February 2018

Lots of FUN in the month of February around the Melton Casa! 

We had a cozy Super Bowl viewing just the 3 of us, I made sweet potato waffles and chicken with a honey sriracha aioli sauce. Jeff and I liked it, Aylin wasn't such a huge fan of the sweet potato waffles. We all marveled over JT and his crazy talent and generally PG halftime show. Then cheered on the Eagles as they pulled out a WIN over the Patriots. It was a pretty impressive game over all, and I'm not usually in to football... So there's that.

Aylin worked hard at school, and had set a goal to get OFF THE CHART on her behavior chart. They use a clip up/clip down system in her classroom; for good behavior they clip up, and bad they clip down. Often times her chatty nature causes her problems and she hovers around green (which is neutral). So hitting pink (highest color) or off the chart (highest possible) is a pretty big deal. She made a pact with a neighbor friend that if she got off the chart, our neighbor told her she would take her for a hot chocolate treat. So it was a big deal when she finally did set her mind to it and she reached her goal. In fact by the end of the month she had reached off the chart TWICE. 

IF:Gathering - This isn't something I would typically write about in the family blog, but I decided it was ok as a little blurb because, after all, it was something that happened in February. IF:Gathering is an awesome Women's Conference (of sorts) that takes place in the beginning of Feb, and this was the 5th year. It's hosted down in Texas and was the brain child of Jennie Allen. I have watched it online in the past, and last year watched it with friends. This year though I decided to go watch the simulcast with a friend at her church. It was so so good! If you've never been a part of it, you should definitely look it up. They keep the videos available online on their website for you to go back to and re-watch, or host a gathering in your home at another point in the year if February isn't a good month for you. I think there is a small fee for downloading it, but it is so so worth it. It's great to be able to hit the pause button on all the other things that keep us busy, and connect with other women in such a deep and meaningful way. It's so inspiring, and it fills me up each year. It was so fun to get to do it with a close friend this year. 

Valentines! I had fun spoiling my loves with yummy food and decorations for Valentines. I made toad in a hole for breakfast using a heart shaped cutter for the holes. For dinner we had chili and cornbread but I colored the cornbread pinkish red, and set the table all nice with our red place mats and used real napkins and set the table all fancy like. 

Aylin made an ADORABLE unicorn for her school Valentine box, and made rainbow colored hearts for her valentine cards. I love that she loves to make her cards herself. She had a lot of fun thinking through and then putting together the unicorn box. Yay Pinterest for ideas, and then figuring out how to make it work with what we have and putting her own unique touches to it. I love her spunk and creatiity.


Aylin got to enjoy some cousin time with baby Eliza and learn a little bit about babysitting. She had so much fun, and Eliza is just such a doll! In a few short years she'll be doing the babysitting all by herself! Oh my!

Aylin's BIRTHDAY! It's hard to believe that tiny little munchkin has grown into such a sweet, responsible, kind-hearted 9 year old! We started the celebration off with dinner after church Saturday night, we had to go to secondary options though because her first pick was such a long wait it would have been disasterous. So she picked Whole Hog BBQ that we took home to enjoy while watching a movie (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!). Then Sunday we surprised her with a day in Spingfield, MO - we matched up with Papa Joe and Grama Linda at the Mall and did some shopping, part of our gift to Aylin was letting her shop (I'm pretty sure shopping is one of her love languages) and pick out some things. Justice, and Build-A-Bear were the main attractions (shocker). She loved picking out an adorable bunny and going through the whole routine of picking out what sound thing goes inside, putting in a beating heart, she added a bubble gum smell packet to it, and then picked out a cute cheerleader outfit for her. Now Lilie Bunny gets pampered and sleeps beside her with her very own sleeping mask. It's adorable, even if the music inside the bunny drives me bonkers. We also enjoyed the Bass Pro Aquarium and Wild Life museum. Holy Cow! That place is huge, and amazing. It was a lot of fun (and walking!) and there were so many neat things to see! We could have probably easily killed the whole day there. As it was, our feet were getting tired and we still had a long drive home. So instead of a nicer dinner out we made due with a McD's happy meal, and Starbucks for mom & dad before heading back home. 

DAY OF THE BIRTHDAY: #theGingerGirl requested chocolate chip pancakes for her breakfast in bed, and P.F.Chengs style lettuce wraps for her birthday dinner. Plus I took my baking game for an adventure and made a rainbow-layered unicorn cake. Let me tell you; that was the hardest cake I've done yet, but also the most fun. I had to do the layers of the cake twice (because the first set of layers didn't turn out how I wanted them to - they were uneven and lumpy), so I was glad I had thought ahead and bought an extra cake mix just in case... But it turned out great, and Aylin was blown away. It was totally worth it. I went with the Unicorn/Rainbow theme - and made a homemade birthday banner. She also got a new unicorn beanie boo, and a locket necklace. 

All in all, I think she got everything her sweet little heart desired, and then some. It's been a fun tradition to do a birthday experience of some sort each year. She had been really hoping for a party with friends, but I think(hope) that ultimately the fun memories we make will outweigh the need for a party with friends. Because while I love doing fun things and going over the top for the family - the party with friends idea stresses me out. Our house isnt big enough to host a lot of people, and February is just such a gamble for hoping for nice weather to do something outside.

Finally - a fun little bit of celebration is in order as I (Teena) have been working hard at losing weight. With a little pharmecological assistance and sticking with a low carb - smart eating diet; I've managed to lose 15 pounds so far! My goal is to be down 20 pounds by the time I have surgery in March, which I am on track for. I just need to keep making good choices and stay focused on the long term benefit (being healthy, more energy, better quality of life, etc) rather than feeling sad because I want a sweet treat. Most of the time it's not been a problem. But occasionally I slip up. Generally I have been doing really well with it as long as I stay out in front of it, and have food handy that both appeals to me, and fits my guidelines. Because if I don't have something handy, easy, or already planned all bets are off and the plan goes out the window. So, here's to heatlhy choices!

January 2018

Once again - after a year hiatus - I would like to attempt to do a monthly blog update. Here is a collection of happenings from January:

Aylin attended a painting class during the holiday break (she had a blast) and made some pretty amazing paintings. Painting With Mrs. Guillory is a guided art class for kids; usually she has a pre sketched image to help give the kiddos a vision and then she'll guide them through painting each piece and making it come to life. It's a similar idea of a Painting With A Twist, but it's for kiddos. Mrs. Guillory is a super sweet lady, who Aylin had as her Global Connections teacher while she was at R.E. Baker. She is amazing with kids, and obviously loves what she does. (https://guillorysart.weebly.com/)

Also while on our long holiday break (it was like the "Song that has no end... it just went on and on, my friend!") Aylin had some fun with a hammer (!) and smashed open some geodes that she got in a kit from Aunt Rachel for Christmas. 

We had a couple of wintery weather days. Which got Aylin an additional day off of school following Martin Luther King day.

We didn't get just a whole lot in downtown Bentonville, but surrounding areas (particularly Bella Vista) got just enough more that the district decided to call a snow day. #TheGingerGirl was super excited and enjoyed getting out in the snow and playing a bit. She threw snowballs at the back door and giggled at us through the door. Jeff and I were more like:

An artsy thing Aylin and I did was attempt some 3D art:

Aylin had been learning about OpArt (or Optical Illusion Art) in Art class at school, and I remembered seeing a video on facebook about making a simple 3D hand. So we tried it, and this was our result.

I got brave with my new Instant Pot and tried a batch of Pork Ribs, which turned out AmAzInG! I have tried both beef, and pork ribs a couple of times before, with not so great results. So this felt like a huge win, that not only did they turn out good, but my new kitchen gadget helped me make them great. (Can you tell I'm not excited about that, At All?!)

A fun thing Aylin gets to do once a month is a thing called Lifeline, it's through Camp War Eagle and she gathers one night a month with all the other kiddos in elementary and middle school who attend CWE for a night of games, worship, and generally just a whole bunch of fun. This has also turned into a kid free date night (that we don't have to pay for a sitter!! Whoop Whoop!) for Jeff and I, and that's just awesome. January's theme was Carnival Craze, and as per usual she rang in her Friday evening PUMPED UP. 

It's been fun, and good, for Jeff and I to be able to spend some time together as adults. We've been learning and growing as a couple and it's been nice to reap the benefits of our labor. We've been functioning together as a team in some really great ways lately and I am so thankful for how far God has brought us as a couple these last few years. 

A couple of fun school things for January

Aylin had a week of themed dress days at school. One of the days was to dress crazy. Let me tell you: this kid pulled out all the stops. Mismatched shoes and socks, shirt - skirt - legging of all different prints, and pigtails. This girl ROCKED Crazy day. 

Aylin's class got to lead her school's Rise and Shine (weekly Friday morning, school wide assembly). Their focus was on the word Commitment and they all worked really hard at making their own slides of things they were committed to. It was pretty precious (and funny) to listen to each kiddo speak to their commitments for 2018 (and beyond). I'll imbed a couple videos, which are admittedly a bit long but I just can't help myself. 

Commitment video #1

Commitment video #2

Aylin received the Student of the Week award the same day her class made their Commitment presentation. Jeff and I surprised her at Rise and Shine (she had been asking all week if I would come see her presentation, and I kept being frustratingly non committal to her about whether or not I would come). So when we both showed up she beamed like a star. We're pretty proud of the person she's growing up to be. 

(Attempting to wrap this book of a blog post up...), I spent a morning at my favorite place - Onyx. Got myself some breakfast, and did some journaling, and thinking. I'm learning that as an Enneagram 9 if I don't make space for myself to do those things, they don't ever happen. My head gets cluttered up and my brain gets overwhelmed. So I'm attempting to take some time every so often and do some of those much needed brain space activities so that the clutter doesn't eat me alive. I also had 2 different people, from very different areas in my life tell me in the last month or so that I needed to write out My Story. So I'm trying to wrap my head around that a little. I'm not so great at the story telling thing (ask my husband!), so I'm not sure how that will go and what that will look like. But in the mean time I am trying to actively contemplate it, and see where it goes.

Last but not least #TheGingerGirl and I went roller blading with some friends to the local Skate Place. What a Flash Back that was! We had So. Much. Fun! And holy cow, it was exhausting. Aylin did SO GOOD for her first time out on a big floor. I wouldn't necessarily say I picked right up where I left off, but I did stay upright the whole time, and I did manage a few fun things - like turning in quick circles and skating backwards. We all had so much fun, and agreed it should be a regular thing. The music and disco ball/lights really made it all so much fun. Plus it was a great workout! 

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 thing...parts 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!

Wild Wilderness Field Trip

I got the opportunity to tag along on a field trip with Aylin's class last week. We visited the Gentry Safari and the petting zoo. The kids had an amazing time. I rode along with another mom and we met the buses in Gentry. It was pretty wild being on the bus, though, packed with kindergarteners driving through the safari. I honestly didn't get to see much because I sat on the inside aisle seat so that the kids could stand on the seats and plaster themselves against the windows. I did manage to snap a few shots of the big cats, as well as a few others. Then I got to attempt to keep up with 4 of the kiddos and escort them through the various exciting sights through the petting zoo. That part was pretty fun. The kids got to feed the giraffes lettuce. Then I was given a loaf of bread to pass out to the kids to feed to any critter that would get close enough to eat it. Although most of the critters just got food thrown at them as the kids got timid once they got close to things. Especially the kangaroos. Notice how Aylin was the farthest away in the picture with the kangaroo. She was not getting ANY closer than that. Apparently the swift movements put her way out of her comfort zone where animals are concerned. We saw monkeys, pot bellied pigs, kangaroos, peacocks, rabbits, goats, various types of exotic birds. Lots of fun was had. Here is my picture collage to mark the day. :)

Aylin's First Cavity

So Aylin got to experience the joy of getting her very first cavity fixed last Monday. I really hadn't expected to have to deal with that quite so soon... Clearly we need to work on getting those toofers cleaned better. Anywho... The dentist highly recommended we use the "happy gas" even though our insurance didn't cover it. So we went with it, and I'm glad we did. She was pretty nervous to start, and even cried just having to put on the "piggy nose" (happy gas) because "it was weird". But after having it on for about 60 seconds the happy kicked in, and she was quite the goofball. She cracked herself up several times, and told the dentist and his assistant that everyone that worked at the dentist office should wear shorts, swim suites, flip flops, and piggy noses for their daily uniform at work. He got quite the kick out of her. He also joked that he should start an anonymous twitter account for "things kids say while on nitrous", I'm sure it would be a hoot if Aylin was any indication. So here are our pictures from the event.

Honestly the worst part was a combination of waiting for the numbness to wear off, and that half asleep tingling sensation while her mouth slowly came back to life. She fussed with and bit on her lip enough while it was numb that she'd made it raw and swollen. She reacted to it the same way I do; it lasted FOREVER. She had the work done at 4pm and the numbness still hadn't gone away by bedtime at 7:30. Thankfully she was worn out enough that even though she cried herself to sleep, it didn't take long for her to just give in and fall asleep.

Cindy Lou Who Hair - Aylin Style

Last week was Dr. Seuss' birthday, so we had a fun day each day last week where the kids went to school with some wild and wacky theme. One day was crazy shoes day, and pajama day, etc. Friday was dress as your favorite Dr. Seuss character day, so Aylin wanted "Cindy Lou Who" hair. We started out with the side braids, and I was going to tease up the top and put a bow in it, but we literally almost missed the bus because the hair was taking way longer than expected. So I ended up doing a third braid up top and just looping them all up and around. And unfortunately, since we were late to the bus stop, I didn't get any pics of it while it was still cute and fresh. So these pics are from the end of the school day...

Monotonous March Snow Days #3 & 4 (03.04.15 & 03.05.15)

We did a lot of painting for the 2 snow days we had last week. The big paint project we did was a thing I found on Pinterest, which didn't quite turn out how I had imagined, but it was unique and fun no less. It instructed us to put elmers glue on canvas, let it dry, and then paint the canvas all one color. But when I actually followed the link from the original pin the instructions were something entirely different. So due to lack of other supplies we stuck with the elmers glue. It turned out, and it was fun. Just not quite what I was expecting. Then the kiddo used up just about all of the water color paints we own. So we'll need to restock on those soon. With that, this momma is done with snow days. If we have any more, I will be having a rather stern conversation with Elsa. It was nice while it lasted, but that second day just about did me in. So, no more snow! Got that, Elsa?!

The World According to Humphrey

Aylin really enjoyed the One District One Book of The World According to Humphrey. It was a fun addition to our nightly story time. At the end of the book, they had a week at school where each day had a fun dress up theme. A few of those days were missed because of various things. But we managed to get the "dress as your favorite character", and "dress as your favorite animal" days. She dressed as teacher Ms. Mac from the book, and also as a cat. Fun times! Aylin really has exploded into the reading world far faster than I expected. She continues to amaze me every day with how well she reads and how much she loves it.