Friday, September 9, 2016

Back at It

And just like that we have nearly forgotten that only last month we were off adventuring! This week our activities are 100% back in full force so the evenings fly by but the kids are having fun (well, mostly, Ella is not thrilled about piano haha).
Here are a few moments from our first weeks back to normal life...
Ella had a great first week back to school and swimming and is mostly just excited to get to see her friends every day again :-)
Addie and Preston sporting their new school spirit wear (they both picked the same shirt this year)
Pokemon day and one of Addie's latest rainbow loom creations (she has been making all the Pokemon characters)
Mike's burger looked too good to not take a picture of ;-)
Addie's teacher posts pictures from the classroom on an app and I love seeing her at school!
Sometimes I just have to screen shot Ella's instagram posts :-)
Pie and reading buddy
In an effort to stay motivated to survive the next two months of craziness, we bought a map to hang above my desk and pinned all the places we have been and all the places we hope to go soon! So far it is working :-).
This made me laugh...
And these were delicious (and ruined my healthy eating for the week)...
We got an update that our little baby raccoon, who they are calling Rascal, is doing very well and will soon be joining some other rescued raccoons around his age so that they can bond and stick together when they are released into the wild.
Addie and Prest were so excited for a three-day weekend and got to spend the night together three times. They went to sleep a little later than usual but were getting along so well we didn't mind :-).

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

First Day of School 2016

I was so proud of myself (and relieved) to get all caught up on my vacation blogging that I gave myself a break after and just realized it has now been two weeks since school started and I never posted the pictures.
The first day of school came super fast! I think we learned that in the future it is best to be home from any trips two weeks before the first day to feel completely prepared and ready to go. But we managed to pick out something cute to wear, have the kitchen stocked for lunches and yummy first day breakfast and kids excited and ready to go!
Monday, the 22nd, was not only the first day of school for all the kids, but Mike's first day to teach early morning seminary as well, so the entire house was up EARLY! He is teaching New Testament to the Sophomores from our ward and my parents' ward (so he has a lot of the girls I work with in Mia Maids as well) and is really enjoying it so far. Mike headed out and I made breakfast for the kiddos. They picked chocolate chip pancakes and bacon, and I added some berries :-). We packed lunches and said our goodbyes to Ella, who is riding the bus in the mornings again this year (Mike picks her up), and then the littles had an hour to hang out before it was their turn.
Eventually it was time to brave the crowds at the elementary school and off we went. I am so glad Mike doesn't have to miss doing these routines with us anymore now that he isn't teaching! Preston and Addie both walked right in to their class rooms and were excited to see their friends.
It has definitely been nice to have our days to ourselves again. It is crazy how much more you can get done when you don't have to stop to break up arguments ;-)...although I do miss having them come in to show me things they have been making in their rooms. And of course, with the kids back in school it is back to full time working mode around here and that's no fun. There are pros and cons to all of life's phases :-).
Adeline, 4th grade, and Preston, 2nd grade
Ella, 7th grade
Nana stopped by that afternoon with her traditional back to school treats for the kiddos. This year it was yummy rice krispie treats!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Summer's End

We finished cruising the 12th and 13th of August, arriving back to Houston the morning of the 14th. We spent those last days on ship really trying to soak in the fact that we had nothing to do because we knew as soon as we got home we would be off and running like crazy until Thanksgiving. We hit the pool and water slides in the morning after breakfast, lounged in our rooms and watched Olympics most the afternoon, explored the ship, forced the kids to go to the kids' club for a bit, watched the ice skating show (which was pretty impressive!), and had enjoyed long multi-course dinners at night (as well as celebrating Ella's birthday). It was heavenly and I'm ready to go back already.
Once we got home we had one week until school started and I was waaay more unprepared than I ever had been before. We needed to get tennis shoes for the girls, catch up on laundry, squeeze in the last playdates of summer and get Ella to and from a little half day volleyball camp she did to give her at least some preparation to try out for the junior high volleyball team. We also had meet the teacher night for the littles and Coyote Countdown for Ella to get her schedule and locker. We had been planning to spend a day at Typhoon Texas this week as well but it rained EVERY day so we ended up going to the Alamo to see Pete's Dragon with Kayley and her kiddos instead. It ended up being a way better movie than anticipated and Ella was relieved to get in one more Alamo trip ;-).
On Saturday, the 20th, we got to enjoy an appetizer fiesta at Uncle Julio's. It was a reward we earned through their loyalty program and Ella had been the most excited about it, so we saved it and used it for our family celebration. Sunday Ella had her first week in Young Women's (exciting!!!) and it was the eve of the new school year! It completely snuck up on us with all our traveling being at the end of summer waiting for Ella's swim season to be over. We had our special dinner, set our new goals and Mike gave the kids' their Father's blessings.
Initially I had been pretty worried about Preston's teacher situation. The English teacher Ella had for 5th grade was my least favorite teacher ever. Ella didn't have any real issues with her because she is Ella ;) but other parents had horrible experiences and the things Ella told me were not good. I had actually been planning to pull Addie out of TWI for 5th grade just so she wouldn't have her. So when we could log in and see which teachers the kids had for homeroom and Preston had that teacher I freaked out!!! I frantically started texting parents and other teachers that I have become friends with. I called the school to see who the Spanish teacher would be and thankfully she had stayed the same...we love her and she is an amazing teacher. The girls' Spanish both improved leaps and bounds when they had her. This also made the decision harder though because I was ready to pull him from the program but didn't want him to miss his year with the Spanish teacher. Mike and I weren't sure what to do...pull him now to avoid a switch and complete change of schedule and friends mid-year but miss out on the Spanish or try it out. We decided to try it out and I'm hoping for the best. After meet the teacher night I felt much better about the decision and so far things have been good.
This was an amazing summer and although the break from the kids has definitely been nice, I'm still sad summer is over!
Birthday Girl :-)

3 desserts and the new Harry Potter book (from Grammy and Greatfrog) meant all her birthday dreams came true ;)
Waiting to get off the ship, we were happy to be the last group off!
We arrived home Sunday afternoon and Mike went out the front to pick up a newspaper and found this little guy. When I heard him say there was a baby raccoon on our porch I hurried down because I thought he would be running off, but we quickly realized the little guy wasn't doing too well. I started looking up wildlife rescue numbers but almost all of them were closed on Sundays. Eventually I found a list of independent rehabbers online and started to call them. After getting many referrals and telling the story to many sweet ladies over the phone, I finally found one who lives literally 3 minutes from our house that could take him in. She was able to give him an IV until he started drinking from a bottle and is doing really well the last we heard.
Ella was ecstatic about her present from Hope and Kyler!
We were going to have a big party for Ella this year but she decided she wanted the best phone available instead so we just did a low key get-together with her 5 besties from school, 1 from church and 2 from swimming. The rain meant we couldn't head to the pool like originally planned but the girls had fun hanging out, watching Full House Episodes (seriously!) and eating pizza and snacks. It's a great group of girls!
Preston watching from afar :-)
Wednesday meant playdates for Addie and Preston and to the school for Ella to get her locker and schedule
Meet the Teacher
Ella ice skated for the first time for her swimming bestie Megan's birthday
already missing our vacation when I came across this picture :-)
Ollie worked SO hard on this teeny little card for Ella. So cute!
It is so fun that I am in Young Women as Ella comes into the program!