Happy Birthday Ginger!

It is hard to believe that my little Bee is 5.

She is getting so big, and has grown so much. I barely remember that little baby with the porcelain skin who only wanted to sit on your lap all day.

But, some things never seem to change. Ginger is still the "girlyest" of all the girls in our house. She loves anything that sparkles or shines, or reminds her of princesses. She loves having long hair and pierced ears. She is delicate and careful in all of her actions, and can always be found with a smile on her precious face.

Happy Birthday, sweet child. Momma loves you!

Sadness at the Rader house

It is with tremendous sadness that we say goodbye to our beloved Mango.

Mango was so much more than pet. He was a member of our family.

Goodbye, dear friend. We will miss you.


School started for Maddie and Owen in late July. I commented on it in another post, but didn't have pictures. So, I am including them below.

After much consideration, I decided to return to the workforce. I did this for many reasons, but ultimately, I believe that it is in the best interests of the kids. In any case, that left Ginger and CoCo without anywhere to go during the day.

We were very fortunate to have Ginger and CoCo both be accepted into the private preschool program associated with Maddie and Owen's school. Maddie and Owen attend a charter school - which is a 'public school of choice.' Essentially, it is a public school district that only consists of 1 school. There is a private preschool housed within this public school. In other words, parents pay for their kids to go to the preschool, but elementary and middle schools are free.

I was very happy about this, for a couple of reasons. First, this is an excellent school. We have been so pleased with everything about Maddie and Owen's experiences there. Second, there is only one drop off and pick up location. No one has to drive all over the county dropping kids off in different places.

The girls started preschool just a few short weeks ago. They were very excited.

Ginger misses the cut-off date for starting kindergarten by 28 days. I think she would have done exceptionally well in kindergarten this year, but we will have to wait until next year. Ginger was very excited to start school. She was most excited about the new clothes (uniforms) and how she would wear her hair.

One of Ginger's teachers is a native Spanish speaker, and she incorporates the language in to the classroom as much as possible. It's very cute to hear Ginger speaking Spanish.

I recently attended an open house at the school, about a week after Ginger had started. Her teacher pulled me aside to THANK me for having Ginger in her class. She said that Ginger is a star in that class. She started 3 weeks after the other children, and it only took her a day to catch up. The teacher also said that Ginger is a joy to have around. Whenever the teachers are having a rough time, or are otherwise stressed, they take some time to spend with Ginger.

She makes me so proud!

CoCo was also excited about starting school. She's so tiny and young - it made me cry to watch her going off to school in that uniform. Babies shouldn't wear uniforms and go to school!!!

CoCo is in an immersion classroom, just like Owen. That means that their entire day is in Spanish. It is incredible to watch, and even more incredible to see how the language develops so easily at that age.

I haven't had an opportunity to speak with CoCo's teacher yet (she is the same teacher that Owen had last year). However, we have gotten our first note home. It said: "Dear Mrs. Rader, Please be aware that CoCo has not worn underpants to school for the past 3 days. Please assist her in putting on underwear each day. Thank you." I just about fell over. I can assure you that CoCo wears underwear every single day of her life. What she does with her underwear once she gets to school is beyond me.

I always thought that by the 4th kid, I would be a pro. But, CoCo throws me a curve ball every single day.

She, too, makes me very proud.

Maddie and Owen are both very, VERY proud to have their little sisters in school with them. It's so sweet to watch all of them go to school together and come out of school together every single day.

Maddie surprises me - she's like a little mother hen with those two.

I can't believe how fast they are growing up.

Swimming Lessons Grand Finale, Part 2

Maddie and Owen enjoyed swimming lessons over the summer, too.

Their lessons were in the early evening. It was cool to have lessons after dark. The reflection of the pool lights off the water added an element of fun to the whole affair.

Maddie is a great swimmer. The instructors reluctantly placed her in the highest level class - they were disappointed that there weren't more kids at her level. They would have preferred to give her one-on-one lessons, but there were too many kids and not enough instructors.

No matter. She had fun anyway. She made a lot of friends, and refined her skills.

Owen is also a great swimmer, but not such a great listener. :)

Owen's greatest strength is his unlimited energy and enthusiasm.

Owen's greatest weakness is his unlimited energy and enthusiasm.

He did a great job with lessons. He is fearless, and toward the end of the lessons, the instruction just starting hurling him into the pool. Literally. This ginormous swim teacher would lift my poor son into the air, swing him back and forth a few times, and hurl him into the pool. Owen flew thru the air in a fit of giggles every single time.

NBA Princess

I never fail to be amazed by my children.

Swimming Lessons Grand Finale, Part 1

All of the Rader kids took swimming lessons this year. It is very convenient to live 2 houses away from the town pool. The kids took lessons at different times (little kids in the morning, big kids at night) - so, I am writing 2 separate blog entries.

CoCo and Ginger took their lessons with the pool administrator, Miss Chris. Miss Chris was a lot of fun, and both girls are incredibly comfortable in the water, thanks to her.

I was most proud of Ginger. At the beginning of the summer, she refused to even get into the water. In fact, I didn't even bother to sign her up for the first session of lessons. However, sibling rivalry got the best of her, and she begged us to put her in swim class as well. By the time summer sessions ended, Ginger was putting her entire body under the water and was swimming with the help of a 'noodle.' It was very important for her to be just a little faster, swim just a little deeper, and keep herself under water just a little bit longer than CoCo. And, she did it!!!

We made some friends.

They were both so brave jumping into the pool!

Finally, I just love this picture. I was trying to get some good shots of CoCo, and Ginger did everything in her power to be front and center!! It isn't easy being a princess! :)