The January Upload

That moment when you work on a new blog post and have it mostly finished and then you press the wrong button and the whole thing is lost... So... Here I go again!


Aylin got to spend 3 Saturdays in January taking Art classes at Crystal Bridges Museum. The first week they learned about developing characters (she painted a Chef), the second week they learned about setting the scene (they colored their drawings using water and colored tissue paper), then finally they wrote a story (she wrote about a bear, it was a little terrifying actually). Then while Aylin was at the art classes mom got to enjoy exploring the museum, enjoy a cup of coffee, and then i discovered one of the museums best kept secrets - the library on the top floor overlooking the water and Eleven restaurant.

A few other things that happened in January:

Jeff & Teena had a weekend excursion with Jeff's company over at the Hard Rock Casino Hotel while the grandparents in Harrison kept Aylin and appropriately wore her out (and spoiled her).

Aylin had TACKY day at school, and may I say that she did that well...

Aylin lost tooth #5

We enjoyed some warmer than usual weather and as such enjoyed our walks home from school, occasionally accompanied by her buddy Stella.

We only had one minor snow (which sadly for Aylin did not produce enjoy snow either for a snow day from school, or enough snow to make a snowman).

Aylin at random decided to entertain me with her mad breakdancing/bridging skillz:

I had another video I wanted to share, but apparently because it is 3 minutes long it doesn't want to upload due to the size. So maybe another day I'll get it figured out and add it in... 

The December Upload

December a completely unexciting month around the Melton casa... Kidding!

Momma had a birthday and was thoroughly spoiled by the family. We had a delicious dinner out at Tusk & Trotter followed by a walk through downtown to enjoy the Christmas lights.

Aylin had the honor of being on the Trash Patrol for December at her school and she lead a little chant at BASH. She was so proud.

Then of course there is Christmas and all the fun that surrounds it. We decided for the first time to buy a real tree. Aylin and Mom got to attend a performance of the Nutcracker Ballet with friends, and it was SO FUN! Aylin dressed up as Cindy Lou Who for her Grinch Themed First Grade Christmas Party. Aylin decorated a gingerbread house.

Between Christmas and New Years Eve Aylin and Mom went on a last minute trip with friends to Silver Dollar City. Regrettably Daddy-O was not able to join us and had to stay behind to work. We watched It's a Wonderful Life, Frosty the Snowman, and the Rudolph Parade! 

We then had a fun and quiet New Years Eve celebration at home eating snack foods and playing Sorry!

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.

The July Upload

We started July in Charlotte with the Leach clan, complete with Fireworks and all kinds of family fun (see Family Trip to Charlotte). But the fun didn't stop there!

Aylin and I explored the children's area at Crystal Bridges, loving the fact that this is 1/2 a mile from our house. Mind you this was before the Amazeum opened which is a whole other ball of wax... Aylin put on puppet shows for me, sketched silhouettes, and created lots of fun things.

We made blackberry shakes, and Aylin created her very own concoction = pb&j balls! The recipe was something she was very intent on doing by herself. It started with a dash of salt, then she ripped up a few pieces of bread. Spoon fulls of peanut butter, jelly, and maybe ever a bit of honey... then it was all carefully mixed together and balled up. Next you put it in the freezer for a few minutes, and the Voila! PB&J Balls! She was so in love with her recipe that the next day while I was mowing the lawn she decided to make it again without supervision. There was at least one fully failed attempt that I later found in the trash during that time.

Next we finally got to play at the AMAZEUM! We will probably be spending every spare moment at this place, and likely will lose track of many hours at a time... Thank God they serve coffee in the cafe. Someone had momma's in mind when they chose those menu options!

We also spent a day going to the Walmart Museum on the square in an effort to get out of the house, but stay out of the heat. So we killed a lot of time in the museum and their fun little gift shop filled with lots of old time toys. While at the Walmart Museum we got barcoded, Aylin, me, and her hippo that tagged along...

We played on the square some more. Aylin lost her 2nd tooth. She also got to meet Elsa, Ariel, and Belle on the Bentonville square!

Aylin got to meet her First Grade teacher at meet the Teacher night, and explore her new classroom for the upcoming school year.

Aylin learned how to make loom band bracelets, and we found that it's actually easier to make them without the loom, than with. Either using your fingers, or use a set of pencils with an eraser placed between them and tape everything together. Now we have little colored rubber bands everywhere!

Last, but certainly not least; Jeff had his bicycle accident. I'm sure you'll hear him tell the story at some point, but he basically lost control of his bike while riding along the trail around lake Fayetteville on his lunch break. He says he got going too fast, and hit a wet area while going around a corner and low sided. He rolled, and his bike also rolled. Into him. Serveral times. He ended up with no broken bones, but got hit in the face with the handlebars breaking his top two middle teeth. One tooth is chipped, and the other tooth looks like a spiders web from under an x-ray and is completely dead. There will need to be at least one root canal and crown, it is undecided yet as to whether both teeth will need root canals/crowns. He also got 7 stitches under his chin. Both of his wrists and hands were sprained and swollen for quite some time. His neck, arms and back were also stiff and sore like he'd jammed the entire upper half of his body. He still, almost 3 weeks later, has some soreness and stiffness in his hands and face. His dentist told him he was very lucky he hadn't dislocated his jaw with the amount of impact he sustained. I'm just thankful the damage isn't worse, and that ultimately he walked away from it without any major damage that can't be repaired. He was wearing a helmet and gloves, and both of those were beat up/torn up in the process of the wreck. Both are a testament to how bad the damage could have been. Ironically the bike is fine. The plastic end plugs on the handlebars are broke or missing, and the foam around the handles were scuffed up. But otherwise the bike is just fine.

Family Visit in Charlotte

Cousin Fun! Lots of silly selfies, pool time, and passing out at night even though "I'm not tired yet"... it was so fun seeing all the cousins together. Aylin really enjoys hanging out with her cousins. Gabe greeted us at the door as soon as we'd gotten in from the airport and swooped in and bear hugged Aylin, picking her up off the floor. By the end of the week Aylin and Isaac were enjoying imaginary role play. Eli and I made the beginnings of homemade ice cream, but then never got around to putting it in the ice cream maker! And who can forget the GIANT LEGO GUMMIES courtesy of Gabe?! "Everythings Okkkaaaaaayyyyy, Because I'm on vacaaaaaayyyyyytion!" Thanks for that Gabe, I don't think that song will ever leave my head! ;-)

The Ultimate GNO - Cajun Canvas had no idea what hit them when the Leach Ladies made reservations to come paint! Wine, Paint, and Sassy ladies! We had lots of fun!

Lovies! (Are Love Selfies a thing? If not they should be...)

4th of July fun! We went to a local church that hosted a fun 4th of July cook out with bouncy houses, a water slide, and a gaming truck. The kids had a blast! Then we went back to the house and enjoyed fireworks in the back yard and family time!

Aylin and Aunt Rachel danced together at the gaming truck.

Discovery Place!!! Wow we had a big day. So many pictures! So much to do and see. We packed in a full day of excitement here! We got to do a 3D dinosaur movie (obligatory mobster photo op), aquarium, tropical forest area with rope bridge and toucans (and giant roaches, OH MY!) bed of nails, elevator chairs, build your own car races, Band photo ops with stage diving (great job E!), learning all about guitars, and of course you have to ride the dino in the kiddie area!

And then I got a surprise day at Carowinds when Rachel found a discount coupon! With overcast skies and threats of rain we got to park close, and never waited more than 15 minutes in line for ANYTHING! We got our Fury on 4x in a row first thing in the morning. We coastered ourselves silly until we just couldn't handle any more. I think we couted 9 coaster rides (including repeat rides), and of course you've gotta get things like the carousel, bumper cars, and the giant swings in too! Then we actually started to get some of that rain so we called it a day since we'd managed to fit everything in before dinner time.

The June Upload

June was a busy busy month 'round the Melton house! We completed Kindergarten (I say we, because it really is a family for everyone to play.) We've been catching lightening bugs, trekking to the Farmer's Market, doing crafts, playing in the sprinkler, playdates, and traveling to Charlotte (there's a separate post for that one coming up). I also rode my bike from the house to Harp's for the first time before school let out for the summer. It was nice to check that off my list and know that not only can i do it, but that it wasn't all that bad. I was pretty nervous about it, my heart was racing and not just because I was getting a bit of a workout. But in the end, I managed to navigate just fine and didn't run into anything or anyone! I even had to find an alternate route when a squad of fire trucks was blocking my way to the store. To think... this is just the beginning of our summer fun! Now on to the pictures!

Here we have the "Last Day of School" mix:

1) Aylin is very proud of her Field Day participation award

2) Last day of Kindergarten!

3) Last walk to school as a Kindergartener

4) Last lunch in the cafeteria with mom and Silly Selfies

5) Aylin with her teacher, Mrs. Scott, on her last day

6) Last day of school fun treat!

7) Last day of school crazy class pic.

Next up the "Play Time" mix:

1) Splash Park fun

2) Sprinkler fun

3) Experimenting with textures on clay at the Kids Art Park (at the Farmer's Market)

4) Same as #3 :)

5) Helping in a giant weaving project to be auctioned off, also part of the Kids Art Park

6) Gotta get a pic in the miniature Sam Walton pick up truck

7) Garden Tea Parties with a friend

8) Checking out the kids area at Crystal Bridges with friends

9) Shouting into the horn at Crystal Bridges with friends

And now for "Our Back Yard Visitors"

We've enjoyed the deer sightings in our back yard. It's been pretty surreal to see so many deer, in daylight hours, IN TOWN.

Next we have my "Random Pic(k)s"

1) All dressed up for a date with daddy!

2) A nice quiet (and cooler than normal) June evening, keeping the skeeterz at bay with my torch.

3) Getting our Farmer's Market on with the new wagon!

4) My bike parked at Harp's!

Aaaand last but not least "Flying to Charlotte"

1) Gotta ride the moving sidewalk!

2) Hysterical giggles, we're so excited!

3) Ooooh pretty!

4) Sleepy kiddo

5) City lights over Charlotte

The May Upload

So May was a pretty full month! We had a little over a week break from school, during which the first Bentonville Film Festival was held. We also enjoyed our First Friday Flick for the summer at the Lawrence Plaza - Big Hero 6, and Aylin had a friend from school meet her to watch the movie with her. That sweet little guy made his mom wait with him in line nearly 30 minutes to get a flower balloon before the movie so he could give it to Aylin. Precious! And who could resist a walk to the library with a banana split on the way home?! Not US!

Then for mother's day we enjoyed a day at Crystal Bridges with Papa Joe and Grama Linda and company. Aylin adores her Uncle Robert, and she spent most of the trip in the museum attached to him. We also enjoyed a meal at Flying Fish where Aylin made everyone try her fortune telling fish - lots of fun!

Then to top it all off Aylin and I both got haircuts and will be donating our locks. We are both loving our new short do's, just perfect for summer time! Now if we could just get it to stop raining... Aylin also had a project to complete for her class - Flat Stanley. We were supposed to pick a place or business in Bentonville and learn about it, and then bring our findings back to the school to talk to the class about it. Aylin picked the library, because that is one of her favorite places to be. We had fun gathering materials for the project.

Well that's the skinny on the month of May in the Melton Casa. Stay tuned, June and summer break are upon us!