Amelia's Birthday Interview

I started asking Amelia a set of questions every year on her birthday at age 3 and on. Let me just say... this might be the best idea I've ever had! I love looking back at her answers from previous years. On her fifth birthday I decided to video her. Being able to compare year to year is going to be wonderful. I already can't believe how much more grown up she is in her 6yr video vs. her 5 yr. I keep every year's answers and a couple of photos from her birthday that year in a scrapbook. I can't wait to give it to her when she's older. I also make her write her name at the bottom of the survey. It will be fun to see how her handwriting changes as she grows up. If you haven't seen my post with the interview questions, click HERE.

and on to the videos...

She thought her pirate squint was oh so funny. Some people asked if she was squinting because she needed glasses... nope, even though she probably did need glasses the squint was more for hilarity.

She had a bit of a cold this year. My favorite part is when I ask who she is going to marry. The reaction is priceless. 
Ashley Elizabeth

'Thank You' Thursday

Dear Husband,
Thank you so much for taking such good care of Amelia and I. You work so much and go to school and we couldn't be more appreciative. Thank you for seeing the value in my staying home to take care of our little one, to volunteer at her school and to pursue my passion for photography. You encourage me to follow my dreams and help find ways to make it happen. 

Dear Amelia, 
Thank you for your sweet heart. I am in awe of the kindness and compassion you show toward others at your young age. If this is any indication of your future, you are going to grow up to be the most amazing adult. Also, thank you for finally cleaning up your crafting supplies from our living room. I was afraid we would all be sucked into the disastrous mess of paper clippings, crayons, glue sticks, coloring books and pencils.  

Dear Grace's Pregnant Belly,
Thank you so much for taking such good care of my future nephew. I can't wait to meet him, snuggle him and fall in love with him.

Dear Kindergarten,
Thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to meet so many other amazing kindergarten Mamas. Yesterday while on a field trip I had the best time getting to know them (more than our usual daily small talk). I will spend the next 8.5 school years with most of these women and I'm so happy to get to know them and their families. They truly are a wonderful bunch. 

Dear Simple Green Cleaner,
Thank you so much for aiding me in the killing of a spider. When my oh so short self couldn't knock the wretched beast from the ceiling, your spray did just the thing... allowing me to stomp it about 37 times.

Dear Thursday and Friday,
Thank you for not filling my days with errands! I have two days with no plans while Amelia is in school... which means my house is going to get some cleaning and organizing love! Because of you two my sanity will be restored. 

What are you thankful for today? Let it all out and link back in the comments. I'd love to read what you have to say.
Ashley Elizabeth

What Amelia Wore

It's been ages since I've done a "What Amelia Wore" post. Since school started, and because she wears uniforms, I haven't been shopping as much. She loves to dress up fancy, always has to match and has incredibly awesome taste in clothes for a kid. I finally had to pack away some of her favorite items because her size 6 length legs just didn't work for size 4T skirts and dresses. The girl is so tall and slim. We had fun splurging on new dresses for her this birthday and I can't wait for her to wear some of them.

Today's outfit was a present from her Auntie Erica. I always have to browse through the Burberry section at Nordstrom, but have never bit the bullet and bought her something. Auntie Erica loves to shop and has a tenancy to spoil this girl... and we are so in love with this outfit. 

White Skinny Jeans: Burberry
Multi-colored Tunic Top: Burberry
Black Flats: Michael Kors. 

Ashley Elizabeth

Our Private School Experience

Well, we are well into the school year so I wanted to share our experience with private school thus far. From the time Amelia was born I knew where I wanted her to go to school. It was not a decision we made on a whim, but instead well thought out with a lot of research involved. Now this post is not at all intended to say that private school is better than public, just our thought process and experience on the matter.

Mark and I both went to public school. I loved school and had some of the most amazing teachers in the world. I remember every teacher from kindergarten on and could sit here and tell you why I liked each of them, what they offered me and the life lessons I gained from being in their class. There are a few of my teachers that I continue to keep in touch with even now. I don't remember a time when I was ever bullied or made to hate school. I played sports, was involved in several clubs, was a member of ASB and also had opportunities to tutor other students. Overall, my school experience was wonderful. 

Fast forward to our preparation, as parents, to send our daughter off to school. Here are some of the reasons why we chose to have her attend private school and some of the reasons why we fell in love with it after the school year started.

The program. It was refreshing to see a school with such a solid education program. Before we applied, I met with administrators at the school and talked with them about what the school had to offer. I loved seeing programs like music, art, PE and Spanish offered to grades K-8. We see it on the news all the time, schools cutting programs because it doesn't fit in the budget. It really is a sad situation. I fondly remember having music, art, calligraphy, band and other electives before I even reached high school.

Class/School Size. Before school even started there were several staff members who knew us. It was so welcoming to have the secretary approach me as I walked in to pick Amelia up from her first day and say "I bet Amelia had a wonderful first day. Those little kids are just so cute". She already knew who I was and which child belonged to me, and she took the time to stop me and make me feel welcome. Class sizes are small; Amelia's class has 18 kids. Amelia's class has both a teacher and full time aid. The kids get plenty of attention and help.

Uniforms. I love the idea of uniforms and love that more schools are adopting this dress code. There is no reason why a child should have to be made fun of or talked bad about because of the clothes they wear. A uniform dress code puts all kids on an even level. I know one of the arguments against uniforms is that it is more expensive. Amelia's school uniform policy allows khaki and navy pants, shorts, skirts, skorts and jumpers, white blouses and red, navy and white polos. Her school also has a plaid. It's not required to wear the plaid, but that adds a few more options. With stores like Target and Old Navy offering uniform items, it really doesn't cost any more than regular school shopping.

Location. We don't own a home yet and haven't yet decided where to put down roots. We know the city, or better yet the outskirts we want to live in, but there are so many elementary schools around there that I didn't want to have to move her a time or two before we bought a house. Buying within a specific school district would limit our options.

Field Trips. Amelia's teacher is amazing at planning unique field trips for the kids. They are getting ready to go on their 6th field trip next week. They did a SOLVE park clean up, went hiking and learned about forests, visited the local police station and met with a judge, police officers and a k-9 unit. They've been caroling to a retirement home and visited a Christmas tree farm and picked out a tree for a family in need. Next week they are going to Market of Choice grocery store to learn about nutrition. I love the variety of trips they take and the incredible knowledge they gain from them.

The Community. With a small school I've noticed that parents, students and staff are able to get to know one another really well. There are so many opportunities to volunteer with others and attend fun after hours school events. It feels like one huge family.

Strong Values. Growing up in the public school system I can definitely tell a difference in how the children at Amelia's school behave. There is a really high standard set for them and the children all do really well with it. Every morning the entire school gathers for prayer time. The kids recite the school motto, expectations and the ways they can add value to the school and their community. In Amelia's class specifically, the kids are all so kind to one another. There aren't groups that ignore other groups. They all talk to one another and play well together. If one of them is out sick, the rest pray for them. If one of them gets hurt at school, the others all rush over to help.

Parent Involvement. Each family is required to volunteer a certain amount of hours each year. I think this is great! It ensures that parents are around to play an active role in their child's education. It allows us to get to know our child's classmates as well as their parents. I love feeling included in events and being around to help Amelia and her friends.

I'm sure I could continue on this topic, but this post is already so long. I didn't know how much I would love her school when we applied, but I'm so glad we chose to have her attend. It is our hope that she will be at her school all the way through 8th grade. 
Ashley Elizabeth

A Long Weekend

Hello All, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. This was supposed to be posted yesterday, but I was having Blogger issues. Amelia returned to school yesterday after having four days off. I love when she has long weekends. Saturday and Sunday were busy, but Monday and Tuesday were more on the lazy side. We celebrated Amelia's birthday with my family Saturday. It was a really fun time. She got an Anna doll, a kindle, Breyer horses, all of her lacrosse gear (in pink of course), her first Burberry outfit and a bunch of other wonderful things.

Sunday we went to brunch with Mark's family, which was also super fun. I was bummed that the place we originally planned on going to was closed, but thankfully one of our favorite spots is nearby so we stopped in there. I was so busy talking I didn't snap any photos. Monday we stayed home all day. Amelia slept in really late and we really didn't do a lot. Tuesday I headed out to Ikea. I'm in the process of reorganizing/redecorating Amelia's room to make it more functional for her. It is a tiny room compared to what she's had in the past so hopefully after the changes I make it will be a better space. She stayed with my mom and grandma while I shopped. On the way home we hopped out of the car and snapped a few photos. The sun was almost completely down so we didn't get many, but I thought this one was cute. Weekends like this always make me dread the alarm going off in the morning. I'm excited to get some projects done this week though.

Ashley Elizabeth

6th Birthday Outtakes

With Amelia... there are always outtakes. I usually end up with 2-3 silly pictures for every "good" one. Even though they are incredibly goofy, I really love them all. Here are the ones that didn't make the 6 year birthday post.

Ashley Elizabeth

Six Years

Six years ago today was the best day of my life. I became a mother, the greatest title I will ever have. We welcomed the most beautiful baby girl into our world and she has done nothing but amaze us ever since. Amelia is smart, funny, kind, compassionate and gorgeous, both inside and out. She is the greatest blessing. Happy Birthday baby girl. I love you infinity.

Highlights of Amelia's year at age 5:
*tried ice hockey
*took ice skating lessons
*moved up a level in ballet
*attended two different summer ballet camps
*went on a road trip up and down the entire east coast
*got glasses
*moved with mommy and daddy into Auntie Gracie's house (temporarily)
*helped mommy can vegetables
*went to the beach
*went to Kahneeta
*grew her own tomatoes
*had her first lemonade stand
*started kindergarten
*moved out of Molalla to Gladstone
*learned how to do an entire load of laundry all on her own (she wanted to)
*performed in the Nutcracker ballet
*rode The Polar Express
*was the flower girl in Grace and Chris' wedding
*received a "Terrific Kid" award at school
*started taking painting classes
*tried lacrosse and signed up for the spring season

Goodbye 5

Hello 6

A few Amelia facts:
*she's still a born vegetarian
*she will sit quietly for hours without getting up, working on art projects and crafts
*she's really good at doing math in her head. She started at 3 and has been going non-stop ever since.   She never uses her fingers, just figures it out in her head. 
*she's still pretty shy around people she doesn't really know
*she loves Taylor Swift, Eloise, Littlest Pet Shop and Jingle Cats
*she's obsessed with horses and cats
*she's really mature for her age. 
*despite her asthma, the girl loves to run
*if she had her way she would play volleyball, run track, take skiing, snowboarding and drum lessons, in addition to ballet and lacrosse. She loves to be busy and enjoys trying new activities

Stay tuned for the insanely hilarious outtakes from this shoot. You know Amelia, there are always funny photos. 
Ashley Elizabeth

Lacrosse, Sickness and Catching Up

Amelia is back at school today after spending Monday and Tuesday at home. She had a fever on Sunday, but no other symptoms. She eventually came down with a slight runny nose. Thankfully she seems to be back to herself, just in time for her birthday tomorrow. We've been keeping busy lately. Weekdays are filled with school (for both Amelia and Mark), running errands, trying to get a handle on putting this house together (I still haven't fully decorated/unpacked) and trying to catch up. I'm constantly trying to "catch up". Weekends are packed with visiting family, working on projects, running around and trying to get more sleep. Life is crazy sometimes. Even when I worked full time and Amelia was younger and needed more attention I didn't feel this busy. I like it though. 

Last weekend Amelia tried lacrosse for the first time. We thought it'd be fun to see how she does playing a sport. She has dance class weekly, but she's a very energetic/crazy/active little girl. Of course she was nervous about going, but she immediately fell in love with lacrosse. It was pouring that day. We were drenched and I couldn't really see her on the field that well. At one point I thought she was crying, but when she ran closer to me I saw she had the biggest smile on her face. Yay! Her actual season doesn't start until April and we are all anxious for it to get here. 
She's in the black and hot pink jacket, standing next to the guy
I'm excited for Amelia's birthday this year, but also sad. For some reason six seems so much older than five. Maybe it's the fact she's in school full time, or the fact that she is quite mature for her age... whatever it is, it's making me sad. That girl amazes me daily. We aren't having our usual party for her this year. Our house is much smaller than where we used to live, and with my grandma not doing as well we decided to just keep it simple. Amelia said she'd rather spend her birthday with Grandma Grace than have friends over. Sweetest. Girl. Ever! Tomorrow my mom and I are taking cupcakes to her school for a little party, Friday she has an "almost overnighter" at school, Saturday we are celebrating with my family and Sunday we are having brunch with Mark's family. It will be a busy week, but she's definitely a girl worth celebrating. 

I didn't get around to posting about Catholic School's Week (it was a couple of weeks ago). The school had some fun spirit days, awesome activities and Grandparent's Day. Here are a couple of photos. I didn't snap a picture of pajama day, but she wore the most adorable jammies. I wish they came in adult sizes. 
Decades Day - I started sewing her skirt at 11pm the night before
Grandparent's Day! These two have the most amazing bond
Crazy Day

My slightly OCD child wasn't too thrilled about the mismatched clothes of Crazy Day, but once she saw how awesome she looked, it was all good. 
Ashley Elizabeth