Monday, December 15, 2014

A day in my job the day before the concert

Today was stressful.  I just needed to type through it to remind myself when everything goes great tomorrow night that it was all worth it.

7:40 a.m. arrive to school and immediately take mic stands to the stage for today's rehearsals.  Look for mics, NO MICS!

7:45 Talk to Librarian to ask for help getting powerpoint to screen for concert

8:00 a.m. Hurry up and sing the birthday songs for birthday kids at weekly Monday assembly so I can get out of Dodge and find those mics.  Took them to the intermediate school last year for the end of the year concert.  They have to be there!

8:10 a.m. Can't track down janitor to check mic situation.  Finally track him down.  Nope, no mics.  Janitor goes through band teacher's stuff, still no mics.  Great!  Did I somehow loose those mics last year?  Feeling pretty crappy thinking I lost them.

8:30  Must email other music teachers to try to borrow extra mics.

8:45  Get extra decorations taped to stage.  Crap I am running out of time!  My first class is coming during my plan period because otherwise they wouldn't get music today since my big rehearsal with my other students is during their normal music time.  Also, teachers don't take kindly to their classes missing music since that is their plan time.  So I kindly give up my plan period for them.  A shotty deal since out of all days I need a plan, the day before my concert is really not a good day to give it up, but gotta keep everyone happy.  Sigh!

9:00 Here comes my first class.

9:30 Librarian comes into class.  One mic has been found.  Is that a choir of angels I hear?  Apparently someone borrowed it and forgot to return it.

10:00 Get a call from band teacher offering to bring mics over but for some reason I can hear him and he can't hear me on the phone.

10:10 Another class comes in.  Squirrely as ever.  They're excited for the concert, and parties are coming, and Christmas is coming, and, and, and.

11:00  Here comes another class.  I've got this one.  At least I don't have to sing those bug songs again.  Teaching normal lessons and not rehearsing for a concert is a nice break.

11:30 Library comes to class again with second mic.  Yes!  I am not going nuts.  I did return those mics last year.  It is not my fault.  I feel a lot better.

11:40 One of my main characters not acting right, informs me he puked all weekend and wants to go to the nurse.  Ends up going home.  Another student same class informs me the same thing and goes home too, (I think.)  Great!

11:50  Must eat lunch.  Hope I can find enough time to get those cords taped down and mics hooked up.  Snarf down lunch.

12:10 Hook up mics, but wait!  Why isn't this mic jack working.  What!!!!! I don't need this right now.  Must send email to librarian.  She's good at saving the day.

12:20 Here comes another class.  Here we go with bug songs again.  I'll be so glad when this concert is over.  Librarian informs me all is well with mics.  I told you she would save the day.

1:10 Here comes another class.  Why does this class have to end at the exact time I need to be in the gym getting ready for our all group rehearsal.  Take it easy Darci.  Just relax and enjoy the ride.

2:00 I can hear the 1st graders lining up in the hallway.  Thank goodness my class's teacher showed up on time.

2:05  Kids are lining up, excited and confused, even though we practiced this a thousand times.  What?  the music player isn't working.  Must find librarian.  She is paged, but she is teaching.   Oh forget it, we have no time.  Plug in the boombox and we will have to mic it.

2:10  Now one of the mics isn't working.  Ok kids you'll have to share a mic.

2:15 on - Why is that character out with these characters in costume?  She isn't supposed to come out for another two scenes.  This speaker, and this speaker, and this speaker are sick?  What?  Please practice your lines queen bee, you have to have this down by tomorrow!  Don't forget to pass the mic back to the boombox teacher so she can mic the song and then pass it back to the kids when it's time for their lines.  Everyone, look at the director not at the actors.  Special needs student is freaking out on the top riser, thankful for paras to take care of this but very distracting for me and others.  Pay attention kiddos.  No talking between songs.  Guys why are you in the wrong order, we've practiced this a thousand times, today should be no different than any others.  What, I forgot to put student names in the scripts the teachers were using back stage, small oversight.  Sorry, I'll get that done asap.

3:00  Apparently, teachers got confused about dress attire for concert and parents have gotten mixed messages even though I sent home a flyer about it.  It may be interesting to see what kids show up in.  Note to self, send ANOTHER flyer home right before concert next year and make sure teachers are crystal clear on dress attire.

3:05 Here's the librarian back to save the day.  A sight for sore eyes.  Microphone cord replaced and now it is working again.  Apparently music player won't read music that has been recorded onto blank CDs.  Must track down original.  Will have to use separate CD player for one song that has to be on recordable CD because I bought it off of itunes.  Rest of music can be played from big sound system, not ideal, but we can make it work.

3:20 Bus duty

3:25 Deliver scripts back to teachers with names of speakers written in like they requested.  Reassured by a teacher it will be all be ok tomorrow

3:30  Shut it everything down and pray tomorrow when it's for real goes much better.  What are rehearsals for right?  Text husband that wine may not cut it.  I may actually need some hard liquor and need an advance on it instead of waiting to drink it in celebration of a concert done.

Sigh!  LOL.  It was a most stressful day, and yet I know when push comes to shove, it's going to be great, bugs and all.  No pun intended.  There is quite a high you get when it all comes together at the end, but let me say, it is not all peaches and cream getting there.  Trying to organize 150 little bodies, songs, speaking parts, costumes, etc. is quite an undertaking. I just hope those teachers can understand that and don't think less of me when I act like a chicken with my head cut off during those rehearsals.  I figure the only way to go after today is up.  I mean really, could it get much worse? Wait, don't answer that.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Chore chart love and pairing down.

At the beginning of the year I had tried to do a chore schedule that basically had us all doing a little each day.  It was marvelous and worked really well for several months.  Then, the holiday season hit, and parent teacher conferences, and after school professional development, and, and, and.  Needless to say, it got to be impossible to keep up with the schedule.  I knew it was time to retire the idea that we could do something everyday.

One day I happened to run across this blog of a woman who is a professional organizer.  She had several suggestions to help get control of your home.  One of the biggest problems she sees families have is they have too many clothes for their children.  This was true of us.  The funny thing is, most of it wasn't bought by us.  We are blessed that we are given a lot of hand me downs from good friends of ours.  So much of it is very nice, that it just felt wrong to get rid of any of it.  However,  I knew that this lady was totally right.  Too often, B would come ripping out of her room saying things like, "I have nothing to wear!"  This always baffled me because when I'd pull out her under bed storage her drawer was OVERFLOWING with clothing.  What she really should have said was, "There is so much here, I have not idea how to go about putting together an outfit."

So....I accepted the challenge of pairing down the girls' clothes no matter how painful it was to say goodbye to some outfits.  I did compromise a little.  Nine outfits seemed a little skimpy to me.  After all, if I get behind on laundry we need to have a few more than two back up outfits.  AND....if someone stains or rips clothing, having a few extras isn't a bad idea.  So, we put together enough outfits to fill one underbed storage bin.  This amounted to 12 outfits.  I also allowed them to keep 5 dresses.  This was a huge cut back for us.  By the time we are said and done we had filled one HUGE trashbag and one small trashbag of clothing.  The kids no longer whine about not having any outfits because they are all organized and easy to find and put together.

The second thing I found on this lady's website was a chore chart.  At first glance it seemed a little too detailed and like an insane amount of chores, but after some thought I realized this lady was on to something.  I had been stressing over some things lately and this felt like the perfect solution.  B had forgotten her backpack 2 days in a row.  K forgot her waterbottle.  The kids kept leaving their stuff in the van and I kept forgetting to remind them to take it out.  I was constantly having to remind them to pick up after themselves in the hallway.  Sometimes we would forget which night was bath night.  I'd forget to have them empty their school bags of important info. The list went on and on.  If this was all written down, it couldn't be forgotten.

So, I downloaded the chore chart and tweaked it to fit our family and printed it off. (I added pictures for B since she is a beginning reader).  Since I have done this nothing has been forgotten.  I no longer have to remind the kids they just check their chart.  They know supper won't be served to kids who aren't done with their chores, so there is no nagging.  And, we discovered K is a list checker kind of person.  You know the type, they get some sort of high getting to make those little check marks. Who am I kidding? I'm one of those people too.  So, for now, it is working for us.

Oh, and we did go back to doing our big chores on the weekend, BUT I try to do it all on one day if possible so I still get at least one weekend day to do what I want (which usually turns into a day to have to take care of business of some kind, sigh....).

If you're interested in a chore chart like what we are using.  Here's a link to the one I used from Mary Organizes.  She really has a lot of great ideas.

Ch, ch, ch, changes

In my last post I commented on how our crazy schedule was making us grow weary.  We are going to change it up when the new year starts.  After reflecting and discussing we all know that we need to slow things down a bit.  We are keeping our church commitments.  They are local and they are important.  However, K is giving up girl scouts, and B's soccer season is over.  She doesn't intend on doing it ever again at this point.  I still want the girls to have something extracurricular.  After pondering it for awhile we decided piano lessons would be a good way to go.

At first I learned of a teacher two houses up the street from us that teaches piano.  I had tried to teach Kadyn awhile back, but it didn't go very far.  I wasn't very motivated or committed to it and neither was Kadyn.  Plus, I didn't feel 100% confident in my own abilities as a pianist.  I can play simple accompaniments and pieces, but I am by no means an accomplished pianist.  Talking to my mother one morning she questioned me why I would pay someone else to do something I could do.  At first I made excuses, but then the more I thought about it the more I thought....I could do this.  I had wanted to teach violin lessons in Branson, but quickly found there was no market for it because there is no orchestra in the schools.  Piano, well, there is always a market for piano teachers.  I know I will be teaching in the schools for a long time and have no plans of leaving, but in the back of my mind have have wondered just how long my career as a public school teacher will last.  Will music be kicked out of the schools for budget reasons?  Will I get burnt out before I am done with my working years as an adult?  These things have crossed my mind.

And so, my mind got to whirling with the what ifs.  What if I go gang busters and teach my own children how to play piano?  What if teaching my girls helps me become more accomplished as a pianist?  What if my improved skills and practice teaching the girls makes me competent enough to open up my own piano studio in my home?  What if I could use that as a platform to get some people interested in learning violin and do both kinds of lessons in my home?  What if this becomes my after career work?  What if....what if....?

So, I am embracing the challenge and have decided to move forward with teaching the girls piano lessons myself.  This time it will be different.  We will be putting lessons on our calendar and treating it like the real deal.  Lessons will be done at the same time each week and practicing will be put onto their chore charts.   I have been researching the best ways to do it, getting tips and resources from all sorts of websites, pinterest, and piano teaching blogs.  I have been typing up lesson plans, creating games, teaching resources, AND I have been practicing a lot.  My first focus is to be able to play all the accompaniments in the level one of the method books with my kiddos.  The music they will be learning is well below my skill level so I should have no problem helping them learn the first several method books.  I figure if I keep practicing I should stay well ahead of them to keep them moving forward.  Every time I practice it gets easier.  
See, I told you I was taking it seriously this time.  I have made everyone a binder to store learning resources.  Even me.  Harry, loves being part of the action and plays the keys sometimes.  My favorite was when he accidentally pushed the demo button.  I heard beautiful music coming from the piano, glanced in the room to see him standing on the keys looking at me then  saying, "Meow?"  It was hilarious!

Both of the girls are starting in method book one, but they will be using two different series of method books. I didn't want them to feel competitive in any way.  There is no way they will learn at the same rates since they are different ages.  This will also let me explore what method books I prefer to teach from for future use.  Harry approves!

The best part is that these lessons are filling many different needs.  It gives us one on one time together.  It gives them an extracurricular activity that is much more schedule and family friendly.  It is improving skill set I have and can possibly open up doors for more opportunity for me to do what I love.

So we are all looking forward to the change around here.  It will be interesting to see if we really do make a go of it and keep up with it.  Time will tell.  One thing is for sure, it's better than the rat race we are running now.  I can't wait to start!

Monday, October 20, 2014


This school year if off to a flying start.  We have added so much to our plate.  We are growing weary from our crazy schedule.  Not that I have room to complain, we did choose this chaos.  I have to admit, a lot of guilt played into our choices.

Last year we took it easy.  No!  No outside activities for the girls except an after school choir for K which was super easy because it was once a week at right after school, at school.  I just worked and extra hour and picked her up.  I don't think we knew how good we had, I mean I totally knew how good we had it.

Anyhoo, this year I felt guilty.  Guilty that we weren't making any new friendships through a church community. I felt guilty that I wasn't raising my kids to be in a church family for the last year.  Guilty that I hadn't given both my girls an opportunity to do something extra like so many other moms.  So....we dived in head first.  We found a church that we both feel is a better fit for us.  We allowed each child the choice of one extra curricular activity and then there's just our normal life stuff that has to get done in the middle.  Doesn't sound like much until you actually see how it fits into our schedule.

Mon-B has soccer practice after school, housework
Tues-Free day after school except our daily housework chores
Wed-Youth group for the kids, housechores
Thurs-K has girl scouts out in the boonies 45 minutes from the house. housechores
Fri-supposed to be free but often taken by extra girl scout events, housechores
Sat-B has soccer game, grocery day, lawnmowing day
Sun-Church AM, small group PM

For some people this schedule would be a walk in the park, I've got to say for us, it just feels like a little much.  I am a homebody.  I don't like running around from here to there.  The only free time we seem to get always seems to get swallowed up by something: play date for K with Reeds Spring friends she begged me for, shopping for clothing so my kids actually fit in their clothing, shopping for my Christmas program costumes, shopping for halloween costumes,  hair cut appts, doctor appointments, a visit from family.

I am longing for a weekend of nothing!  I keep telling myself this is just the season we are in and I have to accept it.  I would feel too guilty to take my kids out of their activities just so I can feel less scattered.  I know how selfish that would be.  I know how good it is for them to have opportunities to do these things.  So....I'm sucking it up and trying to put on my happy face.  Just not my cup of tea.

In other news, this year at work I feel more confident than ever and yet, I am so uneasy about the changes going on in education.  This year has been a year of the toughest cases with students I have ever seen in my life and the way they are being handled is just so different than the way I think they ought to be handled.  Let's just say, I prefer the way problem students were handled back in the day when I was in elementary school.  I NEVER saw problems in school then like I see now in school;  Problems that would make you cringe if you heard about them.  It makes me sad.  It makes me sad all the bureaucracy that has taken over our field.  It makes me sad that teachers, good, good teachers can't just teach kids but rather be consumed with paperwork and constantly consumed with teaching for testing purposes.  It makes me sad that admin are being forced to evaluate good teachers down so they can show on paper that they "have room to grow."  Even the evaluation of students makes me sad.  Gone are the days of A's, B's, C's.  It is now the days of 1,2,3 and 4's.  I really hate it!  Things aren't exactly black and white, they are very fuzzy and grey.  It' s all...subjective.

Needless to say, it is an interesting time to be a teacher.  Things have changed so much even from the time I was teaching before I took time off to be a mom.  The one thing that keeps me going is that I work with such an outstanding group of professionals who love what they do and love those students, as I do, with all their hearts.  We stand united in purpose.  Those hugs from the littles and excitement they show when we do our fun activities keeps me going.  The relationships with my older kids and seeing them grow as musicians because of my guidance keeps me going.  The challenge of always wanting to get better and do better keeps me going.  The joy of creating fun engaging lessons and programs keeps me going. The opportunity to give kids of poverty hope and love they may not receive at home keeps me going.  All these things keep me going when all that other crap starts clouding my feelings about what I do.  I'd love to think that when the day comes for me to retire I will go out on a high note, but I can't help but wonder if rather, I will leave out of frustration of it all.  I will leave because the job as I knew it when I graduated college no longer exists.  Boy I hope not.    Just the thought of it all makes me....weary.

So's been an interesting two months. Through it all, I know I am incredibly blessed and I count my blessings.  I have two beautiful, smart, funny, sweet, children.  I have a loving, supportive marriage and real partnership with my man.  I have a nice home that fits our needs. I have a reliable vehicle that fits our needs.  We have wiggle room in our budget that we didn't have for years before I worked.  We have an adorable ham of a cat that I adore.  We have a church that I think we can finally call home.  We are making new friendships in our church.  Our children LOVE church so much one of them actually cries when we don't go.  We are all healthy.  We have a supportive family.  We both have jobs that we love and provide for our needs.  We have wonderful neighbors that are part of our family and support system.  We live in a beautiful area of the world that offers a lot for us to do as a family.

So in this monstrosity of a post I end on this.  Through the busy chaos of our life choices at the moment, through the waves of change in what I do, I hold fast to God and and know that it is all part of his plan and he's got it all under control.  Can I get an Amen? LOL.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Loving the chore schedule

In my last post I mentioned how we are going to try to start doing a few chores each day instead of waiting until the weekend.  We are a couple weeks in on my goal of doing a little bit of chores each day and my oh my, I love it!  Again, I hope it sticks, but I am so excited I just had to blog about it.  You see, there have been benefits I didn't even realize were going to happen in addition to the ones I was hoping for.  So I thought I'd make a list of all the wonderful things that have happened because of this new change in our lives.  Maybe on those days I'm tempted to skip chores I can look back and remind myself why doing a little each day is so much better than saving it for the weekends.

1.  The kids no longer complain about having too much to do since it is just a little at a time.

2.  In fact the kids no longer complain about doing chores at all because it is just part of our routine and they get an allowance.  Making it part of our routine means I don't have to nag to get things done.  It is just what we all do together at the same time each day.

3.  Kids no longer watch TV after school.  No time with chores to do.  I always find their behavior is better without TV.  

4.  If everything gets done (homework, chores, bath, suppers) AND there is time left they can play.  AND I no longer hear, "But there's nothing to do!"  Playing now feels like an earned privilege.

5.  We NEVER run out of clean clothes.  In fact, I don't have to have as many clothes in my overstuffed closet since I do the laundry practically everyday.  Because of this, I purged a lot of clothes and paired down to only the pieces I really like to wear.  My closet breathed a sigh of relief and just seeing it not overstuffed makes me feel in control again.

6.  There is no longer a MOUNTAIN of laundry taking the entire guest bed up for days.

7.  The house stays more tidy than it used too.  The girls seem to be more conscience of mess since they have to tend to it daily.  They aren't entirely mess free, but there is some minor improvement starting to happen.

8.  My bathrooms get cleaned more often then they used too.

9.  I feel like the burden of caring for the home is more easily shared.  Too often, I took the brundt of the work before because just getting it done myself was quicker than nagging the girls to get it done.

10.  I am FREE on the weekends from household chores.  I actually get a break and feel refreshed when I return to work.

11.  When I come home from work I am in go mode.  It seems easy to keep going and get things done.  Trying to get motivated on Saturdays is so much harder.

12.  My washer tends to get some stink problems when it hasn't run a couple of days (despite trying to clean it out).  Now that it's run everyday except Sat and Sun, no more stinky problems.

13.  Doing extra chores each day helps me stay active and get closer to reaching my step goals.

I could only come up with 2 negatives of doing chores daily:

1.  Some days when I have to stay at work late it is impossible to get them done and I have to double up chores on other days to make up for it.

2.  The house is never spic and span all at once like it is when it all gets done on one day.

Really there is way more perks to doing a little at a time.   Hoping I keep my momentum and continue in this trend.

Monday, August 4, 2014

New Goals as we start

As the school year is set to start I've been thinking about ways to change our routine to make life run smoothly.  One of my goals this year is to find a different church that fits us better.  One our main issues with church is that it seems to take half a day of our precious weekend time.  Add into that cleaning, grocery runs, laundry, etc. and there goes your weekend.  I hate to say it, but it almost makes us resent having to go.  We took an entire year off last year from church.  I did bible stories, worship time, and prayer time with the girls on my own each Sunday and actually it was so lovely.  We all learned so much, and enjoyed it so much.

But alas, it is time to get back into a community of believers and make some connections.  We are hoping to find a smaller body of believers to join this time so we can make closer connections with folks (which we were unable to do at our last church after 4 years!) and also we are hoping that the services and children's programs are a little more traditional than our last church home.

So in order to make attending church feel less like an obligation and more like a welcome part of our day I have decided to change the way I clean my home.  Instead of waiting until the weekends to do it all, I have made a schedule of things for the girls and I to accomplish each day, so that when the weekend comes around we are done.  Saturday we can take it easy and do whatever we want whether it be relaxing or just having fun. This way attending church for half a day on Sundays won't seem so much like another thing to check off my list, so I can be done.  I sure hope I can keep to my plan and I sure hope we find a church that we actually look forward to attending.

On a different note, I have also had a newfound determination/goal to pick up after myself immediately after I make a mess.  I am the queen of "put the dishes in the sink and do it later."  Jeff and I have been watching this show called "Tiny House Nation."  This show has been my inspiration.  It has fascinated us.  Basically there is a wave of folks who are giving up the societal norm and redefining the American Dream.  No longer are they striving to get the big house full of nice things.  Instead they are building tiny homes 500 square feet or less.  These homes on average cost around $30,000  (or less) and make a much smaller imprint on the environment.  Because they are so cheap, they are able to live in these homes mortgage free.  They are able to pay off all their bills.  They are unable to spend their money on things which frees them up to spend their money on experiences, just living life, being active, and having fun.  They are able to save too!  They seem happier and more content.  It really is amazing if you think about it.

Now before you think this kind of life is impossible you should really see this show!  These houses are incredible.  They are beautiful because they usually use very high end materials during construction.  With such little space you can afford to do so.  They are so cleverly built that they really are not doing without as you might think they do.  Rooms and furniture are multifunctional.  Many of the homes are mobile so you can take your home with you when you vacation.  Some are almost self sufficient with solar panels for energy and composting toilets, etc.  It really is fascinating to see how these homes are built.  It is also fascinating to see how different each home is from the other and what some people prioritized in their tiny home over others.  Most of the times when they show the finished product we have thought, "I could totally live in that!"  I'm telling you, they are really neat!  I'm not sure they would be great for a family with children, but for a single person or a couple it really is a neat idea!

When you think about living in such a small space you begin to realize how important it would be to always pick up after yourself.  And because you have to pick up after yourself you really don't need as much stuff.  If you wash that dish every time you use it, you wouldn't need extra dishes because you would always have a clean dish waiting to be used.  If you did a load of laundry everyday, you wouldn't need a weeks worth of underwear.  You get my drift.  After watching this show, suddenly my too small kitchen, seems huge.  My too small closet, seems gigantic.  I realize that the things I thought were not good enough, really are more than sufficient. It's all perspective.  I love the way this show makes me feel about my own situation and how much is inspires me.  Heck, Jeff and I even pondered someday building a tiny house of our own, buying some beautiful plot of land somewhere to put it on, and making it our vacation home when we retire.  Who knows?

Another goal I want to have is to always get in 4 miles of walking.  Every year I desire to make physical activity a habit. I usually do pretty good for about a month and then I take a break because I'm so tired after I come home, and that break ends up being a permanent break. This time I'm going to go about it very differently.  I did pretty good wearing a pedometer last year.  There are many days I hit miles easily just doing my normal day to day routine at work.  On those I'm exhausted and have absolutely no desire to work out at home.  So this year I'm going to give myself a pass.  If I meet my goal of 4 miles at work, I'm off the hook for working out and I'm not going to feel guilty about it.  If I have not reached my 4 miles, I am on the treadmill when I get home to make up the difference.  Technically speaking, if I haven't put in 4 miles at work, I should have enough energy left over when I get home to finish it up.  I hope.

Well there you have it.  New goals with how I want my life to run or the routine of our life for this coming school year.  Time will tell whether I can make it a permanent change.  More times than not, I go through phases and they always fizzle out.  But, that doesn't mean I can't try.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Final Stretch

We are are now half way through our last two weeks of summer!  Eeeek!  Honestly, I was dreading going back to work until today.  This has been the most amazing summer.   I can only see summers getting even better each year as the kids get older and we can do more things.  B started swimming this summer.  She still can't swim with her head above water and can only swim with goggles, so I still need to keep a close eye on her, but she has made more progress than I ever could of imagined at this point.

We have really started taking advantage of the lake for these last few weeks (although this week it has actually been too cold to do so).  I had been going to the pool more than the lake the first part of the summer thinking the lake would be too hard to teach B how to swim since she can only swim with goggles.  I was wrong.  Turns out, the lake is clear enough to use goggles and therefore, B can still swim even in the lake.  It is more comfortable at the lake since there is plenty room.  You don't feel like there is people on top of people.  Plus, there's the added bonus of diving for shells.  One of my all time favorite activities.  We have a jar we are trying to fill up.  Then, there's the fact that you can easily adjust the depth just by moving out.  And each depth has a lot of area to swim.   Lastly, you can take whatever toys, flotation devices, food, or drink you want.  The pool has very strict regulations.  Yep, the lake is the place for me!  Next year, I am totally buying a season pass at the lake.  It's only 30$ for the year for all of us.  A bargain compared to the $120 I pay at the pool.  I even have all he gear to make an entire day of it: a picnic basket, a shade tent, a picnic blanket, sand toys, lake toys, etc.    The only downfall is it is a good 20-25 minute drive, but totally worth it!

I have been trying to squeeze in a bunch of appointments at the end so I don't have to take off work to do them later.  So far we all have had dental appointments and eye appointments.  Everyone checked out great!  Still coming, one well visit, oil change/tire rotation, and hair cuts.  Then, there's a little back to school shopping and we are ready!

I am so happy I decided to get ready for the first month of school at the end of the school year rather than the beginning.  My lesson plans are ready to go.  All I have to do when I return is make the manipulatives that go with my lessons and make seating charts.  We are only getting 2 days before the kids show up, so it's a good thing.  Most of that will be spent in meetings and training sessions.  I learned from last year, there is little time to actually get ready for the kids walking through the door when teachers report back. Really seems like they should give us 4 days to get ready for the start of school.  Two for meetings, and two for actually preparing for the kids to walk through the door.  If my rooms weren't already ready, I'd be giving up a little summer to get that done now.  Shout out to my wonderful janitors for allowing me to leave up my decorations over the summer. The beauty of being a music teacher who never has to switch rooms.

Today I looked up my lesson plans for the first month of school to refresh my memory and get my brain back in "school mode."  I finally got those little flutters of excitement about going back to work.  It is so much work and exhausting, but it is fun.

This Friday we go to see "One Republic" in KC.  We will spend time with my sister.  Us ladies are planning on kayaking at the lake while we are there.  Our last hurrah of the summer, if you will.

So there you have it.  Things are wrapping up, summer fun has been had, and we are almost good to go for another school year.  About the only thing I can not get excited about is waking up at the butt crack of dawn, working late nights, and the mad rush to get things done each night before we have to do it all over again the next day.  If only there were more hours in the day.  Sigh!

Hope you all are gearing up for another school year.  It is inevitable.  Time to return to reality.  ;)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer Vaca 2014 Day 7 and 8

After our wonderful visit to San Antonio, we started our journey back home.  We split the drive into two days with a pit stop in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area to visit our good friends the Roaches.  While there we had delicious food and great entertainment.  The kids got along marvelously.  I even got to try something new, wind surfing!  Our good friend Keenan has taken up the new hobby and was happy to let us give it a try.  Jeff opted out, but I was game for trying something new.  It was tough and I swallowed more lake water than I care to just trying to get the sail up and then falling off, over and over, and over, and over again.  The very last attempt, I finally got the sail up and move for roughly 20 seconds, or so Kadyn tells me.  It was such a neat and fun experience!  Thanks Roaches for letting me try it.

They had one of those game systems where you didn't need a remote.  I think it's called Kinect.  I think?

Keenan and Jeff giving some sort of guitar game a try.  You could actually hook real instruments up to the game.  They seemed to enjoy it.

Lots of cuteness oozing out of this picture here.  Asher and Brennan getting their cowboy/cowgirl play on.

The ducks were a nice surprise on our lake visit.  Kadyn couldn't catch one.  LOL.

Only on my last attempt did I keep it up for any length of time. 20 seconds....maybe.
I spent way more time with the sail down than up. 
Our friend Keenan is clearly way better at this and looks way cooler than I do sailing. LOL.
The board was a clear hit with the kids.

Summer Vacation 2014 Day 6

Schlitterbahn was the destination for Day 6.  It is one of the biggest water parks in the nation.  It literally has two different parks in different locations of the town.  You have to hop on a bus to get to each.  There is SOOOO much to do there is literally NO way to do it all.  Part of that is also because the lines are pretty bad.  Our shortest wait may have been around 45 minutes.  Our longest line took 1.5 hours.  I know it sounds horrible, but for some reason, it didn't bother me and it didn't feel like it took that long.  Maybe it is because when you people watch, it just makes time pass a little quicker.

Having my folks there was SOOO helpful on this day.  Two adults could be with one child.   Since Bren and Kadyn are at different levels in their swimming abilities, we couldn't do everything together.  Standing in those long lines and having another adult to converse with is just so much nicer and makes time go by quicker.

Most rides in this park require a inner tube.  There were a ton of rides where you float down a lazy river with a couple rapid water challenges thrown in there.  It really was perfect for little B.  So to finish the day, we did one together as a family all 6 of us.  The nice part is, these rides can take awhile to get through.  One of them boasts that it takes 45 minutes from start to finish.  That sure makes the wait seem worth it.

Next time I go to a water park, I will purchase water socks for everyone.  We about burned our feet off a couple times.  Word to the wise!

Unfortunately, you can't take a lot of pics at a water park.  Phones aren't exactly something you carry around. I  got one.  Boo!

Summer Vacation 2014 Day 5

Day five was Sea World Day.  To be honest, visiting this place is what birthed the idea of our trip.  I have always wanted to take our kids to this place.  I went as a kid and LOVED it.  As an educated adult, I am a little sad that these majestic, huge creatures are held in captivity at all, BUT I almost feel like getting to get that close to a whale creates more appreciation for the species. What other place are my girls going to be able to see an Orca in real life?  I do want to go to the ocean some day in whale watch.  It's on my bucket list.  But even then, there's no guarantee you will spot any.  I admit, when you see them in person, it just takes your breath away.  I teared up at both orca shows.  I'm such a softie.

It was hot, but all the shows were shaded so it made it very bearable.  The kids both are allowed one souvenir on every trip we take.  This was one of the highlights of the trip for them.  Brennan left with a stuffed Shamu and Kadyn left with a dolphin necklace and shamu earrings.

One of my favorite memories I will take from this day, was getting to feed the sea lions.  For a price, you could buy a small plate of fish and feed them yourselves.  The sea lions are big hams and very loud.  They barked and pushed each other for the opportunity to get a fish from you.  They were down low in a pool of water so you can't touch them, but if they see you have a fish, they will swim right over to you and start barking at you to drop it in their mouth.

Here are some highlights from our day:

The sea lion show was hilarious!  The walrus was the surprise at the end to solve a mystery of "who stole the fish?"

B and her stuffed shamu

K and her dolphin necklace

The set of the sea lion show was pretty cool

The beluga whales were my favorite.  They looked like they absolutely were in love with their trainers.

The bond these animals have with their trainers is really incredible.  After the show, they swam around the tank following their trainers everywhere as the trainers talked to people.  It was neat to watch and when they splash you it was SOOOO cool!  They are trained to take their tail fin and splash the audience on purpose.

Summer Vaca 2014 Day 4

This is the portion of the trip we call the meat and potatoes.  San Antonio was our ultimate destination and sole purpose of planning this vacation.  My parents flew in to town around lunch time and we picked them up from the airport.  For the remainder of the day we spent our time touring the Alamo and River Walk.  Our hotel was across the street from the Alamo and walking distance to the River Walk.  I have to say, I was so charmed by this city, especially the River Walk.  It is definitely on my list of top places to go on a trip alone with my husband.  I found it so romantic and beautiful.  The kids did amazingly well.  I didn't expect that they would find the Alamo all that interesting, but they really didn't complain and took it all in stride.  I think their favorite part of the day was feeding the ducks floating around the river.  Nature always seems to keep their interest.  Can't blame them, I was the same way as a kid.

These carriages were all over town.  They were beautiful all lit up at night.  This isn't  a great picture of them.  Rats!

The Alamo.  Neato!  AND creepy knowing there were dead men probably in that very spot all over the place back in time.
The riverwalk reminded me of an American Venice Canal.

Because when you see a silly hat, you must put it on and take a picture!


Dos Equis anyone?
Davy Crockett!

Taking a tour on the river boats of the river walk.  Gorgeous!!!

This little one was such a joy the whole trip. 

Stopped for some margaritas! Yum!

Having my folks there made it so fun and memorable.  Helps with the kids too!

The old historic trees take my breath away.  Pictures don't do them justice.  Beautiful!