The November Upload

November was a fun month in the Melton Casa! Teeth were lost, Birthday's were had, Trips were made. Here's a quick recap of our month.

Aylin had lots of fun, she lost tooth #3 and the tooth fairy almost got caught when trading the tooth for her usual gift. We also went out to the final First Friday of the year and braved the crazy that is Toy Land on the square where Aylin got to have a Photo Op with Hello Kitty. She also enjoyed a sprite from a glass bottle, along with park time and the Amazeum Dinos with her best friend Stella.

Next up: we (with the help of many friends) managed to pull off a Surprise 40th birthday party for Jeff! I was planning on it for most of 2 months leading up to his birthday. I couldn't have pulled it off without: Amy & Colin who took care of distracting and detaining Jeff before the party; April who helped me with last minute errand running to help me obtain all the things I thought I needed as well as helped with cleaning up after the party; Michelle and Wes Fikes who arrived early to help decorate. We had a full house that night, it was awesome! Jeff was well loved on in celebration of his big Four-Oh!

After Jeff's birthday he headed off to Honduras to help with putting a large kitchen onto an existing community building for a children's home. It was a whirlwind trip - they flew down early Saturday arriving late in the evening, and flew back the following Saturday. It was a great trip. Maybe he'll get around to blogging about it one of these days. Here are a few pictures from his trip.

While he was gone Aylin and I missed him tremendously. Aylin helped me make him a "Welcome Home" table cloth. While he was gone we were well taken care of by friends, family and neighbors. We are truly blessed to be so well loved by our community.

Last, and possibly least compared to all the other fun we had in November, we enjoyed the opening of the new downtown Walmart Neighborhood Market as well as Onyx. It has been so nice having a store half a mile from the house. Being able to walk down to the store for something I'd forgotten during my big Walmart runs, or to stop in after picking up Aylin from school has been wonderful. And having an amazing coffee place that has a fun environment as well as nice and friendly staff, it's been heaven. Onyx Bentonville is my happy place these days.

The October Upload

October, October. You came far too quickly! I was not yet ready for fall, but you came and went just the same. Ready or not, here you were.

Let's see here. The first week of October was exciting because Jeff had a tooth extracted (the same one that he got to have a root canal on after being damaged in his bike accident ended up not surviving), and Aylin also came down with a stomach bug the day after Jeff's surgery, plus I had parent teacher conferences that day. So that was fun. Two pitiful sweeties at home, while I ran down to the school to have a chat with Aylin's teacher. It was a great conference, I ended up being the last appointment of the day (and last parent meeting period) and she was quite chatty, so I got to learn lots of fun things about how the Ginger Girl spends her days. As has been par for the course, she adores reading and will read anything and everything she can get her paws on. Her teacher recognizes that she has great potential if Aylin will allow herself to be pushed a bit. So she decided that after the fall break, she was going to bring Aylin and a few other excited readers into a group and begin teaching them how to start doing book reports. Aylin really loves it, and her teacher is very strict in making the children be responsible for their learning. It has been really good for her. She struggled a bit the first week, or so until she got the hang of what her expectations were. Her biggest struggle seems to lie in allowing herself to be actually fully challenged. She has a perfection complex where she wants things to come out right the first time (no idea where that comes from.... *looks around sheepishly*), so sometimes she doesn't even want to try if she thinks there's a possibility that she may fail. Her teacher recognizes this, and holds her to a higher standard as a result. Which is a good thing, but it also causes frustration for Aylin. Learning how to stretch with that has been an interesting process, but I can already see how well the reading group she's been doing the last several weeks has helped advance her.

I experimented with my painting a bit, and my sister Becky gave me the inspiration for a fun piece: my Abstract Peacock. I had a lot of fun making this one, and completely lost myself in it for most of an entire day. I started on it relatively early in the day, mid morning, and didn't realize how late it was until suddenly my phone's alarm went off to remind me to start walking to school to pick up the kiddo. I finally finished it up with a few extra touches about a week later.

Aylin and I made some fun fall decor:

On fall break Aylin and I spent a lot of time at the Park, the Library, and the Amazeum:

Momma got upgraded to an iPhone when my Moto X decided to kick the bucket. And to top off our fun fall break, we decided that while we were in Tulsa (to go to the nearest Apple store) we'd go ahead and make a day of it and go to the Zoo! That was the best decision yet, it was the perfect day to go to the zoo. The temperature was amazing! There wasn't a lot of people there, and we stayed all the way until closing time and got to have our very own personal tour back through the zoo from a friendly security guard on a golf cart. We were at the back of the zoo when it was 10 minutes till close and he offered to drive us back up to the front (mom was very glad for this because by then my feet were tired), and along the way he provided lots of fun commentary, and information about various animals as we drove by. Such fun! Family memories in the making! One of the fun/crazy things was this big brown bear who likes to terrorize children. It was on the other side of a large (THICK thank goodness) glass wall, so the kids would come right up and get close in it's face. It would lay there and act like nothing was going on, just chillin'. Then suddently it would turn it's head and get right in a kid's face and roar and paw at the kid from the other side of the glass. The kids figured out it's tricks though, and kept at it just to get it to try to eat them, and the screams and squeals were epic.

Then of course was Halloween. Aylin finally decided on Eowyn for her costume. We had fun finding something that would fit the bill (thankfully i found something on amazon in a decent price range that would work) and then added accessories to finish it off. I think we pulled it off quite nicely! Aylin also helped with the pumpkin fun. She picked the pumpkins, one we attempted to do melted crayons on (which worked, but didn't work as well as I would have liked) and the other Aylin picked out the pattern that she wanted me to use and I carved it after she scooped out the guts. Aylin had a blast at the school's Halloween Costume Carnival, which is total chaos, and loved by all the kids and endured by the parents. Then we got to go Trick-Or-Treating around the downtown area near our house with friends, which was fun. 4 adults following around 2 little princesses! Jeff even participated a bit (blow me over with a feather!) he wore his kilt, and a sweatshirt.

Well I think that about wraps up October!

The September Upload

September Aylin got to go on a fun field trip to see Shrek the Musical! I don't have any pictures, because I didn't attend this field trip, but she enjoyed herself. She mostly talked about how silly they were and how they kept making jokes about "toots" and stuff.

Jeff made a fun gif showing off his beard growth since the bike accident, but at the moment I can't seem to locate it so I'm going to leave this as it for the moment, and hope to get back to it at some point to put the actual gif in the blog...

I (Teena) took my bike out a little more on a few adventures. I'm not as steady as I'd like to be, partly from my vision issues, and partly because I can't touch the ground as well as I'd like so I worry about having to stop at stop signs and not tipping over... Maybe I just need to take it down to Phat Tire and see if they can help me adjust it properly. But I am getting more adventurous on it, and went for a 2 mile round trip ride.

We kicked off rEcess for this semester with a BANG! Always a super fun time.

Aylin got to meet some of her favorite Princesses at the Farmer's Market, and I managed to take home a pretty decent haul that day too! We love us some Farmer's Market days!

I made my very first ever homemade lasagna, and it was a vegetarian one at that! It turned out super yummy!

Of course the amount of dishes that went with that project was horrendous. But still, the lasagna was soooo tasty!!

Aylin and I also spend quite a lot of time at the library these days, and one day she talked me into getting something from the cafe on our way out. So she shared her first every italian cream soda (raspberry of course!)... this face, she kills me!

Oh, and homemade chicken pot pie, can't forget that! As well as some cheddar broccoli soup, as requested by the Ginger Princess.

The August Upload

The month of August brought with it the start of school. Since we're in a non-traditional calendar we start quite a bit earlier than the traditional schedule schools. But now that we've got many weeks of this next year under our belts as well as a summer vacation I can officially say I love the non-traditional calendar. With only 6 weeks of summer break, we were able to jump right back into our regular week day routine with no problem. First grade has gone really well for Aylin. She is really enjoying her teacher and class. It's fun to hear how her teacher provides expectations of maturity from the students and how that gets parroted at home. "Teacher says she wont accept 'yeahs, and uh-huhs' for answers, only yeses and noes". Our teacher also uses a Dojo app where she gives and takes away points for various things throughout the day, and we get to see that in real time. She uses good descriptions so we have a pretty good idea as to what happens throughout the day, which can help spark dialog later at home with "how was you day at school today?, Can you tell me more about this dojo you got taken away? or I see you got extra points for this, tell me more about that!"I have also volunteered to start helping with Tuesday folders. It's fun to be where I can be available to help with things. Here's some pictures from Aylin's first day of FIRST GRADE!

Next up we had a super fun day at Terra Studio's down in Fayetteville. I had no idea this place was so amazing! I had heard about it, but really didn't know anything about it. We went with friends (the awesome Abby & Sarah), and had a blast! We definitely need to go again! We posed with trolls and gnomes, discovered a Wizard's cave, danced through a labyrinth, played a giant game of chess, and so much more! It was an awesome day!

Next up - I cut my hair EVEN SHORTER!!! Over a month later and I'm still a bit in a daze about it. Most days I love it, but some days I just don't (when do we ever just love our hair every single day, amirite?). I get paranoid that I look too boyish when I go without makeup and am grunging around in my workout clothes to drop the kiddo off at school. Since I can't put my hair up in a pony tail, when it's crazy looking pretty much my only option is to throw a ball cap on, which only adds to my paranoia of looking boyish. So we shall see if I keep it super short or not. But I'm thinking as it gets colder I'm going to be wishing it was a little longer.

Last but not least are cute little snippets of randomness from the month. On the left side you've got Aylin + Daddy-O cuteness. Daddy teaching Aylin nerd stuff, and a walk to the Farmer's Market. Top right Aylin got to ride a pony at First Friday (squeals of excitement!), the pony's name is Prince. Middle is Aylin reading from the spell book in the Wizard's cave at Terra Studio's. Then bottom right is Aylin just being her usual sweet self. I used my straightening iron to tame her wild hair on the bottom one morning before school and she loved how it curled around her face. So she insisted I take a picture to send to her daddy.

Aylin and Teena Haircut Donations

Aylin has been musing lately about getting her haircut, but waffled pretty significantly as to whether or not she was going to just cut a few inches off, or go dramatically short. Then a friend from school got her hair cut from very long, to a cute bob cut and then Aylin decided a cute short cut might be fun after all. Then we talked about how if she did get it cut short we would be able to donate her hair to children who have lost their hair due to cancer or other illness. So we decided to take the plunge. I was also in the mood for a dramatic cut myself, and she seemed like she maybe needed a little extra nudge, so I decided to cut mine short enough that I could also donate. So here are our before and after pictures...

Before, from the front

Before, from the back

After, from the front

After, from the back

We are both very pleased with the results, and enjoying the simplicity of the short (and very warm weather friendly!) haircuts.