Fall Fun Down on the Farm

Yesterday we visited Busy Barns and had a blast exploring all of their friendly farm animals, working through the obstacle course and unwinding on the hay ride. These pictures were too cute not to share!

Exploring all of the Baby Animals

Bunny Snuggles with our Snuggle Bunnies

 

Huge Hamster Wheel

Need one of these for before bed time 🙂

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Our Favorite Characters

Group Photo Opps

Behind the Scenes of a Desired Family Photo

 

Extra-Curricular Fun

Now that we’re big elementary kids we are eligible for extra-curricular fun. While our little ninjas have been doing karate since 4K, they have been asking about other after school activities, too. We were holding on to our commitment to minimize extra-curriculars until, this summer when we were worn down by our budding ballerinas, flipping fanatics and aviation connoisseur.

Our biggest concerns for having kiddos in separate activities were 1) not having enough adult manpower to get kids from here to there and 2) not having enough energy to actively engage. Surprisingly, after school endurance is improving, however transitions remain difficult. It appears that the kids are emotionally spent but maintain a high degree of physical energy. If we aren’t careful, tantrums and disputes arise quickly and are difficult to manage. We have found that a post-school snack, quiet time and independent play are helpful. This is much easier with two adults on-deck but with one can pose to be a challenge.

We have surrendered and currently Kali and Bella are enjoying Ballet and Tap on Mondays, Lily and Ellie are enrolled in Gymnastics and all continue their karate two days each week. So far so good but we continue to wade carefully into these waters knowing that margin is a good thing.

Here are two videos which capture our baseline skills, can’t wait to see how these four ladies grow in their new found love for dance and tumbling!

Practicing our “Flips”

Pre Dance Lessons Sesh:

We also want our children to have capacity for spontaneous school and family events that arise. One fun run event that is coming up for them is the Terrapin Trot! This is a fun 20-minute run to raise school funds for everything from in-classroom technology to field trips. If you are interested in pledging, you can do so at the following links:

Theo’s Fun Run Pledge Site

Bella’s Fun Run Pledge Site

Lily’s Fun Run Pledge Site

Kali’s Fun Run Pledge Site

Ellie’s Fun Run Pledge Site

 

Ready, Set, Kindergarten!

2176_1535072438870Our transition to kindergarten has been deemed a success! The kiddos are loving their new school, their teachers and their “specials.” The first week was very exciting but we quickly realized that we needed to be cautious and careful of after school activities because our endurance for a long school day was not up to par. Day one ended with a 20-minutes sob fest laid out upon the kitchen floor. We are still trying to navigate how to sneak in a cat nap or quiet time when they arrive home to assist with the transition… this remains a work in progress.

Overall, our keys to a successful transition are as follows:

  • Prepare. Preparation begins the night before or even weeks before and includes IMG_20180903_192834planning breakfast, lunch and snacks. Most of this preparation happens the night before when breakfast is partially prepared, lunches and snacks are packed and clothes for the next day are laid out. Sharing the plan with the youngest members of the team is also key because it can’t remain a best kept secret if it will be successful. It’s helpful to share the plan for the next morning or day the evening before.
  • Delegate. Mornings can be hurried and easily become chaotic, but delegating tasks to children and adults, all members can work as a team. Kid-friendly tasks include getting dressed, setting the breakfast table, filling water cups, serving themselves breakfast, brushing teeth and hair, etc. Older kids may be completely self-sufficient and simply need morning nudges to stay on task. Younger children may require more nudges and time stamps at each check point along the way. We have found our Alexa to be really helpful in these efforts. Our munchkins wake between 5-6a and often play upstairs until they are que’ed to come down. The first reminder comes via Alexa around 6:30 (Time to pick-up and get dressed), the second around 6:45 when “breakfast is ready.” We carry out these reminders every 10-15 minutes until we leave for the bus stop at 7:15.
  • Be Flexible. Stuff happens. A well thought-out plan can easily fall to pieces. Families can still get out the door in one piece and on time by remaining flexible. Flexibility can be difficult but by focusing on core values, remaining calm and being optimistic one can roll with the punches (easier said then done).

We got to share these tips on a recent news segment in Wisconsin!

Here are the captured memories from our Kindergarten prep!