Friday, August 29, 2008

Back to school

Megan headed off to school yesterday for her first day as a "big kid" in first grade. All summer long she had been talking about this venture into a new grade always adding that this was the year that she would have homework. As someone who did not enjoy school until my high school years I've been hoping to help my kids have a different experience than I did at that age. I don't know if it's something that I can ward off or if some kids are just bound to dislike school but if I can help it be a positive thing, I will. So I've been re-focusing her on the positives as they come along. Of those positives, she gets to sit at a real desk this year instead of sharing a table with the other kids. She also gets to walk in/out of the building on her own instead of being escorted by a teacher/helper. (It doesn't seem like much but so far these little things seem to be working.)

She was slightly disappointed the other week when she found out that she wasn't getting the teacher that she had wanted. Her main reason behind wanting that particular teacher was simply because she had spent time with her in previous years in the after school program. However, after meeting Mrs. Lupo the other day she definitely seemed more at ease with heading in for her first day.

When I tucked her into bed last night and she told me that she "couldn't wait to go to school tomorrow" and that she loves being in first grade. I guess growing up and being a big kid isn't such a bad thing after all.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A week spent in PA

We headed back to PA early Saturday morning in order to arrive by noon and not have an entire day which would feel wasted by travel. The kids were great with Robert only fussing occasionally and two stops made for potty breaks. (One being a false alarm on a dirty diaper.)

The goal of this trip was to spend some time with the family before the kids went back to school and to take care of my grandmother while my parents went out of town to TX. Luckily they were not leaving until Tuesday so we were able to visit with them before they left and I was also able to fit in some quality time at the hospital with my brother while my sister-in-law went under the knife for a neck operation.

The first day home was spent with the kids traipsing around down at the campground, in and out of the creek water and running all over the place with neither one of them wanting the day to end. So they both decided to spend the night with Uncle Dan and Aunt Dina until Matt changed his mind and made Uncle Dan take him home to Mommy. ("I'm serious," Matt told him.)

Another afternoon storm clouds began rolling in with plenty of thunder following suit. The skies opened up to a torrential downpour and the temperature had dropped 20 degrees in a matter of an hour when suddenly the pounding of rain turned to something much harder. As we looked out the window we saw a hail storm like none we've ever seen. Now I've seen larger balls of hail before but I've never seen an accumulation like the one that day. It took over two hours for the hail to melt and after it was over I took some pictures to remember the craziness.

Here is a shot of the fog rolling off of the hill as the temperatures were still in a crazy flux...

Tuesday rolled around, Mom and Dad left town and I was left with the 3 kids and Grandma, hoping and praying that we wouldn't drive her up the wall. Fortunately, Megan and Matt spent two nights with Aunt Tam, Uncle Bill and the girls so some of the chaos was alleviated. Grandma and I didn't need to worry about entertainment while they were away because Robert certainly took care of that for us. He climbed up the stairs 100 times a day (of which I brought him back down another 100 times), worked on perfecting his walking skills (ok, so he's still working on that) and kept us laughing with his own crazy personality.

Here he is devouring the can of icing that Aunt Janet left sitting out.

We ended our trip that week at a cousin's 3rd birthday party after which we began our drive back north around 7pm. As is usual, for most of the ride home I sat and thought about how much I miss being back there. Life is quieter there and of course I miss being close to my family. But as I cross the CT state line I always get a bit antsy to go back to my own home, to my own bed, to my hubby and all that has become my life over the past 9 years up here. That last hour of my drive just never seems to go by fast enough.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What I did during my summer vacation

I was just talking to the kids this morning about the inevitable question that teachers ask upon returning to school in the fall and the various things that they could respond with when I realized that I have some great pictures to share and haven't gotten around to doing so for a very long time.

We spent a long weekend with some good friends down at Long Beach Island and of course I did everything in my power to remember to take my camera. I even argued with Bill at one point about where he had moved it to because, "GAH! I know EXACTLY where I put it and if he moves it to another location (even if it was better) I will no longer remember, blah blah blah". And guess what? No, I DID remember to take the camera. But I never unpacked it the entire time we were down there. But rest assured, we had a wonderful time with perfect weather and good company the entire vacation.

After that we were lucky enough to have some family come for a visit. We started them out with a trip down to New York City. It was the first time that Megan and Matt had been on a train and a first for both them, Zach, Jocelyn and Taylor to see the city.

As soon as we arrived we jumped on the subway and headed down to Fulton Street to see the WTC site. Bill and I have seen it before and although there's really not much left to see but new construction, I'm still struck hard with memories of that fateful day.

We then hiked down to Battery Park so that everyone could get a view of the Statue of Liberty, albeit it a long view across the water, but they saw it none-the-less. Here are Megan and Matt taking a break as we all enjoyed the view.

From there we jumped back on the subway and headed back up to Times Square. After grabbing lunch at ESPN Zone and playing hard in the arcade, we walked up the street to the center of Times Square where we caught up with The Naked Cowboy. There was no way that I was paying $2.00 just for a picture of an ugly guy with a smoking hot body so I quickly snapped these pictures of random strangers posing with him before we headed off.

We walked up to Rockefeller Center and then to the ultimate Megan spot, American Girl Place, where she was treated to a doll and the rest of the group took the nauseating tour (the beer back at The ESPN Zone was not enough to ward off the sweetness) of the entire building and the genius marketing that is American Girl. Before we knew it it was time to head back down to Grand Central for the train ride back to CT.

The next day was spent in the pool and then I took the older kids to Lake Compounce for the evening. We had a good time and we three girls enjoyed the look of fear on Zach's face as we persuaded him to get on various coasters with us. He was a good sport on all but one, Down Time, but we'll get him on there some day!

Tuesday was a lazy day although we did hit the mall for Tam to do some school shopping for the girls. And then Wednesday rolled around and they were off for the 5 hour drive back to PA.

Taylor stayed behind for the remainder of the week and she, Megan and Matt were pretty much water logged due to the amount of time spent in the pool and the hot tub.

Megan finally learned how to swim that week too... And the kids all enjoyed continuously jumping into the pool...

On Saturday morning I packed everyone up and we headed back for my week long visit with family in PA. I'll save those pictures and stories for a later post. Also to come next week...Megan goes to 1st grade and Matt hits pre-k!!