Sunday, August 25, 2013

First Days of School 2013-2014

The boys had their first day of school this week.  Open House was on Monday night.  Ryan had met with his teacher at our home, so this was his first time in his new classroom.  He met the classroom assistant, Ms. Trish, too.

As I mentioned last week, Andrew gets to be in a class with his cousin, Alex.  Here they are posing with their teacher at back to school night.  I am the room mom for Andrew's classroom this year.

Chad stayed up late on Tuesday night to create a special back to school lunch for the boys.  They asked him to make a Chima lunch.  There were not pictures of any online anywhere we could find, so Chad had to make up his own. I think he did a fabulous job!

Andrew still wants to be a ninja when he grows up.

Ryan wants to be a ninja, too.  He was much happier this year starting school, but still very anxious.

They both had a wonderful first week.  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Summer Bucket List Week 10.5-Beach Trip

Going to the beach was number 1 on Ryan's summer bucket wish list.  We didn't think we would be able to swing it, but then my Aunt and Uncle generously offered to let us join them at their cabin this weekend.

We did all of our laundry and unpacked from our mountain trip on Thursday.  Then on Friday, we headed down to the beach with the Kruegers.

This is the view out the front porch.

It was supposed to thunderstorm all weekend, so we headed immediately to the beach, since it wasn't raining yet.

We played until dark at the beach on Friday night, and it never rained until we were sleeping. The next morning, the kids and Chad took a little boat out into the sound.  The area surrounding the cabin was amazing.  One of the neighbors said that it was shallow enough that you could walk across the entire sound!

While they boated, Uncle Terry and Papa spent some time fishing.  When the kids got back to the dock, Uncle Terry let Andrew have a turn casting the pole.  He thinks maybe he caught a fish, but it wiggled off.

Next we took the ferry over to Hammock State Park on Bear Island.  It was so beautiful.  It is only accessible by boat.  It has been left largely untouched.  On the way to the island we saw dolphins, but I couldn't get the camera out fast enough.  We picnicked there under a shelter and then went to play on the beach in the rain that finally came.

We went to dinner to a seafood restaurant that evening and some of the grown-ups stayed up to play cards.  We packed up Sunday to head home. It was a lovely weekend.  So relaxing and so wonderful to be together.  I am very grateful for the generosity of my Aunt and Uncle and parents for fulfilling Ryan's number one wish for the summer.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ryan's Glasses

We picked up Ryan's glasses Thursday evening.  He had chosen them all by himself.  He insisted that he wanted gold glasses.   Ryan chose to go to Firehouse Subs to celebrate!

Chad and I think he looks a bit like his daddy in his new glasses.  What do you think?

Meeting Our Teachers

We got back from the mountains very late Wednesday night and got everything unpacked because Thursday was MEET the TEACHER DAY.

Ryan's teacher came to visit at our house Thursday morning.   Ryan's teacher is Ms. Sherrell.  She was the assistant in Andrew's first grade class and she also student taught that year.  This year she is teaching first grade!  We love her.  I could not be happier with his class placement and so glad she has returned to ABS.  Ms. Sherrell is very cheerful. All. The. Time.  She is the perfect fit for my shy little Ry-guy.

Each year, our children choose a book to give their teacher when they meet them.  Ryan chose to give his teacher the new Oliver Jeffers book, The Day the Crayons Quit along with this note.

"My name is Ryan.  I am interested about China and Caves and Rocks.  Your friend, Ryan. I am interested in owls and gray wolves."

We went to the school in the afternoon to meet Andrew's teacher, Mrs. Campbell.  She is a new teacher at our school, but not new to teaching.  This is her 28th year!  She is coming from the HAG program at Brunson.  Andrew picked out a bird book to give his teacher, because he loves birds.  It turns out that she is a bird enthusiast as well.  She also has an impressive book collection that Andrew is excited to explore.  I am excited that Andrew is in her class.  His three best school friends are in his class.  AND...drum roll...his cousin Alex is in his class this year, too!  In Andrew's words, third grade will be "EPIC!"  Those of you who are closest to our family know that I struggled to know what to do with Andrew this year as far as schooling.  We looked at several options, but in the end felt led to stay where we have been happy for 3 years.  Mrs. Campbell said that she had not been looking for a new opportunity, but that this one had fallen in her lap.  After meeting with her Thursday,  I told Mrs. Campbell it was our fault, that we had prayed her here.  :)

This is his letter that he wrote.

  I know the school year hasn't even begun yet, but I do feel the Lord's hand in the lives of my children.  As a classroom teacher, I always prayed that the Lord would allow children to be placed in my classroom who needed me, and who I needed to learn from.  Now as a parent, we pray for our children to be blessed with teachers who will love them and will help them grow and reach their fullest potential, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Summer Bucket List Week 10.0: Camping

We headed out Monday to camp two nights in the Pisgah National Forest in Brevard, NC.  We were able to do several things on our Bucket List while we were there.

Last year we had done a day trip to Sliding Rock and the kids were begging to go back.  Andrew has been anticipating this trip ALL YEAR LONG.  He seriously wrote every free subject choice paper at school about Sliding Rock and Coon Picnic Site the entire year of second grade.  He even turned our day trip from last summer into a chapter book. Ryan wrote about it too, but since he was in Kindergarten, his papers weren't quite as long.  :)

It was the first time the entire family had camped anywhere besides our backyard.  However, it will not be the last.  I am not sure who had more fun, the grown ups or the kids.  For me, I was just so grateful to have a moment to breathe, away from all technology.  There was absolutely zero signal where we were.  No phone or internet access.  We also banned the use of all electronic devices.  No one asked me if they could watch tv or play a video game for our entire stay.  It was HEAVENLY.  I am seriously considering relocating our family to the middle of the wilderness and living like the Swiss Family Robinson.  The only problem with that would be that I am terrified of wild animal encounters.  And I don't know how to train an ostrich to let me ride on him.

As we approached the mountains, we encountered torrential rain.  I have never driven in a storm that bad. We could not see anything.   The roads were flooded and I was truly afraid we were going to be swept off the mountain.  I posted on facebook that I was pretty sure our first night camping would be at a hotel.  The weather forecast said 75% chance of thunderstorms all night long.  Then we drove into Brevard and it stopped.  Completely.  We were so grateful for the reprieve to set up our tents.  And it didn't rain again the entire night.

The kiddos helped us set up the tents.

No one in the campground seemed to be able to start a fire that night because of the rain, so we sang songs and told stories around the empty fire ring.  We all slept comfortably through the night, and it did not rain again that first night.

Ryan has been begging to go fishing again.  We walked down to the river after breakfast  to try our luck.

 Andrew learned to bait his own hook. It started to rain, but it didn't put a damper on our fun.  And the mist on the river was lovely.   We still didn't catch any fish.  Which was fine with me.  We played in the river and mud all morning.

We headed back up to our campsite for lunch under our canopy.  When the rain stopped, we were off to Sliding Rock.  Andrew was jumping up and down with excitement and went down a dozen times.  Molly didn't remember not liking Sliding Rock last year.  She went down several times with her Daddy.  She loved it!  Ryan remembered that it was very cold last year.  He decided he was fine to watch and play in the creek with the buckets.

We stopped to see Looking Glass Falls.  Chad and Andrew wanted to see how close they could get to the falls.

Right after I took this picture,  I climbed down to help Molly get back up from playing in the rocks by the river.  I asked her to stay where she was for a moment.  I guess the roar of the waterfall was too loud and she didn't hear me.  Instead she lunged towards me, knocking me forward  flat onto my knees and collar bone, and then stomach.  I lifted her up at the same time to try and protect her.  I screamed.  She screamed. The entire three levels of platforms of spectators viewing the waterfall watched me fall.  As I limped up the mountain back to the car, I was stopped by dozens of people inquiring if I was okay.  I am sure there is an excellent youtube video out there of the fall.  :)  

Our next stop was at Coon Picnic Site.  It was a place we discovered last year when we stopped for lunch.  It is hands down my children's favorite place in the mountains.  Probably Andrew's favorite place in the world.  There is a pool of water deep enough to jump into from a cliff.  All three children and Chad took turns jumping over and over again.  I love how strong and brave they all are.  I have never been daring.  I am still not daring. I did not jump once.  But I enjoyed watching them plunge over and over again into the water.

When the kiddos were tired out, we headed back to the camp site for showers and dinner.  Chad was able to get a campfire started, and we roasted hot dogs and made s'mores with Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.  We sang songs around the campfire, and went to bed.

In the morning, we packed up our campsite.  The children helped as much as they were able, but there was a lot they couldn't help with.  So they spent the morning catching bugs and frogs.  And of course, having light saber battles.

We asked the children where they would like to spend our last morning in the mountains.  The vote was unanimous.  We went back to the Coon Picnic Site and spent the rest of the morning there cliff jumping again.  We picnicked and headed down the mountain.

Our last stop was at the WNC Natural Science Museum.  The children loved seeing the wild animals.  Andrew and Ryan loved the wolves. While we were there, an ambulance went by causing all of the wild dogs to howl.  It was the highlight of their day, to see real live wolves howl!  Seeing wolves was on the bucket list.  Molly loved the cougars and bobcats the best.  She actually had "see a white tiger" on her bucket list, but I am not sure where to take her to see those.  These wildcats had to sub this summer.  She didn't seem to mind.

After the museum, we drove the rest of the way home.  It was a fabulous trip!  I cannot wait to take them camping again.