wife to Jake, mommy to my 3 crazy munchkins, Lily (7), Jonah (5.5) and Kate (4). Taking this crazy blessed life one day at a time.



Kindergarten has been on my mind for a while now, mostly since I thought that Lily would already be in kindergarten this year.

Lily was born on Sept. 1 at 7:14am. The school cut-off is Aug. 31st. She missed it by 7 hours. I tried to get her in, but they make NO exceptions. Apparently it's a state law.

I was bummed out big time when I finally realized that Lily would have to spend another year in preschool. This is her 3rd year of preschool. Lily was in a great Christian preschool the first 2 years (Jonah is there now), but we decided to send Lily to a different school for her 3rd year. We did this because now she goes 4 days a week instead of 3 and she is with kids that she might move on to kindergarten with. I thought that it would be a good step towards kindergarten, even though Lily was totally ready to go this year (yep, I'm still bummed that she's not there).

I am not regretting changing schools, but I don't think it was quite the step I was hoping for. All three years, Lily has been in an integrated classroom, meaning it is kids ages 3-5. I love the idea, I think that Lily and Jonah both have benefited from being in a classroom like that. However, with Lily in her 3rd year, and already very ready for kindergarten, I feel like this year, she isn't growing or learning what she is ready for. To me, each year in school, you should gradually be going up, up, up in what you learn. I feel like this year for Lily is just staying the same, not going up. I am not saying that she isn't learning, because she is, but I don't think it is nearly enough. 3 years doing the same kinds of things: reading, coloring, learning letters, going to different centers, playing outside... She needs more, she is ready for more. She is ready to read, to write, to learn math.

So, Lily and I are doing those things together at home. But I am no teacher, and am finding that I do not have much patience trying to teach her these things. But she is doing well and is so eager to learn, which is so good to see.

We are eagerly awaiting kindergarten. But, I found out some frustrating news from some of our neighbors.

Here's the deal:

The schools offer half day or full day kindergarten- no biggie, I already knew that.

Half day is free- awesome.

Full day is $4,000- What?!

The elementary school one block from our house does not offer half day kindergarten- bummer.

Therefore, if we did half day, Lily would have to be bussed to another elementary school- UGH.

Here's the kicker: Half day kindergarten is SHORTER than Lily's preschool day (which is already ridiculously short, 8:15-11)- I can't believe it.

So, I am upset. Lily NEEDS full day kindergarten. I feel like sending her to half day would be taking another step backward, like sending her for a 4th year of preschool. I know that the curriculum will be different in kindergarten, which I can't wait for, but I don't think that will be enough for Lily.

But $4,000?! No way we can swing that. They do have a scholarship, which of course I am going to apply for the second I can, but I doubt they will give 90%-100% scholarship. Lily received a 75% scholarship for her preschool this year, and we still needed help covering that (Thank you Pappa!).

So, I don't know what to do. I've been praying and praying that somehow we will be able to send Lily, that something will work out. I guess the first step is to see how much of a scholarship we get.

Full day would mean she would go from 7:55-2, and she would be at the school right up the street from us, which would be so amazing. And so so good for Lily.

Everyone has been telling me that it's good that she didn't go this year, because it's always good to be older in the class than younger. I know that she would have done great if she went to kindergarten this year, and I still wish she had, but I know that lots of good will come from having her wait a year. Now she will go through school with 2 of our little neighbors, Eddie and Avery, which will be awesome. Hopefully some years they will be in the same class. That reminds me of my street growing up- 4 of us were all the same age and went through school together too.

I think that kindergarten registration and scholarship stuff will all be starting not too long after the new year, so please pray that somehow, Lily will be able to go to full day.

I am sure, 10 years from now, it really won't matter much, since it is just kindergarten, but now, it does matter, at least to me. I want Lily to grow and really love learning. I want her to be challenged. I do what I can for her at home, but with Jonah and Kate, plus Molly or Mason, it is hard to give Lily all of the time and attention she needs or deserves.

I'll keep you posted :)

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Weekend Getaway!

This weekend, Jake and I are getting away.

Without the kids.

That's right. Our first weekend away in over a year!

Can you tell I'm just a little excited? Jake is taking the day off on Friday. Kate gets mommy and daddy all to herself when big brother and big sister are in school. Then, we are OFF! Dropping the kids off at Grandma Jan's (Jonah and Kate), and Grandpa's (Lily). Then Jake and I are off to Vermont for the weekend!

I LOVE that it is super special for the kids too- Jonah and Kate are so excited to spend time with Grandma Jan and Tim and Lily has been talking non-stop about spending time with Mariah. It's so good for them to have special times with other family and friends, not always just mommy and daddy.

Everyone here in the Kreyling house is looking forward to Friday (everyday Lily counts down the days until Friday)!

Can't wait to spend the weekend with this guy!

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Thoughts on Santa

This year, the kids are older, understanding more and for the most part, get what's going on around them.

Today is only December 5th. Already this year, people have come up to my kids and talked over and over about Santa, more than any other year.

When someone starts talking to the kids about Santa, Lily and Jonah's response is "I don't believe in Santa".  One neighbor was very disappointed to hear this and kept saying "Oh, you are too young not to believe in Santa".  The kids know who Santa is, but they know that he is not real.

I am really glad that we decided not to "do Santa" with our kids. We want Christmas to focus on what it's really about, the birth of Jesus. When we ask the kids what Christmas is, they say that it's Jesus' birthday, which I think is great. We are even going to make a birthday cake :)

Christmas is not about presents in our house. Yes, of course the kids get presents, but it's not what we focus on. We are making the Christmas season more about experiences rather than things. We are teaching them about Jesus and his birth. Our advent calendar is not a piece of chocolate each day, but a fun Christmas activity to do together (which the kids are loving!).

I am however, teaching the kids not to ruin Santa for any other kids. If someone starts talking about Santa or asks them questions about Santa, they don't say "Santa's not real", but instead "I don't believe in Santa". Hopefully they will remember this when there is talk of Santa at their schools when I am not around to remind them.

But I am really happy with the way we are teaching the kids about Christmas, and that for now at least, it is not all about the presents, but celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.

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I've been feeling a bit crafty lately, so I turned to Pinterest (where else!) for some inspiration.

First up, our new advent calendar. 

It was super easy to make. I just used a piece of scrap wood, 24 clothes pins, paint and construction paper.

Just paint and decorate how you want, glue the clothes pins down, and add the paper. Jake and I really like experiences more than toys/candy, so each day is a fun Christmas/winter activity to do with the kids.

    -Go on a Christmas hayride
    -color a Christmas picture
    -build a snowman
    -bake a birthday cake for baby Jesus
    -make a Christmas decoration
    -do a Christmas craft
    -make/buy special ornaments
    -Go sledding
    -make paper snowflakes
    -have hot chocolate and cookies
    -go pick out gifts for siblings
    -go to the library and get Christmas books
    -bake Christmas cookies
    -Charlie Brown movie night
    -make cards for mailman
    -bake cookies and bring them to a neighbor
    -make Christmas cards for friends
    -make a gingerbread nativity scene
    -Do something nice for someone
    -sing carols
    -go out and look at Christmas lights
    -open one gift (Christmas eve)
    -Go out for a special breakfast
    -Paint a Christmas picture

    It turned out really well (better than the pictures) and the kids love to see what the new activity is each day.

 Next was a simple project for our mantel:

All I did for this was search through the kids' blocks and find the letters I needed, then paint :)

So simple, but it looks really cute on the mantel.

This one is straight from Pinterest, but is oh so cute :)

Lily's hands are on the bottom, Jonah's in the middle, and Kate's on top. They had a blast making this, and it is displayed proudly on the mantel.

Hopefully this is just the beginning, and there will be lots more crafts to come :)

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