Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nothing Lasts Forever

Say it ain't so!! Ahh, but it is. School is here. Last week, I had my week of planning. It was a week of meetings and taking care of minute details. I worked very hard. I had 10 hour days, 12 hours days, and a 14 hour marathon day on Friday. Travis was a wise man and knew better than to call me at work and ask, "What's for dinner?" Rather, he asked, "Can I bring you Moe's?" The answer to that question is always "yes". He really stepped it up this week. It was pretty rough. So here I am at my desk in my room with my stuff!! It is very exciting, isn't it? I'm mostly thrilled that I got a real classroom in the building and not a portable. For those who don't live in FL, a portable is a double-wide trailer they use as classrooms here. I'm always afraid they would fall off their cinder blocks!! So, as I said, here I am looking all happy.
Here is the family after our Moe's dinner. And another view of my class. The room is HUGE and the walls are bare. the ceiling is high and it echoes badly. I need some tapestries!!
So my room was all set up. The girls had gone to their orientations. We were ready to go. Everyone was excited and a little nervous, including me!! Here is Rozzie, off to Jr. High. She is actually the last one to leave the house in the morning. She carefully curled her pigtails. She chose her outfit with care. She is most excited that she got the student aid position she hoped for. For one hour out of her day, she will sit at the front desk and answer phones, transfer calls, take messages, fill out tardy slips, and direct people.
Maddie is off to 6th grade in her new Converse tennis shoes that she ordered on line - she actually created them herself!! She had a tough time waiting for them to come in the mail. She is happy with the teachers she got. We are surprised to find ourselves in our last year of elementary school!
Morgan has been at school marching for 2 weeks. She is excited to be an upper-classman and park in the junior lot. She has a tough schedule this year with three AP classes. One teacher required a 6" three-ring binder that we could only find at Staples for $33!!! She has lots of friends in all her classes. She has wonderful teachers - she can't chose a favorite class at this point!!

The day went well for everyone. it is strange for me to get used to a new schedule. I have parking lot duty this first 9 weeks and I get to drive a golf cart around and check for mischief. I also let kids in and out of the lot. it is a little bit fun to drive around. I have duty early in the day, so it isn't holy hot outside - yet. I was EXHAUSTED after that first day. I talked a mile a minute just to get all the stuff covered for 53 minutes every hour. That is not easy!! You would think I was used to it!! Anyway, I will have some challenges this year with my students. they are my usual population. One girl showed me the tattoo on the inside of her lower lip!! But I know most of them and the others seem to rely on their reaction to me. I think the Smith's will have a successful year.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Fun Week with the Aldens and a Sore Toe

We have had the privilege of playing host to Brooklyn and Autumn this week. Rozzie and Maddie have known them all their lives and so this is a very special friendship. They got in early on a Monday morning and were off to the races! They went to the pool - here is their first jump into the water of Florida!!
We went swimming later on that day at the Collard's house, too. Pretty fun times... That night, we had a Twilight party at the house. We had 7 girls, 3 moms, and a huge batch of carmel corn. There was a lot of talking and giggling. Lucky for us to have the subtitles on or Lisa wouldn't have known what was happening! Brooklyn and Roz quoted lines before they were said!

Tuesday brought about a day at Vilano Beach in St. Augustine. Maddie and Brooklyn spent the entire 3 hours in the water. They only got out long enough to eat a sandwich.
Roz and Autumn took some time out to get tan. They also wanted a series of photos of them jumping in the surf - yes they are 8th graders for sure!!
They all got along so well and had so much fun together. We stopped at Dairy Queen for a dip cone on the drive home - YUM!! I just love seeing them all together and listening to them talk, sing, and laugh.We got up early on Wednesday and drove to Orlando to SeaWorld. We met Shamu! Sometimes the girls would be all together, sometimes they would pair off. First thing, though, we went on the new ride, Manta. I thought I'd try this out and see if my motion sensitive tummy could handle it. Brooklyn was not allowed on due to her cast. I should have stepped off with her. But I wanted to try it out. As soon as we were harnessed into the ride and the chairs lifted up, I knew I made a mistake. You ride this coaster hanging from the top, head first, face down. I thought I was going to vomit as we were waiting to come into the docking station. the entire ride was awful for me. I got off, got my shoes, and found a trash can to throw up into. I didn't even hear the worker saying, "Ma'am, ma'am, do you need first aid?" I was fine after that. It was an incredibly hot day. Every once in a while I'd get a whiff of myself and just die of horror.
Luckily, Journey to Atlantis is a ride i can both tolerate and find refreshment. It felt good to get all wet. The girls went on it again!!
They all have fun trying on hats and posing for pictures.

We made sure we saw the dolphin show, sea lion show, and Shamu show. those are always so exciting. The girls got seats in the front and center for Shamu and came out soaking wet. After that they wanted to ride Atlantis one more time, so the sprinted across the part and I caught up to them after 2 rounds on Atlantis. At that point, it was 10pm and time to get the soggy bottomed girls to the hotel for a snooze. However, they were all pumped up and singing and dancing. The checker at SeaWorld commented on my wealth of patience. Hey, they are happy and having fun, I can handle that any day!! And wouldn't you know it, we got to the hotel and they went SWIMMING!
Thursday morning dawned sunny and hot. We made our way over to Aquatica which is SeaWorld's brand new water park. It is a fun place. The one thing we noted still wasn't right was that the sidewalks were dry and very hot. A lady in the gift shop told me that they are working on it and aware of the problem. One of our favorite "rides" was the rapid river. there are lazy rivers where you ride in the tube, but this one flowed rapidly! We really liked it. We found that if you just lightly put your feet down, you can surf your way around the river!! It was COOL. well, long about 4:30, the rains moved in and we packed it up.
That was when things went wrong for me!! we decided to make a run for the car. We had plastic bags on us like ponchos and I had 3 bags to carry. The water on the sidewalks was pretty deep (when it rains in Florida, it RAINS). As I was going up the stairs, my flip flops suctioned to the ground and I fell forward as my shoes stayed put. I ended up spraining both my big toes. The pictures don't do it justice. Just so you know, I was up all night with throbbing toes. I iced them and everything. I had to drive home from Orlando in pain. The girls will tell you that I was in a lot of pain. I thought they might be broken, but luckily they are not. (I start school tomorrow and two broken toes would really be a bummer.) Anyhow, here are some icky pictures of my feet. I have clipped the toenails and painted them. But I had to take the polish off to see how the bruising was and it was too painful to clip them til now.Friday was all about recuperation and relaxation. It was also my last official day of vacation. We went out to Koko's for dinner. Because Autumn and Brooklyn were visiting, our chef had them help him out. Nothing like making every one's dinner when you are on vacation!! Our chef was really funny and quite good!!
Brooklyn was taught how to make "wild" rice. She can give you a demonstration at her house anytime!
So, here we are on our last day. Morgan joined them for this picture. What beautiful faces. We had a great time keeping these friendships alive. It is fun knowing these kids from birth and watching them grow up. We are grateful for them all!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Maddie knits a full grown Rabbit!

Maddie took a knitting lesson to learn to knit the right way. She was knitting the left way. She has really enjoyed knitting and has made two scarves, an iPod holder for a friend, and this rabbit! Her cousin Matt made a little bunny. Maddie liked it so much she wanted to try it out. She cast on many more stitches and used some large needles. We think Flopsy is so cute!!

I have heard of growing pineapples here in Florida and have been wanting to do this for about a year, but was pretty busy the past year and never got around to it. Well, with the summer ebbing to a close, I decided it was time to get serious. I guess seeing everyone's gardens in Minnesota made me jealous enough to remember to buy a pot and a pineapple! Everyone has said you just cut the top off the pineapple, making sure there is just the green leafy part - no residual fruit - and put it in dirt. The experiment has begun!!
I also picked up two tomato plants and a basil plant!! Baby steps!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Journey of Blasts from the Past!!

Last week was my long anticipated trip to Minnesota. The original intention of the trip was to go to the 5 Browns concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. Mom had gotten tickets and sounded so sad and forsaken on the phone when she reported that she had one extra ticket. So I booked a flight and there I went. I didn't take any of the girls with me, or Travis for that matter. It is always a treat to travel alone. however, it is also nice to have the kids get together with cousins. Speaking of cousins, here is Dylan with his electric guitar. He takes lessons. He loves Primus, Phish, and Metallica.
Tuesday was the day to go to Sara's. We lunched and knit and had a nice time. Then Jim made hamburgers on the grill and we ate outside. The weather during my visit north was beyond perfect. It was in the mid 70s all week!! Now the Minnesotans are wishing that it would rain a bit more and be warmer so that their tomatoes and other veggies will ripen. This is a picture on Sara's deck with Sara, Paul, Mom, Matt, and Hayley. OJ was working and Jim was avoiding the camera or something. The table centerpiece is Sara's miniature garden that is very cute.
After our day at Sara's, I wanted to stop quickly at the Mall of America (or more commonly known to our family as the Mollica Merica). I wanted to go to the American Girl Store. Mom was only a little convinced that it was a good idea. Somehow, I parked close to the store and the trip there was without pain. On the way to the aforementioned store, we ran into Diego!! What luck.
Wednesday night was my planned dinner with Shelly who has been my friend since 4th grade. We were thrown by her horse once upon a time. Anyway, my lunch with Tammy fell through on Wednesday and sure enough, she could make dinner. Next, Anne saw on Facebook that I was in Minnesota and she was there, too. When we talked, it turned out she could make dinner, also!! It was a Skipperette reunion!! Skipperettes was the danceline I was on in high school. I had brought my childhood photo album with me for another get together so I hauled it to Maynard's in Excelsior and we poured over the pictures. We had such a great time talking and laughing and catching up on who is doing what, where. Tammy called our coach and sure enough, 15 minutes later, Gina and her husband Bill walked out onto the patio and joined us!! What a treat it was to have all met together. From L to R: Anne, Shelly, Bill, Gina, Jenni, and Tammy.
Thursday night was the 5 Browns concert. We went and had dinner at Dorothy's, which was so wonderful. We ate out on her screen porch! It was such a treat to eat outside every night, and no mosquitoes and no humidity and no sweat!! The concert was wonderful and we were all amazed at the abilities of those pianists. I loved the songs I recognized and enjoyed watching/hearing them play new songs. It was a great ending with Danse Macabre and an encore of Peer Gynt. LOVE IT!! L to R: Jenni, Elizabeth, Mom, Sara, Dorothy.
When I was in Park City, earlier this summer, I met up with Beth. We found out that we were going to be in Minnesota at the same time and wouldn't it be fun to get together up there. So I printed up invitations and sent them out, had mom send some out, and put it on Facebook. It turned out that Kristin was in town and so we had a Plymouth II Ward Young Women's reunion. It was another magical time. We looked at pictures and did a lot of laughing. We always did silly poses for pictures so we had to do it again. L to R: Brenda, Dominique, Sara, Beth, Marianne; in front: Kristin & Jenni
Here are some of the moms and leaders: Barbara, Judy, LynnRae, Jeannie, and in front Kati and Mom.
Kristin was my best friend growing up and it is always such a treat to see her!!
Here is another one of my best friends, Sara!! We are always taking pictures and rarely get a picture together!! Both at her 40th and my 40th, we didn't get pictures together - what a shame!!
Saturday night, Steph and Marissa came for dinner and brought the kids. Here is Maya and Owen. We laughed to watch Owen work so hard to eat his Champagne grapes one at a time.
Here we are as the night drew to a close and the kids were less willing to cooperate.
So now I am home and have just under 2 weeks until I go back to school. Where has the time gone? How come I didn't get the ornaments painted? Why didn't I lose 30 lbs? Alas. It was a summer with many trials, but those are passing and things are pretty good. I think I'm almost ready for the year. I got my class lists and the best thing is that I have my own classroom this year!! That is a major deal for me. I'm so happy I could cry. So, life moves forward. Enjoy the last days of summer!