Monday, August 22, 2011

Ellie’s First Day of Kindergarten!!!

How can it be that we’re here?! I know everyone says that, but it’s SO true!! It seems like just yesterday that we were taking care of this precious little thing:

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And now we’re sending off this big girl to the care of others 5 days a week!!!

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We started by going to Meet the Teacher night on Friday night. The classroom was chaotic with all those parents and kids, but we did get to meet her teacher, Mrs. Nycz. (Tough last name, right?! It’s pronounced “Nich”, though, so not so bad once you hear that.) Ellie did a great job meeting some of her new friends, and she seemed to take to Mrs. Nycz quickly. We got her school spirit shirt that night as well.

P1010201 Standing by her school box cubby (Mrs. Nycz didn’t know she goes by Ellie but has already adjusted her paperwork to Ellie in one day – very nice.)

P1010202 Ellie and Mrs. Nycz

And then the preparation began. Backpack? Check. The one we got her for preschool last year was super cute, personalized, and still in good shape, so we washed it and got it ready for another year. First day of school outfit? Check. I made both girls cute little pillowcase dresses for their first days. Ellie picked the flower trim at the bottom, and Emma picked out the fabric. Teacher gift? Check. Thanks to my new hobby Pinterest, I got a great idea for a cute little Teacher Survival Kit box that Ellie could give Mrs. Nycz on the first day. Here’s how mine turned out:

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P1010206 If you can’t read the note, it says

“You are blessed to get to teach and influence the lives of many… I am blessed to have you as my one and only Kindergarten teacher. I’m looking forward to a great year! Love, Ellie”

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We decided that one of our traditions will be to decorate the front storm door for whichever kids are starting school and the grade they’re going into. Then, we’ll take their photos by the decorated door. Here’s what we came up with. (Note that James did the “Ellie”, the sticker area below that and the rainbow – LOVE that man!!)

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We packed her lunch the night before, went through what our first day morning routine would be (Can you believe school starts at 7:50?!?! SOOO early!), and had the girls in bed and asleep by 8:30 – sweet!

Our morning started at 6:30 – ugh. Hopefully, that’s just a first day start time. Here are those precious faces we woke up so early:

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Post shower with hair braided and ready to go. She LOVED the door and thought it was really cool. Emma’s exact words were “Oh my gosh!” (Not sure I really even want my 3yo saying that, but it was still funny this morning.)

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Here’s the braid I did on her hair. She’s all into braids these days which is fun for me:P1010215

With the backpack and sister by the tree:

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Next up was our first annual first day of school donut breakfast tradition:

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Next it was time to drive over to school! The school is about a mile or so from our house. Just long enough that a walk or a bike ride in this Texas heat is too far. Our school doesn’t have buses, so we’ll be driving her 90% of the time. I can see myself taking a walk once the weather is nice, but with little man on the way I may not be up for that for a while. We parked and started walking in. I’m doing well, and then I see the spot where they line up for pick up by class. I start pointing out to Ellie where she’ll be when I come to pick her up and the tears are there all of a sudden. :) I couldn’t even finish the sentence…

P1010223 This just makes me smile…

P1010224 Here she is at her table with her new friends – play doh is always a good way to begin.

P1010225 One last photo with Daddy…

P1010226And one last photo with a teary Momma, and we left her to enjoy her big day!

Emma and I joined some other Momma’s and their littles for a breakfast to talk about our big kids going to school. (Thanks, again, for hosting, Brittney!) It was fun to get to see some other Mommas and pictures of their big kids. Then it was off to the OB to see Baby Jerry! (That will be the next blog post.) That was a good distraction. Then, believe it or not, I got some work done while anxiously awaiting 2:50 to arrive. I made my first annual first day of school chocolate chip cookies right before leaving to go pick her up. I was so excited to see her and was quite stunned to see the crazy carpool line! Turns out I was stuck behind a car that had been left unattended and the #2 person behind them wasn’t paying attention to that fact. Finally, we all go around and get to our kids. I teared up AGAIN when Ellie spotted me and I waved and she jumped up and down all excited to see me. After a few more minutes, she was finally back in my care and was SO excited about her day. We went home and had our milk and cookies:

P1010227 Does she look happy or what?!

We didn’t get a TON out of her, but she made a new “best friend” named Brooklyn, she likes Mrs. Nycz, Mrs. Nycz read her a book, she listened well, enjoyed lunch (“awesome”) and recess and did some sort of craft. She had a blast and can’t wait to go back tomorrow. What more could a Momma want?

I'll leave you with our last annual tradition - an interview of the school girl. This is mostly for her journal that I'll give her someday, but I thought it would be fun for the blog as well:

What is your favorite breakfast food? Pancakes (with M&Ms)

What is your favorite lunch food? Peanut butter and honey sandwich

What is your favorite dinner food? Snack dinner (goldfish, yogurt, fruit, etc.)

What is your favorite dessert? Vanilla ice cream

What is your favorite toy? Dress-up clothes

What is your favorite TV show? Spongebob Squarepants

What is your favorite movie? Disney Tangled

What is your favorite game? Duck Duck Goose

What is your favorite book? Disney Princess Book

What is your favorite restaurant? Taco Bell

What is your favorite holiday? That thing that has a heart, I guess? (Valentine's Day)

What is your favorite animal? A pony

What is your favorite color? Pink and purple and gray and yellow

Who is your favorite friend? Jade and Jasmine

What do you want to be when you grow up? A doctor

If you could change your name, what would you choose? Isabella (??!)

What do you love most about Emma? That she's funny.

What do you love most about Momma? That you tickle me a lot.

What do you love most about Daddy? That he tickles me a lot and that I'm funny.

Where would you like to go on vacation next? Colorado with Aunt Pen and Uncle Bill

What are your most excited about this next year? Halloween (ha - forget Baby Brother!)

Where is your favorite place to go? Church

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back to School Beach Getaway

So, what we REALLY wanted to be doing this last week was hanging out with my sister and her family. When they couldn’t make it, we were and still are definitely bummed. Since I had already planned to take the week off work, though, we decided to see if we could swing a last minute beach getaway instead.

James did some research and ended up finding a fantastic deal on a two bedroom condo near Biloxi, MS. The drive is about as far there as it is to Galveston, and we hear that the beaches are much nicer. That proved to be true. We had the BEST time. We left on Sunday morning, and the condo people were only there until 5 on Sundays. It was possible to get into the condo after hours but more trouble, so we decided to head out early – 5am! The kids did great, though, and napped in the car and watched DVDs like champs. We made it by 3 and took a family nap once we got there to fully catch up.

We weren’t sure our girls would LOVE the beach, so we were grateful to have a pool as an option as well. We need not have worried, though. The sand didn’t bother them at all, and they LOVED making sand castles and playing in the water. We spent 3 days and would do 2-4 hours at the beach followed by another hour or so at the pool. They were in heaven. We ended up picking some great restaurant options, too. We started off with seafood at the Half Shell Oyster House. SO yum, and great service. We highly recommend that one if you’re ever in the area. We had some great BBQ at Hog Heaven and some yummy Italian at Salute. We had our last dinner at the buffet at the Grand Casino since they were doing crab legs and James loves crab. Despite a random vomiting incident thanks to Ellie, it was a great meal, too. The kids wanted to know when they could play the games. Um, never. :)

The drive home went just as well. As soon as we pulled into the garage (after having told the girls not to ask if we were there yet a million times), Emma bursts into tears randomly. (It WAS 9pm at this point, and she hadn’t napped much in the car.) I asked her what was wrong and she whined: I just want to go back to the hotel!!!! SO funny…

Here are some of the photos of a trip that we hope might become an annual tradition. It was so nice to have some great family time before we start into our first of many school years!

P1010154 This is easily my favorite photo from the trip. So precious to me are those three, and there were lots of moments of them playing together just like this one.

P1010156 Ellie let us bury her in the sand.

P1010158 Post-burying

P1010159 Daddy was next!

P1010160 Momma had a little fun giving him some extra “chest”

P1010162 Here are the girls tickling Daddy’s feet while he was buried. :)

P1010166 Enjoying their ring pop dessert after their beach side lunch

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P1010177Evening walk on the beach

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P1010181 Proof that I was there, too. :)

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And then you have to check out how great this condo was:

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P1010198 Balcony view

P1010199 View of the pool from our balcony

P1010194 Momma and Baby Jerry enjoyed the jetted garden tub!

P1010195 Our bedroom with the ocean view. SO fun to wake up to that each morning.

P1010196 Kitchen – the master is off to the right of this photo, and the girls room is up that hallway. Nice separation which meant that we could watch a movie in the living room (behind the camera) once they went to bed with no problem.

P1010200 And the girls’ room. The bottom trundle was Emma’s. They loved it and particular enjoyed having their own TV on which to watch cartoons in the mornings. A luxury they WON’T have at home for a long long time yet.

James and I read the book Radical by David Platt on this trip. (If you read it, you might find it ironic that we read it while indulging in a vacation…perhaps it was.) We’re within a few pages of finishing and I think will consider strongly participating in the Radical Experiment which is a year-long challenge to put some steps in place to be more radical about our belief in Christ and living out our lives for him on this earth. The book spurred on some great conversation, and I love that James and I still connect through reading books (one of the things we did while dating). All in all, we’re so grateful to have gotten to have this little getaway. We spent a lot of time talking about how immeasurably blessed we are. It was a great time with our family of 4 before we have a Kindergartner in the house and not long before we become a family of 5!