Friday, May 31, 2013

Goodbye, First Grade! Hello, Summer!

First day and last day of first grade!
Totally different smile - wow!!!  That baby smile is gone forever!

We have had such a wonderful year in Mrs. Moorhead's class.
I don't have enough words to tell you how perfect this teacher and classroom has been for my daughter.  I wish we could do a repeat next year.

We celebrated this last week with an Old Fashioned Party: old timey games like jacks and marbles, and root beer and coke floats for a treat!
Tucker was already done with preschool, and perfectly thrilled to tag along to big sis' party.

The kids and I all had our first coke float at the same time:

My friend Gena spoils Tucker rotten.  I just know when he's 12 or 13, he's going to run away from home and go to her house.

Today was a half day dismissal, and Lana asked me to please pick her up in carline.
I can't tell you when I've been happier, picking up this cutie and knowing that she's all mine, all summer long!

As is our tradition, she got to choose where she'd go out to lunch: King Buffet was today's choice.

After lunch, we headed home.  Love her sweet surprise at the front door!

 Inside she made a beeline to our list of Summer Fun!

Special summer goodies were waiting on the table

 she loved her first pair of "dangly" earrings!  

and even a special sign on her door, with notes from all of us.

 Life is just sweeter with Lana home with us.
She is truly a ray of sunshine, and we are so glad it's summer!

Her only other request is that she wants to let Pepper sleep with her tonight.
We're going for it....more on that later!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Crockpot chicken and rice

I really like cooking in my crock pot, but let's be honest: 
crockpot meals are hard to come by.  
There are so many out there, but not all of them are good.

I have tried for years to find a crockpot chicken and rice recipe that our family enjoys, but I haven't had any luck.  The primary problem has been the rice - we don't prefer it cooked in the crockpot.  It leaves the texture way more mushy than we like.

The recipe we tried last night was very tasty, and it solved the problem of the mushy rice by adding just one extra step, which I can handle.

Quick, easy, and everyone enjoyed it - this is a recipe we'll be coming back to on busy night!

2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 2 large ones and it was more than enough chicken.)
1 package cream cheese, 8 oz. (put out on counter the night before to soften)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 package dry Italian dressing seasoning
white rice

  1. Put cream cheese, cream of chicken, and dressing into the crockpot on low and let it sit for about 30 minutes while you finish getting ready or folding a load of clothes.  When it's getting kind of melty, stir it all together.
  2. Put the frozen chicken on top of the cream cheese mixture.
  3. Cook on high for 4-6 hours.  (You can cut the chicken into strips after a couple of hours if you want, for easier eating.)
  4. Cook the white rice in your rice cooker (my favorite!) or in a pot on the stove.
  5. Serve the chicken mixture on top of the cooked white rice.
  6. Add a side salad and some bread and you've got a meal! 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Vulnerable. Both of us.

Who was it that said "to have a child is to forever have your heart walking around outside your body?"

I used to think that was kind of silly, but now I think it's pretty accurate.

Looking at that picture above makes my heart cramp up and tears come to my eyes.

You can just see it in her face....what it maybe feels like to be the youngest player on the team and to play with teammates who have played 4 seasons more than you and not to have played even played last season at all because your mom was kind of lazy and to not quite understand the rules and mechanics of the game and to not have quite the coordination the others girls do but to play your heart out anyway.

Sitting on the sidelines is hard, ya'll, when your kid isn't the best one out there.
when she sits on the bench quite a lot but has the best attitude about it, cheering her friends on at the top of her lungs.
when she's the last one to get playing time, and the first one called off.
when she kicks at that ball with all her might but misses.
when she tries her best to "stay in her lane" but gets so excited that she ends up wherever the ball is, even if it's on the opposite side of the field she's supposed to be on.
when she scores the goal or makes the assist and her little eyes light up brighter than any Christmas morning.
when she is so gangly and awkward that she falls down often, and her coaches yell to "stay on your feet!" and she really is trying her best to do that...she really isn't trying to fall down.
when the coach yells "HEY!  DID YOU FALL ASLEEP OUT THERE?!" and you can see the shame on her face and it takes all your self control not to run out there and scoop her up in your arms.
when it takes all your self control not to yell back across the field at that coach who is really quite wonderful and very good with your child most of the time, just not this one time.
when no matter how many times she doesn't get it quite right she still keeps playing with everything she's got, and you realize she has more tenacity than most adults, and you don't even know where that came from.
because if it were you, by this time you would have called it a day and gone home for a hot bath and a good book, but she just keeps at it.
when, at the end of the season, she declares "I think I'll play soccer a few more years.  I'm pretty good at it."

I seriously spent every game wearing sunglasses to hide my tears...usually of pride at how super fabulous she has turned out to be, despite my all-too-often failures and pathetic attempts at mothering.  At how brave and tenacious she is.  At how she sees everything as wonderful.

And here's the truth of it right now:
I know there are some lessons in this soccer season, some deep truths about parenting and letting go and giving them a chance to fail, and thus, to succeed.....but I don't even know what those lessons are right now!  I don't even care!  And my eyes are too puffy to think about it!  All I know is that I didn't know I could love like this.

Tucker's last day of 2 year old preschool

Today was Tucker's last day in Mrs. Laura and Ms. Carla's 2 year old class!

Look at how much he's grown since the first day:

 They celebrated today with some water fun:

He has been loved oh-so-well by these wonderful teachers!
We are thankful beyond words.

Sharks soccer party

First, here are some of my favorite pictures of the season:
click on any picture to enlarge

Tonight their soccer team had their party at Pizza Hut.  Lana was so proud of her trophy.

It was fun to celebrate a great season together!
Her coaches really were excellent,
and as the youngest girl on the team, she made some good friends and had a good experience.  We can't ask for more than that!