Monday, September 21, 2009


Every labor day weekend there is a carnival downtown.

We decided to go on Friday night to kick off our long weekend.

Being near Lowe's Motor Speedway there are always race cars at these kind of events.

This time there was a pig car too.

Of course we sampled the fair fare for dinner. Footlong corndogs for the boys.

A smoked turkey leg for the girls. I had a delicious Greek chicken salad and Kevin had a cheesesteak.

And being in the South apparently means people like Hillbilly Bob will be at the carnival selling homemade soda in tin cans. Gotta love the South! Isn't he cute in his overalls?

We all drank our weight in fresh lemonade. Yum!

And the kids road a couple rides.

We had some ice cream before calling it a night. We were so lucky this year to have beautiful weather for Labor Day weekend. Usually it is almost unbearably hot and humid. I think this is the first time I really enjoyed the carnival without melting.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Second First Day of School

That Friday Tate finally got to start school too. He had been walking to school all week and finally got to stay!

One of our stories the night before. Can you see how excited this little guy is?

His first lunch, packed and ready.

Picked out his own outfit.

Tate was around the school all year last year. His speech therapy was there and he was coming to class parties and helping me in the classrooms with things. It made for a very easy transition this year. Tate stopped in front of the school to talk to the principal. They have been anticipating Tate's start in kindergarten since last year. Our kids are well known around the school and Tate was very welcomed there. He is a really sweet and funny kid and all the teachers and staff love talking to him. He was feeling the love and asked me to take his picture with the principal. :)

See that little guy marching down the hall in front of everyone? That's Tate! The same kid who 4 months ago sobbed at the thought of anything out of his normal routine marched ahead of our whole family (including Kevin's parents) and called out, "C'mon guys! Follow me!" So happy for him with this new found confidence. Made it easier on everyone. Lily's class is a few up the hall from him so we had practiced walking to his class all week when we took her in.

Pausing for one last picture before the big moment. :)

After his first day of school. He had a great day. His paper ribbon says, "I survived my first day of kindergarten!" So cute. He also brought a paper home that said his favorite part of the day was "playing outside." No surprises there. He made an adorable painted turtle out of a large stone too. Tate is lucky because his teacher used to be the art teacher a few years back and she loves to incorporate art and cooking into her lessons. Makes kindergarten so much fun!

A few other picture from the first week of school. These were from the 3 older kids 2nd day.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The First, First Day of School

At the kids' school they start kindergarteners in a staggered schedule so while the other three had their first day on Tuesday August 25, Tate didn't start until that Friday.

If they look half asleep that is because they are! This picture was taken at about 6:45. I threw caution into the wind and let them choose their own first day outfits. I am a Type A so it took everything in me not to pick for them. Sophie has a hard time making choices though so it is something I am trying to give her experience in. I cant figure out if it is because she had no choices the first 8 years of her life or if it is because she is a pleaser and is always afraid of choosing the wrong one. :( Anyway, this is what they chose. Pretty cute! Tate was there too, but I chose this picture because they look the most awake in it. ;)

Walking to school. Kevin and his parents joined us for our first day walk. Most kids where we live ride the bus. Coming from southern California this concept is foreign to me. The bus picks them up so early! So we leave our house at 7 (school starts at 7:30) and walk. It only takes us about 15 minutes and the dog and I get our walking out of the way too. I pick them up in the car. All the neighbors think I'm crazy to not use the bus system, but I enjoy the time with the kids.

We're there! I always try to block out things like the school name, our address, etc. in pictures for privacy reasons. The school does have a name. ;)

Lily's teacher loved her apple! She is a really sweet teacher and Lily adores her.

Home again and ready for homework. The first week of homework was mostly for me, filling out 10 forms time 4 kids. I mean really, how many times does the school need to know our phone number and who to call in an emergency? And why can't I save paper and do it once for the four kids, or just verify that the information has not changed since last year?

Anyway, the kids had a great first day. I got them their favorite Smencils (Smelly Pencils), animal pencil toppers that are really popular, and these little Japanese erasers that look like food to celebrate. New school supplies are part of the back to school fun!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Night Before School Starts Rituals

T'was the night before school started....

Time to clean up.

Polish up.

Set out clothes.

Settle down to read.

Love letters.

Lunches packed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Meet the Teacher

I am getting back on the blog wagon. I have so many things I need to cross off my to-do list and this is certainly not one of them, so I blog between crossing things off. :) I enjoy it for the most part and I am multi-tasking anyway... (eating some pasta for lunch and catching up on Facebook while the pictures load :P ).

Looking back a few weeks and in the process of catching up to real time in blogging...

The kids get to find out which class they are in, go meet their teachers and have a peek into their new room, and drop off their huge bags of school supplies the week before school starts. For kindergarten (or kin-ger-garten as Tate calls it) it is an actual set time when you come in and listen to the teacher explain about all the fun the year will bring and how best to make the year successful. For the others it was just a drop in open house kind of situation. All the kids got great teachers this year and I couldn't be more thrilled for them!

Tate with Mrs. L. She used to be the art teacher a few years back but she is a wonderful K teacher as well. Tate is one lucky little guy to have such a creative and fun teacher.

Never imagined such a change was possible for Tate in such a short period of time. In the last 4 months or so he has gone from a very anxious child to one who faces new challenges with excitement and a only a small, healthy amount of fear. It has been a miracle to watch this little guy! He has been in speech therapy for about a year now and he had lots of challenges to overcome. He is still working on these challenges, but has made such huge strides! He had such a hard time learning in the past that we really thought there was a disability but his goal seems to be proving us wrong once we have made up our minds about what he is capable of. I love that! It will be another year of dramatic growth and pure joy for Tate. I would not have believed he would be so ready for kindergarten even 4 months ago.

Both girls started up dance class again too. They are loving it and are in a couple classes together, which is so much fun for them!

Julian with Ms. A. I think she is a great teacher and I am so excited for him. His teacher last year was not a good fit for him and wasn't very supportive of all he was going through. She could not seem to appreciate all the things he was overcoming and that made it a little hard. I am so optimistic about Ms. A though, because she seems to get him a whole lot better and I think he will thrive academically in a more positive environment this year.

Sophie with Mrs. N. Sophie worked so hard on her reading this past year and over the summer. She is probably nearing grade level in her reading and is so proud of herself for being able to read chapter books like all her peers. I know she will continue to impress us with her hard work and determination. She is able to laugh at her own mistakes, and that serves her so well at school and at home. :)

Lily's teacher is sweet as can be, just like Lily! We are so impressed with Lily's academic abilities. She is quite the thinker and so bright! She has been reading above grade level since mid-year last school year and continues to climb the ladder passing many of her peers. It is hard to believe she spoke so little English only a year ago. She is a much more confident child and students than the little girl we sent to school last year. Do you remember that she cried every day at school? Hard to believe that was the same Lily Grace. This girl is one to watch!

As we walked out of the last classroom we noticed the strange sunshiney day with a little rain mixed in had turned out beautifully. There was a rainbow over the school so we stepped out to get a picture. We decided it was the sign of a great school year to come!

Julian asked me to take this picture on the way to our car. He thought the leaf looked like a heart. What a little sweetie, huh?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Road Trip!

Our good friends the B's came to visit us for 8 days in the middle of August. It was so good to see them and have our kids play. Good stuff. We wore a path between our house and the pool, ate at the local hot spots, drank lots of sweet tea, had way too much Bruster's Homemade Ice Cream, and had a lake day too. But toward the end of the trip it was supposed to rain for a couple days. We decided that 6 kids in the house for a couple days wouldn't be much fun and Kevin had taken a couple days off of work so we decided to head somewhere fun for a night. We looked at Myrtle Beach but it was, of course, going to rain there too. We settled on Downtown Atlanta. All the things we wanted to try there were indoors so rain wouldn't matter. We booked a hotel and left the next morning.

And we're off!

One of our favorite landmarks is this giant peach water tower in South Carolina because we think it looks like a hiney. Yep, we are mature. Makes the kids laugh for miles.

Kevin had his first Del Taco since we moved 5 years ago. Yuck! I had to make a pit stop about 20 minutes later. Made me sick and glad we moved far away from Del Taco, which I never liked anyway.

Then we split into a boy car and a girl car. Girls went to the American Girl Store and the boys went to World of Coca-Cola.

3 girls and their dolls.

So cute! We didn't eat at the Bistro, but we checked it out. :)

Each girl got to pick an outfit for their doll and a t-shirt for themselves. It was a tough choice!

We took this picture the next day since the boys didn't take any on their special trip to World of Coke. Julian and Tate loved drinking soda from the bottle!

We ended up going to Hard Rock for dinner, which was fun.

Tate in music heaven!

G trying to look like one waiter who was wearing really dark sunglasses in the already dark restaurant.

Night swim at the hotel pool on the roof and then off to bed!

A great buffet breakfast was included in our hotel package. We were at the Hilton and purchased the "Aquarium Package." It was a great deal and we had adjoining rooms so that was fun!

Then we were off to the Georgia Aquarium. We spent a few hours checking out all the sea life. So neat. It is a really nice aquarium and we all loved it.

How cute are these buddies?

Then Corner Bakery for lunch!

Back up the hill to the hotel and we drove back home.

A quick, but fun filled trip!