Monday, June 11, 2012

LAST Day of Kindergarten!

Was my last post really about the first day of kindergarten? I'm finally posting again and we just celebrated the LAST day of kindergarten.  Much has happened in between, so I'll try to catch you up!

  • We celebrated Audrey's 2nd birthday later in September.
  • About a month after Ava started kindergarten, Mark was offered and accepted a new job - IN MARYLAND!  He started November 7, and I stayed with the kids in Ohio until Christmas.
  • We rushed to get our house ready to put on the market which happened right after Mark started his new job.  
  • Ava turned 6 in November!
  • The week before Christmas, in the midst of me frantically trying to pack in preparation for living with my parents while waiting for our house to sell, we got an offer on the house at about 85% of the asking price.  We had already priced low desiring to sell quickly, and we weren't at a point of being desperate to sell, so we countered at $1K less that asking price.  We figured they weren't that interested and were just hoping to get a steal (frankly, I was annoyed that they were wasting valuable packing time!).
  • Mom & Dad came out with Mark a few days before Christmas to load up what I'd packed.  In the midst of loading up, we missed calls on both our cell phones from our realtor calling to say the buyers had come back (after the deadline had passed) with a much more significant offer.  After some calls back and forth to work out the details and negotiate a final deal, we finally accepted their offer and were now faced with packing everything up and being moved out by January 20!
  • We celebrated Christmas in Maryland, then drove to West Virginia to celebrate with Mark's family.  Mark's new job gave him the week between Christmas & New Year's off, so we headed back to Ohio for the rest of the week to pack.
  • Ava started school in Maryland, going to the same elementary school my parents attended as well as my Mammaw (although at that time, it was a high school!).  She also switched from a half-day to all-day, every day... and was amazing through it all - so proud of her!
  • Once we closed on January 20, we started looking for homes in Maryland.  I feel like I could write a book about the experience of looking for a house.  I can say with some certainty that most of the owners had never seen any HGTV shows about how to sell a house. 
  • We found a house in March - God worked out the details providing more than we thought we'd be able to find in this market, and we closed on April 20!  We took a few weeks to paint and transfer all our stuff from storage to the house and made the move mid-May.
We've been gradually getting things put away and are still living with lots of boxes, but we're thrilled to have a place and especially excited that we'll have room for guests!

To come full circle, Ava finished out her first year of school last week.  This fall, she'll be in a new school once again, but we moved into a neighborhood with lots of kids, so I'm hoping she will soon make friends and be excited to go to school with them.  I'm also hoping my next update isn't months from now!  Here are a few pictures from the last day to compare with the first day:
In front of our new front door!  She grew several inches over the school year - notice how much shorter her skirt is!
Outside her classroom

Getting off the bus at Nana & Pap's house - next year there will be a ton of kids that get off and get on the bus at the bus stop down the block from our house.  Should be quite different than going a mile or so before picking up the next rider!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Day of Kindergarten!

Today was our first day of kindergarten - first for our family AND first for Ava. Since she does struggle with anxiety at times, I have been wondering how she would do, but as we found out today, I didn't need to have any concerns!

School starts at 7:45am, and her bus is at our house at 7:15am! I am beyond thankful that Mark is a morning person and can help get her up and ready. He woke her up about 6:30am this morning and she was so excited. She'd given me explicit instructions about what to pack in her lunch and kept asking if I'd put everything in there requested. Breakfast eaten, hair combed, body dressed, teeth brushed, shoes tied, and we were ready to go!

We decided we'd take her on her first day so we could see her room and get the obligatory first day at school picture (it is a historic event, you know). When I told her, I think she was a little disappointed not to get to ride the bus, but then she told me it was okay since she could ride it home. Everyone loaded up and we were off for school. When we got there, Ava led the way (she'd been in for a reading assessment last week so she knew where to go), not even making sure we were keeping up. She ran into her room without even a look back until I asked her to stop for just a second so I could get a picture, and she agreed.

The house seemed quiet without her there (no bickering between her & Carter!), and poor Carter kept asking when she'd be back (missed having someone to pester and be pestered by, no doubt... I'm sure Audrey will figure it out before long). Soon enough, the clock said 2:15pm and I was waiting for the bus to stop in front of the house. I'm guessing they're still working out the kinks of dropping off kids since it didn't show until 2:30pm, but Ava was all smiles as she got off the bus and was especially happy to have made a new friend who was in her class and who also rode her bus.

We had a few minutes to ourselves while Ava filled me in on her day (2 recesses! guess that's one perk of all-day kindergarten) and enjoyed a cupcake. Then Carter was up and he grilled her on her first day... seriously... I don't know where he comes up with all his questions!

She has a strange schedule - all-day, every other day. She goes Tuesday and Friday and every other Wednesday, and this week is an on day for Wednesday. It may take a while for us to get used to the schedule.

I'm so glad she had a great first day - here's to a great first year!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Carter's Fourth

Way back in July, Carter turned four! We got to celebrate his birthday two weekends in a row - one in WV and one here in Ohio.
He has become such a big man over the past year and I'm so grateful to have him in our family. I guess it's because I'm so uncoordinated, but I find myself continually impressed with his athletic abilities. He has an abundance of energy and I'm often at a loss as to how to get it all out. His mind seems to go a mile a minute and the questions have become vast and varied. I love that he's so inquisitive, even though there are times when my own mind wears out trying to answer his constant queries.

He has moments of calm, too, and routinely asks me to snuggle with him. He has a great appetite and will try just about anything - and now that he's convinced being both strong and smart come from eating vegetables, he proudly eats them (usually), asking me to feel his muscles between bites. He's a great playmate to both his sisters and has taken to the role of big brother with Audrey in such a sweet way. Just tonight Mark ran to the store for a couple things and took Audrey and Carter with him. Audrey was squirming, so he let her down and Carter immediately grabbed her hand and guided her through the store. My prayer is that his heart continues to be tender and that he comes to truly understand how much God loves him so he can share that love with others. So thankful for our precious boy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I am still here!

It's been a horribly long time since I've updated and since there was so much to update, I kept putting it off until I had "more time." HA! So, I'll just jump in where we are and attempt to keep things brief (otherwise I'll not finish and continue putting off an update).

Ava is now 5 and a half and starts kindergarten this fall! On one hand, it's hard to believe, but on the other, it seems about time... feels like I've been home with kids forever, even though we're only a little over 5 years in. She seems so grown up to me and while we still have some struggles (you know, since neither one of us is perfect!), I love to see how her personality and interests are developing. She loves crafts, coloring, painting, anything artsy and is already showing herself to be quite an artist. Of course, I'm comparing her artwork to mine, so take that for what it's worth!

Carter is still rough and tumble with a huge side of sensitive. And, he'll be 4 next week. FOUR! For some reason, this seems to mark the end of my little boy in my mind - he's so busy with play and becoming more and more independent. I'm so glad that he is my snuggly, lovey, affectionate child and he's agreed never to grow out of it! He and Ava are great playmates and he's starting to warm up to Audrey and playing with her more and more (as opposed to getting mad when she'd want to join in and him being afraid she'd ruin the fun).

Audrey's personality is really coming through these days. For the most part, she's easy-going and happy. Teething brings out a cranky, whiny girl - I finally understand what some other parents go through. Ava and Carter never seemed to be bothered by teeth coming in, but anytime poor Audrey gets a new tooth, her entire hand is shoved in her mouth which brings on copious amounts of drool and we all get to enjoy a major case of the grumps. Seeing as how she is usually so easy, I'll cut her some slack (and maybe give her some tylenol). Oh, yeah, she's working on some teeth right now.

Audrey also loves music and dancing. If we're out shopping and she hears a song that strikes her fancy, she's bopping along and sometimes singing, too. At home, she tries to climb on chairs or anything else she can make a stage and performs. She loves to make Ava & Carter laugh and she's pretty good at it.

Our biggest adventure since last posting would probably be our trip to Disney World in March. We had such fun and Carter still thanks God almost every night in his prayers for Disney World. At least they have stopped asking when we're going back. You can see more pictures here.

And here's another album with pictures from our various adventures this spring. You'll see these pictures there, but I just loved these series of pictures from bedtime one night:

This is the doll cradle my dad made for me when I was little. After she gets her pj's on, she likes to get in it and pretend to sleep.

Pretend sleeping complete with fake snores.

So pleased with herself!

This night, she decided to share the cradle with a doll. Here she is tucking him in.

Kisses goodnight...

"Oh, maybe I'll just climb in with you."

"This really isn't big enough for two."

"Night night!"

Friday, December 17, 2010


I knew it had been a while since I posted, but I was looking at pictures on our computer and realized I haven’t even downloaded anything from my camera for a month! Yikes. Here are some from Ava’s 5th birthday – FIVE! Sometimes I look at her and she seems so grown up. She loves to help and tries to anticipate when I’m going to ask her to do something, doing it before I have a chance to ask. She loves to color and create. A new coloring book keeps her occupied for days on end. She loves dresses and ribbons and glitter. She loves to sing and dance. We have been so blessed with this girl!

traditional birthday pancakes

much anticipated (and oft-asked for) Sleeping Beauty doll

The same weekend we had her party, the kindergarten choir sang in church. I had a hard time getting a picture since Ava was in the second row and every time she tried to poke her head through so I could get a take a photo, the 2 little girls in front of her would block her! Too funny.

December has not been the best of months at the Button house. From me trying to fit too many tasks into too few hours to multiple bouts of sickness, this holiday season has been more stressful than we would have liked.

I have been busy finishing up a variety of projects that I’d started for a craft fair that was this past week. As is typical for me (surely I’m not alone), I misjudged just how much time it would take to finish up what seemed to be only a few things, so the first 2 weeks of December found me trying to eek out work-time on every possible occasion. As luck would have it, Ava & Carter decided this would be a grand time to stop going to bed nicely each night and come out of their rooms every 10 minutes during afternoon rest-time asking if they could get up. (We’re still struggling on that front and I’m wondering if they make pajamas with built-in straightjackets… maybe that will keep them in bed!). Oh, and Carter came down with strep throat on the first day of December. Then there were extra rehearsals for our church’s Christmas program in which I was involved. Last Saturday, the weekend of both the Christmas program and the craft fair, it became clear that Mark was getting sick. He had taken vacation time from GE Sunday through Wednesday, and it was a good thing since he spent that entire time in bed. He had been scheduled to work at his second job (Smashburger), but had to call off. Thankfully, he ended up with Thursday off as well (he was supposed to have some training that day and the trainer was sick so they just gave everyone the day off!). Monday morning Carter complained that his throat hurt and as he talked I realized he sounded exactly as he did when he’d gotten strep 2 weeks earlier, so we visited the doctor again to find out he somehow managed to get it AGAIN … only days after finishing his first round of antibiotics (or, maybe the first round of medicine didn’t completely get it?). Thankfully (so far) the only other ailments at our house are a runny nose for Audrey and a sore back muscle for me (let’s just say I was not so excited about getting to shovel all the snow we got this week!).

In the midst of all the craziness, there have been some definite highs. My birthday comes at the beginning of the month and about a week before, Ava had cards made and a present wrapped. Closer to the day, she wrapped up one the presents she had received for her birthday on days before to give to me (wrapping paper created by Ava, of course!).

I don't know if you can read it, but the card says, "Iluveoomombecuseoorsespecial" translated, "I love you mom because you are so special." The only word she asked how to spell was "special." I had to take pictures so I never forget her thoughtfulness! (She doesn't believe in spaces between words... no matter how many times I encourage her that they are quite helpful!)

The biggest highlight comes as a result of talking a lot about Christmas and reading the Christmas story from a variety of books. Over the past few days, Ava & Carter have been reenacting the Christmas story using all sorts of different toys from stuffed bears and dolls to dump trucks and school buses… and sometimes even the Little People nativity set. My heart melts when I hear them repeating the word of the angels to the shepherds and then hearing the shepherds excitedly travel to find baby Jesus. Ava has told me several times that her favorite gift at Christmas is that Jesus came. She seems so very close to understanding just what that gift truly means and I’m excited to think that soon she may ask Jesus to be her Savior.

And some random pictures since they're too fun not to include:

Carter (aka, Superman) boxing on the Wii

Pretty sure the chocolate chip pancakes are a hit!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fun with Leaves

We've been staying busy this fall with a variety of activities.

Our county sponsored a "Try-a-Truck" day. There were all types of construction, emergency and basically any other truck you could think of - even a helicopter flew in and landed for everyone to see. Carter was in heaven.

(You can see a bunch of pictures from the day here)

We took a trip to Young's Dairy and picked pumpkins, fed some goats and played on the tractors.

(More pictures from that trip here)

And we've been playing outside in the leaves a lot!

(more autumn pictures)

I love fall!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The latest

I cannot believe Ava's going to be five soon. She is growing and maturing and I feel like all the work that seemed fruitless during her 3rd and 4th year is starting to pay off! Lately, she's been much more kind (and will tell me when she's being kind since she wants me to see it, but a great improvement to being UNkind), extremely helpful, can remember so much from Sunday School and Cubbies (before when I'd ask what her story was about, I'd get a big fat, "I don't remember" or the very generic, "God"), and mindful of instruction. We're still working on attitude, but I see such growth... encouragement since Carter has hit the stage where we're dealing with a lot of whining and disobedience - I know we'll get through it!

She loves to color, draw pictures and read books, and she adores all things princess. She's been taking a tumbling class at the local rec center, is in her second year of Cubbies and moved up to the Pre-K class at church where she is in the kindergarten choir and LOVING it. I'm amazed at how quickly she learns and how much she is learning. We've been reading "Little House in the Big Woods" and in case you haven't read it in a while (or ever), much of the book relates what life was like living in the log cabin in the woods - things like slaughtering a pig or cleaning a rifle. I didn't think she'd have any concept of what was going on, much less want to continue reading, but she and Carter both love to snuggle up and have me read a chapter or two at a time. I look at her and can't believe what a sweet little girl she's becoming.

While Carter is challenging us more these days, he remains our most sensitive and loving child (well, except in any situation regarding Audrey... I know one day he'll come to like her more, but right now he has a hard time tolerating her desire to get at his stuff). Just tonight, I was battling a headache and while we were at the dinner table, I rested my head on my arm. He asked why I put my head down and I told him it hurt. With complete tenderness and sincerity he said, "Aww, Mom... can I come give you a hug?." He has such a sweet heart. He also is great at throwing fits and ignoring me when I call his name, but hopefully, I'll look back and remember the sweet parts.

He still loves trains, cars and trucks (though will play ponies or dress-up with Ava, too). Over the summer, he seemed to lose all his toddler chubbiness and got tall and thin. He's in his first year of Cubbies and is so excited about it. Part of the program includes scripture memorization and I love helping him learn his verses. The best part is knowing he's learning God's Word, but he provides many chuckles along the way as well. He seems to translate the verses into his own way of saying things. For instance, I was trying to teach him a verse that said, "While we were sinners..." It kept coming out, "While us be sinners..." But my absolute favorite so far has been the translation of "... He will be great" to "Him gonna be great." We are only on week 3, so I can't wait to see what other translations he comes up with!

Sweet Audrey is ONE! She's rediscovered waving and clapping after quite some time of pretending not to remember how and also learned how to blow kisses this week. Her very favorite is high fives. She took a few steps one day last week and finally today took a few more. Soon, she'll be running after the other 2. She loves to dance and seems to always be smiling and laughing. She loves baby dolls and stuffed animals (and anything of Carter's... seriously, it's no wonder he's a little annoyed by his baby sister!). When I think about how Mark and I had almost decided 2 kids were enough, I am so thrilled God blessed us with this sweet girl.

Mark has accepted a job with GE in their call center. He'd been working at a newer burger place in the area for the last few months, and they tried to convince him to stay and have even left the door wide open to come back should he decide he doesn't like the new job. He starts training on Monday and will be taking some shifts on the weekends at Smashburger. We're thankful for the new position and hopeful that he'll have a chance to move up quickly and no longer need a second job.

Next post will have pictures, I promise!