Friday, August 31, 2007

Morning rituals

It continues to amaze me the difference in the girls in the morning.

For 2 1/2 years, I took Macy to Blue Jay Junction. 6:30 would come pretty early for her. I would wake her up, get her dressed while she was still asleep, and drive to school. She would not say a word the entire time...quiet as could be. Sometimes when she told me goodbye at BJJ was the first time she spoke to me. She'd either sleep or stare out the window on the way to school. But as soon as we'd get to school, the waterworks would start. It was never full out sobbing, but rather the whimpering and watery eyes. She never wanted me to leave, and I'd have to pry her off my neck. Most days she'd curl up on Ms. Sharon's lap, and Sharon would try to calm her down.

But now I'm taking Kaylin to school. 6:30 comes pretty early for her too. She starts whining as soon I wake her up...she doesn't want to wear what I've picked out, she doesn't want those shoes, she doesn't have to go to the bathroom, she wants Daddy to take her to schoool, and on and on. We get in the car, and she continues to whine. She's too cold, she wants to play outside, etc. Half the time I don't listen to her. But as soon as we get to BJJ, she's happy as a lark. She carries her backpack and lunchbox, and trots in. She runs to Ms. Sharon, blows me a kiss and gives me a hug, and that is that.

I can't decide which one I like better...the quiet morning or the easy drop-off.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


We had the girls pictures taken last night. Normally at this place they take about 80-90 pictures, them alone and them together, with many different props and a couple changes of clothes. I told the photographer I was going to be difficult because I was so simple: I only wanted pictures of the girls together, I only wanted pictures of them in Bobby's fire gear, and I didn't want any props. He wasn't very happy with that, because as a photographer he is trained to do much more than that. He almost seemed like he couldn't figure out what to without any props.

When we got ready to leave, I said something about Bobby taking the girls down to Borders for their book while I waited for the pictures. The photographer said, "You bribe your kids with books?" as if I had just given them poison. I said yes, we've always bribed them with books. He quickly backpedaled and said, "well, I guess that's better than candy!" Exactly.

Monday, August 20, 2007

How can she be old enough for kindergarten?

For those of you waiting anxiously for pictures of Macy's first day of kindergarten, here they are! Sorry for the wait...

She was pretty nervous this morning, but tried to hide it. She didn't eat much breakfast, because she said her tummy hurt. I took some pictures at home, then we headed off to school.

Right when we got to school, her good friend Emily (in first grade and in the class next door) pulled in right next to us. They hadn't seen each other much this summer, so there was much hugging. I think seeing Emily helped calm her down a lot.

We waited for Bobby to come over from the fire station, so we took more pictures out front. Several other kids she knew were coming in, and she was excited to see them. Except for two, the rest aren't in her class, but she will ride the bus with them and see them at recess.

Finally we made it down the hall to her room. At one point we got separated a little in the hall, and she got a freaked out a tad. Mrs. Fischer is her teacher, and is a wonderful lady. Her oldest is in first grade, and is actually in Emily's class next door. Nice for her!

As everyone is getting settled, Macy is getting nervous again. We put up her blanket for rest time, and hang up her backpack. She's starting to do the stiff upper lip, especially as another little boy is sobbing for his mom. But Bobby leans down and whispers to her: "Don't eat the glue!" She cracks up, and we take the opportunity to say goodbye and get out of there before the waterworks start.

I stayed in the hall way for a little bit, and poked my head around the corner twice to peek on her. She was fine; laughing and smiling with the other kids at her table. I choked back my own tears and got out of there.
Kaylin and I met her at the bus stop after school, and with much prodding, learned about her day. I need to learn the right way to form questions so she will answer better. She loved kindergarten though, and had a great time.
The real test will come in the morning. She sobbed at bedtime that I wouldn't be there to put her on the bus. So we'll see. She's not a morning person (like her dad), but will be fine once she gets to school. Hopefully I can get out of the house without waking her up.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

My first day...

A couple funny things happened on our first day of school.

They changed our start time from 7:30 to 7:25. The bell rings at 7:25, and there's not a single student in my class. They are all seniors, so I thought maybe they forgot about the new start time. 7:30 rolls around, and still no students. I call the office at this point, and explain that 27 of my students are missing. After our secretary finishes laughing, she starts investigating, and finds out the kids have a different room number on their schedule! I looked at my schedule, and it listed the room I was in. So somewhere there was a huge problem. I leave Room 101, go to Room 603, and bring back all 27 kids to the correct room. They were sitting there wondering where their teacher was, and I was wondering where the kids were! The first day is always horrible because the kids stare at you with a blank expression and never smile or laugh. The ice was broken with this group, because when we got back to the room they were smiling and laughing!

A couple days a week I have to eat 4th lunch (at 12:30, yuck!) and today was one of those days. I went to the fridge in the faculty lounge and my lunch was gone! yep, another faculty member ate my lunch! I had to borrow money from another teacher because I didn't have cash. I get down to the cafeteria, and because it's so late, most of the food was gone. I was not a happy camper.

I did find out who the food-stealer was, and I don't feel so bad. She's another English teacher who is 9 months pregnant. Another English teacher had made her some pasta (same as mine) and told her it was in a white bag (same as mine). She didn't have a clue she was eating someone else's lunch; she thought it was the one Nicole had brought for her!! She felt horrible, and apologized about 100 times.

Nothing else too exciting happened, but I think that was the most exciting first day of school I've ever had. It's funny that I can already tell which kids are going to be troublemakers, just from the 45 minutes I saw them today. My 6th hour is going to be the death of me. I imagine I will have horror stories soon about them...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

We are equal now...

We have an equal number of people vs. pets now. Today Kaylin got a fish she named Nemo. We have 4 people, and 4 pets.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Build a Bear

We promised the girls we'd take them to Build-a-Bear for new animals for the beginning of school. I figured a new preschool and starting kindergarten was cause for a new over-priced stuffed animal. We waited until Bobby was able to come, so we went this afternoon. Kaylin picked every one she saw, but eventually settled on a monkey. She struggled with the name too, but Bobby eventually helped her decide on "Blue Monkey Jay." Interesting choice...

Macy decided on a multicolored hippo. I was quite surprised, as she carried a pink cat around forever. She named hers "Furry Kindergarten." Another interesting name choice...

Ahh, they are actually smiling as they sit close to one another. For a moment, no one is hitting, yelling, or whining at the other.

Macy loves to carry Kaylin around piggy-back. So far, no major accidents have occured because of this. They both love it.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Kaylin survived...

She had rough morning; she took a toy away from a little boy named Isaac, and got into trouble. She cried for quite a while, and had just calmed down when I came to check on her. I got the waterworks started again and she said Miss Sharon was mean.

Her afternoon was better though, and when I came to get her she was playing dinosaurs with Drew and Jericho. I asked her if she was ready to go, and she yelled NO!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Kaylin's First Day

Today was Kaylin's first day at Blue Jay Junction. She went to a Parents Day Out two days a week last year, but this is her first real preschool experience. It was really strange taking her instead of Macy; Macy and I had the routine down for 2 1/2 years, and Kaylin is so different! She didn't cry a bit--she sat down at the table to eat her "go-tart", waved good-by, and that was it.

I've checked on her twice, just peeking around the corner, since my room is next door,and she's still not crying. She's not playing with anyone either; just coloring a picture. She is so used to Macy leading the way that finding friends on her is foreign to her. I'm sure in no time she'll make friends.
I promise I did comb her hair before she left the house; in these pictures it doesn't look like it!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

water conservation?

Denver has apparently been in a severe drought for about 5 years. They have signs all over the place saying "Use only what you need", etc. They have all sorts of ways to encourage people to conserve water: don't let your swimming pool overflow, take quick showers, only fill the bathtub with just a few inches, don't flush everytime, esp. with small children, etc. But yet the yards in Denver are the most lush, the most brillant shade of green I've seen in a long time. Especially compared to the yards around here, which are a dry, brittle brown. Denver residents are instructed to only water twice a week, and a third time can be after dark.

I think I'd rather have a clean child, take longer showers, and flush my toilet everytime than water my yard three times a week.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Thursday, August 2nd

We learned something else about our children today: when it rains all day, and everything to do in Estes Park is outside, our children get cranky.

The day began beautiful, and we started up Fall River Road. This road is dirt, one-way, only 9 miles with tons of switchbacks,but rises about 3000 feet to the top of a mountain. That part of the day was pleasant. We had a car behind us that somehow didn’t understand the point of Fall River Road was to go slow, and admire the scenery. Bobby finally pulled over and let them go by. They tore up the mountain like they were a massive hurry. I expected to see them wiped out on a curve, but I’m guessing they made it to the top.

We stopped at another waterfall, and climbed once again to the top. Our girls are climbing machines! While there, we ran into my friend Ethan from the rafting trip and his family. He saw me first, and came over to wave hello with a big smile. I guess he did enjoy sitting by me on the bus and listening to me talk.

The road ends at the Alpine Visitors Center, altitude 11,796 feet. You can walk to a point over 12,000 feet, but by this time we were in a cloud and there was no point, nothing to see. The girls enjoyed touching the clouds, and Macy said it was soft.

The day went downhill from there. It rained, rained and rained. We didn’t have a hotel room to go watch tv, so we just drove around hoping for a break. We did go on two hikes while it was sprinkling; one to a neat waterfall (probably the sixth waterfall we hiked to) and another to a couple lakes.

We roasted smushmallows in the rain. I just hope it is not raining in the morning when we pack up to leave.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Wednesday, August 1st


We woke up early to go white-water rafting. Several of the other people in our group stayed behind to watch all the kids under age 7, so we left several movies to keep the kids occupied. We had 19 rafters, so we piled in 4 cars to head out. We had about an hour and a half drive, and for some reason I envisioned a boring highway drive. But it was through a beautiful canyon, running alongside the Big Thompson River. It was breathtaking, with the river next to us and the steep canyon walls on both sides. We ended up about 30 miles from Wyoming, on the Cache la Poudre River.

Our first glimpse of our raft guides was Afro Man—he had on a black afro wig, a green headband, and green old school coaches shorts that were way too snug. Next we saw Bunny Girl—she had on pink bunny ears with lopsided ponytails. Mushroom Man was the best, though, with an enormous mushroom hat made from insulation and spray painted red. Sparkly Girl gave our safety talk, and we rode a school bus about 20 miles. I sat with a little boy named Ethan, who was 7 and scared to death to raft. He was from Wichita, and I just talked to him non-stop about stupid stuff to make him laugh. I saw him later on the river, and he smiled and waved at me. I was glad to see him having a good time.

Our guide was Jay, and he had on a short mini-skirt—thankfully with shorts underneath. I was quickly deemed worthless because of my cast, and sent to the back of the raft by Jay. It actually turned out ok, as he kept an eye on me and kept me from falling in a couple times. He also let me use his squirt gun on people. Our boat consisted of Matt and Mindy, Kurt and Lori, Lauren and Bobby, and myself, the useless one. Matt, Kurt and Bobby are all firefighters. Lauren’s husband didn’t go, so she paired up with Bobby.

We had Class II and III rapids. Bobby and I would like to try Class IV next time. Some of the better rapids were Killer Bridge, Roller Coaster, Pin Ball. At Killer Bridge we wrapped around the bridge pylon, and Bobby and Jay had to go up to the front to help Matt and Kurt push us out. I was instructed to bounce up and down to help dislodge us. We stopped at one point to play in the water, and everyone jumped in the current to float down. Bobby said the water was completely frigid and took his breath away.

The ride was about 2 hours, 6 miles. It wasn’t quite as adventurous as we thought it was going to be, but it was definitely worth it. Our guide was great—he interacted with us and joked around. Of course, we joked back, so he seemed to like us. A couple of the other boats seemed to not have as good of a time, and I think it was because of the guides. The guides were extremely impressed by the plastic sleeve I had to put over my cast; they’d never seen anything like that before, and every one of them came over to look at it.

We got back to Estes about 3, and picked up the girls. They played mini-golf, and Macy got a hole in one! She says she is ready for the big leagues, but only if she’s on Papa’s team.
We did another hike, this time around a lake in the rain. Hopefully we can go back before we leave to do some of the side trails we skipped.

Tuesday, July 31

We learned something about our daughters today: they are fearless, and not scared of heights!

We drove around the Rocky Mountain National Park, and stopped at several trails or overlooks. The girls climbed all over the rocks, and were not daunted by the height or steepness of the trails. Even Kaylin, who is somewhat slower normally because of her hip. She wanted to hold my hand, but was right up there with Macy.

We ate lunch with the group from our church at a neat river, and all the kids climbed all over the rocks and trees in the river. All the moms got a neat picture with about 15 kids on a rock in the river. Bobby took Macy across the river on a tree branch, because all the big kids were too. Kaylin had her first experience with going to the bathroom outside, and it only took her 6 tries to be able to go.

After lunch we found a beautiful waterfall, called Alluvial Falls. We actually stopped there when Macy was about 6 months old, so it will be neat to compare pictures. The girls amazed us again, wanting to climb the rocks to the top. Kaylin and I only made it halfway, but Bobby and Macy made it nearly to the top. I’ll post some pictures when we get back that show how high they were. Towards the bottom, they played in the water for close to an hour, despite the frigid temps.

Drew and the girls dug holes for chipmunks (or as Kaylin says, “chickmunks”) with spoons, trying to lure them in. No luck yet.

We roasted more “smushmallows”, and made Grandma’s Special—burnt marshmallows. The girls were exhausted, and just conked out. Must be all that climbing and the altitude.

Monday July 30

We headed out for the mountains in the morning. We ran to Target to get a few things, which ended up being quite a few things. We realized we had left most of the food we’d purchased the night before in Eric’s fridge, and it was easier to just buy more food than go back. Eric and Marsha could just eat it!

The girls were mesmerized with the mountains as we drove to Estes. Anytime one of them got cranky, I’d just say, “Hey, look at the mountains,” and that was the end of that.

A couple funny comments on the way:
Kaylin: I hope our tent doesn’t fall down the mountain!

Macy: I hope those rocks don’t fall on our car!
Bobby: Yeah, that would stink.
Macy: And they might break our car.

Found our campsite pretty easily, but it started raining right when we got there. Not fun to set up a camper in the rain. We went to the local Safeway for some more groceries we forgot (apparently Bobby and I are not good planners) and drove around for a while. We finally got the tent set up, dodging rain.

We have a gorgeous view, mountains all around. The mountain across from us has literally thousands of pine trees. He called the girls over, and here’s the conversation:

Bobby: “Macy, want to help me with something?
Macy: Yes! Yes! Kaylin: Me too! Me too!
Bobby: Count all those trees over there.
Macy and Kaylin—speechless as they stare at the trees.

We went on a trail by our campsite, and walked around Estes Park a little. We made smores too, with “smushmellows”, as Kaylin calls them.

Ever the social butterflies, the girls already made a friend. His name is Drew, and will be starting kindergarten like Macy. His campsite is next to ours, and they are from St. Louis. Small world!