Wednesday, August 24, 2011

back 2 school

Today was the big day!  I set my alarm extra early (for me), so that I could see Emm ~ and take pictures ~ before she left for school.  She has to be to her bus stop by 6:20am.  Here she is, all ready for her sophomore year of high school (notice the Gryffindor ID lanyard that she bought this summer):
And at the bus stop with her friend Samantha:

Their bus was late, but did eventually arrive.  (The same can not be said for after school ~ Samantha's mom ended up driving over to pick them up after they'd waited about 45 minutes!)  Thankfully, the rest of her day went well.

Around 8:20am, it was Nick's turn to head out the door.  Here he is, ready (or not) for 7th grade and a new school:
Ben and I walked him over to his bus stop:

We waited and waited, but, fifteen minutes before school was supposed to start, the bus still had not arrived, so I drove him to school, with a few minutes to spare!  He did find all his classes okay, and saw a couple people that he knew from elementary school, but otherwise was not impressed with middle school!  There were more bus problems after school ~ he never found the bus he was supposed to be on, and I didn't have the car to go get him.  In the end, they sent him home on a bus of his own!

About 11:45am, Ben and I walked over to his new school.  Here is my very excited Kindergartner:

In front of the school sign... a yearly tradition!

On the way to school, we ran into Ben's buddy Xander from preschool, who is now in his Kindergarten class.  They were very happy to see each other!

High fives!  (Actually, this was taken during the "on the side" part.)
I was a little disappointed that the parents didn't get to meet the teacher or go into the classroom or anything, but Ben went in with a smile, and came out 2-1/2 hours later with an even bigger smile!  He LOVED his first day! :)  He talked and talked about Kindergarten all the way home, and for about 20 minutes after we got home, as well, LOL.

I made some special back-to-school brownies, and when all the kids were finally back home again, we had them for our afternoon snack.  (It's supposed to look like a blackboard, but the icing was not cooperating real well!):
Hope tomorrow will be better for them all, especially Nick!

Monday, August 22, 2011

it's that time again...

Yes, it's back-to-school time again (the kids start back on Wednesday), and time for me to be nostalgic once again about my own school days. :)

Ben will be starting Kindergarten this year, and he is SO excited!  I remember being excited to start school, too.  I had kind of a chaotic Kindergarten year, however, moving several times and going to three different schools. 

The summer before school started, we moved from Madison, WI to Aberdeen, MD, so that my dad could attend army training.  I began Kindergarten while in Maryland, at Hillsdale Elementary, and Mrs. Richardson was my teacher there.  I was very nervous about riding the bus on the first day.  I got to school okay, but when it was time to go home, I couldn't find my bus and ended up in tears!  I remember a teacher walking me to the principal's office, and then waiting there for my mom to come pick me up ~ very traumatic! ;)  The next day, Mrs. Richardson made sure that I got on the right bus home.  I remember liking my teacher a lot, but the rest of my memory of that time is pretty hazy!

In October, we moved to LaMoille, IL, to live with my grandparents for a couple of months.  We started out with my dad's parents, and they lived right across the street from my new school, Allen Elementary.  I was very excited to find out that my cousin Michael would be in my class! :)  Mrs. Serr was our teacher, and I quickly made two new friends to hang out with, along with Michael ~ Jill and Jimmy.  My very first school picture was taken at Allen:
Cute and casual!

(My mom would want me to tell you that she didn't realize it was Picture Day when she sent me out the door that day.  If she'd known, she would've made sure I looked more dressy! :) )

After about a month at my dad's parents', we moved to my mom's parents' farm, and once again I rode the bus to and from school.  This time, though, I rode it with my Uncle David (who was in high school), my cousin Jackie (who must've been in 2nd or 3rd grade), Michael, and Jill... and I thought it was great fun!

In January, our family moved again, this time to Ames, IA.  We lived in a rental house until the summer, and I began attending Crawford Elementary (which is where I went for the rest of my elementary years).  It was only a few blocks away from our home, so I was able to walk there.  My teacher was Mrs. Koester, and I absolutely loved her! :)  I also made some new friends, including Tracy (who lived 2 doors down from us) and Jayson.  Despite all the changes, I had a great Kindergarten year!

On Wednesday, Nick will be starting middle school, 7th grade.  I remember being very nervous before 7th grade started! (I'm pretty sure Nick is, too!) For me, it was junior high, not middle school, but still... it was a new school, a big school, with all kinds of things to remember ~ my locker combination, all my teachers' names, where all my classrooms were, etc.  Luckily, it didn't take long before I had it all figured out and felt comfortable in the school. 

I attended Welch Jr. High. (Go, Welch Wildcats!)  The school was about a mile away from our house, and I either walked or rode my bike with friends to get there.  I had Mrs. Mohr for Reading, Miss Wilson for English, Mr. Clinton for Social Studies, Ms. Quint for Music, Mrs. Boyd for Gym, Mr. Heinen for Art, Mr. Little for Math, and Mrs. Rassmussen for Science.  (And also Mrs. Pier for homeroom.)

Oh, so fashionable in velour!

My best friends that year were Tara, Abby, Inger, and Lisa.  I also had two boyfriends (not at the same time, LOL) ~ Dave and Andrew (a 9th grader!)  I was in the 7th grade chorus, and was also a Dogpatch citizen in our school musical "Li'l Abner".  I ended up enjoying 7th grade ~ all of jr. high, actually ~ quite a bit.

Emmalie will be starting 10th grade, her sophomore year this week. (WHERE did the time go??)  It will be her second year of high school, and she'll have several of the same teachers she had last year.

For me and my classmates, 10th grade was our first year of high school.  I remember being somewhat nervous about it, but not too much.  Mostly I was sad that I'd be away from many of my good friends who were still back at Welch, in 9th grade.

I went to AHS (Ames Hi Aims High!), and could've ridden the school bus there, but chose to ride the city bus, Cy-Ride, with my friends, instead.  Mr. Hansen was my (very wacky) homeroom teacher. My first semester, I had Child Development with Mrs. Schepers, U.S. History with Mr. Daddow, Honors English with Mrs. Bauske and Mrs. Rowley, Swimming with Mr. Bailey (1st quarter), Health with Mr. Wittmer (2nd quarter), Geometry with Mr. Johnson, French II with Mrs. Schonhorst, and Sophomore Mixed Chorus with Mr. Wiser.  In 2nd semester, I had the same classes and teachers except for Interior Design with Mrs. Hassebrock, Introduction to Dance with Mrs. Kautzky, and I now had Mr. Duea for U.S. History.

Preppy... and over-tweezed!

My best friends included Tara, Inger, Jim, Joe, and... back at Welch... Kevin, Sean, Mike, Jonathan, and many others.  I did not have a boyfriend that year, and spent much of my time mooning over Mike, who'd broken up with me on the last day of 9th grade.  Other than chorus, I didn't really participate in extra curricular activities that year.  (However, we did go on a Choir Tour to St. Louis that spring, which was a ton of fun!)  I did enjoy my classes and new friends in 10th grade, but for the most part, it was a melancholy year for me.  Luckily, the rest of high school was much better!

Here's to (hopefully) a great year for Ben, Nick, and Emm!  Wishing you lots of wonderful days to look back on and remember when you're old and nostalgic, like me.  :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

august fun

I haven't been feeling very good this month, but we've still managed to have some fun. :)  On the 3rd of August, I took the kids and Emm's friend Annie to Brookfield Zoo for the day.  It was a really warm (hot!) day, but Nick made sure we saw every exhibit there, LOL.

Here's Ben and a sleepy snow leopard:
This seal had the right idea ~ it was fast asleep under the water, keeping cool!
Ben, Annie, Nick, and Emm:
This raccoon didn't want us to leave!  He came right over to get attention....
Ben and Nick pet some goats:
All ready for the dolphin show!  Ben, Emm (with her face painted), Annie, and Nick:

Ben... not quite as tall as a grizzly bear!
Right after I took this picture, these bears (who are brothers) started fighting over a bone ~ they are very loud when they growl!
Annie, Nick, Emm, and Ben:
Annie, Emm, and Ben cooling off under the giraffe mister!
On the 6th of August, the five of us drove over to my Uncle David's farm, near Van Orin, IL, for a family reunion of sorts.  My mom grew up on this farm, and my grandparents lived here until I was 10, so I have many wonderful memories of the place. We were there for lunch and supper, picnicking in the front yard:
The kids and I spent a lot of time on this, the best merry-go-round ever. :)  It goes up and down and around!  Here George is pushing it for the kids.
Nick on the rope swing:
The merry-go-round and the farmhouse:
Nick and Ben in the corn:
My cousins Sandy and Keith, Keith's friend Kim, and my Uncle David:
Ben, playing beanbags:
Kim, Aunt Jeanette, and Sandy:
Me and Grandma:
Uncle Chuck, Grandma, Uncle Ron:
Nick and Emm, trying to learn how to jump onto the merry-go-round when it's moving.  (Like George said, "If you get hurt, then you KNOW you're having fun!" LOL)
Uncle David, Austin, Hannah, Braydon, Amanda, Bella, and my cousin Bradley:
Uncle David pushes Ben and Austin on the merry-go-round:
Uncle David, Bradley, and Braydon:
Throughout the summer, Emmalie has been volunteering at the local library, 2 hours every Monday.  While there, she's helped to create this origami castle (the teen summer reading program theme this year was "A Midsummer Knight's Read") and she has also been teaching origami to others.  On the 10th, there was a "Final Feast" party for all the volunteers and teen readers.  Ben and I dropped Emm and Nick off there ~ they really enjoyed all the snacks and the medieval weapons demonstration!

On the 15th, the kids decided to camp out in the backyard.  George started a fire in the chiminea so we could make smores, yum:
while Emm and Nick put the tent up in the dark!
Roasting marshmallows:
Ready for bed!
Except, then, Ben's 4th tooth came out!  He came inside to clean it off and to put the tooth next to his bed, "because the tooth fairy might not be able to open the tent zipper!" :)
Later in the week, Ben modeled a hat that Emm knit for him earlier this year.  It's a very fuzzy hat!
This week, I took the kids school shopping.  Ben was SO excited to pick out items for Kindergarten! :)  Can you tell he loves "Ka-chow" (Cars)?  He now has a Ka-chow backpack, folder, and 2 new shirts!
Nick had a HUMONGOUS list of supplies he needed for middle school, whew!  Tons of folders, notebooks, 4 binders plus a Trapper Keeper, a flash drive, a special kind of calculator, PE uniform, and much, much more!
Emm didn't need quite so much for high school, thank goodness!  I think she especially enjoyed picking out 2 new outfits, complete with new earrings. :)  She got new shoes, too, but we forgot to put them out for the picture:
On the 18th, I took Nick over to the middle school for Open House.  He got to find his locker, figure out his lock (we ended up exchanging it for a brand new one because his original lock was VERY hard to get open), and find all of his classrooms.  Here he is at his locker (he looks thrilled, huh?):
And in front of the school:
We also walked around the school's "prairie", an area that's only about 10'x10'.  It's crammed with prairie plants, however!

I've been taking pictures of my gardens, as well.  Luckily, all the weeds haven't killed off my flowers.  Yet.  (It's been way too painful for me to bend over for any length of time to take care of them all.) Anyone want to come weed for me?  LOL

George spotted this cicada in our maple tree one day:
My asters are blooming:
As well as all the coneflowers that I got from my friend Kirstin last year:
And the hostas:
The liatris:
The Russian sage:
And zinnias in various colors. :)

At the end of May, we had to cut down our redbud tree because it had died over the winter. :(  Several new shoots were popping up, however, and some have gotten quite big!  Hopefully they will keep on growing:
Our little vegetable garden:
This was the first cucumber from our garden, yum!  We've picked 2 others since this one, and have several more growing:
We've also had several tomatoes:
And we have two tiny watermelons growing.  Not sure if they'll grow big enough before the cold comes, but we'll see....
And then there's this.  A surprise vine by our shed.  We did NOT plant anything back here, but somehow, among all the weeds, this vine appeared and has grown quite large.  (I took this picture about 2 weeks ago, and the vine is probably at least 7 feet longer now, plus it has also grown around the corner you see here, along the back of our shed.)
We *think* that it's an acorn squash plant, but don't know for sure.  If anyone recognizes it, please let me know!  The fruit starts out looking like this:
Then like this:
And now like this.  We have TONS of it growing on the vine!
After all the pain I've been in this summer, I finally went in for laparoscopic surgery yesterday and got some answers (and solutions).  Hopefully I'll be feeling better soon!