Monday, April 30, 2012

Lueker Munchkins - School & Play

It appears we have once again exceeded our space limitation for our blog. :( I am working on getting a new blog together named Lueker Munchkins - School & Play located at . Since the beginning of the year our playroom has been setup as a classroom. Since last Fall we have been working on hammering out our schedule and exactly what curriculm we plan to use with Reagan as she begins Kindergarten next Fall. Everything has gone very well and we officially started a large portion of our curriculum, "Story of the World" from "A Well Trained Mind, A Guide to Classical Education at Home," by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise, a couple of weeks ago. We are going to be using the classical education approach and I am very excited about our decision! I'm hoping our new blog will focus and document at least equally our school projects as well as our life experiences. We hope you follow us over to Lueker Munckins - School & Play at
In the meantime, after much thought, I decided to finish this blog up by writing a little bit about each of the kids and where they are developmentally. I should do that more often anyway since I use this as my journal and memories of my munchkins as they grow.
Our Family - Easter - April 2012
Reagan - 5 years old
If I had to choose one word to describe Missy Reagan, it would be INTENSE!!! She is so full of life and love! She feels everything and does everything full tilt. There is no half way for our beautiful 5 year old little girl and we love her for it! Everything is black and white for Reagan, which does at times make her life a bit difficult. She is so smart and funny but her temper is one to be reckoned with. We are still working very hard to help her learn how to control her impulses and express herself in an appropriate way. It is hard work for everyone around here! Reagan is an incredible and voracious reader. She can read anything you put in front of her and she is doing a great job learning how to spell. She does very well with math as well although it does not come as easily to her as reading has. Having said that, she has completed the Kumon addition book for 1st graders and is currently working on subtraction. For whatever reason, she seems to enjoy subtraction significantly more than addition. Reagan has an amazing memory which I'm sure has helped her tremendously in her academic pursuits thus far. It has also served her well in her Suzuki violin lessons. She began taking violin in June of 2010 and is reaching the end of book 1. She is currently working on Bach's Minuet 3. Even though she takes Suzuki which focuses on training the ear, she is very good at site reading music as well and loves to do so. Because she's taking Suzuki her ear is already developing and Reagan has amazed us by sitting down at the piano and playing different songs entirely on her own. The achievement that probably surprises me the most at this time is how athletic Reagan is becoming. She has incredible biceps and with that surprising upper body strength for a little girl who just turned 5. She is also developing a little six pack! She is so so strong! Reagan loves taking gymnastics and would probably spend every day at the gym if we let her. She is currently an Extended Star Filly at Legacy Gymnastics and can't wait to become a Hot Shot. The biggest obstacle facing her at present is her ability to listen and pay attention in her classes. Part of that is being the youngest in her classes but we keep encouraging her to do her best if she wants to continue to move up. While she is turning into an amazing little girl and wonderful big sister she still loves her purple blanket she received from Grammy as a baby. She can't go anywhere without it! Reagan also loves to play with Groovey Girls, American Girl Dolls, Disney Princesses (any and all) and Squigies (I avoided those as long as I could but I have to admit they are pretty cute and I would have loved them as a child). Reagan loves to play outside as well as being a big enough girl to navigate the computer on her own (especially games on and any dress up games she can locate). I don't know what Missy Reagan is going to do in the future, but I can't wait to see where her determination and zest for life takes her!Kennedy - 3 years old
If I had to choose one word to describe Missy K, it would be SWEET. She can be as intense as her big sister (and little brother for that matter) but she has a sweetness about her which is incredibly endearing. Her big hugs are the best in the world and I will be so sorry when the day comes that she is too big to run half way across the world to give me one of those precious big hugs. While Missy K is pretty easy going, the 1-5% of the time she decides to dig in her heals she is positively immovable. When this girl makes up her mind there is absolutely no changing it! She can be one determined and persistent girl and we love her dearly! Missy K is reading beginning books. She has not picked up reading as fast as Reagan did but math and writing appear to be easier for her. Math just seems to make sense to her and isn't even something that really needs to be explained. We are currently working on mastering writing numbers but when we begin formal addition books I expect it will take very little teaching as she does so much verbally already. She can count to 30 easily and can get to 100 with assistance. She is also doing pretty well counting by 2's to 20 and 5's and 10's to 100. Her handwriting is so good, both numbers and letters, and she is eager to work on her Kumon workbooks like a big girl. Kennedy has been taking violin for 9 months or so and is doing quite well. She is currently working on mastering "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" but also enjoys playing little songs like "Hot Cross Buns." We have always thought of Kennedy as athletic. She is not surprisingly doing very well in gymnastics as a Little Foal. She can't wait to move up in her class and become a Big Foal. Like Reagan she has a favorite blanket that was given to her as a baby. She takes her "pink blankie" from Ms. Mo'mina everywhere with her and insists that it is placed exactly straight with no wrinkles on her pillow every night. Kennedy also enjoys playing with Groovey Girls, American Girl Dolls, Disney Princesses and Squigies. Playing games on and outside are also favorite activities. I can't wait to see how our sweet Missy K decides to use her talents in the future!
Jackson - 1 year old (20 months)
The one word I would use to describe our little Mr. Jackson would probably be ornery, bless his little heart! He can be so super super sweet and he is extremely intense but he is one ornery little critter. I've never seen a little guy give sweet little old ladies such dirty looks. He is probably the most shy of the three when meeting someone for the first time (the girls weren't really ever shy) but he is the least shy about letting you know who he wants and when. Just like his big sisters Mr. Jackson knows his mind! Jackson loves balls, trucks, cars but most especially Thomas the Tank Engine and all his friends. Obsessed is probably a better word. He goes nuts everytime he sees a book, movie or toy that has anything to do with Thomas. He can play for hours with his Thomas toys and we literally take them everywhere with us. Jackson LOVES Thomas! Jackson also loves to read. His current favorite book is "Owl Babies" (as well as any Thomas books). As you can see from recent blog posts Jackson has really gotten into being a big kid and loves to do everything his big sisters are doing. He is so proud of himself when he opens the door to let the cats in or out. One way to get him to do things is to ask him if he wants to be a "big boy" and most of the time the answer is "Yes!" Speaking of speaking, Jackson doesn't say much yet. He has started talking some but says more if you ask him to say words than actually intiating it himself. His latest and funniest talking story we have of him is last week Reagan began referring to him as "Bubba." Jackson did not approve of this nickname and adamently responded "No, Bubba!" while shaking his head. He has continued this conversation/trick much to the delight of all of us and he is determined he is not Bubba! Again, this boy already knows his mind and isn't afraid to share his thoughts! We do not currently have Jackson enrolled in anything specific but he does enjoy open gym time during Kennedy's Wednesday morning gymnastics time so we might have another little gymnast on our hands. I am sure we'll have him begin violin in the next year or two but we'll probably wait to see what his interest level is before we decide if we begin at 3 or 4 years old. I look forward to seeing what direction my sweet baby boy's life takes as he becomes old enough to express his thoughts to us!
We are so proud of and love all three of our children dearly! Even if they provide a challenge (or two) every now and then, we feel so extremely fortunate to have three happy and healthy children! It goes without saying that we also feel extremely fortunate to have such wonderful friends and family to help nurture and provide so many amazing experiences for our children. Thank you for being a part of our lives (and our blog)! Thank you for everything you do for us! We look forward to seeing where we go and what we do as we begin the new chapter of school in our lives. It is difficult to believe it has been 5 years (almost exactly) since I began our first blog. It's hard to imagine where we will be 5 years from now but we hope to find ourselves still enjoying and sharing our Lueker Munchkins journey through life with all of you!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ally's Monkey Joe Birthday Party

We were invited to a super fun Monkey Joe's/Lion King birthday party for Ally the end of March. They had it on a Sunday evening so they were able to rent the entire space for just the birthday crew. This was really nice because Monkey Joe's always makes me a bit nervous because with all the large inflatables it's easy to lose the kids. It was wonderful to know everyone there was with us so you didn't have to worry quite so much about them disappearing. As always, the kids had a fantastic time bouncing, sliding and playing!
Here's a picture of the beautiful birthday girl! :)
Ally's incredible Nala cakeThe girls with Monkey Jane (I'm not sure we had ever met Jane before)
Kennedy and Cooper had a wondeful time playing together
Could these two be any cuter??? Adorable! :)
It always cracks me up that with all the enormous inflatables the kids without fail have to ride this little carousel.
There were more kids than animals one time so the girls decided to share
Jackson on one of the little kid inflatables. He thoroughly enjoyed climbing all over this huge crocodile! :)
I love this picture of Carson riding the turtle
The girls wouldn't think a Monkey Joe's experience without Cotton Candy was complete. I thought these pictures of them watching it being made were so sweet. :)
The girls happily shared their cotton candy with a curious Jackson
Jackson wasn't impressed... He threw it on the floor which is what he is scowling at here. lol :)
After a couple of tries he decided it might not be the best stuff in the world, but it might have some minimal redeeming qualities.
A couple more cute bouncy pictures of Missy K
Happy Birthday Miss Ally! Thank you so much for inviting us to your party! We had a great time and hope you have a fantastic year being 5!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Busy Saturday Morning

One of the reasons Grammy and Grand-Dad came to visit with Uncle Andrew and Aunt Jen was so Grammy could accompany Reagan in her first violin festival/competition. Reagan did a wonderful job (so did Grammy) and earned a "Superior" rating for her performance. She played "Song of the Wind," a Folksong, for her required piece and "Allegro," by Suzuki, for her chosen piece. Because it was relatively early, we picked up donuts on our way home from Krispy Kreme to share with everyone.
Kennedy was pretty excited about her chocolate filled Easter egg decorated donutAfter the donuts were eaten we headed outside for the second reason Uncle Andrew, Aunt Jen, Grammy and Grand-Dad were paying us a visit. During a bad storm a couple of weeks earlier one of our trees partially/mostly fell down. Uncle Andrew led our fearless crew in safely bringing it the rest of the way down. Then, while they were at it, they went ahead and took out a second dead tree that needed to come down. Thank you so much for all the hard work!!!
Uncle Andrew was going to make this stump smooth when Reagan exclaimed she didn't want it cut because as it was she could pretend to be either (and I quote) "Columbus or Odysseus." Since that time she has also added Jake of the Neverland Pirates. lol :) Here she is, our brave captain of the seas, sailing at the helm of her vessel!
While the tree had broken off it's base it was hung up on another tree and leaning between our home and our neighbor's house. The trick was bringing it down without taking out any air conditioners. :)
Thankfully for us, Uncle Andrew travels well prepared with all the tools you need to take down a tree (or two) at a moment's notice.
The guys had to try a couple of different things to get the tree positioned correctly and to disentagle the branches from the tree that was holding it up. They literally pulled it back 10 feet or so and a bit to the side to bring it down perfectly in between the two houses.
Our amazing woodsmen!
Reagan directing Uncle Andrew on exactly how tall the "Lorax" stump should be
Uncle Andrew suggested Reagan try and push the top of the stump off once he had cut it.
With a bit of teamwork it slid right off
I think both Reagan and Kennedy expected the Lorax to pop out at any moment since we were cutting down not just one, but TWO, trees! It appears that either the Lorax does not care about Locust trees (they are nasty trees with those horrible thorns) or he's okay with the removal of dead trees. Either way, we didn't receive a visit from the Lorax that morning. The girls have been enjoying their Lorax stump, however, and frequently jump up on it shouting "I'm the Lorax and I speak for the trees!!!"
Believe it or not, all of this activity occurred before lunch. We had a quick cookout with hotdogs, brats and smores before heading them on their way to pick up the AT in Virginia. Thank you all so much for coming and working so hard! We were regular a Renaissance family that Saturday morning utilizing our music and outdoor talents!

Aunt Jen and Mr. Potatohead's Birthdays

Before beginning their month long trek up the the Appalacian Trail, Aunt Jen and Uncle Andrew stopped in with Grammy and Grand-Dad to visit us the end of March. It happened that they came up the day after Aunt Jen's birthday and on the actual 60th birthday of Mr. Potatohead. As such, we knew we needed to do something special to celebrate. It's been a while since I've made ice cream baked potatoes but it seemed like the only appropriate birthday dessert for this occasion. I believe both Aunt Jen and Mr. Potatohead appreciated my efforts. :)Aunt Jen helping Jackson eat a couple of ice cream baked potatoes using the candle for a spoon? I don't remember if that was Aunt Jen or Jackson's brilliant idea... lol :)
Missy K giving Mr. Potatohead a big birthday hug after polishing off her chocolate baked potato

Dr.Suess Party

This is a bit out of order again, sorry... While Kelly, Chaz and Anna were up here the beginning of March the Veloudis' invited us over to their house for a Dr. Suess party. It was in conjunction with his birthday as well as the opening of the "Lorax" which we saw together. They made all the kids these adorable Cat and the Hat t-shirts with their first initial. They were so so so cute!!! Taking a picture with this crew of little guys was not an easy task so here's a shout out to Rachel for capturing this shot!While Tiff, Jordan and Rachel taught Kelly and I how to use the Embroidery Machine the kids enjoyed a number of Dr. Suess crafts they had planned for them including making Thing 1 and Thing 2. It was super cute and fun!
Look at these amazing Dr.Suess inspired cupcakes!
After the party we intended to go and see the "Lorax" at the Movie Tavern but it was sold out. :( Luckily we were able to purchase tickets ahead of time for the next evening and the kids loved it! The girls can't wait to go see it again when it gets to the $1 theatre. Thanks so much for the amazing party and adorable Dr.Suess t-shirts! :)

Sunday Morning at Grammy and Grand-Dad's House

Aunt Jen took some great pictures of us Sunday morning. She started by catching this little Leprechaun in action. On his way out to the front porch (with as many Thomas engines as he can manage to carry of course)
We might not look the best but I thought this was a pretty sweet early morning picture of my kiddos and me :)There's nothing like enjoying a good cup of coffee and reading the Sunday morning paper in a rocking chair on the front porch with your Grand-Dad. I love it!!! :)
I guess the comics were pretty good that Sunday
Thank you Grammy, Grand-Dad, Uncle Andrew, Aunt Jen and Boss for such a super fun weekend!

Burgess Falls

After we were done playing in the Holler we picked up our favorite local pizza (Gondola's) and headed to one of our favorite state parks, Burgess Falls. This is a place I remember spending a lot of time at when Andrew and I were children too. We have been here with the girls several times and we always have a fabulous time! We found a picnic table to eat pizza at but as we were finishing up it began to rain. Kennedy was apparently afraid she would melt and covered herself entirely in a towel to walk back to the van but Jackson thought the rain was great and eating while walking was a pretty silly idea! :)
After walking a bit Jackson decided to hitch a ride with Grand-Dad back to the vanHere's our crew waiting for the rain to pass
I thought Kennedy was funny draped across the back seat and Reagan thought she needed to be in the picture as soon as I told Kennedy I wanted a picture of her.
Two very proud and happy dog walkers
Jackson discovered he cold climb up the ladders and/or stairs and then slide down the slides by himself. You can see from his smiles just exactly how impressed he was with this newly discovered talent!
Ready, Set, Go!!!
So much fun!!! :)
While the girls explored again with Uncle Andrew and Aunt Jen, Jackson hung out with Grand-Dad. He was a little uncertain of the rushing water but he eventually made it down to the waters edge to check things out.
Kennedy, on the other hand, has no fear. The wilder the better!
Aunt Jen and Reagan were able to climb/wade out a pretty good distance
Reagan, Aunt Jen, Kennedy and Uncle Andrew posing for me
Jackson was pretty excited to hit the trail and run back and forth between Grammy and Mommy all by himself.
Uncle Andrew and Kennedy found a good rock to climb as well as place to rest while Reagan finished up splashing around in the water.
It was such a beautiful day the park was over flowing with people. This made poor Boss extremely nervous so Grammy and Aunt Jen decided to take him back to the van. Even though we had a wonderful time playing in the water Reagan really wanted to see some of the waterfalls. Grand-Dad, Uncle Andrew and I took the kids to the first waterfall but Reagan still wanted to see one more so they took her on while I began walking back to the van with Kennedy and Jackson. On our way Jackson and Kennedy found many dandelions to blow and make wishes on. They were so sweet together! :)
Grammy and Kennedy back at the van and ready to go