Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The first month of school + happy Adoption Day!

Mercer started 3rd grade in early August.  
So far, things are going well.  

Here are his 1st day of school photos.  
(He didn't want to smile, but then he started cracking underwear jokes and did smile a little~)

Isabella did not start in her new classroom, as we thought she was moving up.  She has the same teacher - which she loves.  She may be moving up to the 4 year old room soon, however. Until then, she is happy where she is. 

She has a new "big girl" back-pack and she's one of the oldest 3 year olds in the room - so she's the main helper in class.  She already acts bigger and much more mature her first month back in class.

She started ballet in August.  It's cute, however, we don't get to sit in the room and watch her.  We have to sit in a waiting room and watch from a closed-circuit TV.  boo - I wanted to watch the cuteness first-hand!!  

(This is the only photo I could get in the room.... a shot of her listening to the teacher as we were walking out to go to the waiting room.)

We are a "divide and conquer" family on Saturday mornings.  I walk to the square with Isabella.  Todd takes Mercer to baseball.  

Mercer is in a Mission group at church that has started on Wednesday nights.   The week-day calendar is getting FULL.

Cub Scouts has also started - however - there is not a conflict, as it's on Sunday afternoons & sometimes on Monday nights.  (These photos are from the welcome-back Scout picnic where they made and shot off water-filled bottle rockets.  Mercer's went out with a "bang" thanks to some mis-placed tissue paper~ oh well!)

We are OFFICIALLY back to the school-year grind!


School is going better so far this year for me than it was in my January - July session.  I am on a different team that seems to be a lot more supportive and stable.  (whew)  I have been working with a small group of high schoolers to design and build small walls / small pieces of furniture to help customize their space.  I'm working on curriculum to roll out to K - 8th grade in order to help them come up with ideas for our new school building.  Also, in middle school, we're starting a hands-on build to make soap box cars that the students actually get to work on.  I'm still working a lot, however, I do not have the crazy amount of science prep like before.  I have only 2 different science classes instead of 4.   This is a lot more hands-on and feels WAY MORE "project's-based" than before.  Fingers crossed that it will be a spectacular school year ahead!!

Isabella and I - as mentioned previously - spend a lot of time together in the car.  She has found some unique ways to entertain herself lately.  (with stickers and with CLEAN underwear from her extra clothes bag~~)

Every month or two, I get a week or two off at school.  We did not get a teacher break between the end of school in July / the start of school in August as we had training and lots of set-up for the new school year.  

This week, however, I get a break -- and, by default -- so does Isabella.  

We brought the class guinea pig home again over this break.  Isabella is SOOOO in love with her!   Watch this if you can!

Mercer likes her too and has promised to take care of her the rest of the week.  Mercer and Todd only got the Labor Day holiday off, so they'll be here at home while Isabella and I hit the road.  

But, while everyone was on holiday, we made the most of our 3-day weekend by having a full-blown "staycation."   After walking up to Isabella's ballet class, we stuck around to check out the art show on the Square.  

Later, Todd set up the tent in the back yard, we made a bonfire, and camped out!  This was Isabella's first time sleeping in a tent.  And -- she LOVED it.  (The next morning, she was sort of waking up, opened her eyes and just smiled so big before she drifted off back to sleep~)

Mercer had a friend over and the two boys slept in their own tent.   Supposedly, all 3 kids slept well.  Todd and I -- not so much!

We ate breakfast, then headed down to another town square where there was a different festival going on:  The Decatur Book Festival.  It's probably been 5 years +/- since I've been.  This year, there's a particular author who I was interested in seeing her new book:  Andrea Beaty:   She wrote a book about a boy (in 2nd grade) - "Iggy Peck, Architect."  Then, she wrote about a girl - "Rosie Revere, Engineer."

Her latest is called "Ada Twist, Scientist."  We went to hear her speak, read the book to an auditorium full of people, then got our copy of the book signed.  (Isabella was brooding in the stroller / did not want her to write in the book.  Well, joke's on her -- she forgot to put Isabella's name in it!  She only dedicated the book to Mercer.  oops!~)  

We at lunch in a new spot that Todd has been wanting to check out, then we went for ice cream in another cool part of town on our way back home.   

The staycation ended on Labor Day.  But - it was actually Mercer's adoption day as well!  

We celebrated him in the morning, then headed to...... SIX FLAGS!  (we have a little time left on the season's passes that we got last year / what a better way to have a really FUN DAY?!)  

They re-did the kid's zone since last summer.  They added some new rides, re-branded some older rides, and changed the arcade up a bit.  (Here we were having some low-tech fun along the wall of mirrors.)

The kid's-zone is where we spent the majority of our time.  Mercer has actually out-grown many of the rides there, but he still likes this section of the park.   

Later in the day, Todd and Mercer headed to the water-park part of the venue (where Isabella could not do as much).  She and I went back to the kid's-zone and rode some things that Mercer did not.  It really worked out well and everyone had a great time!

One funny thing... Isabella was required to sit on a horse on the carousel that did not move ('til she's taller / older).  She was so MAD.  She even "complained" to the attendant that her horse was broken!

Our time there ended with Mercer playing a water-gun arcade game (beating me and Isabella) to win a stuffed animal - Sylvester the Cat.  A nice memento for "his special day~"

We are so grateful that both of these kids are in our lives & love celebrating them throughout the year!!