Summer Goal: Learn to Spell Our Name

Untitled design-4With my daughter being 3 1/2 years old when she returns to preschool this fall, I would really like for her to learn how to spell her name. Not necessarily WRITE it, but spell it out loud. Plus, it will definitely help her with letter recognition. (Which I learned is a 3 year old skill.)  She can recognize her name when she sees it written out, but she doesn’t know how to tell me to spell it. Her name is Khloe, and before we started working on it she knew “K – uh I don’t know – o – Mama what’s that one.” 😉

I bought a writing tablet from Dollar General that has the wide lines and dotted center line. Every few days I will write her name out in dotted lines and she will “write” them, a.k.a. trace them. As she writes them I point to the letter and she has to tell me what it is. Then when she is finished with each one we have a huge celebration. 😀

After she has written out her name three times (we go with three times each time we do it, because that is about what our attention span can handle at this point), we go over the letters one last time. She has actually progressed to knowing everything except the “h”!! I am so proud of her! Of course, at times she gets in a hurry or is not real focused and misnames a letter after just saying it correctly. I’m patient, though. Mama understands that she’s three and sometimes learning just is not as fun as it was yesterday.

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She loves her little desk, too.

 

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We also swap out working on number recognition as well. All of my workbooks I have bought at Dollar General or Wal-Mart.

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Look at that first cute little 3 written by herself. 😉 Love it!

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Obviously I helped with the first independent 10, but the last one was all her! ❤

Do you teach preschool at home?? I may work full-time outside of the home, but we try to dedicate a few nights a week to focusing on learning with mom and dad. I would love to hear some ideas you have! Leave them in the comments below!!

 

Easy Summer Toddler Crafts

This summer I have vowed will be different than last summer. Last year I was completing an internship and getting ready to graduate with my Bachelor’s degree during the summer semester. I was zero fun. I don’t even remember having any fun! I WAS CRAZY. This summer, I have already planned so many things to do with my daughter and since she loves crafts, of course they were a big part of the planning!

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This turtle inspired us to make one of our own. We took a paper plate and she went to town painting it green. It was total “freedom of expression.” I made the spots for the shell, his “feet” as we called them, and his head out of black construction paper. Find the eyes in any craft section. Our turtle’s spots don’t look so amazingly organized. A three year old tends to see symmetry and art in a completely different light 😉

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This fish and the next photo are going to be our upcoming crafts. How hard can this one be? Cut the triangle for the mouth, then go back with scissors that cut shapes to create his teeth. I believe I’ll let my daughter paint it however she wants. Maybe I’ll find the Rainbow Fish book to go along with it. He might come out like a rainbow as well!!

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I love this! I think we can get as creative or simple with this as we want. I think in the picture they are using small paper bowls, but we’ll probably stick with the plate. (Just because I already have a stack of them.) I have lots of left over crafting ribbon and tulle that we can use to create our jellyfish. I can’t wait to make both of these crafts soon!!

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We have not attempted this project yet, but surely it cannot be that difficult? Paper plate, hole punch, yarn, beads, feathers and voila! I’m like a man when it comes to following directions. I didn’t even search out instructions for this idea… I just know if I have the materials I can make it work 😉

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I guess this one could be a little more difficult. But only because of getting the fish drawn and cut out. Ha! Let your child paint the plate blue while you man the fish project. Create the fish using white paper and then hand it off for painting to the toddler as well. I think I would use green tissue paper (or construction paper or whatever works for you) and cut or tear the strips to my desired length(s). The bottom appears to be white beans of some sort… and what kid throughout history hasn’t loved making something out of beans and pasta shells?! We might save this one for a Saturday when we have time to take breaks and then finish working on it.

I love these crafts! All you need is:

(1) Paper plates

(2) Paint of all colors (and paintbrushes)

(3) Construction paper (and tissue paper if you choose)

(4) Scissors – one regular pair and then a few that cut in shapes/angles

(5) Scrap ribbon, string, yard, tulle, fabric, etc.

(6) Crafting beads and crafting feathers

(7) Small white beans

(8) Glue. Hot glue gun, glue stick (if your toddler is hands on with glueing), or Elmer’s glue (if you’re brave and messy). Just make sure you have glue.

 

I will have to update you all with our photos after we have them all made!

{NEWEST} Children’s Clothing Store with AMAZING Prices!!

HELLO FRIDAY!!

Are you as happy as I am that the weekend is here?? Well to add a little more joy to your happy day… I have some awesome news to share!!

A friend of mine has opened a new children’s boutique. It is very upscale clothing for VERY discounted pricing. And no worries… you don’t have to live in my area to shop! It is online based and everything ships next day! How awesome is that?? You should check them out… C&J Cutie Couture. If you decide to order… be prepared to have a PayPal account! You can also check them out on Instagram.

Below are the summer outfits currently in stock. (PS… isn’t that model adorable. I sure think so. 😉 )

NOTE: Sizes offered are 12 months – 4T and are based upon availability.

Click on the pictures to be taken to the exact photo on her site.

 

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Again, please patronize this amazing store or share with someone who might be interested!! I’m excited to finally find someone offering clothes at reasonable prices for children who only play in them!!

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!!

Free Natural Science Museum in North AL

This past weekend we made a spontaneous decision to take our daughter to the Cook’s Natural Science Museum in Decatur, AL. Admission is free and it is an amazing place to take children ranging 3 and up. (And I love Free Activities.) Spring of 2015 it will be moving to a new, larger location in Downtown Decatur. So be sure and check the website for updates if you decide to visit!

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Cook’s Natural Science Museum

Of course, because the museum is owned by the company/family that owns Cook’s Pest Control, there definitely had to be bugs near the front entrance. 😉

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Most of the gigantic bugs have origins in other countries. THANK GOODNESS!

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This was our favorite set of bugs HAHA! The blue butterflies were a winner.

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This thing could give me nightmares.

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Moth. Large moth.

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A City Wildlife Habitat.

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Next was a walk through of ocean and beach science. Seashells of EVERY shape, color size.

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Pelican. (And a pirate ship steering wheel. Khloe wished she could be on a pirate ship 😉 )

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Porcupine Fish

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The Snout of a saw fish. I cannot imagine the size of the fish on the other end!

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This is always my favorite part in every natural science museum: the rocks, minerals, stones, etc.

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Of course, we had to examine each one of these.

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Now, how often do you get a change to hold a meteorite?

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Here is the said meteorite. It weighed around 20 lbs.

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We loved the “glittery” rocks. 🙂

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Again, my favorite part.

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We found Swiper the Fox!! 😉

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She wanted to stand next to the baby bear.

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I love how realistic it all appeared!

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River/ Pond natural habitat. Possibly Dad’s Favorite part.

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I wish I had a video of Khloe’s reaction when she walked around the corner to this. LOL

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A “torcupan” AKA Porcupine. 😀

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This could almost freak you out as realistic as it appears. Khloe loved to inform us that she knew it was a rattlesnake, but she hates snakes, “yuck!”

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This is an ELEPHANT LEG BONE.

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This was the closest Khloe would get to the Alligator. Haha!

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Full shot of the Alligator.

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Had never seen an Ostrich egg before. Wow.

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Bald Eagle. Magnificent.

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Eagle.

I did miss getting pictures of many of the other fowl. Turkeys, Swans, Canadian Geese, ducks of EVERY kind, hawks, and more. These are definitely not pictures of every single animal in the museum. We easily spent over an hour there. Khloe did not want to leave and would have circled through a few more times if we had let her. We bribed her with ice cream, though, and she was happy to go to the car. 😉

If you live in North Alabama or find yourself passing through, this is a must visit attraction. The current location is free, so make sure you check the website before heading out to make sure the have not moved locations yet.

We Love Youth Rodeos

We love the youth rodeo events at one of the local Cowboy Churches in our area. We are not members of the church, but the public is welcome. This is our second year to participate in the Youth Rodeo Series at the Cowboy Church of Colbert County, Inc.  She loved the events she could participate in last year so when this year’s series rolled around, we took her back! She can only participate in a few events because of her age. She technically qualifies to participate in stick horse racing, ribbon pulling, dummy roping, barrel racing, and pole bending. She is not old enough to control her pony by herself, so we only let her do the stick horse race and the ribbon pulling. We’re looking to start dummy roping next year. 🙂

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She had taken her hat off and said, “yeehaw.” We were getting ready for the May Youth Rodeo.

 

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After we get signed up and settled in our chairs, she has to climb the gate. It is the coolest and must-have thing to do every time we go. 😉 We also go see the goats and cows, but I did not get a picture of that.

 

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Once the rodeo is actually starting, they always ride the American Flag through the arena as the National Anthem is being played.

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Waiting on her turn to stick horse race. They each individually run down and around a barrel, then back across the finish line while being timed. It is way too cute.

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Ribbon Pulling

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The whole idea is that each child runs down, pulls the ribbon off of the goat, and runs back across the finish line while being timed. It’s hilarious and adorable to watch all of them.

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This isn’t my child, but once she turns 6 she can participate in Goat Tying. Either mounted or unmounted. As you can tell in the picture, this child was mounted. She rode down on her horse, jumped off, laid the goat down and tied his feet together in order to receive her time. (The goat is tied to a rope on a stake so that children aren’t chasing it all across the arena.) I’m so pumped. I get Khloe excited telling her that when she turns 6 she can do that too! We also saw a boy pull his own tooth because he forgot to unhook his rope from his saddle horn. No worries, they found it for him!

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After her two events, we hung around for a while to watch the barrel racing for her age group. She loves wearing her daddy’s hat. I want to find her a small one 😀

 

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She was daddy and he was Khloe. Ha!! Do you like her clover bracelet I made her? Talk about taking me back to my childhood!

 

I love that they set a time in between the younger children’s events and the older (up to 18) children’s events for a Devotion. A leader from the church enters the arena and spends about 10-15 minutes giving a bible study/ devotional to the entire crowd. What a great ministry!

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My little country baby. ❤

 I hope she continues to love the youth rodeo events, especially as she gets older and can get more involved in the different categories.

It was a Mom and Daughter Kind of Day

 Good morning and Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend!! 🙂

A few weeks ago we received news about the dreaded “F” word at work (a.k.a. Furlough). Thankfully, I can break mine apart instead of taking it all at once. I decided to take mine for 5 Wednesdays and keep my daughter home from the Summer Program at her school. Save money when not making money AND spend extra time with my daughter than I usually get. It was a win-win! Last week was our first Mom and Daughter Day. I don’t think it could have been more perfect!

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We started breakfast with pancakes. They were requested to be purple and with sprinkles. So that is what we had. 😉

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I have to admit, she had a pretty cute idea even though I was skeptical at first.

 Then we watched a few cartoons. (Some Paw Patrol, Team Umi Zoomi, and Dora).

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After about an hour of TV I cut it off and we commenced to a little arts and crafts time! She loves it. Here we made a caterpillar. We also made a Father’s Day craft for dad… but that is for a later post.

 

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Here she did a little free painting and decided this was for Daddy. Together they decided it was “the Earf.” (Earth)

 

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About noon we headed to the Splash Pad in town. Look out world here we come. 😉 I do not know how she is such a diva, but it is adorable.

 

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She played on the playground a while before actually hitting the water and sprinklers.

 

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While we were at the splash pad, I saw a girl I graduated with and she had her daughter with her, who is a few months younger than mine. They had never seen each other before, but as you can see in this picture… you would never imagine they didn’t know each other. It was sweet!!

 

We headed home around 3 and played dress up for a while until Dad came home from work. We played Dr. with her Doc McStuffins set and outfit and then all cleaned up for church. We ended the evening by attending Wednesday night service at our church and picking up some fast food on our way home.

It was a pretty perfect day for this Mama! 🙂

 

Have you ever had to take a furlough? Did you decide to make the best of it with your kids? If so, what activities did you plan out that we might could take advantage of??

Lexi Lee Walk for Hope at the Alabama Jubilee and Hot Air Balloon Festival

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Over the last 8 months I have participated in various events for a 3 year old little girl in my community. Her mother and I were co-workers and then became friends as the recent events in Lexi’s life unfolded. Here is Lexi’s story directly from her mother:

Lexi’s Story
Within 2 weeks, Lexi had 20 to 30 unexplainable, thumb print size, dark bruises mainly on her legs but on the rest of her body as well. After noticing the excessive amount of bruising, with no explanation and no signs of going away, instead more were showing up, an appointment with her local Pediatrician was scheduled and blood work was done. Then, about four hours later while Lexi was playing outside on the swing set, the phone rang. Lexi’s blood-work came back abnormal and we were told to take her to Huntsville Hospital as a direct admit. Fear and confusion set in. Lexi was outside, playing like a normal 3 year old child and hours later she was being poked for more blood-work. Later that evening we got news that she might possibly have a blood disorder or leukemia. On September 24, 2013, the oncologist came in and told us the confirmed unfortunate news. Our beautiful daughter who we had bragged on since birth for being so healthy and never getting sick had the c word. She has cancer. She has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, commonly known as ALL, or just simply, Leukemia. That was the day our lives changed forever. We did not know what to do other than pray. Doctors at Huntsville Hospital gave us options as to where to receive treatment for Lexi and when St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was mentioned, we knew that was where we wanted Lexi to be. We knew there was no better place for Lexi to receive treatment. No family ever pays for anything at St. Jude. Because of events like, The Lexi Lee Walk for Hope, with the help of participants like YOU, my daughter is getting a second chance at life. Without the funding for research, Lexi and many other children would not be so lucky. People like you make this possible for our daughter and our family as well as so many other children and families. We will never be able to say “thank you” enough to all of the researchers who work to find the medicine and cures or the doctors and nurses who care for the children, so as a way of saying “thank you” and helping bring awareness to childhood cancer and it’s need for funding, our family is hosting The Lexi Lee Walk for Hope. Our goal in hosting The Lexi Lee Walk for Hope is to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Donations like yours allow research like this to happen!
YOU are helping St. Jude save lives by making a simple donation!
We, Lexi’s parents & family, want to say THANK YOU!
**100% MONEY RAISED WILL GO TO ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL – MEMPHIS, TN.**

Update on Lexi
Lexi is doing amazing! She is in the last phase of her treatment which consists of 2 ½ – 3 years. The last phase consists of 120 weeks. As of today, May 21, 2014, she is on week 15. We have a long road ahead of us even after the 120 week mark. Currently, Lexi receives at home chemotherapy which we give to her at night time. She also has an appointment each week at the Huntsville Hospital St. Jude Clinic where she receives chemotherapy, physical therapy and musical therapy. Sometimes she needs blood and/or platelets, which she is able to receive at the affiliate. She also goes to St. Jude in Memphis for check-ups, intrathecal chemotherapy and more intense chemotherapy. Some of the chemotherapy Lexi receives causes the leg and hand muscles to weaken and some cause nausea but if you saw Lexi, you wouldn’t believe that’s true. She runs and plays all the time like nothing is wrong. Even on clinic days when she has received chemotherapy, she comes home and runs and plays like it’s a normal day. For that, we are thankful!

Pictures of Lexi Lee and her Family:

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Chase, Jenna, and Lexi Chase Lee at St. Jude

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Lexi in the early days at St. Jude

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Lexi getting to play video games and still be a kid!

The Lexi Lee Walk for Hope was held at the Alabama Jubilee and Hot Air Balloon Festival in Decatur, AL. The Jubilee is held every year around Memorial Day Weekend. The walk was at 9 a.m. on Saturday and was a great and upbeat way to start the weekend! I love doing positive things and being active on a long weekend because it makes my time feel more accomplished. I invited my Girl Scout troop and also took my daughter along. It turned out great!

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This was the flyer distributed for the event.

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My daughter, Khloe, and Lexi’s Mom, Jenna. Lexi did not get to be at the event, but everyone still came out in support!

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Sign up table at the walk (:

HERE IS A LITTLE FYI ABOUT ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL:

In 1962, the survival rate for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (which is what Lexi is diagnosed with) was only 4%. Thanks to St. Jude & it’s research, the survival rate has reached 94%!!
• On average, 5,700 active patients visit the hospital each year, most of whom are treated on an outpatient basis.
• St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.
• St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world.
• The daily operating costs for St. Jude are $1.6 million, which are primarily covered by public contributions.
• During the past five years, 81 cents of every dollar received has supported the research and treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

If you would like to have updated information on Lexi’s progress or would like information on how to donate to the Lexi Lee Walk for Hope you can follow the pages on Facebook here and here. Also, Lexi’s mom blogs here.1240607_10202265096095892_106046578_n

My daughter and I didn’t get to stay long for the Jubilee after the walk, but we did get in a few hot air balloon sightings. (Next year it is my goal to go for the balloon glow and get to do a tethered ride. 😀 )

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We did get to see one balloon up while we were there and my daughter was SO EXCITED. She told everyone about it the rest of the day.

 

Does my child have to play sports…?

As my daughter gets older, she is creeping up on the age where all of these extra curricular activities enter the scene. T-ball being the number one example in my neck of the woods. I cannot tell you how many times over the last two months I have been asked if Khloe is going to play t-ball. What? I don’t know. Ha! She cannot play until she is 4 years old. Which will mean even if she is going to play, it will be Summer 2015. All of these questions did get me thinking, though. Do I even care to sign her up for t-ball? Probably not. Now, before I get a million parents (more often moms) freaking out on me, let me explain.

Where I live, almost every child plays little league t-ball, football, and cheerleading. If your child doesn’t play, what kind of horrible lazy parent are you?! Well, here is the thing: It is not that I don’t want my child playing sports or participating in extra curricular activities. I want her to do anything and everything available. And then everything she finds that I didn’t even know about. Here’s the catch.. I would rather her do things outside of the normal box. Art. Karate. Martial Arts of any kind. Dance. Gymnastics. Rodeo. Guitar lessons. Singing lessons. Theater. Golf. Who knew they offer golf lessons starting at age 5?? Well, I just recently found out that they do! I’m weird, I know. What southern, small town mom doesn’t want their sweet daughter being cheer captain?! **Here I am with my hand raised jumping up and down.** I honestly don’t. I mean, if she starts Kindergarten and begs to play t-ball or cheer with her friends, sure we’ll sign up and attend every practice and game. I just don’t see the big deal of preparing for this a year in advance? (And all of this is coming from the person who played t-ball and softball and was a cheerleader from mascot to JV.) That’s all I was able to do. I wish I could have had broader activities as a child. I had to wait until I was old enough to make my own choices to start branching out. Why would I continue the cycle and limit my own child??

I want a child who I enable to see the world and view the world from a bigger perspective than most kids are able to. Shouldn’t that be on every mom’s priority list? I just don’t believe sports should be the heart and soul of my daughter’s childhood. How many people from my graduating class took their athletic careers past high school? Hm.. I’d say maybe 10 out of 118. From those 10 not a single one has carried that sport beyond their undergraduate careers. So exactly WHAT is the big deal of pushing the issue?

I agree about wanting my daughter to be active and healthy. Who says she can’t be those things with out t-ball? (I want to make it clear that I do not hate t-ball. It is the cutest and sometimes most hilarious thing I have ever witnessed.) My concern here is how stressed out parents seem to be about these things. The people asking me if our daughter was going to play t-ball have a child the same age. They have to wait another year too! Why are they already getting excited about this a year before their child is even eligible to play?? Am I being too negative?

I want my daughter to enjoy childhood. If playing sports does make her happy, then by all means I’ll sign her up for every one. However, I have watched as children cry because they do not want to attend practice, let along play or participate an entire season, and be forced to straighten up and get out there and play. Who benefits from that??! If you don’t like every activity out there, then your child isn’t going to either! I think this is the problem I have with the sudden obsession acquaintances have about my child signing up for a sport that is a year away. Who are you really signing them up for? For your child so that they can learn work ethic and team work or for you because you want to be a member of the cool parent club?

The final thing that shut me down on the whole t-ball subject was about a month ago, a friend of mine was telling me about her two children who are on a team together this year. She said that another mom stands and shakes the fence yelling at her child. If it is somehow a double hit, etc. the mom will scream and shake the fence telling her daughter to get on second base. SHE YELLS THIS AT A CHILD WHO IS YOUNG ENOUGH TO PLAY T-BALL. T-BALL. Her child has to be no older then 7 years old. I was speechless. And quite honestly I was a little mortified at what that same situation would teach my child. I am sad at what it is teaching the lady’s child and I do not even know either of them. I could not do it. I know that I cannot shelter my child from all negative things in the world, but jeez, that seems a little extreme. Sadly enough, its not uncommon.

So when I say that I question the necessity of my child playing sports, it is not because I insist she be an outcast or because I want to force her into an activity of my choice. It is actually quite the opposite. I want my daughter to have the freedom to develop into who she wants to be and who she is meant to be. Not a clone of what I loved as a child or who I want her to be. She is not me and I do not want to force her to be. Lord knows that is the last thing she would need. She is beautifully and wonderfully unique. I think I prefer to encourage her to stay that way.

Even if it means she loves playing t-ball and ends up pitching for Team USA.

One thing is for sure, it’ll be her choice. (;

 

EZ Girl Scout Troop Camp – Summer 2014

This past weekend, I took my girls to a one night “EZ Girl Scout Troop Camp” in Anniston, Alabama at Camp Cottaquilla.

The girls chose to use their Girl Scout Cookie Sales money to attend a one night camp. We left on Friday afternoon around 3:30 p.m. and headed home Saturday afternoon around 4. To them it was the greatest trip EVER, and that is what mattered!

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Entrance to the Camp

Out of my 4 girls, none of them had ever stayed away from home on a trip like this. So when we pulled in to the gate they were jumping up and down.

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This is the lodge at the front of camp. It houses dining and offices.

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This was our first view. The lake/pond, boat house, flag pole and pool.

After check in we dropped our bags off and headed to the lodge for dinner. They served pizza and drinks. The girls learned some songs and were given an assignment to create a skit that had to do with camp. Hilarious. After that we were given about 30 minutes to get our cabins settled and then we went to the campfire area where the girls sang songs and roasted marshmallows and made s’mores.

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This is where all of the troops come together for the campfire, girl scout songs, and s’mores.

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This is pretty much what all of the cabins looked like.

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Inside of the cabins. We literally FROZE. Who knew it was going to get into the 40’s in May in Alabama!? They held about 6 cots and some walking space.

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This was the bath house for “Four Winds” set of cabins and “Deep Woods” cabins.

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Cabins

Saturday morning it rained. My girls went fishing, canoeing, and pedal boating. In the rain and never cared. Before lunch they also got to do archery. By then it had stopped raining and that was a lot of the girls’ favorite part.

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My young cousin and a camp counselor at the archery range.

After lunch our troop went on a Fairy Hike and a Nature Hike. The fairy hike took them throughout the entire camp and they learned about the 3 fairies that live at Camp Cottaquilla. It is a really cute story and if you have the opportunity to take your girls, I definitely suggest taking them!! The EZ Camp was one night and was just enough for the age of the girls in my troop. Our Junior troop consists of ages 9-11. The other troops there were Daisies and Brownies (K-3rd grade.) I think it was perfect for the maturity levels and ages. They offer week long camps but I think that most appropriate for the older end of Juniors and above.

Have you ever been to a Girl Scout Camp with your troop? What was your experience like?