental houses this week, renewing a lease at another and the other had a locking issue that a locksmith had to deal with.  And we are working on our sliding glass door at our own house and a gutter issue too. Never ending and I feel like when it rains it pours on rental property stuff! 







This boy is so long!  


He loves his D as he calls Mills!



Aren’t these towels the cutest?  My parents got them for the kids for when we went to Maryland so they’d have a special treat waiting for them!  Here is Molly Anne’s and here is Grady’s!  They do this thing after they get out of the bath every night where they cuddle on the floor...so I finally took a picture of it ha!  They started doing it in Maryland. So cute!



Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Grady Starts School

I have major mixed emotions.  Grady started school yesterday in the 2's program!  He had been home with me for almost 5 months and I am so thankful for that time!  Truly!  But it's time for him to go be with children his age and in a more structured environment.  He will learn so much more there and be able to socialize and interact with others!  It will be so good for him.  And I'll be there waiting every afternoon when he wakes up from his nap!  I already have been like wellll I don't send him this day or that day but the reality is, he needs to go every day and get into his own new routine. 







This is a picture that his teacher sent me midday!

Playing in room 100!  Basically all outdoor toys but inside a huge room for a change of scenery and for hot/rainy days!



In full disclosure, today they called around 11 and said he was just not happy and they tried to comfort him etc but he wasn’t himself. They said they could keep him but if I wanted to pick him up, it may be a good idea. And maybe we need to ease him back into school. Which makes complete sense and he also wasn’t the only one having trouble. Bless his little heart. 


He hasn’t cried either day at drop off but his teacher said both days when he realized we were gone, he cried!  This too shall pass and we will all get used to our new normal! 


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Long Sleeve Shirt

I have been looking for a comfortable navy long sleeve shirt since last Fall and I finally found it.  It’s Pima cotton but has some stretch in it too. It comes in a bunch of colors. I’m wearing it here over a tank top and with these shorts.  It’s not tight at all and is legit a comfortable shirt. Finally!!  I’m in a 12 and typically wear that/Large. 









Monday, August 3, 2020

Rest of Maryland

Just some more pictures of our trip to Maryland!  Treasured memories and thankful for them!




We were at the playground of the church I grew up in and Poppa pulled up to go work on their computers. So we of course had to go see him!


Our neighbor brought Grady a football!  This boy has an arm on him and is pretty accurate!  


Books with Nannie





That’s a big boy to hold right there! 38 pounds of goodness!


They played and played!


We met Aunt Jenni at the playground to say hi too!



Some special memories are worth a little risk!  Kindergarten supply shopping with Nannie, the retired elementary school teacher! 



She was soooo proud of herself ha!  And VERY excited!



Grady playing with my brothers old cars!


Friday morning I took the kids to the zoo. They had it closed off in some parts and you had to follow one particular way to get around so everyone stayed far apart. It was nicely done!  Grady’s first time at the zoo without a stroller and he did so well!  He’s at that golden stage where he listens and does whatever I say. Plus, he follows the ring leader Molly Anne around like a hawk!  I will say, it was nice to have two kids walking with me in a public place and not having to haul the stroller all over creation. I didn’t even take it with me to Maryland. First time ever!






Back to Charlotte we came on Saturday. These two had screen time overdose but it doesn’t phase me for a special occasion like this. Molly Anne will not sit there for 9 hours and watch TV anyway. We played road games and she wrote some letters. Grady was eating the entire time, looking out the window at trucks and sleeping for about 45 minutes haha.  I think we were waiting for our chick fil a here. 


I made it in 9 hours and 6 minutes with only two stops - one was in Suffolk, VA for bathroom at the Hampton Inn, let Mills out, pumped gas while Mills drank water then Chick Fil A.  The kids ate their lunch in their car seats - never been able to do that before. Took about 35 minutes. 

The other was in Burlington, NC at a Hilton and that was for less than 15 minutes.  Car would get too hot for Mills so we flew in for the potty and that was it. Prob in and out in 90 seconds ha!  Then I serviced him and gave the kids snacks. Easy peasy!

Kevin bathed the kids while I got my act together.  Then when they went to bed, we sat on the patio with a drink and caught up. How about that sunset? 



Yesterday I got up and ran early with Jen and Kacey. Did lots of things around the house in the morning then went to the pool all afternoon. Kevin brought Grady after his nap!  

I have a nutty day today but it’s going to be a good week!  Happy Monday! 


Thursday, July 30, 2020

School

I’ve had such a good time up in Maryland but I have been mentally hammered down with school decision making for this upcoming year.  

First Grady - 
His school/daycare was starting back August 4th hence why I came up here this week versus next.  Well I arrive here last Thursday and get a call from the director of his school that says his classroom doesn’t have the teachers until mid September because of various reasons. Okay fine, I can deal with that since I’ve done it since March.  She told me who they were and my friend’s daughter had these teachers last year and they’re amazing!  So, easy decision to wait it out and honestly, I would have waited for any teacher. We are in weird times and the least I could do is have patience. But still, not what I was expecting. He is much harder to have home with me while I work because of his age. I do have two other babysitters that will still be here and not off to college thankfully!  

Then Wednesday I get another call from the director that says they have a spot for him to start Tuesday and it was likely with a certain teacher etc. I was stoked.  But then another teacher called me to set up our meet the teacher meeting and I just knew after one conversation it wasn’t the right fit.  And this is coming from someone who thinks this school and ALL of its teachers hung the moon.  So clearly something was going on. Anyway, on Thursday, after a lot of (likely unnecessary) stress on my part they were able to move him to ANOTHER room that starts on Tuesday.  I felt terrible about the whole thing but my mom group of moms from the same school really encouraged me to do what I knew would be best for Grady. Along with some other folks. Anyway, he is set now. I think.  Kevin is going to the school meeting tomorrow for further details!

Molly Anne - 
I know this is semi controversial and I honestly do not feel like I have to validate our reasons to anyone.  But I want to look back here and have it written down so I remember what this was like. And also maybe it helps someone else going through a similar situation?

This is the deal - we live in a county outside of Charlotte. They announced a couple of weeks ago that they would be doing one day a week in person and the rest of the days of the week virtual. We happened to have her well visit the next day and I spoke to her pediatrician about it...he works at a large practice in Charlotte. He told me every pediatrician in their group thinks schools should be open for in person every day and he would send his children. I trust him implicitly and that’s all I needed.  He had said the same for Grady needing to get back to school. I also listened to Molly Anne’s very first pediatrician’s podcasts and news specials and she agreed. It was a no brainer to me at this point that she needed to be in school.  

So here are the facts - 
- she was registered for Kindergarten in February and attended the orientation and has been soooo excited. 
- she has a late birthday in the “everyone in Charlotte holds their kids back” world. Literally it’s a thing here.
- no one knows when Covid will be better and everyone’s life is back to normal. 

Back in early July, I put Molly Anne on the wait list for Kindergarten at the school she had been for two years and where Grady will be. I knew they’d be in person with no masks in the classroom. 

Then we found out what our county was doing so we researched some private schools just in case.  We talked to a lot of people. We then decided that we didn’t want her going to a private school for one year then moving back to public. Kevin was the one that brought this up and I completely agreed. There were some other issues we had with private too. Cut off dates for admission and paying for private but then going remote too. Nothing was guaranteed. So private school was kind of out for us. 

Then when the director called me about Grady last week I asked her about opening more Kindergarten classes and she told me they wouldn’t be.  So that was out. Then I emailed the admissions lady and she told me there was a TK spot open. This is where I was off the ledge of sanity and could not figure out what to do!  

From Friday until Tuesday Kevin and I talked and I talked to friends. And my parents. And teachers. And Molly Anne’s old teachers. And more friends. And educators I trust implicitly.  

Ultimately, Kevin and I decided she was going to Kindergarten at our nearby elementary school and we were going to stick it out with one day a week in person and the rest remote.  

Here are some key reasons:
1.  Kevin really felt strongly that going back to TK would be holding her back. Literally, holding Molly Anne back from advancing. Kevin doesn’t speak up much and usually leaves this stuff up to me because he knows I’m a freak about it all. But when Kevin speaks up, I listen. And he always has good thoughts on things. And typically always solves my hardest problems!!
2.  Sending her back to her old school with her friends was comfortable for all of us, but was it the right decision for her?  Sometimes we have to go out of our comfort zone. 
3.  We want her to graduate with the class of 2033. I don’t want this stupid virus to dictate her next 12 years and for her to be behind where she should be. Look, I get it. Everyone is going to be changed by this virus but I want to do everything in my power to make life normal for my kids.  
4.  Another option we had was for her to do TK then go straight to 1st grade.  North Carolina is one of 6 states to not require Kindergarten but knowing my luck, they’d change the law next year. So this decided it for us because for her to graduate in 2033 then going to the elementary school for Kindergarten was the only sure way this would happen. 
5.  Molly Anne has always wanted to be a big kid. She has always played with older kids. She doesn’t venture to the younger side as much. She needs the challenge of older influences. She does well with that I think. This sorta reverts back to #1 above. 
6.  We LOVE the principal at the elementary school and I know he’s going to do everything in his power to have an amazing school year. I actually spoke to him on the phone yesterday and he is so good.  I feel comfortable with Molly Anne being there with him. 
7.  I know Kindergarten is supposed to be a special year and all of that. And I know that’s not going to be the case this year. But it’s not for anyone or any grade. It’s just how it is. And I’m fine with that. And Molly Anne has been in school/daycare her whole life. She’s fine. It will be special. She picked out a new backpack to get and we went to Target and bought school supplies!  She loved it. And it also helps that she has nothing to compare it to so it’ll be normal for her. 
8.  We don’t know what next year will bring. I can tell you one thing - if we had held her back this year and then next August it’s the same deal, I would be not a happy camper!!  I won’t be first in line for a vaccine and I haven’t heard of anyone that would be. So how does this dramatically get better other than time?!  And how do we predict that?  
9.  Fortunately I did not let the fact that we do need childcare get in the way of doing what’s best for Molly Anne. Yes, we are two working parents and I’m eternally thankful for my flexible job and amazing company. But at the end of the day, we want what’s best for Molly Anne. Would it have been easy for me to send her back to the same school where Grady is (one drop off and one pick up) with full time childcare for her?  Yes!  Taking that out of the equation, was it right?  No. I don’t think so at least. I’m confident in our decision but who knows what it’s all going to end up looking like. The unknown is so hard for the planner in me and I know for a lot of my friends too!!

So yeah, I hope we made the right decision and after weighing pros and cons of it all, I feel good about it.

How do we plan to keep her socialized? 

- lots of activities: gymnastics, swimming, maybe tennis, set playdates. Being intentional about socialization. 

How do we plan to do school with her all day?
- well this is a wait and see. Supposedly it can all be on demand if need be but I do think the live instruction is crucial on her remote days.  I need to get a better handle on actual time that will be required. They say 4-5 hours per day but I can’t truly know this until we get into it. We have an amazing babysitter that is going to help us on a set schedule once we figure out what that looks like. 
- it also depends what my work is doing and how often we are supposed to be at the office.  And if I’m traveling again. A lot of unknowns that I’m taking day by day. 

Anyway, this is our story. Everyone has a different story and reason for what they do. At the end of the day you gotta do what’s best for you and your family. There is no right answer. It’s some crazy times friends and you can only do what you can do!  You do you and don’t judge!  We are all doing the best we can. 

Beach Day

On Tuesday I thought it’d be a great idea to head to the beach with both kids by myself ha. Where we went is about an hour drive from my parents.  I packed our cooler, a beach bag and off we went by 7:45am. 

In general it was super fun but a few things occurred.  The diaper situation complicated things a tiny bit. He can’t ride the hour in the car in a swim diaper so I had to change him at our parking spot on the front end and back end of our beach day. Not a huge deal but sandy kids are a mess!  And he took a nose dive in this black tiny gravel parking lot while I was changing Molly Anne quickly. He didn’t care about the fall but he was covered in black gook head to toe. You can’t make stuff like this up!  And the only other issue was how hot the sand was on the way back to the car and how much stuff (plus Grady because he couldn’t walk in the hot sand) I was carrying. I couldn’t run like usual and it didn’t make for some pleasant moments but we made it.  I needed real shoes on, not flops!  Just wanted y’all to know, it wasn’t as these perfect pictures make it look!

Let’s talk about the good stuff!!

My friend from work in Charlotte grew up going to Fenwick and her family has a house there. Her Dad was extremely kind to offer their resident parking pass so I literally parked right by the dune to go to the beach. This was amazingggg with all of the stuff I had to carry!  

Molly Anne and Grady had a blast!  Grady was terrified of the ocean but this beach is honestly very rough and it’s intimidating. Molly Anne wouldn’t go in very far either. Mainly because I wouldn’t let her but she was scared of it too. It drops off suddenly and the waves were huge on this day.  I feel like South Carolina beaches are wide and gentle so they’re good for younger kids!  Grady loved the ocean there so I think it was just how intimidating it was this time!  But Grady LOVED the unlimited sandbox here!!  Molly Anne stayed by the water most of the time and jumped into the waves as they came up!  

Of course we parked our stuff on the beach right by the lifeguard stand because why not.  These pictures are a tiny bit deceiving because I took most of them when we first got there and not many people were on the beach yet.  It did fill up but never too close for comfort. Of course the group next to us, the daughter goes to school in Charlotte and loves to babysit. She played with Molly Anne for the longest time!  So when Alexa comes back to school she definitely will have to come over and watch them!  

We stayed on the beach for four hours!!!  It was really a good time and I’m glad we did it. The thought crossed my mind to take them back today but there’s no way. It wore all of us out and we want to hang with my parents a bit longer. 

Ok I’ll stop typing. Here are the pictures!







































Molly Anne really wanted a picture with a lifeguard so this worked out!



The view from Alex’s parents house!


Of course we stopped for ice cream!  This time at Kohrs Brothers. 






That’s called Beach Tired!



Relaxing back at Nannie and Poppa’s.



Awwww



Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Maryland This Week

We are having a fun week in Maryland with my parents! 







Saturday night we had crab cakes, corn and tomatoes. The crab came right off the boat in Crisfield, MD.  Dad cooks corn like this. 2 minutes per cob. He does chop off the bottom so it’s flat in the microwave and it makes pealing the husk easier. It’s perfect!

Molly Anne are most of her crab cake. Grady ate some of it. But I’m just glad they had it!  Always good to try new foods.  Well Molly Anne has had crab many times and Grady has some last year too but you know. 


Sprinkle a little old bay on ya corn!



Loveable little Grady. He’s so loving these days. He always wants a big group hug!






Sunday we drove over to Assateague to see the wild horses!  We saw a bunch and it made Molly Anne’s day!  They were just like Spirit - wild and free!






Then we stopped by the outside window of Dumsers and grabbed ice cream to eat in the car.  We drove around Ocean City and checked things out. It was semi crowded but not like it usually would be.  We weren’t stepping foot on that boardwalk or on any rides though. No way!


Back hanging out in the street talking to neighbors and playing. What we grew up doing ha!  My parents borrowed a bike for Molly Anne from a local bike shop so she’d have one to ride while she’s been home. Let me tell y’all - she has put some miles on that thing!!  My parents live on a culdesac street so she goes down to the culdesac and back!  She thinks she’s a big girl doing that by herself. Of course my parents know everyone that lives down there so it’s safe don’t y’all worry. I brought Grady’s favorite scooter (plasma car!) with us so he has been cruising around the streets too. Flying down my parents driveway as fast as possible and getting a head start by beginning in their garage. Crazy boy!!  










Sunday night Dad picked up crabs from Old Mill for take out and we had them after the kids went to bed!  I love picking crabs!!  We always have fun doing that together!  No one gets it unless you grew up doing it!



Monday we kinda just hung around the house messing around. We played outside a ton. After nap, we headed over to our church’s playground and played with my friend Ashley’s girls!  They happened to be here from Raleigh at the same time as us.  Ashley and I grew up together.  So this was a big treat to get together!  



And it was a big treat because neither of our kids had been on a playground since March because they’re still closed in North Carolina! 


I’ve never had to bathe my kids twice but I did after this little playground date!  They had a BLAST!


Sweet friends!!



Mom of course got a Smith Island cake for us to enjoy. Grady is a fan!!  Molly Anne is obsessed and is at the point of expecting it when we come here now!  They always have something written on it and this year it was, “We love you all so much!”


Grady is also a big fan of Poppa!  Poppa poppa poppa!


Tuesday I took the kids to the beach!  Stay tuned for that recap!