Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Arlington meets her teacher

Today we went back to Arlington's school to meet her teacher.  She was excited to finally put a face with the name.  Arlington was in love with her from the moment she met her.  She was sweet, and young, and very energetic.  She asked Arlington a lot of questions - knew that Arlington was new to Massachusetts.  I think it is going to be a great year.

When we first went into the school - we took her things to her locker.  We had gotten her a few things to decorate it with and extra supplies just in case.  The lockers are full size and Arlington looked like a smurf next to it.
But she was excited about the locker.  Luckily it has an upper and lower shelf and hooks so she can still reach.

Each locker was labeled with the child's name.  This is still elementary school, after all.  It is weird she has a locker, but in a way I am glad.  It is where she will keep her bookbag, lunch and coat and that will keep it from mixing with other kids.
I would say "keep her from losing something", but I know that will happen no matter what.
We met her teacher, and she got to pick her journal (she chose purple) and her seat.  She was pretty excited to pick her seat.  They let the kids find a desk that fit them well, so that made a lot of sense.  She put her name on the front of her desk and immediately sat down and started flipping through the books.
She is such a nerd.

They have student planners this year, which should be interesting.  She found this fascinating.  We turned in her school supplies and the teacher said she would put them all away for Arlington.  So on the first day of school, she won't have a heavy bookbag.

Arlington's classroom is huge.  There were a lot of people in there, so I didn't take many pictures, but I did take a picture of the reading center.  This is just one little corner of the room.  It is really big.
There are 21 students in Arlington's class, and they weren't crowded at all.  The school was recently remodeled and it shows.  There is plenty of room to roam in each of the classrooms.  This teacher has room for several carpeted areas, a very large reading desk (that seats about 10) and all the kids desks and her desk, and still room for the kids to get around.  I was very impressed.

So a good day.  I will end the post by showing you the pictures I took of Arlington today.  Each summer we do a photo shoot.  I change the kids picture in our bedroom each year as they grow, so I love doing this photo.  It is fun to see how much they change each year.

 After behaving so long, I let her do a few funny poses:

One of these two are the winner for this years picture:

Tomorrow I will post either Finley or Cainan!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New School - take one

Today - we went to Arlington's school for a tour.  All new students to the district were invited for a tour to see the school and see their classrooms before school starts.  Arlington was so excited to finally see the school.

The tour was great.  First - I want to say that her school is completed renovated.  They just finished a two year renovation and I think the only thing that is the same is the shell of the school.  The school looks amazing.

We were able to meet a few other third graders.  One little girl and Arlington really hit it off.  She isn't in Arlington's class, but at least Arlington will have a few familiar faces that first day.  This little girl also has a little sister who is starting Kindergarten, so a good fit.

Arlington had a chance to see her classroom and spent a lot of time looking around in there.  She got to see her locker (yes, they have lockers for 3rd graders!) - it was labeled with her name already.  It made her even more excited for the first day.

Tomorrow we meet her teacher and I will take the camera.  That way you can see some things in the school.  I didn't take it today because we were with all different grade levels and I didn't know what we would be doing.  Arlington's school is grades 3-5 and has about 400 students.  There are 6, 3rd grade classrooms.  All with about 20 students each.  So, she will get to meet a ton of kids.
 We then went and spent a few hours with my new friend, Maria, and her kids.  My kids love her kids and her kids are really sweet.  We had a great time and I am lucky to have someone close by that has been a huge help to our family.  And she is a plant lover, just like me, so we have a lot to talk about!
This afternoon I did more garden work and moved a ton more plants to new homes.  The  baby bunnies (as you have seen in the pictures in this post) are big enough to come out of their hidey hole and take care of themselves.  This is a blessing and a curse.  I am very happy that they survived the hurricane, but now they are munching on my plants.  I caught one with a leaf in its mouth when I came around to check on them today.  Little stinker.  Lucky they are cute.
Arlington tried to give them carrots.  It was really cute.  They are going to have to move on soon - pretty soon their "home" will become a full on grass area - no more plant protection.  I will let them get a little bigger.
Mat has taught Arlington how to play chess and they have been playing daily.  Mat says she has gotten the idea and is doing pretty good. 

Another full day.  Summer is winding down.  A week tomorrow, the kids start back to school.  We are enjoying our time squeezing in everything we want to do before the summer ends.

Monday, August 29, 2011


 I love flowers.
If I had my wish, my whole yard would be filled with flowering plants.  And when I say that, I mean flowering plants that flower all summer long.
I don't even mind the bees.  Okay - I mind the ones that sting you 100 times and fly out of the ground, but not the big fat bumbles that don't bother you.
Today, since we are past the hurricane and the weather was beautiful, I spent 4 hours in the yard.  The kids were happy playing outside today and I got a lot done.  I moved 5 day lilies, two perennial mums, and one blackberry lily (thanks Maria for spotting me the name for that bad boy).  Then I raked until I couldn't stand it any more and pulled up a lot more weeds from the front "garden".  Slowly but surely, we are making headway in our yard.  It is getting exciting.  I have so much more to do, but I still figure I have at least a month and a half before the weather gets too bad.  I can't wait to see it when it gets where we want it.
After we finished in the yard, we ran some errands.  The kids have to have bus passes to ride the bus here (don't ask - I have no idea why) so we had to go and pick those up at the town offices this morning.  School is getting closer.  Arlington said today that she can't wait because she loves school.  And that she does.  She LOVES school.  Finley turned around and said "not me, I don't love school".  Sigh.  Leave it to Finley to make it difficult.  We talked about how she hasn't GONE to school yet, but she corrected me and said last week she rode the bus and was IN the school.  I guess that counted.
I have talked to several of my Connecticut friends and they are still out of power.  They were told it might be out the rest of the week.  I feel so bad for them.  I know what it is to be out of power from a hurricane for a week.  But what is worse for our areas is that we have well water.  And that means NO water.  You can't flush the toilets, you can't wash your hands.  They are going crazy.  School was supposed to start in our old area tomorrow, but it has been postponed until September 6th.  They have had heavy damage, and a lot of down trees and flooding.  We are wishing them well and hoping that their power comes on soon.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

After Irene

We survived.  And I will be brief.

We had some wind and rain today and the power was out about 9 hours.

We didn't have any damage to the house or surrounding trees/plants, which was good. 

We are happy to have power this evening.  Mat and I got a lot done today.  We hung pictures on most of the walls.  We played a ton of games with the kids.  We tried to stay occupied.

Tonight we are happily watching TV with the lights on and glad that the storm was gentle to our part of the world.

We hope all of our friends/family kept safe during the storm.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Renovation Realities

"Renovation Realities" is a show on DIY network.  Have you ever seen it?  Mat and I could run that show.

As much as we like to DIY around our house, it doesn't always turn out the best.  At least not at first go.  We have put playsets together wrong, drilled holes in doors on the wrong side so that we couldn't hang them, cut down trees that fell the wrong way and almost crushed their cars...........  (I won't tell you WHO caused this things - that is irrelevant)

Here are pictures of the house in June.

So when we decided to tackle the yard, we should have known there would be issues.  And there were.  So far it has been wild life.  Bees, bunnies.....and then mice, skunk, racoon. 

The skunk is kind of a funny story.  We bought something to spray over the ground bees/hornets hole.  It has to be sprayed in the dark.  So - my dad got up early, before dawn, and went out to spray (the night before it was raining.  Yes, he is dedicated to not getting stung again).  He was outside about 1 minute when he came back in and announced that he couldn't spray because there was a skunk digging in the bee hole.


We had to wait for him to finish before we could spray.  We were a little more worried about being sprayed by the skunk that spraying the bee hole at this time.

Yesterday and today we spent a lot of time in the yard.  We removed all the bushes in the front of the house and it looks so much better.  We are going to fill it with flowering plants.

The front yard - which is full of tons and tons of plants, is now being moved.  We moved 25 blanket flowers/autumn suns today and they found a new home.  (thanks to Maria for the suggestion on placement - they look awesome).

My mom decided that today was a good day to try and chance losing a limb.  I let her use the hedge trimmer to dead head the (1 million) daisies.
She did a good job and didn't cut off any fingers.

We got a lot done the last two days.  Stumps were removed, weeding done, and we checked on the baby bunnies and they are still doing fine.

It started raining around 2pm and has been raining ever since.  Darn hurricane - messing with my yard time.

Tomorrow we will be trapped inside while we wait out the wind and rain from the lovely Irene.  Then Monday - it is back to work.

Friday, August 26, 2011


While we were home visiting my parents, we went to the local Pittsburgh amusement park, Kennywood.  Always a favorite when we were growing up, we try to take our kids each summer to enjoy many of the same rides.  They have since added many new rides, much to the delight of our daredevil, Arlington.  Arlington is 49 inches, which makes her now eligible for many of the roller coasters and other crazy rides the park has to offer.

Thankfully, I have a brother who loves to ride.  Mat was not with us during the week, so AJ was a big help when it came to satisfying our girl's needs for thrill rides.  Thanks AJ for being willing to ride with her!

Here are a few pictures of our day.
The kids and Grammy riding the Kangaroo

 Papa and Finley writing the Paratroopers.

 Baby J enjoys a nap
 Finley, Tricia and E riding the Whip
 Grammy and Cainan on the Whip

 Baby J is attacked by his hat
 Arlington gets ready to ride her first "upside down" ride

 There she goes!

 Complete upside down!
 Finley and Arlington in Kiddie land.  Even though Arlington is a big girl, she will still ride with her sister