Friday, August 12, 2011


Monday's orientation was your typical new teacher orientation, with one exception... I won $100 in a raffle :) That alone made it all worth while!  During the remainder of the week, I was busy turning in paperwork, squeezing in last-minute doctor's appointments, working in my classroom, and tackling more back-to-school shopping.

I took some "before" pictures of my classroom when I got there and intend on taking some "after" pictures once it is complete to share with you.  Each time I worked in my classroom, I had two little "helpers" along with me.  They may have been a little counterproductive but I am thankful that I have been able to spend my summer with them {although Maddox and I are both definitely ready to go back to school!}.

Much of what I've been doing lately hasn't been picture-worthy but I did snap a few fun Instagram photos that I wanted to share.  Some of them are left over from when my mom was visiting.

1. cheese!
2. evidence of a good root beer float
3. corn-fed
4. products of G.I. Joe's garden

1. her favorite place
2. sleepy beach bum
3. happy
4. not-so-happy ;)

1. stealing tea from papa
2. helping daddy with his homework
3. wearing a colander on his head
4. "this is us." i love his art work

1. diggin in the toy basket wearing half of a skirt
2. stories with daddy
3. silly games with big brother
4. maddox's idea of heaven

 1. exercising with daddy
2. relaxing
3. maddox's "racecar driver face"
4. the kiddos and the tramp

In totally unrelated news, there is an empty lot across the street from our house and I think someone should build a Sonic there so I can have Diet-Cherry Limeaids on demand.

I am full of great ideas.

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Territory

About two weeks ago, I accepted a position as a kindergarten teacher at a great school near my house. The school's population is growing and they added a few classrooms at various grade levels to meet their changing needs.  This is new territory for me, as I have been teaching pre-kindergarten since graduating from UNI four-and-a-half years ago.  Although a little nervous, I am very excited about the upcoming school year!

Today I am going to new teacher orientation.  Maddox and Hadley will be staying with the new daycare provider who will be keeping Hadley while Maddox and I are at school.  After today, I have a few days off before officially returning to school on August 15th.  I have already been working in my classroom a little, trying to get it organized {although it is slightly difficult with two little people around who undo much of what I've spent half the day doing}.  I can't remember when I became so obsessive about organization but lately it has been at the top of my priority list.

I've also been doing a little shopping {what is back-to-school time without shopping?}.  And I have a feeling that I'll be doing more shopping for my classroom this week too.  A while back, we just happened to go into Staples to find that if you spent $5.00 or more, you could get packs of pencils, notecards, and highlighters for a penny.  The sign said that the limit was two items per person but a sales associate told me that since I was a teacher, I could get 25 of each item.  So I did.  And of course I had to take a picture.

All of this for only $.75.  You may be wondering what I'm going to do with 200 pencils, 2500 note cards, and 50 highlighters....

Honestly, I am wondering the same thing.  But I'll figure that out later :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Visit from Grandma {Part 2}

Throughout the summer, Maddox has been painiting little wooden pegs to represent people for him to play with.  Of course, he only paints the most important people in his life... Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi.  While Mom was here, he convinced her to make a new Mario for him to replace the one he lost a few weeks ago.  While she was painting his Mario, he was making a new red Yoshi for himself.  In his underwear.  

After painting, the kiddos had fun with bubbles.  

We woke up early Saturday morning and took a road trip to the beach.  We picked up my niece and headed out for a day of fun in the sun.  By the end of the day, every one of us had a sunburn.  

While at the beach, I am always on the lookout for this cart to come rolling down the sand.  It is filled with numerous flavors of delicious Italian ice from a place called Sunset Slush.  

It quickly became a favorite of everyone.  

We had so much fun with Grandma during her time here. We did so many fun things that I forgot to take pictures of {blogging fail!}.  After our trip to the beach, we ate some yummy seafood in Calabash, North Carolina with G.I. Joe's parents.  We went to an indoor skydiving place {soooo cool... I will be doing it some day} and took advantage of their advertised "free spectating."  I tried to convince Mom to do it but she politely declined.  We also took a late evening road trip to Cold Stone Creamery for some ice cream.  

Sadly, on Tuesday it was time for us to say goodbye to Grandma.

First at home.

Then at the airport.

Maddox sobbed as we left her at the security checkpoint and began walking back to the Swagger Wagon. Thankfully she made it home with no delays or cancellations.  We can't wait until her next visit! 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Visit from Grandma {Part 1}

We had been anxiously awaiting my mom's visit since she booked her tickets.  I called her every day with the line I made famous on a car trip to Kansas when I was little... "Are you here yet?"

We had plans for her.  Big plans.  Plans of splash parks, popsicle-shaped rice krispie treats, beaches, shopping, Ikea, and so much more.  But just like all things in my life, her visit didn't exactly go as planned.

On our way to the airport to pick her up, she called and said that her connecting flight had been cancelled. She was stuck in Detroit.  For-ev-er.  Or at least it seemed like forever.  And I'm sure it did for her too.  The kiddos and I went back home and Mario, Luigi, and Angry Birds entertained us for a while before we went back to the airport.

Once we got there, Maddox was so excited to see her come down the escalator.  We had plans to go to Ikea after the airport.  It was nearly closed by the time we got her bags and we were all exhausted so we went home.

We spent the next two days hanging around the house.  I gave Hadley a container of yogurt and a spoon during breakfast which resulted in a quick bath in the kitchen sink.  In case you were wondering, I was doing that cheesy smile on purpose in hopes that Hadley would mimic me.  Clearly, my plan didn't work but people have been commenting about not seeing any pictures of me so here I am in all of my cheesy smile glory.

Grandma spent lots of time playing with the kiddos and spoiling them.

Mom couldn't stand the 10-feet tall weeds in our yard so she decided to mow it.  In the middle of the day.  On a super hot day.  Of course, I hadn't touched a lawnmower in 5 years but I figured it was awfully inconsiderate of me to sit inside with my feet up drinking sweet tea while she did all the work so I helped her.  A little.  But thankfully there are no pictures of that.

Since Hadley could finally walk through the yard without getting lost in the weeds, she took full advantage of the swingset.

Maddox and Grandma played many games of Uno.  He's a ruthless Uno player.  He has no mercy.  He must have gotten that from his daddy.

The gardener gave our cucumbers and tomatoes a little TLC.  His assistant played in the dirt.

We ended our day with some root beer floats, brats, and sweet corn... in that order.  Have I mentioned that I love summer?

Tomorrow I'll share the rest of the pictures from Mom's visit.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ode to a BlackBerry

I broke up with my BlackBerry last week.  We had a great relationship in the beginning but after nearly two years, things just weren't working out between us anymore.  The track ball was messing up and the apps just didn't excite me any longer.  I had been cheating on the old pink lady with J's iPhone for a while now so it was only a matter of time before our relationship came to an end.  Before saying my final goodbyes, however, I downloaded all of the pictures from the old thing.  Here are some random shots from the past two years.

The future firefighter with his Aunt Brookie and Uncle Randy.

Maddox and the very talented Ms. Pat.  She painted his shirt for Storybook Character Day at school. 

The Three Amigos.  Maddox and his two best friends in Kentucky.  We miss them!

This face is often a side effect of long car rides.

Rehearsing for the next episode of Star Trek or checking out 3D TVs at Best Buy?  You decide.

At least someone is using the treadmill, even if it is only for a chair.

Swimming with Miracle and Papa.

Walking with Daddy while waiting for Uncle Bubba to finish riding in the Tour de Cure.

We love the beach!

This is how packed the Swagger Wagon was after a recent trip to Ikea.  Where are the kiddos going to sit??

My three children in the cart.  The green one is currently missing an arm.  Its a good thing we have Tricare :)

Rocking her brother's shades.

Making monster cookies. Yum!

My little engineer showing off his latest creation.

She is happy to be shopping at Michael's with Mommy.

She stole her Aunt Becky's sunglasses on the 4th of July.

I guess she wanted some rice.  

Vegas makes me happy!