Wrong Answer

A very well written and sobering article about the Atlanta Public School cheating scandal.

It's All About First Grade

Once again blessed to be a part of this fabulous team of first grade teachers!

We're already in full swing down the first grade hall. It hasn't been the easiest start to the year - pre-planning was over-scheduled with meetings, our new laptops are all on the fritz, we have kids coming out our ears (25 to 28 six-year-olds in one room is quite a lot), a new teacher evaluation program is rolling out this year, and already we feel behind. But there is no finer group of ladies I'd rather be in the trenches with!


Back to School

Going back to school after a fabulous summer break!

So what I should be doing is stuffing Open House folders and updating files and making to-do lists for tomorrow (you know, all the things I couldn't get done today because we were forced into all day training). But I'd much rather be on here sharing pictures of our first days back at school!

Violet had open house for Pre-K (!!) yesterday! So of course, I had to make some goodies for the new teachers. I figure, start strong at the beginning of the year when I have the time, because it's all downhill from here! Thanks to Pinterest, of course, I had some "soda-lighted" beverages we brought yesterday, and today there was lotion for a "smooth" year. Gotta love a good pun.

But seriously, I am soda-lighted.
 I really enjoyed meeting Violet's new teachers. Oh, how much empathy I have for teachers during open house, considering I'm about to endure my own tomorrow. It's always hot, there are a million parents milling about, asking questions that may or may not matter so much, the kids are nuts, it's completely overwhelming for everyone. Of course, I had to be the parent that immediately emailed the teacher when we got home because I forgot to ask that one burning question. (And then I facebook and pinterest stalked her, hee-hee!) She seems very sweet. Oh how I'm praying for her!

And then today, off they went, both girls into their new rooms! I was so proud of both of them - no tears were shed. Because of how early I have to drop off, poor Violet always has to go into a different room before the day officially starts, but she hung with it. We prayed in the car that God would help her be brave, kind, and a good listener. And it sounds like she was all three! I felt so bad, I was over an hour later that usual picking them up (thanks a lot, county-wide training), but they both had good reports. Here's hoping tomorrow goes just as smoothly (for them... and me!) Now off to put two kiddos to bed and tackle that to-do list...

Can you believe it?!


Backyard Camping

Wanting to do something special during the week before the kids head back to school (or just because she is a crazy person, you pick), my neighbor Kim decided to plan a backyard camp-out for our kids. Four boys, one girl, one adult, in one tent. (I'm leaning towards crazy person at this point.)

But in typical awesome Kim fashion, she pulled off a fantastic day that kept the kids engaged, got them to help with planning, shopping and executing, included a great dinner for us adults, s'mores for everyone, and ended with four boys, one girl, and one adults all asleep in the backyard tent. I am still a little shocked and much in awe.

Four boys in a grocery store?! Still leaning towards crazy person at this point.
First the boys had to help plan a menu for the evening's dinner and then help shop for the food. We ended up with hobo packets (veggies and chicken in a foil pouch grilled to perfection). Kim confessed to receiving a few looks at Publix. One lady whispered in terror, "Are they all yours?!" One woman swore she could see the halo around Kim's head, to which Kim replied that it was more likely her forehead was stamped with "crazy person!" But they all lived to tell the tale and we're all still allowed to shop there, so it's all good.

Next up, make camp! And trail mix! The boys were sweet enough to make Violet a bag of trail mix since she was at school. When I picked her up, she couldn't wait to join the festivities!

Look how helpful we're being!

And then, make dinner! Everyone got a sheet of foil and got to pick which veggies they wanted to include. For the adults, Kim made an awesome salad in a jar which was deemed a complete success! And the best part was the clean-up. Crumple up the foil, pitch it in the trash, call it a day.

Check out that awesome jar salad!
 Finally it was time for the campfire! Reed, having survived a week at sleep-away camp-out camp, was our fire expert and got everything heated up. Violet was strangely scared of the fire, despite the fact that we've had this fire pit going numerous times this summer. But no one was scared of the s'mores! We tested out a new combination of toasted marshmallows with Reece's peanutbutter cups for the chocolate and oh. my. stars. Do not try one. It will be impossible to go back to plain Hershey's chocolate again. Wow. I can almost still taste it. Must. Make. More.

I got the baby to bed a little after nine, but everyone else was still going strong. There was much debate about whether Violet would last the night. She had been insistent that I stay with her (nope) or that we sleep outside for a little bit and inside for a little bit (um, no). But she gamely dragged her Hello Kitty sleeping bag into the tent and acted like she wanted to stay. She was so convincing that I actually went back inside and got in bed, assuring Kim that the backdoor was open and to call when Violet threw in the towel.

Playing cards in the tent, one big, happy family.

Notice everyone else pretending to sleep except for my noodle. Quite cozy in there!
Imagine my surprise when morning dawned, my alarm blaring me awake (stupid back to school alarm!) and Violet was still in tent! I even check the video monitor to make sure she hadn't been smuggled in during the night. Kim reported that Violet was actually the first one to follow directions to get into the sleeping bag and fall asleep. Everyone else followed soon after, although there was a slight snafu when Christian lost his first tooth (don't worry, the tooth fairy found the tent). All in all, it was a most excellent adventure. Most importantly, Kim is a) alive, b) still speaking to our children (and us), and c) says she would actually do it all again!



Annie 10 Months

Staring boldly into the future.
 Miss Annie is 10 months old now. (That's NOT older than Violet, she'll have you know, even though 10 is more than four. We have long discussions and reassurances about this fact. But back to Annie...)

Annie has four teeth now, two on bottom and two on top with a charming (hopefully not eventually expensive) gap. I think the sides are going to fill in soon. She can crawl, point to things she wants, complain vigorously when we take something away she was playing with (ie: dog food), and has figured out how to access Siri on my phone. They have long, confusing conversations with each other.

I swear Annie is trying to talk, or she's gotten very good at mimicking our sounds. She says "dawdie" when she sees the dogs and "bah-mmm" when I hold up her bottle. Perhaps I'm giving her more credit than she's due, but these sounds are pretty consistent.

Still rockin' the thigh chub...

Stranger danger is in full swing; she ducks her head bashfully and tries to burrow into my shoulder when it's time to leave her with a babysitter. Her appetite is still awesome and she now points to our plates and cups - she loves fruits and veggies and can pretty much try anything on our plates.

Her hair is getting so long! I have to keep a bow or ponytail up there constantly or she ends up with hair in her face. So far she's much better than Violet ever was at keeping in her hair do-dads. But look at how light her hair is getting! Must be bleached by the sun... Annie continues to be the awesome, laid-back baby she's always bin. But I think this one might be our sneaky trouble-maker. I caught her pulling all the books off the shelf the other day. And don't even get me started on the dog food...

A glimpse of those bottom chompers.


Home Run!

We picked Violet up from "camp" last night, meeting up with everyone at a Braves game. It was a steamy, muggy evening but we had fun nonetheless. We had seats in a section I don't venture into often, left field, the third row from the bottom. Great seats! Everyone was there, my brother and sister, my parents, Matt's parents, of course our girls... Annie's first baseball game! (Although I have no pictures of her to prove it, sorry. Mom fail.)

So, we're sitting there in left field and I'm half paying attention like I usually do during baseball games. Then there's a roar from the crowd. I look up to see a ball in the air. I lose it in the lights. When I pick it up again, it's heading straight towards us. The guy sitting in front of Violet has his glove up... Home run! And talk about a close call!

Closest I've been to a home run - one row down, one seat over.

We left in the eighth inning. The grandmas were doing a great job keeping Annie entertained, strolling her around and catching a cool breeze, but Big Sister was done. I think she was worn out from her longs days at "camp". So we headed home and after some loud, sisterly bonding in the backseat, both girls crashed. It was a great night and a nice way to cap off our summer.

The only way to watch a game - your radio, binoculars, and favorite son.


The Last Week of Summer

It's my last week of summer. On Monday I'll put the girls in daycare so I can get my classroom ready before preplanning starts on Thursday. I'm sad the summer is over but I'm also ready, and that's a good feeling.

But we still have a bit of fun planned before the week is done. Violet has been spending a few days in Peachtree City for what we've affectionately termed "Camp Mimi/Grandma". (At first Violet thought this was going to be legit camp with a tent and outdoor sleeping and everything, ha! Not so much.)

Who is this grown up girl?!

Blueberry picking!

Making play-doh pizza.

Lego time!
 Today they went to the zoo, tomorrow we'll pick her up at the Braves game... looks like she's having an awesome time, despite no actual camping!

Getting my eyes dilated!
In the meantime, I've had this girl all by herself (poor Annie misses her sister!) and life has been a little less exciting. Annie had an eye check-up to rule out any lazy eye (she passed! Whew! I just can't take anything else being wrong with her... I'm done.) Today she hung out with our favorite babysitter while I ran and did some things in my classroom. What was supposed to be two hours ended up lasting three and a half, but she was great and I got a lot done and am feeling much more settled about the thought of back to work next week.

Tomorrow the first grade team is coming over for a pool party, then we'll head downtown to the Braves game and pick up Violet. Thursday we have nothing written on the schedule, amazingly, and Friday I'm taking Annie to daycare for a couple hours so she can get used to the new places and faces. And before I know it, the week will be done! 

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