Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I got a little backblogged with school starting. So... I just posted three different entries. Thanks for all of the texts, phone calls, and emails that we received yesterday! It was wonderful to get so many back to school well wishes! We're off to a good start! Here's to a great school year!

First Day of School

Well, my baby started Kindergarten yesterday....

And, I didn't cry! Not even a single, solitary tear! Can you believe that??? I even shocked myself!

I think that the anxiety of it all building up was so much worse than the actual day. When we woke up yesterday morning, I just had a wonderful peace. I wasn't worried or nervous - just excited for my boy. :)

On Sunday night, we read all of our getting ready for Kindergarten books...

We packed Clayton's backpack full of school supplies and wrapped Mrs. Lane's first day of school present (an apple and a covered notebook that I made)....
Then we had a family prayer time and Wade prayed for Clayton and the school year. Then we put the boys to bed.

I had a semi-sentimental moment with Wade after we put the kids to bed. I started reminiscing with him. "Can you believe that our baby is going to Kindergarten tomorrow? Doesn't it seem like just yesterday we were bringing him home from the hospital? I can close my eyes and picture him his baby swing..."

When I was almost to the point of tears, Wade started singing Barbara Streisand's The Way We Were. "Memories, misty watercolor memories of the way we were..." Ha ha! I couldn't help but to laugh. Just when I was about to have a meltdown, he brought me back to reality with his crazy sense of humor. Love that man!

Clayton had requested "letter pancakes" like we had last year on his Faux First Day of School. :)
He looked so cute in his little uniform. :) (Just so you know, they require all white athletic shoes. That would not be my footwear of choice. Ha!)

On the way to school, Clayton went on and on about how excited he was to start Kindergarten. I couldn't cry or be sad when he was so excited!

There are only 9 kids in his class - 6 girls and 3 boys. Great, right??? Clayton is sitting front and center, too. I guess that Mrs. Lane had a hunch that she would need to keep an eye on him. ;)

Wade took me to breakfast after drop off. He said that we would have our own Boo-hoo Breakfast. Ha! It was a yummy meal, but there was no boo-hoo'ing.

The most stressful part of the whole day was the "car line." Whoa! They have it down to an exact science, for sure. There were walkie talkies, orange cones, the whole 9 yards... It was super efficient - I was in and out of there in 10 minutes. But, I was a nervous wreck that I was going to mess up the system. I may need to order some black market Xanax and have it overnighted before I can do car line again tomorrow. Just the thought of it makes me break out in hives...

I guess that if car line was the most stressful part of the first day of Kindergarten, then we are in pretty good shape. :)

New Kid on the Pew

In our church, kids start going to "big church" with their parents starting in Kindergarten. Last Sunday was promotion Sunday, so it was Clayton's first time to go to service with us. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty anxious about this milestone. 5 year old boys don't exactly have the longest attention spans... ;)

One would think that we would have sat in the balcony on the end of a pew so that we could make an abrupt exit, if necessary. However, we didn't really think that through. We sat in our usual spot on the bottom level in the middle of a pew. Gutsy, for sure. Luckily, Clayton did great! Our Children's Minister gave each of the kids a "New Kid on the Pew" bag of crayons, a notepad, etc. Our Pastor also asked all of the students to stand before he prayed for the upcoming school year. Clayton thought that he was big stuff getting recognized by all of those around us. :)

I had read in Creative Correction (one of my fav parenting books, by the way), about a little game that Lisa Whelchel played with her kids when they were just learning to sit through service. She would hold their hand and give them a word to listen for. Whenever they heard the word, they were supposed to squeeze each other's hand. Whoever squeezed first got a point. We listened for the word "Lord." Clayton squeezed my hand each time and got a big grin on his face that he was always first. ;) It worked great! I actually got to listen to the sermon, and he got to practice paying attention to our Pastor's words. (Melissa, I may need a head's up on a word for next week. Can you sneak a peek at your hubby's notes? Ha!)

Meet the Teacher

We went to meet the teacher last Friday, and met the lady that we have been praying for over the last year. :) Mrs. Lane is so sweet! She seems really energetic and kind. Firm, but nurturing. Perfect for our little boy! She has taught at the school for 4 years and this is her second year in Kindergarten. (Which is great since Clayton's T/Th teacher - ME!- is a first year teacher. Ha!) She said that Kinder is her favorite, and she is thrilled to be teaching it full time. Yay!

It is going to be a great year!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Conversations with Clayton - Sea World Edition

First of all, thanks for all of your encouragement about this coming school year. I went to Parent Orientation this morning, and it gave me even more of a peace about our decision. I met Clayton's teacher, and she seems wonderful. I can't wait for Clayton to meet her on Friday. :)

Clayton made a few comments on vacation that cracked us up! I wanted to "jot them down" before I forgot them.

  • We had been in the car for several hours and were almost to San Antonio. Clayton asked (very casually, mind you - as if what he was asking was totally legitimate), "Dad, can I drive? Just for 5 minutes?" Ha! He's driven his Grammy's golf cart, so he is totally prepared to go 70 mph on the highway, right???
  • During the Zoomagination show at the hotel, the gentleman brought the blue tongued skink to me and asked if I would like to touch it. Clayton stopped him and said, "My Mom is so not into wild animals." He is exactly right - wild animals are not my thing! ;)
  • Wade and I were discussing our plans for the day and there was a lull in our conversation. Clayton started doing air quotes and said, "Awkward..." Wade & I were dying laughing just thinking about how long he has been waiting for the right time to use that phrase. He tries so hard to be big sometimes. :)
I am sure that Kindergarten will bring a whole slew of new Clayton-isms. :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Post That I've Put Off...

You may remember this post where I shared with you all how we were struggling with knowing which method of education was best for Clayton. We did finally make a decision. The decision making process was so, so difficult! We prayed and prayed and prayed some more. We changed our minds repeatedly. We researched and read about homeschooling, private schools, and public schools. In January, we were fairly certain that Clayton was going to attend the public school down the street.

However, our hearts were changed. In February, a friend invited me to tour a school with her. I had heard of the school, but dismissed further investigation because it was such a foreign concept. The school offers a classical, Christian education which combines a private school education with a homeschool component. I went with my friend to visit the school, and there was just a sweet countenance about the school and all of the people involved with it. I loved the way that the program is structured and how the kids learn. It makes so much sense to me. It just felt "right."

I can't even explain it, other than to just say that it feels like for this year and for this particular child (Clayton), I feel like this is what we are called to do. I fully realize that it could be a complete and total flop. And, if it is, we will do something different next year. We are only committed for a year. In my heart of hearts, I feel like it is going to be a good fit for us. But, if it isn't, we'll do something different for 1st grade.

I have put this post off because I know that people have very strong opinions about education. Most of our family and friends feel that public schools offer the best education. I don't disagree with them all. I wouldn't begin to debate public vs. private vs. homeschool, because I think that they all have pros and cons. (Believe me - I've made list upon lists of benefits and downfalls of all three methods!) I just know that Wade & I both have a peace about the decision that we have made for Clayton's Kindergarten year.

With all of that being said, I am really excited about this year and all of the changes that are about to happen for our family! Clayton will go to school on campus on Mondays and Wednesdays. Then the school will send home curriculum for us to cover at home on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Fridays, the school offers optional electives, which Clayton will not be taking this year. We look forward to Clayton enjoying the electives (Spanish, Art, Drama, Music, and an in-depth Science) in the future. Several factors just didn't make the electives feasible this year.

On the days when we have school at home, we will spend our mornings upstairs in a portion of the playroom that we are transforming to be our school room. I'm still not exactly sure how it will all work out, but I am excited about the possibilities. As of now, my plan is to do some "school" types of things with Drew while Clayton is doing his work. The principal suggested making a basket of books and manipulatives for Drew to play with while Clayton and I are working. That basket would be strictly reserved for school time and put away when we aren't doing school. I think that sounds like a good plan, but we'll see how it works out. I have a feeling that I am going to have to be very flexible. :)

Will this year be challenging? Absolutely.
Is it going to always be fun? I seriously doubt it.
Do I feel completely confident about teaching Clayton? No way. Actually, I'm scared out of my mind that I will fail.
Do I anticipate power struggles and feeling overwhelmed? For sure.
Do I have a teaching background? Nope. I don't have a single education class under my belt.
Do I feel prepared? Ummmm.... His books haven't come in yet, and we don't have a desk for our school room yet. So, I have A LOT to do this week!
Is this what I feel like God wants us to do? I am 100% certain that it is.

I hope and pray that I didn't offend anyone by this post. I definitely do not want to do that! I know that many (if not most) of our family and friends disagree with our decision, and that has been the hardest part of all of this. I don't want for other people (especially our loved ones) to be disappointed or to disapprove of our decision. However, Wade & I are on the same page, and we both feel that this is what we are called to do.

Thanks to all of you who have offered encouragement, prayers, and thoughtful insight throughout this process! We have valued each and every one of you who have shown genuine concern for our son.

School starts next Monday! I think that I'm still in denial, though. :) On Saturday, we were at the pool with some friends. I said something about how Clayton would start Kindergarten "in the fall." My pal was quick to point out that "the fall" was in a little over a week! Ha ha!

We have Parent Orientation on Wednesday and Meet the Teacher on Friday. It should be a fun week! Kindergarten, here we come!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mini Vacay to See Shamu :)

We just got back from a mini vacay to San Antonio. We had the best time!!! I enjoyed myself so much more than I thought that I would. I was so worried about the heat and that Drew wouldn't do well. I was prepared for the worst, and so pleasantly surprised by all of the fun that we had! Drew did so much better than I thought that he would and the heat was manageable. Don't get me wrong - it was insanely hot - but we stayed in the water or in the air conditioning most of the time. :)

The impromptu trip was mostly due to the fact that we had bought season passes (that are good through December of 2010) when we went to Sea World back in November. The passes, combined with hotel points that Wade has accrued with work travel, made this mini vacation extremely affordable. So, we decided to end the summer with a bang. :)

We left on Sunday and hustled to get to the park in time to see the 4:00 water ski show. I had talked up the ski show big time to Clayton. It was the thing that he was most looking forward to. Well... on Saturday afternoon, I looked up the show schedule only to realize that the 4:00 show on Sunday was the last one of the summer. Yikes! So, we changed our plan a bit and made it to Sea World in time to catch the ski show. Thank goodness - Clayton would have been super sad, if we had missed it.

Clayton got antsy while waiting for the show to start, so we played with the camera and took a self portrait. ;)
Some of their tricks really were amazing!
My boys were on the front row, of course!
I sat (with the camera) out of the splash zone while they ended up soaked!
After the show, you could go to the front for a meet and greet with the skiers.
You would have thought that Clayton was meeting a movie star. He got so nervous! Ha ha!

Drew spent 3 full days being confined to his stroller or car seat. He took some good naps on the go and rarely complained about being strapped in. He really did sooo well, and made the trip so nice for his Mama. Bless his heart.
The Seal/Sealion/Otter/Walrus show is always a good time...
I have to say that the Shamu show made me really sad. After the horrible incident back in February when a trainer was killed by one of the whales, there have been some big changes to the Sea World practices. The trainers no longer get into the water with the whales. They don't swim with them and ride on their backs, etc. I know that the kids don't know the difference, but the changes were obvious to Wade and I.
Sunday night we checked into the hotel and ate dinner. The boys LOVED staying in a hotel. As soon as we got settled, Clayton said, "When me and Drew finish high school, we're going to get a room like this!" I think that he was referring to their dorm room. Ha!
Drew slept in the pack 'n play in the bathroom. Hey - don't knock it til you try it! He slept til after 9:00 in there. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. ;)
Isn't that the cutest little blond bed head that you've ever seen???

On Monday, we headed back to Sea World to spend the day at the water park there - The Lost Lagoon. Before we made our way to the water park, Clayton had his heart set on riding Journey to Atlantis with his Daddy. They sat in the front row (can you see them?) and got drenched! It brought back fond memories of riding Splashwater Falls at Six Flags with my Dad. Isn't there some unwritten rule that dads get stuck with all of the water rides???
While Wade & Clayton rode all of the big slides, I hung out in the toddler area with Drew. He had a ball!

He kept pointing and saying "Ish. Ish." until I acknowledge that it was, in fact,a fish.
Toddlers. Gotta love 'em. :)
He sat on top of this slide and said, "Pitcher. Pitcher. Cheeeeeese."
Have I got him trained or what??? ;)
We met back up with Daddy & Clayton in the wave pool. Drew was a fan!
I bought an underwater digital camera a few weeks ago, and I LOVE it! I got a great deal HERE. My Nikon SLR will always have my heart, but this little camera got some pretty good shots both out of the water and underwater. I'd highly recommend the underwater Fujifilm. It takes underwater video also. I haven't tried out that feature yet, though.
Drew and I tubed in the lazy river for over an hour. Good times.
We finished off the day with s'mores at the hotel's fire pit. They served s'mores every night from 7:30-9:00. Yum! Drew kinda liked them. :)

On Tuesday, it was back to Sea World for more Shamu fun!
We started the day by feeding the seals, sea lions, and dolphins.

We fed the Lorikeets, too.
They would swarm you for the nectar as soon as you walked into their cage.

One even camped out on Clayton's head for a little while. Ha!

The Azul show was my favorite.
It was very cirque du soleil-ish with beluga whales and dolphins. Very pretty.

This poor guy has, in my opinion, the worst job in the park. I think I'd rather clean those nasty bathrooms (and that's saying a lot!) than to don that furry suit in 100 degree heat. Ugh! How miserable must that be???

Feeding the dolphins - another highlight.

Drew LOVED the aquarium area. He could have spent all day in there. Just saying "Ish. Ish. Ish." over and over again.
Working on his fish face. :)

On Wednesday, Wade spent the day in meetings with a few of his customers in the San Antonio area. So... the boys and I hung out at the hotel. We swam...

We stayed at the La Cantera Resort and they had TONS of cool activities for kids. We went to the Zoomagination show while Daddy was working. I was so impressed! They had tons of cool animals for the kids to pet.

Bearded Dragon

Blue Tongued Skink





Hissing Cockroaches

Ball Python
(Clayton was so bummed that he didn't get picked to be a volunteer for this part of the show.)

And, there was a monkey in the front row. Oh wait, that was Drew!

Two Toed Sloth

On Wednesday night, the boys took me out for an early birthday dinner. We went to Benihana's. Yum! Clayton loved all of the chef's "tricks."

Both of the boys were inspired to do their own tricks. Ha!

The onion volcano - classic. :)

After dinner, it was back to the hotel for more pool fun with Daddy. The hotel had a water slide that was really, really fun! We all went down it a gajillion times.

They let Drew go down the slide by himself! He wore his puddle jumper (which has been great investment this summer, by the way!) and LOVED it. He would go under, come back up with a huge smile on his face, and then say " 'gin 'gin 'gin" (aka again) until we took him to the top again. He is as crazy about the water as his brother is!

Then one last round of poolside s'mores!

We had a blast on one last trip before school starts! In just 10 days we will officially have a Kindergartner! Yowsers!