Spring Break

I finally have a bit of time to write a blog post now that this week is spring break. Since I’ve started on FB, I’ve been able to post there more since it doesn’t really take any time, and I can post pics from my phone.

Our family has been so busy in the last couple of months. I have to say I am looking forward to school being over for the year. I love my students, but the paperwork and planning is killing me. I hope if I decide to go back next year, it will be at least a little easier since I have one year under my belt.

My kids will be starting swim team at the Coast Guard base next week. It should prove to be interesting. I’ve never seen competitive swimming for 5-year-olds, so it may be a spectacle. The weeks between now and the end of school will be a pain because there’s practice twice a week and “meets” on Saturday. I don’t think the meets start for a few week, though.

Here are a few pictures from a couple of weeks ago. I can’t believe my kids are getting so..old. They don’t look like little ones in pictures any more! ūüė¶ Most of these were taken the day we went to sign the kids up on the base for swimming. There’s a nice lake area near the pool, so I took the opportunity for some long overdue pictures.

Kids being silly.

They could be bookends!

Honestly, I don’t know where she gets this.

Ok, that’s more like it. Thank you.

Here’s at our church’s Easter egg hunt. They were really too busy for pictures. There was candy to be had, after all. Binh wasn’t into having his picture taken at all this day.

Well, that’s about all I can muster for now. There’s lots of laundry to fold, so I’m off! Check in with me on fb if you’d like updates more often!

International Day

Ava had international day at school last week. The kids in kindergarten¬†have been learning about kids in different parts of the world this quarter, so to wrap it up they all were asked to come to school dressed as a person from another country. Then during a special chapel service, they sang a song in Spanish and said a few things in different languages etc. to demonstrate what they’d learned.

I tried to get Ava to dress in her Ao Dai, but she’s never one to do things the easy way. She told me from the beginning that she wanted to be an “Indian Princess”. I knew there was no fighting her on this one, so I went off to try to find material that might pass for a sari. Here’s what we came up with:

I snapped that one in the car at a stop light on the way to school. We didn’t have time for pictures outside our house before school!

The next one was taken after the chapel stuff, so her clothes we starting to slip off a little:).

I think she’s ready to take Bollywood by storm!

I’m Still Alive

I know it’s been forever since I posted anything, but it’s been a whirlwind at this house. Our family has been in the process of adjusting to me being back at work. Well, I’ve never worked since having kids, so they had a lot to get used to.

The kids have to go to before-care at school. That has not been a big hit. There were tears from Ava for many many days. Now she just mostly slumps in there and gives me a sad look before I leave. I have to get up at 5:00 am to get the kids to school and me to work by 7:10 am. Once a week (at least), the kids go to after school care. They like that much more because they get to play at the play ground for about and hour and half after school ends.

We also don’t have a lot of time after school or even on the weekends. I have to make lesson plans every weekend, though I’ve become a little more efficient. And, we eat out more than we used to during the week. It seems like we one of us (me or Ash) has some sort of meeting etc. every evening. We have gotten a house cleaner since I went back to work. It was Ash’s idea because he didn’t want me to feel so stressed about all the things I had to get done in my “down time”. He may have been getting fed up with our house in disarray, too! (There really is not down time, it’s just the time I’m not at my school!) It has been a wonderful investment so far. How great is it to come home to a clean house- one that¬†I didn’t invest any time into doing? Ah, yes. A silver lining.

So, it’s been hard. Everyone tells me the first year is the hardest and that it will get better. I’m not sure that makes me feel a lot better! A year is a long time. There have been a few upsides. I have a pool of babysitters now! We’re going to go out to the movies tonight for the first time since I don’t know when. Another plus? Kids at school are starting to come by my room just to say hi or to tell me about something that happened to them during the day. One kid yesterday stopped by after school just to show me his art project he’d worked so hard doing. I bragged on it though I actually know nothing about art. It made me feel good to know he took the time to share it with me, though.

Also yesterday my students filled my board with messages of “I love Mrs. F____” in different languages (They know I love languages). That definitely helps make it worth it…

Five? How Can That Be?

My baby girl turned five years old last week. In a way it seems¬† both like she was just born and that she’s been¬†a¬†part of our lives forever all at the same time. I remember taking her home from the hospital, when the nurses handed her to me, thinking “I can’t believe they just let people walk out with these things!” It was surreal to think she was mine for the rest of my life, and just like that I was in charge of another human being.

Ava is busy and full of life these days. She is sweet and loves people, a total extrovert. She thrives on interaction with others and has a great time playing, laughing, and acting silly. She has¬†a sense of humor similar to mine in that she loves words and plays on words. Plus, she is great at imitating accents. Sounds like an auditory learner to me…

For Ava’s birthday, she was able to have a family party and a day with a couple of friends. My parents and nephew came to visit, so she got to have cake, singing, etc. with them. She loved having Tutu visit. Girl loves her Tutu. I think she likes because Tutu will sleep in her bed with her because¬†Ava hates sleeping in her room alone. The day after her birthday, I took her and a couple of friends to get these kid’s mani/pedi/hairdo’s. It was so funny to see her there with her feet in the water. She and her friends had a ball. The salon is for kids, so they had “Max and Ruby” on tv while they were getting all gussied (sp?)up. It was a big day for everyone.

I haven’t done any pictures for her fifth birthday, but I hope to get some in this weekend. In the meantime…

Ava insisted that she have a surprise party. I think the concept of “surprise party” was lost on her, because she told us that she wanted one, then told us what to do. She said when she wasn’t in the room we were supposed to hide in different places (she specified that) then she’d come in and we’d yell “surprise!”. So, that’s what we did. This one I took right after we jumped out at her.

Ah, nothing warms my heart like a girl with a microscope. Ava got this one for her birthday. She’d been asking for one for months.

The girls had a ball getting their nails done.

Plus, getting a cute hairstyle and lots of glitter is never a bad thing either!

Ava is such special little girl with a sweet, tender heart. It’s a joy to be her mom. I love you, baby girl!

Mom Vs. Disney World

I don’t have a lot of pictures of us in Disney World. Since Ash was in his conferences all day, it was up to me to brave the crowds with the kids on my own. In all, we did awesome if I do say so myself. I talked to the kids about how to stay with me, walk in front not behind me, etc. since there would be a lot of people there.

The most nerve rattling part was getting on and off the Disney busses with the kids and the stroller. It was like being at the airport with kids and a stroller. You know, with people giving me kind of dirty looks like I had no business being there. Hello, it’s Disney World. I think it was made for families if I’m not mistaken. It’s funny because we were waiting for the bus one morning when an older lady (grandma with her daughter and her family) made a comment about how brave I was to go it alone in Disney with two little ones. I told her in Disney was fine, it was dealing with trying to get on and off the bus and taking all the exasperated looks from people that was the worst part. When the bus came, the grandma turned around and asked my kids to let her help them on the bus while I got the other stuff. Then, a guy behind me asked to help me with the stroller! I guess pointing out people’s bad manners made them want to help!

We went to the parks in the morning then came back to either swim or nap in the afternoons. Ash was able to go to see the fireworks at Magic Kingdom one night, but that was his only venture into the park. Because of our military tickets, we can use our unused days on our tickets until September of next year. So¬†we still have two more days we can go. I’m thinking we may have to venture down there again when my parents are at their place in the winter/spring.

Here are a couple of pictures from the happiest place on earth:

My kids would ride on the carousel the whole time if I’d let them. I think it’s funny because they’re both looking in different directions, and neither one is where I’m at! Granted, there is a lot to look at in the Magic Kingdom!

In my opinion, Hollywood Studios is by far the easiest place to meet the characters. It’s funny because my kids really aren’t that into the characters. They even elected not to stand in line (which wasn’t all that long) for a picture with Mickey Mouse. But we did see Pooh, Chip & Dale, Mickey, and these guys. My kids only wanted pictures with these silly pups. ūüôā

I think Minnie is so cute. I saw her walk out just after we had taken pictures with Pluto and Goofy. I asked if they wanted a picture with Minnie and Ava did. We were only like the third people in line to meet her. Binh didn’t want a picture with her because she’s a girl! Ha! That cracked me up, but I didn’t push the issue. I guess he didn’t want her getting the wrong impression about his intentions or something!

Sea World

While we were on vacation #2 we had the chance to visit Sea World a day that Ash didn’t have to be at his conference. We went one day early so he’d be able to go with us. Sea World offers active duty military free entry to their parks one day per year, so we took this opportunity to take them up on that offer. I think active duty military can go to any of the Anheiser¬†theme parks for free, like Busch Gardens, Discovery Cove, or Aquatica. If you’re like me, you didn’t even know they had all those parks.

We had a great time at Sea World. I can almost cry just seeing the beauty of those killer whales when they first come out. Ok, I did cry a little. I do have to say, the “show” has changed greatly from some years ago when we were there. If you’ve been in the past, you’ll probably remember how the trainers would swim with the whales and do stuff like stand on their nose while the whales jumped out of the water, etc. Well, they don’t do that AT ALL anymore. The trainers don’t get in the water with the whales, ever. One lady stood on that shallow platform while the whale propped himself up in a pose, but other than that the trainers had no physical interaction with the whales. I also remember that, during the show years ago, the whales were able to swim in the pool in the “on stage” area as well as go “behind the stage”. This time, the trainers were vigilant¬†about keeping the other whales in the “behind the stage” pool by locking a gate. I mean they meant business with that gate. My guess is all these changes occurred after that one trainer was killed last year. The show was still fun and the kids loved it and knew no difference, so it was all good.

Binh loved getting to see polar bears and penguins, as well as feeding and petting the dolphins. Ava was too scared to pet the dolphins. She would have been too scared to pet the stingrays, but I just sort of grabbed her hand and stuck it in the water. Once she realized what she’d done, she was happy to pet the rays.

It was a long, hot day, but no hotter than here at home, so getting to see cool marine animals in the hot weather was better than being here. It was also overcast most of time were in Orlando, so there wasn’t just sun beating¬† down on us the entire time.

I took a few pictures of our Sea World exploration, more than Disney because I had Ash to help me out. I don’t know where these kids get their silliness…

Binh was all about feeding the dolphins. It looks like both he and Ash are talking at the same time to each other ūüôā

Ava? Loves dolphins in theory. However, she’s not see keen on them when they’re two feet away. Notice how she’s got her hands pinned to her body? She’s not going to fall for someone grabbing her hand like I did at the ray tank. (note: she loved the rays after I made her touch them and wanted to stay and keep petting them. I’m sure she would have been the same with the dolphins, but I didn’t push the issue. I guess they were a bit more intimidating.)

 

A 4th Post

We had a good time just mostly hanging out yesterday. Ash cut the back lawn and played baseball with the kids. He only needed to cut the back yard because I made him stop on Sunday night when our babysitter called and said she was in town and would like to come over so we could go out. Well… ok! Ash ran in and showered so we could go to the movies. We hadn’t been in forever, so it was a nice treat. We saw¬†Larry Crowne. I heard the reviews weren’t great, but we were happy with it. It didn’t have lots of explosions, violence, or sex, so maybe that’s why critics didn’t like it.

Ash grilled out around 1:30 for just our family. We had burgers and hot dogs, of course. I mean, that’s a July 4th given, right? I also bought watermelon and cantaloupe even though I knew only Binh and I would eat it. The other two in our family are sort of picky eaters, but I wanted some and I knew I’d be able to count on my boy to help me out. He did not disappoint, either. I think that kid ate half a watermelon by himself! How can you tell a kid to stop eating fruit? I just let him keep going.

Then, we went to a fireworks display put on by a guy from our church. He makes his own fireworks and then invites people to come to his house on the lake to watch them. He shoots them from one side of a large lake and we sit in the field on the other side, so it’s pretty safe. The display was really something. They were as good as the ones the city puts on every year. I took my camera (which has been acting up, but that’s¬†a different post) and had fun playing with it trying to get fireworks shots. You could say I have a long way to go when it comes to night shots, but I had fun.

Yes, that’s just the glow from the fireworks illuminating their faces. It was big show, I tell ya’. I can’t believe the guy made them. The next one is of Ava and Ash watching together. Cute…

After the big display, we came back about 9:30 and shot off our own fireworks we had bought for the kids. Binh seemed to enjoy them more this year than Ava, but I think she was just really tired.

I did take a picture of the kids like the one I did last year just to see the difference. Here’s last year’s July 4th picture:


Thanks goodness it wasn’t as humid this year, but they were still looking¬†a¬†little¬†disheveled. I guess it had been a long night! Here they are:

Hope you all had a good time, too.

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