Saturday, August 30, 2008

Summer Endings - School Beginnings

Lots has happened since I have last blogged, but I will try my best to catch you up.

We celebrated Dad's 60th birthday on July 14th. His sweet girlfriend of 4 months, Gina, did most of the planning for the festivities. Aaron, Janet, Wes, and I got a sitter for the kids while we adults ate without interruption at Olive Garden. After dinner, we came back to our house where we played games and ate cake and ice cream.

Dad and Gina goofing off, as usual.

Lauren brought her kiddos for a few days visit soon after that. We had a great visit, laughing at our kids play together and catching up on each other's lives. Wes graciously watched all five of the children one evening while Lauren and I enjoyed a nice dinner and a trip to the theater to watch "Mamma Mia". Next time, we plan to let all the girls sleep in one room together, but we decided they were still a little too young this year. I am so thankful for this friendship that we have shared since middle school.

We were so busy having fun, this is the only decent picture we got of all the girls together.

Avery got to be in the Christian Theater Workshop (CTW) that our church puts on every summer. She was so excited to finally get to participate in the play after watching the plays every summer. The youth group and elementary students performed a play written by Jeff Walling which humorously tells the story of Moses. Everybody did a terrific job. Avery was a townsperson and a sheep. She was too cute on stage, singing out loudly and "Baaaing" when she was a sheep. She was really in her element. She memorized her songs in no time and to this day still loves to play her "practice" CD. Now that we got the DVD of the show she asks to watch that all the time, too. Needless to say, Wes and I are getting a little annoyed with it.


Moses and his sheep. Avery is on the far left.

Avery and her townspeople friends...

Avery (in the pink) is performing her heart out.

Our shining stars portraying the story of Moses.

We ended the summer with several trips with friends to the water park ten minutes away in Sherman and to Hawaiian Falls in The Colony. If you live in or near the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, I highly recommend taking your family to Hawaiian Falls. It wasn't crowded, it was reasonably priced, there was lots to do for our girl's age group, they played Christian music, and had Christian banners all around. We will definitely go there more often. The girls loved it! They were incredibly brave going down slides that started about 50 feet high. We also loved swimming around in the lazy river and relaxing in tubes in the wave pool. I didn't get any pictures of all our fun, because I didn't want to worry about keeping an eye my camera. I am so glad that the girls love the water as much as I do. Their swimming has improved tremendously since the beginning of the summer. It so much fun to watch them and to play with them.

We have a new family member. No, I am not pregnant - we got a dog. Lexi is a 2 year old 5 pound Maltese. We got her from a lady in Sherman who had acquired too many dogs and wanted a good home for her little dog who didn't care too much for the other dogs. We gladly adopted her and the rest is history. She was already house trained, which I especially loved. The girls adore her and Lexi puts up with them. Ha! When the lady brought her to us, she also brought 5 outfits. This, of course, was the icing on the cake for Avery and Abby who like to dress her up. Surprisingly, she doesn't mind the outfits at all. She is very calm and even-tempered and loves to cuddle.

Can you tell she is loved?

The girls got to spend the night at Grandpa's house a week ago with their cousins, Mylen and Aivlyn. Gina and Dad took them to the Sprinkler Park where they ate their McDonald's, played on the playground, and splashed in the water. Then they all headed back to Grandpa's house for a fun movie they had rented. All the cousins had such a fun time together. Thanks Dad and Gina for planning that special time! They sure do love you all!

Avery started Kindergarten on Monday! It is hard to believe that I have a child going to school. Yikes - time flies! She goes to the school where I taught 4th grade for 3 years. It is one of the smaller schools of the seven elementary schools here in Denison. The same principal is there and many of the same teachers that I taught with are there, as well. It is so nice to walk the halls and see familiar faces of people I trust who will take care of my baby. Most of them are Christians - some even go to our church which really gives me a lot of comfort about the fact that she is spending most of her day with these people. She is in a class with only 13 other students. The class isn't usually that size, but I am hoping they luck out and don't get anymore students through out the year. Even though a whole week has gone by, I still can't believe she is a big kindergarten student. She is loving every minute of it! She comes home with lots of stories and is pretty tuckered out by the evening. We had to help her give up her nap a week before school started. We knew they would only have a 30 minute rest time, during which they usually watch a video. There aren't many kids who would sleep with a fun video on. Anyways she has been having to go to bed a lot earlier and waking up earlier which has been an interesting adjustment for all our family. Thankfully, school starts at 8:30 and we live about a 4 minute drive from school.

Getting ready to head to her very first day of Kindergarten.

Mrs. Mackay, her sweet teacher.

Abby has adjusted to Avery being gone a lot better than I thought she would. She and I have had some good times together, and she also plays well by herself. Every once in a while she asks about Avery. One thing I have noticed - things are definitely more peaceful around here since there isn't another sibling to fight with.

After 5 1/2 years, I am a teacher again. I am going to be teaching the 2 year old class where Abby goes to preschool (the same place both girls went last year). The school meets only Monday and Wednesday mornings which makes it pretty low key. My friend, Carrie, got the job as my aide, and we will only have a maximum of 10 students. If we can climb a 13, 940 foot mountain together, we can handle two year olds, right? We already had our in-service morning and our orientation. School doesn't officially start until Wednesday. I have been planning all the lessons which has been a huge change from the lessons I used to plan for my reading and writing classes for my fourth graders. I am excited about all the fun little books I will get to read and all the cute crafts we will make. The best part - no TAKS tests!!!! (State testing - for those of you who don't live in Texas.) I have already completed my lesson plans through March. I get a $650 budget, and I have discovered how much fun it is to shop with other people's money. Avery and Abby played in my room while I got it all ready. Avery was actually amusing as she tried to help me decorate. She also kept giving me ideas of what to teach my students. Most of these ideas came from experiences in her 4 year old class.

Well, that is all I will post for now...