Thursday, August 30, 2012

Back to School

I was in complete denial that school was going to start.  I needed two more weeks with my kids at home.  Is that too much to ask?  Apparently, yes.  Because school started whether I was ready or not.

The kids, on the other hand, seemed ready...(dare I say?) maybe even excited to head back to school.

 Miss Whitney started third grade.  She came home from her first day smiling and chipper as could be.  She seemed most excited that they have AGENDA'S in third grade.  They are notebooks where they keep track of homework and assignments.  She has been watching Brandon use his for the past three years.  And now SHE'S one of the big dogs on campus.  She LOVES her teachers.  They start switching rooms this year, so she has two. 

One of her best friends from second grade, Ria, is in her class again this year.  Woo hoo!  That does NOT happen often in a school as big as hers.  During school, one of her classmates told Whit, "You're more stylish this year than last year."  Huh.  I'm not sure if that's a compliment or an insult, but Whit seemed happy to hear it.  Recess and the reading corner in her classroom are two of her other favorite parts of third grade so far.

Brandon started sixth grade, his first year of MIDDLE SCHOOL.  I went through my moments of anxiety last year, but after attending orientation with him last week, I (mostly) felt at ease.  One of the biggest changes?  SMOD--Standard mode of dress.  He wears polo shirts, dress pants, and a belt to school every day.  Doesn't he look sharp?  I can't even get him to wear a belt to church!  

He also came home happy from his first day of school.  He likes his classmates and teachers.  He already memorized his locker combination.  He knows his way around the school for the most part.  Day two and three were a little more boring.  He's ready to be done with the learn-the-routine-lectures and actually do some school work.  I hope this year will be a good balance between challenging him and also being fun.  That's possible, right?

The hardest part about the middle school transition for me is that he's gone ALL DAY.  It's like he has a full time job.  The bus comes at 8:30 and he gets home at 4:20.  OK, I guess that would be kind of a cush job.  But, still, it's a long time for him to be away from us.  It seems kind of ridiculous.  And he only has a 15 minute bus ride.  As a mom, it's actually nice to have the kids come home at different times, though.  I can give Whitney my full attention when she walks in the door.  And then focus on Brandon when he gets home.  When they were both in elementary, it was a little trickier to get the nitty-gritty details from each one of them. 

Here's hoping for a great year for both of them!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The rest of our summer

Art Camp

I let the big kids choose one summer camp they wanted to attend this year.  This was new for us.  I wanted to give it a try.  Whit chose art camp.  (No surprise there.)

Miss Jamie, her teacher

She LOVED having time to express her creativity every day.  They did fun projects.  She made some friends.  She is already making plans to attend next summer.

Basketball Camp

We figured B would want to do some sort of sports camp.  He decided on basketball.    He also had a great time and told his coach he'd be back next summer.

I, on the other hand, am not sure if I'm a fan of summer camps.  I like having my kids to myself during the summer.  And I wasn't able to carpool for either of these, so I ended up spending A LOT of time in the car running them around town.  I'm just not sure if it's worth it for me.  Both kids would argue that, YES, it was.

Piano Lessons/Homeschool

Both Brandon and Whitney did piano lessons this summer.  It is so fun to see them progressing.  And all three kids did homeschooling with me during the weeks we were home.  The big kids studied the American Revolution, the Constitution, and math.  Brandon also read a biography on Shaun White and Whit studied puppies.

Cousin sleepover

We had a blast with Avery, who came to stay with us for a few days before we left on the road trip.

Whit and Avery get along SO well.  And Avery is a great helper around the house, too.  They stayed up late every night having "girl talk."  We'd love to make this an annual tradition.

Jessica and Tyler's Reception

Andrew's cousin, Jessica, got married this summer and one of her receptions was in Kentucky, just a short seven hour drive up the road.  :)  I convinced him that we needed to go and, thankfully, he was up for the adventure.

 We had a great time in Louisville, sharing in the joy of Jessica and Tyler's wedding.  We are so happy for them!  Thanks to Jonathan babysitting, Andrew and I had a great evening at a dinner theater with the rest of the family.

So great to be with family!


While we were in town, Caroline continued her gymnastics class.  She still loves it and would be happy to keep going.  I'm having a hard time finding a time slot that works with her new preschool schedule, so we'll see what happens.

Air Show

A friend offered free tickets to a local air show.  We had never been.  Andrew had a previous commitment, so the kids and I gave it a try.  As with most of my crazy schemes, I had to convince them to go.  They said they would rather just stay home and play.  Crazies.  But once we were there, they loved it.  (They always do!  When are they going to learn that their mom loves to do fun things???)
We saw lots of planes (of course),

some awesome automobiles (didn't expect that),

and ate some yummy treats.
(the kids' favorite part?)

MY favorite part was watching the Golden Knights,
the army parachute team.

It was like nothing I'd ever seen before.
It made my stomach sink just a bit.
And also made me wonder if I could jump out of an airplane.

Just playin'

Brandon and Whit have some friends who live right in our cul de sac and are only here during the summer.  They played together every day that we were in town.  It is SO fun to have them around.  Brandon played a lot of Magic the Gathering.  Whit and Caroline made up dance routines, played restaurant, had fashion shows, and did "military camp."

To me, THIS is exactly what a neighborhood 
should look like on a lazy summer afternoon. 
What a fitting way to end our summer of fun.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Road Trip 2012: By the Numbers

 41 Days

7310 Miles

137 Hours 30 Minutes driving time  

17 States (18 for Whit!)

1 New Nephew

1 New Niece

1 Great and Terrible Stomach Bug

6 Science Centers

0 Car problems 

81 (or more) Loved ones visited

2074 Pictures taken 

$2.99 Cheapest gas--Stanton, TN

$3.86 Most expensive gas--Huntington, WV

Countless memories made

I am so grateful that we have this tradition of visiting our family all across the country.  I love the adventure of it.  I am so glad that our family members will let us invade their homes and feed us while we're there.  Thanks, everyone!  Major props to Brandon, Whitney, and Caroline for being SUCH amazing kids in the car.  I am in awe of the beautiful world that the Lord created for us and relish the way I can take it all in.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Whitney's trip to Disneyland

My parents have the funnest tradition of taking their grandchildren to Disneyland when they turn eight.  Luckies!  Whit's big birthday was this year, so while we were out west, she hopped on a plane with
Gigi and Grandpa for Disney.  Fun, fun, fun!!

According to Whit, her favorite parts were eating frozen lemonade and watching the parades.  California Adventure was awesome.  Her favorite rides were Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story Mania, and the Ariel ride.

Whit was the first granddaughter to turn eight, so my parents were introduced to the world of princesses and character autographs.  They all had a blast and created so many fun memories.  Caroline can't wait for her turn.  Only four more years!