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!

Michigan Summer 2012

Wow, I've been horrible about blogging this summer!  It's not that I haven't had the time...just lazy and enjoying the summer, I guess.  This is going to be a bit long...

After Kendra came home from her two weeks in Utah with her dad, we had one day home together and turned around and left for our Michigan trip.  We left on June 27th and arrived on June 29th.  This year we didn't have a dog so our hotel stays were easier, and we even got to eat IN restaurants on the way instead of doing drive thru (so as to avoid cooking the doggie in the car during 100+ heat).  The drive was smooth and uneventful...just the way we like it!

What we DIDN'T like was driving in to my mom's neighborhood and reading my car's outdoor thermometer--99 degrees!!!  Argh!  It was hotter in Michigan than home in Texas when we got there.  It was stinkin' hot for at least half of our month long trip to my home state.  Annoying!!!

We got in on Friday, unpacked, RE-packed and promptly headed one hour north to camp out with my sister and her family.  They decided to "camp" with their trailer at her in-laws house in Small Town USA--lots of land, a nice pool, and access to a clean, air-conditioned bathroom for showering.  I like that kind of camping.  :-)  We did the usual camping things--swimming, played washers, hung out and chatted, campfires, and lots of bug spray! 

One of the first things we did was chop Kendra's hair!  My brother in law Jack's mom, Pat, is a hairstylist.  Kendra has been interested in cutting her hair to donate it to Wigs for Kids, and we thought it would be really neat to have Pat cut it since she is family.   I think Pat might have been more nervous than Kendra in cutting off the 10 inches!!!

10 inches!

The cut!

The donation...woo!

The new ' cute!!!
 We did sparklers one night...

What's up with these kids growing up so much over the course of one year???

We also went to a local bowling alley for a little fun in air-conditioning--did I mention it was stinkin' hot there???

We had a very traumatic thing happen on July 3rd, and while I am not likely to forget it, I still want to document it in my "journal/blog".  Erin (my sis), Jack (her hubs), and I were hanging by the pool and the kids were playing down the hill at the camper.  We heard a terrible scream and Tessa (niece) was flying full speed toward us saying that Jack (nephew) had cut his arm.  Well, it was BAD.  He was climbing down from the bunks in the camper, facing forward, and he lost his footing and fell forward through a plate glass mirror that was the front for a clothes cabinet in the camper.  His head went through the glass mirror first, which broke it, but then he used his arm to catch himself (instinct) and his forearm was completely sliced.  It was about 6 inches long and very deep.  A lot of chaos ensued---it involved not knowing where the nearest hospital was, making a decision about ambulance vs. driving him (we did some of both), sheer panic by Erin and Jack,  an eerie calm from me and the injured Jack, and the freaking out by the other children.  He ended up needing surgery--the cut was too deep to suture it in the ER.  Many, many miracles happened that night, not least of which is that he didn't damage any tendons, only did minor ligament damage, and will have a complete recovery with no loss of function in his arm or hand. 

Ok, done with scary story!

We spent a little time on ball fields, as usual.  This year, my nephew Luke's season ended before we got there, and with Jack's injury, we only got to see the girls play.


Kendra and Luke's usual chairs, Blow Pops in hand. 
We drove up to Port Huron to meet with my dad and step-mom Janice for lunch....

Kendra and I picked out that hat for my dad for Father's Day.  Doesn't he look dapper in it? 
We also met up with awesome friends...but I got no pictures!  I had a wonderful lunch with my friend Julie, and Kendra and I did lunch and shopping with friends Melissa and Sydney.  Great fun!  We also did a fair amount of just hanging out and just being with family.

Tessa and Kendra trying on fun outfits at Justice (just window shopping)

I got three five-pointers in one turn on ladder ball---gotta have that proof cuz I usually stink!

The cutest geeks in the world!  The kids used nail polish to decorate the 3D movie glasses!
 We had our farewell lunch on Kendra's birthday---we happened to plan our departure for the day after her birthday.  We went to Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill, home of the best nacho EVER.  They also gave Kendra a deep-fried Twinkie for her birthday!

We headed home on July 25th, arriving safe and sound on July 27th.  We had another uneventful and safe drive, and are glad to be home!  Well, at least I am.  Kendra would prefer to stay in Michigan.  But I missed my house and my bed...home sweet home!  :-)