Thursday, September 29, 2011

10 Years

By Guest Blogger, Jonathan

Once there was this guy. A nice guy, really. And he met this girl. An incredible girl – truly beautiful with the most amazing red hair. So naturally the guy falls head over heels in love with her, follows her to North Carolina, and soon they’re picking out rings for their wedding. And the young couple rode off into what was sure to be a bright future.

Now some time has passed and the guy is living in that future. He’s still married to the girl after ten wonderful years, but now their life includes a lot of stuff – two children, bills, loads of laundry that never seem to end, careers, and yard work. But between all the to-do lists and chores, there are these moments when the guy stops for a minute and looks around.

He looks at all the responsibilities they have, he looks at his bride, he looks at their life together, and all the different ways they’ve grown closer. And he thinks to himself, “So, this is my life.”

And then he thinks, “I’m one lucky guy.”

I love you, Trish – Happy 10th anniversary. Be mine for the next ten.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Jack’s First Day of School

So my baby’s in kindergarten!  I feel like I’ve been avoiding making this post because then it’s actually real.  But, it has been 3 weeks now since he started elementary school and he has shown in his excitement, good behavior, and diligence just how ready he is for this new endeavor—I guess I just need to catch up. 

So, on Monday, August 29th Jack rode the bus to school for his very first day of kindergarten.  Big sister was in charge of making sure Jack made it to the right place.  The kindergarteners have a staggered-entry start to the school year, so a third of the students go to school each day of the first three days.  Jack started on the last of these three days and spent the day with two kindergarten teachers and about 16 students.  The kids were assessed (and I use that word lightly) on letter recognition, counting, reading, etc., etc.  I’m sure they were also observed to see how well they got along with others.  The most memorable part of the day for Jack was the scavenger hunt his class went on around the school that lead them to a bear that said “Kindergarten Rocks!”  That sentiment has stuck with Jack and he has said several times, and especially when people ask how he’s liking kindergarten, that “kindergarten rocks!”. 

On Tuesday the 30th, there was a Kindergarten Open House, and no regular school day for the kindergarteners.  After putting Ella on the bus in the morning, we took Jack to school later in the day for the big moment he’d been waiting for—finding out who his new teacher would be and who was in his class.  We were all so excited to find out that Jack’s kindergarten teacher was exactly who he hoped it would be, Ms. Cole.  Ms. Cole has twin 5th graders who both swim on our neighborhood swim team.  She also is kind of a swim team mom and spends a ton of time with the kids at each meet, so Jack had a chance to see just how wonderful and nice Ms. Cole is while participating on the swim team this summer.  Needless to say, even though some of his best buds aren’t in his class, he’s ecstatic to have been assigned the teacher he had hoped for (although, we really couldn’t have gone wrong).  So, on Wednesday the 31st Jack had his first official day of kindergarten in his new class.  And, he hasn’t looked back since.  He’s thriving so far at school and excited to go each day.  We’re just having a few adjustments to this new schedule.  First, it’s a really long day for Jack.  The day has been extended by 45 minutes since when Ella was in kindergarten.  Jack’s day is from 8am to 4pm and by the time he gets off the bus he’s just a little touchy so we all (especially Ella) need to learn to give him his space for a little while.  He runs upstairs right after walking in the door to go play with his toys all by himself.  He needs this time.  Also, unlike Ella who will still let us kiss her at the bus stop, Jack is already embarrassed by even hugs!  And, as if I’m already not having trouble adjusting to my youngest going off to kindergarten, I definitely wasn’t prepared to be snubbed by him so early.  Ah well, I’m sure we’ll both come around soon.  Time marches on…     

{jack has grown so much this summer.  he still sounds sweet and lispy and young, but he really looks like a big kid now.}

{always with the wrestling.  you can see jack’s excitement for his first day here.}

{ella was waving the bus down here, needlessly.  new this year, the bus passes our bus stop on the way in to the neighborhood and then picks our stop up last on the way out.}

{ella’s third day of school.  we’ve committed to “doing” her hair more often this year, so ella and i are both waking up earlier.  so, that card jack’s playing with is what tells the teachers which bus he needs to get on at the end of the day—it’s kind of important.  yeah, we forgot it until making it all the way down to the bus stop (after seeing the bus go by to the other stops).  so, i ran home (yes, my boot is now off but i am not supposed to run for at least a month and was told to wear more supportive shoes) in flip flops, no less, to get him his pass.  i just couldn’t send him to school without it, although ella had been told to speak up if her brother wasn’t on the bus that afternoon.  each day when the kids get on the bus i tell them, “get on the bus and come home to me.”  i’ve said that every day for two years with ella and now it’s kind of a superstition.  jack, three weeks in to school, has already told me, “yeah, mom, i know that every day—you don’t need to say it.”  little boy’s breaking my heart!} 

{on to the bus.  kindergarteners get on first, so the kids cleared the way for jack.}

{and, they did get on the bus and come home to me.  what a cutie he is, so excited about school…just make sure to wait a few hours before asking him about his day… :) }

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ella’s First Day of School

After a couple of years of having Jack and Ella at separate schools, they’ll finally be back together, both in elementary school this year.  Ella’s starting 2nd grade and Jack will be in kindergarten.  The kindergarteners start their year with a staggered entry, a third of the kids go each day over the first three days.  So, while Ella started on Thursday, August 25th (yes, I am way behind on my blogging), Jack’s first day wasn’t until the following Monday, August 29th.

So, a few weeks ago Ella started 2nd grade and, obviously, started it with a big smile.  Her teacher this year is a spunky and well-organized recent grad who was a student teacher for one of our more seasoned 2nd grade teachers last year.  Ella didn’t know who her teacher was and does not have one single kid in her class this year who was in her class last year, yet, she went to bed the night before her first day giddily saying, “I know 2nd grade is going to be my best year yet—I can just feel it.”  This little girl is awesome—I’m inspired by her daily (I was kind of bummed that none of my friends’ kids were in her class until I heard Ella’s positive attitude).  I really do hope Ella enjoys this year.  Next year is the start of real grades, more homework, and EOG exams.  Not that this year will be easy by any means, but we’re definitely all excited about 2nd grade.

The Friday night before the start of school Jack went to sleep over at a friend’s house so Jonathan and I had a night alone with Ella.  We took her out for a nice dinner and then out shopping for her first-day-of-school outfit.  After having no luck at Gap, we braved our first trip to Justice (never quite knew what to think of the clothes in that store—sometimes it looks like grown-up clothes for kids).  Ella tried on several outfits and fell in love with this one she’d picked out all on her own (I think Jonathan thought I had slipped it into her dressing room because he kept saying, “This looks like something your Mom would wear.”  What can I say, the girl’s got good taste.). 

The bus stop time is 30 minutes earlier this year.  Last year we used to have to wake Ella up each morning 15 minutes before this year’s bus stop time.  So, since that really wasn’t going to work, this year we got Ella an alarm clock.  It’s working out surprisingly well, I think because it makes her feel like a really big kid.

So thankful that 2nd grade still means I can hold her hand and even kiss her goodbye at the bus stop. 

Ella and one of her good friends, Taylor.

Friday, September 2, 2011

End of Summer Self Portraits

Inspired by an art blog, I set the kids up to create self portraits of themselves underwater.  They looked at the photos of themselves at swim camp and other underwater pictures of people for inspiration.  They sketched their pictures, colored themselves in with oil pastels, crinkled up the paper for a rippled effect, and then painted over it with watercolors.  Ella and Jack had a lot of fun with this project—and these are definitely apt portraits for this summer full of swimming.