Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Polka Dot Lunch

Almost a decade ago, I began working with a wonderful child as her reading and resource teacher. Her mom was a Physical Therapist in a school district. I remember that first year, my other teacher friends said, now that you are working with her, you get an invite to the Polka Dot Lunch!!!

The what?

The Polka Dot Lunch.

I learned then that once a year, this momma made a lunch for all of her kids teachers and staff who helped her kids...from the classroom teachers to the secretaries to the PE teacher to the janitors, whoever took care of her kids and helped them as a way to say thanks. And the polka dot thing was just a fun way to put a theme to it and get creative.

I cant tell you how it made me feel. So loved. So appreciated. It was a simple act but meant so much. As a "special" teacher, we often got overlooked for cards at Christmas and end of the year( even when we worked daily with kids for years and years). And while I don't need gifts or cards- when I received them, they meant the world to me. I've saved a few to this day.

I was able to participate in 4 Polka Dot Lunches and when that student graduated, I missed them!

I decided then that when I had kids, they too would help plan Polka Dot Lunches. last year was my first and we had so much fun doing it. Today was our second.

With two kids at Lincoln now, we served 13 meals today. On the menu...

A choice between homemade loaded pototo soup or vegetable soup, grapes or an orange, roll or chips. Then everyone got homemade chocolate chip cookies and all the staff got polka dot snacks of cheeseballs and crackers and m&m's

The goody bags to go in the fridge( the kids decorated the bags.

my kids love this day too because they also get a polka dot lunch!

Every bag had a note...

I decorated a table in the teacher's lounge with snacks for everyone and more polka dots!

And another table for the soups and drinksAlaric wanted everything in each soup to be a circle too but you can't always get what you want.

I did try to cut the potatoes and carrots that way though

We loved doing it. I love spoiling the teachers and staff. I love honoring them for what they do. And I love that my kids get involved and see and feel what its like to say thanks, to spoil others and make them feel good, to be kind, to work together on a project, and to help clean it all up too!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


As you know, Amara LOVES the book PINKALICIOUS and had her very own Pinkalicious birthday party. So when Brian and I found out Pinkalicious, THE MUSICAL was coming to Parkland College Theatre, we knew that would be her Christmas gift. Today was the day. She was so excited. She kept telling me and everyone who would listen that today was her special day. And it was....

Look at Amaralicious!

She got to pick ANY restaurant she wanted to go to for dinner...and she chose Pizza Hut! She loved it.

As soon as dinner was over, she refused to take off her gloves and specified she needed as much pink as possible. A few family pictures and off we headed to the theatre!

( yes, we all wore pink too---need to be supportive, ya know!)

everyone got their very own pretty pink program and magic wand. Amara couldn't wait for the show to start.

The show was only an hour and the whole time, Amara sat perfectly still. She smiled and laughed but has little reaction. She just needed to take it all it...the music, the dancing, the lights, the PINK- and WOW was there alot of pink! It was amazing.

And after the show, when we got the chance to meet PINKALICIOUS herself and have her autograph Amara's book, she quietly walked forward and timidly gave Pinkalicious a hug. Then walked away and BEAMED pink beams for the next hour!!!!

We bought pink cupcakes for the way home and talked about all of our very favorite parts of the show.

it really was a cure performance but nothing is as special as seeing your kids' eyes light up and being with them to experience something they truly love and have waited for. It was a perfect, precious performance and Amaralicious loved it all!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Door To Door Scavenger Hunt

February just seems to be the month where we follow through on all the Christmas promises. Brian's gift was to do a Door To Door Scavenger Hunt and today was the day.

I worked for a few weeks on the details and enlisted the help of numerous friends. The rules were simple. Find everything on the list, pay for nothing, and you must not collect anything from our home. The list was filled with almost 50 items. Some just to keep them busy like a sock with a hole in it, a penny from the 1990's, a sugar packet. Others were things to collect for our family night together....pizza crust, sauce, and cheese, a family movie, a family game, popcorn and butter, etc.

Here they were receiving their clipboards and instructions We started next door at the Smiths! Our "hosts" were all great. They loved helping us search for items on the list. We went to 4 houses collecting tons of items. We still had so much to get. Brian was getting worried....

and then we got to the Goods House and Blake offered shots as soon as we walked in the door. "My Kind of Scavenger Hunt", said Brian. I should have known the night would take a turn different than the one expected....

After shot one ( yes, there were others)

A selection of beers was offered while both kids went running through the house to find their good friends, Rylan and Lauren ( exactly the same age as ours)

While we had a beer, the Goods got to work on our hunt- collecting tons of stuff and checking it off the list.But before you knew it, we had been there for over an hour, down more than two beverages, with happy older kids playing well together and this precious angel entertaining Brian endlessly.

We decided to stay for snacks....and then dinner ( we made the pizza we had collected items for and cleared out the fridge too)...and then dessert. Time flew and 4 hours later, the counter looked like this!

The Scavenger Hunt ended up being two days....day one was collecting and celebrating with friends along the way. Day two was the pizza night ( we made another one), game night, and family movie night with tons of buttered popcorn! It was wonderful and Brian loved it!

Thanks to all who helped make it extra fun for Brian, especially the Goods for letting us invade!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dental Health- YUM!

Today was Mara's snack day! Since they are learning about dental health, we-of course- needed the snack to go along with the theme! And these apple, peanut butter, marshmellow mouths were created!

Mara was so proud...and I was exhausted. Much more labor intensive than anticipated.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Our teacher Valentine's looked like this this year.
And our Grandparent and Godparent ones looks like this....

Its always fun to wake up to special breakfasts and VDay is the day all meals get creative...made with LOVE!

I did the games at Alaric's Valentine's Day party. When I entered I saw that they had brainstormed things they loved. So sweet. Look what Al wrote....( figures)

We played stack the conversation hearts

and had twizzler eating races- so fun!

Then Mara and I stayed to have lunch with Bubba. They loved showing off their special lunches at school too!

Our wall is full of Valentines!

And dinner was another chance for us to have a special meal ( they NEVER get Chicken nuggets...Al asked if we were having a babysitter)

At each place there were also 4 HUGS. We each had to give away our four hugs and tell someone else at the table reasons why we loved them. It was very sweet. I cried.

Since Alaric and I had so much fun with twizzler races at school, we decided the whole family needed to try it for dinner- it was really funny!

Brian and I don't exchange gifts and we learned years ago that handmade cards were much cheaper and much more personal so again, we exchanged cards. I cried.

What a wonderful day willed with family, friends, and lots and lots of LOVE!!!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

LEEEEEEGGGGGGOOOOOOLAAAAANNNNNDDDDD!!! ( LegoLand...the Greatest Place on Earth ( Right Now)

As you know, we like to give things to DO, not things to have. And this year for Christmas, Alaric got a trip to Legoland and today was the day!

This kid was excited...mapping out the visit, searching through magazines for all the newest stuff to look at...and when we found out today would also be a STAR WARS day at LegoLand, it was the icing on the cake! AMAZING!

We were the first in line.
And to see the Star Wars lego stuff was incredible!

i sat back and watched alot as my little boy had full on, adult conversations about Star Wars and Legos and contruction of it all with workers at Legoland.

Mara loved that there was "girl" stuff too...like Wendy from Bob The Builder!

And this ride was our favorite....we pedalled as we flew in the air. We did it over and over and never got sick of it!

We took a class on how to make our very own AT-AT and the kids even got to take theirs home with them.

The Lego construction area was so great for Mara, who needed to run and jump and swing while Bubba built and created and explored.

And the 3D movie we saw had wind and rain and snow and was really impressive.

Nothing could top seeing these guys all over the place! Look at that happy face!

We love our Star Wars Family!!!!

They have a stunning exhibit where they have recreated the City. Only this weekend, the Clones has taken over and destroyed everything...they were everything and we got to see the destruction!

Could it get any better?

Mara loved it all too! She was such a trooper trying to keep up with her Bubba!

More rides with my sweet little man!

And finally at the end, Mara caught on to what Al and Daddy had been doing all morning....making their own race cars and testing them. Mara's was not impressive ( see...its only two wheels and one lego keeping it together) but she raced that thing a dozen times over and over and over and it beat out other creations too! She was proud!

We had a great time. We played, we watched movies, we explored, we ate, we shopped, we danced, we laughed, we built, we rode on rides, and most importantly.....we watched Alaric, in his element, have one of the best days of his year and we got to do it- TOGETHER