Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kindergarten Orientation..............

Bren was able to meet her Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Butler tonight!
I had applied for all day kindergarten but was notified in June that we didn't get picked.
I was disappointed because half day kindergarten was only 2 hours and 45 minutes long.
I knew that Bren was ready for more than that and I wanted her to be able to get alot out of this year.
When I went to check her name on the list to see what class she was in, I could not find her on any of the half day lists.
I asked the secretary why Bren's name wasn't on any class lists and she said that Bren was an all day student.
They had conducted another drawing in early August and we got picked!!
I was so excited!!
Bren is going to learn so much this year and I'm relieved that she will be able to settle into a longer, slower, more detailed schedule that is offered to the all-dayers instead of the fast pace of half day.

Mrs. Butler put together a fun scavenger hunt for the kids to do during orientation.

The first thing on the list was to introduce yourself to the teacher.
Bren said, "Hi Mrs. Butler. I'm Brendell."

She was quickly drawn to a few little girls
and they played together in the kitchen for at least 20 minutes
while the other moms and I chatted.
Bren didn't want to leave,
so I'm guessing that this will be a favorite play station for her this year.

Before we left,
we found Bren's name in the hallway where she'll hang her jacket and backpack.
Bren will start her first day on Friday the 5th of September.
The older kids start on Tuesday.
We've got lots of school supply shopping to do between now and then!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thanks Jon and Kate plus 8!

We had one of those nights last night
when sleep just did not come upon us at our usual bed time.
I put Bren down at 9:00 which is later than usual, but still reasonable
compared to what some of our summer nights have been like.
But, Michael and I just weren't tired even at midnight.
So, we ordered a movie from on demand.
We watched a new release called
We both loved it!
After that, we still weren't sleepy,
so I switched to the free movie section
and we watched Ed TV.
This is one of my favorite comedies, but Michael had never seen it.
I must have been more tired than I thought because I didn't make it past
Ed kissing his brother's disgruntled girlfriend, so I went on up to bed at 2:30 am!!
Anyway, long story short...
we had a very late night last of the last pleasures of Summer.
So in turn, we had a very lazy, late waking morning.
One of the first things I saw this morning
besides Bren giggling beside me in the warm covers of my bed,
was a rerun of Jon and Kate plus 8.
It was Mother's Day morning and Jon was making french toast for Kate
with the help of the kids.
That was all Bren and I needed to see.
We headed down to the kitchen and made our own french toast.
It was the perfect breakfast for a coolish, groggy morning.

Bren sprinkled the cinnamon and the powered sugar
on the pile of french toast that I flipped around on the griddle.

A little butter to finish it off
and we were ready for a sweet start to our Wednesday morning.

Today is a special day too..........

Bren gets to meet her Kindergarten teacher tonight at orientation!!
We are so excited!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

All good things...................

must come to and end whether you want them to or not.
And so it is with Ana and Jesse's visit.
Before they left though, we had to share a day at Lake Stevens with them.

Spending Summer afternoons at lakes is a very Pacific Northwest thing to do.
It seems that everyone has a boat or a jet ski and families can be seen
packing up their coolers and beach bags on Friday nights
to spend the entire weekend
enjoying the beauty and recreation offered at the many lakes around this area.

So, we had to let our Rhode Island friends experience just a taste
of a Pacific Northwest day at the lake.

We packed our cooler full of sandwiches, chips and water bottles, grabbed a bunch of towels, a beach blanket and a bottle of sunscreen.
It's not the beach as we know it, but it serves as a nice alternative.

The kids had fun swimming, playing tag and jumping from the dock.

I adore picnics,
so being able to share one with so many people
in such a beautiful setting is right up my alley!
If I could,
I'd have a picnic lunch or dinner
every day of the Summer in a different fun location.

I think that Michael grew 3 inches over the 2 months that he was gone.
He's caught up to Zach now!

Check out that mountain in the background.
It's part of what makes this such a beautiful location.
I can't believe it still has snow on it!
I hope we get to make a trip up to the Cascades this Winter
to let the kids ski and snowboard.
Bren found a little friend and new courage in the form of a life jacket.
She ran the docks with the big kids and had a great time.

She even overcame her fear of jumping off the dock and let Michael catch her a few times.
She'll go in the water up to her chest,
but she still won't let anyone take her into the deeper water
and she wont put her head under water for long.
It's so unlike my other three kids
who were all swimming confidently in the big pool by the time they were three.
I see swimming lessons in Bren's future.
We had so much fun with Ana and Jesse and enjoyed their visit so much!
We went to the Evergreen state fair in Monroe on Friday night and had way too good a time to bring a camera along for.
Bren and I rode the scrambler and the swings that take you up really high in a big circle.
The older kids road every turn your insides upside down,
make your hair stand straight up on your head,
scream for your momma
thrill ride there!
We took the group to the Rock church on Sunday which was "totally sick".
We had a "Lord of the Rings" marathon movie day on Monday to avoid being outside in the rainy greyness that settled upon us that day.
I haven't worked so hard, laughed so hard or worried so hard in a long time.
Such is life with teens.....
crazy, fun, exhausting, rewarding, frustrating,
hilarious, scary, dramatic, spontaneous
definitely, definitely
worth every minute invested in them.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bumpers please!!

In an effort to find activities that please the whole crowd,
we chose bowling on Thursday night.
Bren and I bowled on one lane with bumpers of course,
and the rest of the gang bowled on the lane next to us.

Bren had so much fun!
Since it was just her and I on one lane, it kept things moving pretty quickly and she was able to throw alot of balls.
She did pretty well for a five year old.
I still beat her though!
And everyone else too, but they are not counting it since I had bumpers!

I think Zach won on his lane with Michael in a close second.

The girls had a great time too.
It seems bowling is an ageless sport!

Have I mentioned how great it is to have the boys home?
Michael went out and mowed our lawn, pulled weeds, got the whole outside looking awesome AND cleaned out the garage without me even asking him to!
He said he just missed me so much that he wanted to do everything he could around the house to help me out.
LOVE him!!!!!!!
I'm such a lucky mom!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pedicures and Airplanes......

We are thrilled to have two extra girls at our house this week!
Madison's best friend Jesse, with whom she just spent two weeks in Rhode Island,
and Ana, Jesse's sister and also Zach's best friend,
flew to our house on Sunday morning from LA.

They were in LA with their mom for a week
and we arranged it so that the girls could fly here for a week
before flying home to Rhode Island.
It was very last minute, but we pulled it off!
I'm so happy we did because Zach has no idea that they are here.
He's been asking me all Summer if we could have Ana visit, but I just kept telling him that it didn't look like it would work.

We were all so excited for the "big reveal" when Zach would see Ana at the airport on Tuesday night. We talked about all the different senarios that could happen and all the different ways that we could surprise the boys.

We celebrated our last day of all girls with a day at the nail salon.

We enjoyed pedicures and manicures and had fun being together.

For those of you who have been following my story for a while,
here's a visual of how much progress I've made with my ankle....
There's still quite a bit of swelling from the break and surgery,
but I'm getting around so much better and I only have a slight limp.
The human body is just amazing!

Bren enjoyed hanging with the big girls
and getting the royal treatment as well!

Ana got a new set of acrylics put on.

And some creative polish!

And now for the reunion!!!!!

Here we are waiting for the flight to land.
We arrived in enough time to scope out the place
so we would be able to plan a great surprise for Zach.

We decided that for maximum surprise effect, we should plan a dramatic reveal.
Ana and Jesse hid behind the glass of the escalator that we'd be going down.

When the boys saw us from way down the hall, they held hands and skipped to us.....crazy things!
Madison, Bren and I greeted the boys with huge hugs!!!
It was so great to see them again!

And then as we were going down the escalator,
Ana and Jesse turned around and jumped up.
As soon as Zach saw them he screamed, "WHAT???!!!!!" over and over.
I don't think he could register in his brain that Ana was actually there!

Ana and Jesse hopped on the escalator right behind us and
Zach was so excited he dropped his skateboard and kinda bounced from foot to foot waiting for her to get off the escalator.


Zach skipped with Ana to baggage claim while Zach sang the "Ana's Here" theme song.... just one of many silly tunes swimming around in his head.

I'm sure that strangers thought we were all insane, but it was a fun scene to watch!
We were so proud at how perfectly we had pulled of the surprise.
This is something that we will all talk about for years to come.
It was a really hard secret to keep,
especially when Ana was standing in our living room texting Zach back that she was sorry the flight did not work out and that he'd better fly to Rhode Island next summer to see his best friend!

Now off to more adventures in Washington this week.....