Tuesday, August 24, 2010

pretty and pampered

With the big sisters going back-to-school, Bethany loses her two favorite playmates. She sees all their excitement and anticipation building up, and then they're gone. I try to plan fun stuff for us to do for a few weeks until she starts preschool.

She had seen her sisters get haircuts (and shampoos) last week, but I told her if she waited I would take her somewhere special. A new salon for kids opened nearby, and since they mailed us a coupon, we decided to check it out. When we arrived, there were no other customers, so she thought she was really being pampered. First, she had her hair washed with chocolate shampoo. Even with the booster, she had a hard time reclining with her head in the sink. But it definitely made her feel like a big girl. One of the perks of this place is that you get to sit in an elevated vehicle for the cut (she chose the pink jeep) and you also get to select a DVD to watch (she chose Tom & Jerry).
Her hair had grown fairly long, but not quite enough for a 10 inch donation. We ended up taking about 8 inches off. The stylist finished her up with a blow dry, then a little spritz and a clip. Very cute!

The final surprise was the complimentary manicure (she chose purple). It certainly made her feel special.

Monday, August 23, 2010

back to business!

this summer was busy. fun, but busy. it also went by very quickly. can't believe it's over. now here we go, tumbling head first into another school year !

first on the list: elementary school

Anna is in 2nd grade and super excited. I love that she is so enthusiastic about school. She loves being with her friends. She loves reading. She loves art. I'm anxious to see what she does with her newest skill: organization!

She squealed several times this morning in the car on the way to school. Ear piercing squeals. Squeals of excitement. Any butterflies she had in her tummy were not nerves, just pure excitement!

The drop-off process was going smoothly. This is our family's 6th year at this school, so we've gotten the routine down pat. Anna has a teacher this year that Katie had 4 years ago. I was feeling confident. Then... I passed one of the staff in the hallway... her comment was "only one this year?" (referring to the fact that Katie had moved on.)... well, that was my breaking point. I'm glad I was walking a step behind Shayne and Anna because I lost it for a minute.

Anna got off the bus with a skip in her step. I said "how was your day?". She said "I loved it!" I still have to pry for details... my questions alwaysstart with "did you make any new friends", "who did you play with at recess?, "who did you sit next to at lunch?" I want to know who my kids are spending time with!

next on the list: middle school (yikes!)

Yes... big changes in the West house. We've entered a new frontier. But we've entered with eager anticipation. She's excited, so we're excited for her. For the past several weeks, (more like months) she's been known to spontaneously burst out "I'm going to middle school". Don't stand to close, you might get hit with a flailing arm!

She spent a half-day at the school last week running through all the drills - classes, teachers, lockers, cafeteria. She hit the ground running this morning. I've been very pleased to see how they ease the 6th graders into the school. Here is her line-up: GT English, Advanced Contemporary Literacy, Phys Ed, Theatre Arts, Pre AP Math, Social Studies, AIM/Model UN, and Science. She's pleased with all of her teachers so far (has her faves picked out). She has her folders and notebooks labeled and her textbooks covered.

It was a little nerve-wrecking this morning waiting for the bus. It was 25 minutes late! I think she enjoyed hanging out at the bus stop with her girlfriends though. The bus was only a few minutes behind on the trip home. She made it very clear that she didn't want any family waiting for her at the bus stop. The sisters and I hung out halfway up the street. She was very happy to see us. (or maybe she was just happy to get off the bus - no A/C, 100+ degrees!)

She reported a smooth day. The gliches in the schedule were nobody's fault, just the school needing to iron out all the kinks. They report to advisory closes at the beginning and ending of each day just for this week, so the rest of the day is on an alternate schedule. She'll get the hang of it.

It was a great first day of school and it's going to be a great year!

Saturday, May 1, 2010




sorry for any inconvenience.

check back later for updates.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

DT - ed 5

menu: smoked sausage, chicken flavored noodles, and spinach salad

dinner was fast tonite. Shayne was anxious to get some yardwork done while he had good dayligh AND his phone kept ringing.

Anna finished reading Junie B. Jones One Man Band and dove right into Ramona and Her Mother. can you guess which one I picked out and which one she picked out? I had lunch with her at school. nothing like a slice of cafeteria pizza to satisfy your taste buds (ha!). she just finished trying on her outfit for tomorrow. they've been studying Egypt and it's dress-up day!

Katie had her last round of TAKS testing for the year - science. everyone seems to get so worked up about it. hasn't there always been standardized testing? I remember doing that stuff when I was a kid. anyway, it doesn't phase her! she's on the computer right now, doing some of her People to People research. she's so excited about her trip to DC this summer!

Bethany went to preschool today. they've been learning about the 5 senses and she had a homework assignment to turn in. she had a booklet, and each page was a ziploc bag with one of the senses in it. for sight, she put in a photo of her family. for hearing, she put in a small bell. for smell, she put in a purple flower. for taste, a peppermint. for touch, a pice of grosgrain ribbon. it was a fun project to work on together!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

week in review - edition 2

here we go again...

last Monday, I went to school with Bethany. they asked me to sub because the older class was going on a field trip and they needed an extra hand at the school. I helped with crayon rubbings, ran the potty patrol, and counted to ten in French for the penny path. it was fun, but it wore me out. no rest for the weary! my Daisy Girl Scouts needed their fearless leader to guide them through another meeting. we are working on our 'Bridging to Brownies' program. only 2 meetings left this year!

Tuesday started with another wonderful lesson in ladies class. then my girlfriend dragged me to the craft store and forced me to look at scrapbook stuff. after school, I took Katie to the middle school to try out some band instruments. she has selected theater arts as her fine arts elective, but just in case she doesn't get in, I want her to be excited about her second choice. she was asked to choose 3 instruments to try (and more, if she liked). her selections included tuba, bassoon and percussion. she also tried the tuba. she tested really well on each of them, but decided to go with bassoon. because it is not one of the popular instruments, she was guaranteed a spot. AND, if she sticks with it throughout her secondary school career, she has a pretty good chance at a music scholarship because colleges are always looking for good bassoon players. who would have thought...

Wednesday - field trip! oh, may aching feet. (oops, I'm not supposed to say that yet). I was fortunate enough to be able to accompany Anna's class on a day trip to Sea World. it was not an open to the public day, but there were a gazillion 1st graders there. Anna's teachers had enough volunteers that we each pretty much spent the day with our own kiddo. we spent most of the day with another mother/daughter from our GS troop. the rides and entertainment were not running since it was just an educational day, but we saw most of the animals. Anna's fave was the Shamu show. It was a lot of walking, hence the achey feet. I drove several parents in my car and we stopped at McD's on the way out for cold drinks. I dropped them all back at the school, then went to my friends house to pick up Bethany (thanks Lisa!). We pulled into the driveway about 5 minutes behind my cousin Greg, and 5 minutes before the girls got off the bus. Greg had been on a road trip from Virginia to the Grand Canyon, and was on his way to Florida, via motorcycle. We took him to eat at Alamo Cafe and then dropped Katie off so she could get set up for her orchestra concert. We were all supposed to go, but everyone was was worn out, so ended up trekking back for the show by myself. (Bethany, by the way, had laid down for a nap around 3:30 p.m., not to wak up until 7:30 a.m. the next morning.) The show was great, although I'm not sure why they try to cram so many schools into one night. It was packed. I was actually glad that I didn't have the sisters with me. It would have been uncomfortable for everyone. by the way, now my feet were really aching!

Thursday morning, one of Bethany's friends came over bright and early because her mom had a doctor's appointment. Before I delivered them to school, we sent Greg on his way. I did my parent volunteer work at the school, then came home to prep for my weekend getaway. What?!? I didn't tell you? scrapbook retreat. no kids, no hubby. a bed all to myself. no meals to prepare or dishes to wash. I prepared a fancy dinner for Shayne and the kids (nachos!) and I was on my way.

Friday :)

Saturday :)

Sunday I was actually ready to return home. What do I love about being gone? My kids are so excited to see me when I get home! They had done a little traveling themselves, so the house was not in too much disrepair. A B-I-G thanks to Shayne for giving me the time-off!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

dinnertime - edition 4

menu: shepherd's pie - a standard in our house, always double it and share!

Another crazy busy week has passed. Today felt a bit more normal (whatever that is). The school year is coming to an end, our loads are being lightened and extracurricular activities are wrapping up.

Katie had a fairly low-key day. She came home talking about an extensive math problem it took 2 full pieces of paper to solve. Math is not her fave, but she's still good at it when she puts her mind to it. She is currently reading the children's classic Heidi, by Joanna Spyri. Last week she read The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Can't wait to see what she chooses next!

Anna had a super day, but not because of school. She got to go home with a friend for the afternoon. Just some good ol' girly girl fun! They played dress-up, made friendship bracelets, and surfed the net. We were working on her math homework after dinner and got stumped on this problem: can you come up with a doubles fact from 10-4? I said no, it would need to be 10-5=5 ot 5+5=10. Shayne said yes, 5+5=10 and 2+2=4. Who is right? (Anna put a question mark and said she's ask the teacher tomorrow.)

Bethany and I had a lovely day together. After Ladies Bible Class, we went to lunch with some of the other ladies at Pei Wei. Bethany was the only child there, and she kept the table entertained. Despite the fact that we rarely eat asian food, she took right to the chopsticks. Her fortune cookie said "do not search for happiness, create it'. So perfect for her!

Monday, April 19, 2010

week in review - edition 1

didn't have much spare time in the evenings last week. do you want to know what we were up to?

*inhale* Tuesday uh, one of those days, started off fine, had two extra kiddos for the morning, went to ladies Bible class, then out to lunch with 3 in tow, they all did great, on our way home, got a call from the school nurse that Anna had thrown up in class, fortunately, Shayne was working from home so he was able to pick her up, got home with the 3 girls, got Anna cleaned up and settled in her room, enforced madatory quiet time, 2 extras went home, Katie came home from school with the neighbor girl in tow, she had forgotten her housekey, so she hung out with us for a few hours, add 3 more to that mix for another hour or so as a favor to another friend, minus 2 of those 3, then bye bye to the neighbor, one left plus my own, let's eat dinner!, then off to math & science night at the school, got a preview of the art show, played some math games, saw some cool experiments and met some creepy creatures, drop the extra off, then get back home to my sleepy baby, my sick baby, and my hubby, get everyone off to bed, then have some mommy daddy time. *exhale* one of those days!

Wednesday was a little smoother. I kept Anna home, just in case, and Bethany thought that was wonderful! She had a playmate all day, which also allowed me to get through some of my piles and stacks. We worked on Anna's sarcophagus project, and Katie's egg-packing project. I am always thrilled on Wednesday afternoons when I relize I don't have to worry about dinner. We eat at church before our wednesday night classes. Shayne and I are team teaching the preschool class, and it was my week to teach - one more thing to prepare for. We have a rascally bunch of kiddos, and evening classes are rough because it's usually past their bedtime by the time we finish. Get my kids home, bathed and off to bed. whew!

Thursdays are always my "go" days. Get the girls to school, get B to preschool, go back to the other school to volunteer for a few hours, run a few errands, pick B up and get her home so she can get a quick nap before the girls get home at 3. (I love the school bus!) I did stop this afternoon and treat myself to a foot massage. It was part of a package Shayne gave me for Christmas, and I've been having some heel pain (plantar fasciitis), so the timing was right. Another school activity - Young Masters Art show - both of the girls had pieces submitted (I love it when that happens.)

I posted Anna's picture upside down BECAUSE it was accidentally mounted upside down. If you look close enough, you can see the sun shining at the bottom of the ocean. You'll also seethat the art is made up completely of dots. I'm sure their is a name for that technique, but I don't know what it is. Katie's picture is a simply patterned pastel. Both are beautiful! So proud!!!
After the art show, we had plans to meet some friends for dinner. They were visiting SA from out of state, and despite our busy week/weekend, we made it a priority to see them since we hadn't seen them in several years. It was difficult to carry on a productive conversation in a noisy restaurant, and with 6 children between us, but the time together was still fun! Here all the girls...

Sad to say, but I honestly can't remember what I did most of Friday, but I know I was exhausted by the end of the day, so it must have been something! Probably prepping for the weekend, prepping for scouts on Monday night, prepping for my scrappin' getaway next weekend + kitchen + laundry + misc parenting duties. Shayne was supposed to be gone for the church men's retreat, but it got rained out, so they had it at the church instead. That means he came home really late and left really early the next morning. I slept upstairs with the kids so I wouldn't be disturbed. Katie had a friend sleepover, and we played games and watched movies most of the evening. There may have been a bit of karaoke in there too. :)

Saturday morning we lounged (as much as one can lounge once the 4 year old wakes up). We did some family chores and waited for Daddy to get home. We had our out-of-town friends over for dinner, and Shayne made yummy cheesy tortilla hot dogs on the grill. We were confined to the inside of the house all day because it was wet wet wet outside! (Thank goodness for the rain!)

Sunday morning brings church, which these days is almost an all day event. There are several different classes we are involved in, so we often take two cars so we can divide and conquer when we need to. Needless to say, everyone was ready for bed come sundown Sunday night!

I realize that's only 6 days, but that'll have to do for now! Monday wore me out again!