Wednesday, August 25, 2010


This year the Preteen has gotten involved with her middle school youth group at church. She had an amazing opportunity to go on a mission trip this summer with the group. They went to New Orleans for 6 days and then wrapped up that week with a few days in Gulf Shores, Alabama for beach camp.

They spent a lot time in the lower ninth ward cleaning up debris, garbage, tearing out, hauling off and just working hard in an area that, still after all this time, is in such bad shape and needs help. These kids had a chance to meet the people in the neighborhood, hear their stories, and serve them by getting their hands dirty and doing the work that needed to get done.

In the afternoons, the group would go to the projects and play with the children there. She said that as soon as they'd show up in the park, all the little ones would start trickling out to play with them - she said it was her favorite part of the whole trip.

It was a great experience for her, she learned a lot, she met a bunch of people and made tons of friends. She was touched by what she saw and learned there, I can tell by hearing her talk about it. She grew up just a little bit more. She wants to go back next year, says she can't wait..amazing!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

first day of school, last year in middle school..

In preparation for the first day of school, I sent the preteen to bed early on Sunday, had her set her alarm, made her breakfast Monday morning, offered to make her lunch (she declined, she wanted to buy on the first day), I offered some fashion advice (it was warranted**) drove her to school FULL of excitement..... what am I forgetting, what am I forgetting???? Oh yeah,


First day of 8th grade and I got no picture! WORST.MOM.EVER!!!! Sigh...

So when she got home, I made her put her outfit back on. She had just gotten out of volleyball practice, nice and sweaty - cute hairdo in a ponytail, but she looked cute anyway. She had a great first day, is excited about her last year in middle school!

**update : I just want to say for the record, I did not offer fashion advice when putting this outfit together, I give her FULL credit for that. I persuaded her (gently) from wearing the hideous, nonmatching, totally goofy shoes she had on when she first came downstairs. Oh, if I only had a picture of that!

Friday, August 20, 2010

summer vacation...

Last summer was rough, Little Miss had just been born so I was exhausted and sleep deprived with an infant nursing every 2-3 hours, all the kids were home and bored, I fell in early July and badly twisted BOTH my ankles, plus it was a bajillion degrees outside so no one wanted to go out. Needless to say, we were homebound and had major cabin fever. Worst. Summer. Ever.

I was really looking forward to a better summer this year, I think we all were. We've had a couple of Disney vacations, and although they can be fun and memorable in lots of ways, they are just not relaxing, and Orlando in the summer is a nightmare - HOT, crowded, humid, HOT. We wanted a vacation that the kids and adults could both enjoy. J and I thought that Washington D.C. would be a great trip to take, he hadn't been in years and the girls and I had never been, and the Pre-teen especially was at the perfect age to appreciate D.C.

Little Miss stayed with Nana and Papa, which we were so grateful for, she loved getting 100% attention all week and we loved that we had more freedom and flexibility in the activities that we were able to do on the trip.

Now it was definitely warm there, but not like Florida hot, ok well sometimes it felt that hot, but the difference was that we were indoors a lot of the time. We rode the Subway/Metro all over town - it was very clean, seemed safe, and was cheap and easy to use. We saw so much! We did a great guided walking tour and saw all the monuments, we visited the White House, the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, Natural History Museum, American History Museum (mainly just the First Lady dresses exhibit), we went on a guided tour of the Capitol (awesome!), we saw a Presidential motorcade drive out of the White House (awesome!) We walked and walked and walked - thank God we took the little stroller for Miss Priss, she would NOT have been able to keep up with all the walking we did.

Kids in front of the Capitol

The girls and I in front of the National Art Museum - we didn't see much art here unfortunately, we ate lunch in the cafe and enjoyed their A/C.

The fountains at the National Sculpture Garden. The building directly behind is the National Archives.

Natural History Museum. This is the elephant that was in the movie Night at the Museum.

Washington Monument. Notice the stone changes color half way up, they ran out of money during the Civil War and construction was halted for several years until they could raise enough to finish it.

Family picture in front of the White House.

The girls at the Lincoln Monument

Lincoln Monument. I'm pretty impressed that my camera got such a nice picture of it, almost looks like a postcard.

J and Miss Priss at the Lincoln Monument

Stephen F. Austin statue that Texas contributed to the U.S. Capitol. TEXAS!!

Dome in the Rotunda inside the Capitol. Beautiful!

Miss Priss on the Metro. Her favorite part of the trip!

All in all it was a great vacation! There is so much to do, there is no way to see everything in just a few days. Miss Priss was a little bored in the museums, but luckily she kept busy and was happy to be on vacation. Her favorite parts? The airplane to get there, the train to get into the city, the hotel and the subway. Ha!