Well, It’s Been a While

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I kind of fell off the blog post wagon. We haven’t even been all that busy…I think I just got out of my regular routine with it being summer and I didn’t think to upload any pictures I’ve taken. The result is a catch-up post like this which is going to be a brief overview of what we’ve been doing for the last month or so (yeesh…it HAS been a long time)…from garden updates, to swim lessons, to other summer activities, to me just realizing that I do not have a single photo of Joseph in the entire bunch of these. He’s pretty much in teenage-mode (he’s just got two more months before he turns 13) and I feel like I hardly see him during the day. Abigail is still in full-on little kid-mode and wants me to entertain her throughout the day. We’re…finding a happy medium since I think she also needs to be able to find ways to entertain herself at least some of the time. Life is going to get crazy again about the second week of August when I go back to work for that week before school officially starts, so Momma needs a bit of a break!

This was our pumpkin plant about mid-June. I was amazed at how big it had gotten. Well, just wait. 🙂
Tomatoes from one of our plants. Abigail noticed me taking a picture of them and immediately begged to eat them.
A summertime rite of passage: ice cream truck ice cream.
Those lips…
…and teeth! 😀
She went to Primary day camp and got to meet a Book of Mormon hero. She was just a little excited.
She heard a mosquito had gotten into the house.
Our tomatoes and pepper plants. We’re trying the greenhouses to see if we can cut back on rats/mice getting the veggies.
Cherry tomatoes and big tomatoes.
Regular bell peppers and gypsy bell peppers.
Summertime means actually having time to bake!
It also means getting to light a candle and sit with my feet up for a bit.
Swim lessons!
Learning leg kicks.
She complained about the chlorine hurting her eyes, so we got her some goggles. They were a game changer! She started making so much more progress once she was no longer worried about getting water in her eyes.
Just relaxing a bit in the big bed.
Working on gliding and scooping.
Grabbing the edge.
Kick board time!
It’s getting bigger! I should take another picture of it. It’s almost filled up this entire area now and has sent a vine up and trying to get over the fence in the back.
She used some saved-up allowance to buy a stuffed lamb.
She just might have some tomatoes in her mouth. 😀
Pushing off from her teacher to glide to the edge.
Coming up for air.
It looks like a grasshopper, but it’s actually a type of cricket.
I got her this shirt at Buc-ee’s (Joseph and I went while she was at summer school).
She loves that it has a hood.
This stuff is so good!
Practicing her kicks and scoops.
New water bottle means new stickers.
I think the over thinking one is my favorite…or is it? 😉
Abigail said she wanted to sign her name in a fancy way. This is her version of cursive.
Last swim lesson included learning how to get out of the pool if you aren’t near any steps. It’s hard work!
She made it, though!
We have a ton of doves that are always grateful for the little birds who knock bird seed down into the grass.
I finally pulled out my planner for next year…I have a few trainings this month and I don’t want to lose track of the days. I set it on my desk pad and realized I totally have a thing for floral print on a black background. 🙂

It’s Officially Summer!

Well, not OFFICIALLY officially since it isn’t June 20th yet, but this past Thursday was the last day of school for the kids and then Friday was my last day. We’re going to soak it all in as best we can. Joseph came down with strep throat on Saturday, so he’s been feeling pretty awful. It wasn’t his idea of the best way to ring in summer vacation, but he’s got antibiotics now, so hopefully he’ll be feeling better pretty soon. Abigail starts summer school on Wednesday for 2.5 weeks (and also swim lessons starting next Monday) which are half day. Once she’s done with that, it will be about time for Joseph to do church camp and band camp. Then they’ll have a couple weeks off while I squeeze in some trainings and then we’re back to school mid-August. It’s all going to keep us quite busy. I’m also going to try to squeeze in some fun things once Joseph gets to feeling better (fingers crossed that the rest of us don’t get it…especially Abigail since it seems like antibiotics hit her hard and she HATES taking them). I just have a few pictures this time around: some of our garden and some of end of school things. I neglected to take a “last day of school” picture of either child (sorry, society), but trust me, they were happy. 🙂

Here we have (left-right): tomatoes (cherry and larger ones; the fencing helps discourage the birds), the solar drip lines that Paul set up (basically the solar panel powers a pump system to pump water from the buckets and into the drip lines; all we have to do is keep the buckets full of water), bell peppers, and more tomatoes.
This is a rogue pumpkin plant that decided to pop up here. We’re…going to see what happens. There isn’t much room.
More tomatoes and some gypsy bell peppers (in the center). We keep getting mice and rats (another reason for the fencing around those other tomatoes) coming into our yard (probably from next door since the people there rarely mow their lawn), so Paul has taken to putting the ripening veggies into plastic bags to ripen a bit more before picking them. You can see one on one of the bell peppers.
The more…mature pumpkin plant and my salvia. Also, a shed that Paul is assembling to house the wooden Christmas trees (you can see one in the picture) that he made quite a few years ago to use as decorations for one of the entrances to our neighborhood. We have quite a few, so Paul is going to store them in that shed.
Our mint!
She’s been asking to go out riding, which has been tough since it’s been stupidly hot. Paul managed to squeeze in some time one evening, though.
Steadying her and giving her some oomph to get going. He’s such a good daddy!
Every year, the graduating students that once attended the elementary school come back and do a senior walk. They got the middle school band kids that also attended the elementary school to come and play “Pomp and Circumstance” for the seniors to walk to . They paraded around the school twice, so I got to see my awesome percussionist several times.
My last day of school shirt. 😀
Wearing these (the bottom three, at least) one last time (well, who knows, maybe I’ll wear them next year as a reminder). The bottom three were made for me by three of my students. I love how much of a relationship I built with those kiddos. It was really hard to give them goodbye hugs on Thursday. The top one was given to me by one of my awesome coworkers. I had such an awesome team this year! There were times of stress and frustration, but I would like to think we came out stronger on the other side.
One last picture of my room. Luckily, since I will be in the same room next year, I didn’t have to pack absolutely everything. I did have to put quite a bit of it away, though…but if you’re wondering where it went…
…I have pretty good stacking skills. I attribute it to all those years of playing Tetris. 😉
We took the kids to Peter Piper Pizza and after we ate, Joseph made a beeline for this game.
Before playing this round, he was happy to see that his record was still on the top of the leaderboard even though we hadn’t been there for several months. As you can see, he made it onto the leaderboard once again. He’s got coordination that I’m never going to have, haha.

We’re Almost There!!

This past week held some fun events. We had the three-day weekend, which was really nice. Joseph got to have quite a bit of fun with friends. He went with one friend to Six Flags and then the next day, he went to another friend’s house and hung out and went swimming. It hit me as he was doing these things that in just a few short months, we’re going to have a teenager in our house. Crazy!! Abigail was a little bummed that she didn’t get invited along to the pool, so I let her do super-soakers and sprinklers in the back yard. Paul was gone to DC for the long weekend (the Libertarian Party’s national convention), so it was just me and the kids at home. After the week started, it went by in a blur. Abigail had her awards ceremony and so did my class. School days (for the elementary level, at least) have consisted of countdown days which have just been a lot of fun, end-of-year activities. We’ve only got four more school days left! Bring on summer vacation!!

I drew dots with chalk for her to aim for with the super-soaker.
I didn’t realize she’d pop herself like, two feet from the target. 🙂
The goggles were her idea. She asked for her goggles and I told her we didn’t have any (I was thinking of swim goggles). Then she said she meant her science ones. They worked in a pinch to keep the water out of her eyes. 🙂
I was trying to convince Abigail to come in (she was really not done playing) when I noticed a big ol’ wasp nest inside my wind chime (rude). I said (more to myself than to her), “Oh, man. That’s a big wasp nest.” Well, she was inside and about to lock the door before I could even turn around. That’s one way to do it, I suppose. I left it for Paul to deal with since I knew he’d be back the next day.
When Paul told Abigail he was going to be going to Washington DC, she asked that he get her a snow globe (he got one for Joseph years ago when he went back there for a different reason). He was able to make good on his promise!
She got this unicorn for Christmas and hasn’t played with it for a few months (she tends to cycle through her toys).
This smile right here is why I put up with finding storage for all her stuff.
I love watching my kids enjoy their childhood!
Awards! It’s a little off center because I wanted to crop out the student that was waiting his turn (I try not to post pictures with unknown kiddos unless I can’t avoid it). She got Outstanding Progress in Social Studies and Science and she also got a classroom award for making both academic and emotional growth this year.
I love this sweet thing!
Her reading tutor gave her an extra special prize out of the prize box since it was their last meeting and it was this cool reversible costume. One side is Thor (with a Thor mask). I love that she went and grabbed a hammer to complete the outfit. 😀
The other side is Captain America (with a separate mask). She had to go grab her Captain America shield which used to be an accessory on a bike that Joseph had.
She then told me that she wanted me to pretend to be her biggest fan (not much of a stretch, if we’re gonna be honest) and that I asked for a selfie with her. I love how her mind works!
They had a pop-up boutique at school that I popped myself into to see what they had. The owner used to teach but now does this. I found a couple sets of cute earrings.
I popped these on before heading out to the end of year work party. I love the checkers. I’m saving the others for the last day of school, haha. I feel so blessed to be working where I do. I’ve told many people that I don’t feel any of it was accidental. Paul had been telling me for some time that I should look into what it would take to get my teaching certificate for Texas, but for some reason, I was just lacking the motivation…maybe it was a bit of trepidation about getting back into the classroom when I had been out of it for so long. One day, I decided it was time. I was just going to start off slow by subbing. I realized pretty quickly how much I missed it. That was about the time I was approached about finishing out the year for fifth grade last year. Then, because I had a caring administration, they asked me about switching it from long-term sub to contracted teacher (they recognized how much work I was putting in and wanted my pay to reflect that). They helped me get in contact with the right people to streamline taking the tests I needed to take in order to be certified in Texas and the entire process, including taking the last of my tests, was all done before June was even halfway through. I started this year way less stressed knowing that I was going to have my class from the beginning and that I already had all my tests done. It was still stressful at times, but I feel like next year is going to be even better. The support I feel from my team, the other staff, and my admin is amazing. There’s no way any of this was accidental. I fully recognize the hand of the Lord in all of it and I am so grateful for it all!