Monday, November 28, 2016

K2 Academy

Early this month, Kim invited Jaden, Cody and me to join her family at the K2 Academy, a nearby gymnastics center, for their open gym time. What a great idea this turned out to be! The boys loved exploring the various gymnastics equipment. They tried jumping off mats,

hanging on bars in various ways...

climbing ladders and falling into foam pits.

When Cody asked Mommy to climb with him, Aunt Kim readily volunteered to be my stand-in. Not sure how well Baby Schleicher would enjoy this yet... :)

 Ryan, Jaden and Cody spent the longest amount of time here, removing blocks from the foam pit to make a castle. Several other kiddos visiting the academy joined the boys too. Building castles apparently is a good way to make new friends. :)

We ended our time with some tall balance beam walking.

Cody and Jaden loved every minute of their time here. We'll have to go back soon!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Halloween Events

When I first asked Cody and Jaden what they wanted to be for Halloween, they each responded with some random animal. Then, the next day, they had a different idea. So, instead of trying to follow their costume whims, I brainstormed a few options (coordinating costumes, of course!). Both boys were quite excited about dressing up as the Super Mario Brothers, which we had to call Super Mario AND Super Luigi so they'd both get in on the "super" adjective. :) I found it amusing that they wanted to be Mario and Luigi even though they've never played a video game in their lives! I think they've read a couple books about the Super Mario brothers, and we have a Mario placemat that they often use for meal times. I guess that sealed the deal for them! 

I was particularly excited about this costume idea since it was the easiest to assemble from the options I gave them. We bought cheap colored shirts at Wal-Mart, borrowed one pair of suspenders and bought another pair online. I found a VERY simple tutorial online for the hats and sewed them both out of felt. Cody and Jaden were quite thrilled with how their costumes turned out.

The boys' first opportunity to dress as the Mario Brothers came the week before Halloween. We did some trick-or-treating at a Kroger-based strip mall near Grammy and Papa's house. Most of the store owners had small tables set up outside their business and would hand out candy or other various treats, like popcorn or snow cones. Some of the stores even had small carnival-type games for the kids to play.

It still feels a little funny to have Halloween be so warm here in Texas. This particular day felt HOT! The boys weren't too happy to be wearing jeans. Thankfully, the snow cones helped to cool them down.

This event was a good practice activity for the boys to remember their manners while trick-or-treating. :)

We loved seeing Ryan, Ian, and Nathan's cute costumes that day too! 

Our second Halloween activity was our church's Trunk or Treat event that Jason headed up. He did a fantastic job with this event! There were over 30 decorated cars in our church parking lot where we could pick up candy. Here are the Mario Brothers, eager to pick up more candy!

Halfway through our trick-or-treating, we paused for a hayride.

Papa, Uncle Jon, Aunt Chelsea, and Isaiah joined us as well.

Some of the families had really creative decorations for their vehicle. This family encouraged each visitor to climb the stepladder at the front of their car and peek out the sunroof to see the birds (a homemade nest filled with stuffed animals that they had placed atop their car).

This family was so cute with all of their princess costumes! Many of the girls in this extended family are Sunday School helpers, so Jaden and Cody know them fairly well. 

Here are a few other cars that the boys enjoyed.

At the end of our time there, we saw two of Jaden and Cody's friends, these sweet twin girls from our Life Group.

Our final trick-or-treating event was on Halloween. We went to an assisted living place with Matt and Kim and a few other families from their small group.

We walked down each wing where we met groups of residents (some even in costume and face paint-- so cute!). The residents seemed to enjoy seeing our kids' costumes and handing out candy to them.

This cute lady firmly told all the kiddos to "just take one piece," even though she had a huge bucket of candy and our group consisted of less than 10 kids. The facility director had us visit each wing twice, though, so on our second visit to this lady, she had a change of attitude: "Take as much candy as you want!" :)

After our visit to the assisted living center, we trick-or-treated at Grammy and Papa's house and then went home. Jaden filled his bucket to the brim by visiting some of our neighbors' homes. Cody, on the other hand, was perfectly content to just stay home and hand out candy to other kids. All in all, we had a great Halloween!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Character Parade

Before Halloween, Jaden and Cody's preschool had a Community Helper Parade. It seemed to be their way of allowing the kids to dress up without having a huge emphasis on Halloween. The morning started with the monthly Early Childhood chapel service. Jaden and Cody are in the front row, right next to their music teacher Mrs. Fisher. We enjoyed hearing the full-length versions of the songs that they often sing in pieces at home. :)

The Early Childhood Center encouraged kids to come dressed as community helpers, so Jaden borrowed a policeman costume from his cousin Ian while Cody wore a doctor's outfit from our dress-up tub.

Grammy and Papa were able to join us for the morning events too.

Immediately after chapel, the kids lined up for a parade through the "big school." All of the K-8 students were either standing outside or sitting on the floor in the hallways, ready to give the early childhood kids high fives. It was very cute! I think Cody and Jaden felt very important, especially when some of the older students would comment on their costumes.

After the parade, we went to the playground area where Cody and Jaden picked out a pumpkin that they could take home.

Here are the boys with their entire PreK Butterfly class. You'll notice that some parents stretched the idea of a community helper, as far as costumes go. :) Jaden and Cody's class is divided into two different groups, orange and blue butterflies, which they use for small group learning during the school day. Jaden is at the top middle with his orange butterfly group, and Cody is on the bottom left with the blue butterflies.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

October Misc.

Here are some random "other" activities from the month of October:

Pre-K Studs
Cody and Jaden have adjusted well to preschool, for which we are very thankful. No longer do we have to worry about separation anxiety at drop-off time. Now it's a matter of reminding the boys to give us hugs before they busily run off into their classroom. Both boys love their teachers and come home regularly telling us something new that they learned in school. We've found it interesting that their most frequent playmates at recess time are the girls in their class. Last month we received these shirts for free from the school. Since the shirts proclaim the annual theme, Live Out Loud, the students are encouraged to wear their shirts on the monthly chapel days.

Special Treats
After taking Cody and Jaden to get their flu shots last month, I rewarded their brave behavior by letting them get sundaes at the McDonalds just across the street from their doctor's office. Neither boy cried at all while receiving their shots, although Cody told me he had "two big tears sitting in his eye." As you can tell from the pics, both boys devoured their ice cream treats!

Chelsea's Birthday
Our extended family still tries to get together a few times a month for weekend family dinners. What a treat this is! Whenever a family member has an upcoming birthday, we'll usually throw in a little celebration to our family dinner time. Chelsea was the birthday girl in the month of October. Matt and Kim cooked a delicious stir fry dinner (Chelsea's request) and a super tasty apple pie.

Chelsea had a lot of helpers with the candle blowing!

After dinner, we played a few games that Kim had planned for the kids since the evening was also our monthly family gameathon night. The boys all participated in an obstacle course that involved multiple activities which Chelsea might do during her day.

Step One: Mow the lawn.

Step Two: Go down the slide.

Step Three: Color a sidewalk chalk picture.

Step Four: Push "baby Isaiah" in the stroller. (All the boys thought that this step was particularly humorous!)

Step Five: End the obstacle course by giving Aunt Chelsea a huge hug!

After the first game, the boys quickly gravitated to the beloved family Jeep. I'm not exactly sure how helpful the older 4-year-old cousins were being...

The second game we played was a version of volleyball (Chelsea's forte) with a balloon.

Finally, we ended with a cute re-enactment of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Kim led the boys in this story multiple times so that they could each have an opportunity to act out all of the character roles. Such creative games, Aunt Kim! Happy Birthday, Aunt Chelsea! What a fun evening!

Making Applesauce
One thing that I miss about our Montana home is our backyard apple tree. With the enormous amounts of apples this tree would produce some years, making homemade applesauce became an annual tradition for our family. This fall in Texas, I bought a few extra apples at the store one weekend so that Jaden and Cody could experience the applesauce making and tasting process. The apples that we used (Fuji, I believe) weren't quite as flavorful as our backyard apples from Montana. Regardless, homemade applesauce is still a delicious treat! Jaden and Cody didn't help for too long, but they each experienced the Foley Food Mill for a short time and both loved tasting the completed applesauce.