Monday, August 31, 2015

First Week Recap

Yeah we've started the second week of school and no I won't recap every single one of them.  But a little review here is in order just because.

First of all, I have learned more about what school is like in one week of Abby attending then I have in two years of Megan attending.  She talks.  And talks.  And it's very quiet around here without her.

Every day I've been asking the girls who they played with at recess and who they ate lunch with.  Megan has been very anxious going back to school this year with one good friend gone (moved to another city) and another not in her class.  At lunch, they have to sit with their classes, but I keep hoping that she will make good friends within her class and enjoy her social time.  So far I think she's doing ok.  She doesn't tell me a lot.

Abby, on the other hand, doesn't remember anyone's name.  So instead I get descriptions.

Me:  Who did you sit next to at lunch today?
Abby:  The girl with the shirt that had a skinny shoulder and a string shoulder.  
Me:  What?
Abby:  She has brown hair and her shirt had a skinny shoulder on one side and a string shoulder on the other.


Me:  Who did you sit next to at lunch today?
Abby:  The girl who called me a cheater.
Me:  Why did she call you a cheater?
Abby:  Because I was playing the x's and o's game by myself (tic-tac-toe)
Me:  And when you play by yourself you always win?
Abby:  Yep, so she called me a cheater.  It's the same girl with the shirt with the skinny shoulder and the string shoulder.

Now I really want to know who this girl is!!
I've also heard the new song they're learning in music, what video they watched in art, the stories that they read in class everyday, and what she's doing with her friends at recess (digging for buried treasure and bones).

All I get from Megan is whether it was a bad day or a good day.

I've talked to both of their teachers though and it seems as though they are both doing really well.  Homework starts this week (ugh) so that will bring home a little more information about what's going on too.  William on Friday finally asked me where Abby and Megan were and today he asked to go to Abby's school but he's also happy at home watching Mighty Machines and playings trains and cars.  He doesn't chatter though and he doesn't talk out loud while he plays so it's pretty quiet around here -- which I'm not complaining about!  The house stays cleaner, I've been mowing the lawn (what???) and getting some pillows sewn for a friend/client.  And that's it!  We all hate getting up in the morning though.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

First Day of School!!

Well, it's official.  I have less at home than I have at school.  Abby (despite her size) is finally in kindergarten!!

This year Megan has Mrs. Kremer for 2nd grade and Abby has Mrs. Cain for kindergarten.  I don't really know either teacher but Mrs. Cain was very good to us when Aaron died and I was very impressed by her.  A friend of mine who teaches 2nd grade says that Mrs. Kremer is loved by her kids and very funny and that is going to be good.  I'm just now learning (I'm a slow learner when it comes to parenting) that Megan's attitude and moods are almost always improved by humor.  

Sunday night, in addition to father's blessings (for William too), we took the graduation gown photos of Abby.
 She wanted to say "school" instead of cheese. 

Class of 2028!!  That's crazy!

I had her toss the hat for good measure.  Megan wanted to toss too.  We took these pictures for Megan before she started kindergarten too.  I think it's a fun way to compare to their senior year.  Both of them are just swallowed by the gown and Abby still might be when she's 18 . . . 

First day here we go!!  They girls are laying out their clothes at night so I had a chance to talk Megan out of the rainbow cheetah pants.  It didn't work and I didn't fight too hard.  Clothing is just not a battle that I'm willing to face -- they're clean and modest and weather appropriate -- that's enough for me! 

Abby found TWO pairs of boots at our stake clothing swap and she is in heaven.  None are sparkly but she loves them anyway.  Megan wore her boots today but she needs new ones as well, they're pretty torn up.

Walking to school!

I thought for sure that William would throw a fit at leaving Abby behind and not getting to stay himself.  Nope.  As soon as we drop the girls off at jump start (morning assembly), he wants to go home.  We were able to wait and walk Abby to class and she wanted me too and he didn't even care about that!!  What he cares about is coming home and watching Mighty Machines.

Yesterday I did cry after we dropped Abby off.  Not a lot of crying but there were some tears.  She's ready and they enjoy school and I like their school but it's still hard to see them go and I worry about them with friends choices.  I can't help but cry a little!!!  William and I had a productive day though -- we ran some errands and bought groceries and I cleaned the house probably for the first time in a month!!!  It wasn't weird with just one until lunch time.  William doesn't chatter on like the girls do -- he only says what he needs too -- so it's very quiet.  But hey, I could get used to this!!

Both girls came home saying they had a great day!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Last Stop!!

After driving back from Utah on Monday (and stopping to see this amazing friend who left Texas a year ago -- I miss Hillary!!!):

We took Tuesday off.  
Tuesday night Chopper flew in and we HAD to show him SOMETHING in Vegas so despite the heat, we drove out to Red Rock Canyon and took a few trails there.

The elevation here isn't high enough to really be any cooler but the colors and the rock formations are very cool!  We should have brought more water (my fault), because the heat zapped our energy pretty quickly.  We hiked parts of 2 trails and enjoyed it but it would be a lot better in December!


William's attempt at climbing.

And he made it!  (Ok I gave him a leg up)

Ok so I think this is actually a really good picture of us!

It was absolutely beautiful!!  That night we drove to Henderson (just south of Vegas) and visited Chopper's Uncle Jarrard and Aunt Ruth.  Jarrard is Chopper's dad's brother and he resembles Chopper's dad a great deal.  The first time we met them actually was at Gary's funeral.  But we were there for about 2 hours talking and getting to know each other and some of their kids and grandkids that also live in Henderson and were able to come say hi.  Jarrard sat in a recliner and had many of the same gestures and mannerisms of Chopper's dad.  I know that he told Chopper a lot of things about his family and his dad that he didn't know.  Ruth showed me her quilts (yep, she's a quilter) and Their son Brett invited us out on his boat (too bad we were leaving the next day!).  They were a really nice family and it was really good to spend time with them.  

Thursday morning we got up and drove to Albuquerque -- we stopped again briefly at Hoover Dam so Chopper could see it live and in person and then it was 9 hours on the road.  William did ok.  But when we pulled into Albuquerque he shouted, "we made it!"  Poor kid has been run into the ground with driving.

We spent a day in Albuquerque.  A VERY full day.  We ate at Restaurants we love and we visited the BioPark -- combination zoo, aquarium, and botanical gardens. 

Even though we haven't lived in or visited Albuquerque in 11 years (wow!), the Aquarium was exactly the same.  It's pretty small but does have some larger tanks with some sharks and bigger fish.  And small doesn't really matter, the kids enjoyed the jellyfish and other exotic sea life.

The Botanical Garden though -- Chopper and I went there and loved it and always talked about how fun it would be for our kids.  Finally here, it did not disappoint.  They expanded it quite a bit but some things that we loved were still there.
Like the giant garden to make you feel like a bug.

This is the inside of a pumpkin.

They've added some model trains and a butterfly garden.  William LOVED the model trains and did NOT want to walk away from it.  The girls LOVED the butterfly garden but were disappointed that no butterflies landed on them.

The zoo is actually further away and you can go there by train.  This was pretty much the only thing that made up for leaving the model trains for William.  He was so excited and the ride was about 30 minutes.  We rode another train within the zoo and then this train back to the garden for our car.

We then drove to Old Town and walked around through some of the shops and bought a few souvenirs.  Pretty much 2 minutes into our car ride back to the hotel the kids fell asleep so we went for dinner instead, then back to the hotel for swimming and sleep.  Then it was up the next morning for the long drive back.  

We pushed the drive back hard and only stopped once at a Chik-Fil-A to eat and let the kids play.  But when a vacation is over and you've been gone for a while and one the road, it's so nice to get home that we really didn't want to stop.  Poor William was entertained by movies and making faces for a while. 
Finally we pulled into town and decided we needed some dinner.  I ask the girls what they want and Williams starts screaming and crying.  We decide to get pizza at a drive-through Little Caesar's and he was so upset that we "stopped".  Five minutes later, we're home and he's sobbing as I get him out of the car.  We walk inside, he stops in the hallway, calms down, goes straight to his room and starts playing with cars.  I let him skip dinner so he could have some car time before bed and he was fine.  He really is my most active child and with his age not having a lot to do to self-entertain, I think the travel was hardest on him.  Also, the upheaval of home and schedule.  But despite the exhaustion of our pace and trip, it was so very worth it.  We saw so many family members and amazing things and I'm really grateful for all the help my family gave us in making this possible.