Friday, August 31, 2012

Matt & Sarah's 10 year!

Sammy asked that the Force Be With Us!
Sarah and Matt's friends and family gathered for a blessing before an amazing potluck.
 The loads of children played and played and climbed and ran and ran....
 And ate and hung out on this beautiful porch!
 There was some snuggling too!
 But the highlight was at the end when Brian helped Sarah and Matt renew their vows.  On their front porch. In a misting rain while dozens of friends gathered in the trees below.  Brian had some words to share and then the two had written their own vows to each other.  It was really beautiful.
What a wonderful celebration, Congrats Sarah & Matt!

A Holy Man

When our neighbor's asked Bri to help them recite their renewal of vows at their 10-year anniversary, Brian took it seriously.  This morning he went on line and became an ordained pastor!  Seriously.
 And he played the part well tonight at the party too....the keg beer is a nice touch, right?
Gotta love, Rev. Brian!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Metamorphosis Weinie Roast

Tonight was our time to meet other Montessori families and it was lovely!  We played...
 Then went on a nature walk through the trails of Lodge Park with Mim
 Mara used her binoculars ( backwards) to search for birds
 It was great to walk with and talk to other families and get to know them.
 And the weinie roast was the best. The kids cooked their own and it was simple, easy and fun!

Money Matters

After more than 2 years of a marble jar as part of our daily to teach our children chores, responsibility, and money- we have officially retired it.  I think we all were alittle sad to see it go.  This jar, and two other ones have helped Brian and I monitor our children's morning routine.  Its gotten them excited about doing work around the house, about helping out, and about saving and waiting and earning to receive something, not just getting.  Its also brought so much joy when our kids reached the top and got to "spend "their marble jar or decided to save and get something that was worth TWO marble jars!

We knew we wanted to move into a Dave Ramsey way.  We knew we wanted to teach them some new skills but didn't know how or when to get started.  And then this week we listened to a podcast of a seminar together from Hearts at Home about money matters and helping your children thrive with core values in a world of commercialism and everything changed.  We found the way, together.  And we started last week. 
 We've  moved into allowance.  Each week, the children will receive $3.  On Sunday.  They will still be expected to do all of their daily chores for personal responsibility and for our home.  They will also be expected to help out around the house when asked.  If they don't- no allowance.  

 The children were each given 3 envelopes.  One save, one spend, one give.  This is very similar to the system Brian and I use with our Dave Ramsey plan.  Each Sunday, the kids have to decide what to do with their money.  If they choose to put it in the spend envelope, anytime they want a piece of candy from the store, or a treat from a garage sale, or a toy from Target- here is where they will look....not to us!

If they want to save, we will put that money in the bank for them.

If they want to give, they can use that money to give to church, to another person who needs it, to an organization they feel drawn to, or whatever.
Its taken a few days for us all to get used to it and to leave the marbles behind.  But they are getting it.  Alaric is desperately saving every dollar for The Green Ninja from Ninjago Lego.  He wanted it, he researched it, he evaluated how many weeks it would take him to earn it, and he has his eyes on the prize.  And when he gets his toy, he'll have no other money for awhile.

Mara gave all of her money to "give" the first week.  She's since put some in spend.  She is just excited to have money and have a cool piggy bank.  She's been talking about giving some money to Wild Kratts and more to church. Our sweet children!

Its new.  Its different.  Its a lifestyle change for our little ones.  We are so proud of them and so excited to start them on a deep understanding of money and the values that go with them.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Comparing the Firsts!

A year ago, this was Mara on her first day of Preschool ( August 2011)
 Amara today- August 2012...Doesn't she look so grown up?

Amara's First Day of School!

What a day!  Our sweet Mara headed to Pre-K!  She's so big and wise and ready to discover the world around her.  Look how excited this booger was to start her day and get the special red plate!
 I thought she might have some nerves about starting a new school ( I know I did).  She was all giggles and joy!
 No backpacks at Metamorphosis Montessori.  Just book bags.  And Ms. Heather picked a pink one for Mara.  She must have known our little girl!
 Proud Daddy!
 And mommy too!  I feel so honored to get the chance to teach preschool to my own child.  What a dream for me!!
 Big Brother gave a great send off too!
 We both walk into our first day of school
 What's inside to discover?
 Not many parents get to document what happens on the first day but I get to see it all unfold each day.  So, of course, I documented it.  Mim ( the name they call the teacher) drew these flowers for Amara on the outdoor chalkboard and wrote her name.
 Amara did regular playground stuff today but the real joy was seeing her volunteer to put on boots and head into the barnyard for chores and exploring.  She was alittle hesitant at first with the sheep but warmed up quickly and was able to pet Thistle!
 First day of school.  First time working in a barnyard.  And she collects 4 beautiful eggs.  My heart swells!
 And as Fulton Family tradition dictates, we headed for icecream immediately!  What a day!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hensen Wedding

Brian's best friend got married this weekend!  What fun it is to have a weekend away without the kids and to celebrate the love of two amazing people.

Brian and I got to rest and watch TV and hang out together and...hang with the groomsmen and the groom
 drink with the father of the bride
 grill food at the rehearsal dinner
 and watch this amazing couple vow to love each other forever!
 The reception was so much fun.  Dancing with my best friend all night,
 Acting silly with the Galesburg crew
 Dancing with friends
 And getting to spend quality time with the guys!
What an amazing weekend!  Congratulations Benji & Sara!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day with Grammy & Papa

While Alaric was having his first day of school, Grammy & Papa were spoiling Amara rotten!  Each Bechtel Grandkid gets a day out with Grammy & Papa for their birthday.  They get to have lunch at a place of their choice and a shopping trip to Toys R Us.  

Today was Amara's special day with Grammy & Papa!  As you can see, they all had a blast and she raked it in too!!!

FIVE firsts~

We are on Alaric's Fifth First Day of School.  A look back...


Alaric's First Day of 1st Grade

Our baby is a first grader!  And he was excited today!  Yummy breakfast on the fancy special red plates!
 Daddy and his  big boy!
 Me and My baby!
 So happy these two still love each other so....
 What a great year I just know this will be!

 Precious moments!
 First Grade Friends!
 Our little rockstar!
We headed to Allerton with 20 other kids after school for lunch.  No surprise...the boys turned everything they had into weapons!
 I loved ever second I got to have with my little man alone ( Mara was at Grammy & Papa's)
 Special treats!