Monday, November 7, 2011

Just Me and My Cousin

My 3 children have 8 cousins and counting!  There are 3 cousins on the Flowers' side and 5+ on the Beahm's side (can't wait to meet Lucy's sister in December)!  This past weekend, our newest member of the Beahm/Flowers, Caleb, met the other most recent member of the Beahms, Cooper!  I love that the cousins are all so close in age, some even by just a few months... Wendy & Josiah, Josiah & Adalai, Vera & Rachel, Lucy & Geneva, and now Cooper & Caleb! 

Here are pictures of Caleb and Cooper's first get-together...

These boys will hopefully remain fast friends as they grow up together!

It was so much fun having the Charleston Beahms visit the Raleigh area and get to meet Caleb!  Amazingly enough, while they were here for the weekend, Lynn's sister, Jenny, had her first baby!  It's definitely the year of the baby!!!

One last cute picture of Cooper...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Lion, The Care Bear, and The Spiderman!

Just a couple years ago, I blogged about Halloween with a pirate and a princess! Last year, while taking a hiatus from blogging, we enjoyed Halloween fun with Buzz Lightyear, some sweet fairy princesses, and an adorable ladybug (Jenny was home with her girls). This year, on the rainy Halloween night, the kids (yes, all 3: dressed as... you guessed it, a lion, a care bear, and Spiderman) and I went trick-or-treating with our sweet friends, the Jacksons! Their daughter, Madison, is in Josiah's class at school and the kids love playing with her and her younger sister, Ella (who is only a month younger than Geneva).

Side note... The Jackson family has really been there for me with Scott out of town for 2 weeks at Firearms Instructor School! Scott gets to learn about and shoot just about every type of gun, from handguns to fully automatic rifles, while I try to survive two weeks without being overrun by 3 children, despite the fact that Caleb doesn't like for me to sleep very long! Less than one week left and I get my wonderful husband back! Not quite sure how Mom did it with 4 of us all the time... And you did such an amazing job, Mom! :)

So back to Halloween...
Josiah summed it up: "It would have been more fun if it hadn't rained!" But the kids were adorable walking down the sidewalk single file each with their own umbrellas! It reminded me of what it must have been like for Jenny and I trick-or-treating in our water-proof Big Bird costumes in the rain in Canada when we were little! Madison lives up the street from another best friend of Josiah's from his class, Elijah, so we stopped to pick up him, his brother, and his mom. Other than us 3 moms and the 6 kids with umbrellas (and Caleb in my arms), no one else was out! I guess everyone else had the right idea, to stay in and dry! But the kids had fun and got some candy... And with fewer trick-or-treaters out, we had more candy leftover for us to enjoy (I guess that's the reason we buy candy we like!). Caleb did not really seem to care too much for Halloween and especially the costume! It took a lot for me to finally get a picture of him in his little lion costume when he wasn't crying!

Caleb is 8 weeks old now and very much making it known how much he is his own person and nothing like how his older siblings were as babies! He is getting better about the carseat just this week, whereas before he cried throughout entire cartrips almost everywhere we went. But he still prefers to be held (and lets us know pretty quickly), so I am learning to do quite a bit while wearing him, thanks to Jenny and her wonderful slings! They have made shopping, cooking, cleaning, and so many other things possible... including a field trip to the farm with Rachel (my first time ever going on a field trip as a parent, not a teacher!) where she got to pick out a "silly" pumpkin (the picture above), Halloween, and the JDRF Walk for Diabetes we participated in with the Jacksons on Saturday! It actually rained that day too so the Jacksons turned it into a "Jump for Diabetes" at Jumping Beans (inflatable funhouse) instead! The Jacksons have helped me get more involved with JDRF last year (Madison has Type 1 diabetes like Scott and was in my kindergarten class last year), but this year Josiah felt more involved as he said he wanted to walk for his daddy too (as well as for his friend, Madison)! It's such a joy to see my children taking ownership in such an important cause! Another joy we have experienced recently is Rachel joining Josiah in learning Bible verses each week for Awanas at our church, and also having deeper conversations with us about his understanding of his faith in Jesus. I am so blessed to have children who love God and desire to know Him more, and to have a husband who helps me guide our children deeper in their faith!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Now We Are Six

This title has a few meanings behind it... It comes from one of my beloved authors (A. A. Milne - Winnie the Pooh); This is the year our oldest son turned 6 (the age that A. A. Milne's poem was about); And our family has now grown to one more, making us a family of 6 (according to Josiah who always makes sure to include our dog, Bailey... And sometimes he remembers to include the hamster, Little Jessie). It has definitely been a big year for the Flowers family and we have all grown in so many ways! Since it's been over a year since the last time I've blogged, I'll start with some stories that go with some pictures from the year!

Josiah and I had our ups and downs of going to school together and being next door to each other in Kindergarten, but overall we both really enjoyed our time together! Josiah especially loved playing in my classroom after school and I especially loved getting to ride on the bus with him on field trips! Even though I couldn't chaperone for his class because I had to chaperone my own, we still got to ride together on the bus! Josiah is now in first grade and down the hall farther from me. He has definitely grown up more and doesn't even want me to give him kisses anymore when he leaves my room, but I still love seeing his arms outstretched to give me a hug when we pass in the hallway at school! I can't believe he's 6 already! We celebrated Josiah's birthday with another favorite character: Buzz Lightyear and the Toy Story theme. We had a birthday first - a piñata (a horse representing Woody's horse Bullseye from the movie)! Josiah had picked it out and was all excited... Until it was too hard to break. He decided he didn't want to have a piñata ever again! Josiah may forget things easily, but he doesn't quickly forget decisions like these! He still reminds us of his piñata decision!

This was the second year ever going strawberry picking, which Rachel adored (picking and eating)! But it was a big summer of firsts! We took the kids to their first baseball game... A huge thing for me, as I have so many fond memories of family trips to see major league baseball games! We saw the Carolina Mudcats and the Durham Bulls! We also took the kids bowling for the first time, which they also really enjoyed! Josiah went on his first father/son camping trip where Scott took him fishing. Rachel was pretty jealous (as was I!); even though she loves being the princess (and went to her first daddy/daughter dance earlier this year), she still likes to get out and rough it with the boys! So we had our own special girls' weekend while the boys camped! Rachel took a gymnastics class this summer, showing off her fearlessness there as well as at the pool and ocean (she loved the waves!); while Josiah finally seemed to overcome some of fears of the water and really took to swimming! The kids also got to meet their first boy cousin on the Beahm side of the family... Josiah was thrilled! More boys! And one more still to come!!!

With the Fall, came more firsts: Josiah starting to play soccer, the addition of a hamster, and Rachel's first haircut (yes, she made the first cut, so she got to go to a real hair dresser for the rest to get trimmed). Rachel also turned 4, which we celebrated with her favorite character, Princess Tiana from Disney's Princess and the Frog!

Of course our biggest family news the year has been the birth of our youngest son, Caleb James, who is now 1 month old! It is amazing how such a tiny little boy can turn our world upside down (but in so many good ways). We all absolutely adore Caleb and the older 2 have proven to be the best older brother and sister ever! I am amazed, thankful, and blessed daily to see how much love Josiah and Rachel show to their younger brother! God has truly blessed us so far this year and helped us to grow in so many ways as a family and individually! Hopefully the next blog will be sooner, rather than later, and can be more about Caleb and the intricacies of having this family of 5 (or 6 or 7, depending on who you're asking and how the pets are valued as family members!)!

P. S. I wrote this blog and added pictures completely from my iPhone, since I have a lot less time where I can sit in front of the computer. I did need to make a few picture formatting changes from my laptop, but I just have to say... I love my iPhone!

Now We Are Six
By A.A. Milne

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six
now and forever.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Look Out, Kindergarten, Here I Come!

Josiah started Kindergarten just a couple weeks ago!  It's amazing watching him walk down the hallways of the school where I've been teaching since he was born.  He and Rachel have run down the hallways and played in my classroom, but this time he is actually there as a student!  The transition has definitely been a bit difficult but overall he has had a great first couple weeks of Kindergarten!  The first week, he came for "staggered entry" where he came for a day of assessments and adjustment with a smaller group of kids.  He had a good time, but since there were two of us Track 1 teachers working together, his teacher and myself, he had a little difficulty separating from me.  He wanted "Mommy" quite a bit.  All in all, he made some friends and had a great time!  He even had a blast playing in my classroom that afternoon by himself (while I was working around the classroom), which is what he's been used to at my school and had probably been looking forward to all day! 

Reading a story with Mrs. Julie Arellano on staggered entry day (in my classroom)!

Coloring with friends!

Mrs. Kerri Sauer making Josiah smile for a picture!  :)

Lunchtime!!!  The cafeteria looks empty because it was staggered entry day.  It's actually pretty full on a regular school day now.

 Centers (math center)

A favorite past time after school in my classroom - drawing on the white board!


That Friday was Josiah's first "real" day of Kindergarten in Ms. Lisa Wilson's class!  He was definitely nervous that morning (he was hungry, then not hungry, then his tummy hurt, and he did NOT want to be in any pictures as you can probably tell by his picture above with Rachel and Peyton).  Rachel, on the other hand, couldn't wait to go to Kindergarten!  She was definitely sad when she realized that I was taking her to preschool instead of to "Mommy's class", as she puts it.  Her teacher, Ms. Joanna, is amazing, though, and made her feel better.  And it helped that she had "Tumblebus" (what her shirt is for), her gymnastics/tumbling class at school, that day.  Josiah finally did eat his breakfast in my classroom, which has become a preferred place for breakfast for him.  I think he likes the peace of my classroom with just him and me... he also enjoys it when Hannah Arellano (first grader, daughter of Julie Arellano, the TA in my class) shows up and they can play before the day starts!  His day got better when I took him in Ms. Wilson's room.  He remembered some of the kids that had been in his staggered entry group and he liked being able to see Mommy every so often.  Josiah would get a little sad occasionally when seeing me because he wanted to come to me and knew he couldn't get out of line or leave his seat, but it was nothing that a hug couldn't fix!

Josiah enjoyed sitting with a friend he made at staggered entry.  It made the transition easier for me to leave the room without him being sad (although I was still sad).

Josiah and his teachers, Ms. Wilson (right) and Mrs. Sauer (left)... right before Ms. Wilson, my dear friend, kicked me out and told me to get back to work teaching my own class!!!  ;)  She knew that Josiah would be much better without me hanging around!  I did have to keep myself in check because I wanted to peek in on him and see how he was doing throughout the day.  My class did keep me busy, so I didn't have too much time to go next door.  That will be a good thing for me this year (to stay busy)!  It still seems so surreal, and makes me sentimental, sometimes to watch him with the other Kindergartners and know that he's really here!

Josiah loves his teacher, Ms. Wilson!  All smiles by the end of the day!

So with Josiah making big steps in his life, Rachel is wanting to take big steps too!  She copies everything Josiah does (hence the backpack in the earlier picture) and despite still being a month and a half away from being 3, she has moved up to the 3-year-old class at school!  She's fully potty-trained and wants to do everything herself... including painting her toenails!!!  As a treat one day, I painted her nails with some little girl glitter nail polish I found and she loved it!  Of course, she wanted to do that by herself too and got quite a bit on her fingers and toes (more so than the actual nails), but we had some great girl time!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Oh, The Places You'll Go... To Infinity & Beyond!

 It's amazing how quickly time flies!  Josiah will be starting Kindergarten in just a few short weeks!  To commemorate his last day of preschool, the school celebrated a "Preschool Graduation" for him and the others who will be moving up to Kindergarten.  Now to be quite honest, it was really interesting, and a little foreign to me, to have such a big ordeal for "graduating" from preschool.  There wasn't anything like that when we grew up and whenever I had a Kindergarten student bring in their "Preschool Graduation" pictures for share time, I always laughed with other teachers about how I couldn't believe they made such a big deal of that with caps and gowns and everything!  However, when the time came for Josiah to "graduate" from preschool, I did get pretty into it and enjoyed the celebration of moving from one stage of his life to the next!  The transition into Kindergarten, starting his academic career, is a big one and the "graduation ceremony" that his preschool put on was just one way to celebrate that!  The more we have talked about Kindergarten coming up, the more questions Josiah has about school.  Recently he asked how many grades he was going to have to be in (after asking what came after Kindergarten and I told him it was 1st grade, then 2nd, and so on).  Of course being the honest one, told him that it would be at least 13 grades/years and then college!  Not the best thing to tell a 5 year old who thinks that 13 is a big number!  He responded that he did not want to go to college... not because it was a lot of grades/years, but because he didn't want to leave us, his Mommy and Daddy!!!  I was touched, but responded that he might change his mind later!  :)  He quickly informed me that he would not change his mind, so I said that if he really still did not want to leave us, he could always stay at home and go to college (though I may change my mind later too... we've got plenty of time to think about that one!).  After some of the excitement at the "Preschool Graduation", I have to wonder how much bigger the celebration at the High School Graduation will have to be to top this; however, it was really sweet how the preschool made a big deal of celebrating each child's strengths, friendships, and lives for this short time they have had with our children... though Josiah was with them the longest!!!  Josiah has been with Harvest Church Preschool for almost 4 years!  He was 15 months old in August of '06 when he started about the time that the preschool opened!  And now he's moving up and out into the big wide world of public school!  We have been so blessed with the wonderful Christian influences through Harvest Church Preschool and have loved the women who have loved and cared for our children!  I am so glad that Rachel is continuing on there with some amazing people!  We are also blessed to have Josiah coming to MY school!  He will be in Kindergarten in the very next room to me with a great teacher, Ms. Lisa Wilson!  Lisa and I have worked together since Josiah was born, so he has known her since then as Miss Lisa!  So our recent experience has been for him to get used to calling her Ms. Wilson!  I have also been able to bring him with me to my classroom while I get some end of the year work done (now that school is out, THANKFULLY!!!), which has helped him get used to doing things in the classroom as a KINDERGARTNER!  The kids have spent many days in my classroom, but have just played and had fun.  It was interesting watching him play in the classroom and seeing him go to the bathroom in the there by himself, wash his hands by himself, clean up by himself, and so on (all stuff he does at home, but doesn't always want to do by himself because he has Mommy and Daddy to do stuff for him or argue with that he doesn't want to do it at all)!  Josiah and Rachel are always transitioning and growing in new ways each day, but the big transition from preschool to Kindergarten has made me really look at the little ways they are changing too!  Rachel is going to be so sad to not be able to come to my school and go to Kindergarten with Josiah!  She is constantly copying him (good and bad), but is actually more of a risk taker than he is and probably ever was.  She desperately wants to ride HIS bike, play HIS games, do HIS puzzles, say the same things as him, and do everything by herself (even if she can't)!  Rachel is definitely enjoying being 2!!!  And she will tell you that!  It is a busy time with both of them, but lots of fun!  Praise God for all that He has blessed us with!

Josiah said a verse during their performance!  He did a great job!

They sang a few really cute songs about friendship and God... I am so glad Dad recorded it!  It sounds adorable!  Sorry I don't have a short video to post here!

Josiah getting his "diploma"!  He couldn't figure out why he was being called up on stage because he'd already been up there once to get his "Best Writer" award!  They had to call his name twice!  The projector to the right of the stage showed a slideshow later in the "ceremony" of pictures of the kids as babies, then throughout their preschool years at Harvest Church along with an inspirational message about following God throughout the rest of their lives as well!  Bring on the tears!  Very sweet!

Lucy, Uncle Chris, and Aunt Melissa came to celebrate the graduation with us, as did Mimi and Opa, Grandma Lynn, and Grandma and Dida!  So much fun!  Josiah had a blast with Lucy!  He even fed her cantaloupe!  Mostly because he just wanted the watermelon, so he was asking me to cut up what he didn't want so he could feed her.  But he did a good job!

 Peyton and Josiah, the preschool graduates, loving on their Rachel!  :)

 Rachel on Josiah's bike with Josiah's helmet!
 Rachel even wanted to try on Josiah's cap and gown!

Josiah celebrated his 5th birthday with a Lightning McQueen/Cars theme (his choice), but Buzz Lightyear/Toy Story gifts (also his choice)!  Here is he with his Buzz Lightyear pajamas, wings, and gloves... also sporting his Lighning McQueen knee pads that came with his roller skates that fit on the bottom of his shoes (those brought back memories!).

Rachel, of course, had to try on the same wings, gloves, and kneepads!

At the kids' party, we played "Pin the Wheel on McQueen"...

and "Musical Parking Spaces" (the blue tape on the floor were the parking spaces)!

The Lightning McQueen cake was a hit!
(The crafts at the back of the table were foam stickers and shapes to make road signs, another party activity.)

Another new activity for us this year... strawberry picking with friends!  Josiah picked a few (or actually held the bucket while I picked), then gave up and said it was too hot).  He ended up sitting in the shade with his friend, Emily, eating some of the strawberries from her basket.

Rachel, on the other hand, could have gone on for hours!  Her friend, Nina, showed her the ropes!  They looked for good red strawberries, picked them, and then sometimes put them in the bucket and sometimes ate them!  :)