Saturday, September 29, 2012

few things about my dad ~

 September 4th was my parent's wedding anniversary.  I have to double check with my mom but I think they would have been married 49 years.  I always loved looking at their wedding album and hearing stories about the day they got married.  I loved the style of the early 60's (very Jackie O) and the colors my mom chose (reds and pinks together).  The wedding was at the Methodist Church in the town my mom grew up in and they had a beautiful outdoor reception in the yard of her childhood home.  Everything was simple and beautiful.  My mom was this cute little bubbly, smiling bride and my dad was so handsome.  In each photo you could see how truly happy he was -- and that smile of his that I miss so much.

This photo was taken when my parents were still dating, and it's a picture I had never seen of them.  A few months after dad died I found it in a book, 'The Five People You Meet in Heaven', that I had read years ago and had been under my bed since.  I wasn't sleeping well one night and had finished the book I had been reading so I decided to read this one again, opened it up, and this photo fell out.  I'm not sure how it got there, I'm pretty sure I didn't have the book in Buffalo for any reason and that it had been under my bed for years .....  it really felt like my dad was sending me some sort of message that things were all right.  When I shared it with my mom she of course remembered the photo but didn't remember if the book had been at her house either, how the photo got in my book (it had been in a photo album of hers, there was still dried tape on the back).  However the photo ended up in my book and found me that night, when I really needed a little reassurance -- it helped.  It's one of my favorites now and always makes me smile and feel happy when I look at it.  

I haven't had many dreams of my dad yet, the very few I've had were nice but vague.  The other night I dreamt I was in some sort of an auditorium or church full of people.  I was looking around and saw this older man smiling at me.  He looked kind of familiar but I couldn't place him.  His face then changed (not in a scary or eery way) and it was my dad, looking at me and smiling.  He nodded his head as he smiled at me and I woke up.

Maybe it was 'just a dream' -- my own brain needing to give me something, maybe it was my dad finding a way to let me know everything is okay -- that he checks in on me/us even when I don't know it.  I just know it made me feel good and sad.

I miss him so much, and so do a lot of other people.  The other night I went in to check on the girls before I went to bed and found this drawing by Ella in her hand as she was sleeping (click on to make larger):

It made me smile and sad at the same time.  Her kind of naked body drawings always crack me up, and she certainly got grampa's look right (a little hair on the sides of his head, not on the top, glasses, a big smile).  Grampa's response of 'Thank You.' was just perfect too (he was always polite) -- but her last line is what really got me. 'I will never forget you'.

Grampa is missed.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

First Day of First Grade ....

..... went great!!  And despite the girls having different
colored shirts and outfits to wear, they both chose the
same thing ....  which makes it easier for me
(and I still think it's awfully cute).

Ella Marie ~ First Grader Extraordinaire!!

Zoe Dianne ~ First Grader Extraordinaire!!

Walking into school ....

Holding Dad's hand too .....

Seeing Miss Splett .....

..... and loving her warm smile : )

Getting settled and reading books while
waiting for their day to start .....

First Grade Cupcakes:

The first full week went really well too -- they are both
really comfortable with being at school for a full-day, they
both know so many other kids already and have just settled
into the school year routine so well.

The week started our really great and ended really great too --
Zoe lost her FIRST tooth on Friday (while at school).  She
is so, so, SO excited and Ella has been a very supportive sister
as well, very patiently waiting for her first tooth to even get
wiggly .....  Like Tom told the girls, each tooth that is lost has
it's own story, and Zoe definitely has a good first tooth story I'll
share later .....

Now time to get my lesson plans ready for my first day with
Kindergarteners on Monday .......

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Meet the Teacher ~

The new school year has started and it's been busy,
busy, busy --- and fun, fun, fun!!

Last week the girls' school had their annual 'Meet the
Teacher' event and 'Back-To-School Parade', and they
were THRILLED to find out their teacher is Miss Splett
(the same teacher their friends/almost like big sisters or
cousins holly and lexi had last year).

I really don't know who was more excited, the girls .....

..... or their dad!! : )

We all had a great time.  We saw their classroom, saw some
old friends, met a few new friends, and had a little time to talk
with Miss Splett (and admire her hot-pink sparkly high top
tennis shoes).  Of course I forgot to get a pic of the girls with
their new teacher but her tennis shoes really did sparkle, almost
as much as her warm and welcoming smile : ) 

The parade around the neighborhood was a blast.  Zoe and
Ella rode their TWO-WHEEL bikes around like pros and I think
Tom made a lot of other dads wish they had brought their scooters,

I had to jog to keep up (not my favorite activity), but it was
fun see how much fun the girls were having : )

At one point Ella biked quite a bit ahead of us.  Tom caught
up to her and we had to laugh, she was biking alongside her
principal : )

After the parade and a few more photos of our First Graders .....

.....  including old pal sweet Bella ......

...... and the oldest First Grader in the class ......

Bella wanted a picture of herself with Tom, which
I thought was so funny and so sweet.

We then celebrated by having dinner with Bella and
her family at Snuffy's ......  a perfect way to end a really
perfect way to start out a new school year : )

Monday, September 3, 2012


Back in July (I wonder if I'll ever get caught up on my blog again ....)
the girls had two friends from Kindergarten over for a playdate.
We were going to make CAKEPOPS but when too much frosting
made them really, really gooey and sticky we improvised and
called them CAKEBLOBS.  They were super fun to make and
SO yummy -- they might have even been better that way!!

These girls were constantly on the go, some inside play
but mostly outside.  The pool and trampoline seemed to
be the two favorite spots, and pool shots were really hard
to get, so I mainly have pics of jumping on the trampoline ......

The only time they really stopped moving was when
they did this .....

..... and when they were actually sitting, they were still talking
non-stop, many times all four at the same time : )

BEST part of the afternoon was when Mrs. Olson -- Kindergarten
Teacher Extraordinaire -- stopped by to surprise the girls.  It was like
an angel entered our backyard when she came around the corner.  The
girls were in awe and the way the sun was shining it truly looked like
she was glowing!! : )  It was so sweet.  Each time I looked at Zoe or Ella
they had these big-eyed, WOW, kind of in shock smiles on their faces.
The power of a teacher -- it's so awesome!!

And Mrs. Olson, not only did she take the time to come over
to our house and make an appearance, she also JUMPED
in the TRAMPOLINE with the girls and played with them!!!!!  

She also stayed for a glass of wine (with me) and for a very impromptu
dinner (leftover chinese and hotdogs!).  The girls gave her a
tour of our house that even included CLOSETS (oh my) -- and
they could not stop smiling.

I know we're going to really love Ms. Splett and that she
will probably become 'First Grade Teacher Extraordinaire',
but she does have some very big shoes to fill .....  Mrs. Olson
set the bar very high .......

Saturday, September 1, 2012

More Summer Fun ~

More Things We Did This Summer:
Lots of visiting with friends, having playdates, going to different parks, beaches and playgrounds.

Many, many trips to Como Zoo and Como Town (including first rides on the rollercoaster) ....

.... and riding on the 'every summer favorite' -- the giant swings:

Lots of playing in our backyard, and some showing off of two cute,
sandy back-sides while digging holes in the sand ....

Lots of time to draw and do art .....

Some cooking and baking, including blueberry muffins to celebrate the 4th of July!!

Lots of time for writing too, and creating their own office space .....

Lots of time to read, read, read -- and really special reading
times with Daddy, that also included lots of cuddling.

Creating costumes and modeling them
(unicorn costume designed and created by Ella) ....

Modeling Kitty Costume Designed by Ella,
created by Zoe:

Visits to the Creamy Cone .....

Gymnastics every Tuesday -- and almost giving me a heart
attack as they learned rolls, jumps and flips -- especially
when they learned to climb the SUPER HIGH ropes.

Ella kept climbing and climbing (front in blue)......

..... and almost went to the very top ....

Zoe climbed and climbed and climbed .....

and made it to the very top .....

She would have rung the bell but her arm wasn't long
enough to reach over that far ....

Our pal Jia had a Harry Potter Birthday party so we
researched the books (haven't read them yet) and came
up with our own Harry Potter School Girl outfits .....

I even dressed in character as one of the professsors
and told fortunes to the party-goers!!

On one of our bike rides Ella noticed this baby turtle in
the middle of the street -- Zoe and I thought it was just a
wet leaf.  It was very close to not making it, so the girls carefully
brought it to a puddle of water that perked it up quite
quickly, then Zoe carefully put him in her baby carrier on 
her bike and rode back home.  We made a turtle
habitat for the little guy and Ella names him Bill.  We also
looked online and found out Bill was actually a baby snapping
turtle!!  We helped him get back his energy and brought him
back to the pond, right across from where we found him.

On one of our Como Town trips Ella was chosen to help
the magician/juggler perform tricks.  She did an awesome
job and I was relieved balloons were used, not the machetes
he juggled with while standing on a ladder : )

We found out the girls' new beds from IKEA are perfect for
reading books together, are cute and sweet and are really, really
comfortable (and are big enough that Tom and I can sleep with 
the girls too if we want) ......

Buddy still gets an awful lot of attention and love -- he
seems to really like books about dinosaurs too .....

And spending time with special family friends, Gisella (left)
and Aprill (right) -- who are like aunties to me .....

It's been a summer full of lots of fun.  We didn't do all the
extra things I had hoped to, and we didn't see all the friends
we had hoped to.  But all that we did do, the big and little,
added up to make for a really, really good summer.  It just 
flew by a little too fast .....

Year two of my job is definitely easier in many ways than last
year, but still a lot more busy and intense than I would prefer --
and my students don't even start until September 10th.  Between
getting my room ready and A LOT of meetings I haven't even 
started looking at curriculum/paperwork.

Ella and Zoe met their teacher last week (really happy about
who they have and how that all went -- more on that later), and
are excited to start First Grade on Tuesday.  I still can't
believe they are old enough to be in First Grade, and I've come
to accept that I'll feel this way every year, no matter what grade
they are in or what they are doing. : )

It's all SO good.