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!