Monday, August 20, 2012

Summer break is over

 I thought it would be harder to wake up early this morning, but we were all so excited for the first day of school, nobody dragged at all.

 Although Ashley had a hard time keeping her eyes open in most of the pictures, so she looks as sleepy as we should be after being lazy and sleeping in all summer.

First to the bus stop!
And a short video. I'm not sure why chris took it, but here it is :)
It is pretty funny, though. The bus driver insists there's no noise on the bus in the morning, and it took Josh a while to get used to it last year. But you can see the kids line up like silent soldiers as soon as the bus comes around that corner. They go from giggling and messing around to standing still in seconds. She may be harsh, but the lady knows how to control a bus full of kids!

Friday, August 17, 2012

a big day and a giant gator

 Josh had a loose tooth for a while, but he refused to wiggle it because it freaks him out. This morning he realized it was extra wiggly. He ran to hide in a corner to feel sorry for himself, but jumped up crying a few minutes later because his tooth fell out. He wasn't happy about it, even though the tooth fairy siblings came five minutes later and left him a handful of spare change.
 He came up to me later in the afternoon and asked if I'd check to make sure none of his other teeth are wiggly. He's safe for a while longer.

This afternoon, we went to Meet the Teacher Day at the elementary school. It's like a treasure hunt. The school doesn't tell you who your teacher is, you have to wander up and down the hallways until you see your name on a classroom door. Their teachers all seem wonderful, and the kids are excited to go back to school.

After we ate dinner tonight, we remembered Alberta the Alligator was making a grand appearance at our village. We went and got a second dinner of pizza and sandwiches, had tattoos put on our hands, colored pictures, and hugged a giant gator.

Also, if you look closely at the above picture, you'll see both Ethan and Josh have bruises on their foreheads. The pool is not a safe place for our family. Ethan was nailed in the head a few days ago by a dinosaur. And gymnast Josh did an amazing back-flip into the deep end of the pool, but landed on the cement edge instead of the water. Luckily, nobody drowned , no blood was spilled, and we didn't need to involve doctors.

It's a sign. Time for school to start.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Seven things I've learned from The Swamp

This week we celebrated our one-year mark since we left the wild west and moved to The Swamp. It's been an amazing 12 months, full of adventures and growing experiences. Chris and I were never "poor college students" together, and by the time we got married, we were both done with school and into our careers. So this has been an interesting journey for us. Here are 7 things I've learned since becoming a student family:

1. Cleaning a 2 1/2 bedroom apartment with a teeny closet-sized bathroom and a tiny closet-sized kitchen is so much easier than cleaning an entire house. When I mop, it takes about 5 seconds. When I vacuum, maybe 5 minutes for the entire house. Every time I want to complain about our circumstances, I remember cleaning my two-story house with three bathrooms and a basement, and I feel totally content for now.

2. Our kids are happy with less. When we go to the store, they still want things. I ask them if they have the money to buy it. They say no. I tell them I don't have it, either. They shrug and move on with life. No tantrums, no begging, no tears. It's lovely living in The Swamp!

3. I can live with less. I've learned this lesson over and over during the last decade, and I'm glad to learn it even more right now. Sure I want lots of new things, but do I need any new things? No.

4. My kids can be best friends. We don't have a lot of children living around us, and more often than not they just have to play together. They still argue enough that it drives me crazy sometimes, but I love to listen to them chatting in the next room, sharing ideas and dreams and toys. Seriously, as a mom, there's nothing that could make me happier!

5. We have to watch what we do and say. We have neighbors all around us who can hear us fighting or laughing or being crazy. We're still too noisy, and I'm sure we annoy the people next door and below us, but we're quieter now than we've ever been. And it's good for us, being more mindful of our actions.

6. Anywhere can be home. Sometimes the bugs (and spiderwebs that are everywhere!) start to get to me and I feel homesick for the dry West. Or the walk to the laundry room starts to feel too far away and I get homesick for my house and my washer and dryer. But if I had to move away tomorrow, I'd miss the abundance of flowers, the palm trees, and especially the amazing people we've met. But I know the next place we end up will feel like home, too, if I look for the good in it.

7. You can never see too many alligators. They are laying (or floating) around everywhere we go, but we still have to stop and stare for a while. And I've noticed everyone else around here does the same thing. The biggest thing I've learned since moving to The Swamp is that watching the Gator Boys on TV is as close as I want to get to wrestling with real alligators.

One year down, two to go!