Home Run

I found Bobby Cox!

So, how's summer going, you ask? We are now more than halfway through June, also known as the month I don't think about school at all. Come July, it starts creeping in. But June is held sacred. Professional Development books to read? July. Open House materials to make? July. Thinking about school in general? July. This year had a slight exception, in that I went to the school's Leadership Retreat a couple weeks ago. We gathered at the new Braves stadium conference center, worked hard, played some hilarious team-building games (there were blindfolds involved - but no trust falls!), and then got to enjoy dinner and the ballgame afterwards. And if you must work in the summer, it's good to be amongst some of nicest, dedicated, top-notch teachers at the school.

We are now two weeks out from the famed Peachtree Road Race 10k happening on July 4. My training has been... varied. See, it turns out my knees start hurting if I run to much. Every time I increase distance (example: first time I broke four miles), I pay for it afterwards, often putting me in a no-run recovery period for up to a week or more. Stupid knees! When it happened for the first time back in May, I was super bummed. So I started doing a bunch of workouts focused on building leg strength (I use the Nike+ Training app). Slowly I added in some runs, most around one to two miles. I've worked out a little system where I take the girls to swim practice and in the 30 minute window while they're both in the water with their instructors, I run around the neighborhood. I've noticed this method has been increasing my pace as well, since I'm so paranoid about getting back to the pool before they're out of the water! My goal has been to do some type of workout/run/both every day leading up to the Big Day (I'm also a little obsessed with closing all my Apple Watch circles). I ran 5k on Saturday while Matt had the girls at the playground, and I figure if I can pound out that distance without too much struggle, I can probably go the full distance on the Fourth, even if I have to grit my teeth and blow out the knees to get there. I've found, as I've gotten better at it, I actually enjoy running. But I'm already wondering how on earth I'll be able to keep it up once the school schedule starts again. Short of getting up at four in the morning, there's no way to squeeze in a run before work. Ah well, it's still June. I don't have to worry about that yet!


Kicking Off Summer

BFFs at CAA!

My favorite way to usher in summer is by forcing my kid to wake up early, pack a lunchbox and backpack, and disappear for the entire day. I kid, a little, but honestly it's kind of nice to keep Violet in a routine to help ease the transition to schedule-free days. We headed back to Camp All American (or as I like to say - Six Flags Over Jesus) and once again it was awesome. Violet went for the first time last year, but this year, being both older and having some experience under her belt, she marched in without a look back! I am always so impressed with CAA. The counselors are 110 percent committed to this camp, evidenced by the wrap-up event on Friday. Their energy is amazing and mind-boggling when you consider that they do this ten weeks in a row! Also I get little flashbacks to my own summer church camp experiences (although they weren't nearly as flashy). Violet is already asking for two weeks at CAA next year, and to me it is worth every penny. Camp gives her something to look forward to every day, they make it a blast with pools, games, camp-wide competitions, the always important opportunity to buy candy at the canteen... Violet says next year she wants to do the Wilderness specialty (you pick a different specialty each week to focus on) and wants to eventually do the ropes course.

Yay Jesus!
While Violet was at camp all week, it gave me and Annie some one-on-one time, which happens next to never. Having just one kid at a time, when you are normally used to two (and the whining and competition and fighting that goes along with siblings), is a strange yet wonderful experience. It was nice to be able to focus on just Annie for a bit. She can be so sweet. She was my "coach" during my morning workouts, inserting random helpful statements like "keep going mommy" and "use your strong muscles". Every now and then she would attempt a move, which cracked me up. "Look at my body squats! I'm doing it!" Most days I even got her to take a nap by putting on an episode of Good Eats (she calls Alton Brown her "buddy"). She was a fairly good little errand-runner too.

A no-nap day as we waited to pick up big sister from camp.
We capped off the week with our neighborhood's first Swim-In Movie Night. It was awesome! I was surprised at how huge the screen was! There was free pizza and popcorn and even free floats to use in the water. I don't know how Violet managed to stay awake through the whole thing, after a week of camp plus the swim meet the night before! Speaking of swim team, Violet has continued to rock it, coming in second overall in the freestyle.

Movie Night!
Finally, I got my yearly haircut, and this time threw a little color in the mix just to make things fun for the summer. I love how the ladies at the salon always insist on straightening my hair. It always looks so different! Fear not, it only lasted until my next shower. And even the stylist admitted that it's way too much hair to straighten on a daily basis.

Straight hair, don't care!

Other than swim practice every morning and the meets on Thursday, our schedule is pretty open this summer. Swim runs through June, and the girls are signed up for gymnastics camp in July. But schedule-free summer has officially started. I've got to figure out a way to limit the girls' technology time and habit of asking for snacks every 20 minutes. I also need to figure out what I want to accomplish this summer. So far I tackled the girls' closets. I sorted ALL the clothes into their respective bins (things to save for Annie, things to donate, things Violet hasn't grown into yet, etc) and found a whole tub of baby clothes in the back of Annie's closet that got immediately driven to my friend's house. The faster I can get stuff out of here, the better! I'm sure I could make another pass through my own closet as well. And of course, I'm trying to train for the big race coming up on July 4. I'm sure we'll find a way to keep busy...


School's Out for Summer!

Last Day of First Grade! 
We did it! One more year is in the books! I officially have a second grader! Violet has turned into an awesome reader, and her speech has improved to the point that she might get to graduate out next year. Most importantly, she enjoys school. She likes learning. I never get any "I don't want to go to school" complaints from this girl.

Look how much she's grown!
It's been a privilege to have her at the same school where I teach. I saw so much of this girl during the day, passing through the halls, on the playground at recess each afternoon. Next year will be a little different because our paths won't intersect as much. But that's probably a good thing, too.

First Day/Last Day with the fabulous Mrs. Lockett!
It's been such a busy week, what with our end of the year carnival, our first swim meet, the general last week of school busyness of packing up the classroom and setting up our first grade "camp" that I don't think it truly hit me that the year was done until I saw the buses pulling out of the parking lot for the last time. There are always so many mixed emotions to watching the kids load up for the last time - a little bit of sadness, a whole lot of relief, some giddiness thrown in... I'm relieved to have my first year at this new school under my belt and I won't be the new kid on the block anymore. It's been a good ride, but man am I looking forward to summer!

That's a wrap!

Go Orcas!

Suited up for the first meet!

We signed the girls up for our neighborhood swim team this year. It's a great program, but man has it been intense. All through the month of May (only one of the busiest school months of the year) the girls have had practice every evening, Monday through Thursday. It's forced me to be very organized and diligent about not wasting time at school in order to get out the door on time! 

The girls have loved getting in the pool every day. Considering this is Violet's first time being exposed to official swim strokes and techniques, she has jumped right in with enthusiasm, and I've seen major improvements daily. Annie is on the Junior Orcas swim team and is basically receiving swim lessons. There is a head coach and then tons of middle school and high school helpers in the water and she loves jumping into the pool, practicing blowing bubbles and getting her head wet. She's one of the youngest on the team, but even if she doesn't learn to officially swim this summer, it's great for her water confidence.

And they're off!
Thursday, the day before our last day of school, was our first swim meet. All week I had been more consumed with this upcoming meet that I was by anything going on in the classroom, which says a lot. What a crazy day to pick to kick off the swim team season! It had rained and poured all week, and although the sun broke through for the event, it was a chilly high-60s forecast. It was a mock meet, meaning we were the only team, but it was a great practice run for the real deal. Violet swam all four strokes (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly). At first she didn't seem to realize the importance of actually touching the wall - she would stall out about three feet from the end, once the water got shallow enough to stand up. But then her competitive nature kicked in and by the last heat, she hit the wall in first place! Annie also got to participate by jumping in from the diving block to one of her teachers, then "swimming" one lap across the pool. Although both kids seemed to enjoy their 47 trips to the concession stand most of all.

Parents are strongly encouraged to volunteer during meets, and by encouraged, I mean I received three or four emails/texts requesting, asking, and then straight up demanding that I sign up for a slot. I was hesitant to volunteer at first. Being our first time on swim team, I didn't even know what half the jobs were. Bullpen? Shepherd? Concessions seemed safe enough, so I spent my time making popcorn with one ear open for Violet's events to be called so I could dash up to the pool to watch. But there were plenty of other people volunteering and it was a great way to meet other families in the neighborhood. Everyone is super nice and it was cool to see how supportive everyone is of the swim team.

Annie "swimming".
Our first real meet (versus another swim team) is coming up this Thursday. Now that school is out (for kids at least... I'm heading back for two days of post-planning), the girls will have practice every morning Monday through Friday through the month of June. It sounds so time consuming, but honestly my kids are up so early, we'll be itching to get out of house by then anyway. But I might need to invest in some more beach towels!


Field Day!

Can you believe the school year is almost over?! There are only five days to go! That's right, it's the final countdown, the homestretch... we are so deep into survival mode at this point, I actually tried to make Violet drink coffee one morning just to get us to school on time!

While I contemplate survival strategies, enjoy pictures from last week's field day!

It was a beautiful day - overcast enough to keep it cool without the complication of rain.

The force is strong with this one.

Violet was very proud of the fact that the girls won tug-of-war. "Best day of my life!" she reported.

This guy even showed up to help out!

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

SunTrust Park
Regardless of your feelings towards the new Braves stadium (Why did they have to move it? Man, traffic is the worst! Who's going to drive all the way over there? The Braves are terrible!) you know we were going to jump at the chance to check things out for ourselves, especially when the tickets came free, fell on our anniversary weekend, and lined up with a babysitting offer. So off we went to the new SunTrust Park!

The park is lovely, truly. It's smaller than the old Turner Field, and it's odd not to see the downtown skyline. But for as nice as the actual stadium is, the surrounding complex is perhaps the real star of the show. There are tons of restaurants built adjacent to the stadium, places you can access without needing a ticket, which means if you don't mind paying extravagantly for parking, you have some pretty cool places to hang out and watch the game. We actually entered the stadium via the Terrapin Taphouse (fun fact - the beer is much cheaper in here than in the actual stadium, as long as you don't mind going through another metal detector - and you can go back and forth as many times as you please). 

We took these fine people along for the ride!

Happy 12 years to this handsome husband of mine!


Violet had her last Girl Scout Daisy troop meeting, in which all the girls bridged to Brownies! That's right, I'll have a Brownie next year. The girls worked hard selling cookies this year (you bought a lot, so thank you!) and they had set a motivating goal for themselves at the beginning of cookie season... Camping - no. Horseback riding - nah. Anything remotely adventurous? Not for these girls! They wanted to sell enough cookie boxes to get themselves a spa party at our local girls' salon and spa, Sweet & Sassy. And boy did they blow it out of the water!

Before heading over to Sweet & Sassy, we made a stop at our Sheriff's Department to drop off the boxes that our cookie customers had earmarked for donation. The officers were very happy to see the girls and all the cookies. We got a quick tour of a police car and everyone got to make a choice out of the prize box - Violet picked the pack of gum over the other memorabilia. Ha!

Dropping off cookies to some of Forsyth County's finest.

Then we were off to the land of shrieking girls and so. much. glitter. This is the place where I take my girls to get their haircut (mainly because the many tvs encourage them to sit still long enough to cut a straight line) but every time we're hear I get the same feeling of overstimulation. There is so much pink and feathers and glitter (and glitter is just NOT my love language). But the girls love it there!

Movie star!

And they're not even teenagers yet!

Best Daisy troop ever!

Runway show!

The party was all prepared when we arrived - seven movie star chairs decked out with feather boas and sunglasses. The girls quickly changed into their sequined costumes and were immediately whisked off to get hair up-doed, nails painted and eye shadow applied. Ooh la la! This was followed by a runway fashion show and a three-song choreographed dance party. The sweet little teenagers that run these parties - they were so sweet and energetic and took care of our girls with all the spirit and pep that only young, optimistic teenage girls have. And our girls had the best time!

We headed into the party room to eat our brownies (obviously) and give out cookie awards, badges and pins, then it was time for the limo ride in the bright pink limo. It was the perfect way to end this year's Girl Scout season. Maybe one of these days we'll try camping, but this "glamping" experience was perfect for our little stars.

Troop 16236!

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