Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm giving thanks for all the little but HUGE blessings...

•An awesome Memorial Day weekend in Edisto with good friends. I was just reminiscing about the great time we had last weekend and how thankful I am for these friends.

•My SC teaching certificate is being renewed as we speak. We're saying a few extra prayers that the perfect job for me and my family will show itself!

•My neurologist showed me a series of beautiful images of my brain. The headaches are just that...headaches. And he's trying to help me manage them.

•My mom kept Sam and Fu tonight and we were able to clean out 3/4 of the laundry/craft/multi-purpose/storage room. Can't wait to knock out more tomorrow! {Thanks Mom & Dad}

•My dad turns 65 tomorrow...June 1! I am thankful for every year we get to celebrate with our parents. They are so very important to me! Happy Birthday, Dad! You're the bomb-dot-com!

That's all folks!!! Stay tuned for Phone dump Friday!!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Last Week of School (Part 2)

In case you missed it...Last Week of School Part 1
Tuesday and Wednesday of last week we celebrated 2 milestones in the Montessori philosophy.

{Background info}Most Montessori schools are broken into 3 levels of blended grades - Primary (3K-5K), Lower Elementary (1st grade-3rd grade) and Upper Elementary (4th & 5th grade). They stay with the same teacher and classmates for up to 3 years. Upon completion of each level the students participate in a Bridging Ceremony. The ceremony marks the transition from one level to the next. It serves as a graduation of sorts.

It was an exciting 2 days as we were celebrating Sam and Fulton's bridging ceremonies. Sam bridged from Lower El to Upper El and Fulton bridged from Primary to Lower El. I loved that they actually crossed over a cute wooden bridge from their current teachers and over to a teacher from the next level. Our awesome principal read a sweet book to the students and parents. My favorite of the two was Koala Lou! OH MY WORD! The ladies on our row were blubbering like fools.

I can't believe how quickly time has passed. It seems like just yesterday that I wrote this post on Sam's 1st day of 5K and now he's going into FOURTH GRADE! Something is terribly wrong here.

And this little guy will be in FIRST GRADE!!


Any who... the bridging ceremonies were precious and were the gateway into another phase of my boys' lives. We have been truly blessed thus far with loving, Godly teachers who have helped foster my boys in their academic journeys.
Fulton's Bridging: Primary-Lower El
Ms. Turbeville has been a dream to work with. Fulton just adores her and her assistant Mrs. Brunson. I love knowing that his teachers have prayed for him and that they have helped build a young man with a great confidence academically. He is going to do great things in 1st grade.

{More Background info} The teacher on the other side of the bridge in the video when Fulton crosses over is my dear life-long friend Phoebe. We met in 5K and went all the way through school together. I loved the parallel. She saw me through all my years of schooling as a friend and now she's there to see my boys go through. They say it takes a village...I'm glad she's in mine!  

Sam's Bridging: Lower El-Upper El
Sam's journey through Lower El has been an amazing transformation. He left his preschool and went to big boy school at a traditional public school. When we got the phone call that he had been selected through the lottery to attend the public Montessori school (located behind our house - no less) we jumped at the chance. His transition was a little rocky at first, but he has fallen head over heels in love with his new teacher Ms. Boozer (with whom I think he's a little smitten) and her assistant Ms. Rickenbaker (who has seen him through all 3 grades) and he has really wowed us. They have been so good to Sam and VERY hard to top!

 We topped our crazy year-end off with lots of hugs, as the boys will be moving on to new levels, classes, classmates and teachers.

Finally... I love doing a comparison in on the 1st day of 5K and the last day to see how much the boys have grown. I did Sam's here back in '09. Here's Fu-bird's-

So school is out for SUMMER and the Bakers are ready!!!
Stay tuned for the 2012 Baker Summer Games ;-)


Monday, May 28, 2012

Last Week of School (Part 1)

Potato sack races, baton, egg, and bean bag relays, water balloon pass...

What does that make you think of?

Field day, of course!!!

Last Monday was FIELD DAY at S & F's school!!!

And who doesn't love field day?!?

Field day is one of my most fond memories of school. I always loved it! I'm pretty sure my boys have inherited that passion. Sam and Fulton couldn't wait!

Fulton's group, the primary grades, started bright and early at 9:00, before it got too hot.

Sam's group - lower elementary - didn't get started until 11:30...WHOO right when the sun started kicking in.

Nonetheless, they all had a blast. There were tons of parents on hand taking pictures, passing out cold fruit and Popsicles, and refilling water coolers. I was delighted to take part this year and live vicariously through my boys...once again.

The gym teacher is awesome about having all the right props, organization, and most of all...great music. MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, Venga Boys, Queen, etc. thoroughly entertained all the parents. The kids loved dancing to all the popular tunes and line dance songs as they waited for their to team race. It brought back a flood of fun memories!

Field day is just another marker that summer is almost here!

Turbeville's Super Stars

 Boozer's Bengals

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A break in the clouds

One of my last posts mentioned how overwhelmed and gloomy things had been recently. This weekend I welcomed a much needed break in the clouds...literally. It rained and rained for days, off and on for the past 10 days or so. Even when it wasn't raining it looked like it was going to. I think the weather can truly play a part in you how you feel and how you deal with things that come your way.

But Friday afternoon the sun finally started to come out and put a new light on things. I suddenly didn't feel as glum. We walked down to the school for Sambo & Fu's end of the year school-wide picnic. I forgot my camera :-( so I wasn't able to snap any pics, but the boys loved running around with all their friends and Shan and I enjoyed socializing with all the great moms, dads, and teachers of their school. The boys went to bed early so they'd be well-rested for their first Kids Triathlon on Saturday.

We got up at the crack of dawn to make our way across town for the Harbison Kids Triathlon. What an experience! I was so proud of my boys for attempting and accomplishing a great goal. More importantly, I have never seen them so proud of themselves for meeting a physical goal. Shan and I loved it!

Sam...Swim Bike Run
My dad used to be an avid runner. You can't tell from the collage but...Shannon and I couldn't get over how much Sam lookes like my dad with his determination face on! CRAZY!

Fulton...Swim Bike Run
Fulton acted like a pro! He seemed to be right at home and for the first time in his 6 years acted like he had a sense of urgency!!!
We had a great representation of the school and thoroughly enjoyed cheering on each other's children.

You go guys!!!!

Later Saturday afternoon we had Fulton's final T-ball game and his and Sam's baseball party out at the ball field.

Fulton was awarded his 2nd T-ball trophy (Sam's division doesn't do trophies unless it's the champion team).
Baby Ver and his BFF, Hampton ("Hantan"), ran around like wild Indians and got as dirty as possible and were just lovin' life.

Sam also enjoyed hanging out with a dear ol' pal, Charlie, while the little guys played. They too looked like piggies fresh out of the mud!

Sunday could not have been a more picture-perfect day! After so much rain and gloominess we felt very blessed to awake to a beautiful bright sun. When I went in to get Oliver he even asked "Mommy, what's that bright!?!?"

We spent the morning at church. And later Shannon, along with S & F and The Gibson boys all went for a bike ride and gave momma some quiet time while Oliver napped. It was LOVELY!

We topped our weekend off with the company of The Seigler family. We are fortunate to have gotten to know them well through school and the women's bible study Jennifer and I are doing. They are also our neighbors which has been great for "the Sams"!

The awesome burgers on the grill, great conversation and kids playing until dark made me super excited about the end of school and the summertime right around the corner! We can't wait!!!

So the weekend proved to be praise-worthy!

It gave me some hope that better days are ahead. We are looking forward to it for sure!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Phone Dump Friday

Happy Friday!
The weekend is here and it's time for a late-night Friday Phone Dump.
We finished off our week with a school-wide picnic at the school. The rainy day turned into a gorgeous evening for a fun occasion.
Shan and I helped the boys get all their "gear" ready for their kids mini triathlon tomorrow. They are so excited! However, I think baby Ver might be a little disappointed when he realizes he's not actually participating.

Any who...
This is just me dumping my phone pics from the week...

 1. A quick pic of Sam and his oh-so-cool Mom
2-4. Ollie's last day of the 2's with Mrs. Paige and his buds
{I'm so glad the Ver-man is feeling better...his infected bug bite tested positive for MRSA. YIKES!!! But thankfully he was treated quickly and is on the mend and my entire house has been cloroxed!}
 1. Fulton the Bikini Monkey at the school picnic
2. Look out! Spider Ollie will be in a pool near you very soon
3. This evening's pretty clouds
1. Guess who fell in the mud at school?
2. This guy!!!! I had to take him a change of clothes.
He was appropriately wearing his USMC mud run t-shirt. HA!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

C'mon Get Happy!

The last 6 weeks have been very trying to say the least.

We went on our fabulous Baker Road Trip and it all seemed to start spiraling from there.
I suddenly began to have migraine headaches WITH aura about 3-4x a day from April 3rd-ish to May 2nd. At times they were so severe I truly thought I may be having mini-strokes because of my visual disturbances and pain. This was all totally strange and frightening because I do NOT get headaches.

At the advice of good friends and their ability to pull some strings, I slid right on in to a neurologist's office who told me originally that it'd be the end of June for new referrals. Um, no thanks! But I got in that same day. He scheduled an MRI and my report came back fine. But now I have to figure out my "triggers" for my new ailment and learn how to manage them. My follow up is in a couple of weeks, so we shall see!

My Papa passed away last week on May 7th. We had been expecting it, but it doesn't make it any easier. I am going to really miss him and his stories. And my heart is still very sad for my dad. I plan to write a tribute to Papa very soon.

My Aunt Laynie and her daughter Renee {my cousin} are both very ill and I am praying for miracles. I'd love it if you would too. I love both of them beyond words and I also believe in miracles.

Yesterday Oliver woke up with an odd bug bite on his calf and wouldn't use his leg at all! I ended up at the doctor having it lanced. Poor Oliver! It broke my heart because he does NOT cry, but he did today. LOTS. We are now on heavy duty antibiotics to prevent staph. Fun stuff.

Not to mention... it has rained and rained and rained so much that Shan and I are about to start building an ark!

Any who...
It seems I've been surrounded by lots of gloom recently, so it's the small blessings and little things I am rejoicing in today.

1) My most recent Etsy feedback made me smile.
2) My awesome new hairbrush that baby-Ver picked out by accident at the drug store. I love it!
Conair Classic Wood Brush, 1ct
3) My Aunt Laynie's MRI of her spine came back negative.
4) Our VBS that was on the verge of being cancelled is back on and the volunteers are steadily coming in. So thankful!

 Columbia folks, register here.
5) My new Bible study

and Sunday School

are helping me to keep my eyes on Him to get over these hurdles.
6) This little person

said "I'm so lucky you're my mom!" this morning before he went to school.

I am truly thankful for those of you who know "where I am" right now and all your prayers. I am looking forward with hope that things will be looking up soon.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Life is Good

3 Boys

2 Games going on simultaneously...1 on the T-ball field and 1 on Kids Pitch

1 BIG Mud Puddle

0 Clothes to change into

Life is good.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Bake-ation: The Bakers take DC and Hershey

Over Spring Break Shan and I decided to take a road trip with the boys.

We had a few convos about what we'd do for Spring Break, but had trouble deciding what.

One night a few weeks before their break, Sam, Shannon and I were talking about different kinds of chocolate (milk, dark, white, etc.). Shannon mentioned to Sam that Hershey actually has a chocolate world and a theme park that he had visited several years ago through a business account. Sam thought that was the coolest thing he'd ever heard.

You could see the light bulb go on over Shan's head... Let's go to Hershey, PA!!!


Yes! We can stop on the way to break up the drive. Drive into Washington DC and stay for a couple of days. Then travel up to Pennsylvania and go to Hershey.

And we did.

We loaded the car {think Beverly Hillbillies} and headed up I-20 to 95.

Our first stop landed us in Richmond, VA.

We ate supper, spent the night, and got up early to drive into DC. We spent the days checking out some museums and doing a little sight-seeing.

DC Day 1: The National Museum of Natural History
Swallowed whole!
Oh look! There I am...suspended from the ceiling!
Oliver wasn't too sure about the giant elephant inside the building.
Shannon bought me a little surcie. You may be familiar with it... The Hope Diamond. It's a little heavy for my liking, so I don't wear it much!

What a neat place!

The boys LOVED being in the museum that featured all of the great characters in The Night at the Museum 2.
Overall Bake-ation Rating: **** 4/5 stars
Sam: **** 4/5 stars His favorite thing: The gems, rocks, and minerals
Fulton: **** 4/5 stars His favorite thing: The giant animals all over
Ollie: *** 3/5 stars His favorite thing: The fossils; especially the "bone turtle"

DC Day 2: The National Air and Space Museum
Our day started out a little rocky, as poor Fu-bird lost his IPhone (I know what you're thinking! It was my old IPhone, not activated. He used it as an ITouch for games a pics.) Any who... so he was very sad when we realized it was gone and didn't enjoy the first part of our trip to the museum.

 Pre-ride in the flight simulator...
Post-ride in the flight simulator...
It's Ollie's turn!

We opted for the Air and Space Museum over the zoo for a couple of reasons: 1 It was recommended to us because we have boys and 2 the weather was kinda iffy for the zoo. Hindsight: We should have gone to the zoo.
Overall Bake-ation rating: *** 3/5 stars Great hands-on kids area, but really just a bunch of retired air crafts too high on display to appreciate. Favorite things: The gift shop and flight simulators.

DC: Various sights and pics
Fortunately, there were several families from SC in the DC area during spring break. We were lucky enough to meet-up with one of our faves, The Verzyls!!! Sam and Fulton were so excited to see them. We played in the park across from the White House and exchanged tourist stories and ideas. It was great!!!
Shan was awkwardly excited about the picture he got of the snipers perched a-top the White House and seeing the Presidential and Vice-Presidential motorcades that we were oh-so-close to.
I was too afraid to take a picture of the motorcades for fear I'd get shot. You never Canon point and shoot could have looked like a gun to the snipers.

So we hit the road and drove through the evening into Pennsylvania!!!

We woke up early and headed to every woman's dreamland HERSHEY, PA!!!!!

I was 150% giddy and even wept at the sight of the Reese's factory. My children thought I was nuts. Shannon already thinks that, but had confirmation at that moment that I am certifiable!

Our first stop...
Hershey's Chocolate World!
The ride through the virtual factory was like "It's a Small World" at Disney, but better because it was ALL CHOCOLATE!!!! There were 3-D chocolate movies, make-your-own chocolate bar, a restaurant, and a gift shop. It was totally fascinating!

Then we made our way to...
Hershey Park!!!
Picture Carowinds, with a chocolate theme. Un-be-liev-able!!! Rides, Games, Custom-made Smores (are you kidding?), a recording booth (that I was dying to go into, but got quickly shot down when we saw the line), great food, and did I mention CHOCOLATE every-where!

I didn't want to leave. And yes, we shut the park down!

Overall Bake-ation Rating: ***** 5/5 stars and worth the drive!

We concluded our trip by driving home the day before Easter. Our 10 hour trip took 12 with a few stops. We came home down 81 and the view was amazing. Such a pretty drive through the mountains. I just marveled at all of God's handiwork. Simply breathtaking.

However, cabin fever or "minivan fever" started to set in after a while and we all began to get a little cranky, frustrated, and delirious. It was evident when the highlight of our car ride was Sam's discovery in his bag of Cheetos...
Wooooooow! It looks like an arrow.

Any who... We made it home safely and it was a GREAT Bake-ation!!! I would recommend it to anyone. I'm already looking forward to our next family road trip! Hmmmm... Where should we go? Any ideas?