Marlie turned 5 just a few days after school started so she was able to have a small birthday celebration with her class. Her teacher asked us not to bring cake or cupcakes, but a healthy snack instead. I came up with a few fun choices for Marlie, and she ultimately chose fruit salsa and cinnamon chips. Even though it's not really an unusual snack, some kids were still unsure about it. Of course there were others who wanted more and more!
Marlie's teacher made her a special crown to wear during school and sent her home with a little birthday card. Marlie chose to go to Jason's Deli for dinner that night and we were joined by my mom, brother and sister. I think her party and actual birth day were both a success. I still can't believe she has been in this world for 5 years already!
Since Marlie turned 5 right around the same time school started, we were hesitant to send her to kindergarten at a "big school". We've had such a hard time trying to decide if we should let her be the youngest in her class or the oldest. In the spring her teachers told us that she was definitely ready for kindergarten, but I worry more about how she will be 5 or 10 years from now - and going to college at 17!
Thankfully, we were able to buy ourselves a little more time. One of the great church preschools here offers an Early 5s class just for children with birthdays like Marlie. It is still a half day program which I love. I personally just don't feel like a young 5 year old needs the stress of a full day of big school quite yet. She will probably end up going to public kindergarten for the second half of this school year, but for now we are thankful for her Early 5s class!
While watching the Olympics this summer, we realized that would make the perfect theme for Marlie's 5th birthday party. She was registered to take gymnastics this fall so we decided that an Olympics gymnastics party would be a great combination. Our friends and family joined us for an afternoon of gymnastics, snacks, cake & presents!
Marlie in action
Flag fruit & cheese
Gold medal cookies
For the second year in a row, we got Marlie's cake from Take the Cake. She does such a wonderful job and is able to do exactly what I request.
Marlie had a great time with her friends that she had missed over the summer
The birthday girl and her cake
Proud parents of our 5 year old!
Almost every year since Marlie's first birthday, she has had a super cute birthday shirt from Tara. This year's gold medal "5" shirt was another hit!
Just before college football season started, the UGA football team had their annual Picture Day. With 2 little girls, it just wasn't feasible for us to wait in the long lines to meet the football players. Thankfully, Marlie was still able to meet the cheerleaders and get a poster signed by many of them.
Zoo Atlanta & the Georgia Library system have teamed up to offer families a great opportunity to visit the zoo. A family of four can get free admission to the zoo by checking out the Zoo Atlanta Family Pass dvd from the local library.
We checked the dvd out and upon returning it, we received a receipt for free admission to the zoo anytime in the following 7 days. We let Marlie skip school one Friday and made our way to Atlanta. There were hardly any other visitors at the zoo that day and the weather was perfect. It made for a great family day at the zoo!
First stop: the flamingos!
Interacting with the birds!
Emma wasn't feeling her best, but she was definitely curious about the animals
I want to take a break from my constant catching up to share one of my favorite things for this time of year. Many parents struggle with their children waking up too early in the morning. That issue can be even worse after Daylight Savings Time changes! A few years ago we bought the Teach Me Time clock from American Innovative. It has been such a great help! You can set it to turn green at a certain time in the morning so we told M that she could get up when her clock "turned green". She is now 5 and often when she gets up in the morning, she will still tell us that her clock is green. If you're having trouble with your child getting up to early in the morning, you should definitely check this clock out.
In June we accompanied my parents on a trip to Daytona Beach. We started going to Daytona after Marlie was born and have really enjoyed it as a family beach vacation spot. It isn't crowded at all so we can get wherever we want to go quickly and easily. My dad had a business conference at The Shores and we were pleased to find out that they offer a nice military discount. We really enjoy going on trips with my parents, not only for their company, but also for the help they give us with the girls. With Emma it was easiest for us to spend most of our time at the pool, but we were able to venture down to the beach for a little while each day. Bryan & Dad were also able to enjoy a day of golf - while Mom & I took care of the girls (of course! ;) We were able to eat out a few times and each meal was so good. Marlie & I went with my parents to Aunt Catfish's. I love how the offer the combination of ordering from a menu and offering a buffet of salads and "fixins". Our little family of 4 went to eat at Boondocks. If we had a regular place at Daytona, this would be it. It's VERY casual and laid back so we felt comfortable taking a 4 year old and 4 month old. Marlie's favorite thing about Boondocks is being able to feed the fish from the dock. A couple sitting beside us gave her all their fries to feed to the fish once she had thrown them all her leftovers. My favorite dinner of the week was at Ronin. My mom stayed with the girls so Bryan & I could go out on a quick dinner date. It was our first time eating sushi in Daytona so we were hoping it would be ok. Our favorite sushi restaurant (in Tennessee believe it or not!) is so amazing that Ronin had a lot to live up to. I'm happy to say that we were not disappointed! We started with Peach Sake which was strong but tasty and our rolls were great. If we go back to Daytona, we will definitely be returning to Ronin! I usually had my hands full with a baby and/or all her gear so I wasn't able to keep my camera on me as much as I would have liked. I think these pictures capture a little bit of the fun we had though.