We Got Spirit, Yes We Do!

Yesterday was spirit day at both our schools! Annie is sported a hand-me-down from Violet, the top only. Her chunky little legs won't fit into the matching bloomers! Violet had to borrow a Georgia shirt from next door because none of her shirts from last year fit anymore.Matt attempted a dozen photos without much success, so enjoy watching our outtakes from the morning.

Mrs. Megan and friends!
Violet's awesome teacher sent this one of some of the UGA fans in the classroom. Aw. I'll have to write an ode to Mrs. Megan later. Suffice to say, I'm so happy where Violet ended up this year. This teacher has all the first-year enthusiasm that I could hope for. She updates us constantly (I'm a big believer in over-communicating with parents), sends pictures, is so positive about all the kids and is just all-around adorable. It's a great confirmation that we made the right decision about Pre-K this year.

Field Trip!

Ready for the bus.

Violet had her first ever field trip this week! Girlfriend was so excited she was up at 6:15. The first words out of her mouth: "Is it field trip day?" And oh yes, it was! How adorable is her class? And how sweet is her teacher to send us all these pictures?

See those silly bands? Those are for behavior. Everyone starts with four, then you earn or lose them accordingly.
So the first field trip was planned for Build-a-Bear. To make one bear. That the whole class has to share. Sounded like a disaster in my mind! Hopefully there was a lot of groundwork laid for the fact that everyone wasn't getting their own!

Mrs. Megan sent an email saying that the class had voted to make a dog and name him Pizza. I laughed so hard on that one. They got him one boy outfit and one girl outfit, so I guess he's a gender-bending puppy. But hey, everyone was happy.

Everyone got to put a heart inside the puppy. Talk about the love!

Now this is what I call following directions. How do I get my six-year-olds to do that?


Annie 11 Months

I can't believe it's almost time to plan a birthday party! This little stinker is 11 months old! Annie's quite a mover and shaker these days. Crawling is old news. It's all about pulling up, climbing up, crawling over, standing on things, and being the kind of kid you shouldn't take your eyes off of. Matt walked to the kitchen to put something away and Annie decided to climb up three steps before he could pry her off the stairs. Yep we've got trouble. Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for... Pretty? Pudgy? Pancake? Take your pick.

Potting her escape! Also, the thighs!!!
I wouldn't say she's as much of a talker as Violet is (probably because Violet keeps doing all the talking!), but Annie's sounds are getting more meaningful. Everytime we go in the kitchen as she sees her bottles, she says "ba-ba" ever-so-hopefully. "Mmmum mum" at dinnertime means "more". I haven't figured out what "na-na" or "ya-ya" mean, and she makes a "vuh" that might or might not mean Violet.

These days Annie's favorite toys are definitely the ones that make noise. We pulled out the play table and a ride-on car with both light up and talk and play music and she can spend many a minute pushing buttons and doing this little head-bopping dance. She even claps along and keeps pretty good rhythm. I imagine birthday presents will include plenty more toys that make noise - here's hoping there's an off switch or a volume control!


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!

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