Friday, September 28, 2012

Assessing the Damage

Week 67:  This was a short school week for us.  We made it back from the lake on Monday and it was time to get back in the swing of things.  As we pulled into town on Monday night, we were expecting the worst from storm damage.  There were still remnants of flooding throughout the area and lots of fences were down!  Thank goodness, our neighborhood was spared from too much damage!  Monday night was a little rough...we spent most of it cleaning up the mess of a house that had been without power for a few days!  Tuesday morning came way too quickly, but I think the kids were ready to get back into a routine, I know that I was.  We were excited for Thursday, it was time to start Girl Scouts!  We can't wait for this year - the girls have a wonderful new leader and lots of new girls!  I can't wait to see what is in store for us! 
Friday, we were back at the barn!  We were so happy that the horses were all ok after the storms.  The barn and arena had quite a bit of flooding and our favorite tree fell down.  It was a huge oak tree with the perfect swing for the kids!

While Mary Virginia had fun riding Jack, John Bay decided to help spread the dirt left from the fallen oak tree.

He was filthy when we left, but he had a great time and MV was amazing as usual!  She had complete control over Jack.  It has been months since she has ridden him and she even jumped with him!  I can't help it, I am a proud momma!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Labor Day at the Lake!

After the hurricane break, we headed to the lake for a long weekend.  We had been planning on taking a trip to the lake for Labor Day, but the unexpected school holiday made it even more of a vacation!  Friday, we headed to the lake as usual and then it was off to the kids favorite place, Niffer's with both families, but not before catching a quick ride on the tube!
Now, Princess had never been to the lake.  She had only made one trip home before the storm, but of course we didn't leave her behind!  Bandit and Princess stayed at Gigi and Jaja's and of course, by the end of the weekend, she was spoiled rotten!  (Please note that she is usually kenneled when we leave the house and she sleeps in our bathroom at night - but not at the lake...)
On Saturday, the Youngbloods came to play!  We were so excited!
The kids had a blast as usual!  They played on the tube, we took a boat ride to Chimney Rock and swam a lot!

After a fun day of playing, this was the view from the back porch! 
We also spent some time in the pool!
John Bay had fun surprising Jaja!
And we spent lots of time on the tube and swimming in the lake.
What a fun weekend.  I couldn't believe that it went by so quickly, but now it was time to head back to Louisiana and check on the house and our friends!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hurricane Isaac

Week 66:  As we were sitting around the house on Sunday getting prepared for the next week of school and other crazy activities, we started to watch the weather and realized that Hurricane Isaac had made a bit of a turn and was headed our way.  By Monday, it was definitely coming our way - and our kids being fearful of storms anyway were starting to get worried.  I made the mistake (and yes, I am owning up to it) of describing the hurricane as a storm that spins like a tornado, just a lot bigger and over the water.  That was enough to make them worried and their stress levels sky rocket. As I was trying to pack up a few things, I sent Mary Virginia on to school and then worried about her all morning.  Ed and I decided that it would be best to go ahead and drive to Birmingham so that their anxiety levels wouldn't be as high and so that they wouldn't have to be in the storms.  The schools were going to be closed for the next day, so why not take a little vacation.  Driving through Mississippi, MV sent the Youngbloods a quick email telling them that we were going to be there about 5:00 and they met us at the house!  Our first evacuation became a fun reunion!
We were a little unsure about what to do with ourselves.  We kept an eye on the weather in Louisiana and the news about schools closing.  As the rains started, they closed schools for Wednesday and Thursday, so we were in Birmingham for the week to play.  And play we did!  We went to visit some old friends and Gigi at work and then we were so close that we had to make a run to Yogurt Lab.  
Jaja had never been to Yogurt Lab - I think he liked it!
We were able to play with Gigi for a few minutes before she had to go back to work!
With Ed back in Louisiana, we were trying not to worry about him, but keep an eye on things with all of our friends in the track of the storm.  There was lots of rain and wind and some flood waters near our house, but nothing that did any damage to our house - just the power being out for a few days.  He had fully prepared the house for the storm and once the worst was over, he headed up to meet us and surprise the kids!  They were so excited to see him and once he arrived, they knew a fun weekend at the lake was ahead!

Monday, September 17, 2012

First Day of Preschool!

Week 65:  We are back full force!  John Bay had his first day of preschool on Monday.  He loves school and his teacher, Ms. Kim!  He was a little worried about going over to the "big kid" side of the school and begged for me to walk him inside.  As we walked through the door, he yelled "bye" and took off running for his classroom.  He looks forward to going to school everyday which is such a relief for me.  It was nice for me to have a little time to myself to get the grocery shopping done along with a few other errands before I had to go to work the next day.
Tuesday brought my first day of work.  I love our frog room and the kids are precious.  We had a few criers and hopefully that will end very soon!  I am just glad to be back working, I was starting to get a little lonely!
 Then on to the weekend...Mary Virginia didn't have horseback riding this week, her instructor was sick.  We had a relaxing Friday and then we celebrated our 11th anniversary on Saturday.  We decided to let the kids choose our activities for the day.  They chose bowling and dinner out with friends.  We headed to the bowling alley for a little cosmic bowling - the kids did great, the parents were not so great.  The kids amaze me with everything they do.  It was MV's second attempt and JB's first to bowl and they were great.  I know that they use the bumpers, but they really did not even need them.
While they were waiting to bowl, there was a lot of goofing around!
 After a fun afternoon of bowling and video games, we met some friends at The Chimes for dinner and some Saints football.  Dinner out with our wonderful kids and some amazing friends is just what we needed for a perfect celebration!  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Back to the Same Old Routine

Week 64:  And it all begins....this week, I started back to a regular work week.  I had a few meetings and it was time to set up our classroom.  John Bay was able to go and play with a few friends at school that he hasn't seen all summer!  It was a great way to get us back in the swing of things and a to reintroduce John Bay into coming back to school.  We had orientation for John Bay's school on Thursday night.  He walked in like he owned the place, I guess it helps that our school is also our church and we have been up there every day this week and a ton this summer.  He loves his classroom  and his teacher, which is such a relief!  This is going to be a great year for him - he isn't in a classroom with his friends from last year (a wild group of boys when they are together), but he has a friend from church and he is really excited. I had orientation for my new classroom on Friday.   It all went really well, the kids are adorable.  I think it is going to be a great year in the "frog" room!  (John Bay went to work with Ed this morning, I wish I had pictures of that!)
Then it was off to horseback.  Mary Virginia rode Cayenne so that Bailey could have a little rest!  She loves riding him because he has a fast trot!  The only problem with Cayenne was that he didn't want to jump!  MV was persistent and she finally was able to get him to cooperate, but wow he is stubborn!

And John Bay was just happy hanging out and picking up bugs!
On Saturday, Ed worked on building a playground at Mary Virginia's school and then we had our first Girl Scouts event of the year.  We had a back to school bowling party for the girls.  They were so cute bowling and they were so happy to see each other again!
And who doesn't love to eat cookie cake!

As we left the bowling alley, we were greeted with one of the worst rain storms I have ever seen.  I had to turn around twice on the way home because of flooding and after an hour of trying to get home, we pulled in to the neighborhood and it was full of water too!

We are tired of rain, but I know the worst is to come!  It was another fun and relaxing weekend to hang out with friends and family, the perfect way to end a busy week!  We are back in a routine and ready to see what this school year holds!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Day of 1st Grade

Week 63:  We had such an exciting week!  We started out the week with Open House at Mary Virginia's school.  Meeting the teacher went well and she was so excited to see that some of her friends from last year were going to be in her class this year!  Open House made her excited to start school!  When I asked the kids about what they wanted to do for their last day of summer, they both decided that they wanted to hang out around the house and have one last day of relaxation - the crazy schedule of school and activities was about to begin!
On Thursday, MV had her first day of 1st grade!  I can't believe how much she is growing up.  She was so excited, she is no longer one of the babies at the school, she is one of the big kids!

John Bay was sad to see Mary Virginia go to school - he wasn't going to have his buddy around to play with!
We had another big change to deal with, I went back to work, teaching. 
John Bay and I only had one day off before I had to go back for meetings!  Now that we are getting back in a routine, we are all loving it!
We had a big weekend planned, I had a baby shower for one of my good friends on Friday.  We had a delicious dinner out and some much needed girl time to celebrate!
Ed and I had another surprise for the kids on Friday when MV got out of school, Gigi and Jaja made a trip to Louisiana!  I don't know how we did it, but we kept their visit a secret...such as great surprise for the kids!
Saturday, we headed down to New Orleans for an early anniversary celebration for us and a late celebration for mom & dad.  We had brunch at Court of Two Sisters, one of my favorites!

Then we headed over to The Insectarium!  This is a must see for anyone taking a trip to New Orleans!  I wasn't too sure about it before we went, but we had so much fun!  The kids loved seeing the bugs and all of the displays were interactive.  I think that our favorite part of the tour was the movie.  It was also interactive. In the theater, there was wind, water, moving chairs and we were even able to smell a stink bug.  Yuck!
One of the most hated bugs this time of year - the Love Bug!
Looking up into the alligator exhibit.
It seems like everywhere we go, we find an alligator!
In the Butterfly Exhibit
We attempted a trip to Cafe Du Monde for beignets, but the line was insane.  It may have had something to do with the Red Dress Run that took place that morning.  Try explaining to your kids why men were walking around wearing skin tight red dresses (especially since I wasn't too sure myself).  John Bay kept telling me, "mommy, boys aren't supposed to wear dresses."  My only response to him was "I know."  Poor things - they had a little culture shock!
Then it was time for a little tourist shopping trip!
  MV and Gigi tried on masks...
...and JB played with another gator!
And then it was time for a break...JB didn't quite make it. 
Overall, an amazing weekend!  We hated to see Gigi and Jaja leave!  We can't wait to see everyone in a few weeks.