Saturday, October 25, 2014

School Days!


I often get asked how Joelle likes school.  Well, I think these pictures say it all...


She really does love EVERYTHING about it.  She loves waking up to an alarm and cuddling with Papa before getting ready.  She even loves tucking in her shirt (to her panties I might add!), and brushing her teeth in the mornings.  From the second she walks into the building, she is as happy as a clam.  Sure, there are days she is exhausted, and could use a little more sleep, but overall she never fights me in the morning.  She is an independent little soul who wakes herself up, gets herself dressed, and has even started fixing her own hair... well, sprucing it up in the mornings, ha!  I do the puffs each week!  The only battle I have to fight is her little chatty-self because I'm not quite ready to talk five minutes after waking up!!  

I realize that school probably won't always be this exciting for her, but I am so thankful for these days.  We are thankful for her teacher, for our school, and for all the little friends she has made.  Oh, and the friends... she just loves her little friends.  She giggles every time she tells me stories about her little group of friends.  It's precious!

As far as she is doing academically... we couldn't be more thrilled.  She loves to read and write.  Joelle actually has pretty neat handwriting.  She would prefer to read, write, and color over playing with any other toy in our house.  She has a really good memory, and is normally able to tell us all about her lessons at school.  She's recently learned about 2D and 3D shapes and can identify all of those, she can write to 100, make patterns, and do basic addition.  More than all of that, I am thankful that she is learning how to be a friend, how to love others, and get along with others outside of our home.  

We are still working on building her vocabulary.  There are several words she just doesn't know because she's never been exposed to them.  When she is reading and someone corrects her or tries to read it quickly for her, I try to remind them that she's only been speaking English for 1 1/2 years.  And that would be the equivalent of them knowing how to read when they were one year old!  Patience is the key, and realizing that some things will just come with more time.  

She's still spunky, full of sass (in a good way!), and has the biggest personality.  The Lord has blessed us with a pretty precious little thing!!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

THE first day :)

Today was the big day... Joelle's FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN!  We've been getting ready for this day all summer long!  We've been stocking up on uniforms, backpacks, lunchboxes, and school supplies since June... if there's one thing I love it's a reason to shop!!!

I'm just going to be real honest here.  I had to be at school at 7:00 this morning, so we didn't get to take our B2S pictures before school.  It was just too early and hectic.  So, I made Joelle pretend that she was going to school around 6:30 tonight.  Whatever works for a photo op, right?!  Thankfully she obliged and gave me some pretty stinkin' cute smiles!

I printed Cara's Kinder sign right after school and got out my camera!  

Joelle's First Day of Kindergarten... Mrs. Myers is her teacher... and she wants to be a farmer when she grows up!  She has specifically pointed out that she WILL NOT be a teacher because kids would drive her bananas when they don't listen, ha!

Isn't her bow just the cutest?!  That was a gift from my sweet friend, Amanda!  You can find her bag HERE, shoes HERE, and the sign HERE!

Apparently it's still pretty sunny at 6:30 pm!  The outside pictures just weren't cutting it!
In reality, this is what our morning looked like:

We all left the house around 6:50 this morning.  I went to the school to greet my students at 7:00 and Jared took Joelle on a little father/daughter breakfast date to Chickfila!  He braved the carpool lanes, parent crowds, and classroom drop-off!  I may not show my appreciation for Jared enough, but I am so thankful to have a husband that is 100% a contributing partner in our marriage and parenting!  I don't know if there's a better Papa out there :)  I do have to add that on Joelle's "love list"  I am 3rd to Jesus and Jared.  It's sad but true!
They came to visit me and bring me breakfast as soon as they walked into school!  We snapped a quick picture, gave kisses, and went about our school business!

 Jared walked our sweet girl to class and took the picture that I made him promise he'd take! 
And then several hours later we played dressed up and reenacted the whole day, ha!
Seeing Joelle throughout the day just made my heart skip a beat.  I've missed so many of her years, that I was over the moon excited to have her with me at school.  I don't want her to grow up quickly, but I have been waiting for today since she came home!  Just getting to drive her to and from school and sneak a few kisses during the day is enough to make me one happy mama!  And, I'm even happy to share my after-school snack with her... even if that means she ate all of my cookie because "it was just so good she couldn't stop to share" :)

Monday, August 11, 2014

St. Kitts

One of our stops on the cruise was St. Kitts.  This was the only island on our cruise that Jared and I had never visited before.  We were a little nervous because it was also the only stop that we hadn't planned an excursion for.  But, it definitely didn't disappoint!  I mean, it's hard to go wrong with sun, sand, water, and tropical weather in my book!
 We started exploring downtown when we first got off of the boat.  Most of these islands build up little shopping areas right off of the cruise dock... but over the years I've kinda realized that I don't need expensive jewelry, $5 t-shirts, or knick-knacks so we did very little shopping during our vacation (no worries, I've fed my shopping addiction ten times over since being home!)

 We did, however, pay 5 bucks for Joelle to take a picture with a monkey :)
 Who happened to be wearing a diaper :)
 After having lunch on the ship we asked the taxi driver to take us to a beautiful beach... and that he did!

 Jared and Joelle always have the best time in the water together.  They snorkeled at a nearby reef and found a little diving ledge to jump from.  She's a daredevil, that's for sure!




It ended up being a beautiful day with lots of R&R!  I could use a little more of that during these Back to School weeks... take me back, please???!!!!

That night we enjoyed a peaceful evening on the boat with a beautiful sunset...


 And Joelle finally got her a "Congo fish!"  She likes her fish with the body, head, tail, eyes and all.  I'm not a seafood fan, but I love that she loves it!  Our chef said, "Are you sure?  It has bones in it!"  Well, our little girl knows how to debone a fish, so bring it on!  It was definitely her favorite meal! 


 "Papa, just give me a kiss for the picture!"
 And, as always, the towel animals were a hit!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Mud Baths!

St. Lucia is all kinds of gorgeous.  It is very mountainous with a crystal clear ocean at the base of the green hills.  When we went a few years ago Jared and I zip-lined through the rainforest.  This time we decided to rent a dune buggy and ride around those curvy roads...
That led us to a mud bath??!!  Apparently it is good for your skin... someone said it takes 10 years off so I jumped right in ;)
Joelle couldn't have been more excited about this one!  She is such a girly girl with her cute clothes and babies, but she also loves to get dirty!!  Give her a mud bath and you've about made her world :)
As if sitting in dirty water wasn't fun enough we scrubbed mud all over us.  Joelle didn't want to leave any skin untouched!
So messy.  So slimy.  And I still look 29... sigh.
After the mud bath we washed off in a waterfall that was nearby.  Talk about going from hot, hot water to freezing cold... oh my!
She had to be pushed in a little, but once she felt it she didn't want to get out!
I don't know that I would do the mud bath again, BUT I would ride around St. Lucia any and everyday if I could!  I'm not gonna lie... it was a rainy morning, and I was a whiny one.  Once the sun came out, I was good to go!  It is really hard to be positive when you are getting pelted by rain in a dune buggy!
I'm not real sure if that's St. Lucia in the background or not.  The nights are running together and I can't pair our days/nights together very well!  Either way, here are some pictures from one of our nights on the ship!
After looking at it I *think* this may be St. John :)


The Stingrays!

Ohhhh, St. John... the island of our stingray snorkel.  I am terrified of stingrays.  Jared and I snorkeled with them years ago and I ended up wrapping my arms/legs around a man who was happily married to a woman that wasn't so impressed with me using her man as means to get away from the stingrays.  But, I was game for trying it again... I mean, I'm older, calmer, wiser, right?!

We started our morning with a little shopping, because shopping always calms the nerves!
Joelle always insists on taking pictures :)
Then it was time to wait for our excursion to take off...
They actually have an amazing excursion for swimming with the stingrays in St. John.  They aren't caged in (which is scary in and of itself!).  These little boats pull up to a sandbar that is out in the middle of the ocean.  It was beautiful!
There we are... all kinds of in the middle of the ocean with tons of stingrays swimming around!
At first I was holding Joelle...
We quickly found out that Joelle and I were both too jittery to be together!
Joelle, "I'm NOT touching that thing!  It will KILL ME!"
This is how we made our way around the sandbar... attached to Jared.  We were literally hanging onto him for dear life!
I mean, these things are HUGE!
I decided that if I braved a stingray picture solo then I would reward myself with some new sunglasses.  I just needed a little motivation :))
Joelle couldn't hold one by herself so we had a stingray slither up her back... so funny!
At least we got a smile out of her while this was going on!  She was terrified!
I don't know if Joelle and I have converted to stingray lovers, but it was an experience I'll never forget!