Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Start of School!

Well, it's official. I'm the mother of an elementary school girl! Five years ago, when I was holding this little angel in my arms, school seemed like a lifetime away. How did she grow up so fast? She will be in school for the next 13 or 17 (or more) years of her life. Sometimes I wish I could hit the 'pause' button. But one look at her smiling face and I know she is right where she is supposed to be.  I'll backtrack a little...

When I started working at my school last year, I never imagined that we would actually send my kids there. Pay tuition for elementary school? Are you kidding me? My DH and I were both products of good public schools and we turned out fine. Well, after working here for a year and seeing all of the amazing things that were happening, I started to understand why some parents make that decision. I am lucky enough to get deeply discounted tuition because I work at the school. When we started doing the math of how much before and after school care would cost (if she went to our local public school), we realized that we would essentially be paying the same amount to send her to my school. It was a no-brainer. 

Now I get to ride in the car with her every day and hear all about her friends and teachers, what she ate for lunch, who she played with at recess, and all those things that she would normally have forgotten by the time I got home from work. And what's even better - I can pop down and have lunch with her anytime I want! I fully appreciate the fact that we are blessed, and that this isn't an opportunity that's available to everyone. And it may not work out forever. But for her first year of school, I'm glad that I can share her experiences from down the hall, not from across town. 

So, back to her first week of school. She had orientation the week before, where she met her teacher (Mrs. Wallis) and saw her classroom. Some of this wasn't new for her, because she also attended Kindergarten Camp in July and got to experience a "sample" of kindergarten life for four mornings. 

Here she is, all dressed up and ready for her first day of school! Kindergarteners don't use backpacks - they each get a school bag with their initials monogrammed. They have lots of art projects and papers that come home, so tote bags are easier. She will 'graduate' to a backpack in 1st grade.

Here she is with one of her new friends, Virginia. Her mom works in the office next to mine, and they are both starting kindergarten this year. They enjoy coloring and playing games in our offices sometimes.

Some morning activities in her new classroom!

Checking out the 'reading loft'

The first day of school is a half day. She was still a happy smiling girl when I picked her up!

Then we went out for a special mommy-daughter lunch at her favorite restaurant, Noodles & Company (aka Cheese House).

Her second day of school (a full day) was very fun and exciting. She got to attend After School and quickly made friends with a lot of other faculty/staff kids. That night was also the Fall Social. The parents association feeds everyone dinner, the kids run around the fields, listen to music, and the parents socialize. Here are Ainsley and Parker hanging out on some bleachers. They also made friends with some middle school girls and spent a good part of the night rolling around on the grass.

Ainsley comes to my office every morning before school to feed my fish. This was day #3, which happened to be picture day. They don't wear uniforms to school, but on picture day or field trip days, they all wear blue school polo shirts and khaki bottoms. 

Here is her class being silly on picture day! She's on the bottom left. 

She is so excited about being at school with me, and has so much fun with her class and with the 'big kids' after school. She loves her teacher - Mrs. Wallis is British so 'sometimes she says funny things.'  This week she also met her art teacher and music teacher. Ainsley has certainly enjoyed her first week of school! I can't wait to see what she will learn this year!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Fair Fun

What better way to get ready for (almost) fall than going to the county fair! We almost missed it entirely, but my DH caught a glimpse of the schedule in the newspaper Sunday morning. In addition to being the day before school, it was also our last real weekend of the summer. We spent two and half hours on a beautiful Sunday evening touring the fairgrounds, playing in corn, petting animals, and of course, going on every ride possible. Parker is still a little too short for some of the rides, but by next year he'll be able to follow Ainsley on everything. 

One of the very few lines they had to wait in.

It took Parker a little while to figure out the corn, but then we couldn't get him out of it!

Trying his best to follow sissy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Visit to the Fish Bowl

Last weekend we made a trip to Chesapeake to see the Fishes. We even got to see Katie, plus Tim, Amanda, and their kids, for dinner on Friday. We spent part of Saturday at Virginia Beach, trying to catch our last waves of the summer. Kat and Brandon sure know how to ensure a fun weekend for all! 
A little Frozen before bedtime

 Ainsley is always trying to snuggle up next to Uncle Brandon!

Just chillin'

Beach fun!

Happy girls in the sun!

Dinner with a pirate

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Backyard Project

In April we decided to do some upgrading to our backyard. When we first moved in it was just a large plot of grass. Watch the progress in action!

Before - under deck

Before - yard behind house

Phase 1 - the equipment arrives! We have a very happy boy.

He was a very good supervisor.

Phase 2 - base for the patio

A wall!

 Patio finished with stone mulch on the sides.

 Phase 3 - Creating a screened porch under the deck.

Phase 4 - Some new landscaping!

(Notice the back of the house with no door)

Phase 5 - Adding a French door in the basement (this is our second guest room and it had no windows or door before). 

We also put in a nice water fountain.

The finished project - time to enjoy!