Sunday, December 16, 2012

Our Bloggy Christmas Card---2012 in Review

I'll admit it.  Sometimes I'm cheap.  I loooovve getting Christmas cards from family and friends.  Love it!  But I'm cheap.  I don't want to spend the equivalent of a nice gift for someone on stamps!  So I hope family and friends will forgive me when I do my card blog-style.  The upside is that I get to have this year-in-review preserved here on my online "journal"!  So, here we go!

JANUARY:  We rang in 2012 and I declared my word of the year to be "balance."  Have I achieved that?  Well, if you count being able to do a tree pose in yoga as balanced....

FEBRUARY:  I had the pleasure of chaperoning Kendra's fifth grade science camp with her.  We had a blast together!!

No that's not snow.  We live in Texas, people.  But it was chilly!
 Kendra surprised me by asking to be on our school's Battle of the Books team.  It involves reading.  She's not normally a fan of reading (which kills me).  Maybe the bestie being team captain had something to do with it.  They came in fourth place (not bad out of 23 schools).

Kendra and bestie R, ready for competition
We got sick.  A lot.  But we got better.  :-)
We lost our dog, Grady, to a tumor in his belly  :-(
We went on Craigslist and got a new dog, Eli.
Eli was a totally crazy dog who didn't do well in a one-dog, people-gone-all-day house---he didn't stay with us long, but he did end up with his own happily-ever-after.

Crazy weather, lots of storms, even a "take shelter" at school!

I co-directed and Kendra played the lead in our school's first ever musical!

Kendra graduated from elementary school!

I earned my five year pin from my school district.  Five years already???

Kendra went to spend two weeks with her dad in Utah---first time she has ever been gone that long.  It was hard!

I had a birthday and turned....

Kendra's three closest friends moved!  One to Cali, one about 2 hours east of here, and one four hours south of here.  :-(  That was hard, too.

Our annual pilgrimage to Michigan--for the first time without a dog. 
Kendra cut her hair!

We spent lots of time with cousins.
Kendra had her 11th birthday!

We got a puppy!!!!
I started my sixth year of  teaching fourth grade, and Kendra started middle school!

Kendra adjusted to middle school well and made some good friends.
Kendra started having migraines and we started chiropractic care which worked!
I was crazy busy with the demands of my job at the beginning of a school year.  Sigh.
We took Lucy to puppy training at PetSmart.  She learned to sit, stay, come when called, and some other things.  We're trying hard to keep her trained!  :-)
Kendra discovered she loves volleyball.  Go figure---my non-sporty child found a sport.  She even bought her own volleyball.

I attended Kendra's first choir concert as a middle school student.  I was very impressed!
We did the usual Halloweenie things.  :-)

Kendra auditioned for a part in a Christmas musical called A Snow White Christmas at a local community theater.  She got the part of Giggle Toes, one of the elves (dwarfs)!  November was packed with rehearsals 3 nights per week.

Kendra joined her school's Destination Imagination team.  They will compete sometime in the winter.  She's very excited about her team!

Lucy got her first big-girl-dog hair cut.

I was chosen as teacher of the month.

A Snow White Christmas is in full swing 

Giggle Toes :-)
We visited our favorite Nativity Display as is our family tradition.
Kendra's choir had a very busy performance schedule...first a concert, then two visits to nursing homes and a fun trip to the mall.  Kendra takes private voice at school and also had a recital the same week.  Have I mentioned I'm totally impressed with the music program at her school?
Singing at a Nursing Home
We are grateful for a break from school coming (even though we don't get two weeks like we usually do!).  We are planning to spend time with great friends and just relax!  We've also been blessed to be invited to spend several days with our dear friends who moved south---they are renting a cabin in Oklahoma and invited us to join!  Can't wait!!

We are a happy little family.  We feel blessed to have a sweet little home, a good, dependable car, food on our table, and money enough for fun extras from time to time.  We are ridiculously blessed with wonderful friends and family in our lives.  We are ever grateful for our faith and the knowledge of a God and Savior who love us.  We wish peace, love, and fun times to all!

Colleen & Kendra

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Halloween 2012

The newest decor this year:
Idea found on Pinterest.  So clever, yet so simple. 

The pumpkin:

"We can't just get our pumpkin at Kroger, Mom.  It's about the EXPERIENCE."  :-)
Her favorite color:  Sparkles.  So we sparkled the heck out of it.  The bonus:  no gut-scooping!  Score!

Ta Da!  (She looks a little manic here...?)

Church Trunk or Treat:

We made Mummy Cupcakes for the cake walk

Black-eyed P!  :-)

Basically the antithesis of herself---but don't you LOVE the actress in her?  Such sass in this pic, and yet she is NOTHING like this in real life.  So fun!
Trick or treating the neighborhood with Lucy:

Lucy:  "What did I do?" 

The angel and the devil (really should have swapped costumes, methinks)


The loot.  Look carefully at her face---she started getting sick while trick or treating.  You can see it in her eyes.   She asked to come back early, and had showered and was in bed (without eating one piece of candy) by 8:00 p.m.  :-(

Spirit Week!

Every year for Red Ribbon Week our schools have a Spirit Week.  She had fun participating each day.

Day 1:  Mustache Day!  :-)
 It had a little adhesive strip, but we both knew it wouldn't last the day, so we ended up putting the 'stache on a big Popsicle craft stick and she held it up all day.  She actually got a zillion compliments on the pink-ness AND the idea to put it on a stick!

Day 2:  TWIN DAY!

Kendra's bestie, R, moved four hours south of us this year.  :-(  But apparently, they made a pact that when their schools had twin day they would call and coordinate.  They were twins from afar!  Her mom sent me the pic so I could have both of them together!

I think it is extra cute they both chose the hands-on-hips stance, unaware that the other did the same.  :-)

Dress like your favorite era.  I thought Kendra would go with the same old sixties or eighties look like everyone else, but she said, "Mom I just read about Pompeii and I think I want to wear a toga like those people."  Well, it paid off!  On her announcements her Vice Principal was talking about everyone's attire and he said, "And I even saw a cute girl in a toga!"  She was the only toga-attired person, AND she won her class award for most spirit that day!  A friend of mine who does the PTA stuff for the district saw her pic on FB and asked to use it for a district PTA promo, and at the end of the week on her school's announcements they did a recap of spirit week and her picture was on there, too.  Yay for creativity, Kendra!

Day 4:  Wear Red Day.  She did wear red, but we forgot to take a picture!

Day 5:  HAT DAY

I wish they let the kids wear cute hats all the time.  Kendra looks great in them!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Choir concert #1

Kendra's first middle school choir concert was this week.  It featured the choirs from all three grades--6th, 7th, and 8th.  I volunteered to be a "chaperone", and the director asked me to stand at the auditorium doors preventing the mob of parents from entering before the allowed time.  I got to be a bouncer!  :-)  I also sat amongst the choir children as they waited their turn to go on stage.  I am well qualified for that job---I have no issue using my teacher-face to hush other people's children.  :-)

Kendra was less than enthused with the polyester awesomeness of her required choir couture...

Nice of the gentleman chaperone to smile for my picture, too.  :-)

Giving it her all! 

This is the whole 6th grade combined choir--arrow pointing to Kendra.  HUGE group!
The concert was in the 7th week of school, so they only had six weeks or so to prepare.  The 6th grade girls group is so large they have two different class periods, and the boys have their own class.  They prepared their songs in class, but sang as a whole group only ONCE before the concert-- in a rehearsal just beforehand.  I was very, very impressed!  They sounded excellent!  To be honest, I went with the intention to hide my grimace, expecting pitchy and off-color notes at times, but there was no grimace to hide!  The 7th and 8th grade choirs sounded lovely and it was fun to see what Kendra will be doing as she continues in the music program.  I chose this school for Kendra because of its music reputation, and the concert proved I made a great choice!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Nothing overly blog-worthy, but...

I'm feeling guilty for the great lapses between blog posts because this is an online journal of our lives and I want to remember things!  But honestly, we've been so crazy busy with regular ol' life that I haven't taken any pictures that are blog-worthy!  But there are a few things going on and I should document them, so here goes:
--Kendra is adjusting to middle school life fairly well.  She's made some cute friends, but not a ton simply because there isn't time in the day!  Her eight teachers have only 44 minutes to teach their subject each day, and they use every minute!!!  She has a 4 minute passing period, but there is no time to gab as she has to dash to get to class on time.  They do have free-seating lunch, now, so she's hanging out with some kids there a bit. 
--Kendra has discovered that she likes and is actually pretty good at a sport!  Her first 5 or so weeks of PE were learning volleyball, and she really likes it!   She even bought a volleyball with her own cash and practices by volleying with the house.  :-)  Apparently she is one of the kids that others want on their team---wow!  That never happened to me---I stink at sports!  :-)
--I've been buried in work lately, and only this weekend felt a little less burdened by it all.  We were both under the weather last weekend so we stayed home from church, but I ended up working the whole day---I mean like 11 hours of work with eating sprinkled in here and there.  Ugh.  The work load seems to increase exponentially year after year!  Good thing I like what I do most days!  :-)  No really, I do like my job, and this year my kids are just so sweet.  A really, really nice bunch of kiddos.  They have their hosts of problems, trust me, but they are KIND people.  You can handle a lot of other stuff when they are just nice!  :-)
--Kendra had her first middle school activity night this past Friday.  I was able to volunteer for it, and we both had a blast!  Kendra hooked up with two sweet girls and made the rounds of all the games and food, while I manned the door to the Laser Quest game.  The kids had to wait in a decent sized line for that one, since only three kids could go in at once and they were in for about 2 minutes.  This meant I got to chat with middle school kids while they waited.  They are a trip!  I really had a fantastic time! 
--We've been dealing with a new health issue with Kendra---she's started to have migraine headaches.  I even had to pick her up from school mid-day a few weeks ago because it was so bad.  I took her to the pediatrician who prescribed a more powerful pain pill (Advil wasn't cutting it at all).  She's had one more since that appointment and the pill helped pretty quickly.  We are also trying the chiropractic route.  The xray showed that one of the vertebrae in her neck is rotated about 45 degrees---which explains a lot (and add in the pre-puberty stuff, there ya go!)!  She's had four adjustments in a 12 appointment plan. She did have the 2nd migraine between the 3rd and 4th adjustments, but we know that true results of the treatment won't be known until after the process is complete.  I know chiropractic has helped me a lot (I'm actually jealous of her adjustments---my insurance stinks so I can't afford to do them for me!).  There is family history for migraines on Kendra's dad's side, and Kendra's aunt has had success in using chiropractic for relief of her migraines.  I'd rather not keep having her take medication if this will help! 

Well, that's a lot of text with no pictures, so if anybody made it to the end, well, congrats!  This was mostly for me, but if you read it, thanks for caring about our daily junk!  :-)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Middle School and Lucy!

Wow, I'm a lame blogger.  So I'm lumping two rather important events into one post--it might not get done otherwise!  :-)

Today, my Kendra started middle school!  A.  I can't believe she is in middle school.  B.  Wasn't she just starting kindergarten five minutes ago? and C.  Man, I miss seeing that face in the halls at my own school!!!!  Kendra's been with me in my school since first grade, and it was so awesome to see her throughout the day (and all day in her fourth grade year as her teacher!).  I put in for a transfer over to the middle school (I'm certified to teach through 8th grade), but it didn't happen.  I had a glowing recommendation from a colleague/friend, but I guess it wasn't in the Plan.  As I've thought about it, I think maybe God was saying that Kendra needed to fly solo for a while.  Maybe the transfer will happen next year--I love where I am, but I'm ready for a change.  Or maybe not.  I've always felt like I'm where I'm supposed to be, so I'll let Him continue to lead the way!

Anywhooooo...on with the pics.  Not as many this year!
Don't you just hate to think about waking her up?  I did!

The goods heading to school!

It was still dark when we left at 6:45 a.m.!  Ugh!

Sixth grade!
The logistics of getting her to school yet being on time for my job are tricky now, but we have been so blessed.  A teacher friend at my school has a daughter who also goes to the same middle school.  We met up this summer and had lunch with the girls so Kendra could pick the daughter's brain---this made Kendra feel so great about starting there with knowing some of the details of how things work.  THEN, a HUGE God-send was my friend asking another mom who takes her daughter to school if it would be ok for me to drop off Kendra at her house for her to catch a ride over to school, too.  My school starts 30 minutes before Kendra's, and I was fearing that she'd have to wait outside her school for 20 minutes each morning before they allowed the kids in!  I took Kendra over there this morning and just hugged that mom!  Talk about easing my mind SO much! 

Picking up Kendra from school was NUTSO!  I turned down the road to the school and the pick-up line was a half mile long, I swear!  I just sat there, feeling like a dork and not knowing if I was where I needed to be and how on EARTH was Kendra going to find me.  Good thing I got her a phone!  She called me and I gave her directions on how to start walking toward me.  It was hotter than Hades out there, but she found me and we got out of the mess with relative ease.   She gave me lots of details about her day and said it was good!  She said it was a little boring because it was all "giving the rules" but I think she's really going to love it.

Our other big event was the addition of our new puppy, Lucy!  She is half Shih Tzu and half Schnauzer and is absolutely adorable.  She is so tiny and cute, very loving and sweet.  We LOVE her!  She is 12 weeks old now, and has been pretty successful in the house training and gets out the dog door pretty well.  We just started puppy training classes and have had good success with her sitting so far!  :-)

This was the first week we had her...she is sitting next to Kendra's American Girl horse. 

This is her cute face today.  :-)
We are both exhausted but glad for a great start to a new school year, and were sure happy to come home to that waggly tail and cutie-pie fur ball!  :-)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A visit to the Rodgers' house!

The very first person I met when moving to Texas was Missie Rodgers, who taught fourth grade across the hall from me.  I'll never forget...I'm schlepping my classroom stuff in and there is Missie with her two kids, one of them a girl in the same grade as Kendra!  We hit it off instantly and even went to lunch together that first day!  We taught together for three years, then she moved down to first grade.  I thought she was a traitor then...but then her husband (who I also adore) decided to get a really cool job four hours south of here and they up and moved!  They have earned SERIOUS traitor status now.  To say that we miss them is an understatement.  And I know it is only four hours, but let's face the busy, crazy school year, it might as well be four days. 

So, after returning from our Michigan trip, we turned around two days later and drove down to stay with our traitor friends for a few days.  They live in New Braunfels, which is about 30 minutes north of San Antonio and in Texas Hill Country.  We arrived on Monday and headed right out to hang out on the Guadalupe River.  They have some great tubes, and the kids rode the rapids a bit and had a lot of fun searching for critters while Missie and I did what we do best....hung out in chairs with our feet in the water and talked!

Isn't that gorgeous!!!!
Monday night they took us to a rustic burger joint in town where I enjoyed a delicious bacon cheeseburger and shared fried mushrooms with Randy, and Kendra was in heaven with her "BL"--Bacon and Lettuce sandwich with two inches thick stack of bacon!  :-)

Tuesday we went to Schlitterbahn, a HUMONGOUS water park a few minutes from their place.  The Rodgers' were ultra generous and insisted on paying for our  Maybe I should move them off traitor status?  Nah.  :-)  The park has a zillion water slides and it is NO place for a camera, so you'll have to take my word for the greatness it was.  Kendra was a bit of a chicken...I don't know what happened but she was afraid to go on a lot of rides, and she has been to places like Great Wolf Lodge and had a blast on slides.  It was rather frustrating, especially since our tickets were paid for by our friends to enjoy this amazing place.  But they were ever-so-gracious about it and we had a ton of fun even within the limits Kendra set due to her fear factor.

After an exhausting day there, Missie and I took the girls to a quaint little town called Greune.  They had awesome little "small town" shops--the best was the General Store where they had an old fashioned soda counter and a huge selection of jellies, apple butters, and salsas with sample crackers to try them all!  Then we had dinner at a cool corner restaurant that looked to be about six feet wide but then went on for DAYS long.  Missie and I had the "grown up grilled cheese"--gouda cheese, tomato, spinach on foccacia bread--can you say HEAVENLY?  Kendra said they had the best french fries she's ever had, too! 
Love these besties!
 Wednesday we slept in and went to their pool in their apartment complex--Missie and I assumed our poolside/conversation positions again.  :-)  The kids were worn out from the previous day, so the pool was short-lived.  We showered up, we packed up and made a trip to the famous Buc-ees on the way out of town.  This is a famous GAS STATION.  Yep.  Gas station.  They have something like three million gas pumps, and the store is enormous.  They have gifts, souvenir t-shirts (Kendra and I both bought a Buc-ees shirt), lots of food and snack items, a great deli (apparently their chicken salad is amazing!), a huge wall of soda fountains and a zillion Icee flavors.  Kendra and I each filled up an Icee cup for the road, said goodbye to our good friends, and hit the road. 

Reagan, Kendra and Buc-ee!
Well, we can't say we are at all happy that the Rodgers' have moved, but they did move somewhere fun to visit, so we may forgive them a TINY bit.  Love you guys! 

Kendra's 11th birthday

Kendra loves spending her birthday in Michigan!  We had her party the Saturday before the actual day, and she requested the usual...dinner with Bama, Papa, the Garnetts (aunt, uncle, and cousins) and then a game of family kickball in the front yard.  This year we also threw in some water balloons!

Kendra knew she was getting a cell phone for this birthday---I decided that she needed one as she goes to middle school since the logistics of dropping her off and picking her up each day are going to be tricky.  So we decided the cupcakes and party goodie for the cousins would be technology oriented.

The kids and I had fun coming up with the phone acronyms.  The take-away gift was a five dollar iTunes gift card.  Except they don't sell $5 denominations, so I edited and printed graphics of an iTunes card and paper-clipped five bucks to it---they were thrilled.

A rollicking game of ladder ball taking place...don't ask me about the whole boot thing...wearing Bama's shoes is a thrill, I guess.

You can see Jack's arm doesn't slow him down in ladder ball!

Not sure what Luke was doing here--rake-mic?  :-)
I was bummed that Kendra pretty much knew her gifts--she mostly got money and knew about the cell phone from me.  But then I got on the phone with Verizon and ended up with a surprise after all!  We had just planned on getting a basic phone (talk and text only), but it turned out that it was going to be the same price to do a shared data plan, so she got a Smartphone!  Surprise!
Oooohhh...Smartphone!  :-)

Body glitter!

She's wanted silver sparkle Toms for a long time...Bama and Papa got them for her!  Notice a trend?  The kid is obsessed with sparkle!
(PS:  Kendra also got money from Gram and Papa, her dad, Uncle B and family, our friends the Ballards,  and Papa Terry and Grandma Janice, as well as a lovely pair of earrings from Melissa and Sydney.  The girl has more cash than I do!!!)

Family kickball teams were selected with Kendra and Papa as captains this year...

The boys and Bama...Troy, Luke, Jack, Bama, and Jack

Team Sparkles...Tessa, Kendra, Erin, me and Gracie. 

All-time pitcher...Uncle Tim

We ended with a tie after three innings...which didn't sit well with the more competitive family members, but I soon diverted their attention with the water balloons!!!

My sister is no dummy.  She took shelter in the car!

Awesome self-inflicted soaking!

Love that Luke is sneak-attacking Kendra while she douses Tessa!

Because she wasn't wet enough...
We headed indoors for cupcakes...

Didn't think to warn my sis about the water balloons, so the kids ended up in a strange potpourri of clothing from Bama and Papa! Especially love Luke's get-up with the bathing beauties on the shirt!!! 

Wishing face?  And great job, Grace and Tess, holding the candles!
We didn't get to do our traditional birthday pancakes on the actual morning of her birthday, but it is in the plans to do it now that we are home!  Happy birthday to my awesome girlie!