Monday, September 28, 2015

The Big Pig Stampede Review

The number one question I seem to be getting lately at work is, "What is a good young boy book to read that is not science fiction based?"  I honestly have gotten that several times in the last month.  It is harder to find good, well written books for boys.  (it might be why boys tend to read non fiction).  I now have a cute and fun book to offer them, and an added bonus in my eyes is that it is christian based!! 

The "Big Pig Stampede" by Bob Hartman, is a well written book.  It has some cute pictures to help with context clues, which I really like for younger readers who are still learning.  I also love that it is told from the boys point of view.  I think that helps young readers as well.  

The whole book is about this boy who just happens to be in the right place at the right time to see many of Jesus miracles.  He often winds up involved in them as well.  It is definitely a new way to look at the miracles Jesus preformed.  You see it from a child's point of view and that is awesome.  I think it is not only a good book for kids to read (boys or girls) but a great read a loud for the whole family.  You can never hear the miracle stories too much in my opinion.
I do feel the book seems geared more toward boys, but that girls could really enjoy it as well.  It is just a fun and easy to read and follow early chapter book.  I think the "Goat Boy" stories will keep you turning the pages and looking forward to the next story/chapter.  You will quickly start to love the "Goat Boy"! 

You can read my Amazon review here!

Thanks Tyndale House for the copy of the book to review.  They did not influence my review of this book in anyway.  I look forward to reading this book with my kids very soon.  I think that they will both enjoy it and so will I.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Zook Two Take on Gower!!

Today was the first day of school!  My two little ones were so excited despite being up about two hours earlier then they had been all summer.  Taylor was so excited to finally be a gator!  We all ate breakfast and got dressed and headed out early to get to park and walk the kids in.  Our school does not have a ton of parking and we had to park at a business next door so we left about thirty minutes earlier then normally.  

All smiles!!
 This mom is not so sure how she feels about having two kiddos in school and none at home during the day.  I think it will not really hit me till next week when he goes all day.  I was so excited today I didn't even tear up, but I think it will happen next week when they are both gone.  
 Daddy got to take the morning off and be with us for the first day.  We even sneaked in a coffee date while they were at school:)  Gotta make it work when you can!
 His first official first day of school picture.  He has always been with me or my parents and not in school.  So, he went today for his first time.  He did an amazing job. Walked in and did not cry or fuss.  He owned it and did great.  He earned eight points for being on task and respectful (the earn points for following rules etc).  He was so proud of those points, and also the smiley face and sticker her got.  He told us a few things about his day and seemed to already be making friends with a few girls of course:)  My ladies man!

 He loves this backpack and asked me to take a photo to show everyone.  He picked this out too!
 This girl was a little bummed to not have her best friend in her class, but was still excited to be going to school for her fifth year at Gower.  She is thrilled to have gotten the teacher she wanted!!  She decided to go purple this year for the first day, down to her shoes and nails.  She changed outfit choices twice:)  She also wanted her Anna braids.  I was so impressed on how long they now are when I braid them.  She was all smiles this morning and had a great day too!  She even tried the brunch they had in the cafeteria and said it was good.  I was shocked, but maybe she is finally branching out. She got to set by some friends and already made friends with a new girl to the school.  I love her heart.  
 Walking to school!
 Waiting for the doors to open, with their presents for their teachers.  I had fun making them for their classes.  
 Meeting his teacher, who was Emma's teacher in Pre K as well.  She has known Taylor since he was less then a year old.  I was so happy to have her again!
 Emma loves Mrs. Armstrong, we went to her animal camp this summer.  

After, the half day, we went to Mexican to celebrate with some cheese dip and chips.  We got to talk to the kids about their day and talk about the exciting things that are going to happen in the weeks to come.  Both kids are bummed school is out tomorrow for election day.  But they go back on Friday and they both want to, which is good.  We all took a nap while daddy ran to work for a few hours this afternoon.  It was a great first day for both kids and I am excited for a great new year for them both.  Life is changing and I better hang on and enjoy the ride. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Night Before School Starts

There are bags of school supplies, two sets of uniforms picked out and waiting, new backpacks waiting to be worn, and two little kiddos are sound asleep.  Normally I am freaking out by this time, the night before school starts back up.  But I am working hard on not doing that this year.  I would normally have sent a few emails and a text to Emma's new teacher with pointers etc.  This year I have decided to let the first day or two happen and then talk to the teacher.  Let her therapy teachers come and meet with the teachers and help her before overwhelming or over worrying.  Emma's teacher this year already knows Emma some and has been around Emma before.  Many of her support staff is the same and have worked with her before, and honestly the school loves and supports Emma so well.  I am not as worried this year.  We will talk to her new aid in the morning and go over a few key points for Emma's best care and then we will let things settle in and get grooving.  I honestly have just decided that this year I cant be anxious about what could happen.  I have to trust the people who have proven more times then not, that they will do amazing work for Emma and with Emma.  I am trying to pray way more and stress way less.  I feel things seem to be falling into place for a great school year for her.  She is excited and already changed her outfit choice twice before going to bed.  Her nails are painted, her bows picked out and her new flower backpack is ready to go.  God will protect my sweet Rose and He has a great plan for her I just know it.

Now, I also have another little one joining the Gator family this year.  Taylor will be joining the Pre K program there.  He is so excited to finally be a Gator!  He has Emma's pre k teacher and I am thrilled.  I think it will be really good for him to get to experience school and make friends.  I am sad to see my last little one become a big kiddo who goes to school, but realize that as hard as it is, it is a good thing.  I know longer have babies in my house, I have school kids.  He will be in school five days a week 8-2.  I will miss my little sidekick and our special trips to Cheekwood and our little hikes into the woods.  He is so ready and cant wait to wear his Batman backpack.  I just hope my mommy heart can handle the change.  

So, this night before school starts I will pray more and stress less.  Or go workout and try not to focus on the fear!!  Dear God, protect all the staff, teachers and students as the prepare for another great school year.  Amen!!!

Monday, July 27, 2015

A book review for "Where Treasure Hides"

Check out my review of "Where Treasure Hides" by Johnnie Alexander here before reading this blog review if you would like.

I was not too sure when I signed up to review this book for Tyndale House, if I would like it or not.  The cover was beautiful and I love historical romance books, but I still was not too sure about it.  However, from the first chapter I was drawn into the story and fell in love with the main character, a young artist from which the story evolves around.  The author's beautifully written story makes you stay up way to late seeing what happens next.  I was totally enthralled with the story and could not read it fast enough to see what happens next.

The story is set during the days of Hitler.  The main characters are an artist and her family who owns a gallery, a solider who loves the artist but is part of Hitler's army, a young solider who she meets at a train station and falls in love with right then, and beautiful pieces of art and young children (both of which they have to hide to keep safe).  Art, war and love beautifully blend in an intriguing first book by this talented author.  I could tell you so much more, but I honestly think you should just read the book.

I highly recommend the book and look forward to whatever else Johnnie Alexander writes in the future.  She has a fan in me for sure.

I was given a copy of this book by Tyndale House but the review is my honest thoughts.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Cuddle nights

Emma is my quality time child.  She loves to get time with anyone she loves.  It can be just as simple as coloring at the table with her to taking her on special little trips without her brother:)  She craves that time and blossoms when she gets it.  Her favorite thing is to get to fall asleep in my bed on the weekends.  We hold hands and she falls asleep.  She only gets to do that on the weekends.  Then, we move her to her bed after a little bit.  That part is getting harder as she is getting bigger and harder to carry across the house to her room, but we still do it.

Tonight is a Tuesday, but she got to hold my hand tonight and fall asleep on daddy's pillow.  She earned that right for sure today.  Today Emma had to go through a medical test that she does not enjoy at all.  She has had it a few times in her lifetime, and she really hates it.  To be honest, I really don't blame her, it is not the funnest test.  Well, one of her doctors needed the test redone from last year to see what it showed now.  We are working on some future medical plans for a few of Emma's medical conditions and this test would tell us which path we would be starting on.

Which meant early this morning we headed to the fourth floor medical tower of Vandy Children's and had the test.  I went alone with Emma, while daddy had Taylor, this was a first of me going alone with her.  But we did a great job, well once she quit screaming and let the tech do her job.  Luckily it is not a long test and really lucky for us, she stopped screaming once we got started.  However, it did take me and another nurse holding her down to get the prep stuff done.  No mom should have to do that, but sadly it wasn't the first time I have held her done for a medical procedure.

So, yes when she looked at me at dinner tonight and asked can we cuddle tonight, I said yes.  I would do anything to help wipe the tension of the morning from her face.  So, I held my sweet nine year old's hand, while she fell asleep in her princess gown and clutching her duck in her arms.  That sweet duck as been in her arms since her NICU days.  She maybe getting older but she will always be my baby girl.  I just hope I have another year or two of her wanting cuddle nights, minus the morning of medical test for sure however!!!!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Fourth of July

Our fourth of July started on the third, with a trip to Mexican to help celebrate a friends birthday and then fireworks at a local church.  The only photo on my camera was before the fun because it looked like rain and I left my big camera in the car at the church.  But here is my family before our July third fun!!

We had a great time playing on bouncy houses and watching fireworks with friends.  We were also so happy the rain waited till we got home before starting.  I did however get my flip flops stuck in the mud on the way back to the car:)  

July 4th we woke up, ate some breakfast and got dressed to head to a family fish fry for lunch.  It was really yummy and so much fun to see family and catch up!!

The fryers!


 one of the little cousins drew this and I was so impressed!

 Emma was thrilled that Cousin Brian also fried french fries, her favorite!!

Then, after heading home for a nap and to finish making cupcakes we headed to a friends house for dinner, music and fireworks.  Emma made a new cupcake recipe she got out of the American Girl magazine she now gets in the mail.  They were so good and we had a good time making them for the party.  

The rain earlier in the day made things a little muddy, but some wood to form a walkway helped.

 Emma helping Mr. Kevin in the grill master tent
 sparklers are a lot of fun with friends

 muddy toes

 Playing games with Mrs. Rosanne

 clapping to the awesome music on the screened in porch

 despite the fact that it had been raining pretty hard for an hour, Kevin decided to see if we could shoot the fireworks off still.  It worked!  So five men, an umbrella and a arsenal of fireworks headed out to the field while we watched from the cover of the porch!  It was a great show!  The kids sang Baby your a Firework and clapped after each one:)  Good times! Great friends, yummy food and wonderful memories!!

Today maybe the fifth, but we still had a few fireworks so we sat them off before bed tonight!  The kids clapped and yelled bravo at Daniel every time it was so cute!!!


 Batman/shark with his sparklers!


 parachute went way up and came back down this year, last year it landed in a tree and caught on fire:) 
 holding the parachute

It was a great few days despite the rain and mud!  Memories to last a lifetime!!