Friday, May 31, 2013

First Day vs Last Day 2013

It is very hard for me to believe that one full school year has gone by here in Pittsburgh.  Being in Texas seems like yesterday, yet feels so far away too.  Hard to explain.  Regardless of that, this school year absolutely FLEW by.  

When Nicholas and Ella were starting school I was so nervous.  I was nervous they wouldn't make friends easily, that kids wouldn't be nice to them, or that school would be too hard or too easy.  Take all the worries... I had them.  

As it turns out, it was all for not because my kids did great transitioning into a new school.  In fact, Nicholas' teacher told me it's the most seamless transition of any kids she's seen in 23 years of teaching. Wow.  That says a LOT about my kiddo.  He's awesome.  hahahaha

Ella loves school and was eager to start at Mars.  She wasn't shy at all and she jumped right in.  

By then end, she STILL loves school and still thrives academically.  I think her lowest grade all year was a 98%.  I realize this is 1st grade, but I'm still proud of her.  Ella thrives socially as well and still emerges a leader among her peers.  She is really into the way she looks and sadly, does want to be like all her friends.  I only say sadly because I don't want her to fall into a mold.  I want her to be her true self.  

Nicholas is easy.  He hated school then...

... and he hates school now.  Oh how that boy frustrates me when it comes to school.  Nicholas is extremely intelligent, but has no desire to give anything any effort.  He does the minimum he can to get by and that gets him all A's.  What can I say about that?  The reason I want him to try hard now is because things will inevitably not always be this easy and he needs to prepare himself to work hard.  I push him when I can, but I hope it's something he develops himself.  Either way, I'm proud of Nicholas and his continued academic success.

I went from a 1st and a 4th grader.

To a 5th and 2nd grader in the blink of an eye.  Someone tell him how this happened?

Then there is Jack.  Oh sweet Jack.  He is so shy when he first meets someone, so the beginning of the school year, he was a little timid.

But by the end he had learned so, so much.  I can't say enough about his pre-k teacher and her approach to learning.  I feel like Jack learned the essentials he needed to move along to Kindergarten, but he learned so much more.  He still pulls out little tidbits of information I know he could only have learned from his teacher.

 I'm so proud of each and every one of my kids and the little people that they are.  I know watching them grow and thrive is my job as a parent, but it's so hard to see them growing up.  This coming school year, my kids will all be in school, but I'm so thankful Jack will still be half day.  One more year of holding on to at least one of my babies.  We won't think anywhere beyond that.

And for now we're just going to think.... SUMMER!!!!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summer Bucket List: The Zoo

If you ask me, Memorial Day is the kick off to summer and therefore, the kickoff to our Summer Bucket List.  Guess what?  We already get to check off an item from our list.  How exciting!  I won't have to look back and say my list was a complete failure if I've already checked off one item and summer has just begun.  I really hope I can keep it up.  Enjoy the pics from our first Summer Bucket List activity-- The Zoo.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend 2013: Part III

Ok this should be my last Memorial Day post from the camp.  After our run on Sunday morning, Tracey told the kids we could go on a hike to the beaver dam.  She said it was about a mile.  I detect a theme going with Tracey.  That is, NEVER trust her.  hahaha

Anyway we all got in our appropriate hiking clothes.... um scratch that.  We started off in inappropriate hiking clothes, and by we I mean Ella, and I had to run back and get her jeans.  In my defense, I didn't know we were hiking in the woods.  I thought we were going to be on a trail.  

Ok all better.  Now we're all appropriately dressed.

So we set off with 6 adults and 8 kids ranging in age from 4 to 11??  (I'm not sure how old Anna is) on our "about a mile" hike.

The kids quickly collected walking sticks and used them to navigate the woods.  Here we are in an open field.  Just didn't want you to think I don't know what the woods are.  Ha!

45 minutes and 1.5, YES A MILE AND A HALF, later we made it to the beaver dam.

All the children popped their shoes off and rolled up their pants and plopped right in the freezing cold water.  Um scratch that again.  All the kids but mine.  I wouldn't let them.  I know, I know mean mom, but in my defense, I didn't want them cold and wet and .... Ok I didn't want them a dirty mess.  Sue me.

I still managed to get them on the log on the beaver dam (not pictured) and I of course had a bad attitude and yelled when the shoes went into the cold water.  I should have just let them take the damn shoes off.  Ugh.  I need to learn to let go a little.

Honestly I really don't mind the 1.5 mile hike, I just like to give Tracey a hard time.  It definitely was a great walk through the woods and we got some very scenic pictures out of it.  I love my family pics.

How cute are these kids?

It's amazing, but all 8 kids made it through the weekend without incident.  There was no fighting and I don't think there were any tears.  They get along well and that is SO nice.

 And the adults ain't bad either!  I don't think any of us cried either.

Shortly after we got back from our walk (around 3:30 pm) we decided it was time to make our way back home.  A half an hour into the ride, this is how my backseat looked.

A very successful weekend indeed!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend 2013: Part II

So we had enjoyed a lovely day hanging out and riding "toys" but Saturday was special for another reason.  Saturday was Charlene's birthday and we HAD to celebrate.  Well with lips and mustaches of course.  

I printed the lips and mustaches from this blog.

At first I think Tracey thought I was crazy, but I knew the kids would like them.

And who can resist a family portrait of lips and 'staches?

I think it turned out to be a big hit and I think Charlene enjoyed celebrating her day just a little with yummy cupcakes.  I think she especially appreciated that we acknowledged the fact that she was turning 29 with our candles.

I made all the kids pose for pics.  Some were happier than others.

We stayed up pretty late that night sitting around the campfire enjoying s'mores and a few tasty beverages for some.  I cringed when I asked Tracey what time she was going to make me get up to run.  I figured she'd say we were going to be up and running by 7:00 am.  

Luckily she said we'd just wake up and go whenever.  NICE! 

As luck would have it I woke up at 6:30, but I didn't get out of bed and by the time everyone got moving it was nearly 9:30.  

We set out to run 5 miles.  Tracey told me there were a few hills and then we'd have a nice downhill.  There's some debate about what she said after that, but I heard her say it was pretty much flat from there.  She said she never said flat.  Hmph.  Well she was right, it wasn't flat.  

I struggled up many of hills some big, but the flat part was actually a 2 mile long gentle incline.

To say I hated it would be an understatement.

I warned Charlene and Tracey that I was going to be slow.  I promised an 11:00 mile and I didn't disappoint.  

By the time it was all said and done, we did 5.00 miles in 56:20.  That's OVER an 11 minute mile.  Oh well!  Once again, I'm proud of myself for getting out there when I REALLY didn't want to do it.  I had zero desire, but I'm thankful for my friends would didn't let me say no.

I admit, I didn't regret going and it was a GREAT start to the second day at camp.

Stop back for Part III tomorrow.