And death to homework...
With Easter over, that can only mean one thing. We’re in the home stretch for school to end! I’ve almost made it guys. Some of you are probably awesome and still cruising, but for me, I’m hanging on by my fingernails for these last 6 weeks of school. Matching outfits, cute hairdos, and those troublesome little Boxtops have flown out the window, but homework still hangs over us like a black cloud of death. You want me to initial how many times on this homework? You want my emergent reader to read for how many minutes? And you’re seriously throwing on MORE projects? I’ve got a daughter in Kindergarten and a daughter in third grade and they have so. much. homework. Now, I can’t complain too loudly because my kids are in dual-language immersion and it’s a standard expectation that there is going to be extra work, but this just means that by mid-April, I’m tapped out. Let me give you an idea. This is my KINDERGARTENER’S homework 5 DAYS A WEEK…
This all usually takes 30-45 minutes because have you ever read with an emergent reader?!?! “b-b-b-b-b-b-a-a-a-a-a-a-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l. I don’t know what the word is Mom.” Bless their hearts. So on a typical school day, I get the kids off to school, have time to exercise and shower (maybe), and then the Kindergartener gets home and it’s time to do lunch and homework. And by the time we finish that, it’s about time for my third grader to get home and I start homework with her. Her homework looks like this…5 days a week:
And then by the end of this, it’s pretty much dinner time, bed time, and then before I know it the whole day is gone and I feel like I’ve spent all day getting kids to and from school and making sure homework gets done.
On a positive, not whiny note, homework time is some of our best time together. My kids (right now) enjoy doing homework (fingers crossed I’m not jinxing myself) and love sharing what they learned at school. Nine times out of 10, it’s a very positive 30-45 minutes for me to spend with each child. But…BUT, I’m tired and I’m ready to feel like I have a little more freedom and flexibility to my schedule again. I’m ready for the girls to come home from school and spend their afternoons playing outside and riding bikes. I’m REALLY ready to lock them in the backyard to jump on the trampoline while I make dinner. And I definitely wouldn’t complain if their teachers sent a note home saying there was no homework the last two weeks of school – or three – or four.
So “Hallelujah” for Easter, sunshine, the end of school, and those care-free days of summer that are just around the corner. A six-week long corner, but hey it’s coming. And a toast to all those parents who are dragging themselves across the finish line and initialing that they did the race :)
Ashley with Hawkeye Photography and I are spreading some sunshine and cheer on the blog today with this LDS Baptism photo shoot, complete with loads of great ideas for celebrating your little guy or gal’s special day. These would also be such great ideas to use for a communion or christening, but because I’m not Catholic, I’m not even going to try to pretend I have an in-depth knowledge of those special ceremonies. I know the basics, but definitely not specifics, so I’m sharing what we did with our daughter for her LDS Baptism and then leaving it to you to incorporate and enjoy in your religious ceremonies or family traditions. You can learn more about our doctrine of baptism here.
When it came to Saira’s baptism dress, I was pretty particular. So many communion or baptism gowns look way over the top and prom-y, but I wanted a dress that really reflected the sweet innocence of her age, which is just shy of 8 years old in these pictures. Saira and I shopped and shopped and I nixed out floor-length, ball gown, or prom style dresses and instead let her choose from some really darling crocheted lace dresses on Light in the Box. Which is basically how I parent. “Here you choose what you like from a selection of things that I’m OK with.” :) I don’t know if her exact dress is still up on the website, but it is really similar to this one here. I love these sweet, simple white flower girl dresses.
Disclaimer: We ordered from Light in the Box and had a great experience, but I’ve talked to other friends who had horrible shipping times and dress fitting disasters, leaving them stranded at the last minute with nothing for their event. If you order from Light in the Box, I would just say make sure you measure your child really carefully, read reviews and the questions asked on the dress you're picking out, and make sure you understand the return policy.
A special surprise for Saira was a flower crown to go with her baptism dress. I made this white flower crown with dahlias, baby’s breath, and greenery and then styled it on simple rope twist braids into a half up do. With three girls, I’ve had to become at least moderately proficient at hair, so while I’m no professional, I’m really happy with how Saira’s hair and flower crown turned out.
Ashley with Hawkeye Photography did Saira’s baptism photo shoot at the Payson LDS Temple. This is the temple closest to our home, but we also love Payson, UT because that’s where my Dad was from and we still have a lot of extended family there today :)
All the tulips, daffodils and spring flowers were in bloom which made the grounds absolutely gorgeous. And even though there was a freezing cold wind blowing (it was cold enough we were feeling pretty guilty making that girl be out there for pics!), Ashley managed to infuse so much warmth and light into the pictures. I loved this picture so much and decided to use this for creating her baptism announcement/invitation as well. I went through West Willow on Etsy and she did a fantastic job creating this announcement.
Another fun surprise for Saira was taking her CTR ring shopping and letting her pick out a CTR (Choose the Right – kind of like the Mormon version of WWJD) ring. We maybe had to compromise a little because of course she wanted the ring with CZ’s in it and it was totally gaudy, but we ended up with this sweet ring. I don’t think there is anything cuter than those little hands! And phew her nails were even *mostly clean :)
For her actual baptism day, I created a photo book in Shutterfly of a selection of her baptism photos for guests to sign when they came to the baptism. I also e-mailed all her great-grandparents, grandparents, aunt, uncles, and cousins who have been baptized and asked them to share a photo and a memory of their baptism day. Now, we have a LARGE extended family and didn’t get a response from everyone, or not everyone had a photo, so it's not any sort of completed project, but we collected some really amazing memories. One of Saira’s great-grandparents, for example, was baptized on Dec. 7 1941 and shared an amazing story about how the bombing of Pearl Harbor changed their plans and lives that day in a little small town in Utah. These are the kinds of stories that are lost forever if someone doesn’t record them, so I was really grateful for those that were able to take some time and share a special memory with us and I plan on trying to track down a few more to add to the book each time one of my children gets baptized.
I took a screen shot of the photo book right in Shutterfly on the page with my baptism picture on the left and Saira's on the right :) My picture was taken shortly before my older brothers threw a basketball at my head...ahhh special memories.
My mom and I also made Saira a beautiful baptism quilt. It’s an all-white cotton print and cotton eyelet lace lap-size quilt top with white dipple-dot minky backing that I had quilted in an image of the Salt Lake Temple and then also in -some swirls of CTR shields. It turned out so so cute, but I totally failed to get a good picture of it so you’re left with this phone pic :(
Saira’s Oma made her this fun baptism bag full of items and pictures that will help her remember the doctrine behind baptism as well as the covenants one makes with God when baptized. Saira loves to pull this out on a Sunday afternoon after church and play with the different little pieces.
Finally, Saira’s Nana Katie – a dear, sweet long-time family friend – monogrammed a fluffy white towel for her to use at her baptism and then have as a keepsake.
After her baptism, we had an informal luncheon for all the guests. It was a great afternoon of family, friends, great food, and a special baptism cake that would be beautiful as a christening or communion cake as well.
We’re so grateful for all the effort family and friends went to in order to help Saira feel loved and cherished on her special day!