Saturday, August 12, 2017

Changes... Again

Unfortunately very few things stay constant at our house. Well, perhaps that's not true- bed time at 8pm has been a consistent rule for years. However, we have moved... AGAIN. Yes, and this time it was definitely my fault. I know... I was tired of moving.. I griped and complained about it to Brian often. And now... now it was his turn to gripe and complain. He didn't, which is good, but he could have.

For the past 2 years I have been teaching 3rd grade at a charter school in Dallas. And I mean "in Dallas"- read- inner city of Dallas. Now, did I enjoy my students- yes. Did they learn- absolutely. Did they come to me with problems- yes. Did they come with Big problems such as PTSD, abuse, and homelessness- sometimes. But, I tried to remember that each child had an opportunity to be cherished and valued in my classroom. As I tried to meet all the needs of my students, their parents, my principal, and needs of other staff members, I missed meeting the needs of my own family. There was no work life balance and I owed it to my family as a wife and mother.

As a result I searched for an alternative and was offered a high school History position in the suburbs of Dallas. Although I have not begun the first day of school, I have vowed to my husband and children that I would be a more active participant in their lives. As we researched the drive from our current house, my commute was 1 hour in the morning and 2 hours in the evening. It was only 19 miles away, but the amount of traffic was insane and therefore didn't help my cause in being with my family more. And so ... we moved... again.

Now my commute is under 30 minutes in the morning AND in the afternoon. Brian's is a bit longer, but not horrible- then again you can ask him after he's commuted a month and it might be a different story- right now it's tolerable.

Anyway, so we've been busy packing, cleaning, moving, unpacking, sorting, and cleaning these past several weeks. And that is why the blog post for this month has been pretty slim.

But I'm sure that I will be posting more in the future (again- going to be more involved) so be on the lookout.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Wakeboarding the Potomac

When I think of the Potomac I think of George Washington's home Mount Vernon, not necessarily water sports. However, thanks to my brother... that changed this weekend. It was Brian's and my first time trying to wake board. Brian did amazingly well for his first time.

I was passable. I was able to get up and stay up, but I struggled with figuring out my footing as my body still recalled water skiing. I definitely need more practice.

Whereas Brian was a natural. What a show off.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Old Fashioned Fourth

Happy Independence Day Everyone!

Today we decided to visit Dallas Heritage Village for their Old Fashioned Fourth celebration event. Before we joined the festivities, Sophie gave us a tour.

First we stopped at the bank.

Brian was prepped to be the get-away driver in case Connor and Sophie were able to grab some bags of cash. Ainsley and Colin were the "look outs". Unfortunately there wasn't any cash.

Next Sophie informed us that we were in the Little House in the Big Woods. During Sophie's field trip, her teacher- Mrs. Norrell used this opportunity to show the kids how this cabin was similiar to the student's literature book by Laura Ingalls Wilder. So... no it's not the exact one... but it's a good example.

Next door was the Millermore Mansion, which makes the "Little House in the Big Woods" cabin seem much smaller beside it.

This house even had it's own bathroom (read- out house).

Next we traveled to Sophie's favorite house- Gano Log House - more specifically the farm house. She takes after me in this respect.

The house has a garden with a "skeleton" according to Connor.

But a farm house isn't complete without chickens. Got to have chickens.

And then SHEEP! I've been teasing Brian for years (well since we honeymooned in Ireland 10 years or so ago) that I've got to get a house with a yard big enough for sheep. Brian does not think this is funny.

Nearby is the blacksmith shop. The guy was wonderful at explaining how he makes things from metal.

By this time the parade passed by.

We took a break on the main street to partake in some games. The kids had brought their money to buy tickets to play games. They loved it.

They also got a free candy stick- WIN!

Afterwards, we went back to school. But since it was the summer there was "no more teachers, no more books,..."

Should you wish to visit and don't mind a small room with no AC, you can book a room at Hotel Worth. No online bookings available... and no credit cards accepted... and no parking... and no indoor plumbing. You know what... go somewhere else.

Ready to find a more comfortable hotel, but need transportation. Well there is a train station right next door.

Oh never mind... the track doesn't go very far. No trains headed in or out.

Looks like you are headed in and out via foot. Might want to stop at the grocery store. Pick up some food for your long journey. Sophie will take your order of plastic fruits and vegetables.

However plastic food is not nutritious and unsatisfying. The kids found a popcorn seller cart and were more than happy to part with some of their allowance money. All in all, a good day, but incredibly hot. But it was nice to get out of the house and learn some history this July 4th.

For more information about Dallas Heritage Village, click the link HERE. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Vacation Bible School Performance

Our children love Vacation Bible School. Sophie and Connor just finished the week of VBS learning about Paul's mission to spread the Good News. On the last day they had their song performances.

First we begin with their clan chants. Connor was in the Aurelius tribe.

Sophie was in the Octavian clan.

And then of course they had their songs. Ainsley LOVED the songs. As you can see she was happy to join in with the other kids.


 Connor was a bit skittish about joining in at first, but once he was by his family, he went crazy with dancing along.

Sophie of course has no problem being the center of attention. She also made some friends and insisted that she get pictures with them. :) Sophie makes friends no matter where she goes... unless it's one of her siblings and they have to clean a room together... in which case you'd think they'd been enemies for years.

Thank you VBS for another wonderful year with our children.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Police Academy- Oney Version

As a community there are often times when we could join together to better our area, our schools, and even our neighborhoods. However, it's often easier to just stay inside our own bubble of friends and only focus within our family unit. 

However, it is nice and encouraging when someone reaches out and assists another. We were shopping at Sprouts and the kids wanted to park next to the Police car. I actually love parking near a police vehicle... I figure people are less likely to break into my car if it is next to a police vehicle. Anyway, as we walked towards Sprouts the policemen came out and Connor waved at them and told them that we parked next to them. The Rowlett police then offered the kids a chance to sit inside the police car. 

Everyone was thrilled! Connor turned on the lights and even pushed the siren button. Sophie got to sit in the drivers seat next to the computer. Ainsley just focused on sitting next to her sister. 

Afterwards all the kids (even Colin) got a sticker. It was so nice of the police to go out of their way to entertain my children. They could have just waved and gone on their way, but instead they stopped to spend time with my kids, let them ask questions, and play around in their squad car. For that kindness I will always appreciate them. Thank you Rowlett police!

PS- No criminals were arrested during this time, however, I'm sure that Rowlett is a safer place now that we have some newly aspired police officers in the city.

Friday, June 23, 2017

It's Science at the Perot!

As previously stated, I've been trying to keep the kids busy this summer... helps with my sanity. Anyway, Fridays has become our designated "field trip from the house" day. Last week was the zoo. This week- the Perot Museum in downtown Dallas!

They have a large variety of educational topics. The kids discovered how weight differs on different planets and our moon using a bowling ball to demonstrate the differences. As Sophie realized, she likes the "Moon" because it's not as heavy. But the bowling ball was much heavier on Jupiter. 

Also they got to see a Sauropod footprint and how large it was compared to them.

You can see part of the Sauropod's skeleton next to the skeleton of a T-Rex. Makes the T-Rex look pretty small. I tried to get a picture of the entire Sauropod, but unfortunately it was too big to get it all in the camera frame.

Much easier to get a picture of the T-Rex.

There were also small dinosaurs that were about the size of our wiener dog at home. 

And of course, turtles were around during the dinosaur age and my own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (Connor) insisted on a picture of it. 

 And there were also several underwater dinosaurs which were dug up here in Texas. You can tell Colin is more interested in napping.

 And Mammoth bones have also been discovered in Texas as well.

 Here is the vertebrae from the Sauropod (or back bone).

And a T-Rex footprint. Sophie modeled it's size with her own foot.

Then I did as well since I couldn't get any of the other kids to do it. (PS- If you are Brian... don't judge me by my footwear).

My favorite part was probably seeing all the dinosaur skeletons. But the kids much prefer Level 2. We'll get there in a moment.

On the next level, the kids got to ride the "Earthquake Machine". It simulates different levels of earthquakes and moves the ground beneath your feet.

And then there was the water cycle, which Sophie was able to explain to Connor about how water can be a solid, liquid, and a gas.

 However Connor preferred to show Sophie the "Rock Wall", which shows the different layers of rock in the ground. Maybe this is why he keeps digging up our yard... he's looking for rock layers. Or perhaps just worms.

 Next we visited the gems where of course, Sophie and Connor had to fight over who got to turn the geode first.

Very important to be first I guess. And it was also important that the person was able to both "open" AND "close" it... not just one.

Next level talked about animals and ecosystems. I particularly liked the bear. Perhaps it was because we got to see them in Alaska.

However, it was the Engineering Department that was the kids' FAVORITE spot. They got to build roadways....

Navigate remote control cars...

Build things using gears...

And sing loudly along with computers that controlled instruments. (Colin slept through it amazingly).

And since today was in the 100s, I later let them cool off in the water play area outside.

The kids had a great time while we were there, but as the afternoon progressed and lunch time came and went so did their behavior. Go figure. Oh well, at least I can say that we did something educational today that also expelled some of their energy.

Definitely a worthwhile trip for all ages if you are in the Dallas area. I was hoping it wouldn't be as busy as it was today, but we ended up having to content with several field trips and summer camps today. Oh well.