Thursday, February 25, 2010

Learning Explosion

This post is more for recording Lee's newest accomplishments, rather than just bragging on our smart boy. When Lee started to preschool, I asked him what he wanted to learn. He said to tie his shoes and to tell time. I wasn't sure either of those things would happen, but he has learned to do both. He hasn't mastered either perfectly, and he gets frustrated easily with both tasks. But when he tries, he can do both. At his mid-term progress report, his teacher said he counted to 49. I had never heard him count that high before, so I was surprised. That was in December. He has since learned the pattern to count by tens. I knew he would love to count if he could remember that, and I was right. He can now count as high as you'll let him. The other day in the car, he easily counted to 330. He would have kept going if we had a longer drive. He now loves to count and wants to count every single thing. In school, they have been really focusing on writing lower case letters lately. Lee has always written in upper case letters, so this has been a challenge for him. His teachers asked that the kids address their Valentines themselves and to use that as an opportunity to practice writing names the correct way. It took several days and lots of patience, but Lee wrote all of his Valentines himself. He has gotten SO much better at writing his lower case letters in just a few short weeks. He still forgets sometimes and will write names in all caps, but he has come a long way in a short time. They are also learning the sign for each letter, and Lee thinks that is wonderful. I can see him becoming very interested in sign language later on. Right now, he practices and practices making his letters with each hand. Finally, what Matt and I consider his biggest accomplishment lately is learning to read. He has been sounding out words for several months and up until the past month, I would guess that he could read 100 words or so, not counting names. Now, he is reading beginner books. He is very focused and determined when he begins a book. Sometimes he wants you to read a page while he takes a break, but then he wants to take over again. He is still very much a beginner and still gets frustrated easily. There are many words that he doesn't want to sound out. He would prefer to either skip them or have you just tell him what they are. He got a "Sight Words" Bingo game for Valentine's Day, and I was so excited for the challenge. To my surprise, he could easily read 67 of the 72 sight words. It's still good practice, but it wasn't the learning tool that I hoped it would be. The video attached is from this week of him reading a beginner book about Star Wars. I'll admit that it's painful to watch if you're not a proud parent. It is a 5 minute video, and he is barely half way through the book. But it is music to our ears, and we could not be more proud of him. Tonight, he read _The House that Jack Built_ to Matt. He could recite that book a year ago, and it was precious. But to hear him actually reading the words tonight was so much sweeter.

34 Weeks

At this point, the main thing Wade is doing is storing up body fat. According to Dr. K, he will become less active in the next week, because he will be getting too big to move much. That hasn't happened yet, and he is as active as ever. His immune system is developed, and he now has fingernails and toenails. Just the thought of trimming them makes me nervous!
He now weighs approximately 6 pounds and is 19 inches long. We had a hard time finding something that weighed 6 pounds, so Lee is holding 6-1pound bags of pecans. He thought it was hilarious. While working at school this week, one of the kids (who is 5) came over and said, "Whoa, you're FAT!" I explained that the baby was growing and that's why my tummy is so big. His eyes stayed opened really wide and said, "Uh-huh. Still fat." Lee seems unfazed by it. The only time he seems to notice is when he wants me to pick him up or wants to sit in my lap. He talks to him, sings to him, tickles him, counts for him, and makes plans constantly for him. Some things lately that he has planned are Halloween costumes, birthday parties, and swimming in his pool with him. He is very excited about his baby brother, although I'm not sure he fully understands how small he will be when he's born. For example, just tonight in the bathtub he said he was going to teach him to swim this summer. He also claims that when Wade learns to sit up, he will start sleeping in his bed with him. We are having so much fun making plans and getting ready for him. 5 weeks to go!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Star of the Week

At Lee's Preschool, each child gets to be Star of the Week. The whole week is dedicated to them and getting to know them better. It is such a fun time for each child, and they feel so special! On Monday, the star brings personal pictures to share. Tuesday, they share their favorite color, favorite food, favorite movie, and favorite activities. On Wednesday, they take their favorite toy to show, and Thursday, they bring their favorite book to be read to the class. Friday is the very best day though. They get to bring their favorite snack to share with everyone, and they bring a Star Guest to visit the class. Lee was Star of the Week the last week of January. I have saved this post for a month, because we just got to host his Star Guest today. This is the fourth time we have tried to get the guest here, but it has snowed every single time! We finally decided if it snowed again, we were the jinx. When we got up this morning, it was snowing like crazy! All we could do was laugh. Luckily, it was not enough to cancel school this time, so Lee finally got to have his Star Guest visit his class today.

The Star mascot is this monkey named Isaac. Isaac gets to spend the weekend with each child, and then on Monday, they tell what they did with him all weekend. The first thing Isaac did was take a bath when he came home with us. Strep throat was going around at the time, and we weren't taking any chances! We went to Jackson that weekend, so Isaac ate at the Outback and went shopping at Sam's with us. Lee was very sad when he had to take Isaac back on Monday.
Lee and Mrs. Connie are getting ready to read his favorite book, _Mater and the Ghostlight_, to the class.
Lee and Paul are posing in front of Lee's Star board. The wall behind them has all of Lee's favorite things. Lee took his rescue helicopter for his favorite toy, and muffins and goldfish for his Star Snack.
Daddy came up with the idea of Ollie the Otter being Lee's Star Guest. He works with the Tennessee Road Builders Association and goes around to schools teaching children about seat belt and booster seat safety.
Ollie's helper measured each of the kids to see if they were tall enough to be out of a booster seat yet. None of them were, and each kid was taught when they would be big enough to get to ride in the car without a booster and ride in the front seat. The kids volunteered a LOT of information about themselves today, like some parents don't wear a seat belt, some kids get to sit in the front seat, and some kids or siblings don't sit in a booster. Ollie assured them that none of this was safe OR legal! Hopefully, they will share the information with their parents.
The kids got to do a cheer with Ollie.
Lee is watching with Mrs. Angie.
Then Ollie got a group hug/tackle.
Lee gave out gifts to each of the guests who came with Ollie.
Time for a group picture!
The day was completed with a Hayes Family Picture with Ollie. What fun!!
Ollie and his handlers would LOVE to come and visit your school or preschool. If you are interested in booking him, visit his website

Birthday Boy

Matt entered his mid-thirties on Friday, and we celebrated all weekend!
His mother is a lot nicer than Lee and me. She only put 4 candles on his cake. Lee and I insist on putting the correct amount of candles on the cake, which causes Lee to shout "FIRE!"
Lee was ready to help open presents. It's funny how gifts for 34 year olds aren't as much fun as gifts for 4 year olds!
He was back and forth on his helping.
Lee and I took Matt to one of his favorite places, The Big Apple Cafe, to eat on Friday night. He opened our presents that night. It was a fun weekend, and I'm enjoying my time in my "early thirties" before Matt starts to give me a hard time.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Playgroup Reunion

Ever since the older boys have gone to preschool or Kindergarten, our little playgroup hasn't met up on a regular basis. Since everyone was out of school on Monday for President's Day, Jennifer organized a reunion. I was so excited and could not wait to see everyone again. And then the snow and ice came. We weren't sure we would be able to make it with the bad road conditions. Thankfully, the dads weren't afraid to drive and took us to Jennifer's.
Hope hasn't been to a playgroup since she was an infant. She made up for lost time and had a blast! Subo said she was so tired that she kept falling asleep on the way home.
Caroline held her own with the boys!
Boys, boys everywhere!
Everyone brought breakfast food and gifts for baby Wade. Even though the gifts were wonderful and so appreciated, the real gift was spending time with these girls for a couple of hours. I had the best time catching up and watching the kids play together. They have really grown up over the past few months. (the kids, not the moms-ha!)I don't think there was one argument or tear shed.
Harrison has the best smile!
I think he was giving his little sister a nudge down the slide.
Lee was teaching Alexis the wrong way to slide!
Obviously the slide was a big hit! There was always a traffic jam at the top.
Katie and Caroline
Baby Andrew is the newest member of the group. He was being entertained by Caroline. He was the best baby and just smiled and looked around the whole time. He and Wade will be in the same class in school.
Lee got a big brother present too. It was some accessories to go with his Batcave. All the little boys wanted to open them right then and play with them. I see lots of Batcave purchases in the future!
Here are the Moms. Back row is Melody, me, Allison, and Amber. Front row is Subo, Jennifer and Katie.
Here are all the wild Indians minus Andrew, who was happily swinging in his jumperoo. Back from left is Jack Butler, Jack Shackelford, Harrison, Caroline, Bennett, & Alexis. Front row is Clayton, Hope, Caleb, Lee and Paul.
I went to the kids' rooms to help clean up, and this is what I found. The girls were laying in their "boats."
It was such a fun morning catching up with everyone. I had the best time bringing Wade's new goodies home and putting them in his room. You all are so good to us. We love you and appreciate your friendship so much!

Valentine's Day

Lee had a wonderful Valentine week. That's right, Lee didn't just celebrate Valentine's Day, he took a whole week! It started with another beautiful snow that he loved. After getting back into school, he started planning his party. We addressed Valentines for each of his classmates and teachers. He also got to work on crafts and decorations in the days leading up to the party.
Then on party day, he got to use a chocolate fountain to dip pretzels, marshmallows and fruit kabobs in and enjoy for a snack. He was pretty impressed with the chocolate fountain!
Here we are during the party at school.
More chocolate fountain fun. I'm pretty sure we need one of these at home!
Lee and Marly Kate
Lee, Paul and Campbell are goofing off during craft time. They made placemats out of the Valentines that their friends brought to them. It turned out very cute.
Lee is being the "quiet mouse" here with all of his classmates around him. It was such a fun party. The kids were so well behaved and seemed to really have a good time.
Nam and Pa had us all over for pizza on Valentine's Day. Lee was spoiled with gifts from them and from Aunt Jill.
He was more than a little excited! It was a fun day spent with family!
Before we went to Nam and Pa's, these 2 surprised me with their Valentines. They spoiled me with gifts and with their own sweet and personal cards. After I was finished with my gifts, Lee went on his way playing. Matt and I just looked at each other and couldn't believe he didn't expect a gift in return. We were so impressed. It made it even more special when we told him that we had a gift for him. He was SO excited.
He got some new books. This one was an instant hit, because Clifford got a new red sled, just like Lee!
He read his card from us all by himself. He also got a new movie called Air Buddies. He watched it 2 times in the first day!
Something had these 2 tickled. I love this picture.
He also had a party with snacks and prizes in Sunday School that morning. All of this came on top of him getting Valentines in the mail 4 days this week. It got to the point where he was asking when the mailman was coming! Thank you to the Grandparents and Aunt Clara for spoiling him and making him feel so loved this week. He did not want it to end!

33 Weeks

We are now at 33 Weeks along, and Wade weighs about 5 pounds or the size of this bag of corn meal. He is around 17 1/2 inches long, which is about a bag and a half of meal in length. We held the bag up to my tummy for comparison, and it looked pretty comparable.
It is a big week for Wade's lung development. His lungs and respiratory system are almost completely mature. His immune system is getting stronger daily, and he is able to fight off his own germs now. He will continue to build body fat and gain about a half a pound a week. I met with Dr. Kimberlin yesterday for a final checkup before he leaves on a 3 week vacation. He wasn't concerned at all about leaving me and said that everything is right on track. The ultra sound results were in, and Wade was perfect. (like we needed him to tell us that, right?) Please pray for safe travels for Dr. K and that Wade doesn't get in a hurry to enter the world before he gets back. We adore Dr. K and would be lost without him! We're now less than 6 weeks away from holding our precious babe.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Just like his big brother

We had our 32 week ultra sound this week and got to see baby Wade for the last time before his birthday. He was very active and was waving his arms nearly the entire time. He is in the head down position with his little bottom sticking straight up and out. Lee thought this was particularly funny. His heart rate was 132, and we got confirmation that he is indeed a BOY! (Now maybe those nightmares will stop!) There isn't a way to accurately measure his length since he is in the fetal position, but we found out that he weighs 4 pounds and 14 ounces. The tech estimated that he would weigh close to 10 pounds if he went full term. Since we have our delivery scheduled for 39 weeks, she thinks he will be between 8 1/2-9 pounds. His head was measuring 2 weeks ahead, which was no surprise considering his family history. (No offense Hayes men!) She also showed us his hair. She said that it appeared to be pretty long on his neck. I laughed and said that was the only thing that was different from his brother. When I told Subo about it, she said that Lee had a lot of hair in the back at birth. I didn't remember that, so I got out a newborn picture for comparison. Sure enough, Lee had lots of hair in the back at birth! So it sounds like Wade is right on target to be a spitting image of his big brother. Matt even thinks he looks like him in the ultra sound picture. I've included a picture of Lee at 5 days old for comparison. You be the judge!
Wade at 32 weeks
Lee at 5 days (with hair!)

A Day with Marly Kate

Lee's friend, Marly Kate, came to spend the afternoon with us on Monday. He was so excited and began to show her all of his toys as soon as we walked in the door. She was a good sport about all the boy toys he showed her and played with them. After lunch, she had other plans. Lee came running to me and said, "Mom, we need 2 blankets and some clips." I asked what kind of blankets and clips and he said he didn't know, but that's what MK told him to get. So I asked her what she wanted. She said she needed 2 small blankets for her "wedding dress and wedding hat." The clips would hold them in place. So I got her dressed and ready for the wedding. Little did I know that she had instructed Lee to get shoes on and wear his nicest coat. So Lee appeared in the appropriate attire and was ready for their wedding. MK had recently been to a wedding and remembered lots of details. I alternated between getting teary eyed and laughing hysterically at these two.

MK told Lee how to hold her hand. They appear to be dancing, but this is how MK said to stand while they were getting married.
This is when she instructed me to say "Lee and Marly Kate Latta Hayes." Then she wanted me to throw flowers at them while they walked out of the church.

I'm thinking this is at least high school graduation video material.
They have made it to the reception at the fairgrounds and are now dancing. I asked what song they were dancing to, and she said a song I didn't know and Lee said the Chipmunks Christmas Song.
Now they're in the car on the way home. I was especially curious to see what MK would say about this. She told Lee to get his PJ's on and go to bed. So they went to their separate rooms (thank goodness!) and went to bed. Then MK yelled, "Lee, who is going to read us our bedtime story?" Lee said, "I'll call my mom." What precious memories we all made during our afternoon together.